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Using Fourth-Party Data Brokers To Bypass the Fourth Amendment

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the one-party-per-amendment dept.

Privacy 181

An anonymous reader writes "Coming out of Columbia Law School is an article about commercial data brokers and their ability to provide information about individuals to the US government despite Fourth Amendment or statutory protections (abstract, full PDF at Download link). Quoting: 'The Supreme Court has held that the Fourth Amendment does not protect information that has been voluntarily disclosed to a third-party or obtained by means of a private search. Congress reacted to these holdings by creating a patchwork of statutes designed to prevent the government's direct and unfettered access to documents stored with third-parties; thus, the government's access is fettered by various statutory requirements, including, in many cases, notice of the disclosure. Despite these protections, however, third-parties are not restricted from passing the same data to other private companies (fourth-parties), and after the events of September 11, 2001, the government, believing that it needed a greater scope of surveillance, turned to the fourth-parties to access the personal information it could not acquire on its own. As a consequence, the fourth-parties, unrestricted by Fourth Amendment or statutory concerns, delivered — and continue to deliver — personal data en masse to the government.'"

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181 comments

Bend over citizen (1)

davebarnes (158106) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619342)

Loopholes. Always loopholes.

Re:Bend over citizen (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30619476)

What's even more awesome than normal in this case is that they're not only playing Big Brother, but they're being tremendously fucking inefficient about it and getting information that's muddled by the whisper game [wikipedia.org] . The waste of money through poor efficiency and accuracy AND violation of freedoms involved here has to be some kind of record.

Re:Bend over citizen (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30619874)

I thought I had to fart. I mean it felt like a real silent stinker, the kind that's so raunchy it feels hot coming out your ass. I beared down and something came out alright, but it was not gaseous. No, if only it had been. For what came out was a brown liquid. It didn't even stink very much and I was disappointed. Yes, this is an instance of the "shart." I did not feel like washing underwear today either. Thankfully it did not get on my pants.

Re:Bend over citizen (-1, Troll)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620174)

The waste of money through poor efficiency and accuracy

This is the same government that is going to "eliminate" medicare waste and make quality health care "budget neutral" and affordable? Does anybody with a brain actually believe that?

Re:Bend over citizen (4, Insightful)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619524)

Loopholes. Always loopholes.

The B.S. in this whole thing, that which stinks, is that whatever they are wordsmithing as 'fourth party' is STILL a 'third party'.

You can't get around it just by renaming it. Everyone on this planet knows the definition of 'third party' is NOT tied to the number of hands something has passed through at all.

WTF, really. Lets get a prosecution on this crap. The new administration is complacent in the old and has done nothing to bring JUSTICE to the US. Remember that, despite how you (and I) may have voted for the promise of a new era of honorable leadership.

Re:Bend over citizen (3, Interesting)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619654)

True, but consider the alternative. If the government couldn't collect any information without receiving it directly from citizens or under a subpoena, they wouldn't know shit! At first this sounds nice, but given the mostly advantageous activities of law enforcement, I think I like it more the way it is.

The real 800 pound gorilla in the room is the lack of strong federal privacy laws that dictate what corporations may do with our information. Companies should not be allowed to trade, buy or sell personally identifiable information about consumers except to those parties where needed to complete a transaction(i.e. credit bureau, DMV, etc.) without their explicit permission. Any time a consumer wants to give that permission, it should be an opt-in only scheme and it should be illegal for companies to limit their services to those who choose to participate in such information sharing programs.

Re:Bend over citizen (4, Insightful)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619702)

I disagree. Everything can be accessed once they have a shred of evidence to warrant access. This has been standard since long before anything as silly as the patriot act. It's the whole point of a warrant, really.

Without evidence, I can hardly agree that anyone should ever have unblocked access to my privacy, or yours. I'm amazed that my military, which I served in, is not fighting people who break my constitutional rights.

I agree with you about companies. The problem is that our country permits companies to do almost anything they want in agreements with customers and they give the customers the consumer power. Sadly, we're all a bit too ignorant or careless to ignore the companies that abuse us. I wonder if that has anything to do with the oligo-glomerate associations that direct media/information and politics?

Re:Bend over citizen (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620032)

The fact that the media knows exactly who signs their paychecks certainly doesn't help; but I suspect that there are more fundamental problems.

Up until fairly recently, the scope and utility of "indirect" surveillance methods has been extremely limited by hard technological constraints. The available direct methods were either highly invasive(having thugs ransack your house, looking for incriminating evidence, is hard to ignore), highly symmetric(the classic "small town where everybody knows everybody and somebody is always looking through their blinds" scenario), highly expensive(pretty much anything that involves sending out field agents and collecting big filing cabinets full of paper), or some combination.

Sheer cost presents one valuable passive defence against surveillance. Even if the state has unlimited legal power, their supply of jackbooted enforcers is finite, which places a hard cut-off on the set of people worth spying on. Invasiveness doesn't create hard cut-offs; but means that the state must either confine its surveillance to unpopular people, or pay a public relations/popular discontent cost every time it hits a sympathetic target. Symmetry is not a limit to surveillance per se(in fact, traditional societies with high levels of surveillance symmetry are often virtually transparent); but it effectively retards the development of opaque concentrations of surveillance power.

