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Last post Author Topic: More Abuses of Technology - Government Surveillance - Computer Confiscation  (Read 25087 times)

Grorgy

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In Australia we have some anti-terrorist laws.  One such beast allows for the arrest and imprisonment of anyone for quite a time, no contact with anyone, not a lawyer, their wife or husband, no one, for all purposes this person just vanishes.  If this person happens to be a minor, then 1 parent is allowed to know, if they tell anyone including the other parent, they can go to jail for 5 yrs i think it is, obviously I have no idea if this has ever been done, and if i did i wouldn't be able to tell you  ;D

Cpilot

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So Usa is spreading a system that she does not practice around the world

For the umpteenth time, the United States is not a democracy, it's a representative republic. Hence the reason we have congress critters, senators and the electoral college.



When most people around the world think of Democracy they think it's this:
Quote
majority rule: the doctrine that the numerical majority of an organized group can make decisions binding on the whole group
When in actuality what America has is this:
Quote
a political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them
And you can't "spread" democracy around the world, you can only suggest the concept. Democracy is a type of government that has to be earned, not given.
Even our leaders don't understand that.

Cpilot

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In Australia we have some anti-terrorist laws.  One such beast allows for the arrest and imprisonment of anyone for quite a time, no contact with anyone, not a lawyer, their wife or husband, no one, for all purposes this person just vanishes.  If this person happens to be a minor, then 1 parent is allowed to know, if they tell anyone including the other parent, they can go to jail for 5 yrs i think it is, obviously I have no idea if this has ever been done, and if i did i wouldn't be able to tell you  ;D
Wow, you know that's the first I've heard about that. Now American laws are all the rage to complain about but no one seems to mind that Australian law.
Weird ain't it?

Grorgy

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Oh, i think there are people who mind it, its just that we are a fairly small country which isn't able to exert influence over large portions of the world.  After all Australia usually only makes the papers in the USA if a kangaroo escapes somewhere lol

mouser

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If everyone feels like they've had their say sufficiently, I'd like to simply remind everyone that this is becoming a political thread, and we've all agreed that we will keep this forum free of political stuff..

cranioscopical

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I was about to chip in again, but I've stilled my typing finger.

I know I've contributed to this thread but, in hindsight, I wish I had not.

FWIW I don't think DonationCoder is the best forum in which to air our different views on this.


Renegade

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Just to sort of bring this back around to tech...

...
No offense Deozaan but I've read stuff like this all over the net and yet no one has ever been able to tell me exactly what laws are doing all this damage.
Lots of hysteria but not one person has been able to give me any specific instance where their rights have been violated, and what I mean by that is what rights have you had specifically, that have been violated?

There are a few examples posted here. I started with 2.

The point here is that there is a lot of very warped legislation that's using/abusing technology to limit freedom. It's not the specific cases that we need to worry about -- it's the threat of it because the threat may be realized. (An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That sort of thing.)

Some of the basic fundamentals of technology that we all understand here are not understood by legislators. And that misunderstanding is leading to dangerous legislation that threatens normal, regular, everyday innocent people.

Anyone like Battlestar Galactica? The Cylons turned on mankind. Analagously, today technology is being turned on us as a sort of weapon. Violence only produces more of itself. This is not a good road to go down...

Basically were talking about how information is used or "regulated." The problem there is that regulating information as above is the equivalent of having "thought police." I don't think we need to debate whether or not "thought police" are a good thing or a bad thing.

Confiscating laptops for their contents is clearly a form of thought policing, and almost equivalent to book burning.

  
 
 
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Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Deozaan

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As I was typing this, several other posts were made, including mouser's reminder to keep politics to a minimum. As such I'd like to make a response to the question posed to me, but have trimmed out much of the more political aspects of what I originally wrote.

Quote
In that regard, the terrorists have been very successful, because we've been full of nothing but fear since the September 11 attack. Freedoms and liberties have been restricted. Laws are being passed that contradict the constitution this country was built on. I love my country more than I can describe, and it makes me extremely sad (and scared!) to see where it's heading with these laws that disregard the constitution and ignore our "inalienable rights" as human beings.
No offense Deozaan but I've read stuff like this all over the net and yet no one has ever been able to tell me exactly what laws are doing all this damage.
Lots of hysteria but not one person has been able to give me any specific instance where their rights have been violated, and what I mean by that is what rights have you had specifically, that have been violated?

