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Sacrificing privacy is nothing new

A reader writes that when the stakes are so high, Americans must sacrifice some of their perceived notions of privacy.


Sacrificing privacy is nothing new

In response to the Sept. 24 column by Mike Yamamoto, "Irrelevancy of the online privacy debate":

I strongly agree that Americans must sacrifice some of their perceived notions of privacy in exchange for greater security, especially since the stakes are so high: It is conceivable that terrorists will bring the Hantavirus, Ebola, smallpox, anthrax or other weapons of mass destruction like suitcase nukes in the future. While these threats might be remote (I am not savvy enough to know how realistic of a threat they are), the results would be so catastrophic that severe preventive measures are called for.

Furthermore, I also strongly believe that people have misinterpreted the Big Brother threat. Big Brother is only a problem when you live under an oppressive government. American citizens will continue to have lawyers, laws, the courts, legislature, free speech, free press, elections, congressional oversight committees, and so on, to safeguard the rights of Americans. As the government will be the ones carrying out the monitoring, this information will not be sold to corporate interests, either.

Sacrificing privacy for safety also has precedent in our society. Virtually all Americans already voluntarily hand over an abundance of private medical information to their primary doctors and medical institutions so that they can be treated for their ailments.

I will be greatly saddened if more people die because of the misguided fears and paranoia of a portion of the American citizenry.

Ted Halmrast
Eden Prairie, Minn.