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Reconciling Human Rights With Ubiquitous Online Surveillance

timothy posted 1 year,17 days | from the fine-words-butter-no-parsnips dept.

Government 133

Max_W writes "Here is the text of Article #12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: 'No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.' U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay said yesterday 'While concerns about national security and criminal activity may justify the exceptional and narrowly-tailored use of surveillance programs, surveillance without adequate safeguards to protect the right to privacy actually risks impacting negatively on the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms.' Is it realistic to expect the compliance with this article from the world's major players in the age of large storage disks, fast networks and computers? Or are we entering a new brave world, a new phase of human civilization, where quaint notions of privacy and traditional moral principles are becoming ridiculous? Then what to do with the Article #12? Shall it be 'intentionally left blank'? Shall it be updated to a new wording? What words could they be?" In the U.S. and the EU, government bodies are fond of coming up with domain-specific bills of rights, not so big on publicly striking out the various guarantees.

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133 comments

Just start killing all the fucks (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44271665)

This is what the 2nd amendment is for: assassinations.

Re:Just start killing all the fucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44271785)

Wow, the fact this parent comment got modded up is really scary. No wonder slashdot has turned into such a vile cesspool of hate.

Re:Just start killing all the fucks (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44272105)

perhaps if you Americans quit spying on everyone, quit torturing by redefining the words and moving to offshore bases in order to skirt the law, stop persecuting your own citizens who expose your sickening ethics, killing poor villagers in far off lands by remote control, and the list goes on, and on and on.
then maybe, just maybe Slashdots international readers wouldnt treat this place as a cesspool of hate to vent at you

right now the world is pissed with you and we learnt from 9/11 going down that path doesnt do anyone any good.
vote the bastards out and start prosecuting some of your millionaire "representatives" for their actions.
vote them back in and you will be held complicit in their crimes, simples really, start playing the nice guys.

Re:Just start killing all the fucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44272921)

Hey dont blame the americans for this shit. They didnt even have a chance to elect the people spying and torturing everyone in their sham elections.

The blame falls squarely upon money. Everyone has a price and they have found them all.

The current mess is a symptom of a much larger problem with humanity.

Deal with it. Until such time as you yourself don't have a price... Why do you expect everyone else not to have one?

Re:Just start killing all the fucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44273075)

We gave up; we were wrong; we want to be like all of the other countries. The dream to constantly improve humanity by embracing Truth, Justice and the American Way was just that; a fantasy; an unattainable illusion. It's time to move on and make the perfect hive society. Love it or hate it, eventually each and everyone of us will have an IP number. The infamous fictional dystopias everyone reads and writes about will be frivolous paradises compared to what will really happen.

Re:Just start killing all the fucks (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | 1 year,16 days | (#44272563)

See, this is why Assassination Politics [cryptome.org] is so interesting. There's no talk of "hate speech." No questioning of motivations. Just cold, hard, untraceable cash.

Re:Just start killing all the fucks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44272601)

kill yourself you fuck

Re:Just start killing all the fucks (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44272833)

I'm sorry guys, but I have to say this:
This is to catastrophically TYPICAL for Americans.
The most blatant form of cognitive dissonance ever:
"We kill people ⦠who kill people⦠because killing people is bad!"

How fucked-up do you have to be, if you come up with that idea, and not *immediately* think "Fuck! ... That is *extremely* .. WRONG!"

How do you think those "fucks" came up with their evil plans. I tell you how: EXACTLY the EXACT same way you did. They just as much think what they are doing is good and just and right and more justified than yours. And they are just as much right exactly because you are just as much wrong.

Let alone all the psychological consequences for the resulting society... the kids and relatives of said "fucks"... the general mindset of a community of mass-murderers...

Fuck, how does that NOT sicken you?
I figure only a psychopath isn't sickened by it... if he's a real (ignorant) dumb fuck then at least after the fact.

Re:Just start killing all the fucks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44274303)

Let's count the fucks we will have to kill:

(1) Cops
(2) Operations & Maintenance personnel at telecommunications companies - and destroy our modern telco infrastructure while you're at it.
(3) Judges and lawyers
(4) Politicians
(5) Software developers who built in these back doors
(6) Corporate executives who loved the money the government paid
(7) Share holders who continued to keep the executives in power

I think Ted Kaczynsk would have found this extreme.

Personally, I love the idea.

Re:Just start killing all the fucks (1)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | 1 year,16 days | (#44275037)

(8) Slashdot moderators

I mean, as long as we're at it...

No shit sherlock department? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44271667)

But when the culprit nations have in practice signed out of rules of war and the rest of the human rights declarations why is this going to make a splash?

It seems the VC won.

Never be fixed with the double standards in place (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44271685)

As long as Obama can do things with silence from the same people that let loose BusHitler! rants when Bush did much less to trample rights, we may as well kiss our privacy goodbye.

Re:Never be fixed with the double standards in pla (2)

davester666 (731373) | 1 year,16 days | (#44272839)

Um, there is no reason to believe there has been a significant difference between the two guys w.r.t. mass surveillance. For example, the need to give the telephone companies retroactive immunity for illegal acts stems from the Bush era.

Both R & D are happy to sell the rest of us 'commoners' down the river in the name of 'terrorism' and 'child molester'.

And we are complacent enough to let them.

Two way street (5, Interesting)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,17 days | (#44271701)

They want to make our lives transparent. We have to do the same to theirs. The state must live by the same rules as its subjects.

Re:Two way street (3, Insightful)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | 1 year,17 days | (#44271755)

The state must live by the same rules as its subjects.

Not that I'm disagreeing in any way, but if the state actually lived by the same rules as its subjects, there would be no state.

Re:Two way street (2)

jcr (53032) | 1 year,16 days | (#44271803)

if the state actually lived by the same rules as its subjects, there would be no state.

So, what's the down side?

-jcr

Re:Two way street (2)

icebike (68054) | 1 year,16 days | (#44271885)

if the state actually lived by the same rules as its subjects, there would be no state.

So, what's the down side?

-jcr

One World Government = One World Tyranny.

We are closer to that than you think.

Re:Two way street (2)

khallow (566160) | 1 year,16 days | (#44271963)

One world government != no state. I don't buy that a really transparent state means no state. You need certain mundane tasks performed such as law enforcement and disaster recovery. Even if you don't want the state doing those things directly, it makes a good coordinator for such efforts.

Re:Two way street (3, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | 1 year,16 days | (#44272033)

No Government = Tyranny as well.

A situation of "No Government" can not exist, except perhaps in the plant world.

Whether its hives of ants, packs of wild animals, or bands of humans, some form of organization and regulation will come into being.

Because there is no other way on this planet. We have not evolved, and probably never will, to a state where there need never be some form of government if for no other reason than to manage infrastructure and to keep people from being at the total mercy of the biggest bully.

My point is that One World Government is a horrible idea. Alternatives are good. Being able to vote with your feet is the last refuge.
But as horrible as that might be, no government is worse. Even anarchists appeal to the law when their lives are threatened.

Re:Two way street (5, Insightful)

meta-monkey (321000) | 1 year,16 days | (#44272123)

Well gee, "no government" seems to be a bad idea, and "total government" seems to be a bad idea, I wonder if there might be something in the middle?

Perhaps, I don't know, a constitutional republic that exists to provide for the common defense, the peaceful mediation of disputes, and holds only limited and specifically enumerated powers derived from the consent of the governed such that it may not infringe upon the unalienable rights of the people?

I know, crazy talk. Let's go back to flailing widely between equally intolerable extremes.

Re:Two way street (1)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | 1 year,16 days | (#44272237)

a constitutional republic that exists to provide for the common defense, the peaceful mediation of disputes, and holds only limited and specifically enumerated powers derived from the consent of the governed such that it may not infringe upon the unalienable rights of the people

There is a contradiction in your requirements. Even "limited and specifically enumerated powers" will inevitably infringe people's unalienable rights. The best you can do, short of giving up on government in general, is try to keep that infringement to a minimum.

