November 14, 2013 | By Kurt Opsahl

Generate Your Own Universal Surveillance Justification

The government has invented a bold set of universal talking points, which can be used to justify any invasive surveillance program. The NSA review group has provided a secret interim report to the White House with recommendations for dealing with NSA surveillance excesses; the public release is expected in about a month. What can we expect from the report? Rumor has it that it will conclude there is no "workable" way to scale back invasive surveillance programs.

The administration has already started its justifications, making public statements focused solely on effectiveness, without acknowledging that other critical values are in danger—most importantly, our Constitutional and human rights.

When effectiveness is the only value at play, even the most invasive warrantless programs can be justified. Cameras in the bedroom? House-to-house searches? Cavity searches by the TSA? In each case, the government could argue that it would get less information and be less effective without them.

We even wrote a script to showcase how easy it is to write such a statement for an arbitrary invasive program.

Deeplinks Topics

Stay in Touch

NSA Spying

EFF is leading the fight against the NSA's illegal mass surveillance program. Learn more about what the program is, how it works, and what you can do.

Follow EFF

Look out weekend! Check out the cross-platform video games in Humble Indie Bundle 15 & support EFF's work:

Oct 9 @ 4:58pm

The leaked TPP IP chapter reveals how negotiators have caved to Hollywood demands and betrayed Internet users.

Oct 9 @ 4:30pm

One more California victory for privacy! @JerryBrownGov vetoed bill to put RFID chips in driver licenses:

Oct 9 @ 4:20pm
JavaScript license information