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A History of Wiretapping

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the i-blame-the-telegraph dept.

Privacy 128

ChelleChelle writes "Wiretapping technology has grown increasingly sophisticated since the police first began to utilize it as a surveillance tool in the 1890s. What once entailed simply putting clips on wires has now evolved into building wiretapping capabilities directly into communications infrastructures (at the government's behest). In a modern society, where surveillance is often touted as a way of ensuring our safety, it is important to take into consideration the risks to our privacy and security that electronic eavesdropping presents. In this article, Whitfield Diffie and Susan Landau examine these issues, attempting to answer the important question: does wiretapping actually make us more secure?"

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128 comments

Does wiretapping make you secure? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29397557)

No, it just makes you a jackass and makes the person who listens in on you a fuckass. More police state bullshit and why it's somehow good for you at 11!

More importantly (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#29397595)

Does warrantless wiretapping help anyone other than the statists who have wanted this power for a long time and now have a working excuse for it?

Re:More importantly (4, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29397683)

We need to stand together. When you observe an officer wiretapping somebody's connection or entering a house, be bold, and ask what they are doing. Wait for a reply and then ask if they have a warrant. If they don't have a warrant, then ask them to leave, and if they refuse then back away from the scene. Next call 911 to report observing a crime in progress (breaking-and-entering).

Don't be intimidated. These officers are your EMPLOYEES and you are the boss. You have every right to hold them to task for violating constitutional law. My brother ran into this recently where a cop demanded to be let into his mother-in-law's private apartment house. My brother refused even though the cop flashed his badge and claimed to be investigating a drug problem, but my brother told the cop to go get a warrant and refused to unlock the door to the house. Watch this video for some inspiration:

NO WARRANT, No Search - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLpSY8d3gRc [youtube.com]

Re:More importantly (4, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29397749)

Another video that pisses me off - Warrantless Search - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2ZV_kQh048 [youtube.com]

Re:More importantly (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29397773)

Don't be intimidated. These officers are your EMPLOYEES and you are the boss.

Ha ha, no. I know a guy who was woken up about 7 am on a Sunday by banging and crashing next to his apartment, he got up to investigate and found two cops trying to kick his neighbour's door open. He asked them what was going on and they said they wanted to talk to his neighbour about some stolen property. He told them he never heard him come home and they asked if he had a key, he told them he did and they asked him to unlock the door. He asked if they had a warrant, they said they didn't so he refused to open the door. They pepper sprayed him, arrested him and made up a story about how he tried to assault them. It was the word of one guy versus two cops, guess who the judge sided with? (no jury trial in NZ for "minor assault") Later on they even tried to implicate him in the robbery (the neighbour *had* been knowingly buying stolen TVs etc.) but he got off on that due to lack of evidence.

Rule 1: DO NOT talk to police.

Re:More importantly (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29397981)

Then they next thing the people of New Zealand need to do is locate the judge, and the two officers, and tar-and-feather them. The People need to make examples of poor employees who would violate basic inalienable rights (i.e. arresting an innocent man and then making-up false charges).

"When the people fear the government, then there is tyranny. When the government functionaries fear the people, then there is liberty." - Thomas Jefferson. You should also get yourself a small camcorder - only ~$100 on ebay. Video evidence helps to fight cops when they lie.

Re:More importantly (1)

Cheesetrap (1597399) | more than 4 years ago | (#29399647)

Rule 1: DO NOT talk to police.

One top quality vid (well, content-wise if not visually) gives an entertaining, in-depth breakdown of the reasons why not, Here [youtube.com] .

Re:More importantly (1)

level_headed_midwest (888889) | more than 4 years ago | (#29398131)

You may see police trying to illegally search a house, but if you read TFA you would know that wiretapping goes on at the telco's facilities and not at anybody's house. You're never going to see wiretapping unless you are a telco employee.

Re:More importantly (2, Funny)

EsJay (879629) | more than 4 years ago | (#29398247)

Do you observe officers wiretapping somebody's connection often?

You do realize... (5, Informative)

ChePibe (882378) | more than 4 years ago | (#29398299)

Only at Slashdot would parent be marked "insightful".

You do realize, of course, that there are a wide variety of situations wherein a LEO is allowed by the law to enter a home without a warrant, I assume.

Probable cause, for one. If the police follow a person fleeing a crime into a residence - or virtually anywhere else, for that matter - they're acting well within their rights and duties and no warrant is needed.

An Arrest Warrant - No search warrant is needed if officers have an arrest warrant and the reasonable belief that the fugitive is inside. Even if they find evidence for crimes unrelated to the search warrant, the evidence is still admissible. See e.g. Gaskins v. U.S., 218 F.2d 47

Consent is another. If the homeowner has provided their consent, then the Police are well within their rights and duties.

The Open Fields Doctrine is another. If objects are left in plain view in an area not traditionally secured as private, the police are well within their rights to search these areas. See Oliver v. U.S.

And the list goes on. And on. And on. Contrary to what you saw on TV or what your high school civics teacher improperly told you, a search warrant isn't always necessary. In fact, interfering with the police in the above situations can easily get you arrested, but you'll at least give the judge a good laugh as he hears you argue the 4th Amendment as a defense.

And what if the search or wiretap is illegal? If you're truly a criminal, if you've truly done the things you are accused of doing, then you may have just hit the jackpot. Under the exclusionary rule (subject to its exceptions, of course), the evidence is tainted, the "fruit of a poisonous tree," and likely inadmissible as evidence against the target of the search in any case.

IANAL - just a 3L (and I haven't taken Crim Pro yet, so don't be cruel, but if you have an actual understanding of the law, please correct me where I am wrong). But of course we have internet lawyers here like parent who just love to make these ridiculous arguments.

Look, I'm not fond of cops. I can't think of anyone who has ever been to law school actually worked with attorneys and seen what the police often do could be fond of them. But following suggestions like parent's is foolishness indeed. Want to support your local public defenders in making illegal search arguments? Please do. chip in some cash, they could use the money. But don't run about harassing the police as parent suggests.

Re:You do realize... (1)

machine321 (458769) | more than 4 years ago | (#29398795)

You do realize, of course, that there are a wide variety of situations wherein a LEO is allowed by the law to enter a home without a warrant, I assume.

How would a Low Earth Orbit enter my home, with or without a warrant? Unless I tied balloons to my house.

