In the wake of Obama’s national speech on NSA surveillance, privacy scholar Neil Richards had a commentary in the Boston Review. Here’s a snippet:
From the outset of last week’s highly anticipated address on NSA spying, President Obama tried to make the case for limited surveillance. He opened with a parable about American revolutionaries in 1770s Boston—the Sons of Liberty, whose “small, secret surveillance committee” patrolled the streets for signs of British activity. Obama intended to show how secret surveillance has always been necessary in America. But his story also speaks to the ambiguity of surveillance. The patriots—the Crown would have called them “terrorists”—were themselves subject to government surveillance; their political beliefs were, after all, treasonous. Had the Crown possessed something like the NSA’s metadata program, there might have been no American Revolution. The revolutionary case is as much about the need for privacy to shield political dissent as it is the necessity of secret surveillance.
Read more on Boston Review.
h/t, Daniel Solove