Anyway, you don't need government to provide for common defense or to mediate disputes peacefully. You only need government to force people to participate in your particular arrangement for defense or mediation, which in both cases completely misses the point of defending people and peacefully mediating disputes by making the defender/mediator the aggressor which other must defend themselves against.

Re:Two way street (2)

tqk (413719) | 1 year,16 days | (#44272329)

Perhaps, I don't know, a constitutional republic that exists to provide for the common defense, the peaceful mediation of disputes, and holds only limited and specifically enumerated powers derived from the consent of the governed such that it may not infringe upon the unalienable rights of the people?

It's been tried, and even that reasonable form of it failed miserably. If you concentrate any power at all in a gov't, no matter how many checks and balances you put in place to keep it honest, the criminal class will gravitate towards it and twist it to their advantage. It always happens. Not only that but even if you explicitly insist that the citizenry have a right and a duty to revolt against tyranny, most people won't want to believe the situation's deteriorated enough to need to. They just want to be left alone to live their lives in relative peace.

Sucks, but what can you do? You can try to keep gov't small enough to be effective and accountable but when a big enough bully rears his head, they'll need to band together to defeat him. Presto, big gov't.

Re:Two way street (1)

khallow (566160) | 1 year,16 days | (#44272203)

You can say that, but your explanation is merely that "no government" is impossible, not that it is equal to tyranny unless you are choosing to claim that tyranny is impossible as well. That is, after all what equality means, two things that have the same properties to the point that they are indistinguishable by any means.

Re:Two way street (1)

C10H14N2 (640033) | 1 year,16 days | (#44272355)

"My point is that One World Government is a horrible idea. Alternatives are good. Being able to vote with your feet is the last refuge."

An excellent point, but that last bit ended with WWI.

Re:Two way street (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44272457)

I think you don't understand what "Anarchy" is, instead you assume its the litteraly defintion of the word, which is not the stated, or even practiced position of any established groups of Anarchists, or anyone else preaching "Anarchism", with a big "A".

you could get it via googling, but you are probably feigning ignorance because it affords you a strawman.

Re:Two way street (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,16 days | (#44272597)

We have not evolved...

Correct

...and probably never will...

Let's hope there's life after biology. It's our only escape...

...at the total mercy of the biggest bully.

This is already the case. We are under an anarchy of authority that it limited in size only by internal bickering, but the corp/state is the bully.

Re:Two way street (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | 1 year,16 days | (#44272309)

Indeed, a state can not and should not be expected to live by the same rules as an individual. For instance, an individual enjoys freedom of thought [nytimes.com]

But the loss of privacy doesn’t just threaten political freedom. Return for a moment to our thought experiment where I telepathically know all your thoughts whether you like it or not From my perspective, the perspective of the knower — your existence as a distinct person would begin to shrink. Our relationship would be so lopsided that there might cease to be, at least to me, anything subjective about you. As I learn what reactions you will have to stimuli, why you do what you do, you will become like any other object to be manipulated. You would be, as we say, dehumanized

But a democratic state exists solely to be manipulated by those that it governs. If it enjoyed freedom of thought, it would lose legitimacy.

Re:Two way street (5, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | 1 year,16 days | (#44271909)

Yeah . . . No. I don't think the solution is to stab everyone in the eye so we're *all* blind. What we have to do is fight the invasion of privacy and blackmail.

Also, what the fuck is up with all of these assholes talking about how we have to focus on properly balancing surveillance and privacy with the need for security? That's the most utterly bullshit line I've been hearing from people (especially the president) during the last few months. There are no concessions to be made. Yes, some times bad shit will still happen. That doesn't justify just wiping out everything that society (at least American society and government) is supposedly founded on. Sacrificing your principals to protect your principals is fucking asinine. Further, the president keeps spewing this bullshit about how his "number one job" is to "protect the american people" and "keep the country safe". The FUCK it is.

Presidential oath of office:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

His sole job is to preserve (not change) and protect and defend the Constitution. Period. Not to change it. Not to violate it. Not to push programs that spit in the face of it. . . . but to uphold it.

Yet, I have never seen or heard one reporter or one talking head anywhere under any circumstances raise this in response to the bullshit he spews.

Re:Two way street (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | 1 year,16 days | (#44272115)

"Sacrificing your principals to protect your principals is fucking asinine."

This reminds me very much of the old argument against flag burning. Hey, guys, no, you did NOT fight to defend that flag. You fought to defend what it stands for. And the freedom of speech it stands for includes allowing people to burn it if they want. As ironic as that may seem.

If I had mod points I'd give you 10.

Re:Two way street (1)

gravious (19912) | 1 year,16 days | (#44272435)

I too would give this fine person 10 of my non-existent mod points.

Re:Two way street (1)

cold fjord (826450) | 1 year,16 days | (#44272221)

Further, the president keeps spewing this bullshit about how his "number one job" is to "protect the american people" and "keep the country safe". The FUCK it is. . . . His sole job is to preserve (not change) and protect and defend the Constitution. Period. Not to change it. Not to violate it. Not to push programs that spit in the face of it. . . . but to uphold it. Yet, I have never seen or heard one reporter or one talking head anywhere under any circumstances raise this in response to the bullshit he spews.

Looking at the Presidential oath, I show in bold below the portion of the oath that you say is the President's job.

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Unfortunately you've left something out, a big something that I show below in bold

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

The two sections are linked with an "AND," they are two different clauses. There are two different aspects of the President's job. Other than the court system, practically everything that the government does that an ordinary citizen would encounter falls under the purview of the Executive branch, of which the President is the head. As head of the Executive branch of government, he is responsible for seeing that the law is carried out, and that the government functions. That is a pretty big thing to leave out.

You skip over the many things specified in the text of Article II of the Constitution. These are the duties of the President of the United States, as specified in the Constitution. I will note that you claim that it isn't the President's job to "protect the American people" flies into the face of the text of the Constitution. Article II section 2 of the Constitution's first statement is that the President is Commander in Chief of the armed forces. That role makes him directly responsible for the defense, the protection, of the American people.

CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES [gpo.gov]
Article II

Section. 2. The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads
of Departments.

The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session. Section. 3. He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information on the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall
receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

There is a lot more there than just protecting the Constitution.

You are equally mistaken about the question of managing American intelligence operations so that they are both effective, and don't unnecessarily impose upon the actual freedom and civil rights of Americans. If Americans are ever asked to give up voting and elections, or freedom on speech or religion, or many others, you will know that things have gone too far. The use of X-Ray machines to check luggage before boarding an airliner isn't an unreasonable imposition of Constitutional rights.

As Commander in Chief, the President has the Constitution authority to conduct surveillance of people in communication with terrorist groups, and more.

It’s Legal - The solid legal basis for the administration's surveillance program. [nationalreview.com] (Well worth the read.)

Re:Two way street (1)

dryeo (100693) | 1 year,16 days | (#44274457)

The amendments supersede Article II section 2. In other words the President is not constitutionally allowed to break amendments 1 and 4, even to use his chief of staff powers. Same thing with prosecuting Snowdon, amendment #1 says that congress can not pass a law denying his freedom of speech and the 14th amendment extends it to all parts of government
Need powers to protect national security? Pass an amendment allowing laws abridging freedom of speech rather them just hand waving away fundamental parts of the Constitution. As long as the government is allowed to break some basic freedoms, there is nothing to stop them breaking more.

Re:Two way street (4, Insightful)

Sabriel (134364) | 1 year,16 days | (#44274473)

I had modded up the post you replied to. I was going to mod you up as well. I feel that both of you have a point. Then I re-read one line in particular:

"If Americans are ever asked to give up voting and elections, or freedom on speech or religion, or many others, you will know that things have gone too far."

