This article is from a Green parliamentarian in Germany. The Greens are supposed to be the pseudo communists these days, but at points in this essay the author almost sounds like a Tea Party regular. He makes reference to Benjamin Franklin’s “liberty versus security” quote if you can believe it.
The Germans remember the Stasi and Hitler. According to the article the Krauts will never let big brother creep into their lives again.
Let’s take a lesson from our friends across the Atlantic. Let’s not learn the hard way. Now is the time to address in very clear terms where the 4th Amendment extends and where it does not in cyberspace. I think it’s pretty clear, but let’s define it now for those who do not see a clear line.
We should also make it abundantly clear to our government that we are citizens and not subjects. We are to be treated with dignity and that the rule of law applies to everyone.
(From The New York Times)
In Germany, whenever the government begins to infringe on individual freedom, society stands up. Given our history, we Germans are not willing to trade in our liberty for potentially better security. Germans have experienced firsthand what happens when the government knows too much about someone. In the past 80 years, Germans have felt the betrayal of neighbors who informed for the Gestapo and the fear that best friends might be potential informants for the Stasi. Homes were tapped. Millions were monitored.
Although these two dictatorships, Nazi and Communist, are gone and we now live in a unified and stable democracy, we have not forgotten what happens when secret police or intelligence agencies disregard privacy. It is an integral part of our history and gives young and old alike a critical perspective on state surveillance systems.