Tag Archives: security

Perpetual fear: a brief moment with Fatherland Security

Not everything in life is a huge deal, but sometimes the small things provide a lot of insight into the big things.

I’m sitting in the Cleveland airport right now, waiting for my flight back to Denver to board. A few minutes ago I saw one of those things that make you go “hmmm.”

Imagine that you’re in the security line, and you realize – ohmygod, I have 3.2 ounces of shampoo in my shaving kit instead of the legally allowable three ounces. You’re way to far through the line to make a break for it, but you’d hate to go to Gitmo just because you wanted fuller, shinier hair. As panic begins to set in you notice something. Beside the line is a trash can with a small hole in the top and a makeshift sign reading:

AMNESTY BIN

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That Which Makes Us Safe Makes Us Free: Tech and Privacy

The following is reconstructed out of a running e-mail discussion I had with Greg Stene (my old roommate) the other day.

Smith: I’ve been thinking about the question of freedom versus security a bit lately. 9.11 is obviously the impetus for a lot of what drives my pondering, but the fact is that 9.11 really has only coalesced and sped-up the dynamics that were already in place.

In short, are personal freedom and security mutually exclusive? In the last year we’ve heard it suggested time and again that Americans might have to give up some of the freedoms they have come to take for granted (at this point we have to ask people to think about the differences between actual freedoms and mere conveniences), and at a glance it does seem that privacy/freedom and personal/national security are on opposite ends of a continuum. Read more