First let me say that it's the law itself that violates the Bill of Rights. I don't need it to be enforced against me before I'm allowed to decry the fact that it's not constitutional.

I haven't left the USA in 10-15 years, since I was maybe 10 years old. So for one thing border security wasn't very intense back then (to my memory) and I was just a child going along with my parents and family to visit Canada. I haven't been on an airplane since 2002, when airport security was still ramping up to the mess I've been told it is today. So I haven't had many "opportunities" to have my rights taken from me by border control agents.

However, last year I married an alien. She's from Romania. We're planning a trip to visit her parents in December if we can. This makes things doubly scary for me. I am a US Citizen, so I may still feel fairly secure in my rights to enter the USA, without much trouble from border/customs agents. But clearly my wife is not a citizen, doesn't necessarily have the right to enter the country, and Romania may not be a known terrorist country but isn't exactly a trusted country either (banks can't guarantee that money transferred to Romanian accounts will get there).

What if she is detained? Or what if we're flagged as suspicious for no reason other than because she's a foreigner? Or what if the border/customs agent just "feels like" giving us a hard time and copying our data, or confiscating our laptop(s) that we paid thousands of dollars for? I have no recourse of action protecting me from the potential abuse from the power granted by this law.

These are just a few of the fears that I now have, thanks to seemingly never-ending after effects (from the US Government and elsewhere) of the terrorism of 2001. Considering the purpose of terrorism, and looking at how this country changed since 2001, I personally think there was a lot more damage done (and still being done) by the 2001 attack than a couple buildings falling down and the deaths of all those people.


Cpilot

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Still all I'm seeing is a lot of "what ifs" and "what if they do so and so" or "well they could" kind of statements but no real concrete proof of anything.
Look I've read a lot of paranoid stuff over the years and have seen a lot of things. First off it seems that a lot of people regard others who work for the government (and soldiers also.....and I used to be one) as automatons guided by some kind of nameless, faceless "Dr Evil" who's sole purpose in life is to deprive others of their humanity, who are outside of citizenship, community and conscience. The majority of these people are as patriotic and American as anyone else who have families and lives.
The idea that all of them would be pawns in some nefarious plot to usurp the basic dignity of their fellow citizens is a phenomenon that seems to have grown along with the net.
When I was in the service I could still tell the difference between right and wrong, and the civil servants that I've talked to can also.
Potential is always different from reality, and it's easy to create scenarios in your mind that are worse than reality.
I suppose it's the nature of human beings to fret and worry, but until I see proof of actual wrong doing I'm not going to get my panties in a wad.
All of you here want to be considered people of honesty making comments in good faith, it would seem to me that others deserve at least that much until proven otherwise.

And that's all I got.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2008, 11:33:16 PM by Cpilot »

Shades

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Quote
Confiscating laptops for their contents is clearly a form of thought policing, and almost equivalent to book burning.

Aha! So from all the people that have experienced burning laptops....the governments sneakily replaced the batteries from those laptops. Now it becomes clear to me!

How is that for an inspector Clouseau impersonation?   ;D

More on topic:
Me and my brother were born and raised in Holland. While growing up life happened causing my brother to live the life of a thief. Me however was the example of a good citizen, paid my taxes, didn't escape the draft, always working, etc. etc. Than in an unguarded moment my brother lends my (first) car and he was caught checking out a "prospect".

Now I have to mention that every policeman/woman in Holland needs to have a certain amount of money on tickets each month (or will be fired), so anyone driving on the road gets stopped a lot nowadays. And with my brothers criminal record I have spent hours on police stations afterwards over the years explaining myself because cops think I am guilty of association...

It became even impossible to get any decent work anymore because of all this, so when I saw the opportunity I left for South America (yes, I see some irony here). Although Holland is not a police state, for me it became one already without having done anything wrong.

Deozaan

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Cpilot, in regard to your last post in this thread, you make very valid arguments on all points, and I agree with you.