Your voting laws deny universal adult suffrage and your elections are rigged (or at very least involve such incompetence as to be difficult to distinguish from malice). You have "free speech zones" and systemic electronic surveillance of the population. You have people being deprived of their effects, properties and liberties without due and Constitutional process of law, you have government officials publicly committing felonies without being charged, never mind tried, and you have a higher rate of civilian incarceration than China and Russia combined.

Things have gone too far. Not ammo box far, not yet, but your soap, ballot, jury and moving boxes are all partially compromised. Yes, "cold fjord", you are correct that the President has not one but two primary mission objectives. However, "Seumas" is correct that the President is failing in one of them, and I would argue, per your statement, that he is failing in both:

"he is responsible for seeing that the law is carried out, and that the government functions"

The President needs to clean house. If you think I'm being overly dramatic, the US is the 800 pound gorilla in the room. I'm in that room, there's no exits, and I've seen what happens to those who upset the gorilla. They're fugitives or dead, and their neighbours are often "acceptable collateral damage". The consequences should the gorilla turn rabid, of that last box being opened, that ordinary people are even discussing opening that last box, should be on the minds of everyone.

As an emigrant from the old USSR once posted (paraphrased): people rarely think about freedom when they have it.

Re:Two way street (1)

AHuxley (892839) | 1 year,16 days | (#44274527)

Re your link to the 2006 "It’s Legal - The solid legal basis for the administration's surveillance program"
The joys of “inherent authority” for accepted foreign vs domestic intelligence thats drifts in as warrantless searches seem to be back in the news again.
It is no longer 2006 or 2008 and the ability to pull another "state secrets" defense wrt spying in American will be legal fun.
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/07/state-secrets-defense/ [wired.com]
The US could go for a legal https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tempora [wikipedia.org] solution with some new domestic cover via rubber stamped case-by-case “special needs” efforts. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/07/us/in-secret-court-vastly-broadens-powers-of-nsa.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 [nytimes.com]

Re:Two way street (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44274677)

It's called "Reframing the Argument". By saying that we have to "strike a balance between surveillance and privacy", they've already got people thinking that they MUST accept some level of intrusion. The following dialogue between the people and the government is then not about whether surveillance is good or not, but about how much surveillance will be tolerated.

The correct response from the people when asked about "Balance" should be, "Fuck off. We don't want balance, nor will we accept it."

Unfortunately, that likely won't happen since most people don't even know what rights they're giving up, let alone how to protect them.

human rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44271703)

The concept of human rights can't even be reconciled with itself, much less anything else.

How can an international treaty mandate freedom? The mandate itself is tyrrany.

Re:human rights (2)

icebike (68054) | 1 year,16 days | (#44271895)

How can an international treaty mandate freedom? The mandate itself is tyrrany.

It isn't a treaty. Its merely a resolution with no force of law.

Re:human rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44271913)

Same with copyleft, really.

Re:human rights (1)

0111 1110 (518466) | 1 year,16 days | (#44273405)

How can an international treaty mandate freedom? The mandate itself is tyrrany.

Freedom is Slavery.

Limitations of technology, not ethics (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44271719)

States have been constrained in their surveillance by technology, not by ethics.

What reason is there for this to change now?

Re:Limitations of technology, not ethics (2)

gl4ss (559668) | 1 year,17 days | (#44271773)

States have been constrained in their surveillance by technology, not by ethics.

What reason is there for this to change now?

you can go pretty far without technology. usa could have started going through _all_ mail(you know, opening it with a letter opener and seeing if you're dating a black dude) and not just prison mail a long time ago if ethics department didn't say no. so ethics does affect it, even in usa.

why do you think they took to making the surveillance in secret? because it's a tactical advantage? heck no, it's because public morality could have struck it down.

even gitmo exists because they have some ethic rules they comply to(us soil, different rules). sure, they use defective thought but still..

Re:Limitations of technology, not ethics (5, Insightful)

meta-monkey (321000) | 1 year,16 days | (#44272163)

Exactly. Technology has nothing to do with this.

You're not secure in your home because your door is unkickdownable. Pretty sure doors have been kicked down since the invention of doors and kicking.

You're not free to say what you want because tyrants have never figured out a way to shut people up. "Grrrrrrr those filthy peasants! If only there were a way to make them silent, like a sharp object you could poke them with until they were quiet or dead! Alas, no such 'pointy stick technology' exists, so I will have to suffer their insults instead."

You have unalienable right to not have these things happen to you, which is why we consent to be governed only in way that does not infringe upon these rights. Hell, we can't even consent to be deprived of our rights. That's what "unalienable" means.

This is entirely a political problem, and is neither caused by nor solvable with technology.

Re:Limitations of technology, not ethics (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44272285)

Exactly. Technology has nothing to do with this.

You're not secure in your home because your door is unkickdownable. Pretty sure doors have been kicked down since the invention of doors and kicking.

You're not free to say what you want because tyrants have never figured out a way to shut people up. "Grrrrrrr those filthy peasants! If only there were a way to make them silent, like a sharp object you could poke them with until they were quiet or dead! Alas, no such 'pointy stick technology' exists, so I will have to suffer their insults instead."

You have unalienable right to not have these things happen to you, which is why we consent to be governed only in way that does not infringe upon these rights. Hell, we can't even consent to be deprived of our rights. That's what "unalienable" means.

This is entirely a political problem, and is neither caused by nor solvable with technology.

That is why anonymity is so important. While a tyrant has the power to burn down the whole village because an anonymous person who might be from there insulted him he can only do that so many times before one of the members of his royal guard assassinates him in revenge for killing his cousin who was a villager.

Anonymity is the way to embarrass, or even harm, people who have power over you without repercussion. It is the great equalizer and that is why governments everywhere are working so hard to get rid of it.

Re:Limitations of technology, not ethics (1)

meta-monkey (321000) | 1 year,16 days | (#44272327)

Indeed, and it is the same in public discourse. Ad hominem attacks are more difficult when there is no hominem to attack.

Re:Limitations of technology, not ethics (2)

durdur (252098) | 1 year,16 days | (#44272399)

I think that is true, but there is not any fundamental reason why something that is technologically possible can't be prohibited by law. Nor any reason governments can't be made subject to the law. In the U.S., Nixon was about to be impeached over misuse of federal resources to attack and embarrass his personal enemies.

No. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44271721)

US tortures people, and you expect them to provide basic human rights? We have a long way to do before our government isn't just providing basic rights on a convenience basis.

Maybe we can aim for some point in the future where maybe there is a chance that basic rights will generally be given to everyone (no exceptions!), but I don't see it happening here anytime soon.

Ah, Utopia! (4, Insightful)

some old guy (674482) | 1 year,17 days | (#44271725)

Poor Timothy and Max seem to remain under the illusion that governments, any governments, really rule and act based on their bodies of laws.

Governments have always, and always will, do as they damned well please till the next revolution. Then guess what? In no time the new boss is the same as the old boss.

Why? Easy: money. Pure and simple. Just money. Power is a means to acquire and control wealth.

Universal Declarations and Bills of Rights don't amount to jack diddly fuck if the wrong well-heeled toe gets stepped on.

Re:Ah, Utopia! (1)

Seumas (6865) | 1 year,16 days | (#44271947)

Exactly. The idea of the second amendment is that the public can rise up and change things when their government turns against them. In reality, the government does whatever the fuck it wants and has the manpower, tanks, jets, bombs, guns, and nukes to keep doing what the fuck it wants and prevent any change. Even if half the country armed themselves and started taking things back (I don't know what the fuck that even means -- exactly who the fuck do they go after..?!), the military has the might to stamp it quickly back down.

