Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Show me your privacy...now!

Feel good about your privacy? This recent CNET article highlights how the current administration (read: NSA) exploits loopholes that allows them to profile individuals using the intermediary communication providers between primary service providers.
The massive collection of customer data comes down to the interplay of two specific issues: First, thousands of companies play small, niche support roles in the wireless phone industry, and as such these firms learn quite a bit about the calling habits of millions of U.S. citizens. Second, the laws relating to information sharing and wiretapping specifically regulate companies that provide services to the general public (such as AT&T and Verizon), but they do not cover the firms that provide services to the major carriers or connect communications companies to one other.
With the passage of laws like the FISA Amendments Act and the USA Patriot Act, in most cases, requests for customer information come with a gag order, forbidding the companies from notifying the public, or the end users whose calling information is being snooped upon.
So any entity--from tower provider, to a third-party spam filter, to WAP gateway operator to billing to call center customer service--can [...] be compelled to assist in silence. They likely don't volunteer because of reputation and contractual obligations, but they won't resist either.
That means that Jack Bauer may come visit you to administer electro-shock therapy to your nipples should you be selected for profiling, and targeted for...evaluation.

No comments: