We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Surely you understand that he is one of Your Betters, and as such has rights you do not as a Mere Citizen. Wanna bet how easy it is to even find out WHERE HE LIVES??? Much less what would be done to you should you DARE post such information about him where it would be readily accessible...
Funny how Senator Feinstein felt that way, too, until she found out they were reading HER e-mails.
The lesson to be learnt here is to stop believing in all the phony emergencies both parties make up to excuse the loss of our rights. There IS no excuse.
The real emergency is all the bullying we now get from badge thugs who are willing to kill for evading cigarette tax. It's time we make the electoral process work to take away their badges before they choke you or me.
This is a more complex discussion then it seems.
First of all there is a lot that NSA could collect that would be legal to collect but would still upset privacy advocates. The Offical line of the government is that is what they are doing collecting data legally.
Second, there is the issue of archiving data that is available but would be illegal for them to "use" without a warrant. Their arguement is that they archive this data on a computer in real time because otherwise it is lost and by the time they realize they need it and could legally get a warrant to use it that the data would be gone. Probably they would win this point at the Supreme Court level.
Third is that there is a very real threat of something big, something that would make 9/11 look like no big deal. The terrorists are trying to get a nuke and their preferred ground zero is Manhattan. If we cripple NSA and the terrorists succeed in this plot we will be the stupidist culture in history. And make no mistake this is gonna happen the only question is will we stop it, partially stop it or fail to prevent it.
Fourth, by now it is clear to everyone that some of the NSA and CIA spying is and has been misused. In my opinion THAT is the problem, not the collecting of data or even the probable overstepping of the constitution in the collecting of data. That is if we can stop the death of 8 million people by tracking terrorists using phones and the internet even if it is technically illegal then I am for it but I am not for allowing the data to be used by politicians and government employees.
Fifth, Make no mistake, they are going to do this. If tomowrrow the Supremes declared that everything the NSA is doing must be stopped I have no doubt that a new and secret alphabet agency would be created in secret perhaps operating totally outside of the U.S. to do what the NSA does today. So which would you prefer an agency doing what it must to prevent a unthinkable attack on us but under congressional scrutiny or an agency tasked to do the same thing but forced into hiding with no scrutiny.
My understanding is that the NSA has been collecting (cell and land line) phone records rather than the actual phone messages. If that is the case, it seems like a gray area but likely Constitutional. As for emails and web postings, there is no or should be no presumption of privacy in those cases.
You and Posner raise some valid fears. We have always wrestled with the balance between getting bad guys and allowing freedom from government prying. Now terrorism puts a much finer point on it. I don't know the answer but I hope it doesn't have to be to give to the government the power to randomly (or even in a targeted fashion) search private communications without cause.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Wouldn't stuff on your cell phone be 'effects'? It seems pretty clear to me. Just because he doesn't care that some overpaid busybody bureaucrat rifles through his documents doesn't mean that the Constitution allows it.
Of course, the Fourth Amendment is a shell of what it once was. The IRS can call you in for an audit without any suspicion of law breaking or a warrant and compel you to produce private papers so maybe he has a point that searching your cell phone is just that privilege extended to any other government agency.
"Free at last, Free at last. Thank God Almighty, we're free at last!" ... Well, not so much.
Any way we can arrange to have that "Judge" 's home address, telephone numbers, Social Security number and a full description of each and all of his motor vehicles (including VINs and current tag numbers) published as widely as possible? Also, any and all e-mail addys he may have?
He really needs to have a few folks demonstrate for him fairly accurately just how "overvalued" his privacy might have been up until now.