Secret Police

Can personal privacy survive the digital revolution?

Civil libertarians hoped that the Obama era would see a renewed commitment to privacy protections. But their dreams are being dashed. Congress seems likely to recess without adjusting aspects of the Patriot Act set to expire at the end of the year, which means that the existing law will be temporarily extended. Elements up for reconsideration include roving wiretaps in foreign intelligence investigations that are not targeted to a specific communication mode or person and “section 215” ability to seize business or other records in a presumptive terror investigation.

Different bills to reform these and other powers have come out of the Judiciary Committees of the House and Senate. The House version is slightly better in terms of demands it makes on law enforcement and intelligence agencies to have defensible reasons for their searches and seizures. But the controversial provisions will survive, even if slightly circumscribed.

So will other post-9/11 surveillance practices. Candidate Obama swore that under his reign, Americans would see “no more National Security Letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime.” But his administration has shown no desire to relieve itself of NSL powers. National Security Letters allow FBI agents to grab records and information about you from third parties without any judicial supervision. The recipients are legally prohibited from telling anyone other than their lawyers that they gave up the information.

The Patriot reauthorization debate unfolded as the telecommunications industry, already known for craven capitulation to the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping program, was revealed by researcher Chris Soghoian to be continuing to cooperate with law enforcement against customers’ interests at a level that, in the words of a request from Yahoo! to keep its collaboration quiet, would “shock” customers and “shame” telcos.

Sprint Nextel, for example, provided the government with GPS locations of its subscribers via their cell-phone signals 8 million times between September 2008 and October 2009. As Soghoian writes, telecom and Internet providers “all have special departments, many open 24 hours per day, whose staff do nothing but respond to legal requests. Their entire purpose is to facilitate the disclosure of their customers’ records to law enforcement and intelligence agencies.” Verizon, objecting to a FOIA request by Soghoian, expressed concern that subscribers might start bothering it to provide information dumps that the company only provides for cops. Verizon also worried that customers would ask whether their info was being coughed up to law enforcement. Of course, Verizon would not tell them.

These two stories—Patriot reauthorization and telco cooperation—frame the battlefield on which American privacy is being slaughtered. On one end is a government that wants to suck up as much information as it can with as little oversight as possible. On the other end are private companies—to which we entrust more and more information about what we are saying, writing, buying, and thinking—that in effect act as government information agencies.

To read the rest of the story, go here.

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  • Old Mexican||

    What "privacy"?

    [Cass] Sunstein, a Harvard law professor, co-wrote an academic article entitled “Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures,” in which he argued that the government should stealthily infiltrate groups that pose alternative theories on historical events via “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine” those groups.

    As head of [Obama's] Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Sunstein is in charge of “overseeing policies relating to privacy, information quality, and statistical programs,” according to the White House Web site.

    The name "Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs" sounds a lot like something out of an Orwell book.

  • ||

    Beck is coming on in 50 minutes. Time to get your oil and tissue paper out.

  • Old Mexican||

    I don't know what's more disturbing: The fact that a guy like Sunstein has such power, or your lack of preoccupation about it.

  • ||

    What "privacy"?

    Ask the GOP - they claim the Right to Privacy does not exist.

  • ||

    see below - I goofed.

    Running out the door.

  • Paul||

    True. No argument there. The Democrats on the other hand believe that only a right to privacy exists. And only in the realm of who you're sleeping with.

    Everything else is subject to governmental intrusion, coercion, interference, taxation, regulation, surveillance and manipulation.

    There's no right to property, economic freedom, bear arms-- forget about it, how you raise your child, what you eat, what you take into your body, with whom you associate, reproductive privacy in any realm other than abortion and a dozen other areas I've undoubtedly left out.

    Make no mistake, the GOP isn't better in these areas making them worthy of an alternative vote. But it should be pointed out.

  • Paul||

    Apart from freedom of expression, the liberal's idea of freedom is mainly about privacy. It is about a place for whoopee, and for not being held to account or morally judged afterward. In many ways his idea of freedom is the 15-year-old's: Stay out of my room. Show me respect. And hey, when's dinner?

  • ||

    No. Paul.

    More Binary bullshit from a dishonest slag with no pretense of truth.

    Fuck you.

    Eat it raw.

    You're a goddamn liar.

  • ||

    You're full of shit, Paul.

    There's no right to property, economic freedom, bear arms--

    Idiocy. I won't even pretend you have an ounce of crediblity.

  • ||

    Ironic.

