Thursday, May 11, 2006

The government and your phone records

I'm noticing a lot of bloggers who are very upset over the government data mining phone records. I'm not prepared to say that you are all wrong, because I'm leery about the tentacles of government creeping into our lives, too, but my first instinct is that the anger is misplaced. As much as I hate to say it, your phone records are not private, they are the property of the phone companies to do with as they see fit. If you are upset that the government is data mining, do you get as upset knowing that the companies are selling your data all the time, and much of it is more sensitive than what calls are made from your phone number? Would it be better for you if the government paid for this data like any other company?

I am in favor of pushing back on the government regularly so it knows its bounds. I'm not overly worked up about push back on this issue, either, but the anger is a bit out of scale with the offense. The data mining of phone records, while something that we may not want our government involved in, was likely not illegal. In the modern economy, we willingly give over oodles of private information with every transaction we make, and that information becomes the property of and a revenue stream for every company we deal with. If you don't like the fact the government can access this data, then maybe you should start working with Congress to ensure that data that companies collect on you remains property of you alone and cannot be transferred. Then the data will be private, and then you can say that the government needs warrants to obtain it. The only problem is, doing so will significantly reduce the convience and fluidity of the modern economy.

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