Re:You do realize... (1)

Cheesetrap (1597399) | more than 4 years ago | (#29399829)

No no no, he's talking about the Lizardmen Evil Overlords, don't let them in! :(

Re:You do realize... (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#29400953)

An altitude of less than twenty feet. Is that low enough?

cop is asking for permission? he needs a warrant! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29398911)

If cop had cause to enter, if he didn't need a warrant, he wouldn't be asking for permission, he would simply BREAK in, bust down the door, break window, anything to gain entry.
Don't be an idiot, never give permission! Never answer questions! Identify yourself, and ask for your lawyer!

Re:cop is asking for permission? he needs a warran (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#29400983)

Asking for a key != asking for permission.

Re:cop is asking for permission? he needs a warran (1)

rubi (910818) | more than 4 years ago | (#29402079)

That works well only in movies!

Re:You do realize... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29400573)

>>>But don't run about harassing the police as parent suggests.

Asking questions of strange people is not harassment. Lots of people wear uniforms (cop, electrician, fireman, et cetera) bought off the net and they SHOULD be questioned to find-out if they are genuine cops, or just people pretending to be cops. I'm tired of the "leave them alone" paradigm that has taken-over America.

That's the kind of thinking that caused a New Yorker to get hit by a car, laying in the middle of the street crying for help, and nobody did a damn thing. Stop being a coward. Legitimate authority comes from us, the people. Use your power and stand-up for what you believe in.

Re:More importantly (1)

slacker22 (1614751) | more than 4 years ago | (#29399621)

You gettin' taser'd boy!

More big talk from internet tough guy (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#29400925)

When you observe an officer wiretapping somebody's connection or entering a house, be bold, and ask what they are doing. Wait for a reply and then ask if they have a warrant. If they don't have a warrant, then ask them to leave, and if they refuse then back away from the scene. Next call 911 to report observing a crime in progress (breaking-and-entering).

You're telling everyone else to do that because you'll be hiding behind the couch.

Ironic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29401019)

Are you psychic?

How do you know what one person would/wouldn't do? Assume much?

Re:More importantly (2, Informative)

bconway (63464) | more than 4 years ago | (#29401555)

When you observe an officer wiretapping somebody's connection or entering a house, be bold, and ask what they are doing.

You won't. All wiretapping these days is done by a computer, or occasionally in a central office. The keystrokes used to execute a wiretap are the same as those surfing Facebook in the office next to you.

Well, yes, it does (1)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | more than 4 years ago | (#29397603)

When wiretapping is undertaken under the auspices of the ECPA and FISA, it does actually help protect citizens. When it is done outside of these Acts, then you have big problems. I was never a big fan of the lowering of the standard for electronic surveillance that the USA PATRIOT Act introduced, as I feel that it unbalanced the fine job that existing legislation was serving already.

Re:Well, yes, it does (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29398003)

Well that happens when Congress fails to read the bills placed in front of them. I found it amusing that representatives later said, "I didn't know that law was in the Patriot Act!" Well you would have known if you had bothered to read it.

I expect to hear similar representative cries of "I didn't know that was in the Stimulus Bill" in a few more months. If I was in Congress I would automatically vote "nay" on any bill I have not read at least once.

Re:Well, yes, it does (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29398479)

Are you assuming that Congress (both parties) cares about obeying the Constitution? It doesn't anymore, and people are starting to resist.

Re:Well, yes, it does (1)

rubi (910818) | more than 4 years ago | (#29402133)

Are you assuming that Congress (both parties) cares about obeying the Constitution? It doesn't anymore, and people are starting to resist.

I believe that in any country the only ones that car about the constitution are: 1- the ones that wrote the original one. 2- the ones whose constitutional rights and protections are being ignored.

Re:Well, yes, it does (1)

Shane dot H (1615249) | more than 4 years ago | (#29402537)

Asking legislators to actually understand every nuance of every bill is naive. Laws refer to other laws, and constantly amend bits and pieces of legislation.

Legislators have a choice on where to put their bills, on a spectrum between "spell everything out explicitly" and "let the bureaucrats work out the details." If I pass a law authorizing the FCC to determine its own procedures for allocating wireless spectrum, no amount of reading of the law will be able to predict who gets what frequency block. On the other hand, too much micromanagement of details means you add complexity to the point where it's unreasonable for legislators to understand every facet of every bill. That's actually where we are with the huge pieces of legislation that go through our Congress. But making things "simpler" won't necessarily be better.

And before you object on libertarian grounds that Congress shouldn't be passing legislation like that anyway, the problem still exists in normal criminal law. Making murder illegal is easy. But what should the burden of proof be? What should the alleged criminal's state of mind [wikipedia.org] be? How much room for interpretation should judges and juries get? You'll still have to find a spot on that spectrum between spelling out every possibility (probably a futile effort) and giving other actors a lot of wiggle room. Each side of the spectrum presents its own problems.

Besides, reading a pending bill is about as useful as reading source code for software. It's sometimes helpful, yes, but it is by no means sufficient to understanding what's in the bill - especially when the "meat" of the legislation/program often refers to another law/program.

Instead, legislators should be asked to understand the main mechanisms of bills. What kind of rules it establishes, what kind of organizations it creates, what kind of funding will be required and what the source of the funding will be, etc. That is what I expect of my elected representatives.

A Necessary Evil? (3, Interesting)

nikomen (774068) | more than 4 years ago | (#29397611)

As much as I loathe the fact that the previous administration abused wiretapping, maybe it's a necessary evil? I don't know all of the history of wiretapping, but I imagine that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies used it to capture dangerous criminals in the past and are currently doing it in the present. As long as a warrant is obtained, I don't see why it would be illegal. Of course there will be abuse, but don't throw out a tool simply because it can be abused. Many things in life can be abused. Does that warrant their expulsion from society? Alcohol is abused, but should it be done away with? Probably a stretch of an analogy, but it works. Law enforcement, however, should not be allowed to wiretap without a warrant. Fighting terrorism, whether foreign against foreign or domestic, should not be an excuse for illegal wiretaps.

Re:A Necessary Evil? (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#29397677)

As much as I loathe the fact that the previous administration abused wiretapping, maybe it's a necessary evil? I don't know all of the history of wiretapping, but I imagine that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies used it to capture dangerous criminals in the past and are currently doing it in the present. As long as a warrant is obtained, I don't see why it would be illegal. Of course there will be abuse, but don't throw out a tool simply because it can be abused. Many things in life can be abused. Does that warrant their expulsion from society? Alcohol is abused, but should it be done away with? Probably a stretch of an analogy, but it works. Law enforcement, however, should not be allowed to wiretap without a warrant. Fighting terrorism, whether foreign against foreign or domestic, should not be an excuse for illegal wiretaps.

