Oh you thought Big Brother was just a story in a book did you?

Interesting posting from Christopher Soghoian on his blog slight paranoia. “8 million Reasons for Real Surveillance Oversight

Here’s a little snapshot from the article (emphasis mine):

Sprint Nextel provided law enforcement agencies with its customers’ (GPS) location information over 8 million times between September 2008 and October 2009. This massive disclosure of sensitive customer information was made possible due to the roll-out by Sprint of a new, special web portal for law enforcement officers.

EIGHT MILLION. Think about that. And this is just Sprint. If AT&T and Verizon (I’m not even counting T-Mobile) have similar numbers, that’s about 24 million times that the gubment knew exactly where you were, and who you might be talking to. And that’s only for law enforcement, not any other agency like DHS, FBI, CIA, SMART or MI-6.

AND. More significantly, they did not require an intercept order (very hard to get) to access that information. They only need a pen register order (very easy to get). Then they just logged into a website (Oh, btw… how long do you think till somebody hacks in there who isn’t supposed to? Or it’s used by an officer “inappropriately”?) and checked it out.

You might say, “but wait there is a law from 1999 that requires the DOJ to report pen register orders!”. And you would be right. BUT. DOJ hasn’t reported those numbers since 2004 when they dumped a huge compilation spanning 1999-2003. Nothing since then.

Concerned? You should be…. Where is the transparency that Obama has been preaching?

Follow the discussion over at the often entertaining Slashdot.