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Former Head of CIA Think Tank Talks Privacy, Technology

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the she-knows-if-you've-been-bad-or-good dept.

Privacy 147

blackbearnh writes "Carmen Medina, until recently, helped run the analysis side of the house at the CIA. She also ran the agency's think tank, the Center for the Study of Intelligence. A self-proclaimed heretic, she has a number of controversial views about how we gather intelligence and how technology is changing the game. She talked to O'Reilly Radar about this and other topics, including the possible ways that intelligence analysis could be crowdsourced, why government technology procurement is so broken, and how the public may need to readjust its views on what things such as privacy mean. Medina said, 'Government is viewed as inefficient and wasteful by American citizens. I would argue that one of the reasons why that view has grown is that they're comparing the inefficiency of government to how they relate to their bank or to their airline. Interestingly enough, for private industry to provide that level of service, there are a lot of legacy privacy barriers that are being broken. Private industry is doing all sorts of analysis of you as a consumer to provide you better service and to let them make more profit. But the same consumer that's okay with private industry doing that is not okay, in a knee-jerk reaction, with government doing that. And yet, if government, because of this dynamic, continues not to be able to adopt modern transactional practices, then it's going to fall further behind the satisfaction curve.'"

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you must be sure that your feed is pure for the (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32075562)

funky cold Medina

Reason theres a difference (4, Insightful)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 3 years ago | (#32075580)

>>> Private industry is doing all sorts of analysis of you as a consumer to provide you better service and to let them make more profit. But the same consumer that's okay with private industry doing that is not okay, in a knee-jerk reaction, with government doing that.
-----
The reason is, Airlines and such don't have the same authority over you as the government. Its OK for them to know about it because at the end of the day we still have a choice to use a different airline. I'll be OK with it when we have real control over how the government/police can choose to treat us.

Privacy and Government (4, Insightful)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 3 years ago | (#32075626)

The reason is, if you don't like what a private company is doing, you can decide not to do business with them. Hence, private companies evolve strategies to avoid annoying their customers.
If you don't like what the government is doing, well, I suppose the right-wingers have the slogan "love it or leave it." But most of us aren't willing to go that far.

Oh yea, IS it ? (3, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#32075900)

so you can choose not to do business with them. ok. you chose that. all the while, because of the contract you signed, that corporation will still be able to do whatever you allowed them to do with your private information. share with corp x, corp y, sell it to advertiser z, this and that.

and some xyz corp will be able to gather all the pieces of info coming from different sources and have more info on you than government has. because, you dont tell government what you like, and dislike, do you ?

so basically a private corporation, somewhere, probably has much more info on you than leave aside your government, but even your parents ever may have hoped to know about you.

you choosing 'not to do business with them' doesnt mean shit. once your information is out, its out.

Re:Oh yea, IS it ? (1, Insightful)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 3 years ago | (#32075962)

so basically a private corporation, somewhere, probably has much more info on you than leave aside your government, but even your parents ever may have hoped to know about you.

But the point is, at some point you chose to share that information with them. There's a reason I and a lot of other people pay cash for many of the things that we buy. We don't want to give out too much information.

Now, consider a U.S. federal income tax return. It requires us to divulge all sorts of very personal information about ourselves, but, unlike Radio Shack where you can walk out without buying anything when they insist you give them your phone number, you can run into all sorts of problems if you choose not to do business with the I.R.S. So, yes, private companies may be retaining and sharing more information that we'd like, but there is still an element of choice which doesn't exist when dealing with the government.

Re:Oh yea, IS it ? (2, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076506)

so basically a private corporation, somewhere, probably has much more info on you than leave aside your government, but even your parents ever may have hoped to know about you...you choosing 'not to do business with them' doesnt mean shit. once your information is out, its out.

Then the government just requests or buys that data anyway. They can get away with whatever they want as long as proxies are willing to do it for them, especially for cash. Times are tough and government agencies have big, big pools of informant money.

Proponents of private, under-regulated healthcare like to say that the customer benefits from competition. Horseshit. The only competition is that of profit, while customer care is a race to the bottom. When company A begins collecting and selling customer data, companies B and C say, "Hey, we make more money doing that too!", not "Hey, maybe our customers will like us better if we don't collect their data!"

Re:Oh yea, IS it ? (4, Insightful)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076552)

An excellent example of "missing the point theater". FWIW, it's also true that GP is only half right; but you're pretty much completely wrong, so I'll start with explaining why that is:

It doesn't matter that Company XYZ already has your data. GP's assertion is that they're less likely to abuse your data, because they don't want to lose you as a customer. If all the customers leave, then having all of the customers' data is moot because the marketing edge you get from that data means nothing if nobody will do business with you.

And for small-scale businesses that is perfectly true. Now try telling your CC company, bank, utility, telecom, or any local monopoly that they're annoying you and you might leave, and see what concessions they make. Will your TV provider give you a discount rate for a while? Maybe. Will they change fundamental policies like how they handle private data? No. And that is why GP is only half right as well.

GGP was correct; the reason consuemrs are "more ok" with businesses having their data is that businesses can't arrest you.

Re:Privacy and Government (1, Insightful)

sheph (955019) | more than 3 years ago | (#32075930)

Does everything have to come down to left vs. right? Love it, or leave it isn't an all or nothing proposition. And I sure hope it's not just a right wing phenomenon. There are certain things like not having to print all documentation in 12 different languages where I would say learn english, or get lost. It just makes sense. You can argue the fairness of this stance, but my position is that if you come to a country and you want to communicate you use their language. I don't go to Paris and expect everyone there to learn english just so they can communicate with me. Another example is those who don't agree with our laws and choose to disregard them. Work within the system to change the law. If you are in the minority then you can either live with it the way it is, or leave. Now. You don't get to infringe on other people's rights to do whatever you want whenever you want. However, allow a bunch of jack booted thugs to kick your door in and arrest you in the middle of the night based on a feeling might bring forth a slightly different response. More likely than not a response involving ammunition. The problem isn't so much not having the tools to keep the government in check as it is apathy and the lack of will to do so.

I sure don't want to give up my privacy to the government for the same reasons mentioned by the GP. Does that make me a left-winger? I'm thinking no. It makes me an American citizen with common sense. /RANT

Re:Privacy and Government (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#32075948)

Even if you wanted to leave the States - saying "I don't like the government so I want to leave the country" will probably get you put on the Terrorist Watch list, strip searched at the airport, abused and arrested for an indisclosed period of time.

