Why do People Ignore Constant Privacy Threats

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From The Guardian:

On September 13, 2001, four US Senators from both sides of the aisle introduced the first version of the USA Patriot Act, a sweeping, 342-page bill that overturned virtually all US privacy laws and led to the creation of the global, pervasive surveillance programs that Edward Snowden disclosed in June 2013.

It’s possible that four senators and their respective staffers wrote the Patriot Act in a mere 36 hours, while America went into a panic over the worst terrorist attacks in US history. It seems a lot more likely, though, that the Patriot Act was already sitting in someone’s desk-drawer, waiting to be tabled when a suitable disaster occurred.

America’s spooks had decided to withdraw their calls for a ban on cryptography, but planned to reintroduce them after the next terrorist disaster

The conspiracy-minded point to Patriot’s swift introduction as evidence that 9/11 was an inside job, and that Patriot was just part of the plan. I think this is pretty implausible, and not merely because I don’t think that the parties involved would be depraved enough as to commit those atrocities, nor smart enough to get away with it.

A much more plausible explanation is that these surveillance-minded authoritarian political operators predicted that eventually something would happen, something big and terrible and eye-catching, and that this would create an opportunity to ram through their agenda. It was opportunism, not mass-murder. It’s not far-fetched: just last week, a leaked email from the General Counsel of the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence revealed that America’s spooks had decided to withdraw their calls for a ban on cryptography, but planned to reintroduce them after the next terrorist disaster had put Americans in a receptive frame of mind.

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