Thursday, January 23, 2014

Greenhouse on the Right to Privacy in Communications: Law and Order as the Backbone of Civilization

Linda Greenhouse has a "must read" article at the New York Times
in We’ve Got Your Number. Clever title.

Greenhouse presents a very balanced analysis of the right to privacy in communications since Smith v. Maryland - 442 U.S. 735 (1979), suggesting that the United States Supreme Court has its work cut out for it in formulating a right to privacy standard that works in the modern world.

Although we are political centrists, we are very much on the side of law enforcement when they are doing their jobs as foreseen by law.

"Law and order" is not just an empty slogan -- it is the backbone of civilization, whether in criminal or civil law. The world works -- not always optimally -- only because society has rules that must be followed. Otherwise there is chaos.

Accordingly, we think it is the job of legislators and judges to formulate legal standards that permit law enforcement officers to carry out their work sensibly, also in the digital era and especially as regards modern technological devices.

We see no socially necessary reason among decent citizens to oppose a very open view concerning the right of law enforcement agencies to access the knowledge and information they need to carry out their jobs, including modern "phones" and similar gadgets, and trust the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately so decide.

Should modern telecommunications firms and devices be able to serve as impregnable shields for criminal activity? The answer can clearly be no.

Nor do we have any trouble with NSA.

You mean they are reading our postings?

Well, finally, SOMEBODY!


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