Stopping crime and/or terrorism is a noble, if unattainable goal. So it is with that in mind that the governments of various countries (most pertinently to this snarky post, the U.S. and now the U.K.) employ tactics such as the round-the-clock-surveillance of its citizens or collection of “metada” in bulk.
But these are only half-hearted measures. There are many, greater measures that would be infinitely more effective in stopping/preventing dastardly and nefarious acts.
First, though, let us set the ground rules for who is or is not a terrorist:
— Jerome Taylor (@JeromeTaylor) August 19, 2013
As gleaned by that, in light of yesterday’s revelations about Glenn Greenwald’s partner, it’s pretty clear that a terrorist or criminal is someone who is defined as such by the Government. When they make it a crime to be you, you will be a criminal, even if you were the same person as the day before the change in status.
So, dear criminal, let us count the ways the government is not extracting information from you, you evil scumbag who is here to hurt my precious children!
3. General warrants [PDF]: This one, for you history buffs, dates from the time of Colonial America. Such an ancient ritual surely can’t be wrong! Broadly, the authority to search anything belonging to anyone they suspected of being, you know, someone they didn’t like.
4. Warrants with no standards: Here’s a clever way: require a warrant, but set the standard for getting that warrant so vague and nebulous that no one will ever know what doesn’t satisfy that standard, ergo the warrant is but a rubber stamp. Everyone start queing for the Government’s office to turn in your criminal papers.
5. No warrants: The above, but with less work. See also: NSA.
6. Waterboarding/torture/rack and pinion/Room 101: Because nothing prevents terrorism and crime than beating the shit out of someone to get them to confess to something they didn’t do.
7. Racial Profiling: Wouldn’t it be great if we could just tell who was a terrorist/criminal simply by looking at them? I like this one the best. Start with this and apply a healthy dose of the above and viola! No crime.
Why waste your time defending “secret FISA courts” and “Hey-that-guy’s-name-is-Miranda-is-he-a-journalist?” There’s plenty more out there to stand up for! The rights of your Government to eviscerate every modicum of freedom and privacy have not been adequately defended yet. They’re doing so much more.
If you don’t, that makes you a terrorist, right?