Final Word from Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Czechs are used to their politicians and top corporate executives lying to them about such things as illegal income, conflicts of interest, "fair" public tenders and amnesties. With the 60th anniversary of the 1953 monetary reform fresh in mind, readers might be interested to know what Václav Klaus said in Mladý svět in 1993: "A prime minister or finance minister can never lie but can and must lie when it is a matter of currency reform, currency exchange or devaluation." We could also add "national security." The current debate about the U.S.'s surveillance programs demonstrates how easy it is to slap a "national security" stamp on something and make it illegal even to acknowledge the existence of the activity. As Petr Koubský noted today in HN, if Facebook, Google and other internet companies are aiding the U.S. government in spying on us, it is their legal responsibility under U.S. law to lie to us and to say they are not.[Czech Republic FISA law Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act United States]

Glossary of difficult words

surveillance - in this context, meaning monitoring of phone records, emails, internet activity, etc.;

to slap something on something - to subject to a legal obligation, such as a fine or court order;

U.S. law - Koubský was speaking specifically about the FISA law (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act).

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