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Wednesday, March 21, 2007


If you are an “apathetic” by my terminology, you think identity theft couldn’t possibly happen to you; only someone else has that kind of luck. Matt Helton, in his excellent paper on public apathy, says two principle reasons account for why you are absent from this debate: 1) You don’t know enough about the issue to be concerned. 2) You are not worried because you have been confused about the issue by business and government telling you there is nothing to worry about. Helton makes his point by pointing out the “political and economic arsenals” available that have the resources to create and maintain your confusion. After the last two years, most of us are sufficiently tuned in that we understand we were spied on by the National Security Agency, and companies like ChoicePoint are more concerned with greed than the security of our sensitive data. Helton quotes a phrase, incorrectly attributed to Ben Franklin: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” According to Michael Gaynor in an article on the Renew America site, the phrase was first used in a letter from the Pennsylvania Assembly in November of 1755 to the Governor of Pennsylvania.

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