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Author Topic: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) and the 4th & 9th Amendments  (Read 75889 times)
Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #50 on: August 11, 2010, 11:10:29 AM »

Google CEO Schmidt: No Anonymity Is The Future Of Web

By Ms. Smith
Created Aug 9 2010 - 9:21pm
[1]No anonymity is the future of web in the opinion of Google's CEO Eric Schmidt. He said many creepy things about privacy at the Techonomy Conference. [2] The focus of the conference was how technology is changing and can change society. Schmidt's message was that anonymity is a dangerous thing and governments will demand an end to it.

In an video interview [3] with Julia Boorstin, CNBC Correspondent, Schmidt stated (starting at 5:13):

"Privacy is incredibly important," Schmidt stated. "Privacy is not the same thing as anonymity. It's very important that Google and everyone else respects people's privacy. People have a right to privacy; it's natural; it's normal. It's the right way to do things. But if you are trying to commit a terrible, evil crime, it's not obvious that you should be able to do so with complete anonymity. There are no systems in our society which allow you to do that. Judges insist on unmasking who the perpetrator was. So absolute anonymity could lead to some very difficult decisions for our governments and our society as a whole."

Whether it was a Freudian slip or a simple misstatement, Schmidt is correct; it is not obvious that if you are anonymous, you are therefore likely to commit a "terrible, evil crime."

Anonymity equaling a future heinous act seems to be the direction some online security experts are headed. The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace [4] proposes to do away with anonymous multiple identities in favor of one real identity. Part of the reasoning behind one trusted identity is to do away with crime. But isn't this the same logic of anonymity breeding anti-social behavior and criminals?

According to ReadWriteWeb [5], Schmidt said of anti-social behavior, "The only way to manage this is true transparency and no anonymity. In a world of asynchronous threats, it is too dangerous for there not to be some way to identify you. We need a [verified] name service for people. Governments will demand it."

Since Google's CEO has proclaimed the future of the web is no anonymity, does that make it a fact? If we keep hearing that privacy is dead and long buried, how long before we accept that anonymity is an anti-social behavior and a crime?

Security expert Bruce Schneier suggests that we protect our privacy if we are thinking about it, but we give up our privacy when we are not thinking about it.

Schneier wrote [6], "Here's the problem: The very companies whose CEOs eulogize privacy make their money by controlling vast amounts of their users' information. Whether through targeted advertising, cross-selling or simply convincing their users to spend more time on their site and sign up their friends, more information shared in more ways, more publicly means more profits. This means these companies are motivated to continually ratchet down the privacy of their services, while at the same time pronouncing privacy erosions as inevitable and giving users the illusion of control."

The loss of anonymity will endanger privacy [7]. It's unsettling to think "governments will demand" an end to anonymous identities. Even if Schmidt is Google's CEO, his message of anonymity as a dangerous thing is highly controversial. Google is in the business of mining and monetizing data, so isn't that a conflict of interest? Look how much Google knows about you [8] now.

Bruce Schneier [9] put it eloquently, "If we believe privacy is a social good, something necessary for democracy, liberty and human dignity, then we can't rely on market forces to maintain it."

http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/google-ceo-schmidt-no-anonymity-future-web
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G M
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« Reply #51 on: August 11, 2010, 01:24:29 PM »

From the start, there was never true anonymity on the interwebs.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #52 on: August 11, 2010, 01:46:07 PM »

Uhm, I'd quibble. Plenty of spoofing, anonymous remailers, proxy servers, daisy chain hacks, router cracks, etc you could use back in the day, though modern analysis techniques renders a lot of that a lot less opaque than it use to be.
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G M
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« Reply #53 on: August 11, 2010, 03:18:07 PM »

I attended an FBI internet crimes task force presentation about 10 years ago, on a case where a search warrant on a computer in the US yielded images of children being sexually assaulted in real time. The case spanned the globe, and was ultimately tracked down to the UK, where the children were rescued and the perp arrested, by black clad, balaclava wearing, long gun toting tactical cops, no doubt.

Those that traffic in such things use every technique you mentioned. It makes tracking them difficult, but almost never impossible.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #54 on: August 16, 2010, 02:13:11 PM »

Architecture Matters
Posted By Julian Sanchez On August 16, 2010 @ 12:47 pm In Reaction Essay | Comments Disabled

In an astonishing New York Times op-ed [1] last week, former homeland security advisor Richard Falkenrath greeted news of a technology ban announced by the rulers of the United Arab Emirates with “approval, admiration and perhaps even a touch of envy.” In the name of national security, the UAE — soon to be mimicked by Saudi Arabia and India, among others — was threatening to limit the use of Blackberry mobile devices unless their Canadian manufacturer, Research in Motion (RIM), agreed to restructure their secure network to allow the government easier access to encrypted messages.

Of course, the Emirates had their own conception of what counts as “national security”: The announcement came mere weeks after the arrest of Badr Ali Saiwad Al Dhohori [2], an 18-year-old activist who had been using BlackBerry’s Messenger service to plan a (canceled) protest against rising gas prices. Indeed, for those familiar with encryption technology, it was hard to see the proposed BlackBerry bans as a useful anti-terror measure: Committed criminals and jihadists would have no difficulty securing their communications with freely available software that could be installed on any number of laptops or smartphones — and would have advance warning not to rely on the security provided by RIM’s network.

But the proposed ban soon led RIM to agree [3] to accommodate a number of authoritarian regimes known to practice pervasive monitoring and filtering [4] of the Internet as a means of political and social control. The message was delivered loud and clear to its real targets: Ordinary BlackBerry users who might have incidentally benefited from the network’s security, but lacked the resources, commitment, and technical savvy of criminals and terrorists.

The BlackBerry controversy helps to illustrate why perhaps the most frequently invoked metaphor — one might say cliché — in surveillance studies is the Panopticon [5], a prison designed for total, centralized surveillance, first designed by the English political philosopher Jeremy Bentham but popularized by French theorist Michel Foucault. The significance of the Panopticon for our purposes is that it is an explicitly architectural metaphor: It exerts a structural disciplinary power that extends far beyond the individual acts of observation it enables. Ideally, the warders can put up their feet and watch Seinfeld reruns all day, trusting that it will be enough for the prisoners to be aware that someone always could be watching them. A group of academics and journalists who brought a lawsuit [6] challenging the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program in 2006 alleged that just such a “chilling effect” was afflicting their communication with foreign sources.

I mention this because it highlights my lone point of agreement with the critics of Glenn Greenwald’s masterful — though, depressingly, far from comprehensive — summary of the explosive growth of American surveillance since 9/11. For it is, as Paul Rosenzweig argues [7], a “pointillist” portrait that emphasizes particular “abuses” and “excesses.” And this really does risk missing the forest for the trees — though pace Rosenzweig, I believe that if anything it understates the potential problems with the burgeoning surveillance state. More disturbing than the quantitative increase in surveillance Greenwald documents — and it is disturbing, when we consider that the sheer number of National Security Letters and FISA warrants issued annually dwarfs any plausible estimate of the number of terror supporters in the United States — are the qualitative and structural shifts in the nature of that surveillance.

Some of those qualitative changes are themselves driven by increases in the quantity of surveillance requests. A Sprint executive captured by security researcher Christopher Soghoian at last year’s ISS World surveillance conference explained how his firm was dealing with a growing number of demands from law enforcement:

[M]y major concern is the volume of requests. We have a lot of things that are automated but that’s just scratching the surface. One of the things, like with our GPS tool. We turned it on the web interface for law enforcement about one year ago last month, and we just passed 8 million requests. So there is no way on earth my team could have handled 8 million requests from law enforcement, just for GPS alone. So the tool has just really caught on fire with law enforcement. They also love that it is extremely inexpensive to operate and easy, so, just the sheer volume of requests they anticipate us automating other features, and I just don’t know how we’ll handle the millions and millions of requests that are going to come in.

