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Surveillance Is on the Rise, Straining Carriers

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the if-there-is-that-much-we-should-probably-rethink-this dept.

The Courts 336

Carl Bialik from the WSJ writes "The number of telephone wiretaps from 2000 to 2004 authorized by state and federal judges increased by 44%, the Wall Street Journal reports, in part because of a rise in terrorism investigations after 9/11, and because the Patriot Act extended surveillance to Internet providers. All the surveillance activity can put a strain on carriers. 'Smaller telecom companies in particular have sought help from outsiders in order to comply with the court-ordered subpoenas, touching off a scramble among third parties to meet the demand for assistance', the WSJ reports, adding, 'Government surveillance has intensified even more heavily overseas, particularly in Europe. Some countries, such as Italy, as well as government and law-enforcement agencies, are able to remotely monitor communications traffic without having to go through the individual service providers. To make it easier for authorities to monitor traffic, some also require registering with identification before buying telephone calling cards or using cybercafes.'"

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Careful..... (5, Interesting)

BWJones (18351) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678363)

It has been said before, but welcome to George Orwell's 1984. The thing that gets me is the lip service paid to liberties. If governments are going to go to these lengths then why deal with the pretense of having "freedom"? What is next? Thoughtcrimes?

Why not just tell all communication corporations that they are taking them over and they will now be owned by the government so that surveillance can be conducted on the civilian populace? I'll tell you why..... It would be Revolution! So, our government(s) are slowly, methodically, chipping away at individual freedoms under the guise of "protecting" us. Benjamin Franklin had it right. If we are willing to give away all of this, we do not deserve freedom. The time is NOW to reverse these power grabs for Presidential authority and no oversight. Vote out those representatives and senators that have supported eliminating our rights and take back your lives.

Seriously, corporations are being saddled more and more with the burden of government oversight and expense which ironically, seems to be occurring more and more with Republican administrations. Government is larger now that it has ever been before and the US government is that largest bureaucracy in the history of the planet. There is a price for a government of this size and that is inefficiency and it is being sold to us under an umbrella of fear.

The other side of the coin is government subsidized corporations that are no longer having to compete in a fair and open market place as long as they agree to do the bidding of whoever is currently in power, further destabilizing the ideal of capitalism.

Remember people: The USA is only a couple hundred years old. If we want to stick around, we need to be more careful with how we allow ourselves to be governed. Because if we allow the infrastructure in place to arbitrarily discriminate those who may or may not agree with the overall power structure, then you could find yourself easily under investigation. Take a picture of the wrong thing? Say the wrong thing in an open forum like Slashdot? Support the "wrong" political candidate? Read the "wrong" books? Fail to conform in any way to the overall top 40 culture and you might find yourself on the wrong side of the "firewall" unable to get a job or participate fully in society or possibly worse.

Re:Careful..... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14678434)

"What is next? Thoughtcrimes?"

Evidently you didn;t hear that Cindy Sheehan was arrested at the SOTU for the completely legal action of wearing a T-Shirt with a slogan on it. BTW, visitors have STREAKED there before, so the "crime of innappropriateness" of wearing a T-Shirt is essentially just saying "Thought Crime"

Re:Careful..... (1)

'nother poster (700681) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678562)

Orwellian thought crime was thoughts in your head, not an expressed opinion.

   

Re:Careful..... (1, Informative)

MrFlibbs (945469) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678628)

... and apparently you didn't hear that the wife of a Republican congressman was escourted out of the room for wearing a "Support the Troops" t-shirt.

The reason these steps were taken was in an attempt to bring dignity to the office of the President. This is a good thing, regardless of one's political leanings. If you want examples of Thought Police in action, a better place to look would be in the speech codes on college campuses.

Re:Careful..... (1, Interesting)

rhombic (140326) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678813)

Yes, yes no slogan-bearing clothing was allowed. Dignity and all that. Care to speculate on why the "support the troops" shirt was escorted out while Sheehan was arrested?

College campuses are definitly the place to go to find the thought police in action. UCLA's alumni association was offering a bounty on tapes of Professors expressing left-leaning opinions, in case you hadn't heard.

Re:Careful..... (1)

murderlegendre (776042) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678481)

That was a very concise and thoughtful comment, but I'd like to point something out:

further destabilizing the ideal of capitalism.

