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Pedestrian struck, killed in South End

Boston Police report a man in his 60s was pronounced dead after being hit by an SUV at Albany Street and Paul Sullivan Way around 6 p.m. on Thursday.

Police say the crash remains under investigation. The driver stayed at the scene and no charges have been filed.

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That entire area is miserable for pedestrians.

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Why assume it's the drivers fault? Pedestrians cross where ever they want expecting drivers to always stop for them. The other day I was driving down Shawmut Ave and a woman crossed diagonally at Union Park while talking on her cell phone and not looking in the direction of oncoming traffic. She like many others are just lucky they don't get hit.

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Ummm, Carolyn, you do realize that the intersection of Shawmut and Union Park has no signals, with a four-way stop, and therefore in the intersection, the pedestrian always has the right of way? While oblivious pedestrians can be as much of a hazard as oblivious and distracted drivers, it is you behind the wheel of a potentially deadly machine to ensure that you are paying constant attention to your surroundings so that you can react in time.

If you'd hit that pedestrian, I'd sure hope you would have been found 100% at fault.

Maybe you should spend less time whining about pedestrians in the city and more time paying attention to your surroundings when driving.

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one of the banes of my existence. When some clueless dolt wanders into traffic in front of me, I want to roll down my window and say, "So, I guess you dropped out in second grade, before that lesson about looking both ways before you cross?"

That said, you're the dead duck if you hit a pedestrian, regardless of how much they contributed to their own injury or death. There's little comfort of being in the right as you write a big check or sulk in a jail cell.

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but not quite as bad as driving while texting.

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When I went through there around 2:30, there was a construction crew right on the corner of Traveler Street and Albany, and the crosswalk at Albany was closed. There were construction crews in the area Thursday as well.

Drivers speed on that stretch of Albany as if they were on the Expressway. Slow down! It's similar to Herald Street along the Pike -- too many pedestrians with speeding traffic (when it's not gridlocked).

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Auto insurance rates are going up in Massachusetts because drivers are hitting so many people. Sadly that is often the only consequence many dangerous drivers face.

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I haven't hit another car with my car in nearly 35 years of driving. Yet, as someone with a clean record, I end up subsidizing this and drunk drivers and lousy drivers because of the notion that I should pay for others who cause mayhem and make their insurance "affordable".

I'd love to see bad drivers pay their full freight or just get off the road when they can't, and everyone pay by the mile. The discount structure for "low mileage" is meaningless given that risk is a function of exposure.

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If you're a step 99 then you receive a credit for being a good driver. This idiot on the other hand will have points on his record and will be assessed a surcharge.

Personal insurance profits for insurance companies is mainly made in the stock market. A good year for an insurance company is making about $0.06 on the dollar and reinvesting it in a soft market.

Loss ratios and combined ratios for ins companies do fluctuate on paid losses but mainly on market returns.

Now bike lanes, that's being subsidized by drivers!

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Something like $600-800 a year for my own insurance.

I'm subsidizing somebody.

Bike lanes? Seriously? Your driving is subsidized by cyclists. I don't need to post that link again, do I? Non drivers subsidize 40% of your driving out of their income and property taxes.

And I'm probably subsidizing your bad driving.

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That's very good, especially if you are anywhere near metro Boston.

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Yes. This is how insurance works. If chronically sick people had to pay their their full freight in health insurance for example, they wouldn't even come close to affording it.

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Health insurance works that way because people are not actively in control of all the determinants of their own health. Some, but not all. Health care also saves lives.

Your own driving is ENTIRELY within your own control to improve. Also? NO RIGHT to drive. Driving is not necessary for staying alive.

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You're not paying for their shitty driving.

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I read the reasons the rates are rising.......more people are driving because the economy is up, there are more vehicles in the City (yes, not everyone rides a bike), repairs to vehicles cost more because of technology ie: more sensors, cameras etc.
Nothing about more people getting run down.

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How does more vehicles = higher insurance rates? Typical insurance pools rely on having as many members as possible to keep rates lower.

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More vehicles = more accidents.

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drivers. For better or worse, it involves surveillance of your driving habits, technology that monitors your speed, how you use the brake pedal, etc. (Don't be surprised if it turns out your free navigation app is selling information about you, either.) It's already underway on a voluntary basis: see programs like Allstate's Drivewise program and the like. It won't be long before you have no choice but to agree to such surveillance, or be relegated to buying much more expensive coverage. Big Corporate Brother will reward cautious drivers and insurance-industry shareholders at the expense of everyone's privacy.

