CBCnews

Great -- now how do we privacy filter our brains?

Louise Elliott, CBC News

berryscreen2b.jpgThe bright minds at 3M may be on to something -- something that MPs and journalists on the Hill could really use.

 

In the mail this week I received my very own sample "privacy filter." It's a piece of transparent grey plastic from the famous makers of Post-It notes and just about anything sticky.

 

Once peeled, said plastic will adhere to any Blackberry screen (after you haul out the scissors and cut it to size - something I haven't yet mustered the energy to do).

 

The pitch? The plastic contains microscopic Venetian blinds built right in, so that the person sitting next to you on the Parliamentary bus, on the Prime Minister's plane or even your seat-mate in Question Period can't read the treatise you are frantically banging out with your thumbs.

 

Given the amount of Parliamentary work that now gets done on the little hand-held devices, this is not a bad idea at all. How many of our politicians (who, it must be said, are in constant motion) actually have time to sit at a computer these days? Not many. Instead, they can be seen in public frequently glued to their little crackberries, risking their lives on busy Ottawa streets as they scurry to press conferences and committee meetings.

 

For journalists of course, it's the same addiction and the same hazard.

 

berryscreen1b.jpgBut for some MPs, a privacy filter may not be the issue at all. Take for instance, those who are given to letting the world know their thoughts on a moment-by-moment basis. For those many MPs have flocked to Twitter, a privacy filter for their brains may be more a propos.

 

This week, Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh apologized after Twittering a comment about  the Bloc -- from an in camera Defence Committee hearing.

 

It's an understandable mistake in a wired world where being fast is more rewarded than being on-point, appropriate, or sometimes, even legal.

 

And it's a mistake that all the privacy screens in the world won't prevent.

 

(And if you think these photos look amateurish, well... they weren't done by professionals, let's just say that. Hand modelling by Louise Elliott, blackberry photography by Kady O'Malley, and rudimentary Photoshopping by Janyce McGregor. Sorry 3M marketing people -- but hey, you got a free plug out of this, what more do you want?)