Originally posted by AncientMy Enemy
The reason why the CIA would be interested in having leverage in an Internet Privacy watchdog is obvious.
Firstly, your evidence of any potential intelligence involvement in TRUSTe is exceptionally slim, and limited to one person (James Breyer) with
professional-level connections to someone else involved in In-Q-Tel.
Four years ago, I once hired a senior expert with whom I worked with closely on technology for a major project for an online brokerage house. He
eventually left to head up technology for a notorious "rewards" firm that tricks people into buying memberships when they purchase products from
major online retailers. (you know the type, you buy airline tickets somewhere, and are inundated with faux-confirmation buttons that sign you up
for membership in travel clubs and bill your credit card $10 a month)
The firm began spamming via email and was eventually was hit with several
federal indictments for a number of fraudulent practices and is now out of business. Does my connection with him, which was close and daily, make me a
They don.t need it for datamining, they need it to ensure that privacy invasion complaints regarding their operations are not processed or
TRUSTe has no ability to burry privacy complaints, they intermediate potential privacy violations and determine if a violation exists (from their
(which are a serious matter in 42 US states). You seem to still misunderstand the role of TRUSTe in online privacy matters.
If the company involved was Trust Guard and not TRUSTe would you be defending them as vigourously?
I'm not defending, I'm correcting misconceptions about both TRUSTe, and typical professional connections within the upper-tiers of the technology
industry. We reviewed Trust Guard, but determined that their programs were much more tailored to online retailers and transactional websites than
merely sharing knowledge regarding questionable alliances between technology firms and Venture capital firms and the CIA.
In-Q-Tel, the CIA's venture capital arm, is like any tech-focused venture capital outfit, they fire their shotgun of money at a collection of
companies (in the case of In-Q-Tel, a great many companies) in the hopes that a few pellets hit a good target.
The motivations for intelligence agency funding of technology firms will be as broad as the motivations for private sector investment...
--- make money
--- invest in interesting technology
--- ensure important technology survives
--- support technology that may not have a viable market sector
--- support technology that may provide benefit to national security
--- have influence into technology development for national security
--- have an inside track into important technology & communications
After decades of conspiracy theory speculation and research, we pragmatically know that the vast majority of people working for the intelligence
agencies are good people believing their doing good work. And as such, we can surmise that a significant percentage of these types of agency-sponsored
investments in public sector companies are with a benign intent.
However, that smaller percentage of intelligence people engaged in unconstitutional and illegal acts, and investments with improper intent are what
gives us fuel for deep concern. Certainly we need to watch closely, but we also need to maintain a smart pragmatism that prevents misleading knee-jerk
reactions before all data is apparent.
In the scheme of things... which is worse...
(1) A solid and multi-sourced CIA connection in the world's largest social network, which has indeed failed several privacy tests?
(2) A tenuous and difficult to confirm possible CIA connection to a firm that does nothing more (for now) than review and certify privacy policies?
meekly accepting intrusions into our rights is a step into dangerous territory imho.
Which intrusions are you referring to as part of this particular discussion?