Saturday, March 17, 2012

Senators Kerry and McCain attempt privacy quarterback sneak

Originally published on 04/14/2011 at lubbockonline.com

Declan Mcullagh of the Privacy Inc blog at CNET acquired the text of Senators Kerry and McCains proprosed privacy bill. The good news is it is a step in the right direction. The bad news is it has a glaring hole in it's protection. Lord Humongous was right in yesterdays comment when he expressed distrust in the two senators.

The ‘‘Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2011’’ is supposed to protect the privacy of U.S. citizens. But Declan says it has a glaring hole:

But the measure applies only to companies and some nonprofit groups, not to the federal, state, and local police agencies that have adopted high-tech surveillance technologies including cell phone tracking, GPS bugs, and requests to Internet companies for users' personal information--in many cases without obtaining a search warrant from a judge.

While disappointing, this isn't really surprising. It's right in line with recent attempts by the FBI and Justice Department to increase their ability to spy on citizens without need for warrants or oversight.

There is a constant struggle for control of information between citizens and governments. The more control over citizens information government has the more control it can have over them. For the first time in history it is trivial for the government to know more about citizens than they know about themselves. It is the nature of government that it will use that ability unless we insist controls and protections be put in place. And we will have to insist. Our representatives may start out working for us, but after a time in Washington (or Austin) they become, by definition, part of the government. Working in our interest becomes a conflict of interest for them, although they don't see it that way.