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Last week, I discussed the ongoing dilemma of how to keep your private communications private, and how the Skype VoIP service may offer some protection in a world where regular phone calls can be easily wiretapped. Many of emailed me to offer your opinions and experiences.

Some of you see government monitoring of our email, phone calls and other communications as a necessary evil for the safety of the population as a whole. Rick B. said “as with all laws the few that need the control of law force the rest of us to live in a more controlled environment than we would otherwise desire.” Others, such as Jeff B., agree with Thomas Jefferson’s statement that “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.”

Cliff G. echoed the opinion of several of you, saying “Somehow I doubt that the NSA is wasting their time on my banal communications, and if they are I really don’t care what they think of my personal ramblings. The more paranoid — and grandiose — may nurture such fantasies of self-importance.” And Ernie J. said, “First of all, we need to understand that NSA is not listening to all phone calls but just ones to or from potential bad guys or countries. Secondly, I think it’s worth a sacrifice of complete privacy in order to prevent terrorist attacks.”

On the other hand, the majority who wrote (about 2/3) agreed with Sean T. that the pendulum has swung too far towards removing privacy in the name of the war against terrorism. He said, “The “War on Terror” is a real thing, but our politicians seem to go for the easy solution or fail to think through the consequences of poorly written laws (DCMA and Patriot come immediately to mind).”

Lionel T. said “I don’t care if the the government wants to listen to my calls to my children, however if I am willing to pay for a service that keeps those calls private then they should be. If the government wants to listen then should have good reason and can articulate that in a warrant.” And Becky C. summed it up thusly: “Good men are doing nothing and evil is starting to triumph by eroding our rights. Shame on us for allowing it.” 

Deb Shinder