  • ||

    craven capitulation to the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping program

    Well phrased. As an Obama "left libertarian" supporter (among millions) this is one area I am seriously troubled by - not that he didn't tip his hand on it before the election with his FISA vote.

    Wow - and you think the Fox News Idiots would cover this instead of the steady stream of bullshit (ACORN, socialist, terrorist, Van Jones etc)

    No chance.

  • Ben||

    Which basically means your a self-contradicting bag of douche.

  • ||

    Another conservative pipes in.

    The "left" in me is all social liberalism - I'm pro-choice, pro-gay xxxx, pro-drug legalization, etc.

    Blow it out your ass you fucking Teabagger.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Shrike,

    The "left" in me is all social liberalism - I'm pro-choice, pro-gay xxxx, pro-drug legalization, etc.

    . . . and pro-thuggery, it seems, witnessing your lack of preoccupation for groups that seek to despoil productive people.

  • ||

    right.

    I guess

    Buffett
    Gates
    Jobs
    Allen
    Page
    Brin
    Woz
    Soros
    Ellison

    (the richest in America)

    are all pro self-thuggery?

    Stop being stupid.

  • Old Mexican||

    No, Shrike - only YOU

  • Pro-kike, Anti-shrike||

    As a matter of fact, they are, you shrieking shrike. (Soros in particular finances a hell of a lot of the lefturd parties' thuggery in various nations, including this one.) We ought to have you Mastercard Marxists and your thuggish sugar daddies deported to Cuba.

  • Harry Reed||

    Shrike did it get left in your anus or your mouth?

  • Wicks Cherrycoke||

    "Candidate Obama swore that under his reign, Americans would see 'no more National Security Letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime.' But his administration has shown no desire to relieve itself of NSL powers."

    Geez...next thing you know, the health care bill debates won't be on C-SPAN like he promised.

    Hey, wait a minute....

  • ||

    A 'Harvard Lampoon" guy who -

    "Sunstein is a proponent of judicial minimalism, arguing that judges should focus primarily on deciding the case at hand, and avoid making sweeping changes to the law or decisions that have broad-reaching effects. Some view him as liberal[citation needed] despite publicly supporting some of George W. Bush's judicial nominees, including Michael W. McConnell and John G. Roberts, as well as supporting rights under the Second Amendment [10] and providing strong theoretical support for the death penalty[11]. Much of his work also brings behavioral economics to bear on law, suggesting that the "rational actor" model will sometimes produce an inadequate understanding of how people will respond to legal intervention."

    Wiki -

    sounds like a real loose cannon.

    Quit listening to Beck - he is rotting your mind.

  • Old Mexican||

    Much of his work also brings behavioral economics to bear on law [???], suggesting that the "rational actor" model will sometimes produce an inadequate understanding of how people will respond to legal intervention."[????]

    I would say he's not a loose cannon, Shrike - but he is certainly "out there."

  • Pro-kike, Anti-shrike||

    STFU, shriketard.

  • ||

    A 'Harvard Lampoon" guy who -

    "Sunstein is a proponent of judicial minimalism, arguing that judges should focus primarily on deciding the case at hand, and avoid making sweeping changes to the law or decisions that have broad-reaching effects. Some view him as liberal[citation needed] despite publicly supporting some of George W. Bush's judicial nominees, including Michael W. McConnell and John G. Roberts, as well as supporting rights under the Second Amendment [10] and providing strong theoretical support for the death penalty[11]. Much of his work also brings behavioral economics to bear on law, suggesting that the "rational actor" model will sometimes produce an inadequate understanding of how people will respond to legal intervention."

    Wiki -

    sounds like a real loose cannon.

    Quit listening to Beck - he is rotting your mind.

  • Pro-kike, Anti-shrike||

    STFU, shriketard.

  • Old Mexican||

    These two stories—Patriot reauthorization and telco cooperation—frame the battlefield on which American privacy is being slaughtered. On one end is a government that wants to suck up as much information as it can with as little oversight as possible. On the other end are private companies—to which we entrust more and more information about what we are saying, writing, buying, and thinking—that in effect act as government information agencies.

    Brian, even though I do not place my hands on the fire for big companies that get too cozy with the government, I would say that some of these tel-com companies had a "Prisioner's Dilemma" kind of situation: If one of those companies' CEO wanted to decide for his customers and tell the government to get lost, he would not be sure what other tel-com companies would do, and be left in a very precaurious position, ending up facing alone the greatest threat to liberty the American people have ever seen, which is the Fed Gov. In lieu of agreements (which under anti-trust laws are actually illegal or can be made illegal just by the stroke of the pen of a very ambitious AG), companies would have to decide to acquiesce to the Fed Gov's advances, just so that it does not hurt them while raping them.

