, Newburyport, MA

Local News

June 29, 2013

Swinging summertime thoughts


Now, back to criticizing the NSA. I recently taped a drawing of the Liberty Bell (from the package of U.S. postal service Forever stamps) over the video camera on my laptop. But the computer is just the beginning of my privacy problem. Congressman Michael Capuano was interviewed by Joe Battenfeld on NECN last week about his bill to control the ability of our television set to watch us watching it.

Capuano, whom I have known for years and believe is genuinely concerned about these privacy concerns, said he laughed when he heard this one because he thought it was a joke. Then he learned that several large companies (he didn’t name them but one is Verizon) have tried to get a patent on this technology. The idea is to tailor commercials to what we are doing: holding a cat, eating a Big Mac, clearly in need of a new shampoo. Michael says he wouldn’t try to block any new idea, but his bill will insist we be told that our television can do this, our provider will allow us to opt out of the “service,” and, he’s only half-kidding, will require a ticker across the bottom of the screen that says, “You are being watched.”

Never mind, back to chilling out in summertime. Wait, did I just hear an ad from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce saying that U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) is supporting the “Gang of Eight” immigration reform bill? You can’t say that, Chamber guys; it isn’t true! Sen. Paul proposed an amendment to grant Congress an annual vote on whether the border is secure or not, mostly because he distrusts the White House to follow through. The amendment failed, and Sen. Paul said on CNN’s “State of the Union” last weekend, “Without some congressional authority (to oversee, and without border security first), I can’t support the final bill.” BTW, he is planning to sue the NSA to restore our privacy rights. I stand with Rand.

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