Friday, May 12, 2006

On the NSA Phone records story...

A good roundup of stuff at Reason.

From my point of view, I just want to address one point. I hopped in my car today to go get my fill of soon to be illegal, regulated, and or taxed McDonalds food, I turned on WBAL, forgetting that it was after noon, and Rush would be on.

In about 30 seconds, he had me furious.

He suggested that there is nothing at all wrong with the government obtaining and reviewing 10 million phone records. Why? EZ Pass.

Apparently, he thinks that since the government can track your coming and going via EZ Pass, that means it's perfectly fine to review your phone records. Plus, Clinton did it, and no one cared then (the usual moronic Rush position). He went on to explain that people who surf the web have their activity tracked by a host of organizations.

Let me explain a little something to El Rushbo (as I'm sure he reads this humble blog):

I CHOOSE EZ PASS. I am not forced to use EZ Pass, I can freely not use EZ Pass if I wish the government not be able to track my movement (ignoring temporarily that the government should not use EZ pass to track my movement and that toll roads not owned by the government would be my preferred means of travel were it available). I did not know the government was looking at my phone records, and I do not have a choice if they decide they want to look at them after the fact.

There is a huge distinction here. It is a clear violation of the Constitution to, without a warrant and without probable cause, review the records held by a private company on my use of their product. It is not a violation of the Constitution to look at what toll booths I drove through, when I choose to use a government sponsored electronic device to pay the tolls. (It would be, however, if I did not know that was happening and I had no other choice.) Put another way - I am consenting to government search when I use EZ Pass. I was not when I called my friend Muhammed to ask how his flying lessons were going two weeks ago. (You deserve what you get if you are so stupid you assume Muhammed is a criminal based on our conversation, by the way. And yes, I know that just got me on yet another NSA list.)

It. Is. Not. OK.

Violating our rights doesn't make us safe. It makes us less safe.

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