Posted at 2:30 PM on November 13, 2012
by Jon Gordon
I used to be a tech journalist and, if today's News Cut posts tell me anything, I guess I'm still pretty interested in tech-related stories. All day I've been getting my news just from Twitter links and sharing what I'm reading. The latest:
Petraeus Case Raises Fears About Privacy in Digital Era - New York Times.
The F.B.I. investigation that toppled the director of the C.I.A. and now threatens to tarnish the reputation of the top American commander in Afghanistan underscores a danger that civil libertarians have long warned about: that in policing the Web for crime, espionage and sabotage, government investigators will unavoidably invade the private lives of Americans.
On the Internet, and especially in e-mail, text messages, social network postings and online photos, the work lives and personal lives of Americans are inextricably mixed. Private, sensitive messages are stored for years on computer servers, available to be discovered by investigators who may be looking into completely unrelated matters.
Bob Collins is off this week.
FBI - Inbox 0: The only people in the US with an entirely read Inbox.
raises fears about privacy in the Digital Age
How long are we supposed to have sympathy for people who mistakenly believe that any communication is truly private? Once you tell someone else something, digitally or not, you should be prepared for it to become more widely known. We have had issues with this type of thing since before computers and email were wide spread. (Think Oval Office tapes.) I suspect if we go back to the 19th century there are journals and diaries that would provide a glimpse into the private lives of public people. Things that at the time people would have expected to be private. Is it easier to find the information now? Of course but that is true of most types of information.
As the NYT article suggests, the sprawling nature of this investigation is more significant than the real - or even potential - threat posed by the CIA Director's affair. Equally important is the question of how this investigation got 'airborne' so quickly.
Angry and harassing emails are scarcely unique to anyone of even minor prominence on the Internet. The FBI needs to explain how Ms. Kelley's complaints became such a massive investigation.
NOTE: The link above the article excerpt doesn't go to the NYTimes (directly or through curate.us).