Duh the Government Watches You

Earlier, I posted this link to an AP article that spells out how the ACLU is getting information about the government pulling your cellular phone data from carriers. My reaction was ‘Duh’.

You may not be aware of the fact that a company holding information about you has a much lower standard of privacy expectation than information you keep as a person. Companies have information on your location, purchases on credit/bank cards, your discount/reward card purchases (Kroger Plus, Lowes, Kmart, etc.), and even what you do on the Internet (Charter, AT&T, Facebook). These companies have varying policies regarding the data they keep and how long they keep it. For many of these records law enforcement or other companies and agencies only need to ask to see whatever they want.

Many companies already share information about you with each other. This works to the advantage of corporations who want to know everything about you so that they can sell you products more effectively. On the surface this is not a big deal. I don’t mind if Kroger wants to send me coupons for Meow Mix because they know I have a cat (two actually). This does become concerning when you think about the information warehouses that exist and all of the illegal computer break-ins that we read about in the news every day.

How many of these places have your name, address, phone number, date of birth, and other personal information? How easy would it be for the bad guys to steal your identity with that data?

For you paranoid folks out there, this also means that the government can watch everything you do, when you do it, how often you do it, and why. Again, this is not normally a big deal, but why do they need to know I bought cat food twice last month and that I searched for ‘cat tree’ on Google? They don’t. That is more my point here – that the government has no legitimate need to gather this information about most people, but they collect it anyway.