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08/20/2005 Archived Entry: "Proposed Canadian law = surveillance without supervision"

A PROPOSED CANADIAN LAW would authorize warrantless snooping on a vast scale. Emails. Website activity. Cellphone text messages. All could be monitored at will by the police, no legal procedures required.

And why? Well, it's another version of the old "the criminals have out gunned the cops" canard, of course. But this time the criminals are swarthy foreign A-Rabs, rather than swarthy foreign Eye-talians or Messicans.

Most of us probably believe that all this "search everybody all the time" business is plain and simply a tactic for building a police state while the climate is ripe for it. But that bright contrarian, Fred Reed, disagrees. Writing about physical, rather than electronic, searches, he says:

... much of it to me looks like the anti-boredom efforts of officious dim-witted bureaucrats who desperately want meaning in their lives. A little terrorism is at least exciting, gets the juices running.

A friend in California puts it this way: “Fred, people like being searched. They spend their lives in meaningless jobs they hate and then watch stupid sit-coms on the box. Getting searched makes them feel important. It means someone thinks they might actually be dangerous. Swatted-out cops with submachine guns give them their only sense of adventure. It’s like being in a video game.”

So maybe the idea that a G-Man (or Sgt. Preston of the Yukon) is watching as you e-chat about what a "bomb" last night's play was or how you want to "blow up" your toddler's photograph lends a little drama to your otherwise drab and pointless existance. Who knows?

Posted by Claire @ 09:33 AM CST

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