Privacy & Profiling
Since 9/11, there has been a dramatic increase in the amount of information about ordinary, law-abiding Americans collected by the government. Constraints on domestic intelligence gathering were initially ignored. When these violations became apparent, Congress and the Executive simply changed the rules, making it easier for the government to obtain information about U.S. citizens and residents even when their connection to terrorism is tenuous or nonexistent.
The steady erosion of the limits on the government’s intelligence collection authorities poses an unacceptable and unjustified threat to the privacy of law-abiding persons. It also increases the risk that law enforcement decisions will be based on ethnic or religious profiling. And it makes counterterrorism policies less effective by alienating profiled communities and diverting resources from more productive paths. The Brennan Center is working to ensure that the government’s counterterrorism efforts are properly targeted to the terrorist threat we face.