Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Despite Godwin's Law, there comes a point when analogies to certain vicious security states of the 20th century are appropriate. This video has made me so angry that I'm gonna "go there" to make my point.

There is something so fundamentally wrong with this campaign that I'm getting a migraine from trying to figure out where to begin.

Even at the height of the Third Reich, there were very few Gestapo officers relative to the population of Germany and, subsequently, German-occupied Europe. Thus, to get information, the government relied heavily on everyday citizens reporting to the Gestapo's local and regional offices. The files recovered after the war document the copious amounts of information they had collected, most of which was voluntarily given by citizens about other citizens. Like today's "fusion centers" that aggregate data on Americans, the Gestapo had too much information to run efficiently. (Former FBI agent Mike German has done invaluable work on fusion centers at the ACLU.)

Collecting information this way is not only a threat to individual liberty, but it also is counter-productive to law enforcement's legitimate and necessary counter-terrorism efforts because the resources required to investigate so many bogus leads. Thus, informing on fellow citizens actually helps terrorists because law enforcement agents are too busy wasting their time with superfluous allegations. (Of course, law enforcement will happily arrest and prosecute people for whatever non-terrorism related information they find as they dig into the lives of those people unlucky enough to be reported on.)

Our police should do their jobs and our citizens should mind their own damned business.

H/T: Allison Gibbs

1 comment:

Seneca said...

Gotta love the Heimat Sicherheitsdienst.