"It's time to draw a line in the sand for what's off-limits in the digital age."
In light of the latest (and ongoing) NSA spying leaks, an early reader of my forthcoming book, Without Their Permission, pointed out an eerily prophetic passage I'd written. It's from the final chapter of WTP, a rallying cry for the open Internet and (among other things) digital privacy rights -- my editor suggested I write a portion as a fictional dystopian graduation speech from the year 2025. And let me be clear, the following is fiction::
Just this morning I found a polite note in my Dropbox from the federal agent who investigated a “suspicious” photo I’d privately stored there from a family vacation. I’d done nothing wrong, of course, but he was just letting me know they had run a quick search. At least he left a note, right? Believe it or not, there was a time when we truly believed our digital storage was as private as our physical storage. Want to enter my home? Sure, get a warrant—same goes for my Dropbox. Those were the days….
These days, of course, the government doesn’t need any due process to read our e-mail or search any of those formerly private messaging services, because they decided that the Fourth Amendment applies only to physical mail.
This is an unacceptable future (and present) for a country with inalienable rights to privacy as secured by our Constitution. I was on CNN and Bloomberg talking about these violations butif SOPA/PIPA was any indication, we need everyone talking about these issues, often.
America deserves better. Fortunately, she's designed so that we the people can do something about it. Let's get out there and do it.