On data privacy, there are lots of questions and no real answers


The biggest takeaway from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court opinion finding certain NSA activities illegal and unconstitutional shouldn’t be that the NSA acted badly. It should be that when it comes to how we legislate and regulate data in an era of big data, no one really has a clue to handle it. There’s too much data, it’s too easy to collect and it’s really hard to define what’s acceptable use.

The headlines over the past 24 hours have all been about how many messages between U.S. citizens the agency has collected and that it did so “intentionally.” But the opinion — 85 pages in total — is not so cut and dry (in legalese, even “intentionally” doesn’t mean intentionally). If anything, it raises more questions and debate points than it answers.

Here’s the TL;DR version: The secret court has no idea what’s going on and no real…

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