I do think we made a mistake by making it so easy to wiretap a phone/data line. No matter what kind of central monitoring technology would allow, it should be strictly illegal and completely inadmissable in any court. The police should have to physically install wiretapping equipment on the premises to be monitored or at most, on the physical line between the premises to be monitored and the telephone company. That way, if they have a specific suspect for which a warrant is obtained, they can monitor that suspect, but they cannot go fishing and cannot perform datamining. This would greatly hinder the value of warrantless wiretapping and would help to ensure that if you are a regular citizen who has given the police no reason to suspect you of a crime, then you can be more confident that you are not being monitored because it would be impractical to do so. I greatly prefer that to trusting the goodwill of people who have proven that they will abuse this power.

I think that's how one would correctly handle something that is rightly recognized as a necessary evil.

Re:A Necessary Evil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29399029)

How would you suggest they physically tap a cell phone? Or maybe you think criminals aren't smart enough to use a cell phone and do all their criminal communications from home...

Re:A Necessary Evil? (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#29399467)

How would you suggest they physically tap a cell phone? Or maybe you think criminals aren't smart enough to use a cell phone and do all their criminal communications from home...

You're kidding, right? A cell phone means the suspect's entire conversation is being broadcast. I would really be shocked if I learned that the police don't have equipment that can receive these transmissions. This would, of course, require staying within range which would mean they'd have to assign an officer to that task. There's no reason why this couldn't be done, and I'm fine with that because it again renders widespread surveillance impractical. I really don't care what difficulties this would entail; the whole point is that it wouldn't be done without a good reason.

Re:A Necessary Evil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29400969)

You're kidding, right? A cell phone means the suspect's entire conversation is being broadcast.

It's encrypted you stupid fuck.

Re:A Necessary Evil? (1)

rubi (910818) | more than 4 years ago | (#29402153)

How would you suggest they physically tap a cell phone? Or maybe you think criminals aren't smart enough to use a cell phone and do all their criminal communications from home...

You're kidding, right? A cell phone means the suspect's entire conversation is being broadcast. I would really be shocked if I learned that the police don't have equipment that can receive these transmissions. This would, of course, require staying within range which would mean they'd have to assign an officer to that task. There's no reason why this couldn't be done, and I'm fine with that because it again renders widespread surveillance impractical. I really don't care what difficulties this would entail; the whole point is that it wouldn't be done without a good reason.

At the very least all that would require the police to even know what the phone number is. Check the papers and you'll see that whenever the police catches someone (that isn't a criminal by trade) they get something between 10 to 30 phones, not counting the ones discarded after one or two uses.

Re:A Necessary Evil? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29398139)

>>>As long as a warrant is obtained, I don't see why it would be illegal.

That's the problem. Many times NO warrant is obtained, which is a violation not just of the U.S. Constitution but also all 50 State Constitutions. And when the FBI or CIA officer gets caught, they just say "oops" and that's the end of it. IMHO they should receive double-counts of violating both national and state law, with time in prison.

Perhaps that's the great flaw of our constitution(s). They define the crime but not the punishment. Without punishment there's no deterrence.

Re:A Necessary Evil? (3, Insightful)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 4 years ago | (#29398503)

"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
William Pitt, 1783

Re:A Necessary Evil? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#29401001)

If Pitt was alive today, he'd move to Somalia.

Re:A Necessary Evil? (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 4 years ago | (#29398753)

The government can do basically anything to you with a warrant, so wiretapping is to be expected. I don't know how necessary it is, however, since it's probably mostly used for drug cases nowadays, and the only high-profile uses seem to have been against people like MLK Jr. Since crime happens in the physical world, monitoring words is not essential to law-enforcement; and anyone who is actually a threat will take countermeasures, excepting idiots like Blago.

monitoring words is not essential to law-enforceme (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 4 years ago | (#29399063)

Are you kidding?

Many crimes can be stopped in the conspiracy phase rather than the "real world". Would you rather have bombers or armed robbers stopped before or after they commit the crime?

Re:monitoring words is not essential to law-enforc (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29400591)

The answer is obviously "yes" but you ignore the corollary question:

Would you rather have liberty, or would you rather have government officials harassing you at every turn? I'd rather have liberty even if that means a few crooks sometimes succeed in holding-up banks. Being harassed would make me feel like I was a child again, rather than a freeman.

Re:monitoring words is not essential to law-enforc (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#29401015)

We should allow terrorists to fly planes into buildings so that you can feel like you're in the wild west?

You're not the only one who can make a non sequitur.

Re:monitoring words is not essential to law-enforc (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29402287)

Yes I'd rather have one of those RARE once-in-200-years events, than to have cameras in my house, or wiretaps on my PC, constantly spying on everything I do. And it's not non-sequitor... it's already happening in the UK where it's justified as crime prevention.

Sorry but I'd rather have the right to privacy even if that meant another WTC was attacked in the year 2200. The former is more important to me than the latter.

Re:A Necessary Evil? (2, Insightful)

radtea (464814) | more than 4 years ago | (#29399677)

As much as I loathe the fact that the previous administration abused wiretapping, maybe it's a necessary evil?

Not necessary for fighting the War on Drugs, because the War on Drugs is not necessary: anyone interested in actually reducing the harm drugs do both socially and to individuals knows that legalization and harm-reduction programs are the way to go. Look what's happening today in Portugal if you disagree. Empiricism: not just for scientists any more!

Wiretapping--with warrants--IS useful for fighting terrorism, but remember that the number of people killed by terrorists in the US in the past five years is zero, whereas the number killed by cops is considerably higher than zero. Even in Canada we've had several people who to all appearances were simply murdered by police while in custody (the police investigated themselves and found themselves innocent, remarkably enough).

Police forces and police constables are not evil, and they are necessary. But giving police more than the minimum necessary power to do their job IS evil, and extremely dangerous.

