“Even Law-Abiding People…”: Tim Carney

makes a whole bunch of good points:

…In other words, why should law-abiding citizens mind federal surveillance?

The answer begins with this distressing reality: None of us scrupulously obeys the law. Technically speaking, we’re all criminals.

Federal and state criminal statutes have multiplied like rabbits over the decades, and so now everyone breaks the law, probably every day.

Copy a song to your laptop from a friend’s Beyonce CD? You just violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Did you buy some clothes in Delaware because they were tax free? You’re probably evading taxes. Did you give your 20-year-old nephew a glass of wine at dinner? Illegal in many states.

Citizens that the federal government wants to indict, the federal government can indict if it monitors them closely enough. That’s why it’s so disturbing to learn that the federal government doesn’t need to obtain a warrant on us in order to get our emails and phone records.

But these surveillance powers are used only for hunting terrorists, Obama says. Even if you take him at his word, because so far there is no evidence to the contrary, think about the capabilities you give to government when it can snoop on your phone records and emails.

Maybe Obama hunts only terrorists with it. But our next president could expand it to follow violent felons — without having to get specific warrants. Why not drug dealers and sex offenders? Tax evaders come next.

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