1) Government shouldn’t have access to any data besides that to which it is Constitutionally allowed – and only what is absolutely necessary for it to execute its enumerated, limited Constitutional duties. If they want more, they should go through the proper Constitutional channels – i.e. obtaining a warrant, writing a (Constitutional) law, or amending the Constitution.
This is where things like ObamaCare, of course, vastly overreach.
2) Government should never – again, save for certain isolated instances, and again only after first going through proper channels – force private companies or persons to turn over data.
3) Private companies should never unilaterally give the government our data.
Private companies compile our data because it is inordinately valuable to them – in large part because it makes them more valuable to us. The more they know about our online-technological lives, the better they can make our online-technological experience.
And that’s not a bad thing. Unless they unilaterally give the government our data – a Rule #3 violation.
We may be running into some Rule #3 problems – again – this election season. And – shocker – it involves President Barack Obama. Again.
Senator Obama became President Obama in large part because of his much ballyhooed online prowess.
Perhaps the most important amongst Obama’s many cronies are Leftist mega-corporations Facebook and Google – the twin titans of online data compilation.
Candidate Obama wasn’t good – so much as Facebook and Google were good for him.
And it looks like they’re lining up to be good for him again. We’ll begin with Facebook.
Meet Chris Hughes.
The untold story of how Chris Hughes, today only 25 years old, helped create two of the most successful start-ups in modern history, Facebook and the Barack Obama campaign:
His key tool was My.BarackObama.com, or MyBO for short, a surprisingly intuitive and fun-to-use networking Web site that allowed Obama supporters to create groups, plan events, raise funds, download tools, and connect with one another — not unlike a more focused, activist Facebook.
MyBO also let the campaign reach its most passionate supporters cheaply and effectively. By the time the campaign was over, volunteers had created more than 2 million profiles on the site, planned 200,000 offline events, formed 35,000 groups, posted 400,000 blogs, and raised $30 million on 70,000 personal fund-raising pages.
I’m sure it’s not at all helpful to have the co-founder of Facebook – a website of which half of all Americans is a member, and on which they each store a treasure trove of personal data – run your online campaign.
Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg is a big Obama fan as well.
Throughout the largely staged event, Mr. Obama and Mr. Zuckerberg appeared almost chummy with each other….
The audience was mostly Facebook employees with guests from the Valley’s technology and political establishment, including Democratic Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Mike Honda and John Garamendi; the investors Ron Conway and Mitch Kapor; and the entrepreneurs Tim O’Reilly and Kim Polese, among others….
The increasingly close relationship between Facebook and Washington worries some privacy advocates who fear it will allow the social networking company to escape government scrutiny. But Facebook, like Google before it, appears to have become irresistible to politicians who see it as a way to connect with young, tech-savvy audiences.
Allow me to clarify where the New York Times obfuscated:
It’s not “Washington” who is chummy with Facebook and Google – it is Democrats, including (especially) President Obama.
And, of course, the romance continues unabated. In fact, it’s deepening.
Barack Obama’s re-election team are building a vast digital data operation that for the first time combines a unified database on millions of Americans with the power of Facebook to target individual voters to a degree never achieved before….
In 2008 the Obama digital team was lauded around the world for its groundbreaking work on internet fund raising. Yet in fact, the separation of its data on voters into several distinct silos forced high-level staffers to spend hours manually downloading information from one database to another.
The Obama team in 2008 did a good job in beginning to tear down those walls, releasing extraordinary fund raising energy in the process that raised about $500m online.
This year the Chicago team hasn’t knocked down the walls so much as dispensed with them altogether. They have built from the ground up a unified database that incorporates and connects everything the campaign knows about a voter within it….
The centralized nature of the database may raise privacy issues as the election cycle progresses. Jeff Chester of the digital advertising watchdog Center for Digital Democracy, which has been calling for regulators to review the growth of digital marketing in politics, said that “this is beyond J. Edgar Hoover’s dream.
“In its rush to exploit the power of digital data to win re-election, the Obama campaign appears to be ignoring the ethical and moral implications.”
In their ethical-and-moral-implication-ignoring cross-compilation of everyone’s private data, Obama 2012 is behaving exactly like Google.
We’ll look at that relationship in Part II.