Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Businesses For Privacy

Some prominent business organizations are complaining to Congress that the Patriot Act makes it too easy for the government to get confidential business records.

These groups endorsed proposed amendments that would require investigators to say how the information they seek is linked to individual suspected terrorists or spies. The changes also would allow businesses to challenge the requests in courts and speak publicly about those requests.

This is the first organized criticism from big business of the anti-terror law that was passed after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It also comes as Congress heads toward a vote on whether to extend some disputed provisions that expire at year’s end.

The signers are the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Association of Realtors, the Association of Corporate Counsel, Financial Services Roundtable and Business Civil Liberties Inc.

From the Lincoln, NE Journal Star, “Business heavyweights want to limit Patriot Act powers.”

I suspect a lot of it has to do with the cost of compliance. After all, sending an administrative subpoena or ‘national security letter’ is free, or close to it. It’s free of oversight, or close to it. Well, free to those making the requests.

So the real meaning of privacy here is not your privacy: It’s the desire of the companies to be left alone.

2 comments on "Businesses For Privacy"

  • DM says:

    The potential costs of compliance for companies make SarBox look cheap, and the lack of oversite makes the potential of abuse for purposes of industrial espionage truly interesting…

  • Alice M says:

    You may very well be correct about motivation. Even so it is a healthy sign.

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