Contemporary technology has substantially relaxed all these restraints. Having your data silently copied and collated somewhere out in the aether of the complex modern economy is virtually invisible. No muss, no fuss, no doors battered down, no raids to upset the neighbours. It is also highly asymmetric. Only the most dedicated privacy wonks even know who knows about them, much less knows anything useful about those entities. This is, in part, because those entities take pains to hide("national security letters" vs. ordinary warrants, national security classifications, opaque corporations that, at most, are obliged to provide certain financial data, if publicly traded) ; but also because of the sheer complexity of modern civilization and life. If you live in a small town, knowing all possible surveillance entities requires basic social skills. In modern society, you basically need to be, or have access to, an investigative reporter, a lawyer, an accountant, a techie, and a fair surveillance expert yourself just to keep up. The final issue is cost. Two things have changed here. One is that the contemporary developed world is really fucking rich by the standards of any point in human history(at least until the fossil fuels give out). We can simply afford to spend far more on things that don't put food on the table without driving the population into the depths of squalor that provoke revolutions. The other is a little more subtle: a lot of modern surveillance data is "free" or cheap because its creation is subsidized by some other purpose. For example, the need to connect(and bill for) your cellphone calls is what finances the collection of substantial amounts of handset location, call record, and financial data. Transferring those data to the Feds is just a small additional cost. Advertising and marketing firms are perhaps even more dangerous in that regard. Once data concerning consumers becomes a commodity, the free market efficiently goes about collecting it. The Feds spend a great deal of money on surveillance, it is true; but these private sector processes are a potent multiplier of the bang they get for their buck.

This is why I am extremely pessimistic about the fate of privacy. Even if the political climate for privacy were better(and, frankly, it fucking sucks right now), we would still be crafting regulation against the tide of private sector incentives for surveillance. As any number of examples show, regulating against business incentives is hard. Further, because so much of modern surveillance is silent, and seemingly unobtrusive, it incurs a much smaller political cost, which makes it less likely that the political climate will ever become better. Finally, since so much useful surveillance data is created simply as a necessary byproduct of normal functions, privacy now requires conscious and intentional forgetting and obfuscation rather than simply not gathering which is a much higher bar to clear(for instance, compare a physical currency economy vs. an electronic currency one: even if there is overwhelming demand for privacy, and no political resistance, designing a privacy-preserving electronic currency is a genuinely hard problem, requiring novel mathematics and careful design, while a privacy-preserving physical currency system is simply the default state).

Re:Bend over citizen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30620918)

... or pay a public relations/popular discontent cost every time it hits a sympathetic target.

The very existence of the Useless Parrot Act crushes your theory into dust.

Re:Bend over citizen (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620252)

Indeed, the fact that privacy laws carry (in the USofA) different weight for private companies and the (Federal) government is one of the reasons the system is broken.

I'm working in the EU division of an internationally operating but UK based company and am partly responsible for privacy policies as demanded by local (Dutch) law.

The gap with UK law is big but the USofA is really another world.

We are only allowed to share personal data with US companies that each and individually sign up to a 'Save Haven' agreement as the US law does nothing to protect our employees privacy.

As a private person I can understand the deep felt desire by Americans for local freedoms though I don't agree with their fear of 'Big Government', therefore I see stronger and mandatory Federal law as the only solution to the problem of the presently fragmented sytem.

Re:Bend over citizen (1)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620164)

The real 800 pound gorilla in the room is the lack of strong federal privacy laws that dictate what corporations may do with our information.

Yes, corporate third parties must be restricted in the way they handle personal information. Otherwise they may sell it to parties who could use it against us...such as the government.

Of course I agree with you that it is, in general, much worse if that information ends up in the hands of people who would use it maliciously for their own gain rather than in the hands of the government. However, when that information ends up in the hands of the government, the breach of trust is much more fundamental. The government can, under no circumstances, violate the personal rights that they exist to protect. The means and ends are both irrelevant when it comes to the violation of the rights and freedoms of citizens by the government. The breach of trust that occurs when such a violation is committed undermines the legal system and the democratic process.

Sure, the malicious "fourth-party" may be more likely to do damage to an individual than the government, but action can be taken against those who sell out personal information for gain. A few thieves won't do too much damage, but when the government circumvents the laws protecting the rights of it's own citizens, those laws and rights start lose meaning, which is far, far scarier.

Re:Bend over citizen (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30620300)

The real 800 pound gorilla in the room

The metaphor is "elephant in the room" [reference.com]
you've mixed it with "where does an 800lb gorilla sit" [wisegeek.com]

Re:Bend over citizen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30619852)

the legal dictionary defines it like this:

third party n. a person who is not a party to a contract or a transaction, but has an involvement (such as a buyer from one of the parties, was present when the agreement was signed, or made an offer that was rejected). The third party normally has no legal rights in the matter, unless the contract was made for the third party's benefit.

(http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Third+Party)

So by that definition a "fourth party" (Which I will note is NOT defined in the legal dictionary at all) would mean someone who has NO involvement at all. So as soon as these people get the data... they cease being a 4th party and are, once again, 3rd party.

Re:Bend over citizen (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620508)

Indeed...

First Party: The original person the information belongs to.

Second Party: An entity the 1st party directly shared the information with.

Third Party: EVERYONE or anyone else who got the information from any source other than directly from the First party.

Re:Bend over citizen (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620096)

But if the government pays to get the information - then they are actively searching, even though it's through a proxy.

Shouldn't the 4th amendment still be valid then?

I think that a court decision is needed here to determine if this actually is an acceptable way of circumventing the 4th amendment.

Re:Bend over citizen (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620780)

Shouldn't the 4th amendment still be valid then?

The 4th amendment is valid no matter what. The constitution provides the authorizing mechanism for the US federal government, and to some extent, the state governments; from the definitions therein, there are only two kinds of power: Authorized powers, which comply with the constitutional requirements, and unauthorized powers, which do not.

The federal government is deep into the use of unauthorized powers, the most egregious of which are: Ex post facto laws, violations of the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th and 10th amendments, inversion of the commerce clause, and asserting article V powers (which require massive co-operation from the congress and the people) via direct misuse of article III, which manifests as a stroke of a judge's pen.

Because the constitution has no teeth, that is, there is no punishment of any kind defined for stepping outside the bounds it defines, there is no control mechanism available. Further, the government continues to create a web of unauthorized law to cover its tracks.

Consequently, any relief -- in the constitutional sense -- for any government use of unauthorized power, is impossible to obtain working within the system.

