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Author Topic: Libertarian Issues  (Read 147816 times)
Power User
Posts: 42494

« Reply #50 on: October 22, 2008, 10:41:41 AM »

Smart *ss cheesy

What about the politics of personal destruction, as practiced by the Hillbillary Clintons for example?  Do we really want government officials being able to climb up the butt of any citizen?
« Last Edit: October 22, 2008, 05:23:26 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #51 on: October 22, 2008, 05:21:12 PM »

What is your policy solution?
Power User
Posts: 42494

« Reply #52 on: October 22, 2008, 05:25:35 PM »

Having a notion of the 9th Amendment Right of Privacy and not climbing up the butt of citizens without some sort of specific reasonable basis.
Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #53 on: October 22, 2008, 06:05:34 PM »

Do you have some caselaw that would indicate how your interpretation of the 9th would prevent Hillary, or now potentially Michelle Obama from engaging in the politics of personal destruction? How would this protect Joe the Plumber from our corrupt MSM?
Power User
Posts: 42494

« Reply #54 on: October 26, 2008, 04:11:12 PM »

Well, looky, looky, look what we have here:

Government computers used to find information on Joe the Plumber
Investigators trying to determine whether access was illegal
Friday, October 24, 2008 8:57 PM
By Randy Ludlow

The Columbus Dispatch
"State and local officials are investigating if state and law-enforcement computer systems were illegally accessed when they were tapped for personal information about "Joe the Plumber."
Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher became part of the national political lexicon Oct. 15 when Republican presidential candidate John McCain mentioned him frequently during his final debate with Democrat Barack Obama.
The 34-year-old from the Toledo suburb of Holland is held out by McCain as an example of an American who would be harmed by Obama's tax proposals.
Public records requested by The Dispatch disclose that information on Wurzelbacher's driver's license or his sport-utility vehicle was pulled from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles database three times shortly after the debate.
Information on Wurzelbacher was accessed by accounts assigned to the office of Ohio Attorney General Nancy H. Rogers, the Cuyahoga County Child Support Enforcement Agency and the Toledo Police Department.
It has not been determined who checked on Wurzelbacher, or why. Direct access to driver's license and vehicle registration information from BMV computers is restricted to legitimate law enforcement and government business.
Paul Lindsay, Ohio spokesman for the McCain campaign, attempted to portray the inquiries as politically motivated. "It's outrageous to see how quickly Barack Obama's allies would abuse government power in an attempt to smear a private citizen who dared to ask a legitimate question," he said.
Isaac Baker, Obama's Ohio spokesman, denounced Lindsay's statement as charges of desperation from a campaign running out of time. "Invasions of privacy should not be tolerated. If these records were accessed inappropriately, it had nothing to do with our campaign and should be investigated fully," he said.
The attorney general's office is investigating if the access of Wuzelbacher's BMV information through the office's Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway computer system was unauthorized, said spokeswoman Jennifer Brindisi.
"We're trying to pinpoint where it came from," she said. The investigation could become "criminal in nature," she said. Brindisi would not identify the account that pulled the information on Oct. 16.
Records show it was a "test account" assigned to the information technology section of the attorney general's office, said Department of Public Safety spokesman Thomas Hunter.
Brindisi later said investigators have confirmed that Wurzelbacher's information was not accessed within the attorney general's office. She declined to provide details. The office's test accounts are shared with and used by other law enforcement-related agencies, she said.
On Oct. 17, BMV information on Wurzelbacher was obtained through an account used by the Cuyahoga County Child Support Enforcement Agency in Cleveland, records show.
Mary Denihan, spokeswoman for the county agency, said the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services contacted the agency today and requested an investigation of the access to Wurzelbacher's information. Cuyahoga County court records do not show any child-support cases involving Wurzelbacher.
The State Highway Patrol, which administers the Law Enforcement Automated Data System in Ohio, asked Toledo police to explain why it pulled BMV information on Wurzelbacher within 48 hours of the debate, Hunter said.
The LEADS system also can be used to check for warrants and criminal histories, but such checks would not be reflected on the records obtained by The Dispatch.
Sgt. Tim Campbell, a Toledo police spokesman, said he could not provide any information because the department only had learned of the State Highway Patrol inquiry today.
Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #55 on: October 26, 2008, 07:30:16 PM »

A couple key points from the article:

Direct access to driver's license and vehicle registration information from BMV computers is restricted to legitimate law enforcement and government business.

The investigation could become "criminal in nature,"

The State Highway Patrol, which administers the Law Enforcement Automated Data System in Ohio, asked Toledo police to explain why it pulled BMV information on Wurzelbacher within 48 hours of the debate, Hunter said.

**Accessing law enforcement databases like NCIC without legitimate law enforcement purposes is illegal and the system is designed to leave an audit trail for tracking it's use as part of it's checks and balances.**
Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #56 on: October 26, 2008, 07:38:47 PM »

National Crime Information Center (NCIC)

National Crime Information Center
Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division
1000 Custer Hollow Road
Clarksburg, West Virginia 26306
Hours of Service: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Telephone: (304) 625-2000

NCIC is a computerized index of criminal justice information (i.e.- criminal record history information, fugitives, stolen properties, missing persons). It is available to Federal, state, and local law enforcement and other criminal justice agencies and is operational 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
PURPOSE: The purpose for maintaining the NCIC system is to provide a computerized database for ready access by a criminal justice agency making an inquiry and for prompt disclosure of information in the system from other criminal justice agencies about crimes and criminals. This information assists authorized agencies in criminal justice and related law enforcement objectives, such as apprehending fugitives, locating missing persons, locating and returning stolen property, as well as in the protection of the law enforcement officers encountering the individuals described in the system.

ACCESS CONSTRAINTS: All records in NCIC are protected from unauthorized access through appropriate administrative, physical, and technical safeguards. These safeguards include restricting access to those with a need to know to perform their official duties, and using locks, alarm devices, passwords, and/or encrypting data communications.

USE CONSTRAINTS: Users of the NCIC system will be restricted to only those privileges necessary to perform an authorized task(s).

AGENCY PROGRAM: The FBI is authorized to acquire, collect, classify and preserve identification, criminal identification, crime, and other records and to exchange such information with authorized entities.

SOURCES OF DATA: Data contained in NCIC is provided by the FBI, federal, state, local and foreign criminal justice agencies, and authorized courts.

The most recent iteration of NCIC became operational on July 11, 1999 at the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services Division in Clarksburg, West Virginia. A recent hardware upgrade to the NCIC system is responsible for this significant improvement in performance.

Categories of individuals covered by the system:

  A. Wanted Persons: 1. Individuals for whom Federal warrants are
  2. Individuals who have committed or have been identified with an
  offense which is classified as a felony or serious misdemeanor under
  the existing penal statutes of the jurisdiction originating the entry
  and for whom a felony or misdemeanor warrant has been issued with
  respect to the offense which was the basis of the entry. Probation and
  parole violators meeting the foregoing criteria.
  3. A "Temporary Felony Want" may be entered when a law enforcement
  agency has need to take prompt action to establish a "want" entry
  for the apprehension of a person who has committed or the officer has
  reasonable grounds to believe has committed, a felony and who may seek
  refuge by fleeing across jurisdictional boundaries and circumstances
  preclude the immediate procurement of a felony warrant. A "Temporary
  Felony Want" shall be specifically identified as such and subject to
  verification and support by a proper warrant within 48 hours following
  the entry of a temporary want. The agency originating the "Temporary
  Felony Want" shall be responsible for subsequent verification or re-
  entry of a permanent want.
  4. Juveniles who have been adjudicated delinquent and who have escaped
  or absconded from custody, even though no arrest warrants were issued.
  Juveniles who have been charged with the commission of a delinquent
  act that would be a crime if committed by an adult, and who have fled
  from the state where the act was committed.
  5. Individuals who have committed or have been identified with an
  offense committed in a foreign country, which would be a felony if
  committed in the United States, and for whom a warrant of arrest is
  outstanding and for which act an extradition treaty exists between the
  United States and that country.
  6. Individuals who have committed or have been identified with an
  offense committed in Canada and for whom a Canada-Wide Warrant has
  been issued which meets the requirements of the Canada-U.S.
  Extradition Treaty, 18 U.S.C. 3184.
  B. Individuals who have been charged with serious and/or significant
  1. Individuals who have been fingerprinted and whose criminal history
  record information has been obtained.
  2. Violent Felons: Persons with three or more convictions for a
  violent felony or serious drug offense as defined by 18 U.S.C.
  Sec. 924(e).
  C. Missing Persons: 1. A person of any age who is missing and who is
  under proven physical/mental disability or is senile, thereby
  subjecting that person or others to personal and immediate danger.
  2. A person of any age who is missing under circumstances indicating
  that the disappearance was not voluntary.
  3. A person of any age who is missing under circumstances indicating
  that that person's physical safety may be in danger.
  4. A person of any age who is missing after a catastrophe.
  5. A person who is missing and declared unemancipated as defined by
  the laws of the person's state of residence and does not meet any of
  the entry criteria set forth in 1-4 above.
  D. Individuals designated by the U.S. Secret Service as posing a
  potential danger to the President and/or other authorized protectees.
  E. Members of Violent Criminal Gangs: Individuals about whom
  investigation has developed sufficient information to establish
  membership in a particular violent criminal gang by either:
  1. Self admission at the time of arrest or incarceration, or
  2. Any two of the following criteria:
  a. Identified as a gang member by a reliable informant;
  b. Identified as a gang member by an informant whose information has
  been corroborated;
  c. Frequents a gang's area, associates with known members, and/or
  affects gang dress, tattoos, or hand signals;
  d. Has been arrested multiple times with known gang members for
  offenses consistent with gang activity; or
  e. Self admission (other than at the time of arrest or incarceration).
  F. Members of Terrorist Organizations: Individuals about whom
  investigations has developed sufficient information to establish
  membership in a particular terrorist organization using the same
  criteria listed above in paragraph E, items 1 and 2 a-e, as they apply
  to members of terrorist organizations rather than members of violent
  criminal gangs.
  G. Unidentified Persons: 1. Any unidentified deceased person. 2. Any
  person who is living and unable to ascertain the person's identity
  (e.g., infant, amnesia victim). 3. Any unidentified catastrophe
  victim. 4. Body parts when a body has been dismembered.

Categories of records in the system:

  A. Stolen Vehicle File: 1. Stolen vehicles. 2. Vehicles wanted in
  conjunction with felonies or serious misdemeanors. 3. Stolen vehicle
  parts including certificates of origin or title.
  B. Stolen License Plate File.
  C. Stolen Boat File.
  D. Stolen Gun File: 1. Stolen guns. 2. Recovered guns, when ownership
  of which has not been established.
  E. Stolen Article File.
  F. Securities File: 1. Serially numbered stolen, embezzled or
  counterfeited, securities.
  2. "Securities" for present purposes of this file are currently
  (e.g., bills, bank notes) and those documents or certificates which
  generally are considered to be evidence of debt (e.g., bonds,
  debentures, notes) or ownership of property (e.g., common stock,
  preferred stock), and documents which represent subscription rights,
  warrants and which are of the types traded in the securities exchanges
  in the United States, except for commodities futures. Also, included
  are warehouse receipts, travelers checks and money orders.
  G. Wanted Person File: Described in "CATEGORIES OF INDIVIDUALS
  COVERED BY THE SYSTEM. A. Wanted Persons, 1-4."
  H. Foreign Fugitive File: Identification data regarding persons who
  are fugitives from foreign countries, who are described in
Categories of individuals covered by the system: A. Wanted Persons,
  5 and 6."
  I. Interstate Identification Index File: A cooperative Federal-state
  program for the interstate exchange of criminal history record
  information for the purpose of facilitating the interstate exchange of
  such information among criminal justice agencies. Described in

Categories of individuals covered by the system: B. 1."
  J. Identification records regarding persons enrolled in the United
  States Marshals Service Witness Security Program who have been charged
  with serious and/or significant offenses: Described in "CATEGORIES OF
  INDIVIDUALS covered by the system: B."
  K. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) Violent Felon File:
  Described in "

Categories of individuals covered by the system: B.
  L. Missing Person File: Described in "CATEGORIES OF INDIVIDUALS
  covered by the system: C. Missing Persons."
  M. U.S. Secret Service Protective File: Described in "CATEGORIES OF
  INDIVIDUALS covered by the system: D."
  N. Violent Criminal Gang File: A cooperative Federal-state program for
  the interstate exchange of criminal gang information. For the purpose
  of this file, a "gang" is defined as a group of three or more
  persons with a common interest, bond, or activity characterized by
  criminal or delinquent conduct. Described in "CATEGORIES OF
  INDIVIDUALS covered by the system: E. Members of Violent Criminal
  O. Terrorist File: A cooperative Federal-state program for the
  exchange of information about terrorist organizations and individuals.
  For the purposes of this file, "terrorism" is defined as activities
  that involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a
  violation of the criminal laws of the United States or any state or
  would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of
  the United States or any state, which appear to be intended to:
  1. Intimidate or coerce a civilian population,
  2. Influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion,
  3. Affect the conduct of a government by crimes or kidnapping.
  Described in "

Categories of individuals covered by the system: F.
  Members of Terrorist Organizations."
  P. Unidentified Person File: Described in "CATEGORIES OF INDIVIDUALS
  covered by the system: G. Unidentified Persons."

Authority for maintenance of the system: The system is established and maintained in accordance with 28 U.S.C. 534; Department of Justice Appropriation Act, 1973, Pub. L. 92-544, 86 Stat. 1115, Securities Acts Amendment of 1975, Pub. L. 94-29, 89 Stat. 97; and 18 U.S.C. Sec. 924 (e). Exec. Order No. 10450, 3 CFR (1974).

Purpose(s): The purpose for maintaining the NCIC system of record is to provide a computerized data base for ready access by a criminal justice agency making an inquiry and for prompt disclosure of information in the system from other criminal justice agencies about crimes and criminals. This information assists authorized agencies in criminal justice objectives, such as apprehending fugitives, locating missing persons, locating and returning stolen property, as well as in the protection of the law enforcement officers encountering the individuals described in the system.
Routine uses of records maintained in the system, including categories of users and the purposes of such uses: Data in NCIC files is exchanged with and for the official use of authorized officials of the Federal Government, the States, cities, penal and other institutions, and certain foreign governments. The data is exchanged through NCIC lines to Federal criminal justice agencies, criminal justice agencies in the 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Possessions and U.S. Territories. Additionally, data contained in the various "want files," i.e., the stolen vehicle file, stolen license plate file, stolen gun file, stolen article file, wanted person file, securities file, boat file, and missing person data may be accessed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Criminal history data is disseminated to non-criminal justice agencies for use in connection with licensing for local/state employment or other uses, but only where such dissemination is authorized by Federal or state statutes and approved by the Attorney General of the United States.

Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #57 on: October 26, 2008, 07:39:26 PM »

Data in NCIC files, other than the information described in "Categories of records in the system: I, J, K, M, N, and O," is disseminated to (1) a nongovernmental agency subunit thereof which allocates a substantial part of its annual budget to the administration of criminal justice, whose regularly employed peace officers have full police powers pursuant to state law and have complied with the minimum employment standards of governmentally employed police officers as specified by state statute; (2) a noncriminal justice governmental department of motor vehicle or driver's license registry established by a statute, which provides vehicles registration and driver record information to criminal justice agencies; (3) a governmental regional dispatch center, established by a state statute, resolution, ordinance or Executive order, which provides communications services to criminal justice agencies; and (4) the national Automobile Theft Bureau, a nongovernmental nonprofit agency which acts as a national clearinghouse for information on stolen vehicles and offers free assistance to law enforcement agencies concerning automobile thefts, identification and recovery of stolen vehicles.
Disclosures of information from this system, as described above, are for the purpose of providing information to authorized agencies to facilitate the apprehension of fugitives, the location of missing persons, the location and/or return of stolen property, or similar criminal justice objectives.
Information on missing children, missing adults who were reported missing while children, and unidentified living and deceased persons may be disclosed to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). The NCMEC is a nongovernmental, nonprofit, federally funded corporation, serving as a national resource and technical assistance clearinghouse focusing on missing and exploited children. Information is disclosed to NCMEC to assist it in its efforts to provide technical assistance and education to parents and local governments regarding the problems of missing and exploited children, and to operate a nationwide missing children hotline to permit members of the public to telephone the Center from anywhere in the United States with information about a missing child.
In addition, information may be released to the news media and the public pursuant to 28 CFR 50.2, unless it is determined that release of the specific information in the context of a particular case would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;
To a Member of Congress or staff acting upon the member's behalf whom the member or staff requests the information on behalf of and at the request of the individual who is the subject of the record; and,
To the National Archives and Records Administration and the General Services Administration in records management inspections conducted under the authority of 44 U.S.C. Sec. Sec. 2904 and 2906.
System Maintenance Policies

Storage: Information maintained in the NCIC system is stored electronically for use in a computer environment.

Retrievability: On line access to data in NCIC is achieved by using the following search descriptors:

  A. Stolen Vehicle File:
  1. Vehicle identification number;
  2. Owner applied number;
  3. License plate number;
  4. NCIC number (unique number assigned by NCIC computer to each NCIC
  B. Stolen License Plate File:
  1. License plate number;
  2. NCIC number.
  C. Stolen Boat File:
  1. Registration document number;
  2. Hull serial number;
  3. Owner applied number;
  4. NCIC number.
  D. Stolen Gun File:
  1. Serial number of gun;
  2. NCIC number.
  E. Stolen Article File:
  1. Serial number of article;
  2. Owner applied number;
  3. NCIC number.
  F. Securities File:
  1. Type, serial number, denomination of security, and issuer for other
  than U.S. Treasury issues and currency;
  2. Type of security and name of owner of security;
  3. Social Security number of owner of security (it is noted the
  requirements of the Privacy Act with regard to the solicitation of
  Social Security numbers have been brought to the attention of the
  members of the NCIC system);
  4. NCIC number.
  G. Wanted Person File:
  1. Name and one of the following numerical identifiers:
  a. Date of birth;
  b. FBI number (number assigned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation
  to an arrest fingerprint record);
  c. Social Security number (it is noted the requirements of the Privacy
  Act with regard to the solicitation of Social Security numbers have
  been brought to the attention of the members of the NCIC system);
  d. Operator's license number (driver's number);
  e. Miscellaneous identifying number (military number or number
  assigned by Federal, state, or local authorities to an individual's
  f. Originating agency case number;
  2. Vehicle or license plate known to be in the possession of the
  wanted person;
  3. NCIC number.
  H. Foreign Fugitive File: See G, above.
  I. Interstate Identification Index File:
  1. Name, sex, race, and date of birth;
  2. FBI number;
  3. State identification number;
  4. Social Security number;
  5. Miscellaneous identifying number.
  J. Witness Security Program File: See G, above.
  K. BATF Violent Felon File: See G, above.
  L. Missing Person File: See G, above, plus the age, sex, race, height
  and weight, eye and hair color of the missing person.
  M. U.S. Secret Service Protective File: See G, above.
  N. Violent Criminal Gang File: See G, above.
  O. Terrorist File: See G, above.
  P. Unidentified Person File: the age, sex, race, height and weight,
  eye and hair color of the unidentified person.

Safeguards: Data stored in the NCIC is documented criminal justice agency information and access to that data is restricted to duly authorized criminal justice agencies. The following security measures are the minimum to be adopted by all criminal justice agencies having access to the NCIC.

Interstate Identification Index (III) File. These measures are designed to prevent unauthorized access to the system data and/or unauthorized use of data obtained from the computerized file.
1. Computer Center. a. The criminal justice agency computer site must have adequate physical security to protect against any unauthorized personnel gaining access to the computer equipment or to any of the stored data. b. Since personnel at these computer centers can have access to data stored in the system, they must be screened thoroughly under the authority and supervision of an NCIC control terminal agency. (This authority and supervision may be delegated to responsible criminal justice agency personnel in the case of a satellite computer center being serviced through a state control terminal agency.) This screening will also apply to non-criminal justice maintenance or technical personnel. c. All visitors to these computer centers must be accompanied by staff personnel at all times. d. Computers having access to the NCIC must have the proper computer instructions written and other built-in controls to prevent criminal history data from being accessible to any terminals other than authorized terminals. e. Computers having access to the NCIC must maintain a record of all transactions against the criminal history file in the same manner the NCIC computer logs all transactions. The NCIC identifies each specific agency entering or receiving information and maintains a record of those transactions. This transaction record must be monitored and reviewed on a regular basis to detect any possible misuse of criminal history data. f. Each State Control terminal shall build its data system around a central computer, through which each inquiry must pass for screening and verification. The configuration and operation of the center shall provide for the integrity of the data base.
2. Communications: a. Lines/channels being used to transmit criminal history information must be dedicated solely to criminal justice, i.e., there must be no terminals belonging to agencies outside the criminal justice system sharing these lines/channels. b. Physical security of the lines/channels must be protected to guard against clandestine devices being utilized to intercept or inject system traffic.
3. Terminal Devices Having Access to NCIC: a. All agencies having terminals on this system must be required to physically place these terminals in secure locations within the authorized agency. b. The agencies having terminals with access to criminal history must screen terminal operators and restrict access to the terminal to a minimum number of authorized employees. c. Copies of criminal history data obtained from terminal devices must be afforded security to prevent any unauthorized access to or use of the data. d. All remote terminals on NCIC III will maintain a manual or automated log of computerized criminal history inquiries with notations of individuals making requests for records for a minimum of one year.
Retention and disposal: Unless otherwise removed, records will be retained in files as follows:

  A. Vehicle File: a. Unrecovered stolen vehicle records (including
  snowmobile records) which do not contain vehicle identification
  numbers (VIN) or Owner-applied number (OAN) therein, will be purged
  from file 90 days after date of entry. Unrecovered stolen vehicle
  records (including snowmobile records) which contain VIN's or OANs
  will remain in file for the year of entry plus 4.
  b. Unrecovered vehicles wanted in conjunction with a felony will
  remain in file for 90 days after entry. In the event a longer
  retention period is desired, the vehicle must be reentered. c.
  Unrecovered stolen VIN plates, certificates of origin or title, and
  serially numbered stolen vehicle engines or transmissions will remain
  in file for the year of entry plus 4.

  (Job No. NC1-65-82-4, Part E. 13 h.(1))

  B. License Plate File: Unrecovered stolen license plates will remain
  in file for one year after the end of the plate's expiration year as
  shown in the record.

  (Job No. NC1-65-82-4, Part E. 13 h.(2))

  C. Boat File: Unrecovered stolen boat records, which contain a hull
  serial number of an OAN, will be retained in file for the balance of
  the year entered plus 4. Unrecovered stolen boat records which do not
  contain a hull serial number or an OAN will be purged from file 90
  days after date of entry.

  (Job No. NC1-65-82-4, Part E. 13 h.(6))

  D. Gun file: a. Unrecovered weapons will be retained in file for an
  indefinite period until action is taken by the originating agency to
  clear the record. b. Weapons entered in file as "recovered" weapons
  will remain in file for the balance of the year entered plus 2.

  (Job No. NC1-65-82-4, Part E. 13 h.(3))

  E. Article File: Unrecovered stolen articles will be retained for the
  balance of the year entered plus one year.

  (Job No. NC1-65-82-4, Part E. 13 h.(4))

  F. Securities File: Unrecovered stolen, embezzled or counterfeited
  securities will be retained for the balance of the year entered plus
  4, except for travelers checks and money orders, which will be
  retained for the balance of the year entered plus 2.

  (Job No. NC1-65-82-4, Part E. 13 h.(5))

  G. Wanted Person File: Person not located will remain in file
  indefinitely until action is taken by the originating agency to clear
  the record (except "Temporary Felony Wants", which will be
  automatically removed from the file after 48 hours).

  (Job No. NC1-65-87-114, Part E. 13 h.(7))

  H. Foreign Fugitive File: Person not located will remain in file
  indefinitely until action is taken by the originating agency to clear
  the record.
  I. Interstate Identification Index File: When an individual reaches
  age of 80.

  (Job No. NC1-65-76-1)

  J. Witness Security Program File: Will remain in file until action is
  taken by the U.S. Marshals Service to clear or cancel the records.
  K. BATF Violent Felon File: Will remain in file until action is taken
  by the BATF to clear or cancel the records.
  L. Missing Persons File: Will remain in the file until the individual
  is located or action is taken by the originating agency to clear the

  (Job No. NC1-65-87-11, Part E 13h (Cool)

  M. U.S. Secret Service Protective File: Will be retained until names
  are removed by the U.S. Secret Service.
  N. Violent Criminal Gang File: Records will be subject to mandatory
  purge if inactive for five years.
  O. Terrorist File: Records will be subject to mandatory purge if
  inactive for five years.
  P. Unidentified Person File: Will be retained for the remainder of the
  year of entry plus 9.

System manager(s) and address: Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, J. Edgar Hoover Building, 10th and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20535.

Notification procedure: Same as the above.

Record access procedures: It is noted the Attorney General has exempted this system from the access and contest procedures of the Privacy Act. However, the following alternative procedures are available to requester. The procedures by which computerized criminal history record information about an individual may be obtained by that individual are as follows:

If an individual has a criminal record supported by fingerprints and that record has been entered in the NCIC III file, criminal history record information, it is available to that individual for review, upon presentation of appropriate identification and in accordance with applicable State and Federal administrative and statutory regulations. Appropriate identification includes being fingerprinted for the purpose of insuring that the individual is who the individual purports to be. The record on file will then be verified through comparison of fingerprints.
Procedure: 1. All requests for review must be made by the subject of the record through a law enforcement agency which has access to the NCIC III File. That agency within statutory or regulatory limits can require additional identification to assist in securing a positive identification.
2. If the cooperative law enforcement agency can make an identification with fingerprints previously taken which are on file locally and if the FBI identification number of the individual's record is available to that agency, it can make an on-line inquiry of NCIC to obtain the record on-line or, if it does not have suitable equipment to obtain an on-line response, obtain the record from Washington, DC by mail. The individual will then be afforded the opportunity to see that record.
3. Should the cooperating law enforcement agency not have the individual's fingerprints on file locally, it is necessary for that agency to relate the prints to an existing record by having the identification prints compared with those already on file in the FBI or possibly in the State's central identification agency.
Contesting record procedures: The Attorney General has exempted this system from the contest procedures of the Privacy Act. Under this alternative procedure described above under "Record Access Procedures," the subject of the requested record shall request the appropriate arresting agency, court, or correctional agency to initiate action necessary to correct any stated inaccuracy in subject's record or provide the information needed to make the record complete.

Record source categories: Information contained in the NCIC system is obtained from local, state, Federal and international criminal justice agencies.

Systems exempted from certain provisions of the Privacy Act: The Attorney General has exempted this system from subsection (c) (3) and (4), (d), (e)(1) (2), and (3), (e)(4) (G), (H), (e)(5), (e)(Cool and (g) of the Privacy Act pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) and (k)(3). Rules have been promulgated in accordance with the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 553 (b), (c) and (e) and have been published in the Federal Register.
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« Reply #58 on: October 26, 2008, 08:05:24 PM »

**Misuse law enforcement databases, go from being a cop to being a convict.**

Guilty plea entered in computer misuse
By William Kaempffer, Register Staff

NEW HAVEN — A former Department of Correction employee has pleaded guilty in federal court to accepting cash and gift certificates to expensive restaurants from three corrupt bail bondsmen in exchange for misusing a state computer to help them catch fugitives.

James Barone, 48, is the third state employee to be ensnared in the bribery scheme and the ninth person — including three New Haven police officers — to plead guilty to corruption counts.

Among them were the three bondsmen, Robert Jacobs, 81, and his sons, Paul and Philip, who for decades used their influence to secure bail customers in Superior Court. Federal prosecutors also say the bondsmen illegally obtained information to help capture bail jumpers.

That’s where federal prosecutors say Barone came in.

It appears that Barone may have been in the sights of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for some time. He resigned from the Department of Correction in January after nearly 26 years, and just a month after the FBI arrested two court employees who Philip Jacobs helped set up in hopes of a lighter sentence.

The U.S. District Court on-line database did not have any record of Barone’s case Wednesday afternoon, and the U.S. Attorney’s office released no other records Wednesday.

Barone worked at the New Haven Correctional Center on Whalley Avenue as a counselor supervisor, DOC spokesman Brian Garnett said Wednesday. He declined further comment, referring questions to prosecutors.

Barone pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of exceeding his authorized access to a state computer, a charge that could land him in prison for up to a year when he is sentenced in November. He could get significantly less.

