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We Lost the Privacy War

Hemos posted more than 15 years ago | from the a-dose-of-paranoida-in-the-morning dept.

CDA 375

Danse was one of the many who sent us a thought-provoking piece about privacy-not about how it's important, but how we've already lost it, or shortly will. All those little memories we build up, living our lives and how they all, ultimately, betray us.

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its interesting... (1)

fustflum (67376) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811002)

its interesting how the very cool technology we develop (lo-jack...) to protect ourselves, actually gives ourselves away.

no privacy.

(first post!)

Child Protection Act (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1811005)

The Child Protection Act of 1996, in the name of tracking down deadbeat dads, is a registry of everyone who works, along with their salary, place of employment, position, address, and other vitals. Any social or payment worker, anywhere, can access it. Can you spell abuse?

Plans are underfoot to add a few fields for those nasty gun owners. Who could argue with that? A few more fields for militia members, maybe the more vocal members of the Christian Right, food hoarders (that is now a federal felony), and of course, we could fold the sex offenders into it.

All noble goals, and you can't argue with a single one.


Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1811008)

i like to keep my bizarre porno collection to myself thank you

What else is new.. (1)

NodeZero (49835) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811011)

We should have all seen this one coming. We watch movies like "Enemy of the State", and we think "Nahh, could never happen to us". Sure, it isnt the same level of privacy invasion, but it does happen.

Im sure this article is going to set off that paranoia alarm in a lot of /.'ers. We have to find ways to keep big brother from peeking over our shoulders.

Anyone know anything about PGP and how it is regulated? I just might have to start using it since i Dont feel like having Big Sam reading my emails.

Re:its interesting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1811014)

Interesting, too, how that same technology then gives us back our privacy... only to strip it away again in one big-arse loop. Bleah.

Being an Aussie myself, we heard about the Echelon system what... oh, 3 months back, maybe?
It's pretty terrifying. I'm just glad that our Government was stupid enough to tell everyone about UKUSA....

Anyone starting to find the idea of declaring independance form your Government and founding your own, free, nation attractive? I sure am.


it's keyed to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1811017)

And it's all keyed to the Social Security number.

It will soon be required on every driver's license. If you have it omitted because of a religous objection, the attending officer will still demand it, and if you don't provide it, you'll be arrested. Precedents are already set.

Scary, eh? A traffic officer knows your life history and religion before he even flips on the red lights.

1984 (1)

gavinhall (33) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811019)

Posted by Justin:

Anyone noticed the bit about 1984 at the bottom? It's quite frightening, especially for those of us whose bible is 1984 ;)

I have a problem with this stuff (1)

Zachary Kessin (1372) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811021)

All this The government is out to get you stuff bugs me in a big way. Yea the govenerment is not perfect and they do a bit of stuff that I don't like, but plese the USA is not and never will be a facist state. But some how many of the folks who spread this dreck have a few minor points:
1) I don't have to pay my taxes.
2) There is a big conspericy invoving the Jews, the UN and probably the martians and the Knights Templar.
3) Lots of vuage acusations of loss of freedoms.

I think its mostly a lot of paranoid dreck

Paranoid? (1)

Jimhotep (29230) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811023)

If I could read, I'd read 1984. Doesn't it
have two way television? And isn't two way
television bad? I can't wait to get my own
cable modem!

Could somebody post a shorter version of that
story. Just way to much to read.

Want people to think you are really crazy?
Tell them that the reconstructed TWA 800 isn't
the same plane that crashed. Then back it up
with lots of documentation. They will think you
are "way gone man".

Want to know what makes me upset about all this?
The newcomers!

Have a great day kids!

Now go back to sleep.

While we're at it (2)

jabber (13196) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811116)

Let's also add the Stop&Shop discount card data, and a credit card statement digest to that DB. That way we'll be able to harrass each other for buying Coke over Pepsi, and having bought that Durango in a state with lower taxes.

Just a thought - sorry - didn't think it'd be dangerous.

Disinforming Big Brother (1)

_J_ (30559) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811119)

BB keeps reams of information on all of us, but while the information is easily collected, stored, processed and retrieved reviewing the information is another matter altogether. Orwell stated, ironically, that "Ignorance is Strength," but, IMHO, Knowledge is power. Knowing what others do with the information that is collected on and about us allows us to "diddle" the system ourselves.

One could even argue that we have a right to mess with systems - government or otherwise - that are insecure or that could be used against us in an illegitmate or illegal manner. It could also be argued that the offense is not the actual use of the information for "bad" purposes but the Collection of the information without thought of how it is used or secured.

Information may be more available, but it is more volatile and less controlled by the collectors.


When it comes to biometrics I like retina scanning. With the systems that are out there now, the scanning can't be forced and you don't leave retina prints on doorknobs everywhere.


War is Peace
Love is Hate
Ignorance is Strength
Ernie is Bert

Privacy? Most of us willingly give it or sell it (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1811122)

There are numerous things you can do in life to give yourself greater privacy:

  • Unlist your phone number from the phone book.
  • Don't use your real name online unless required.
  • Don't have homepages telling everyone where you live and work.
    Don't use "savings cards" designed to collect consumer data on you
  • etc.

If you are willing to give up some conveniences, then you can retain a great deal of privacy. I emphasize retain - once you have given away privacy it never returns, so you cannot "get it back".

If you enjoy the above conveniences, then you simply have to live with less privacy.

Of course there are a great number of things government and industry could do to increase privacy, but I'm sure other posts will cover that.

Re:Disinforming Big Brother (1)

MartinB (51897) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811124)

I think you're entirely missing the Orwellian point here. You suggest that Orwell claimed that Ignorance is Strength in a documentary or commentary sense. Not so - it was the position of the state in "1984", which he was satirising. So it's quite the reverse - he was trying to show that Knowledge is Power.

Good grief, you'll be claiming that Thomas Harris thinks that eating people is good because of what he gives Lecter to say.

Personal information (1)

plopez (54068) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811129)

I wonder if it would be possible to copyright personal information? It may be fun to try, and if you can then you can sue anyone who uses it for royalties. Just a thought....

Oh boy... (3)

LLatson (24205) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811133)

Any student of history (or anybody who knows _anything_ at all about history) knows that revolutions occur on a pretty regular schedule. Governments come into power, usually backed with the support of the majority of the population, on a platform that 'fixes' the problems of the previous government.

But after a while, the new government gets so bogged down in its own buraucracy, and opportunists seize every chance they can to gain more power for themselves (=> less for the people) and eventually the new government that was supposed to fix all the problems of the previous one has its own set of problems.

Now I'm definately NOT a history major, but one instance that comes to mind is Russia/USSR. After the fall of the czars, a communist government (which sounds great on paper) took over. What happened? The few people in power were selfish, more concerned with themselves than with the good of the country, and then you get what happened in the 1980's.

What's my point? I think that our governent (remember how that came to be?) is starting to abuse its powers. The principles that the US was founded on are being twisted and manipulated by people with ulterior motives. This process is being accelerated to an incredible speed thanks to our level of technology (the Net, etc.).

The world is an imperfect place. No large population of people is every happy with their government for a long period of time. THIS WON'T CHANGE! As Joseph Campbell once said, (I don't remember it exactly), "The world isn't perfect. It's a mess. But it's a perfect mess."

