Marketplace Privacy Fail. Assist to All Things Digital

NSA is listening

Marketplace Privacy Fail. Assist to All Things Digital

Today on Marketplace from American Public Media host Kai Ryssdal issued an apologia for U.S. government snooping that left me gasping.  Essentially, Mr. Ryssdal and his guest Kara Swisher (All Things Digital, http://allthingsd.com) argued that it’s OK for the government to collect this data because private companies are already collecting the same data.  Marketplace privacy fail, assist to All Things Digital.

Ignoring the difference between the ways government and the private sector use this data, let’s remember one thing.  Users of Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other private services have opted in.  The companies have clearly published privacy and sharing policies.  Granted these documents are long and may be confusing.  When you set up an account with any of them you agree to their terms of service.

Let’s see, now, when was the last time the NSA asked me to sign a TOS?  Oh, that’s right — never.

Just to fill up some space and give you a sense of what actually went on, here’s a quote from the Marketplace website.

Tech companies faced a lot of criticism for their role in the Edward Snowden data collection story. Now, eight major tech companies — Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yahoo, AOL and Twitter — have rallied against the NSA’s spying efforts in an openly published letter.

The companies ask the Obama administration and Congress to reform the way the NSA carries out its surveillance on tech companies and data centers.

Kara Swisher, co-executive editor of All Things D, notes that this is probably an economic move.

“People especially in Europe and rest of the world are not trusting these [tech] services so it’s a worry for their businesses,” says Swisher.

She also notes the irony behind this push for surveillance reform.

“[The tech companies have] been spying on us for years in order to sell things,” says Swisher, “and at the same time, object to when the government is essentially using it to improve its business.”

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