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Using Fourth-Party Data Brokers To Bypass the Fourth Amendment 181

Posted by Soulskill
from the one-party-per-amendment dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Coming out of Columbia Law School is an article about commercial data brokers and their ability to provide information about individuals to the US government despite Fourth Amendment or statutory protections (abstract, full PDF at Download link). Quoting: 'The Supreme Court has held that the Fourth Amendment does not protect information that has been voluntarily disclosed to a third-party or obtained by means of a private search. Congress reacted to these holdings by creating a patchwork of statutes designed to prevent the government's direct and unfettered access to documents stored with third-parties; thus, the government's access is fettered by various statutory requirements, including, in many cases, notice of the disclosure. Despite these protections, however, third-parties are not restricted from passing the same data to other private companies (fourth-parties), and after the events of September 11, 2001, the government, believing that it needed a greater scope of surveillance, turned to the fourth-parties to access the personal information it could not acquire on its own. As a consequence, the fourth-parties, unrestricted by Fourth Amendment or statutory concerns, delivered — and continue to deliver — personal data en masse to the government.'"
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Using Fourth-Party Data Brokers To Bypass the Fourth Amendment

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  • Loopholes. Always loopholes.

    • by joocemann (1273720) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @12:43AM (#30619524)

      Loopholes. Always loopholes.

      The B.S. in this whole thing, that which stinks, is that whatever they are wordsmithing as 'fourth party' is STILL a 'third party'.

      You can't get around it just by renaming it. Everyone on this planet knows the definition of 'third party' is NOT tied to the number of hands something has passed through at all.

      WTF, really. Lets get a prosecution on this crap. The new administration is complacent in the old and has done nothing to bring JUSTICE to the US. Remember that, despite how you (and I) may have voted for the promise of a new era of honorable leadership.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by digitalunity (19107)

        True, but consider the alternative. If the government couldn't collect any information without receiving it directly from citizens or under a subpoena, they wouldn't know shit! At first this sounds nice, but given the mostly advantageous activities of law enforcement, I think I like it more the way it is.

        The real 800 pound gorilla in the room is the lack of strong federal privacy laws that dictate what corporations may do with our information. Companies should not be allowed to trade, buy or sell personally

        • by joocemann (1273720) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @01:19AM (#30619702)

          I disagree. Everything can be accessed once they have a shred of evidence to warrant access. This has been standard since long before anything as silly as the patriot act. It's the whole point of a warrant, really.

          Without evidence, I can hardly agree that anyone should ever have unblocked access to my privacy, or yours. I'm amazed that my military, which I served in, is not fighting people who break my constitutional rights.

          I agree with you about companies. The problem is that our country permits companies to do almost anything they want in agreements with customers and they give the customers the consumer power. Sadly, we're all a bit too ignorant or careless to ignore the companies that abuse us. I wonder if that has anything to do with the oligo-glomerate associations that direct media/information and politics?

          • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @02:26AM (#30620032) Journal
            The fact that the media knows exactly who signs their paychecks certainly doesn't help; but I suspect that there are more fundamental problems.

            Up until fairly recently, the scope and utility of "indirect" surveillance methods has been extremely limited by hard technological constraints. The available direct methods were either highly invasive(having thugs ransack your house, looking for incriminating evidence, is hard to ignore), highly symmetric(the classic "small town where everybody knows everybody and somebody is always looking through their blinds" scenario), highly expensive(pretty much anything that involves sending out field agents and collecting big filing cabinets full of paper), or some combination.

            Sheer cost presents one valuable passive defence against surveillance. Even if the state has unlimited legal power, their supply of jackbooted enforcers is finite, which places a hard cut-off on the set of people worth spying on. Invasiveness doesn't create hard cut-offs; but means that the state must either confine its surveillance to unpopular people, or pay a public relations/popular discontent cost every time it hits a sympathetic target. Symmetry is not a limit to surveillance per se(in fact, traditional societies with high levels of surveillance symmetry are often virtually transparent); but it effectively retards the development of opaque concentrations of surveillance power.

