Someone has always been watching

FortLeft

The June 24th issue of the New Yorker has an excellent short history of privacy and surveillance by Jill Lepore.  You should try to read the entire article either online (I can’t remember what rules the New Yorker has about access) or get a copy of the magazine.  For my purposes today, I am going to concentrate on the story of Giuseppe Mazzini.  Never heard of him before?  Me either, but his story is instructive.

An extraordinary fuss about eavesdropping started in the spring of 1844, when Giuseppe Mazzini, an Italian exile in London, became convinced that the British government was opening his mail. Mazzini, a revolutionary who’d been thrown in jail in Genoa, imprisoned in Savona, sentenced to death in absentia, and arrested in Paris, was plotting the unification of the kingdoms of Italy and the founding of an Italian republic. He suspected that, in London, he’d been…

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