June 10, 2013

What could the government possibly do with phone call metadata?

Here’s a quick scenario based on my own experience.  I’ve attended my local Tea Party group’s meetings many times.  I know how they are organized.  They have a web site with a fair amount of contact information.  The organizers are proud of what they do, and make no attempt to hide their identities.  Meeting attendees often provide their phone numbers so they can stay informed about future meetings, upcoming speakers, and so forth.  The organization’s volunteer secretary feeds these numbers into a robocaller for that purpose.  The robocaller makes a series of calls in steady succession, which has a certain pattern no doubt easily identifiable by NSA software.  An analyst can easily look up the originator of the calls, a Tea Party group secretary, and reasonably infer that she isn’t robocalling birthday greetings to her grandchildren.  Thus, without a warrant, a list of people connected with that Tea Party organization can be arrived at.  When people have to worry that participating in a political organization that supports the US Constitution might result in harassment from the IRS or some other government entity, they may decide to stay at home and keep their mouths shut.  They may take a step, in fear, away from freedom.  That is why a little metadata matters.

1 comment:

  1. Are you now or have you ever had a tea party? Do you drink tea? Would you vote for someone who drinks tea? Do you get your tea from Cuba comrade???

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    I can not see how mass wiretaps are anything but a violation of the 4th amendment.