Saturday, May 13, 2006

less secrecy, more secrecy

The trends appear to be contrary -- less secrecy in this context, but more secrecy here. But they aren't contrary. Less secrecy (or privacy) is what you and I and the pimply faced kid down the street who won't stop riding his boogie board in front of your house can expect. Yes, the NSA's data mining (without warrants, with the craven cooperation of most phone companies, despite a lack of a legal basis for this) of essentially ALL phone records is stripped of personal information. But it doesn't take much to attach a name to a phone number, now does it? Your personal secrecy/privacy diminishes further.

But when somebody is trying to get satisfaction for misdoings of the Federal government, then MORE secrecy is better. This German guy who was kidnapped in Serbia and hauled off to a CIA prison in Afghanistan under suspicion of being involved in terrorism (he isn't) wants redress. But the de facto Bush Administration's Justice Department is asking that the case be dismissed so that state secrets aren't revealed in the legal process -- a tactic the Bushistas are resorting to more and more often. Where does that end? Who decides what a "state secret" is? I dunno, but this is an area where more secrecy is corrosive to the operations of a free, democratic society.