Debates about surveillance policy typically focus on the formal legal constraints on government monitoring, but physical and technological architecture are often as important determinants of the real scope of surveillance in practice — a point pithily summed up by Lawrence Lessig’s maxim that “code is law.” Consider, as a thought experiment, the difference between a society in which police may, pursuant to some legal process, install cameras and microphones in private homes, and a society in which, pursuant to precisely same process, they may activate the cameras and microphones required to be installed in all homes.

The plummeting cost of data storage, the increasing ubiquity of network communications, and the vastly increased capacity of law enforcement to fruitfully analyze “transactional data” subject to far more anemic protections than the contents of communications all combine to make an extraordinary degree of monitoring both more feasible and more attractive to investigators, even holding constant the legal framework within which that monitoring occurs. A few decades ago, intelligence agents might have found it convenient to compare a list of everyone reading unsavory publications with a list of people who share group memberships with a suspicious number of subjects already under investigation — but they would have had no practical way of doing so. Now it is not only feasible, but inundated telecom providers and profit-seeking contractors are racing to find plug-and-play solutions that make the process ever cheaper and easier.

There’s also ample evidence [8] suggesting that individualized, subject-based monitoring of communications themselves is yielding to a broader algorithmic approach that seeks to monitor entire data streams. John Yoo, who wrote the (now repudiated) memoranda providing the legal basis for the NSA wiretapping program, for example, has described [9] a system in which “computers are initially searching through communications first and only bringing correlations to the attention of a human, to a security officer when there’s a certain level of confidence that they might involve terrorism.” Where once we identified targets and then looked for suspicious behavior or incriminating communications, the “new” approach — whose closest precedent may be the NSA’s scandalous SHAMROCK program [10] uncovered by the Church Committee’s investigations in the 1970s — involves monitoring behavior patterns and communications streams in search of targets.

To the extent that intelligence surveillance has been moving to this model, it is a mistake to view (for instance) the explosion in the use of National Security Letters to acquire transactional data as a separate concern from legislation authorizing broad “programs” of surveillance or “roving” wiretap warrants [11] that specify neither an individual target nor a particular communications facility to be monitored. These are complementary pieces of a broader investigatory strategy geared toward identifying targets.

I’ll have more — much more — to say about the specific empirical and legal arguments raised by our discussants as the conversation continues here. But the crucial macro-level point I’d like us to bear in mind is that the architectural shift in surveillance is potentially much more significant than a temporary spike in the number of warrants or NSLs issued over the past decade. History provides abundant proof [12] that this sort of large-scale monitoring, even when undertaken for initially legitimate purposes, invites abuse. And perhaps still more worrying, even in the absence of such abuse, the scope of state control is in myriad ways a function of what James C. Scott, in his seminal Seeing Like a State, has dubbed the “legibility” of populations. Surveillance infrastructures and databases built for benign purposes tend to persist even when their administrators cease to be benign.

Article printed from Cato Unbound: http://www.cato-unbound.org

URL to article: http://www.cato-unbound.org/2010/08/16/julian-sanchez/architecture-matters/

URLs in this post:

[1] New York Times op-ed: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/10/opinion/10falkenrath.html?_r=1
[2] the arrest of Badr Ali Saiwad Al Dhohori: http://opennet.net/blog/2010/08/united-arab-emirates-arrests-activists-bans-blackberry-services
[3] agree: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-08-09/research-in-motion-saudis-reportedly-reach-messaging-agreement-u-s-says.html
[4] pervasive monitoring and filtering: http://opennet.net/research/regions/mena
[5] Panopticon: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panopticon
[6] brought a lawsuit: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/17/politics/17nsa.html
[7] argues: http://www.cato-unbound.org/2010/08/13/paul-rosenzweig/the-sky-isnt-falling/
[8] ample evidence: http://www.eff.org/files/filenode/att/section1006summary101608.pdf
[9] described: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/homefront/interviews/yoo.html
[10] the NSA’s scandalous SHAMROCK program: http://cryptome.org/nsa-shamrock.htm
[11] “roving” wiretap warrants: http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2009/10/15/patriot-powers-roving-wiretaps/
[12] abundant proof: http://articles.latimes.com/2008/mar/16/opinion/op-sanchez16
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G M
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« Reply #55 on: August 16, 2010, 08:25:34 PM »

The panopticon prisons were failures and almost all in the US are no longer in use.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #56 on: August 16, 2010, 09:15:56 PM »

Yeah, so now we're gonna expand the beta to the point we have enough storage capacity to record web surfing histories, locational data, text, cell, and landline conversations using criteria that is poorly defined by agencies frequently lacking oversight and accountability for periods of time yet to be determined. Can't imagine a government misusing capabilities like that.
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G M
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« Reply #57 on: August 16, 2010, 09:44:03 PM »

So shut down the NSA? Get the US out of the intelligence business?
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #58 on: August 17, 2010, 08:15:21 AM »

Nah, let's just put Hoover and Nixon in charge of 'em. That'll fix it.
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G M
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« Reply #59 on: August 17, 2010, 08:22:17 AM »

Still waiting for some sot of concrete policy position......
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #60 on: August 17, 2010, 08:38:22 PM »

Oversight and accountability with a sensible chain of command. Difficult concepts to master I know; took me to the age of 18 to impose them on the kitchens I managed. Or are you looking for something more Byzantine?

Out the next five days or so helping set up for an open house sponsored by the National Museum of Americans at War. Anyone at the DC area is welcome to stop by: vmmv.org.
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G M
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« Reply #61 on: August 18, 2010, 10:17:07 PM »

Oversight and accountability with a sensible chain of command.

**The NSA doesn't have that now?**
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G M
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« Reply #62 on: August 19, 2010, 10:21:19 AM »

How much transparency do you want for the NSA and other intel agencies?
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G M
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« Reply #63 on: August 20, 2010, 12:37:43 PM »

No one forces you to go on the web or use websites or software with those loopholes. Aren't libertarians supposed to believe in the rights of individuals to freely make choices in terms of commerce?
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #64 on: August 20, 2010, 03:10:49 PM »

Quote
**The NSA doesn't have that now?**

The folks at Fort Meade play stuff close to the chest so it's pretty hard to know in general, though it's clear the most the congresscritters charged w/ oversight couldn't shake a transistor out of their shoe. "The Puzzlepalace" is a good read about those folks.

The NSA is an awful small slice of the intelligence gathering pie and someone with your googlefu ought to be able to drum up story after story of alphabet agencies that fail to share timely intelligence due to chain of command, turf considerations, and so on. Are you arguing that a system as vast, ad hoc, and territorial as the one the US has built cannot be subject to misuse? Look at the battles between the Air Force and the Navy over which refueling tanker nozzle should be used and then multiply it by each intelligence agency and gathering technique and you'll have an approximation of the scope of the issue. My experience running much smaller and less complex organizations suggests that when that much gray area exists gross pathologies are a given.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #65 on: August 20, 2010, 05:29:04 PM »

A wee bit of bureaucratic overreach here:

http://reason.com/blog/2010/08/20/she-could-have-given-someone-a
Reason Magazine

She Could Have Given Someone a Nasty Paper Cut With Those Checks

Jacob Sullum | August 20, 2010

Last year Steve Bierfeldt, director of development at Ron Paul's Campaign for Liberty, sued the Transportation Security Administration after he was detained and grilled at a St. Louis airport because he was carrying about $4,700 in cash (proceeds from one of the organization's conferences). The lawsuit, filed on Bierfeldt's behalf by the ACLU, prompted the TSA to issue a directive saying that "screening may not be conducted to detect evidence of crimes unrelated to transportation security." Apparently not everyone got the memo. Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Daniel Rubin describes the experience of Kathy Parker of Elkton, Maryland, who recently underwent a  purse search at Philadelphia International Airport that ranged far beyond the requirements of airline security:

"Everything in my purse was out, including my wallet and my checkbook. I had two prescriptions in there. One was diet pills. This was embarrassing. A TSA officer said, 'Hey, I've always been curious about these. Do they work?'

