How much personal data do these people need anyway?
Yet another Government bulk data collection program?
The Central Intelligence Agency is secretly collecting bulk records of international money transfers handled by companies like Western Union — including transactions into and out of the United States — under the same law that the National Security Agency uses for its huge database of Americans’ phone records, according to current and former government officials.
Emptywheel unpacks this latest revelation in typically detailed fashion, so click here to understand the underlying issues which show that the program is, as usual, more nefarious than it seems at first blush. She think this sounds like a limited hang out and speculates just how tightly this information is actually held. (Let's just say it's likely pretty loose.)
The C.I.A. financial records program, which the officials said was authorized by provisions in the Patriot Act and overseen by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, offers evidence that the extent of government data collection programs is not fully known and that the national debate over privacy and security may be incomplete.
Several officials also said more than one other bulk collection program has yet to come to light...
In recent months, there have been hints in congressional testimony, declassified documents and litigation that the N.S.A. program — which was disclosed by Edward J. Snowden, a former N.S.A. contractor — is not unique in collecting records involving Americans.
For example, the American Civil Liberties Union is fighting a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for documents related to Section 215 of the Patriot Act, the provision that allows the government to compel companies to turn cover business records for counterterrorism purposes. After the government declassified the N.S.A. phone records program, it has released many documents about it in response to the suit.
But the government has notified the A.C.L.U. that it is withholding two Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court rulings invoking Section 215 — one dated Aug. 20, 2008, and the other Nov. 23, 2010 — because they discuss matters that remain classified, according to Alexander Abdo, an A.C.L.U. lawyer. “It suggests very strongly that there are other programs of surveillance that the public has a right to know about,” Mr. Abdo said.
It's clear at this point that we have a secret surveillance state with access to every bit of information about your life whether you've done anything or not. The good news is that if you or anyone you know (or anyone who knows anyone you know) never becomes in any way suspicious to law enforcement they'll have no need to access all this information they have stored so they can find evidence of something with which to prosecute you. Or threaten to prosecute you. There's nothing to worry your pretty little head about.
Meanwhile, in other news, in its quest to protect our privacy, the government sentenced convicted hacker Jeremy Hammond, to 10 years in prison today. So you can feel perfectly safe.