The Year of Edward Snowden

I am increasingly in awe of what Edward Snowden, at great personal risk, has done for our country. One of the three original journalists to whom he gave documents, Barton Gellman, has written the following article for the Washington Post. Edward Snowden after months of NSA revelations says his missions accomplished/2013/12/24  Every American who cares … Continue reading “The Year of Edward Snowden”

Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden continues to amaze me and to rise in my admiration (see his interview by the New York Times). “Snowden-says-he-took-no-secret-files-to-Russia”  He most certainly violated his pledge and the law, but the thoughtfulness and care with which he has revealed very selective documents contrasts very sharply with the damaging data dump of Chelsea Manning (AKA … Continue reading “Edward Snowden”

Trust

Trust is a critically important feature of successful relationships and of flourishing societies. Enduring trust builds on honestly and truth.  I have just finished reading Jonathan Rauch’s exposition of these truths in The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth and his enlightening exploration of how to find and defend truth in today’s challenging environment.  … Continue reading “Trust”

Terrorism: Security vs. Privacy

We all care about our personal and national security and about our individual freedom, of which our privacy is an important element. Measures that serve both are win win and thus uncontroversial, but often measures that enhance one diminish the other. How and when to use such measures (tools) involve agreement on the balance of … Continue reading “Terrorism: Security vs. Privacy”

Dennis Hastert and the law

Former congressman Dennis Hastert has been charged with failing to tell his bank why he was withdrawing his money (up to $3.5 million withdrawn in smaller amounts over a few years). It appears that he was being blackmailed by someone threatening to expose a sexual relationship long ago that Mr. Hastert does not want disclosed. … Continue reading “Dennis Hastert and the law”

Big Brother is getting bigger

Americans are forever debating the best boundary between the domain of government authority and our personal authority. It is an important discussion, which should continue forever. Many but not all of the issues discussed have to do with the balance between security (protecting us from attack, disease, hunger, etc.) and liberty (leaving us free to … Continue reading “Big Brother is getting bigger”

Strengthening National Security

On March 10, Edward Snowden was interviewed via videoconference at the annual conference of SXSW Interactive: “Conversation with Edward Snowden” It is an absolutely brilliant discussion of the issues first raised by Snowden last year with emphasis on protecting our privacy. I had not viewed it yet when I posted my last blog on the … Continue reading “Strengthening National Security”

More on the balance between the public and private sectors

Private sector rights. I strongly support the right of the Boy Scouts of America’ to define who it will accept as members (i.e. its right to exclude gays). I don’t have to agree with how people use their freedom to believe passionately in their right to be free including who they join with in clubs. … Continue reading “More on the balance between the public and private sectors”

Spying

Two articles on the same page of Tuesday’s Washington Post reported on similar activities from opposite perspectives. In one, “A 28-year-old British man whom prosecutors described as a ‘sophisticated and prolific computer hacker’ has been charged in connection with cyberattacks in which he illegally accessed the personal information of U.S. soldiers and government employees, and … Continue reading “Spying”

Turning a corner on the invasion of privacy?

In a small step to improve transparency, the U.S. government has released a two-year-old opinion by its secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court revealing that “the National Security Agency unlawfully gathered tens of thousands of e-mails and other electronic communications between Americans” The Washington Post, Aug 22, 2013. Perhaps it was pushed to preempt Edward Snowden … Continue reading “Turning a corner on the invasion of privacy?”