informationliberation
The news you're not supposed to know...




An Introduction to Austrian Economics: Understand Economics, Understand Everything
The Century of the Self: The Untold History of Controlling the Masses Through the Manipulation of Unconscious Desires
The Disappearing Male: From Virility to Sterility

The Obama Deception: The Mask Comes Off
Operation Gladio: The Hidden History of U.S. Sponsored False Flag Terrorism in EuropeThe New American Century: The Untold History of The Project for the New American Century
(more)
Article posted Aug 25 2013, 11:47 PM Category: Big Brother/Orwellian Source: Pierre Lemieux Print

If You Have Nothing to Hide, Be Very Worried

Pierre Lemieux

Many people do not seem to mind the government peeping into their "metadata" or even into their emails, Internet habits, or phone calls. Mark Reid, the city manager of Bluffdale, Utah, where a large NSA data center is being built, doesn't worry: "If someone reads my emails,"he says, "they'll be pretty bored."

He should think twice.

Other people might not have as boring a life as his. They may have legitimate reasons to keep prying eyes out. But even if their lives are boring, the Mark Reids of the world should still endeavor to keep them private.

The first reason why private information should remain private is that the state the whole apparatus of government, all branches, all levels has an incentive to use your information against you. There, as elsewhere, incentives matter.

But how do these incentives work? Assume that the state is nice and is entirely devoted to the welfare of its citizens. Similar to how parents are biologically driven to take care of their children. In this case, we can imagine any surveillance the angelic state carries out and any information it gathers will be used for the welfare of the people.

Obama implicitly adopts this angelic model of government. He's not the only one in the political class who feels this way. On Aug. 10, Obama proposed a minor, cosmetic reform of the NSA's surveillance. Heclaimedthat it is important for "the American people to have confidence" in the intelligence community. The message is: Trust the state.

We have good reasons to reject the angelic model of the state. "If men were angels,"wrote James Madison, "no government would be necessary." He immediately added: "If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary." A brief survey of today's politicians will make it pretty clear that the state is not made of angels. Just meet some politicians and bureaucrats.

When we talk about the state's incentives, we are referring to the incentives of these individuals. Public choice analysis is a field of economics that over the last half century has studied how these incentives work. To summarize, the incentives of government bureaucrats are to increase the sizes of their bureaus, because that's how they get higher pay, better perks, and a greater sense of accomplishment. At the same time, politicians have the incentives to increase their power in order to satisfy the interests groups whose support they need to get elected or remain in power.

If we adopt this alternative model of the state instead of the angelic model, then we can understand why state power grows if not constrained from the outside. The American ideal as in classical liberalism, or libertarianism, in the Western tradition was to reinforce these constraints.

Lack of information is a useful constraint on government action. The less the state knows about individuals and their associations (including their business corporations), the less it is able to enforce its laws and regulations that are detrimental to liberty and prosperity.

Just imagine what would happen if, for example, official ID papers (Social Security numbers, passports, and driver's licenses) did not exist. Imagine how difficult and costly it would be to enforce confiscatory taxation, financial regulations, gun controls, or travel bans (such as those for Edward Snowden). What would happen if the government did not have all the financial information listed corporations are forced to provide "regulators"? It would be much more difficult to enforce the current confiscatory corporate tax rates.

Some information in the hands of government is justifiable, but not the mass of data it now amasses. Without wholesale and continuous surveillance, murder and outright fraud could still be punished. Indeed, they were before the government knew so much about the activities of individuals and businesses.

With less tracking information, enforcement would be more costly, of course, but this is what we want if we don't trust nonangelic governments. If laws and regulations were more costly to enforce, there would be fewer of them. The state would have to specialize in certain missions, focusing more on the protection of persons and property

If, on the other hand, information constraints on the state are weakened, the cost of enforcing laws and regulations will drop, and we'll get more state power. This trend has been going on for several decades. Information about financial institutions and their customers has made possible monstrosities like money laundering and civil forfeiture laws. Surveillance of health made the eugenics movement possible in 30 states. InNorth Carolina alone, 7,600 individuals were sterilized from 1929-74. Government ID papers have made checkpoints more productive and less costly.

Saying that some government activities have to be more costly is the same as saying they should be constrained. ID verifications must be more expensive so that government agents carry them out in only exceptional circumstances, when it is really worth it. It is only by constraining the state that we can preserve liberty. If you don't want random police checks, don't make them easy to do.

