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Police Want Fast Track To Get At Your Private Data 301

An anonymous reader writes "According to this story on CNET, police again are pushing for new laws requiring ISPs and webmail providers to store users' private data for five years and also want a new electronic way of speeding up subpoenas and search warrants via police-only encrypted portals at all ISPs and webmail providers."
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Police Want Fast Track To Get At Your Private Data

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  • Probable Cause (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04, 2010 @06:00PM (#31027610)

    I have no problem with police getting this kind of private information, as long as it is fully disclosed that they have requested it, and they can only request it with probable cause. I doubt either of these conditions will be satisfied.

  • by Manip ( 656104 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @06:07PM (#31027686)

    These "police portals" are logistical nightmares. Keep in mind that there are hundreds of police forces in the US then take into account security services and other interested parties are we might be talking about the population of a city who need completely secure access to a great deal of private information.

    Then we need to talk about audit trail and legality of these searches. Who monitors the police/security services to make sure they're acting within the law? How do we know someone isn't spying on their ex' or getting stock tips?

    I think the best system for all involved is a dedicated department at large ISPs/hosts who responds to requests, reads the warrant and grants/denies it. If they grant it then they're given a portal for JUST that request which disables when the warrant expires.

  • by sopssa ( 1498795 ) * <sopssa@email.com> on Thursday February 04, 2010 @06:10PM (#31027738) Journal

    It's not just that they can look at your data now, but in future too. World and politics can change really fast, especially now that US is having economical problems.

    And what about other governments? Would it be good for example Google and Microsoft have a police-backdoor in China?

    And the fact is, they can already subpoena data from companies and companies already have to maintain data for long time. This is just expending it ever longer, which is really worrying, coupled with the police-backdoors (imagine the fun when one of those gets hacked).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04, 2010 @06:13PM (#31027778)

    Wasn't a system very similar to the proposed encrypted portal responsible for the Google hack, where the email accounts of many human rights activists were compromised?

    And now they want EVERYONE to have such a system? Lovely. Because it's not like those will be hacker-bait or anything...

  • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @06:18PM (#31027852)

    What if the USA, faced with insurmountable debt, decides to sell your state to Saudi Arabia? Then their police decide to look over all this data and see who's guilty of violating their morality laws.

    Sounds wacky, but stranger things have happened.

  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday February 04, 2010 @06:31PM (#31028014) Homepage Journal

    Why not just put people to work instead of simply locking them in a box? Let them all do something useful, and I don't mean breaking rocks into smaller rocks. If they're later found to be innocent, pay them for their time.

  • by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @06:43PM (#31028126) Journal

    We're a Democratic Republic here in the US. Politicians aren't running the country, special interests are. Except you're probably all for special interests when the are in your favor, but not for them when they aren't.

    We can solve this problem simply and easily. A person can donate as much money to any candidate they can vote for, otherwise it is strictly forbidden.

    I'd also increase the number of House members to 1000, each state getting at least two, but they only serve six months (by lottery) at a time. And cut their pay in 1/2.

    I'd also make sure that EVERYONE over 18 had to write a check out to the IRS, for some amount, say $25 (or so) "person" tax. The reason for this is because people who don't pay ANY taxes (now about 50% of the population) don't care about how government spends other people's money.

  • by Large_Hippo ( 881120 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @06:47PM (#31028176)
    Your argument may be true, but your facts are wrong: criminality has been steadily decreasing since 1993. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_the_United_States [wikipedia.org]
  • Really? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04, 2010 @06:47PM (#31028178)

    If you've actually committed a crime, I don't care about your privacy. I only care about the privacy of people who haven't committed crimes.

    Define "crime".

  • Re:NO! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04, 2010 @07:31PM (#31028650)

    It's no great surprise the cops want this. But can you imagine the response of banks (and customers) if the police were to demand a special door in every bank so they could waltz in and search the safety deposit boxes at their convenience?.

    Two words: Operation Rize, where the London Metropolitan Police went to several secure deposit box depots and did the equivalent of instead of raiding the house of a suspected dealer, raiding each house in the whole apartment block.

    The police didn't get keys when they wanted to strip down entire depots of secure deposit boxes.

    Lacking that, the police instead broke into each and every one and stole every last bit of property in there. Good 'ol Britain, eh?

  • by jwhitener ( 198343 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @09:08PM (#31029628)

    We can solve this problem simply and easily. A person can donate as much money to any candidate they can vote for, otherwise it is strictly forbidden.

    I'd also increase the number of House members to 1000, each state getting at least two, but they only serve six months (by lottery) at a time. And cut their pay in 1/2.

