Security expert Bruce Schneier (author of The Electronic Privacy Papers, Secrets & Lies, and Beyond Fear, among other books) wrote the following in his blog today:
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
For many Americans, the end of the year is charitable contribution time. (The reasons are tax-related.) While there is no shortage of worthy causes around the world, I would like to suggest contributing at least something to EPIC.
Since its founding ten years ago, EPIC has worked to protect privacy, freedom of expression, and democratic values, and to promote the Public Voice in decisions concerning the future of the Internet. They maintain one of the most extensive websites on privacy and free speech issues on the Internet. They litigate Freedom of Information Act, First Amendment, and privacy cases. They publish books on open government and privacy. They train law school students about the Internet and the public interest. They testify frequently before Congress about emerging civil liberties issues. They provide an extensive listing of privacy resources as well as a guide to practical privacy tools.
Remember when it became public that JetBlue (and other airlines) provided passenger information to the U.S. government in violation of their own privacy policies? Or when it was revealed that the CAPPS-II airline passenger profiling system would be used for other, non-terrorism, purposes? EPIC's FOIA work uncovered those stories.
December 15th is the 213th anniversary of the signing of the Bill of Rights. Read through it again today, and notice how the different laws protect the security of Americans. I'm proud to be a member of EPIC's Advisory Board. They do good work, and we're all a lot more secure because of it.
Although Schneier’s announcement may seem self-serving due to his association with EPIC, his analysis is as correct as his suggestion to re-read the Bill of Right is appropriate. In addition to EPIC, the Electronic Frontier Foundation also does valuable privacy-related work.
As the saying goes, “If you’re not scared, you’re not paying attention.”
Thanks for reading.
Quote of the Day:
To the question, whom does a bill of rights protect in a popular government? Agrippa [James Winthrop, 5 February 1788] answered: “such a government is indeed a government by ourselves; but as a just government protects all alike, it is necessary that the sober and industrious part of the community should be defended from the rapacity and violence of the vicious and idle. A bill of rights therefore ought to set forth the purposes for which the compact is made, and serves to secure the minority against the usurpation and tyranny of the majority.”
Herbert Storing, What the Anti-Federalists Were For: The Political Thought of the Opponents of the Constitution