Last year I was on the beach in East Hampton boxing with a friend of mine and we randomly saw Bill Clinton on the beach. As a journalist, I got excited about the idea of interviewing Bill Clinton for the paper. So the next day I googled, “How to contact Bill Clinton” thinking that I might be able to contact him via email. (You would be surprised how many famous people I’ve been able to get in touch with via email).
When I googled that information, I remember a couple of articles popping up that described how Bill Clinton sent just two emails during his entire Presidency and that he doesn’t use email.
Well that’s being paranoid, I thought.
But after the latest news that the NSA can hack into any email account and see any e-mail that you’ve ever sent over the course of your life, with technology that a 29-year-old cyber spy can have access to whenever he feels like it, now I’m thinking that he’s not so paranoid.
I don’t like that this guy Snowden betrayed the country by outing secret activities by the NSA, but I also don’t like that anybody with a clearance, for any reason, can get access to something that personal. And make no mistake about it, these secret clearances are handed out to a lot of people. We’re not talking about under 100, we’re talking about tens of thousands of people can get these types of government clearances.
I’ve always known, more or less, that email can be read by anybody in charge of the servers that host the email account. After all, somebody has to be able to see the information, just like people with access can get into bank accounts and other private information. That’s there job to see you bank account.
But email, for a lot of people, are considered very private, and many emails are written with privacy in mind. Hopefully, with the whistle blower stating the obvious, people will change their behavior when they express every thought they’ve ever had onto a computer in the same way they would onto a journal.
It’s not right to be able to have this kind of access on a whim in my opinion. Access to anybody’s personal email needs to be treated like access to somebody’s home by the government. There needs to be an annoying process to get the information, and it needs to be annoying for everyone, and if it’s not obtained the right way, then it needs to completely destroy a case against another person.
Just my thoughts anyway. Shoot me an email and let me know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below. Be careful what you say though, a 29 year old guy in Hawaii might be watching…