A former judicial marshal who pleaded guilty to providing illegal favors to Philip Jacobs got probation in May, and the two Jacobs sons received four months each, in part because of their cooperation.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, from at least 2005 through March 2007, Barone used his position at the New Haven Correctional Center to assist the Jacobses by providing them pictures of individuals who failed to appear in Superior Court, and also with inmate information from the Connecticut Online Law Enforcement Communications Teleprocessing system and the FBI’s National Crime Information Center database.

NCIC is a computerized index of criminal justice information that is available to federal, state, and local law enforcement and other criminal justice agencies. Usage is restricted to official duties and it is a crime to misuse it.

Last October, Madison Patrol Officer Bernard Durgin Jr. was arrested on state charges for misusing the state law enforcement database to look up information about ex-girlfriends and women he worked with as a security guard at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

In March 2007, the FBI went public with a months-long undercover investigation of members of the New Haven Police Department and the bail bondsmen.

The net result of the probe was the arrests of two prominent figures: New Haven Lt. William White, a cop of nearly four decades, and Robert Jacobs, who had been a fixture at the Elm Street courthouse for just as long.

White got the stiffest sentence, 38 months, for stealing money planted in a sting by the FBI and taking thousands of dollars in bribes from the Jacobs for running down fugitives while on the job. He is serving his sentence in West Virginia.

The elder Jacobs got 15 months for paying bribes. Only Philip has so far reported to prison, according to the Bureau of Prisons.

Detective Justen Kasperzyk is serving a 15-month sentence in New Jersey for planting evidence, and Detective Jose Silva has already been released from his three-month stint.

Jill D’Antona, a judicial marshal at the Elm Street courthouse, and Cynthia McClendon, a clerk in the public defender’s office, were more minor players. Both have pleaded guilty to taking “gratuities” from the Jacobses in exchange for their help. D’Antona received probation. McClendon has yet to be sentenced.

In court Tuesday, Barone admitted that as a gratuity for providing assistance, during the holiday season, the Jacobses over the years gave him gift certificates to expensive restaurants and, in December 2006, Robert Jacobs gave Barone $200 as thanks for the assistance that Barone provided in his official capacity.
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« Reply #59 on: October 28, 2008, 10:53:39 PM »

Illegal 'Joe the Plumber' Searches - Update
Politics | Tue, Oct 28, 2008 at 3:09:00 pm PST

As we reported Friday, shortly after the third presidential debate Ohio government computers were used to look up personal information on “Joe the Plumber.”

Today, one of the people involved in checking the state child support system to try to dig up some dirt has been outed: Inspector general investigating access to Joe the Plumber’s personal information.

Ohio’s inspector general is investigating why a state agency director approved checking the state child-support computer system for information on “Joe the Plumber.”
Helen Jones-Kelly, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, confirmed today that she OK’d the check on Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher following the Oct. 15 presidential debate.

She said there were no political reasons for the check on the sudden presidential campaign fixture though the Support Enforcement Tracking System.

Amid questions from the media and others about “Joe the Plumber,” Jones-Kelley said she approved a check to determine if he was current on any ordered child-support payments. Such information was not and cannot be publicly shared, she said. It is unclear if Wurzelbacher is involved in a child-support case. Reports state that he lives alone with a 13-year-old son.

“Our practice is when someone is thrust quickly into the public spotlight, we often take a look” at them, Jones-Kelley said, citing a case where a lottery winner was found to owe past-due child support. “Our practice is to basically look at what is coming our way.”

And if you believe that, maybe I can convince you the moon landings were faked.

Because Helen Jones-Kelly also happens to be a maximum $2300 contributor to the Barack Obama campaign. (Hat tip: Ace.)

This is a little glimpse into a very dark future, in which the power of the government is used against private citizens who dare to criticize the anointed One.

And more news on this front, via Michelle Malkin; a Toledo police clerk is being charged with performing an illegal search of Joe’s records: Clerk charged with unlawful search of Joe the Plumber.

Toledo Police have confirmed that a TPD records clerk is accused of performing an illegal search of information related to ‘Joe the Plumber.’

Julie McConnell, has been charged with Gross Misconduct for allegedly making an improper inquiry into a state database in search of information pertaining to Samuel Wurzelbacher on Oct. 16.

Yesterday, the mayor of Toledo admitted that the request to search police records for dirt on Joe the Plumber came from the media.

Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner admitted yesterday that a member of the media made the request of the Toledo Police Department for Joe ‘the Plumber’ Wurzelbacher’s records, NewsTalk 1370 WSPD is reporting. The comments were made in response to questions during an unrelated press conference.

Finkbeiner did not say which news outlet, nor which reporter, made the request. He also did not identify the individual who ran the report.
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« Reply #60 on: October 29, 2008, 09:21:27 AM »

Editorial: Privacy violations
Officials shouldn't be snooping for private records on Ohioans who are thrust into public eye
Wednesday,  October 29, 2008 3:01 AM

The Dispatch does not have room to publish all letters to the editor. Many appear online only. Click here to read them.
Gov. Ted Strickland should order his agency directors not to snoop on private citizens who land in the campaign spotlight. Such scrutiny could have a chilling effect on the willingness of people to stand up and be counted prior to elections.
It also undermines the confidence of all Ohioans that their state government is serious about protecting sensitive information.

The director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Helen Jones-Kelley, confirmed on Monday that she approved a records check on suddenly famous Joe the plumber, who was mentioned frequently by John McCain in his Oct. 15 presidential debate with Barack Obama.

Joe the plumber, real name Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, of Holland, near Toledo, was thrust into the spotlight because he told Obama at a Toledo appearance that he fears the Democratic presidential candidate's tax proposals would prevent Wurzelbacher from buying the business that he works for.

Jones-Kelley said checking for child-support data on Wurzelbacher was routine, not political, citing a previous records check on a lottery winner. Checking the child-support status of someone who has come into money makes sense. But that rationale doesn't apply to Wurzelbacher. Jones-Kelly will have to make a much better case that the records check was not politically motivated.

Strickland, who also said there were no political motives in the data-checking, apparently is giving her the benefit of the doubt.

Access to such data is supposed to be restricted to official business of government and law enforcement.

Ohio Inspector General Thomas P. Charles is investigating whether the data-checking was improper or illegal. Through public-records requests, The Dispatch has determined that there were at least four checks for records on Wurzelbacher. That sounds like an effort to dig up dirt.

Driver's-license and vehicle-registration data about Wurzelbacher were obtained from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Also, the State Highway Patrol is investigating unauthorized access to data about Wurzelbacher in the attorney general's office from a test account that the office shared with contractors who developed a computer network for the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police.

Unauthorized and unjustified dredging of restricted government databases to find possibly embarrassing information on Americans simply for participating in democracy is unacceptable.

At the very least, Jones-Kelley should be reproved, and anyone who conducted an illegal search of Wurzelbacher's records should be prosecuted.
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« Reply #61 on: October 29, 2008, 10:15:38 AM »

"This is a little glimpse into a very dark future, in which the power of the government is used against private citizens who dare to criticize the anointed One."

Exactly so.

Thank you for these two articles GM.
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« Reply #62 on: October 29, 2008, 11:05:09 PM »

Checks on 'Joe' more extensive than first acknowledged
Tax, welfare info also sought on McCain ally
Wednesday,  October 29, 2008 8:05 PM
By Randy Ludlow

Amy Sancetta | AP
Joe Wurzelbacher, also known as "Joe the Plumber," signs autographs at a rally with GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Read the letter from Helen Jones-Kelley, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, about background checks made on Joe the Plumber [pdf]
A state agency has revealed that its checks of computer systems for potential information on "Joe the Plumber" were more extensive than it first acknowledged.
Helen Jones-Kelley, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, disclosed today that computer inquiries on Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher were not restricted to a child-support system.

The agency also checked Wurzelbacher in its computer systems to determine whether he was receiving welfare assistance or owed unemployment compensation taxes, she wrote.

Jones-Kelley made the revelations in a letter to Ohio Senate President Bill M. Harris, R-Ashland, who demanded answers on why state officials checked out Wurzelbacher.

Harris called the multiple records checks "questionable" and said he awaits more answers. "It's kind of like Big Brother is looking in your pocket," he said.

If state employees run checks on every person listed in newspaper stories as buying a business, "it must take a lot of people a lot of time to run these checks," he said. "Where do you draw the line?"

The checks were run after the news media reported that Wurzelbacher was considering buying a plumbing business with more than $250,000 in annual income, Jones-Kelley wrote.

"Given our understanding that Mr. Wurzelbacher had publicly indicated that he had the means to purchase a substantial business enterprise, ODJFS, consistent with past departmental practice, checked confidential databases ," she wrote.

"Not surprisingly, when a person behind in child support payments or receiving public assistance is receiving significant media attention which suggests that the person appears to have available financial resources, the Department risks justifiable criticism if it fails to take note and respond," Jones-Kelley wrote.

The results of the searches were not publicly released and remain confidential, she wrote. Wurzelbacher has said he is not involved in a child-support case and has not purchased any business.

Jones-Kelley wrote that the checks were "well-meaning," but misinterpreted amid the heated final weeks of a presidential election.

Wurzelbacher became a household name when Republican presidential hopeful John McCain frequently referred to "Joe the Plumber" during his Oct. 15 debate with Democrat nominee Barack Obama. The checks began the next day.

Wurzelbacher, who has endorsed and campaigned for McCain, had been caught on videotape challenging Obama about his tax proposals during a campaign visit to "Joe's" neighborhood in the Toledo suburb of Holland.

Republicans have painted the checks on Wurzelbacher as a politically motivated bid by Democrats to dig up dirt and discredit the McCain ally. The Obama campaign has said it has no ties to the checks and supports investigations.

The administration of Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland has said the information was not improperly shared and that there were no political motives behind the checks.

The Dispatch has uncovered four uses of state computer systems to access personal information on Wurzelbacher, including the child-support check authorized by Jones-Kelley.

She said on Monday that her department frequently runs checks for any unpaid child support obligations "when someone is thrust quickly into the public spotlight."

Republican legislators have challenged Jones-Kelley's reason for checking on Wurzelbacher as "frightening" and flimsy.

Jones-Kelly also has denied any connections between the computer checks on Wurzelbacher and her support for Obama. She donated the maximum $2,500 this year to the Obama campaign.

Ohio Inspector General Thomas P. Charles is investigating whether the child-support check on Wurzelbacher was legal.
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« Reply #63 on: October 30, 2008, 01:35:32 AM »

Thank you for these reports-- what do you make of them GM?
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« Reply #64 on: October 30, 2008, 08:37:49 AM »

Thus far I see no justifiable reason the "Joe files" were accessed. It sure looks like politically motivated use of state power. I sure hope this results in indictments and prosecution of those responsible. Law enforcement, like the military is supposed to be apolitical. This is what makes us different from the banana republics.
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« Reply #65 on: November 01, 2008, 09:01:16 AM »

State employee says she was ordered to check out Joe the Plumber
Friday,  October 31, 2008 10:21 PM
By Randy Ludlow
The Columbus Dispatch

Vanessa Niekamp said that when she was asked to run a child-support check on Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher on Oct. 16, she thought it routine. A supervisor told her the man had contacted the state agency about his case.
Niekamp didn't know she just had checked on "Joe the Plumber," who was elevated the night before to presidential politics prominence as Republican John McCain's example in a debate of an average American.

The senior manager would not learn about "Joe" for another week, when she said her boss informed her and directed her to write an e-mail stating her computer check was a legitimate inquiry.

The reason Niekamp said she was given for checking if there was a child-support case on Wurzelbacher does not match the reason given by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Director Helen Jones-Kelley said her agency checks people who are "thrust into the public spotlight," amid suggestions they may have come into money, to see if they owe support or are receiving undeserved public assistance.

Niekamp told The Dispatch she is unfamiliar with the practice of checking on the newly famous. "I've never done that before, I don't know of anybody in my office who does that and I don't remember anyone ever doing that," she said today.

Democrat Gov. Ted Strickland and Jones-Kelley, both supporters of Democrat Barack Obama, have denied political motives in checking on Wurzelbacher. The Toledo-area resident later endorsed McCain. State officials say any information on "Joe" is confidential and was not released.

Today, Strickland press secretary Keith Dailey said neither the governor's office nor Job and Family Services officials could comment due to an ongoing investigation by Ohio's inspector general.

Republican legislators have called the checks suspicious and Jones-Kelley's reason for them flimsy. They are demanding to know whether state computers were accessed in an attempt to dig up dirt on Wurzelbacher.

Jones-Kelley has revealed that her agency also checked to see if Wurzelbacher was receiving welfare assistance or owed unemployment compensation taxes. "Joe the Plumber" has said he is not involved in a child-support case.

About 3 p.m. on Oct. 16, Niekamp said Carrie Brown, assistant deputy director for child support, asked her to run Wurzelbacher through the computer. Citing privacy laws, Niekamp would not say what, if anything, was found on "Joe."

On Oct. 23, Niekamp said Doug Thompson, deputy director for child support, told her she had checked on "Joe the Plumber." Thompson "literally demanded" that she write an e-mail to the agency's chief privacy officer stating she checked the case for child-support purposes, she said.

Thompson told her that Jones-Kelley said Wurzelbacher might buy a plumbing business and could owe support. Thompson said he replied that he "would check him out."

Niekamp, 38, a senior child-support manager, said she never heard any discussion of politics amid what her supervisors told her about the checks on Wurzelbacher.

Worried about her $69,000-a-year job and potential criminal charges, the 15-year state employee said she went to Inspector General Thomas P. Charles on Oct. 24. She has seen employees fired, and dismissed one herself, for illegally accessing personal information in support cases. Niekamp, a registered Republican, said politics played no role in what she told investigators.

The e-mail that Niekamp said she wrote was not among records provided today to The Dispatch in response to a public-records request. Nor did the agency, as required by state law, say it withheld any records.

Strickland spokesman Dailey later said one e-mail was withheld from The Dispatch because its release is prohibited by federal or state laws that forbid the release of information on the state's child-support system. Daily said he was neither confirming nor denying the existence of a case on Wurzelbacher.
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« Reply #66 on: November 01, 2008, 09:07:56 AM »

A cover-up in Plumbergate?
posted at 9:50 am on November 1, 2008 by Ed Morrissey   

Looks like Ohio has a first-class political scandal brewing over Joe the Plumber.  After Helen Jones-Kelley tried to bluff her way out of her actions to check Joe Wurzelbacher’s records when he became a national story, the employee who conducted the search says that she’s never heard of a “famous person” investigation.  Vanessa Niekamp also says her supervisors lied to her about the investigation, and then asked her to lie about it afterwards:

Vanessa Niekamp said that when she was asked to run a child-support check on Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher on Oct. 16, she thought it routine. A supervisor told her the man had contacted the state agency about his case.