Re:Bend over citizen (1)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 4 years ago | (#30621044)

This is an incredibly dubious piece of legal scholarship, so I must ask you to provide some detailed evidence that this is actually the case. Legal scholars everywhere appear to disagree with you.

Re:Bend over citizen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30620950)

frog... boiling water heated gradually... Nazi government... Fourth Reich

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Reich [wikipedia.org]

'nuff said.

Re:Bend over citizen (1)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 4 years ago | (#30621062)

It has always been my position that if MY personal data
is worth anything to anybody, it is worth $5,000.00 USD
to ME. Any portion of MY data, like SSN, Name, Phone number,
address , email address etc.

Laws need to be authored to allow me to invoice people who
send me junk mail, call me etc. I will invoice them at the
rate of $5,000.00 per instance and be glad to pay taxes on
the money.

We can hit these idiots where it hurts. If they fail to pay,
turn them over to a collection agency. Fsck those data mining
douchebags. All the end up doing is causing me work, for which
I am not paid.

By the way, my many names are Current occupant, Resident, Homeowner
ad nauseum.

We're doing it to ourselves (4, Insightful)

inKubus (199753) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619366)

It's our government, and if it's screwing us it's basically us screwing ourselves.

Non-sequitur and off-topic, has there ever been a media anti-trust action in history?

Re:We're doing it to ourselves (1)

saaaammmmm (1650977) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619432)

Stop screwing yourself. Why are you still screwing yourself? The government is making us screw ourselves!!!

Re:We're doing it to ourselves (5, Insightful)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619982)

That's funny but at face value sounds unrealistic, the parent already said government is *us* so anything the government does is a reflection of our own will. Of course that's a lie, the government don't listen to the public anymore.

I don't claim to understand the problem or to know the solution. it is vast. I'll talk about Mexican politics but I guess its roughly the same in the US. My representative said during his campaign that he wold work to lower taxes. And the very next thing he did was rise them. Now I didn't vote for him but the people that did, did so because of his campaign promises, I assume so how could he betray his word so easily? We need a mechanism to punish politicians for betraying their people but what can we do?

During our last presidential election fraud a massive pacifist protest was launched to have every vote counted because thousands of votes from the poorest regions of the country were omitted from them count for no sane reason. The protest was huge and lasted for over a month. It didn't work.

Are we supposed to start a violent revolution (again)? But carrying weapons is illegal and even if it was legal using them is not, planing on using them is not. That's the very definition of thought crime but the same is true in the States. Just planning a coup d'etat is already illegal. Only way to accomplish this is keeping it secret and small ensuring failure. Even that is impossible to carry because the government spies on the population and the population has bought on the idea that it's ok for the law to access all private information it claims to need in the name of protecting us.

Worse yet, violent uprising *is* a crime so they wouldn't be even transgressing the law which they do regularly anyway.

Do we have any realistic (effective) options to punish politicians for not keeping their promises?

Re:We're doing it to ourselves (1)

wellingj (1030460) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620208)

"A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history." Mohandas Gandhi

Ghandi, eh? (2, Informative)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620792)

"A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can be taken without warrants, have their property seized, be securely imprisoned, not be given access to lawyers, or even a phone call, get waterboarded, give up all their co-conspirators, and disappear forever." --fyngyrz

Re:We're doing it to ourselves (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619534)

It's our government, and if it's screwing us it's basically us screwing ourselves.

Non-sequitur and off-topic, has there ever been a media anti-trust action in history?

If there was, you probably didn't hear about it.

Funny? Scary.

Re:We're doing it to ourselves (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620286)

It's our government, and if it's screwing us it's basically us screwing ourselves.

No, its the monied and powerful screwing those who don't have as loud a say in what the government does.

Non-sequitur and off-topic, has there ever been a media anti-trust action in history?

What do you mean by "action" - federal lawsuit? There certainly have been plenty of actions - like the creation of laws preventing one company from owning all the television stations in one area.

It's not a loophole, it's a feature. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30619370)

They designed it to work this way. It has the appearance of legitimacy.

It falls to SCOTUS to do the heavy lifting, albeit a decade too late.

Re:It's not a loophole, it's a feature. (5, Insightful)

sys.stdout.write (1551563) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619408)

This demonstrates a remarkable failure to understand the article.

The SCOTUS ruled that Fourth Amendment protection against illegal searches and seizures doesn't extend to where you voluntarily disclosed the information to a third party. In response to these rulings, Congress passed a statute to prevent the government from overreaching. It appears to have a loophole, and I'm sure in time Congress will fix it.

It's going to be concerned about stuff like this, but making unsubstantiated complaints about veiled illegitimacy is completely counterproductive.

Re:It's not a loophole, it's a feature. (1)

pmontra (738736) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620830)

Maybe the loophole has been the creation of a new business category: I knew that there are two parties in a contract and everybody else is a third party. I learnt about fourth parties a couple of minutes ago. It could be that I'm ignorant but I can't help thinking that they've been playing with words to work around rules. They should have changed them instead.

The term fourth party doesn't seem widespread: it's about 1/1000th less frequent than "third party" according to google search. Its use seems related to politics (four party systems) and logistics. By the way this ./ article made the first page of http://www.google.com/search?q=%22fourth+party%22 [google.com]

Equal protection from government and corporations (5, Interesting)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619384)

This is something that has had me puzzled for quite a while now. Why does the US have this fetish with keeping the government out of their private lives, yet allow corporations free reign to use, misuse, misplace and basically be asses with the same information?

In e.g. Norway all sectors are under the same law, this including corporate, governmental and academic uses. Obviously certain organizations are allowed to store more information than others.

Re:Equal protection from government and corporatio (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619414)

Why does the US have this fetish with keeping the government out of their private lives, yet allow corporations free reign to use, misuse, misplace and basically be asses with the same information?

