I’ll get back to writing about our cross country trip later today. First, a story about my credit card and how it relates to the whole NSA mishegas.
While driving toward Lincoln, NE I got an email from Chase. They’re behind the credit card we use most often. Chase wanted me to call their Security Department.
Uh oh. The last thing we needed was trouble with the card we were using to get to SoCal.
Before we left we notified Chase we’d be traveling and even changed our address to the new home in California. Still, when they saw a large charge for gas somewhere in Iowa they freaked.
I called the number given in the email, but was asked so many personal questions I wondered if it was a scam? How many bits of data did I have to give Chase before they knew it was me? I balked at my date of birth, hung up and called the number on the back of the card.
This time I spoke to Jay in the Philippines. We solved the problem, but not before I’d gone through a half hour of angst, two calls to Chase and lots of questions an identity thief could take to the bank–literally.
No person at Chase made the decision there was a problem. I certainly did nothing wrong. It was artificial intelligence, a computer on the lookout for unusual activity.
Chase purposely sets their criteria low enough that false positives make up a large percentage of their work. It’s better for them to hassle people like me than miss real fraud. When it comes to fraudulent purchases, they’re left holding the bag.
In order to comb through all its data the NSA also uses computer driven AI. They too will come up with false positives. People who’ve done nothing wrong will get hassled, possibly worse.
In the end most of the mistakes the NSA makes will be corrected. Probably not all. Certainly not before innocent people suffer undue stress.
Look at the TSA’s “No Fly” list. We’ve all heard stories about people who are on it and can’t get off. Here’s the story of young boy who was on. He’s not alone.
Computers and the Internet have allowed data to be organized in ways never possible before. The question before us is how we want that data used? I can choose to ditch Chase, but I only get one government. And Chase can’t put me in jail.
We should be protected from government snooping by the 4th Amendment. It is very clear.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.