  • ||

    I just ran across a New York Times' blog posting about the FTC's position on businesses and privacy. 'Cause, you know, the private sector is a greater threat to privacy than the government. Anyway, Jon Leibowitz, the new FTC chairman said, "I have a sense, and it’s still amorphous, that we might head toward opt-in" in the FTC's upcoming recommendations about privacy regulation. Requiring opt-in could have a pretty major effect on marketing costs, which, naturally, would affect the pricing of various goods and services. Not that people like Leibowitz care about such things.

    In the same blog entry, Leibowitz talked about protecting newspapers, because, in effect, they are too important to fail. He didn't say what his solution to that was, but here's the gist of what he did suggest as possible solutions: "[M]aybe special tax treatment for newspapers, a Corporation for Public Broadcasting-like fund, or for the newspaper industry to charge fees for the re-use of its content, similar to the model used by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers."

  • Paul||

    I just ran across a New York Times' blog posting about the FTC's position on businesses and privacy. 'Cause, you know, the private sector is a greater threat to privacy than the government

    Don't get me started. OMG, William Sonoma knows how many waffle irons you bought last year! Teh Privacy is being invaded by corporations!

    What about governmental intrusions?

    Huh? Your shoe's untied.

  • ||

    I did a study for the federal government that concluded that their so-called privacy laws provided next to no protection to individuals. I guess they didn't follow my advice.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Shrike,

    For the next 4-6 years - ZERO [inflation]. We're in a deflationary environment.

    Well - Good luck to you.


    Hey, gang - a Keynesian in our midst, and a very credulous one at that!

  • ||

    You're stalking me an another thread?

    Deflation will persist for a while.

    Excess plant capacity
    Excess real estate
    Excess labor capacity
    Lower money supply

    = deflation.

  • ||

    You were doing great until you got to the one that matters the most:

    Lower money supply.

    The money supply chart is a no-fooling hickey stick. And its the one that really matters.

    You can have all that excess stuff and still have inflation, you know. See, e.g., Weimar Germany. Or, for that matter, the Carter administration.

  • Joe M||

    Now what on earth would make you think the money suppply was decreasing?

  • ||

    M1 has been constant (flat)

    M3 is WAY down.

    Bushy-boy said no more M3.

    go to Shadowstats dot (gov, org or com) to verify.

    M3 fell over $20 trillion worldwide in 2008.

  • Joe M||

    What RC said. Well, everything except the part about the hickey stick.

  • ||

    The worldwide money supply fell about $24 trillion US dollars in 2008.

    Of course it was in real estate, 401Ks, mutuals, hedges, and so forth.

    The Fed injected about $1.6 trillion and returned (to date) a $46 billion profit to the Treasury.

  • Pro-kike, Anti-shrike||

    I call bullshit on everything you just said.

    And STFU, shriketard.

  • hmm||

    Actually.. Shrike is right on this one.

    Looking at the monetary base is totally misleading when M3 and M2 are tanking. Even M1 is below 2004 levels. The monetary base includes federal discount window accounts which are not in circulation. The monetary base doubled but the actual amount of currency/credit in circulation doesn't increase because the money is mostly sitting idly-by in fed discount window accounts and keeping the banks capitalized. If the banks aren't loaning it out (and they won't) lack of any significant inflation is quite possible.. even deflation is possible. They may have created a self-fulfilling Keynesian prophecy in this respect.

    Stock prices aren't counted in the CPI, so they can expand the monetary supply with their "Quantitative Easing" but this extra money is basically targeted at equities so the inflation will only be occurring in the sectors they are "pumping". Since average joe isn't making tons of money off of the stock market, the monetary expansion in the world of equities has been segmented off from the rest of things so to speak. As for real estate they are attempting to repump it, but it already looks to be busting again and prices will continue to fall. I also think a major plunge some of the in the market indexes is possible assuming the PPT isn't there to save the day. RE or the markets busting would be deflationary.

    Because of our insane fiscal policy we do risk hyperinflation if we continue with bailout after bailout, and there is no reduction in government spending this is a real threat. I just somehow doubt ANYONE is dumb enough to let this happen though.

