Government Officials Have Been Spying on Love Interests

first_imgStay on target Trump Expected to Sign Bill Renewing Internet Surveillance ProgramMark Zuckerberg tapes up his webcam and Snowden says you should too One of the big reasons people are afraid of letting surveillance technology get out of hand is that we all know that someone, somewhere is going to use it improperly. Whether it’s a government overstepping their authority, or something a bit more innocuous doesn’t really matter. The fact that that potential exists is concerning enough.That fear was proven to be an alarmingly rational one recently when Tara Lenich, a prosecutor from the Brooklyn district attorney, was arrested. She allegedly used an illegal wiretap to spy one of her coworkers and an NYPD detective.  Why? Because, according to the New York Times, she was caught in a “love triangle gone wrong.”“She also tried to avoid suspicion by telling fellow prosecutors that she had undertaken a secret investigation on behalf of the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau and was the only person who could have access to the wiretap,” the Times said.Lenich had to forge several signatures to pull off the tap on top of bypassing several safeguards to prevent this type of abuse. Wiretaps, for example, usually only last a month, but Lenich, thanks to forged documents, was able to keep it running for almost a year.  And Lenich is far from alone in this kind of snooping.In 2013, the Wall Street Journal reported on the many ways some NSA employees abused their power.“The [procedure] violations involved overseas communications,” the WSJ said, “such as spying on a partner or spouse. In each instance, the employee was punished either with an administrative action or termination… Most of the incidents, officials said, were self-reported. Such admissions can arise, for example, when an employee takes a polygraph test as part of a renewal of a security clearance.”A similar report from the Associated Press noted hundreds of such violations across many law enforcement agencies. That puts this well within the realm of “uncomfortably common.” Obviously, there are plenty of good cops and agents out there, but again, the issue is that people are fallible. We get jealous, petty and insecurity. And without very, very rigorous oversight (and sometimes even with it) we will use whatever tools we can get our hands on to be shitty to one another.Let this be yet another reminder to take stock of your digital security. The more you can lockdown, the better. Even if you aren’t doing anything wrong, we should collectively work to elevate our privacy baseline. Leaving each other alone except in the most extreme cases should be our normal, not some radical idea peddled by paranoid cyber-nuts.last_img