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ERIC Number: ED546305
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 123
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2676-2210-5
The Spies We Trust: Third Party Service Providers and Law Enforcement Surveillance
Soghoian, Christopher
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Indiana University
Telecommunications carriers and service providers now play an essential role in facilitating modern surveillance by law enforcement agencies. The police merely select the individuals to be monitored, while the actual surveillance is performed by third parties: often the same email providers, search engines and telephone companies to whom consumers have entrusted their private data. Assisting Big Brother has become a routine part of business. While communications surveillance is widespread, the official government reports barely scratch the surface. As such, the true scale of law enforcement surveillance has long been shielded from the general public, Congress, and the courts. However, recent disclosures by wireless communications carriers reveal that the companies now receive approximately one and a half million requests from U.S. law enforcement agencies per year. In addition to forcing companies to disclose the user data they already have, companies are also regularly compelled to modify their products in order to facilitate government surveillance. Some have been required to build surveillance capabilities directly into their products, while others have been forced to repurpose existing features in commercial products for surveillance. In spite of the government's ability to compel assistance, many companies have a surprising amount of freedom to design privacy enhancing features into their products, including minimal data retention policies and data encryption. Likewise, where the law is vague, companies can adopt strict, pro-privacy legal positions, forcing the government to obtain a warrant and providing users with notice when their data is disclosed to the police. Although companies are able to build privacy protections into their products and embrace pro-privacy legal theories, few do so, and those that do, rarely discuss it. Significant differences exist regarding the extent to which service providers protect the privacy of their customers, yet there is no real way for consumers to learn these differences and compare providers. The market for privacy, at least with regard to government access, simply does not exist. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A