Most of the Americans who want the government to stay out of their private lives would also like corporations to stay out of their private lives.

In general, we can usually manage to get laws passed limiting the extent to which corporations can abuse our private information, but apparently there's no real way to get the government to pass a law that limits themselves....

Re:Equal protection from government and corporatio (1)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620602)

However the US government will gladly pass laws that expand its limits and/or size. It all comes down to the government being corrupt in many areas, down to specific members of Congress. Corporations can lobby Congressmen easier and more effectively than individual citizens. Congressmen will listen to the corporations more than the citizens who voted them into office.

Re:Equal protection from government and corporatio (1)

mspohr (589790) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620974)

In general, we can usually manage to get laws passed limiting the extent to which corporations can abuse our private information, but apparently there's no real way to get the government to pass a law that limits themselves....

Actually, I think it is the other way around. Corporations pretty much run the government and they prevent laws that would restrict their access to information. Corporations collect lots more personal information and use it with limited disclosure for all kinds of reasons that the government is prohibited from doing.

Indeed, the whole point of this article is that corporations have information that the government is prohibited from collecting so the government is trying to do an end run around these laws to get at the information that corporations have but it is currently prevented from collecting.

We would be much better off with stronger laws that prevent corporations from collecting this information. I personally am offended that corporations can collect financial and medical information on me and sell it to anyone who is willing to pay the price.

Sharing vs taking. (3, Informative)

khasim (1285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619440)

Why does the US have this fetish with keeping the government out of their private lives, yet allow corporations free reign to use, misuse, misplace and basically be asses with the same information?

At the most basic, it is a difference between voluntarily sharing the information versus involuntarily having it collected.

Corporations compile the information about your purchases and such in order to persuade you to purchase their products.

Governments compile the information about you in order to limit your freedom.

Re:Sharing vs taking. (4, Insightful)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619492)

"At the most basic, it is a difference between voluntarily sharing the information versus involuntarily having it collected."

Do you voluntary provide information about you to LexisNexis ?

Thought so.

What does LexisNexis have about me? (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619606)

They'll have nothing that isn't available to anyone who would spend the time to go to the courthouse and look up the legal documents.

So yes, the information that LexisNexis has about me is voluntarily provided EXCEPT in the cases where the disclosure was mandated by law (legal records).

Re:Sharing vs taking. (4, Insightful)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619916)

Credit reporting agencies would be a better example.

Re:Sharing vs taking. (1)

cyberthanasis12 (926691) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620598)

I don't know about LexisNexis.

But do you "voluntary" provide detailed information about yourself to the insurance company (which in many cases is a private corporation)? Well, where I live, it was my right to deny to provide the information, but if I didn't, I would not get insured.

What about registering software? For example a friend bought the 3 licenses of an anti-virus, and he had to register giving his name and e-mail, which should not be fake.

Re:Sharing vs taking. (1, Interesting)

AnotherUsername (966110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619742)

Governments compile the information about you in order to limit your freedom.

Are you kidding me? Yes. The only reason the government exists is to limit your freedom. That's obviously the only reason that the government has information on you.

It has nothing to do with figuring out how many representatives your area should have in government.
It has nothing to do with figuring out how many police officers, firefighters, and paramedics your area needs in order to provide sufficient coverage.
It has nothing to do with figuring out if the school you went to is providing a good education.
It has nothing to do with figuring out if you are owed veteran benefits if you were in the military and deployed.
It has nothing to do with making sure that the various utilities are sufficient for your area, so that you don't have blackouts all the time.
It has nothing to do with anything that could possibly be good. The only reason the government could possibly have for compiling information about you is because it wants to limit your freedom. Give me a break.

Re:Sharing vs taking. (3, Interesting)

Romancer (19668) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619948)

Interesting how you couldn't even get an example that would be identifying of an individual. This is pretty much what we are all talking about here. Not statistics that are population based, but individual pieces of information that are linked to you as an individual.

The rebuttal is obviously still needed but the examples are telling of what people believe about data mining. Incorrectly.

Not even your "school you went to is providing a good education" is individually specific since the stats are recorded at the school level and then reported in order to get funds without the student IDs attached to a long "premenant record" detailing lunch choices in grade 9.

The "if you are owed veteran benefits if you were in the military and deployed" is kinda funny that you bring up since it's working for the government to protect freedoms but it still doesn't represent what we're talking about. That's not the same as gathered information dince it's first of all, a fact, on record, at the organization that is supposed to handle the processing of the checks and members recieving benifits. It's their data as much as it is yours.

This is about shifting data from the parties involved in the actions required to make it in the first place, to an organization that only wants the data for the sake of the data, not to give you another check, get it?

Re:Sharing vs taking. (0, Troll)

Vegeta99 (219501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619972)

In a state of nature...

It has something to do with figuring out how many representatives your area should have in government, because you give up your freedom to make your own laws to him.

It has something to do with figuring out how many police officers, firefighters, and paramedics your area needs in order to provide sufficient coverage, because you give up your freedom to kill the man who raped your daughter, burn down your old house, and have that cancer looked at by the spiritual surgeon.

It has something to do with figuring out if the school you went to is providing a good education because you're giving up your freedom to not have your child educated in a manner that is not agreed upon by your representatives.

It has something to do with figuring out if you are owed veteran benefits if you were in the military and deployed because you're giving someone else the right to protect yourself from all enemies, foreign and domestic

It has something to do with making sure that the various utilities are sufficient for your area, so that you don't have blackouts all the time, because you give up your right to your own land.

It has to do with things that could possibly be good. The only reason the government could possibly have for compiling information about you is because it wants to limit your freedom, because that really is the only purpose of government.

