WHERE IS PRESIDENT OBAMA GOING ON PRIVACY?
Slate had a troubling article by Dahlia Lithwick on March 6 that positions the President as a keeper of Bush secrets. That in itself is alarming, but the piece goes on to say “…the administration clings to its bizarre decision to hold fast to the Bush administration's all-encompassing view of the ‘state secrets’ privilege, and the Nixonian view of executive power deployed to justify it.” Don’t know if this is a spin by Lithwick on what Obama actually plans to do, but, nevertheless, it is disquieting. Liberal Air America Network found 90 percent of 9,000 respondents want to see Bush and Cheney pay for their crimes in this area.
With the possibility that the new administration might find it necessary to protect its own secrets, the Slate article leads us to believe Obama might have this ridiculous idea that Americans still need to be protected from the truth. I hope not, or the President is in for some heavy criticism, and a number of verbal assaults from the privacy community. We’ve had enough of this in the past eight years, and it is time to trust the public to understand when you are leveling with them.
My major concern is that with GWB’s illegal acts of spying on innocent U.S. citizens taking up so much media time, the very core of the privacy movement, the current identity crisis, has repeatedly been shoved on the back burner by Congress, the White House and the American people.
I did a post on February 23 featuring the Javelin Strategy and Research 2009 Identity Fraud Survey Report. It’s shocking that ID theft has now taken a turn up in 2008, after dropping in 2007. The increase was 22 percent to 9.9 million identity theft victims, but the most startling news was that traditional access to private data continues to be commonplace. This is solid confirmation that the identity crisis is still dealt with as the stepchild of privacy.
During the 2008 elections I did a series of posts on Obama, the first of which asked, “Is Barack Obama the Presidential Candidate Most Likely to Protect Your Privacy?” It was a question addressed by the Ponemon Institute research firm where 40 percent of you said that protection of your privacy rights was either important or very important in deciding your choice for president. The sitting president was favored over Hillary Clinton almost 2 to 1 and swamped the Republicans .
The second was in June of 2008, and was an analysis of candidate Obama’s positions on privacy. He seemed more concerned with the Internet than the privacy crisis in general, offering no specifics on the latter. Although as a senator, Obama introduced no privacy legislation, in his presidential bid he did attack the Patriot Act, and commented that a person’s privacy must be balanced with the protection of the nation’s security. This I agree with, and it is an important component that is built into my concept giving consumers control over their names and personal data.
The third on January 23, 2009, was just after the President was sworn in and was headlined, “Will President Obama Take Action on the Identity Crisis and When?” Well, considering the banks, insurance companies and auto makers that have hit the fan both before and after Obama’s swearing in, it is easy to realize where his priorities are. But the new President has directed some attention to the environment, healthcare and education as well as the tanking economy, so I would expect the identity crisis to fit into his future list of concerns.
What do you think?