November 5, 2013

Michael Chertoff’s Stasi analogy in his Nov. 1 Washington Forum commentary, “Invading our own privacy,” was weak. Well-known people have always had to assume their behavior could be made public. But Stasi-style ratting and the widespread use of clandestine technology arenefarious since the offender and the damage are concealed.

True, technology can broadcast anyone’s infamous behavior more quickly. But as long as I am able to confront a public offender — such as telling an eavesdropper on a train to butt out, for example — what should I care? Better still, I can tone down my behavior, respecting others’ need for privacy while enlisting consideration of my own.

Stephen B. Wickman, McLean