One of the ripples from Edward Snowden’s revelations of the orders issued by the FISA court has been shock and surprise (from those who have not been paying much attention) at the workings of the FISA court. They have been roundly attacked for operating behind closed doors, hearing only one side of things, and issuing judgments only in secret. Thus, when Snowden made public one of their rulings — the order to Verizon to turn over metadata — it not only brought that specific surveillance tactic into the open, but demonstrated more broadly how the secret rulings of this confidential court reach into everyday life of ordinary people.

Pope Sixtus V has a suggestion that might improve matters . . .