What the original poster didn't say, is that life without governance kind of sucks.

there are many problems with government (0, Troll)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620090)

but no government is far, far worse

the idea is to improve upon failures, not negate the whole entity. to criticize the very existence of government rather than why government needs improvement is a hard fail on your part

government is a necessarily evil, but completely necessary

Re:Sharing vs taking. (1)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620236)

None of the things on your list require any kind of private information that wouldn't already be available in the government's own records.

In the context of the 4th amendment, gathering information about individuals is very much tied to limiting freedom, because the implication is that the information will be used to prosecute and/or punish them.

Re:Equal protection from government and corporatio (4, Insightful)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619552)

Corporations write laws in the US. If a left leaning type starts getting ideas, his or her 'aid' will pull them back in line as they worked for or want to work for the area their boss is to be watching, regulating.
Do you expect to get a great job if your boss was screaming about public health care, land mines, lead, mercenaries having fun with children, drugs and the CIA, water quality ect.
All that is taboo in the USA.
If the advisor fails, the left or right swaps out the right or left with a more corporation friendly person and team.
A man or woman who knows who pays for their lifestyle, elections and a few naughty extras.
If its a mess and mid term, just blackmail or force a recall. Fox will get the "left" trouble maker, the liberal blogosphere the right.
If they are clean, work on the family tree or get someone close to them to make them fail.

Re:Equal protection from government and corporatio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30619554)

I think you don't understand the way that governments were designed in the US. One of the primary motivations was to restrict the power of the government. The US Constitution is sort of a reverse constitution to most in the world. Instead of saying what rights the people have, it enumerates the powers of the government and leaves all other rights to the people. Thus the First Amendment to the US Constitution doesn't guarantee free speech--it simply prevents the government from interfering.

This may sound like a trivial distinction, but it isn't. The US Constitution is designed so it is easy to make laws restricting the government, but hard to restrict people or corporations. While it is possible to restrict corporations, it would have to be done through the Commerce Clause. In order to use this clause, the government would have to show that these privacy issues affect international or inter-State trade (where by 'State' I mean individual States within the US). The actual implementation would be done by adopting regulations under the Executive Branch.

The US isn't Norway, and the US federal government is weak in what changes it can make compared to Norway.

Re:Equal protection from government and corporatio (1)

wellingj (1030460) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620220)

.... or so the theory goes.

Re:Equal protection from government and corporatio (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619560)

We're not like that because it is cold in Norway and it would be costly and hard to make the move.

Just please don't claim we have WMDs before invading to bring us the Democracy you think we deserve... we know we have em.
----

Don't you wish we could get the best things from the top governments and establish that? I sure do. Hell, I bet most of our politician's on a personal level would appreciate it as well. The problem is that those changes are not in line with corrupt political processes that directly influence our every word in politics.

Wtf is a revolution? The facade of a fresh start, only to be subverted by the exploits of man in a system bidding *money* as a prize, pitting us against each other in competition for survival... We've done that once, and over 200 years later we're finding out its the same turd with the same peanuts.... it just looked liked it flushed down for a little while.

If we don't see the problem as a result of true causes, our cultures, our ethics, our ideas (such as money), then we won't ever really fix it. If you've read this and you can't imagine a functional world without money, you're not trying, or able, and your simple brainwash will always be a roadblock to progress.

Re:Equal protection from government and corporatio (1)

The Mighty Buzzard (878441) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619642)

Wow, you managed to keep from sounding like a complete nutter right up until your last paragraph.

Re:Equal protection from government and corporatio (0, Flamebait)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619708)

Wow, you managed to keep from sounding like a complete nutter right up until your last paragraph.

Oh, gotcha. You can't see a world without money. I guess you'll ignore what I said about you and keep standing in the way. Thanks for doing exactly what you're taught to do.

Re:Equal protection from government and corporatio (1)

wellingj (1030460) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620244)

I know it's in my sig but I'd like to hear your well thought out rebuttal to this [capmag.com] . Then you might be taken seriously.

Re:Equal protection from government and corporatio (1)

pmontra (738736) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620906)

The assumption is that people spend time producing things they don't need and use money as a tool to facilitate the exchange of that time with the time someone else spends producing the things they need. Example: I write sw that I don't need but I need food somebody else produces. If you remove the causes for this assumption is currently true you remove the need for money.

There are some parts of this world were there is little need for money, basically everywhere people produce or collect from the surrounding environment nearly everything they need but that's impossible in areas with more than very small population densities. The kind of organization we need in a world with urban-like population densities requires either money or that a lot of people volunteer to spend time doing unpleasant activities, something that I feel difficult to believe.

There are some sci-fi books with automatic factories that create for free all the stuff people wish but that will be just sci-fi for a long time. Furthermore human nature and physics plays against it. Example: a lot of people might want a house at the sea front of tropical islands but space there is a finite resource. Who gets those house?

Re:Equal protection from government and corporatio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30619670)

No I can't imagine a world without money, I did really want to at one point when I was younger and enjoying Star Trek and whatnot but I am wiser now.

Money is just an agreed form of trade, that's it, whether it is paper or bartering goods and services directly, there is always a need to extract a service from someone else that you can't do yourself. Even if we invent Replicators that solve our material needs, unless everyone becomes completely knowledgeable of every field of endeavour, trade is still needed, the only alternative is exploitation. It's the curse of finiteness [That competition will exist and persist].

In a finite environment, there will always be those who want a bigger piece of the pie then everyone else since that guarantees a life of ease off the backs of others. This is not something you can cure, you can talk about Utopia all you want but in the end, a Utopia is easily exploited by one bad apple making it unsustainable the moment such an individual exists. If you really think you have some great insight into a way around this then I am curious.

Re:Equal protection from government and corporatio (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619750)

That's funny. Our predecessors lived without money. Birds live without it. Mice. Rats. Bacteria.

Sometimes we find intraspecies competition in nature, but often we find intraspecies cooperation.