It's more like Love it or else.

Re:Privacy and Government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32076068)

That is totally believable.

Re:Privacy and Government (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076142)

I'm sure a flag pin will cover anything. Just point out that they don't have one.

You might go for a plastic clip on in case they decide it's too risky to take on a plane, train, or boat.

Also, leave any enthusiasm of soothing salves at home. Security doesn't react well to statements such as "I have the best balm ever! You wouldn't believe the results!"

Re:Privacy and Government (2)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076348)

I was under the impression that you weren't supposed to wear the American Flag on your clothing or bags or anything, as it was considered a sign of disrespect? Like you put your clothes in a drawer, or on the floor, you sweat. All the nasty stuff that could happen will happen to the flag, and thats frowned upon.

At least, thats what I heard. And I hear Americans make fun of Canadians for putting our flag on just about everything. But you can't believe everything you hear.

Re:Privacy and Government (2)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076012)

Right-wingers love it or leave it... hm.

I think it's the right-wingers that are usually on the less-government-involvement side of things.

Not sure why it seems right-wingers tend to defend privacy-intrusion though, which does give you some amount of defense of your statement... however, assuming right-wing is pro-gov't-knowing-all-about-you and left-wing is anti-gov't-knowing-all-about-you seems to be quite opposite of what tends to be the case.

Re:Privacy and Government (2)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076740)

I think it's the right-wingers that are usually on the less-government-involvement side of things.

You're confusing conservatives with libertarians.

They're not the same thing [americanclarity.com] .

Re:Privacy and Government (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32077196)

Both wings are pro-government-power when their wing has control and anti-government power when it doesn't.

Re:Privacy and Government (2, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076260)

The real world situation is that you do not really have a choice. The choice you have is purely academic one. Sure you can go and live out in the woods, but it is not a realistic one. It is the choice of what knee you want to be shot in.

I would like to have a choice to drive without a seatbelt, so my only "choice" is to not drive a car.

And the thing about a country where you can vote is not to "love it or leave it" but to "Love it or change it". If that is not possible, your vote is not much worth. And with those votes, you should also be able to control the companies and not let them do anything they desire. They are forced to have seat belts. They can also be forced to respect the privacy laws as you think they should be.

Re:Privacy and Government (1, Insightful)

Azghoul (25786) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076434)

You're seriously suggesting "love it or leave it" is a right-wing thing?? Did you fail to pay attention during the healthcare debate when you left-wingers were suggesting the same thing, to those of us (right/left/whatever) who thought Obamacare was a giant friggin joke?

Re:Privacy and Government (2, Informative)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076542)

Ah, kids.

That "America: love it or leave it" slogan is from the '60s. You youngsters are too green to have heard about it.

By the way: get off my lawn.

Re:Privacy and Government (2, Insightful)

Alinabi (464689) | more than 3 years ago | (#32077118)

Hence, private companies evolve strategies to avoid annoying their customers.

Having just flown with US Airways over the weekend, I have serious doubts about that. The DMV is an example of politeness and efficiency compared to that airline.

Re:Reason theres a difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32075646)

I agree. At least the government doesn't tell us what products to buy yet. Oh wait, healthcare insurance... nevermind!

Re:Reason theres a difference (3, Insightful)

0racle (667029) | more than 3 years ago | (#32075838)

I'm sorry, but I no more like a private company doing this then I do the government.

The average consumer doesn't know what tracking and analysis companies are doing with this information any more then they know what tracking the government is doing. Using the 'it's ok if they do it so why can't we' argument in this situation holds as much water as Facebooks claim that privacy doesn't exist anymore because people put information into a service they thought was private when it wasn't.

I can see both sides. (3, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 3 years ago | (#32075976)

I don't want a company BUYING / SELLING / TRADING information about my purchases with them to other companies or government agencies.

If a company wants to sort through my buying history with them, that's just fine by me. But they can only use the information they themselves have collected through my interactions with them.

And I'm still more opposed to the government doing it because companies are orientated towards helping me buy their products. If I don't buy anything from Company X's latest sales drive ... so what.

Re:Reason theres a difference (2, Insightful)

Azghoul (25786) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076444)

Sure, but the difference that you are failing to grasp is that you don't HAVE to deal with a private company that wants your personal info.

You can, for instance, pay with cash (for how long, I wonder.....). You don't NEED a facebook account.

Re:Reason theres a difference (2, Interesting)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#32075968)

I'll be OK with it when we have real control over how the government/police can choose to treat us.

Tight geographical control by warring tribes can be seen as a historical artifact of poor communications technologies. Real panarchy ought to be viable in the very near future.

Re:Reason theres a difference (4, Insightful)

Saint Aardvark (159009) | more than 3 years ago | (#32075978)

Hah! You beat me to it; I was going to say that the reason for the "knee-jerk reaction" is that private companies aren't allowed to put you in jail. So yeah, you'll have to forgive me if I'm paranoid about my government -- the one to whom I've entrusted a monopoly of the use of force -- misusing the 80 craptons of data it can collect on me.

Man, this deliberate missing of the point just irritates me.

Re:Reason theres a difference (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32076692)

you really think large private companies can't get people put in jail?

Re:Reason theres a difference (1)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 3 years ago | (#32077316)

I'm not real sure how strongly I feel about this, but someone has to play DA.

private companies aren't allowed to put you in jail

Read this. [google.com]
Then think about the fact that our government just allowed corporations to make unlimited contributions to election funds.
I have a chance every other year to change my local school board, city council, state government, and the federal government. I have no chance to do this with a private company; unless I vote in leaders that will create rules to regulate the private sector.

Re:Reason theres a difference (4, Insightful)

meerling (1487879) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076022)

also, people don't much like 'private industry' doing it either. Why, for instance, do you think so many people use tools in their computers to block or delete tracking cookies, prevent personal information going out, etc. It's easy, they don't want anyone to get that info without them specifically and knowingly giving it to them, and they probably won't even do that for most of the creeps that want it.

Re:Reason theres a difference (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076074)

More to the point, there's a not insignificant amount of those who dislike both.

Whether it's tons of offers from crappy stores you don't shop at those goes straight into the recycle bin or if it's tracking my internet usage or staging a midnight raid after thermal cams pick up "unusual" amounts of heat (sorry, but midnight snacks sometimes turns into full blown meals), it's bullshit and waste of resources.

