Remember the controversy about the airport scanner images that showed essentially naked bodies, except with certain soft parts oddly squished by snug undergarments. Yes, go ahead and use your imagination there. NSFW thoughts are still not detectable, though surely someday soon that will change.
Those eerie nudies are a good poster image for our completely embarrassing debate on privacy. Including the strange discussion about sequestering the image-viewers in a side room so they couldn’t “see” the actual person at the same time as the image. How much privacy was enough here? Can the word privacy even be used anymore?
We are outraged, outraged that the government is collecting all this data. Right? Except how did we think the government was finding and derailing all those terror plots we feared, which, evidence would suggest, they’ve been pretty darn good at? Atrios asks the fascinating question “conceptually just what do we imagine 20,000 NSA employees do all day?” We’re ready to jump in and say that we don’t want the government spying on AMERICANS…uh…except maybe some of those not-quite-really-‘Americans’ over there in that suspicious little cluster discussing WHO KNOWS WHAT. Then maybe a little court-approved or not-quite-so-approved look-see-ery and such while WE look the other way. The state of play is this. We traded away or privacy for security and have been pretty satisfied with the bargain, all in all. We may come to regret that in the long run, but our ‘private’ calculation is that in the long run we’re all dead, and better then than now, we think.