            Contemporary technology has substantially relaxed all these restraints. Having your data silently copied and collated somewhere out in the aether of the complex modern economy is virtually invisible. No muss, no fuss, no doors battered down, no raids to upset the neighbours. It is also highly asymmetric. Only the most dedicated privacy wonks even know who knows about them, much less knows anything useful about those entities. This is, in part, because those entities take pains to hide("national security letters" vs. ordinary warrants, national security classifications, opaque corporations that, at most, are obliged to provide certain financial data, if publicly traded) ; but also because of the sheer complexity of modern civilization and life. If you live in a small town, knowing all possible surveillance entities requires basic social skills. In modern society, you basically need to be, or have access to, an investigative reporter, a lawyer, an accountant, a techie, and a fair surveillance expert yourself just to keep up. The final issue is cost. Two things have changed here. One is that the contemporary developed world is really fucking rich by the standards of any point in human history(at least until the fossil fuels give out). We can simply afford to spend far more on things that don't put food on the table without driving the population into the depths of squalor that provoke revolutions. The other is a little more subtle: a lot of modern surveillance data is "free" or cheap because its creation is subsidized by some other purpose. For example, the need to connect(and bill for) your cellphone calls is what finances the collection of substantial amounts of handset location, call record, and financial data. Transferring those data to the Feds is just a small additional cost. Advertising and marketing firms are perhaps even more dangerous in that regard. Once data concerning consumers becomes a commodity, the free market efficiently goes about collecting it. The Feds spend a great deal of money on surveillance, it is true; but these private sector processes are a potent multiplier of the bang they get for their buck.

            This is why I am extremely pessimistic about the fate of privacy. Even if the political climate for privacy were better(and, frankly, it fucking sucks right now), we would still be crafting regulation against the tide of private sector incentives for surveillance. As any number of examples show, regulating against business incentives is hard. Further, because so much of modern surveillance is silent, and seemingly unobtrusive, it incurs a much smaller politic
          • by Teun (17872)
            Indeed, the fact that privacy laws carry (in the USofA) different weight for private companies and the (Federal) government is one of the reasons the system is broken.

            I'm working in the EU division of an internationally operating but UK based company and am partly responsible for privacy policies as demanded by local (Dutch) law.

            The gap with UK law is big but the USofA is really another world.

            We are only allowed to share personal data with US companies that each and individually sign up to a 'Save Haven'

        • The real 800 pound gorilla in the room is the lack of strong federal privacy laws that dictate what corporations may do with our information.

          Yes, corporate third parties must be restricted in the way they handle personal information. Otherwise they may sell it to parties who could use it against us...such as the government.

          Of course I agree with you that it is, in general, much worse if that information ends up in the hands of people who would use it maliciously for their own gain rather than in the hands of the government. However, when that information ends up in the hands of the government, the breach of trust is much more fundamental. The go

        • by b4upoo (166390)

          Perhaps the real answer is to allow individual citizens to study others, including corporations and the government using the same tools and tactics that are used to study citizens. Let the chips fall where they may. The chances are that unless someone is a really rotten egg that they will have just about the same number of negatives in their life history as everyone else. It sort of takes the power of negative information and castrates it.

        • ...but given the mostly advantageous activities of law enforcement

          I don't take that as a "given" at all. I want to see real evidence that the majority of law enforcement activities are "advantageous" to the citizenry (as a whole) before I will consider the possibility that you may be right.

          Using, for example, the prison population of this country as a metric, it would seem that most of the activity is going after non-violent drug offenders, and I don't find that particularly advantageous to anyone except the various police organizations themselves.

          • I've posted many times before my opinion on non-violent drug offenses and the far reaching extension of the commerce clause to cover whatever the government wants it to mean to achieve an end.