    You have to realize the fed is manipulating the market, not expanding the supply of money in actual circulation. What this excesss "liquidity" injected into certain markets and sitting around in fed accounts will do is unknown, but it may very well not have an inflationary effect as far as expansion of the money supply actually in circulation!

    Anyways, what we are experiencing and will likely continue to experience is stagflation. Heavy stagnation and a small amount of inflation with rising input costs for business. Industry will be held down because they aren't letting the deflation happen as they should, because government is artificially keeping wages and other input costs high. But a deflationary spiral with prices dropping further and the monetary supply shrinking (assuming no further government intervention) is a likely scenario.

    Of course to avert this the government may just intervene more and more and eventually cause a real currency crisis.

    To put things in short:
    In the short term.. deflation is certainly not an impossibility, while government intervention will probably continue to create a stagflationary environment, but because of credit drying up and businesses needing to price competitively at the same time, an actual rise in consumer prices and amount of money/credit available to most people is unlikely in the short term.

  • hmm||

    Sorry.. my comment kinda sucked cause I'm half asleep.. but hopefully it is understandable.

  • ||

    I've got a bad feeling about this.

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    I've had a bad feeling about things that's gone on for years now.

    I might not have such feelings if there was evidence that they were substantially wrong.....

  • SEO 成果報酬||

    Must survive, God bless!

  • abercrombie milano||

    You're stalking me an another thread?

    Deflation will persist for a while.

    Excess plant capacity
    Excess real estate
    Excess labor capacity
    Lower money supply

    = deflation.

  • abercrombie milano||

    "Sunstein is a proponent of judicial minimalism, arguing that judges should focus primarily on deciding the case at hand, and avoid making sweeping changes to the law or decisions that have broad-reaching effects. Some view him as liberal[citation needed] despite publicly supporting some of George W. Bush's judicial nominees, including Michael W. McConnell and John G. Roberts, as well as supporting rights under the Second Amendment [10] and providing strong theoretical support for the death penalty[11]. Much of his work also brings behavioral economics to bear on law, suggesting that the "rational actor" model will sometimes produce an inadequate understanding of how people will respond to legal intervention."

  • abercrombie milano||

    fferent bills to reform these and other powers have come out of the Judiciary Committees of the House and Senate. The House version is slightly better in terms of demands it makes on law enforcement and intelligence agencies to have defensible reasons for their searches and seizures. But the controversial provisions will survive, even if slightly circumscribed.

    So will other post-9/11 surveillance practices. Candidate Obama swore that under his reign, Americans would see “no more National Security Letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime.” But his administration has shown no desire to relieve itself of NSL powers. National Security Letters allow FBI agents to grab records and information about you from third parties without any judicial supervision. The recipients are legally prohibited from telling anyone other than their lawyers that they gave up the information.

    The Patriot reauthorization debate unfolded as the telecommunications industry, already known for craven capitulation to the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping program, was revealed by researcher Chris Soghoian to be continuing to cooperate with law enforcement against customers’ interests at a level that, in the words of a request from Yahoo! to keep its collaboration quiet, would “shock” customers and “shame” telcos.

  • sikis||

  • ||

    The worldwide money supply fell about $24 trillion US dollars in 2008.

    Of course it was in real estate, 401Ks, mutuals, hedges, and so forth.

    The Fed injected about $1.6 trillion and returned (to date) a $46 billion profit to the Treasury. l ผลบอล ผลบอล ผลบอล l

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  • Finnish Lapphund||

    Finnish Lapphund "Sunstein is often a proponent regarding judicial minimalism, reasoning which judges must concentrate mainly about determining the truth accessible, in addition to stay away from building capturing improvements into the legislations as well as choices which have broad-reaching influences. A good number of watch your ex since liberal[citation needed] inspite of openly assisting a few of George W. Bush's judicial nominees, which includes Jordan W. McConnell in addition to Steve GARY THE GADGET GUY. Roberts, in addition to assisting privileges within cost-free Change [10] in addition to giving good theoretical service for any demise penalty[11]. High of his / her perform in addition produces behaviour economics on bearing about legislations, recommending the fact that "rational actor" design may oftentimes manufacture a good insufficient knowledge of just how men and women may improve with legitimate treatment. ".

  • vivid||

    You were doing great until you got to the one that matters the most:

    Lower money supply.

    The money supply chart is a no-fooling hickey stick. And its the one that really matters.

    You can have all that excess stuff and still have inflation, you know. See, e.g., Weimar Germany. Or, for that matter, the Carter administration.
    yours,
    Leflunomide

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