December 3, 2008 · Lessig
This story is absurd. The message here is that Governor Rendell somehow screwed up because he said something not intended for broadcast near an open mic. But wait a minute: Who did the wrong here? It is plain from the context that Rendell did not intend his comments for public consumption. Yet intentionally or not, ever-more-invasive technologies captured what he said. So why isn’t the outrageous behavior here broadcasting what he plainly intended to be a private conversation, rather than, as this commentator makes it seem, the fact that he was having a private conversation at the mic?
Or again: To be sure, Rendell would be wise to remember that there are a million privacy invading technologies surrounding us, and that he, like a citizen in the former Soviet Republic, needs to make sure that whatever he says isn’t been snooped. But whether Rendell was wise or not (and I certainly have criticized him for not being wise), why isn’t the outrageous behavior taking what he plainly didn’t intend to be public and broadcasting it on a world-wide network?
Just because you can see, doesn’t mean you should look. And just because you looked, doesn’t mean you should broadcast what you saw to the whole world. I know a little titillation is good for ratings; I hadn’t known CNN had begun to stoop to such lows.