Big Brother: who’s watching you?


Big picture thoughts about surveillance options and intelligence processes considering legal and personal ramifications.

This panel is still making my head spin: I left the room and immediately declared to my fellow surrogate that I wanted to read the full terms of the Patriot Act. (not my typical reading material)

The format was simple.  Show clips from “Minority Report”, “The Departed” even “The Simpsons Movie”: these movies in some form or fashion brought about questions of surveillance and intelligence.  Then came the big questions. Is this actually possible technology wise?  Would we do this?  If we did collect certain information, where does the information go? If it’s possible, is it legal? If it’s legal now, is it a violation of our civil liberties?

The panelists were an amazing group to have in one room: ACLU, the government, EFF – all people on the front lines dealing with these issues and fighting them every day.

Can the government tap into my cell phone? Technically yes. Would they? Not without a warrant or probable cause. Can they tap into a whole city?

Should we be able to use people’s brain waves, DNA, retinal scans, personal thoughts and send specific marketing messages (a la Minority Report)?

Who owns your DNA? Is that something that should be collected?  Who has access to that information?  Drug companies? Can I be denied insurance for a potential DNA problem because somewhere, somehow my DNA is published material?

Can I/should I be denied a job because of a particular DNA pitfall?

These fights will not be solved today or through discussions.  These will be fought over through long legal battles.  Legal battles that these panelists will be directly involved with.

I would tell you more about it…but I’m afraid they’re watching me.

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