Can modern government police itself? Has the American government gotten too big and too powerful in the age of big data, billion dollar budgets and heated global competition for its centenarian constitution? Are we too quick to personify the bureaucratic colossus and expect it to respond like an ethical and nimble organization? Have citizens become too powerful, overwhelmed and confused when given access information and the ability to disseminate it to the four corners of the earth in one instant? Technology and humanity have finally reached a turning point. Human possibilities are magnified immensely by technology for bad and for good.
What is America’s relationship to the world as it looks out on the horizon of international intrigue and what is its relationship inward toward its citizens’ civil rights?
“THERE was something surreal, in a Kafkaesque sort of way, about Barack Obama’s press conference on August 9th. Aiming to ease concern over the government’s surveillance programmes, the president announced reforms that seem both obvious and overdue. Then he criticised the man whose actions set those reforms in motion.
The president’s proposals include creating a group of outside experts to assess the government’s balancing of security and privacy. (When in doubt, create a task force.) More substantially, Mr Obama said he would like to change the proceedings of the secret court that approves electronic spying and interprets counterterrorism laws. Whereas now the court only hears the government’s side of any argument, the president wants to see an opposing viewpoint represented.
Mr Obama also said he would work with Congress to create safeguards against abuse of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which allows the National Security Agency (NSA) to collect data about Americans’ phone calls. The administration will release the legal rationale for its snooping …”
MORE via American surveillance: The Snowden effect | The Economist.
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