Re:Reason theres a difference (2, Insightful)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076162)

I'm actually NOT okay with businesses compiling huge databases of information about me or others, making the whole argument moot. I also think people who willingly post and/or allow untrusted parties to view sensitive information via social networking sites (including photos, friend lists, etc.) are idiots.

Re:Reason theres a difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32076914)

Weird situation you have there in the States. Behind the ocean and to the glorious north we have data protection laws which apply equally towards the public and the private sectors (leaving out the British with their common law and public sector data "misplacements"). Simultaneously, both the government and the private sector are able to collect significant amounts of statistical information about services, citizens and the economy following procedures defined by the law and regulations enforced and monitored by the data protection officials.
  One good reason to be paranoid about the government collecting detailed information about you is indeed the British example of constant data loss and the related potential identity theft. I'd imagine that the culture of violence and fear provides another good reason as well.

Re:Reason theres a difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32077082)

Yeah, what we need is another government that'll compete with this government. Oh wait, it's called Canada.

Nonsense (2, Insightful)

rmushkatblat (1690080) | more than 3 years ago | (#32075584)

This is nonsense, of course.

The point is that we don't want the government doing any of that stuff in the first place.

Funny she talks about London's camera system... (4, Insightful)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 3 years ago | (#32075596)

FTFA:

Some concepts of privacy, that we thought were rights, are going to have to give way as we find out that social networks are just a lot more efficient, and monitoring and digital ubiquity are all more efficient ways to enforce laws, for example. That's a big thing in Britain. I mean God only knows how many cameras they have on their streets. And they're using it in ways to fight crime that, frankly, I don't think is yet possible in the U.S. because of our privacy concerns.

Next time Carmen provides an example, she may want to pick one that actually has a track record [bbc.co.uk] which supports [guardian.co.uk] her views.

Re:Funny she talks about London's camera system... (1, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 3 years ago | (#32075678)

Why do that? It seems the growing concept of "progress" in the US is to do what Europe does. It doesn't really matter if it works or not.

I am exaggerating, yes, but it really does seem to be a trend in US politics at the moment. We need to do this or that because Europe is doing it, and thus it is "progressive," and we certainly don't want to fall behind our European counterparts!

Youre way too ignorant about this (2, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#32075932)

Europe is not doing it. BRITAIN is doing it. Britain is at odds to almost EVERY single thing Eu tries to do. This includes britain installing cameras to look up british people's asses. Britain is NOT europe. Britain and u.s. is copying each other, like they did for centuries, whereas Europe is moving in a totally different course of progress.

You may want to learn more about europe. What they are doing there, is working.

Re:Youre way too ignorant about this (2, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076098)

Sorry. Another strange thing about Americans: they sometimes lump Britain into Europe. ;)

Regarding "what they are doing there, is working" -- yes, it is working very well ... especially for Greece, Portugal, and Spain?

Re:Youre way too ignorant about this (1)

Weezul (52464) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076354)

If you mean idealistic Germans, Dutch, Belgians, etc. turning those poor countries into middle class countries, yeah I'd they're doing fairly well. They are having some trouble learning those rich countries have limits on their generosity, but they've now gained a thriving middle class.

Re:Youre way too ignorant about this (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076168)

Australia too, right? Or am I just thinking of the Great Australian Firewall being pushed for?

Re:Funny she talks about London's camera system... (0, Offtopic)

AthleteMusicianNerd (1633805) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076642)

This is not FlameBait. People should lose moderator points.

Re:Funny she talks about London's camera system... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32076300)

Good observation on the video surveilance angle. I also fail to see her point on the government services side as well. If the government was gong to do business intelligence reporting to actively analyse government services activites, and notice that I applied for X health programs plus Y farm subsidy, and I live in Iowa, so maybe I should apply for the Z small business loan that I am likely eligible for based on that data, I would be fine with that. That is the type of thing private industry is doing to improve service and increase profits. I am less fine with the government noting that I purchased some Estes model rocket engines within X days of some quantity of a specific fertilizer (for my new blueberry farm) and decide that I just might be a terrorist in need of increased monitoring and no-fly status. Which scenario do you see as more likely?

Re:Funny she talks about London's camera system... (1)

Weezul (52464) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076414)

True, they almost never catch anyone using CCTV, really like never, but the British love their useless feel good bandaids.

In fact, the U.S. has installed cameras in police cars, but those are vastly more effective, as they point right where the crime often takes place! Britain then copied this by putting cameras in police hats, which again are vastly more effective than CCTV.

False. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32075600)

The reason Governments are inefficient is because they are spending someone else's money.

If there is ZERO responsibility then there is no incentive to curb waste, fraud and abuse.

Every level of government suffers from this.

Re:False. (3, Insightful)

LilGuy (150110) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076144)

Spending the money of others does not imply zero responsibility. It often implies the opposite. Perhaps you meant accountability which is something that has disappeared in the past few decades.

uh-hu (5, Interesting)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 3 years ago | (#32075606)

Correct me if I'm completely off base, but I'm reading this as the former head of the CIA whining about how "if business can do it, the government should be able to too". She correctly points out that the public doesn't seem to care when businesses invade their privacy, but she is using that to claim they shouldn't care when the government does it either, not to claim that the public should be concerned about both.

And come to think about it, what the hell does a former head of the CIA care about what the American public thinks about privacy anyway? Isn't the CIA only supposed to operate outside of the US or something like that?

Re:uh-hu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32075896)

Former head of CIA think-tank.

Provide services in exchange for privacy. (2, Interesting)

DraconPern (521756) | more than 3 years ago | (#32075650)

CIA need to provide the public some awesome free service and then people won't mind giving up data for analysis. It worked for Google. If their product is foreign intelligence.. may be some service for the public regarding that?

Re:Provide services in exchange for privacy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32075916)

A big part of what they do is essentially a kind of journalism. Perhaps the solution to their problems AND the death of quality investigative journalism in America is to transform CIA into something akin to BBC News.

Re:Provide services in exchange for privacy. (4, Informative)

QRDeNameland (873957) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076200)

A big part of what they do is essentially a kind of journalism. Perhaps the solution to their problems AND the death of quality investigative journalism in America is to transform CIA into something akin to BBC News.

I think your suggestion for the CIA to get into the "journalism" business is about 50 years too late. Google "Operation Mockingbird".

"The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major media."

