Intro by Stuart Lyle
It is not hard to spot creeping authoritarianism in the US. The Snowden document cache makes clear that the government has a voracious appetite for data, our data: the digital traces we leave whenever we are online. It is no longer an unsubstantiated suspicion. The UN has documented and ranked the US. Nothing to be proud of… particularly a “D” for not providing “effective remedies.”
The article below by Peter Van Buren originally appeared in a July 31, 2015 post to his We Meant Well blog.
Peter Van Buren
For a nation that goes out of its way to tell everybody else what to do about freedomism, and which still has, on paper at least, Constitutional Fourth Amendment guarantees against unlawful search and seizure, America fails miserably in assuring its citizens their rights.
In fact, according to a UN study, the self-proclaimed “Exceptional Nation” ranks with China, Bolivia and Djibouti. Yea us!
A United Nations Human Rights Committee issued midterm report cards for several countries based on how well they adhered to and implemented its recommendations related to the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, an international treaty outlining the rights of all individuals. The U.S. performance overall was “not satisfactory.”
In particular, the committee noted that the U.S. government failed to establish an adequate oversight system to make sure privacy rights are being upheld, and failed to make sure that any breaches of privacy were regulated and authorized by law, such as requiring a warrant. The lowest grade reflected America’s failure to “ensure affected persons have access to effective remedies in cases of abuse.”
The committee also expressed dismay at the U.S. failure to “establish the responsibility of those who provided legal pretexts for manifestly illegal behavior.”
Last year, the Human Rights Committee submitted recommendations to the United States on areas where it could improve the privacy rights of its citizens, following revelations made by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. But according to the midterm review, many of those suggestions were not addressed.
So shut the hell up Americans. You’ll get your freedom when and if the authorities decide to give any to you.