StratVantage Consulting, LLC — Mike’s Take on the News 09/18/01

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StratVantage Consulting, LLC — Mike’s Take on the News 09/18/01

Clipped from:

The News – 09/18/01

In this Issue:

Can Freedom and Security Coexist?

My heart, like every American’s, is broken due to the horrific acts of a few fanatics a week ago. Commentators are fond of saying nothing will ever be the same again, but I hope that’s not true. Nonetheless, there are elements in the government that are trying to make some pretty important things change. Things like freedom. Attorney General John Ashcroft wants sweeping new wiretap powers that would essentially allow the government to eavesdrop on any conversation anywhere as long as they have a “reasonable” expectation that a suspected criminal is involved in the conversation. Rather than wiretaps being associated with a particular telephone, Ashcroft wants them to be associated with the suspect. While I agree police need more freedom to intercept communications in this age of disposable cell phones, I worry that the Feds will end up listening to a lot of conversations that don’t involve the suspects in question. What happens if they turn up evidence of other wrongdoing as a result?

Personally, I’m sick to death of the usual response I get when I bring up potential threats to freedom like this. The average person responds, “I’ve got nothing to hide, so I don’t care if the authorities can [wiretap my house, search it without a
warrant, confiscate my nail clippers at the airport, read all my email, know
whenever I travel on the tollway, and so on]. My usual response is to point out that the listener is not a criminal, yet. Until recently, it wasn’t a crime to post a link on your Web page to a site that hosted software to break copy protection schemes. Today it is a crime. So you’re not a criminal now, but in the future you could be criminalized.

One company that stands to make a lot of money over the hysteria over airport security is Visionics , a maker of face-recognition equipment and other security products that use biometrics