Journalists Need to Start Asking About Storage, Not Access
… . that we do and relying on the fact that they need warrants to go back and look at the videos and you would never know about them because the warrants are issued in secret and it is against the law to even admit that the laws exist. Then, depending upon the fact that the Govt doesn’t decide later, that something that you did in the past isn’t then illegal.
But here’s what journalists should be asking at this point: What data does the government store? How long have they been storing it? Do they ever delete it?
All of the government arguments around 4th Amendment protections center on policy decisions regarding what the NSA and FBI can look at. But as they make these arguments they imply that the data is already sitting on government servers. Snowden, of course, doesn’t imply this, he says it flat out.
This is what scares me the most. Not that today’s government is using this data improperly today (although the IRS scandal certainly shows that the government is quite willing to use data improperly). Rather, I’m much more concerned with what the government will do with this data down the road.
Knowing that the government will start surveillance on you if you do something wrong is one thing.
But knowing that you are constantly being watched, with everything you do being stored in a database somewhere, is something else. It doesn’t matter if anyone is looking at it today. Knowing that anything you do now, innocently, may be evidence of a crime in 5, 10 or 30 years, is the opposite of freedom. No matter how you look at it.
I don’t understand how the government can argue that storing, possibly forever, every phone call and every email and our location and everything else can somehow be consistent with the rights acknowledged under the 4th amendment. Until journalists start asking these questions, however, they won’t even be forced to make those arguments.