Friday, March 07, 2008

Today's must read: "The banality of the surveillance state"

Glenn Greenwald, who blogs for has posted "The banality of the surveillance state," “Another federal database is launched to monitor the behavior of Americans, and, as usual, it receives little attention and has almost no oversight.

“Independent of revelations yesterday that the FBI has been abusing its NSL powers for years, it was also reported that the Federal Government is now launching "a domestic intelligence system through computer networks that analyze vast amounts of police information." The system will store broad new categories of data about the behavior of Americans -- from the mildly suspicious to the perfectly innocuous -- and will create "new power to discern links among people, patterns of behavior and other hidden clues."

Yesterday I saw the articles Greenwald is referring to above and sent them off to my son, Jeff Jonas, because he’s created software that mines data. Also, Jeff was quoted in front page articles in The Washington Post about the NSL letters, here, and about the ineffectivness of warrantless eavesdropping in finding terrorists here (“Techniques that ‘look at people's behavior to predict terrorist intent,’ he [Jeff] said, ‘are so far from reaching the level of accuracy that's necessary that I see them as nothing but civil liberty infringement engines.’”

I’m not sure what I expect Jeff to do, but I’m hoping he can tell me that it isn’t as bad as it sounds.

The Greenwald post is worth reading in its entirety.

(Caricature of Glenn Greenwald from his blog)

1 comment:

the democratic activist said...

After reading the WP article linked in this post about National Security Letters, it's clear we already live in a police state, in America, in 2008. Have for several years.

With two conservative political parties to chose from, neither of which cares one whit about Liberty, I can think of only two logical courses of action: fight (potential quite painful, but courageous), or flight (New Zealand, anyone?).