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Circuit Boards + Soldering Iron == Terrorist?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the new-age-of-paranoia dept.

The Courts 330

Search and Seizure asks: "This week, the local police contacted one of my co-workers and informed him that they had been contacted by the FBI who requested that they investigate his apartment. According to the police, while his apartment repair staff were checking his smoke alarm, they had noticed suspicious looking items in his kitchen and had called the FBI because they suspected that he might be a terrorist. What do you do when your landlord suspects that you might be a terrorist and reports you to the FBI?" If the law comes a-knocking, always remember that you can politely ask for a warrant."The police officer went on to explain that my co-worker had two choices:

1) Let the local police take a look and explain what the 'suspicious' items were for.
2) Don't let the local police in. The police will let the FBI know, and they will use 'Homeland Security' to come in and do a full search.

He opted for the less drastic choice, and showed the officer the digital camera guts, his in-progress circuitry to take automatic pictures, the tethered balloon that he was going to hook them up to so he could take overhead pictures, and the beer keg that he used to store his beer.

The police officer accepted his explanations and it appears to have turned out okay, but the whole situation is a little disturbing.

What rights do we have to experiment and create in this age of paranoia?"

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Rights? (1, Insightful)

Gossy (130782) | more than 10 years ago | (#9285685)

Well, the guy was still able to carry on "experimenting and creating", so his rights to do so weren't violated. This rights haven't changed.

Privacy rights however are obviously something completely different, and 'in this age of paranoia', your right to privacy is one of the first victims.

Re:Rights? (5, Insightful)

amarodeeps (541829) | more than 10 years ago | (#9285718)

Privacy rights however are obviously something completely different, and 'in this age of paranoia', your right to privacy is one of the first victims.

Yes, exactly. And now the government has a record of some of the interesting activity he's been engaging in. Perhaps he's gone in a file somewhere, a separate memo has been sent to some higher up State or Federal organization, he's being catalogued in a database...

I think the thing that really scares the shit out of me is the implicit threat and removal of rights that the police officer put forth. Previously, from what I understand, someone could demand that they see a warrant, a judge would have had to specifically grant that warrant, and some rights were preserved. There were some checks and balances in place. Now, all of a sudden, the executive branch can just say "hey, we need to see your stuff, and if you don't let us do it, we'll get someone else to do it. Sucks to be you." Police state, you're looking more and more similar to what we have...

Re:Rights? (3, Interesting)

Judg3 (88435) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286291)

Yes, exactly. And now the government has a record of some of the interesting activity he's been engaging in. Perhaps he's gone in a file somewhere, a separate memo has been sent to some higher up State or Federal organization, he's being catalogued in a database...

While I don't necessarily agree with it, I don't think having the poster's scenario documented in a Fed database is a horrible thing.

I'll use myself as an example. When I was young (18 or so) I had several friends involved in breaking into telco boxes, cloning cell phones, etc. Well, they got caught eventually, and I was called in to be questioned by the FBI. I sat and talked with them for a good hour or so (Which made me late for work - and the FBI won't write you up an excuse either hehe) and they took the laptop my friend had given me, which later turned out to be stolen from his place of work (Office Max I believe). So here I am, in talks with the FBI about stolen property and cell cloning - I know I must be in a database or two somewhere, especially since a few of my friends where thrown in jail for it.

But since then, I've worked for several federal and state government agencies as well as a half dozen Casinos (which really love to search into the background of people), so I've had many many state & federal record searches done on me. I'm sure there's a database somewhere that lists everything about me down to tattoos, blood type, allergies, surgeries, etc. But it's never been a problem. I've never had anyone ever say anything to me about that incident, not has it ever prevented me from getting a job.
So really, even though I'm in a DB or twelve somewhere, it hasn't affected me in any way. But if I was a criminal, and had done some illegal things, then these database entries would help the authorities find me if they needed to and maybe even solve a crime I was involved in. Look at Ca, they record the DNA profiles of convicted criminals now and it's actually helped them solve a lot of 20+ year old cold cases.

The only things you have to worry about these databases is that they don't get into the wrong hands. Any other worrying would be because you either did something wrong, or are thinking about it.

I do wonder if I requested my file from the FBI if I'd actually get something - I've always been hesitant to stir the waters up with it hehe.

Re:Rights? (2, Interesting)

I(rispee_I(reme (310391) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286329)

I've never had anyone ever say anything to me about that incident, not has it ever prevented me from getting a job.



Ah, but how can you be certain, comrade? Never been turned down for a job?

Re:Rights? (1)

Judg3 (88435) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286419)

True, I can't be 100% certain of this, but the majority of the jobs I've been turned down for I don't think would run that type of intense background check. I base it only on the fact that I've gotten several different goverment jobs after this happened.
So I don't know if I'm in a database that doesn't get searched usually (Like a "bystander in a crime, not an actual participant" type database) or my job functions didn't relate to what happened or maybe they just didn't give a damn about it.

Re:Rights? (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286644)

Myself, I've had probably 1/2 dozen "FBI background checks" run me. There have also been a couple people considering me an evil hacker that have contacted the FBI and InterPol about me.

All in all, I probably have a couple hundred records in the FBI's database for various things, none really accounting for anything, and no charges (and obviously no convictions). But what happens one day, when an evil hacker seems to be operating in the town I live in?

I've openly discussed viruses, electronic design, etc, etc.. Oh, and I've bought several copies of 2600 magazine with my credit card. :)

I'm an editor for http://freeinternetpress.com , which I'm sure counts for several points in the "possibly subversive" column of their score card.

I've also bought plenty of potentially hazardous equipment. I have a full set of electronic and mechanical equipment, where I can work on cars and computers. With the same tools, I could be building a thermonuclear device in my basement. Well, not really, I don't have a big enough basement, nor the real urge to do it. :) That, and the little matter of having fissionable material, but hey, I email people all over the world on a regular basis, and some may have indirect ties to back market.

It hasn't happened yet, but one day I expect agents will show up to my house or work for a "friendly" discussion. If Bush gets re-elected, I expect this will happen sooner, rather than later.

You can *ask* for your FBI file. Actually getting it is another matter. But yes, asking for it will more than likely get them interested in going through your file a bit more carefully.

Re:Rights? (1)

Halfbaked Plan (769830) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286779)

Oh, and I've bought several copies of 2600 magazine with my credit card.

I did worse: I sold my collection of 2600 magazines on eBay.

Haven't started distributing my scan (from a 1960's era photocopy) of the Bell System Journal article that started it all, though. I should throw that PDF up on webspace sometime...

Is my original copy from 1977 of the RSA Paper from MIT a 'valuable collectors item' yet?

Re:Rights? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286377)

There was no implicit threat to remove his rights. Odds are they would have gone to a judge and gotten a warrant Not a new thing to happen. If someone reportes that they think you are making a bomb to the FBI guess what? Would you rather they forget about it. They sent someone to ask He told them end of story. THat is they way it should work. If it was a police state they would have gone to his place of work and arrested him and then searched his home.
Now the repair man snoppin around bothers me a lot more.

