Forget Orwell; NSA is Pure Kafka!


Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit reminds us that Daniel J. Solove's 2007 paper, "'I've Got Nothing to Hide' and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy," is "the #1 paper on SSRN for all-time downloads, and with good reason."

Reynolds is right.

Here's a snippet (and remember, he's talking about the old NSA programs, which were like totally different than the ones we're dealing with now. For instance, back then, a Republican was in the White House, and now it's a Democrat):

Far too often, discussions of the NSA surveillance and data mining define the problem solely in terms of surveillance. To return to my discussion of metaphor, the problems are not just Orwellian, but Kafkaesque. The NSA programs are problematic even if no information people want to hide is uncovered. In The Trial, the problem is not inhibited behavior, but rather a suffocating powerlessness and vulnerability created by the court system's use of personal data and its exclusion of the protagonist from having any knowledge or participation in the process. The harms consist of those created by bureaucracies—indifference, errors, abuses, frustration, and lack of transparency and accountability.

Download the paper here.

Jeebus, who would have thought that the poet laureate of 21st-century America would have been…Rockwell?

Take it away, chanteur of paranoia: