Wednesday, February 23, 2011

40 years ago: U.S. Senate begins hearings on threats to privacy from computer data banks

On February 23, 1971 the United States Senate Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights, whose staff had been probing both federal government and private snooping via computer data banks, opened nine days of public hearings. The panel’s chairman, Senator Sam Ervin (Democrat--North Carolina), who saw an invasion of personal privacy in the use of modern computer technology, warned of the dangers to the U.S. "free society" because Americans’ fear of surveillance could lead to being "afraid to speak their minds freely to the government or anyone else."

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