Why you Can't Trust the Feds

American Airlines admitted Friday that it shared information on more than a million passengers with the Transportation Security Administration. The TSA will not admit to this fact nor that it violated a law - the Privacy Act - passed by its comrades in the federal government.

This just goes to show that whenever these types of laws are periodically passed, which in essence say, "From this day forth, we won't spy on you, we promise," it doesn't mean jack. Laws and promises aren't bricks and mortar, especially coming from governments. They can violate them as easily as they can pass them. You can bet that when the time comes that they really want to read your email, they will break the same laws they created with the sincerity of a saint. The laws are a farce. And more, they give the pretense of privacy to gullible citizens. After participating in some arguments on other blogs recently, I am surprised at the naivete of otherwise sensible libertarians who believe that some sort of mythical "rule of law" exists in democracies, or that constitutions and "checks and balances" defend freedom. The history of the US government shows that it will violate its own laws whenever and wherever possible if it so desires.

The only way to create true information privacy in today's increasingly digital world is with encryption. You don't have to rely on any laws. Let them try to violate their own laws and intercept personal information. They won't understand what they see. Only technology, not politicians, can create real privacy.

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How would encryption have

How would encryption have made any difference in this instance? AA (or a company working for them) willingly gave this data.

You can encrypt your e-mails, scramble your phone calls, what have you, but so what? That's penny-ante stuff in the grand scheme of privacy. You don't have the option of encrypting all the data companies and government are collecting on you and that's where the majority of the privacy invasion is. You can't even avoid much of it, short of living in a shack in the back woods and growing your own food.

If you got on a plane they have your data, if they decide they want to tell the world where and when you and a few million others decided to travel, not to mention all the other data involved in your getting on that plane (how you paid, where you live, who you traveled with, blah-blah-blah) encryption isn't going to do anything more to stop that than the laughable (how we can invade your) privacy laws do.

Myria

Jonathan, "The only way to

Jonathan,

"The only way to create true information privacy in today?s increasingly digital world is with encryption. You don?t have to rely on any laws. Let them try to violate their own laws and intercept personal information. They won?t understand what they see. Only technology, not politicians, can create real privacy."

Are you effectively suggesting that Martha Stuart could have avoided prosecution and conviction if all of the emails in the case had been encrypted?

If the government wants to convict you, evidence or testimony is no more difficult for it to produce out of thin air than is money.

If it can't identify you at all, not only does the SWAT team have just as much fun breaking down a door chosen at random, but it's safer, and the promotions and pay raises are just as big.

Regards, Don

Encryption would not have

Encryption would not have made a difference in getting on the plane. But much of our lives take place on the internet, and information is taking on a greater role in our lives than ever before - our spending habits, our political stances, our communications with friends and families, our media, etc. It can make that portion of our lives private.

Don, Are you effectively

Don,

Are you effectively suggesting that Martha Stuart could have avoided prosecution and conviction if all of the emails in the case had been encrypted?

Yes, insider trading is a great example of a pseudo-law that encryption can make obselete. And a way that information in cyberspace can translate into wealth in realspace. Of course, Martha Stewart won't identify her encrypted emails as "Martha Stewart" but as "The Jackal" or something like that.

If it can?t identify you at all, not only does the SWAT team have just as much fun breaking down a door chosen at random, but it?s safer, and the promotions and pay raises are just as big.

Why do the Feds pass phony laws in the first place if it can just break down random doors?

Jonathan, "Why do the Feds

Jonathan,

"Why do the Feds pass phony laws in the first place if it can just break down random doors?"

For almost every law, there are campaign contributions to be solicited from supporters and extorted from opponents.

Regards, Don

This is the problem with

This is the problem with nationalism and patiotism, there are millions of Americans willing to go along with any kind of police state lunacy as long as its 'anti terror' now. ANYTHING can now be branded anti terror and forced out of someones computer. In true Orwellian fashion, they will ultimately CREATE a state of terror and call it Anti terror.

Jonathon, i could not agree with you more. The most important thing a true believer in individual freedom can do is stall the progress of the US police state..and buy gold. what they don't know about they cannot find/inflate and if its offshore even better. who cares about physical 'America' its just a place. theres a whole world out there, and as my father in law says' They're diggin themselves out, and we're diggin ourselves in'.

While I basically I agree I

While I basically I agree I find the argument to be a bit too ideologically tainted. If you tell a secret to Sally, and she tells Frank, apparently Frank is the only one you can be mad at? hmmmmmmm...

While I basically I agree I

While I basically I agree I find the argument to be a bit too ideologically tainted. If you tell a secret to Sally, and she tells Frank, apparently Frank is the only one you can be mad at? hmmmmmmm?

I'm mad at both, but let's face it, Frank holds the guns. I can avoid Sally for the rest of my life. Frank can put me through a shredder if he chooses.

And you. I'm suprised that you're so fond of Frank.

Jonathan - excellent point

Jonathan - excellent point about the importance of reality over politics.

My favorite everyday example is how to deal with crossing intersections on foot. My main concern is whether or not cars are coming, not what color the lights are. I feel much safer crossing against the signal with no traffic than with the signal in front of cars. I'd rather be protected by physical impossibility than trusting people to follow a rule.

British law requires any

British law requires any subject accused by the authorities of being in possession of a particular encryption key to surrender that key to the government on demand. Failure to produce an encryption key the British government 'believes' one holds can result in up to two years' imprisonment.