Here in os EUA, thankfully, there are groups concerned with privacy. Why should you care about privacy? Aside from the ordinary things we like to do behind closed doors there are other things we might like to keep private because who needs to know If I prefer
But someone is! If you’re traveling from Europe to the US your national identity card information, picture, and other personal details will be on file for 15 years by the US Department of Homeland Security.
But wait, this is only one database! There are a lot of databases, some (like Facebook) know who your friends are, what kind of books you read, what kind of music you like, and what kind of sex floats your boat. On the other hand if you’re not on Facebook, you’re likely to be labeled an asocial recluse.
There are the databases run by the government, which monitor international telephone and satellite communications, worldwide banking transactions, not to mention any visits you might make to online dating services. Video cameras record public activity (I’m thinking of last Thursday when I had to relieve myself in the bushes while watching the sunset at the beach).
The universe of online eavesdropping is enough to leave us breathless and possibly enough to put any of us in jail should we become a “person of interest” for any reason. We accept most of this intrusion into our personal space because we want protection for our persons in a world where we are threatened by malefactors of many stripes who would do us damage for ideological or venal reasons.
The world has been a dangerous place since the first caveman asked the second caveman for the meat he was carrying. Now we have protection but who protects us from those who control the databases? And what if a new government moves in a direction alien to the form of government we consented to in our original social contract. I’m just sayin…
EU-US Reach New Passenger Name Records Agreement
The EU and the US reached an agreement over the sharing of passenger name records. The new agreement reduces the 34 pieces of data on passengers now collected by US law enforcement authorities to 19 data fields, including name, contact data, payment details, and itinerary information. The agreement also extends access to PNR information to EU citizens consistent with the provisions in the US Privacy Act and the Freedom of Information Act. The agreement does not, however, go so far as to extend the full protections of the Privacy Act. In a letter attached to the agreement, the US states that the Department of Homeland Security “had made a policy decision to extend administrative Privacy Act protections to PNR data” of non-US citizens and that all individuals have access to the DHS’ redress system developed for travelers. Finally, the US letter states that PNR data will be retained for a minimum of 15 years. (Jun. 28, 2007). http://epic.org/privacy/
Other counterbalances to abuse of power:
Anyone know of some other international groups that focus on protecting the rights of the common (wo)man from abuse by governments and metagovernments (international corporate entities)?