You know how they say that, in today’s world, you leave a trail behind you, no matter what? I’ve been thinking about this because of a story in this week’s news about how police are approaching our public transportation authorities to get records that reveal the travel patterns of certain individuals.
A couple of years ago now, the media reported on how frequently the police were obtaining personal information from our telcos. There was even a Supreme Court case about the issue (one in which the Court was clear in its conclusion that we all have a right to surf the internet anonymously and if the police want our information, they must have a warrant to obtain it).
Now, it seems that law enforcement has found another source of valuable information, and the public transportation authorities seem pretty quick to hand it over. I’m sure it can potentially be useful information when investigating crimes, but the apparent widespread collection of this information has me worried — much like when I first heard how often law enforcement used to approach the telcos for what they might hold.
What do you think? Do we have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the data held by our public transportation authorities? Is this just another snippet in that trail that we leave behind and don’t have control over? Shouldn’t the rules about accessing this data be more clear and transparent, so that we all know where we stand? Gee, this privacy stuff is always interesting — even in the middle of a warm and relatively rain-free summer week.
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