Re:Rights? (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286656)

Obviously you missed it. The officer said the FBI would just come in under homeland security... which requires no warrant.

Re:Rights? (2, Funny)

Hungus (585181) | more than 10 years ago | (#9285897)

There may have been no seizure but had he refused it possibly would have become an illegal search. I do encourage people to know the constitution and the rights it is supposed to provide and protect. And then I want all teh christians out there and especially Baptists (of which I am both) to remember as individuals we have no rights and are to fully allow such searches and seizures w/o argument (even though in myself I would be one of the first to fight back I need to learn to become less.

And no this isn't meant as a troll or a flame though I am sure if modded it will be listed as such.

Re:Rights? (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286539)

There may have been no seizure but had he refused it possibly would have become an illegal search.

Then you call the ACLU, or talk to a civil rights lawyer about filing a lawsuit. Here is a link to a case describing what can happen to somebody who conducts an illegal search:

http://www.judibari.org/imm_dec_pr.html

Re:Rights? (1)

Hungus (585181) | more than 10 years ago | (#9287011)

No I don;t call anyone ... I personally know my rights and thus am willing to give them up for a higher purpose. The ACLU is not the answer in all cases. In this cae your first step should be to the AGs office if you want to make an issue.

Re:Rights? (1)

MrIrwin (761231) | more than 10 years ago | (#9287034)

I grew up in the UK where terrorist bombs (at that time openly funded by US groups, BTW) were a real threat.

Police always advise to report anything suspiscious, and they look into these reports. I never heard anybody mumbling about civil libertys in these cases, the police investigated what they had to investigate, and without abuse of thier powers because they realised that would be detremental to the real fight against terrorism.

In the current climate, however, people have a right to be paranoid. It is clear that the terrorist threat is being abused by organisation to get seeping powers and laws introduced, and are abusing this situation for objectives that are not directly in line with terrorist detection.

This is the problem (5, Interesting)

Apreche (239272) | more than 10 years ago | (#9285712)

People have no balls. We all know this homeland security BS is totally unconstitutional, its not even a question. Here's what I would have done in the guys situation.

1) I would have taken advantage of my rights to the fullest extent forcing them to use the patriot act.

2) Gone to court eventually and claimed that the patriot act was unconstitutional.

3) Next year or the year after I would be in the supreme court with my lawyer, it would be US vs. Me and the patriot act would be declared unconstitutional making the world a better place for everybody.

Sure it would be a pain in the ass. Sure it would be a lot more work than that. And sure it would probably "ruin" my life. But this stuff wont go away on its own. Somebody has to fight it. I'm just waiting for my chance. The rest of the people around are all wusses who wont sacrifice anything for the common good. I can't wait until the day big brother comes to get me. I want to have a digital camera take a picture of the looks on their faces when I give them the double deuce.

Re:This is the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9285746)

Kindly post your physical address and full name ... and get out some evil-looking equipment. We'll do the rest.

Re:This is the problem (4, Insightful)

amarodeeps (541829) | more than 10 years ago | (#9285752)

Maybe it's more complex than that. Maybe the people their targetting are generally selectively chosen based on race and religion. Maybe the people being targetted are being detained without their rights being recognized. Maybe these are people who are never getting into the position where they CAN fight it all the way to the supreme court. Maybe their citizenship is dubious or new, maybe their interaction with the larger mainstream society is such that they are not yet familiar with the way things can work. Maybe it costs a lot of freaking money to fight it all the way to the supreme court. I don't know, I'm just throwing some possibilities out there--because it seems like what you are talking about is easier said than done.

Re:This is the problem (3, Insightful)

secolactico (519805) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286138)

Maybe it's more complex than that. Maybe the people their targetting are generally selectively chosen based on race and religion.

You hit the nail right on the head. Maybe the poster's co-worker was muslim, or had features similar to those of middle-eastern origin.

Circuit boards and soldering iron doesn't sound threatening (can't really form a full opinion without hearing all parts), but given today's state of mind, his appearance might have tipped the repairmen's resolve to report him.

Re:This is the problem (4, Insightful)

sweetooth (21075) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286407)

Most people don't have a clue about circuit boards and soldering irons except what they've seen in some stupid action flick. It is highly plausible that some people would just assume that "there is some really wierd shit going on this apartment look at all these tools and wires and uhm... stuff I better call the FBI this looks like the bomb I saw in ."

Re:This is the problem (5, Insightful)

rigau (122636) | more than 10 years ago | (#9285762)

The USA PATRIOT Act is not unconstitutional. Maybe sections of it are but the whole thing is not. If you were to go to court on an issue revolving around the act more likely than not the courts would rule only on the section that deal with your particular problem not on the whole act. Courts tend to keep their decisions limited in scope and will only rule on the particular facts of the case at hand unlike a legislative body that passes laws that have a much more broad application.

This is of course a generalization. Sometimes courts will decide on more general issues but it is ussualy done when the legislatures have avoided -most of the time on purpose- dealing with the issue themselves.

Re:This is the problem (2, Interesting)

01D* (673795) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286336)

The USA PATRIOT Act is not unconstitutional. Maybe sections of it are but the whole thing is not.

So, some parts of the fruit are rotten but overall it's fresh and wholesome?
Please explain how's that possible.

Re:This is the problem (2, Informative)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286445)

Welcome to American jurisprudence.

The reason it works that way is because laws as written are not really complete. Mostly, they modify existing laws, and as such, do not make sense when taken out of the context of the original law they were written to modify.

More than likely, the section of the PATRIOT Act that would be used would actually be a modification of an existing portion of US law. Ergo, the court would only declare that modification made by the PATRIOT Act to that specific section of law unconstitutional (or possibly even the entire law that was modified, though that occurs much less often).

This is because the courts do not (there are exceptions) consider questions that are not put in front of them. Since you would not be fighting the use of other sections of the PATRIOT Act, they would not review them. This is not always the case (sometimes they review further than they are asked to), but rarely do courts act outside of this guideline.

I think a good extension of your question would be: Instead of cutting the good parts out and using them, they cut bad sections out as people complain about them?

People need to tell Congress to RTFM! (Constitution :)

Re:This is the problem (1)

rigau (122636) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286858)

Oh no not at all i think most of it is fucked up. The thing though is that the act itself is not one whole cohesive thing. it is made up of hundreds of sactions and each section deals with different things. A lot of them are morally reprehensible and some are even outright wrong but not too many of then are outright unconstitutional if you look a the available case law from the SC.

Re:This is the problem (1)

01D* (673795) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286309)

Good luck.
And I hope you've got enough cash, rich relatives and property for sale, cause something tells me you'll need it all...

Re:This is the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9286352)

"... just waiting for my chance."

how terribly proactive. quit whining and get to your ACLU, put your reps and senators on speed dial.

