Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Unconstitutional Monitoring

"The government's been in bed with the entire telecommunications industry since the forties. They've infected everything. They get into your banks statements, computer files, email, listen to your phone calls. Every wire, every airwave. The more technology used, the easier it is for them to keep tabs of you. It's a brave new world out there. At least it'd better be."
--Brill (Enemy of the State)

Yesterday a US District Court judge ruled that the NSA's bulk phone records collection program, a program that was secret until revealed by Edward Snowden last summer, violates the Constitution. The judge granted a 'preliminary injunction' and then stayed his decision pending anticipated appeal by the federal government. This is another ruling that appears destined for the Supreme Court.

Jacob Hornberger suggests that the ruling marks an appropriate time for Americans to ask some fundamental questions. At the top of the list is this one: Is the NSA (and the entire national security apparatus) compatibale with the principles of a free society?

Even cursory reflection renders the answer. Freedom requires a zone of privacy--one that is immune to the prying eyes of government. People cannot live free if they are constantly being monitored by a strong-armed institution.

The framers understood this, as the colonists had experienced discretionary search and seizure first hand. They wrote the Fourth Amendment to prohibit this activity.

Achieving true freedom requires abolishing, not reforming, institutions such as the NSA.

1 comment:

dgeorge12358 said...

The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.
~James Madison