Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
CDA News

We Lost the Privacy War 375

Danse was one of the many who sent us a thought-provoking piece about privacy-not about how it's important, but how we've already lost it, or shortly will. All those little memories we build up, living our lives and how they all, ultimately, betray us.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

We Lost the Privacy War

Comments Filter:
  • No urban legend, it was authorized by Clinton. I read it in the NY Times and other "reputable" places several times.
  • It means that they can't, but if they try to then inevitably the Supreme Court will rule it unconstitutional and overturn it.

    While this is certainly true, it hasn't worked out in practice in decades -- certainly not consistently.

    A constitution is intended not to "grant" anything to the people (as if our liberties are the government's to give us), but rather to be a leash upon the state: it is intended to restrict and define what exactly the government may do. The 9th and 10th Amendments more than make clear what is already implicit in the fact that a constitution was made: namely, that nothing in the constitution should in any way be interpreted to suggest that the liberties of the people are defined by or restricted to what is mentioned in it.

    Nevertheless, our liberties are constantly stolen by our tyrannical government. Witness: the Endangered Species Act and the various "wetlands" acts, all of which absurdly restrict private property owners' right to control their land. Witness: property taxes. Try not paying them and you'll see who really owns your property (hint: it ain't you). Witness: gun control laws, which explicitly violate the 2nd Amendment.

  • And besides, even if the police could see that your vehicle went through an intersection, there is no way they could tell if the light was red, or that you blew a stop sign, unless they where there to see it themselves; in which case they wouldn't need the Lo-Jack to nail ya.

    You're assuming they are only interested in fining you. What if they want to follow you for other reasons? I would advise anyone with Lo-Jack to install a cutoff switch and use it whenever they are driving their car. Perhaps is a random 'feasability study' shows enough people doing that, at least Lo-Jack won't be abused (unless it's already being abused).

  • >The revolution will come when they start wanting you to register your computers... A la Cuba.

    reasons not to buy a pentium iii.

    i am amazed to see such flameless discussion.
  • So I guess you missed the whole "right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches" went right over your head?
  • >Aggitate, aggitate, aggitate??

    Um, so, we should start with the various A&M schools? You might have something there, particularly where it comes to the sheep.

    Definitely an easier job than agitating the citizenry. And a good source of folks familiar with shepherding.

    Disclaimer: The above is not directed at the author of the targeted message, and should be considered an instinctive reaction to the convergence of misspelling and context.
  • What I find intriguing are the possiblities for marketing. OnStar is advertising itself as a hotel booking service, reservation-making service, etc. They must be building up quite an impressive database of _extrememly_ customized personal profiles. Think of what that list of profiles--of America's wealthier individuals--would be worth to a marketing company?

    And, if--like you wondered--they could keep track of listening habits, etc., that would just make it even more valuable as something to sell.

    Makes you think...

  • However, even were there to be a radical government change (most likely through a Constitutional Convention rather than a violent overthrow) it'd be the vocal minority (mainly X-ian Right) that would most likely take over.

    This is wha3t I'm worried about. There are some people these days saying some crazy things. And the scary thing is that Americans seem to like these views, hopefully in moderation but who knows what happens on election day. Look at what Gary Bauer(sp?) is saying. This guy wants to be president!

    Just for an example of Gary Bauer: He was on Crossfire and one of the hosts was asking him to say good or bad to these changes(I'm trying to remember correctly but you'll get the idea):

    Host: Teenage out of wedlock birth down
    Gary: Not good if the people are killing their babies(that was his phrase)

    Host: Teen abortion down
    Gary: Not good if they're using condoms and birth control devices(it seems that he doesn't want people, or at least teens, to haev access to condoms at all)

    Host: Teen pregnancy down
    Gary: basically same answer as above

    The other thing this guy is doing is going around the country saying that there is a war being waged between two halves of the country. One half is like Eric Harris and Dylan Kleibold(Columbine killers), and the other half is like this girl(can't remember her name), that was killed because she said she believed in God. And he says he can't believe that people can go around worshiping Nazis in school but they can't pray.

    People like this make me so sick.

    BTW, Pat Robertson is on Larry King Live today, I'll be watching.

  • The one-time pad, when implemented properly, is provably perfectly secure. Not even the space aliens from planet Zarbnulax with their advanced technology can attack it.

    Properly implemented cryptography will not stop a dedicated attacker, true. It will make the attacker choose to get the information in some other way than attacking the crypto, though.

    If you want a secure symmetric cipher, use 3DES. Nobody's even come close to making any kind of a real dent in it; odds are the spooks can't, either.
  • The illegal search and seizure thing was out the window as soon as they said they could stop you for looking suspicious. It's a shame. But hey, just to catch one bad guy, we decide that is ok if cops block our roads. Last time I checked this country was still a democracy, but in real life it's socialist. The government should have no right to determine what is good or bad for us. Crack should not be illegal. You should not be taxed more if you smoke. Pot should not be illegal, Nor should pornography of any kind. According to the constitution, we must have a separation of church and state. IMO I would like all of our money to quit saying "In God we Trust". Also according to that law, we should have complete anarchy. There is not a law in this country that is not based in some way off of religion. As far as getting sued for allowing access to some web pages, tough, if you don't like, don't look at it. If it makes fun of you, get over it. Did you sue the six grade bully that was always picking on you? I didn't think so. Ignorance is not an excuse for the law, but there are so many laws now, that no one can know them all.

    Here on slashdot we still have to worry about the repercussions of what we say, by legal means, and flaming means.

    It's a really sad world, but none of us are fighting these laws, or government. We have the power as people to change things in this country.
    The only problem, no one listens unless your rich or lucky.

    Insurance should not be mandatory, it's like telling you that your guilty before you get into an accident.

    Most things that are legally mandatory, or illegal, are that way because of some industry makes enough money to prevent the change.

    Face it, your going to walk the way they tell you to walk, and think the way they want you to think.

    Ohh, and don't think changing presidents is going to help, there almost as powerless as the rest of us, besides your vote doesn't count anyway, not as long as the electoral college exist.
  • That sure looks to me like at least the SSA believes that businesses and other private entities can "require" your SSN.

    The Social Security act actually DID prohibit any use of the SSN as an identification. That part of the act is routinly ignored by government and private institutions alike.

    It seems that simply ignoring such protections and making the cost of forcing the issue too high for citizens is the latest rage within the government. It's a lot easier than passing legislation and risking a big stink.

    When that fails, there's always creative re-interpretation of the Constitution to fall back on.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Could be that the easiest thing would be to change your vocabulary slightly.

    Advocates of free love probably don't have the same problem with the word f*ck that some do, but when they're standing in front of the church lady they watch their words.

    We get to choose when and what language is appropriate. Advocates of "geek pride" or "geek liberation" or whatever may disagree with me here, but tact does make life easier often enough.
  • As I have seen with in the past 3 years, i'm getting sick of being called an American, due the religous riech which we call a government. Look, like I have said before, we need get off our asses and stop them from pushing us down. They are taking away your right saying it's all for the kids, which basically means that is blocks the kids from everything. In this fact that the government is acting like that overlly protective religous bigot parent. Ever seen the kids that come from these homes. Never to know anything about real life and the come out to the real world? They haven't a clue on how to survive and deal with the reality of the cruel place this world is.

    They are trying to make us sheep for their greedy lil' pockets. I like my privacy, I like my freedom think, say and do mostly anything I want with out having to worry about someone following my every move. I don't people to know what I talking about to other people on-line.

    Face it people, we are getting screw and society has become so lazy as a whole that we don't care about what they do to us. What happened to standing up and fighting for your rights? Have we reduced our self this low, or have we become scared of what we built?

    I would seriously thinking about getting together to correct this issue before the US of A has its own Nazi Germany.
    I ate my tag line.
  • The problem is not running red lights, but privacy. The Man doesn't need to know where I take my vacations, where I shop or where I take a piss.
    Humanity goes in cycles, tho. Soon, some technology will swing the discussion in the other direction.
    I hope I live to see that day.
  • Whenever I purchase something online, or enter my name into a computer, I always embellish. Instead of plain "Michael Labbe", I enter something such as "Michael 'The Ninja In The Mist' Labbe". It's interesting to see when these things come back to me.

    Such a case of information that I never leaked getting out is my E-Mail address. I'm an at home customer, and I've been getting spammed in a CC list of @home customers whose E-Mail addresses start with 's'. I've never given out my at home email address, as I prefer AtDot [].