I don't believe that everyone working for the government is evil, out to do horrible things and abuse power. I think the main concern with laws like this is that history has shown that people in power will abuse that power. Not all of them, certainly. But the checks, balances, and limitations that US Government was built on were put there for a reason: The people were in a revolution, attempting to break away from a government that had no checks and balances. What the monarch said was law. They were oppressed, had British soldiers demand entry into their homes and be provided for. People being arrested and rotting in jail for years before going to trial. Searches being made without due cause, etc., etc., etc.

The Bill of Rights were extremely important to the people then because these were rights that were not guaranteed to them under British rule, and it allowed the British government do some not-very-nice things to innocent people. These were people who knew from experience the importance of such freedoms, liberties, and human rights.

The law mentioned in this thread, about seizing electronic data/equipment without needing cause, and with no limitations, is only taking us back over 300 years to that same old system. Will it be abused in every case? Absolutely not. Will it ever be abused? Absolutely yes! Surely in the time you spent in the military, you saw some power abuse?

I firmly believe that most people are good. But there will be some who will abuse this power granted to them. That's a certainty.

Like you said, it's all a bunch of what ifs right now. The law is yet young. Give it some time and I'm sure we'll see concrete, specific examples of ways in which this power has not been used properly.


Renegade

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The law mentioned in this thread, about seizing electronic data/equipment without needing cause, and with no limitations, is only taking us back over 300 years to that same old system. Will it be abused in every case? Absolutely not. Will it ever be abused? Absolutely yes! Surely in the time you spent in the military, you saw some power abuse?

BINGO!

And nicely put.

I for one am just not very comfortable walking around with some metaphorical gun to my head that was designed to be pointed at bad guys. Eventually that gun is going to go off "by accident."

Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Cpilot

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As you pointed out Deozaan, those rights were put in the constitution as a reaction to a foreign power abusing said rights of the citizens.
And while I hate to use rhetorical phrases, "The Constitution is not a suicide pact".
So here again we find ourselves under threat, but this time from foreign terrorists who, because of our free society, can move into and through the country at will.

The thing that I wonder about, after watching people throw themselves off the twin towers and falling to their deaths, is how many of them were contemplating the abstract concept of constitutional rights on the way down before hitting the pavement?

Their constitutional rights were clearly violated in real time, it was not an exercise in constitutional thought.
It's pretty easy to sit in the comfort of ones home and decry the perceived slights to ones rights, it's another thing to live the moment and consider how did this happen?

Carol Haynes

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It's all very well to say these things are necessary in extreme circumstances but what about the people who are totally discriminated against in a totally irrational manner.

For example - a black muslim UK politician was INVITED by the US government to attend a conference not so long ago but was held in custody at the airport and then deported back to the UK.

The words arse and elbow spring to mind. If this is what can happen with high profile cases WTF is going on with low profile cases.

Just to prove I am not victimising the US policies - what about the poor Brazilian lad who was murdered in the UK following the London Tube bombings - because he looked suspicious (and how about his family)? He was a totally innocent bystander who ran for his life when armed police chased him around London and then shot him dead in front of dozens of shocked citizens. The police commissioner responsible for the policies on that day is still in place now!

Where is the responsibility and accountability - and don't even get me started on the continuing human rights atrocity of Guantanamo!

Carol Haynes

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Here's another lovely article on the subject:

Quote
sc.png

For the full article see: http://www.vnunet.co...plans-database-phone

Don't you just love that the threat of terrorism means that no UK citizen will be allowed ANY privacy in electronic communications of any form.

What is the betting that the first use of this idea (if it ever happens) is benefit fraud? (Which of course will be spotted by 'accident' whilst investigating terrorists).

Actually these days you can probably class someone who farts in public as a terrorist if they need some excuse - and in the UK they will more than likely catch the act on at least three cameras (and no doubt the sound and smell on other surveillance equipment).

How long before they open and scan every piece of physical mail too or collect all paper scheduled for recycling? How about a government department for reassembling shredded paper (just in case)?

The day is coming when every citizen will be fitted with GPS trackers that include audio and video surveillance so that the government know where you are, what you are doing and who you are talking to every minute of your life. Presumably we would have to have one of these for every country we visit too.

Before long they will be demanding receipts for every time we go to the toilet and a central database for toilet paper!
« Last Edit: May 21, 2008, 02:56:10 AM by Carol Haynes »

CWuestefeld

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Perhaps DC's online profile can be enhanced to store public RSA keys for members. Then we can use those to encrypt email and retain some privacy.

