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In college writings, Alito defended privacy, gay rights

In college, Samuel Alito led a student conference that urged legalization of sodomy and curbs on domestic intelligence, a sweeping defense of privacy rights that he said were under threat by the government and the dawning computer age.

President Bush's nominee for the Supreme Court, in a report written years before ubiquitous personal computers made electronic privacy the everyday concern it has become, warned of the potential for abuses by officials and companies collecting data on individuals.

Three decades before the Supreme Court decriminalized gay sex, Alito declared on behalf of his group of fellow Princeton students that "no private sexual act between consenting adults should be forbidden."

Alito also called for an end to discrimination against homosexuals in hiring.

As a federal appellate judge, Alito has built a scant record on gay-rights issues and a mixed one, at best, on privacy matters generally, in the view of civil-liberties advocates who are examining his opinions.

But they saw in the 1971 report a prescient thinker taking on issues ahead of their time, including the need for computer encryption, stronger oversight of domestic intelligence and curbs on the surveillance powers of states.

Alito is listed on the paper as the chairman of the conference, titled the Boundaries of Privacy in American Society, and author of the report's seven-page summary of findings. It was done for Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Alito was a senior acting as a "commissioner" for the undergraduates in his group.

Read entire article at Seattle Times