Internationally, Privacy Takes a Hit


Strip Searches in America and
Big Brother in Britain Reading Your Phone

The SupremesThe Supreme Court on Monday on a 5-4 vote ruled that officials may strip-search people arrested for any offense, however minor, before admitting them to jails even if the officials have no reason to suspect the presence of contraband. Justice Kennedy joined the conservative wing is permitting searches based on the general welfare of the whole population.

Admittedly here we are talking about a prison population, but the next logical step some believe is that this will be expanded as a pretext to protect the general population from risks of terrorists or other criminal elements. Kennedy’s justification was that: “people detained for minor offenses can turn out to be the most devious and dangerous criminals.” This could have saved us from some of the 9-11 terrorists, but what nuns or pregnant women may have to go through seems a bit extreme. Who knows what guise a terrorist will take?

The case in question was based upon a traffic stop for an unpaid fine that turned out to have been paid. The stopped party was strip searched at each of the two detention facilities where he was held for a total exceeding a week. Justice Roberts stated there may be future exceptions to this rule.

However, across the Atlantic, the Brits are in an uproar because of impending plans by the government to give the intelligence and security services the ability to monitor the phone calls, e-mails, text messages and Internet use of every person in the country. British lawmakers and rights activists joined a chorus of protest Monday against the measure. However the tens of thousands of surveillance cameras attest to claims by privacy advocates that Britain is the Western world’s most closely monitored society, the proposal has touched the raw nerves of every rights group. British citizens live under what critics call an increasingly intrusive “nanny state.”

One Nation Under SurveillanceThis year authorities will be empowered to order Internet companies to install hardware enabling the government’s monitoring agency, Government Communications Headquarters, known as GCHQ, to examine individual communications without a warrant. It will be “Peak First and Justify Later.” Part of this imagined paranoid behavior is due to the summer Olympics, which will give millions of foreigners access to major publicity and the possibility to bring the international games to a halt.

So remember Big Brother really is watching you!