Dec 172012
 December 17, 2012  Posted by  Laws, Surveillance, U.S.

Roger Parloff writes:

 As a reporter I salute my professional colleagues for so thoroughly laying bare the recent U.S. Justice Department inquiry that led to the resignation of C.I.A. Director David Petraeus and a related Defense Department inquiry concerning General John R. Allen, the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan.

But now that the once white-hot scandal has died down to the “what-was-that-all-about?” stage, some non-journalist readers might be wondering if the probes were handled with appropriate discretion by public officials. As we look back across the wreckage — the invasions of privacy visited upon outstanding public servants and their unquestionably innocent spouses and children in the name of reassuring the public that various theoretically conceivable security breaches and political conspiracies were, in fact, merely theoretical — doesn’t it seem like there ought to be a law curbing this sort of peeping-tomfoolery?

There actually is such a law: the Privacy Act of 1974.

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