--William Colby, former CIA Director, quoted by Dave Mcgowan, Derailing Democracy

Re:Provide services in exchange for privacy. (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 3 years ago | (#32077130)

I think the World Factbook [cia.gov] is pretty awesome, actually.

there is no difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32075652)

we don't like private interests datamining our lives anymore than the governement. what does take the governement one notch up, is their failure to apply the standards of law on private datamining and 'accidental' release of that information.

when i'm hearing how company x somehow 'lost' my name, birthday, id #'s, cc #'s, maiden names, etc a year ago and is only now getting round to advising the people affected. that's a problem.

"Knee-jerk" my ass (4, Interesting)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 3 years ago | (#32075654)

It's not "knee-jerk" because the government has a monopoly on force. The government can take your property without compensation and throw you in jail, courses of action denied to insurance companies and banks.

This person is a "heretic"? Only among people who value their privacy. She sounds more to me like a typical apologist for Big Brother.

Re:"Knee-jerk" my ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32075910)

The government can take your property without compensation and throw you in jail, courses of action denied to insurance companies and banks.

According to the Supreme Court's decision on eminent domain, those courses of action are now open to insurance companies, banks, et. al.; they only need to convince the government to do it for them.

Re:"Knee-jerk" my ass (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076368)

This person is a "heretic"? Only among people who value their privacy.

The only conclusion I can draw is that at the CIA most people don't want to get around privacy protections by re-educating the people out of caring for their privacy.

Doesn't mean that they don't find privacy-related restrictions on their activities inconvenient and don't try to get around them (the evidence is strongly to the contrary). But it does at least suggest they may understand why we don't like that idea.

Go figure.

Ironic... (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 3 years ago | (#32075670)

Ironic, isn't it Alanis, that the head of the Center for the Study of Intelligence doesn't have any when it comes to privacy matters.

I hope the government falls behind forever (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32075688)

Maybe people will wake up to the fact that handing power and taxes over to the government doesn't make your problems go away.

Her knee-jerk reaction: government is good (3, Insightful)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#32075770)

Private industry is doing all sorts of analysis of you as a consumer to provide you better service and to let them make more profit. But the same consumer that's okay with private industry doing that is not okay, in a knee-jerk reaction, with government doing that. And yet, if government, because of this dynamic, continues not to be able to adopt modern transactional practices, then it's going to fall further behind the satisfaction curve.

Let me know when private industry gets its funding via taxation, and uses the information it gathers for more than simply increasing profit. It sounds like she just made a knee-jerk reaction that the government's end use of information it collects is good. Hint: dissatisfaction with government isn't due to it not employing the latest technology in order to efficiently tap all its citizens' phones!

And she misses the business point. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076240)

And yet, if government, because of this dynamic, continues not to be able to adopt modern transactional practices, then it's going to fall further behind the satisfaction curve.

With a BUSINESS, you can choose to go to a different business. One who's product more closely reflects what you want.

With a GOVERNMENT ... there is only one. Of course there will be some people who are unhappy with it. Look at ANY law and you'll find some people who opposed it.

Re:And she misses the business point. (2, Insightful)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076862)

With a DEMOCRACY, you can change your government every 4 years. Once that option is removed, you then move to the next box.

Re:And she misses the business point. (1)

Imrik (148191) | more than 3 years ago | (#32077388)

You can change the people, not the government.

Re:And she misses the business point. (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#32078018)

You glossed over the most important point: the government takes your money, even if you aren't interested in what they offer. Try running a business like that and you'll get a visit from the government, because it doesn't like competition!

Total hogwash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32075782)

She seems to mix up two types of analysis: 1. Correlation and analysis of personally identifiable information for marketing purposes - versus - 2. analysis of customer preferences as a group.

There is nothing that airlines do that I consider positive that is based on 1. I go out of my way NOT to receive these offers - "We notice you flew from Bucurest to London last year - this must mean you are interested in a holiday, perhaps to Spain? Here are some great offers" etc. EVERYTHING I can think of (and please excuse the confirmation bias, but I seriously can't think of any counterexamples) that results from companies misusing my personal information is an annoyance I avoid.

On the other hand, there is a lot of positive things airlines do that is based on 2. The ability to buy a ticket 1 hour before the plane leaves the ground? The ability to check in online? The ability to EITHER print my boarding documents OR have them printed at the airport? The ability to check in using any of a couple of different pieces of information? Serving of food and drinks aboard, and a process set up to get the luggage as quickly out of the airplane as possible. There is no godgiven reason why a trained team should be able to move luggage from the hold of an aircraft quicker than you are able to walk, unless a process has been set up to provide that. In fact, everything good about planes seem to be based on someone sitting down and saying "How can we make it best for our customers?" and designing a process to provide that.

This seems like a way to find something people feel bad about, and tempt them with the removal of an obstacle as "fixing" this - except that the obstacle isn't really the reason and wouldn't lead to the fixing of anything.

Perspective from Across the Pond (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 3 years ago | (#32075818)

``Private industry is doing all sorts of analysis of you as a consumer to provide you better service and to let them make more profit. But the same consumer that's okay with private industry doing that is not okay, in a knee-jerk reaction, with government doing that.''

That correlation may work in the USA, but I don't think the public wanting or not wanting government information-gathering is the real issue here. I live in the Netherlands, and people here are, shall we say, not as adverse to the government collecting information about them as people in the USA. The government collects enormous amounts of information on citizens here, but I wouldn't argue that they operate a lot more efficiently and provide a lot more "customer satisfaction" than the government of the USA.

I rather think that the government being inefficient and not providing a lot of customer satisfaction, as compared to commercial entities, is really because the government is something you are pretty much stuck with. Interacting with other organizations is something you can take or leave, and if one widget seller doesn't provide you with satisfactory service, you can go to another. But governments typically leave you no such choice in the areas they hold a monopoly on, and the result is that, perceptually and probably also actually, they provide you worse service and get away with it.

In other words: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32075842)

pay me $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ for my views.

What else is new?

Yours In Isfahan,
Kilgore Trout

Bullshit Bwana! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32075850)

"Private industry is doing all sorts of analysis of you as a consumer to provide you better service and to let them make more profit. But the same consumer that's okay with private industry doing that is not okay, in a knee-jerk reaction, with government doing that."

I'm not "OK" with either entity doing jack shit without my express approval and knowledge.

I'd wager most /.'s are the same.

She is right (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#32075874)

American public is very fool in regard to private vs govt. distinction. They trust almost every kind of info with private companies. Which, are under scarce obligations in regard to your private info, because they make you sign under contracts/eulas that almost relieve them all kinds of obligations. Basically you give them every kind of info and they can do anything with it, and you cant sue them even. Even if you do, you cant win, not because you dont have enough money to win but because they will come up as legally right. Even if they were wrong, you would still have to find enough money to sue them anyway.

