Sunday, August 4, 2013

Agency data envy

Seems like an odd way to defend NSA spying. The New York Times reports other federal agencies want access to the NSA's domestic spying data, but are frequently turned down:
Agencies working to curb drug trafficking, cyberattacks, money laundering, counterfeiting and even copyright infringement complain that their attempts to exploit the security agency’s vast resources have often been turned down because their own investigations are not considered a high enough priority, current and former government officials say.
Rather than give assurances of good gate keeping, this disclosure should be a warning that the potential for abuse becomes greater as government gets bigger and data collection more routine. Government has a way of taking what begins as an emergency measure, and turns it into the routine.

Most are too you to remember, but income tax payroll deduction was once deemed an emergency measure; it was supposed to sunset after World War II.  Used to be medical records were a private matter as well; something kept between a doctor and a patient.

To say some some agencies are being kept out of NSA data vaults, or that they only get limited access, gives me little comfort. Walls like this, even if they're as intact as claimed, have a way of eroding over time.

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