"I was just so taken aback, I said, 'Yeah.' "

What happened next, she says, was more than embarrassing. It was infuriating.

That same screener started emptying her wallet. "He was taking out the receipts and looking at them," she said

"I understand that TSA is tasked with strengthening national security but [it] surely does not need to know what I purchased at Kohl's or Wal-Mart," she wrote in her complaint, which she sent me last week.

She says she asked what he was looking for and he replied, "Razor blades." She wondered, "Wouldn't that have shown up on the metal detector?"

In a side pocket she had tucked a deposit slip and seven checks made out to her and her husband, worth about $8,000.

Her thought: "Oh, my God, this is none of his business."

Two Philadelphia police officers joined at least four TSA officers who had gathered around her. After conferring with the TSA screeners, one of the Philadelphia officers told her he was there because her checks were numbered sequentially, which she says they were not.

"It's an indication you've embezzled these checks," she says the police officer told her. He also told her she appeared nervous. She hadn't before that moment, she says.

She protested when the officer started to walk away with the checks. "That's my money," she remembers saying. The officer's reply? "It's not your money."


Eventually Parker was allowed to proceed with her checks, but not until after police called her husband in Maryland to see if maybe they were in the middle of "a divorce situation" and she was trying to abscond with money that was partly his (a scenario rather different from the fake-check embezzlement theory that supposedly justified Parker's detention). As usual in cases like this, the TSA claims police were called because Parker's behavior "escalated," which is TSA code for questioning anything its screeners do.

[Thanks to dbcooper for the tip.]
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G M
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« Reply #66 on: August 20, 2010, 07:12:34 PM »

Quote
**The NSA doesn't have that now?**

The folks at Fort Meade play stuff close to the chest so it's pretty hard to know in general, though it's clear the most the congresscritters charged w/ oversight couldn't shake a transistor out of their shoe. "The Puzzlepalace" is a good read about those folks.

The NSA is an awful small slice of the intelligence gathering pie and someone with your googlefu ought to be able to drum up story after story of alphabet agencies that fail to share timely intelligence due to chain of command, turf considerations, and so on. Are you arguing that a system as vast, ad hoc, and territorial as the one the US has built cannot be subject to misuse? Look at the battles between the Air Force and the Navy over which refueling tanker nozzle should be used and then multiply it by each intelligence agency and gathering technique and you'll have an approximation of the scope of the issue. My experience running much smaller and less complex organizations suggests that when that much gray area exists gross pathologies are a given.


Anything is potentially subject to misuse. My concern is that the system has become so big, it's utterly impossible to be used effectively.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #67 on: August 22, 2010, 09:32:49 AM »

A seminar host is looking to book my flight, but the Airline company wants my birth date.  WTF?  Isn't that something I am supposed to keep rather close to the vest for reasons of making identity theft harder?

What can I do here?
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G M
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« Reply #68 on: August 22, 2010, 09:36:04 AM »

Your birthdate as well as legal name is obtained by the airline to be given to the TSA for prescreening prior to your flight. If your name, birthdate doesn't match when you attempt to board your flight, you won't be allowed to fly.
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G M
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« Reply #69 on: August 22, 2010, 09:50:37 AM »

http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/acceptable_documents.shtm

ID Requirements for Airport Checkpoints

Airtravel
Identity Matters

Effective June 21, 2008, adult passengers (18 and over) are required to show a U.S. federal or state-issued photo ID that contains the following: name, date of birth, gender, expiration date and a tamper-resistant feature in order to be allowed to go through the checkpoint and onto their flight.

Passengers who do not or cannot present an acceptable ID will have to provide information to the Transportation Security Officer performing Travel Document Checking duties in order to verify their identity. Passengers who are cleared through this process may be subject to additional screening. Passengers whose identity cannot be verified by TSA may not be allowed to enter the screening checkpoint or onto an airplane.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #70 on: August 23, 2010, 08:04:57 AM »

That is a separate point I think.  My host could not even buy my ticket without giving my birthdate-- which is now in American Airlines computer records.
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G M
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« Reply #71 on: August 23, 2010, 10:23:11 AM »

All airlines must now get DOBs for passengers when tickets are purchased. The Name and DOB gets passed on to the TSA.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #72 on: August 23, 2010, 05:20:53 PM »

Duh.  I get that.  My point is that American Airlines also gets it and my personal ID data is just that more "out there", thus facilitating ID theft.
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G M
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« Reply #73 on: August 23, 2010, 05:52:19 PM »

Your name and DOB are probably out there from a variety of sources. Your SSN is much more important when it comes to identity theft.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #74 on: August 23, 2010, 06:16:01 PM »

So, "privacy is dead and I should just get over it"?
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G M
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« Reply #75 on: August 23, 2010, 06:31:45 PM »

Privacy takes effort and caution. There is no absolute privacy as there is no absolute security. I'm less concerned with a big corp like AA having my personal info than what can be gained by private investigators working for criminal cartels.
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JDN
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« Reply #76 on: August 28, 2010, 10:34:19 AM »

Privacy does seem to be dead....

24 Hour Fitness using fingerprints to identify members
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-fitness-fingerprint-20100828,0,7547156.story
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G M
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« Reply #77 on: August 28, 2010, 11:18:49 AM »

How does that make privacy dead?
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JDN
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« Reply #78 on: August 28, 2010, 11:40:19 AM »

I guess my point is that I find it invasive/offensive that a simple local gym requires my fingerprints.
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G M
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« Reply #79 on: August 28, 2010, 11:49:45 AM »

In a free market, you are free to not patronize any business that does things you don't like.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #80 on: August 29, 2010, 04:23:07 PM »

Full-Body Scan Technology Deployed In Street-Roving Vans
As the privacy controversy around full-body security scans begins to simmer, it’s worth noting that courthouses and airport security checkpoints aren’t the only places where backscatter x-ray vision is being deployed. The same technology, capable of seeing through clothes and walls, has also been rolling out on U.S. streets.

American Science & Engineering, a company based in Billerica, Massachusetts, has sold U.S. and foreign government agencies more than 500 backscatter x-ray scanners mounted in vans that can be driven past neighboring vehicles to see their contents, Joe Reiss, a vice president of marketing at the company told me in an interview. While the biggest buyer of AS&E’s machines over the last seven years has been the Department of Defense operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, Reiss says law enforcement agencies have also deployed the vans to search for vehicle-based bombs in the U.S.

“This product is now the largest selling cargo and vehicle inspection system ever,” says Reiss.

Here’s a video of the vans in action.



The Z Backscatter Vans, or ZBVs, as the company calls them, bounce a narrow stream of x-rays off and through nearby objects, and read which ones come back. Absorbed rays indicate dense material such as steel. Scattered rays indicate less-dense objects that can include explosives, drugs, or human bodies. That capability makes them powerful tools for security, law enforcement, and border control.