But when govt. attempts to do a census, hell breaks loose. Despite the fact that you can have former govt. officials easily prosecuted in courts, OR if its not possible, a future senate/congress can do it when you elect the right people.

Its stupid. People need to learn 'private' doesnt mean 'good'.

Re:She is right (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 3 years ago | (#32075936)

Its stupid. People need to learn 'private' doesnt mean 'good'.

'Public' doesn't mean 'good', either. Government is ripe with abuses and do-what-I-say-not-what-I-do.

But I agree that it is a stupid argument anyway. Having more information flying about between government agencies isn't going to make anything better (except maybe becoming more efficient at the aforementioned abuses).

Call for less privacy? (3, Interesting)

guruevi (827432) | more than 3 years ago | (#32075882)

Is this basically a call to let down our guard and let the government walk all over our privacy and constitutional rights?

What she's saying is wrong anyway, government is broken not because they can't track everything we do - it's broken because they try to track everything we do. There is a whole slew of agencies that don't even need to exist (or can be slimmed down significantly) just by reducing the reach of the government.

DHS is one of those departments (although I know it houses several departments), it's a layer of bureaucracy designed to give people a false sense of security while bogging down the whole process of immigration and border control while throughout it's existence all it has done is created large databases to track US citizens and non-citizens traveling around the globe. But when you need something from them, it's a lot of manual paperwork, going to see somebody in a booth, get rejected for a misspelling, go back etc. etc.

Same goes for IRS - every year for the past 5 years I had to file (portions of) my paperwork on paper instead of e-filing. Whether it's because I worked in multiple states or because I bought a house and qualified for one of the stimulus packages, when you reach a certain number of papers, you have to manually send it in. Off course this means somebody has to manually file my paperwork in the computer with all the errors that gives which results in an even greater feedback loop of paperwork and manual labor (on both sides) to correct all of that.

Here in NYS you can't pay almost anything at the DMV online without incurring a $5 or $10 convenience fee. They rather you snail mail them a hand written cheque and print out your forms than process your paperwork and payments online. Talking about being inefficient - they already have all my information. I can do everything online except pay them.

In the mean time, businesses find better ways to be more efficient using computers. They can retain certain information without breaching my privacy (unless you're stupid and allow them to retain your full credit card and SSN) and they rather let you do stuff online than going into their offices. My insurance even gives me discounts for not having to walk into a physical place.

Re:Call for less privacy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32076126)

Here in NYS you can't pay almost anything at the DMV online without incurring a $5 or $10 convenience fee. They rather you snail mail them a hand written cheque and print out your forms than process your paperwork and payments online. Talking about being inefficient - they already have all my information. I can do everything online except pay them.

Having worked for a branch of the USGS, and seem some small fraction of what some government work gets stereotyped for, I can say it's most likely a) because the NYS DMV paid some outside contractor millions of dollars to come up with such a system, that they placed a fee on it to try and justify it. (not to mention the system is probably of terrible quality) b) The fee is actually being paid to said contractor because the contract for service included said contractor/company charging a per use transaction fee. c) they're just trying to find another outlet for taxation.

Don't worry -- it's us! (1)

mariox19 (632969) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076524)

I think it's pretty clear, from the following quote:

It's going to be very tricky. A not-well-intentioned government, or a government with authoritarian tendencies, is going to use these technologies in ways that the citizenry wouldn't approve of. But that government is not going to give them a chance to approve it.

We can trust our government with any of these surveillance technologies because they're the good guys, and there is no chance of that ever changing. That's the message.

There is perhaps one great danger to growing up in an (arguably) free country; you lose the inclination to be jealous of your liberty and in guarding that liberty. It's like growing up in a plastic bubble. The first germ that comes your way, you have no defense for.

It doesn't matter that you may trust your government or love your country. You do not cede certain powers to it. Government is like a chainsaw. You can get a lot of good done with one, but you need to be careful of it at all times.

The difference is that business is voluntary (1)

AthleteMusicianNerd (1633805) | more than 3 years ago | (#32075912)

Businesses take information on a voluntary basis. Ones like airlines are a service that the consumer wants, and only the information that the consumer wants to give is given. Unlike the government businesses do NOT have access to bank accounts or NUKES.

Wrong Starting Point (1)

Tokolosh (1256448) | more than 3 years ago | (#32075934)

Medina's point of departure: There are things that the government could do better, if only it were allowed to use all the tools.

My point of departure: Is it necessary that these things be done at all? If so, should the government be doing them?

I don't agree at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32075938)

I am very pessimistic and skeptical of these claims.

The problem here is the assumption that private business and government are similar but the reality is that they are two very different things. Private business-- provided there is a free market and no politically motivated bailouts-- goes out of business if they screw up. People can bring court cases against a firm that has defrauded them. They have a choice to not do business with a particular firm. They can start a boycott or give the firm bad press. Refusing a company's service/product is detrimental to their bottom line, refusing them is bad for them. But you have a choice to refuse. You cannot, however, refuse the government. Refuse the government, you go to jail.

Imagine if you gave Exxon, Verizon, and McDonald's monopoly privilege that the government enjoys. It would be bad enough because, being the sole companies allowed in their particular industries, that they would abuse their customers. But give them the unlimited monopoly on violence and force the way the government has and the problems you already had are now exponentially worse.

The transactional approach is best left to the market, not the government. Because, as I said, you have the choice to deny patronage of any firm you wish. Government, you are not allowed to refuse, ever.

The check of voting isn't very good one in my opinion. You can only fire politicians every 2-4 years. And most of the time, people are busy living their own lives. They don't have time or energy to keep up with whatever lobbyist sponsored crap their congressman has shoveled through congress. By the time, the election is here, people have forgotten that idiotic thing that happened at the beginning of the term. Or the official used connected interests to strengthen his position in office and distort the election in some way by either outright fraud, gerrymandering districts, or pork barrel spending to encourage XYZ corporation's or ABC union's members to vote for re-election. Ask yourself, why are there so few candidates other than the standard run of the mill democrat or republican? Because since they make the laws, they have created a framework that makes it very hard for any independents or third parties to exist.

Another thing to take into account is that the majority of agencies of the government, do not require the populous voting. The EPA, CIA, FBI, DEA, ATF, DOD, DOE, FEMA, IRS, etc, etc are all appointed by congressional committees. They have to be fired by committee, too. This exacerbates the firing problem. And the heads of agencies have to really, really screw up royally to get fired, if at all.

