free html hit counter Care About Your Privacy? - John Battelle's Search Blog

Care About Your Privacy?

By - April 06, 2005

Patriot Comic-1

Then read this piece over at Cnet on the Patriot Act. A trickle of information is coming out on how our Govt is using Patriot, as some sections of the law are up for renewal. I’ve written about the Patriot Act in my book as it relates to search, and it’s kind of heavy sledding to get to the conclusions which might just be a bit concerning. But here’s the drift: If you keep a search history (as I do at Yahoo, A9, and most likely other places I am unaware of), the privacy of that record from Government prying without notice is not presumed anymore. The same goes for any ISP you might use – from Comcast to AOL. As we go from the ephemeral to the eternal, it’s best to keep that in mind. From the piece:

Section 215 “has only been used to obtain driver’s license records, public accommodations records, apartment-leasing records, credit card records, and subscriber information” maintained by telephone companies or Internet providers, the Justice Department said Tuesday. “The department has not obtained a section 215 order for library or bookstore records, medical records, or gun sale records.”

Did ya get that? “‘subscriber information’ maintained by telephone companies or Internet providers.”

The law does not require that you be a suspect, and it provides for secret searches without notification. Does that worry me? Yes, because power festers without the disinfectant of sunlight.

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