Given models of similar organisms to us, we have observed competition for mates, but not competition for survival among the same species. And so not only can I imagine a world without money, a world of cooperation and completely varied culture (not nature.. don't blame nature unless you've got facts on this one); but I can also postulate that the competition for survival within our species may likely be caused by the existence of money.

In nature vs nurture, nurture goes a long frikkin way with humans. I observed a flock of birds in a huge V today. I noticed how every bird knew to immediately repeat the bird ahead of itself, and so they moved in a very short-time delayed unison. You could see the wave of reaction move from front to rear. I couldn't help but think about how we've developed a culture of individualism and self interest; that we could never get 100+ humans together and have them all cascade each others actions for a greater good... not with our current beliefs and trainings from our culture. It doesn't help that some people are so firmly washed with it that they cannot imagine a world outside of the box they were assembled in.

Re:Equal protection from government and corporatio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30620054)

Our predecessors lived without money.

No they didn't. Money is simply formalized barter. Barter has existed as long as humans have.

but I can also postulate that the competition for survival within our species may likely be caused by the existence of money.

You've got that utterly and completely backwards.

It doesn't help that some people are so firmly washed with it that they cannot imagine a world outside of the box they were assembled in.

You're not a unique and special snowflake with your "imagining". Every single five year old has asked "Daddy, why do we need money?"

Re:Equal protection from government and corporatio (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619846)

We're not like that because it is cold in Norway and it would be costly and hard to make the move.

Just please don't claim we have WMDs before invading to bring us the Democracy you think we deserve... we know we have em.

Lutefisk _is_ considered a biological weapon outside of Norway, you know.

So, would you like to be the 52nd state (after Canada, of course - they have dibs), or a territory like Puerto Rico? If you choose to become a state, you get free flags. If you choose to be a territory, you get less hassle, but no flags. A difficult choice, I know, so take your time.

Re:Equal protection from government and corporatio (2, Insightful)

Spud Stud (739387) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619594)

"Why does the US have this fetish with keeping the government out of their private lives, yet allow corporations free reign to use, misuse, misplace and basically be asses with the same information?" Because corporations cannot use (misuse) said information to jail people.

Re:Equal protection from government and corporatio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30619908)

Because corporations cannot use (misuse) said information to jail people

legally, in US. /cynic fix

Re:Equal protection from government and corporatio (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620058)

Because corporations cannot use (misuse) said information to jail people.

Dmitry Sklyarov might disagree [wikipedia.org] .

The government is, effectively, the enforcement arm for corporate power (and all other sorts of private power).

Re:Equal protection from government and corporatio (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620154)

Because corporations cannot use (misuse) said information to jail people.

In the US we also have longer prison terms than any of the EU countries, with the possible exception of the UK, for similar crimes. This is mostly due to decades of "get tough on crime" initiatives commonly introduced by politicians to score political points with ignorant and misinformed constituents. Additionally, there are many more "mandatory minimum" sentences for crimes committed here in the US which tie the hands of judges and require harsh punishments; even for non-violent or first time offenders. Finally, a felony conviction in the US these days is like a modern day "scarlet letter"; almost certainly punishing those convicted even after a sentence has been served with lower income, job discrimination, and social ostracization (i.e. no more forgiveness or second chances). So perhaps now the GP can understand why some of us (the ones who can still think for ourselves anyway) are so concerned about an overreaching and powerful government that doesn't respect privacy and pokes around in people's private affairs.

Re:Equal protection from government and corporatio (1)

the_fat_kid (1094399) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620206)

Because corporations cannot use (misuse) said information to jail people, yet.

There fixed that for you

Its due to misunderstanding of law (1)

bussdriver (620565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619612)

The same literal minded thought that insults the intelligence of the legal system by playing technical games with clear intent to violate the law, allows 3rd/4th/5th party circumvention. This same literal thinking allows corporations exemption from all laws imposed upon government.

In the USA corporations are thought to be separate entities and given ridiculous levels of power (which hasn't always been the case.) The truth is that corporations ARE government entities whose entire existence and basic operation depend upon government. Simply because a kind of government created organization is "independently" managed does not mean it is not a government entity. Therefore, corporations fall under the classification as government unless specifically specified otherwise (or there may be a blanket law which may exist, I don't know. If it does exist, then the government clearly agreed with this logic.)

People get upset when government exempts itself from the laws and creates excuses for doing so. But if they can create a generalized hack that is less obvious... By empowering a 3rd party they pay... individuals being more difficult to use & scale; the corporation is perfectly suited to this task.

Re:Equal protection from government and corporatio (1)

AnotherUsername (966110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619676)

I personally trust the government far more than I trust corporations. The government isn't a for-profit organization. Corporations are. Therein lies the difference. I truly wish that the government would regulate corporations far more, especially how corporations manage information on people.

Re:Equal protection from government and corporatio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30619778)

> I personally trust the government far more than I trust corporations

It's not as simple for someone in the US Gov to remove free speech, than for a US corporation to delete posts and revoke an account for violating TOS.

Rabid libertarians who keep pushing for small governments are missing the point. The main problem is quality, not quantity. Not knowing the problem means you're less likely to get it fixed.

Re:Equal protection from government and corporatio (1)

wellingj (1030460) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620292)

And statists always forget that the easiest and fastest way to change a corporation is to stop giving it money, which is not possible with the government. It's for this reason that it takes tens of years to change the government, but corporations can be made, broke, and resurrected in better forms in tens of months. The government doesn't have any interest in being good because it's survival based less on being good and more on being unobservable.

Re:Equal protection from government and corporatio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30619888)

Government has far more power than a corporation, and thus far more potential to abuse information than a corporation. Also, as a side effect of capitalism, usually information is collected by corporations to give them an advantage over the competition - and this they tend to keep their collections secret to maintain that advantage. (Obviously not true for ALL corporations, but true for very many corporations.)

