Translation and Interpreting in 150+ Languages
A circular prison
Stop Spying on Translators
October 24, 2013 - By: - In: In the News / Awards, Interpretation, Language, Translation - Comments Off on Stop Spying on Translators

The end of privacy in translation is here.

Isn’t it strange to suddenly discover that you the life you thought you were living behind closed doors is actually inside a fishbowl? It certainly made me all cold and clammy  to discover that every facet  of my life is an open book to the million or so government spies enforcing the panopticon of the total-surveillance state now proven to exist.

Anything that has even been on your computer may belong to them already. As Edwin Snowden’s revelations continue to reveal, all we know for sure about the National Security Agency is that they are liars. We do not know the limits of their secret powers, de facto or otherwise.

This is not just a political problem but a professional one too, so, I plead the indulgence of those who hate political ax-grinding.

Please consider this the first post on the death of confidentiality in the translation industry. The ancient pledge translators have made for centuries to keep their client’s secrets safe is made a mockery by the technology we use, and the methodology we employ and vulnerable to exposure to threats beyond even the unaccountable security regime dominating one unconstitutional government or another.

Translation consumers should take note that translation has always fascinated these spies and made our work a target of their investigation. The mere act of translation throws you into the same intelligence bin with terrorists and other foreigners. Before the digital age, the white vans would pull up and pick up translation agency trash from curbside before the garbage trucks showed up. I know because it happened to us.

The confidentiality once offered to our customers with safes and lockboxes is no longer possible in the digital age. The difficulty of enforcing digital standards to protect client data means that most translators ignore the problem. More on this to come, with fixes too.

But first, If you’ve read this far, you may share my concern about all this government dirty work. So for is for those concerned I wanted to alert you to a rally against mass surveillance in Washington, DC and around the country this Saturday October 26: STOP WATCHING US. This is a non-partisan effort joined by Reddit, Mozilla, the EFF, Free Press, Access, Demand Progress and a half-million others (so far) demanding Congress to restore our rights to privacy.

On October 26th, the 12th anniversary of the signing of the USA Patriot Act, these groups will hold the largest rally yet against NSA surveillance. Stop Watching Us has more than a half-million petitions to present to Congress “to remind them that they work for us — and we won’t tolerate mass surveillance any longer.”

Marchers will gather in front of Union Station at 11:30 a.m. by the Christopher Columbus Memorial Fountain in Columbus Circle. Shortly after noon they will march to the National Mall at 3rd Street and Madison Dr. NW, in front of the Capitol Reflecting Pool, where there will be a stage set up for rally speakers, musicians, and performers.
Read more and see a map.

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