An Epidemic of Slavery

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During a series of experiments in 2010 and 2011, the [NSA] gathered up location data” for our cell phones. Fortunately, the agency “never took the program to an operational phase” — or so “James [‘Ding Dong’] Clapper, the U.S. director of intelligence,” alleges. Since the man lies as much as does the TSA, which is to say every time his lips move, it’s a good bet the NSA did indeed scarf up this data. And likely continues doing so.

But “the question is, had the agency taken [the program] operational, what did it expect to learn? Probably a lot, and there has been a lot of academic work on the subject with which I’m certain the NSA’s analysts would have been familiar.” The article then cites a study of data on cell-phone location that predicted participants’ circle of friends and acquaintances with 90% accuracy. “But,” the writer chirps with a noticeable lack of imagination, “there’s also a potential social benefit to tracking your phone’s location … If you’re sick or have been exposed to someone who is, your phone will have data showing who you’ve been close to. During a public-health emergency — say, an outbreak of the flu — phone data could be a treasure trove for epidemiologists and public-health officials.”

Oh, indeed. And under Obummercare, those “epidemiologists and public-health officials” come armed. How long before the NSA and the CDC, working in cahoots, are knocking on — or down — your door to haul you away because a guy who called about the ’08 Toyota you’re selling has been diagnosed with bird flu? Or with something even more questionable, such as “political dissidence”?

12:31 pm on October 4, 2013