December 4, 2012
Electronic privacy is all the rage in these post-Petraeus days. Can the government really go pawing through our email at will? Well, pretty much so, it turns out, at least, until the Supreme Court gets around to focusing a little bit of its attention on this newfangled, electronic world of ours. But email isn’t the only data we pass around in electronic form, and with all of our attention focused on our in-boxes, we may be missing a larger world of privacy perils—and the unlikely guardians who have been fighting a rearguard action against official snoops.
As it turns out, the feds are very interested in tracking all of our electronic communications, very concerned that private industry isn’t assisting snooping efforts as much as officials would like—and maybe not so eager to share that bit of discord between the federal government and the telecommunications industry with the world at large.
In a letter addressed to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, dated September 7, 2012, Immigration and Customs Enforcement FOIA Officer Catrina M. Pavlik-Keenan explained that a number of documents sent to the online civil liberties organization a year earlier were actually exempt from freedom of information disclosure: