ACLU and Republican leader join forces on privacy

Date: Thu Jul 12 2001 - 13:41:43 MDT

In a case of bedfellows about as strange as they come, the ACLU has
joined with House Majority Leader Dick Armey, Republican from Texas,
to call for a halt to the use of facial recognition technology as a part
of government surveillance of American citizens. reads:

     Over the past several days, a troubling expansion in the way
     technology is being used in the surveillance of ordinary Americans
     has come to light. In response, we are today joining together to call
     on all state and local governments to stop using these dangerous
     technologies now before privacy in America is so diminished that
     it becomes nothing more than a fond memory.

     Majority Leader Armey will ask the General Accounting Office
     to study the extent to which the federal government is funding
     facial-recognition technologies. In addition, he will ask the
     relevant House Committees to hold hearings on law enforcement use
     of surveillance technology. The ACLU supports these requests.

I doubt that Armey and the ACLU agree on much. It's amazing how these new
issues are cutting across traditional political divisions. Even with
the stem cell issue, Catholics are giving cover to Republicans for
support of research in this area, while the Protestant Right continues
to adopt an absolutist stance against it. I wonder what new divisions
and realigments we will see as technology moves on.


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