Which means, ultimately, The Constitution is about as meaningful as wedding vows. You promise to be faithful and loving and together for the rest of your life, until one of you decides not to be.

The solution, of course, is simply not to give a fuck. We'll all be dead in a few decades and it'll be the problem of generations that exist after we're dead... and it's hard to give two shits when you no longer exist. Maybe all the little My-First-Internet-Petition-Freedom-Fighter twats on Reddit who just suddenly started giving one shit about any of this in the last two months for the first time in their lives will change things.. Or not.

Re:Ah, Utopia! (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | 1 year,16 days | (#44272165)

"Even if half the country armed themselves and started taking things back (I don't know what the fuck that even means -- exactly who the fuck do they go after..?!), the military has the might to stamp it quickly back down."

I am SOOoooo tired of hearing this bullshit. Because that's all it is. Half-thought-through bullshit.

Listen, guy, your numbers don't add up.

There are about 1.5 million U.S. troops.

There are 300 million people in the U.S. -- that's 214 for EACH soldier -- and guess what else? There is at least one civilian-owned gun for EACH of those 300 million.

With all their tanks and helicopters, the U.S. military would not stand a snowball's chance in hell against its own citizens. And guess what else? That's not even accounting for the fact that there is no way in hell most of them would even fight. Even if 1 in 10 of them decided to fight their own people (and I don't think it would be anywhere near that many)... that comes out to more than 2,000 people against each soldier. Each one with his/her own gun. An M16 is a nice weapon... but it won't protect you against 2,000 other people.

Nuking is no good... what is there to run afterward? That would be stupid. And "conventional" are not as awesomely effective as you seem to think. Plus, somebody has to make the bullets and grenades. The military's stockpiles would not last very long after the factories either shut down or start providing ammo to the citizens instead.

So do us all a favor and knock off the bullshit about a military takeover of the U.S. Not only will it not happen, it could not happen. For more than a few days, anyway.

Re:Ah, Utopia! (1)

six025 (714064) | 1 year,16 days | (#44272505)

There are 300 million people in the U.S. -- that's 214 for EACH soldier -- and guess what else? There is at least one civilian-owned gun for EACH of those 300 million.

There are a lot of children, elderly and just plain incapable people included in your sums.

Re:Ah, Utopia! (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | 1 year,16 days | (#44272971)

"There are a lot of children, elderly and just plain incapable people included in your sums."

Yep. So divide it by half (you have to be pretty young or pretty crippled to not be able to shoot a gun).

That still leaves the soldiers outnumbered 1,000 to 1.

Re:Ah, Utopia! (1)

dryeo (100693) | 1 year,16 days | (#44274585)

It won't ever be 300 million vs 1.5 million. It'll be 100 million vs 100 million with the other 100 million being undecided. Perhaps a 100 million conservatives against a 100 million liberals or perhaps some other labels with the divider being something stupid like gay marriage. The troops will be indoctrinated and mostly side with the government, whichever side it is.

Re:Ah, Utopia! (2)

AHuxley (892839) | 1 year,16 days | (#44274825)

A soft military takeover could work if you zone up the country and focus on trouble areas/people and buy off larger zones with comforts like clean running water, power, gas, heating, food, the internet, medical care, timely unemployment benefits and dont go after drug use.
Even the offer of been "good" for ongoing property protection from looters can work wonders.
Stay home and you keep your arms as a hunter/collection with a new license - no problem at all.
Found outside its a death squad and if you survive sedition changes for you and your helpers/family.
Any home or ranch holding 'out' would be reported as hoarding, having an “arsenal”, not playing nice under the new colour of law.
Its a simple matter of burning out/shake and bake the person or people per private block of property.
Finding people with weapons in use via sounds been triangulated is not too hard ~10 to 12 audio sensors per square mile, files or local informants..
Domestic 24/7 drone use would give great map support too. Hollow points, white phosphorus, thermobaric weapons, sonic weapons, chemicals in water cannons might only be under questionable under international law.
For domestic use its just local policing as normal.
A successful night raid two doors down can also be chilling to anyone wishing to turn up at a First Amendment Zone ever again.
If a region keeps on been naughty, its Fallujah time- special ID cards and layers of identity checks.
Mercs and NATO special forces units would also be for support - no questions from them during any raid, just more overtime pay.

Re:Ah, Utopia! (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | 1 year,16 days | (#44273235)

I think if we got to the point where they were turning out the troops and tanks to put down armed rebellions, even the common man might start to ask how this is different than Tienanmen Square.

Re:Ah, Utopia! (2)

AHuxley (892839) | 1 year,16 days | (#44274973)

A local propaganda layer would turn the "protests" into a few people in the next valley, town, suburb, street been brought to justice.
The public is rather desensitised to troops and tanks due to mil surplus been gifted to cities, towns, states and been in use.
Troops and mercs "help" at larger events - would anyone really notice anything different?
The optics of a Tiananmen Square can avoided with the round up of protest leaders, need for a permit and undercover work to spoil the event on the day.
Video work uploaded would become unavailable with the help of a few big brands :)

Re:Ah, Utopia! (2)

khallow (566160) | 1 year,16 days | (#44271971)

Money only goes so far. You can rent power, but you can't buy it.

Re:Ah, Utopia! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44272101)

agreed. We don't need a regime change, we need a paradigm change.

You need a system where checks and balances are set up, so they work, inherently, even when the system breaks.

We need to stop looking at symbolic power, and paper power, and a real life honest to god assessment of what leverage is, and how it excedes paper laws.

Re:Ah, Utopia! (1)

0111 1110 (518466) | 1 year,16 days | (#44273499)

You need a system where checks and balances are set up, so they work, inherently, even when the system breaks.

Heinlein had some ideas for this in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Things like an anti-congress that exists solely to repeal the laws that congress makes. But I'm not convinced that there is really any effective way to limit the growth of government. Governments consist of people. People who want more power. It would help if the constitution could not be amended though. That just makes it too easy to defeat whatever limitations are in place.

You could put in an auto-reset clause where the government must reset itself back to the beginning every 50-100 years. Everything that the government "accomplished" during that time would automatically be null and void after a reset. Then the government would have another century or whatever to build up its power again. But the government would probably just ignore it the same way it ignores the ninth amendment.

Ultimately, The Government Makes The Rules (1)

rueger (210566) | 1 year,17 days | (#44271735)

Really it's pretty simple. The people who have the power to make the rules, also have the power to ignore that parts they don't like.

In practical terms your "rights" exist exactly as long as your government wants them to. As long as government has bigger and better guns, more prisons, and runs the judiciary and police, you will have exactly as many "rights" as they find convenient.

It's remarkably naive to think otherwise, and it has always been the case.

(Cue the Americans who actually believe that any of their rights are so inviolate that they are beyond the reach of their government...)

(And those who can't distinguish between lip service and a willingness to actually do something.)

Re:Ultimately, The Government Makes The Rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44271847)

Cue the apathetic assholes that make up a large portion of the problem. Who just say "I told you so, this is how it is." instead of wanting to do anything about it. Funny that you're the one talking down to people who can't distinguish between dribble and doing something.

Re:Ultimately, The Government Makes The Rules (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | 1 year,16 days | (#44272181)

"Really it's pretty simple. The people who have the power to make the rules, also have the power to ignore that parts they don't like."

Sure... until somebody gets mad enough to shoot them through the head. Which someone inevitably does, and always has done.

Tyranny is self-limiting.

Re:Ultimately, The Government Makes The Rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44272823)

Close....so close...but not quite right.

Rights, you see, are not given. They are taken. If the means of acquiring rights was to hope for benevolence from one's government, there would be no rights at all.

The reason, and the only reason, that modern governments are not respecting a right to privacy is because their people are not demanding it. A few geeks writing angry posts on a blog does not count as demanding.

