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Is Tech a Dead Issue for Next Prez?
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Mon, 29 Sep 2008 17:33:18 -0400



Begin forwarded message:

From: Brock N Meeks <bmeeks () cox net>
Date: September 29, 2008 4:53:19 PM EDT
To: dave () farber net
Subject: Is Tech a Dead Issue for Next Prez?


The day, no the moment, no... the instant that the next President is recognized as the "winner" he is sure to feel like he's being hit with a fire hose of MOST URGENT issues. War, financial crisis and the fate of a nation hanging in the balance; hell, that sounds like the outline of a paperback spy novel... but in fact it is (what will likely be left of) post-election Blue and Red states.

While fear, uncertainty and doubt are the headline grabbers, a host of other issues wait like lions in the tall grass ready to ambush policy makers of all stripe. Not the least of these are the challenges and assaults on technology and civil liberties.

That's why it's critical to understand that one of the biggest mistakes a new administration might make in its first 100 days would be to blow off the impact technology has had on the privacy of our communications and the striking need to update the law accordingly. If the President fails to act early in his first term he will miss a window of opportunity that won't soon reopen.

Hi-Tech Discrimination
===============
The revolutionary growth of digital storage capacity and online communications services means that more and more of our lives are spent online. We send email through web-based services and have growing opportunities to store our calendars, address books and the like with online service providers. Increasingly, sensitive information that used to reside on in our desks, on our desktops or stored on our home computers is shared with or stored by third parties who then convey it to others.

And when it does reside with third parties, our information loses much of the Fourth Amendment protection that it enjoyed when it was stored in your home digitally or on paper. For example, the government can easily require your web-based service provider to turn over an email message that you’ve saved for more than six months on your Gmail or Hotmail account—any web-based email account for that matter. The government does not have to prove to a judge that it has strong evidence – probable cause – that the message is relevant to criminal activity. To get that very same message saved on your desktop computer, the government would have to make that probable cause showing.

In other words, current law discriminates against web-based applications in terms of the privacy they afford. This discrimination could put Internet technologies at a competitive disadvantage as consumers grow concerned about how private their information really is. This is bad for business, bad for consumers, and bad for privacy, and therefore important for the next President to address early on.

[snip]

More on the technology and security issues the next administration should focus on here: http://poprl.com/1Wb



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