Government Monitoring

When governments put citizens under surveillance for engaging in political speech or debate about important issues, they are less likely to exercise their First Amendment rights. Tracking movements, relationships, donations and support of causes invades people’s privacy and chills their participation in public life.

AP: Residents snitch on businesses, neighbors amid shutdowns

Snitches are emerging as enthusiastic allies as cities, states and countries work to enforce directives meant to limit person-to-person contact amid the virus pandemic. They’re phoning police and municipal hotlines, complaining to elected officials and shaming perceived scofflaws on social media.

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New York Times: As Coronavirus Surveillance Escalates, Personal Privacy Plummets

Mayor Bill de Blasio posted details on Twitter about a lawyer in Westchester County who was the second person in the state to test positive for the virus — including the name of the man’s seven-person law firm and the names of the schools attended by two of his children. A few hours later, The New York Post identified the lawyer by name and was soon referring to him as “patient zero” in the coronavirus outbreak in New Rochelle.

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