Big Brother is Watching

August 4, 2013 – In The News
It’s Your Call

Scott Vernick, a noted authority on privacy law, was featured on It’s Your Call on August 4, 2013, when he discussed various forms of surveillance to which Americans citizens are regularly subject.

During a wide-ranging panel discussion of various privacy-related hot topics, Vernick touched on the recent leak of confidential government information by Edward Snowden. “The federal government has the ability to apply for a secret order to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to gather phone records,” he said. The government doesn’t have a right to listen to the content of those phone calls, but they are allowed to collect the metadata, which gives them duration, location and other information about the call.”

“What should be clear … no one is listening to anyone’s phone calls,” he added. “What the government is doing is collecting the metadata of the phone calls allowing them to go back and connect the dots.”

Vernick also noted that monitoring of social media continues to be a hot button issue. “The information people put out on Facebook is used to help advertisers’ direct advertisements to people using the internet. One way Facebook can be used negatively is if potential employers see your posts. Many states have taken affirmative action against that, making it illegal for employers to ask for your password, but that doesn’t mean it is that way in all states,” he said.