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CPSR Newsletter Vol 18, Number 4
Volume 18, Number 4 The CPSR Newsletter Fall 2000

The "CPSR Honors Marc Rotenberg" Privacy Talking Blues by Coralee Whitcomb
and Marcy J. Gordon

The 2000 Norbert Wiener Award Banquet honored CPSR's old friend, Marc Rotenberg. As many of you know, before founding the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Marc served as CPSR's Director of our Privacy and Civil Liberties program in Washington, D.C. His stint with CPSR put us on the map in this area long before the public could comprehend the degree to which information technology would intrude into our sacred space. His efforts have continued as executive director of EPIC along with a marvelous staff, Dave Banisar, David Sobel, and Andrew Shen who are often heard on National Public Radio, quoted in the New York Times, and featured in almost every magazine that covers telecommunications policy.

Marc brought his lovely family along and the dais was filled with friends and colleagues eager to toast this quintessential man of principle. Simson Garfinkel recounted his experience with Marc as a mentor-like colleague with the refrain: "... and Marc was right again." Deborah Hurley described how their parallel work paths repeatedly create a certain synergy. And David Banisar gave a hilarious look at the inside of the EPIC offices. Both Lawrence Lessig and Willis Ware sent remarks describing their high regard and esteem for Marc and EPIC's work.

Marc spoke of life as a soldier in the public interest and introduced the latest invasive gimmick, the :CueCat. Then, in true Rotenberg style, he pulled out a chopping block and a hammer and smashed the little bugger to pieces. A fitting moment of civil action.

Marc Rotenberg

The warm and elegant evening closed perfectly with an original song by Marcy Gordon. Our resident musician, Marcy, writes incredibly insightful ballads describing things like the domain name wars. Once again her song managed to capture the discussion of the entire day. Hopefully we will be able to record Marcy one of these days and put her songs up on the web site.

All in all it was a wonderful evening and I know you all join me in congratulating Marc for his remarkable efforts and pledge CPSR's efforts in protecting privacy in the coming year.

The lovely Coralee Whitcomb asked me
If I would write a song on privacy
To honor Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.
I said, "Coralee - I'd be happy to."
So for months I'd been wondering what I'd say
When I cam down to Philadelphia today
And this little ditty is what I cam up with.
I hope you like it.
It goes like this.

What can you say about privacy?
Is there any of it left for you and ame?
Is it the right of a free society?
I watch you and you watch me
All of us are on TV
Fiddle dee dum dum, fiddle dee dee.

Gordon & Rotenbergs; photo courtesy Carl Page

Scott McNealy, the founder of Sun
Says privacy is for no one.
"You have no privacy," says Scott. "Get over it!"
Now Scott McNealy's a pretty bright guy
Finished school at Harvard, while Bill Gates barely tried.
But he's only half right - here's why.
Privacy as we once knew it
Has surely gone away.
But when it comes to a fight, EPIC won't eschew it
And CPSR will jump in the fray.
With spy satellites that can see through walls,
Cameras in streets and corporate halls
Electronic databases compiling our stats
All the way down to the names of our cats.
It seems there's nothing left that's sacred
Not even pictures of celebrities naked!


It looks like we're in a pretty bad fix
Cowed by commerical and government dicks.
So what should we do? Just throw up our hands
And drift along with the shifting sands
Of the governmental and corporate police state?
No way, dude.
And at the risk of being completely rude
I think that it is safe to say
That turnabout is right fair play.
We can't turn back the hands of the spiders,
Ubiquitous search agents and database providers.
But we can beat them at their own game
And leave them all completely lame.


There's something Larry Lessig said
That's been poking around inside my head
For a good many years
And it could be the antidote to all our fears.
Let's do away with privacy -
Fully, completely and multilaterally!
Yes, my friends, the time is nigh
Don't let the opportunity pass you by
We need free trade in information
Around the world in every nation
If we can't have any privacy
Then neither should governments or industry.
That's right, folks - privacy's for squares.
We'll gladly show them ours
If they will show us theirs.


How much was spent on the B-52?
We want an accounting of every bolt, nut and screw!
How much did corporations spend on bribes
In third world countries and political tribes?
What's the mark-up on an audio CD?
How many prosititutes did Congress see?
How much does the insurance industry spend on golf,
The corporate masseuse and the occasional rolf?
How much does Merrill Lynch spend on its corporate barber
And how many slush funds do they harbor?
Tell us everthihng! We want it all!
Tear down every private information wall!
If they can know how much we make
Then we should know how much they take.
We want the School of the Americas alumni list
And the names of all the women Henry Hyde has kissed.
The porno films Newt Gingrich has rented
and how many of Bill Clinton's lovers consented.
Tell us now! Tell it all!
Its time to make the plutocracy fall!
Support the end of privacy
So information can finally be free!


What's inside...

© Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility
P.O. Box 717
Palo Alto, CA 94302-0717
Tel. (650) 322-3778
Fax (650) 322-4748

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