Monday, July 15, 2013

The market for government espionage

For years we have criticized Chinese information policies and praised Google and other IT firms for leaving China in defense of the right to privacy and information. But then Edward Snowden came to the scene. And a noxious multimillion-dollar market has emerged, as Anne Flaherty shows in a recent piece for AP (see here). AT&T charges a $325 activation fee for each wiretap (plus $10 a day to maintain it). Verizon records are more expensive: $775. Numbers climb quickly. One narcotics case in New York in 2011 cost the government $2.9 million alone. Is this the best way to spend tax-payers money? Is it true that Google and other firms are indeed serving intelligence purposes like any of its Chinese competitors?
In any case, be careful! Your email records may be only $25 worth!