Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Surveillance state

From the abstract of Jack Balkin's recent paper published in Minnesota Law Review, "The Constitution in the National Surveillance State":
The question is not whether we will have a surveillance state in the years to come, but what sort of state we will have. The National Surveillance State poses three major dangers for our freedom. The first danger is that government will create a parallel track of preventative law enforcement that routes around the traditional guarantees of the Bill of Rights. The second danger is that traditional law enforcement and social services will increasingly resemble the parallel track. Once governments have access to powerful surveillance and data mining technologies, there will be enormous political pressure to use them in everyday law enforcement and for delivery of government services. Private power and public-private cooperation pose a third danger. Because the Constitution does not reach private parties, government has increasing incentives to rely on private enterprise to collect and generate information for it, thus circumventing constitutional guarantees. Corporate business models, in turn, lead companies to amass and analyze more and more information about individuals in order to target new customers and reject undesirable ones.
There's been some interesting discussions on Balkinization recently on surveillance and FISA. For those of you wondering about voting for McCain, he's right there with ol' George on invasive powers undreamed of by kings of yore: the guy voted to give the telecom giants immunity from prosecution for flouting the law and now says he'd do exactly what George did. Bush III, anybody?

Yet another reason for Truth Through Action (although I'm not a Democrat, this is a damn funny site). Check out their premier film, Blue Balled:

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