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May 16, 2006

Outsourcing domestic spying with ChoicePoint

Appletreeblog explains how the government is outsourcing surveillance to ChoicePoint--the world's largest data mining firm has recently sucked up billions in US defense contracts.

Of course, the FBI isn't allowed to collect information on individual citizens without due process, but apparently it can just buy it from private companies. The NSA pen-register phone number database tried to exploit a similar loophole--the government can't put an individual pen register device on your phone without a warrant, but at least according to its toadies, it can get the equivalent data from every customer at your phone company.

Of course, in the NSA case, the government didn't even have to pay, the telcos just handed the information over (nominally) gratis.

At least ChoicePoint has the decency to charge upfront for its services to the regime, unlike the telcos who will be amply rewarded for their cooperation in more insidious ways, perhaps having to do with their aspirations for monopolies unfettered by net neutrality.


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So the folks who brought us the Florida 'felon' list (who, in other words, helped give Bush the presidencey) are getting billions of dollars in contracts from the administration.


I think not.

What I find most disturbing about stories such as this is that businesses used to be able to keep their data on customers private, but now that the government is demanding access, it is becoming common practice for businesses to relinquish these records, which also increases the chances of the information falling into competitors' hands.

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