It would also seem to make the vans mobile versions of the same scanning technique that’s riled privacy advocates as it’s been deployed in airports around the country. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) is currently suing the DHS to stop airport deployments of the backscatter scanners, which can reveal detailed images of human bodies. (Just how much detail became clear last May, when TSA employee Rolando Negrin was charged with assaulting a coworker who made jokes about the size of Negrin’s genitalia after Negrin received a full-body scan.)

“It’s no surprise that governments and vendors are very enthusiastic about [the vans],” says Marc Rotenberg, executive director of EPIC. “But from a privacy perspective, it’s one of the most intrusive technologies conceivable.”

AS&E’s Reiss counters privacy critics by pointing out that the ZBV scans don’t capture nearly as much detail of human bodies as their airport counterparts. The company’s marketing materials say that its “primary purpose is to image vehicles and their contents,” and that “the system cannot be used to identify an individual, or the race, sex or age of the person.”

Though Reiss admits that the systems “to a large degree will penetrate clothing,” he points to the lack of features in images of humans like the one shown at right, far less detail than is obtained from the airport scans. “From a privacy standpoint, I’m hard-pressed to see what the concern or objection could be,” he says.

But EPIC’s Rotenberg says that the scans, like those in the airport, potentially violate the fourth amendment. “Without a warrant, the government doesn’t have a right to peer beneath your clothes without probable cause,” he says. Even airport scans are typically used only as a secondary security measure, he points out. “If the scans can only be used in exceptional cases in airports, the idea that they can be used routinely on city streets is a very hard argument to make.”

The TSA’s official policy dictates that full-body scans must be viewed in a separate room from any guards dealing directly with subjects of the scans, and that the scanners won’t save any images. Just what sort of safeguards might be in place for AS&E’s scanning vans isn’t clear, given that the company won’t reveal just which law enforcement agencies, organizations within the DHS, or foreign governments have purchased the equipment. Reiss says AS&E has customers on “all continents except Antarctica.”

Reiss adds that the vans do have the capability of storing images. “Sometimes customers need to save images for evidentiary reasons,” he says. “We do what our customers need.”

http://blogs.forbes.com/andygreenberg/2010/08/24/full-body-scan-technology-deployed-in-street-roving-vans/
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #81 on: August 29, 2010, 04:57:38 PM »

We can be dosed with X-rays without our knowledge?!?  angry angry angry

And here's this:

Government agents can sneak onto your property in the middle of the night, put a GPS device on the bottom of your car and keep track of everywhere you go. This doesn't violate your Fourth Amendment rights, because you do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy in your own driveway — and no reasonable expectation that the government isn't tracking your movements.

That is the bizarre — and scary — rule that now applies in California and eight other Western states. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which covers this vast jurisdiction, recently decided the government can monitor you in this way virtually anytime it wants — with no need for a search warrant.
(See a TIME photoessay on Cannabis Culture.)

It is a dangerous decision — one that, as the dissenting judges warned, could turn America into the sort of totalitarian state imagined by George Orwell. It is particularly offensive because the judges added insult to injury with some shocking class bias: the little personal privacy that still exists, the court suggested, should belong mainly to the rich.

This case began in 2007, when Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents decided to monitor Juan Pineda-Moreno, an Oregon resident who they suspected was growing marijuana. They snuck onto his property in the middle of the night and found his Jeep in his driveway, a few feet from his trailer home. Then they attached a GPS tracking device to the vehicle's underside.

After Pineda-Moreno challenged the DEA's actions, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled in January that it was all perfectly legal. More disturbingly, a larger group of judges on the circuit, who were subsequently asked to reconsider the ruling, decided this month to let it stand. (Pineda-Moreno has pleaded guilty conditionally to conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and manufacturing marijuana while appealing the denial of his motion to suppress evidence obtained with the help of GPS.)

In fact, the government violated Pineda-Moreno's privacy rights in two different ways. For starters, the invasion of his driveway was wrong. The courts have long held that people have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their homes and in the "curtilage," a fancy legal term for the area around the home. The government's intrusion on property just a few feet away was clearly in this zone of privacy.

The judges veered into offensiveness when they explained why Pineda-Moreno's driveway was not private. It was open to strangers, they said, such as delivery people and neighborhood children, who could wander across it uninvited.
(See the misadventures of the CIA.)
 

Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, who dissented from this month's decision refusing to reconsider the case, pointed out whose homes are not open to strangers: rich people's. The court's ruling, he said, means that people who protect their homes with electric gates, fences and security booths have a large protected zone of privacy around their homes. People who cannot afford such barriers have to put up with the government sneaking around at night.

Judge Kozinski is a leading conservative, appointed by President Ronald Reagan, but in his dissent he came across as a raging liberal. "There's been much talk about diversity on the bench, but there's one kind of diversity that doesn't exist," he wrote. "No truly poor people are appointed as federal judges, or as state judges for that matter." The judges in the majority, he charged, were guilty of "cultural elitism."
(Read about one man's efforts to escape the surveillance state.)

The court went on to make a second terrible decision about privacy: that once a GPS device has been planted, the government is free to use it to track people without getting a warrant. There is a major battle under way in the federal and state courts over this issue, and the stakes are high. After all, if government agents can track people with secretly planted GPS devices virtually anytime they want, without having to go to a court for a warrant, we are one step closer to a classic police state — with technology taking on the role of the KGB or the East German Stasi.

Fortunately, other courts are coming to a different conclusion from the Ninth Circuit's — including the influential U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. That court ruled, also this month, that tracking for an extended period of time with GPS is an invasion of privacy that requires a warrant. The issue is likely to end up in the Supreme Court.

In these highly partisan times, GPS monitoring is a subject that has both conservatives and liberals worried. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit's pro-privacy ruling was unanimous — decided by judges appointed by Presidents Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
(Comment on this story.)

Plenty of liberals have objected to this kind of spying, but it is the conservative Chief Judge Kozinski who has done so most passionately. "1984 may have come a bit later than predicted, but it's here at last," he lamented in his dissent. And invoking Orwell's totalitarian dystopia where privacy is essentially nonexistent, he warned: "Some day, soon, we may wake up and find we're living in Oceania."

Cohen, a lawyer, is a former TIME writer and a former member of the New York Times editorial board.
Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2013150,00.html#ixzz0y29d2EfD


Also see for the UK
http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1976541,00.html

and for the USA
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1973131,00.html
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G M
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« Reply #82 on: August 29, 2010, 05:19:55 PM »

I think it's pretty clear that you have a reasonable expectation of privacy under your clothes in a public place. I don't think the backscatter x-ray vans could be legally used in public places in the US.

As far as the GPS tracking by law enforcement, the court agreed with my argument that you do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy driving your vehicle on public roads.
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« Reply #83 on: September 11, 2010, 08:53:39 PM »

A Surveillance State Coda

Posted by Julian Sanchez

The program of warrantless NSA wiretapping (and data mining) authorized by President George W. Bush shortly after the 9/11 attacks prompted a flurry of intense debate over its legality when it was disclosed by The New York Times back in 2005. Those arguments have, by now, been so thoroughly rehearsed that there’s not a whole lot new to say about it.

But like Monty Python’s Black Knight, some of those old arguments keep popping up — as evidenced by John Eastman’s contribution to the Cato Unbound roundtable on the digital surveillance state we held last month. So while the roundtable’s over, I thought it would be convenient to round up a compact version of the main arguments in one place, for the convenience of folks who might not want to slog through the many law review articles that have been written on the subject.

