Dems bring back Media Shield Law….
Some are probably pleased at this development. On a purely theoretical and abstract level of supporting certian policies, I too, support a media shield law. But this is entirely the wrong response and indeed a misleading response to the subpoena of AP’s phone records.
Because the issue here isn’t the fact that the phone records were subpoenaed. The issue is that there’s some entity (public OR private) out there gathering and keeping these sorts of records so they can later be accessed and drawn up by government or private actors.
Look, there’s an extreme problem right now with how data collection works, both online and off. There is a staggering amount of information being kept on us about everything from our reading habits online, to what IP addresses we access our mail from most often, to search preferences, how often we’re late paying our phone bills, and god knows what else. Collectively there’s a glut of information being collected, and worse, under the current precedents, many of these functions are being regarded as “consensual” collection of information.
Have you ever read the End User License Agreement (EULA) on any piece of software? You’ll notice that many have thousands and thousands of 4 font words dictating that by agreeing to these terms you give corporation xyz to know how much porn you watch, whether it involves midgets, whether you had to order handkerchiefs to wipe tears from your face during watching and how often you changed between video clips. Under the current prevailing logic, this data collection is not only legitimate, but it’s something you evidently CONSENTED to, despite the fact that many of these consent forms are buried deep into the morass of software, often stuff you’ve already purchased and are trying to install.
In a society that’s increasingly reliant upon third parties routing information and communications, we need stricter controls on what these third parties can do with the information they gather about who we’re contacting and even why. Maybe even require certain types of records to be encrypted.
Unless we change the meaning of “reasonable” in the reasonable expectation of privacy test, we’re going to keep seeing increased use of things like traffic analysis. And while a media shield law is nice in theory, in practice it just sweeps the real problem under the rug and even makes the media COMPLICIT in upholding a status quo that heavily favors large entities that gather lots of data or need access to it.