Breaking Our Own Rules

by Byron on August 15, 2013

Dear Decker,

I saw a story today that upset me a little bit: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/08/lavabit-founder-under-gag-order-speaks-out-about-shut-down-decision/.  It’s about a guy who got a National Security Letter.  As a result of getting the letter, he shut down his email service, instead of complying with it.  In essence, he probably could not comply.  He probably did not have access to the private data of private citizens that the US Government was looking for.  The whole point of the service was to encrypt the emails, making them so secure they couldn’t even be accessed by the service itself.

I could be wrong, maybe he could access it and chose not to, thereby leaving him no choice but to shut down instead of violating his fellow citizens rights.  US citizens have the rights afforded to us in the Constitution.  Once of those is the 4th Amendment.  Probable cause.  Provision against unreasonable search and seizure.  Reasonable expectation of privacy.  These are important statements.  You Grandfather, my Dad, is an expert on the 4th Amendment, and has just finished his book on Maryland Criminal Procedure.

The bottom line: big brother is going too far with its surveillance state.  This is not acceptable.  If the trend continues, we will have a problem.  The simple fact is this is how societies decline.

Why do I tell you things like this?

Because it’s vital you question things.  It’s also vital you understand change and vital you do not act like an ostrich, sticking your head in the sand.  Question the stability of systems.  Ask yourself, if this happens, what do I think will happen?  If that happens, what’s next?

Question.

Love,

Dad

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