Re:This is the problem (3, Insightful)

miu (626917) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286635)

People have no balls. We all know this homeland security BS is totally unconstitutional, its not even a question. Here's what I would have done in the guys situation.

Are you ready for the storm of hate they will pour down on you?

Are you ready for anything wrong or embarrassing you've ever done to become fodder for the press. Have you ever downloaded porn? Have you ever cheated on your spouse? Do you have any relatives who are mentally ill? Are you non-white? Are you non-Christian? Do you have the money and connections to hire a good lawyer? Can you afford to take the time off work?

Sure standing up to an evil system is exhilarating, but few people could stand up to the kind of microscope the government can put on your entire life, and then deal with the consequences of having the details broadcast. There is no moment of truth - no heroic battle, instead there is a wearing away of your will over a timescale dictated entirely by your enemy.

Re:This is the problem (2, Insightful)

shaitand (626655) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286688)

No worries here, under the partiot act the entire case is classified, nobody will even know your fighting until the supreme court makes it decision.

His mistake is assuming the supreme court is actually an instrument of justice anymore.

Re:This is the problem (2, Insightful)

miu (626917) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286766)

No worries here, under the partiot act the entire case is classified, nobody will even know your fighting until the supreme court makes it decision.

Even if it stays out of the papers the FBI is gonna be blundering through your life, knocking things over, harassing your family and co-workers, and making certain that your life is a mess even if you are found innocent.

His mistake is assuming the supreme court is actually an instrument of justice anymore.

The current SC is packed with conservative hardliners, but at least they are not neo-cons - there is a chance that they will choose law over politics, their interpretation of law will be from the hard right, but at least it is based on the rule of law.

Re:This is the problem (1)

alienw (585907) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286705)

Well, get some balls, and fight it. Except that you don't have any, and you won't. And neither will any sane, reasonable person.

This is odd (2, Insightful)

rigau (122636) | more than 10 years ago | (#9285722)

What is intetersting about this is that the FBI asked him anything. They have the ability to perform a sneak-and-peek search without the need to show a warrant beforehand and they can also have the search happen and show the warrant much later. It seems strange that they would call ahead of time and give the suspect time to dispose of any incriminating evidence. The whole thing is odd.

Re:This is odd (5, Insightful)

SagSaw (219314) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286597)

It probably goes something like this.

1. Maintainance worker sees circuit boards, gas baloons, etc. in circuit-board-guy's apartment.

2. Thinking he's a hero and is about to foil a major terrorist plot, worker over-reacts and calls the FBI. (Note that the appropriate action if the worker suspects illegal activity would most likely be to call the local police.)

3. FBI takes worker's report, along with many other reports of people possing items that might be used in an attack, but are probably harmless. They don't want to pull resources off of other, probably more important tasts, in order to check out circuit-board-guy. Instead, they relay the report to the local police (who should have been contacted instead of the FBI in the first place), just in case circuit-board-guy really is planning some kind of attack.

4. Local police also assume that circuit-board-guy is harmless, but want to go take a peak just to be sure.

5. Local police show up at circuit-board-guy's door. They tell him what's going on (why not, he's probably innocent). Circuit-board-guy explains his hobby, and everybody goes away happy.

They way I read it, the FBI and the local police handled it well. Nobody had their door kicked down or property searched/seized involuntarily. The only place where something went wrong was worker's decision to call the FBI over a circuit board.

There are a number of comments to the effect that circuit-board-guy should have told the police to f*** off unless they had a warrant. While that would have been circuit-board-guy's right, I don't think it would have helped anything. By letting the police in and explaining his activities, circuit-board-guy did two good things. First, he defused suspicion (hopefully) that he might be planning some kind of attack. Second, showed the police that there are valid reasons for innocent people to have circuit boards and soldering irons hangin around their homes.

Re:This is odd (3, Insightful)

Halfbaked Plan (769830) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286812)

The people who I know who've told the police to fuck off always get a weekend in jail. I've been confronted with the same exact situation and because I was polite and respectful (not 'submissive' so much as I treated the police officer like a human being, even though I had specifically been caught doing something illegal) I was just given a warning.

Probably the police should get smarter about these things. The asshole who rants and raves and fights like a libburtardian on crack is probably not the guy they need to catch. They're after terrorists, not crackpots who troll Usenet and online forums about their 'beliefs.' The real terrorist will know enough to be cooperative, polite, and probably not even be written a ticket.

Re:This is odd (3, Insightful)

op00to (219949) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286633)

They asked because they didn't have any evidence. It's an old cop trick. When in doubt, ask if you can violate the subject's rights to fish for evidence. When the cops say "Now, we will either have to get a warrant to come into your house or you can let us in peacefully..." What they're really saying is "We don't have anything on you, please please be stupid enough to let us in to fish for evidence!"

Re:This is odd (3, Insightful)

alienw (585907) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286725)

Just so you know, the PATRIOT act does not require them to have a warrant. And the cops can really fuck up you, your house, and your life if you piss them off. You would be stupid to piss them off without any reason to do so.

[Troll] ROFLOL@America [nt] (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9285731)

no text

Hysteria (5, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | more than 10 years ago | (#9285753)

A coworker was on a plane recently where a aged, somewhat dark skinned Italian man pulled out a rosary and began praying. The young woman across the aisle was obviously distrubed, called the stewardess and had a whispered conversation. The stewardess started coming by and taling to the man asking questions like was he nervous about flying. On the next leg of the flight the flight crew got a burly, surly "steward", who was obviously an air marshal.

In the end, this incident just wasted some public servant's time. Same as the circuit board incident. Unless or until people get good at recognizing what a bomb detonator really looks like, things like this are bound to happen. I'd say a friendly show and tell with a local cop isn't so bad in the scheme of thigns. What I don't know is how muslims manage to live in this country given the climate of hysteria, having to pray five times a day. Imagine coming under suspicion of preparing yourself for a suicide bombing several times every day.

Re:Hysteria (2, Interesting)

XO (250276) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286154)

Working in the largest Arabic city in the world outside of the Middle East (Dearborn, MI).. I can tell you.. that a large quantity of them just don't follow the old prayer rules.

Just like the Christian religions are selectively followed, so are the other faiths. (I have a Muslim employee who refused to drink water to help cure his hangover during Ramadan... lol)

Re:Hysteria (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9286251)

How many Muslims pray the rosary? I mean... sheesh.

Re:Hysteria (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9286414)

Was Timothy MvVeigh a muslim?

He was a nutcase but he was a right wing christian.

Re:Hysteria (5, Insightful)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286534)

In the end, this incident just wasted some public servant's time. Same as the circuit board incident. Unless or until people get good at recognizing what a bomb detonator really looks like, things like this are bound to happen.

Since you are obviously expert in all things bomb-detonator, what does an "average" bomb detonator look like?