History has shown, and will continue to show, that humans only treat others (especially their subordinates) with justice when they are forced to do so. Our raw numbers allow us to apply such force to our governments, but we only get the desired results when we actually apply said force. Right now, we are not, and so we do without.

Here is a great quote about that. I forgot who said it.

"Show me what a man is willing suffer in silence, and I will show you the exact measure of injustice and wrong to which he will be subjected."

Let's Not (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44271739)

Instead lets purge those paranoid cold war relics and destroy the many spook agencies. Wipe out the black budgets. More privacy, more freedom, and more money for the budget. Nothing but win for society.

Inside the 1st Sentence (1)

hutsell (1228828) | 1 year,17 days | (#44271745)

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation.

Is this really for the people, or is it designed to mostly be used to protect our glorious leaders from constructive criticism

only solution: take back the internet (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,17 days | (#44271753)

We need to work towards making it technically infeasible to achieve the present level of surveillance. Strong end-to-end encryption needs to be ubiquitous. Real end to end, not via some intermediate web-based key holder. Emails, instant messages, and texts should be encrypted by default, no cleartext ever sent. Ideally, some onion-router way to hide origin and destination from the man in the middle should also be default, but I'm not sure how to make that work.

We need to make 1984 harder for the fuckers. Right now, there's nobody fighting back, so they win by default.

"Shall it be updated to a new wording?" (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | 1 year,17 days | (#44271781)

No, just stamp "[deprecated]" on it.

Why did I have to spend so much time in elementary school learning about The Constitution, when they were just going to deprecate it later on?

It would also be interesting to hear an new version of The Gettysburg Address, updated to reflect recent events. I'm not convinced that this "Of the people, by the people, for the people" stuff is really quite accurate these days.

Re:"Shall it be updated to a new wording?" (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44271901)

Why did I have to spend so much time in elementary school learning about The Constitution, when they were just going to deprecate it later on?

Wow - welcome, old timer! It's rare to see people of your age on Slashdot, since you went to elementary school back when there were still actual constraints on federal government power (i.e., before the New Deal).

Back in those days, some parts of the Constitution actually meant something. If the federal government exceeded its power, the Supreme Court would overrule it, because the Constitution explicitly says all of the things the federal government it able to do. If it's not on the list [wikipedia.org] , it should be unconstitutional.

But, alas, FDR was annoyed because he wanted more government power. The Supreme Court held out for many years, until FDR threatened to enlarge the court (its size isn't fixed at 9) until there were enough of his cronies to overrule the Constitutionalists on the court. But in 1937 [wikipedia.org] , the court gave in... and ever since, our federal government has basically had a blank check to do what it wants, Constitution be damned.

The world has changed a lot since then, Old Timer, so welcome to the brave new one.

Re:"Shall it be updated to a new wording?" (2)

digitig (1056110) | 1 year,16 days | (#44272089)

Why did I have to spend so much time in elementary school learning about The Constitution, when they were just going to deprecate it later on?

Because they didn't expect you to find out.

Re:"Shall it be updated to a new wording?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44272629)

I'm not convinced that this "Of the people, by the people, for the people" stuff is really quite accurate these days.

Well, corporations are already legally defined as 'people'. So as soon as they can get around to having actual human beings defined as not 'people', it will be accurate again.

The way to slavery (1)

gmuslera (3436) | 1 year,17 days | (#44271789)

is paved with exceptions to our rights.

That the big bully does it means that it is right now? We won't get targetted by drones [motherjones.com] if people from outside US does exactly what they are doing? This is a declaration of war against the world [washingtonexaminer.com] (their words, not mine). Whats next? Redoing pre-WWII discourse and taking invading countries where there are americans as something right?

Privacy are the bricks over what intellectual property is built, one of the things that US push in every international treaty, agreement, pact, embargo, boicott or whatever in the last 10-20 years at least. I say that something is mine and private, and will give the permission to others to have/use/know it under certain, defined conditions. Stripping everyone of privacy means no intellectual property too. Or we will keep making exceptions and say that you have right to have intellectual property if you are a big corporation lobbing the US government? The UN can agree that if the US pretend that we have no privacy, the rest of the world can pretend that they don't have intellectual property?

A bit of a stretch (1)

emt377 (610337) | 1 year,16 days | (#44271809)

Privacy really requires an attempt to keep something private. If you send a letter, the fact that you sent it is obvious to any mail carrier or mail handler. Only the contents are protected. Similarly if you use a third-party MTA you're clearly handing off your correspondence to someone else and it's quite a stretch to imagine it's private. If you do things in public, visible to others, it's not private. Go home, pull down and close the blinds, and you have a right to privacy. Go out and do the same in public, or in a privately owned public arena, no matter how embarrassing or compromising, and it's public. The protections against illegal searches and seizures aren't just there for privacy, but also to prevent the government from harassing people and their businesses. A warrant is needed to get information about email from a provider like gmail not because of privacy concerns but because it adds operational costs. If you want to keep your email private, run your own server. This way no SRE techie at google will ever know who you exchange email with (unless it's someone using their services).

Re:A bit of a stretch (1)

gl4ss (559668) | 1 year,16 days | (#44271903)

"This way no SRE techie at google will ever know who you exchange email with (unless it's someone using their services)."

umm that's not how email works. better off using some other protocol if you want to keep the recipients secret and the guys are tapping fiber and know your ip to put in the tap filter block..

There is no such thing as human rights (1)

vikingpower (768921) | 1 year,16 days | (#44271829)

Proof: one can arbitrarily extend the existing ones with "the right to have blonde hair", "the right to be infertile", "the right to be able to get a PhD but not pursue it", "the right to drive a car". Which drives the whole concept of "human rights" into sheer meaninglessness. Hence: I call bullshit upon TFA. Any concept that can be arbitrarily extended is worthless. There is no such thing as "fundamental freedoms". Any freedom extant is a freedom conquered, gained by struggle or simply taken. There is only the choice between adherence, and by this I mean: rational, deliberate adherence, to a state of one's liking - and the fight against an overbearing, tyrannic state. This phrase alone encompasses more than half of humanity's political history and, sadly, will continue to encompass much of its political future. Period.

Re:There is no such thing as human rights (1)

khallow (566160) | 1 year,16 days | (#44271989)

Proof: one can arbitrarily extend the existing ones with "the right to have blonde hair", "the right to be infertile", "the right to be able to get a PhD but not pursue it", "the right to drive a car". Which drives the whole concept of "human rights" into sheer meaninglessness.

What do you mean "can arbitrarily extend"? If we don't actually arbitrarily extend human rights, then it appears to me that your proof, such as it is, fails because the premise isn't satisfied. And in practice, we don't arbitrarily extend human rights to whatever the flavor of the day is.

Re:There is no such thing as human rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44272279)

And in practice, we don't arbitrarily extend human rights to whatever the flavor of the day is.

Sure we do, at least in the U.S. The proof is easy. Ask yourself a simple question. When did women exactly gain a "right to an abortion"? You might say, "Roe v. Wade." Okay. But in that case the Supreme Court said that this "right" meant that laws against it were unconstitutional -- which means the "right" had to be found somewhere in the Constitution.

But the word "abortion" does not appear in the Constitution. So where was it? Apparently lurking somewhere between the words of the 14th Amendment and the Due Process clause. Somewhere, unbenownst to all of the people who wrote the 14th Amendment, all the Congressmen who voted for it, all the state legislatures who approved it -- many of whom later passed laws in their states against abortion, knowing full well what the 14th Amendment said -- none of these people realized that the 14th Amendment had a "right" just lurking in there somewhere.

Yet, the Supreme Court discovered it in Roe v. Wade (actually, they discovered a "right to privacy" -- initially essentially a right to buy birth control -- a few years earlier, which turned out to cover abortion too!). And that just happened to find this right at the high point of the "Sexual Revolution" and a major push toward feminism. How convenient that this magically appeared at this place! It couldn't have anything to do with "the flavor of the day."

