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Archive for June 6, 2013

June 6, 2013 — The start of a reclamation, perhaps?

A very interesting story came across the wire in Great Britain today, thanks to The Guardian.

Given the permanence of information in the digital age, some of which has been used to catch sexual predators in American field hockey, it has been easy to track people after the fact, given the rise in the number of phone calls and text messages between coaches and players, or the permanence of text messages or emails on a phone, mobile device, or computer.

But the Guardian story intimates that there exists a surveillance network that goes far beyond just the investigatory.

I thought something was up a few months ago when there was a story of a septuagenarian who was caught by the FBI with child pornography on his computer. The FBI never investigated the man before; he was tipped off by his internet company which volunteered the metadata of his file transfers.

Even given the evil that people do over the Internet, I find parts of the Patriot Act hard to justify. And this is one of them. It threatens many of the freedoms that we hold dear, including searches and seizures, freedom of speech, and the right to privacy — to be left alone if not doing anything illegal.

Some may say that ship has already sailed.

I don’t think so, however. I hope, for the sake of digital communication and innovation, that something can be done about this extreme overreach.