Willingly allowing to be tracked?

An American citizen (unsure if he was American-born or naturalized) named Hasan Elahi had returned to U.S. soil after leaving the country for a while and was questioned intently by the FBI for over 6 months over his whereabouts, his storage locker in Tampa, FL and if he may have had connections to Al Qaeda, Islamic Jihad, Hamas or Hezbollah. It appears that he did not, and he had several pieces of evidence that he, in fact, did not. He willingly cooperated above and beyond what the FBI requested to the point when after he was cleared, he willing gave the FBI his personal information (ex: where he was when he left the country, account information, call logs, pictures of his current locations etc). He did this as a symbol to show the FBI he was not trying to do anything fishy, and believed if he did this, the FBI wouldn’t consider him a suspect for anything else in the future.

Hasan’s belief is that this would not work if every American citizen did this, because the FBI would have to hire some 300-million extra employees to keep up with that data coming in, and felt his act was more symbolic then anything.

But his final point correlates what he was doing to what people do every day and may not even realize it.  When we post where we are, what were doing, who we are with, check in to locations on social networks like Twitter, Facebook etc, how is that any different to what he was doing with the FBI willingly? Ultimately, the only difference is the information isn’t being directly supplied to the FBI. The FBI could, however, get that information easily by contacting Facebook, for example, subpoenaing information if needed.

I admit I do use Facebook (the only social network I use), however I never was into telling the world where I was, or what I’m doing or who I’m with. Not strictly because I don’t want people to keep tabs on me,  but for the most part I don’t think most people care to know “Oh, he’s at Wal Mart with John Doe. Ok?” But you never know who does want to know. Your jealous ex-girlriend or ex-boyfriend may want to know.

For me, I’ll stick to posting random sarcastic comments, sports posts and miscellaneous comments here and there.




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  1. Pingback: Giving the F.B.I. What It Wants – NYTimes.com « Ye Olde Soapbox

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