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Old 05-09-2004, 02:13 PM   #1
SkinWalker
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Patriot Act gone Wild

No.. not a new late night commercial for amateur video of naked neo-conservatives.

http://www.dailytexanonline.com/news...s-678980.shtml

A university of Texas college student was the recent target of an FBI probe because of his freedom of information request (actually a similar type of request made to the university itself).

Apparently the FBI became interested in the student's interest in the underground tunnel system of UT. They wanted to know why he wanted to know.

When the student asked campus officials, they replied that the system was secret due to 9/11. This seemed to fuel his curiosity so he filed an Open Records Request with UT this past December.

The FBI asked him questions about activist involvment, specifically naming UT Watch, a campus watchdog group as one of the "activist" organizations they were interested in.

Is this an example of the effectiveness of the Patriot Act and a positive outcome of the Law Enforcement response to the possibility of terrorism?

Or is this a gross misuse of power and an example of a chilling example of a government agency trouncing a citizen's civil rights? Or do we no longer have the right to be curious or question aspects of society any longer (i.e. secret tunnel systems).

Or is it something in between?


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Old 05-10-2004, 01:05 AM   #2
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anyone else reminded of the gestapo?

Seriously, People need to be more cynical, and less willing to give up their rights. America was based on the ability to overthrow the government should they become too powerful.... Anyone think it's about time for some good old fashion protest?


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Old 05-11-2004, 10:33 AM   #3
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Its that old thing. Everytime there is an increase in snooping laws everyone says "well, if you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to fear".

But that relies on an efficient, uncorruptable, unbiased government that happens to agree with you. Otherwise there is a possibility you are in trouble.

The "war on terror" has already casue the UK to introduce loads of snooping laws, lock people up without trial and decide to introduce identity cards. The US is already forcing airlines to break EU privacy laws by handing over personal information on all flights to the US. The west is getting more and more orwellian and we are told it is for our own good. Score 1 for the terrorists.

I'd be very surprised if some of the descussions here haven't been flagged up by US snooping equipment at some point.

Did you know that the US snoops on the UK and the UK snoops on the US and then they swap data??? That way each government can deny monitoring the communications of it's citizens.



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Old 05-13-2004, 10:47 AM   #4
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of course, it aint just the government snooping on us:

But Katherine Albrecht, director of the US-based Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion And Numbering, or Caspian (nocards.org), says that the danger lies in legal or political bodies overriding the stores' privacy agreements. "The data that supermarkets have quietly collected for nearly a decade has become a tempting target for busybodies of all stripes," she says. According to Albrecht, loyalty card details have already been used in personal injury and family law cases in the US. In one instance, a man's card-tracked purchase of expensive wine was used as evidence in a divorce case to show that he could afford to pay more alimony. In another, a supermarket proposed to use till receipts to prove that a man who sued after tripping over a yogurt spill in its store was an alcoholic. Data protection laws allow for such information to be disclosed if a court requests it.

Most disturbing is the prospect of ethnic profiling. After the September 11 attacks, reports Albrecht, "Federal agents reviewed the shopper card records of the men involved to create a profile of ethnic tastes and supermarket shopping patterns associated with terrorism." So anyone who likes hummus, say, may well be developing the shopper profile of a terrorist. While there is an assumption that, in the UK, there exists an invisible line that would not get crossed in this manner, the concern in any data protection context is over "function creep": "An information system set up for one reason can end up being used for other things," says Simon Davies of Privacy International, a human rights group set up to monitor surveillance by governments and corporations.

More significant in relation to privacy, however, is the onset of a new form of monitoring, one being tested right now in UK stores, as Albrecht revealed to the Guardian. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), a form of electronic tagging using wireless technology, was pioneered in the US at the Auto-ID Centre in Boston, a partnership of around 100 global companies. Big grocers such as Wal-Mart (which owns Asda) and Tesco, as well as brands such as Nestlé, Pepsi and Kellogg's, are partners of the centre, as, incidentally, is the US department of defence.

RFID is a tracking system that uses a chip around the size of a speck of dust joined to an antenna. The chip is embedded into a product and can then talk to a hand-held scanning device, currently at a range of 1-20ft. The conversation between chip and scanner reveals the item's "electronic product code", similar to a barcode, except that in this case the information is unique to the item.

Each product code links to its own internet database entry, which can be retrieved by the scanner - so anyone with access to both can establish what and where that product is. The ultimate goal is to assign a unique number to every product on the planet, allowing for what the Auto-ID Centre describes as a "physically linked world". In this world, everything will be tracked and identified. The main obstacle to this vision is financial - the centre is working to bring down the cost of the tags from 50 cents to five cents apiece, or less.

