Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

6/18/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (

Citizens have more to fear from corrupt governments than from terrorists and criminals.

How much privacy are you willing to forgo to improve security? Facial recognition software is getting very good and law enforcement is increasingly using it to solve crimes by collecting images in databases. However, millions of Americans are being swept into these databases, and few of them have any idea. Americans are losing their anonymity in the name of safety.

Relax, it'll probably be okay...

Relax, it'll probably be okay...


By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (

6/18/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Obama, surveillance, database, images, photos, citizens, privacy, NSA, police

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A feature article by the Washington Post details how photo databases and facial recognition software are becoming tools for law enforcement, and that more and more citizens are being swept into them without any knowledge.

This goes beyond the official mugshot for a suspect or a prison inmate. People on the street can be photographed and included in the time it takes to walk by a camera. In some states, DMV photos are being added to the police records, to allow easier identification of suspects and witnesses.

In some states, the privacy controls are so lose that law enforcement can access photo databases and conduct a facial recognition search with even the most superficial reason.

This combines with the fact that our phone and internet activity is being swept into a massive national database by the National Security Administration and that our calls can be tapped by even low-level agents without much cause at all.

All this surveillance has a payoff. The NSA says its mass-data collection and domestic surveillance program has stopped at least 50 terror plots. Police likewise say their use of facial recognition software has cracked cold cases, and solved crimes that would have otherwise remained unpunished.

There's little question all this surveillance is making us safer. There's no telling how many crimes have been prevented and lives saved, but we can probably assume the figure is substantial.

So far, most Americans seem to be okay with living in a high-surveillance world. For the most part, we cheerfully hand over our privacy to private firms and neighbors via the social networks. And we're blissfully unaware of what the government and law enforcement is doing.

Since all of this activity occurs in the background, by design, we never notice it, and we continue to live our lives unimpeded by databases and archives. So what if a camera sweeps over your face and catalogues your presence at a sporting event or in the airport? Nothing to hide, nothing to fear right?

For most, the fuss ends there. What need have we of worry if both the government and law enforcement agree to play fair and use the data only to stop terrorists and criminals?

The problem is that over time things change. The forbidden becomes acceptable and the acceptable becomes forbidden. What you do lawfully today, may be questioned tomorrow. Worse, with the government and law enforcement so empowered, those with power will eventually use all means at their disposal to retain their positions of privilege, even if it costs you dearly. This is human nature, and we have seen it played out on the world stage time and again. Consider the corruption of King David in ancient Israel. Recall the treason of Charles I and Louis XVI who called for armies to march against their own people. Need we Mention the "Great Leap Forward" of Mao, or the depredations of the North Korean dictators? What of the world's Assads? What happens in a generation when Obama is regarded historically as a mere "moderate?" Given the growing culture of corruption in our government, we need to take warning.

Terrorists and criminals are bad people. They do evil things and must be stopped. However, history has shown the greatest evil that can befall a population is not an act of terrorism or a crime wave. Instead, the greater evil is from governments that go corrupt and begin to view the people as a resource to be managed rather than human beings whose rights should be respected.

Criminals harm by the thousands. Governments harm by the millions.

It must be noted one crucial difference between the Husseins and Qaddafis and Kings George. These men did not have all-seeing surveillance programs. They did not have predator drones, stealth bombers, and M1A1 main battle tanks. Our government does. Go ahead and keep your guns, they won't serve you so well upon the next Lexington Common or North Bridge.

When we quietly acquiesce our rights to government agencies in casual increments, we increase the danger future generations must face.

What happens when today's right becomes tomorrow's wrong? What happens when all anonymity is lost? How do you protest then? How do you go online and post your opinion? It is said, give a man a mask and he will tell the truth. There's a reason why confession occurs behind a screen. What truth will be spoken when the screens are gone and the masks are outlawed?

There is no new thing under the sun. Criminals and terrorists have always been and always will be. No camera will stop an act of depraved violence, if the attacker is determined. However, a camera will enable the government to impose its police authority on the people.

