Anonymized?

ANONYMIZED?….Former Bush apparatchik Richard Falkenrath writes in the Washington Post today about the NSA’s phone monitoring program:

On Thursday, USA Today reported that three U.S. telecommunications companies have been voluntarily providing the National Security Agency with anonymized domestic telephone records ? that is, records stripped of individually identifiable data, such as names and place of residence.

….The large-scale analysis of anonymized data can pinpoint individuals ? at home or abroad ? who warrant more intrusive investigative or intelligence techniques, subject to all safeguards normally associated with those techniques.

….The Telecommunications Act of 1934, as amended, generally prohibits the release of “individually identifiable customer proprietary network information” except under force of law or with the approval of the customer. But, according to USA Today, the telephone records voluntarily provided to the NSA had been anonymized.

Can we please cut the crap? Even a child knows that phone numbers can be linked to names and addresses using ordinary commercial databases. There is absolutely nothing anonymous about this data, and only a shameless con man would try to convince us otherwise. Why does the Post give space to this obvious agitprop?

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