Monday, July 14, 2003

A post on privacy intrusions in the wake of 9/11-induced legislation that is thought-provoking all around -- Crooked Timber: War on Terror - the ripple effect
I agree with the statement that
What I do object to, and in the strongest terms, is the naked opportunism on the part of some Justice/Interior ministries that have used the situation to introduce draconian measures with no bearing at all on fighting terrorism or even serious crime.

What makes it worse is that this is not some kind of inspired opportunism where the agencies really, always and forever, wanted to get this information because it would truly make a difference in their work and did so as soon as there was a political opening. No. Instead this is the kind of knee-jerk legislation that lazy and badly-run agencies push on the populace because they do not know how to really solve the problem and hope that somehow new powers will help them.

A good example is a recent arrest of an allegged Real IRA bombmaker in Israel, found there working on creating more sophisticated explosive devices, doubtless to help keep the truce going. Political aspects aside -- he was duly listed in an airline manifest under a false name. Had he chosen to fly to the US -- he would have and noone would have stopped an outstanding british citizen his documents proclaimed him to be. Supposedly intelligence sources lost track of him some time ago and where getting anxious as to his whereabouts. How exactly any of the proposed and accepted pricavy-invading legislation helping with this? It cannot because it is limited and poorly thought-out.

This still leaves the matter of how can European and other airlines break their national laws and provide certain data to US Law Enforcement open.


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