There are really interesting possibilities beginning to swarm around the NSA issues. Obama seems to have softened his opinion about Snowden, although nothing is firm and no deals have been made. Still, it looks like the new oversight will ultimately bring an end to the hobnail boots on our civil liberties, or at least a transparent discussion about them.
There are two good reads here — one on how Sonja Sotomayor, new kid on the Supreme block, has changed the conversation on data collection; you go girl! The next is a candid conversation with Snowden in Russia, giving us a sense of both his character and his current situation. He’s an interesting one and, as I believe this will be a HOT topic in 2014, worth your time.
Perhaps your travel plans have changed or the weather has postponed your holiday gatherings — or perhaps someone ELSE is doing the cooking and you have some time to read this holiday. If so, these are interesting articles that, ultimately, have to do with our life and privacy.
Wishing you, each one, a blessed, safe and restful holiday!
How Sotomayor undermined Obama’s NSA
Adam Serwer, MSNBC
If Edward Snowden gave federal courts the means to declare the National Security Agency’s data-gathering unconstitutional, Sonia Sotomayor showed them how.
It was Sotomayor’s lonely concurrence in U.S. v Jones, a case involving warrantless use of a GPS tracker on a suspect’s car, that the George W. Bush-appointed Judge Richard Leon relied on when he ruled that the program was likely unconstitutional last week. It was that same concurrence the White House appointed review board on surveillance policy cited when it concluded government surveillance should be scaled back.
“It may be necessary to reconsider the premise that an individual has no reasonable expectation of privacy in information voluntarily disclosed to third parties,” Sotomayor wrote in 2012. “This approach is ill suited to the digital age, in which people reveal a great deal of information about themselves to third parties in the course of carrying out mundane tasks.”
Not a single other member of the high court signed onto Sotomayor’s concurrence; her three Democratic appointed colleagues sided with a narrower one written by Justice Samuel Alito. Though all nine justices agreed that police would likely need to get a warrant to place a GPS device on a suspect’s car, it was Sotomayor who was willing to argue that modern technology had essentially changed the meaning of what privacy means when so much of our personal information and history is preserved online, and can be easily collected by the government in mass quantities. When the Framers of the Constitution wrote of “persons, houses, papers, and effects,” they could not have imagined cloud storage or cell phone location tracking.