  • What are the signs of tyranny? The author makes mention to a list of 134 of them in 1984 is this list on the net?
  • Echelon has been in the mainstream press recently. Here's an NY Times article (user/pw = cypherpunks): eb?getdoc+site+site+76922+0+wAAA+echelon

    Note: I tried to do this in HTML, but it always put a space in the URL...
  • its interesting how the very cool technology we develop (lo-jack...) to protect ourselves, actually gives ourselves away.

    no privacy.

    (first post!)

  • The last time I voted was in a presidential election. I voted for a third party candidate. My vote was not counted for 2 weeks. Literally. All non-Democrat/Republican votes were set aside and counted after they found out who won.

    Meanwhile, they "normalized" the returns as they ran on TV. If you added up the percent that voted for D or R, it would always equal 100%. Even if 5% voted for something else.

    A good book on the topic of voting is _Liberalism Against Populism_. He expands Arrow's Theorem (1963) and proves that ALL voting mechanisms violate some minimal criterion of fairness.

    Here's my favorite example. Single-runoff elections violate the principle of monotonicity. That is to say, INCREASING support for a candidate should not result in LOWERING his final outcome.

    Let's pretend we have three candidates, X, Y and Z. And assume four voting factions with the following preferences:

    2 voters prefer Y>X>Z
    6 voters prefer X>Y>Z
    4 voters prefer Y>Z>X
    5 voters prefer Z>X>Y

    Assuming everyone always votes for their highest preference, the first election will result in:

    6 votes for X
    6 votes for Y
    5 votes for Z, who is eliminated.

    In the runoff election, you can only vote for X or Y. X gets 11 votes to Y's 6 and X wins.

    Now assume that the 2 voters in the first faction above had changed their minds. They now prefer X>Y>Z (just like the second faction). The only difference is that they have RAISED the preference for X.

    In the first election:
    8 votes for X
    4 votes for Y, who is now eliminated
    5 votes for Z

    In the runoff election, X gets 8 votes and Z gets 9 votes.

    Those 2 voters who changed their minds and decided to vote for X resulted in X losing an election he would have won if they had not supported him.

    Other voting schemes will violate other principles of fairness. Rogers Rules of Order, for example, can result in a final outcome that would be unanimously defeated by another outcome if each possible outcome were paired against each other.
  • I can read, but there is a local ordinance against selling/lending this book.

    Where do you live? I would like to avoid going there.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The Child Protection Act of 1996, in the name of tracking down deadbeat dads, is a registry of everyone who works, along with their salary, place of employment, position, address, and other vitals. Any social or payment worker, anywhere, can access it. Can you spell abuse?

    Plans are underfoot to add a few fields for those nasty gun owners. Who could argue with that? A few more fields for militia members, maybe the more vocal members of the Christian Right, food hoarders (that is now a federal felony), and of course, we could fold the sex offenders into it.

    All noble goals, and you can't argue with a single one.
  • We should have all seen this one coming. We watch movies like "Enemy of the State", and we think "Nahh, could never happen to us". Sure, it isnt the same level of privacy invasion, but it does happen.

    Im sure this article is going to set off that paranoia alarm in a lot of /.'ers. We have to find ways to keep big brother from peeking over our shoulders.

    Anyone know anything about PGP and how it is regulated? I just might have to start using it since i Dont feel like having Big Sam reading my emails.

  • Ken Starr tried to subpoena Monica Lewinsky's book purchases at a local book store. Just because the book store isn't the FBI doesn't mean that they won't cooperate.

    I don't believe the book store owner cooperated, though.
  • I don't know of a privacy howto. But there are
    plenty of books out there about protecting your
    privacy. Check out
    Atomic Books []. There's a ton of wacky stuff there, to
    to the Privacy/New ID category.

  • I was wondering that, too.

    Glasnost, perhaps?

    p.s. Does your slashdot password start "/." too?
  • by gavinhall ( 33 )
    Posted by Justin:

    Anyone noticed the bit about 1984 at the bottom? It's quite frightening, especially for those of us whose bible is 1984 ;)
  • >This one isn't so obvious. Lets say.. if Rodney
    >King didn't have a video tape to prove police
    >abuse, he'd be a n*****r that Ferman saw fall
    >down. Alot.

    We hear this a lot, but it just plain isn't true. The CHP (California Highway Patrol) was already investigating the incident *that night*. A CHP officer was at the scene, wrote down badge numbers, and launched the probe.

    Also, the clip shown on television was clipped--If you watch the whole thing, *especially* in slow motion, it just isn't the same event that caused the commotion. The initial use of massive force was necessary. When someone is still coming at the police after the *second* taser, the only reasonable conclusion is that he's on PCP. Tests showed this wasn't the case, but this information wasn't available to the officers at the scene. (I don't think it's been explained at all.) And he wasn't helpless on the ground; he was still fighting.

    Unacceptable levels of force were used. It went on after he stopped fighting. But this wasn't the random beating that it's made out as in the mythology.
  • All this The government is out to get you stuff bugs me in a big way. Yea the govenerment is not perfect and they do a bit of stuff that I don't like, but plese the USA is not and never will be a facist state. But some how many of the folks who spread this dreck have a few minor points:
    1) I don't have to pay my taxes.
    2) There is a big conspericy invoving the Jews, the UN and probably the martians and the Knights Templar.
    3) Lots of vuage acusations of loss of freedoms.

    I think its mostly a lot of paranoid dreck
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Oh, we're all gonna die! We're all gonna die! (or at least we're all gonna live in a Zero Tolerance/State-Dominated/Privacy-Disabled Country).

    Yawn. Sorry, but I'm getting so damned tired of cries of "the sky is falling". Also, the accusations of "if you don't care, you're just a sleep-drugged American zombie destined to be stomped by the state". It's all so over-dramatic.

    100 of 137 indicators of "1984" have come to pass. Yeah, so what _exactly_ does that mean? I can still move where I want, work where I want, go to any church I want. I can write letters to the editor griping about the government. I can buy my own land and go out into the woods and dance naked if I want. Hell, if I want to go marry a homosexual lover and his sheepdog, then have his clone-child while living my life on welfare, Mr. "Blue Dress" is working hard to make that within my grasp, too.

    Sure there are cases where authorities abuse their power, but (as a rule) these are reported and corrected. But let's fall back to the author's question: Everyone who's been abused by a policeman, raise your hands. Okay, everyone who's read about an incident, raise yours. What's the count? Get a reality check.

    --Wake me up when Y2K is over. And that Notrodomos thing in July 1999...don't bother me with that either.
  • If I could read, I'd read 1984. Doesn't it
    have two way television? And isn't two way
    television bad? I can't wait to get my own
    cable modem!

    Could somebody post a shorter version of that
    story. Just way to much to read.

    Want people to think you are really crazy?
    Tell them that the reconstructed TWA 800 isn't
    the same plane that crashed. Then back it up
    with lots of documentation. They will think you
    are "way gone man".

    Want to know what makes me upset about all this?
    The newcomers!

    Have a great day kids!

    Now go back to sleep.
  • ... is that information wants to be free. The best way to keep secrets is not to have any secrets at all. It's one thing to want to keep Big Brother from watching you on the shower; but while only Big Brother has an interest in knowing your shower habits, anything that is potentially dangerous or important about your persona is interesting for many other entities. Thus, the privacy that the article claims we've already lost may not even be that important in the first place if there isn't a Big Brother from which it's imperative to keep information. What I'm trying to say is that, if there's a system in which all have something to gain from other people's information, but on the other hand they all have something to lose from their own information, then there's nothing to be afraid of. The big problem is that the Government and the big corporations disrupt this equilibrium.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It was really just a case of dyslexia on the part of the "framers of the constitutions."

    The right to arm bears has just never been very popular so only PETA and a few other special interest groups even bring it up.

    And this doesn't even breach the subject of the people who demand their right to suntanned arms.
  • You should not automatically assume that cryptanalysis is the only, easiest, or best way to attack PGP encryption. As cryptographic software, PGP certainly has a flawless track record. However, the software is not the weakest link in the chain. Frequently, with PGP, user error is the weakest link in the chain.

    If you allow for Tempest scanners, physical attacks on your machine, attacks on any third party that might happen to have your key, and the all-too-typical easy passphrases that most people use, then it is not entirely incorrect to say that in many cases a PGP encrypted message can be cracked in a matter of hours by someone who really wants to.

  • Just tell 'em it ain't encrypted. "Hey, just because you can't figure out how to pronounce %(H8%^&)RTHBNuirt5e057832@^%$%)__|H_)KKUCRU GIUI*jç_\*T+á68íoÑ_9M_\÷±+¦+-9(&)YNB%%%%%%%% doesn't mean it's not a word!"