We do not need pervasive ways to combat crime and violence. What we need is a new way to conduct government. Rather than point the cameras at the people, we should point the cameras at our lawmakers, our police, and our domestic surveillance services.

The government will watch the criminals, but in the brave new world of mass-surveillance, who will watch the government?


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Politics & Policy

NOT EVEN CLOSE: Obama administration falls short of ending child hunger in the U.S. Watch

Image of A pledge, on the part of U.S. President Barack Obama to eradicate childhood hunger in the United States by 2015, has fallen noticeably short.


A pledge, on the part of U.S. President Barack Obama to eradicate childhood hunger in the United States by 2015, has fallen noticeably short. "Needless to say, the nation is not close to eliminating childhood hunger in this - the target - year," Food Research ... continue reading

Kevin McCarthy quits speaker race amid allegations of affair with Renee Ellmers Watch

Image of Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) pictured with Renee Ellmers (R-NC)


According to Washington insiders, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is having an affair with Renee Ellmers (R-NC). McCarthy dropped out of the Speaker race, and may have done so because an unknown insider is circulating a surveillance video on Capitol Hill, of him dining with ... continue reading

President Obama faces uphill battle with Pacific Rim trade pact Watch

Image of The Trans-Pacific Partnership is being battered on both sides of the right and the left in the U.S.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

United States President Barack Obama has hailed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) the largest free-trade agreement in a generation, as its completions will open new markets for U.S. goods and services. While Obama says the agreement will give "our workers the fair ... continue reading

California Governor Jerry Brown signs 'End of Life Option Act' Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed the "End of Life Option Act" into law this week. While he remained largely ambiguous about the bill, he came forward with the statement that the "Crux of the matter is whether the state of California should continue to ... continue reading

Trans-Pacific Partnership faces criticism in Congress Watch

Image of Citizen protests the Trans Pacific Partnership (AFP).


The controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership has been finalized and will be presented to business leaders by US President Barack Obama. However, Congress has already shown skepticism over the pact. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Twelve countries in the Pacific Rim ... continue reading

#IAmaChristian: Ben Carson honors the Oregon shooting's fallen students Watch

Image of Ben Carson (Facebook).


Nine were shot dead during the recent horrifying shooting at the Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon where a student claimed the gunman specifically targeted the religious. Following the claim, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson started a social ... continue reading

Supreme Court to render decisions on sensitive topics of abortion, birth control, race Watch

Image of An even more pressing issue to go before the court will be the issue of religious freedom coupled with President Obama's health care reform.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Supreme Court is rolling up its sleeves to render decisions that have long roiled the United States: abortion, birth control, religious freedom, and race. None of the pending decisions is likely to have the same import as the recent decision regarding ... continue reading

False ambassador has been working in government affairs for five months Watch

Image of Brett McGurk (C-Span).


For five months, an Obama administration official falsely presented himself as an official U.S. ambassador.  LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Brett McGurk, who is a deputy special presidential envoy to the Global Coalition serving under General John Allen, was ... continue reading

Will slow and steady win presidential race? Bernie matches Hillary with far smaller donations Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Longtime - if recently troubled political warhorse Hillary Clinton and avowed socialist Bernie Sanders are currently duking it out for the lead in the Democratic Presidential Race of 2016. Something highly significant has emerged in the contest ... the poor, ... continue reading

Donald Trump meets with 40 religious leaders and prays Watch

Image of Donald Trump meets religious leaders inside the Trump Tower.


Forty religious leaders and pastors met with presidential candidate Donald Trump in his Trump Tower office Monday afternoon. Trump shared a few minutes of prayer with the religious leaders, some of whom are noted televangelists. LOS ANGELES, CA  (Catholic Online) ... continue reading

All Politics & Policy News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Joel 4:12-21
12 'Let the nations rouse themselves and march to the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 97:1-2, 5-6, 11-12
1 Yahweh is king! Let earth rejoice, the many isles ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 11:27-28
27 It happened that as he was speaking, a woman in ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 10th, 2015 Image

St. Francis Borgia
October 10: Francis was a young nobleman at the court of the King of Spain. ... Read More