What Others Are Saying

February 12, 2007

The person nominated by President Bush to oversee agency regulations throughout government is economist Susan Dudley, who wrote in 2005 that government regulation is not justified "in the absence of a significant market failure." Only an undue faith in the ability of the market to correct problems created by industry could have led Ms. Dudley to oppose, as she did, EPA's efforts to keep arsenic out of drinking water. She has also questioned auto air-bag regulations and the Department of Transportation's hours-of-service rules to keep truck drivers from falling asleep at the wheel.

Echoing Ms. Dudley, Mr. Bush's executive order says no agency can take new actions without spelling out in writing the "specific market failure" that warrants a new regulation. With this as a standard, Mr. Bush's anti-regulatory second-guessers in the agencies will be well-placed to prevent conscientious federal employees from protecting Americans from insufficiently tested drugs, carelessly handled food and unsafe drinking water. It could be a long two years.

- The Boston Globe

Younger people, one could point out, are the only ones for whom it seems to have sunk in that the idea of a truly private life is already an illusion. Every street in New York has a surveillance camera. Each time you swipe your debit card at Duane Reade or use your MetroCard, that transaction is tracked. Your employer owns your e-mails. The NSA owns your phone calls. Your life is being lived in public whether you choose to acknowledge it or not.

So it may be time to consider the possibility that young people who behave as if privacy doesn't exist are actually the sane people, not the insane ones. For someone like me, who grew up sealing my diary with a literal lock, this may be tough to accept. But under current circumstances, a defiant belief in holding things close to your chest might not be high-minded. It might be an artifact - quaint and naive, like a determined faith that virginity keeps ladies pure. Or at least that might be true for someone who has grown up "putting themselves out there" and found that the benefits of being transparent make the risks worth it.

- Emily Nussbaum, New York magazine

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