Law Enforcement Laments: Americans Informed About How We Abuse Their Rights Are Hurting Our Ability To Abuse Their Rights


The Director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation stood before his law enforcement peers Sunday and warned them that they were all in danger of losing their technological toys in the ongoing effort to spy on non-suspects and to create probable cause out of thin air. The revolt of public opinion elicited by Edward Snowden’s revelations about government’s spy methods has simply made secret surveillance too unpopular and has attracted too many fresh sets of watchful civilian eyes.

Of course, GBI Director Vernon Keenan spoke of this as a bad thing, in the process revealing just how comfortably ensconced American law enforcement has become in its echo chamber of police-culture entitlement.

Speaking at the conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (a gathering that also features draconian surveillance cheerleaders such as U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder), Keenan talked about how the law enforcement community must be careful in the near term if it wants to hang on to wonderful technologies like facial recognition software, license plate scanners and unmanned surveillance drones.

From Reuters, which reported on Keenan’s weekend speech:

“The scrutiny that the NSA has come under filters down to us,” Keenan said at the annual gathering that draws top law enforcement from the United States and elsewhere with workshops, product exhibits and conferences.

“…If we are not very careful, law enforcement is going to lose the use of technology.”

Watching the watchers is, in other words, a momentary public relations nuisance that, if negotiated skillfully by the police, will blow over. The only reason police need to be careful about abusing their powers right now is because all eyes are on them. Eventually, they’ll win the day — if they don’t make too great a spectacle of themselves in the meantime.

“Law enforcement should join us, instead of fighting us, as we seek to advance privacy protections for everyone in the United States,” responded a blogger for the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts. “After all, if they are only interested in spying on the ‘bad guys,’ what do the police have to hide?”

Note from the Editor: Under the Obama Administration, the NSA, the IRS, and the State and Justice departments are blatantly stepping on Americans’ privacy—and these are just the breaches we’re aware of. I’ve arranged for readers to get a free copy of The Ultimate Privacy Guide so you can be protected from any form of surveillance by anyone—government, corporate or criminal. Click here for your free copy.

Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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