“Just don’t break the law”
One common refrain heard from supporters of increased government surveillance is that the innocent have nothing to hide, or as I recently heard it expressed, “just don’t break the law!”
I’m sure supporters of increased government surveillance are motivated by a desire to keep people safe. I want to keep people safe too, which is why I oppose increased government surveillance.
Even the innocent can come under suspicion of guilt. Those who believe they can escape becoming a false positive in a government surveillance system are critically ignorant of the manner in which such systems are built. Becoming a false positive is no joke; the suspicion of guilt can have dire consequences (e.g. Maher Arar), particularly for those who don’t enjoy the right to presumption of innocence. Increased government surveillance is dangerous for the falsely accused, those proven guilty by circumstantial evidence, and those who have been maliciously framed.
Moreover, laws that are plainly unjust and immoral should be disobeyed; Rosa Parks' refusal to give up her seat is often given as a canonical example. Increased government surveillance is dangerous for those who break the law because they know it’s the right thing to do.
Keep the people safe: restrict government surveillance.