Niekamp didn’t know she just had checked on “Joe the Plumber,” who was elevated the night before to presidential politics prominence as Republican John McCain’s example in a debate of an average American. …

Director Helen Jones-Kelley said her agency checks people who are “thrust into the public spotlight,” amid suggestions they may have come into money, to see if they owe support or are receiving undeserved public assistance.

Niekamp told The Dispatch she is unfamiliar with the practice of checking on the newly famous. “I’ve never done that before, I don’t know of anybody in my office who does that and I don’t remember anyone ever doing that,” she said today.

The case gets even murkier.  The Dispatch, which has done yeoman work on this story, got the public records surrounding the Wurzelbacher inquiry — but Niekamp’s e-mail wasn’t included.  Nor did the records indicate any redaction or gap, as required by law.  Afterwards, a spokesperson for Governor Ted Strickland acknowledged the omission, saying that Niekamp’s status as a child-welfare agent exempted them from providing her e-mail.

What’s becoming apparent is that Ohio officials have something to hide.  The records-check request came from an assistant deputy director for child support.  When the story went public, the deputy director “literally demanded” Niekamp write the e-mail that would get them off the hook.  The agency’s leadership engaged in a cover-up — and that strongly implies that a crime got committed.

Niekamp told the Dispatch that she’s seen people get fired for unauthorized records checks, and that she herself fired one employee for the violation of public trust.  This has gone beyond just a mere firing.  It now looks as though Helen Jones-Kelley’s staff engaged in an attempt to obstruct justice, and Jones-Kelley’s lie about the Famous People Records Check appears to be part of it.
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« Reply #67 on: November 02, 2008, 08:57:57 AM »

Conyers calls for investigation into Aunti Zeituni info leak;  Joe the Plumber still on his own
By Michelle Malkin  •  November 1, 2008 11:25 PM

I predicted the totally predictable last night. And so it has come to pass: The left-wing fairweather friends of privacy are all over the leak of Aunti Zeituni’s immigration info — while Joe The Plumber remains persona non grata. Democrat Rep. John Conyers has already called for a federal investigation. The WaPo is already up with an A-section story on the anonymous leak. And the liberal blogs are up in arms.
The MSM abhor anonymous leaks — unless they’re helping to undermine Bush administration anti-terrorism programs or conservative causes and candidates.
Laughably, the Obama cultists suspect that Bush administration officials are in cahoots with the McCain campaign and the Associated Press.
These people have reading comprehension and reality comprehension problems. It’s the Bush administration that has moved to protect Aunti Zeituni. It’s the pro-shamnesty Bush administration that will ensure that nothing happens to her. Pro-shamnesty McCain isn’t going to touch the story. McCain adviser Mark Salter told WaPo that it’s a “family matter.”
Another predictable prediction: McCain will issue an edict forbidding staff from talking about this the same way the staffers are forbidden from mentioning Jeremiah Wright — with disastrous results.
Never mind that the massive, systemic problem of deportation fugitives is a matter of national security and rule of law.
“Family matter,” my foot.
By the way: Where in the world is Aunti Zeituni? Who knows? And if it wasn’t Barack Obama who helped her get here, who did? How did she get a Social Security card? Who advised her to apply for public housing? Who did she know with a saavy enough legal background to help her navigate the paperwork of the welfare state?
Obama and his future wife, Michelle, met Onyango on a subsequent visit to Kenya in 1992, and she visited the Obama family in Chicago on a tourist visa about nine years ago, his campaign said. Onyango attended Obama’s U.S. Senate swearing-in ceremony in 2005, and the senator last heard from her about two years ago, according to the campaign.
A campaign source said Obama provided Onyango no assistance in obtaining a tourist visa or housing, or in her immigration case.
In an interview with the Times of London, which first reported Onyango’s presence in Boston and her campaign contributions, Onyango said she had traveled to and from the United States since 1975. Commercial databases indicate she received a Social Security card in 2001, indicating she was legally present and authorized to work at that time.
Onyango was not at her state-subsidized West Broadway residence yesterday in South Boston, and no one answered her telephone.
William McGonigle, deputy director of the Boston Housing Authority, said Onyango applied for public housing in 2002 and was approved in 2003 as an eligible noncitizen. She was paid a small stipend for volunteering as a resident health advocate starting in December 2007, he said.
Posts: 6

« Reply #68 on: November 02, 2008, 10:03:09 AM »

Hi ALL,,,,

Well , what can i say to all of this but...thank the Big Man Upstairs that yoy dont live in the UK...because it is, after all ,the worlds leader of all things surveillance ...and thats official .But lets not forget that the US made a treaty with all the comonwealth countries (INC. Britain) to have a little piece of the US in each of their lands.This enabled the long arm of Big Brother to extend globally.Its just that 98% of us are blissfully aware of the fact.

Part of the treaty allowed a "quid - pro -  quo " deal of these countries to the US and also allows them individual countries laws to be bypassed by the US stations who listen in on home grown problems and report back by proxy - thus no Privacy laws are seem to be broken.

So its beeen going on since WW2, well, 1947 in fact , but with more and more "social networking sites" popping up like cobwebs, this just allows people to be tracked via numbers of accomplices instead of the old Plod doing the footwork.

You wouldnt run after a Big Cat all day to trap it ,you will give it some incentive to do the work for you...

BTW a system already exists to monitor e-mails , cellphones fax and the like ....Its called ECHELON and flags up keywords or groups of words for further monitoring (read human presence) thus enabling "THE EARS MAN" to do another job....

Rant over (LAUGHS)

Cheers Thomas , Wales

PS DONT LOOK Up!! - You will be on Google Maps in 18 months  cool cool cool
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« Reply #69 on: November 06, 2008, 06:26:35 AM »


Would you be OK with this for the US?

Internet black boxes to record every email and website visit
Internet "black boxes" could be used to record every email and website visit made by computer users in Britain, it has been reported.
By Graham Tibbetts
Last Updated: 12:24AM GMT 06 Nov 2008

Under Government plans to monitor internet traffic, raw data would be collected and stored by the black boxes before being transferred to a giant central database.

The vision was outlined at a meeting between officials from the Home Office and Internet Service Providers earlier this week.

It is further evidence of the Government's desire to have the capability to vet every telephone call, email and internet visit made in the UK, which has already provoked an outcry.

Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner, has described it as a "step too far".

The proposal is expected to be put out to consultation as part of the new Communications Data Bill early next year.

At Monday's meeting in London representatives from BT, AOL Europe, O2 and BSkyB were given a presentation of the issues and the technology surrounding the Government's Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP), the name given by the Home Office to the database proposal.

They were told that the security and intelligence agencies wanted to use the stored data to help fight serious crime and terrorism.

Officials tried to reassure the industry by suggesting that many smaller ISPs would be unaffected by the "black boxes" as these would be installed upstream on the network and hinted that all costs would be met by the Government.

One delegate at the meeting told the Independent: "They said they only wanted to return to a position they were in before the emergence of internet communication, when they were able to monitor all correspondence with a police suspect. The difference here is they will be in a much better position to spy on many more people on the basis of their internet behaviour. Also there's a grey area between what is content and what is traffic. Is what is said in a chat room content or just traffic?"

Ministers have said plans for the database have not been confirmed, and that it is not their intention to introduce monitoring or storage equipment that will check or hold the content of emails or phonecalls on the traffic.

A spokesman for the Home Office said: "We are public about the IMP, but we are still working out the detail. There will a consultation on the Communications Data Bill early next year."

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« Reply #70 on: November 06, 2008, 08:27:21 AM »

Or how about this?
Short Cuts
Daniel Soar
For a moment in the late 1990s, it looked as though mobile phones might make us free. You could work in the park, be available when you wanted to be, choose who you answered to. You could be anywhere while you did anything. If location was mentioned it was gratuitous chatter (‘I’m on the train!’) or a handy lie (‘I’m in the office’). Back then, a phone in your pocket was an expensive novelty. Ten years later, there are 3.3 billion active mobile phones, meaning that – if you ignore the show-offs who have several – half the planet has one; 85 per cent of the million new subscriptions taken up each day come from the developing world. Three billion people are just a few button presses away, and where they are doesn’t matter. But if you’re the retiring type, the trouble is that the phone companies and interested others do know exactly where you are, at any given second, so long as you have your handbag with you and your phone switched on: even the most basic technology, phone mast triangulation, locates you to within a couple of hundred metres; newer phones, with GPS built in, will tell any system that asks whether you’re in the kitchen or the loo.

You might assume that this information is either of interest to no one or, at the very least, protected by privacy laws and accessible only by the agencies that hunt suicide bombers and paedophiles. But you’d be wrong. Anyone can, for instance, sign up – at £29.99 a year – to (‘you’ll always know where your loved ones are’), which allows you to follow the movements of your ‘family and friends’ on a computer screen. The safeguard, from your friend’s point of view, is that he has to consent to being tracked, a process which involves his replying to a text message alerting him to the request; this shouldn’t be much of a hindrance to you as would-be stalker if he happens to leave his phone lying around. That this sort of enterprising solution is possible is the result of the major networks – in the UK, Vodafone, Orange, O2 and T-Mobile – having decided, in around 2002, to sell their location data to any company willing to pay for it.

Such services are obscure, and barely legal, but it’s about to be brought home to the majority of mobile users that what they’re up to isn’t private information. Owners of the latest version of Apple’s iPhone – avidly queued for at stores around the world last month – can now download an application that displays a friend’s location as a bright green dot on a map. In 2009, phones running Google’s Android operating system will be able to show you in pictures how to reach that green dot while avoiding traffic snarl-ups and stray hurricanes; they’ll also tell you how much a drink will cost when you get there. Along the way you might have to dodge a virtual attack from a passing stranger who, like you, has signed up to an urban espionage ‘immersive game’ and has pegged you in the street as a target. If all this sounds like unnecessary gimmickry, and you’re perfectly happy with your phone the way it is, or would be if only you knew how to make it ring like a phone rather than a wheezing horse or a three-dimensional aural representation of the rings of Saturn, then you’re out of luck: the information your phone provides is out there anyway. It doesn’t belong to you, and anyone with the required resources can do with it what they will.

At a very rough estimate half a trillion calls are made each day on the world’s mobile networks: their origin and destination, their time and duration and all identifying codes are logged on telecom provider hard-drives and generally retained, under emerging legislation, for up to two years. It’s impossible to exaggerate the value of these data. In most countries no one can listen in to your conversation – though it’s technically trivial to do – without a warrant, but given what most of us talk about most of the time what we actually say when we’re on the phone may be the least interesting thing about the call. Certainly this is the view of the growing Intelligence Support Systems industry (ISS), which sells analysis tools to government agencies, police forces and – increasingly – the phone companies themselves. Take the case of ThorpeGlen, a company headquartered in a business park outside Ipswich that also hosts research divisions of BT and Nokia Siemens Networks. At the frequent ISS conferences – Dubai, Qatar, Washington, Prague – one of the key topics of discussion tends to be how to identify targets for LI (that’s ‘lawful intercept’) in the first place: it’s a cinch to bug someone, but how do you help a law enforcement agency decide who to bug?

To help answer that question, companies like ThorpeGlen (and VASTech and Kommlabs and Aqsacom) sell systems that carry out ‘passive probing’, analysing vast quantities of communications data to detect subjects of potential interest to security services, thereby doing their expensive legwork for them. ThorpeGlen’s VP of sales and marketing showed off one of these tools in a ‘Webinar’ broadcast to the ISS community on 13 May. He used as an example the data from ‘a mobile network we have access to’ – since he chose not to obscure the numbers we know it’s Indonesia-based – and explained that calls from the entire network of 50 million subscribers had been processed, over a period of two weeks, to produce a database of eight billion or so ‘events’. Everyone on a network, he said, is part of a group; most groups talk to other groups, creating a spider’s web of interactions. Of the 50 million subscribers ThorpeGlen processed, 48 million effectively belonged to ‘one large group’: they called one another, or their friends called friends of their friends; this set of people was dismissed. A further 400,000 subscriptions could be attributed to a few large ‘nodes’, with numbers belonging to call centres, shops and information services. The remaining groups ranged in size from two to 142 subscribers. Members of these groups only ever called each other – clear evidence of antisocial behaviour – and, in one extreme case, a group was identified in which all the subscribers only ever called a single number at the centre of the web. This section of the ThorpeGlen presentation ended with one word: ‘WHY??’

Once you’ve found your terrorist, how do you know that he won’t, say, pass on his phone, or get a new number or use a throwaway pay-as-you-go handset (as British Olympic officals were advised to do by MI6 in an attempt to evade Chinese spies)? ThorpeGlen has a solution for that too. It also sells ‘profiling’ systems, which measure the behaviour pattern of an individual subscriber and, using statistical analysis, determine whether that same pattern is now appearing from another source. In other words, if your terrorist gets a new phone you’ll still know it’s him. If he keeps the same phone and starts changing his pattern, then he’s about to blow up Jakarta International Airport. This is important stuff. If you want to see how ThorpeGlen’s systems work for yourself, just log on to; all you need to do is figure out a username and password. Who isn’t a spy now?
Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #71 on: November 06, 2008, 08:28:36 AM »

No, but it pretty much exists already. Not quite as formalized, but your ISP knows where you go and what you're doing pretty much anyway and that can be subpeonaed or accessed via a search warrant.
Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #72 on: November 06, 2008, 08:31:19 AM »

Keep in mind that your cell phone is for all intents and purposes a microphone, transmitter and GPS beacon wrapped into one. It doesn't take an MIT trained engineer to see the potential surveillance aspects inherent in such a device.
Power User
Posts: 42494

« Reply #73 on: November 06, 2008, 11:02:28 AM »

Well, isn't the idea and fact of a search warrant rather important in our Constitutional scheme of things?!? 

Again I ask the question:  Are you OK with what my two posts describe or is there something there that goes too far, even for you? 