The touchstone for modern analysis of executive war powers is, by general consensus, the tripartite schema elaborated by Justice Jackson in his concurrence in the Youngstown steel seizure case :

1. When the President acts pursuant to an express or implied authorization of Congress, his authority is at its maximum, for it includes all that he possesses in his own right plus all that Congress can delegate. In these circumstances, and in these only, may he be said (for what it may be worth) to personify the federal sovereignty. If his act is held unconstitutional under these circumstances, it usually means that the Federal Government, as an undivided whole, lacks power…

2. When the President acts in absence of either a congressional grant or denial of authority, he can only rely upon his own independent powers, but there is a zone of twilight in which he and Congress may have concurrent authority, or in which its distribution is uncertain…

3. When the President takes measures incompatible with the expressed or implied will of Congress, his power is at its lowest ebb, for then he can rely only upon his own constitutional powers minus any constitutional powers of Congress over the matter… Presidential claim to a power at once so conclusive and preclusive must be scrutinized with caution, for what is at stake is the equilibrium established by our constitutional system.

Using this as our starting point, it becomes clear that an analysis of the NSA program entails answering a series of distinct (though related) questions. First, we need to determine which level of the Youngstown schema applies. If we’re in Youngstown’s Category I, then the NSA program was illegal only if it exceeded the constitutional constraints on government surveillance established by the Fourth Amendment. If, on the other hand, we’re in Category III, a constitutionally permissible surveillance program might nevertheless be illegal. So I’ll consider three questions in turn: Did the NSA program violate federal statute? If so, does the statute trump whatever inherent power the president might enjoy as commander in chief in this context? Finally, does the program, as it’s been publicly described, violate the Fourth Amendment? An affirmative answer to either the first pair of questions or the third will entail that the NSA program was illegal.

The AUMF

The statutory question may seem like something of a no-brainer: The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 states explicitly that its procedures establish the “exclusive means” for domestic electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes. In this case, the obvious answer is the right one. But the Justice Department has attempted to claim that Congress cleverly managed to repeal the “exclusive means” language without telling anyone about it back in 2001, when it passed the Authorization for the Use of Military Force against the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks. Probably the most decisive demolition of that argument was offered by David Kris, who currently heads the National Security Division at the Department of Justice, but it’s worth reviewing briefly why this argument is so implausible.

The central problem with reliance on the AUMF is that FISA itself contains a provision providing a 15-day surveillance grace period following a declaration of war. As the legislative conference report explains, this was intended to provide time for Congress to consider whether any wartime modifications to the FISA structure were necessary. Plainly, then, Congress did not imagine or intend that a declaration of war (or “authorization of force”) would in itself implicitly loosen FISA’s fetters beyond that grace period.

Moreover, Congress has repeatedly amended FISA since the 9/11 attacks, both in the PATRIOT Act passed almost simultaneously with the AUMF, and in subsequent legislation over a period of years. As Glenn Greenwald recounted in his lead essay for the Cato roundtable, Congress has expanded government surveillance powers in a variety of ways, but none of these prior to the Protect America Act of 2007 (superseded by the FISA Amendments Act of 2008) approached the breadth of the NSA program, and even these establish at least a modicum of judicial oversight, however inadequate. Again, this history sits uneasily with the premise that Congress understood itself to have authorized such broad domestic surveillance when it passed the AUMF.

Indeed, as former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle explained in a Washington Post op-ed shortly after the revelation of the warrantless wiretap program, the Senate explicitly rejected language sought by the White House that would have extended the authorization to actions within the United States. Then–attorney general Alberto Gonzales has publicly acknowledged that the Bush administration contemplated asking for a more specific amendment to FISA authorizing something like the NSA program, but concluded that it would be “difficult, if not impossible” to get such an amendment adopted. We are being asked to believe, in other words, that Congress intended to implicitly grant authority that the administration was certain would be refused had it been requested overtly. It is, as Justice Frankfurter put it in Youngstown, “quite impossible … to find secreted in the interstices of legislation the very grant of power which Congress consciously withheld.”

Basic principles of statutory construction disfavor inferring implicit repeal of specific statutory language from more general authorizations, except in the face of “overwhelming evidence” of congressional intent — and the Court has accordingly rejected parallel arguments in several recent War on Terror cases, as in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, where the court found “nothing in the text or legislative history of the AUMF even hinting that Congress intended to expand or alter the authorization” for military commissions spelled out in the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

The evidence here is indeed overwhelming, and it uniformly cuts against the fanciful proposition that Congress somehow enacted a kind of sub silentio repeal of FISA. I’m inclined to assume this argument was offered primarily because of an understandable reluctance to rely entirely on a radical theory of inherent and preclusive executive powers, to which I turn next.

The President’s Inherent Authority

The first thing to observe with respect to claims of inherent executive authority is that if we exclude non-binding dicta, the evidence for a constitutional power to conduct warrantless domestic surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes is almost wholly negative. That is to say, it turns on inferences from questions the Supreme Court has declined to directly address rather than on its affirmative holdings. As we’ll see, this is a thin reed on which to hang ambitious claims.

Consider, for instance, the so-called Keith case. In addressing the scope of presidential power to authorize warrantless surveillance against domestic national security threats, the majority noted that they had “not addressed, and express no opinion as to, the issues which may be involved with respect to activities of foreign powers or their agents.” But in that very case, the unanimous majority held that a warrant was required in cases involving domestic national security threats, resolving a lacuna expressed in very similar language in a footnote to a previous ruling involving wiretaps:

Whether safeguards other than prior authorization by a magistrate would satisfy the Fourth Amendment in a situation involving the national security is a question not presented by this case.

The arguments deployed against unchecked executive discretion in Keith clearly have substantial cross-application to the War on Terror, which in many respects bears as much resemblance to those domestic threats as it does to traditional nation state–sponsored espionage and warfare. It will suffice to note, however, that declining to foreclose a power because the fact pattern under consideration provided no occasion to consider the distinct issues involved, as the Court did in both Katz and Keith, is not at all the same as affirmatively asserting it, let alone defining its scope — a point to which I’ll return in the next section.

Nevertheless, let’s suppose arguendo that there is some such inherent power, whether broad or narrow. Eastman and other defenders of the NSA program still err in conflating inherent power with preclusive or indefeasible power. As a simple conceptual matter, this cannot be right, or else the third Youngstown category would collapse into the second: If all “inherent” presidential powers were per se immune to Congressional limitation, Category III would be superfluous, since it would never yield a result different from analysis under Category II.

Fortunately, we need not restrict ourselves to conceptual analysis, because precedent and practice both speak directly to the question, and both support robust legislative power to constrain even those presidential powers grounded in Article II. The legislature has, from the founding era on, assumed that its Article I power to make “rules for the government of the land and naval forces” enabled it to cabin the discretion of the commander in chief, often in frankly picayune ways, by establishing general rules limiting the conduct of a conflict. Prior to the Truman administration there was little indication that presidents saw this as encroaching upon sacrosanct executive prerogatives. Even Lincoln — probably the most obvious early example of a wartime president acting without or contrary to statutory authority — did not claim some general constitutional power to defy Congress. Rather, he argued that when hostilities commenced during a congressional recess, he had acted as he thought necessary given the impracticality of securing advance approval, while acknowledging that it fell to the legislature to ratify or overrule his judgment once it reconvened.

In the few cases where the Supreme Court has had occasion to rule on the scope of executive power at “lowest ebb,” it has repeatedly confirmed that federal law binds the president even in war. In Little v. Barreme, during a conflict with France, the Court found that a specific congressional authorization for the seizure of ships bound to French ports rendered invalid an executive order that also permitted seizure of ships bound from those ports. And this was so, the Court noted, even though the president’s own commander-in-chief powers would have permitted him this discretion had Congress not spoken. Since the inauguration of the War on Terror, the Court has reaffirmed the validity of such statutory limits on executive discretion, as in Hamdan. Bush’s own Office of Legal Counsel ultimately repudiated a series of memos, penned by John Yoo, that had relied on a more expansive conception of executive power to justify the administration’s War on Terror programs, concluding that they were “not supported by convincing reasoning.”

