Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Three links

- Forlani and Spader

- America magazine's editorial: The Surveillance State ...

[...] The public may today shrug off N.S.A. data gathering as a necessary evil, but it is a mistake not to be concerned about the slow encroachment of a surveillance society. While the threat from terrorism is real, the spectacle of a secretive federal agency, operating under limited legislative and judicial oversight while maintaining a vast capability to intrude on the privacy of U.S. citizens, is also a threat to a healthy democracy. This is an agency that, with the turn of an administration and the issue of an executive order, could begin scanning the habits, connections, opinions and more of all Americans. In 2003 Congress rejected the notion of a governmental Total Information Awareness Program; now the nation is drifting into casual acceptance of its de facto implementation ...

- At the NYT's philosophy blog: Privacy and the Threat to the Self ...

In the wake of continuing revelations of government spying programs and the recent Supreme Court ruling on DNA collection – both of which push the generally accepted boundaries against state intrusion on the person — the issue of privacy is foremost on the public mind. The frequent mantra, heard from both media commentators and government officials, is that we face a “trade-off” between safety and convenience on one hand and privacy on the other. We just need, we are told, to find the right balance.

This way of framing the issue makes sense if you understand privacy solely as a political or legal concept. And its political importance is certainly part of what makes privacy so important: what is private is what is yours alone to control, without interference from others or the state. But the concept of privacy also matters for another, deeper reason. It is intimately connected to what it is to be an autonomous person ....

- Thinking about Daniel Ellsberg .... As a response to the leaks, the Nixon administration began a campaign against further leaks and against Ellsberg personally .... He and Russo faced charges under the Espionage Act of 1917 and other charges including theft and conspiracy, carrying a total maximum sentence of 115 years. Their trial commenced in Los Angeles on January 3, 1973, presided over by U.S. District Judge William Matthew Byrne, Jr. ... Due to the gross governmental misconduct and illegal evidence gathering, and the defense by Leonard Boudin and Harvard Law School professor Charles Nesson, Judge Byrne dismissed all charges against Ellsberg and Russo on May 11, 1973 after the government claimed it had lost records of wiretapping against Ellsberg.". For those interested, there was a 2003 movie made about Ellsberg starring James Spader.


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