During the dark days of World War II, a slogan familiar to Americans was “Loose lips sink ships.” Accordingly, mail between members of the military and their families and loved ones was routinely being opened and read by security authorities.
There was very little protesting or complaining about this enforced loss of confidentiality. Americans mostly knew and appreciated that an entire way of life was at stake, threatened daily by the forces of oppression and tyranny.
The opponents of our country and of our way of life are different today than the ones we encountered during the worldwide conflict of the 1940s. Our enemies are not as easy to identify. And destruction unimaginable during the time of World War II is now a day-to-day reality. Most of us remember all too well the nightmare of our own airliners being turned into weapons against us.
During the missile crisis in October 1962, President John F. Kennedy noted in his address to the nation, “The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose … is the path of surrender or submission.”
My nephew, who knows more about computers than I do, cautioned me some time ago to get used to the plain fact that nothing — nothing — is private anymore.
So if the cost of freedom — of, say, my loved ones returning home safely from a plane trip — includes Yahoo peeking at an email to my Aunt Maryann in Columbus, I say this:
Read away, gentlemen.
Carl Schultz, Johnstown