Set your sights higher

An editorial in today's NY Times points out that a recent decision of a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Massachusetts sets a scary precedent, whereby the content of private emails are fair game for use by email service providers.

The Times' conclusion:

Americans' right to privacy will be seriously eroded if e-mail is not protected by wiretap laws. The implications of this erosion extend beyond the commercial realm. The government will also find it easier to read your e-mail if it does not have to get a wiretap order to do so. Congress ought to update the law to make it clear that e-mail is entitled to the same protection as a phone call.

My response: stop looking to government to solve every perceived problem. Look to the market for solutions. In this case, the solution is already out there.

Pretty Good Privacy is one such solution. PGP happens to offer a freeware version of their product. But if your "right" to privacy is important to you, if it is "valuable" to you, then perhaps it's worthwhile to actually purchase an encryption product. Perhaps you should reward companies and individuals who are working to solve your problem.

If, instead, you view privacy as an inviolable right, that should be free and guaranteed by the government, ask yourself how free your government really is.

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It might be worth asking

It might be worth asking these folks where they were when rights to privacy were, ahem, dramatically loosened, for wireless telephony...
At least, as you point out, we have PGP and other tech fixes for email. Cell phone privacy is gone, never to return.
Will Shirley be the last owner of a land-line phone with no wireless links between herself and the Central Office?
Shirley Knott

We're only looking to the

We're only looking to the government to solve the problem to the extent that government caused the problem.

The decision came out the way it did because the judge doesn't know ^$#@ about computers. He ruled that an e-mail stored in the computer's memory is not "in transit" and therefore not subject to wiretapping protections. If he knew that literally everything "in transit" between computers is stored in memory (often in multiple memories) he likely would have ruled differently.

I think in this case it's very legitimate to look to Congress to solve the problem by clarifying the law (though of course I don't expect them to do a good job of it...).

But if your ?right? to

But if your ?right? to privacy is important to you, if it is ?valuable? to you, then perhaps it?s worthwhile to actually purchase an encryption product. Perhaps you should reward companies and individuals who are working to solve your problem.

Is there a commercial encryption product better than gpg and Enigmail?