The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved a bill that would make it a crime for companies to make and intentionally operate so-called “stalking” applications, which allow jealous husbands and wives – and others – to continually track the location of a a spouse carrying a cell phone.
Meantime, also on Thursday, the Wall Street Journal revealed that the government’s little-known National Counterterrorism Center now has authority to sweep up and analyze millions of government records on U.S. citizens – even people suspected of no crime.
The NCTC can now copy entire government databases – flight records, casino-employee lists, the names of Americans hosting foreign-exchange students, and many others.
A former senior administration official told the Journal the scope of the new surveillance powers is “breathtaking.” “This is a sea change in the way that the government interacts with the general public,” warned Mary Ellen Callahan, then-chief privacy officer of the Department of Homeland Security.
Banning private snoops is fine. But surely a government that can track our every move and action is the greater threat to our liberties. And the senators seem curiously reluctant to tackle that gorilla.