Saturday, August 17, 2013

What We Lose if We Give Up Privacy: “Controlling what people say is very close to controlling what people think.”

A loss of the expectation of privacy in communications is a loss of something personal and intimate, and it will have broader implications. - Peggy Noonan/Wall St. Journal

That is the view of Nat Hentoff, the great journalist and civil libertarian. He is 88 now and on fire on the issue of privacy. "The media has awakened," he told me. "Congress has awakened, to some extent." Both are beginning to realize "that there are particular constitutional liberty rights that [Americans] have that distinguish them from all other people, and one of them is privacy."

Mr. Hentoff sees excessive government surveillance as violative of the Fourth Amendment, which protects "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures" and requires that warrants be issued only "upon probable cause . . . particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

But Mr. Hentoff sees the surveillance state as a threat to free speech, too. About a year ago he went up to Harvard to speak to a class. He asked, he recalled: "How many of you realize the connection between what's happening with the Fourth Amendment with the First Amendment?" He told the students that if citizens don't have basic privacies—firm protections against the search and seizure of your private communications, for instance—they will be left feeling "threatened." This will make citizens increasingly concerned "about what they say, and they do, and they think." It will have the effect of constricting freedom of expression. Americans will become careful about what they say that can be misunderstood or misinterpreted, and then too careful about what they say that can be understood. The inevitable end of surveillance is self-censorship.

All of a sudden, the room became quiet. "These were bright kids, interested, concerned, but they hadn't made an obvious connection about who we are as a people." We are "free citizens in a self-governing republic."

(Friday’s) Washington Post reports that the National Security Agency violated the rules on domestic surveillance thousands of time a year since Congress granted the agency broader surveillance powers in 2008. Note this revelation did not come to light because of forthright disclosure from the professionals that run the agency, the congressional oversight committees, or the FISA court. Rather, whistleblower Edward Snowden provided this information to the Post. The U.S. government has made it clear that it wants Snowden locked away in a prison cell incommunicado. - Tim Lynch/CATO Institute

Second American Revolution Underway - Nat Hentoff/CATO Institute
Sensitive Clowns: The Erosion of Free Speech - Le-gal In-sur-rec-tion
New eye-tracking software will allow companies to keep workers on task... - Bloomberg
The mayor wants to fingerprint more than 600,000 people who live in public housing. He said it would be done to make the projects safer. - CBS New York
NSA broke privacy rules 'thousands of times' - Washington Post
The Washington Post broke an alarming story regarding NSA privacy violations, and the NSA and the White House responded with their own comments and an attempt to replace interview answers given by NSA director of compliance John DeLong with a prepared statement. This begs the question: how often does the White House make such requests to change news stories, and how often does the press comply? - Le-gal In-sur-rec-tion
Funds New 'Top Secret' Data Lab... - Infowars ◼ Via Drudge