If you are referring to the ideals of the Founders, capitalism was not necessarily among them. The ideal of Free Enterprise is a certainty, but the 'capitalist' system per se is not directly called out.

Re:Careful..... (1)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678551)

Why not just tell all communication corporations that they are taking them over and they will now be owned by the government so that surveillance can be conducted on the civilian populace? I'll tell you why..... It would be Revolution! So, our government(s) are slowly, methodically, chipping away at individual freedoms under the guise of "protecting" us.

So, how bad does it have to get before we revolt?

I had no clue that they were surveilling so much that it was taxing the providers. Do they get compensated for this? Regular citizens do for things like jury duty.

I also wish the flow of information from the government to the people was much more open. Trial information is open, and we would know if over 50% of the people accused of a crime were acquitted, then we would know that the police and DAs were doing a crappy job of bringing good cases to court. How many of these 1,700+ wiretaps lead to interesting information? If its less than say 25%, I believe that the government is wasting our tax dollars and abusing the subpoena system, and just listening in on our conversations because they are nosy, not because they are out to protect and serve us.

So again, how bad does it have to get before we revolt?

Re:Careful..... (4, Insightful)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678655)

" So, how bad does it have to get before we revolt?"

There's a saying that goes something like "people with full bellies don't revolt."

What has to happen, in order for some kind of revolution, is that the daily grind for most people has to become such a losing proposition that they would rather march around in the streets instead of go to work that day.

Personally, I think the collapse of the dollar would be the most likely scenario that would bring about major change in the US in the next 10 years.

Re:Careful..... (5, Insightful)

LilGuy (150110) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678918)

I'd say sooner than 10 years the way the world is heating up around us. China will be dwarving us in their shadow within that amount of time (they could crush us right now by not taking our debt if they wanted to, but that wouldn't help them grow to their full potential), we will still be complaining about a lack of oil as Russia uses their deep-well technology to catch up with Saudi Arabia's 2 trillion barrel reserves (and projects to sustain it for the next century), and more urgently Iran may fight back just hard enough to break our morale completely when we try to force their hand. America is looking pretty hobbled these days, and I can only pray we wake up before the shit hits the fan once and for all. We have been lied to for so long now, the thought of rejecting any of it would mean rejecting a part of our lives, which is an incredibly hard thing for a normal human to do. We Americans are GOOD people. We have terrible leadership, and we have become apathetic and lazy, but letting the so called 'leaders' give us our milk and tell us when to take naps, as they go out and rape, murder, and pillage in our names is intolerable.

The internet is really the only hope we have left of breaking this downward spiral before its TOO LATE and someone else does it for us - and mind you, they're quickly catching on to that idea. I hate sounding like a paranoid freak, but goddamnit that's exactly how this whole shebang works. If you believe in our military-approved medias, you've got a lot of catching up to do. Read as much about everything going on in the world as you can from as many different sources as you can. You still never get a complete picture, but its like getting lasek eye surgery after wearing coke bottle glasses for 10 years.

Oh and I've turned off scores on all comments and set up my preferences to make them all as near to 0 as I can get. I just realized how much valuable insight can be completely missed by skimming all the highly rated comments. Try it sometime.

Re:Careful..... (1)

Sri Ramkrishna (1856) | more than 8 years ago | (#14679098)

Sounds like Iraq...

You know the one with the insurgencies in it's last throes?
sri

Re:Careful..... (2, Insightful)

'nother poster (700681) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678701)

We shouldn't have to revolt. That's what elections, and checks and balances are for. Changing the behavior of the government. As long as we elect these fools and puppets to office, we are simply getting what we deserve. Pissed that politicians are serving the desires of corporations rather than the citizens of the U.S.? Vote the bastards out. If they don't get voted out then most of the people in the districts that they represent must like what the politicians they elect are doing. They may be fools for electing the politicians they do, but they are fools that are free to ruin their lives as they see fit.

Re:Careful..... (2)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678774)

We shouldn't have to revolt. That's what elections, and checks and balances are for.

Well, we don't want to revolt. It takes time, effort, and its a PITA. We all want the same thing, a decent life for ourselves and our families. Things like freedoms, liberties, and a feeling of well being.

Elections. Give me a break. The last two elections were a farce. GWB was appointed on the first one, and he won the second one after Kerry gave up and conceded (right word?).

