Friday, April 06, 2007

What's really behind "Stop the ACLU:" - Pizza

ACLU - Real ID Pizza Nightmare

The government and corporations are aggressively collecting information about your personal life and your habits. They want to track your purchases, your medical records, and even your relationships. The Bush Administration's policies, coupled with invasive new technologies, could eliminate your right to privacy completely. Please help us protect our privacy rights and prevent the Total Surveillance Society.

Strangely - or perhaps not so strangely - Domino's Pizza is a major contributor to conservative campaigns, though I'm not sure if they specifically oppose the ACLU. Nonetheless, the choice of a pizza parlor being able to access your private info in order to see if they can or should sell you pizza is an all-too-possible future.

With this ad, the ACLU points out a fact that seems to escape Conservatives - once a right or a freedom is eroded or eliminated, it's gone for everyone. If you suppress the right of free speech and freedom of assembly in order to, say, suppress criticism of the Bible, the next time the political winds shift, you may find the same exception applied to the "seminal works of Karl Marx."

Real ID is of little benefit to citizens - even in the name of security. Oh, it would make life easier in some senses for Law Enforcement, but for the most part they already have access to the information they need, and before I was willing to let them have more access, I'd have to be considerably more comfortable with their commitment to justice than I am currently. The current scandal in the Justice Department clearly shows that it's powers make it a terrible weapon in the hands of those willing to serve corrupt and partisan ends.

But what they do not have, and what every Authoritarian wishes to have, is the ability to micromanage society down to the individual level; to reliably identify "unreliable persons," to know who to employ and who not to employ, who to insure, who to loan money to, who to trust and who to exclude from society. And if you honestly, if inexplicalby, believe this administration can be trusted to not discomfort you in any way do to your beliefs - you have to ask your self - "But what would Hillary do?"

The key to not fearing who is in power is to KEEP the power. This is the Jeffersonian ideal that I believe in, that government has only the power that is conditionally loaned to it by the people, and only to the degree that it needs to do it's specificly permitted duties, and only for so long as that power is needed.

I suggest that there is every reason to believe that not only will government and privileged corporations misuse this data, it's overwhelmingly likely they will also misinterpret it, misappropriate it and make resoundingly bad decisions based on data points that do not mean what they thought they meant. The availability of an ocean of data makes it possible to draw wide-reaching conclusions, but there is still no guarantee those conclusions will be accurate, based on good science or made without intellectual or ideological bias. Everything I've seen in my lifetime, on the watches of governments of all stripes tells me that. The only question is who will be affected - and that seems to be as much a function of bad luck as anything else.

The right to privacy and the expectation that must and will be treated as an honorable and honest person in private dealings - and that one's private dealings are indeed private is a fundamental issue to everyone.

If a Real ID card contains your medical history, it can and therefore will contain your criminal history, your mental health history, your gun licenses and purchases, your insurance claims, your driving record and your credit history - as this little flash movie so aptly demonstrates.

You won't know who is looking at it, or on what basis they use this data to make decisions, but Right, Left or center, Christian, Atheist, Muslim or Other - you will be affected, in ways you cannot predict and often will never know or be able to address.

The massive networking of databases and the collection of individual records is, I am afraid, unavoidable and is in fact potentially an amazing tool for enhancing the liberty of citizens - if we control who can access it and when. If we cannot control our own information - then it becomes an tool for our total enslavement, doomed to living on credit in the Mall of America.

The only Real ID I support is a universal access key that permits me to choose who, if anyone, gets to access my information and to what degree and which permits me to review and question what data is there. For instance, it would display my auto insurance and licence status - but until I granted access, even a cop would need a warrant to get more out of it - and all warrant- based access would be recorded.

Further, I want to be able to place a charge on records that I am willing to share and that have economic value. Otherwise, I want my database records encrypted to a level that it would take a dedicated supercomputer several weeks to break it - with the encryption randomly refreshed on a daily basis.

By the by, I have such a "Real ID" in my pocket. It's called a "cell phone" and it's easily capable of carrying an encryption keyring, with a biometric/pass code combination for access.

But nobody should be required to carry such a device or indeed, "prove" who they are upon demand, ever. So long as they are willing to accept that some form of identification may reasonably required for access to various services, and refusal will make access more limited, expensive or non-extant, people should be able to choose that.

Yes, I realize that such customs make it possible for "terrorists and undocumented aliens" to walk among us. But it's always possible to forge identities, even under such a sophisticated scheme as Real ID - and the more sophisticated the system, the more inappropriate trust is placed in it.

Liberty is an ideal that carries some inherent risks of the "what if" variety. The answer to those "what if's" is generally "honor, a generous spirit and a fearless nature."

People, speaking in terms of statistically significant numbers, will behave fairly much as they are expected to, and will respect legitimate authority in a manner directly related to the respect given them.

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1 comment:

Albino Cavewoman said...

"...doomed to living on credit in the Mall of America." A truly fitting description of what life could very well be like if things are allowed to continue as they are. It sends chills down my spine. This is no conspiracy theory. This is quite possibly the future. Thanks for succinctly stating it for everyone. Keep it up. I'll be fallowing.

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