If so, what is it?
Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #74 on: November 06, 2008, 11:08:01 AM »

I think that 4th Amd. rules apply for tracking internet usage and cellphones. I think a judge should regulate access based on probable cause or reasonable suspicion, bepending on the degree of invasiveness of the search.
Power User
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« Reply #75 on: November 10, 2008, 06:25:53 PM »

Where is the outrage? Where is the MSM?
Power User
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« Reply #76 on: November 11, 2008, 09:25:35 AM »

Nice follow up on this example of why some of us are deeply uneasy with the march of technology into our private lives , , ,
Power User
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« Reply #77 on: November 11, 2008, 11:53:01 AM »

Abuses and illegal acts by public officials happened long before the first computer was ever invented.
Power User
Posts: 42494

« Reply #78 on: November 11, 2008, 05:54:19 PM »

Exactly so-- it is the nature of things and that is exactly what makes it worrisome when they so much more knowledge that was previously private about people.
Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #79 on: November 12, 2008, 09:22:13 AM »

Like it or hate it, the pandora's box of technology is wide open. We live in the age of the panopticon.
« Reply #80 on: November 12, 2008, 01:49:06 PM »

Emanuel to Republican Drug Warriors: 'Thanks for the White Flag'
Jacob Sullum | November 12, 2008, 1:20pm

In today's column, I noted that Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), Barack Obama's choice for chief of staff, has a history as a hard-line drug warrior. Here is another example of his tougher-than-thou rhetoric, from a 2006 press release "in response to reports that Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez' [sic] called the war on terror a real war, not like the war on drugs":

Thanks for the white flag. From the United States' most senior law enforcement official, the man who should be leading the war on drugs, this white flag of surrender will not be reassuring to the millions of parents trying to protect their kids.

The excuse for Emanuel's attempt to position himself to the right of the Bush administration on drug policy is not just lame but alarming. The statement by Gonzales to which he refers was made during an interview with The Kansas City Star in which the attorney general defended the administration's unilateral, indefinite detention of suspected terrorists. Here's an excerpt from the Star article, which I found on Nexis (italics added):

[Gonzales] said that "just like in every other war," the American people will have to trust the government to protect the rights of those in custody while pursuing justice in secret. Pressed on how long extraordinary measures—for instance, the imprisonment of suspects without the filing of charges—might continue, he said they would last at least until the pursuit of al-Qaida and its accomplices has come to an end.

"First of all this is a real war," he said, drawing a distinction between the war on terror and "the war on drugs or the war on poverty or something like that. It's like the Cold War. At some point this conflict is going to be over. But today it is not over."

Instead of challenging the Bush administration's use of war rhetoric to justify chucking habeas corpus, due process, and the separation of powers, Emanuel faulted it for waging the war on drugs with insufficient enthusiasm. Not only does this not bode well for drug policy in the Obama administration; it further undermines the next president's claim to be better than Bush on civil liberties in general.
Power User
Posts: 42494

« Reply #81 on: November 18, 2008, 10:12:41 PM »
Schneier on Security
A blog covering security and security technology.

« The Most Secure Car Park in the World | Main | Sex Toy Security Risk »

May 11, 2007
Is Big Brother a Big Deal?
Big Brother isn't what he used to be. George Orwell extrapolated his totalitarian state from the 1940s. Today's information society looks nothing like Orwell's world, and watching and intimidating a population today isn't anything like what Winston Smith experienced.

Data collection in 1984 was deliberate; today's is inadvertent. In the information society, we generate data naturally. In Orwell's world, people were naturally anonymous; today, we leave digital footprints everywhere.

1984's police state was centralized; today's is decentralized. Your phone company knows who you talk to, your credit card company knows where you shop and Netflix knows what you watch. Your ISP can read your email, your cell phone can track your movements and your supermarket can monitor your purchasing patterns. There's no single government entity bringing this together, but there doesn't have to be. As Neal Stephenson said, the threat is no longer Big Brother, but instead thousands of Little Brothers.

1984's Big Brother was run by the state; today's Big Brother is market driven. Data brokers like ChoicePoint and credit bureaus like Experian aren't trying to build a police state; they're just trying to turn a profit. Of course these companies will take advantage of a national ID; they'd be stupid not to. And the correlations, data mining and precise categorizing they can do is why the U.S. government buys commercial data from them.

1984-style police states required lots of people. East Germany employed one informant for every 66 citizens. Today, there's no reason to have anyone watch anyone else; computers can do the work of people.

1984-style police states were expensive. Today, data storage is constantly getting cheaper. If some data is too expensive to save today, it'll be affordable in a few years.

And finally, the police state of 1984 was deliberately constructed, while today's is naturally emergent. There's no reason to postulate a malicious police force and a government trying to subvert our freedoms. Computerized processes naturally throw off personalized data; companies save it for marketing purposes, and even the most well-intentioned law enforcement agency will make use of it.

Of course, Orwell's Big Brother had a ruthless efficiency that's hard to imagine in a government today. But that completely misses the point. A sloppy and inefficient police state is no reason to cheer; watch the movie Brazil and see how scary it can be. You can also see hints of what it might look like in our completely dysfunctional “no-fly��? list and useless projects to secretly categorize people according to potential terrorist risk. Police states are inherently inefficient. There's no reason to assume today's will be any more effective.

The fear isn't an Orwellian government deliberately creating the ultimate totalitarian state, although with the U.S.'s programs of phone-record surveillance, illegal wiretapping, massive data mining, a national ID card no one wants and Patriot Act abuses, one can make that case. It's that we're doing it ourselves, as a natural byproduct of the information society.We're building the computer infrastructure that makes it easy for governments, corporations, criminal organizations and even teenage hackers to record everything we do, and -- yes -- even change our votes. And we will continue to do so unless we pass laws regulating the creation, use, protection, resale and disposal of personal data. It's precisely the attitude that trivializes the problem that creates it.

This essay appeared in the May issue of Information Security
« Reply #82 on: November 20, 2008, 02:32:20 PM »

Corporations versus the Market; or, Whip Conflation Now
by Roderick Long
Lead Essay
November 10th, 2008

Defenders of the free market are often accused of being apologists for big business and shills for the corporate elite. Is this a fair charge?

No and yes. Emphatically no—because corporate power and the free market are actually antithetical; genuine competition is big business’s worst nightmare. But also, in all too many cases, yes —because although liberty and plutocracy cannot coexist, simultaneous advocacy of both is all too possible.

First, the no. Corporations tend to fear competition, because competition exerts downward pressure on prices and upward pressure on salaries; moreover, success on the market comes with no guarantee of permanency, depending as it does on outdoing other firms at correctly figuring out how best to satisfy forever-changing consumer preferences, and that kind of vulnerability to loss is no picnic. It is no surprise, then, that throughout U.S. history corporations have been overwhelmingly hostile to the free market. Indeed, most of the existing regulatory apparatus—including those regulations widely misperceived as restraints on corporate power—were vigorously supported, lobbied for, and in some cases even drafted by the corporate elite.

Corporate power depends crucially on government intervention in the marketplace. This is obvious enough in the case of the more overt forms of government favoritism such as subsidies, bailouts, and other forms of corporate welfare; protectionist tariffs; explicit grants of monopoly privilege; and the seizing of private property for corporate use via eminent domain (as in Kelo v. New London). But these direct forms of pro-business intervention are supplemented by a swarm of indirect forms whose impact is arguably greater still.

As I have written elsewhere:

    One especially useful service that the state can render the corporate elite is cartel enforcement. Price-fixing agreements are unstable on a free market, since while all parties to the agreement have a collective interest in seeing the agreement generally hold, each has an individual interest in breaking the agreement by underselling the other parties in order to win away their customers; and even if the cartel manages to maintain discipline over its own membership, the oligopolistic prices tend to attract new competitors into the market. Hence the advantage to business of state-enforced cartelisation. Often this is done directly, but there are indirect ways too, such as imposing uniform quality standards that relieve firms from having to compete in quality. (And when the quality standards are high, lower-quality but cheaper competitors are priced out of the market.)

    The ability of colossal firms to exploit economies of scale is also limited in a free market, since beyond a certain point the benefits of size (e.g., reduced transaction costs) get outweighed by diseconomies of scale (e.g., calculational chaos stemming from absence of price feedback)—unless the state enables them to socialise these costs by immunising them from competition – e.g., by imposing fees, licensure requirements, capitalisation requirements, and other regulatory burdens that disproportionately impact newer, poorer entrants as opposed to richer, more established firms.

Nor does the list end there. Tax breaks to favored corporations represent yet another non-obvious form of government intervention. There is of course nothing anti-market about tax breaks per se; quite the contrary. But when a firm is exempted from taxes to which its competitors are subject, it becomes the beneficiary of state coercion directed against others, and to that extent owes its success to government intervention rather than market forces.

Intellectual property laws also function to bolster the power of big business. Even those who accept the intellectual property as a legitimate form of private property can agree that the ever-expanding temporal horizon of copyright protection, along with disproportionately steep fines for violations (measures for which publishers, recording firms, software companies, and film studios have lobbied so effectively), are excessive from an incentival point of view, stand in tension with the express intent of the Constitution’s patents-and-copyrights clause, and have more to do with maximizing corporate profits than with securing a fair return to the original creators.

Government favoritism also underwrites environmental irresponsibility on the part of big business. Polluters often enjoy protection against lawsuits, for example, despite the pollution’s status as a violation of private property rights. When timber companies engage in logging on public lands, the access roads are generally tax-funded, thus reducing the cost of logging below its market rate; moreover, since the loggers do not own the forests they have little incentive to log sustainably.

In addition, inflationary monetary policies on the part of central banks also tend to benefit those businesses that receive the inflated money first in the form of loans and investments, when they are still facing the old, lower prices, while those to whom the new money trickles down later, only after they have already begun facing higher prices, systematically lose out.

And of course corporations have been frequent beneficiaries of U.S. military interventions abroad, from the United Fruit Company in 1950s Guatemala to Halliburton in Iraq today.

Vast corporate empires like Wal-Mart are often either hailed or condemned (depending on the speaker’s perspective) as products of the free market. But not only is Wal-Mart a direct beneficiary of (usually local) government intervention in the form of such measures as eminent domain and tax breaks, but it also reaps less obvious benefits from policies of wider application. The funding of public highways through tax revenues, for example, constitutes a de facto transportation subsidy, allowing Wal-Mart and similar chains to socialize the costs of shipping and so enabling them to compete more successfully against local businesses; the low prices we enjoy at Wal-Mart in our capacity as consumers are thus made possible in part by our having already indirectly subsidized Wal-Mart’s operating costs in our capacity as taxpayers.

Wal-Mart also keeps its costs low by paying low salaries; but what makes those low salaries possible is the absence of more lucrative alternatives for its employees—and that fact in turn owes much to government intervention. The existence of regulations, fees, licensure requirements, et cetera does not affect all market participants equally; it’s much easier for wealthy, well-established companies to jump through these hoops than it is for new firms just starting up. Hence such regulations both decrease the number of employers bidding for employees’ services (thus keeping salaries low) and make it harder for the less affluent to start enterprises of their own. Legal restrictions on labor organizing also make it harder for such workers to organize collectively on their own behalf.

I don’t mean to suggest that Wal-Mart and similar firms owe their success solely to governmental privilege; genuine entrepreneurial talent has doubtless been involved as well. But given the enormous governmental contribution to that success, it’s doubtful that in the absence of government intervention such firms would be in anything like the position they are today.

In a free market, firms would be smaller and less hierarchical, more local and more numerous (and many would probably be employee-owned); prices would be lower and wages higher; and corporate power would be in shambles. Small wonder that big business, despite often paying lip service to free market ideals, tends to systematically oppose them in practice.

So where does this idea come from that advocates of free-market libertarianism must be carrying water for big business interests? Whence the pervasive conflation of corporatist plutocracy with libertarian laissez-faire? Who is responsible for promoting this confusion?

There are three different groups that must shoulder their share of the blame. (Note: in speaking of “blame” I am not necessarily saying that the “culprits” have deliberately promulgated what they knew to be a confusion; in most cases the failing is rather one of negligence, of inadequate attention to inconsistencies in their worldview. And as we’ll see, these three groups have systematically reinforced one another’s confusions.)

Culprit #1: the left. Across the spectrum from the squishiest mainstream liberal to the bomb-throwingest radical leftist, there is widespread (though not, it should be noted, universal) agreement that laissez-faire and corporate plutocracy are virtually synonymous. David Korten, for example, describes advocates of unrestricted markets, private property, and individual rights as “corporate libertarians” who champion a “globalized free market that leaves resource allocation decisions in the hands of giant corporations”—as though these giant corporations were creatures of the free market rather than of the state—while Noam Chomsky, though savvy enough to recognize that the corporate elite are terrified of genuine free markets, yet in the same breath will turn around and say that we must at all costs avoid free markets lest we unduly empower the corporate elite.

Culprit #2: the right. If libertarians’ left-wing opponents have conflated free markets with pro-business intervention, libertarians’ right-wing opponents have done all they can to foster precisely this confusion; for there is a widespread (though again not universal) tendency for conservatives to cloak corporatist policies in free-market rhetoric. This is how conservative politicians in their presumptuous Adam Smith neckties have managed to get themselves perceived—perhaps have even managed to perceive themselves—as proponents of tax cuts, spending cuts, and unhampered competition despite endlessly raising taxes, raising spending, and promoting “government-business partnerships.”

Consider the conservative virtue-term “privatization,” which has two distinct, indeed opposed, meanings. On the one hand, it can mean returning some service or industry from the monopolistic government sector to the competitive private sector—getting government out of it; this would be the libertarian meaning. On the other hand, it can mean “contracting out,” i.e., granting to some private firm a monopoly privilege in the provision some service previously provided by government directly. There is nothing free-market about privatization in this latter sense, since the monopoly power is merely transferred from one set of hands to another; this is corporatism, or pro-business intervention, not laissez-faire. (To be sure, there may be competition in the bidding for such monopoly contracts, but competition to establish a legal monopoly is no more genuine market competition than voting—one last time—to establish a dictator is genuine democracy.)

Of these two meanings, the corporatist meaning may actually be older, dating back to fascist economic policies in Nazi Germany; but it was the libertarian meaning that was primarily intended when the term (coined independently, as the reverse of “nationalization”) first achieved widespread usage in recent decades. Yet conservatives have largely co-opted the term, turning it once again toward the corporatist sense.

Similar concerns apply to that other conservative virtue-term, “deregulation.” From a libertarian standpoint, deregulating should mean the removal of governmental directives and interventions from the sphere of voluntary exchange. But when a private entity is granted special governmental privileges, “deregulating” it amounts instead to an increase, not a decrease, in governmental intrusion into the economy. To take an example not exactly at random, if assurances of a tax-funded bailout lead banks to make riskier loans than they otherwise would, then the banks are being made freer to take risks with the money of unconsenting taxpayers. When conservatives advocate this kind of deregulation they are wrapping redistribution and privilege in the language of economic freedom. When conservatives market their plutocratic schemes as free-market policies, can we really blame liberals and leftists for conflating the two? (Well, okay, yes we can. Still, it is a mitigating factor.)

