Being Watched: Legal Challenges to Government Surveillance

New York Univ. Dec. 2017. 208p. notes. index. ISBN 9781479809271. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781479841530. LAW
Vagle's (executive director, Ctr. for Technology, Innovation and Competition, Univ. of Pennsylvania Law Sch.) book is about government surveillance and the difficulty that plaintiffs affected by surveillance activities have in getting their cases heard by federal courts. Vagle discusses the issue of standing in the courts and how this relates to government surveillance and national security. The center of the book is a 1972 Supreme Court case, Laird v. Tatum, filed by a group of plaintiffs who claimed that they had been harmed by the government's surveillance of their protests against the Vietnam War. The Court denied their claim under Article III of the Constitution, stating that the plaintiffs could not sue in federal court because they had not proved direct harm by the government. The author examines the history of government surveillance cases through September 11, 2001, and after, highlighting the ways in which terrorism concerns have made claims of harm by government surveillance even more difficult to present in a court of law.
VERDICT Vagle presents a compelling study of a topic that has a long history in American law but is also very timely. Recommended for academic and law libraries.
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