There is, by general consensus, some “preclusive core” to the executive’s commander-in-chief authority. This includes, at the least, a prerogative of “superintendence”: Congress could not appoint Nancy Pelosi commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and forbid the president to remove her. Most commentators see it as similarly foreclosing efforts to achieve the same end by a series of micromanagerial statutes commanding specific tactics be employed at particular times. But the notion that this preclusive core encompasses discretion to unilaterally disregard a general statutory framework governing protracted electronic surveillance of U.S. persons on American soil is simply insupportable in the face of both history and precedent. The argument is, if anything, more absurd when it comes to the government’s illegal acquisition of the statutorily protected calling records of tens of millions of Americans, the vast majority of whom obviously have no ties to terrorism or Al Qaeda. Attempts to stitch together a countervailing line from desultory snatches of language about the president’s role as “sole organ” in foreign affairs are entertaining as a sort of exercise in experimental Burroughsian cut-up narrative, but as legal analysis they seem pretty desperate.

The Fourth Amendment

Finally, we turn to the Fourth Amendment. I will, for the most part, consider how the Fourth Amendment applies to the NSA surveillance program prior to the 2008 passage of the FISA Amendments Act.

As Eastman notes, while in most contexts the prohibition on “unreasonable searches and seizures” requires surveillance to be authorized by a probable cause warrant based on individualized suspicion, there are a variety of circumstances in which warrantless searches may nevertheless be reasonable. While this is not the place to conduct a detailed survey of such “special needs” exemptions, such exceptions tend to involve cases in which the subjects of the search are already understood to enjoy a diminished expectation of privacy (students in school), where the searches are standardized and minimally intrusive, where the targets are in a position to raise challenges before a neutral magistrate if necessary, and where prior court authorization would be highly impractical. No exception that I am aware of can plausibly be stretched so far as to permit sustained, discretionary, warrantless electronic surveillance of members of the general population — a method recognized to be so intrusive that in the criminal context, federal statute requires investigators to meet a higher standard than applies to ordinary physical search warrants.

It’s worth noting in passing that the existence of the statutory FISA framework is at least arguably relevant to the Fourth Amendment analysis here. What measures are “reasonable” will often depend on context, and upon the available alternatives: The use of lethal force in self-defense might be found reasonable as a last resort, but not when the victim has an easy avenue of escape or a taser handy. Similarly, if the only alternative to conventional criminal courts were warrantless surveillance — if Congress had made no provision for a highly secretive court to consider classified applications under secure conditions, with ample flexibility in cases of emergency — one might be more inclined to sympathize with some degree of executive improvisation. In light of the elaborate mechanisms Congress has provided, an appeal to impracticality is considerably less compelling.

But let’s bracket that for the moment, and again suppose for the sake of argument that the president has some inherent authority to conduct warrantless domestic wartime surveillance. Let’s further assume away any statutory problems. Can the NSA program be squared with the Fourth Amendment injunction that searches be reasonable, based on what little we know of it? It seems highly unlikely.

Multiple accounts suggest that the NSA program involved algorithmic selection of surveillance targets, possibly triggered by keywords within the communications themselves, almost certainly based on pattern analysis of calling records or other transactional data. The result, according to the Bush administration, was that the international communications of approximately 500 persons within the United States were being intercepted at any given time. Since the program operated for several years, both before and after being disclosed, a conservative estimate would place the total number of persons subject to surveillance in the thousands, and most likely in the tens of thousands.

What did all this spying yield? In 2006, under the headline “Surveillance Net Yields Few Suspects,” the Washington Post reported:

Fewer than 10 U.S. citizens or residents a year, according to an authoritative account, have aroused enough suspicion during warrantless eavesdropping to justify interception of their domestic calls, as well.

Nearly all the “leads” produced by the program appear to have been dead ends. Indeed, despite the assurances of the Bush administration that the NSA program had saved thousands of lives, a postmortem review by the intelligence community’s inspectors general found that officials they spoke to “had difficulty citing specific instances where [NSA program] reporting had directly contributed to counterterrorism successes,” though a classified version of the report apparently cites a handful of instances in which the program “may have contributed.”

As a point of reference, the government’s reporting suggests that under criminal wiretap orders, about 30 percent of intercepted communications contain incriminating content. Since “minimization” of innocent communications is necessarily imperfect, and since even the most hardened criminals presumably spend most of their time conversing about more mundane matters, the number of targets engaged in at least some incriminating communication is clearly far higher. That’s what one would expect when evidence establishing “probable cause” must justify surveillance — and Bush officials have claimed the NSA program’s targeting met the same standards. The evidence suggests otherwise.

I’m happy to grant that we should accept a somewhat lower “hit rate” when interception is geared toward protecting the nation from major terror attacks. But if the requirement that searches be “reasonable” is not to be rendered completely vacuous or totally severed from even a diluted standard of “probable cause,” then there must be some substantive test of whether such highly intrusive techniques are actually in service of that vital state interest. It cannot possibly be enough to simply observe that the president has uttered the magical incantation “War on Terror.” And it cannot possibly be enough that a program involving interception of the private conversations of thousands or tens of thousands of U.S. persons “may have contributed” to a handful of successful investigations. The question is closer with respect to post-FISAAA programs of interception, which are at least subject to some modicum of independent oversight, but unless we have gotten vastly better at sifting the guilty from the innocent, grave constitutional doubts should remain.

http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/a-surveillance-state-coda/
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« Reply #84 on: September 11, 2010, 09:03:13 PM »

Second Post:

Ohio apologized to 'Idol' star for illegal snooping

Police, BMV clerk checked out Bowersox on state databases

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2010  02:56 AM
BY RANDY LUDLOW
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

Should public employees who improperly accessed information about singer Crystal Bowersox be criminally charged?

American Idol runner-up Crystal Bowersox gained national acclaim belting out her style of folksy blues on the popular TV show.

But some of the attention the Toledo-area singer received back home in Ohio was unflattering, as police and others improperly checked to see if she had a criminal record or blemishes on her driving record.

From computers with access to personal information in confidential state databases, employees of five police agencies and a municipal court rummaged through Bowersox's background.

And in Columbus, an Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles clerk examined vehicles registered in the performer's name, and the home computer of an assistant city prosecutor was used to check on the newly minted star.

An Ohio Department of Public Safety official apologized in a July 1 letter to Bowersox for the unauthorized breaches of her privacy and wrote that there was no evidence that she had become an identity-theft victim.

"I had no idea it happened," Bowersox told The Blade of Toledo last night from her home in Los Angeles. "I'm disgusted by it.

"You feel violated, but I guess it comes with the territory."

The Bowersox checks are reminiscent of a case two years ago, when The Dispatch reported that state computers were improperly tapped for personal information on Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, also known as "Joe the Plumber." Conducting a background check for an unauthorized purpose is illegal.

The State Highway Patrol detected the searches on Bowersox in late May, after she became an Idol finalist, when a patrol official decided to run an audit for suspicious checks.

Eight improper checks were found between Feb. 24 and May 27, including by police departments in Millersburg, Pemberville, Xenia and at the Fairfield Medical Center in Lancaster, as well as the Putnam County sheriff's office.

Those checks, plus one involving the Columbus city attorney's office, were conducted through the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway, which is administered by the attorney general's office.

The law-enforcement employees who misused the system to check on Bowersox received punishments from their employers ranging from a two-week suspension to written reprimands. Such violations can be punished criminally, but that call is left to local officials, said Ted Hart, a spokesman for the attorney general.

Shawnda Martin, an assistant Columbus prosecutor, received a week off without pay for her brush with Bowersox on May 25, said chief prosecutor Lara Baker.

Martin was working on her home computer checking the backgrounds of criminal defendants while a friend watched American Idol. A horrified Martin returned from a trip to the kitchen to find that her friend had typed Bowersox's name into her computer, Baker said.

In Erie County, an employee of Huron Municipal Court was accused of using the Ohio Courts Network, operated by the Ohio Supreme Court, to access information on Bowersox. The employee was forced to resign and could face a misdemeanor charge, the patrol said.

Only one person has been charged with illegally snooping on Bowersox.

At the Bureau of Motor Vehicles headquarters on the Hilltop, clerk Jay Wright, 47, of the Near East Side, was fired from his $43,434-a-year job on June 22 for checking Bowersox's vehicle-registration information Feb. 24.

The 17-year state employee said he was merely curious. "I saw she was indeed from Ohio ... and thought, 'Great, a local girl may have a shot at making it big' and that was that. At no time did I take her personal information, print it or commit it to memory for any financial or personal gain," Wright told officials.

He was indicted last month for unauthorized use of property, a fifth-degree felony carrying up to a year in prison. Wright pleaded not guilty Friday. Patrol spokesman Lt. Gary Lewis said the case was the only one in which the patrol had jurisdiction.

As for Bowersox, she said she wouldn't sue and isn't worried about any information found on her record.

"It would have said that I was poor, was on Medicaid, and I was on welfare with my child, and that my driving record was immaculate. My record has nothing on it.

"My pre- Idol life, I was raised poor and did everything I could to get by in life, and that's all they would find. I'm an honest person."

http://www.dispatchpolitics.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2010/09/09/copy/ohio-apologized-to-idol-star-for-illegal-snooping.html?adsec=politics&sid=101
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G M
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« Reply #85 on: September 12, 2010, 07:54:28 AM »

You'll note that accessing the state and federal databases are felonies. The systems are auditable, meaning that you cannot access them without leaving a digital "paper trail".
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #86 on: September 12, 2010, 10:03:09 PM »

Sincere question:

So what about accessing them from a cyber cafe or a public library?
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G M
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« Reply #87 on: September 12, 2010, 10:09:17 PM »

Those databases can only be accessed only by dedicated terminals. Without getting into the techno-structure, they are very secure. It's not something you can access by the internet.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #88 on: September 12, 2010, 10:24:01 PM »

Thank you.
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prentice crawford
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« Reply #89 on: September 12, 2010, 10:35:26 PM »

Woof,
 Didn't the same kind of thing happen to Joe the plumber?
                                         P.C.
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G M
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« Reply #90 on: September 12, 2010, 10:41:25 PM »

Yes. Also from the state of Ohio, If I recall correctly.
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« Reply #91 on: September 12, 2010, 10:53:27 PM »

http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cjisd/ncic.htm

Security and quality controls: The head of the CJIS Systems Agency—the criminal justice agency that has overall responsibility for the administration and usage of NCIC within a district, state, territory, or federal agency—appoints a CJIS systems officer (CSO) from its agency. The CSO is responsible for monitoring system use, enforcing system discipline and security, and assuring that all users follow operating procedures. NCIC policy establishes a number of security measures to ensure the privacy and integrity of the data. The information passing through the network is encrypted to prevent unauthorized access. Each user of the system is authenticated to ensure proper levels of access for every transaction. To further ascertain and verify the accuracy and integrity of the data, each agency must periodically validate its records. Agencies also must undergo periodic audits to ensure data quality and adherence to all security provisions.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #92 on: September 13, 2010, 09:17:47 AM »

Quote
You'll note that accessing the state and federal databases are felonies. The systems are auditable, meaning that you cannot access them without leaving a digital "paper trail".

Perhaps I missed it, but has anyone been charged with a felony?
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G M
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« Reply #93 on: September 13, 2010, 10:24:52 AM »


At the Bureau of Motor Vehicles headquarters on the Hilltop, clerk Jay Wright, 47, of the Near East Side, was fired from his $43,434-a-year job on June 22 for checking Bowersox's vehicle-registration information Feb. 24.

The 17-year state employee said he was merely curious. "I saw she was indeed from Ohio ... and thought, 'Great, a local girl may have a shot at making it big' and that was that. At no time did I take her personal information, print it or commit it to memory for any financial or personal gain," Wright told officials.

He was indicted last month for unauthorized use of property, a fifth-degree felony carrying up to a year in prison. Wright pleaded not guilty Friday. Patrol spokesman Lt. Gary Lewis said the case was the only one in which the patrol had jurisdiction.
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« Reply #94 on: September 13, 2010, 10:37:57 AM »

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5i_29YKZdSnooBzedGCwrNGaqfyDgD9I4IR7G1

Lt. Gary Lewis of the State Highway Patrol said Thursday that the agency audited databases in May and found files on Bowersox had been improperly accessed eight times.

Lewis says the audit reflected a 2009 state law cracking down on unauthorized record-checking. It was prompted by checks done on another Ohio celebrity, the 2008 campaign figure known as "Joe the Plumber."
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #95 on: September 13, 2010, 04:33:22 PM »

Saw that, but don't recall any of the Joe the Plumber folks ending up in court. Might have snuck beneath the radar, but I missed it.
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« Reply #96 on: September 13, 2010, 05:28:33 PM »

http://jammiewearingfool.blogspot.com/2009/10/democrat-goon-charged-with-snooping-on.html

Looks like one got a wrist slap at the most, in the JTP snooping scandal. Disgusting.

I know that sheriffs have gone to federal prison for using NCIC to run their election opposition.
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prentice crawford
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« Reply #97 on: September 13, 2010, 08:35:59 PM »

Woof,
 Update on Joe the Plumber:
 www.sayanythingblog.com/entry/toledo_police_clerk_charged_for_illegally_accessing_joe_the_plumbers_record/

                           P.C.
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« Reply #98 on: September 13, 2010, 09:22:45 PM »

Is the Fourth Amendment Really About ‘Privacy’?

Posted by Julian Sanchez

Back in June, the American Civil Liberties Union launched a new Web hub called Spy Files, which promises to be an invaluable resource for those of us who make a point of watching the watchers. Probably the most interesting document available on the site at launch was a thorough state by state survey of law enforcement surveillance of protected political and religious association over the past decade. They rounded up a truly disturbing number of instances, spanning 33 states, just from press reports, of undercover officers infiltrating anti-war groups and mosques without obvious grounds to suspect wrongdoing. In the aggregate, as the report itself notes, the effect is eerily reminiscent of the FBI’s infamous COINTELPRO operation, which targeted groups deemed “subversive” in the 1960s and 70s.

Following the exposure of COINTELPRO and a spate of related intelligence scandals uncovered by Senate investigations during the 70s, the latitude of federal investigators to covertly infiltrate domestic groups was somewhat constrained by Executive Order 12333, signed by President Reagan in 1981. But state and local law enforcement often have a relatively free hand, because under the modern understanding of the Fourth Amendment, the Constitution is concerned only government actions that violate a “reasonable expectation of privacy,” which courts have generally understood as limited to the exposure of what was previously secret. When we entrust sensitive records to third parties—be they banks, Internet Service Providers, or other members of our churches or political organizations—we “assume the risk” that they will reveal the information to the government, according to the courts’ logic, and so waive our expectation of privacy.