The answer is obvious. (5, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29397613)

"Anyone who would give-up ESSENTIAL liberty for *temporary* security, deserve neither." - Benjamin Franklin. Also while we may be able to trust a President Bush or President Obama with the ability to monitor our internet transactions, eventually there will arise a man like Julius Caesar or Nero or Napoleon who will use the ability of spying for his own enrichment and/or to eliminate enemies. Like Nixon did.

IMHO people who trust government are either fools, or they don't know history,

Re:The answer is obvious. (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#29397761)

Also while we may be able to trust a President Bush or President Obama with the ability to monitor our internet transactions, eventually there will arise a man like Julius Caesar or Nero or Napoleon who will use the ability of spying for his own enrichment and/or to eliminate enemies. Like Nixon did.

Only one such example is needed to prove both the possibility and the undesirability of the concept. Yes, it certainly can happen here. We know that because it's already been proven.

IMHO people who trust government are either fools, or they don't know history,

It's incredibly foolish, though I'm not sure how much to blame them for that. The vast majority of the population learns history FROM the government. The public schools are government-sponsored, staffed by government employees, with a curriculum that is created and approved by the government. As I've heard it said, if you send a child to a Catholic school they will be taught that Catholicism is great. If you send a child to a Baptist school they will be taught that Baptism is great. If you send a child to a government school...

The blame of which they are worthy is definitely non-zero, however. At some point the individual needs to understand that everyone who would teach him anything has some sort of bias or agenda no matter how good their intentions may be. It's normal and healthy to question what you are taught and what was omitted from your education and why. Any individual who fails to do so is correctly regarded as one of the sheeple or whatever you prefer to call them and their beliefs are unfortunately little more than sophisticated programming. It's amazing to consider just how much this alone is responsible for the world we know today and many of the problems it experiences.

Re:The answer is obvious. (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29398211)

>>>The vast majority of the population learns history FROM the government. The public schools are government-sponsored, staffed by government employees, with a curriculum that is created and approved by the government. As I've heard it said, if you send a child to a Catholic school they will be taught that Catholicism is great. If you send a child to a Baptist school they will be taught that Baptism is great. If you send a child to a government school...
>>>

Which is why we need freedom to choose, even for poor persons.

Monopolies should not be allowed to stand. IMHO any person who sends a child to a private school, or even a neighboring government school, should be exempt from the School Tax for that year (with the tuition receipt used as proof). They should be allowed to keep the money they labored to earn for themselves, and direct it to whatever school they choose, rather than have to pay TWO tuitions. That's called liberty.

The alternative is slavery.

Re:The answer is obvious. (1)

Chelloveck (14643) | more than 4 years ago | (#29399611)

IMHO any person who sends a child to a private school, or even a neighboring government school, should be exempt from the School Tax for that year (with the tuition receipt used as proof). They should be allowed to keep the money they labored to earn for themselves, and direct it to whatever school they choose, rather than have to pay TWO tuitions. That's called liberty.

Yeah, and people without kids shouldn't have to pay to educate someone else's brats. Why should they be forced to pay school tax? Ditto for people with kids who are not yet of school age, and for people whose kids have graduated. Only people with kids actually going to school should pay. Of course, that will make getting an education far too expensive for a lot of families, so a lot of kids will go without an education. But that's only fair, right? Everyone pays their own way, and gets what they pay for, right?

Re:The answer is obvious. (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29400645)

>>>(Snip strawman arguments)

Non-relevant. My proposal was intended to help black and hispanic children who are stuck in shitty inner-city schools that are falling apart. That is a situation just as unfair as the segregated schools that once existed in this country (whites had shiny schools; blacks had crumbling schools). Segregation was ruled a violation of rights, and likewise forcing innercity kids to stay in crumbling schools is a violation of rights (imho).

By making these students School tax-exempt they will have an extra ~$2000 per year to redirect to a private school, or a suburban government school, or any other school they choose. Also my proposal alleviates the burden of parents having to pay TWO tuitions (government school AND private school) by saying that if you already paid one (private school) than you don't need to pay the other tuition for that year. That sounds reasonable to me.

It also promotes competition which promotes innovation. I think we all agree a monopoly (think Comcast or Microsoft) harms the consumers by creating stagnation. Neither should we have a monopoly in education.

CHOICE is preferable to no choice.

Re:The answer is obvious. (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#29399633)

Monopolies should not be allowed to stand. IMHO any person who sends a child to a private school, or even a neighboring government school, should be exempt from the School Tax for that year (with the tuition receipt used as proof). They should be allowed to keep the money they labored to earn for themselves, and direct it to whatever school they choose, rather than have to pay TWO tuitions.

There has been some "grassroots" demand for the implementation of vouchers [wikipedia.org] , which are similar to what you describe. The idea can be summarized by saying that the money follows the student instead of making the student follow the money. The most powerful and successful opponent of vouchers has been the NEA, who are incredibly influential among various politicians. This page [nea.org] describes their arguments against it.

I agree that this is a monopoly and I don't view it as fundamentally different from any other. I believe that no matter what the stated justifications may be, the simple pattern is that organizations won't support a measure that might diminish their interests. Like that nea.org link, they will often present a multitude of reasons for this, of course. Invariably these situations are political in nature, because the controversy involved makes it appear that there are multiple ideal options rather than the reality of conflicting interests.

Re:The answer is obvious. (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29400685)

>>> vouchers [wikipedia.org], which are similar to what you describe

I'm not talking about vouchers, which are government dollars. I'm talking about a School tax exemption, which means letting the parent keep the money he earned. There's a HUGE difference philosophically. If it's government money, then the government can attach strings like "don't spend the voucher on catholic school".

But if it's your money then there are no strings. It's YOUR money and you can spend it on any school you desire (even another government school if you want).

Re:The answer is obvious. (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#29401059)

I've heard it said, if you send a child to a Catholic school they will be taught that Catholicism is great. If you send a child to a Baptist school they will be taught that Baptism is great.

And if you send them to a Texan school, they'll think the Earth is 6000 years old and that dinosaurs were wiped out by cavemen.

Re:The answer is obvious. (1)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 4 years ago | (#29397847)

So what exactly do you oppose? All wire tapping? What about other forms of information gathering, such as bugging your house? What about searching your property? Should these things be removed as tools for law enforcement altogether, or should they just require a warrant, as they currently do?

Re:The answer is obvious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29397901)

That's America for you.

Re:The answer is obvious. (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#29398473)

Also while we may be able to trust a President Bush or President Obama with the ability to monitor our internet transactions

Why the heck would we do a stupid thing like that?

