Kudos to Larry Dignan for an informative post on the system that caught NY governor Eliot Spitzer canoodling with a prostitute. Modern information technology enables 24 hour surveillance of every citizen. Should we care?
Of course not. Every citizen is a potential terrorist. You want to stop terrorists, don't you?
If you have nothing to hide . . . Cell phone Call Detail Records (CDR) track location through the cell location. GPS-enabled phones add even more detail.
GPS-enabled cars support remote speed monitoring. No need for photo radar - you'll get a ticket by mail. The correlation of your phone GPS and car GPS will place you at the scene. The state will sell the information to insurance companies. Those revenues plus fines will pay for the surveillance.
All your phone calls can easily be - and quite possibly are - being monitored right now by NSA computers. And your emails. Bank accounts. Credit cards. ATM withdrawals. Online payments and purchases.
Just like Eliot Spitzer.
A database tracks the source and destination address of every packet you send or receive. VoIP calls can be monitored too.
EZpass electronic toll collection records? Of course - they've already been used in divorces to prove spousal culpability.
Personal responsibility is a good thing So take some. Don't do anything illegal, suspicious, embarrassing or that someone might not like and you'll be fine.
Milwaukee mayoral candidate Marvin Pratt's bill-paying habits were revealed by a utility company employee. He lost the race. The employee lost their job. But is that fair? After all, Mr. Pratt was the one who wasn't paying his bills.
That isn't the only creative use of utility company billing records:
A landlord snooped on tenants to find out information about their finances. A woman repeatedly accessed her ex-boyfriend's account after a difficult breakup. Another obtained her child's father's address so she could serve him court papers.
Sounds reasonable to me.
Domestic surveillance is a time-hallowed practice in Washington DC. The longtime director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, curried
. . . favor with Presidents by using agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to gather political information. The committee staffs report shows that Hoover willingly complied with improper requests from Presidents Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. He gratuitously offered political intelligence to Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Harry Truman, but both seemed unimpressed.
In all these services, offered or actually performed, there was also the implicit signal that Hoover could find out almost anything and even Presidents should handle him with care. He ran the agency for 48 years and was seven years beyond the mandatory federal retirement age when he died in office on May 2,1972.
That was then, this is now Of course, no President today would use such information to dispose of political rivals. That would be wrong.
You can trust the United States Government, the several States, and county and municipal governments, as well as insurance, telco, healthcare and media companies to only do what is right. In a competitive business climate their first concern is you, the customer. If they don't please you - or enough of you - they are out of business.
The Storage Bits take Thomas Jefferson said "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty" but he was wrong.
Liberty means freedom. Freedom means choices. Some choices will be bad and must be exposed so all can learn not to repeat them.
Robin Harris says "Eternal surveillance is the price of safety." You want your children safe, don't you? Trust the government to protect you. After all, its their job.
Comments welcome, of course.