  • It's not too uncommon to pick one or two at random and just run those. I know it's done since I was once pulled over for 'parole violation'. Turns out the cop shouldn't type and drive at the same time. He had the wrong car and driver. It is not pleasant to see a cop approching your car with his gun drawn! To cover his gaffe, he then claimed my insurance had lapsed (he was reading the effective data as the expiration date), did the flashlight search for empty beer and liquor bottles. He was briefly excited when he saw the IBC bottle (ibc is a non-alcoholic root beer sold in a brown bottle which strongly resembles a beer bottle). And fanally settled on warning me about a cracked tail light! (It wasn't).

    That was the '80s. I'm sure they have better tech available now.

    Even if they did only bother once they pulled a car over for some reason, there is still the risk of 'padding' the violation based on the driver fitting a profile that rarely contests padded violations in court. That is already done based on out of state plates, do we really want to improve that sort of profiling?

  • Seriously, there's no privacy in the United States. Especially now. Your only hope is to become a citizen of the European Union, which will fight for your rights of free speech, privacy, and unreasonable search and seizure.

    If you're an American, you have none of those rights. You think you have them, but you don't.

    Me, my whole life was public before I was 10 yo, so it just doesn't matter. You can either rail against the fact you live in a fishbowl filled with barracudas, or like Ben or Casey and enjoy the ride. Or you can go my way and just be notorious.

    But the only way you'll get privacy will be when the EU sues the US and we get it by indirection. Until then, forget it.

    Will in Seattle
    who's glad most people can't spell
  • What do they arm the bears with? Pasta?

    Will in Seattle
    leave your guns in Redmond
  • This is going to get me labeled as an anti-gun liberal, again, but the question is serious. How are an untrained band of people armed with knock-off Kalishnakov's going to stop a battalion of M1 tanks? Say what you want about Vietnam, but those poor unarmed rebels, and their allies, had access to some serious hardware, like mortars, artillery, MiG's, etc. Aren't we better served by trying to change the system, in a loud and if need be obnoxious manner, than depending on ol' Bessy to take down an AH-64?
  • pffft. I seriously doubt it would work. There's probably anything over a threshold just gets tossed (or more likely edited out). So instead of your post sending off big alarms, it gets filed into the "hippie punk" file as:


    That's easy. Just force every whatever-user to use Emacs, and force them to insert at least three M-x spook commands into whatever they create. And of course we need someone to update the spook.el database with current `bad words', since no matter how much I use the command, it never inserts `kosovo' or `UCK' or `Milosevic'.


    [Hippie Punk Trigger Word Block Removed]

    [that's two M-x spook commands' worth of crud]

    And then of course they run it through their Ultra-Advanced Natural Language Parser to determine if you're actually talking "bad".

  • Funny that you say that, because it has happened to me. When I moved to Seattle to go to school, I called the phone company to get the service hooked up. They required my SSN and I gave it to her. She asked for it again. I repeated it... she asked yet again, and I repeated it number by number... Finally I had to have my roomate sign up for the phone because my SSN didn't match my name!! She said that when she entered in my number, it came up with a 65 year old man in another state! I haven't had any other problems since, but that sure did scare the crap out of me!
  • Aha, are you by any chance American? :)

    In the UK, we do have this 'Data Protection Act' and if folks really want to, they can demand a company reveals all the data stored about them, not necessarily immediately and maybe at microscopic charge. It can also be legally required to be accurate as well.

    As far as national identity cards go, I'm all for removing the demand for having quite so much plastic in pocket, as long as it can be done securely (well, SSL-based online ordering beats handing a credit card to a waiter any day; if the replacement plastic supports a suitable encryption mechanism I'd be happy), I don't mind having things making life easier.

    What is the problem even if data is sold on to others? More people know a bit about me and I get slightly less thick salespeople calling me...
    It's not as though I have anything to hide that I can't PGP-encrypt! :)
  • When the South (States) revolted from the union, they got more than a bit of the union's military as well. The rebels just might have the pre-revolution rank of general, sergeant, admiral, etc..., along with the tanks and planes.

  • Shafik, you beat me to it. So I'll just add that for those 240 million sheep out there, it might be an easier intro to Chomsky to watch the documentary ``Manufacturing Consent.'' Check out this [] for some online info about the film. If ten people read this message and see the film, I'll be very happy. (If a million do, I'll consider that proof that the time of rapture is near)
  • EZ=Pass is only a SEMI Active transmitter. What happens is it's hit with a particular radio freq signal (at fairly high power), and that actually POWERS the EZ-Pass, which then transmits it's code. It doesn't transmit all the time. If your really worried about it, when your given your EZ-Pass, they give you a metalized (aka Anti Static) bag to put it in, so that if you want to go through the tolls with getting billed, you can. Take it off your window, and put it in the bag. No RF out or in
  • I believe another point made in 1984 is that a large part of the way the system works is to insure that the Power does not change hands again. The use of mass media to keep people focused on supposed "evils" abroad, attacks by foreign nations, and the prevention of the creation of martyrs prevents the general populace from ever harboring a desire for revolution
  • Cecil Adams of the Straight Dope dealt with this in one of his books. , though I couldn't find it online.

    I recall someone's taking over an abandoned off-shore oil platform and starting his own country.

    Anyway, the real source for the info is:

    How to Start Your Own Country
    by Erwin S. Strauss 6/cyberhaven00/002-7348674-6106650

    "Start your own country? Yes! This book tells the story of dozens of new country projects and
    explains the options available to those who want to start a country of their own. Covers diplomacy,
    national defense, sovereignty, raising funds, recruiting settlers, and more, including names and
    addresses of current projects. Over 100 pages of fascinating case histories illustrated with dozens of rare photos."

    1984, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2, 174pp, illustrated, soft cover.
  • It happened. The _thirteen_ states that did it were invaded and crushed. FYI, that was over 100 years ago.
  • That's what you think. At Texas A&M University they have developed a system which mounts a very nice optical camera atop the police car. While the cop is driving around, the camera automatically acquires and scans license plate numbers, and automatically runs them through a database looking for wanted criminals, stolen vehicles, [insert paranoia here]. All of this is done with sub-second response times.


  • > Because he was an religious unlicensed gun nut.

    Whom the local sherrif knew and had visited before. But when the BATF decided to make an example out of him, they went gestapo-style into his house. And when he wouldn't come out, they gassed him (with a gas that would violate the Geneva convention if we dropped it in Serbia).

    > So becuase New York police are violent... um, what does this have to do with privacy again?

    Being beaten until one confesses is a violation of ones right against self incrimination. But actually, we moved on and we were talking about freedom in general. As long is it is a crime to Drive While Black, we (everyone) will not be free. "First they came for..."

    > Packet Storm was broght down becuase it voilated the TOS of its Host, maybe the threat of legal action helped this along, but that is irrelavant.

    And the right to a fair hearing is reserved only for those with the money to sue.

    > Again, NYC can fall into the ocean for all I care.

    Ok, what about Los Angeles? Florida? Washington DC? Chicago?

    > Probably, if the public defender had gotten 12 more juriors who had the intellegence of the common carrot.

    Any you really believe this? Either way, picking the jury IS part of the lawyers job. Would a PD be as good as picking a jury?
  • While it is a little difficult to read, there are some important ideas in there. My personal favorite, though, occurs when Washington warns the government to cherish the public credit, and only use taxes in times of war. Guess the government hasn't followed that recommendation very carefully!

    Here is the unabridged version of Washington's Farewell Address []
  • "Here you are free to do what you choose
    Free to wipe tables and shine shoes"
    (WestSide Story)

    "But freedom without justice is a freedom for a few
    Who have bought the right to tell us that their freedom lie is true
    Oh freedom without justice grows up into slavery
    Unless you're a Barclaycard carrying member of the free"
    (Fat & Frantic)
  • I take it that you already know about the Social Insurance Number:SIN (or Social Security Number:SSN for the American folk :) making one voluteer to pay income tax.
    i.e. without a SIN/SSN one is not eligible to pay ;-)

    You wouldn't happen to have any more information on the Canadian money system? i.e. where did it orginate? etc...

    you can email me at
    I have some interesting "Sovereignty" links for you.

  • Okay, a quickie comment on the reason why the Bill of Rights included the Fifth Amendment. It was not included simply so you could refuse to admit the crime in question.

