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Join Steve Posner in the Debate Over Privacy and Surveillance


I’m Steve Posner and I write LexisNexis’ legal treatise on post-9/11 surveillance and privacy law, Privacy Law and the USA PATRIOT Act, in addition to my litigation practice.  After delving into these issues for most of a decade, I think I can coordinate a coherent debate, and I hope you’ll join me.  Much of the journalism and conversation to date concerns individual systems and incidents.  Too little concerns the overall architecture of surveillance.

At the same time, this blog will get information out to the public and professionals faster than the annually updated treatise allows. 

So let’s start with four questions (We’ll get into the details as we go along.):

1. Does privacy matter?  Not just to avoid identity theft or prosecution, but as a matter of human dignity and psychological security?

2. Which is more important—how a government (or other entity) gets information about people and entities, or what it does with the obtained information?

3. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects citizens against “unreasonable” searches and seizures.  But who gets to decide what is reasonable?  At what point does the word “unreasonable” lose its meaning?

4. If everyone is watched, but it has not yet interfered with your life, are you more or less secure?

What do you think?

Visit Steve’s Web site at