Re:The answer is obvious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29400027)

Bush was the monkey, Cheney is the organ grinder.

Re:The answer is obvious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29400541)

>> "'Anyone who would give-up ESSENTIAL liberty for *temporary* security, deserve neither.' - Benjamin Franklin. Also while we may be able to trust a President Bush or President Obama with the ability to monitor our internet transactions..."

*WE* ???!?!! Speak for yourself. Now, read what you posted. Notice anything disturbing about it? You quote Ben Franklin, and in the _next_ sentence you make the assertion that it's OK to give the current and previous presidents power to warrantlessly intrude in citizens' affairs. Thus, you deserve neither liberty nor security.

Do you seriously think that, somehow, presidents are immune to the temptation to abuse this raw, unchecked power? The abuse was manifold under the previous president, and these trangressions were well documented in the press (YOU can easily find the press accounts strewn across the interwebs). Unfortunately, the Obama administration continues some aspects of the warrantless wiretapping program.

>>"IMHO people who trust government are either fools, or they don't know history"

Yes, and since *YOU* TRUST the current and previous administrations to warrantlessly wiretap, you've shown that you fall into a 3rd category: those who are fools AND don't know history. I suggest you start here http://w2.eff.org/Censorship/Terrorism_militias/fisa_faq.html [eff.org] or here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_Intelligence_Surveillance_Act [wikipedia.org] and give consideration to how FISA and subsequent laws apply to domestic spying (i.e., protection of liberties). One thing you are aware of is that nixon abused his power; it seems you're not aware that the Church Commission was created direct response to nixon's abuse of power, and from the Church Commission came FISA -- and from FISA we get NO WIRETAPS WITHOUT A WARRANT. Then be sure to take a portion of your beer money and donate it to the EFF.

For over 10 years I've observed the running joke "oh, this is /. -- no one ever RTFA", but in this case it ain't funny. If you had even bothered to skim the article --or even the final paragraph-- perhaps you'd have paused to THINK before posting such crap. Hell, even the authors' names in the friggin summary should be telling you something (if not, turn in your geek card).

To those who modded this crap "5, Insightful", I ask "WTF?!"

Kinda scary decision (1)

Anonymous Cowar (1608865) | more than 4 years ago | (#29397627)

from TFA:

in the Katz decision, it finally recognized that "the Fourth Amendment protects people, not places."

Don't worry sir, we are perfectly within our right to search and seize your house, but we won't go through your pockets or perform a cavity search.

Wiretapping makes (5, Insightful)

WillRobinson (159226) | more than 4 years ago | (#29397711)

Wiretapping makes the government more secure, not individuals.

Re:Wiretapping makes (2, Informative)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 4 years ago | (#29398771)

Wow!
Yours is the most insightful comment i have read in a long time.

Under the radar but still insight (1)

web design seo mo (1636245) | more than 4 years ago | (#29397739)

Wiretapping constitutional? This absolutely makes our country less free and not a bit safer. Everything we do is monitored. Even the printer we use has a signature on it so it can be tracked to you. Can anyone be anonymous anymore in America? can we fly "under the radar?"

Re:Under the radar but still insight (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29398249)

Well to quote the other side:

- "But if you're doing nothing wrong, why would you want to be anonymous? I don't understand your fear."

- "But if you're doing nothing wrong, why would you refuse the yellow star? I don't understand your fear."

- "But if you're doing nothing wrong, why would you refuse the police entering your house? I don't understand your fear."

Re:Under the radar but still insight (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 4 years ago | (#29399137)

The yellow star has the issue of marking someone for discrimination.

The police search is an invasion of privacy in that someone else gets to look at my stuff and how I live.

The only time my printer being tagged will be useful is if I do something wrong.

There are big differences.

Re:Under the radar but still insight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29399515)

The are not big differences. Just because you feel that your printer being tagged is useful only if you do something wrong is stupid. Sometimes laws change and something that was not illegal becomes illegal; why would you want things tagged and attributed to you? Sometimes you might be exercising your constitutional right to practice free speech and you should be allowed under this constitution to spread any information you feel others might find useful without the fear of intimidation or of being tracked or put on a terrorist watch list or anything.

Re:Under the radar but still insight (1)

laughingcoyote (762272) | more than 4 years ago | (#29400021)

The yellow star has the issue of marking someone for discrimination.

The police search is an invasion of privacy in that someone else gets to look at my stuff and how I live.

The only time my printer being tagged will be useful is if I do something wrong.

There are big differences.

And if your "wrongdoing" is printing something that is perfectly legal, but that the government (or someone else who figures out how to trace those patterns) dislikes?

Anonymity is a major component to privacy. That was true well before the computer age-look at the anonymous publications during the Revolutionary War era, for example. One should have the right to speak without being monitored, unless a court has specifically granted a warrant allowing the monitoring because there is probable cause to believe a crime is being planned or committed.

Communications monitoring, be that of phone conversations, Internet activity, or printed documents, is every bit as invasive as a cop searching your house. Sometimes it will be necessary, but as with any such measure, a judge should first need to determine if there really is good reason to believe it's warranted.

Re:Under the radar but still insight (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29400775)

>>>>>The only time my printer being tagged will be useful is if I do something wrong.

>>And if your "wrongdoing" is printing something that is perfectly legal, but that the government (or someone else who figures out how to trace those patterns) dislikes?
>>

Yeah like those guys who printed-out the Joker Obama posters. I've heard some of them disappeared. Okay not really because Obama's a decent guy, but if we had someone else in power, like Nero or Napoleon or Nixon, I could easily-imagine them making the people who printed those posters disappear.

Re:Under the radar but still insight (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29400753)

>>>The yellow star has the issue of marking someone for discrimination. The only time my printer being tagged will be useful is if I do something wrong.
>>>

Or if your Jewish. If the government can tag you with a yellow jewish star on your sleeve, don't you think they could also tag your printer with microprint jewish symbols on your printout?

i just got off the toilet (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29397801)

i shit out an obama.

plop!

Asynchronous Encryption ends the debate (1)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 4 years ago | (#29397895)

VOIP users can obtain a public-key private-key pair. In my home I could have my voip phone encrypt my voice output with your public key when I am speaking with you. Only you can decrypt it because you control the your private key. There is not any wiretapping scheme that can defeat this system unless the government coerces your private key from you. If the government asked for my private key then I would simply exercise my right to remain silent.

