Saturday, July 03, 2010

Judge Napolitano's misunderstandings

Judge Napolitano, on today's Freedom Watch program, raised two objections concerning government surveillance that I believe are mistaken:    The use of UAVs to monitor our borders and the use of microphones to monitor sounds in our cities.

First, the use of UAVs—drones—over our borders.   The Judge objected to the use of UAVs categorizing them as a tool for spying on citizens.   The counter argument revolves around our expectation that the federal government will control immigration across our borders and, like the use of men on horesback or riding in SUVs, UAVs simply are an enhancement of ability over men on foot patrol.

The Judge also mentioned UAVs flying over metropolitan areas.   While I haven't heard of such a thing, I can see use of UAVs as a legitimate alternative to helicopters to follow fugitives on the run as we occasionally have seen on live TV.   To suspect the federal government intends to use UAVs to conduct 24/7 surveillance on citizens is to engage in Orwellian fantasy.

The second objection raised by the Judge is on microphones some metropolitan areas have installed outdoors, the purpose of which is to triangulate to the location of gunshots.   Here, the Judge—again mistakenly—characterized these microphones as devices for monitoring conversations of citizens on the street.

Judge Napolitano is known for his libertarian approach to government and correctly brings up legitimate issues with federal government overreach.   But, as no-one is perfect, I choose to apply a commonsense filter to his pronouncements.


Anonymous said...

I think his concerns stem not from a fear that they will do this now; but rather, a fear that someone will use these misuse these technologies in the future. Then again, he may mean now. Look who is in control of our government.

Ron Russell said...

I must agree with Trestin. Misuse is always in the cards and the Judge in indeed a true Libertarian. I often disagree with him on some issues by in general I like the man and his views. I never will find that one I agree with totally, alas not even in the mirror!