........

But if the ultimate idea is to tag every sold thing, items could be "seen" in your possession. And that's where privacy campaigners start to worry. Because then you could be telling anyone who has the right kind of scanning device - from burglars to the government - what you have bought, where from, how much it cost, and anything else that might be added to an item's database entry, such as who bought it. In this scenario, individuals could be identified by what they wear. On top of which, retailers could monitor your behaviour in relation to their goods. Did you try on a garment? How long did you hold that product? Are you trying to steal? Now does that sound a bit like surveillance? Now would it worry you if this technology were already being used at several of your favourite stores?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/st...999866,00.html



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Old 05-16-2004, 06:26 PM   #5
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Can't say I'm surprised. Fits well with my general impression that the US is 50-100 yrs behind the rest of the Civilized world when it comes to civil rights. In Europe snoopers stopped targetting commies, student activists, etc. about ten-twenty yrs ago. Appearently the feds have yet to learn that the Iron Curtain has fallen.

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Old 05-18-2004, 02:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by toms
Its that old thing. Everytime there is an increase in snooping laws everyone says "well, if you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to fear".

But that relies on an efficient, uncorruptable, unbiased government that happens to agree with you. Otherwise there is a possibility you are in trouble.

The "war on terror" has already casue the UK to introduce loads of snooping laws, lock people up without trial and decide to introduce identity cards. The US is already forcing airlines to break EU privacy laws by handing over personal information on all flights to the US. The west is getting more and more orwellian and we are told it is for our own good. Score 1 for the terrorists.

I'd be very surprised if some of the descussions here haven't been flagged up by US snooping equipment at some point.

Did you know that the US snoops on the UK and the UK snoops on the US and then they swap data??? That way each government can deny monitoring the communications of it's citizens.
Yeah, that kind of rhetoric "if you have nothing to hide..." falls flat because (and we've all seen this happen in the public square). You may not have done anything ILLEGAL, but you may have done something EMBARRASSING that can be used to blackmail you.

Example: Clinton's sexual escapades in the Whitehouse or while governor.

Need I say more?

And you don't need to be a public figure. The point is, somebody could try to ruin your life with information like that or otherwise coerce you, therebay taking away your rights by default. That's the danger of these sorts of precedants. Will they catch more terrorists? Who knows.

But the rationale is that the government should be able to arrest anyone for any reason (or so we assume, the PA isn't that easy to read, few people have read all the details), in the hopes that they might catch a terrorist or two. Or a potential terrorist (wait... so that means arresting people who haven't done anything wrong YET?).

It all sounds pretty screwy to me.

It's not as bad as China, where if you say "Free Tibet" or "we should let Taiwan have independance" you can be investigated and thrown in jail (and if you post that on the internet, overseas ISP's are supposed to turn over all private records to China's government). But let's not head down that same path...


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Old 05-20-2004, 07:46 AM   #7
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when i was in china they had blocked all access to news sites like bbc and cnn (although it wasn't hard to get around by looking at smaller sites that had their news feeds). OF course, with newscorp not saying anything bad about them they hadn't blocked sky

People seem to forget that it is very rare for an evil government to just pop up and take over a country, they tend to be either elected, or come to power as part of a popular uprising. It is only later that they sart misusing their powers to keep control. THat is where this whole "if you aren't doing anything wrong..." bit falls down.

Soon, with smartcards, mobile phones, databases, RFID and online snooping packages they will be able to track and correlate everything anyone does. Then they will start looking for patterns... (either to exclude those who don't have enough money, or to find those with "dodgy" patterns)

They already released "possible terrorist" shopping patterns to shops... imagine every shop getting a "possible terrorist" message every time you walk in, just cos you like muslim food or something.



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Old 05-26-2004, 11:48 AM   #8
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I don't think that they really understand how easy it is to make a weapon if you have proper knowledge... I mean, most boys/men have tried at some point or another to make a bomb... If I was a terrorist I'd be buying fireworks. A little every year until I had enough to make a really big bomb. And then throw in a little something nasty like magnesium powder or something... I mean any half-decent street thug can make a bomb out of stuff you can buy in a general store.

Terrorist shopping patterns... As if!

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Old 05-26-2004, 11:06 PM   #9
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I thought that I posted earlier in this thread... it's... gone... So anyway...

overall, I think it's fine, I have nothing to hide... I don't think I'll be embarrased, but even if I am, at least the U.S. can be assured.