Justice Scalia noted this idea of what basic "rights" means. It means that, as a judge, you just wake up in the morning, stare at the ceiling, and say, "Gee, I wonder whether the 14th Amendement has a fundamental human right to abortion in it today? Ooops... not today, maybe next week...." Then next week, or next year, or next decade, suddenly -- BAM! -- there it is! Suddenly we see a right there that no one saw before... must've been there all along, those silly Congressmen back in the 1860s just didn't notice it. Gee Whiz!

Note here that I think women should definitely be able to get abortions. I just don't think that they have a fundamental "human right" to them. But if that right does exist, it should have been found in the 10th Amendment, which states that other non-enumerated rights may still exist for people, even if they are not explicitly mentioned. But the 10th Amendment is dangerous -- it implies that any court can just sort of "make up" any right whenever it thinks that an individual is deserving. So, we pretend to find the rights elsewhere in the Constitution, even though they clearly aren't there.

And we've found plenty of amazing rights in the Constitution that no one knew were there, particularly in the past 50 years or so. There's apparently a fundamental right to marriage, in case you didn't know. Considering that when the U.S. was founded, civil marriages were definitely not where "marriage" really took place (it took place in a church), it's really weird that now civil marriages are a basic human right.

I think everyone should be free to marry whomever they want to, and the state has absolutely no business regulating it. But, because it's now a "right," we have to figure out who gets it. A few decades ago, interracial couples didn't have it... now they do. Gay couples sort of have it now, though they clearly didn't before. Polygamous unions definitely don't have it, and they've been outlawed from having it for well over a century.

It's all quite confusing. Did you know that you didn't have "Miranda rights" before the 1950s? Sure, you had the right to remain silent, etc. before then in federal court, but in state court your silence could actually be used against you -- it was explicitly part of the law in some states.

You see, the Bill of Rights was intended to be restrictions on the federal government, not the states. But over the years, the Supreme Court has gradually expanded those federal rights to cover state laws, most recently when it expanded the 2nd Amendment to a "right" that must be upheld and cannot be restricted by states (though controversial, it's definitely less murky than finding "abortion" in the Constitution).

Before the New Deal, in the Lochner era, you had a "right to freedom of contract," which allowed you, for example, to work for however much money you wanted, to work as many hours as you like, etc. But then that "right" disappeared with minimum wage laws, etc. At the same time, you lost all sorts of "rights" to the federal government, like the right to grow your own food on your land to feed to your family and animals (see Wickard v. Filburn), a "right" that while not enshrined in Constitutional language, seems to be something that the 10th Amendment would cover.

Rights come and go. Before about 1900, corporations basically had free speech. From 1900ish until a few years ago, their speech could be severely restricted, unless they happened to call themselves a "news corporation," like Fox News -- then they could spew as much propaganda as they wanted. But then a few years ago, the "right" to free speech was found again for all corporations!

It just goes on and on. Today abortion is in, gays are in, polygamists are out, business rights are mostly in, but "freedom of contract" is still out (thereby denying some rights to businesses, as well as individual persons).

A "right to privacy" that allows you to buy contraceptives and get an abortion is in, but a "right to privacy" that would allow you to get on an airplane without being groped or have nude scans done of you is out.

The idea that "rights" don't go back and forth depending on what the "flavor of the day" is... wow, that takes a whole lot of ignorance and/or obliviousness.

Re:There is no such thing as human rights (1)

gravious (19912) | 1 year,16 days | (#44272523)

Bizarro that you'd post all this anonymously. Also, an easier way to show that there are no inherent human rights, that in fact there are only those that we assert and cling to is to ask exactly where these rights reside and what extra-human agency grants them. I mean they're obviously not corporeal, so maybe they're spirit-like, like souls. To me, the universal declaration of human rights is more like a optimistic aspirational wish-list than an enumeration of "i don't where they are but they must be there somewhere" inherent rights.

Re:There is no such thing as human rights (1)

khallow (566160) | 1 year,16 days | (#44272605)

When did women exactly gain a "right to an abortion"? You might say, "Roe v. Wade." Okay. But in that case the Supreme Court said that this "right" meant that laws against it were unconstitutional -- which means the "right" had to be found somewhere in the Constitution.

So what? Let's look at this. The Roe vs. Wade case took four years from the pregnancy till the trial reached the Supreme Court. The "right" was justified on the basis that it was a consequence of the 14th Amendment. And the conditions under which a pregnancy is allowed to be terminated have been heavily modified over time. So I see several factors that make this something other than an "arbitrary" right - the connection to existing constitutional law, the degree of deliberation, and the fact that the Supreme Court had to rule on the matter.

"the right to have blonde hair", "the right to be infertile", "the right to be able to get a PhD but not pursue it", "the right to drive a car"

Remember this list? Which of these has the Supreme Court declared rights in the sense of abortion? Which has constitutional justification? Which has been deliberated on for years?

It's worth noting here that the UN's "Universal Declaration of Rights" has a lot of frivolous stuff declared as rights. These aren't recognized by the US or indeed most countries. Article 12 is one such. I have the right to troll Slashdot without getting insulted (well slandered in the legal sense) by enraged, mouth-breathing button mashers for it? Do tell.

Article 24 is classic: "Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay." Where's the corresponding right to work as much as you want? Or the third clause of Article 23: "(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection." No I don't think people have a right to these things. Most of the stuff past article 20 is garbage.

So yes, you can have a lot of junk considered "rights" and that is a sort of mission creep that we should be concerned about. But US law is pretty good at resisting that sort of thing and I bet most legal systems that have been around for more than a few decades have similar resistance to such things.

Re:There is no such thing as human rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44273515)

"the right to have blonde hair", "the right to be infertile", "the right to be able to get a PhD but not pursue it", "the right to drive a car"

Remember this list? Which of these has the Supreme Court declared rights in the sense of abortion? Which has constitutional justification? Which has been deliberated on for years?

I can imagine situations where any of these could potentially be litigated, particularly given the broad sweeping powers of the U.S. federal government established in the past 75 years or so.

The most obvious one might be "the right to drive a car." In the past, I can imagine this being coupled to the "right to free travel" that used to be asserted in the U.S. until the TSA basically declared that right non-existent anymore... now it's "papers, please!" and "stand ready to be groped."

Anyhow, the "right" to drive a car is fundamentally related in the U.S. to insurance in many states. I don't think the Supreme Court has dealt with a case on point, but I know state courts have definitely addressed this matter -- people who want to be able to drive without carrying "appropriate" insurance (as declared by the state). Given the fact that we can now be forced by the federal government to buy insurance, it seems this is unlikely to be successfully liitigated again in the future.

Infertility has played a major issue in a number of court cases over the years. It used to be a potential cause for annulment/divorce in marriage, though I don't know whether that still holds true anywhere today. And let's not even get into forced infertility issues (and the apparent "right" to be fertile that is by default assumed today where it wasn't 50 years ago for those who were sterilized by the state -- mostly those with severe mental dysfunction).

As for the "right" to have blonde hair, I have my doubts about whether such a case has been litigated, but I imagine it will be in the future. There already are ethical issues being raised about people deciding to have abortions for all sorts of reasons. What if some group of people is founded who selectively abort blonde fetuses (or whatever physical characteristic). Something like this is coming in the next couple decades... whether it's blonde hair or not, I don't know. (I could also propose less likely litigable examples involving government overreach in regulating hair coloring products... government regulation and decisions in matter of approved products for the market is quite arbitrary in some cases... but let's not go there.)

The Ph.D. one is more difficult. Honestly, grammatically I'm not even sure what the GP meant there for sure.

But I came up with scenarios where I think 3 out of 4 of your examples on your list have already or are likely in the future to be the subject of significant lawsuits that may define "rights." Supreme Court? Maybe not. But these are not trivial issues legally, if you consider all possible human rights ramifications.