Just my .02


Privacy (1)

Slycee (35025) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811136)

Privacy isn't a part of what makes the USA a 'free' country; it's not explicitly guaranteed by the Constitution (so I don't know what this "We the People" icon is all about). I say get over the privacy thing. It's gone, daddy- let's move on, shall we?

Re:Disinforming Big Brother (1)

_J_ (30559) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811138)

This is what I said: 'stated, ironically, that "Ignorance is Strength," '

Perhaps I should have put it this way instead...
Orwell ironically stated that "Ignorance is Strength"

Humblest apologies for any confusion but I was trying to say that Orwell was being ironic, not that this statement was ironic vis a vis the current discussion.

Not facist? (2)

jabber (13196) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811144)

Probably not ever will the US be a facist state.

At least not until a member of a minority group can get stopped, harrassed and beaten for driving through an afluent neighborhood... Oh, wait!

Well, at least not until Faderal, State and Municipal workers are forced to forefeit their liberty by making union membership a mandatory condition of their employment contract... Oh, wait!

Well, certainly not until politicians stop saying and doing what is right, and start saying and doing that which will keep them in power... How you like them Big Apples Hillary? Now wait a cotton picking minute here!!

At least we still take responsibility for our actions, and face up to the consequences of our choices... [Blame Canada! Blame Canada!]

spam is now our friend (3)

jfessler (53843) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811145)

I say let's spam 'em! Just sprinkle likely trigger words randomly North Korea through your emails. Your recipient NORAD might be confused until you potassium nitrate explain it to them, but that's a small price to pay for anthrax the fun. We could also attach boiler plate to our sig files, replacing those threadbare Star Trek snippets. It's kind of like that Jeff Goldblum tactic in one of his less-than-successful movies, where he tells his captors so many different stories, they don't know which one to believe.

Flood the system.

Re:I have a problem with this stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1811155)

Ever see Schindler's List? Remember the Jewish women in the bunk house that said something like "They'd never harm us, we are too valuable to them". Your attitude is similar.

Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

Privacy (1)

g33k (34493) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811157)

Just don't do anything wrong. ever. :)

1984 (1)

The_Jazzman (45650) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811161)

As stated below, this is very remniniscent of 1984.

I particulally love the phrase "War is Peace" because it is so true. At a time of war people can be so focused on the current situation, productivity goes up, and nearly all the peoples hate can be directed towards the enemy.

The heading "Your government allows-- no, encourages-- others to spy on you" also reminds me of 1984... the way that the children were given listening-horns for the purpose of listening at their parents keyholes.

I remember that for the last twenty years the novel in question has been dismissed on several occaisions, and indeed in the editorial of the current edition that I have been reading. Could it be true that in thirty years, it won't be Goldstein who is the enemy of the State ? In fact, it is Orwell with 1984 as The Book ?

OK, pessimistic I know, but always a bit thought - provoking nevertheless.

Privacy HOWTO (1)

bgarrett (6193) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811163)

Is there a HOWTO or other "comprehensive" document on how to protect your personal privacy, both online and in the real world? If not, I could probably start one. Submissions welcome :)

Re:Oh boy... (1)

invenustus (56481) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811166)

and then you get what happened in the 1980's

What happened in the 80's? Are you referring to the fall of the USSR's communist government in 1991?

What Privacy? (1)

MartinB (51897) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811169)

Wasn't it Scott McNealy who claimed "You already have no privacy. Get used to it."
...not that that's necessarily A Good Thing.

Re:Oh boy... (1)

The_Jazzman (45650) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811172)

To quote from The Book of 1984, "The sake of Power is to have Power".

You have a point... (1)

Mr Gleep (67594) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811175)

All this The government is out to get you stuff bugs me in a big way. Yea the govenerment is not perfect and they do abit of stuff that I don't like, but plese the USA is not and never will be a facist state.

It's not so much that the government is out to get you, as that the government intends to do nothing to stop the private sector from ferreting out everything they possibly can. Now, whether this is because Congress is in the private sector's pocket, as many would believe, or simply because they're clueless, I don't know.

On the subject of electronic privacy, a lot of people simply don't seem to realize that what applies to paper or speech does in fact apply to the internet as well. The Internet (capital I, folks) is a scary, untamed, and completely different place in the eyes of most decision-makers.

A threat more dangerous than the ones this article mentions is Congress' continual encroachment on the first amendment, and the constant attempts to limit the civil rights of minors. (I'm just waiting for them to pass a law making it illegal to be under 18.) I know this is a shameless plug, but visit the slowly-being-constructed home page of the fledgling Student Civil Rights Campaign at [] .

That's all.

Re:Disinforming Big Brother (1)

The_Jazzman (45650) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811177)

But I *liked* Dr Lector.... I want to grow up to be him ;-p

Revolution? (1)

Mai Longdong (63346) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811179)

"America's at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards. On the road to tyranny, we've gone so far that polite political action is about as useless as a miniskirt in a convent." - Clair Wolfe, _101 Things To Do 'Til The Revolution_

Aggitate, aggitate, aggitate?? (2)

jabber (13196) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811184)

Agreed on the approach, but now how do you...

a) Convince 260 million sheep that they're being sheparded by someone.

b) Explain to them how this is done.

c) Explain to them why it's bad - so as to not look like a fringe malcontent.

d) Get them to, in a concerted effort, feed poison to the InfoHounds.

e) accomplish all of the above without the powers that be taking note and counteracting your efforts

Maybe a march on Washington? Nah, that'd just be labeled as nostalgic... The nation is being babysat and placated by the national media, driven by focus groups.. It's hard to tear somone away from their TV set.

I know, let's put libertarian comments in the source code we release open source. But that'd give M$ the edge in the legal arena... Hmmm..

Re:Privacy? Most of us willingly give it or sell i (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1811187)

Isn't it strange that unlisting your phone number costs _you_ money ($4.00). Shouldn't it be easier for them not to publish the number?

Giving away my privacy isn't as much my choice anymore as it is everyone elses: the government, my bank, my school, etc. They have all decided to sell my information to make a profit. Hell I can't take a test anymore without my Social Security number getting passed around the classroom. I don't know why I have a Social Security number either as I'll probably never see a dime!

The State of Florida just decided last week to sell my salary information to banks, creditors, etc. Next time I'm shopping for a car they'll ask my name and decide what I can really afford.

Sorry sir, you can't test drive that Lexus, you don't make enough. Come over here and look at this fine Corolla.

It is no wonder that identity theft is the new #1 crime in America.

AC because I don't want those SOB's at /. tracking me. :P

Re:Privacy? Most of us willingly give it or sell i (1)

MartinB (51897) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811190)

The other major convenience which the conventional direct marketing industry uses your personal information for is targeting mailshots to you.

If it weren't for the info you provide (explicitly or otherwise), you would receive 100 times the junk mail and calls you do now - it really would be at the level of spam. But with info about who's most likely to respond, direct marketers won't waste the postage and printing of stuff that you've no chance of responding to.

Of course in the UK (and elsewhere in Europe), it's mandatory for direct marketers to clean their lists against the Mailing & Telephone Preference Services before they undertake cold mailings. This is A Good Thing. Shame email isn't effectively covered the same way.

