“The terrifying surveillance case of Brandon Mayfield”
“With NSA overreach, nobody is safe from confirmation bias”
Mayfields ordeal is a cautionary tale of what can happen when the government clamps down on its suspect and refuses to release its grip. In the fortunate case of Mayfield, the government finally released him but only after it turned his life upside down in the process.
Nearly a decade later, the governments secret surveillance capabilities have become only more powerful, thanks to social media, smartphones and other technologies. The bulk collection of Americans personal data makes it more likely that false positives innocent Mayfields coming under government scrutiny will occur. And when that false positive is an American Muslim or an anarchist or an aggressive environmental activist, will government agents and analysts have the ability to set aside their prejudices and excitement and weigh all information, particularly contradictory evidence, before condemning those unfortunate few to bogus charges and public suspicion?
Confirmation bias should make us skeptical of this possibility,” quoting by Matthew Harwood in Al Jazeera America, “an American news channel reporting unbiased, fact-based and in-depth journalism that gets you closer to the people at the heart of the news.”
Matthew Harwood is a writer living in Alexandria, Va. His work has appeared in The American Conservative, The Guardian, Salon, TomDispatch and elsewhere. He is currently a media strategist at the ACLU’s Washington legislative office. The views expressed here are his own.
I relate the Italian case against Seattle native Amanda Knox in the same context as Mayfield’s, which:
“is a cautionary tale of what can happen when the government clamps down on its suspect and refuses to release its grip”
“Meredith Kercher murder trial has shown Italian justice system to be more concerned in saving face than looking at the evidence”
“Those who believe Knox and Sollecito are guilty have often complained that the memory of the crime victim, Meredith Kercher, has been lost in the media shuffle. The real scandal, though, is the way the entire Italian judicial system has itself tarnished Kerchers memory by chasing phantoms and needlessly tormenting two wholly innocent young people, all because it wont admit that it blew the case from the start,” by Andrew Gumbel in UK’s Guardian. Gumbel was co-author of Raffaele Sollecito’s account of the case, Honor Bound: My Journey to Hell and Back with Amanda Knox.