If you read the language Mr. Chertoff uses, you can sense his underlying disdain for Americans who are concerned about preserving this good thing called "The American Expirement."
Note the following:
"It's my contention that properly used technology ... actually protects privacy," he said. "We should not allow folks to be captivated by the argument that every time we do something with a computer, it invades privacy."
Here is a straw man argument. Concerned Americans are not worried about a "new use" for a computer. A new use does not necessarily mean a threat to freedom. But a threat to freedom is a threat to freedom, and DHS is planning to use computers to do it.
Chertoff was referring to privacy concerns surrounding the Real ID Act, a law passed by Congress in 2005 that would require states to create machine-readable ID cards containing the name of the holder, the data of birth, a digital photograph and other information.
Articles like this simply throw out the phrase "other information" as an after-thought. But "other information" is indeed the concern of the hour. What "other information" does the government want? Biometrics like DNA, retina scan, fingerprint?
REAL ID supporters tell us that this is not a national id card. But it will work just like one with linked databases and federal access to the information, expanded use of the card, and increased capacities for government abuse. So what's the difference?
Do you see why people are concerned? This game-playing with language is a serious matter. Listen to the Secretary's use of language:
But Chertoff said those raising privacy concerns about the use of IT in the U.S. government's domestic security efforts create a false tension between security and privacy. "This kind of Luddite attitude ... is exactly wrong," he said. "Security and privacy are very much the same type of value. I don't think they're mutually exclusive, they're mutually reinforced."
Preserving America's heritage of freedom is now a "Luddite attitude."
Using double-speak to blurr the problems with a massive increase of government power over individual freedom has become standard.
I worry about folks like Mr. Chertoff.