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Against DOJ Wishes, Tech Firms Claim They’ll ‘Alert’ Users to Data Demands

21st Century Wire says…

Some US tech firms – both large and small, are now claiming to no longer complying quietly with Federal and law enforcement demands for e-mail records and other customer and user data, saying that users have “a right to know in advance” if their personal information is being targeted for government seizure.

This is potentially a step in to right direction in terms of privacy and liberty, but the public should not take this latest damage control/PR splash at face value, as these same firms have been routinely violating the rights of an unaware public for many years now. Let’s take a closer look….

1-NSA-Spying-Snowden
The ‘Big Four’ – Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft and other leading tech firms, claim they are planning to adjust their current privacy policies regarding notification of government data demands by most law enforcement agencies.

These firms claim to strongly support the individual rights of users to ‘know when their data is being requested by government officials’, in most cases. Although this can be seen as a positive move towards transparency in a bid to regain the public’s trust, simply notifying a user when the government is coming to take their personal data still means that these tech firms are continuing on with business as usual with their cozy collusion with big government in the harvesting, sale and institutional theft of our personal information. Notifying customers is not enough. How come these tech giants will not simply refuse to hand over our data to begin with? Answer: because our personal information is their super-profit center.

The fact that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) is even protesting against this initial commitment of notification by tech firm (see Post article below) only shows how uninterested in justice the DOJ really is, acting as a bent legal arm for STASI culture in Washington. The DOJ claims that any transparency will ‘put lives at risk’ (even though after 13 years of undemocratic regime policy, they still haven’t managed to catch any real terrorists).

For all the money our governments spends sucking up our information – emails, phone conversations, search engine activity, SMS messaging, social network feeds, as well as on other ‘intelligence gathering’, security and policing – what are we getting in return, other than our civil liberties trampled?

The now exists a rancid culture in government and third sector organisations – a combination of secrecy, unaccountability, and mass psychological intimidation – and tech giants like Microsoft, Google and the rest, have been fully complicit in building this negative paradigm, gauging out their profits for decades now.

To pretend that the US Federal Government’s obsession with spying and data collection does not have its economic knock-on effects, would be naive. Bottomline: Washington policies are hurting the American economy…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGcRQhTlmbY
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The Washington Amazon Post reports today…

Apple, Facebook, others defy authorities, notify users of secret data demands

or all of this we are a poorer nation. poorer in freedom, poorer in civil liberties, poorer in spirit, poorer in tract for our neighbors, poorer in our pocket book and poorer in a democracy corrupted by the combination of secrecy, unaccountability, money and fear mongering. We were and are not a fearful people.
Read more at http://macdailynews.com/2014/05/01/apple-others-to-defy-u-s-government-authorities-notify-customers-of-secret-data-demands/#qIxUjxvYvbV9pYXK.99
or all of this we are a poorer nation. poorer in freedom, poorer in civil liberties, poorer in spirit, poorer in tract for our neighbors, poorer in our pocket book and poorer in a democracy corrupted by the combination of secrecy, unaccountability, money and fear mongering. We were and are not a fearful people.
Read more at http://macdailynews.com/2014/05/01/apple-others-to-defy-u-s-government-authorities-notify-customers-of-secret-data-demands/#qIxUjxvYvbV9pYXK.99

 

Craig Timberg
Washington Post

Major U.S. technology companies have largely ended the practice of quietly complying with investigators’ demands for e-mail records and other online data, saying that users have a right to know in advance when their information is targeted for government seizure.

This increasingly defiant industry stand is giving some of the tens of thousands of Americans whose Internet data gets swept into criminal investigations each year the opportunity to fight in court to prevent disclosures. Prosecutors, however, warn that tech companies may undermine cases by tipping off criminals, giving them time to destroy vital electronic evidence before it can be gathered.

Fueling the shift is the industry’s eagerness to distance itself from the government after last year’s disclosures about National Security Agency surveillance of online services. Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and Google all are updating their policies to expand routine notification of users about government data seizures, unless specifically gagged by a judge or other legal authority, officials at all four companies said. Yahoo announced similar changes in July.

As this position becomes uniform across the industry, U.S. tech companies will ignore the instructions stamped on the fronts of subpoenas urging them not to alert subjects about data requests, industry lawyers say. Companies that already routinely notify users have found that investigators often drop data demands to avoid having suspects learn of inquiries.

“It serves to chill the unbridled, cost-free collection of data,” said Albert Gidari Jr., a partner at Perkins Coie who represents several technology companies. “And I think that’s a good thing.”

The Justice Department disagrees, saying in a statement that new industry policies threaten investigations and put potential crime victims in greater peril.

“These risks of endangering life, risking destruction of evidence, or allowing suspects to flee or intimidate witnesses are not merely hypothetical, but unfortunately routine,” department spokesman Peter Carr said, citing a case in which early disclosure put at risk a cooperative witness in a case. He declined to offer details because the case was under seal…

Continue this story at Washington Post

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