Monday, August 08, 2005

The Rubbish and 1984

Declan McCullagh is concerned that it is legal for the law enforcement authorities to be able to trawl through people's rubbish for evidence. Justice James C. Nelson in an opinion confirming such activity as legal is also concerned:

"In short, I know that my personal information is recorded in databases, servers, hard drives and file cabinets all over the world. I know that these portals to the most intimate details of my life are restricted only by the degree of sophistication and goodwill or malevolence of the person, institution, corporation or government that wants access to my data.

I also know that much of my life can be reconstructed from the contents of my garbage can.

I don't like living in Orwell's 1984; but I do. And, absent the next extinction event or civil libertarians taking charge of the government (the former being more likely than the latter), the best we can do is try to keep Sam and the sub-Sams on a short leash."

Declan includes Justice Nelson's concurring opinion from the relevant recent case at the end of his article.

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