A top intelligence official says it is time people in the United States changed their definition of privacy.
Privacy no longer can mean anonymity, says Donald Kerr, principal deputy director of national intelligence. Instead, citizens must downsize their civil liberties to recognize that the government will intrude into previously protected areas. On one hand, Kerr can be credited with a degree of honesty — albeit unsettling. Kerr was testifying after Democrats spared President Bush from a showdown over the unlawful domestic surveillance program. Now they are thinking of granting immunity to companies who assisted in the violations. The Bush Administration appears to be assuring them not to fear: privacy is soooo twentieth century. The new watchword is “total transparency”: the ability of the government to follow its citizens in virtual real time without probable cause.
The fact is that the Bush Administration has been waging a war on privacy in secrecy. Anonymity is a fascinating issue for Kerr to isolate since the Supreme Court recently reaffirmed the right to anonymity. For a former column on the issue, click here
For a prior academic work on this right, click here