July 1, 2007

SORRY, BUT THIS IS A DUMB IDEA:

Lieberman said that the United States should emulate what the Brits have done in London, look into putting cameras all over our major cities to monitor what people are doing. He said that privacy was not a concern, as this would be for our national security. He said that this was “common sense.”

Lots of garbage data, threat to civil liberties, but not much of an anti-terrorism record. The efficacy of cameras in preventing or remedying terror has been highly ineffective.

UPDATE: Brendan Loy emails that the quote is inaccurate:

When I read the quote from RedState about Lieberman’s comments regarding cameras in major cities, I knew the statement “he said that privacy was not a concern, as this would be for our national security” had to be wrong. That doesn’t make any sense, and it isn’t something the eminently sensible Sen. Lieberman would say. Certainly, there are some instances where national-security measures can have too great a negative impact on privacy. Everyone knows this, and the Joe Lieberman I know wouldn’t deny it. And sure enough, he didn’t. He didn’t say that privacy is “not a concern” because “this would be for our national security.” The two statements were separate. Here’s the video clip: http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/story?id=3335589&page=1

Here’s the actual quote: “I think it’s just common sense to do that here much more widely. And of course we can do it without compromising anybody’s real privacy. This is about the security of our country and our people with an enemy that is prepared to attack us again and again here at home.”

When he says “of course we can do it without compromising anybody’s real privacy,” it’s clear he is saying he believes such a system can be implemented with adequate safeguards for people’s privacy. He doesn’t detail what those safeguards would be, probably because he was on a sound-byte show and was already on a tangent, but it’s certainly not an implausible position, even if one disagrees with it. Anyway, after saying he believes people’s privacy can be protected, he then explains again his rationale for why the cameras are necessary in the first place, namely national security. But they’re clearly separate sentences and separate logical trains of thought, whereas RedState’s summary of his remarks mistakenly posits national security as the reason Lieberman believes privacy would not be impacted — which makes his position sound cartoonish. Frankly, it sounds like the sort of summary of a Lieberman appearance that I’d expect to find on Daily Kos, not RedState.

I still think the cameras are a dumb idea, but this does change things somewhat.

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