History has generally shown the paranoia to be justified, by the way. No one does large-scale human rights abuse quite like governments do. Corporations tend to lack the means or the motivation unless 1) there IS no government, or 2) the government has hired them to do the abuses.

Re:Equal protection from government and corporatio (1)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620000)

The US is a corpratocracy. Signing your life over to your corporate overlords is so ingrained in the culture that nobody even thinks about it anymore. We only have a federal government so that we can keep up appearances.

Re:Equal protection from government and corporatio (3, Insightful)

zippyspringboard (1483595) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620034)

Here in the USA most of us have been duped into thinking that the Government and Large corporations are at odds with each other. Instead of realizing that each represent a consolidation of power, and pose similar threats (and more often than not work together). We spend so much time divided and arguing about who represents "evil" ( the Govt or the Corporations) that they both pretty much get to do whatever the hell they want.

Re:Equal protection from government and corporatio (1)

Bob_Who (926234) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620144)

Good point. The issue should be that corporations should not have more rights than our government or its citizens. Then again, shareholders and their lobbyists are not necessarily American. Maybe this is how unemployment can go up to 10% in the same year that the stock market gains 20% . Corporate interests no longer serve the citizens, perhaps.

Re:Equal protection from government and corporatio (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620854)

The USA doesn't really have privacy laws. Canada and a few other countries do. That is why it is always an argument in the USA - their laws are weak on privacy.

Facebook exists for a reason. (3, Interesting)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619426)

When 'free' web services which are obviously tremendously expensive to maintain and which feature only a token handful of banner ads. . .

I don't know the economics of Facebook and Yahoo and Google, but it certainly seems that there would be a TON of money available for the kind of information they pull in. Do corporations actively resist selling a constantly renewable resource they specifically crafted their web sites and web applications to generate? I have no trouble believing that Facebook is selling everything they glean about you to the highest bidder. It's Google that I find myself wondering about; their "Don't Be Evil" thing is so effective that even I have the slogan burned into my mind.

But do those Google ads REALLY pay for entire data centers and dedicated trunks and hundreds of miles of fiber optics?

Really?

-FL

Re:Facebook exists for a reason. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30619518)

Today I'm feeling quite safe with google and - to a lesser extent - facebook, because they're doing fine financially and these data are what gives them an edge over their competitor so they want to keep it to themselves. The problem is when they fall in the yahoo category, "used to be great but now needs any cash it can find". Who's to say that five years from now facebook isn't gonna be faded out and trying to sell everything to stay alive too ? The very same facebook that knows pretty much everything there is to know about you ?

Worst part of that is that we can't even blame the companies that would do that; they're companies, selling what they can to make money is what they exist for. The control is supposed to come from the laws, which seems to be more and more screwed up all over the world with every year passing by ... When you take a second to really think about it, you realize our right to privacy is already completely screwed up, and nobody (5% of people) seems to care as long as their tv is working.

Re:Facebook exists for a reason. (3, Interesting)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619614)

The dreamy thing about google and facebook is you type in your inner thoughts and group with like minded people.
Its an intel dream. Just add their own and sit back and watch who joins.
They get IP's, details, gossip and locations.
If anything starts to connect in real life, they are in it from day one as trusted members or know who they are and can pull one aside to buy/blackmail.
The 1980's east bloc found it so hard to crack the CIA backed peace and church fronts. They flooded the groups with agents and helpers but found nothing useful in the short term.
The US has learned from all this and wants in on any new groups, the net is perfect. The end users think they are just 1 IP in millions and will slip under the radar, they are not.

Re:Facebook exists for a reason. (2, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619840)

I've always wondered whether the NSA is buying billions of dollars of Ads from Google, or various other companies :).

They can always get the money. The US military has "black budgets". The US Federal Reserve refuses to disclose where trillions of US dollars has gone to and only a few people are kicking up a fuss about it (there's a persistent senator and even Bloomberg has tried, but they're not getting much traction - the citizens care more about the notorious bonuses which are much smaller in amount).

So it's a matter of whether they can disguise the transfer well enough.

That said, google should be able to make a lot of $$$$ if they ever dealt in stocks and other financial stuff, and used what they know. While it's not quite insider trading, they do have an advantage. And they could do something innocuous and profit from it: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2008/09/six-year-old-st/ [wired.com]

I doubt they do the second thing though. As for the first case, I do wonder who are buying all those ads - I know a fair number are, but fact is google typically finds your organization and products well enough without you needing to advertise.

Query (4, Insightful)

PakProtector (115173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619438)

I am not a Lawyer, but wouldn't this make those agencies contracted to do this by the Government de facto Agents of the Government, and therefore any materials obtained by them in violation of the 4th Amendment poisoned?

Also, wouldn't a judge have to throw out such evidence as its method of gathering is a clear end-run around the Constitution?

Re:Query (2, Informative)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619566)

"wouldn't a judge have to throw out such evidence as its method of gathering is a clear end-run around the Constitution?"

In theory, sure, the courts would have to uphold our constitutional rights. In practice, the courts ruled that the government can use information collected by corporations, and congress created laws to prevent that behavior (a rare display of backbone). The courts also ruled that email stored on a third party system is not subject to 4th amendment protections.

Re:Query (3, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619666)

Protip: If someone creates a convoluted rule system, and you’re then buying into his rule system, and try to argue on the definition of those rules, you have already lost before you started.

The better way is, to not buy into their crapola in the first place, but have your own set of values that you are secure in. Then you can let them play in your reality, instead of you entering theirs. :)

Re:Query (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619704)

"method of gathering is a clear end-run around the Constitution?"
The NSA used to set up near international trunklines and follow the Russians and their client states.
Where is the NSA now?
Their cubical workers are out in Georgia, Hawaii, Lynn, MA, Arizona, CA, Missouri, Virginia, Ohio via their own new builds or your local "Fusion center"
Why the US heartland? What is decades of spy on spy skill set doing in the fly over states?