Crypto (1)

mhm23x3 (30474) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811192)

Now do you understand why the US has such tight restriction on encryption code? It won't be long before we can no longer IMPORT crypto, and, I immagine, soon we won't be allowed to use it at all.

Of course, us Good People don't have to worry about that, since only Criminals would want to send encrypted messages.

PGP sux, really. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1811196)

The feds have a system to decipher it at the export(40 bit) level.
It really isn't all that secure, as the keys can be reconstructed on a LAN, with only the time of message known.
I came up with a 1359 bit encryptor, but haven't a secure server for it yet(kinda ironic, eh?) Also, if I had a munitions license, I could sell it overseas, but if I post on the net...

Yoda of Borg am I. Futile resistance is. Frank Oz is not my father...

His footnote (1)

yakneb (61234) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811199)

As anyone been able to find this survey he quotes?
I looked and I couldn't. There are at least 2 online documents with this name, one is a Priceton U publication and the other is a liberal publication(acording to their homepage, and I didn't see it on either.

The best kind of government is none at all!

Re:Privacy? Most of us willingly give it or sell i (1)

MartinB (51897) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811202)

...oh also, the Data Protection Acts of 1984 and 1998 force organisations who hold identifying info about you held on computers or paper to provide you with a copy on request, and remove your info on request.

There are exemptions to some of the provisions for government agencies (so you can't wipe your police record :-( ), but they still have to register what types of info they can hold. And those registers are public.

Echelon (2)

krital (4789) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811204)

Hey, wow, wonderful. I haven't heard anything about Echelon in the mainstream, ever. I do know that I live about an hour away from one of their biggest monitoring stations(in Bavaria)... You can see the golf balls (doppler radar for the most part) and antennae arrays from miles around... Lotsa US military personnel on base down there, and they don't talk about what they do for a living. When I first found out about it, I was scared as shit. Now, I just remember not to joke about anything involving the CIA on the phone (semi-joke, that).

Cheerfully awaiting the arrival of a CIA field agent at my front door.

Re:Privacy? Most of us willingly give it or sell i (1)

infra (95576) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811206)

Indeed there needs to be more information about making people aware of how they can protect themselves. Are there watchdog websites out there anyone?

A friend of mine does not like using credit cards to pay for anything only cash or money orders. One day she gets harassed by her isp ("distrupting" service, adding additional fees in the name of better service, etc.) because she pays them using money orders. They inform her that they are "cracking down" on people who don't pay with check or credit card. Aparently, they are peeved because they are losing out on cash they can pimp out on her personal info they would otherwise gain from her credit card or checking account.


Re:Privacy? Most of us willingly give it or sell i (1)

magister (9423) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811208)

Its funny you mention giving up conveniences, I refuse to get a drivers licesn as of right now because they have installed digital fingerprint scanners at my local DMV, my only form of ID is my social security card and a old school ID.

Ya, some may have a problem with not driving. But hey, at least im not polutting the air. Also IMO I do not want to be just a nother number in a database.

What ever happened to the Atlantis project?

Re:I have a problem with this stuff (1)

Zachary Kessin (1372) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811213)

Yes I did see Schindler's List, and I have been to Yad Vashem in Israel. My Attitude is not similar.

All I am saying is that quit frankly we do live in a free state. If you compare the USA now to Nazi Germany or Pinocet's Chile (Or any of a hundred other places) you will find it is not so bad. Oh and I know a number of old men and women with numbers of their arms, and a few who where blacklisted in the 50's. (Including some relitives). So if you are complaining of loss of freedom ask your self this, have you recently:
1) Been stopped from going to your local house of worship.
2) been stopped from haveing a Peacefull protest.
3) Been denied freedom of speach press etc.
4) been made to self incrimate yourself in a criminal trial. etc
5) been denined legal council when you needed it.

Now I admit that we are not perfect, and I know that many police forces are much more likely to pull over somone who is black than someone who is white. And that is wrong. But I also don't see the police walking into a minority area and telling everyone that they have to evacuate their homes as was done in Kosovo and Bosnia (And other places)

Re:I have a problem with this stuff (3)

RazorCat (37768) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811216)

The problem isn't so much the big, bad government as the government-industrial behemoth. Look at the data Echelon is really concerned with - it's usually economic. Companies are using the net, your bank information, etc to target you for specific purchases. Not a problem, you like recieving unsolicited ads for products that you may use? Ok, how about an HMO database that redlines on your genetic history, your food purchases and the frequency of your visits to the health club?

The loss of freedom does not require dark-cloaked men who sneak through the shrubs and say "How can we eliminate the dreaded First Amendment." There is no great X-Files conspiricy out there eroding our rights, we do too good a job of that ourselves for it to be needed. How many people do you know who even think once before providing information to just about anyone who asks? So long as the request is not for bank account numbers or credit card info, we hand it over. This info is valuable to companies that want to target, and so passivly control, your habits. Not that any of this is a threat to the cynical, old hackers that read /., but how many 10 year olds do you know who have to get the latest thing advertised on TV within 20 seconds of seeing the commerical? How many of them grow up to continue to need the ego-balms that companies spend billions of dollars to advertise, even after they have reached what we pass off as maturity? The more detailed the record the corporate structure gains, the deeper, and earlier, they can sink in the claws.

The real threat to freedom, as most people define the word, is that this 'meerly' economic attack is being employed in politics. Do you honestly believe that the James Carville created Bubba campaigns of '92 and '96 were the anomoly? In 10 years they will seem remarkably crude, and the advance will be largly because of this sort of data collection and filtering. The real problem is how to craft laws that stop this sort of thing.

Last issue: the author of this article is yet another person who needs a few calm e-mails explaining the difference between hacker and cracker.

Oh, great. (1)

InThane (2300) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811219)

Considering that single socsec numbers are used multiple times for different people, I'm probably sharing mine with a convicted child-rapist cop-killing bomb-making gun-owning tax-dodging criminal.

Just my luck

SirSlud speaks his mind. (3)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811223)

What a complete load of hooey. First off, its worth mentionning that the article is obviously USA specific. The first ad, which deals partly with the 5th amendment is an american issue. So other countries inhabitants have never had such 'rights' in the first place. But that amendment confuses the hell out of me at any rate: if you're doing something wrong, shouldn't you be working to change the law that makes it wrong rather than trying to uphold the amendment which keeps you from incriminating yourself for it?

People often confuse the growing rate of human interaction with privacy. I'd argue that back in the 1800's, you're privacy was no better - there simply was not the means to track such detailed information, nor services which would require such information. But if those infrastucture elements had been there, no one would have been better off.
No one knew it was going to come to this, and so no one could act upon it in time. And now that it's here - well good luck changing things.

Remember, the real goal of everyone in this society is money and power. Capitalism encourages the storage of information, because it can be used later (even if the owner of such information isn't sure how to leverage it's value quite yet, s/he'd argue that it never hurts to store it until it does become useful.) So is it really a surprise that people in power wanna know everything about you?

Every day I see people running stop lights, people taking advantage of other people, people bending the truth about themselves in order to gain access to services, discounts, and such. People going for theirs. What boggles my mind is how hot headed they get when they discover that those in power act pretty much in the same vain, albiet on a larger scale. Information, and consequently people's 'privacy', is one such thing abused by everyone, on a daily basis. (Like the guy who passes around his ex-gfs phone number as revenge, and then turns around and bitches about the government or some company asking him for his.)