Oh... wait! I remember - I saw it in a movie! A "Bomb detonator" is that black box, about 9 inches long, 4 inches wide, and about 2 inches tall, with the big, red lettering on the top that says "Bomb Detonator" on the top of it, and has a few red and white snap wiring terminals on the side, right?

No?

Are you sure?

We live in a modern-day paranoia. We've been abusing the people of the Middle East selfishly for decades in order to satiate our wasteful addiction to crude oil, and now we pay the price of bad karma.

What really sucks is that there are real solutions [slashdot.org] to our energy needs. Linked is but one example with a total initial cost of about $169 billion, about as much as the $162 billion the most recent Iraq war cost [bbc.co.uk] to wage that would almost completely eliminate our dependence on foreign oil and dramatically reduce the Carbon Dioxide production of the United States.

I just hope and pray that someday, we find a leader that will actually lead us towards a better world, because we sure as hell don't have one today.

mod parent up (1)

wibs (696528) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286571)

I wish I had mod points.

definitely mod parent up (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286738)

couldn't do, posted a comment myself already.

Re:Hysteria (5, Funny)

Halfbaked Plan (769830) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286825)

Aw, comeon. Everybody knows that a bomb detonator is a 555 chip with a really big timing capacitor.

I suppose the cheapos would just use some junk opamp or comparator instead of the 555, but they don't really count!

Re:Hysteria (5, Interesting)

AnwerB (255422) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286587)

> What I don't know is how muslims manage to live in this country given the climate of hysteria

Well, what I did when the FBI called me and asked me to come in for questioning is call a lawyer.

They called me in the middle of the day at my office, knew everything about me and started asking questions about my brother, family, etc.

They then told me that I could come into their office for questioning... or if more convenient, they would come to my office and question me there.

After asking them what they wanted, they finally told me that with the upcoming war in Iraq (this was about a year ago), they wanted to know if I had any knowledge about weapons of mass destruction (really, I'm not joking). I told them that I was 3 at the time I had left, but they wanted me to come in anyway.

Apparantly, they were just on a fishing trip. So I got a lawyer to find out what this all meant. She called and they immediately said there was no need for me to come in anymore, and they didn't have any specific questions but they would contact me if they could think of any.

Anyway, I've been in the US a while and know my rights as a citizen, but I know it would have terrified some others to be taken in for questioning - they have this way to make you feel that something ominous is about to happen.

P.S. I'm a computer geek, and don't show any terrorist tendencies :) - just in case someone suggests that they had reason to be suspicious.

Idiots are our greatest threat (2, Insightful)

Mr. Piddle (567882) | more than 10 years ago | (#9285754)


Just like zero-tolerance policies in schools, when a person puts themselves into a situation where they are governed by idiots (in this case, an idiot landlord or idiot repair people), just living their ordinary life becomes a risk.

E.g.: "Oh dear, little Johnny boy brought nail clippers or Advil to school, so we just have to punish and expel the bastard for his evil deeds. May little Johnny boy burn in eternal hell for wanting to be well groomed."

Re:Idiots are our greatest threat (3, Insightful)

katdillon (783560) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286084)

Vote in November? What the %^%&& is that supposed to do? Neither of the major candidates will oppose the Patriot Act. You could vote Libertarian, who vehemently oppose the Patriot Act, and other intrusions on our rights. My solution: join the Free State Project. We're getting 20,000 liberty lovers together to move to New Hampshire to reduce the government to its constitutional bounds. Local authorities do have the power to reject the Patriot Act, or provisions of it they find intolerable. Look at all the major cities that have done so...my own Dallas being one of them.

Check it out: http://www.freestateproject.org

Kat Dillon

Re:Idiots are our greatest threat (1)

I(rispee_I(reme (310391) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286375)

Just like state authorities have the power to decriminalize marijuana for medicinal purposes?

Re:Idiots are our greatest threat (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286531)

Any particular town/city in NH, or just in the state? I know libertarian-leaning people who work in Boston so it might be viable for them if it's either anywhere, or in a southern town.

I checked the site but couldn't find an answer to the above. It's cool that they've surpassed 5,000 people and chosen a state (currently 5,777 members).

Reading further it says the vote was taken in August and September of 2003, which was almost a year ago; to have only gotten another 777 members in 9 months doesn't sound like anybody is going to be moving soon.

You do realize that talking on cell phones while driving is illegal in NH? That doesn't sound much like "a culture of individual responsibility" (as mentioned on the homepage, left sidebar near the bottom) -- although it's nice to see that they don't have seatbelt or helmet laws, and the tax rate is low or non-existent.

I remember the Oceania project from about 10 years ago; they were going to build a floating city with libertarians on board. Any relationship with the people who ran/funded/cheered on that project?

Re:Idiots are our greatest threat (1)

wibs (696528) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286562)

although it's nice to see that they don't have seatbelt or helmet laws

No one has ever told me what the deal is with people not wanting to wear seatbelts. So now I'm asking you... what's the deal with not wanting to wear seatbelts?

I'll answer that (1)

hob42 (41735) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286675)

I'm against seatbelt laws and helmet laws for adults not because I have any desire to not wear my seatbelt. Heck, I wear a helmet when I ride my bicycle.

However, the conceptual basis for laws in our country is to protect your rights to personal freedom, until they interfere with the rights of others. For example, I'm allowed to swing a baseball bat, but not if I'm swinging it at your head.

Under this concept, the government should be able to say I have to drive with headlights on at dark, and that I can't drive drunk. But why does the government want to say I can't decide for myself whether or not to wear a seatbelt? It has no relevence on anyone else's rights but mine.

(Now, minors are a different issue... we have a lot of laws that take away parents' rights under the assumption they're too stupid to protect their children properly. I won't go into that one...)

-jupo

Re:I'll answer that (1)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286719)

The seatbelt law exists under the assumption that many people are too stupid to protect themselves.

Beside "seatbelts cost more lives than they save" as Bender put it before being catapulted through the front window ;-)

Re:Idiots are our greatest threat (1)

Halfbaked Plan (769830) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286847)

People have the god-given write to have the grille pattern from their dashbord embossed in the forehead. No mortician has the right to remove that embossing without knowing the wishes of the deceased.

On the matter of helmet laws: I have for a long time been in favor of a waiver on the helmet law if the motorcyclist is a designated organ donor. Young body parts are in short supply, and such a program could do a lot towards helping solve that problem.

Re:Idiots are our greatest threat (1)

Mr. Piddle (567882) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286709)

Vote in November? What the %^%&& is that supposed to do?

Well, at least it will add my opinion to the mass of opinions out there who out of the canidates should be President/Senator/Representative/Councilperson/etc . There isn't a great deal beyond voting that I can do to shape the government. I'm certainly not the type to be a canidate myself, nor am I willing to move to NH. Also, when we have 300,000,000 people milling about across 50 states, it is pretty much inevitable that people like George Bush and John Kerry rise to the top (campaigning in the USA ain't like selling Girlscout cookies).

While I wish you the best in NH, please realize that what works for smaller groups of people does not work for larger groups. If it did, then IBM would be run like a knitting club.

