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Who is watching the government while it watches you?

December 4, 2008 by  

The government has access to personal dataCivil liberties experts have warned the House Homeland Security Committee that too little oversight is given to the government’s use of personal data.

This information, which is collected from a myriad of sources ranging from cell phone records to credit card data, is not currently managed satisfactorily, according to groups which addressed Congress on Wednesday.

One of the criticisms levied at the government’s data-mining program – which seeks to identify terrorists – is that it is ineffective.

"Predictive data mining is akin to alchemy or astrology in its relationship to science," Tim Sparapani of the American Civil Liberties Union said, according to

Others raised concerns that there are not sufficient limits set on how this information can be used once it is collected.

These issues should be addressed by the next administration or the country risks compromising the civil liberties of its citizens, the groups suggested.

"We have to set priorities that maintain the values of a free society," said Laura Murphy of Laura Murphy & Associates.

In the past few months, the Bush administration has come under fire for the surveillance methods it has used as part of its anti-terrorism measures.

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