Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 16th Dec 2013 23:15 UTC

A federal judge in Washington ruled on Monday that the bulk collection of Americans' telephone records by the National Security Agency is likely to violate the US constitution, in the most significant legal setback for the agency since the first disclosures prompted by the whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Judge Richard Leon declared that the mass collection of metadata probably violates the fourth amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, and was "almost Orwellian" in its scope. In a judgment replete with literary swipes against the NSA, he said James Madison, the architect of the US constitution, would be "aghast" at the scope of the agency’s collection of Americans' communications data.

It's just a preliminary ruling, and while the judge stated that he would most likely uphold the preliminary ruling after the merits of the case have been handled, there's probably thousands of appeals and stuff like that where this could crumble into dust.

Once a government has obtained a power, it rarely releases it. That's the nature of government - it can only grow.

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RE[2]: Let me be liberal
by Gone fishing on Wed 18th Dec 2013 05:46 UTC in reply to "RE: Let me be liberal"
Gone fishing
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The problem isn't people picking the wrong ideology, the problem is people picking any ideology... Ideology is the problem - it creates a force field through which reform cannot possible pass...

On this we agree ideology is per se harmful even wicked although it s difficult for us to see our own ideology, I always liked the situationalist slogan:

Theory is when you have ideas; ideology is when ideas have you.

I also agree with

You fix it by making the government adhere to its founding principles,

Although if you do not blinding follow the majority will” who do you follow an elite? Shamefully I come from a country without a written constitution; however, I don’t not see government as inherently corrupting. The heroes that drafted the American constitution were not against government , but for - Government of the people, by the people and for the people. They attempted to build in checks and balances, to defend the liberty of the citizen against the tyranny of government that usurped the power of the citizen. If you believe that this has happened it needs fixing. I am reminded of Jefferson’s” The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” I suspect on this we largely agree.

Where we may disagree is on the idea of freedom as appose to liberty. I would argue that freedom is the ability to control ones destiny and life, for the common man this requires collective democratic decision making. Otherwise we are all subject simply atomised individuals at the mercy of Adam Smith’s invisible hand, which without getting its fingers sharply smacked on occasion inevitably favours the wealthy and powerful. Sometimes government has fulfilled this role, levelling the playing field making for example Universal Education for example a reality, and occasionally limiting the power of landlords, corporations and monopolies.

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