    It was included, in part, so that the state would have to actually produce evidence to convict a person of a crime. With compulsary self-incrimination and rubber hoses, it would be far too easy for an ambitious DA wrongly convict innocent people. (Who needs evidence when you have a confession?) This, incidently, is one of the most compelling arguments against pre-trial asset forfeiture. Such forfeiture often prevents a meaningful defense and a ruthless DA can dramatically improve his "conviction rate" by simply seizing any assets which could be used to mount a defense. Then, once the person is "convicted" the asset forfeiture is "validated."

    More importantly, this right was included so the state couldn't charge you with a minor crime and then force you to confess to a more serious charge.

    (Set "way-back machine" to 1775)

    Tell me, Mr. Smith, where you were on the night of the 5th. Were you drinking in O'Toole's tavern and consorting with Molly Brown, a prostitute?

    No. I was attending an organizing meeting for the Boston Sons of Liberty to discuss our grievences with the Crown.

    Even today, there are many legal activities which meet with social disapproval. What if you were in a strip joint when your boss thought you were on a sales call? What if you were in bed with a woman other than your wife (and she with a man other than her husband)... and her husband happens to be the very prosecutor asking you this question?
  • Why does everyone think that people who speak out against the law have something to hide?

    Besides, if things like oral sex weren't against the law you wouldn't have to hide them.

    Screw privacy, you want it, make it.

    As soon as you play follow the leader, your privacy is determined by that leader.
  • The People's Almanac #2 (David Wallechinsky and Irving Wallace, 1978) is a bit outdated, so this may no longer be true (more info, anyone?), but on page 77 we read:

    "There is a 1500 square-mile section of northern Colorado, west of Denver, not owned by the U.S. three days a year. According to the records of the General Land Office, this territory "was acquired neither through the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, the Texas annexation of 1845, nor by treaties with the Utes who apparently never claimed it." This un-American region--its residents possibly not U.S. citizens-- included the town of Breckenridge. To check this further, in 1977 the Almanac editors called the Colorado Bureau of Land Management, who admitted the quesstionable area "was blank" on their maps, showing no admission date to the U.S. According to the Colorado Historical Society, a strip of land 90 miles long and 30 miles wide in the Breckenridge area had been a no-man's land due to an early surveyor's error, but was officially made part of the U.S. on Aug 8, 1936, with a special proviso that the area retain "the right to be a free and independent kingdom three days each year." Since then, a "No Man's Land" fesitval has been held annually in August. However, part of the region may still not be U.S. territory."

    More info, anyone?

  • There is only one legitimate way to interpret any document: that is, to interpret it as its author(s) intended. Anything else is NOT interpretation. It is fraudulent at worst, and disingenuous at best.

    The authors of the Constitution meant something when they wrote it. It is illegitimate to pretend that that intent is "irrelevant", or that other so-called "interpretations" are "just as valid." To do this generally is to destroy communication. To do this with the Constitution is to destroy it as the law of the land, in favor of...something else (which is very likely to be less respectful of our rights).

    So the real question is: what did the writers of the Constitution intend? What did they intend, for example, with the 2nd Amendment? Even minimal historical research on your part would reveal that Madison, Washington, and the rest were firm and unwavering advocates of Citizens having guns. Your concept of a militia (as the national guard or army) did not exist for quite some time after the ratification of the Constitution; the army that fought the Revolutionary War was not a standing army at all. It was the people. Citizens.

    Secondly, the principle purpose of the amendment was to ensure that the people could protect themselves against tyrannical rulers. It was NOT for simple self-defense against criminals. Again, a little reading on your part could verify this.

    With respect to the Supreme Court: their job is not -- nor has it ever been -- to interpret the Constitution however they wish. THEY have no more power than you, me, or Congress to just unilaterally decide that they are going to make the Constitution say whatever they wish. They are bound by it like all our rulers -- at least in theory. The sad fact is that the Court rarely acts as though it acknowledges this. It is not the Court's prerogative to "give" us rights! It has none to offer.

    Lastly, I am "nitpicking" (as you put it) because the system we have is broken. I AM advocating a better system: the one we were originally given by the Constitution. It is this that we no longer have. It is this that we need to get back, or there is going to come a time when we will all wish we still had the right to own guns.

  • 1) He took potshots at a bunch of heavily armed men wearing black paramilitary uniforms with no visible markings on the front who were running towards the building.

    5) Even the most competant lawyer in the world can't do a good job if their caseload is unmanagable. OJ's defense cost millions. Do you think the public defenders office would have (or could have) spent millions for the same case against a homeless man?

  • Anyone know anything about PGP and how it is regulated? I just might have to start using it since i Dont feel like having Big Sam reading my emails.

    Zeroth -- I am not a lawyer.

    First -- do you really care if it's regulated or not? It's your privacy; if your local jurisdiction has laws against possessing strong encryption (nowhere in the U.S. does, but other nations may not be so fortunate) then you have to decide which is more important: abiding the law, or protecting your civil liberty.

    Second -- PGP is still, last I checked, export-controlled software. That means that PGP cannot be exported in binary form outside the United States or Canada. Source code is much different and, if recent Federal court decisions are upheld, legal to export. Hardcopy of source code is covered under the First Amendment and legal to export.

    Third -- if you live in the U.S., check out to download the latest version of PGP, free (as in free beer) for noncommercial use. If you live outside the U.S., first, check your local laws to see if PGP is permitted. If it's permitted, then download it from If it's not, then make your decision on whether or not to use PGP; it's still downloadable from the same site.
  • There is no such thing as 100% security. You can get the code for the compiler, compile a copy, and compare to the orrigional. A self-replicating back door in the system would eventually be noticed by someone.

    Also, since there is such a diversity of systems, any back-door virus would have to adapt to each and every new situation. Change a few lines of code and the virus will break the application. The virus would have to have access to a database of applications, with instructions on how to subvert each one.

    On a related note: Back Orifice 2000 has been released, and is NT compatable.
  • --------------
    Ok. In the next election you will likely have two choices for President. Which one of them is going to promise to take care of the privacy abuses?

    What if neither promises? A "free" election is little consolation if all your choices are basically alike.


    Vote Libertarian.

  • If we can't ask the Vietnamese, what about the Afghans?

    BTW, I don't think anyone seriously thinks that small arms, alone, could hold off the entire US military. But as others have pointed out, most people in the military are honorable and would have a hard time using the heavy weapons against lightly armed civilian "rebels" who had a valid grievance. (Racist nutcakes do not have a valid grievance. Randy Weaver *does* have one, but only because of the government's own actions.)

    As for the rest, guerilla arms aren't that hard to produce. The DoD weapons are expensive because they are stored for years, must be usable anywhere from the Iraqi desert to northern Europe, and must often travel long distances on their own. Guerilla arms can be produced for immediate, local use. Think any American government can ban all basement metalworking shops?

    Finally, I've heard the current (1945?) definition of "militia" used far more commonly than the 1792 one. IIRC, it's everyone subject to compulsary military service: abled-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 45(?). Some countries (e.g., Switzerland) require such men to undergo formal training, maintain weapons in their home and regularly demonstrate proficiency. In the US, we simply have the option of buying civilian-equivalent guns (e.g., the standard sidearm is(was?) a Beretta FS-92; my Centurion is nearly identical to the military version) and training on our own. The life we save may be our own, if the US gets in a war and we're drafted into the military!
  • (snip)
    > But some how many of the folks who spread
    > this dreck have a few minor points:
    > 1) I don't have to pay my taxes.

    As loony as it sounds, that is partially true.
    The following is from a tax advocacy web site:


    1.There is no statute that makes a person liable or responsible to pay the income tax. Individuals only become liable to pay the income tax when they voluntarily file a tax return, or when the I.R.S. follows its assessment procedures as outlined in the Internal Revenue Code.

    2.If there were a statue which clearly and unequivocally required the filing of tax returns, such a statute would be unconstitutional under the present income tax system to the extent that it would require individuals to give the government information which could be used against them criminally.

    3.The IRS, under our U.S. Constitution, cannot legally require information on 1040 returns from individuals--that is why the IRS continually refers to the income tax as "voluntary".

    All individuals who file tax returns waive their Fifth Amendment Rights.

    The Government cannot require individuals to waive their Fifth Amendment Rights.

    Therefore, the Government cannot require individuals to file tax returns.

    Bill Conklin, the person who runs that site, is not blowing smoke. He has used these arguments in court cases, and has posted excerpts from these cases on his site.