Culprit #3: libertarians themselves. Alas, libertarians are not innocent here—which is why the answer to my opening question (as to whether it’s fair to charge libertarians with being apologists for big business) was no and yes rather than a simple no. If libertarians are accused of carrying water for corporate interests, that may be at least in part because, well, they so often sound like that’s just what they’re doing (though here, as above, there are plenty of honorable exceptions to this tendency). Consider libertarian icon Ayn Rand’s description of big business as a “persecuted minority,” or the way libertarians defend “our free-market health-care system” against the alternative of socialized medicine, as though the health care system that prevails in the United States were the product of free competition rather than of systematic government intervention on behalf of insurance companies and the medical establishment at the expense of ordinary people. Or again, note the alacrity with which so many libertarians rush to defend Wal-Mart and the like as heroic exemplars of the free market. Among such libertarians, criticisms of corporate power are routinely dismissed as anti-market ideology. (Of course such dismissiveness gets reinforced by the fact that many critics of corporate power are in the grip of anti-market ideology.) Thus when left-wing analysts complain about “corporate libertarians” they are not merely confused; they’re responding to a genuine tendency even if they’ve to some extent misunderstood it.

Kevin Carson has coined the term “vulgar libertarianism” for the tendency to treat the case for the free market as though it justified various unlovely features of actually existing corporatist society. (I find it preferable to talk of vulgar libertarianism rather than of vulgar libertarians, because very few libertarians are consistently vulgar; vulgar libertarianism is a tendency that can show up to varying degrees in thinkers who have many strong anti-corporatist tendencies also.) Likewise, “vulgar liberalism” is Carson’s term for the corresponding tendency to treat the undesirability of those features of actually existing corporatist society as though they constituted an objection to the free market. Both tendencies conflate free markets with corporatism, but draw opposite morals; as Murray Rothbard notes, “Both left and right have been persistently misled by the notion that intervention by the government is ipso facto leftish and antibusiness.”[18] And if many leftists tend to see dubious corporate advocacy in libertarian pronouncements even when it’s not there, so likewise many libertarians tend not to see dubious corporate advocacy in libertarian pronouncements even when it is there.

There is an obvious tendency for vulgar libertarianism and vulgar liberalism to reinforce each other, as each takes at face value the conflation of plutocracy with free markets assumed by the other. This conflation in turn tends to bolster the power of the political establishment by rendering genuine libertarianism invisible: Those who are attracted to free markets are lured into supporting plutocracy, thus helping to prop up statism’s right or corporatist wing; those who are repelled by plutocracy are lured into opposing free markets, thus helping to prop up statism’s left or social-democratic wing. But as these two wings have more in common than not, the political establishment wins either way. The perception that libertarians are shills for big business thus has two bad effects: First, it tends to make it harder to attract converts to libertarianism, and so hinders its success; second, those converts its does attract may end up reinforcing corporate power through their advocacy of a muddled version of the doctrine.

In the nineteenth century, it was far more common than it is today for libertarians to see themselves as opponents of big business. The long 20th-century alliance of libertarians with conservatives against the common enemy of state-socialism probably had much to do with reorienting libertarian thought toward the right; and the brief rapprochement between libertarians and the left during the 1960s foundered when the New Left imploded. As a result, libertarians have been ill-placed to combat left-wing and right-wing conflation of markets with privilege, because they have not been entirely free of the conflation themselves.

Happily, the left/libertarian coalition is now beginning to re-emerge; and with it is emerging a new emphasis on the distinction between free markets and prevailing corporatism. In addition, many libertarians are beginning to rethink the way they present their views, and in particular their use of terminology. Take, for example, the word “capitalism,” which libertarians during the past century have tended to apply to the system they favor. As I’ve argued elsewhere, this term is somewhat problematic; some use it to mean free markets, others to mean corporate privilege, and still others (perhaps the majority) to mean some confused amalgamation of the two:

By “capitalism” most people mean neither the free market simpliciter nor the prevailing neomercantilist system simpliciter. Rather, what most people mean by “capitalism” is this free-market system that currently prevails in the western world. In short, the term “capitalism” as generally used conceals an assumption that the prevailing system is a free market. And since the prevailing system is in fact one of government favoritism toward business, the ordinary use of the term carries with it the assumption that the free market is government favoritism toward business.

Hence clinging to the term “capitalism” may be one of the factors reinforcing the conflation of libertarianism with corporatist advocacy. In any case, if libertarianism advocacy is not to be misperceived—or worse yet, correctly perceived! —as pro-corporate apologetics, the antithetical relationship between free markets and corporate power must be continually highlighted.

Roderick Long is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Auburn University.
« Reply #83 on: November 20, 2008, 02:36:53 PM »

Pretty hefty reading and trending towards more philosophical debates, but an interesting website.
Posts: 6

« Reply #84 on: November 27, 2008, 12:10:40 PM »

Came thro` today on YahOO UK & Ireland.....

SOOO, everyone out there better not LOOK like Criminals.....

Top Hats and Tails it is then.......
Power User
Posts: 42494

« Reply #85 on: November 29, 2008, 09:04:58 AM »

Rachel posted on "Ephemeral Conversation" on the Internet Tech thread-- it is also quite relevant to this thread here.
Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #86 on: November 30, 2008, 09:06:48 AM »

Here is why TIPS and other, similar programs are a good idea. I'd hope everyone here would report if they saw something that was a potential threat.
Power User
Posts: 42494

« Reply #87 on: December 01, 2008, 12:37:29 AM »

F'g A!  grin

Next time we talk on the phone remind me to tell you the Newark story.
« Reply #88 on: December 02, 2008, 01:54:10 PM »

The Libertarian Moment
Despite all leading indicators to the contrary, America is poised to enter a new age of freedom.

Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch | December 2008 Print Edition

If someone looked you in the eye in 1971 and said “Man, you know what? We’re about to get a whole lot freer,” you might have reasonably concluded that he was nuts, driven mad by taking too much LSD and staring into the sun.

Back during that annus horribilis, a Republican president from the Southwest, facing an economy that was groaning under the strain of record deficits and runaway spending on elective and unpopular overseas wars, announced one of the most draconian economic interventions in Washington’s inglorious history: a freeze on wages and prices, accompanied by an across-the-board 10 percent tariff on imports and the final termination of what little remained of the gold standard in America.

Though the world wouldn’t learn until later that this president was using federal law enforcement agencies to attack his real and imagined enemies, Richard Nixon’s yen for paranoid secrecy and executive branch power-mongering was well-established, providing an actuarial foreshadowing of corruption. Which isn’t to say that the Democrats of the time were any less statist: In 1972, their presidential nominee was even more economically interventionist than Tricky Dick. Widely (and rightly) considered the most liberal Oval Office candidate in decades, George McGovern actually claimed that wage and price controls were applied “too late—they froze wages but let prices and profits run wild.” And individual states were passing income taxes like so many doobies at a beachside singalong.

Yet even during that dark night of the American soul, with all its eerie echoes of George W. Bush’s final miserable days in office, premonitions of liberty-loving life abounded for those who knew where to look. The contraceptive pill, which gave women unprecedented control over their sexual and reproductive lives, had been made legal for married women in 1965, and was on the verge of being legalized for unmarried women too. A new political group, the Libertarian Party, started in December 1971, and a larger libertarian movement manifested itself in a host of young organizations and publications. Free agency in sports, music, and film, triggered by a series of legal battles and economic developments, ushered in a wild new era of individualistic expression and artistic independence. It was an unfree world but, as bestselling author (and eventual Libertarian presidential candidate) Harry Browne could attest, it was one in which you could still find plenty of freedom.

Widespread middle-class prosperity gave the average American the tools and the confidence to experiment with a thousand different lifestyles, many of them previously the sole dominion of the rich, giving us everything from gay liberation to encounter groups, from back-to-the-garden communes to back-to-the-old-ways fundamentalist churches, from Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice to Looking Out for #1. In 1968, the techno-hippies at the Whole Earth Catalog announced, “We are as gods and might as well get good at it.” A year later, a new technology allowing university computers to communicate with one another went live, laying the foundations for what would become the Internet. And the magazine you are holding, in its September 1969 issue, made what might have been the craziest argument of all during the Age of Nixon: If you abolish the Civil Aeronautics Board and get the federal government out of regulating “every essential aspect” of the airline business, Robert W. Poole wrote, then air traffic will grow while prices plummet. (For more on Poole’s story, see “40 Years of Free Minds and Free Markets,” page 28.)

By the end of the 1970s, the Civil Aeronautics Board was in the dustbin of history, sharing much-deserved space with price controls, the reserve clause, and back-alley abortions. What started out as a decade marred by pointless war and Soviet-style central planning ended up being the decade that ended military conscription and—arguably even more stunning—regulation of interstate trucking. The personal computer introduced possibilities few people had ever dreamed of (though reason did; see “Speculation, Innovation, Regulation,” page 44), a property tax revolt in California spread like a brush fire across the country, and the Republican Party went from the big-government conservatism of Nixon and Nelson Rockefeller to the small-government rabble-rousing of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. The Libertarian Party…well, it kept trying, winning one electoral vote in 1972 and 921,299 popular votes in 1980.

Most importantly, individuals burned through the 1970s with the haughty grandeur and splashiness falsely predicted of Comet Kohoutek. Stagflation be damned: Americans finally learned to live, dammit, in a no-collar world where both electricians and executives dressed like peacocks and women starting earning real money, not just as entertainers but as doctors and lawyers. Boys grew hair longer than girls, and girls started playing Little League baseball. As Tom Wolfe wrote in his era-naming 1976 essay, “The Me Decade and the Third Great Awakening,” “But once the dreary little bastards started getting money…they did an astonishing thing—they took their money and ran! They did something only aristocrats (and intellectuals and artists) were supposed to do—they discovered and started doting on Me! They’ve created the greatest age of individualism in American history! All rules are broken!”

Everything solid dissolved into the Bermuda Triangle, or at least a long series of Chariots of the Gods sequels. During the 1970s, we undoubtedly felt more discombobulated (Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth and Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull shared the bestseller lists), but there is no question in retrospect that we were considerably more free even by the time Thatcher padlocked the coal mines in Olde England and the Reagan Revolution ushered in the 1980s as a glorious decade of greed.

That ’00s Show

As in 1971, there is no shortage of reasons to grumble about the state of American liberty at the end of 2008. As this issue went to press, Congress had passed the economic equivalent of the PATRIOT Act, a nearly trillion-dollar bailout of the financial industry, involving whole-scale nationalization of the mortgage lending business (see “Back to the Barricades,” page 2, and “Atlas Blinked,” page 18). Despite (or perhaps because of ) eight years of a president who has increased regulatory spending by more than 61 percent in real terms, “deregulation” has become a concept even more panic-inducing than Janet Jackson’s nipple. Whether in international security, the financial world, or the cultural arena, the answer to everything seems to be a new clampdown. It is nearly impossible to cross a North American border without showing a passport, revealing biomedical information, and being entered into a database for decades. Every day across this great country some city council is finding a new private activity to ban, whether it’s selling food cooked with trans fats, using a cell phone behind the wheel, or smoking a cigarette outdoors. And the two major-party candidates for president are trying to out-populist one another with Oliver Stone–level attacks on Wall Street “greed,” while advancing economic plans filled with centralized industrial policy and extravagant promises that would undoubtedly burst the federal government’s already near-broken budget.

Yet if 1971 contained a few flickers of light in the authoritarian darkness, 2008 is chock full of halogen-bright beacons shouting “This way!” Turn away from the overhyped prize of the Oval Office and all the dreary, government expanding policies and politics that go with it, and the picture is not merely one of plausible happy endings to our current sob stories of mortgage-finance meltdowns and ever-lengthening war, but something far more radical, more game-changing, than all that we’ve grown to expect.

We are in fact living at the cusp of what should be called the Libertarian Moment, the dawning not of some fabled, clichéd, and loosey-goosey Age of Aquarius but a time of increasingly hyper-individualized, hyper-expanded choice over every aspect of our lives, from 401(k)s to hot and cold running coffee drinks, from life-saving pharmaceuticals to online dating services. This is now a world where it’s more possible than ever to live your life on your own terms; it’s an early rough draft version of the libertarian philosopher Robert Nozick’s glimmering “utopia of utopias.” Due to exponential advances in technology, broad-based increases in wealth, the ongoing networking of the world via trade and culture, and the decline of both state and private institutions of repression, never before has it been easier for more individuals to chart their own course and steer their lives by the stars as they see the sky. If you don’t believe it, ask your gay friends, or simply look who’s running for the White House in 2008.

This new century of the individual, which makes the Me Decade look positively communitarian in comparison, will have far-reaching implications wherever individuals swarm together in commerce, culture, or politics. Already we have witnessed gale-force effects on nearly every “legacy” industry that had grown accustomed to dictating prices and product and intelligence to their customers, be they airlines, automakers, music companies, or newspapers (it was nice knowing all of you). Education and health care, handicapped by their large streams of public-sector and hence revanchist funding, lag behind, but even in those sorry professions, practitioners are scrambling desperately to respond to consumer demands and compete for business. Politics, always a crippled, lagging indicator of social change, will be the last entrenched oligopoly to be squashed like a bug on the windshield of history, since the two major parties have effectively rigged the game to their advantage in a way no robber baron ever could. But the Dems and Reps, more bankrupt as brands than Woolworth’s and Sears Roebuck, are already in ideological Chapter 11.

The Libertarian Moment is based on a few hard-won insights that have grown into a fragile but enduring consensus in the ever-expanding free world. First is the notion that, all things being equal, markets are the best way to organize an economy and unleash the means of production (and its increasingly difficult-to-distinguish adjunct, consumption). Second is that at least vaguely representative democracy, and the political freedom it almost always strengthens, is the least worst form of government (a fact that even recalcitrant, anti-modern regimes in Islamabad, Tehran, and Berkeley grudgingly acknowledge in at least symbolic displays of pluralism). Both points seem almost banal now, but were under constant attack during the days of the Soviet Union, and are still subject to wobbly confidence any time capitalist dictatorships like China seem to grow ascendant in a time of domestic economic woe. Though every dip in the Dow makes the professional amnesiacs of cable TV and the finance pages turn in the direction of Mao, there is no going back to the Great Leap Forward.