If you disagree, fine, but consider all the bailouts, wars, warrent-less wire-tapping, torture, and outright socialization of industry that has happened in the past decade. Bush II was a bad president, but with that said, Obama is largely continuing the same policies.

Govt expectations are different (5, Insightful)

minstrelmike (1602771) | more than 3 years ago | (#32075964)

One reason govt is inefficient is because every new administration and congress adds new laws and new goals without ever removing any.

However, the MAIN reason for inefficiency is the voter's demands for accountability. That seems like a good goal but it runs into the inventory conundrum--how much money do you want to spend tracking pencils?

Consider a billion-dollar (or euro) program. If you wish to track where each million goes, you end up with a thousand-line report. But if you want to track where each thousand goes--more accountability--then you end up with a million-line report, something that requires more time to produce by existing workers and also requires the oversight group to staff an entire new department. If the cost of the new department is less than the cost of the fraud uncovered, then it is cost-effective. Unfortunately, we hardly ever worry about effectiveness in government, we only worry about the appearance of being effective.

A rational business man knows it is cheaper to let employees 'steal' 3% of the pencils than it is to spend even 4% stopping the theft. A religious, moral, political person worried more about appearances believes it is more important to make a stand and spend whatever it takes to ensure no one steals. Consider the drug laws for instance. When I say legalize everything, some yutz says 'You wouldn't say that if your daughter was addicted to meth." And the truth is maybe I wouldn't. But the socio-political truth is that my daughter is addicted to meth under the laws and regime we currently have so that ain't fixing the problem.

Voters prefer costly action to no action and they prefer to vote for folks who will do something instead of the do-nothing pols. Effectiveness is not the goal. After 9/11, all the US govt had to do was tell people that the rule of not interfering with hijackers that we've been using for 40 years (Cuba hijackings) is no longer effective and that passengers ought to fight will all means possible to save their lives. That actually is what has happened in real life. The 4th plane that crashed in Pennsylvania and every single attempted terrorist activity on a plane since then has been prevented by other passengers.

But that isn't an acceptable solution to moralistic or impatient voters.

Correction... (1)

Atypical Geek (1466627) | more than 3 years ago | (#32077170)

However, the MAIN reason for inefficiency is that politicians craft 'solutions' that are actually problems.

Fixed that for you.

I don't follow her premise (2, Insightful)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076026)

How does violating my privacy make for better service? Am I really better served because every company I ever deal with shares my info with every one of their partners, so I'm flooded with directed advertising every time I make a purchase? I'm of the contemporaneously radical opinion that I should be able to fly on an airline without giving any more access than necessary to inspect my baggage and person.

New Problems New Tools New Solutions (3, Interesting)

mindbrane (1548037) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076038)

, privacy is going to have to adjust to what is now possible. While some of the things that are now possible are scary to people, many add to the public good.

"While all things are possible, not all things are permitted."Francis Bacon (17th C)

Bacon made his remark in a different context but I think it's germane in that privacy is legislated and enforced, and not naturally occurring.

Britain, at least from my POV, has undertaken a huge, perhaps unprecedented social experiment in immigration and mosaic, cultural restructuring. Significant immigration is necessary to bolster a competitive country's domestic workforce and it's international competitiveness, but, as everyone knows, it almost always brings with it social problems. The hue and cry [wikipedia.org] historical precedent, in a skewed way speaks to a more European openness to a community policing itself whether by a sort of neighbourhood watch or a ring of cameras monitoring the streets. It's possible that North Americans, especially in the U.S.A. and Canada, are more sensitive to privacy concerns because development of the new world permitted far greater degree of privacy.

The above aside, I'm deeply vested in the concerns of the article because I'm interested in statistical modeling of political decisions and ways of abstracting inferences from personal data. I was fairly well schooled in statistics and probability to an undergraduate level but don't pretend to as wide an understanding of the field as I once had. While my interest is keyed to the problems of the individual in relation to the group, the relationship between an individual to the social unit speaks directly to privacy concerns. If my fledgling hypotheses are in any way indicative of what might be on the horizon then it's likely that along with the milieu that has spawned our current privacy concerns there are new tools that will let data be abstracted from the new milieu in a way that not only safeguards the privacy of individuals but might enhance one's privacy. Without blurting out my tentative ideas, possibly lucrative, and getting bitch slapped by some stats prof, I still think it's fair to say there's lots of room and time for the data that is now available to spawn a new tool set that will correct any current incursions into personal privacy.

Re:New Problems New Tools New Solutions (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076342)

Bacon made his remark in a different context but I think it's germane in that privacy is legislated and enforced, and not naturally occurring.

Huh? Privacy is the natural state - especially when it comes to the government which only exists because of legislation. If there were no legislation, there would be no government and thus no loss of privacy to said government.

Re:New Problems New Tools New Solutions (1)

mindbrane (1548037) | more than 3 years ago | (#32077446)

Privacy is the natural state

My reading of your post coupled to my understanding prompting my post suggests the issue could get very tricksy, very quickly, but be interesting nonetheless. IIRC the context in which Bacon made his remark, I'm unable to source it, addressed the idea that physical law trumped idle conjecture and placed constraints on the possible. When I commented on privacy in nature I wasn't referring to a sort of J-J Rousseau [wikipedia.org] theory of social contract but rather to the state in the wild as it exists between all animals. In nature territory defended against competing life forms may be the closest analogy to privacy, but like I said this could all get very tricky. Mill (the younger?) and Locke spoke to government and private property. Private property and privacy are social constructs, as is government. I've a bad feeling I'm missing an obvious premise here but at least I'd like to point out my comment on privacy was directed to the much broader context of nature rather than human artifacts and artifice.

cheers

BINGO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32076678)

Britain, at least from my POV, has undertaken a huge, perhaps unprecedented social experiment in immigration and mosaic, cultural restructuring.

The true extent of that, [spiked-online.com] probably dwarfs your POV. It is more telling that the CIA unit tasked with locating Bin Laden jokingly called themselves the Manson Family [nytimes.com] . It is mass immigration and open borders paired with the threat of terrorism that government may use to justify warrantless wiretapping of its own citizens.

I don't think you can accurately model inferences from personal data; non-sequiturs abound. We don't need a government database to prove this, Amazon recommendations will do fine. When Amazon get it wrong ("clean underwear", some homosexual text etc), it's amusing and the user can usually omit the data point that caused the error. When the government get it wrong, they're potentially ruining someones life!

