Should the Government Track Your Political Activity?

Professor Brad Smith asks you to imagine the following scenario: at the height of the War on Terror, the government passes a second PATRIOT Act. This law would require you to report all your political activity to the government, including the campaigns you support. The government would then put that information into a database available to anyone, including creditors and potential employers. What would be the results of this sort of policy? Should the government be able to track your political activity?


  1. Matt Wavle

    Dusty, didn’t you make, like 10 million dollars last year, and insisted on only being paid in bitcoin?  Just kidding.  After watching this video, that’s a bad joke to make.  The state is just way too nosy.

  2. Matt Wavle

    The more I hear of stuff like this, the more illegitimate the State appears.  This level of information gathering has no place among a truly free people.  Knowledge is power, we must shift that balance of power in favor of the people and away from the state.

  3. libertyiowa

    The purpose of the law, I think, is to make sure the public knows who is pulling the strings of our politicians. If Mr X gives Senator Y a campaign contribution and then Mr X’s company get a major federal contract from an agency Senator Y’s committee oversees, the public may want to ask why. I guess I had always taken for granted that campaign disclosure laws helped to make more effective government. I had never thought of it as being a way to shut down speech. 

  4. Ryan Boyd

    Well, this is frighteningly catastrophic. Welcome to America, where you are fine as long as you aren’t a Communist or a Muslim or anyone who opposes the Government.

  5. taschrant

    That…sends a chill through my spine.  I knew the NSA was bad.  This was created before I was born???

  6. A.j. Olding

    I don’t think they should. At the same time it doesn’t really effect me, I wear my politics on my sleeve.

  7. askelsonrl

    What I’ve noted with early voting is the us of this data to shame or coheres neighbors of early voters to to vote for this person or that on election day.  The source data has to come from a government entity but may be being employed by political operatives. 

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