Jan 102011
 January 10, 2011  Surveillance

Ryan Calo was quoted in a New York Times story today, and his quote, to those who don’t  know him, might create a misleading impression of his fuller views on the subject of government surveillance and privacy protections.  Ryan’s quote was:

“When your job is to protect us by fighting and prosecuting crime, you want every tool available,” said Ryan Calo, director of the consumer privacy project at the Center for Internet & Society at Stanford Law School. “No one thinks D.O.J. and other investigative agencies are sitting there twisting their mustache trying to violate civil liberties. They’re trying to do their job.”

Ryan has subsequently blogged about this to provide some context:

I was quoted in a cover story in today’s New York Times as saying, essentially, that law enforcement was “just trying to do their job” in pushing for greater subpoena power. This particular remark was an aside, made if anything to soften the impression that I was overly critical of the government. For instance, I lamented that consumers do not understand the state of the electronic privacy law and spoke about the dangers of dragnet or otherwise excessive surveillance. (Presumably I am one of the unnamed “[e]lectronic privacy and civil rights advocates” that worries “because the WikiLeaks court order gained such widespread attention, it could have a chilling effect on people’s speech on the Internet.”)

I did not mean to imply that we should not push back against government and in fact praised Google and Twitter for having done so. I did offer that the government’s purpose in pushing for greater surveillance power was not to erode civil liberties for its own sake, but in order to protect Americans by detecting and punishing crimes. But the gist of my remarks was that we need more protection, not less. Some of my talking points appear below for context.

Read his full commentary on CIS.

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