I'd argue that the democratic and capitalist system is set up such that the storage of your private deails is an inherently attractive notion to those in power. Rather than some sort of control on the information, which is pretty useless considering the people we think are abusing it are the ones to whom we'd trust the task to implementing those controls, we need to rethink our social structure. Otherwise, just get used to it. I have.

(And no, calling me a 'commie' won't work. ;) I'll fully admit that capitalism and democracy seems to be the best of the evils so far.)

Re:Paranoid? (1)

The_Jazzman (45650) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811224)

Here's my short story version... try to read the original if you can.

Winston Smith is an average worker for the Outer Party. At this time in history (about 1984 - no one knows for sure) the country is split into three groups - the inner party at the top, outer party at the middle, and the Proles at the bottom.

The Party, whoose figurehead is Big Brother, controls everything and everyone, and anyone that doesn't conform in arrested by the thought police and 'cured' before they are arrested. No heretics or heroes exist here. The thought police monitor the people via telescreens, TV's that can see what you are doing and can hear sensitivly enough for your heartbeat to become aparent. Hidden microphones in other areas are also in use.

The world is split into three powers - Eurasia, Eastasia, and Oceania of which England is a member, except England has become Airstrip 1. At any poing in time Oceana is at war with either Eurasia or Eastasia, but according to the history books and papers (which Winston helps to doctor, or 'correct' as the party puts it) Oceana has always been at war with Eurasia/Eastasia.

Now, Winston realises that the party is a farce and goes about trying to see what he can do about it. The decisive moment comes when he holds a piece of The Times newspaper that contracdicts another issue of the same day in the complete opposite sense. Thus Winston tries to see a way in which the party can be undermined.

Eventually a girl, Julia, passes him a note in a hallway telling him that she loves him. They arrange to meet, and it soon becomes apparent that Julia is also against the party, but only in the aspects that involve her, eg that the party forces her to work 80+ hours one week, whereas she doesn't care that The Party didn't invent aeroplanes as she was taught in school.

There is a man, O'Brian, who Winston dreams about meeting with the words "We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness". Seven years later, they do in fact meet, and they discuss how to undermine the party through "The Brotherhood" and the teachings of The Party's arch-nemesis, Goldstein. Winston and Julia both agree to various terms, including to lay down their lives...

As it is the two of them eventually get caught after making love and sleeping through to the next morning (I should mention that by now the 24 hour clock has been standardised). They are arrested by the thought police and taken to the Ministry of Love, beforehand being seperated. There are no Windows in the Ministry of Love (MiniLuv) and eventually Winston meets O'Brian who it turns out never was a member of "The Brotherhood". Winston is now in the place of no darkness and is not happy about it. Eventually he is taken to room 101 which is the room where everyone's most frightening nightmare is. In Winston's case it is rats.

Eventually after being cured, Winston is released and given a highly paid job for which he does in effect no work. He spends his time in a rejects cafe where those who have been arrested tend to hang out, waiting to be eliminated by the party. Soon a news bulliten comes on telling the country that The Party has just won the latest battle... and tears come to Winston's eyes and he relises that he *does* love big brother.


I know that this is a pretty lame attempt and doesn't even start on the satire or the newspeak dictionarys, but hey, quick version ....

Paranoia? (2)

Erich (151) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811228)

You're not paranoid if they're really out to get you.

And they just might be.

I'm not in a militia. Why? Lots of reasons. But why does the government, media, and (therefore?) the public think that they are evil in general? What militia has bombed a Chinese embassy in the recent past because ``our maps were old?'' What militia thinks they have a right to all my personal information?

Oh, maybe they're evil because they have guns. Because we all know that guns are evil, right? While many states are making it worthwile to get conceal-and-carry permits, lots of people with influence want to take away your right to arm yourself.

Now, I'm not some sort of crazy personal armory. I don't own a gun. But I also have done research, and know that owning a gun isn't a bad idea.

What if we switched this discussion from guns and militias to computers?

Does the government have the right to know how much computing power you have? What if you amass computing power to help a foreign country do nuclear simulations? Computing power is a dangerous thing... maybe we should keep a record of all computer parts everyone owns in a ``safe place.'' The government wouldn't let anyone see that information who didn't need to, nor would they sell it... promise.

Why not run your email through the government filter? Only criminals would get into trouble! And why should you encrypt your data? What do you have to hide? Bomb plans?

For that matter, the government should be able to have root authority on all your machines... you could be hiding plans to shoot everyone in a high school... if the government could find those plans near the outlawed game of DOOM (which only criminals and people with violent minds play) they could save children's lives.

And that's what this is all about, right? The children. And protecting those children is why all people who are in contact with minors should have surveillence cameras in each room of their house. Think about how much child abuse could be stopped each year!

Go back and ask the framers of the constitution if ``necessary and proper'' includes eavesdropping on private conversations and censorship. Ask them if it is worthwile to infringe on rights if it can bring criminals to justice faster. Ask them if they would find it acceptable if the govermnent knew how much money they have, where it is, and how it was being spent.

I think we have a horrible government. I only wish there was somewhere better to move to. As many problems as the USA has, it's still the country for me... the least of the evils.

Sorry for the rant. It's a slow day at work.

Re:Not facist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1811229)

You'd better read up on some political science, and modern European history. There are far too many people who throw around the term 'Fascist' who don't know what the hell they are talking about.

Nazi Germany, for example, was not Fascist. They were something equally bad (or worse) but they were not Fascist.

it's not that bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1811231)

It'd be really bad if we could not vote for our government and at the same time had no privacy. If we have no privacy but can vote for the government, we can keep them for abusing this power excessively. If we get overtaken by a goverment that denies us our right to vote for it, we're so screwed privacy will be the least of our concerns. As it stands now, I think Gov't violates privacy only a little more than what is needed to keep terrorists, etc under control. Let's look at this in more detail. I'd say that if gov't had a hidden camera in every room (like in '84, although they didn't bother to hide it..) and it'd be *illegal* to try to get out of range of surveillance, that'd be real bad . What we have right now is that email is snooped, there are cameras on streets, in banks - in places where they come in handy often. There is no doubt that gov't sometimes violates privacy by spying on us but they don't do this unless they have a reason, because it's a risk for them cause it's illegal. Overall the
system is a little skewed in the direction of privacy violation, but I don't see this tendency getting much worse. Simply because - if it does, we can vote for a new president who promises to take care of that, and if he does - he can even stay for the 2nd term :). One thing that this article misses is that most people don't mind paying with some of their privacy for confidence that agencies keep bad guys in check. If that was not the case, recent story about Echelon would be much more of a scandal than watergate or lewinsky or armstrong landing on the moon.
So, if we keep an eye on this thing, it shouldn't get too much out of hand. Or maybe I'm being too un-paranoid?
- Rainy

Savings cards, no doubt! (2)

gonzocanuck (44989) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811235)

Funny thing happened last year, I exploded at a clerk at Smithbooks. My mom was standing somewhere by the entrance and broke out laughing. He was trying to get me to sign up for an Avid Reader card and I told him why I didn't want it. He kept persisting and I kept getting angrier. The last thing he tried to say was
"Look," he said, "we're not the FBI."
"Look," I replied, "I am not a target market."
And I grabbed my book before things got really ugly. I swear I could have socked him! Last week I was in Smithbooks again, and lo and behold, there's the clerk. He kept staring at me as if I was a total nut :-) and I thot, pls, I don't want him, I don't want him.

