Tech Companies are Lying on Privacy

Ideas and Issues

San Francisco  In the wake of the disclosures that the National Security Administration has been amassing data from tech companies and telecommunications outfits on personal, domestic internet activity and phone calls, the companies seem to be doing a lot of dissembling and lawyerly lying about what they are doing and not doing, even though it is increasingly clear that virtually all of them are actually forking over almost whatever they have on these national security requests.

            The first day there were nothing but lawyerly denials of cooperation in various forms by Google, Microsoft, and Facebook.  Mostly they were trying to get people to believe, that they never did such things.  Quickly that artifice seems to be falling apart since all three are now complaining that they want government to let them issue a “transparency” report on how much or how little they coughed up.  Google’s chief legal beagle David Drummond posturing has reached ludicrous levels now since he wants to establish that, “Ok, yes, we gave it up, but not as many times as they asked or as much as they wanted” or words to that effect.   Is that reassuring to anyone?  No, I don’t think so.

            And, what a bunch of wimps!  In the middle of this mess, if they finally now told all, do they really believe the President and the Attorney General are going to sue them for having finally told the truth?  There would be on-line petitions everywhere on that, since I’m not sure these folks know how to go to the streets in protest.

            The ACLU has stepped into sue to stop the collection of domestic phone records.  And, let’s cheer for Credo again for opposing giving its records over!  This time they seem to have standing since no one can deny now that such accumulation of records has been happening and the ACLU has a phone so it has the right to wonder whether Verizon, in their case, gave it up on them. 

            There may not be a debate yet, but this is a mess that might be helped with more truth telling and transparency.

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