Re:Idiots are our greatest threat (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286425)

Just like zero-tolerance policies in schools, when a person puts themselves into a situation where they are governed by idiots (in this case, an idiot landlord or idiot repair people), just living their ordinary life becomes a risk.

You're not kidding. The subway (not food) recently passed around flyers saying "Be suspicious of people with the following attributes: [...] sweating [...]".

So now when I run to catch the train, people think I'm a terrorist. WTF, I gues IHBT by the authorities...

Suck it up, it could have been a LOT worse. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9285760)

They could have forgone the more polite visit, and just gone with the 'Homeland Security' route from the start.

At which point, your friend would probably have had to deal with a much more invasive search, had all the suspicious items confiscated at not necessarily all returned (or returned in the same condition), and have spent a lot more time explaining things than he did.

Shitty situation to be put in? Yeah, it is. But from the sounds of it, law enforcement handled it just about perfectly by not going overboard, and it's the repair crew you should be complaining about.

Well (3, Funny)

mattboston (537016) | more than 10 years ago | (#9285763)

If "your friend" hasn't done anything, "he" shouldn't have anything to worry about. BTW, why are all these stories about someone's friend??? Maybe they're really about you and you just won't admit that you're one of the terrorists. Screw the Patriot Act, track down his IP address and arrest him.

Re:Well (5, Insightful)

fmaxwell (249001) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286196)

If "your friend" hasn't done anything, "he" shouldn't have anything to worry about.

You aren't doing anything illegal when you go into the bathroom to take a dump, so you have nothing to "worry about" if the FBI wants to send agents in to watch you. You aren't doing anything illegal when you dress up like Tinkerbell and prance around your house, so you shouldn't mind Homeland Security agents watching you doing it. If you aren't doing anything illegal, you should not mind the government sending agents over to read your e-mail, rifle through your personal belongings, listen to your phone conversations, and tail you when you drive somewhere.

I recognize the humorous aspect of your post, but that first sentence really summed up a scary, but all-too-commonly-voiced, sentiment about this subject.

The problem with compliance (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9285807)

It's not to clear from the writeup whether this guy let the police in to search his house, or just to explain the situation.

If it's the former, it raises alarm bells. The fact that the officers went down their without a warrant means this kind of thing happens often enough that they expected to get away with it. This is probably because people routinely submit to searches without warrants. If people always refused unwarranted searches, those officers would have made sure they got one before going down there.

In this case, as there was obviously little reason to be suspicious, the warrant would probably have been refused, and that would have saved this guy being hassled by the police.

If, on the other hand, the police just came in the talk to the guy, I think that is kind of reasonable. Somone reported something to them, and they were following it up. The fault is with the paranoid person that made the original complaint.

I think if I had been in this situation, I would have tried to explain to them on the doorstep what the equipment was really for. If they were unsatisfied with my explanation and wanted to search my house, I would have made them go get the warrant. And I would have explained to the police that this was because I believed the process of obtaining a warrant is there to protect innocent people from unecessary searches.

Unless innocent people refuse searches, the police will always believe that people who refuse searches are guilty.

Re:The problem with compliance (1)

Gilk180 (513755) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286305)

But if you let them in you can also make the rules about what they can do.

State up front that only one officer is allowed in; that everything he moves he must return to its original position; and that he must leave the instant you ask him to.

If they get a warrant, they can bring many officers and toss everything within the scope of that warrant.

If they come to you first, it saves them having to go to a judge, and they will probably be much more likely to treat you with courtesy.

Back to the original post, it sounds like the police thought this was a goose chase anyway. If they really thought the friend was a terrorist, they would have handed it off to the FBI immediately and not given him a heads-up before showing up with a warrant.

Re:The problem with compliance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9286630)

> But if you let them in you can also make the rules about what they can do.
> State up front that only one officer is allowed in; that everything he moves he must return to its original position; and that he must leave the instant you ask him to.

Do you have a cite for that idea that you get to set the groundrules if you let them in? Seems like this could well vary from one area to another.

And if that one person doesn't do what s/he said, it's your word against theirs.

New acronym - SINALF (2, Insightful)

Mordant (138460) | more than 10 years ago | (#9285823)

Slashdot Is Not A Law Firm. ;>

Re:New acronym - SINALF (1)

(va)*103 (696453) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286878)

Thank God!

The first time I had a fully automatic rifle (3, Insightful)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 10 years ago | (#9285836)

.. pointed at me, was when I walked across the Peace Arch crossing from Canada to the US.

The US is a rogue state, with a military police mentality running everything, along with paranoia and hysteria rampant. The terrorists won a long time ago, and all that's happening now is that the US has to live in the bed it's made by not going through resistance to the crazy, right-wing that dominates everything.

If this example shows anything, it's that there needs to be another American revolution, one which breaks up the Union into a set of smaller unions where the federal government isn't so separated from the people as to allow these constant abuses of the original US constitution. I like a strong federal government as much as the next person, but only in the cases where it makes sense (such as actually instituting proper public health care), not in cases where people have their landlord call the fucking FBI on them.

Re:The first time I had a fully automatic rifle (1)

ivan1011001 (751254) | more than 10 years ago | (#9285991)

We tried this back in 1865. It didn't work out too well, obviously.

And it will only be that much harder this time, b/c we do not have the strong sense of regionalism this time, not to mention one in four people are apthathetic about anything involving their lives.

Re:The first time I had a fully automatic rifle (1)

ivan1011001 (751254) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286959)

Do'oh. I meant 1861.

Re:The first time I had a fully automatic rifle (2, Interesting)

vericgar (627150) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286006)

Ever heard of John Titor [johntitor.com] ?

He was supposedly a time travelor from 2036 that made his way around a few message boards between Nov 2000 - Mar 2001.

Most people seem to take him as a crock of shit, but many things he predicted are starting to happen. One thing he said:

Why are you so interested in the Constitution?

After the war, the United States had split into five separate regions based on the various factors and military objectives they each had. There was a great deal of anger directed toward the Federal government and a revival of states rights was becoming paramount. However, in their attempt to create an economic form of government, the political and military leaders at the time decided to hold one last Constitutional Congress in order to present a psychological cohesion from the old system.

During this Congress, the leaders discovered and decided that coming up with a new and better form of government was nearly impossible. The original Constitution itself was not the problem it was the ignorance of the people that lived under it.

I don't know whether to believe what he said or not, but I must admit that some of the things he said are definetely plausible. I thought this might interest you because of your comments on wanting to split up the Federal government.

Re:The first time I had a fully automatic rifle (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9286109)

.. pointed at me, was when I walked across the Peace Arch crossing from Canada to the US.

So? The first time I had one pointed at me is when I got off of a plane in Frankfurt Germany in 2000.

You were crossing a border slappy! (4, Insightful)

Syncdata (596941) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286137)

I am 26 years old, have lived in the US my entire life, and have never had a firearm of any kind pointed at me. That said, were I crossing a border into another nation, say mexico, there is an understanding that firearms might be present.