I find it troubling, but if you're on Facebook or other social-media sites, you've already consented to give up a welter of information about your private life that these tech giants sell to reap billions in profits. They're compiling and analyzing every scrap of information they can about your life, family relationships, friendships, romances, entertainment preferences, sports-team affiliations, political views, and so on, so their corporate customers (and political organizations and lobbyists) can more effectively target advertising at you. Of course, your own government, hostile state actors, and organized criminals are also taking advantage of that information for their own purposes.

You're not the consumer, you're the product. If you use these services as I do, consider taking steps to limit what personal information you reveal online, and to whom. Probably wouldn't hurt to try being a more courteous, defensive driver, either. Being a turn-signal-shunning, viciously aggressive Masshole on the road is going to get a lot more expensive in your lifetime.

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You are forgetting that we live in Massachusetts, which has a system that limits how much even horrendous drivers are charged for insurance, and strictly limits the discounts given to good drivers.

One of those discounts can be had by using the electronic thing (which fails to differentiate between aggressive accelerating and wheels slipping on snow, btw), but it is very limited in the amount that can be discounted due to the belief that good drivers should subsidize bad ones (rather than bad drivers ever being removed from the road).

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protections that the citizens of the Commonwealth currently enjoy from the predations of capital. It's not hard for me to imagine a protracted lobbying effort by the auto insurance industry making this particular barrier vanish in an eyeblink.

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How is paying for your actual risks "predation".

Some people should not be driving. Period. I have made no insurance claims (except a few glass claims) in nearly 35 years, yet I pay a lot for other people to drive like assholes.

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on the road, of folks driving less like reckless, unduly self-entitled assholes. I'm a good driver with a spotless record for the last 20 years. But I get a little less comfortable with the idea if more people drive like me only because our every move is being monitored and recorded and data-mined for the sole reason that it generates more profits for insurers.

I'm no libertarian, but I do worry about the intrusion of the surveillance state into every little aspect of our lives. It is not hard to imagine the potential for abuse by both business and government. In the Brave New World that's coming, you and I will probably pay slightly less for insurance. But it's like anything in life: is the benefit worth the trade-off? I'm not so sure.

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What strain are you using - I'll try to avoid it if it makes me paranoid.

It does not require "monitoring every move" to make the system more fair - the problem predates even smartphones and palm pilots for that matter. Your leap to "big brother technology" has nothing at all to do with ending the failed philosophy that good drivers should subsidize bad and that everyone is entitled to drive even when it is clear that many should not.

You also forget that 1) there is no right to drive; and, 2) for some of us, our driving says nothing about where we are on any predictable basis.

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and agree that our system could do a better job of that. But the current setup still favors good drivers like me: my rates are relatively low.

Could they be lower under a system where everyone's driving is recorded by the all-seeing eye of technology? Sure, yep. But the prospect still makes me a little queasy. I have long worked in the security space: I'll accept the label of borderline paranoiac. It comes with the territory.

"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe."

(Kidding: I don't know *that* much more about the subject than the average educated person. But we live in, um, interesting times. Technology to monitor every aspect of your life is undeniably becoming more pervasive. I do worry about it in ways that most people not in my profession don't, and it has little to do with my admittedly hard-liberal politics.)

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Please, keep going, the both of youse.

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So should we also stop subsidizing the health insurance of those who make poor decisions effecting their health? Or no?

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I have some future bad news for you about your company health insurance plan.

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The distinction between a surveillance state and a discount on your health insurance for a satisfactory annual physical isn't that murky.

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habits (I dine out a *lot*) with exercise and eating healthier when I can. So my wearing the eventually company-mandated Fitbit won't be such a burden to me.

How do feel about everyone having to wear one, and having their rates set accordingly?

The government and corporate surveillance states don't require a telescreen in your living room, shouting at you to do your jumping jacks. They're getting plenty out of your smartphone already. The mandatory band on your wrist and the USB dongle in your car are merely incremental next steps beyond that.