    I'd also make sure that EVERYONE over 18 had to write a check out to the IRS, for some amount, say $25 (or so) "person" tax. The reason for this is because people who don't pay ANY taxes (now about 50% of the population) don't care about how government spends other people's money.

    That wouldn't do squat. The problem is that it takes an incredible amount of money to win national campaigns, so the only voices that matter to politicians are very wealthy individuals or very big business. And the supreme court ruling allowing corporations (considered a person) to pay for as many advertisements about politicians or issues as they want (money to this court = speech and people have free speech), has effectively drowned out an averages citizen's ability to be heard.

    Here is what commoncause.org says is important to reform:
    1. Create a modern campaign finance system that enables federal candidates who swear off special interest money to run vigorous campaigns on a blend of small donor and public funds.

    2. Ban lobbyists contributions, bundling and fundraising for federal candidates.

    3. End internal fundraising quotas on Capitol Hill that essentially require members of Congress to buy their way into key committee posts and foster a corrosive dependence on K Street for cash.

    4. Close loopholes that allow candidates to evade contribution limits by soliciting amounts up to 3,000 percent of those limits for “joint fundraising committees” and unlimited amounts for national party conventions.

    5. Increase transparency by requiring electronic filing of campaign finance reports for the U.S. Senate (already in place for the House), and full disclosure of bundlers who raise, or help raise, $50,000 or more for congressional and presidential candidates.

    6. Replace the moribund Federal Elections Commissions with a new nonpartisan enforcement agency.

    I personally think it needs to go further.
    1. Declare corporations as property, not persons. Re-enable rights needed for them to function as a secure business by expressly declaring them, not granting them personhood.
    2. Expressly deny corporations from spending on any campaign issue or promoting any candidates. If the employees or members of the corporation want to ban together in their off time and combine their (small) individually allowed donations, or fund a commercial, go for it.
    3. Limit the amount any citizen can donate to any candidate, and limit the amount any citizen can contribute to ads of a political nature. It must be small enough so that the average american has some weight.
    4. Set up term limits for all members of congress. Maybe 12 or 16 years as a senator. I don't know the ideal length, but forever as it is now.
    5. Expand libel and slander laws to include political bills/legislation and scientific ideas/theories. For instance, if Fox or MSNBC, or anyone for that matter, says something blatantly untrue, over and over, about a bill or theory, any group, or any person, can sue that organization or person for libel or slander. If a jury of their peers agree that what was said was damaging to society, malicious in intent, and easily proven false, then Fox or MSNBC are found guilty and have to pay damages to whatever group was affected. (I don't know if this is the best way to restore some level of truth in news and our society, but biased crappy reporting, made up scandals, and misinformation is at an all time high and getting progressively worse).
    6. Open the doors to 3rd parties. Allow anyone who gains enough signatures to put themselves on the ballot for a race. Want to run for the senate as the flying spaghetti monster candidate?

  • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @10:45PM (#31030340)

    Yes, that's all true. But a new government here in the USA is going to look pretty much exactly like the current one, because this is the government the voters want.

    Republics only work well when the voters are smart enough to make decent choices. Our citizens are so uneducated and lacking in critical thought that they can't do this.

    In my opinion, the best thing the USA could do to have fewer problems and have a government that more closely follows the will of the people is for it to break up into smaller countries. Large countries don't work well as republics; they're too big and diverse, and no one can agree on anything. Notice how Europeans don't complain too much about their governments; it's because people in France don't have to come up with agreements on every little thing with people from Italy, Germany, or Kosovo (such as the headscarves/burqa issue that's in the news lately); they live separately, and only cooperate on monetary policy and trade. We should be more like Europe: separate into smaller countries or regions (like northwest, southwest, southeast, northeast, and midwest), and then only have an economic union like the EU so we can share a currency and have free trade between the members. Then, the people in the southeast and southwest can have lax gun laws while the people in the northeast can ban them all, some parts can have lots of welfare and high taxes while other parts have less welfare and lower taxes, some parts have no regulation of banks and have mortgage meltdowns while other parts have more regulation and a steadier economy, etc.

  • by FiloEleven ( 602040 ) on Friday February 05, 2010 @01:13AM (#31031400)

    I must admit I only scanned the list rather than read it in full, but there is an easier way to reform Washington involving just two bills, both proposed by DownsizeDC: the Read The Bills Act and the One Subject at a Time Act.

