(My Clovis News Journal column for July 4, 2014)
You are being spied on. As you read this, hackers are getting into your computer, your other electronic information, your telephone, and possibly even watching you with cameras (including the webcam on your computer- even if it's turned off). And the worst culprits, capable of doing the most harm, work for governments you may support. It's not just the federal employees, either.
"If you have nothing to hide, why would you care?"
The above is pretty much the standard response when those who love liberty try to warn anyone else of their information being stolen.
As if secrecy were somehow wrong, which it isn't, unless you are using secrecy to escape scrutiny of your violations of others- like the crime of spying on just about everyone in order to gain information to use against them. In such a case the secrecy still isn't wrong, in and of itself; only the violations you are hiding. But this is not even a fraction of the whole picture.
The issue has never really been about secrecy; it's about privacy. If you don't value your privacy why don't you publish your bank account information and all your passwords somewhere, right now, for everyone to see?
Why would you bother putting curtains on your windows at home, and why not do everything you normally do in private right out in the open for all the world to watch?
Oh, now you care?
It's not you who needs to show a reason for your life to remain private; it's that no one else has any right- and certainly no "authority"- to violate your privacy in this way in order to use your information as justification for using coercion against you.
By insisting on your privacy you are simply expressing your right as an individual- and anyone violating your privacy is the one who should be defending his actions- and the bar should be set impossibly high.
If you are paying attention you know Edward Snowden has exposed what the enemies of your privacy and your liberty are doing. Yes, privacy and liberty are inseparably linked. And, it seems, each time the responsible officials deny the new revelations just enough more information is released to expose their latest denial as, shall we say, less than honest. The process keeps repeating. It would be funny if the implications weren't so serious.
Yet, it seems the majority of Americans see no problem with this- as long as they believe it keeps their fearful hides safe.
It doesn't, and never could, but those who are spying on you will never admit this inconvenient fact to you. Their power depends on keeping you in the dark.
And Happy Secession Day!!