In a short post on Freedom to Tinker, Professor Felten links to some material from Chris Soghoian’s post graduate work. The sheer volume of requests he describes is astonishing. Felten correctly tempers the initial impulse to panic by suggesting that many of these requests may be reasonable. This leads into Soghoian’s main point, one Felten amplifies, the intense need for more and better oversight. Even evaluating the legitimacy of requests seems impossible otherwise.
Wired had a more expansive write up of Soghoian’s work, useful if you don’t have the time or inclination to wade through the volume of Chris’ post itself.
This also reminded me very strongly of The Globe and Mail piece I discussed a while back. If hay is made out of Soghoian’s findings, it is likely that the first response from the DoJ and others is that they rely on the volume of data, and fast, in order to catch the bad guys. The work of Ron Deibert and Nart Villeneuve from The Citizen Lab should be kept in mind. Oversight will undoubtedly lead to a slowing and lessening of information but for online investigations, that is not necessarily a bad thing.