John Andrist: Are Privacy Protections Good or Annoying?

We are very much obsessed these days with things like security, secrecy, and privacy. All three of them are getting more elusive.

That may not be good, but perhaps it’s also not all bad. Ponder with me for a moment what our world would be like with no privacy for you and me and no secrets and classified documents for government.

We would know everything the Russians and North Koreans are thinking. What we are up to would also be an open book to them.

In a world devoid of privacy we would instantly know who did what. All crimes would be solved instantly.

President Trump is in trouble again for divulging classified information to Russia. The assertion is that he was warning them that ISIS is working or has found a way to blow up an airplane using a laptop computer.

I’ve been trying to understand why that kind of information was classified. I can’t imagine not wanting to share with anybody concerns related to global threats.

His other problem, firing FBI director Comey, has been salved with appointment of a special prosecutor both sides like, to find out if the Russians hacked into our computer systems to influence our election.

I hope the investigation focusses less on what they tried to do, and more on whether they accomplished anything or were assisted in their snooping. We both have so much secret stuff we would be crazy not to be trying to figure out what the other guys are up to.

Can you even begin to comprehend how many secrets are filed away in government filing drawers and computers?

Privacy rarely protects us from those who would do us harm; yet it is a huge nuisance for all of us. I have to jump through a number of hoops in order for my doctor to access a CT scan or X-rays somebody else has performed — or any medical record for that matter.

Privacy rarely protects us from those who would do us harm; yet it is a huge nuisance for all of us. I have to jump through a number of hoops in order for my doctor to access a CT scan or X-rays somebody else has performed — or any medical record for that matter.

Is there anybody who doesn’t want a professional to know what another professional knows about us? Are there evil persons out there who are dying to know about the pain in my side or see the CT scans and x-rays that have accumulated over the past 30 years?

When a friend is sent to a hospital, privacy rules prevent us from finding out anything about him.

Much of which our government requires under the pretext of protecting our privacy is really no protection at all. Make that “most”.

If a hacker can find my credit card number or my computer passwords, am I protected by rules which make it so difficult for my friends and loved ones who care about me?

I’m not sure I want to give up every vestige of privacy. But I’m pretty certain I would be happy for my government to let somebody else worry about protecting it.

Shut up!

Only once did I make the mistake  a long, long time ago of telling my wife to “shut up!” when she was on my case. I was happy  when she started speaking to me again a few days later.

Women rarely tend to use that offensive term; instead they are inclined to say, “I don’t want to speak to you again.”

But it’s pretty much the same thing, one of the nastiest things you can say yo another person, because it instantly ends all dialogue.

Demonstrators are now using the same tool to silence public speaking by one with whom they disagree. And they are doing it under the umbrella of First Amendment right of protest.

It happened in two historically black colleges last week, noisy protest to drown out the speaker and turning their backs to the podium.

Think this through: Using the First Amendment to deny First Amendment protection for others.                                                                                                                                  

Worst of all it is happening mostly in educational institutions, which exist for the very purpose of knowledge transfer.

Some colleges are eliminating commencement addresses out of concern they will be interrupted by protesting students.

Nobody should get a college diploma without knowing basic civics of where rights and responsibilities begin and end in American society.

Do we (they) really want America to become a place where we have a right to tell others to “shut up”?

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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