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View Diary: How metadata brought down CIA boss David Petraeus (61 comments)

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  •  The nature of the technology of the internet (7+ / 0-)

    along with various other aspects of our modern technological world make it all but impossible for most people to be able to hide certain aspects of their everyday lives and behavior from authorities, should authorities seek to find out about such things. I'm not just talking about electronic communications such as phone calls, texting, FB or email, but travel, purchases, TV shows watched and recorded, etc. Nearly all of these leave some sort of lasting electronic footprint that well-equipped authorities can use to find out much about us, be it for marketing purposes or surveillance. And by "authorities" I mean not just law enforcement and spy agencies, but companies that want to profit off this information.

    The only way around this that I can see is to rely on non-electronic methods, e.g. cash and paper, and even then, carefully, as electronic methods can be used to monitor non-electronic activity. E.g. recording in-person conversations, ubiquitous video surveillance cameras, etc. Most of us aren't doing anything that we'd need to consider going to such lengths to hide, of course, but for people who do have something to hide, be it for legitimate or illegitimate purposes, it's become really, really hard. In fact, merely by making efforts to hide one's activities (and such efforts can be detected, such as shutting one's cell phone off during the day to avoid being tracked by GPS, or relying excessively on cash), one makes oneself suspect. It's a catch-22 we're all kind of trapped by.

    Including powerful people such as Petreaus.

    Incidentally, I'm not entirely convinced that the investigation into Petreaus's and these other peoples' activities was improper, and representative of the creeping surveillance state. Petreaus was an extremely high-ranking government official in charge of the CIA, and any activity of his that might seem improper or could compromise or threaten the information, people and methods that he oversaw, was worthy of investigation (within the limits of the law, of course, and following strict procedure) IMO. Certainly some of the information that Broadwell included in her anonymous emails indicated a level of access to Petreaus's activities that was worrisome and warranting further investigation.

    Technology is not necessarily our friend here. The law, and vigilence, are.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 07:30:32 AM PST

    •  Yes indeed. (0+ / 0-)

      Most cell phones allow you to shut off the GPS circuit/options (saves power too), even for 911 calls on the older ones like mine if you like (and I try to use cash as much as possible FWIW).

      (and such efforts can be detected, such as shutting one's cell phone off during the day to avoid being tracked by GPS, or relying excessively on cash)

      "Double, double, toile and trouble; Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble... By the pricking of my Thumbes, Something wicked this way comes": Republicans Willkommen im Vierten Reich! Sie haben keine Bedeutung mehr.

      by Bluefin on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 10:03:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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