Archive for the ‘Privacy and consequence’ Category

This whole debacle about the “false(?)” arrest of the part time Elvis imitator, Paul Kevin Curtis, leaves a bad taste in my mouth (mind). In an article from Los Angeles Times and Associated Press and printed in today’s Seattle Times, it appears the only evidence the authorities had against this suspect was some letters (contents not divulged) and social media postings. Entering “Paul Curtis” and “Paul Kevin Curtis” both in the search window of facebook, and google turns up many hits. All of these sources taken together give us a good picture of the whole mess.

What bothers me the most is the way authorities use even the most innocuous leads to try to build a case for reasonable suspicion… or whatever criteria they use to arrest somebody. This leads to a precautionary admonition. Be careful what you post! If that sounds paranoid… welll… as the pundit once said, “Even the paranoid have enemies”.

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Ok. I am a liberal; but I think I might go against my liberal tendencies to proclaim a certain lack of sympathy for those who demand privacy, if that privacy provides a screen to do evil. It is a matter of pragmatism over idealism.
An example of idealism to the extreme is detailed in the article on page 2A of The Kitsap Sun entitled “Bainbridge officer resigns ahead of being fired.” According to the article the officer secretly recorded the dialog in a meeting so she could “accurately type notes after the meeting.” I have to ask, “What’s the problem?” The state law governing recording a conversation without the speakers’ knowledge is a crime. If the intent of the recording is to entrap the unsuspecting I can see some need. But, if entrapment is not the goal then just what are we perpetuating by the necessary saving a record of the conversation? To me the rigid enforcement of this law can result in the speakers’ having carte blanche to lie with impunity. Could misspoken statements be recorded? Of course they can. But it might be incumbent on participants in important meetings to weigh carefully what they say and check their propensity to mislead as they speak.
“Ignorance of the law is no excuse”, it is said; but at what point do we get so focused on the letter of the law that we lose sight of the spirit? The outcome of this misstep would, it seems to me, bring a punishment way out of line in enforcing “law and order”. I would say that the officer’s attempt to ameliorate the bad effects of her action should completely absolve her of crime. The threat to fire her is pandering to legal absolutism. It also shows a definite lack of good sense to discriminate between really bad conduct by a police officer and that which has no evil intent and would be completely erased by subsequent actions.
“Brain-dead Island” is an often spoken phrase to demean those who inhabit this enclave of elitism. This is an example of brain-dead actions.

 

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Mr. Sullivan makes a point that “…it is also impossible to deny that Americans are now being watched more than at any time in history. 

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Without an instant message evidence trail, would anyone believe a congressional page accusing Rep. Foley of making online advances? And perhaps cameras really do cut down on crime.”

In an essay, “Dennis Hastert Did Not Screw Up”, I made the point that “The e-mails that were reportedly sent to House Speaker, Dennis Hastert, did not portend any romantic or sexual overtures by the Representative Foley.” It is exactly because people are willing to believe the worst motives for innocent actions that our privacy is sacred. People actually believe that Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert should have picked up on salacious motives from the initial e-mail messages. Even the frank and candid instant messages that supposedly reveal a sexual interest could have been exchanged by people who had no sexual interest in each other at all. Certainly, I can remember conversations in the Navy between myself and other shipmates that were worse (in a sexual manner) than what I read in the notorious instant messages from Representative Foley; and there definitely were not any sexual interests behind these conversations – at least sexual interests in the person I was talking to.

Privacy Lost: Does anybody care? – Privacy Lost – MSNBC.com
Foley