The term "surveillance" has taken on symbolic significance in our times. To those who shout "law and order" and decry the pampering of criminal defendants, surveillance is viewed as an essential law enforcement tool. To those who stress the protection of individual freeddoms and point to the embattled position of a criminal defendant struggling against the monolithic forces of the state, surveillance is cast as an ugly instrument of repression. Of course, when considered in the abstract, both of these are the extreme positions, and the Congress had at least attempted to define approptiate legal paramaters for the use of electronic surveillance. But in the wider domain of surveillance of the public acts of individuals- whether by the military or the civilian law enforcement agencies- no legal guidelines have been drawn. In this article, Professor Christie suggests a solution to this broader issue by proposing a federal statute which delineates those circumstances in which surveillance is it's broadest sense is warranted. In structuring his statute, the author makes an effort to balance the seemingly conflicting objectives of those who emphasize society's need for security and those who emphasize the individual's need for privacy.
George C. Christie, Government Surveillance and Individual Freedom: A Proposed Statutory Response to Laird v. Tatum and the Broader Problem of Government Surveillance of the Individual, 47 New York University Law Review 871-902 (1972)