Do We Need Email Customs Agents?

from the a-national-e-border dept

Simson Garfinkel’s latest column makes the argument that we should protect our national borders from email coming from certain countries. The argument is based on the idea that we rely on the US government, military and customs service to protect us from dangerous phsyical items getting into the country – shouldn’t we do the same for digital items? He points out that while many of us secure our own computers, that’s because we’re technically savvy. However, we don’t build a fortress around our homes, because we pay our taxes assuming the US government will protect us from foreign attack – so perhaps they should be protecting our electronic homes as well. It’s an interesting idea, and one that I had not heard of before. I can see both sides of the argument, and I’m not yet sure where I stand on the issue (though, I tend to usually not like anything that blocks out something). Anyone else have any thoughts?

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Comments on “Do We Need Email Customs Agents?”

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patrick quinn says:

Government Protection

The difference is that our homes need protection because without them, we would be out on the streets. For the casual computer user, the loss of a computer is the same as the loss of a television. For the person who relies on their computer for their livelihood, they are by definition techno-saavy and should know how to protect themselves.

Let the government focus on stopping the planes from crashing into buildings in downtown NY and let us worry about our own harddrives.

Ed says:

Re: Government Protection

Indeed, the correct analogy is to radio and television broadcasts. Jamming Voice of America broadcasts was something we might have expected from the old Soviet regime, while we were free to listen to Radio Moscow. However, with some of the recent developments relating to satellite TV signals between the US and Canada, we may not be as free as we used to be.

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