As for having the rifle pointed *at* you, I strongly suspect that you are exagerating, or made one of those hilarious jokes that security folk love so much, like "Look out for the bomb in my luggage."

If you're curious why America is so "militant", it's because not too long ago, over 3 thousand people died in an attack that destroyed more commercial space then exists in all of San Francisco. Ask yourself how you might feel if, oh, say, downtown Ottowa was utterly leveled.

I'm no fan of certain clauses of the patriot act, including the allowance for feds to search property without presenting a warrant. But to suggest that there is no reason for this, other than to create a militant police state ignores facts which are fully in evidence.

But I forgot, that I'm not allowed to cite the events of September 11th, because doing so makes me a Jingoist. Curse our surly, greedy, unrefined society!

Re:You were crossing a border slappy! (1)

rigau (122636) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286193)

search property without presenting a warrant

they still need a warrant. nothing in the PATRIOT act allows law enforcement officers to search without a warrant. the real issue is when the warrant has to be served. You probably are thinking of section 213 of the PATRIOT act that gives: "AUTHORITY FOR DELAYING NOTICE OF THE EXECUTION OF A WARRANT ."

Re:You were crossing a border slappy! (1)

I(rispee_I(reme (310391) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286412)

Every time I've been searched and asked for a warrant, the policeman just pulls out a blank one. Doesn't seem to make much difference, for all the hoorah about warrants...

The wiley policeman. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9286883)

So far as I know, this is because there are different kinds of warrants. A CHP officer has can issue a warrant for you to appear in court. That is within his authority. A warrant to search your property requires a judge to sign off on it, much like a warrant to wiretap your premesis. These are more rare.
If a Police officer asks to search your car, you ask him for a warrant, he holds up a stack of warrants that he can really only use to take you to court, or to arrest you should you, say, punch him in the face, hoping you then agree to let him search your trunk. It's strictly a gambit on the cops part that you will agree to the search because he happens to have a sheet of paper that says warrant. But IANAL.

Re:You were crossing a border slappy! (1)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286577)

You're forgetting about sneak-and-peek warrants.

Yes, they still have to get one, no they don't need a real court judge (just their special sneak-and-peek court judge), and no, they don't necessarily have to ever tell you what they did or what they took.

So, rigau is correct in that they don't have to present a warrant. There are no statistics on how often it happens, because they don't have to report it anywhere that is of public record. Nobody with any authority can say for certain what is or is not the case about secret warrants, because if they did and actually had the authority, they would be hauled off to jail for violating the secrecy of the warrant procedure.

Great country, America: Living up to its history of lies, deception, double-dealing, and bullying tactics.

Re:You were crossing a border slappy! (1)

Syncdata (596941) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286927)

reat country, America: Living up to its history of lies, deception, double-dealing, and bullying tactics.

Read the other posts by me in this thread. This is exactly what I am talking about. You are spending an enormous ammount of your own personal time, and energy, insulting, and slandering a country, which on balance, is no threat to country's that don't start shit with us.
And all the while, as you shake your fist at our non-100%socialized medicine, and about missile defense, or about the other thing, you've got lovelies in North Korea, The middle east, south america, pick a spot on the globe, all loving the fact that noone is paying attention to them.
Look around! Get your bearings!! Get a sense of proportion!!! We are at war with Afghanistan and Iraq. Why? Because they are part of a terrorist network which routinely seeks to destroy US interests, and not just on 911. We are doing something that we have deemed necessary. And rather than waste your ATP on bitching and moaning about the US, do something to make the world a better place!

Rather than bitch about what a piss poor job America has done leading the world, LEAD THE WORLD! You want the reins to slip from our hands, and WE want the reins to slip from our hands, SO TAKE THEM!
America is not at all comfortable in being the Be all and End all for every other country in the world. We chafe under the position of leader, Welfare agency, and protector to the world as well, as evidenced by the current social divide in america today.
But a ton of you don't actually live in america, so you listen to the bitchers and moaners who do, or claim they do, or visited once, and met some guy who gave them a shifty look, and so therefor all amereicans are shifty, and you take their word for it that this is what America is all about.

It isn't so. . The anti-US propanda floating around is more orwellian than current US policy.

Crossing a border doesn't give anyone the right to (4, Insightful)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286279)

point a loaded weapon at me.

I'm in no way exagerating. I was walking across the grass field under the peace arch with my then girlfriend. We were travelling from Vancouver to Seattle to catch a plane at Seatac. As I didn't feel like spending 400$ on a cab between Vancouver and Seattle, I arranged to have a friend from the US pick me up at the border crossing, and took a (less expensive 80$) cab from Vancouver to the arch.

We apparently chose the cars-only side to walk up to, because a solier inspecting a car snapped up from his work, aimed his automatic rifle at us, and yelled at us to go around to the other side. When I tried to talk to him, to ask him to put the gun down among other things, he just screamed harder at me.

When we did go inside, the US military guys tried to play good cop/bad cop on why I felt the need to enter the United States. It was complete BS, and an example of exactly how silly US customs is. On the way back, the Canadian border guard was nothing but courtieous to us. I don't even think they had M-16s!

As for Sept 11, Canada had the whole FLQ thing in the 1970s. Trudeau invoked the war measures act. However, once the situation was taken care of, the war measures act went away. Why isn't the patriot act going away? Why must the US continue to militarize and occupy foreign nations not related to the terrorist attack?

Re:Crossing a border doesn't give anyone the right (1, Insightful)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286559)

Why must the US continue to militarize and occupy foreign nations not related to the terrorist attack?

Because the US populace is a bunch of ignorant sheep, who will go with whatever someone in their local group hears on the news and passes on to those who think the news is morbid or uninteresting. But then, that's how it is in most countries. The US is really no different, it just happens to be the big dog on the block right now.

Like all would-be (or actual) empires, the US populace and leadership will get theirs. No empire in our recorded history has stood the test of time, and the US won't either. It will either fall easily (and relatively peacefully) like the British Empire, from the inside under the weight of its own incompetence and corruption like the USSR, or to near annihilation via nuclear/chemical/biological attacks from external locations. It just depends on the course of history and the choices of its leadership and populace in general which one becomes a reality.

Re:You were crossing a border slappy! (1)

kunudo (773239) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286399)

I am 26 years old, have lived in the US my entire life, and have never had a firearm of any kind pointed at me. That said, were I crossing a border into another nation, say mexico, there is an understanding that firearms might be present.

