Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Why I Don't Want the Government to Have My Data

Many people on the internet these days are terrified that the Government will go all Big Brother on us and start adding words to the language, stereotyping us based on our phone records, or forcing us to join patriotic Facebook games. And for some reason, the Government's repeated assurances that it only wants information so that it can infiltrate anti-Government brotherhoods has done little to calm these 1984-inspired fears.

But I would like to say today: I am not really afraid of what the Government will do with my data.

I am worried about what someone else will do with my data once some random government employee leaks it out.

Consider the following nightmare scenarios:

1) A secret court authorizes the Government to monitor our credit cards so that they can see who's buying ingredients for explosives. A week later, all your money has been spent on porn ordered to the Ecuadorian embassy in London, dwelling place of one Mr. Julian Assange.

2) The government starts collecting data from grocery store loyalty cards. Communist gorillas track you down to reclaim all your bananas for the primate-ariat.  

3) A recent hire for a government contractor leaks your phone metadata to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and suddenly your mother is armed to the teeth with proof that you really never do call her anymore.
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