Secrets & Hypocrisy: Never kiss and tell

The hypocrisy of the Executive Branch and their legislative cohorts is stunning. They want secrecy and privacy for their actions, but are unwilling to grant privacy to others. They seem to want citizens to have the perception of privacy, without the reality of privacy. They seem to want corporations to collect extra customer cash from the value added by customer-perceived privacy, but they want corporations to give them free customer data. They seem to want the private sector to be somewhat more transparent, more like the public sector, but with funding by the so-called choice of consumers instead of by the mandate of taxpayer funding; while simultaneously seeming to want government to be less transparent, more like the private sector, more secretive, and to maintain the mandate of taxes to pay for it.

A curious pattern of common hypocrisy emerges: Beside the collection of money, corporations and government both seem to want loyalty from the worker, customer, taxpayer, and citizen; but both seem unwilling to be likewise loyal to the citizen.

With respect to AT&T’s alleged warrantless wiretapping, why don’t telephone companies offer free party line service to all citizens? If the government wishes to compile records, or listen in—for the security of the common good—then providing free public telephone service to citizens is the obvious solution. The definition of any party or shared service line implies there is no or little privacy therein, and historically, party lines were common in telephone service, in fact they still are said to exist in some locales. The perceived problem of outright lying about customer privacy would be solved, and the appearance of purposeful deception by powerful entities engaged in circuitous and convoluted ‘fine print’ rationales would also be solved so long as service providers and government did not seek to create the perception of privacy and/or information security where it didn’t exist for the consumer. There would appear to be issues with identification of the precise citizens conversing on a party line, so the question arises, is the purpose of the perception of privacy simply an incentive for citizens to pay the infrastructure costs that ultimately results in the elimination of their own privacy?

Capitalism tells us why we don’t have free telephone service, yet it doesn’t explain why our calls, or calling records, or whatever information is being shared with the government is not solely between the ‘private’ buyer and ‘private’ seller. One of the benefits of ownership is access to information about your customers, while one of the implied responsibilities of private ownership is to keep information about your customers private. Remember the phrase, “Never kiss and tell”?

If the government wishes to have access to all numbers in the United States, then why don’t they simply nationalize the telephone companies and be done with the matter? Perhaps the answer to this question is found in all the secrecy, hypocrisy, and money surrounding the scandal.

The lawmakers who are caught up in their arguments that, as detailed in Lawmakers: NSA database incomplete, all calls should be in the database for the most efficient national security purposes, appear to be calling for something other than capitalism, but are these same lawmakers calling for something other than the dregs of capitalism for the average citizen?

I wonder if those lawmakers in support of the government collection of law-abiding citizens’ records are so deep in cognitive denial that they don’t realize where the logic endpoint of their own arguments point, or if they do realize it and just refuse tell us the truth.

One thought on “Secrets & Hypocrisy: Never kiss and tell

  1. The following article, The Politics of Paranoia and Intimidation by Floyd Rudmin, explains the use of Bayes’ Theorem to prove that the NSA’s collection of data from telecommuniction providers cannot efficiently find terrorists if there are only a few of them, and only if there are millions of them does the probability of correct identification become near certain.

    Rudmin suggests that the government’s mass surveillance’s real purpose is likely something other than what is claimed.

    Bloomberg recently published, Spy Agency Sought U.S. Call Records Before 9/11, Lawyers Say, which most obviously contradicts official statements claiming that the telephone surveillance began as a result of 9/11.

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