Re:BINGO (1)

mindbrane (1548037) | more than 3 years ago | (#32077200)

I don't think you can accurately model inferences from personal data; non-sequiturs abound.

You can, if you're wreckless. :)

Private Industry (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076042)

Private industry is doing all sorts of analysis of you as a consumer to provide you better service and to let them make more profit. But the same consumer that's okay with private industry doing that is not okay, in a knee-jerk reaction, with government doing that.

No, I'm not okay with private industry doing that either.

Strange Reason for Government Inefficiency.... (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076152)

Huh, it's kind of odd that she attributes government inefficiency to the public being concerned about privacy. Correct me if I am wrong, but they way I figure it, government inefficiency tends to stem from excessive bloat. When federal executive agencies are employing hundreds of people to push paper, because they have not updated their computing methods yet, and they have not updated their computing methods yet, because half of their employees don't want familiar systems to change, then that is not an issue with privacy, that's an issue with stupid, spineless management. For instance, I can look at DMV in California and still feel my blood pressure rising at the thought of doing business with them. Here they are, an agency that primarily deals with signing forms and filling out said forms, and yet when you enter the building, the first thing you are supposed to do is stand in a long line and wait for one or two people to hand you the forms you need to fill out by hand. Why doesn't an agency like DMV institute some dumb terminals that allow people to sit down, fill out, and print their filled forms for signing? This would expedite the process rather quickly and might even ease up the crowded state of most DMV offices. Yet, simple measures like this give way to having 20 or so employees on hand, all telling each and every customer precisely what information has to go on what line. It's terribly aggravating. I would wager that there are other government agencies that are similarly outdated and convoluted.

I guess what I am really getting at is that government inefficiency is not, in my opinion, due to privacy concerns. It seems more likely that government inefficiency stems from over complicating many simple things. Also, if I recall correctly, the founding fathers designed inefficiency into the government for a reason. They wanted to make it hard for any particular branch or agency to get anything done quickly and instantly to prevent abuses of power and folks taking poor causes too far. Hell, if you want efficiency in government, then you design a monarch system, not a democratic republic. So, frankly, I am not so sure that having an inefficient government is a terribly bad thing. It seems like one of our protections against a government expediting unpopular policy (like, say, ACTA). I get the feeling that having to wait a bit longer for your preferred policy of choice to be implemented is a decent price to pay to ensure that the next piece of policy, implemented by the guy you don't agree with, doesn't steamroll its way over your rights as a citizen...

Anyways, those are just my thoughts.

Re:Strange Reason for Government Inefficiency.... (1)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076520)

Just for the record, federal government inefficiency and local government inefficiency are two different things. The feds can't help you with your DMV problems.

Beyond that, the public has just as many morons as the government. If you installed your machine printing devices, the smart half of the public might actually get better service. But the morons would still screw it up, and now you've got to train the desk staffers to help people with the computer system, when the reason you put them at a desk is that they're not that great on a technical level in the first place. Sometimes, a one-size-fits-all system, while inefficient at the micro level is more efficient at the macro level. I'm not saying that's always the case (inertia does tend to set in for any established process), but your personal delays aren't always a "problem" from an organizational standpoint. I've lived in Washington State, where they outsource their vehicle registration. You have a dozen different outlets to choose from, but they all have the same cruddy service. Hell, you pay extra for the privilege of using them, but all you're really paying for is convenient locations; there's usually a location within a mile or two (instead of 10 miles or more in other states), but the service once you get there is exactly the same cruddy service you're used to in any other state.

Also remember that sometimes governments *like* creating job programs. You're not allowed to pump your own gas in New Jersey because they wanted to create a class of jobs that could be done by completely unskilled laborers (and note; the gas stations get a tax credit due to this, so effectively the pumpers are state employees). Some federal jobs exist for the same reason.

Sometimes it's not an issue of either job creation or privacy problems, it's accountability. The paperless office was never implemented at a federal level because we *want* paper trails. If someone misuses their position, by embezzling, stalking a romantic interest, handing contracts to favorite nephews, etc., we want the paper trail to make it harder to get away with. Every person working for the federal government filing papers isn't just compensating for inefficient processes, they're an integral part of the accountability system.

Its NOT ok... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32076252)

"Private industry is doing all sorts of analysis of you as a consumer to provide you better service and to let them make more profit. But the same consumer that's okay with private industry doing that is not okay, in a knee-jerk reaction, with government doing that."

Sorry, but I am NOT "ok" with ANYONE (private industry OR government) "doing that"!!!!!!!!! And "private industries" now own the U.S. government, having bought and paid for it, so government does what the mega-corporations want instead of what is best for the American people.

False premise (1)

demigod (20497) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076284)

Private industry is doing all sorts of analysis of you as a consumer to provide you better service and to let them make more profit....

I'm not OK with Private industry doing all sorts of analysis on me as a consumer, but I'm powerless to make them stop. I guess if I had enough money I could buy enough shares to effect change in all publicly traded companies... but I don't have that kind of cash.

If they have been providing me better service as a result, It's gone unnoticed.

But the same consumer that's okay with private industry doing that is not okay, in a knee-jerk reaction, with government doing that.

That's a false premise, I'm not OK with private industry doing it.

I don't think my reaction is "knee-jerk", it's grown over the years as I've learned more and more about how governments in general and this one in particular abuse their power.

Private industry is doing SO much better! (4, Interesting)

mschuyler (197441) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076352)

And yet, if government, because of this dynamic, continues not to be able to adopt modern transactional practices, then it's going to fall further behind the satisfaction curve.

Ha ha ha ha! Let me tell you how well private industry is doing. Last week I got on my online account with B of A. I discovered a deposit of $210.50 had been made to my account from out of state. I looked at the counter deposit and discovered that a Ms or Mr Chu from Virginia had deposited the $210.50 into their own account, but somehow in data entry a 'proof code' had been changed that put it in my account, with the exact same number, in another state. The deposit slip itself was filled out correctly and gave me enough information to figure out what had happened.

I tried to call them up. No dice as no number provided a human. So I carefully set about emailing them (online form) giving them ALL the information they needed to fix it, all the secret numbers, everything they needed to know. The next week I get a reply when I signed onto the account saying they considered this situation URGENT, but not only could they NOT email me at the address I provided, they also were not allowed to make outgoing calls to the contact number I provided. They gave me an 800 number to call, but only during 9-5 business hours.

