Thursday, July 26, 2007


I was reading about the high price of free credit reports the other day, and decided to look up the text of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, since I think as highly of credit bureaus as I do of for-profit health insurance.

So, while I was composing a post in my head on the FCRA, I was also surfing some of my favorite blogs, which lead me to the EFF's FOIA Litigation: Abuse of National Security Letters (NSLs).

They've gone to some trouble to get this information, and will be putting a lot more effort into the project it looks like:
EFF received these documents as the result of a FOIA request made through our FLAG project. We ask that you please mention EFF if you use these documents in any way. We're a nonprofit organization, and our funding for this project depends on showing that our work is important and relevant. For more information about these documents or EFF's FLAG project, please contact EFF Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann at marcia(at)

I'm a fan of EFF, and not a fan of being spied on, so I thought I'd take a crack at some small portion of the project. I'm on page 45 [of 199] of the very first background documaent, A Review of the Frderal Bureau of Investigation's Use of National Security Letters, so I may not get around to actually contributing much.

A couple of years ago, I was reading in one of the magazines that only a geek could love about the FBI's antiquated computer system and their buggy database, and I remember thinking even I could do better than that. 45 pages into it and I'm glad they can't get their act together. I think.



Bryan said...

Every time you remove the leash they head right back to the toilet to drink.

It's always about domestic spying - they are Repubs; it's what they do.

Steve Bates said...

There is some irony here. I am one of the least secretive people I know... can you tell? ... but I have a deeply ingrained American sense of privacy that has nothing to do with secrecy. I just don't like the notion that people at a government agency go through my email, snail mail and phone calls, accumulating stuff because it might be useful to them (how?) someday.

"Round up all the usual suspects" has never been a legitimate law enforcement practice in America, and in essence that's what we have here. They're grabbing everything, from everyone, then deciding what to look for. From at least this old American's perspective, that's just plain wrong.

That graphic makes me feel like running around my apartment, pulling all plugs to all devices, of whatever sort, that are capable of transferring information. But of course I cannot do that. Sigh!

[rplhnxuo - reprehensible harassment next time you are online]