The Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Dispute

R. A. Hettinga
Thu, 13 Mar 2003 12:24:01 -0500

Hash: SHA1

> to quote the words of
> David L. Aaron, the Under Secretary of Commerce for International
> Trade who negotiated the Safe Harbor agreement on behalf of the
> United States 

Nice to know that the Clinton Administration's Ambassador to Kill
Cryptography still keeps his virus coat buttoned up when he pisses in
the wind...

Seriously, though, Kobrin's right, though, typical for the academy,
for the wrong reasons. 

It all goes back to the simple proposition that the the state does
not own people. People own themselves. 

That's the difference between Europe and the United States, between
the United States and almost the entire world, for that matter.

There's a reason we have all this stuff, and have practically
invented the modern world -- and why we can afford a military several
orders of magnitude larger than the average nation state, funded on
an exponentially smaller percentage of our gross domestic product. We
*own* our own stuff. In theory, though it's been in dispute since
about 1916 or so, we also own our nation-state.

People like Aaron, and Clinton, want the government to literally own
us, just like governments in Europe do, like governments have done
since the dawn of civilization.

That's why people like that are evil, pure and simple.

If someone chooses to give information to a private company to
facilitate a free transaction, that's a free choice. When the
government requires that information, it's evil. Entrepreneurs are
free people who have an inaleinable right to sell a good or service
which does not require that information if they want to, which other
free people can elect to buy.

In the same vein, when the government requires that people *cannot*
give that information to facilitate a free transaction, or that a
business cannot give it, it is, frankly, just as evil.

If you can't figure that out, then think, real hard, about why that
doesn't make sense to you. 

Sit down before you do so, though, because you might frighten


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R. A. Hettinga <mailto:>
The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'