Dinosaurs Trying to Make Law for Modern World

Lindsay Graham and John McCain Have Never Used Email

Lindsay Graham – a member of the powerful Senate Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law – admitted 2 months ago that he has never sent an email in his entire life:

The Telegraph noted in 2008 that John McCain – one of the loudest voices pushing draconian “cybersecurity” spying bills  – admitted he doesn’t send emails:

“I don’t e-mail, I’ve never felt the particular need to e-mail.”

These guys are dinosaurs trying to making law for the modern world.

And Trevor Timm points out that most of congress is willfully ignorant about modern technology:

The Congressman who oversees the appropriation of billions of dollars in cybersecurity funding for the Department of Homeland Security, Representative John Carter, said this about cybersecurity and encryption recently: “I don’t know anything about this stuff”. Yes, that is an exact quote.


Congress never really bothered to ask actual security experts whether these bills really make sense. Earlier this week, 65 actual security professionals and academics signed a letter slamming these “info-sharing” bills as both unnecessary and dangerous.

Congress doesn’t have to be completely ignorant about technology issues. They used to have a whole office which would give them all the expert advice they asked for. It was called the Office of Technology Assessment and it gave Congress nonpartisan advice on technical matters. Newt Gingrich killed it when he became speaker of the House of Representatives in the mid-1990s. As Vox’s Timothy Lee explained, when Representative Rush Holt, a member of Congress who knew a thing or two (he was a nuclear physicist), tried to revive it, his plan was voted down almost 2-1.

So there you have it: Congress has intentionally chosen to stay ignorant of technical issues. When they try to reassure you about the bills that are coming up for vote not being about increasing surveillance, just remember: most of them have no idea what they’re talking about.

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