The Future of Intellectual Profiling and Privacy

Cory Doctorow’s post over at Boing Boing on the Obama administration’s recent filing of a brief defending the Bush Administration’s practice of surveillance and unauthorized wiretapping raises an important sticking point for liberals who supported Obama. Will there come a point where their ethics and values will need to be set aside to give the new President elbow room to succeed with the larger agenda: economy, bail-out, education, environment, job creation? Many privacy advocates believed the Obama Administration would simply let the Patriot Act fade into the sunset rather than be re-authorized. It was supposed to be a slam dunk. Well, here’s your wake-up call.

The rising culture of surveillance and the erosion of privacy are creating a form of intellectual profiling that targets people for the information they consume. This has serious First Amendment implications for a knowledge society. The problem is that these issues are a little esoteric for most people to grasp. So my prediction is that unless the influential technorati, led by someone as eloquent on the issues as Cory Doctorow, get vocal about privacy and surveillance, Big Brother will get bigger, not smaller in the current administration.