Sunday, June 09, 2013

David Simon: Against Outrage About PRISM

The Audacity of Depair

I have to say, this might very well be the most reasonable thing I've read about the PRISM dust-up.

I'm less sanguine about the whole thing that Simon is, but I think he's making a hell of a lot of sense.

In particular: this shouldn't come as that much of a surprise, it's neither illegal nor unregulated, and it is a not-unreasonable respose to the threat of terrorism.

I do think we need to think hard about the risks and benefits of this sort of thing. Given that terrorism simply doesn't seem to be as much of a threat as the U.S. thinks, my sentiments are largely against PRISM. The burden of proof is on those who want to collect such data; absent fairly clear evidence that we will probably pay a fairly high cost without collecting the data, we don't collect it. I'm willing to listen to the case, but it has to be made.

And there is a real sense in which the real problem is the PATRIOT act. It's a little odd that everybody's freaking out now--the time to freak out was when that thing was passed. This really just shows what that bad legislation can do when combined with current technology. This is a consequence of the PATRIOT act...but sometimes we need to have the consequences of a principle made really clear before we can tell whether the principle is acceptable.


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