November 22, 2005

Privacy watch: US now a "show your papers" country

Think we still live in the land of the free? It's one thing (and I'm still not entirely convinced) to require ID to ride air transit, but it's another thing entirely to require ID to ride a public bus.

This country's going downhill at an alarming pace.

(via Dan Gillmor)

Technorati Tags: ,

March 12, 2004

Now would be a good time to turn on encryption in your mail client...

Most of them support it.

Yes, you've gotta' to exchange keys (although there are ways to make key exchange easier) to be sure that you've got the correct key of the other side.

<paranoid>I already sign all of my messages. This way it's a little harder for someone to attribute some words to me that I didn't say - at least by e-mail, and more-or-less. I encrypt mail to those that I can. Which is very few of you. I'll happily help you set things up, if you'd like. It is completely inappropriate for our own country to be demanding virtually unlimited unmetered access to our private lives. And we do have a right to privacy. Exercise it!

It also makes such great new technologies as mesh networks quite a bit harder. Can't really have an efficient mesh network if you have to be able to tap it all the time. Likewise, it's very hard to not notice being tapped if your network has to push extra traffic around to enable the tap.

February 17, 2004

Continual erosion of our rights...

This from a recent Salon article, though I think it originally appeared in the Oakland Tribune last year sometime. A statement by Mike Van Winkle, spokesman (yes, the actual mouthpiece) for the California Anti-Terrorism Information Center, defines what they might consider terrorism:

"You can make an easy kind of link that, if you have a protest group protesting a war where the cause that's being fought against is international terrorism, you might have terrorism at that protest," he said. "You can almost argue that a protest against that is a terrorist act."

Uh, what? Protesting a war against terrorism is terrorism? How many other crimes are going to be elevated because of this? I mean, yeah, civil disobedience can be a crime, but it doesn't make you a terrorist.

Anyway, read the Salon article. There's way too much good stuff in there for me to summarize.

February 08, 2004

Attempting a new thread....

As those of you who ever see me in person know, I tend to spout off a lot about Privacy issues. In this way, I have some Libertarian views, but largely disagree with the doctrines of that party.

Anyway, I'm going to try to blog about disgusting stuff that's going on right now. This comes up partly because of several recent discussions I've had with J about what to do if our country continues down the slippery slope of McCarthy-ist backslides we've been following.

So, the first twothree links to start things off:

This one describes a recent "audit" performed by journalists all over Florida. They were posing as "normal" citizens requesting documents that should be available according to Florida's public records laws. An astonishing 43 percent of the agencies audited failed to follow the law correctly. Read the article for the rest of the atrociousness.

Then there's this article from yesterday's SF Chronicle, telling us about grand jury summons being used (and silence orders in conjunction) to terrorize and interfere with protected political speach, which so happens to involve objecting to current policy. We should encourage this kind of non-violent protest, rather than push things in a direction where history will repeat itself. In any case, there're laws protecting this kind of speech for a reason. Thank goodness the Patriot Act wasn't invoked in this case... yet.

Lest you all think I'm going to focus on state issues to the exclusion of the questionable actions of our current regime, check out this article from US News, which details all of the recent slides in progress made toward opening our federal government. This is my favorite, because its just so stupid some of the things that are being done. Can preventing access to the common man of knowledge of where a natural gas pipeline is going to be help prevent terrorism? The pipeline's going to be visible sooner or later. Not letting citizens get access to that kind of information primarily serves to stifle discussion and critique, not improve security. This kind of madness is more and more commonplace in our national policy these days.