1984 Plus Twenty

Twenty years after George Orwell’s prophetic 1984, we’re seeing assaults on privacy approaching, or even exceeding, those in his work of fiction. I’m sure this isn’t news to anybody with an IQ greater than Dubya’s, but a couple of recent news items brought it to the front of my mind. In an incident described as the first of its kind in decades, the federal government has ordered Drake University in Iowa to turn over records about a group of anti-war activists. And, in a scary example of just how much information is accessible even without a court order, Wired News reports on the Swipe exhibit at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, which showed patrons how much personal data could be legally swiped by any merchant who “swiped” their drivers’ license through a reader. This is one reason I’m supporting a presidential candidate who voted against the Patriot Act, has introduced legislation in Congress to repeal it, and has pledged that one of his first moves as president will be to repeal it.

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