Re:Asynchronous Encryption ends the debate (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29398053)

Software schemes exist to act as an intermediary layer for audio input/output for VoIP software, for actual telephone terminals and computer hardware ordinary listening devices can be attached. I'm trained in installing and configuring said solution whether it be Cisco or run-of-the-mill SIP software on Windows, most consumer and commercial VoIP solutions have no defence against these sorts of basic attacks.

Re:Asynchronous Encryption ends the debate (2, Insightful)

stalkedlongtime (1630997) | more than 4 years ago | (#29398225)

A lot of the time, peer to peer encryption is like using an armored car to transfer stuff between two homeless bums.

How secure is your call if the other guy is on speakerphone?

How secure is your call if a satellite is using advanced signal processing techniques to pick up the sounds you hear from your headphones? You might say, "Well, nobody would bother to do that," but what do you really know about the capabilities of satellite surveillance platforms? Just how easy is it, in the year 2009, to zero in on whatever phone headset you happen to be using? You might be surprised when the answers are eventually revealed... though you might have to wait a while, until everyone involved in these covert spying operations is retired or dead.

Re:Asynchronous Encryption ends the debate (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 4 years ago | (#29399331)

If the government asked for my private key then I would simply exercise my right to remain silent.

That's probably best answered by a link to the appropriate xkcd comic [xkcd.com] .

Yes, you have the right to remain silent. But if there are no witnesses, they have the ability to do whatever they like to convince you to cooperate.

Re:Asynchronous Encryption ends the debate (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29400785)

In the UK they don't need to beat you.

In the UK you don't have a right to remain silent and MUST reveal your encryption key, or else spend years in jail. Silence is a crime in the state.

Re:Asynchronous Encryption ends the debate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29399789)

In general, encrypted VOIP or VPN doesn't actually use asynchronous encryption for the whole transmission, since it is computationally expensive. Public/Private key systems were invented to solve the problem of key exchange. What often happens is that a public/private key are then used to exchange a key for a synchronous cipher such as AES. One method for doing this would be Diffie-Hellman, as in Diffie, the author of TFA.

Other than that, you are correct as it is not thought that law enforcement can reasonably crack encryption available to the public. This still does not solve the privacy problem of the meta-data being available, but that is something that projects like TOR seek to address.

One more point - if you are completely paranoid then you probably should not trust PKI providers like Verisign, just in case they collude with the gov. Exchange your PGP keys in person!

Anybody With Something To Hide Knows Better (2, Interesting)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29397907)

I always find it amazing when Mafiosas are caught saying provocative stuff on the phone. They had to have known they were being wiretapped. If you know you're going to do something illegal, you don't do it any way that can be traced. No emails, no cell phones, nothing. Just voices in ears. Take the UNABOMBER. He wrote on a manual typewriter, made his bombs out of wood he himself took out of the forest. Every metal component in his bombs was made from scratch, not derived from some other source. So, every single one of those things were utterly untraceable. (He was only caught because his own brother recognized his writing style.)

.gov hates having competition (2, Insightful)

grumling (94709) | more than 4 years ago | (#29398075)

From TFA: "Wiretapping was the perfect tool for investigating crimes such as these that lack victims who complain and give evidence to the police"

Yet another reason to rethink our war on drugs policy.

(and no, I don't want pot to be legal so I can use it, I just want them to stop wasting so much money on a faulty premise, as seen in prohibition)

Re:.gov hates having competition (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#29398537)

Yet another reason to rethink our war on drugs policy.

The other problem with the war on drugs is that it creates actual victims who still aren't willing to give evidence to the police. In my hometown we've had no less than six shootings in the last two months wherein the victims refused to cooperate with the police. That tells you it's almost certainly drug related as I can't really think of any other reason why I wouldn't help the police if someone shot me.

Six months ago a buddy of mine was outside walking his dog when he saw someone take a baseball bat and kick down a door. He then heard fighting and smashing coming from within the residence. He called 911 on his cell phone, the cops showed up and arrested the man -- and eventually had to let him go because the "victims" refused to cooperate. Now the scumbag has made some not-so-subtle threats against my friend for calling the police on him, which amazes me because you'd think they'd be smart enough to know that a non-druggie citizen with nothing to hide isn't going to take their crap lying down.

The bulk of the crime in my city is driven by the drug trade in one way or another. It's been out of control for a long time. You can't tell me that the effects of legalized drugs would be worse than this. At least under a legalized system the addicts would be destroying their lives without putting the rest of us in the crossfire of criminal activity.

Re:.gov hates having competition (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#29401119)

Now the scumbag has made some not-so-subtle threats against my friend for calling the police on him

How did they know who he was?

Re:.gov hates having competition (1)

moortak (1273582) | more than 4 years ago | (#29402013)

That tells you it's almost certainly drug related as I can't really think of any other reason why I wouldn't help the police if someone shot me. As sad as it may seem many people have a deep distrust of police, not only for drug related reasons. In some neighborhoods the police have behaved in a manner that does not lead to much trust. That being said, it probably was drugs or at least the thug mentality that is far too prevalent.

If you knew what was really going on... (1, Troll)

stalkedlongtime (1630997) | more than 4 years ago | (#29398173)

You'd realize the "controversy" over the NSA's gathering of Americans' telephone call information is a tempest in a teapot.

What's really going on, this program of which Russell Tice of the NSA said, "there's no way the programs I want to talk to Congress about should be public ever, unless maybe in 200 years they want to declassify them. You should never learn about it; no one at the Times should ever learn about these things..." makes their warrantless wiretapping of journalists look like innocent fun.

I have personal experience with what's really going on, but I can't talk about it, especially on this site full of technically sophisticated users, because guys like you are arrogantly certain you know everything, and the stuff I know about falls outside your area of expertise.

The corporations have won. The politicians are all in their pockets, and neighborhood watches and police informants are tricked into Gang Stalking any potential opposition at the street level, with the help of this 'program' Russ Tice refers to. It's an invisible holocaust which you won't believe in until you get sucked into it.

Re:If you knew what was really going on... (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#29398583)

The corporations have won. The politicians are all in their pockets, and neighborhood watches and police informants are tricked into Gang Stalking any potential opposition at the street level, with the help of this 'program' Russ Tice refers to. It's an invisible holocaust which you won't believe in until you get sucked into it.

