Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Law Can't Keep Up With Technology...

I did a post about this once -relating to pedophilia. About software that can make a "legal" girl appear eight years old and able to "legally" participate in online sex acts, and other tools of technology that benefit the criminal... Lawmakers can't keep up with emerging technological advances.

The same has been argued by me to support the case for "eavesdropping" --and now it has been argued by someone that put it much more succinctly than I...

I really want to re-print the entire OpEd to up the odds of people reading it (especially the naysayers), but I won't:

"THE two sides of the debate in the US over the authority or otherwise of intelligence agencies to electronically monitor suspects are arguing over issues from different generations. Critics of domestic spying rightly suggest the Bush administration may be skirting around the law as it stands. Their opponents argue that even if this is so, civil liberties are not much use to anybody atomised by a terrorist attack, particularly one that a more comprehensive intelligence effort could have stopped..."

"...the law must change with the times and yesterday's sure shield against tyranny can become today's handicap in the war on terror. This is especially so when it comes to the US National Security Agency's program of tapping terror suspects' phone calls and electronically monitoring their activities. For almost 30 years, bugging phone conversations has required a warrant. This has been fine for the world of fixed phone lines that existed when the law was enacted. But it is obsolete in the communications age, when suspects can use telephone technologies not even imagined back then. As the September 11 attacks in the US demonstrated, terrorists can easily camouflage themselves in open societies, where people go wherever and do whatever they please. Aspiring terrorists with no track record who intend to target their home country, such as the London Tube bombers last July, are even more invisible, as were some of the people charged with terror offences now before Australian courts. This makes the data-mining work of the NSA essential. Data mining analyses the billions of electronic records people leave in the course of a normal day. Sophisticated software can make it possible to trace suspects and find new connections that other forms of surveillance would miss. The need to work fast to monitor people who come to light for the first time can inevitably make waiting for warrants impractical. Nor are warrants necessary to protect the civil liberties of the innocent. Only a minute fraction of the billions of records processed by data mining is ever seen by human eyes." (source)

This is one of those (actually rare) cases when it all seems so obvious to me that it's nearly impossible for me to even comprehend the "other side" of the argument...

I guess what I'm trying to say, is read this article. Thanks.

(H/T: Freepers)

No comments: