ADVANTAGES

Well Bruce... just wanted to say thank you I guess. Great article. I've been thinking more or less the same for quite a while now, but the way you summed it up and presented arguments for it is just awesome. It helped me a lot in presenting the matter to other people.
I'm involved in privacy campaigning myself, by informing other people, organising demonstrations and also by writing (mostly in German, though, since I live in Germany).
The situation here is not quite as drastic as it seems to be in the US, but we are facing more or less the same problems. Our government seems to take the security-privacy dichotomy for granted and so do most citizens. Naturally, we are getting more and more invasive security theater.
I had the coolest thing happen to me after reading your article. That evening, I was at our weekly information booth (hope that is the right word) about privacy especially in context with data retention, which is enforced in Germany since the beginning of January. There was this middle-aged lady who came over and, upon learning what our intention was, said: "Well, in my opinion it's a good thing. I'm against terrorists." Since my fellow campaigners seemed a bit undecided about how to react I just had a go. I simply said: "Ma'am, we're all against terrorists." I was a bit surprised myself but that totally got her attention. I then explained to her (using among others some of the arguments from your article) why we thought many of the measures enforced by our government were not going to help us and in which ways we thought they were harmful. She left us with a whole lot of information material and a very thoughtful impression and my guess would be she read everything we gave her.
Well, I hope this is not too long or too boring. Just wanted to share I think, and to say that problems are more or less the same over here then where you live... just keep up the great work :-)

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