Priscilla J. Smith, a senior fellow at the Information Society Project at Yale Law, wrote an article in The North Carolina Journal of Law and Technology explaining the legal problems with government location tracking. Andrea Peterson linked to it on The Washington Post’s new technology policy blog The Switch and noted this important part of the academic work:
To illustrate the holes in the mosaic, we will start with a timeless scenario more inclined to capture the fancy of the younger generation than our dated references to Orwell and a date long past. (After all, many current law students were not even born in 1984.)
Imagine that Chancellor Palpatine—the Star Wars character and virtuous Senator from Naboo who is really the evil Darth Sidious in disguise—sets out to discredit the Jedi and their puny Senate supporters so that he can monopolize power. He orders a tracking device that relays information back to giant computers that produce reports about the Jedi’s locations to be placed on all their space ships. He discovers Anakin’s relationship with Senator Amidala, that Obi Wan buys and sells bulk cartons of “death sticks” despite being a spokesperson against them, and that Senator Amidala (despite her relationship with Anakin) also frequents a lesbian bar called Sisters with some friends from her planet Naboo.
He also finds out that Mace Windu and Yoda take out their spaceships and speed through Coruscant’s back alleys for fun. He uses this information to undermine his targets and turn them against each other. All the characters resist his blackmail, except for one: Anakin.1
Reading this I only wished that Smith had discovered what Palpatine uncovered in order to blackmail Jar-Jar Binks. So I did a little investigating and learned that when Jar-Jar found out about the program, he exclaimed “Ah! How wude!” and commented that “Dis is nutsen. Oh, gooberfish!”. In a press release the Chancellor said that if you have nothing to hide you shouldn’t fear his spying eye. Jar-Jar responded “But… but… But mesa doen nutten!” adding, “Disse sn berry, berry bad. Oh! Icky icky goo!”2