For me, personally speaking, the government is just making my life harder because I was pondering over whether I should do my Master's thesis on dissent, or worse, suicide terrorism in Islam and how it is changing the nature of interstate relations.
So much for that idea!
It just gives credence to my theory that we no longer vote only by choosing representatives and then electing them; we vote even more powerfully with our money. Our spending habits, the products we patronize, the companies we promote are what we should be more careful about. In this day and age, we speak volumes by what we spend money on.
Having said that, to tie it in with this debate on online privacy, my question then becomes, why dont we hold these corporations accountable like we would elected officials? We purchase their products, so we have a say in how they should better serve us. They spend millions of dollars on doing just that, only now, they need to hear it firsthand, loud and clear.
Some interesting bits and pieces from the full CNET article linked above:
In a radical departure from earlier statements, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has said that requiring Internet service providers to save records of their customers' online activities is necessary in the fight against terrorism, CNET News.com has learned.
Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller privately met with representatives of AOL, Comcast, Google, Microsoft and Verizon last week and said that Internet providers--and perhaps search engines--must retain data for two years to aid in anti-terrorism prosecutions, according to multiple sources familiar with the discussion who spoke on condition of anonymity on Tuesday.
Especially after recent reports that AT&T has opened its databases to the National Security Agency, Internet and telecommunications executives have become skittish about appearing to be cooperating too closely with the federal government's surveillance efforts.
In addition, the positive publicity that Google received during its legal dispute with the Justice Department over search terms has demonstrated to Internet companies the benefits of objecting to government requests on privacy grounds.
"A monumental data trove is a crazy thing from a privacy perspective," said one person familiar with Friday's discussions. "It's crazy that the U.S. government is going to retain more data than the Chinese government does."
Details of the Justice Department's proposal remain murky. One possibility is requiring Internet providers to record the Internet addresses that their customers are temporarily assigned. A more extensive mandate would require them to keep track of the identities of Americans' e-mail and instant messaging correspondents and save the logs of Internet phone calls.
A Justice Department representative said Tuesday that the proposal would not require Internet providers to retain records of the actual contents of conversations and other Internet traffic.