Jesus dude, put the tinfoil hat away. At no point during my training for neighborhood watch were we instructed to take the political leanings of anybody into account.

I have personal experience with what's really going on, but I can't talk about it, especially on this site full of technically sophisticated users

I call bullshit. If you really wanted to talk about it and weren't just engaged in tinfoil hat ranting you could easily post anything you wanted as AC via an anonymous (tor/cybercafe/etc) means.

Re:If you knew what was really going on... (2, Interesting)

stalkedlongtime (1630997) | more than 4 years ago | (#29398979)

The neighborhood watch meetings don't operate that way. What will happen is someone trusted, an authority figure like a policeman or a fireman, maybe several such people, will show up and say something like: "This person is dangerous, we haven't caught him yet, we don't have the manpower to track him, so we want you to follow him everywhere. Let him know he's being followed." That last sentence falls under the category of conspicuous surveillance which is a deliberately engineered intimidation tactic.

The authority figure(s) may present convincing evidence, which is often fabricated or exaggerated. In addition, what the neighborhood watch members don't know is that the target is being covertly harassed by police informants, in an attempt to get him to act out, or to confirm what the police are saying. For example, if the police accuse the target of being a sex offender who hasn't gotten caught yet, female police informants will show up everywhere in the target's path dressed wildly inappropriately to get the target to look. The neighborhood watch member observing this will conclude there's something to the accusations.

It takes a lot of effort to build up the momentum for Gang Stalking of a single individual, a lot of setups like the one I just described. But it's possible because practically everyone involved (neighborhood watch members, police informants) have been tricked or manipulated into working for free. The neighborhood watch members are volunteers. The police informants have to do whatever their case officers tell them to, for free, or go to prison.

There's much more to the ground forces than this, but it's way off-topic for this story, so I'll save it for later.

As for the high tech component of the persecution and torture campaign, it's interesting that you mention tinfoil hats. That is the kind of comment I was warned about before deciding to post here. Just FYI, I'm quite sophisticated enough to know that tinfoil hats do very little to protect against the kinds of things targeted individuals are concerned about. People who have been targeted in the US are a cross-section of America, and unfortunately the majority of Americans are scientifically illiterate. However, don't make the mistake of placing me in that category.

This program is going to come out much sooner than Russ Tice would like, and it's going to be big, but it's probably not going to happen as a result of what I post today. There are people working behind the scenes to expose this; unfortunately you're not going to find accurate information about what's being done on the web. A lot of people who speak up about this are, as I've said, scientifically uninformed, and thus they post nonsense. I'm doing my part by trying to reduce the amount of nonsense out there.

I'm not concerned about posting anonymously. I've already been targeted. What are they going to do... double-target me? My concern is about stepping into the public eye before the time is right.

Re:If you knew what was really going on... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29400825)

>>>female police informants will show up everywhere in the target's path dressed wildly inappropriately to get the target to look. The neighborhood watch member observing this will conclude there's something to the accusations.
>>>

Stop reading Tom Clancy and/or watching 24. It's just fiction. In the real world the police are imbeciles and wouldn't hatch such elaborate plots. Just look at how they mangled the Michael Jackson suspected-murder case, which will probably be thrown-out now to do police incompetence.

Re:If you knew what was really going on... (2, Interesting)

stalkedlongtime (1630997) | more than 4 years ago | (#29401251)

I'm not getting this from the media. I'm getting it from real life - my life.

This stuff is happening here in America, and it has historical precedent in East Germany's Stasi, who used police informants and citizen's watch groups for Gang Stalking, as well as covert microwaves for torturing and killing targets. In addition, similar tactics were used and exposed in America decades ago - read up on COINTELPRO. Wikipedia has an executive summary in its COINTELPRO page in the "methods" section.

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to pull this stuff off. The tactics come from a big book that most targeted individuals that I've communicated with are highly familiar with. Many policemen are also being manipulated, unwittingly, in this program. Again, read up on COINTELPRO, the tactic I mentioned in passing is only one of many the FBI used in that decades old program, and they've gotten more advanced in their tactics since then.

But this is off-topic for this article, anyway, since the topic is warrantless wiretapping, not Stasi-like Gang Stalking. However, there is a new high tech component to the Gang Stalking that didn't exist in East Germany, it's the stuff I was saying above that Slashdotters wouldn't be able to comprehend. It's something I can't talk about yet in the presence of non-targeted individuals (*especially* young techies who think they know everything), but it's going to come out a lot sooner than these guys think.

Re:If you knew what was really going on... (1)

Nethead (1563) | more than 4 years ago | (#29401741)

Watch out! I'm a ham radio operator and a CERT member. I'm keeping my eye on you!

Re:If you knew what was really going on... (1)

stalkedlongtime (1630997) | more than 4 years ago | (#29401857)

I guess this is another one of those techie witticisms I was warned about before I posted here.

I do have good news for a few people on this thread. The targeting isn't random. It either happens to you because you cross the wrong person - and that doesn't happen when you spend 24/7 futzing with computers at work or at home and eating cheetos - or because you're ex-military and you get selected for experimentation, or because you're beholden to no one and unusually gifted.

I've been browsing selected comment histories and I think I can safely say, you're not going to be targeted under this program as it's being run right now.

So go back to sleep.

Re:If you knew what was really going on... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29402321)

>>>I'm getting it from my life.

What life? Janitorial duties? Last guy I met online who spoke like that, claiming to have secret knowledge about government procedures, was just an elementary school janitor. He was making shit up.

Re:If you knew what was really going on... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29400799)

>>>I have personal experience with what's really going on, but I can't talk about it, especially on this site full of technically sophisticated users

Your nose is growing long Pinocchio.
Stop making-up stories.

Re:If you knew what was really going on... (1, Interesting)

stalkedlongtime (1630997) | more than 4 years ago | (#29401337)

If your government turned into a dictatorship, would there be an announcement to that effect in the papers or on TV? Why would they do that, when it is so much more effective to convince everyone they're still free, and get their enthusiastic cooperation for free? The handful (actually more than a handful) of dissidents and other troublemakers who want true freedom can be targeted.

If there were armed soldiers following your politicians everywhere they went with guns to their heads as they signed papers, you'd immediately recognize it as a military dictatorship. But what if the guns are several hundred or thousand miles away, and the gunshot is invisible? What if heart attacks or strokes can be induced electronically at will, and the only consideration is whether the target will comply with the implied threat, and if not, whether the target can be killed with deniability? Would that fit your definition of a military dictatorship?