  • I do worry about privacy and my rights, but i also agree that the task of collecting all data and filtering it for relevance is absolutely monumental. the kind of hardware, software and human resources that are needed to be effective at any level would surely make any such system incredibly expensive.
    now, the obvious question is why anyone would want to spend this kind of money. not to catch a few drug-takers or thieves, that's for sure. the key motivation for international espionage is surely money. governments doing each other out of arms deals, agents double-crossing and making huge amounts of money out of it. espionage is a multi-billion-dollar industry, not a law and order issue.

    so i suppose what i'm saying is, yes, let's send as many encrypted nonsense emails around as possible, etc,etc, but at the end of the day, i've got a feeling pc plod will only be knocking on my door if i'm caught hacking government weapons research centres, and then only to offer me a job.
  • I agree with rjh...thank you for including the excellent, yet still fairly succinct version of PKI. I will also back his challenge with an additional $ 500 bucks if they can crack the message in a week. Project Bovine ( []) has been trying to crack RC-5-64 for 624 days now, and their odds are still only 1 in 2,529 of cracking it in 24 hours.
  • My point was once it was sold, it is useless to call the company to have them "remove" the data - it's already multiplied out to whereabouts unknown. And good luck trying to do it in the courts; if yours are 1/2 as slow as ours, you'll be long dead before you get any relief that way! :-)
  • Because he was an religious unlicensed gun nut.

    Since when does the ATF go hunting for unlicensed gun owners? If you think that's why they were after him, you need to do some reading.

    So becuase New York police are violent... um, what does this have to do with privacy again?

    It has to do with people's rights. If they don't even respect people's basic human rights, what makes you think they will respect your privacy which is not explicitly spelled out in the constitution in so many words? Most U.S. citizens consider privacy to be a right. I believe most government officials consider it to be a right as well. We all want our privacy, but some groups want to be able to violate that privacy on a whim.

    Packet Storm was broght down becuase it voilated the TOS of its Host, maybe the threat of legal action helped this along, but that is irrelavant.

    It is not irrelevant. The school had no problem with him until some guy decides he doesn't like what the website says and decides to threaten to sue. Now, the school doesn't want to have this show up in the news, so it caves in and shuts the site down. It doesn't matter to the school whether he actually said anything wrong or not. They are just afraid of the guy taking legal action that might get them some bad press. It shows that simply by threatening legal action, you can interfere with someone's right to free speech. You don't even have to prove a thing in court.

    How about AOL giving out user information to the Navy without any authorisation, either from a court or from the user, whatsoever? How about the fact that someone can have your identity revealed just by alleging that you have said something libelous in an anonymous post? It doesn't matter whether it was legal or not. They will know who you are. How about the fact that most people can't even afford to defend their rights in court? It costs money to exercise your rights. What a country.

    Again, NYC can fall into the ocean for all I care.

    Great argument. You can't just explain it away, so you decide to ignore it. Too bad there are so many people like you.

    Probably, if the public defender had gotten 12 more juriors who had the intellegence of the common carrot.

    Let's see. The better attorney will likely be the one who has more experience, a better track record, and can demand a higher rate of pay. The public defender is often not as experienced and certainly not as well paid, even though he/she probably has a bigger case-load. I wonder who will be able to offer the better defense? Since both attorneys have a say in picking the jury, it's not just up to the public defender to get a better jury. Would you go with a public defender if you could afford a more expensive attorney who specializes in your type of case? I doubt it.

  • So people are going to know stuff about what you do. So what? In my wallet right now I have: three bank cards, three supermarket loyalty cards, my university matriculation card, my blood donor card, my national insurance card, and membership cards for several clubs. These all represent organisations that hold data on me. And you know, I quite like it that way. I quite like the fact that the supermarkets know to give me money-off offers on fruit and not on beer. I quite like the fact that if I get knocked down in the street, the hospital will know what blood group I am.

    Of course, any time I like I can tell these people to delete my data from their database. But why should I want to, when their having my data is to my advantage?
  • SHA was created by the NSA. SHA-1 wasn't. The original SHA had a potentially exploitable problem which was found pretty quickly once SHA's algorithm was opened up to the civilian cryptographic community. The fix, SHA-1, is the most heavily scrutinized and peer-reviewed algorithm out there. If there's a back door in SHA-1 which permits "eccentric" behavior like what you're proposing, then the back door is in public view and it's only a matter of time until it's discovered and the NSA is embarassed.

    Besides that open-source argument, there's also a pragmatic one: the NSA has no interest in forging hashes. The CIA would, but the NSA is a signals intelligence operation. It's actually in the NSA's best interests, from a signals-intelligence perspective, for secure hash algorithms to exist.

    Remember: the NSA is not necessarily the enemy. Every now and again the NSA's goals coincide nicely with our goals, and when that happens, you'll find them to be some of the best friends a cryptofreak can have.

    Remember how I've been going on about 3DES, how it's been examined for two decades without any successful attacks against it? It's based on DES, which is widely considered to be just about the Holy Grail of algorithm design[1]. Who designed DES (and by extension, 3DES)? IBM, with a lot of assistance from the NSA's cryptographers.

    [1] DES's design is elegant, secure, and in many ways a thing of beauty. It can be cracked, but only by brute force. Good design != unbreakable.
  • 1) Congress shall make NO LAW...

    Okay. What does this mean? This means, that no matter HOW much the PEOPLE beg, scream, kick, and yell at their representatives, they CAN NOT make a law abridiging various freedoms. (Hey, I'm not American. I don't have them memorized.)
    It doens't just mean 'the government shouldn't do these things', it means they DO NOT HAVE THE POWER to do these things.

    Or, as one of my favourite authors once put (paraphrased), "A new society must be careful when creating laws in haste."
    Almost any law we create can come back to haunt us in many unforseen ways.
    Copyright was originally intended to foster creativity. Now it can stifle it at times.
    The Drivers License used to be a 'license to drive', now it is a universal ID, something that can be revoked for OTHER infractions, unrelated to driving.

    In Canadian law, the first line of the Income Tax Act clearly states "Whereas the paying of Income Tax is on a purely voluntary basis"...
    It also never received Royal Assent (as all acts brought into law must have). Yet it is commonly accepted that we MUST pay tax, as it has always been!

    What about the federal reserve? Our respective governments (in other words, the people), have GIVEN UP the right to print our own cash. It is now in the hands of the Bank of Canda (not government) and the Federal Reserve (not federal, not a reserve)

    The banking system controls money, NOT THE GOVERNMENT.

  • Your example seems to assume that X, Y, and Z are all acceptable to all voters. This is not often the case.

    Well, the sole point of that argument was to show that increasing support for choice X resulted in X losing. There are several other voting schemes, and while others might meet this criterion of fairness, they will fail in others.

    Something that occurs more often, is for a minority to win by splitting the majority. If there are 10 voters, and X gets 4, Y gets 3, and Z gets 3. X wins with the most votes, but the majority of 6 did not want X to win.

    In the case of Rogers Rules of Order (which dictates the orders of amendments and amendments to amendments), it is actually possible for an outcome to lose that would be UNANIMOUSLY favored. This fails Kenneth Arrows "Condorcet Criterion" of fairness.

    And of course, this all assumes that the results of elections have ANY effect on things. Occasionally, a vocal minority can push their POV to the forefront. But we all know that the most influential voter is the one who makes large campaign contributions.

  • SirSlud wrote:
    But that amendment confuses the hell out of me at any rate: if you're doing something wrong, shouldn't you be working to change the law that makes it wrong rather than trying to uphold the amendment which keeps you from incriminating yourself for it?

    I think the way to look at it is through the other end of the lens, Slud .... The Fifth was written as a reaction against British "Star Chambers" [no Kenneth jokes please] where victims were forced to "confess" often-invented "crimes". In other words, the amendment protects us from the state changing the laws to incriminate you, or taking your own words and twisting them into a confession. It's a bulwark against the overwhelming power of the government, and as such has proven to be a fundamental building-block of American-style democracy.

    The two most-famous examples in recent history would be the McCarthyist witch-hunts for Communists in government, industry, and even Hollywood ("are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist party?"). Here a majority in Congress abused the power of the subpoena to intimidate citizens who had violated no laws in order to persecute people in an extra-legal way (by for instance ending their careers); the Fifth was the only defense left to the victims of HUAC or Tailgunner Joe. The other was in the Watergate hearings, where many of the conspirators resorted to it in an attempt to protect themselves or the President. Fortunately there was plenty of corroborating evidence.

    The penultimate result of Watergate -- the Clinton impeachment -- was deliberately conducted (by Ken Star Chamber, er, Starr) via grand jury proceedings, precisely because a grand jury proceeding is exempt from the restrictions against self-incrimination. In short, no Fifth Amendment.