Carol Haynes

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Except that encrypted email will throw up all sorts of warning flags and you face a jail sentence in the UK for refusing to hand over any required decryption information upon request.

CWuestefeld

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Except that encrypted email will throw up all sorts of warning flags and you face a jail sentence in the UK for refusing to hand over any required decryption information upon request.
True, it's not going to protect you from prosecution if you're doing something wrong. But it (partially) protects the privacy of the innocent, since the process of demanding keys can't scale up to the entire population's entire set of keys.

I say partial, because this also only protects the content of the message. It doesn't protect the headers, so you're still vulnerable to traffic analysis. Simply knowing who you're communicating with may be just as embarrassing as what you're saying.

Carol Haynes

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It's a fairly easy step to go from logging emails to analysing their content - what about building profiles of online spending, for example.

Would I suddenly be suspicious if I bought lots of electronic components for example?

How about regularly visiting websites that sell Asian food stuffs (and especially Chapatti flour which was a key ingredient in the unsuccessful London bombings).

It is already difficult to buy Citric Acid and Tartaric Acid in the UK (both cooking ingredients for making cordials) because they were used in attempted bomb recipes.

How long before you can't buy hair dye before becoming suspicious (hydrogen peroxide has also been linked to bomb making).

What is the next step - collecting supermarket consumer profiles for the entire population? Maybe supermarket 'loyalty' cards will become the new tool of government.

What really bothers me is that the UK is supposed to have a government that subscribes to human rights treaties!

Currently Zimbabwe and Burma are beginning to look liberal!

Renegade

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+100 for Carol

Don't treat regular people like criminals. It can only lead to very dark places. And bad things happen in the dark. (As every good horror movie proves! :) )

More on the topic...

I recently discovered that a friend of mine, who is a professor of computer science, and I share something rather significant in common. We are both anarchists. Not in the Sex Pistols idiot sense. Rather in the deeper philosophical sense of living peacefully without the need for laws in a state of greater freedom generated through trust and a mutual individual social contract between people and not an oppressive state/sovereign.

It's nice to find like-minded people.

@Cpilot -- I wonder if some of your posts here are grounded in a practical fear. "The inconvenience is worth the safety?"

There are a few positions on the topic, and all have merits. I'm not so narrow minded as to outrightly dismiss things. However, Carol has brought up some new perpectives not previously voiced that are very hard to ignore.

Technology is radically changing the way we live. On my 10th birthday, none of this kind of discussion as we are having now would have been possible. On my 20th birthday, it was either impossible, or would have been immensely difficult/expensive.

I thoroughly believe that we, as some of the more informed people on these kinds of issues, need to keep our eyes open for abuse.

While I'm not from the USA, I have a good deal of respect for the country and for how it was founded. (We Canadians just managed to do it a bit more peacefully, but probably with thanks to the history of and how the US was founded.)

However, the founding of the USA and much of political history is soaked in blood. The dark places that current legislation is going will only lead to more bloodshed.

Machiavelli was right. Politics is an amoral theater.




Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Lashiec

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For the full article see: http://www.vnunet.co...plans-database-phone!

Don't you love how far will politicians go to protect our freedoms and well being? :-*

Currently Zimbabwe and Burma are beginning to look liberal!

LOL!

kartal

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To protect the freedoms, you need to shred the freedoms. Some people just love this idea.

CWuestefeld

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In the same veign, but in India:
Quote
BlackBerry Giving Encryption Keys to Indian Government

RIM encrypts e-mail between BlackBerry devices and the server the server with 236-bit AES encryption. The Indian government doesn't like this at all; they want to snoop on the data. RIM's response was basically: that's not possible. The Indian government's counter was: Then we'll ban BlackBerries. After months of threats, it looks like RIM is giving in to Indian demands and handing over the encryption keys.
http://www.schneier....blackberry_givi.html

Carol Haynes

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Blackberry are stupid then because it just means that they will lose their customer base that depends on confidentiality.

CWuestefeld

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Blackberry are stupid then because it just means that they will lose their customer base that depends on confidentiality.
Betcha a penny that doesn't happen.

Sheeple are not going to put their data security ahead of the convenience of their Crackberry.