I got the other clerk. She asked me if I wanted a card (it's $15 to join, no less!) and I said "Yeah, I know all about your f*king card". I'm a person that normally doesn't swear, just that the bile came to the forefront...I told her that you can't treat customers as commodity and that's something Smithbooks should learn. If I could have gotten the book anywhere else at the moment, I would have...but I think after this I won't go there ever again!

LO-Jack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1811238)

Lo-Jack has to be turned on by the police. Even then, all it can do is send out a signal saying "Here I am" or some such thing (metaphorically). It has absolutely no idea where the car is; and niether does The Man. That's why the Lo-Jack cars have four antennae on the roof, to try to fix in on the car's location. And besides, even if the police could see that your vehicle went through an intersection, there is no way they could tell if the light was red, or that you blew a stop sign, unless they where there to see it themselves; in which case they wouldn't need the Lo-Jack to nail ya.

Also, what makes you think that the government would want to spy on you? What makes you so damn important or interesting?

Re:Echelon (1)

Bowdie (11884) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811244)

"I do know that I live about an hour away from one of their biggest monitoring stations(in Bavaria)."

Hehe! You want paranoia? I have GCHQ accross the road from where I live! I can see the top 3 floors from my bedroom window!

hides the telescope and laser pointer...

dose of paranoia is right (1)

Sir Timothy (1768) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811245)

Yep, this has really made my makes me wonder why this all has been done, is it to protect ourselves from our all too human, mistake and injury prone selves? Making mistakes, getting hurt, and learning from it all is how one matures.
Yes, a stupid, sedated population is easy to control, while an intelligent, informed population is more prone to speak out and rebel against what they percieve to be unfair and gross misuse of authority..they might even overthrow it. But as Animal Farm demonstrated, eventually the oppressed become the oppressers, a new rebel underground forms and the cycle begins all over again.

Will mankind be stuck in this loop for decades, centuries, millenia to come? Or is it just part of the process of humans governing themselves, and only anarchy or absolute tyranny can bring it to an end?

Re:Not facist? (2)

beetleboy (67629) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811248)

It strikes me that the American public in general is very naive - Has no-one over there heard of the
FEMA? An organisation that assumes total power in the event of a "state of national emergency" being
declared, over and above the President/Congress. The FEMA assumes total and absolute control of all telecommunications, transportation and residential property, and that's just for starters!
These are scary times indeed.

What is even more worrying for me, an Englishman, is what secrets lie in wait for my own (once) great nation.
Interesting:- US intelligence agency train operatives at RAF Menwith Hill, UK, on our Public Telephone System! Outrageous!

Re:it's keyed to (1)

MikeTurk (18201) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811249)

It will soon be required on every driver's license.

Isn't requiring an SSN as a form of identification illegal? (The answer is yes.)

My state does not put the SSN on driver licenses, nor does it ask for it on the DDL forms. (Technically, it's the DHSMV: DDL -- we love our acronyms.) If you are filling out a form that asks for your SSN (like at the dentist's office or the video store), refuse it and ask to be assigned an alternate ID number. The only people who should need it are the IRS and the SSA.

Even if you are in one of the many (15?) states that use the SSN as the driver license number, you can request that they not use it. They will assign you an alternate number unrelated to your SSN.

The security of your SSN is solely your responsibility.


Re:LO-Jack (1)

Alan Shutko (5101) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811251)

"What makes you so damn important or interesting? "

Depending on remaining unimportant enough that the govt isn't interested in you isn't very safe. All it takes is one cop, public official, or civil servant to take an interest in you....

Re:Oh, great. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1811253)

Actually, unless you've been given a 'temporary' SSN, it's unlikely (though not completely impossible) that you'd be sharing it with anyone who is currently alive.

FEMA (1)

BugMaster ChuckyD (18439) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811254)

Actually FEMA is the organization that comes in and helps relief efforts after a hurricane etc. They do not "assume total power" and they are not in the business of violating people's rights (the local police forces do that most often in the USA)

When was the last time you voted? (1)

mudpup (14555) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811256)

When was the the last time you voted?
Was it just to much trouble to stop by the polling place and make your view count, I mean it would of cost ten minutes out of your day.

Have you ever taken the time to write your local repesentive did you try to phone? Have you carried a petition to the Governor.

In the USA it works if enough people make the same noise.

if people make the same noise;
then take action;
else do ();
end if;

Founding Fathers (2)

myrddin (4427) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811258)

The really amazing thing is the fear our founding fathers(USA) had of government. They understood very well how easily a government can get out of control and created a Constitution that at the time was ingenious.

Quotes below from Investors Business Daily Editorial on July 6 1999

James Madison warned: "All men in power ought to be distrusted."

Jefferson: "History has informed us that bodies of men are susceptible to the spirit of tyranny,"

George Washington:"Government is not reason, it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearsome master."


Like I said... (1)

InThane (2300) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811260)

given my luck...

Dont forget... (1)

True Dork (8000) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811263)

that only criminals would want guns too.

reality check (2)

kevin lyda (4803) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811264)

the world's search engines can't acquire all the web pages out there. tries to get all the usenet news posts, and it probably fails.

most people i know have at least one bill or piece of data on file with a misspelled name. i myself have had everything from my social security number to my name entered incorrectly. i've since moved to ireland and i'm not used to all the numbers that id me now - who knows if they're correct.

a friend of mine's dog has a credit card.

there's tons of data being produced. tons. some of it may even be tracked. by the time people have developed computers fast enough to snarf it all, disks big enough to hold it all, and algorithm's smart enough to tie it all together - there will be even more data to deal with, newer ways to package it, and more sources for it.

think about it. let's say there's a tap on an undersea cable. is the line carrying voice, fax, or data? voice - what language, is it a code? fax - what speed, what language, is it coded? data - ip, x.25, other? ip - what protocol, is it encrypted, what formats? let's say it's email - is it plain text, uuencoded, mime (flavor?), binhexed? if it's mime, what's in it? is it a word document - which version, what language, is it in code, is it encrypted? is it some other word processor - writenow, macwrite, wordperfect, wordstar, star office, applixware(sun), pdf, postscript, amiword, the wp that's popular in korea, etc?

then there are encrypted data streams like freeswan, ssh (i do an ssh connection from dublin to boston everyday, and i do a 128bit ssl connection from dublin to bankboston every now and then too), and others.

your privacy is gone. right. it can be taken, but if you declare loss before even trying it most certainly will go away. you want to protect privacy? use secure connections. send a few extra emails each day (and use pgp or gnupg). put up some web pages. lobby for more bandwidth. and if you want, pester your reps (or run for office yourself), to protect your personal data.

Re:Personal information (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1811265)

It's not possible.

Re:I have a problem with this stuff (1)

jaraxle (1707) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811266)

Ever heard of the APEC rally at University of British Columbia? Students were peacefully demonstrating against APEC and Suharto, and many were peppersprayed, arrested, and I believe beaten as well (sorry, I was not there and my knowledge of the whole thing isn't as great as I would like it to be).

