Thursday, March 08, 2007

Justice Department, internet surveillance, and security theater...

Last week I read that the Bush administration has accelerated its Internet surveillance push by proposing that Web sites must keep records of who uploads photographs or videos in case police determine the content is illegal and choose to investigate.

First, there are serious privacy concerns here. To be clear, I am all for catching criminals, I just don't like the idea of this info being datamined under the very broad auspices of the Patriot Act. Think I'm paranoid?

Often invoking terrorism and child pornography as justifications, the administration has argued that Internet providers must install backdoors for surveillance and has called for routers to be redesigned for easier eavesdropping.

yeah, there is a reason I don't fully trust our government. Plus, most web businesses already have healthy data retention policies and have a strong track record of responding to subpoenas from law enforcement.

But I also feel like it is a no brainer to say this is little more than security theater, something that will inconvenience honest folks, and potentially invade their privacy and civil rights. Yes, some bad people will go to jail for child porn. But only those who don't do their porn uploads from a university or public library. That's right, the proposal excludes them. Why? Because they are safe already from such things? Because they already do user logging of uploads? no.

"There's a PR concern with including the libraries, so we're not going to include them," the participant quoted the Justice Department as saying. "We know we're going to get a pushback, so we're not going to do that."

That's right, too much pushback. So we won't do it.

If it isn't an important enough issue to force in libraries, why are we even discussing the issue anywhere else? Either it is important, or it isn't. Pick one.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting. I was not aware of this artifact of the DOJ's surveillance push.

4:19 PM  

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