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DOJ Asks Court to Keep GOOGLE-NSA Partnership Secret - Jaffer Ali

Jaffer Ali
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Published: March 16, 2012 at 09:31 PM GMT
Last Updated: March 17, 2012 at 09:31 PM GMT

By Jaffer Ali

"Everything secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity." -- Lord Acton

I waited a week before I decided to write about today's topic. The idea that I read as many online industry trade publications as I do and have not read a single word on this point astounds me. The source was not some "conspiracy" site, but rather The Legal Times Blog. The article was short and I encourage all to click here to read it.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center filed suit to compel the government to tell us about the deal Google has made with the NSA concerning the information they are collecting on us. The government's position is that it's really none of our business.

I have written extensively about the collusion between government and corporate data hoarders. I need not go into that here. The real point of taking to the keyboard is to chastise our industry trades for a job poorly done. Amidst all the privacy talk, how much has focused on the unholy alliance between Google and the government?

If I am to be kind, I will say, "not enough". But if we are honest, we can conjure a raft of epithets that come much closer to the mark. I accuse our industry trades of malignant neglect. The privacy debate is incomplete without addressing collusion between "Big Data" and Big Government.

And in the rare instances when the topic arises, some "enterprising" mouthpiece for "Big Data" will invariably go on the attack by labeling the whistleblower a "conspiracy, tin-foil hat aficionado". I have personally brought this issue up in two high profile industry discussion groups comprising self-professed industry leaders.

With the exception of only a few, the issue did not resonate. I guess it was not deemed important by the trade publications. The trades exist to inform us on important issues that affect us, yet the ongoing collusion between "Big Data" and the NSA has not made the headlines. Are these trades de facto tools of these unholy alliances? Not sure. Perhaps the answer lies in an analysis of whose advertising dollars are at play. Or, maybe the industry trades are not tools, but merely fools.

So often I have felt like Brando in the Wild One. When asked, "What are you protesting?" He answered, "What have you got?" I don't write as much as I used to. I am tired. It sure would be grand to see a few younger people in our online industry pick up the torch and defy the darkness.

Jaffer Ali is the CEO of the video network, Vidsense. To contact him, send an email to j.ali@vidsense.com.

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