It's no secret that I've been working with a friend and local librarian, Alison Macrina, to do security and privacy workshops for librarians throughout Massachusetts. The project has gotten some national attention. Alison and April Glaser of EFF, who's also involved in our Library Freedom Project, wrote about the work for BoingBoing. It was later cited in the Washington Post. This week, Cory Doctorow referenced it again in a post on BoingBoing.
Today Alison got the following email:
To whomever thinks that privacy and security are dangerous, and that a democratic society should sacrifice the things that make it strong—intellectual freedom foremost among them—because he quakes in fear of a racialized other, I hope you'll do some reading on the subjects of authoritarianism and censorship, and reconsider.
The email reads like a 'Worst Hits' of the pro-surveillance, anti-democracy crowd. The implication that we should fear privacy and security because of Muslims is racist and disgusting.
All things considered, it's not a very nice thing to send someone an email like this, because it probably means the recipient's email account will become subject to monitoring; there are lots of troubling keywords there. Having said that, I imagine that the person who sent this email isn't at all worried that FBI agents might arrive at his doorstep as a result. Doesn't that raise some interesting questions.
Finally, to the person who wrote this vile email, I must ask one of the most prescient questions the internet in its teeming mass of communication has ever posed: