Thursday, July 10, 2008

Surveillance Snooze News

Jacob Sullum writes briefly on on FISA and government surveillance. I commented, but I'll repeat my comment here:

For my money everything related to wiretapping news has seemed more political than anything else. Sure, we don't want the government tapping our phones without a warrant, but regardless of what the law actually is, are there any libertarians out there who actually trust the intelligence community to actually follow it. I'm willing to bet that government spying, legal and illegal, has been a fact for a long time, going much further back than the war on terror.

I'll be worried when the 4th amendment is actually gutted and illegal and unconstitutional spying is used to convict Americans of crimes. Until that point, color me unconcerned and uninterested.

For readers who may not remember, I feel that the story of warrantless wiretapping is the biggest farce of an issue to come about over the last several years, for several reasons.

1- The intelligence community spies, regardless of what the law actually says.

2- Hopefully, most of that spying is focussed on important things, like terrorism. Violating ordinary Americans privacy would be a waste of time, resources, and money.

3- To my knowledge, no one has ever been convicted of a crime based on illegally or unconstitutionally obtained evidence via a wiretap.

Are there issues here? Certainly there are plenty of them, but none of them reach the level of national emergency. When I look at the drug war and see the body count of literally innocent victims and the laundry list of Constitutional violations, I see a serious issue. Even the nanny laws like smoking bans and trans fat bans that literally tell us how to live are lives are far more concerning to me. That our spooks are being spooks? Not so concerning. Until someone can put a literal face on the issue and give me a reason to care, the issues of warrantless wiretapping is more hype and paranoia than anything else.


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