Editorial: More and more we are learning that corporations are cooperating with the government in handing over cellphone data upon request—with little or no regard for customer privacy or safeguards. AT&T alone provided 600,000 requests to our government. I think we can logically conclude that millions of requests have been processed when one considers the large number of carriers we have in the nation as well as those which are hidden from view.
Editorial: One of the ways that big business tries to hinder free speech is to claim that the government requires them to keep the information confidential. In colleges, there are FERPA and HIPPA laws which do require that individual student records be protected under specified conditions. At the same time, these laws were never created as a dodge against open disclosure of facts that might be potentially embarrassing.
At the national level, the federal government will hide embarrassing information under the guise of national security—which is the claim the NSA is using to try and evade public scrutiny of its misdeeds.
These tactics often work because the individuals who seek the information do not have the funds, most of the time, to prosecute companies who resort to these tactics. It is good to see that someone has forced this Kentucky College to open its records.
Our thanks to the Student Press Law Center for this story.
Editorial: No matter the book, some parent in a school district is going to object that it doesn’t belong in a school curriculum. In this case, a parent is complaining that a book that discusses a rape is pornographic and unacceptable for High School students. Something we need to keep in mind is that 70 percent of Americans do not have a college education. This means that for most people, the only exposure they will get to serious literature is in high school! Books like this one are important on so many levels. It discusses the politics of other nations, the experiences of people in other cultures, and the consequences of violence. High school students see much worse material every day in the form of boorish sexual information on the internet and media programs which have little or no cultural edification.
Editorial: People are always saying, “I believe in free speech but…” This is especially true about books where patrons try and ban books from libraries and schools for every reason imaginable. But the truth of it is this, When you ban books you are banning thought!
Editorial: The NSA has clearly demonstrated their willingness to use all means necessary to determine what is being said, thought or plotted regardless of whether it involves national security or not. This agency has shown only a modicum of restraint and appears most willing to use all available means at it’s disposal to capture all of the world’s communication data—effectively holding the world under 24 hour surveillance and asking us to “trust” that they will only use this “for good.” As we all know, we are in the in infancy of “reading minds.” Even as we read this, researchers are learning the relationship between words and brain patterns—effectively providing scientists their first forays into mind reading. Unless we get some laws that protect all of us, I think it’s a given that the United States—and all world governments will be doing all that they can to read our minds—by any means necessary. Some means may be very intrusive.