Anyway, personal accounts of the situation are here [] , at the APEC-Alert! homepage.

Now, doesn't this sound a bit like what goes in in China (altho perhaps to a lesser extent)? But we don't live in a fascist country... whatever.


Re:Paranoid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1811267)

If I could read, I'd read 1984.

I can read, but there is a local ordinance against selling/lending this book. I would like to get a copy, but I will have to do so next time I travel abroad.

As for a shorter article? You're kidding, right?

I'm so glad I'm an Alpha (1)

Stavr0 (35032) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811268)

Quote: According to a recent article in The Progressive Review, over 100 of the 137 predictors or indicators of a grim, totalitarian future in Orwell's 1984 have already come to pass. As for the other side, one of the most promising e-commerce sites has named itself Brave New World homage that went almost entirely unnoticed.

When is Congress going to pass a law making it illegal to turn off your TV? (Max Headroom)
- - -

Re:1984 (2)

cale (18062) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811269)

I don't think bible is a strong enough word, my 1984 is more like an organ, that happens to be detachable and external, and I don't think that the count at the bottom of the article is high enough.


Re:I have a problem with this stuff (1)

arthurs_sidekick (41708) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811270)

The loss of freedom does not require dark-cloaked men who sneak through the shrubs and say "How can we eliminate the dreaded First Amendment."

Nope. Just duly elected, hysterical officials who think that the state has an interest in preventing its citizens from expressing disagreement with their policies by burning a piece of cloth and 34 state legislatures willing to go along with them about that.

Sorry, it's a current rant of mine.

Oh yeah, and for the "hacker/cracker" thing. Here is the cost of others' "confusion": you can't go around calling yourself a 'hacker' in non-geek settings and expect not to have to explain what you mean. There are better things with which to occupy your time than worrying about this. People who write for the more mainstream (non-geek-centric) media have to be understood in 500 words or less, and they can't spend some of those precious words in EVERY ARTICLE IN WHICH THE WORD APPEARS ('hacker' has a popular history, as you of course know; one can't undo it in a single piece) to salve the wounded feelings of the (relatively) few who are offended by this.

Note, ladeez n' gennulmin, that 'cracker' also has a pejorative use that has nothing to do with computers...

Re:LO-Jack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1811271)

If you're worried about keeping your privacy, you might want to start by removing the link to your resume.

Re:Privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1811272)

Furthermore, privacy has NEVER been what has made America a 'great' country. In the days of the 'founding fathers' everybody knew their neighbors. This notion that the 'individual' ranks supreme and that community is a bad thing is part of a later period of history, the "westward expansion." The idea of setting off on your own, the self reliant farm on the prairie, was a pipe-dream used to convince people to expand out and live in fairly undesirable conditions (little in the way of amenities or culture, danger any time you left the cabin...)

Sure, a lot of Europeans came over to this country to get away from the "mother countries" who persecuted them. But they came over in communities, (mostly religious communities) because they wanted their own community with it's own values. Not because they wanted to hole up in a cabin like a hermit.

Traffic Cops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1811273)

Scary, eh? A traffic officer knows your life history and religion before he even flips on the red lights.

So the cop is supposed to watch every car he or she sees and look up the license plates to see who is say a Jew, or HIV positive... all while driving. OK, even if it's a two man car, one person cannot possibly enter in all the information alone -- the other guy has to drive. It's really impractical. Besides, the cops' database are way too slow, it takes a few minutes for a request to get processed. By the time the officer finds out you're a Jew or whatever, you'd be long gone. I suppose this could happen in some small town where only two or three people happen by a speed trap everyday, but I don't see that happening in New York; maybe if they got you for something else, so that they already have you pulled over...

Good book on the topic (1)

Coins (3612) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811274)

If you want to read a REAL indepth book on the NSA, get "Puzzle Palace". It's a bit older, but still worth the insight into the secret workings of the NSA.

What kind of ignorant bastard are you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1811275)

1) Been stopped from going to your local house of worship.
Actually, it is form over religion. While I don't agree with the white separatists, they do seem to be rather scrutinized of late, huh? How 'bout them Branch Dividians?

2) been stopped from haveing a Peacefull protest.
Depends on your definition of peaceful. Last time I remember, Kent State got shot up...

3) Been denied freedom of speach press etc.
This one isn't so obvious. Lets say.. if Rodney King didn't have a video tape to prove police abuse, he'd be a n*****r that Ferman saw fall down. Alot. The first amendment means the press has the right to print distasteful/meaningful human interest stories, not guarentee it! No, you cannot count on the 'free' press, unless you pay lump sums!

4) been made to self incrimate yourself in a criminal trial. etc
Another toughie. Lets see, there was Susan McDougal against DOJ Clinton witch hunt...

5) been denined legal council when you needed it.
Many times it isn't lack of council, it's the lack of GOOD council, the best money can buy. OJ wasn't convicted first time around, eh? Even South Park parodied it(funny too!) It seems we have an epidemic of poor people committing murders, for which their 'puppet pretenders'(public defenders), get them off(?) alright, while rich people have never had a motive. Ever. Cases in point-4 dozen+ people on death row had their convictions overturned. Innocent. Whaddya know? Angela Davis, now a professsor in CA, was publicly humiliated, yet rose above it, all while one Guv. Ronald Reagan denied tampering. She currently speaks out against the Prison Industrial Complex. Bravo!

I appologize for the tone here, for all the other readers, but where does this idiot get off wallowing in stupidity? Go crawl back under the Republican rock you crawled out from.

As for topic, I read 1984, and it's more real than ever. That isn't the scary part. What scares me most, is unlike the story, most people accept the draconian measures to 'protect', at the expense of liberty.
"Its that new Columbine Bill. Vote Yes!"
Morons. My own city cites there WILL be 4050 more prisoners by year 2004. How the F*** do they KNOW that? I wonder....we live in the age of relative democracy.

Re:spam is now our friend (1)

knarf (34928) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811276)


That's easy. Just force every whatever-user to use Emacs, and force them to insert at least three M-x spook commands into whatever they create. And of course we need someone to update the spook.el database with current `bad words', since no matter how much I use the command, it never inserts `kosovo' or `UCK' or `Milosevic'.


/* and now, especially for the good folks at NSA
* et al:
* colonel Clinton North Korea assassination SDI
* Kennedy CIA Craig Livingstone quiche Ruby Ridge
* genetic radar Qaddafi Kibo nuclear AK-47
* Cocaine Clinton Delta Force World Trade Center
* security Nazi Legion of Doom Ortega genetic
* North Korea Soviet CIA Uzi munitions
* thank you for you attention

[that's two M-x spook commands' worth of crud]

Re:What else is new.. (0)

smokes (26591) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811277)

Pretty Good Privacy, bullshat. PGP will offer protection from some kid intercepting your mail from a gateway, but anyone serious can crack it in a couple of hours.

Re:1984 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1811278)

Go out and find a 1949 edition if you don't want a revisionist edition of "1984." I don't know of anything that's been changed, but it's aggravating to give one square inch of pagespace to all the pundits who've coattailed off the book in one way or another sincce the day it was published. Its one of those books, like Huxley's _Brave New World_, which educators all over the land have latched onto and forced us all to read. Plowing over any real meaning the book originally had.

