If The Data Is Available, It Will Eventually Be Misused

from the a-perfect-example dept

We already covered how the US Justice Department kept going around to different district courts trying to find any judge that would approve their right to get your location info from mobile phone providers without first getting a warrant. After multiple denials (including ones where the judges had strong words of criticism for the DoJ for even attempting this), they finally found a judge who was sympathetic and gave them the go-ahead. Since there’s no other party in these suits, there’s no appeal either. Declan McCullough is covering this story again, but adds one interesting element that hadn’t been discussed. When laws were first being put forth to require phones to have tracking data, the FBI director at the time testified that they would never use that data for tracking people. He says so unequivocally: “There is no intent whatsoever, with reference to this term, to acquire anything that could properly be called ‘tracking’ information.” However, that’s exactly what is happening now. This is to be expected, of course, and highlights one of the biggest problems with all of these data collection efforts — both governmental and in the private sector (yes, that means the search engines, too) — is that no matter what the intentions of those who set them up originally, sooner or later someone will abuse them and use the data for unintended purposes.

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Comments on “If The Data Is Available, It Will Eventually Be Misused”

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Dan Richman says:

Re: Always the case

putting your emails on the servers of google, or msft (with hotmail), or any other web-based email service, seems to me to open the door to their being released to the public.
that doesn’t seem to be the case with POP mail, where the email, once downloaded, resides on your pc. but the emails would be available from your ISP, or whoever supplies the POP account. so is it really any more confidential?

Vincent says:


I heard in the news that the DoJ had said that it was Constitutional to obtain this information. I doubt that the Founding Fathers had in mind that cell phone data would be obtained any way that the government sees fit. I’m all about securing the data than I am for how it’s obtained but when the government brings the Constitution into it’s battles, that’s just wrong. If they really need to get the information how hard would it be to get a warrent for it? How hard would it be to get any judge to sign that warrent? Instead of going around and around trying to find a judge that’s aympathic to your cause. That’s just pathetic to say the least.

Wolff000 says:

No Data Is Better

As long as the data is there it can be misused. Since our government regularly and blatanly ignores the law thus bypassing safe guards, this data shoulod not exist. Until people in power grow up and follow the rules anything that can track a citizen like this should not be around. I know this doees help finding lost people, kidnap vistims and tracking criminals but I don’t honestly don’t care, if the powers that be can track me with it i vote to nix the whole thing.

Steve Florkey says:

Someone always ignores original intent

Like the Social Security cards that used to say they were not to be used for identification. Then someone decided this number issued by the Federal government was too good to not use as a universal identifier.

Or the folks that instituted the personal income tax who told us it was just a temporary measure while we finished the war. Of course those members of Congress are no longer in a position to be voted out of office — if anyone remembered their deeds and took the time to vote accordingly.

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