Ken Roth: Rationales governments use to claim mass snooping is legal

Ken Roth in the Sydney Morning Herald:

ZAH_dyson_LN-20140401182937923047-300x0Edward Snowden has done us all a service by revealing how extensively our private communications are being monitored – not because of any targeted inquiry into criminality, but as part of a broad quest for intelligence.

The conversation he launched has already yielded some modest improvements in the protection of our privacy. But to understand how much more remains to be done, we must examine the rationales the US government uses to claim that its mass snooping is legal.

Given Australia's close intelligence partnership with the United States as part of the “Five Eyes” program (which also includes Britain, Canada, and New Zealand), we have reason to believe that Canberra applies similar logic.

First, Washington claims we have no privacy interest in the so-called metadata about our communications – the highly personal and revealing information about whom we call or email, what we search for on the web, which websites we browse, and even where we go physically (because our phones serve as electronic tracking devices).

The rationale? We are said to have waived our privacy when we “share” this information with a third party like a phone or internet company.

More here.