The 4th Amendment is just as important today as it was in 1791.
Many in the intelligence community have used last week’s attacks in Paris as an opportunity to contend that privacy is a luxury that our brave new world simply cannot afford. Washington’s power players renewed their call for private companies like Apple and Google to allow “backdoors” into their products–and subsequently the private lives of their customers. Former CIA official Michael Morrell suggested that the debate over encryption and privacy might have different results this time, with the public reeling from scenes of bloodshed in Paris. As Patrick Tucker of Defense One recently wrote, “the enemies of encryption have their knives drawn.” While I will forgo repeating the oft-cited Ben Franklin line about liberty and security, I will say this: We cannot allow fear to dictate our policies, or compel us to cast our Constitution to the wayside. Power corrupts–and power will inevitably be abused. The 4th Amendment is just as important today as it was in 1791.