Re:FEMA (2)

cale (18062) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811279)

If that were completely true then why is less than 20% (IIRC, long time ago someone quoted that to me) of thier budget spent on Aid Relief

If that were completely true then why is less than 20% (IIRC, long time ago someone quoted that to me) of thier budget spent on Aid Relief? Also if you look at the executive orders that created FEMA, in the event that the president calls a nationwide state of emergency all power does go to FEMA. Here is a url for a page that goes further in depth. ml []

Re:Crypto (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1811280)

Crypto is a double-edged sword.

With a public key system, it becomes possible to 'sign' all network traffic (email, newsgroup posts, etc.). Without secure crypto, any 'signing' system becomes insecure and meaningless. People who advocate strong crypto might not realize it, but they're laying the foundation for a 'net where it becomes mandatory to validate all network traffic with indelible signatures that cannot be forged. Once strong crypto is possible, it's only a little further for it to become mandatory, not as a privacy enhancing technology, but as a means of assuring tracability of all information that travels on the net. If your email message is 'unsigned' or has a forged signature, it just gets dropped by a server before it gets more than a hop out onto the net.

Crypto is not always the good thing people make it out to be. Although some of us wouldn't mind it doing away with all the "Hobbit-boy" "Gandalf-dude" handles, which are so annoying.

Re:Privacy HOWTO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1811281)

Further, is there a GettingOutOfBed HOWTO?

My point is, does the whole world belong in the LDP?

OnStar (1)

richnut (15117) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811284)

Much more sopisticated are the systems like GM's OnStar which is automagically alerted when things in the car happen, i.e. if airbags deploy and they cant get through to you on the cellular phone, they send an anbulance. Neat, for sure, but what else do they know? What radio stations I listen to? What times and where I drive? OnStar equiped cars can be unlocked automatically remotely, what if someone pretending to be me calls the service center? Interesting stuff.

Microsoft will save the day! (1)

DanaL (66515) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811285)

There now...we've found yet another use for Windows NT. We can just sit back and wait until M$ convinces the various governments involved to migrate Echelon to a Windows NT platform. It will happen, if there is a system out there with THAT much computing power, it represents a huge marketplace and M$ will obviously pursue it.

Once the NT-Enhanced Echelon (perhaps they can call it Echelon 2000) is up, it will only take a couple of days, probably hours before the whole system crashes and burns :)

I'd be more paranoid, but thanks to television, I don't have the attention span...

Do your research (1)

Sourdough (1889) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811293)

I honestly wasn't very impressed with this piece. All he did was state that the world is quickly becoming an Orwellian nightmare, then cited several events over the last few years which he claims support his argument. He does make a decent argument, but I'm not entirely convinced. All of his examples are fairly superficial and pulled straight out of news stories written just to get attention. I don't doubt that many of these things are taken out of context. In my experience, simple explainations like his are rarely the whole story. It usually takes an insider fullly understand what's going on.

He does hit a few things right on the mark, though, especially the extended copyright issues. Walt Disney and others are (successfuly, it seems) trying to proect their empires by lobbying the government. This, however, is nothing new. This kind of crap has been going on forever. That's just the way our government works, for better or worse.

Re:I have a problem with this stuff (1)

dmiller (581) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811294)

1) Been stopped from going to your local house of worship.


2) been stopped from haveing a Peacefull protest.

You must be joking - I can think of dozens of examples where peaceful protests have been broken up by force in the USA over the last few years alone. The first one that comes to mind in NYC mayor Guiliani's (sp?) using police to forcibly remove artists from central park *despite* a court ruling in their favour

3) Been denied freedom of speach press etc.

Hah! Your freedom to speak is directly proportional your financial situation. Do you think that a kid born into poverty has as much freedom of speech as a person such as yourself?

4) been made to self incrimate yourself in a criminal trial. etc

You don't think confessions aren't beaten out of suspected criminals? Please don't tell me you are so naive.

5) been denined legal council when you needed it.

Have you tried to access legal aid? If so, please share you experiences. Have you tried to get legal aid for a civil matter?

21st century democracy exists by the people for the elite

Re:it's not that bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1811295)

What you're not seeing is that by the time it gets to the point were you would want to re-elect a new pres, other govt members, etc, the general public would see no reason to do so, just as most people will believe whatever the media feeds them. They won't think that anythings wrong. They'd think that everything's fine, just as you are thinking now. We have a situation in this country onw that could turn into something much worse very quickly and easily.

GNU Privacy Guard (2)

Brian Knotts (855) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811296)

GNU Privacy Guard is a Free alternative to PGP. Take a look at their web site [] for more information.


Re:I'm so glad I'm an Alpha (1)

HardCase (14757) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811297)

FUD is FUD, whether it comes from Microsoft, governments or paranoid writers.

In contrast, the Weekly World News has pointed out that a significant number of Nostradamus' predictions have come true as well, but I'm not holding my breath for a decade long world war, followed by a thousand years of paradise.


Re:SirSlud speaks his mind. (2)

RenQuanta (3274) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811298)

But that amendment [the fifth] confuses the hell out of me at any rate: if you're doing something wrong, shouldn't you be working to change the law that makes it wrong rather than trying to uphold the amendment which keeps you from incriminating yourself for it?

And supposing that something is murder or kidnapping? While cases have existed in the past where bad laws were made and people disobeyed them in protest (the Scopes Monkey trial comes to mind) the principle of the fifth amendment is to uphold the "Innocent until proven guilty". It's why the prosecution cannot call the defendant to the stand. It's why everyone is guaranteed representation (quality nonwithstanding, apologies to the PDAs out there) whether or not the person being prosecuted can afford it or not.

The legal system in the USA is founded upon the principle that it is better to let ten guilty men go free than send on innocent man to prison. This principle still holds true, whatever privacy losses we may have suffered.

Indeed, while it may seem that we are losing control, we are still ultimately a democracy. While that is true, we will continue to retain ultimate control. Remember the impeachment trial? Whatever your position on it, remember the surprise everyone had when the Republicans got pasted at the polls (relatively) in November '98. It was a surprise, pleasant to some, unpleasant to others. Spin doctors went to work, damage control was done. The bottom line was, though, the people spoke, and clearly. Remember it was an election four years previously which swept the Republicans into a strong majority in the House and Senate. The Democrats were the ones who were surprised then. As James Madison said (allow me to paraphrase), "A balance and separation of powers will protect the people from too strong a government. Ambition will be kept in check by...ambition". (That is not a quote but is similar to something I read a long time ago by Mr. Madison.)

In the end, I believe that democracy will prevent this nation (and other democracies in The Americas, Europe, and Asia) from becoming a totalitarian/Orewllian state. The political landscape changes constantly, according to the will of the people. Democracy works, and will continue to do so.

Lookin' Like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1811299)

a Max Headroomish slant.
Everyone has data on everybody.
Too bad I can't be Blank Reg.

Also, everybody has a number for everything.
I don't mean to get religious on anybody, but does
'Number o' the Beast' come to mind.
Everybody shouts about Revelations at every century/millenium/major catastrophe point, but
I'll start to get pissed off when you can't buy anything unless your bank number is tatooed somewhere on your body.

