The recent US judgement that the extent of surveillance undertaken by the US state is incompatible with American freedoms under the constitution is a welcome and important development.
As someone who was hopeful of something better from the Obama Presidency , he has been a big disappointment when it comes to civil liberties. He promised to close Guantanamo Bay, then failed to do so. He now supervises a very complex web of surveillance over the US people in the name of countering terrorism.
Guantanamo Bay was the very opposite of the system we fight to uphold – the right of every one to a fair trial, and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. The surveillance of phone systems is said only to be about who you rang and when you rang them. It does seem very heavy handed to have to keep so many records about millions of innocent people.
Of course a relatively free society like the USA or the UK has to be realistic. There are enemies of a free society who do not play by our rules. We need to use our border controls, our police and courts to tackle them as need arises. We also need to be careful lest in the state’s enthusiasm to ward off evil, it goes too far in the direction of creating a Big Brother society where the state pre-empts our freedoms in the name of security.