What I’m reading: Are we creating informant society?

Global Public Square

By Fareed Zakaria

“There has been exaggerated talk about whether the government intelligence community could create a police state,” writes Michael Chertoff in the Washington Post. “But the true horror of the East German Stasi or the Maoist Red Guard was the encouragement of informants – private citizens reporting on other private citizens and even family members. No police agency could be omniscient. The oppressiveness of those police states came from the fear every citizen had that another citizen would disclose deviations from the party line.”

“The relevant question here is: Are we creating an informant society, in which every overheard conversation, cell phone photograph or other record of personal behavior is transmitted not to police but to the world at large? Do we want to chill behavior and speech with the fear that an unpopular comment or embarrassing slip will call forth vituperative criticism and perhaps even adversely…

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