Legal scholars have long been critical of the reasoning behind this “third party doctrine,” in particular the “assumption of risk” argument, but traditionally they’ve accepted the basic frame that the Fourth Amendment should fundamentally be understood as concerned with protecting “privacy”—though the term itself does not appear in the Constitution—and argued that the court has interpreted the concept too narrowly. Yet a growing number of investigative techniques—from GPS location tracking to DNA analysis—allow the government to conduct an intuitively troubling degree of monitoring, potentially on a vast scale, by targeting information that is at least in some sense “public.”

One way of dealing with this within the current paradigm is to seek to draw more nuanced distinctions between dimensions of privacy, which was the approach I took in a recent post on long-term GPS monitoring. Along similar lines, one might try to argue, say, that people reasonably expect their genetic profiles to remain private even if such a profile could in principle be extrapolated from residual DNA on a fork “abandoned” in a public restaurant. The key move here is to argue that “publicity” is not transitive: Private (and so protected) facts may be extrapolated from the aggregation of individually public events or from high-tech analysis of public objects or information. As I argued in the previous post, Kyllo v. U.S. can be read to support this principle.

Several fascinating recent papers, however, have instead argued that the root of the trouble with current Fourth Amendment doctrine is the very idea that the prohibition on “unreasonable searches” must be viewed primarily through the lens of privacy. If we consider public surveillance camera networks, or some recent cases involving “dragnet” location tracking by law enforcement, I think we find that whatever intuitive unease we feel about the methods employed has less to do with a sense that the individual “right to privacy” of any particular person has been violated than with concerns about the government monitoring the citizenry as a whole in these ways. In his new paper “Fourth Amendment Pragmatism,” Daniel Solove therefore argues for a radical remedy: We should dispense entirely with an analysis that treats the violation of a “reasonable expectation of privacy”  as the sine qua non of a Fourth Amendment “search,” and instead “regulate whenever government information gathering creates problems of reasonable significance.”

Solove’s critique of the current approach is quite cogent: The “action” in Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, so to speak, overwhelmingly surrounds the threshold question of whether a particular investigative technique counts as a Fourth Amendment “search,” and though the standard is supposed to be that “reasonable expectation of privacy,” the Court’s rulings on what falls within that ambit don’t match up terribly well with people’s actual expectations as revealed by the  limited empirical data we have. We end up with a largely binary system of regulation where (with a few exceptions) techniques classified as “searches” require the same full-blown probable cause warrant necessary to search a home—though the primary remedy for violations of the warrant requirement is the “exclusionary rule” prohibiting the introduction of improperly obtained evidence at criminal trial, which is not always the primary concern. Everything that doesn’t count as a “search,” on the other hand, is left wholly unregulated, at least by the federal Constitution—leaving our privacy in those contexts at the tender mercies of the Congress and state courts. As Solove argues, it would make more sense for the scope of the Fourth Amendment to be interpreted substantially more broadly, with the understanding that not every search rises to the level of requiring a full probable cause warrant to pass muster as “reasonable.”

Yet Solove’s proposed standard—”regulate whenever government information gathering creates problems of reasonable significance”—does not seem like much of a standard at all, and indeed, does not seem especially “pragmatic,” in at least a couple of ways. First, whatever the theoretically best interpretive strategy might be, it seems awfully unrealistic to expect the courts to simply jettison half a century of Fourth Amendment precedent wholesale. Nor, if we think predictability is an important component of the “rule of law,” would such a radical move be obviously desirable—though we could imagine a gradual transition to something closer to Solove’s approach via a series of narrower incremental rulings. Second, this doesn’t give lower courts much guidance when it comes town to decide cases involving particular sets of facts, either with respect to the scope question or the remedy question; it seems like an invitation to a national crazy-quilt of inconsistent judicial legislation. To understand what Solove means by “problems of reasonable significance,” we have to turn to his brilliant and nuanced “Taxonomy of Privacy,” which makes perceptive and subtle distinctions between a dizzying array different types of privacy harms. Nuance is certainly a scholarly virtue, but it’s at best a mixed blessing in legal rules. Solove’s schema is so sophisticated and complex that it seems bound to yield a wildly unpredictable series of ad hoc decisions based on a judge’s idiosyncratic sense of how to “balance” a welter of incommensurable values. Solove anticipates this objection, but his reply—that Fourth Amendment jurisprudence is already a farrago largely unmoored from the text of the Constitution, so this wouldn’t be any worse—is not exactly reassuring.

An alternative approach—more firmly anchored in the text of the Fourth Amendment, and yielding something more closely resembling a genuine standard—is offered by Yale’s Jed Rubenfeld in his article “The End of Privacy,” which I wrote about last year. Rubenfeld’s Big Idea is that we have ignored the crucial role of “security” in the Fourth Amendment. We’re now accustomed to arguments over the “tradeoff” between the competing values of “security” and the “privacy” protected by the Fourth Amendment, but by its own terms, the Fourth Amendment stipulates that “the right of the people to be secure…against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.” We tend to read this, in effect, as simply saying that the right against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated—so that the words “people” and “secure” don’t end up doing any real work. But as Rubenfeld notes, “security” was actually a significant legal concept in the minds of the Framers—something free people enjoyed by contrast with the insecurity generated by arbitrary and discretionary government power. Returning to the question of informants, consider the type of insecurity experienced by East Germans under the Stasi, as illustrated in the magnificent film The Lives of Others. The effect of that kind of total surveillance state was not limited to those who were actually being informed upon or wiretapped, because the terrifying reality was that you could never be sure. Any call might be recorded; any friend or colleague or lover might actually be on the payroll of the secret police. This knowledge could wreak havoc on interpersonal intimacy and chill potential dissent even for those whose individual privacy was never actually invaded.

To think of the Fourth Amendment this way—as not exclusively about privacy, but about “the right of the people to be secure”—is necessarily to take a more architectural view of its protections. But Rubenfeld offers something closer to an applicable test: Rather than asking whether an individual reasonable expectation of privacy has been violated, we ask whether people would remain secure in their liberties if a particular search method were pervasive. If it would not, we ask what restrictions—such as requiring a probable cause warrant or “specific and articulable facts”—would sufficiently narrow the method’s application so as to leave reasonable citizens secure.

Rubenfeld’s approach, to be sure, is not without its own problems. But as technology increasingly enables mass, population-level monitoring by government, often making use of information that is not absolutely secret and private (because, for instance, it has been turned over to an array of commercial entities, even if no one business has all the information) it may be necessary to move beyond a view of the Fourth Amendment as strictly concerned with an individual privacy right. My right to privacy, after all, is something that can be infringed by any old person—not merely by the government. On the currently dominant view, then, the government violates privacy (and the Fourth Amendment) just in case it performs actions that would be privacy violations if conducted by anyone. Yet the Framers had good reason to be particularly concerned with the social implications of government information gathering. Those concerns had less to do with “privacy” as such than with the structural balance between personal autonomy and state control—considerations that could stand to loom much larger in our thinking about the Fourth Amendment.

http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/is-the-fourth-amendment-really-about-privacy/
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« Reply #99 on: September 13, 2010, 09:53:39 PM »

The majority of human history, there wasn't much in the way of privacy. Hunter-gatherer tribes or agricultural villages, you were known and given the living conditions, most everything about at all times was seen/heard/smelled by those around you.

Only in recent times, in cities and suburbs with individual dwellings, did we develop a sense of privacy that we have now.

Were the 4th about "security", then why did the law enforcement of the time of the founders not have any restriction imposed on it by this concept?

The founders were accustomed to the redcoats kicking in doors to search without anything more the the authority of the crown. They imposed the 4th to insure that American law enforcement obtained a warrant from an independent magistrate prior to the door kicking. You'll note that they did not forbid search and seizure, just imposed standards that had to be met before it could be done.

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