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View Diary: Now "I" Have to Show My Birth Certificate (295 comments)

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  •  Be fair (3+ / 0-)
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    Puddytat, madcitysailor, BusyinCA

    I oppose them too. The more convenient it is made for the government to keep tabs on us, 24/7, the more likely it is to happen. For our own protection.

    The Real ID system already has provisions for registering every check-in at an airport with a database, so that the government has at its fingertips a list of every time a person with a Real ID has flown on a plane. Right now, if they want that information they have to specifically ask the airline for it.

    And that's not the limit. There's some interesting negotiation that I have heard about through a friend of mine regarding Real ID and automatic bridge/highway toll transponders. And it wouldn't require permission, or a court order, or anything in many states: the state could just include it as a requirement in their contract with the provider, and it would get a data feed. (California is one exception: our legislature passed, and Schwarzenegger actually signed, a privacy law regarding them.)

    Think about the new suggestions for taxing vehicle milage rather than a gas tax. By attaching GPS units to every car and truck in the country, and then tracking their movements at all times. That would be the government actually doing that, so there certainly aren't any privacy concerns over whether the government could look at it.

    And hey, telephone location data. In theory I think that actually is protected by law, at the moment. But it would actually surprise me a fair bit if that data wasn't being copied wholesale to the NSA right now, since it's pretty clear that the phone companies like nothing more than retroactive immunity to prosecution.

    Now think about big data. It is now possible for me to search through a hundred and fifty different multi-terabyte government databases using a fuzzy-logic near-matches text search for a particular string, and then narrow the results by date, and then browse through all the records that came back. The guarantees of privacy that these records have are basically the fact that the FBI and the NSA don't talk to one another much and don't like letting the other poke around in their records. How well do you think that's holding up in the era of big data?

    And they have large files on a lot of us, because they have already admitted to infiltrating bunches of Occupy groups, and peace groups, and so forth. (After being more or less entirely removed from watching right-wing groups because of political backlash.)

    So yeah. I'm probably on at least two or three 'potential insurgent' lists. And I don't trust the government with that information, let alone information about where I am at all times.

    You better believe that there are some things about government that I don't want made more efficient. And if that means a couple more welfare fraud cases or a couple more people who manage to get new identities, I think that's a cost that society is able to bear.

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