Meanwhile Mr. Chu is out his $200 bucks.

Un fucking believable!

Why do we hold the gov't to a different standard? (1)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076372)

Private industry is doing all sorts of analysis of you as a consumer to provide you better service and to let them make more profit. But the same consumer that's okay with private industry doing that is not okay, in a knee-jerk reaction, with government doing that.

Because private industry doesn't have the power to legally issue arrest warrants, execution warrants, and other controls over your freedom. The government does.

With private industry, we have a nominal choice of whether or not to participate in their dealings as a consumer, to deal with their competitor, or to start our own competition. That said, the government has a monopoly on governing. If we don't like it, we don't get to vote with our feet. If we want to sue it, it has to agree to be sued (I'm amazed it ever allows this to occur, actually). If we don't like it, we can't just start our own government (well, we can, but it won't be long before the government you didn't like sends a lot of nice soldiers to visit you and politely ask that your shareholders all sell their interest to it). Our only recourse is to attempt to change it from within, which is akin to a virus trying to change a live animal to do what it wants.

Government vs Industry. (1)

JRHelgeson (576325) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076410)

I don't mind private industry having my information. I do mind the Government having my information. Private industry has no power over me, government does. Facebook and Credit Bureaus can collect my data, but they do not have the power to arrest me, to raise my taxes or enact legislation against me.

What power private industry does have; government can serve as a check valve against any abuses that take place. Latest example to come to mind is when Facebook wants to share my information willy-nilly, congress speaks up.

If Government holds all the data, and all the power - and government decides to go crazy with my data, who can I turn to? Even if you're okay with the present administration having that data, what about the next administration that you happen to disagree with? Once people have data, they tend to use it... then the use becomes abuse.

Corporatism Creeping in (1)

Iffie (1410897) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076436)

I is not an argument that because private enteriprses violate privacy, government shoudl as well, also the argument that that mekse them more efficient is nonsense. Our government can automatically look up our personal data data in Holland, with consent, and that shoul dbe enough Any resoning based on the premis that it is gong so well is a complete lie, the US is broke, both government and private sector..

just because they can doesn't mean they should (1)

Lord Dreamshaper (696630) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076498)

whoever said I was ok with what corporations are doing with my data, nevermind the government?

of course, the government isn't in a hurry to set limits on what companies can do because then the government can ask companies to "volunteer" to hand over your personal information that the government couldn't collect on its own without a pesky warrant...

Many of her statements are non-sense (1)

AthleteMusicianNerd (1633805) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076612)

"if you're an individual that has an extreme view, is the ability to broadcast that view in the privacy of your den"

This is protected by the First Amendment. No interpretation is necessary, just a brain to understand that.

" It struck me two or three years ago that our historical concepts of privacy were dependent upon what the technologies were at the time"

So in the 1800's it may have been illegal to send a peeon to spy on someone, but since webcams and computers are readily available it should be legal to spy on them? It's a federal offense to open someone else's mail, yet the federal government wants access to the messages you send online.

"How failure to share information leads to more failure:"

So some software crashed, therefore we need to violate your privacy rights? Very twisted logic.

Re:Many of her statements are non-sense (1)

radtea (464814) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076882)

She also refers to "governments that have ill intent" or "authoritarian tendencies" as if there were any other kind...

If government did... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32076634)

If government did what it is *supposed* to do, instead of what it does today, that being a whole lot less. Measuring success would be easy because those roles were minimal and VERY clear. The arguments that they need to be allowed to know more is bunk, they need to be forced to do less and therefore need to know less, and therefore charge less, and therefore tax less. But clearly, that doesn't work and thus is never discussed (rolls eyes)... small companies and small government go hand in hard. The reverse is also true.

Because government can put you in jail (1)

zerosomething (1353609) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076666)

I don't want government to have this kind of private info because they can use it against you. Private businesses can't put your in jail because you might be Japanese during a time of war with the Japanese government. A business also can't put you in jail because out of frustration you flame mailed their CEO like you might if you flame the President.

Seems a lot like... (1)

TSRX (1129939) | more than 3 years ago | (#32076828)

A lion telling a gazelle that it doesn't need to worry about running fast.

Clueless (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 3 years ago | (#32077028)

But the same consumer that's okay with private industry doing that [violating privacy] is not okay, in a knee-jerk reaction, with government doing that.

That's because private industry* does not have the power or authority to ship me off to Guantanamo Bay. Government is not inefficient because the public distrusts the government. Government is inefficient because it has no economic incentive to be efficient. If income < expenditures, then the government raises our taxes and the public either pays or goes to jail. Private businesses, on the other hand either find ways to cut costs, increase revenue or go bankrupt.

She touches on the crux of the problem in TFA: "A not-well-intentioned government, or a government with authoritarian tendencies, is going to use these technologies in ways that the citizenry wouldn't approve of." Exactly. Until you can provide a completely foolproof** way where the public can prevent a government with authoritarian tendencies from abusing technology "in ways that the citizenry wouldn't approve of" the public is going to have a fundamental distrust of government. That's a good thing. Quite honestly, I don't want my government to be too efficient. A tyranny is a very efficient form of government, but that doesn't mean I want to live in one.

*Yes, I know that some private businesses have the government in their pockets. This, however, does not negate the fact that private businesses still don't have their own armies of IRS and FBI agents who have the power to arrest you and throw you in jail.

**Yes, I know that nothing is ever completely foolproof. That's why an efficient government that Medina is aiming for is a bad idea.

ugly truth (1)

recharged95 (782975) | more than 3 years ago | (#32077070)

That you trust your company (e.g. Google, Visa, etc...) more with your private information that your gov't (e.g. people you vote for, fed, state, local).

And that it appears consumerism is more important than citizenship.

Crazy times...

Privacy as a commodity (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 3 years ago | (#32077954)

I realize that privacy is dead (Mark Zuckerberg is an asshole). With that said, we can now look at privacy in a different light. What will company x do for me in exchange for sharing information about myself (or in the case of facebook, all my friends etc). Some people choose to plaster all of their information all over the wall and accept random invites etc from friends of friends and some people will share their searches in exchange for cool apps and a browser that works. The end result is that we are trading our information (and by association our privacy) as a commodity for something else of value. It's not right that everyone and their uncle knows my business but once the horse is out of the barn it's hard as hell to get him back in there.

Is she funky? And cold? (1)

gordoste (325826) | more than 3 years ago | (#32078008)

If so, maybe someone should write a song about her...

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