S.M. Oliva on How the Drug War Threatens Privacy Rights Around the World


Credit: Drug Enforcement Administration / Flickr.com

The idea that all persons have a right to privacy and freedom from arbitrary government searches exists not only in the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution but in the constitutional documents of many nations. Unfortunately, many nations also share the U.S. government's belief that the peaceful sale and consumption of certain types of narcotics are crimes punishable by imprisonment. This inherent conflict between the drug war and the right to privacy is on display in a pair of recent cases where foreign appeals courts have been called upon to address the proposed extradition of accused drug traffickers to the United States. As S.M. Oliva explains, the common thread in both cases is the extent of domestic constitutional protections against wiretaps used to provide evidence to American prosecutors.