Thursday, May 11, 2006
If it is not illegal it should be
So real quick then, marginal benefit some tiny change in the likelihood of catching terrorists; marginal cost the cost of accumulating and analyzing the records and the loss of any expectation of privacy when using the phone for all American citizens (and any effects of this loss of the expectation of privacy). And don't underestimate the size of these costs. Right now you think, "I don't call anyone interesting", so who cares. Others, though, do care. People call all sorts of numbers which could, in the wrong hands, be used to embarrass them or get them in trouble (e.g., calls to psychiatrists, lawyers, reporters, ...). Further, it is easy to forget this because our country is relatively old and stable, but the time may still come when we need to be able to call each other in order to reclaim our individual sovereignty from an overzealous government.
Ultimately, if the government can convince a judge or someone that my phone records are important to providing public safety, fine I might be willing to pay this price. But I need to know that there are legitimate reasons for me to give up this expected privacy and that there are rules governing the use of these records and severe punishments for their miss use.
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