Checks and balances. Those have long been gone, along with due process. The current administration is doing so many unconstitutional things, I don't see how impeachment has not happened, or some other drastic measure against these criminals.

Re:Careful..... (3, Insightful)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678566)

You're wasting your breath. There are a lot of NASCAR dads and soccer moms out in McMansionville, USA who welcome such overreach (you know for the sake of the children) ... this is why the current crop of bastards are in power after all. Nothing is going to change as long as the suburbanites can feed their SUVs and can continue to borrow against their rising home equity to buy toys from China.

Re:Careful..... (0, Flamebait)

IdleTime (561841) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678692)

Indeed!

And that is why the new jews of USA are the sexoffenders. You see them on newschannels and shows all the time. Now you have laws in some areas that they can not live within certain distance from schools etc. Some even ban them alltogether. It looks more and more like Germany in the 30's. Who are next? Gays? Women who have abortions? People who don't like religion?

It's not a slippery slope anymore but it's amazing that people never learn from history...

Re:Careful..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14678921)

On the other hand, you might be able to say that sex offenders have done something wrong, while jews haven't.

I think the fact that you've been modded flamebait is completely appropriate...unless of course you're fucked in the head, to put it politely.

Re:Careful..... (1)

LilGuy (150110) | more than 8 years ago | (#14679150)

Iowa has all but banned sex offenders from the entire state. There are so many rules that a sex offender cannot possibly live within 50 miles of any city in this state. Now I'm not condoning sex offenses, but for fuck's sake, this is just overboard. What's next? Drug users? School bullies? People who expose white suburban kids to any other ideas than the ideas their parents force-fed them their whole lives?

Re:Careful..... (-1, Flamebait)

Goaway (82658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678748)

Careful so you don't pull a muscle patting yourself on the back for how intelligent and much better than the plebes you are.

Re:Careful..... (1)

GreekPimpSlap (925925) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678905)

yea, i gotta mindless buddy that you described as a nascar dad. he's the typical hick that loves war and hates fags so bush is pretty much his idol. i love it , anytime anything goes wrong i always tell him its those god damned republicans screwing everything up again. he gets so pissed. good thing he's too slow to have any witty comebacks

Re:Careful..... (1)

wrook (134116) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678952)

That's an interesting way to put it.

It shows pretty clearly what a pyramid scheme "the American Way" has become. Buy low, sell high, get stinking rich. Only, it's not sustainable. You think the government is exerting control now? You think they are engaged in dubious foreign policy? Just wait... As the economic situation becomes more and more untenable, the government will go to larger and larger extremes to "protect the American way of life". Anything to push back that inevitable economic reset.

Not that I have an answer.... :-P But any economy that is dependent upon sustained growth is doomed to failure. I'm extremely interested in watching what happens to Japan in the next 20 years. The country is full to bursting, birth rates are waaay down, they are typically xenophobic - so they don't like immigration... How are they going to sustain that required increase in GDP year over year. And if their GDP falls consistently... Watch out. BIIIG trouble...

Re:Careful..... (1)

ShineyMcShine (799387) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678584)

Very insightful. As to the following: What is next? Thoughtcrimes? The first official televised thoughtcrime in the US occurred recently. Just ask Mrs. Young and Mrs. Sheehan.

Re:Careful..... (5, Insightful)

david.given (6740) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678612)

So, our government(s) are slowly, methodically, chipping away at individual freedoms under the guise of "protecting" us.

Actually, I don't believe they are. I don't think it's anything like as systematic; I think instead that the problem is far more fundamental --- the democratic system of government, with elections every few years, means that:

  • Elected officials are taught not to think in the long term. If there is a problem, they need to do something now --- and doing anything is better than doing nothing.
  • Non-elected officials are taught not to pay any attention to elected officials, because they're not going to be around long enough to matter.

So you end up with a series of knee-jerk reactions to every minor crisis that comes along. Your intelligence services (with their blinkered view of the real world) are pressuring you to give them greater powers so that they can gather more information; your political advisors (who only care about keeping you elected) are pressuring you to do something to keep your ratings up; you can't think of anything else to do, and doing nothing is not an option.

So I don't think there is any organised conspiracy of the New World Order trying to control the world via mind-control lasers and chips in people's heads. I think what you're seeing is simply the emergent effect as entropy builds up in your political system.