            A lot of law enforcement activities are important. I think we can all agree it's a good idea to have police monitor roads for people who drive dangerously, extremely drunk, people who steal, embezzle and defraud. If drugs were non-criminalized nationwide, I think a lot of people would find the police to be quite a lot

            • "A lot" is not "mostly" and even the ones you mentioned seem to be extremely... shall we say "selectively enforced?"

              I'm not sure whether the mention of the whole anti-drug industry. Was it meant to be an advantage of the "drug war?" Because you could create another 10000 jobs by hiring 10000 torturers for use in criminal investigations. Needless to say, the bad far outweighs the good in that idea.

    • by Z00L00K (682162)

      But if the government pays to get the information - then they are actively searching, even though it's through a proxy.

      Shouldn't the 4th amendment still be valid then?

      I think that a court decision is needed here to determine if this actually is an acceptable way of circumventing the 4th amendment.

      • by fyngyrz (762201)

        Shouldn't the 4th amendment still be valid then?

        The 4th amendment is valid no matter what. The constitution provides the authorizing mechanism for the US federal government, and to some extent, the state governments; from the definitions therein, there are only two kinds of power: Authorized powers, which comply with the constitutional requirements, and unauthorized powers, which do not.

        The federal government is deep into the use of unauthorized powers, the most egregious of which are: Ex post facto

        • This is an incredibly dubious piece of legal scholarship, so I must ask you to provide some detailed evidence that this is actually the case. Legal scholars everywhere appear to disagree with you.

          • This is an incredibly dubious piece of legal scholarship, so I must ask you to provide some detailed evidence that this is actually the case. Legal scholars everywhere appear to disagree with you.

            What is dubious about it? Who disagrees?

            (And before anyone decides to pretend they are clever by shooting back with "fyngyrz made the assertion, so fyngyrz needs to provide the evidence", I will point out that the response could easily be distilled down to "Nuh uh. I know other people who disagree, but I won't say who they are."

        • by Svartalf (2997)

          The Bill of Rights DOES have teeth.

          Any time a Fourth Amendment rights violation occurs, any case, at any level, DIES on the spot and any evidence that stems from that violation must be discarded along with the case. Period.

          It's just that you can't presume that the government has ANY requirements to observe the Bill of Rights restrictions on their activities- you have to assert these rights when they're applicable. Entirely too many people think that these rights are automatically activated. NO.

          For exampl

  • by inKubus (199753) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @12:11AM (#30619366) Homepage Journal

    It's our government, and if it's screwing us it's basically us screwing ourselves.

    Non-sequitur and off-topic, has there ever been a media anti-trust action in history?

    • It's our government, and if it's screwing us it's basically us screwing ourselves.

      Non-sequitur and off-topic, has there ever been a media anti-trust action in history?

      If there was, you probably didn't hear about it.

      Funny? Scary.

    • It's our government, and if it's screwing us it's basically us screwing ourselves.

      No, its the monied and powerful screwing those who don't have as loud a say in what the government does.

      Non-sequitur and off-topic, has there ever been a media anti-trust action in history?

      What do you mean by "action" - federal lawsuit? There certainly have been plenty of actions - like the creation of laws preventing one company from owning all the television stations in one area.

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      You honestly believe the federal government is still 'us'? I don't. It has been a self supporting anti citizen entity for as long as i can remember and 'us' isnt a part of it anywhere. ( except that we are forced to fund it )

  • by Rakshasa Taisab (244699) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @12:14AM (#30619384) Homepage

    This is something that has had me puzzled for quite a while now. Why does the US have this fetish with keeping the government out of their private lives, yet allow corporations free reign to use, misuse, misplace and basically be asses with the same information?

    In e.g. Norway all sectors are under the same law, this including corporate, governmental and academic uses. Obviously certain organizations are allowed to store more information than others.

    • Why does the US have this fetish with keeping the government out of their private lives, yet allow corporations free reign to use, misuse, misplace and basically be asses with the same information?

      Most of the Americans who want the government to stay out of their private lives would also like corporations to stay out of their private lives.

