June 9, 2006

Qui custodiet ipsos custodes?

I’ve argued long and loud that even the most secret of government probing needs to be done in some sense openly. That’s hardly a new observation with me. For example, David Brin argued the point effectively in The Transparent Society.

Tom Greene, however, makes the case even more effectively, in just one sentence:

It’s ironic that spooks so often remind us that we’ve got nothing to fear from their activities if we’ve got nothing nasty to hide, while they themselves are rarely comfortable without multiple layers of secrecy, anonymity and plausible deniability.

And he backs it up (actually, precedes it) in this excerpt:

The best conversation I had was with Robert van Bosbeek of the Dutch National Police. I asked him if he was tempted to buy anything.

“Not really,” he said with a laugh. “But it’s always good to see what’s on offer. Basically, we’re three or four years ahead of all this.”

He said that in the Netherlands, communications intercept capabilities are advanced and well established, and yet, in practice, less problematic than in many other countries. “Our legal system is more transparent,” he said, “so we can do what we need to do without controversy. Transparency makes law enforcement easier, not more difficult.”

Emphasis mine.


One Response to “Qui custodiet ipsos custodes?”

  1. When people don’t want accurate predictions made about them | DBMS 2 : DataBase Management System Services on October 15th, 2015 10:15 am

    […] Who will watch the watchmen? […]

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