Good Morning
Good Morning

Up on the Board: Surveillance of Americans, SBU landlords, NYC Transit and the MTA

As a U.S. Senate panel looks at limits on government surveillance of Americans’ phone and Internet activity, the editorial board had a wide-ranging discussion about where to draw the lines around privacy and terrorism prevention.

Board member Alvin Bessent said he doesn’t believe the National Security Agency or others should be collecting this data. But if it is collected, there should be more transparency about when the government uses it to investigate individuals. Two proposals being debated are to require a declassified summary whenever an investigation goes beyond an individual warrant, and to build more protections into the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court process.

The board didn’t feel as though we know enough about either proposal to endorse them, but we’ll be watching the ongoing Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.

Sam Guzik, the Opinion department’s multimedia manager, said that other governments are collecting this information, so it would be unrealistic to require the United States to give up this law enforcement tool. However, he said there should be strong sanctions for anyone who abuses the data, and Guzik expressed more concern about the great personal detail available from tracking Internet surfing as opposed to phone calls.

We like the Brookhaven Town board’s crackdown on absentee landlords who illegally rent rooms to Stony Brook University students.

And the editorial board thinks it would be a good idea to have greater NYC representation on the MTA board, a topic that has come up in the mayor’s race.

To voice an opinion on any of the above, please fill in a comment in the section below, or email


Up on the Board is the editorial board's blog about what we just discussed at our weekday morning meeting. These meetings are where we talk about the news of the day and hash out our positions for the opinion sections of Newsday and amNew York.