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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A truly terrifying airport experience

So while we're worried about the threat posed by Homer Simpson's long-lost daughter, The Washington Post reports:
The U.S. government is collecting electronic records on the travel habits of millions of Americans who fly, drive or take cruises abroad, retaining data on the persons with whom they travel or plan to stay, the personal items they carry during their journeys, and even the books that travelers have carried, according to documents obtained by a group of civil liberties advocates and statements by government officials.
Sorry, but I have a much bigger problem with the federal government keeping files on my travel reading (it runs to Dennis Lehane and Carl Hiassen if you must know) than I do with a space cadet MIT student wandering into Logan with a circuit board and some Play Doh.

As previously noted, I have no sympathy for Simpson, now being portrayed in the blogosphere as a left-wing loony or representative of Boston stupidity. As if there aren't enough right wingnuts or Columbus, Ohio student losers.

Her bone-headed stunt also prompted the Herald to raise the public panic level to flaming red with the suggestion that there isn't ENOUGH security at airports (and every public space in a free society). Personally, I don't want those black jump-suited, machine gun-toting cops on the Green Line (there's not enough room already and my name is not John McCain).

But the extent of DHS record-keeping on our habits strongly suggest we are rapidly losing our freedoms in the name of freedom.
"The federal government is trying to build a surveillance society," said John Gilmore, a civil liberties activist in San Francisco whose records were requested by the Identity Project, an ad-hoc group of privacy advocates in California and Alaska. The government, he said, "may be doing it with the best or worst of intentions. . . . But the job of building a surveillance database and populating it with information about us is happening largely without our awareness and without our consent."
Maybe George Orwell's only mistake was not naming his book 2007?

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