The government gets a free pass because you’re careless

I’ve seen a lot of criticism of Glenn Reynolds as an apologist for the current administrations forays into absolute authority. Most times, I’ve thought it overblown. If he doesn’t write about something, it’s illogical to automatically conclude that he’s defending it. Perhaps, but perhaps not. There are a lot of topics that I don’t write about because they don’t coax enough of a response out of me for the effort required to blog. Since that required effort is generally minimal, I’m willing to cut some slack on that. This example from yesterday, while not a brazen as The National Review, seems rather misguided.

YES, THE NSA NUMBER-TRACKING PROGRAM isn’t really “eavesdropping” on calls. But as reader Liz Mauran notes, the misleading press coverage probably doesn’t matter: “It seems to me, judging from the number of people in airports, restaurants, and other public venues talking on their cell phones, that it’s just fine to have a non-private telephone conversation.”

Yes. I wish that people valued their telephonic privacy a bit more. And based on my own experience, I’d pity any NSA agent who was forced to listen to some of the stuff I’ve overheard. . . .

While I understand the pithy point that the reader makes, it’s irrelevant to the NSA’s wire-tapping number-tracking program. So what if Americans want to blab their conversations loud enough for everyone to hear? Yes, it’s annoying, but it is not the same thing. The Constitution says nothing about people voluntarily allowing (forcing?) the world to eavesdrop. But volunteering our intimate details and having them siphoned without our knowledge are not the same thing. As we notice when we read the Fourth Amendment, there’s a nice phrase about being secure against unreasonable searches and seizures, as well as the bit about warrants and probable cause. Surely this qualifies. Only an apologist could argue otherwise.