To “get it right”, let me suggest that we need:
- One law that covers all spying
- Require warrants when the US spies on
- Anyone in the US
- US persons (citizens and resident aliens) anywhere
- Allow the intelligence agencies to spy freely on foreigners oversees, even if the taps are in the US
- Require Executive, Judicial and Congressional oversight when protected and unprotected communications are entangled.
- Criminalize violation of the Constitution.
I think we need a law which works cross medium, and addresses both content and routing information. It should lay out broad principles of privacy protection for Americans and people in America, and the times when spying is acceptable in ways that enable debate and discussion. We also need to address the very real abuses of past wiretapping statues, perhaps with increasing oversight as time goes by.
This is a hard area, and I encourage you to join in the discussion here, on Jim’s blogs, or on your own.
I hit post to soon, I’d meant to explain the image. I picked the image because I believe that listening to phone calls is sometimes something we should allow a government to do. If we do it right, it’s a valuable tool. If we do it wrong, it becomes an intrusion and a betrayal of our values. To date, we are doing it wrong, with secret courts rubber stamping requests under complex laws that few can understand. The result is that legitimate wiretapping is harder than it needs to be. Getting FISA right includes restoring public trust.
Image: Dr. Bulldog & Ronin.