Stop mass surveillance. Just stop!

Stop Mass Surveillance.  Just stop!
By John Gilmore.  Friday, August 4, 2017
(Inspired by Paul Rosenzweig’s suggestion to “Stop Leaking”.)

I get it.  You don’t like the terrorists.  I don’t either, so I understand.  But you, whoever you are, are doing as much damage, if not more, to the United States than they ever will. Really.

I assume you think you are doing the world a favor.  I assume you have the best intentions.  But stop.  Just stop mass surveillance.  Really.

Though it may be fun to give the President transcripts of citizens’ calls and emails, you gravely injure America in incalculable ways by doing what you are doing.  For one thing, you are embracing norm-destruction in a way that is no less disturbing than the terrorists’ aberrational behavior.  And you don’t even have their excuse that you don’t know better — you do.  For another, think of how this plays with other people worldwide — will any foreigner or American ever again have a candid phone call with any other American?  Why should they assume that this type of domestic spying will stop after Hoover, Nixon, Bush, Obama, Hillary and Trump are all gone?

Yes, I get it, there is a prurient interest in this stuff; and yes, I know you think the unclassified public are jerks.  But in doing this you lower yourself to their level and beyond.  If you are a reader of the Lawfare blog, or know someone who is, you have your own agency’s interests at heart.  But, trust me on this one, you aren’t doing America a service.  Stop mass surveillance.  Just Stop.

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