Mercury News part of San Jose Mercury News – by Dan Gillmor – Can government balance civil liberties, security? In an interview at the annual Agenda technology conference, Baker gladly acknowledges a shift in the balance between liberty and risk. But it's the people, he says, who are demanding it, even more than the politicians.

If anything, he guesses — and I am troubled to think he may be right — the American people would be glad to give up many more of their liberties if they believed that would protect us from further terrorism.

And the changes are only beginning, Baker says, when it comes to the government's ability to track information.

The government misses the days of the old Ma Bell, when communications were centralized and law enforcement had a relatively simple time of wiretapping suspects. “What the FBI prefers,'' he says, “is that the decentralized nature of the Internet be compromised.''

Look for “an architectural debate, probably not out in the open,'' over this issue, according to Baker.

BTW Stewart A. Baker, is a well-connected, technology-savvy Washington lawyer who was general counsel of the National Security Agency in the early 1990s [Privacy Digest]

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