In the Guardian, Dan Gillmor ghost-writes a speech for any presidential candidate who wants to enter the 2016 race on a freedom and transparency ticket. It's a stirring air and is an outstanding piece of design fiction that implies a specification for a new American politics of freedom and transparency set against the corrupt cesspit of total surveillance and lies. In Gillmor's upcoming race, it's Freedom versus the unholy trinity of Orwell, Kafka and Huxley.
Surveillance of everyone, all the time, may – may – lessen the risk of one kind of disaster. But it guarantees another kind. We know from all kinds of research that pervasive surveillance is bad for society. It fuels distrust. It chills free speech, the foundation of liberty. Massive surveillance isn't just un-American as a civic matter. By turning people who would be innovators into timid conformists, it is economically damaging as well.
When people say, "You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide," ask them if it's fine to install cameras in their homes, not just in the living room but the bedroom and bathroom. Ask them if they'd mind wearing a microphone and video camera every day, so others can check on what they've said and done.
You are guilty of something. I guarantee it. Lawmakers have created countless new crimes and punishments, and allowed law enforcement to extend old laws in dangerous ways. Have you ever told anything short of the absolute truth when filling out an online form to use some service? We can charge you with a felony for that. And, by the way, we don't need to convict you at trial. If you are a target, we can ruin you financially if you try to defend yourself. This is what we expect in banana republics and police states, not here. And as the surveillance state expands, it will create more targets among people like you.
America's next president had better believe in restoring liberty
(Image: Inauguration Prep, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from repgeorgemiller's photostream)
NZ Prime Minister John Key is a racist blowhard who has smeared the opposition parties of “backing the rapists” for their support of NZ citizens with minor criminal convictions (not sexual assault, incidentally) being deported from Australia, where they have been imprisoned.
Last May, Jackie Burns, the deputy leader of the Labour Council in South Lanarkshire in Scotland, voted to close all public toilets as part of the Scottish government’s £22 million cost-cutting programme; early last Saturday morning, police issued him a £40 ticket for pissing in public. (via Reddit)
In a decision that environmental activists see as a hard-won victory, President Obama today announced he is rejecting the request from a Canadian company to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The news ends a seven-year review process that was a focal point in the debate over the Obama administration’s climate policies.
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