Being a programmer and a Poli Sci person, I agree with a previous post that mentioned how a government is created to solve a problem.
It solves the problem, and then proceeds to become the new problem.
The entire group (aka the Continental Congress) that made the US consitution saw this pattern in one degree or another. Even Jefferson while residing in France said the infamous (and I paraphrase)
'A little revolution every once and a while is a good thing.'
They gave us the tools to prevent a Big Brother.
The US just went a more than a little crazy.

Big Brother could be seen as the evolutionary step-child of technology. The more we can do, the more it must be regulated, monitored and analyzed for content.

Big Brother can be fixed.
It requires change, sacrifice, and the eventual acceptance that the US might not be able to stay on top forever.
Only this revolution WILL NOT be made with an
'military ordinance or vehicles' aka guns,bombs,missiles,tanks,anti-tank weapons,ICBMs,ships,planes,trains, and automobiles.
Plus it won't be televised. :)

The Big Brother solution can be done by cultivating and rewarding competant people who resent the abuse of power.
We need to have every US citizen use the system rather than having it use them. This means voting on a regular basis. Maybe even looking for candidates that honestly represent the people (makeing a legit third party sounds nice). How many times have you NOT voted, because you thought that both the choices were slime?
The government requires of purge of its bureaucracy and head officials.
It is the constant political debate. Do we need experienced people who lust for power in office? or Do we need inexperience people who do not?
We've tried for at least a couple decades with the first option. We need to try the second option. Hopefully, this doesn't come as a big suprise to anybody.
I'd be curious to hear from any Minnesota folk about how their governor is doing.

I'm going to sound like a radical hippie, but we need to restore the peoples' faith back in their government. We know US government agencies are acting in the background. We just need remove any official who feels the need to go on a covert power trip. Innocence lost can never be regained. Although, our nation needs more justifiable optimism.

The other part of the 'fix' is information regulation. Knowledge is certainly power. Do we want everyone to have it? IIRC free flow of information used to be part of the hacker's credo.
If so then information will continued to be regulated in some respects for national security, privary etc.
Or do we want very little information flow? In that case, databased should be purged and tracing and tracking information will be reduced. Not to mention info. needs by law enforecement if your car is stolen etc.

I understand the issues and the 'fixes' are much more complicated. It just seems that a framework needs to be presented.
I encourage anybody to disagree/hack/argue with what I've said.

Heck, I'll be semi-brave.

Re:When was the last time you voted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1811301)

I hear this arguement a lot, and it's crap. Want to know why?

You need a choice. Last time I checked, all the politicians were too concerned with kissing the butts of the special interest groups and big business. (and taxing us poor little folk) Heaven forbid the people need to fend for themselves, plan their lives in advance, save money, pay for their own schooling, etc etc etc etc etc. No choice, why vote?

Now you say, if you don't like it, run for office. Guess what? That costs a lot of fucking money! I'm too busy working to pay tax! The only people that can run for office are people who have money to burn, and those people have vested interests in the system as is.

The revolution will come when they start wanting you to register your computers... A la Cuba.

Play the game kids, and watch your back - you might find it up against a wall someday.

AC and proud..

Re:What kind of ignorant bastard are you? (1)

Zachary Kessin (1372) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811304)

>I appologize for the tone here, for all the other >readers, but where does this idiot get off >wallowing in stupidity? Go crawl
>back under the Republican rock you crawled out >from.

One, I am not wallowing in Stupidty,
two, I'm a life long Democrat, I just think that a lot of people are acting like fools.

In many ways I'm as liberal as many people here. There are a fair number of law enforcement agencies (Starting with the NYPD) that need to be fixed badly, but that was not the point of the article.

Re:What else is new.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1811306)

You have proof of this? It would certainly be news to the many people over in

Re:I have a problem with this stuff (1)

RazorCat (37768) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811313)

While I agree that cracker has a nasty race history and that hacker has a popular history try my situation: I work, as a civilian contractor, on a military base. One day, right around the time Melissa was scaring my bosses to death, I called myself a hacker in a casual conversation. The people behind me went quiet and when I looked back it was...two Captains. That is when you develop a sudden interest in explaining the real meaning of the word hacker.

Re:Paranoid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1811314)

Um, don't you guys see he's being sarcastic with that part of his post? He's obviously read it, and he points to things that we could do that would happen in the book (the two-way tv:cable modem, re-writing history, etc....)

Maybe you should read the book again and reflect upon the meaning behind the book...

Re:it's keyed to (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1811315)

Isn't requiring an SSN as a form of identification illegal? (The answer is yes.)

That's a common myth. It may have once been that way, but now it's not so simple. See The SSA's document on SSNs [] for the real story. In particular, there's this:
However, other government agencies are permitted by law to use Social Security numbers, but there is no law either authorizing or prohibiting their use. Banks and other financial institutions use the numbers to report interest earned on accounts to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Other government agencies use Social Security numbers in computer matching operations to stop fraud and abuse. For example, using Social Security numbers, some state death records are matched to Medicare records to uncover Medicare and Social Security fraud.
and this:
If a business or other enterprise asks you for your Social Security number, you can refuse to give it to them. However, that may mean doing without the purchase or service for which your number was requested.
That sure looks to me like at least the SSA believes that businesses and other private entities can "require" your SSN. It's worth noting, though, that the SSA believes there's no (federal) law authorizing such a requirement, so it seems you could give such a business a phony number so long as you have no intent to defraud them. If you're dealing with financial services, though, you'll likely run afoul of the big bad credit reporting establishment and/or the IRS, each of whom own more congressmen than you do.
I am not a lawyer. If you go to jail for following my ill-thought-out advice it's your responsibility, not mine.

The right to bear arms (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1811316)

That's why the right to bear arms is in the consititution. So we can take back the government when they go bad. The framers of the consititution just never took into account mass media, mind control (the mule), the amount of money at stake, and Apache attack helicopters.

Re:Privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1811317)

Yeah, but what happens when things that aren't wrong, like marijuana, become illegal?

Re:Disinforming Big Brother (1)

cale (18062) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811318)

Little off topic but I love the army of darkness quote.

so you think we are free? yeah, and I'm a chinese jet pilot.

Re:When was the last time you voted? (1)

krital (4789) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811319)

In the USA, the averate voter turnout of eligible voters is appalling - something like 25-35% per election. Compare that with a place like Germany, which is surprised when it has only 80%, and you can probably see that the answer to your question about "When was the last time you voted?" will be quite a long time to many normal US citizens...
Don't get me wrong, I love America, I'm an American citizen myself, and I'm not implying that you (be you the author or another reader) doesn't vote, I'm saying that many US citizens need to start exercising their rights... What good is a limb if it atrophies?

PS - Don't ask me where I got those statistics. I could easily be wrong.

South Park Quote (2)

ErikSev (10724) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811322)

Kyle's Dad: We have laws called sexual harassment laws regulate what we can and can't do and say in the workplace.

Kyle: Isn't that called Facisism?

Kyle's Dad: No, it's Democracy because we say it's democracy!

Re:Echelon (1)

Z0z (4050) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811324)

Actually, those are satalite shrouds. They are microwave transparent, but obviously you can't see through them. It's to hide the dish orientation so noone knows what satalite each dish is looking at.

Re:Not facist? (1)

Rombuu (22914) | more than 15 years ago | (#1811326)

Yeah, I saw the X-Files movie to... let me give you a free clue... it's not real.
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