      In general, we can usually manage to get laws passed limiting the extent to which corporations can abuse our private information, but apparently there's no real way to g

      • by mspohr (589790)

        In general, we can usually manage to get laws passed limiting the extent to which corporations can abuse our private information, but apparently there's no real way to get the government to pass a law that limits themselves....

        Actually, I think it is the other way around. Corporations pretty much run the government and they prevent laws that would restrict their access to information. Corporations collect lots more personal information and use it with limited disclosure for all kinds of reasons that the

      • No....

        You got the Privacy Act of 1974 which limits only _GOVERNMENT_ use of personal information. In 2006 several laws were attempted passed, but got rejected cause they would increase the cost of startup companies doing business.

        WTF is that? Is not the cost to society worth mentioning? The cost to the 700k people every year in the US that has their identity stolen not a part of the equation... When the control of corporate America is so lax that CC companies don't even bother to check if the SSN matches th

        • You got the Privacy Act of 1974 which limits only _GOVERNMENT_ use of personal information. In 2006 several laws were attempted passed, but got rejected cause they would increase the cost of startup companies doing business.

          You are assuming, as many do, that "government" is synonymous with "federal government".

          We also have State governments around here, which are quite capable of passing laws on their own.

          I note that I received in the mail this morning a card "amending" my customer agreement with AT&T

    • Sharing vs taking. (Score:4, Informative)

      by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Saturday January 02, 2010 @12:26AM (#30619440)

      Why does the US have this fetish with keeping the government out of their private lives, yet allow corporations free reign to use, misuse, misplace and basically be asses with the same information?

      At the most basic, it is a difference between voluntarily sharing the information versus involuntarily having it collected.

      Corporations compile the information about your purchases and such in order to persuade you to purchase their products.

      Governments compile the information about you in order to limit your freedom.

      • by Cyberax (705495) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @12:36AM (#30619492)

        "At the most basic, it is a difference between voluntarily sharing the information versus involuntarily having it collected."

        Do you voluntary provide information about you to LexisNexis ?

        Thought so.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        Governments compile the information about you in order to limit your freedom.

        Are you kidding me? Yes. The only reason the government exists is to limit your freedom. That's obviously the only reason that the government has information on you.

        It has nothing to do with figuring out how many representatives your area should have in government.
        It has nothing to do with figuring out how many police officers, firefighters, and paramedics your area needs in order to provide sufficient coverage.
        It has nothing to do with figuring out if the school you went to is providing a good educ

        • by Romancer (19668) <romancerNO@SPAMdeathsdoor.com> on Saturday January 02, 2010 @02:09AM (#30619948) Journal

          Interesting how you couldn't even get an example that would be identifying of an individual. This is pretty much what we are all talking about here. Not statistics that are population based, but individual pieces of information that are linked to you as an individual.

          The rebuttal is obviously still needed but the examples are telling of what people believe about data mining. Incorrectly.

          Not even your "school you went to is providing a good education" is individually specific since the stats are recorded at the school level and then reported in order to get funds without the student IDs attached to a long "premenant record" detailing lunch choices in grade 9.

          The "if you are owed veteran benefits if you were in the military and deployed" is kinda funny that you bring up since it's working for the government to protect freedoms but it still doesn't represent what we're talking about. That's not the same as gathered information dince it's first of all, a fact, on record, at the organization that is supposed to handle the processing of the checks and members recieving benifits. It's their data as much as it is yours.

          This is about shifting data from the parties involved in the actions required to make it in the first place, to an organization that only wants the data for the sake of the data, not to give you another check, get it?

        • by jlarocco (851450)

          None of the things on your list require any kind of private information that wouldn't already be available in the government's own records.

          In the context of the 4th amendment, gathering information about individuals is very much tied to limiting freedom, because the implication is that the information will be used to prosecute and/or punish them.

