Legal Challenges to Government Surveillance
by Jeffrey L. Vagle
Pub Date 05 Dec 2017
"How many Americans realize that a wide array government surveillance practices has been effectively shielded from judicial review because of obscure legal rules about who has the requisite “standing” to sue? In Being Watched, Jeffrey Vagle weaves together cultural, social, and legal history to tell a tale about how America’s surveillance regime has largely managed to steer clear of meaningful checks and balances. Being Watched is an expert’s account of government surveillance in America stretching from the Civil War to our present post-Snowden moment, filled with details useful to the scholar and the general public alike."
—Ben Wizner, Director, Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, American Civil Liberties Union
"Being Watched traces the history of political surveillance aimed at dissenters exercising free speech rights and, more recently, cyber surveillance aimed at everybody. The focus, with an easy explanatory style and depth brought to complex legal and technological issues, is the evolution of an obscure, judicially-created legal theory used by the Supreme Court over the last several decades to reject even minimal constitutional restraints on government surveillance. Must reading for anyone concerned about the erosion of privacy and cyber integrity."
—David Kairys, Temple law professor, author of Philadelphia Freedom, Memoir of a Civil Rights Lawyer
"To most non-lawyers, 'standing' is an arcane legal principle. But understanding what it is and what it means is essential to understanding why the courts have not been an effective check on improper government surveillance. Vagle explains it all, very clearly, and explains what it means for privacy and civil liberties."
—Steven M. Bellovin, Columbia University