Yes, I wear a Fitbit -- HR didn't ask me to, nor has yet insisted I share the information it collects with them -- and routinely make calls on my phone even though I know the NSA can listen in. I use Facebook daily and am on the Internet at this very moment, knowing that my smartphone is capable of listening for subsonic tones emitted by online ads and TV commercials, my devices capable of effectively secretly colluding to target ads at me. (I know that sounds absolutely nuts, but a bunch of venture-funded startups are working to make exactly that happen: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/11/beware-of-ads-that-use-inaudi... )

And yet I'm living with, have knowingly acceded to, the current set of trade-offs around our steadily-eroding privacy. Still, the trendline there concerns me.

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and I don't wear a fitbit either. Not because I care who targets ads at me or whether the NSA is listening in (for work I've already signed away a bunch of my rights to the government) but because I see no benefit to paying money for these things or spending time making sure some knucklehead didn't post ascii-art penises on my wall or comment section or whatever it's called these days. And I'd like to have one fewer avenue of having my identity stolen.

Privacy in my mind isn't what you do in public or what packets you exchange with whom over open-to-everyone radio frequencies. It's about your mind and your thoughts and your ability to go to those places and exchange those packets. I can see how the idea of the metaphorical KGB listening in is scary to some people, but there are still a ton more free citizens out there than there are ears listening.

You're as safe as you've been before in the quiet anonymity of large numbers. As Orwell himself said, nothing's quite as private as a crowded room.

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people. I could not do my job without a smartphone; telling prospective employers that I won't carry one is not an option. I accept that trade-off at the moment. As I have said, it is possible to take steps to limit the intrusions of government and corporations on your privacy, but it is becoming increasingly difficult. I can't help but foresee a consequent chilling effect on our freedoms, especially if you espouse views or live a lifestyle that is outside the collective norm. I don't believe that being a face in the crowd, when the vast majority of the crowd is being surveilled, affords quite as much privacy as you do.

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and make not-far-left posts on UHub, you can go on being yourself without fear. Not without vigilance, but without fear.

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from the issue. I see what is currently being done with technology and what's on the horizon with a tad more depth than the average layperson. Certainly it's not being used solely to expand corporate profits or government power at the expense of individuals. For instance, I tend to think that its application to intelligence gathering, police work and incident response are a smarter anti-terror investment than foreign interventions with conventional military power, or the kind of security theater we've spent billions on at our airports.

But I'm also enough of a student of history to foresee the potential abuses of this new kind of power, so I support the efforts of groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation to keep it in check. At the moment, I'm not so much fearful as wary. I don't like the way the pendulum is swinging.

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Crooked officials seeking personal gains or vendettas have always had mechanisms for abusing their powers, with or without technological assistance.

Think betting pulled over for failing to signal a turn. Getting a parking ticket the second the meter expires. Dinged for not parking less than twelve but more than six inches from the curb (or whatever the number is). Building permit to repave your driveway denied. Tax payment "lost in the mail" (technology actually makes this one harder to pull off now). Caught going a mile over the speed limit away from the porn store, as entered into the public police log.

Technology is but a tool. You want to keep abuse from becoming more than theoretical? Be careful how you vote. That's seemed to work for the last couple hundred years through several political, industrial, and technological revolutions.

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New technologies with potential for abuse have always temporarily shifted the balance of power, and it requires a vigilant, informed citizenry to keep those abuses in check. And as you note, tech has applications that benefit citizens, too. But the rate of technology change is accelerating, making it more challenging to solidify those defenses against intrusive uses of power.

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if it's changing so fast that literally only a handful of guys understand a particular instance of The Great New Thing.

If Hillary can't figure out her own emails, you really think she's got the wherewithal to have a crack team of 1337h4x0r5 reading yours?

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it's the NSA, which hires the best and brightest in the game, recruiting heavily from the black-hat underground, with effectively unlimited funds and all the time in the world to pursue its goals, and unprecedented freedom from judicial and legislative oversight. On the commercial side, there's the vast financial and intellectual resources of Internet giants like Google and Facebook. Those are formidable entities for a grassroots citizenry to contend with.

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Even if they all did have all the best and brightest in the world working for them to collect all the data in the world (which is a platonic ideal that may or may not resemble the actual facts on the ground), you have to have the will to do something with that data and the ability to locate and exploit it.