Quote:
RFID is a tracking system that uses a chip around the size of a speck of dust joined to an antenna. The chip is embedded into a product and can then talk to a hand-held scanning device, currently at a range of 1-20ft. The conversation between chip and scanner reveals the item's "electronic product code", similar to a barcode, except that in this case the information is unique to the item.
Yeah, I read about just the info about RFID in Popular Science. The article was rather cool actually.

RFID is ok, sometimes the U.S. security is at stake, so a one time privacy invade out of your whole life isn't going to hurt. Besides, tagging them on personnel is a fine idea, as they already use ID cards to get through check points.

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Old 05-27-2004, 12:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by MennoniteHobbit
overall, I think it's fine, I have nothing to hide... I don't think I'll be embarrased, but even if I am, at least the U.S. can be assured.
I don't have anything to hide either, but what if they do implant this and then turn into a dictatorship- it'll be extremely easy to track any "rebels" trying to fight against it.



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Old 05-27-2004, 08:02 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by MennoniteHobbit
I thought that I posted earlier in this thread... it's... gone... So anyway...

overall, I think it's fine, I have nothing to hide... I don't think I'll be embarrased, but even if I am, at least the U.S. can be assured.
i don't know. You have been in the same thread as a number of anti-war comments. You have been kind of anti-kerry, if he wins the election. All that need to happen is for a facial recognition camera to spot you near a mosque, you happen to buy some fertilizer. THen book a flight to washington...



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Old 05-27-2004, 11:21 PM   #12
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Originally posted by Tyrion
I don't have anything to hide either, but what if they do implant this and then turn into a dictatorship- it'll be extremely easy to track any "rebels" trying to fight against it.
Well, if there's more further steps towards this direction, I hardly think it'll be a dictatorship. Still though, I don't think they can force us to have those implanted- the House, Senate, and President have to approve of it, and I doubt all three of them, or any combo needed to accept the bill, will pass by. Though, it's actually a good idea for employees, if used with certain conditions- let's say you want to track down a mole- you just have to make them wear the card with the tag, rather than implant it into them (unless you're forced to). With certain conditions met (that can be determined) then it sounds fine.

Quote:
i don't know. You have been in the same thread as a number of anti-war comments. You have been kind of anti-kerry, if he wins the election.
What does this have to do with anything- it doesn't even relate to the rest of your post AFAIK.

Quote:
facial recognition camera to spot you near a mosque, you happen to buy some fertilizer. THen book a flight to washington...
Well, I thought the government did in fact cross reference the data with criminal history? Do they? I would like to know... straight from the source.

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Old 05-28-2004, 02:31 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by MennoniteHobbit
overall, I think it's fine, I have nothing to hide... I don't think I'll be embarrased, but even if I am, at least the U.S. can be assured.
Ooooh! and just think how safe we'll be if we let the government install cameras into all of our homes. I mean, robbery will be a thing of the past! We'll be able to ID anyone who comes into our house! And then, if we have bar codes implanted into our foreheads we'll ALWAYS be safe!



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Old 05-28-2004, 11:02 AM   #14
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Originally posted by MennoniteHobbit
Though, it's actually a good idea for employees, if used with certain conditions- let's say you want to track down a mole- you just have to make them wear the card with the tag, rather than implant it into them (unless you're forced to). With certain conditions met (that can be determined) then it sounds fine.
THe dangers that are present with capitalist organisations tracking you rather than governments are much more sneaky and seductive. With governments, if they try and introduce some form of snooping system there is USUALLY (although not recently) publicity and scrutiny.

With private companies this is seldom the case. Also with private companies they actually make people WANT the services that require the snooping.

Quote:
a UK company, has developed a radio frequency identification (RFID) reader that supports Near Field Communication (NFC), a new standard that will allow electronic devices to interact when "touched" together. The NFC standard is being backed by Nokia, Philips and Sony. It's meant to let users access content and services by simply touching 'smart objects' and connecting devices just by holding them next to each other. Some services include swapping music and buying movie tickets. Once a connection has been established between two NFC-enabled devices, another wireless technology such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth will be used to actually transfer the data. By adding support for NFC, Innovision says it's getting ready for when mobile users will be able to download music tracks by just tapping their device against a poster."
Its like store loyalty cards (which provide less of a discount and allow them to track all your purchases and decide if you are the sort of customer they want). Its not like they are forcing people to have them. People don't want them. But they end up having them because if they don't then they will miss out.

THe same will happen with RFID tags, we will need one to get free downloads from ads, then to get discounts in stores, then to get into the office, then to prove your items are yours, then as an id.
Then next time there is a panic about something the government will make them turn over all the info.

Or look at doubleclick. I would defy you to find ANY reasonable sized web sites where your interests and activities won't be passed on to doubleclick to allow them to build a profile and pester you.



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