Friday, March 21, 2008

No Smoke Without Fire 3

There will undoubtedly be some voters in America who jump to unwarranted conclusions about the secrecy surrounding Barack Obama's passport file, which was accessed by temporary contract staff at the US State Department on three separate occasions [BBC News 21 March 2008].

Bill Burton, a spokesman for Senator Obama, has called for a thorough investigation. Chris Walsh reckons that Bill Burton "has a keen grasp of the issues" [Emergent Chaos, 20 March 2008]

Emergent Chaos is a group blog on security, privacy, liberty, and economics, so these are obviously the issues Chris is referring to here. But what about the political and psychological issues?

Three contractors may have been motivated by idle curiosity. Is it not likely that thousands of journalists and millions of US citizens will share this curiosity, and will now start to ask whether Senator Obama has anything to hide?

If Obama handles the ensuing challenges successfully, gains in popularity, becomes President, and proceeds to improve the law on privacy and breach notification, then the Emergent Chaos group may have something to celebrate. Obama's team may well have worked out a really good game plan, but we haven't seen it yet. Let's hope Bill Burton has a keen grasp of ALL the issues.

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