    To paraphrase another poster, one of the hallmarks of our democracy is the principle that it's better to let ten guilty men go free, than to send one innocent man to jail. In the same spirit, the men behind the Bill of Rights recognized that it's better to let ten guilty men go free, than to let the state use its power to violate individual privacy.

    We can only hope that present and future governments keep this in mind!
  • by Hizonner ( 38491 ) on Friday July 09, 1999 @08:20AM (#1811112)
    What are you on about?

    There is not now, nor has there ever been, a 40-bit "export" version of PGP. Other programs, yes. PGP, no.

    I'm not sure what you mean by "the keys can be reconstructed on a LAN, with only the time of message known". Frankly, I suspect that you just don't know what you're talking about... but maybe you'd like to explain how to go about it? If you think that the random number generator is seeded with the time of day, think again... it's seeded with keystroke cadence information.

    Of course if you send your pass phrase or the cleartext of your key over any network, LAN or otherwise, you lose. The solution is not to do that, as has been clearly explained in the PGP documentation since version 2.

    Newer commercial versions of PGP do have a rather nasty data recovery system, but it's optional; you turn it on at key generation. It's also intended for corporations to use to recover messages encrypted by their own employees, and there's no infrastructure for giving it to the government. Anyway, if you buy your own copy of PGP, you just don't turn on the recovery feature.

    PGP has problems. It's big and complex, so it might have unknown bugs. It has a corporate key recovery system. It's not clear that the "web of trust" PKI will scale even as well as the (also problematic) hierarchical model. Weakness of the cryptography is not, however, one of PGP's problems.


  • Let's also add the Stop&Shop discount card data, and a credit card statement digest to that DB. That way we'll be able to harrass each other for buying Coke over Pepsi, and having bought that Durango in a state with lower taxes.

    Just a thought - sorry - didn't think it'd be dangerous.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 09, 1999 @04:24AM (#1811122)
    There are numerous things you can do in life to give yourself greater privacy:

    • Unlist your phone number from the phone book.
    • Don't use your real name online unless required.
    • Don't have homepages telling everyone where you live and work.
      Don't use "savings cards" designed to collect consumer data on you
    • etc.

    If you are willing to give up some conveniences, then you can retain a great deal of privacy. I emphasize retain - once you have given away privacy it never returns, so you cannot "get it back".

    If you enjoy the above conveniences, then you simply have to live with less privacy.

    Of course there are a great number of things government and industry could do to increase privacy, but I'm sure other posts will cover that.
  • by LLatson ( 24205 ) on Friday July 09, 1999 @04:34AM (#1811133) Homepage
    Any student of history (or anybody who knows _anything_ at all about history) knows that revolutions occur on a pretty regular schedule. Governments come into power, usually backed with the support of the majority of the population, on a platform that 'fixes' the problems of the previous government.

    But after a while, the new government gets so bogged down in its own buraucracy, and opportunists seize every chance they can to gain more power for themselves (=> less for the people) and eventually the new government that was supposed to fix all the problems of the previous one has its own set of problems.

    Now I'm definately NOT a history major, but one instance that comes to mind is Russia/USSR. After the fall of the czars, a communist government (which sounds great on paper) took over. What happened? The few people in power were selfish, more concerned with themselves than with the good of the country, and then you get what happened in the 1980's.

    What's my point? I think that our governent (remember how that came to be?) is starting to abuse its powers. The principles that the US was founded on are being twisted and manipulated by people with ulterior motives. This process is being accelerated to an incredible speed thanks to our level of technology (the Net, etc.).

    The world is an imperfect place. No large population of people is every happy with their government for a long period of time. THIS WON'T CHANGE! As Joseph Campbell once said, (I don't remember it exactly), "The world isn't perfect. It's a mess. But it's a perfect mess."

    Just my .02

  • by jetson123 ( 13128 ) on Friday July 09, 1999 @08:26AM (#1811135)
    What makes the use of private information worrisome and harmful to me is that it is only available selectively. Often, I can't even view information that has been collected about me to check it for errors. Also, I have no idea how my behavior/record compares to that of other people.

    This keeps everybody in a state of fear: am I "normal"? is my credit record worse than that of other people? was the bank justified in denying my loan? did I do something wrong? is everybody around me earning more money than I am?

    Perhaps a better approach to the encroachment on our privacy is more transparency: with some exceptions, anybody can view most data about other people, from the Bills (Clinton and Gates) to your nextdoor neighbor. That way, I know where I stand relative to other people in society, I can review my records for accuracy, and people can detect discriminatory or harmful practices by businesses. Or on a smaller scale, if all salaries in a company are widely known, that will likely lead to more equity in pay since it gives employees more negotiating power.

    Perhaps it would also mean that individuals behave more prudently because they would embarrassed about some of the things they do. Right now, detrimental behavior is covered by a blanket of privacy in a way it has never been before. The constitution may protect your right to bear arms, but it doesn't protect your right to amass a private weapons stash without your neighbors knowing about it.

    The current state, where large corporations can get information on consumers, but everybody else is in the dark, seems to me like the worst possibility. Transparency, if it applies to everybody, individuals as well as corporations, could be a workable alternative.

  • Probably not ever will the US be a facist state.

    At least not until a member of a minority group can get stopped, harrassed and beaten for driving through an afluent neighborhood... Oh, wait!

    Well, at least not until Faderal, State and Municipal workers are forced to forefeit their liberty by making union membership a mandatory condition of their employment contract... Oh, wait!

    Well, certainly not until politicians stop saying and doing what is right, and start saying and doing that which will keep them in power... How you like them Big Apples Hillary? Now wait a cotton picking minute here!!

    At least we still take responsibility for our actions, and face up to the consequences of our choices... [Blame Canada! Blame Canada!]
  • by jfessler ( 53843 ) on Friday July 09, 1999 @04:37AM (#1811145) Homepage
    I say let's spam 'em! Just sprinkle likely trigger words randomly North Korea through your emails. Your recipient NORAD might be confused until you potassium nitrate explain it to them, but that's a small price to pay for anthrax the fun. We could also attach boiler plate to our sig files, replacing those threadbare Star Trek snippets. It's kind of like that Jeff Goldblum tactic in one of his less-than-successful movies, where he tells his captors so many different stories, they don't know which one to believe.

    Flood the system.
  • When the Bill of Rights was framed, it was easy for a citizen to arm himself with weapons equal to that of the army. The second ammendmant was meant to allow exactly that.

    If the Constitution were being followed today, any citizen could legally own military weapons capable of stopping an M1 or an AH-64. Supposedly, that is not allowed since without military weapons nobody can blow up a building in Oklahoma.

  • Agreed on the approach, but now how do you...

    a) Convince 260 million sheep that they're being sheparded by someone.

    b) Explain to them how this is done.

    c) Explain to them why it's bad - so as to not look like a fringe malcontent.

    d) Get them to, in a concerted effort, feed poison to the InfoHounds.

    e) accomplish all of the above without the powers that be taking note and counteracting your efforts

    Maybe a march on Washington? Nah, that'd just be labeled as nostalgic... The nation is being babysat and placated by the national media, driven by focus groups.. It's hard to tear somone away from their TV set.

    I know, let's put libertarian comments in the source code we release open source. But that'd give M$ the edge in the legal arena... Hmmm..
  • Hey, wow, wonderful. I haven't heard anything about Echelon in the mainstream, ever. I do know that I live about an hour away from one of their biggest monitoring stations(in Bavaria)... You can see the golf balls (doppler radar for the most part) and antennae arrays from miles around... Lotsa US military personnel on base down there, and they don't talk about what they do for a living. When I first found out about it, I was scared as shit. Now, I just remember not to joke about anything involving the CIA on the phone (semi-joke, that).

    Cheerfully awaiting the arrival of a CIA field agent at my front door.
  • by RazorCat ( 37768 ) on Friday July 09, 1999 @04:58AM (#1811216)
    The problem isn't so much the big, bad government as the government-industrial behemoth. Look at the data Echelon is really concerned with - it's usually economic. Companies are using the net, your bank information, etc to target you for specific purchases. Not a problem, you like recieving unsolicited ads for products that you may use? Ok, how about an HMO database that redlines on your genetic history, your food purchases and the frequency of your visits to the health club?

