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War on Privacy

NCJ Number
L A Sobel
Date Published
251 pages
Events are described which concerned Government invasion of citizens' privacy during the first half of the 1970's, based on public accounts of current events at the time.
Various forms of attack on Americans' privacy are reviewed, from Government surveillance to credit investigations. This situation is exacerbated by increasing use of computers to collect, store, and quickly release masses of personal information. Statements from public officials illustrate the widespread concern with privacy and security issues and trace major historical developments establishing American privacy rights. Chronological accounts of specific assaults on the rights of privacy are provided for several categories. The section on electronic surveillance describes the curbs and uses of wiretaps, as well as eavesdropping cases from 1969 to 1973. Events following the 1970 disclosures that the Army had conducted an intensive domestic surveillance program are chronicled. Attacks on the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for irregular investigations and surveillances which began in 1971 are summarized, along with similar criticisms of other Government agencies. The major portion of the book concerns the Watergate scandal and presents records of events beginning with the 1972 disclosures of the breaking into Democratic national headquarters through the 1975 conviction of four presidential aides. Finally, other inquiries, reforms, and miscellaneous events regarding privacy issues are detailed, including the 1975 Rockefeller investigation of Central Intelligence Agency domestic spying, the 1974 Privacy Act, FBI files on prominent persons, and misuse of tax return data. An index is provided.


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