Or the Great Society, for that matter. Try as politicians might, citizens continue their great escape from grand designs. Financially ruinous entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare are going nowhere slow, but all of us are getting better at finding ways to work around such stultifying bureaucracies. Virtually across the board, the government’s pension plan is becoming less important to retirees and the medical cartel is slowly losing its death grip on providing basic services. Even across old Europe, government spending as a percentage of GDP has fallen over the past several decades. The Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom has charted nothing but global increases since it began in 1995.

The ne plus ultra change agent as we lurch through the finish line of yet another electoral contest between our 19th century political parties is the revolutionary, break-it-down-and-build-it-back-up power of the Internet, and all the glorious creative destruction it enables at the expense of lumbering gatekeepers and to the benefit of empowered individuals. No single entity in the history of mankind has been so implicitly and explicitly libertarian: a tax-free distributed network and alternative universe where individuals, usually without effective interference from government, can reshape their identities, transcend limitations of family, geography, and culture. It’s a place where freaks and geeks and regular folks can pool their intelligence and compete (even win!) against entities thousands of times their size.

The generation raised on the Internet has essentially been raised libertarian, even if they’ve never even heard of the word. Native netizens now entering college exhibit a kind of broad-based tolerance toward every manner of ethnic, religious, and sexual-orientation grouping in a way that would have seemed like science fiction just a generation ago. The products and activities they enjoy and co-opt most, from filesharing to flying discount airlines to facebooking, are excrescences of the free-market ideas of deregulation and decontrol. Generations X, Y, and those even younger swim in markets—that is, in choices among competing alternatives—the way those of us who grew up in the ’70s frolicked on Slip ’n Slides.

Feelin’ Groovy

Understanding the Libertarian Moment is fundamental to understanding the 21st century. Power—economic, cultural, political—will accrue to those people who recognize that it’s over for existing power centers. The command economy, the command culture, and the command polity have all been replaced by a different model—that of a consultant, a docent, a fixer, a friend. The individuals and groups that will flourish in the Libertarian Moment will be those who open things up, not shut them down.

The first step toward understanding is to recognize that the moment is indeed upon us. In reason’s 20th anniversary issue, the most talked-about piece was Robert Poole’s then-controversial contention that 1988 was a lot “groovier” than 1968. (For Poole’s take on the freedoms to emerge since then, see “Groovier and Groovier,” page 14; also, consult Veronique de Rugy’s “Are You Better off Than You Were 40 Years Ago?,” page 24.) The single biggest piece of good news in the past 20 years (and arguably the past 90) was the collapse of the Soviet Union, and with it the final discrediting of Marxism as an economic and social model. Communism had ironically sided with the producer rather than the consumer, the factory owner rather than the workingman, by trying without success to shove unwanted commodities on unmanageable customers.

If the end of World War II hastened the end of old-style colonialism (by the mid-1960s, virtually all the conventional Old World empires had been thoroughly dismantled), the end of the Cold War marked the end of countless proxy wars between the two major superpowers. The erosion of top-down hegemony resulted not in chaos (as many feared) but a new era of freedom and mostly peaceful coexistence. As of the end of 2007, Freedom House ranked 90 of 193 countries as “free,” 60 as “partly free,” and 43 as “not free,” which is up from 81/57/53 in 1997, and 58/51/51 in 1987.

Not only are countries increasingly independent and free, but thanks to global trade they are increasingly prosperous as well, with an estimated 600 million people lifted out of poverty in China alone over the past three decades. War is declining, too: As the political scientist John Mueller documents in 2004’s The Remnants of War, armed global conflicts in which 1,000 people have died yearly have been in decline for decades.

Global freedom and prosperity may be the greatest single cause for rejoicing, but the Libertarian Moment affects our humdrum daily lives here in America as well. As Madge always told us about Palmolive, we’re soaking in it.

« Reply #89 on: December 02, 2008, 01:55:11 PM »

The Internet alone has created entire new economies, modes of scattered and decentralized organization and work, and a hyper-individualization that would have shocked the Founding Fathers. Liberated from the constraints of geography and 20th century career paths, Americans are more productive than they ever have been and their jobs are more personalized than ever, with strictly enforced punch-the-clock jobs morphing into flextime, telecommuting gigs. In less than two decades, we’ve moved from a “You want fries with that?” world to one in which “You want soy with that decaf mocha frappuccino?” no longer elicits laughs—except unintentionally, when John McCain tries to use Starbucks flavors as a stand-in for Americans’ lack of seriousness.

Critics continue to worry about the demise of what John Kenneth Galbraith and others described in the 1950s and ’60s as The Affluent Society and The New Industrial State, in which too-big-to-fail megacorporations such as IBM and General Motors replaced the welfare state as a cradle-to-grave provider of social welfare services, status, and meaning. But fears of “a great risk shift” in which post-industrial free agents are left to fend for themselves is based on what the management guru Tom Peters once called, in a reason interview, the “‘false-nostalgia-for-shitty-jobs phenomenon’: Oh for the halcyon days when I could sit on the 37th floor of the General Motors Tower passing memorandums from the left side of the desk to the right side of the desk for 43 years. It’s just total shit. It really is. Life was not as glorious as imagined.”

The era of the blockbuster and the bestseller has been replaced with something new and wonderful: a world in which individuals are free to express themselves by tapping into millions of different book titles at Amazon, tens of thousands of different songs at Rhapsody, and dozens of different beers at even the least-provisioned supermarket (at least those that aren’t banned outright from selling alcohol). Smart retailers realize that the key to the future is to give the customer more choices, not to act as a chokepoint. In a similar way, social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook do not structure interaction as much as provide a not-so-temporary autonomous zone to facilitate it. Individual users tailor the experience to their own desires rather than submit to a central authority. The inhabitants of such a world are instinctively soft libertarians, resisting or flouting most nanny-state interference, at least on issues that affect their favorite activities. When it comes to online commerce, at least, both producers and consumers scream bloody murder every time 20th century politicians attempt to levy taxes or restrictions on goods and services.

This wave of individualized creative destruction is battering incumbents in seemingly every industry except politics, where the status quo parties keep partying like it’s 1899. But look closer, and you’ll see they’re hemorrhaging market share just like broadcast dinosaurs on network TV. In 1970, the Harris Poll asked Americans, “Regardless of how you may vote, what do you usually consider yourself—a Republican, a Democrat, an Independent, or some other party?” Fully 49 percent of respondents chose Democrat, and 31 percent called themselves Republicans. In 2007, the latest year for which data is available, those figures were 35 percent for Democrats and 26 percent for Republicans. The only real growth market in politics is voters who decline political affiliation, and the only political adjective seemingly gaining in popularity is…libertarian.

From lefty comedian Bill Maher to righty columnist Jonah Goldberg, from in-the-tank Democratic blogger Markos “Daily Kos” Moulitsas to in-the-tank Republican talk show host Neal Boortz, you can’t turn around in a political discussion anymore without hearing someone identify themselves at least partially (whether rightly or wrongly) as a “libertarian.”

The 2008 presidential campaign, and to a heartening degree the public debate and all-too-temporary congressional defeat of the Wall Street bailout, gave the first hints at what may soon become a permanent libertarian strain in politics. An uncharismatic libertarian congressman from Texas, Ron Paul, ignited a decentralized swarm of money-bombing donors to the Republican presidential primaries with his message of not wanting to run people’s lives (“we all have different values”), or the economy (“people run the economy in a free society”), or the world (“we don’t need to be imposing ourselves around the world”).

Though the Paul movement didn’t end up coalescing behind a single candidate for president after the primaries were over, its impact could still be felt in the fall, when, faced with a historic opportunity to socialize losses by throwing tax money at investment banks, Main Street Americans shrugged at least temporarily while Wall Street Atlases wept. As the chattering classes, politicians, and analysts compared a run of recent bankruptcies and market downturns to an economic Pearl Harbor requiring an immediate call to arms, more than half of the House of Representatives said that prudence dictated taking a deep breath or three.

On the stump, Barack Obama preaches a less-interventionist foreign policy and an interventionist domestic agenda; John McCain presents roughly the obverse. Despite each of them claiming to foment change, their adherence to old forms and old labels represents not the first real choice in the new era but the last presidential contest of the 20th century. Yet between them, and outside of their spheres, is a glimmering of a fusion that just might appeal to most Americans: engagement and integration with the world via cultural and economic exchange, and a more personally autonomous society at home in which individuals are responsible for charting their own course.

It’s wrong to look at politics as anything other than the B.A. Baracus of American society, the last one through the door and the last member of The A-Team to get the joke. And a simple study of incentives will tell you that political parties will use whatever is at their disposal to stay in power, particularly the government they control. Expecting Washington to cut back its main instrument of power after a capitalism-bashing political campaign is like expecting Michael Moore to share his Egg McMuffin with a homeless man.

But when the gap grows too wide between voter desire and government policy, between the way people actually live their lives and the way government wants them to behave, then a situation that looks stable can turn revolutionary overnight. Richard Nixon may have been sitting pretty in 1971, but he was sent packing to San Clemente by 1974. As back then, we emerge from life under George W. Bush bruised and battered but looking forward not to a protracted twilight struggle with an existential foe but to a new and largely unimaginable world of wonders. There is a learning curve at work here, one that human beings have been struggling with for 40 years, 400 years, 4,000 years. In context, it has only been recently that the concept of individual liberty has been prototyped and subjected to testing in anything approaching real-world conditions. Advances are inevitably followed by setbacks, and we stagger into the future punch-drunk, more like Muhammad Ali than Rocky Marciano.

But the power to swarm in the direction of freedom is the new technology fueling an idea that is as old as the American republic itself: No central government shall interfere with our life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. The Libertarian Moment is taking these self-evident truths and organizing them into a comprehensive approach toward living. It started where it always does, in business and culture, where innovation is rewarded. Statist politicians—it’s not fully clear that there is any other kind—will ignore that epochal shift at their peril. And will eventually be forced to fly to their own personal San Clementes.

Nick Gillespie is editor of reason online and Matt Welch is editor in chief of reason.
« Reply #90 on: December 04, 2008, 02:56:18 PM »
Power User
Posts: 42494

« Reply #91 on: December 04, 2008, 03:26:28 PM »


Please post WHY you are posting a URL.

Thank you,
« Reply #92 on: December 04, 2008, 05:09:52 PM »

Sorry... embarassed

Interesting, if short, round table discussion on whether or  not we are "free-er" now than in the past, the future of the Libertarian party, and comparisons between Libertarian political thought in past and present.
« Reply #93 on: December 06, 2008, 01:02:24 PM »

Hmm, love to see the probable cause used here.


Radley Balko | December 6, 2008, 1:28pm

Like Mark Draughn, I've been somewhat skeptical of Barry Cooper, the former drug cop turned pitchman for how-to-beat-the-cops videos. He comes off as more of a huckster than a principled whistle-blower, which I think does the good ideas he stands for (police reform) more harm than good.
But damn. I have to hand it to him. This might be one of the ballsiest moves I've ever seen.

KopBusters rented a house in Odessa, Texas and began growing two small Christmas trees under a grow light similar to those used for growing marijuana. When faced with a suspected marijuana grow, the police usually use illegal FLIR cameras and/or lie on the search warrant affidavit claiming they have probable cause to raid the house. Instead of conducting a proper investigation which usually leads to no probable cause, the Kops lie on the affidavit claiming a confidential informant saw the plants and/or the police could smell marijuana coming from the suspected house.

The trap was set and less than 24 hours later, the Odessa narcotics unit raided the house only to find KopBuster’s attorney waiting under a system of complex gadgetry and spy cameras that streamed online to the KopBuster’s secret mobile office nearby.

To clarify just a bit, according to Cooper, there was nothing illegal going on the bait house, just two evergreen trees and some grow lamps. There was no probable cause. So a couple of questions come up. First, how did the cops get turned on to the house in the first place? Cooper suspects they were using thermal imaging equipment to detect the grow lamps, a practice the Supreme Court has said is illegal. The second question is, what probable cause did the police put on the affidavit to get a judge to sign off on a search warrant? If there was nothing illegal going on in the house, it's difficult to conceive of a scenario where either the police or one of their informants didn't lie to get a warrant.
Cooper chose the Odessa police department for baiting because he believes police there instructed an informant to plant marijuana on a woman named Yolanda Madden. She's currently serving an eight-year sentence for possession with intent to distribute. According to Cooper, the informant actually admitted in federal court that he planted the marijuana. Madden was convicted anyway.

The story's worth watching, not only to see if the cops themselves are held accountable for this, but whether the local district attorney tries to come up with a crime with which to charge Cooper and his assistants.  I can't imagine such a charge would get very far, but I wouldn't be surprised to see someone try.

Here's some local media coverage:

Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #94 on: December 06, 2008, 10:36:35 PM »

I'd like to see the affidavit for the search warrant. I expect the DOJ/FBI will be looking at this with great interest.
Power User
Posts: 42494

« Reply #95 on: December 15, 2008, 11:12:38 AM »

As the first digital president, Barack Obama is learning the hard way how difficult it can be to maintain privacy in the information age. Earlier this year, his passport file was snooped by contract workers in the State Department. In October, someone at Immigration and Customs Enforcement leaked information about his aunt's immigration status. And in November, Verizon employees peeked at his cell phone records.

What these three incidents illustrate is not that computerized databases are vulnerable to hacking -- we already knew that, and anyway the perpetrators all had legitimate access to the systems they used -- but how important audit is as a security measure.

When we think about security, we commonly think about preventive measures: locks to keep burglars out of our homes, bank safes to keep thieves from our money, and airport screeners to keep guns and bombs off airplanes. We might also think of detection and response measures: alarms that go off when burglars pick our locks or dynamite open bank safes, sky marshals on airplanes who respond when a hijacker manages to sneak a gun through airport security. But audit, figuring out who did what after the fact, is often far more important than any of those other three.

Most security against crime comes from audit. Of course we use locks and alarms, but we don't wear bulletproof vests. The police provide for our safety by investigating crimes after the fact and prosecuting the guilty: that's audit.

Audit helps ensure that people don't abuse positions of trust. The cash register, for example, is basically an audit system. Cashiers have to handle the store's money. To ensure they don't skim from the till, the cash register keeps an audit trail of every transaction. The store owner can look at the register totals at the end of the day and make sure the amount of money in the register is the amount that should be there.

