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Saturday, June 15, 2013

The 'Other Side' of the Surveillance Debate

That's the title of Gail Collins' column for Sunday NYT and it's an important one.  She takes up the argument, which sways most Americans, that surrendering privacy and freedom to "prevent the next 9/11" is worth it, then shows what you might call the little-reported downside: The arrest of the innocent.  She presents a gripping story and then concludes: 
So there we are: Search of huge database produces a (wrong) name. Investigators get permission to search an American family’s house without their knowledge, from a secret court that does not seem to be superhard to convince....
That was nearly a decade ago. “But you never quite get over these things,” Mayfield said. “It was a harrowing ordeal. It was terrifying.” He and his daughter are working on a book about what happened. Sharia is also going to law school. “I want to do civil liberties,” she said.
So there we are. It’s just one story. But I suspect the national willingness to give government a blank check on national security matters comes to a screeching halt at about the point where the agents tiptoe into the daughter’s bedroom.

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