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Current Topic: Civil Liberties - Cop on the beat now a walking database - Jul 1, 2004
Topic: Civil Liberties 7:13 pm EDT, Jul  3, 2004

] A police officer stops you on the street, then taps
] something into a device in the palm of his hand.
] The next minute, he knows who your relatives are, who
] lives in your house, who your neighbors are, the kind of
] car you drive or boat you own, whether you've been sued
] and various other tidbits about your life.

"Sir, what is your name?" - Cop on the beat now a walking database - Jul 1, 2004

Scalia Apologizes for Seizure of Recordings
Topic: Civil Liberties 6:41 pm EDT, Apr 13, 2004

Antonin Scalia has apologized to two Mississippi reporters who were required to erase recordings of a speech he gave at a high school there on Wednesday.

In a letter mailed on Friday to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Scalia, calling the organization's concern "well justified," wrote: "You are correct that the action was not taken at my direction. I was as upset as you were."

I like green eggs and ham!
I do, I like them, Sam I Am!

Justice Scalia said in the letter to the Reporters Committee that the controversy had caused him to revise his policy "so as to permit recording for use of the print media" to "promote accurate reporting." He indicated he would continue to ban the recording of his speeches by the broadcast press.

All media are created equal, but some are more equal than others.

Scalia Apologizes for Seizure of Recordings

BW Online | Privacy Progress at Homeland Security
Topic: Civil Liberties 10:46 pm EST, Jan  8, 2004

At the crux of all the unease (and rage in some cases) expressed by us "civil libertarians" at Patriot I(I)+, is the perception of no safeguards, protection, or review. On a bad day when someone such as myself spins into a rant, it is the worst case scenario firmly in our focus. It is important to remember, that at the very least the people on the other end of the bargain want to get it right. Really.

When taking in recent events, all we seem to be seeing is what the government needs from us. We know the powers that the intelligence agencies require to do their work. They have made it happen. Good for them, I guess. I do expect them to be aggressive in defending the place..

There is something more noble to the act of complaining if its constructive. We have till somewhere late 2005'ish to come up with serious answers as to how we _want_ these powers to work. This is the type of stuff I want to see way more of.. Wether we like it or not, we are going to have to deal with way more elements of our society being transparent, just because information spreads around easier. Records stick, they are searchable, and relational. Information wants to be all kinds of things, free just being one of them. The effects of it all are only going to increase, and we best not be cocky and think we fully understand it now.

If we only focus a fight on keeping this type of record collection and mining from happening at all, we will only create a leadership vacuum. These various types of tracking and database mining efforts are not going to stop because we would rather things slow down a little while while we catch our breath. Answers are what are necessary, and we need to help come up with them too.

As one of the town criers, I propose we make a point of trying to focus more on what type of rules we want for how these various databases being created will be overseen. I don't think the average joe is going to be that helpful in keeping the bad laws from getting in, because as demonstrated recently we don't pick up on these things.. They happen, we have chances to see them, but can miss it, and regardless we don't seem to have the power to stop shit when we do see it coming. What needs to be done is to create the right answers, not just try to stop the ones we don't condone.

Anyway, here is BusinessWeek chiming in with a glimer of hope, and a show of progress amid one off the more contraversal issues of late: the fingerprinting of foreign visitors.

] Yet, hardly a peep has been made about privacy. For
] once. On the day U.S. VISIT launched, Homeland
] Security's Privacy Office unveiled a Privacy Impact
] Assessment, or PIA, which outlines the program's privacy
] policy and a clear map of how data will flow from
] department to department and how it will be shared,
] accessed, and stored. The Privacy Office is also soliciting
] comments on the policy and requesting advice on what... [ Read More (0.2k in body) ]

BW Online | Privacy Progress at Homeland Security

Patriot II slowly being signed into law under our noses...
Topic: Civil Liberties 10:59 pm EST, Dec 28, 2003

] By signing the bill on the day of Hussein's capture, Bush
] effectively consigned a dramatic expansion of the USA
] Patriot Act to a mere footnote. Consequently, while most
] Americans watched as Hussein was probed for head lice,
] few were aware that the FBI had just obtained the power
] to probe their financial records, even if the feds don't
] suspect their involvement in crime or terrorism.

] The Senate passed it with a voice vote to avoid
] individual accountability. While broadening the
] definition of "financial institution," the Bush
] administration is ramping up provisions within the 2001
] USA Patriot Act, which granted the FBI the authority to
] obtain client records from banks by merely requesting the
] records in a "National Security Letter." To get the
] records, the FBI doesn't have to appear before a judge,
] nor demonstrate "probable cause" - reason to believe that
] the targeted client is involved in criminal or terrorist
] activity. Moreover, the National Security Letters are
] attached with a gag order, preventing any financial
] institution from informing its clients that their records
] have been surrendered to the FBI. If a financial
] institution breaches the gag order, it faces criminal
] penalties. And finally, the FBI will no longer be
] required to report to Congress how often they have used
] the National Security Letters.

How the hell was this able to happen without public discourse and debate!?!?!?!

This is the first I have heard of this. We can't let our government tinker with laws that effect our civil liberties without pubic discourse. This is really, really, really, serious. Something needs to be done! This is a _BIG_ problem! The laws that protect our rights are being changed, and great lengths are being gone through to keep it secret!

If this can happen without a hitch, then anything can happen without a hitch. I think we can officially declare now, that we have lost control of our country to this current Administration, and they are in the process of destroying what has made America powerful and great, our openness. If this type of "governing" is allowed to continue, we might as well give this country a new name and flag, because its changed.