In Europe where I live, I have never had a gun pointed at me, wether I entered Greece, Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, or for that matter Russia.
Have you been outside the US?
Seems to me you guys are so accustomed to crap like the TSA, guns, the patriot act, not having any real control over your government (please fix this part, we have to live with it too... ) etc that you just accept it as a part of life. Please don't. And to everyone else. [tellanamericantovote.com]

Re:You were crossing a border slappy! (2, Interesting)

wibs (696528) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286524)

I'm a US citizen and am fairly well travelled. I've entered a lot of different countries under a lot of different circumstances. I've also had a lot of guns pointed at me. Nevermind that I have a spotless record (not even a traffic ticket, or even any misconducts while in college... and who doesn't have a few of those?), I tend to get singled out at border crossings, customs, whatever, and of course every time I get through without a problem. I can't really say I mind that much - a moderate amount of security is a very good thing, and it does make me feel safer to know that the people doing the job aren't doing it half assed.

All of that said, the place where I have guns pointed at me the most, and I mean by far the most, is in the US. I know what I'm doing in an airport, it's not like I'm doing anything special to get attention for myself like walking through Do Not Enter doors in search of the bathroom. I'm a voting citizen who's never been in trouble for anything, and the only place in the world that sees fit to put me at the end of a rifle muzzle over and over again is my own country.

I don't have any great revelations to add to this, other than somehow this seems very, very wrong.

Re:You were crossing a border slappy! (1)

Syncdata (596941) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286612)

Traveling between European countries when you are a european citizen is roughly analagous to travelling between US states when you are a US citizen. You are subject to the new states laws, but you are free to pass through/stay/what have you.
I'm not arguing that any country is worse then us. I've been to England, Italy, and Canada, and I have had little trouble at all.

My essential point is Don't believe the hype. Cats like the parent post to which I initially responded make it sound like looking at the US border makes you subject to a Cavity search, which can be administered at any time in the ensuing 90 days.

I read his response, and I simply don't believe him. Either he is ommitting something, or there was something going on that he didn't know about. Maybe security was actively looking for a car Just like his friends.

Lastly, we are not accustomed to heavy handed tactics in the United States. We haven't been cowed to it. Why do you think there is so much bitching about guantanamo bay/airport searches/etc... If we were all down with the program, so much noise would not be being made in the US. I'm just more than slightly tired of being accused of being a sub-standard stewerd of freedom from proud socialists like the initial parent poster. Wonderful Health system indeed. But that's a topic for another day.

Re:You were crossing a border slappy! (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286690)

it wasn't always the case. i frequently travelled between germany and estonia by bus, through 4 different countries. there weren't in eu back then and it was nowhere near "roughly analagous to travelling between US states"

still, never seen a gun pointed at me.

Re:You were crossing a border slappy! (1)

Syncdata (596941) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286791)

It certainly wasn't always the case. You guys had a few dust-ups yourselves in the 20th century neh?
But that said, the EU is pushing for a united europe in ernest right now, which is essentially the same federal/state level system, and, Wisely I think, they are adopting the same system of free travel between states.

Again, My argument is not that Europe is worse. My argument is that people are fictionalizing reality in America. We do not have monitors affixed to walls displaying our presidents face all day long. North Korea's got plenty of em though. Mightent you focus on that for 2.5 seconds?

For too many people, some even US citizens, are involved in a personal vendetta against the U.S. that has little to do with reality, and is devoid of any sense of portionality. This is not going to last forever people. Much like Italy after the airport assault, we are enhancing security. It has to be done. We are going after those responsible. It has to be done. Anyone reading this post knows full well that their nation would do the exact same thing because it is the logical thing to do.

Re:You were crossing a border slappy! (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286860)

you know, i used to live in ussr (was born there). you could feel really secure there. and it was very secure, too.

but freedom is better.

Re:You were crossing a border slappy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9286696)

Well, I went through airport security in boston, and the tsa seemed pretty heavy-handed to me... Actually it seemed like they had just grabbed some random guy off the street and put him in a uniform (is there a school for airport security people? I guess not, but still...) and given him 'authority'. The TSA seemed very hostile, unlike the rest of the airport crew I was in contact with, who were friendly & helpful.

Re:The first time I had a fully automatic rifle (1)

ChiefPilot (566606) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286529)

Huh. I've been back and forth a couple of times since 9/11 and have never had that happen.

Re:The first time I had a fully automatic rifle (3, Interesting)

bergeron76 (176351) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286626)

there needs to be another American revolution, one which breaks up the Union into a set of smaller unions where the federal government isn't so separated from the people

This is inevitable. The US will segregate itself based on state laws. In fact, it's happening right now. Gay people can wed in some states but not others (at present). As a result, Gay people will tend to 'migrate' to those states that allow it.

On the other side of the coin, but on the same token - States like Utah (which outlaw alcohol), tend to draw more religious right wing people. California (particularly San Fran.) tends to draw progressive people to it; and LA tends to draw plastic/fake people that value their apperance and little more. Florida draws old people seeking serenity, and Vermont draws people looking to go back in time.

Granted there will always be people that aren't happy where they live, however, in general I think that a cultural revolution/migration is taking place now. Within a few generations the separation is going to become much more apparent. The federal government is going to become increasing called into question as it's forced to see-saw among the left and right wings. The power struggle between the left and the right will eventually crumble under its own momentum shifts (picture an amplified wave).

This is, of course, just a theory...

And I was in Germany (circa 1985) (2, Insightful)

brian0x00FF (701559) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286680)

It was Frankfurt airport and I was getting on a plane to JFK. I was only 17 years old, but I was wanded, my carry-on was searched, and I had to identify my bags on the tarmack before they were loaded and I was able to board the plane. You know how many other people had to do the same? All of them.

Three years earlier I flew into Brussels from London without any such searches. That time I missed seeing a car bomb detonated in Belgium by 30 minutes. It is very strange to see the alley side of two building ripped open.

The point is that when someone has declared war against you... like the socialist/communist terrorist groups did in Germany during the 70s and 80s and islamic terrist have against the US in the 80s 90s and 00s. There are going to be times when in public places and entry and exit points you have to deal with security.

The same does not apply in your home. If the cops do not have a warrant, only can give up your right. That doesn't mean you need to be an asshole, but you certainly do not need to give into the the 'if you don't have anything to hide' mind game.

thanks (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9285860)

As a bomb making terrorist I've decided to develop a history of electrical repairs to cover.

Thanks slashdot

move to europe (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 10 years ago | (#9285899)

the people here aren't keeped in fear by the mass media that much.

Re:move to europe (1)

Boglin (517490) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286057)

I know exactly what you mean. I mean, the way that the government has surveillance cameras in public places is just creepy. Or how about the complete insult to freedom of religion when they started banning Muslim head scarves in our schools? Not to mention the extrordinary stupidity of when they required the characters in Contra to be changed from people into robots because it seemed to violent for the children.

Oh, no, wait. That's Britain, France, and Germany. I recognize that Europe does tend to keep a more level head than America, but I would kind of hope that you would start holding yourself to a higher standard than the bar we set.

Re:move to europe (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286236)

partly you are right. but i think, banned muslim head scarves are okay. as far as i know, they even banned the crucifix (!) in bavaria schools (!!!).

the state and the church are separated. and it is imho a right thing.

there are no surveillance cameras (yet) in my town (dortmund, the seventh biggest city in germany). and i hope it won't change.

