Steven Greenhut on Surveillance Sneaking Its Way Into Cities


500 block, 6th Street, San Francisco

In 1966, the then-Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas warned about an "alarming trend whereby the privacy and dignity of our citizens is being whittled away." Each step is imperceptible, he wrote, "but when viewed as a whole, there begins to emerge a… society in which government may intrude into the secret regions of man's life at will." What would Douglas think about the post-9/11 world?  Perhaps people feel powerless to confront federal programs, writes Steven Greenhut. But a new effort from the ACLU hopes to empower them to confront local authorities who embrace similar technologies by prompting cities and counties to pass an ordinance requiring a public debate and oversight of any such new technologies.