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Please begin with an informative title:

You know, I'm a bit sick of hearing people claiming the government is invading our collective privacy when we've all been giving up that privacy at the holy altar of convenience for more than two decades now.

In the Smith v. Maryland, 442 U.S. 735 (1979) decision the Supreme Court ruled that no warrant was necessary to install a pen register to detect what phone numbers a particular phone number was calling because the user of the telephone had already willingly given up that information to a third party, the carrier.

This was an important case and has everything to do with the NSA programs everybody knew about six years ago and were recently brought to everybody's collective attention again in the wake of the actions of one leaker.

Join me after the orange thingie for why we've all given up that data willingly.


You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

Today, I went to a grocery store, bought a couple of bottles of wine, used a loyalty card, and paid for it with a debit card. That single transaction provided data to the store about what brands of wine I like and to my bank as to where I shop.

This was information I gave freely to the grocery store and my bank. It's their data now, not mine.

The grocery store can now sell that data to whomsoever they please for purposes of marketing.

On to the internet...

Facebook knows I like the Chicago Blackhawks. Facebook also knows I like Games Workshop.

My email providers know what email addresses I send emails to.

All of this is metadata, and because the USA PATRIOT Act extended the definition of a pen register to any device or piece of software that is analogous to the function of a pen register in telephony to internet communications, Smith v. Maryland applies to that metadata. Thus, there is no fourth amendment protection and no reasonable expectation for privacy in terms of what email addresses I send emails to or receive emails from.

Same goes for Google Searches.

Same goes for what links I click.

All of these actions produce metadata and the USA PATRIOT Act says that is no different than the recording of a phone number I connect to from my phone.

Scared yet?

When you order a book from Amazon, that transaction can carry no reasonable expectation of privacy under the USA PATRIOT Act.

Every bit of porn you may have viewed, every link you clicked in a Daily Kos diary. Every search you've made in any search engine produces metadata, and you don't own that nor do you have a reasonable expectation to privacy in these things.

People, you've been warned about the hazards to your privacy caused by the internet and the sweeping powers granted by the USA PATRIOT Act for a decade.

And we are only now getting this?

The internet makes life more convenient but it comes with a price, privacy.

Think about it. If you take the time to write a personal letter, put a stamp on it, and put it in a mailbox, the 4th amendment applies. It's so convenient to email because it all happens in seconds instead of days, however, the fact that you send an email to another email address cannot be considered to have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

We all gave up our privacy in the name of convenience.

And we are only now getting this?

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