Re:move to europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9286373)

I live in a midwestern American suburb, with a population below 10,000. This is a decent middle-class neighborhood, yet there are multiple police surveillance cameras within a half mile radius of my home.

There is a fairly large city (Minneapolis) within 20 miles of here, and in that city there are an unknowably large number of police surveillance cameras. Facial recognition software is already being tested on a few of these.

One of my hobbies is listening to police radio scanners. From listening to these police frequencies & digital talk groups, I have discovered that at least in the neighboring city of Saint Paul, the police actually have the ability to follow a vehicle on camera as it travels through downtown from block to block, tracking it even as it turns onto the freeway, and then continuing this tracking with the freeway cameras for miles down the road.

We have a maturing "panopticon" here in the United States. Things are getting much worse, very quickly.

Re:move to europe (1)

oldstrat (87076) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286743)

"there are no surveillance cameras (yet) in my town (dortmund"

Really?
When did they remove the cameras that were there in 1979? Seriously.
Germany (The old FRG) was the worlds leader in surveillance throughout the country due to Baader-Meinhof and Red Brigade in the 70's and early 80's not to mention the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972.

Duzfreund because you do not see them watching does not mean they are not, I suggest you take a second look at the street lights and the traffic signals.

Alzo you pay taxes to the Federal German government that are distributed to 'approved' churches and unapproved churches are harrased by the Federal authorities (scientology for one).

Sorry to have shattered your fantasies of freedom, but somebody needed to wake you up and show you that those bars are not made of gold, they're the bars to your cage and you need to learn how to pick the lock.

Re:move to europe (4, Interesting)

hak1du (761835) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286380)

Or how about the complete insult to freedom of religion when they started banning Muslim head scarves in our schools?

Every nation, including the US, imposes limits on what is acceptable under freedom of religion. France imposed a minimal dress code in schools and they banned all religious symbols. Seems pretty reasonable to me.

Furthermore, keep in mind that this is a pretty recent phenomenon, brough on by significant immigration into France. But people who come to France know what kind of culture they are getting into, namely a mostly secular culture with Catholic roots. France is not, and never pretended to be, an American-style multicultural society and it draws its lines differently. France's choice may well speed up integration and help Muslims assimilate culturally, while they develop new traditions for their religion in a French cultural context.

Besides, head scarves are more cultural symbols rather than religious symbols anyway. They are supposed to express modesty, but in a different cultural context, they achieve the opposite effect. Just because people claim that they are religious symbols doesn't make it so.

Not to mention the extrordinary stupidity of when they required the characters in Contra to be changed from people into robots because it seemed to violent for the children.

Well, and what about the extraordinary stupidity of banning nudity and sex in US media? Every culture has its sensitive spots. Banning violence seems no less reasonable than banning sex and nudity.

I mean, the way that the government has surveillance cameras in public places is just creepy.

In the US, the only difference is that it is private companies that do it. The US government can get the same information out of that, but they aren't even subject to the same kind of public oversight as the UK government.

Be sure to send your landlord an invoice (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9285938)

Carefully document it, and bill him for time, any phone calls involved, and note that it is not necessarily complete should other costs arrise.

Now, you are unlikely to get paid. Make sure you call and complain about not getting paid, and send follow up invoices with late fees. Then drop it.

And rest secure that no more calls to the police will be made. The threat of having to pay a couple of hundred dollars is all that is necessary to stop some bored worker from amusing himself with fantasies.

Hypothetical Legal Question (1)

srwalter (39999) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286107)

An interesting question struck me while reading this article, and since I'm not all that familiar with the relevant laws, I don't know the answer. Perhaps one of the law buffs (lawyer or no) can help me out.

Let's say a police officer were to appear at my door without a warrant, wanting to search my house. If I allow him to enter, can he use anything incriminating that he finds as evidence, even though he conducted the search without a warrant?

A slightly more complicated situation, what if instead of simply consenting to the search, I stated "well, you can come in, and I'm not going to stop you from doing whatever." What then?

Re:Hypothetical Legal Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9286158)

In both cases he can legally use any evidence he finds.

What exact difference do you see between the two examples you gave ? In both you consented to entry.

Re:Hypothetical Legal Question (1)

srwalter (39999) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286306)

My question was whether there was a difference between consenting to entry and consenting to a search. The two are different things (thought perhaps not legally, hence my question).

Time, Money, or Patience (2, Interesting)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286120)

There are lots of people that don't have the 3 things to battle in courts. They pay the parking tickets, they take plea bargains, they can't miss work, the list goes on.

You are too busy to your life to worry about your rights. Sad when you realize you don't have those rights at the end of the day.

I've hoped technology could correct this, e-voting, instant polls, communications with elected officials, but it hasn't.

Sad.

Sue the stoolie ? (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 10 years ago | (#9286214)

In such a blasphemous scenario, would it be possible to sue the 'stoolie' for harassment ? He pretty much abused police and FBI resources in order to harass someone over a rather weak and ignorant suspicion.

What if someone from the boonies had never seen a compact disc, if they thought it was a saw blade or other potentially dangerous device, they might overreact the same way this idiot landlord did, and label me a manufacturer of weapons of mass cutting.

Don't talk to cops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9286262)

Don't talk to cops [comcast.net]

For everyone saying, "No warrant, no search" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9286861)


I keep reading "If they didn't have a warrant, why did you let them in?"

Let me tell you something about the FBI. They are the FBI. They can do whatever the hell they want.

I had 2 computers (well past obsolete now) that they took almost 3 years ago. I was supposed to get them back in 6-8 weeks.

Call them up...."We don't have anything on record for you"

"Uh, I have the #'s from the papers they left me"

"hrmmm, those numbers aren't coming up"

*click*

They don't have to follow rules. They'll lock you up without an attorney or anything like that. Ever hear of a guy named Kevin Mitnick?

22cc

What if it happened to me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9286924)

Really, no big deal. I've got all kinds of electronic equipment all over the place and if some ignorant repair man called the FBI, I am sure I would be in the exact same position.

I have an electronics workshop with various tools such as soldering irons, circuit board making equipment, spare parts, oscilloscopes, drill press, etc.

It was probably the large balloon and keg that made the repair man nervous. Really, if it was a bomb shop you would see many of the same tools and certainly electronics.

I would let the Police, FBI, etc. take a look and explain what it all was. It would not bother me in the slightest unless it was rather early in the morning.

We as geeks are bound to have tons of bizarre electronics and workshops. You watch Hollywood movies and you see shops like ours in bomb factories all the time. The difference is we don't have explosives (well unless you are involved in Geeks and Guns and load your own rounds).

Just don't be a Middle Eastern Geek with a home based gun shop, chemistry lab, and electronics lab. That would set off alarm bells for almost anyone who wasn't familiar with it.

Yeah I know it sucks but this is the world in which we live today.
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