August 28, 2013
"Can we say then … that the general economy of power in our societies is becoming a domain of security?" Michel Foucault, 1978 In 1791, the Fourth Amendment - sanctifying what we now call the human right to privacy - became part of the Bill of Rights. Barely had the ink of the signatures dried when it was already threatened by government. Congress immediately planned to take a census of the newly established country's population, only to be met by numerous citizens resisting officials poking their heads onto their property and asking about their children, size of home, how many males and females were over the age of 16. More than two centuries later, the right to privacy continues to be threatened and violated.
June 13, 2013
Reader David Liddle writes that "since I have nothing to hide and would like to protect myself and my family from terrorists, I have no problem with the government looking at my emails and listening to my phone calls" ("'Don't worry: The NSA isn't interested in you," June 12). I would ask if he sees any value in the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing privacy from government intrusion? Would he prefer to live under a totalitarian government that spies on all its citizens in order to silence dissent?
June 10, 2013
I was somewhat disturbed by reports the National Security Agency has been monitoring all phone calls on the Verizon system for years ("Surveillance state," June 7). But like most Americans I accepted it as my government protecting the country against terrorists. Today, however, I made a point of reading the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution rather than just believing I knew what it meant - and realized how wrong I was. I recommend that citizens of this country obtain and review a copy of the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, before formulating an opinion on major issues such as this.
June 7, 2013
The Sun's reasoning regarding the recent ruling on DNA collection is severely flawed ("Court is right on DNA," June 4). DNA is not 21 s t -century fingerprinting, and it does more than identify a person. It's likely there is yet undetermined information stored in the "non-coding" section of DNA. It is irrelevant whether the information gathered is used or not. The very fact that the state has taken the information from an individual violates the Fourth Amendment. It can be likened to taking someone's computer.
June 3, 2013
A divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that police in Maryland and elsewhere can continue the warrantless collection of DNA from people arrested - but not convicted - of serious crimes. The 5-4 decision upheld a state law that allows investigators to take genetic information from arrestees, a practice followed by the federal government and about half the states. Police generally compare suspects' DNA to records from other cases in hopes of developing leads. The case, which amplified a long-running debate over the limits of government search-and-seizure powers, began with a challenge from a Wicomico County man linked to a rape after his DNA was taken in an unrelated arrest.
May 6, 2012
I found Dan Rodricks ' commentary regarding DNA testing and the recent Maryland Court of Appeals ruling ("DNA: Why wait for an arrest?" May 3) to be quite interesting. He states at the end that he can't think of a good argument against his position that we should all give DNA samples to the authorities whether we have been accused of a crime or not. Well, Dan, I've also thought about how useful having a large repository of DNA can be. Unsolved crime and a city mayor on your back?