Wednesday, June 12, 2013

the certainty of possibility

I think I may actually know something about the value of information. It was my field in grad school and I worked in IT for almost 20 years. Seems like I should. Anyway I can usually tell when someone says something will happen based only on the  possibility that it could happen. In logic I think they would call that a fallacy. Last week the Washington Post reported  Edward Snowden’s claim that the government has unfettered access to our personal online records. Alarming, but the way the report reads ..only a possibility. Since the Washington Post is a fairly reliable source and some of the other claims turned out to be true, I gave this one equal credit. Next I hear all the major online services denying such a ‘secret government portal’ exists. I felt like I’d given it too much credit. The folks at Google would certainly know when they’re being hacked ..wouldn’t they. Then the New York Times reports that Google and government officials ‘discussed the creation of portals’ where the government can go retrieve online information anytime ..without a search warrant. Certainly bolsters Snowden’s claim. Today I hear that Snowden has been on a campaign against intrusive government for a long time and his claim is based on ‘government-training material’. Certainly a worthy campaign ..but I’ve seen government-training material before. So now I’m back to square one. Just because someone says something could happen doesn’t mean it did. As far as I’m concerned .. the value of his claim is still indeterminate and could go either way.