Electronic Surveillance is Everywhere

We live in the golden era of surveillance; every phone is designed to be tapped, the Internet passes through snooping equipment of agencies that are so vast and unaccountable that we hardly know their bounds. Corporations are forced (though some are willing enough!) to hand over our data and data of those whom we love. Our lives are ruled by networks and yet those networks are not ruled by our consent. These networks keep us hooked up but it is not without costs that they keep us hooked together. The businesses, the governments, and the individuals that power those networks are incentivized to spy, to betray and to do it silently. The architecture of the very systems produces these outcomes.—This is tyranny.

http://craphound.com/homeland/Cory_Doctorow_-_Homeland.pdf

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Laptops at the Border…Who do they belong to?

Recently I have been excoriated for writing about the bad behavior of border patrol and customs agents. For some reason the federal government is concerned that American and world citizens, that cross our borders, who have computers, Blackberry’s, cell phones, on their person are stealing state nuclear secrets or, worse; they are thinking bad thoughts.

The federal government thinks that they have the right to read our most intimate thoughts or to go through our list of friends from our cell phones and such. Does this strike anyone out there as Orwellian?

Does our government really think they need to read our minds, so to speak?

Do we really want to let them?

Do we even have a choice?

Apparently not.

The Feds (read Bush/Cheney) have decided they need to read or listen to everything our citizens think, write, and talk about.

They also think it’s so important to have freedom to spy on us when we travel that they took the matter to court. Read this excerpt from the Association of Corporate Travel Executives:

” According to an ACTE survey of its international membership, eighty six percent of business travel executives indicated that court decisions allowing U.S. Customs Agents and Border Patrol officers to examine and download the contents of travelers’ laptops — or to even confiscate them — are ample cause to limit the kind of proprietary information typically carried in an executive’s computer.” See their website to read rest of article:

http://www.acte.org/resources/press_release.php?id=91

I was also accused of raising false alarm about the matter because customs agents have always been allowed to search travelers. Have they always been able to read diaries of our own citizens without cause or warrant? Fourth amendment: probable cause; warrantless searches, come to mind.

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Oh, forgive me, I forgot, presidents Bush/Cheney suspended that for everyone. Everyone in our country (and the whole world) is a suspect. The whole world is a battlefield, and since he is commander in chief he has total control over the whole world. He has accumulated unprecedented powers and I think he intends to pass them on and allow the permanent usurpation of the constitution. Of course he can’t physically pass them on, just allow his present upside down worldview to continue.

We, as a country, have fought wars before where some rights were suspended for a time, but never has the federal power grab been so extensive or long lasting and never has it been so intrusive, or coldhearted.

I think we citizens have a right and responsibility to speak up when things are not right, and these matters are a clear-cut case, in my humble estimation, of not being right. I’m just afraid that the way things are going, we won’t be able too (speak up) for much longer.

I’ve been accused of being an alarmist, separatist, un-American, even saints forbid, a traitor. I think I am none of those. In matters like this I think you have to engage the opponent early on, or matters get worse, fast. I think America should stand strong, as we always have, but not give up the things that make us great. I am really afraid of the path we are now following.

In my mind (however bad it is) the problem of border patrol and customs agents confiscating and breaking into and downloading personal electronics is part of a very large problem that our country faces. The problem is…the government running roughshod over it’s citizens and their probable desire to continue doing this.

Our government under presidents Bush/Cheney has broken more international treaties than any other in history. We also withdrew or broke the Geneva Convention…I thought we were supposed to be the ‘good’ guys

Our present administration is the first in history to have the United Nations remove us from the Human Rights Commission.

Our present administration withdrew us from the World Court of Law.

These are all very bad signs for a government that is supposedly free, open, and caring.

I’ll repeat the entrée to all of this…the government does not have the right, I think, or the need, to download or confiscate personal electronics, except on probable cause, with warrant. Even though they have appropriated it, it’s not right. Its part of a much larger scenario, where the feds are scrapping the founders ideals, and the very concept of this country.

I only have words to protest, and I may not be very good at it, but I will continue to write my protest as long as my government continues to pass bad laws and mistreat it’s own citizen’s. And, I might add….as long as I’m allowed.

Call your senator or Congressperson. Let them know what you think.

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

https://forms.house.gov/wyr/welcome.shtml

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Border Patrol May Seize Your Laptops

If you happen to travel across the US border for business or pleasure nowadays, be sure to not take any personnel electronic devices, or if you do, you might want to clear out any personal data. Refer to this article from the Washington Post:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/06/AR2008020604763.html

Border Patrol and Customs officials are increasingly, and randomly seizing laptops, blackberry’s, cell phones, etc. and downloading said devices, asking for passwords to access your personal data, checking to see if you have legal right to Microsoft and other programs, or the music you may be storing. Sometimes the devices are returned, but sometimes they are not.

This is one more example of our government gone terribly wrong. President Bush has cancelled American’s right to privacy and the government does not need warrants to search your personal property. You are completely at the mercy of the good or bad will of bureaucrats.

Governments allow themselves to do this in times of war….But, consider this: Some major politicos have been saying, for some years now, that the war on terror may go on forever.

The US is now ranked with Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea at the bottom of the heap when talking about surveillance and freedoms of their citizens. I really miss the old America. Are you missing it yet?

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