The Roe vs. Wade case took four years from the pregnancy till the trial reached the Supreme Court. The "right" was justified on the basis that it was a consequence of the 14th Amendment. And the conditions under which a pregnancy is allowed to be terminated have been heavily modified over time. So I see several factors that make this something other than an "arbitrary" right - the connection to existing constitutional law, the degree of deliberation, and the fact that the Supreme Court had to rule on the matter.

The "connection to existing constitutional law" is incredibly tenuous, unless you include the "right to birth control" established only a few years before Roe v. Wade. The "degree of deliberation" I'm not sure what you mean -- do you just mean it took a long time to get to SCOTUS? I mean, you do realize there's a whole cycle of appeals, granting of cert, etc. -- going through the appeals process will take years. It has to. It doesn't mean judges actually sat around and thought about this for "four years." And as to "whether SCOTUS had to rule on the matter," well they chose to rule on the matter, as they chose to rule on gay marriage recently, despite clear precedent that previous such lawsuits had been summarily dismissed "for want of a federal question," despite that the standing issues in the case were very questionable. As Scalia rightly observed -- the majority was positively eager to tell you what they thought about the issue.

I'm glad DOMA was overturned; it was a ridiculous law... on the other hand, it should never have been overturned this way. The standing issues were insane. But the court WANTED TO RULE -- it was eager to address the issue. It had nothing to do with permanent "rights" -- it had everything to do with the fact that gay marriage has been the "flavor of the day" for the past decade or so.

By the way, regarding abortion, please go read the 14th Amendment, and tell me how you think a "right to abortion" is a clear "consequence" of that amendment. Seriously. It's in the Due Process clause. Good luck.

Re:There is no such thing as human rights (1)

khallow (566160) | 1 year,16 days | (#44274865)

I can imagine situations where any of these could potentially be litigated, particularly given the broad sweeping powers of the U.S. federal government established in the past 75 years or so.

I can go litigate against someone because the moon is made of green cheese. I might see the inside of a jail cell as a result for wasting the courts time, but that's a privilege I currently have. Merely claiming a right or any sort of opinion at all in a litigation case means nothing until the judge or jury, depending on the situation, decides that should be a factor in whatever decision is made. Sure, they could decide arbitrarily and sometimes they do go for some pretty flaky arguments.

I can't rule out that some crazy judge or jury decides there's a right to blond hair. And I suppose that could somehow survive a Supreme Court challenge. But being able to do such a thing is not the same as actually doing such a thing. FWIW, the courts don't seem in the habit of inserting frivolous crap into law. They occasional do, but it's a lot less frequent than the trained monkeys in Congress who do all that sort of thing routinely.

The "connection to existing constitutional law" is incredibly tenuous, unless you include the "right to birth control" established only a few years before Roe v. Wade. The "degree of deliberation" I'm not sure what you mean -- do you just mean it took a long time to get to SCOTUS? I mean, you do realize there's a whole cycle of appeals, granting of cert, etc. -- going through the appeals process will take years. It has to. It doesn't mean judges actually sat around and thought about this for "four years." And as to "whether SCOTUS had to rule on the matter," well they chose to rule on the matter, as they chose to rule on gay marriage recently, despite clear precedent that previous such lawsuits had been summarily dismissed "for want of a federal question," despite that the standing issues in the case were very questionable. As Scalia rightly observed -- the majority was positively eager to tell you what they thought about the issue./quote> The point is that this stuff takes a while. Justices don't just decide on the spur of the moment, "let's make a right to have blond hair". Among other things, someone actually has to bring a case in front of them where such an argument would be relevant. Just because they aren't as diligent as you'd like in adhering to a strict interpretation of the Constitution doesn't mean that terms like "right" have no meaning.

My view is that Roe vs. Wade is somewhat poor law (that has since been fixed somewhat since the original decision). It should have been left to the states to decide (they are supposed to have considerable leeway in such areas, I might add), subject to their own obligations to the US Constitution and their own constitution, but it's not a significant problem that the Supreme Court did what it did.

I do see considerable long term risk in judicial adventurism, but to say that law has no meaning just because of that just doesn't make sense to me.

Oh thats easy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44271837)

You have no human rights.

Why? Because fuck you pay me.

Reconciling Human Rights With Ubiquitous Online Su (1)

Stumbles (602007) | 1 year,16 days | (#44271911)

There is none. Rights *always* get trampled.

Worker #7567483 (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44271927)

In the future ants will have more freedom than humans.

Re:Worker #7567483 (2)

robably (1044462) | 1 year,16 days | (#44272039)

No they won't. In the future there will be superintelligent ants and they'll have ant passports and ant driving licences and ant credit cards and they'll be tied in to the same mortgages and travel restrictions and limits on their freedom as we have now. And the ant queen will be a figurehead and the real power will lie with the spiders.

So be nice to your spiders.

We must choose. (3, Interesting)

Let's All Be Chinese (2654985) | 1 year,16 days | (#44271949)

We're full of "universal" rights and whatnot... but fail to live up to them. Or rather, our politicians. The bureaucrats... play their little games. Or not so little, as the case may be.

If we don't want them to run rampant, we as the world's peoples need to take a stance. Do we want ubiquitous surveillance? Then do nothing. Do we want to have something of a private live left? Well, there's work to do. And some very unpalatable questions to find suitable answers to.

Our technology is so powerful that "because we can" is no longer a valid reason. We must choose what we want our technology to do. And to choose, we must understand the consequences of what our technology can do, and what it means to willingly forego some or all of the things it might have done. In extreme cases you can even portray this as trading saved lives, caught terrorists, convicted child pornographers, agains having some privacy left.

And so we must come up with answers to questions like, how many lives is privacy for all worth? How many abducted little girls may be allowed to die for not having to justify every step you take? Because, again, that is how the snoopers will portray it. And so we must answer, or find more reasonable ways to frame the same question. That, or lose the fight before it started. In a sense, we already lost while we were ignorant and we must now claw back what was once rightfully ours. From the jaws of those who claim to protect us (from privacy and liberty, but I digress). How much is it worth to you?

You have the right to be 'cattle'... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44271985)

How does a farmer treat his herd? That's how your masters wish to treat you. A farmer wants to know EVERYTHING about the animals he owns and exploits, providing the effort and cost is low enough. Those that call themselves the 'elite' have the same attitude toward the sheeple.

If you live in the USA, UK, Canada, or Australia, you suffer under what is known as the 'Fabian' philosophy. Whereas in previous times racism or nepotism was the calling card of those that ruled, the Fabians felt by changing the rules, they could make the obscenity of categorising the vast majority of Humanity as 'cattle' acceptable.

The Fabians state that EVERYONE should be given a fair chance to succeed. Universal schooling, universal healthcare, a concept of 'equality' broadcast as propaganda to the general population. Then, after several generations, and maybe a century, 'Darwinian' principles produce 'winners' that reflect innate qualities of worthiness. These 'winners' can now be designated the new ELITE, and everyone else has EARNED their status as cattle.

Universal surveillance has several goals.

1) discover blackmail material to be used to coerce the support from those currently in positions of influence.
2) read the mind of the 'cattle' in real-time, so mass media propaganda campaigns can be made as effective as possible
3) discover potential grass-roots activists and movements in their embryo stages and co-opt or destroy the individuals involved.

The three goals are entirely focused on the elite maintaining and growing their power base. English speaking nations have already eliminated ALL effective forms of mass protest by the public. Nations in the West have elections that almost always offer the choice between "John Jackson" (whose 2-cent tax rise goes too far) and "Jack Johnson" (whose 2-cent tax rise doesn't go far enough). People in the West are told that the simple act of voting equals 'democracy' and that actual 'democracy' itself must NEVER be tested.