The difference between having all of the world's telephone conversations out in the metaphorical aether and having them archived on a big giant server farm is at best academic unless there's also an army of a couple million feds to read through it, digest it, and use it to prop up trumped up charges, squirreled away somewhere that I'm not aware of and ready to pounce.

For all its scare and awe, the supposed surveillance state is made up of people. People make mistakes. People miss things. No one caught the Orlando shooter ahead of time. No one caught the Dallas shooter ahead of time. More intelligence gathering won't fix that, nor will it increase your likelihood of being on the receiving end of a swatting because it's still people in the loop, even if there's a desert full of computers crunching away on every bit that you've ever flipped in your entire life.

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But that's only one tool of many in their kit. It hardly undercuts my point that the technology gap between potential abusers in power and the citizenry appears to be growing. You may not find that troubling as I do.

If you don't believe that the NSA and the tech giants are skimming the cream of the talent to be had in this tug-of-war, I suggest you talk to a hiring manager in the security space or one of the not-for-profit privacy advocates.

(We're running out of room at the margins, again.)

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see below.

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Letting drunks and texters keep driving, letting drug addicts keep on shooting up and ending up in the emergency room, and letting idiots build (and rebuild) mansions on the beach with subsidized flood insurance and making normal people foot the bulk of the cost for irresponsible behavior is not a good policy.

In the same vein, I say bring back hard labor as a criminal penalty.

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Emergency-room costs get rolled into your broader healthcare costs. No one supports letting more drunks drive, or likes the idea of addicts overdosing at your expense. But cutting people out of insurance plans isn't going to save you money in the long run; I think a lot of Hippocratic-oath-swearing doctors are going to have a problem denying a person emergency care because of his bad behavior. Seems to me that education and preventative care, and more-inclusive coverage to get more people smarter and taking better care of themselves, is the cheaper play.

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Facts like how much money was saved when everyone got health care.

Personally? Now that we have to have insurance and checkups are free, I think you should have to bring a form to the RMV when you renew your license that says that you have had a recent one and your doctor says that it is okay to drive.

No more burdensome than supplying proof of vaccination to enrol in school or college.

That might help prevent pedestrians - like the kid waiting for the light in Somerville - from being mowed down when someone who was medically unfit to drive plows into multiple cars.

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I looked, the uninsured rate in this country was still 11% or so. And that the early returns (and sure, they are still early) show that expanded insurance coverage is already slowing the growth rate of healthcare costs overall.

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Yeah, in shitholes where they believe that God Hates You if you are Poor and we can't go against God - those states are pulling those stats.

Same states where "faith based" economics has destroyed their economies and now the Governors are actually asking people to pray for an end to the crisis they created.

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The uninsured rate is indeed at 11%. The early numbers show that healthcare costs are growing more slowly, and that is attributable to a combination of incentives for providers to operate more efficiently and the lower costs that come with not relying on emergency-room care, among other factors.

If you're saying it's stupid that some GOP governors are refusing Medicaid expansion for political reasons at the expense of their own tax coffers and citizens' well-being, I agree that that's bad policy.

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recognizing when it is that we're actually agreeing on something.

Incidentally I believe when you're over a certain age you do need to bring in that form. And the RMV itself retests your vision every once in a while (like when I last renewed my license a month or two ago).

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Some people are unable to take care of themselves. If a guy comes in to the emergency room on his Nth overdose, in the long run it's cheaper to lock him up where he can't hurt himself.

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be beyond the help of education and treatment. I still believe that investing in education, preventative care and treatment are big cost-savers for everyone in the long run. It's not like it's a binary choice. I think the vast expense of the War on Drugs and its pitiful return on investment (to everyone who's not in the for-profit prison business) are the second big example we've had in a century that prohibition is not the answer. Enforce the laws, sure, and maybe write a few people off as irredeemable, but cutting demand in the first place is something we also need to do.

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Like I said, some people will listen to the "drugs are bad for you" and "don't drink to excess" pitch and won't have a single temptation in their lives. As one of those people who didn't have a sip of alcohol until my 21st birthday and never touched weed or coke or anything else, I feel secure in saying that those people are very much in the minority.

The rest maybe need a little extra incentive not to make stupid decisions that harm themselves and cost everyone else money. Maybe we don't need to be throwing people in the hole for twenty-to-life for having a cocain addiction, but a stern talking-to and a voluntary referral to rehab is probably not the right balance either.

