William Thien

Government Spying vs. Corporate Espionage

Posted on: June 18, 2013

I have to admit that given the current political climate the matter of the government using The NSA to compile all of our phone records and the collection of all of our credit card transactions, our internet activity, and the impending governmentalization of our medical records, I have to admit the matter is chilling.

But I think it would be unwise to disregard the same behavior by corporations, those corporations that place “cookies” and viruses on your computer to track your internet activity, those companies that monitor your cell phone activity, the trading of information regarding your purchases, and all of your other public activity, all of it, whatever it may be. It is spying, espionage, corporate espionage. As a country we are naturally concerned about what our government has The NSA doing yet we seem almost apathetic about corporations that are doing essentially exactly the same thing.

I believe such behavior by corporations can or may be just as dangerous to the public’s well-being, especially when there are no restrictions on how such information is traded from one business desirous of that information to the next. Some corporations have annual budgets in the multiples of states and small countries. Naturally, they will do anything in their power to maintain those annual revenues. Those corporations are governed and run by people, and so we must not forget human nature.

What the government has directed The NSA to do really requires a blanket search warrant, something The Constitution says is illegal. What corporations are doing is no different. Again, we are concerned about how the government has tasked The NSA, yet we allow corporations to do the same thing with no such legal requirement as a search warrant. And this is why I think this episode may have something to do with being a bit of a diversion. For a long time most of us have known the government was compiling our communications records under provisions of The Patriot Act. Then, just a couple of months ago the country was in the throes of a discussion about how private entities, corporations and businesses were tracking our internet activity, our credit card transactions, you name it, and even selling that information on the open market. What, I ask you, is more dangerous to your liberty?

So, while we are debating the government programs with the stated intent of preventing terrorism we must not forget that there are other powerful entities out there with unbridled interests and with power in a public sense equal at least to substantial segments of our government.

In fact the thought occurred to me that this entire episode and public debate about what the government is doing through the auspices of The NSA may be a diversion meant to halt or quell the debate which was recently invigorated about just that, that corporations are trading information about the citizen and their internet activity and cell phone activity wholesale and nobody seems to care. Or do they care yet some don’t want us to care and they are changing the subject. Shall I add a question mark to the previous sentence or shall we just leave it at that?

Copyright © William Thien 2013

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2 Responses to "Government Spying vs. Corporate Espionage"

Reblogged this on William Thien and commented:

No doubt revelations about The NSA spying on all of us have a chilling effect, but I can’t help noticing that nobody is paying attention any longer to how corporations spy on us to the same or greater extent as The NSA, trade the information they obtain about us wholesale, and nobody bats an eyelash about that.


[…] there are mechanisms out there (I’ve written to this effect prior) that are in my opinion more pernicious and more detrimental to the liberty of Americans and we are […]


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