CLEARLY in a non-evil world, the US Constitution should be updated to state that pre-emptive spying on lawful citizens is a disgusting crime that the US government must never action or seek to justify. The constitution should also STATE that citizen rights must NEVER be circumvented by the trick of not targeting a specific individual.

Instead, we have a world where the filth in power want as much surveillance of the population as technology allows. The slippery slope is a vertical drop for these scumbags. Their principle is simple- the population must never have power or choices. The general population must be seen and treated as cattle, and the elite must operate as farmers- farmers with stock options in the slaughter houses.

Let me ask you Yanks a question. When was the last time you could honestly call anyone who works for your government a 'public servant'? They don't serve you. They don't respect you. They don't wish you well, or care about your future. You are filth to them, and you call them "Sir" as a sign of your subservient status.

Stuff the UN and the Universal Declaration (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44272009)

This document is one of the most facile, arbitrary, and capricious pieces of equivocal, disengenous, high-sounding pap ever written by the hand of man and its authors are some of the most vile, despicable, and *dis*honorable specimens of humanity ever to have lived. Assuming they weren't lunatics, feeble-minded. At best, they were completely misguided fools.

Reading this garbage makes one yearn for the Code Duello.

More stupid language. (1)

macraig (621737) | 1 year,16 days | (#44272031)

Quoth the Declaration:

... attacks upon ... honour and reputation.

What exactly is an "attack"? Is it narrowly defined elsewhere in the document in a footnote? Does whistleblowing and every other form of criticism qualify as an "attack upon honour and reputation" since justified criticism would certainly harm the person's reputation at the least? Will some non-judicial bureaucrats now be the ones meting out punishment to anyone who dares to criticize any one or any institution? Ummm... where's the improvement in that?

This is bullshit. What idiot drafted this? I'd guess it's some bloke in the U.K., since their libel and slander laws are already well known to be ridiculously restrictive.

My hope and biggest concern (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44272247)

I am from Germany and I don't have any confidence in my countries government to end this. We have strong privacy rights here but it's only an empty hull.

I am not confident in the US government neither but if anybody will stop this program of total surveillance it would be the US not us. I am ashamed of this.

Safeguards to protect privacy (3, Interesting)

Macman408 (1308925) | 1 year,16 days | (#44272319)

The UN chief says that appropriate safeguards are needed to protect privacy - well they WERE doing a great job......until Snowden came around.

Think about it - what better way to protect your privacy than by not even telling you that they're invading it? If neither you nor anybody else in the public knows that your privacy has been violated, then obviously it hasn't been, because it's being kept private!

Then Edward Snowden came along and ruined the whole thing - simply knowing that our privacy has been violated means that it IS being violated. If it weren't for him, all our data would still be safely kept private (in the hands of the NSA).

Arbitrary (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44272529)

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference

Systematic surveillance programs are certainly not arbitrary. Problem solved!

Here's an idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44272559)

How about we reconcile ubiquitous online surveillance with human rights instead?

I'm not seeing any sort of brave new world (2)

evanh (627108) | 1 year,16 days | (#44272585)

The question being posed: "Or are we entering a new brave world, a new phase of human civilization, where quaint notions of privacy and traditional moral principles are becoming ridiculous?"

I then ask why are these supposed secrets of surveillance so sensitive if public knowledge of them is quaint and ridiculous?

More like a total lack of bravery and just more of the same old race to the bottom ... and I consider myself an optimist!

Remember that it does not end with surveillance (1)

xiando (770382) | 1 year,16 days | (#44272865)

Western NATO countries like Norway use surveillance as a first initial step against people who say anything which goes against government propaganda. Sabotage is the next and that's usually followed by torture. So keep in mind that surveillance is not the big problem here, they just do surveillance to find out who to target and torture for writing or saying the "wrong thing". Stop the surveillance of everyone and fewer people get tortured. You can debate if surveillance is a human rights violation or not, but it should be obvious that torture is.

But .... (1)

n6kuy (172098) | 1 year,16 days | (#44272887)

what you do online isn't private!

stupid subject not worth discussing (1)

johnwerneken (74428) | 1 year,16 days | (#44273049)

Maybe exactly how the well-connected and well-healed do it is technically new, but gossip is as old as humanity and is actually a far more reliable safeguard of reasonable behavior by most people most of the time than any number of laws. For almost all of our species' existence - except maybe from 1750 to 200 - everyone knew everything about everybody. That's normal. Privacy is a middle class addiction - we are too well off to do as we please because we have nothing to lose, and not powerful enough to do as we please because everyone fears us, so we pretend we can do as we please via privacy.

Bullshit.

On changing moral principles (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44273187)

Or are we entering a new brave world, a new phase of human civilization, where quaint notions of privacy and traditional moral principles are becoming ridiculous?

Okay, look. Here's a traditional moral principle for you: marriage involves one man and one woman. Is that quaint, backwards, and ridiculous in your view? Regardless of your personal views, do you think we are heading towards a "marriage equality" future in which this traditional moral principle is overturned simply because it has majority support? Great, now change the subject back to the current one. Do you think that the traditional moral principle of privacy is being overturned simply because the majority is sold on the idea that privacy and security are mutually exclusive alternatives? Lastly, here's a counter-question for you: if you happen to approve of one of these trends and abhor the other, can you come up with a consistent, principled basis to act liberally in one case and conservatively in the other? By "principled", I mean something other than, "I anticipate that this decision would lead to a future which appeals to me, personally, more than the alternative."

When we have to rely on UN for constitution (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44273587)

that is where life gets completely dicey.

If privacy is a lost cause, make it not matter. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,16 days | (#44274285)

Privacy is one of those lost causes I think is worth fighting for, but because it is a lost cause, a new front must be opened in that fight, and that is to limit what can be done with this data once they have it.

Our laws are often written and passed on the basis that is hard to regulate behavior, and hard to know when someone breaks a law. But what if you always know when someone breaks a law and can apply a sanction immediately and unequivocally? Suddenly things in the realm of "you shouldn't do that" which we randomly enforce, like speed limits, drug laws, or "decency" laws, suddenly become incredibly onerous.

If the data should point to the possibility of a crime, many more people will be brought into the machinery of investigation and prosecution for actions that may be taken out of context. We are already seeing this in all those "someone who said something on Facebook, Twitter, etc and got arrested" stories. Just bringing someone into the legal machinery is a huge burden of time and money that turns lives upside down, and which we are all not equally equipped to deal with. The burden of proof for proper warrants and indictments is much less than "beyond a reasonable doubt". With so much data out there, more of us can get caught in the net.

To preserve freedom, there needs to be a different approach to law where all of this data will not be able to be used against us so easily. That means not passing laws just because you "shouldn't" do something or "we don't like that", but to make laws limited to those situations of actual harm that needs redress. Burdens of proof standards for tickets, warrants, indictments, etc, must be tightened. It must be made harder to involve people in the machinery of the state. The only other choice as I see it is to slip into a micro-managed society where the weight of law dangles over all of our heads, only for someone to decide when and how it is to land on us, which disproportionately criminalizes the poor. We are already part of the way there.

Privacy is worth fighting for, but if the march of technology says it is a lost cause, then freedom must be maintained via limited and rational law that keeps any action that can be taken using that data out of reach by those who seek to micro-manage our lives.

asylum and whistleblowing (1)

stenvar (2789879) | 1 year,16 days | (#44274915)

I think it would be good for the UN to recognize some general exception to extradition treaties for whistle blowing (acts of public disclosure of secret information). It would still remain an individual judgment call for nations whether to aid or grant asylum to whistle blowers, but there would be some recognition that such acts are sometimes justified. It would also reduce some of the hypocrisy coming from some nations, who, on the one hand are trying to score propaganda points by railing against the US, and on the other hand hide behind extradition treaties to continue business as usual.

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