The Washington Examiner has an editorial this morning pointing out for the privacy hawks on the left how the Obama campaign used meta data to target voters just like the NSA is using meta data to spy on all of us. It was a big, creepy, mega-meta-data campaign, and nobody seemed to mind then.
That’s how the Obama campaign worked, first by gathering billions of bytes of data about individual Americans on what they buy, where they eat, their hobbies, their political party registration and a thousand other characteristics. Next, the campaign techies harvested individuals who subscribe to certain publications, visit particular websites and donate to selected nonprofits in patterns known to match those of confirmed Obama voters. The NSA uses the metadata to identify potential terrorists sympathizers, much as the Obama campaign used it to locate potential political supporters. It’s not coincidental that Silicon Valley denizens were prominent architects of the government surveillance programs and the president’s re-election digital strategy.
The problem here is not national security versus individual privacy. It’s much more akin to why the founders adopted the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee against illegal search and seizure: During the Revolutionary War, the British Army used general warrants to search and ransack private homes and confiscate private property at will. General warrants were purposely vague in order to give the Redcoats maximum leverage. That’s why two centuries hence, search warrants must be approved by a judge for specific objects thought to be in a particular location and related to an actual crime.
Read the whole thing. I guess they think this sort of thing is okay if it’s used to advance their political agenda. Were they unaware that a surveillance state is their political agenda?
Update: Linked by Maggie’s Notebook – thanks!