The problem is the same with DNA databases. James Watson, winner of a Nobel Prize for his work on the structure of DNA, argues for compulsory DNA fingerprinting.He claims that it would only "take away from our liberty to commit crime." The problem is that it would also make it easier for the state to enforce unacceptable laws, both current and future.

Decrease the cost of enforcing laws and regulations and you will get more of them. If the state knew more about the dull lives of all the Mark Reids of the world, it would be able to enforce this dullness more easily on more people.

There is a second reason why private information must stay private. It is simply that you may well be breaking criminal laws without knowing it. There are so many new and complicated laws that many people are not convicted felons only because the government does not know which paper crimes they have committed.

Some surveillance of suspected terrorists is necessary. But on Sept. 10, 2001, the U.S. government already had more surveillance power and information than is compatible with a free society.

The main problem with the surveillance state is not what it knows, but what it is does with what it knows. What it does with its mountain of information is control people ever more tightly. If you think you have nothing to hide and let the state look into your life, you'll soon find out that you do have much to hide.





Latest Big Brother/Orwellian
- White House Aims to Replace Website Passwords With Federal Authentication Scheme
- Odds Are, You Are Suspicious
- Connecticut's Homeschooling Crackdown
- Mission Creeps: Homeland Security Agents Confiscate Women's Panties For 'Copyright Infringement'
- NY Police Commissioner Bill Bratton Latest To Complain About Phone Encryption
- British Spy Chief Calls For Crackdown On Internet Freedom
- Apple May Want To Protect Your Phone Data From Snooping, But It's Snarfing Up Your Local Desktop Searches
- FBI Director Continues His Attack On Technology, Privacy And Encryption









Comments Add Comment Page 1 of 1
dougo

Posted: Aug 27 2013, 4:39 PM

Link
170213 o I have to get it out.so lets make a map showing where all the drugs are.next lets make a map that shows where all the guns are.feel safer?


Add Comment
Name
Comment

* No HTML


Verification *
Please Enter the Verification Code Seen Below
 


PLEASE NOTE
Please see our About Page, our Disclaimer, and our Comments Policy.


FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which in some cases has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available for the purposes of news reporting, education, research, comment, and criticism, which constitutes a 'fair use' of such copyrighted material in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. It is our policy to respond to notices of alleged infringement that comply with the DMCA and other applicable intellectual property laws. It is our policy to remove material from public view that we believe in good faith to be copyrighted material that has been illegally copied and distributed by any of our members or users.

About Us - Disclaimer - Privacy Policy



Advanced Search
Username:

Password:

Remember Me
Forgot Password?
Register

FBI Agents Cut Internet Access, Pose As Repairmen To Perform Warrantless Search - 10/30LAPD Officer Accused Of Punting Man's Face Like He Was 'Kicking A Field Goal' - 10/30Patriot Act, Passed to Fight Terrorism, Used Mostly In Drug Investigations - 10/30Mom Faces Jail For Using Cannabis Oil To Treat 15-Yr-Old Son's Chronic Pain - 10/30Sarcastic "God Bless You" Triggers Miami Cop To Go On Psychotic Tirade - 10/29Antonio Buehler Found Not Guilty After Almost 3 Years - 10/30During Cold War, CIA And FBI Hired Over 1,000 Nazis As Spies, Limited Investigations Of Those Nazis - 10/30"Crush the Seed of Ishmael": A "Final Solution" to the "Muslim Problem" - 10/09

Rialto, CA Police Made to Wear Cameras, Use of Force Drops by Over Two-ThirdsCop Who Karate Chopped NY Judge In Throat Gets Off Scot-FreeFlorida Cop Smashes Compliant Woman's Face Into Car -- "Maybe Now You Can Understand Simple Instructions"VIDEO: Lapel Cam Reveals A Day In The Life Of A U.S. Police Officer (Tasing, Beating, Breaking & Entering, Stomping On Heads... and Laughing About It)Caught On Tape: Officer Sucker Punches Inmate In Face, Files Report Claiming 'Self Defense'Insult Person On Twitter, Go To JailSWAT Team Brings TV Crew To Film Raid Against Threatening Internet Critic -- Raids Innocent Grandma InsteadCop Karate Chops NY Judge In The Throat
(more)

 
Top