The same idea secures us from police abuse, too. The police have enormous power, including the ability to intrude into very intimate aspects of our life in order to solve crimes and keep the peace. This is generally a good thing, but to ensure that the police don't abuse this power, we put in place systems of audit like the warrant process.

The whole NSA warrantless eavesdropping scandal was about this. Some misleadingly painted it as allowing the government to eavesdrop on foreign terrorists, but the government always had that authority. What the government wanted was to not have to submit a warrant, even after the fact, to a secret FISA court. What they wanted was to not be subject to audit.

That would be an incredibly bad idea. Law enforcement systems that don't have good audit features designed in, or are exempt from this sort of audit-based oversight, are much more prone to abuse by those in power -- because they can abuse the system without the risk of getting caught. Audit is essential as the NSA increases its domestic spying. And large police databases, like the FBI Next Generation Identification System, need to have strong audit features built in.

For computerized database systems like that -- systems entrusted with other people's information -- audit is a very important security mechanism. Hospitals need to keep databases of very personal health information, and doctors and nurses need to be able to access that information quickly and easily. A good audit record of who accessed what when is the best way to ensure that those trusted with our medical information don't abuse that trust. It's the same with IRS records, credit reports, police databases, telephone records -- anything personal that someone might want to peek at during the course of his job.

Which brings us back to President Obama. In each of those three examples, someone in a position of trust inappropriately accessed personal information. The difference between how they played out is due to differences in audit. The State Department's audit worked best; they had alarm systems in place that alerted superiors when Obama's passport files were accessed and who accessed them. Verizon's audit mechanisms worked less well; they discovered the inappropriate account access and have narrowed the culprits down to a few people. Audit at Immigration and Customs Enforcement was far less effective; they still don't know who accessed the information.

Large databases filled with personal information, whether managed by governments or corporations, are an essential aspect of the information age. And they each need to be accessed, for legitimate purposes, by thousands or tens of thousands of people. The only way to ensure those people don't abuse the power they're entrusted with is through audit. Without it, we will simply never know who's peeking at what.

Obama stories:
NSA domestic spying:

FBI's Next Generation Identification System:

This essay first appeared on the Wall Street Journal website.
Power User
Posts: 42494

« Reply #96 on: December 15, 2008, 11:34:58 AM »

Second post of the morning

FOIA docs show feds can lojack mobiles without telco help
By Julian Sanchez | Published: November 16, 2008 - 10:45PM CT

Related StoriesCourt: warrant needed to turn cell phone into homing beacon

Courts in recent years have been raising the evidentiary bar law enforcement agents must meet in order to obtain historical cell phone records that reveal information about a target's location. But documents obtained by civil liberties groups under a Freedom of Information Act request suggest that "triggerfish" technology can be used to pinpoint cell phones without involving cell phone providers at all.

Triggerfish, also known as cell-site simulators or digital analyzers, are nothing new: the technology was used in the 1990s to hunt down renowned hacker Kevin Mitnick. By posing as a cell tower, triggerfish trick nearby cell phones into transmitting their serial numbers, phone numbers, and other data to law enforcement. Most previous descriptions of the technology, however, suggested that because of range limitations, triggerfish were only useful for zeroing in on a phone's precise location once cooperative cell providers had given a general location.

This summer, however, the American Civil Liberties Union and Electronic Frontier Foundation sued the Justice Department, seeking documents related to the FBI's cell-phone tracking practices. Since August, they've received a stream of documents—the most recent batch on November 6—that were posted on the Internet last week. In a post on the progressive blog Daily Kos, ACLU spokesperson Rachel Myers drew attention to language in several of those documents implying that triggerfish have broader application than previously believed.

 As one of the documents intended to provide guidance for DOJ employees explains, triggerfish can be deployed "without the user knowing about it, and without involving the cell phone provider." That may be significant because the legal rulings requiring law enforcement to meet a high "probable cause" standard before acquiring cell location records have, thus far, pertained to requests for information from providers, pursuant to statutes such as the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) and the Stored Communications Act.

The Justice Department's electronic surveillance manual explicitly suggests that triggerfish may be used to avoid restrictions in statutes like CALEA that bar the use of pen register or trap-and-trace devices—which allow tracking of incoming and outgoing calls from a phone subject to much less stringent evidentiary standards—to gather location data. "By its very terms," according to the manual, "this prohibition applies only to information collected by a provider and not to information collected directly by law enforcement authorities.Thus, CALEA does not bar the use of pen/trap orders to authorize the use of cell phone tracking devices used to locate targeted cell phones." 

Perhaps surprisingly, it's only with the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act in 2001 that the government has needed any kind of court order to use triggerfish. While previously, the statutory language governing pen register or trap-and-trace orders did not appear to cover location tracking technology. Under the updated definition, these explicitly include any "device or process which records or decodes dialing, routing, addressing, and signaling information."
« Reply #97 on: January 14, 2009, 12:15:12 PM »

Makes me laugh when citizens give the finger to government factotums:

He Tried Using the Fourth, But It Was Full of Holes
Radley Balko | January 14, 2009, 12:07am
Clearwater, Florida businessman Herb Quintero spent $500,000 renovating his bait and tackle shop and the property it's on, including commissioning a fish mural on the side of the building.  Though the mural contains no text, the city of Clearwater determined he needed a billboard permit, because the subject matter is related to his business. They began fining him $130 for each day he left the mural uncovered.

So Quintero responded (rather awesomely) by covering the mural with a banner depicting the First Amendment.  All of which sets up this beautiful line from a local news report of the dustup:

Meanwhile, the city's legal department is looking to see what, if anything, it can do about the First Amendment banner.
« Reply #98 on: January 21, 2009, 08:04:44 AM »

Lew Rockwell needs to stop hyperventilating, but this piece off his site has an interesting perspective on the rescue effort that materialized after US Airway flight that landed on the Hudson.

An Outbreak of Order in NYC

by Butler Shaffer

A few years ago, I was on an airliner about to make a landing in Denver. As any experienced flyer knows, a landing at this airport is always subject to the turbulence of air coming in over the mountains. But on this day, the turbulence was extraordinary; some of the worst I have experienced as a passenger. So troublesome was it that the pilot aborted his first landing try and went around for a second effort.

A woman sitting next to me was rather perturbed by the experience, and asked me "do you think we’ll ever get on the ground?" "I guarantee it," I responded. "I know enough about physics to be able to assure you that we will not be floating around up here forever. The forces of gravity will see to it that we will end up on the ground. What shape we will be in is another matter!" She laughed and, bumpiness and all, the pilot made a safe landing.

This event reminded me of an oft-ignored truth: pilots do not land airplanes; gravity lands airplanes. A skilled pilot has learned how to maneuver and manipulate many thousand pounds of metal in order to trick gravity into reducing the harshness of its mandate that objects fall at an accelerating rate of 9.8 meters per second squared. The pilot is not simply a machine responding in some programmed manner, but is engaged in a kind of performance art. As with any artist, a competent pilot is able to combine his or her learned, mechanical skills with judgments gained from years of experience in playing with gravity’s seemingly inexorable rules.

155 passengers and 5 crew members of a U.S. Airways flight were fortunate to have been in a plane under the control of a highly skilled pilot, Chesley Sullenberger III. His now-famous landing of a powerless jet on the Hudson River provides more than simply evidence of his mechanistic skills – as great as those were – but of his judgment in deciding for a watery landing. A less experienced – though equally skilled – pilot might have opted for the suggestion made to him of trying to nurse what had now become a glider to a nearby airport. Had that decision been made, we might now be reading of more than 160 fatalities following the plane crashing into a row of apartment buildings. Capt. Sullenberger was a performance artist – a man who is also a glider instructor – who, carrying out a judgment that in this instance only he was capable of making in response to the peculiar circumstances which he faced, completed his dance with gravity’s indifference to outcome, albeit in an unexpected venue.

Upon landing in the river, and with the fate of 160 people in the balance, rescue efforts immediately began. Officials of the FAA, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, New York Mayor Bloomberg, and Senator Hillary Clinton, all descended on the scene to begin helping passengers to safety. No? It didn’t work out that way? But it must have been so. Is it not an integral part of our thinking that social order can be fostered and sustained only by a political system that can plan for responses to troublesome events? Wasn’t this the logic upon which federal, state and city governments acted in New Orleans, following hurricane Katrina? Do we not elect politicians who, in turn, create bureaucracies to make our lives secure?

Initially, the only seen presence of government at the site of the U.S. Airways emergency landing involved police helicopters interfering with rescue efforts by keeping the water around the plane churned up. These helicopters were of value to the state, of course, as a visual symbol of its superintending presence above a scene in which its practical role was nonexistent. Like a president or state governor flying over an area hit by a tornado or flooding, such an aerial presence reinforces the vertically-structured mindset upon which political authority depends. After rescue efforts were substantially completed – with no loss of life – New York and New Jersey police officials arrived (those whom the New Jersey governor incorrectly described as the "first responders").

The real work of rescuing passengers and crew members was left to the sources from which the only genuine social order arises: the spontaneous responses of individuals who began their day with no expectation of participating in the events that will henceforth be high-water marks in their lives. After the airliner came to a stop, one private ferry-boat operator, sensing the danger of the plane’s tail submerging, began pushing up on the tail in an effort to keep it elevated. Other private ferry-boat operators – whose ordinary work involved transporting people between New York and New Jersey – came to the scene in what became a spontaneously organized rescue under the direction of no one in particular. Photos of the area show the plane surrounded by ferryboats on all sides.

On board the plane, passengers were making their own responses. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer – a man who has probably seen one-too-many Irwin Allen films – interviewed a passenger, asking whether those aboard the plane were yelling and screaming at their plight. "No," the man replied, going on to describe how calm and rational was the behavior of his fellow passengers; removing exit doors; putting on life vests; and helping one another get out onto the wing of the plane.

This man’s words reminded me of so many other descriptions I have heard from those who find themselves involved in catastrophes. A few weeks after 9/11, I spoke with a man and a woman who had been in one of the World Trade Center buildings on that day. I asked them how those leaving the damaged building behaved. Each replied that people were calm but determined as they left the building; they saw no screaming or yelling persons running frantically from the building. In my book, Calculated Chaos, I have provided a description of the informal, spontaneous responses of many Omahans to the damage inflicted by a tornado upon that city in 1975.

One of the more telling distinctions between informal and formal responses to problems was seen in Capt. Sullenberger’s being the last person to leave the plane but, before exiting, making two trips through the aircraft to be certain that everyone on board, for whom he felt responsible, had gotten off. No government officials would likely have deigned to exhibit such a personal sense of responsibility: they would have been too busy conducting press conferences!

Whether we are considering the patterns of regularity found in the marketplace, or from our relationships with strangers on streets and highways, or, in this case, the aftermath of a disaster or near-disaster, so much of the order that prevails within society arises, without anyone’s intention, as a result of our pursuing other ends. Our politicized training – reinforced by media and government officials – leads most of us to believe that social order is the product of the conscious design of wise leaders, whom the political process allows us to identify and elect. In the face of the wars and economic collapse that are now destroying our world, it is difficult for intelligent men and women to any longer embrace such childlike thinking that is probably a carryover from a dependence on parental authority.

As the events of that day slowly fade, those most immediately affected will recite, for others, their recollections. Capt. Sullenberger will doubtless enjoy his well-deserved hero status with appearances on television and radio programs. The ferryboat operators will likewise enjoy their earned fifteen minutes of fame. Other than memories, nothing permanent will come of this event. Those directly involved will return to their normal work: Capt. Sullenberger piloting other flights; ferryboat operators transporting people across the Hudson.

But the statists will figure out ways to exploit all of this for their narrow ends, insinuating their non-existent roles in the rescue. In an effort to reinforce the illusion that their authority carried the day, the politicians – along with Homeland Security officials – will likely concoct statutes or other rules in an effort to repeat, in the future, the kinds of spontaneous responses that arose, without design. Hearings will probably be conducted on behalf of some proposed "Water-ditching of Aircraft" regulations – to be administered by a newly-created federal agency to be housed in the Department of Homeland Security. Thereafter – and reflecting the governmental responses in New Orleans – woe be unto any future Capt. Sullenberger who dares to exercise his independent judgment should it conflict with government-mandated conduct. Nor shall this agency be inclined to tolerate the unapproved efforts of ferryboat operators – or others – who might dare to act, without prior authorization to save lives.

I will be surprised if the bureaucratic control freaks fail to see this event as an opportunity to expand their forced ministrations upon human affairs. The National Transportation Safety Board will make its routine "investigation" – to reinforce the supervisory mindset that, in finding out "what went wrong," the government will be able to "keep this from happening again." What will be overlooked in all of this is the fact that volumes upon volumes of FAA regulations already micro-manage air travel, and that such directives played no part in this emergency landing.

Those who believe themselves capable of directing complex systems for the achievement of desired ends, are unaware of the fact that the separate – but interconnected – events in our lives are underlain by numerous influences peculiar to given situations. The forces that combined to create the situation to which Capt. Sullenberger made his spontaneous response, will likely never recur. On the other hand, there will be another pilot who, on some future day, will have to deal with unforeseen and even bizarre circumstances to which he – like the good captain in this case – will have to be flexible enough to respond.

But as the politically-minded seek to exploit this near-tragedy into some "what if" hypotheticals to rationalize their ongoing quest for power over others, 155 passengers, 5 crew members, and their families, can celebrate the fact that they owe their lives not to government planning, but to the playing out of a spontaneous order for which no planning was possible.

January 21, 2009

Butler Shaffer [send him e-mail] teaches at the Southwestern University School of Law. He is the author of the newly-released In Restraint of Trade: The Business Campaign Against Competition, 1918–1938 and of Calculated Chaos: Institutional Threats to Peace and Human Survival.
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« Reply #99 on: January 21, 2009, 07:10:19 PM »

Initially, the only seen presence of government at the site of the U.S. Airways emergency landing involved police helicopters interfering with rescue efforts by keeping the water around the plane churned up. These helicopters were of value to the state, of course, as a visual symbol of its superintending presence above a scene in which its practical role was nonexistent. Like a president or state governor flying over an area hit by a tornado or flooding, such an aerial presence reinforces the vertically-structured mindset upon which political authority depends. After rescue efforts were substantially completed – with no loss of life – New York and New Jersey police officials arrived (those whom the New Jersey governor incorrectly described as the "first responders").

**Dumbest thing i've read in a long, long time. Lew Rockwell is a scumbag and idiots like the author prove again and again why Libertarians are fringe loons worthy only of contempt.**
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