“Suspicious Activity Reporting,” And We All Lose

In an op-ed column today, the ACLU’s Michael German takes on “Suspicious Activity Reporting” (SAR) programs employed by the government in an effort to identify criminals and terrorists. The only problem? When the criteria of so-called suspicious activity is so broad as to include people taking photographs, jotting down notes, wearing hooded sweatshirts, etc., it essentially criminializes everyday, legal activities and makes all of our lives not just more uncomfortable, but less free. Moreover, as German notes, there is no evidence that “these programs have identified a single terrorist plot.”

A program that violates American values and fails to keep us safe is a lose-lose proposition. Law enforcement already has the authority it needs to fight crime and terrorism without sacrificing the rights of those it seeks to protect.

Incidentally, German is a former FBI special agent and intelligence expert.

Read the column here.

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