Friday, October 30, 2009

The Spies Who Love Me

I never know quite to make of these announcements. The cynic in me says the government has been spying on us in various ways for as long they had technology to do it. And private monitoring of our transactions from using the ATM to handing over your discount card at retail vendors leaves a record from which much can be extrapolated about your life, already makes the concept of privacy something of a joke. But still, this is Charlie Savage, so I'm willing to take some hope from this headline: Obama Order Strengthens Spy Oversight:
In an executive order released Thursday by the White House, Mr. Obama rolled back several changes made by the Bush administration that had weakened the Intelligence Oversight Board, a panel that helps presidents make sure spy agencies are obeying federal laws and presidential directives.

Tommy Vietor, a White House spokesman, said an order about the oversight panel issued by President George W. Bush had “cast a cloud of uncertainty upon the board’s independence and powers.” Mr. Obama’s revision, Mr. Vietor said, “is designed to correct those deficiencies.”
There's no doubt that the Bush administration pushed the limits of domestic surveillance to far beyond any reasonable metric, so to the extent that it's being reined back at all, it strikes me as a good thing.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]

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