When Dick Cheney had his well publicized heart problems in office, maybe you should revisit what message was really being sent. Maybe the people who order Dick Cheney around like an errand boy were telling the world, "If Dick died on the operating table, nobody would question it. His life is in our hands. We own him."

Maybe the government doesn't work the way you think it does. Maybe your leaders aren't in control and can't possibly be in control. Maybe the smart ones understand this, and decide to make the best of a bad situation by selling out.

That's all I'm prepared to say today. There's a lot more to the high tech persecution/torture/blackmail/murder angle than I've alluded to here.

Re:If you knew what was really going on... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29402237)

I just meant I think you are a guy sitting in a basement and making-up shit. I used to know a fellow like you, who came onto 80s BBSes and claimed to have all kinds of secret knowledge about the government...... and then I found out he was just a janitor. He was just spouting fiction.

Seems like all this was decided ages ago... (1)

herojig (1625143) | more than 4 years ago | (#29398243)

Considering what Mark Klein http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrBapXsLcro [youtube.com] and others have already told us, it's a little late for a wiretapping with warrant debate, as that case is already lost. The sooner everyone realizes that everything they type and say online and over the phone today is public to anyone with the technology to tap, the sooner groups could organize and take back the right to privacy through better technology and government policy. But honestly, isn't it already a lost cause? Seems like we have already embarked on a path to the dark side, with little light on the end of the privacy tunnel.

Re:Seems like all this was decided ages ago... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29398289)

>>>take back the right to privacy through better technology and government policy.

Well first-off government law already states, "No search without warrant" so the policy should be to enforce that law. That's the point of the debate - to pressure politicians to observe their own laws.

Second, escalating technology means nothing because the politicians will simply make it illegal to have an encryption key. And if you refuse to provide the key, then they will jail you, as is already the case in the UK. He who has the power to take away your freedom will ultimately win, no matter how many technology tricks you try. (Which brings us full circle to point number one again - enforce the law as written.)

Re:Seems like all this was decided ages ago... (1)

herojig (1625143) | more than 4 years ago | (#29402183)

I think this still stands:
FISC ruling, January 2009
In January 2009, a United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review ruling was made in favor of the warrantless wiretapping role of the Protect America Act 2007, in a heavily redacted opinion released on January 15, 2009, which was only the second such public ruling since the enactment of the FISA Act. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protect_America_Act_of_2007#FISC_ruling.2C_January_2009 [wikipedia.org]

Simple Questions for simple minds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29398549)

"Does wiretapping make us more secure."

Define your terms and perhaps you can begin to address the question. And if you acknowledge that the world is a complex place, then perhaps you'll even be willing admit that the simplicity of this question is ridiculous.

I'm shocked that I've found little commentary from you Slash.erers about the egregious abuse of power from WWII up through the 1970's that led to the Federal Information Security Act (FISA). Essentially, the Intelligence 'Community' refused to give up the use of their information gathering tools, even though their use, in the absence of reasonable suspicion and court approval, was ILLEGAL. Surveillance was rampant and it's not like it protected us from the Mob during that time, unless you think redirecting the Mafia against Castro during the Bay of Pigs fiasco did anyone any favors.

Since then communications technology has changed and the methods and techniques use in surveillance has been improved along with it. So has the opportunity for its abuse. The Bush administration took this to new heights and used FUD in ways that make Microsoft look like a schoolyard wimp. If you want a good read on the topic at hand, from a legal scholar, a concerned citizen and recipient of numerous awards for his efforts to provide advice and counsel on liberty and freedom of expression, read Justice at War: The Men and Ideas that Shaped America's War on Terror [amazon.com] by David D. Cole [georgetown.edu] . Once you've read this work, then you might be able to reframe the question in a more historically grounded discussion regarding the nature of what it means to "make us secure" why it might be necessary, and from whom.

does wiretapping actually make us more secure? (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | more than 4 years ago | (#29398643)

Yes, unless you get caught.

Richard M. Nixon

This is against the Law. (1)

MarioXXX (1636089) | more than 4 years ago | (#29399625)

Wiretapping is against the law and should not be allowed on your line without a warrant. I quote from the fourth amendment "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."

Re:This is against the Law. (0, Redundant)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29400849)

"hahahaha! Just words on a page." - President Bush

"That's right George. Constitutional law means nothing to us. Heck there's not even any punishment for violating it!" - President Obama

"Heh heh heh. Boy you guys are a laugh riot." - President Clinton

Boring stuff. (1)

nsaspook (20301) | more than 4 years ago | (#29399715)

You think it's fun listening to some euro jackass telling his bitches to get work because he needs a new gold tooth?

Does wiretapping actually make us more secure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29400339)

Well, apparently not [acm.org] ...

tinfoil shminfoil. lose your kneejerk conformist (1)

workingclass (1576067) | more than 4 years ago | (#29401403)

mindset. STALKEDLONGTIME is saying things that completely fit with what I've been hearing and reading about. Never on the MSM of course. But buried in regular news sources youll find stories (wimpily redacted, essentially) about it. A PODCAST THAT KICKS BUTT on this subject matter, which used to be an Air America show but for whatever buttheaded reasons got axed, deserves your support and you'll thank yourself for subscribing to the RSS feed (check the archive of episodes.. mindblowers.) He HAS INTERVIEWED NSA whistleblower R. Tice, along with FBI whistleblower and coalition founder Ms.Edmonds who co-hosts an episode weekly within this no-holds-barred podcast..

Podcast #22 The Peter B Collins Show Tue 04 Aug 2009 02:15:59 PM PDT audio/mpeg: 33018Kb NSA whistleblower Russell D. Tice, who was the first to report that journalists were targeted by illegal domestic wiretapping and surveillance, joins us for the second installment of the Boiling Frogs interview series, co-hosted by Sibel Edmonds. Tice tells us he was briefed on more than 200 "black" programs over his 20+ years in US intelligence, and expresses deep concern that Bush-era surveillance may have compromised many of our political leaders. ..

http://www.peterbcollins.com/ [peterbcollins.com] and for loads of fun perusing redacted documents.. http://nsarchive.org/ [nsarchive.org]

wake up (1)

pbjones (315127) | more than 4 years ago | (#29401613)

do people seriously believe that only Governments do 'wiretaps' ? that commercial and criminal elements of the community do not?

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