    • by AHuxley (892839) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @12:48AM (#30619552) Homepage Journal
      Corporations write laws in the US. If a left leaning type starts getting ideas, his or her 'aid' will pull them back in line as they worked for or want to work for the area their boss is to be watching, regulating.
      Do you expect to get a great job if your boss was screaming about public health care, land mines, lead, mercenaries having fun with children, drugs and the CIA, water quality ect.
      All that is taboo in the USA.
      If the advisor fails, the left or right swaps out the right or left with a more corporation friendly person and team.
      A man or woman who knows who pays for their lifestyle, elections and a few naughty extras.
      If its a mess and mid term, just blackmail or force a recall. Fox will get the "left" trouble maker, the liberal blogosphere the right.
      If they are clean, work on the family tree or get someone close to them to make them fail.
      • by The Raven (30575)

        You make it too complicated... the very few clean ones are simply too few to worry about. Power does corrupt.

    • We're not like that because it is cold in Norway and it would be costly and hard to make the move.

      Just please don't claim we have WMDs before invading to bring us the Democracy you think we deserve... we know we have em.
      ----

      Don't you wish we could get the best things from the top governments and establish that? I sure do. Hell, I bet most of our politician's on a personal level would appreciate it as well. The problem is that those changes are not in line with corrupt political processes that directly i

      • Wow, you managed to keep from sounding like a complete nutter right up until your last paragraph.
      • by Tumbleweed (3706)

        We're not like that because it is cold in Norway and it would be costly and hard to make the move.

        Just please don't claim we have WMDs before invading to bring us the Democracy you think we deserve... we know we have em.

        Lutefisk _is_ considered a biological weapon outside of Norway, you know.

        So, would you like to be the 52nd state (after Canada, of course - they have dibs), or a territory like Puerto Rico? If you choose to become a state, you get free flags. If you choose to be a territory, you get less has

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Spud Stud (739387)
      "Why does the US have this fetish with keeping the government out of their private lives, yet allow corporations free reign to use, misuse, misplace and basically be asses with the same information?" Because corporations cannot use (misuse) said information to jail people.
      • Because corporations cannot use (misuse) said information to jail people.

        In the US we also have longer prison terms than any of the EU countries, with the possible exception of the UK, for similar crimes. This is mostly due to decades of "get tough on crime" initiatives commonly introduced by politicians to score political points with ignorant and misinformed constituents. Additionally, there are many more "mandatory minimum" sentences for crimes committed here in the US which tie the hands of judges and require harsh punishments; even for non-violent or first time offenders. Fi

      • Because corporations cannot use (misuse) said information to jail people, yet.

        There fixed that for you

    • The same literal minded thought that insults the intelligence of the legal system by playing technical games with clear intent to violate the law, allows 3rd/4th/5th party circumvention. This same literal thinking allows corporations exemption from all laws imposed upon government.

      In the USA corporations are thought to be separate entities and given ridiculous levels of power (which hasn't always been the case.) The truth is that corporations ARE government entities whose entire existence and basic operatio

    • I personally trust the government far more than I trust corporations. The government isn't a for-profit organization. Corporations are. Therein lies the difference. I truly wish that the government would regulate corporations far more, especially how corporations manage information on people.
    • The US is a corpratocracy. Signing your life over to your corporate overlords is so ingrained in the culture that nobody even thinks about it anymore. We only have a federal government so that we can keep up appearances.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Here in the USA most of us have been duped into thinking that the Government and Large corporations are at odds with each other. Instead of realizing that each represent a consolidation of power, and pose similar threats (and more often than not work together). We spend so much time divided and arguing about who represents "evil" ( the Govt or the Corporations) that they both pretty much get to do whatever the hell they want.
    • by Bob_Who (926234)
      Good point. The issue should be that corporations should not have more rights than our government or its citizens. Then again, shareholders and their lobbyists are not necessarily American. Maybe this is how unemployment can go up to 10% in the same year that the stock market gains 20% . Corporate interests no longer serve the citizens, perhaps.
    • The USA doesn't really have privacy laws. Canada and a few other countries do. That is why it is always an argument in the USA - their laws are weak on privacy.
    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Because the corporations buy the laws.

  • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @12:22AM (#30619426)

    When 'free' web services which are obviously tremendously expensive to maintain and which feature only a token handful of banner ads. . .

    I don't know the economics of Facebook and Yahoo and Google, but it certainly seems that there would be a TON of money available for the kind of information they pull in. Do corporations actively resist selling a constantly renewable resource they specifically crafted their web sites and web applications to generate? I have no trouble believing that Facebook is selling everything they glean about you to the highest bidder. It's Google that I find myself wondering about; their "Don't Be Evil" thing is so effective that even I have the slogan burned into my mind.

    But do those Google ads REALLY pay for entire data centers and dedicated trunks and hundreds of miles of fiber optics?

    Really?

    -FL

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Today I'm feeling quite safe with google and - to a lesser extent - facebook, because they're doing fine financially and these data are what gives them an edge over their competitor so they want to keep it to themselves. The problem is when they fall in the yahoo category, "used to be great but now needs any cash it can find". Who's to say that five years from now facebook isn't gonna be faded out and trying to sell everything to stay alive too ? The very same facebook that knows pretty much everything ther

      • by AHuxley (892839) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @01:04AM (#30619614) Homepage Journal
        The dreamy thing about google and facebook is you type in your inner thoughts and group with like minded people.
        Its an intel dream. Just add their own and sit back and watch who joins.
        They get IP's, details, gossip and locations.
        If anything starts to connect in real life, they are in it from day one as trusted members or know who they are and can pull one aside to buy/blackmail.
        The 1980's east bloc found it so hard to crack the CIA backed peace and church fronts. They flooded the groups with agents and helpers but found nothing useful in the short term.
        The US has learned from all this and wants in on any new groups, the net is perfect. The end users think they are just 1 IP in millions and will slip under the radar, they are not.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TheLink (130905)

      I've always wondered whether the NSA is buying billions of dollars of Ads from Google, or various other companies :).

      They can always get the money. The US military has "black budgets". The US Federal Reserve refuses to disclose where trillions of US dollars has gone to and only a few people are kicking up a fuss about it (there's a persistent senator and even Bloomberg has tried, but they're not getting much traction - the citizens care more about the notorious bonuses which are much smaller in amount).

      So i

      • They can always get the money. The US military has "black budgets". The US Federal Reserve refuses to disclose where trillions of US dollars has gone to and only a few people are kicking up a fuss about it (there's a persistent senator and even Bloomberg has tried, but they're not getting much traction - the citizens care more about the notorious bonuses which are much smaller in amount).

        Hm. Yeah.

        From what I gather about black budget projects comes from looking at the evolution of the development of milita

  • Query (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PakProtector (115173) <cevkiv&gmail,com> on Saturday January 02, 2010 @12:26AM (#30619438) Journal

    I am not a Lawyer, but wouldn't this make those agencies contracted to do this by the Government de facto Agents of the Government, and therefore any materials obtained by them in violation of the 4th Amendment poisoned?

    Also, wouldn't a judge have to throw out such evidence as its method of gathering is a clear end-run around the Constitution?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      "wouldn't a judge have to throw out such evidence as its method of gathering is a clear end-run around the Constitution?"

      In theory, sure, the courts would have to uphold our constitutional rights. In practice, the courts ruled that the government can use information collected by corporations, and congress created laws to prevent that behavior (a rare display of backbone). The courts also ruled that email stored on a third party system is not subject to 4th amendment protections.
    • Re:Query (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted@s l a s h dot.org> on Saturday January 02, 2010 @01:13AM (#30619666)

      Protip: If someone creates a convoluted rule system, and you’re then buying into his rule system, and try to argue on the definition of those rules, you have already lost before you started.

      The better way is, to not buy into their crapola in the first place, but have your own set of values that you are secure in. Then you can let them play in your reality, instead of you entering theirs. :)

      • by Fantom42 (174630)

        Protip: If someone creates a convoluted rule system, and you're then buying into his rule system, and try to argue on the definition of those rules, you have already lost before you started.

