OK, I’VE HAD JUST ABOUT A-FRICKIN-NOUGH. The New York Times gives us “The Signal App and the Danger of Privacy at All Costs.” Every single paragraph in this is a boot stamping on a human face, forever. I know it’s behind a paywall, but if you can read it, you should, because this is the voice of the establishment.

The ethical universe, according to Signal, is simple: The privacy of individuals must be respected above all else, come what may. If terrorists or child abusers or other criminals use the app, or one like it, to coordinate activities or share child sexual abuse imagery behind impenetrable closed doors, that’s a shame — but privacy is all that matters.

One should always worry when a person or an organization places one value above all. The moral fabric of our world is complex. It’s nuanced. Sensitivity to moral nuance is difficult, but unwavering support of one principle to rule them all is morally dangerous.

The way Signal wields the word “surveillance” reflects its coarsegrained understanding of morality. To the company, surveillance covers everything from a server holding encrypted data that no one looks at to a law enforcement agent reading data after obtaining a warrant to East Germany randomly tapping citizens’ phones. One cannot think carefully about the value of privacy — including its relative importance to other values in particular contexts — with such a broad brush.

What’s more, the company’s proposition that if anyone has access to data, then many unauthorized people probably will have access to that data is false. This response reflects a lack of faith in good governance, which is essential to any well-functioning organization or community seeking to keep its members and society at large safe from bad actors.

If you’re not either laughing your ass off or cocking your shotgun after reading that last part, you are probably reading the wrong blog.