Monday, September 26, 2016

Court Judge releases list of more than 200 cases veiled in secrecy of Patriot Act

WashPost scoop of real note ...

Washington Post – This judge just released 200 secret government surveillance requests
“U.S. District Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell, a former Senate aide who helped draft the Patriot Act, has defied easy labeling throughout a decades-long career spent charting the frontier of technology and law in the nation’s capital….In ordering the first-ever release by a full federal district court of a year’s worth of secret government surveillance requests, U.S. District Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell of Washington this week added to a decades-long career spent charting the frontier of technology and the law in the nation’s capital. Howell on Wednesday stepped into the fierce debate over the limits of secrecy and law enforcement searches in a digital age by releasing a list of more than 200 cases in which U.S. prosecutors in the District sought court orders for data about individuals’ phone, email…”

"The dumber people think you are, the more surprised 
they're going to be when you kill them." 

Napolitano, Giulio, Looking for a Smarter Government (and Administrative Law) in the Age of Uncertainty (September 23, 2016). Forthcoming, Comparative administrative law, edited by Susan Rose-Ackerman and Peter Lindseth, II edition, Edward Elgar. Available for download at SSRN:

“The paper analyzes to what extent the crisis erupted in 2008 and the subsequent age of global uncertainty changed the recipes of reinventing government and administrative reform experienced in the last two decades of the twentieth century, characterized by the rolling back of the state, due to its fiscal crisis, the opening of markets, and the advancement of globalization. As a matter of fact, the explosion of the financial and economic crisis of 2008 and its long-lasting effects definitely undermined the unquestioned confidence in a clear set of measures aiming to push back the state and to mimic market recipes in its management.  In a more and more uncertain context, a global search for a smarter and simpler government, able to do more (or at least the same) with less, started in last ten years. Privatization and deregulation were put at the margins of the political agenda, even if still practiced in specific cases. These were supplanted by a more sophisticated approach to regulation, based on public participation and accountability, retrospective review, and cognitive sciences. A significant revision of NPM took place too. Major attention was paid to setting priorities, measuring and publicizing outcomes, enhancing transparency and accountability. Local governments were concentrated in number and specialized in tasks. The establishment of a digital government and of effective electronic services accessible to all required an overall commitment to advance the public sector at the frontier of technological innovation. A relevant reformation of administrative law too was needed to cope with all these major transformations.  The paper, however, highlights that the praise for a smarter government runs the risk of remaining an ambiguous formula, simply revealing the absence of a set of clearly successful measures in the reforms’ toolkit. Taking seriously the quest for a smarter government, on the contrary, would require huge investments in careful policy-making, high bureaucratic capacity, continuous digital innovation, sophisticated administrative law rules and institutions. Effective change, in any case, is slow and uncertain. Governments and bureaucracies are complex machineries, which tend to perpetuate traditions and conducts. As a consequence, the impact of many reforms is simply interstitial. Only mid-term and stable policies can produce significant effects.”

"When I hear somebody sigh: 'Life is hard', I am always tempted to ask: 'Compared to what ?'..."  Don’t watch the new MacGyver if you value your sanity!  Concurring: Fall has come and so have the shows to avoid.