free html hit counter Big Brother, Inc. - John Battelle's Search Blog

Big Brother, Inc.

By - August 09, 2004

TIA-tmThe ACLU has issued a report on a trend I often ping, that of corporate data gathering practices and how the government can bypass restrictions on domestic spying by requiring companies, in essence, to do the spying by proxy.

The ACLU report includes a suggested “No Spy Pledge” that they hope consumers will ask companies to take. The ACLU site includes a sample letter to send to companies which requests:

1. You will not turn individually identifiable data on your customers over
to the government for security purposes unless legally required to do so.

2. You will use every legal means to fight government demands for data
that are not authorized by current law, or which violate your
Constitutional rights or those of your customers.

3. If the government serves you with a legally binding request to turn over
customer information, you will notify customers that our information has
been turned over (unless you are subject to a gag order prohibiting you
from doing so under the Patriot Act or other legislation). In addition, companies
called data aggregators are increasingly becoming a means by which the
government accesses information on individuals. I would also like to ask whether
you provide information about your customers to data aggregators or any other
companies that are in the business of consolidating customer information. If so,
which ones?

What I wonder is, will any search related companies be pledging?

Wired News covers this, and more here and here and here.

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