By: Harry Waisbren
Today, Chip Pitts, a human rights lawyer and President of BORDC, is presenting on technology’s threat to privacy at UT Dallas as part of National Library Week. This kind of expert commentary is absolutely vital to educating the citizens of our country, and the promotional material alone is valuable as Pitts clearly explains just how much is at stake:
We are getting to the point in history, with powerful, miniaturized surveillance cameras and other storage devices and databases, where our lives are continuously surveilled in secret and the data is copied, stored, shared and used with few constraints. The resulting power and control raises unprecedented risks of true totalitarianism even beyond anything in Orwell’s 1984.
It is quite daunting to even contemplate how much “surveillance, social networking and targeted behavioral marketing all put privacy under attack as never before.” However, it is quite comforting for me on a personal level when I receive confirmation that people like Pitts understand that this issue, more than any other perhaps, is as transpartisan as one could possibly be:
The truth is that privacy and other fundamental human rights transcend ‘conservative’ or ‘progressive’ ideologies and are the mark of open, prosperous, safe, secure, and successful societies. This presentation will be nonpartisan and should appeal to attendees ranging from Tea Party supporters to progressives, as well as readers, librarians, business people and the general public.
The notion of appealing to Tea Party supporters may be particularly controversial to progressives and Obama-supporters in general, yet when it comes to civil liberties it is an integral one to be addressed. The Tea Party is not a monolith of an organization, and despite the myriad of reasons to be cautious about engagement, the Libertarian Ron Paulian contingent especially holds promise to be good faith partners in preventing unwarranted government intrusion into the private lives of American citizens.
I will be writing more about the Tea Party with a focus on these Ron Paul supporters soon enough (did you know they held the first tea party in 2007 after literally dumping tea into the Boston Harbor?). For now, though, I want to encourage everyone to show support to people like Pitts that bring this Patriotic message to as broad an audience as possible.
If Orwell’s 1984 is upon us, surely the entire country should be warned at least, and it is absolutely essential for us to bring as many good faith partners into the fold to fight back as we possibly can…
UPDATE: video of Pitt’s lecture, Privacy and Technology: Protecting Autonomy in a Transparent World, available here.