One of my favorite bloggers – Digby – hits a home run w/ this analysis of why privacy is so important; why it’s a key member of the set of innovations that made this country what it is.
But there is another aspect of this which is important, as well. Clinton’s privacy Bill of Rights includes a lot of consumer protections, which is something that I think is a truly sellable, populist idea. The intrusion into our private lives by government is a threat to our individual liberty. The intrusion (and collusion) by its ally, corporate America, is truly a threat to the fundamental definition of what it means to be an American. The ability to amass all this data and create profiles of us and put us into categories and label us as being one thing or another according to complex formulas, means that the great innovation of America — the ability to reinvent ourselves and take risks — will no longer be optional. The great nation of immigrants and hucksters and innovators will become a stratified society based on criteria that has nothing to do with our potential and everything to do with our past.
This is important stuff – we seem to edge closer to a technological panopticon every day – if we let them build it, they’ll use it.