        The better way is, to not buy into their crapola in the first place, but have your own set of values that you are secure in. Then you can let them play in your reality, instead of you entering theirs. :)

        Protip: If someone creates a set of values, and you're then buying into these values, and try to argue on the definition of those values, you have already lost before you started.

        The better way is, to not buy into their crapola in the first place, but have your own convoluted rule system that you are secure in. Then you can play in your own invented reality, instead of leaving your mother's basement. :)

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      "method of gathering is a clear end-run around the Constitution?"
      The NSA used to set up near international trunklines and follow the Russians and their client states.
      Where is the NSA now?
      Their cubical workers are out in Georgia, Hawaii, Lynn, MA, Arizona, CA, Missouri, Virginia, Ohio via their own new builds or your local "Fusion center"
      Why the US heartland? What is decades of spy on spy skill set doing in the fly over states?
  • Pay in cash (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AHuxley (892839) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @12:33AM (#30619480) Homepage Journal
    All that 'discount' is really you signing over your life to a set of private databases.
    The US gov also buys the same info in bulk.
    Then you have the shadow security and marketing sub set that feeds the US gov a stream of top quality filtered info on US suburbia ie You the US slashdot reader.
    The terror watch list will never go down and they will milk it for their investors and shareholders for generations.
    Lists are just a small part of a huge cash river of your tax $ paying to keep a few 1000 of you safe from.
    Note how the deals, tv games and send in for a discount forms all want your email now to ;)
  • Isn't a fourth-party just another third-party?

  • There is no such thing as fourth party.

    Third party is used to define a party not directly involved. A third party to a third party is still a third party.

  • by Tumbleweed (3706) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @01:41AM (#30619816)

    Don't worry, both major political parties will do the same thing to correct this injustice! And both will blame the other party, while doing nothing about it.

  • I don't see how they can just radically redefine a word that is a common use with a generally well understood meaning. If this becomes the "real" definition than that would seem to make just about every NDA and non-compete (among other things) written to date worthless.
  • Data Protection Act (Score:2, Informative)

    by keean (824435)

    The UK has the Data Protection Act to prevent this kind of thing. Companies storing personal data must officially register, and must not share the data without the person concerned giving permission. You have the right to see a copy of any data held about you on payment of a small fee (to cover administrative costs). The law even prevents govenment departments from sharing data.

    However, a recent amendment was passed that allows a minister (the Home Secretary I believe) to grant exemptions to this, and to co

  • america, the country of freedoms, boo boo left, left is no freedom etc etc in the china porn crackdown thread by the right wing nutjobs.

    i see, america is a right wing country, where you are 'free' and you are 'private'. yet, apparently those privacy and freedom are all in the hands of private corporations, instead of state it seems.

    if i would have to make a choice, i would rather have my freedoms in the hand of the state, instead of some fucking private party. at least, i have a legal claim to the state, wh

  • by fluffy99 (870997) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @01:01PM (#30623468)

    This is exactly the avenue the Feds took to get a ad-hoc National ID in place. Using financial incentives, the fed govt has basically bribed the states into having the same set of required elements and data contained on each state's drivers license. Almost all of the states (a few refused the money - I don't recall which ones) are also using the same contractor to house and maintain the database. The fed govt gets indirect access to this database via the same contractor using symantec's like "we don't have access to the data", yet they have contractors who can "provide reports from this data".

    Don't believe me? Go look up the requirements for allowing a state drivers license to be used as a passport for driving across the border.

  • by not_hylas( ) (703994) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @01:42PM (#30623972) Homepage Journal

    Corporations As Persons:

    What you have to realize within these illegal transactions - bypassing the Constitution - is that you are dealing with immortals [insert vampire analogy] - these companies have that supreme advantage over all of us, putting us in a lesser category, of well, serf, basically.

    Once you understand this you know where you really stand and why this "person-hood for corporations" must come to an end. Within this "law" companies are representing us [de facto] which is rediculous.

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