Please, Stop with the “Privacy” Arguments
Second, and at the risk of beating a dead horse, could we please stop with rating from privacy advocates about how government investigation into large pools of data is a violation of privacy? To coin a phrase, there is no privacy, get over it. To be more specific: there is no meaningful data protection law. SB 1386 in California (and the imitations in a dozen+ other states) makes people feel good, but it isn’t proactive nor is it particularly fool-proof. Proposed federal legislation in this area would be even weaker that state laws from a “privacy” perspective because the loopholes are big enough to drive a DHL truck full of missing bank record tapes through.
We don’t have “privacy” laws we have “recovery from careless practices” laws. Real privacy laws would have helped prevent your personal data from ever being in a position to be compromised from careless federal employees or criminal syndicates. As it is all that data is just that – data – and it is treated as such. A whole industry – a very lucrative one – has built up around the rapid and smooth collection, processing and delivery of personal data. You would not be able to lead the life that you do were it not for the fact that the 1s and 0s that make up your virtual life could not effortlessly flow through the information systems of both public and private enterprises. We are as likely to get true and meaningful data privacy law as we are congressional term limits.
The presence of real data privacy laws would have made data mining programs like those being carried out by NSA and CIA/Treasury very difficult. From a life, liberty and happiness perspective, I’m fairly glad we don’t have such laws.