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giant of a multibillion-dollar industry known as database marketing

There's also an important point of criminal procedure related to this cross-post:

... contracting out all this stuff means the FISA court is a joke.

Any court that would grant a search warrant for any personally-traceable data pertaining to [every] US citizen is not a court, but a rubber stamp. I heard on TV (don't have a citation) two different versions - either that every one of almost 2,000 FISA requests under PRIZM was granted, or that the said "court" had denied only one of the warrants requested. Those figures are reminiscent of a Banana Republic or dictatorship or both.

There's a great deal of difference between knowing that 4,000 phone calls came from Boston to Yemen on a particular day or even that 10 phone calls came from the same cell phone in Boston to Yemen in the same month (data which might be probable cause for subpoenaing that specific phone number) - and knowing the actual phone numbers from which all 4,000 of those phone calls were placed. That individual phone number information is easily personally-identifiable to individuals subject to police arrest and is the sort of information that requires probable cause to obtain a warrant.

Warrants are not supposed to be available under the law unless probable cause is shown BEFORE the search occurs. There's no way any court was presented evidence of probable cause on every US citizen - otherwise, they'd still be reading the affidavit.

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