Patriot Act Commentary: Your Fingerprints are Everywhere


Pete writes "The Register (UK) has an interesting commentary on the Patriot Act here:

In 1787, Thomas Jefferson, one of the founders of the United States and its third President, wrote to Abigail Adams sentences that may seem incredible to many people today:

    "The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere."

The Naperville Public Library in Naperville, Illinois (the board of which is appointed by the Mayor and approved by the City Council) is now going to ask patrons to submit fingerprints in order to verify the identities of patrons wishing to use the Internet terminals. Currently, parents can ask the library to filter the Internet access of their kids; according to the library, "filtered" kids are swapping library cards with kids whose parents have not asked for filters, so the little shavers are able to use the network without restrictions."


The article shows many, many, many points. The main problem I have is that it is viewing an American matter through a very British lens. Life in America is not nearly as scary as discussed. Besides, has that person been to CDG in Paris? I have! For a middle school principal to run into a case like what is cited is nothing compared to the feeling one has seeming gendarmes walking around with uzis. The TSA guard probably needs to be disciplined quite harshly for shooting their mouth off like that but one single case cited does not mean the whole system needs to be torn up. So the system that the library has for filtering is not perfect. Quel surprise! The only perfect way to filter is to not provide access. Until any library takes that leap we are going to be presented with imperfect systems that are built by imperfect human beings. Mistakes and problems do happen. That is what is called human life!

The author of the piece appears to work for a solidly US corporation, and the piece was originally authored for a site owned by Symantec that appears to serve the US security industry. Looks like The Register just picked it up. I am using appears a lot because I am at home and don't have access to many business databases. But I'm not too sure about the British lens. The author seems to exhorting individuals in the US security industry.

" Life in America is not nearly as scary as discussed"

Not if we don't know about it or choose to ignore it.

I have been basically on emergency standby since last night to deal with the possible death of my grandfather. I missed the detail of the piece being picked up by a UK from a US source. Then again, my brain is kinda fried and my thoughts are really scattered right now since my grandfather's heart stopped during an operation yesterday and was thankfully restarted quickly enough. I apologize for any complications I created in my not so wonderful comment. Speaking of that...I have to get ready to drive my grandmother to the hospital to see my grandfather and check up on him...

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