We have not wirtten much on the NSA spying scandal but encountered a recent article in the Guardian that our readers can appreciate. Rory Carroll reports that Xmission, one of the local Internet service providers working with UTOPIA, has long refused to turn over private data to local, state and federal officials absent a proper warrant.
"I would tell them I didn't need to respond if they didn't have a warrant, that (to do so) wouldn't be constitutional," the founder and chief executive, Pete Ashdown, said in an interview at his Salt Lake City headquarters.
Since 1998 he rejected dozens of law enforcement requests, including Department of Justice subpoenas, on the grounds they violated the US constitution and state law. "I would tell them, please send us a warrant, and then they'd just drop it."
We spoke with Pete Ashdown of Xmission last year in the third episode of our podcast and hold him and his firm in high esteem.
Unlike large, distant corporate providers focused on short term profit, local providers like Xmission understand the value of accountability and character. Big corporations are generally more interested in winning big government contracts than protecting the rights of their subscribers.
[Insertion by editor Christopher:] After all, what does Comcast care if I hate its assistance in shredding the Constitution, it isn't like I have another choice for high speed Internet access in my home.[end Insertion]
According to Ashdown:
The agency's online snooping betrayed public trust, he said. "Post 9/11 paranoia has turned this into a surveillance state. It's not healthy."
This is an important reason to build an economy with businesses rooted in local economies that are focused on local needs - they are far less likely to betray our trust because they actually face consequences for doing so.