    The loss of freedom does not require dark-cloaked men who sneak through the shrubs and say "How can we eliminate the dreaded First Amendment." There is no great X-Files conspiricy out there eroding our rights, we do too good a job of that ourselves for it to be needed. How many people do you know who even think once before providing information to just about anyone who asks? So long as the request is not for bank account numbers or credit card info, we hand it over. This info is valuable to companies that want to target, and so passivly control, your habits. Not that any of this is a threat to the cynical, old hackers that read /., but how many 10 year olds do you know who have to get the latest thing advertised on TV within 20 seconds of seeing the commerical? How many of them grow up to continue to need the ego-balms that companies spend billions of dollars to advertise, even after they have reached what we pass off as maturity? The more detailed the record the corporate structure gains, the deeper, and earlier, they can sink in the claws.

    The real threat to freedom, as most people define the word, is that this 'meerly' economic attack is being employed in politics. Do you honestly believe that the James Carville created Bubba campaigns of '92 and '96 were the anomoly? In 10 years they will seem remarkably crude, and the advance will be largly because of this sort of data collection and filtering. The real problem is how to craft laws that stop this sort of thing.

    Last issue: the author of this article is yet another person who needs a few calm e-mails explaining the difference between hacker and cracker.
  • transparency would also be used to make some people outcasts. it would mean that everyone had to conform or be publicly humiliated. it's similar to the policy hitler had for jews : you have to wear a large gold star to show that you dont belong and youre officially an enemy of the public. the obscurity we have now is far better than a complete loss of personal info. right now large corporations may have amassed some information but they dont have everything.
  • by SirSlud ( 67381 ) on Friday July 09, 1999 @04:59AM (#1811223) Homepage
    What a complete load of hooey. First off, its worth mentionning that the article is obviously USA specific. The first ad, which deals partly with the 5th amendment is an american issue. So other countries inhabitants have never had such 'rights' in the first place. But that amendment confuses the hell out of me at any rate: if you're doing something wrong, shouldn't you be working to change the law that makes it wrong rather than trying to uphold the amendment which keeps you from incriminating yourself for it?

    People often confuse the growing rate of human interaction with privacy. I'd argue that back in the 1800's, you're privacy was no better - there simply was not the means to track such detailed information, nor services which would require such information. But if those infrastucture elements had been there, no one would have been better off.
    No one knew it was going to come to this, and so no one could act upon it in time. And now that it's here - well good luck changing things.

    Remember, the real goal of everyone in this society is money and power. Capitalism encourages the storage of information, because it can be used later (even if the owner of such information isn't sure how to leverage it's value quite yet, s/he'd argue that it never hurts to store it until it does become useful.) So is it really a surprise that people in power wanna know everything about you?

    Every day I see people running stop lights, people taking advantage of other people, people bending the truth about themselves in order to gain access to services, discounts, and such. People going for theirs. What boggles my mind is how hot headed they get when they discover that those in power act pretty much in the same vain, albiet on a larger scale. Information, and consequently people's 'privacy', is one such thing abused by everyone, on a daily basis. (Like the guy who passes around his ex-gfs phone number as revenge, and then turns around and bitches about the government or some company asking him for his.)

    I'd argue that the democratic and capitalist system is set up such that the storage of your private deails is an inherently attractive notion to those in power. Rather than some sort of control on the information, which is pretty useless considering the people we think are abusing it are the ones to whom we'd trust the task to implementing those controls, we need to rethink our social structure. Otherwise, just get used to it. I have.

    (And no, calling me a 'commie' won't work. ;) I'll fully admit that capitalism and democracy seems to be the best of the evils so far.)
  • You're not paranoid if they're really out to get you.

    And they just might be.

    I'm not in a militia. Why? Lots of reasons. But why does the government, media, and (therefore?) the public think that they are evil in general? What militia has bombed a Chinese embassy in the recent past because ``our maps were old?'' What militia thinks they have a right to all my personal information?

    Oh, maybe they're evil because they have guns. Because we all know that guns are evil, right? While many states are making it worthwile to get conceal-and-carry permits, lots of people with influence want to take away your right to arm yourself.

    Now, I'm not some sort of crazy personal armory. I don't own a gun. But I also have done research, and know that owning a gun isn't a bad idea.

    What if we switched this discussion from guns and militias to computers?

    Does the government have the right to know how much computing power you have? What if you amass computing power to help a foreign country do nuclear simulations? Computing power is a dangerous thing... maybe we should keep a record of all computer parts everyone owns in a ``safe place.'' The government wouldn't let anyone see that information who didn't need to, nor would they sell it... promise.

    Why not run your email through the government filter? Only criminals would get into trouble! And why should you encrypt your data? What do you have to hide? Bomb plans?

    For that matter, the government should be able to have root authority on all your machines... you could be hiding plans to shoot everyone in a high school... if the government could find those plans near the outlawed game of DOOM (which only criminals and people with violent minds play) they could save children's lives.

    And that's what this is all about, right? The children. And protecting those children is why all people who are in contact with minors should have surveillence cameras in each room of their house. Think about how much child abuse could be stopped each year!

    Go back and ask the framers of the constitution if ``necessary and proper'' includes eavesdropping on private conversations and censorship. Ask them if it is worthwile to infringe on rights if it can bring criminals to justice faster. Ask them if they would find it acceptable if the govermnent knew how much money they have, where it is, and how it was being spent.

    I think we have a horrible government. I only wish there was somewhere better to move to. As many problems as the USA has, it's still the country for me... the least of the evils.

    Sorry for the rant. It's a slow day at work.

  • Funny thing happened last year, I exploded at a clerk at Smithbooks. My mom was standing somewhere by the entrance and broke out laughing. He was trying to get me to sign up for an Avid Reader card and I told him why I didn't want it. He kept persisting and I kept getting angrier. The last thing he tried to say was
    "Look," he said, "we're not the FBI."
    "Look," I replied, "I am not a target market."
    And I grabbed my book before things got really ugly. I swear I could have socked him! Last week I was in Smithbooks again, and lo and behold, there's the clerk. He kept staring at me as if I was a total nut :-) and I thot, pls, I don't want him, I don't want him.

    I got the other clerk. She asked me if I wanted a card (it's $15 to join, no less!) and I said "Yeah, I know all about your f*king card". I'm a person that normally doesn't swear, just that the bile came to the forefront...I told her that you can't treat customers as commodity and that's something Smithbooks should learn. If I could have gotten the book anywhere else at the moment, I would have...but I think after this I won't go there ever again!

  • The problem is, you can't just click on the 'challenge in court' button on a web page. You must actually refuse to give your SSN, deal with the problems that causes, get a really good lawyer, and take it to court. Be prepared for appeals right up to (but not including) the supreme court.

    Now for the twist, The DOJ will never let it go to the supreme court. You will "win" your case and be assigned an alternate number. Because you won, it'll never be heard by the supreme court, and the practice will continue unabated. Furthermore, you are out a great deal of time and money.

  • It strikes me that the American public in general is very naive - Has no-one over there heard of the
    FEMA? An organisation that assumes total power in the event of a "state of national emergency" being
    declared, over and above the President/Congress. The FEMA assumes total and absolute control of all telecommunications, transportation and residential property, and that's just for starters!
    These are scary times indeed.

    What is even more worrying for me, an Englishman, is what secrets lie in wait for my own (once) great nation.
    Interesting:- US intelligence agency train operatives at RAF Menwith Hill, UK, on our Public Telephone System! Outrageous!
  • Actually, I think a gun was an expensive piece of hardware back then,

    I'm sure they were expensive, but they were perfectly legal. Today, an M1 is expensive, but even if I come up with the money, I can't have one.

    Motivated guerillas, fighting on their home territory, can do a lot with "inferior technology. Think about the Vietnam war.

    No question there. As for the VC, they had many weapons that are illegal to own in the US now. When's the last time you saw a case of grenades for sale? Or a morter? These days you even get a background check (and a special file) if you buy a lot of fertilizer.

    The federal building in Oklahoma was blown up with a bomb made from something like 55 gallon drums of oil and fertilizer mixed together.

    Yes it was (the mixture is called ANFO, Ammonium Nitrate and Fuel Oil). That's why I said supposedly. What we need to ask is what is the REAL reason that military hardware is illegal in this country.

    1. Terrorist weapons are typically cheap, crude, and made from legal items. For example, driveway cleaner and pesticide (available in your local lawn and garden center).
    2. Military hardware is rarely used in terrorist activity because it is expensive, hard to conceal, and has an obvious purpose.
    3. Typical terrorist weapons are nearly useless in a combat situation (such as an armed insurrection.

      Conclusion: 'anti terrorist' laws do a lot to restrain armed insurrection, and very little to stop terrorism.

