With Regards to Google and the NSA

I love those “send an email of protest” web pages that so many activist groups have now. They do all the minutes and minutes of research that I would never get around to, to figure out what the pertinent email addresses and salutations are, and you just enter your name and (optionally) update their suggested email and presto, your email goes off and changes the world, to some degree. My unrigorous research as a former Amnesty letter writer and current Government Scientist suggests that letters and even, yes, emails, do actually make an impact at institutions caught in the uncomfortable light of controversy. And those web pages make it so damn easy. You just get to rant into a text box, and off it goes to make a difference.

Here, for instance, is today’s rant at Google via the ACLU:

The road to being evil is a moderately long and asymptotically creepy one, and by entering yourself into an alliance with the NSA you have placed yourselves squarely on it. The NSA overcollects. This is known. Google defends itself against accusations of overcollection by suggesting that the data is only ever automated and aggregated. This is known.

NSA-style overcollection + Google-style overcollection =/= happy Valentines Day. It = me getting very nervous around my Google account. *Especially* if you’re planning to go all “social network provider” on us.

Stay away from the NSA.

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