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if you only start at the moment that they've crossed a line, you're way too late. We also have to confront the fact that a big reason people do drugs is that they're fun: the "Just say no" approach is hopelessly naive, like hoping that abstinence-only education is going to prevent teens from having sex. I think if we did a better job of education and early intervention, continually showing that the trade-off between the fun and its consequences can be a bad one, we could shrink a lot of demand.

That's obviously not the only answer, but it seems like a smart investment to me.

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.

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but as I said, it doesn't matter if you've got the best and the brightest. If you're the one in power, you still need opportunity and motivation to do anything bad to anyone in particular or in general.

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but of time, resources and freedom from interference and oversight. I don't think that the NSA or Facebook or Google are inherently evil, and they all do a lot of good. But concentration of power in anyone's hands opens up the potential for abuse. Consider that power under the direction of someone who really doesn't care at all about the rights and welfare of common citizens, only cares about protecting and expanding their own power or profit -- say, a sociopathic narcissist with the vindictive temperament of a grade-school bully. Not sure what more I can say about that, other than that it worries me. It's not really a complicated proposition, nor one without loads of historical precedent.

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Nixon made ample use of the federal government in making trouble for his political enemies with typewriters and cassette tape recorders. I somehow doubt that he could have been worse if he had today's surveillance technology in his quiver.

By the same token, Trump would make a mess out the federal government if even if the height of communications technology were two cans and a string.

My point is that if you think today's lack of tech as compared against tomorrow's advanced surveillance machinery is what's protecting your freedoms now but won't tomorrow, you're erroneously thinking that you have some security now. You don't. And you didn't ten or twenty years ago either. The only difference is that now you're more aware of potential abuses than you may have been two decades ago.

The Alien and Sedition Acts were passed and enforced back when the worst the federal government could do to you was read your mail.

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Technology gives more power to those in government and commerce that already have it; our democratic institutions react with measures to rein it in. The difference today is that those in power have more of a technological edge than they used to, and the accelerating pace of change leaves the institutions working to restrain it struggling to keep up. My question is: can they close the gap? They appear to be at a big disadvantage in terms of talent, time and resources. I remain hopeful, but increasingly wary.

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and charity hospitals are always "short of funds." I'm not holding up these facts as a triumph of western civilization, but I'm also reasonably sure that things have been like that since before the germanium diode. So have sandwich boards declaring that the end is nigh.

We're all still here, still freely sucking down oxygen, just like we have been since the start of the American Experiment.

Because we have limited government. and have since the start Because we hold regular and free elections and have since the start. Because we have institutionalized free speech and have since the start. And yes, on some primitive last-resort level because we have the second amendment to put teeth in the first.

Bottom line: eyes open, ears open, but don't loose any sleep.

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which I've been at for rather a long time, but I feel like this particular moment is different: technological change is increasing at a rate unprecedented in human history, in a way that doesn't always favor the man on the street.

In Nixon's day, a huge slice of American brainpower and technology was applied to putting men on the moon. You (okay, maybe not you, but most of us) have more computing power, memory, storage and software sophistication in each of our pockets than the entirety of the Apollo program's 17 missions put together. And all of that amazing capability shrinks to molecular insignificance compared to the computing, storage and analytical power of a Google or an NSA.

I remain certain of historical analogies about greater power leading to greater corruption, less so of the relative equity of the tools available to either side of the struggle.

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Live in front of a screen for long enough and you forget a simple fact: Yeah, Google and the bunch has a mountain of servers crunching away for whatever purposes. That's computational power; it's not "kinetic" power, to borrow a euphemism from my own line of work. Somewhere along the line, it's still a question of shoe leather, of which the balance has not changed.

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with a clear notion of how a steady erosion of their privacy threatens their personal freedoms.

It's not what I see out there. I don't even see awareness, let alone a sense of urgency to act. "Comfortably numb", is more like it.

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My faith is not in active citizenry. My faith is in that same complacent and disinterested citizenry filling government and corporate positions where for every evil genius, there's ten dozen lazy schmucks in the way.

And maybe a little bit in people's ability to recognize that they've been screwed at some point down the line. At this point, there's nothing to recognize yet, for reasons I think I've made clear.

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