      (By the way, traditionally guerillas use Molotov cocktails against tanks. Though personally, if I were up against M-1 tanks, I would consider strategies like, say, throwing some sand in the treads.)

      Molotov cocktails look good on CNN, but aren't very effective against tanks. Tanks can (and do) operate in the desert. A handful of sand won't even be noticed. What you want is an anti-tank mine (illegal).

  • The really amazing thing is the fear our founding fathers(USA) had of government. They understood very well how easily a government can get out of control and created a Constitution that at the time was ingenious.

    Quotes below from Investors Business Daily Editorial on July 6 1999

    James Madison warned: "All men in power ought to be distrusted."

    Jefferson: "History has informed us that bodies of men are susceptible to the spirit of tyranny,"

    George Washington:"Government is not reason, it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearsome master."

  • the world's search engines can't acquire all the web pages out there. tries to get all the usenet news posts, and it probably fails.

    most people i know have at least one bill or piece of data on file with a misspelled name. i myself have had everything from my social security number to my name entered incorrectly. i've since moved to ireland and i'm not used to all the numbers that id me now - who knows if they're correct.

    a friend of mine's dog has a credit card.

    there's tons of data being produced. tons. some of it may even be tracked. by the time people have developed computers fast enough to snarf it all, disks big enough to hold it all, and algorithm's smart enough to tie it all together - there will be even more data to deal with, newer ways to package it, and more sources for it.

    think about it. let's say there's a tap on an undersea cable. is the line carrying voice, fax, or data? voice - what language, is it a code? fax - what speed, what language, is it coded? data - ip, x.25, other? ip - what protocol, is it encrypted, what formats? let's say it's email - is it plain text, uuencoded, mime (flavor?), binhexed? if it's mime, what's in it? is it a word document - which version, what language, is it in code, is it encrypted? is it some other word processor - writenow, macwrite, wordperfect, wordstar, star office, applixware(sun), pdf, postscript, amiword, the wp that's popular in korea, etc?

    then there are encrypted data streams like freeswan, ssh (i do an ssh connection from dublin to boston everyday, and i do a 128bit ssl connection from dublin to bankboston every now and then too), and others.

    your privacy is gone. right. it can be taken, but if you declare loss before even trying it most certainly will go away. you want to protect privacy? use secure connections. send a few extra emails each day (and use pgp or gnupg). put up some web pages. lobby for more bandwidth. and if you want, pester your reps (or run for office yourself), to protect your personal data.
  • by cale ( 18062 )
    I don't think bible is a strong enough word, my 1984 is more like an organ, that happens to be detachable and external, and I don't think that the count at the bottom of the article is high enough.

  • by cale ( 18062 )
    If that were completely true then why is less than 20% (IIRC, long time ago someone quoted that to me) of thier budget spent on Aid Relief

    If that were completely true then why is less than 20% (IIRC, long time ago someone quoted that to me) of thier budget spent on Aid Relief? Also if you look at the executive orders that created FEMA, in the event that the president calls a nationwide state of emergency all power does go to FEMA. Here is a url for a page that goes further in depth. ml []

  • GNU Privacy Guard is a Free alternative to PGP. Take a look at their web site [] for more information.

  • But that amendment [the fifth] confuses the hell out of me at any rate: if you're doing something wrong, shouldn't you be working to change the law that makes it wrong rather than trying to uphold the amendment which keeps you from incriminating yourself for it?

    And supposing that something is murder or kidnapping? While cases have existed in the past where bad laws were made and people disobeyed them in protest (the Scopes Monkey trial comes to mind) the principle of the fifth amendment is to uphold the "Innocent until proven guilty". It's why the prosecution cannot call the defendant to the stand. It's why everyone is guaranteed representation (quality nonwithstanding, apologies to the PDAs out there) whether or not the person being prosecuted can afford it or not.

    The legal system in the USA is founded upon the principle that it is better to let ten guilty men go free than send on innocent man to prison. This principle still holds true, whatever privacy losses we may have suffered.

    Indeed, while it may seem that we are losing control, we are still ultimately a democracy. While that is true, we will continue to retain ultimate control. Remember the impeachment trial? Whatever your position on it, remember the surprise everyone had when the Republicans got pasted at the polls (relatively) in November '98. It was a surprise, pleasant to some, unpleasant to others. Spin doctors went to work, damage control was done. The bottom line was, though, the people spoke, and clearly. Remember it was an election four years previously which swept the Republicans into a strong majority in the House and Senate. The Democrats were the ones who were surprised then. As James Madison said (allow me to paraphrase), "A balance and separation of powers will protect the people from too strong a government. Ambition will be kept in check by...ambition". (That is not a quote but is similar to something I read a long time ago by Mr. Madison.)

    In the end, I believe that democracy will prevent this nation (and other democracies in The Americas, Europe, and Asia) from becoming a totalitarian/Orewllian state. The political landscape changes constantly, according to the will of the people. Democracy works, and will continue to do so.

  • by The Welcome Rain ( 31576 ) on Friday July 09, 1999 @06:09AM (#1811307)
    Pretty Good Privacy, bullshat. PGP will offer protection from some kid intercepting your mail from a gateway, but anyone serious can crack it in a couple of hours.

    Really? That's an interesting claim -- sounds testable!

    Here's something we can do: I'll encrypt a 60 KB message using PGP. I guarantee that the message is in clear ASCII English text. I'll turn over the cleartext and the key to a mutually-agreed-upon third party, and send the encrypted text to both of you. The third party can confirm that the encrypted text was encrypted with the key I submitted.

    A couple of hours is too short -- I'll give you a day. If within 24 hours you have cracked that message to the satisfaction of the third party, you win. If you haven't, PGP wins.

    The fact that you have not addressed key strengths or other matters in your original statement implies one of two things: Either you have discovered a weakness in RSA that renders those issues irrelevant, or you don't know what you're talking about. If you have broken 2048-bit RSA, that is interesting news.

    Let's get testing!


  • Kyle's Dad: We have laws called sexual harassment laws regulate what we can and can't do and say in the workplace.

    Kyle: Isn't that called Facisism?

    Kyle's Dad: No, it's Democracy because we say it's democracy!
  • by Col. Klink (retired) ( 11632 ) on Friday July 09, 1999 @06:29AM (#1811329)

    1) Yeah, it wasnt't he potshots that took at the ATF or anything like that...

    Who were coming in unannounced through an open window without identifying themselves. And why were they there in the first case? Because he was a religious gun nut.

    2) I don't know what you are talking about, but I'm sure its bullshit anyway.

    So you don't think the NYPD are capable of brutality? An NYPD office (Volpe) recently plead guilty to shoving a broomstick up someone's ass... Other NYPD offices shot at an unarmed man (Diallo) 41 times!

    3) Sure, a kid born in poverty has as much freedom of speech as anyone else. No one is going to listen to him, but that isn't that point.

    But that IS the point. It's easy nowadays to put up a web page and express yourself however you like, but if you don't have the money to defend yourself, a single threat of legal action can usually shut you up. That's what took Packet Storm down.

    4) Bullshit, the cops can't do their job becuase every criminal cliamns they've been beaten if the cops do so much as look at them funny.

    Let's talk about NYPD again. According the the NY Times:

    It [NYPD] routinely pays out tens of thousands of dollars to people who say the police abused them, but the Police Department rarely formally investigates their allegations, and the officers named in their lawsuits almost always continue working without scrutiny or punishment.

    Here's the link [].

    5) Every lawyer who represents someone has passed the bar, so is by definition competent.

    So you think that OJ would have done just as well if he'd relied on a public defender?

    Thanks for the liberal propaganda though.

    Once you can label someone, it's so easy to dismiss them. Usually people who mention David Koresh are labeled as conservatives, but I guess that doesn't matter. As long as you can tie up their philosophy with a single word, you can easily dismiss whatever they have to say.

  • In May, Newsweek published reports stating that government hackers had been authorized to "diddle" with Serb president Slobodan Milosevic's international bank accounts. Whether or not you regard that kind of news as mere FUD, it hardly inspires confidence in your own account's security or sanctity. And what happens if you become an enemy of the state? (Can you imagine how much fun Dick Nixon could have had with a roomful of hackers and his Enemies List?)

    I thought this was shown to be made up by the internet community. It certainly doesn't help us maintain our privacy with the amount of FUD/urban legend that gets tossed around as truth.

  • The line about being better that many guilty men go free than a single innocent man be punished comes from John Adams' closing arguments -- at the trial of British soldiers after the Boston Massacre.

Remember to say hello to your bank teller.