Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

This blog will be written from an orthodox Christian point of view. There may be some topic that is out of bounds, but at present I don't know what it will be. Politics is a part of life. Theology and philosophy are disciplines that we all participate in even if we don't think so. The Bible has a lot to say about economics. How about self defense? Is war ethical? Think of all the things that someone tells you we should not touch and let's give it a try. Everything that is a part of life should be an expression of worship.

Keep it courteous and be kind to those less blessed than you, but by all means don't worry about agreeing. We learn more when we get backed into a corner.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Opus 2012-171, DEFCON: Privacy Issues

One of the issues that comes up frequently at DEFCON is the right to privacy and the security of your personal information.  The Keynote speaker this year was General Keith Alexander from the NSA.  I attended a panel of people who had worked for various government agencies.  I sat through a discussion of the NSA and the Constitution.  Encryption, firewalls and fourth amendment rights were frequent concerns. 

It is kind of schizophrenic.  And typical of humanity.  The hackers live to penetrate the security of others and find their weak spots.  They resent the government telling them they are doing things that are illegal.  They have a right!  But at the same time they don’t think the government has the right to do the same thing to them. 

They probably are correct about the government on this issue.  The Constitution was written to limit the power of the federal government.  It was a list of rights for the citizens and the states, not a list of rights for the government.  So, yes, in this oven what is good for the goose is not good for the gander.

Why is privacy and secrecy so important?  A good question.  If you have not done anything illegal, what is the big deal, right?  Wrong.  Discussion and debate requires the ability to say what comes off the top of your head with the understanding that it is off the top of your head and may not be your final position.  You need the freedom to say stupid things because they need to be aired and knocked down.  If you are afraid you will be quoted for every mistake you make, you will not speak openly and the results will be much weaker than the result of free interchange.

How many politicians have been tripped up for what they said years ago as they were developing their positions?  Have they changed?  Sometimes, yes; sometimes, no.  There are reasons to bar the press with their total recording capabilities from some committee meetings.  It stifles discussion.

An important example of this is the Constitutional Convention that hammered out the framework of our government.  One of the first things that they did was invoke a gag rule.  They all pledged to reveal nothing about the discussions taking place.  They put armed guards at the doors.  They closed the windows.  This was in the summer before A/C.  This would be labeled a conspiracy today, and it was.  They had been sent with specific orders not to write a new constitution.  They did it anyway.  They needed the freedom to express themselves without being crucified. 

So privacy matters.  We need to be free to say stupid things because it makes for a richer discussion and allows us to work toward what is really important.  We need to write and publish what we want without fear of some security type trying to lock us up.  It is not conspiracy.  Keep in mind that the government is no better or no worse than each of us as individuals.  It just has more power and wealth so it needs to be limited.

Keep it in mind.  November is coming.

homo unius libri


Comments are welcome. Feel free to agree or disagree but keep it clean, courteous and short. I heard some shorthand on a podcast: TLDR, Too long, didn't read.