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We all have things we wish to keep private: a flirtation or even an affair, a struggle with alcohol, an old brush with the law. Think about all the things you have said in a phone conversation, sent to a friend in an e-mail, or discussed with your accountant that could, if available to someone who wanted to shut you up, be used or taken out of context to blackmail or smear you. Now understand that all of these things are available and can be used against you.
The USA PATRIOT Act set the stage for booksellers, librarians, and even doctors to have to turn over to the state information about Americans that had been private up until then. The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression took a stand against this and librarians spoke out as well. (National Socialists also went after the booksellers, librarians, and doctors.)
When closed societies gather information on ordinary people's lives - when people know that their book-buying and library records are open, their sexual behavior and financial decisions are no longer private, their conversations are bugged, their class lectures are taped, their protests are photographed by police, their medical records are exposed, and that all this information can be used against them - their will to challenge the regime in power falters.