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Security Laws Must Include Transparency and Accountability

Any laws to expand the powers of the FBI in the wake of the Boston bombings should explicitly include transparency and accountability provisions, according to a new op-ed in The Atlantic by Bruce Schneier.

The article argues that proper controls don’t just prevent programs from going outside their bounds and encroaching on civil liberties, but that oversight actually increases security. Vast sums of money and time have been wasted on technologies and policies that did nothing to make us safer.

From the article:

The TSA, for example, could devote an entire museum to expensive but ineffective systems: puffer machines, body scanners, FAST behavioral screening, and so on. Local police departments have been wasting lots of post-9/11 money on unnecessary high-tech weaponry and equipment. The occasional high-profile success aside, police surveillance cameras have been shown to be a largely ineffective police tool.

Schneier argues that to prevent such wasteful programs, new laws must enshrine transparency and accountability.

Long ago, we realized that simply trusting people and government agencies to always do the right thing doesn't work, so we need to check up on them. In a democracy, transparency and accountability are how we do that. It's how we ensure that we get both effective and cost-effective government. It's how we prevent those we trust from abusing that trust, and protect ourselves when they do.

Read more at The Atlantic.

By: Andre Francisco
Online Producer, POGO

andre francisco Andre Francisco is the Online Producer for the Project On Government Oversight.

Topics: Open Government

Related Content: Government Secrecy

Authors: Andre Francisco

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