Re:Query (1)

quickgold192 (1014925) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619796)

As long as the govt didn't enlist the corporation to collect the evidence in the first place, the corporation would not be a govt actor (it would be a vigilantee). Also, if the govt is not on a quest for evidence, the info collected is fair game. Oh, and IANAL but I have had 3 credit hours of law which seems good enough for this thread.

Re:Query (2, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620348)

As long as the govt didn't enlist the corporation to collect the evidence in the first place, the corporation would not be a govt actor (it would be a vigilantee).

Correct. Seems to be that historically, as long as the cops didn't ask - directly or indirectly - for the evidence BEFORE it was collected, then the collector is not considered an agent of the government.

However, in cases like this, it seems to me that an excessive use of such services creates an implied request for the collection of such information and in particular a contract to deliver any information in an ongoing fashion would pretty much define them as acting on the behalf of the government. That they might have other customers for the same information should not be enough to void that relationship either.

Also.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30619462)

I think thanks to the PATRIOT act they have carte blanche over any international communication... so if they have your ISP reroute your Internet call/email/IMs through Canada, all's fair.

Pay in cash (2, Interesting)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619480)

All that 'discount' is really you signing over your life to a set of private databases.
The US gov also buys the same info in bulk.
Then you have the shadow security and marketing sub set that feeds the US gov a stream of top quality filtered info on US suburbia ie You the US slashdot reader.
The terror watch list will never go down and they will milk it for their investors and shareholders for generations.
Lists are just a small part of a huge cash river of your tax $ paying to keep a few 1000 of you safe from.
Note how the deals, tv games and send in for a discount forms all want your email now to ;)

Fourth parties? (1)

Lakitu (136170) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619504)

Isn't a fourth-party just another third-party?

There is no fourth party. (1)

topham (32406) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619526)

There is no such thing as fourth party.

Third party is used to define a party not directly involved. A third party to a third party is still a third party.

Where does the buck stop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30619576)

If the government controls how private corporations/individuals are allowed to act, and if the Constitution controls how the government is allowed to act, why then isn't the Constitution powerful enough to control the private corporations, too? What good are Constitutional protections if factions within the government can merely "offshore" the work to make an end run around these very protections?

Information wants to be free man... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30619622)

Get used to it

Re:Information wants to be free man... (2, Informative)

zippyspringboard (1483595) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620116)

It's not actually free unless EVERYONE has access to it. If my personal information is being SOLD that seems to indicate it's not very free. And furthermore, I suspect that the Govt and The Corporations involved are working very hard to keep much of their personal information from escaping and becoming free.

The sad truith: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30619640)

Goodby, America. You will be missed by those who loved you. I, for one, welcome the new world order, our new overlords.

rarara (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30619652)

we have the constitution!

*subvert ideals with lawyers

voters ????

profit

i just got off the toilet (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30619672)

i shit out an obama.

PLOP!

Your Constitutional rights (2, Insightful)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 4 years ago | (#30619816)

Don't worry, both major political parties will do the same thing to correct this injustice! And both will blame the other party, while doing nothing about it.

Re:Your Constitutional rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30619928)

Or one party will embarrass the other into doing something by using this method. It would get cleared up rather quickly when senators and congress critters have their private info exposed...

The executive boards of these companies: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30619896)

Their names and addresses please.

This makes no sense (1)

Yaur (1069446) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620012)

I don't see how they can just radically redefine a word that is a common use with a generally well understood meaning. If this becomes the "real" definition than that would seem to make just about every NDA and non-compete (among other things) written to date worthless.

Re:This makes no sense (1)

King InuYasha (1159129) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620282)

And that's probably why companies would start to fight this. If the government could circumvent it like that, NDAs will be as well. No company worth its salt would dare allow NDAs to become useless...

Copyright (0)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620050)

Personal data delivered to a specific party to complete a specific transaction, or to be retained by them to complete other transactions with them or with some other party, should be protected by copyright. The person gives a limited copyright to the party receiving the data. Unauthorized copying beyond that granted copyright should be prosecuted.

Not exploited by a government we create to protect our right to be secure in our "papers and personal effects".

Re:Copyright (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30620086)

but if you believe that, then the phone book, and all data in it is copywritten. It's a "good thing" that data itself can not be copywritten. If that weren't the case, then all information would be copywritten.

Re:Copyright (1)

benchbri (764527) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620510)

There was a case about phone book copyright. can't be asked to look it up now, and I don't know the result, but hey, it's three in the morning and theres half a bottle of whiskey left over from last night next to me.

Re:Copyright (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620536)

Feist v. Rural, US Supreme court 1991, telephone companies do not have a copyright on telephone listings.

Copyright covers creativity, not the mere act of collecting existing information.

However, there are things they could do to make their listings as a whole come under copyright : things like adding 'creative' fake entries, inserting jokes, or various other bits of miscellany in the pages of the directory, that involve a creative process.

But the actual information, as in real names, and phone numbers, is not copyrightable.

It was the whole point of the Database directive [wikipedia.org] in Europe.

Additional protections/restrictions on the use of databases.

Databases aren't subject to copyright, so some big companies felt they needed a law to allow them to restrict use of their publicly accessible databases in ways they couldn't otherwise

Fai-lzors (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30620766)

writing is ON the Its readers and

Data Protection Act (2, Informative)

keean (824435) | more than 4 years ago | (#30620880)

The UK has the Data Protection Act to prevent this kind of thing. Companies storing personal data must officially register, and must not share the data without the person concerned giving permission. You have the right to see a copy of any data held about you on payment of a small fee (to cover administrative costs). The law even prevents govenment departments from sharing data.

However, a recent amendment was passed that allows a minister (the Home Secretary I believe) to grant exemptions to this, and to compel disclosure from third parties - this was under the pretense of counter terrorism, but no safeguards were built into the procedures, so the exemptions could be used for political purposes.

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