The newly published documents reveal a coordinated effort by Bank of America, the Washington State Patrol (WSP), and federal counterterrorism agencies, to monitor activists as they prepared for a public demonstration in Olympia, Wash. Over 230 people originally signed up to attend the “Million Mask March” event, which was organized by the Anonymous movement and took place on November 5, 2013.
Although an official report by the WSP described the event as a “peaceful protest” being organized by activists who had made “no threats of violence,” those involved were still monitored by the department before the event took place. Information gathered about the potential protesters was then shared with Bank of America. Furthermore, Bank of America solicited information about activists from various federal agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Even though there was no evidence of intended unlawful activity not only did the cops (of various sorts) continue to monitor the people involvedthe company did as well, and explicitly solicited information from the government and was provided it about people that were not a threat.
Now there’s nothing here that indicates that either Bank of America or the various government agencies involved did anything other than usepublicly visible data in these processes. Maybe they did and maybe they didn’t, but the evidence for that (which would implicate a possible violation of the law) is missing in the article. In fact, one of the references here is to Bank of America having a team that specifically looks through public information such as social media.
That’s not against the law.
But it is, to many people, distasteful.
So how do you stop it, since you can’t sue or prosecute…..
I wonder if turning the tables on both the government agencies and Bank of America would finally convince some of these people that this kind of crap is a bad idea?
Perhaps if, for example, concerned citizens were to make a point of photographing (with GPS coordinates attached from their phones, of course) cops, bank employees (including executives of course) and anyone affiliated with (that is, traveling with) either and started crowdsourcing apublic database of all that information that could be easily searched and overlaid on, oh, Google Earth? KML database integration for the win!
Now I’m not suggesting that anyone’s privacy be violated. After all, these folks — both cops and private industry — have made the quite-cogent (and legally-defensible) claim that you have no right of privacy when traveling on a public road, walking on a public street, or otherwise out and about where anyone who wishes to can see you.
Well that may be just fine, but that sauce tastes really good on both goose and gander.
I wonder how long all of these sorts of programs would persist if a nice little matrix-style web repository were to show up with all these pictures of all these people and everyone around them, tagged much like you tag people on Facebook, complete with names and locations and dates and times, available to the world with nothing more complicated than a search or even just a browse of a given area of the world?
No unlawful intent of course, no trespassing, nothing of the sort. Only images, places, times and names when these folks stick themselves out in public, just like the rest of us. It’s simply “you think you should be looking at us because you’re curious and you assert that there’s no unlawful intent, well, we’re curious too.” I think it would be kinda cool to see Joe Bank Executive’s mug in this place or that; heh, we can live vicariously through them as they vacation in Antigua. Maybe we’d get to see one of them experience snow in 80F weather some day too. Wouldn’t that be a toot, er, hoot.
I suspect we’d find out real fast that some of these folks would try to get laws passed in a big damned hurry to make them special, at which point you now have a nice line of Constitutional Attack (titles of Nobility, along with non-derogation of privileges and immunities under the 14th Amendment) complete with 42 USC 1983 damages or better.
This looks like a problem that would not be very hard to solve at all if a nice distributed and materially-large group of citizens decided to make it so.
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