Monthly Archives: October 2013

A Few Thoughts on Two Different Privacy “Call to Arms”

On Tuesday, author Evgeny Morozov published a provocative essay in the MIT Technology Review, arguing that today’s privacy problem is really a democracy problem.  He argues that the imagination of privacy advocates has become constrained, fixating on giving individuals more “control” over their data without considering the negative effect of information automation in general.  In a timely coincidence, FTC Commissioner Julie Brill gave a speech where she declared a “call to arms” on new thinking about how to protect privacy . . . in the realm of engineers and technologists.

Both privacy “call to arms” have me rethinking what I want from protecting my privacy.  // More on the Future of Privacy Forum Blog.

Government Shutdown and Collapse: A Constitutional Crisis Caused by Rural America

As this government shutdown has come to absorb not merely the day-to-day functioning of government but also our national health care policy and the looming debt ceiling, it becomes harder and harder not to see this episode as the beginnings of a legitimate constitutional crisis.

By all accounts, this shutdown was formally instigated by 80 Republicans House members who wanted the Speaker to more aggressively work to “defund” Obamacare.  Whatever one thinks of Obamacare, of Big Government, these Republicans are hardly representative of the public as a whole:

These eighty members represent just eighteen per cent of the House and just a third of the two hundred and thirty-three House Republicans. They were elected with fourteen and a half million of the hundred and eighteen million votes cast in House elections last November, or twelve per cent of the total. In all, they represent fifty-eight million constituents. That may sound like a lot, but it’s just eighteen per cent of the population.

I actually thought one of the big takeways from November’s election was that the United States and our public policies increasingly faces a vast landed majority that is very much a numerical minority.

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