In deciding not to participate in research that may be used to harm others, Google's employees are like pacifists in World War II.
Recently, Senator Dianne Feinstein objected to CIA surveillance of Senate committee staffers who were looking through classifed documents relating to the agency’s previous interrogation and detention practices. Feinstein, who has generally been supportive of NSA monitoring, has been criticized on the ground that she only objected to government surveillance when it affected her.
Feinstein has now opened herself up to more criticism of this sort.
In an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” that aired on Sunday night, the California Democrat said a drone spied into the window of her home during a protest outside her house, and that privacy concerns for the technology were “major.” Feinstein appeared as a pro-regulation voice in a Morley Safer segment on the legal questions surrounding the commercial drone industry.
“I’m in my home and there’s a demonstration out front, and I go to peek out the window and there’s a drone facing me,” she recalled. Demonstrators from Code Pink who were protesting government surveillance at the time, said the device was merely a toy helicopter, but Feinstein used the instance to sound off about the importance of controlling the technology through government regulation.
I am sure there are other ways of viewing these events, but they do seem to be an example of a privileged person getting upset only when her privileges are affected. The most hopeful consequence would be if her responses to these intrusions operate to protect not only her privileges but everyone’s. Here’s hoping.