3 Reasons the Boston Bombing Case Should Not Change Our Attitudes About Privacy

And one reason why it should.

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As Justice Antonin Scalia noted in his majority opinion in the 2012 Fourth Amendment case U.S. v. Jones (which decided that it violated the Fourth Amendment for the police to physically attach a GPS tracker to your car):

We have embodied that preservation of past rights in our very definition of "reasonable expectation of privacy" which we have said to be an expectation "that has a source outside of the Fourth Amendment, either by reference to concepts of real or personal property law or to understandings that are recognized and permitted by society."

It would be a shame if what happened in Boston alters that delicate structure of public opinion and attitudes toward "reasonableness" that shape when government will be permitted to encroach on our privacy.

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  • WomSom||

    Sometimes you jsut have to roll with it.


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  • Moridin||

    Roll with the punches? Or the drones?

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  • ||

    This is one of the better and more persuasive articles I've read at Reason in some time. Congrats to the author.

    One main point that really hits home is the surveillance from a public place. It does bother any "right thinking" american - surveillance. Even if it is done from a public place, where one has no expectation of privacy (iow it;s entirely constitutional too), it still makes the civil libertarian in us get all spitty and rebel. It ABSOLUTELY would make it easier to solve all sorts of crimes, etc. if we had a massive net of public surveillance cameras but is the tradeoff worth it? I would say no, absolutely not.

  • coma44||

    We are the land of the free and home of the brave, not the land of the watched and home of the scared

    We were the land of the free 100 or so years ago, it has been a steady march toward what our founding fathers fought against back in 1776.

    While this is still one of the best countries in the world, and I would not live any other place, I don't believe we are truly free.

    And after hearing and seeing people like Mr. Bloomberg from NY say and do the things he says "are necessary" I can only ask necessary for who?

    We have lost 100 years in the fight to keep liberty and freedom. How many years will it take to get half of it back?

  • ATXChappy||

    I personally think I would be ok with more government surveillance systems. If, and this is a big if mind you. Because I don't think it would ever go down this way. But, if we treated the data captured by surveillance systems like a black box on an aircraft. And, required a warrant to obtain the data for analysis.

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  • Hugo S. Cunningham||

    This article underestimates the value of solving the Marathon Bombing quickly. If it had not been for one camera at a private site (Lord & Taylor), we would still be going around in circles, and healing could not begin.

    Threats to liberty can (and should be) mitigated by:

    (1) a robust exclusionary rule to block use of surveillance video to prosecute victimless and other petty offenses.

    (2) ferocious civil and criminal penalties for misappropriating surreptitious surveillance footage, and especially for using it to harass or blackmail harmless bystanders. The jerk who thinks it is funny to upload footage of a couple making out in the back seat of a car would find it less funny when he realized he had just made a gift to them of his house, his retirement savings, and his kid's college fund.

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