    RTBA would make it mandatory for both houses of Congress to post complete bills in their final form online fully 7 days prior to a vote for the public to review. This means that no matter who pays for a congressman, anything shady he tries to slip into a bill will see the light of day before it's made law, and every congressman can be pressured to vote based on the public's informed opinion. You may recall Candidate Obama's campaign promise to put bills online for 5 days for public review, one of his most practical and meaningful promises and one that remains unfulfilled.

    Another provision in it calls for a full floor reading before the vote, a measure that certainly fits the agenda of shrinking Washington but one I see as unduly burdensome. A third section calls for any congressman voting for (but not against) a bill to certify that he has read it in full, so we would no longer hear "I was unaware of Unpopular Provision X when I voted for the Ponies For Everyone! Act of 2009" as an excuse.

    OSTA is just what it sounds like: each bill must stand or fall on its own merit, and its name must reflect its contents. That means bills can't be weighed down with tons of riders, attached usually either for pet projects to gain a rep's vote or to pass unpopular legislation by hiding it in otherwise innocuous, possibly PATRIOTically named bills.

    I have spoken about these acts to many people and only one person disliked OSTA, while RTBA has been universally supported (save my own concerns about the floor reading). If enough of the public were to hear about these bills and call their congressmen in support of them, Congress would be forced to pass them and bring about the real reformation we need: making our so-called representatives actually represent us.

  • by the_mushroom_king ( 708305 ) on Friday February 05, 2010 @02:19AM (#31031826)

    What America needs is a true centrist party; one that is fundamentally based on pragmatism.

    Why do we need to pigeon-hole ourselves into two polar opposite affiliations? They are both steadily moving to their respective "nutjob" zones and farther away from the viewpoint of the average American.

    If we can't get past all this social-political nonsense, of who can marry who or can abort when, and tackle the real issues facing this country then we are as the English like to say, "Proper F_cked".

  • by FiloEleven ( 602040 ) on Friday February 05, 2010 @03:40AM (#31032162)

    I think this is definitely true, but America also has a strong anti-intellectual streak to it. There's a reason America [sucks at science].

    The Republican Party is reportedly responsible for this, and though the beginnings of it are before my time I can readily believe it. It is important to remember that the process of governing is not a science, no matter how much the streams of polling data and percentages of this-or-that dress it up otherwise. It is a social construct, and even if a lot of Americans don't grasp the higher points of rocket science they undoubtedly have opinions on public matters. "You should have more freedom to decide the laws your community is governed by" is a concept understood by almost everybody--the biggest hurdle remains that of waking people up to the possibility. Their imaginations will take over from there.

    Here's the thing: everyone hates our current government, but there's no way they're going to agree on a different one.

    You're right, and the increasing polarization you mentioned is a big problem of its own. As you say, though, we are stuck for now with the two big parties, though I haven't given up on a reform or splinter of the Republican Party just yet. I don't think we need viable third parties to bring about a better governing process, and I don't think they would work as intended. Washington has proven to be a morally poisonous atmosphere: people come in with the best intentions and find themselves pulled into the political muck. "Sure it's crooked, but it's the only game in town."

    The only real way to combat this is through constant public pressure--our representatives must be watched like children to make sure that they are in deed representing us. They surely are not at the moment. I wrote elsewhere in this discussion (apologies to anyone who's stumbled upon all three posts) about two bills that would really give the public a chance to step up and fulfill its obligation: the Read The Bills Act, mandating 7 days for public viewing of a bill's final text before a vote; and the One Subject at a Time Act, which would destroy the infestation of unpopular and deal-making riders that leeches onto every single bill, making them stand or fall on their own merits.

    The combined enactment of both of these bills would result in legislation that is more easily discovered, more easily comprehended, and more honest. Lobbyists would lose their grip if congress lost the power to pass unwanted legislation for fear of the public's reaction. There is still plenty of room for ideological differences, and given the public's access to smaller, more cohesive bills the debate is much more likely to focus on them instead of fourth-hand summaries of bills delivered by partisan hacks.

    It may be a lot to hope for, but these bills are popular with just about everyone who hears about them--except of course for Washington insiders. If enough people call their congressmen and strongly express their support for these bills, Congress will be forced to pass them and we will all be better off for it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 05, 2010 @05:46PM (#31039900)

    Meet: Anti-federalism - the idea that states should have more leverage over their citizens than the federal government, which is a specific extension of the idea that the closer a governing body is to the governed populace, the better that governing body is. Federal government, State government, City government, County government, School districts, etc.

    And now you know why we have umpteenth million levels of bureaucracy in this country.

"I'm not afraid of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens." -- Woody Allen