Monday, June 17, 2013

Distinction WIth Difference

Chris Satullo was talking on NPR this morning about not seeing why people are "ok" with Google and Verizon, et. al. having access to our private info and using it/selling it to companies to advertise to us, but are upset about the government having access to the same info. 

Now, he often takes a position that I disagree with, but in this case demonstrates a lack of awareness that is astounding.  I could rant on this for a while but there are two key issues that make a huge fucking difference:

1. The info that the private companies have is incomplete.  Google and Apple and Microsoft and Amex and Verizon...all have bits of data, and, yes, there is some sharing/selling, but only the government can really get a complete picture of a person through this aggregation of data.  Google can't get a warrant to force AmEx to give them data on sales made offline that they couldn't get access to otherwise.  The government can, so a much more complete invasion of privacy is involved.

2. More importantly: Verizon can't arrest you, detain you, put you on trial, or assassinate you (if you happen to be in, say, Yemen) least not yet. 

There is more, and more nuance but those two differences between the government having access to your private data and an internet company having access are very important and should have been very apparent to Chris Satullo before he went off on his daily rant.

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