Blog Post

Don't Read Wikileaks! The Government Confronts the End of Privacy

"This is not a 'phone,'" Dr. Englander told the parents who looked, collectively, shellshocked. What you’ve given your child “is a mobile computer.”

This quote comes from "As Bullies Go Digital, Parents Play Catchup," the latest cage-rattling piece in the Times' ongoing coverage of technology's disruptive influence on the family. It's easy enough to interpret parental cluelessness of this kind as just the next iteration of the generation gap--kids today, with their new fangled devices, up to such shenanigans. This response, however, is just another example of how much effort is required to deny that we're in the midst of a paradigm shift in human communication.

It's not just parents and their kids who are out of the loop. Our government is utterly confounded by this paradigm shift as well: "Don't Look, Don't Read, Government Warns Its Workers Away from Wikileaks Documents" reports that a spokesperson for the Department of Defense announced that, "Viewing or downloading still classified documents from unclassified government computers creates a security violation." In other words, the government is requiring self-inflicted ignorance. The rules have changed; the Web enables instant global distribution of information, declassified or not; but the Obama administration is insisting that all federal employees refrain from accessing information that is available to virtually everyone else in a position of power on the planet.

"This is not a 'book,'"  Dr. Newfangled Gadget told the government agents who looked on, collectively shellshocked. What your citizens now have access to is a "portable, constantly updated Alexandria library and a mobile multimedia printing press all wrapped up together."

Blog entry continued, with images, here:


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