Time Essay: The Limits of Security and Secrecy

The makers of our Constitution undertook to secure conditions favorable to the pursuit of happiness ... They conferred, as against the Government, the right to be let alone —the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men. To protect that right, every unjustifiable intrusion by the Government upon the privacy of the individual, whatever the means employed, must be deemed a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

These words by Justice Louis Brandeis, written in 1928, may seem almost quaint to a nation engulfed by Watergate.

But they are an implicit...

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