Digital Liberties Group Slams Dems Over 'Electronic Wall'

Fight for the Future, which says government electronic surveillance is already "out of control," took aim at Democrats Friday over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's call for a "technological wall."

Pushing back on President Donald Trump's call for a physical barrier, Democrats have been arguing for boosting technological answers to border security rather than concrete and steel, a symbol they argue is the wrong one for a country with a Statue of Liberty beckoning the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

Pelosi said Thursday that physical barriers were not the best way to secure the border. She said strengthening ports of entry, scanning cars coming across the border, were the way to go, which she called "an almost technological wall that can be built."

Fight for the Future didn't like the sound of that. "As a group that defends civil liberties in the digital age, we are extremely concerned about this rhetoric," it said. "Surveillance technology that's deployed at the border quickly spreads domestically as well, often disproportionately targeting marginalized communities."

They said the Democrat proposal might be appealing in contrast to the President's "bizarre plan to build a costly and unnecessary wall," but suggested looks can be deceiving. "[I]n reality—increasing border surveillance is a nefarious move that widely threatens the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution," it said. That is the prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures.

FFTF is putting its resources where its concerns are, launching a campaign to get Democrats to back off increased border surveillance.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.