I don't believe I'm hearing about this FIFTEEN DAYS after its been signed into law.

Patriot II slowly being signed into law under our noses...

Wired News: How Much Is Privacy Worth?
Topic: Civil Liberties 5:30 pm EST, Dec  6, 2003

] The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Wednesday over
] whether the federal government should reimburse
] individuals whose sensitive data was disclosed illegally,
] even if no harm can be proven.
] At issue before the court, according to privacy
] advocates, is how valuable privacy really is.

this'll be a good one to follow

Wired News: How Much Is Privacy Worth?

FBI Visits Cryptome
Topic: Civil Liberties 9:45 pm EST, Nov  6, 2003

] Cryptome received a visit today from FBI Special Agents.
] SA Renner said that a person had reported Cryptome as a
] source of information that could be used to harm the United
] States. He said Cryptome website had been examined and
] nothing on the site was illegal but information there might be
] used for harmful purposes.

FBI Visits Cryptome

[IP] yet another misuse of dmca? Black Box Voting files confiscated
Topic: Civil Liberties 8:37 pm EDT, Sep 27, 2003

] Not only was pulled down, but ALL of
] the documents, databases and programming for approximately
] 500 pages of material, most of which did not relate to Diebold at
] all, was confiscated. Dozens of web pages were pulled down which
] had nothing whatever to do with the disputed information. AIT Inc.
] has indicated that it believes it has the right to pull down the entire
] web site including unrelated pages. AIT Inc. is now prohibiting Bev
] Harris or Black Box Voting from accessing any of her own files, even
] for the purpose of removing them.

If these allegations are correct, there could be another interesting DMCA court case in here...

[IP] yet another misuse of dmca? Black Box Voting files confiscated

Wired News: JetBlue Shared Passenger Data
Topic: Civil Liberties 6:34 pm EDT, Sep 18, 2003

] JetBlue Airways confirmed on Thursday that in September
] 2002, it provided 5 million passenger itineraries to a
] defense contractor for proof-of-concept testing of a
] Pentagon project unrelated to airline security -- with
] help from the Transportation Security Administration.

1. Jet Blue is so fucked. They violated their privacy policy. There are passenger social security numbers in the pdf file linked from this story. The law suits should start flying any minute now.

2. The PDF is worth checking out. Its a nice example of the things you can learn from trolling a database like this.

3. These consultants seem to recommend that if you don't own your home or you change residency too frequently, you ought to be given additional scrutiny at the airport.

This is the future we are heading towards. We have total access to all your purchasing, credit, and other demographic information, and if we determine that you don't fit into a popular demographic group, or that you fit into a demographic group we often have trouble with, you can look forward to getting hassled endlessly.

Remember that you live in the land of the free and the home of the brave, where we employ omnipotent surveillance to keep us safe from danger.

Wired News: JetBlue Shared Passenger Data

On Lisa Rein's Radar: Ted Koppel On The Dangers Of The Patriot Act
Topic: Civil Liberties 9:08 pm EDT, Sep  7, 2003

This is the first time I've ever recommended a TV show. (Like an actual episode rather then a program in general.)

1. This is illegal as hell.
2. If the ads are included there is no good reason for ABC to have a problem with this.
3. This looks like an interesting program.
4. The ensuing discussion is exactly why I want to connect mythtv to memestreams.
5. If it is legal, and it is, for me to save television programming off the wire, and view it at any time, why should it not be legal, and it isn't, for someone else to download television programming, and provide it to me. This is assuming we aren't talking about cable, and we aren't cutting out the ads. Seems to me that people who make television like this, which is entirely ad supported, could simply increase their viewers, as well as revenue, by posting the archives online. There might even be some money to be made in selling access to complete archives. I think there is a short term strategic advantage for the company that does this first....

(U: Its about 20 minutes of video. No commercials (hrmph). Comstock does a good job of defending the act. She handles Koppel well. Its clear that the "enemy combatent" issue is more serious then the Patriot act. Its clear that the level of secrecy makes it difficult to know if the FBI is abusing the law. They clearly state that they can't discuss specifics, and then they offer specific examples about notification timeframes for "sneak and peek" warrants that are probably reasonable. I.E. The secrecy allows the FBI to only release information that is politically useful to them, and they clearly take advantage of that here. Can we say "I rest my case" yet? When Koppel comes back for his closing remarks, however, he lets them have it. Its totally worth watching to see him come back and tear into them.)

On Lisa Rein's Radar: Ted Koppel On The Dangers Of The Patriot Act

RIAA Will Issue Second Subpoena For Identity of Music Distributor
Topic: Civil Liberties 5:34 am EDT, Aug 24, 2003

] This time, the RIAA will file the subpoena the way MIT has
] asked: through the federal district court in Boston, instead
] of Washington, D.C. MIT says it will comply with a subpoena
] issued through the Boston court.

] MIT says it has identified and notified the owner of the
] computer alleged to have been illegally offering the
] recordings, based on logs provided by the Theta Delta Chi
] fraternity, where the computer was located.
] MIT originally suspected a 'young lady' living
] at TDC over the summer as being the computer's
] owner, said an MIT official. But now, based on
] examination of the logs provided by TDC, MIT has decided
] a different individual is the computer's owner.
] MIT officials say they are not sure the owner is actually
] the person who was allegedly infringing the RIAA
] members' copyrights by distributing recordings on
] KaZaA.

RIAA Will Issue Second Subpoena For Identity of Music Distributor

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