The unravelling of the right to privacy.

11 08 2008
Flickr

Below are a few links to articles concerning privacy.

The formation of global information networks has forced us to revisit (and hopefully defend) this fundamental right – one first formally recognised in the Magna Carta of the 13th century.  Like the American’s who drafted their constitution, we may have a window of opportunity to get it right for future generations.  Unfortunately, governments and corporations seem frequently to shrug off our privacy concerns.

  • First up is the ongoing campaign from the Australian government to enact ISP level internet censoring.  Plagued by issues of slowed surfing speed, false negatives and false positives for offensive material.
  • Next up, Google finds itself tangled in another privacy debate – this time after “Google streetview” shows pictures of an inebriate on his front lawn.
  • Finally, plans in Australia for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to monitor their users usage for evidence of copyright breaches.  Alarmingly, such a system is already under way in the UK.  It has been pointed out elsewhere that Australia Post doesn’t read an individuals mail – nor should ISPs monitor one’s internet habits.

Not a rosy picture for advocates of civil liberties.

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19 08 2008
Steven Earl Salmony

When I was a boy, we were taught that each generation had responsibilities to assume and duties to perform with regard to the acknowledgement and acceptance of the challenges that are presented to us, so that the next generation can have a chance at a better life. Under no circumstances, would it be correct to pose as willfully blind, hysterically deaf or electively mute in the face of any challenge, as many too many in my not-so-great generation are doing in these days.

What has happened to the misguided leaders of my generation? So many in the elder generation have determined to let the looming challenges in our time fall into the laps of our children. At least to me, today’s leaders show an astonishing unwillingness to examine the prospects of a good life for those who directly follow us, let alone coming generations.

After my single, not-so-great generation finishes the `missions’ (ie, fools’ errands) the leading, self-proclaimed “masters of the universe” among us have set before the human community, what resources will be left for our children to consume; how many more people will have to share what remains of the dissipated and degraded resources; where will they find clean air to breathe, clean water to drink? I shudder when thinking about what our children might say about what we have done so poorly and failed to do so spectacularly, all for sake of selfishly fulfilling our insatiable desires for endless material possessions and freedom without responsibility…..come what may for the children, coming generations, global biodiversity, the environment and Earth’s body.

How could one generation go so wrong? Here are some of the ways.

First, the leaders in my generation of elders wish to live without having to accept limits to growth of seemingly endless economic globalization, of increasing per capita consumption and skyrocketing human population numbers; our desires are evidently insatiable. We choose to believe anything that is politically convenient, economically expedient and socially agreeable; our way of life is not negotiable. We dare anyone to question our values or behaviors.

We religiously promote our widely shared and consensually-validated fantasies of `real’ endless economic growth and soon to be unsustainable overconsumption, overproduction and overpopulation activities, and in so doing deny that Earth has limited resources and frangible ecosystems upon which the survival of life as we know it depends.

Second, my not-so-great generation appears to be doing a disservice to everything and everyone but ourselves. We are the “what’s in it for me?” generation. We demonstrate precious little regard for the maintenance of the integrity of Earth; shallow willingness to actually protect the environment from crippling degradation; lack of serious consideration for the preservation of biodiversity, wilderness, and a good enough future for our children and coming generations; and no appreciation of the vital understanding that humans are no more or less than magnificent living beings with “feet of clay.”

Perhaps we live in unsustainable ways in our planetary home; but we are proud of it nonetheless. Certainly, we will “have our cake and eat it, too.” We will own fleets of cars, fly around in thousands of private jets, live in McMansions, exchange secret handshakes, frequent exclusive clubs and distant hideouts, and risk nothing of value to us. We will live long, large and free. Please do not bother us with the problems of the world. We choose not to hear, see or speak of them. We are the economic powerbrokers, their bought-and-paid-for politicians and the many minions in the mass media. We hold much of the world’s wealth and the extraordinary power great wealth purchases. If left to our own devices, we will continue in the exercise of our `inalienable rights’ to outrageously consume Earth’s limited resources; to recklessly expand economic globalization unto every corner of our natural world and, guess what, beyond; and to carelessly consent to the unbridled global growth of human numbers so that where there are now 6+ billion people, by 2050 we will have 9+ billion members of the human community and, guess what, even more people, perhaps billions more in the distant future, if that is what we desire.

We are the reigning, self-proclaimed masters of the universe. We enjoy freedom and living without limits; of course, we adamantly eschew any talk of the personal responsibilities that come with the exercise of personal freedoms or any discussion of the existence of biophysical limitations of any kind.

We deny the existence of human limits and Earth’s limitations.

Please understand that we do not want anyone presenting us with scientific evidence that we could be living unsustainably in an artificially designed, temporary world of our own making….a manmade world filling up with gigantic enterprises, virtual mountains of material possessions, and boundless amounts of filthy lucre.

Third, most of our top rank experts appear not to have found adequate ways of communicating to the family of humanity what people somehow need to hear, see and understand: the rapacious dissipation of Earth’s limited resources, the relentless degradation of the planet’s environment, and the approaching destruction of the Earth as a fit place for human habitation by the human species, when taken together, appear to be proceeding at breakneck speed toward the precipitation of a catastrophic ecological wreckage of some sort unless, of course, the world’s colossal, ever expanding, artificially designed, manmade global political economy continues to speed headlong toward the monolithic `wall’ called “unsustainability” at which point the runaway economy crashes before Earth’s ecology is collapsed.

Who knows, perhaps we can realistically and hopefully hold onto the expectation that behavioral changes in the direction of sustainable production, per human consumption, and propagation are in the offing…..changes that save both the economy and the Creation.

Steven Earl Salmony
AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population, est. 2001
http://sustainabilitysoutheast.org/index.php

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