Overflight, 40

“America’s fundamental laws exist to make the job of law enforcement not easier but harder. This isn’t a bug, it’s a core feature of democracy.

The freedom of a country can only be measured by its respect for the rights of its citizens, and it’s my conviction that these rights are in fact limitations of state power that define exactly where and when a government may not infringe into that domain of personal or individual freedoms that during the American Revolution was called "liberty" and during the Internet Revolution is called "privacy."

In contemporary life, we have a single concept that encompasses all this negative or potential space that’s off−limits to the government. That concept is "privacy." It is an empty zone that lies beyond the reach of the state, a void into which the law is only permitted to venture with a warrant — and not a warrant "for everybody," such as the one the US government has arrogated to itself in pursuit of mass surveillance, but a warrant for a specific person or purpose supported by a specific probable cause.

Any elected government that relies on surveillance to maintain control of a citizenry that regards surveillance as anathema to democracy has effectively ceased to be a democracy.

The constitutional system only functions as a whole if and when each of its three branches works as intended. When all three don’t just fail, but fail deliberately and with coordination, the result is a culture of impunity.

When we’ve got these people who have practically limitless powers within a society, if they get a pass without so much as a slap on the wrist, what example does that set for the next group of officials that come into power? To push the lines a little bit further, a little bit further, a little bit further, and we’ll realize that we’re no longer citizens — we’re subjects.