Federal District Court judge Shira Schiedlin has an effective retort to the Obama Administration’s White Paper on Bulk Collection of Telephony Metadata: Enough already with the Stop and Frisk, whether conducted on the streets or in cyberspace: it violates the 4th Amendment and it’s racially discriminatory.
Hello? I’m comparing these two levels of discourse? Hell, yes. What is racial profiling, the heart and soul of Stop & Frisk, except the gross collection of “metadata” based on specious assumptions?
The rationale on both levels goes like this. It’s not about you or the content of your character—you as an individual—no, it’s just that you inhabit the wrong neighborhood, you frequent the wrong precincts, the places where dangerous people share addresses with law-abiding citizens, so we have to shake you down regardless of what you have done, been, or want to be.
We’re preventing crime, you see, by creating the category of criminality—here a war on drugs, there a war on terror—and then placing the population that can be counted within it under close surveillance, so that its imminent crimes can be anticipated. You have seen the statistics on the drop in crime, and you know there’s been no reprise of 9/11. Nothing explains these facts better than our vigilance, on the streets and in cyberspace.
How to prove that negative? It’s impossible, it’s “as if,” it’s a circular logic at best. See the White Paper. But until now, until Edward Snowden and Shira Schiedlin actually addressed the grand claims of the post-totalitarian state and its local armature, it seemed inevitable.