Re:Careful..... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14678622)

It has been said before, but welcome to George Orwell's 1984. The thing that gets me is the lip service paid to liberties. If governments are going to go to these lengths then why deal with the pretense of having "freedom"? What is next? Thoughtcrimes?

And what makes you think this is all "recent developments".

I got some news for you: it ain't.

FDR authorized the listening in on ALL trans-Atlantic conversations and reviewing of all trans-Atlantic mail during WWII.
JFK and RFK authorized surveillance and tapping of MLK's communications in the early 1960s.
The Eschelon program was the brian-child of the Clinton Administration.

That's over 60 years of "1984" and a lot of us don't buy into the theory that it affects Joe Sixpack in day-to-day life.

Misquoting Benjamin Franklin (4, Interesting)

mi (197448) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678641)

Benjamin Franklin had it right. If we are willing to give away all of this, we do not deserve freedom.
The actual quote, I believe, goes:
They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security.
But using the correct quote would take the punch out of your fear-mongering, would not it? You'd have to — both — point at a single essential liberty given up, and explain how the gained security is only temporary. Oops, it is not longer a clear-cut sound bite now, is it?

Re:Careful..... (1)

LilGuy (150110) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678653)

Voting takes too long and the results are not guaranteed to work out. However, civil disobedience, and prompt action definately stir the booties of the ones who think they're in power. Government is basically a backdoor for corporations to push the boundaries what the people will tolerate. How many times has the government held the monolithic corporations at bay to give right of way to the little guy, when recent and similar instances indicated the people would complacently let him be trampled? How long has it been since our government had the balls to do something right when it would clearly counter any shred of short-term business sense? We live in a world of instant gratification, this much is absolutely true, and our government not exempt. It is plainly obvious they will trade our long-term liberties, livelihoods, and best interests in general for a quick buck today.

It's high time they get a taste of their own medicine. Clip their wings and show them who REALLY runs the show. It's not the man in the white house or on capitol hill. It's the people who put him there, and pay for every luxury he's ever known - us.

Re:Careful..... (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678662)

The Department of Precrime is intrieged by your ideas, and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:Careful..... (1)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678706)

The time is NOW to reverse these power grabs for Presidential authority and no oversight. Vote out those representatives and senators that have supported eliminating our rights and take back your lives

All it would take are a few choice terror attacks and the populace would be groveling for safety again. As pessimistic as this sounds, most Americans today have grown up in all the trappings of comfort and complacency that American living provides, a far cry from the conditions that spurred the Revolutionary war. Unless crackdowns on basic liberties trickle down to the Average Joe, taking away those comforts and distractions, nothing will change.

If revolution became necessary, the odds are overwhelming stacked against the resistance. You have a military that vastly outguns a ragtag citizen militia and a compliant media that would paint the opposition as traitors and terrorists, sapping their support from the common American.

I don't honestly see how 1776 could work again today.

Re:Careful..... (1)

timster (32400) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678824)

Whoa there -- this particular article is about court-ordered surveillance, not secret wiretaps. If the government can get a warrant, they can come to your house and search through your stuff, they can listen to your phone calls, etc. That's the part of the Constitution where it says "upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." It's not some sort of evil encroachment on our civil liberties.

Re:Careful..... (1)

TedCheshireAcad (311748) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678825)

Maybe you should run for Congress.

Re:Careful..... (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678829)

So tell me: Did you even read the book? Or are you just another in the long line people aping "SURVEILLANCE == 1984!!!" without knowing anything about what the book actually says?

Thought crimes are now. (4, Insightful)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678872)

"What is next? Thoughtcrimes?"

Actually we have had thoughtcrimes for a while. I'm sure others can add other examples, but the "Hate Crime" laws are specifically and solely thoughtcrime laws. For example, you might get a year for lighting someones lawn on fire. This act, even if it was designed to intimidate the homeowner because you hate them, might still only get you a year. BUT, if you light the fire in the shape of a swastika, you are likely to get 6 years. This means that you will spend 5 years in prision not because you destroyed their property, you threatened them, or even because you hate them. You will spend 5 years in prison because of your beliefs. Because of your "thoughts".

Now, don't think I am trying to defend neo-nazis or anything. I think that the person that picked a victim out of a phonebook and decided to intimidate them and destroy their property should get the same sentence. No one should sit in jail because of their beliefs. Even if I think their beliefs are vile.

Re:Careful..... (1)

LilGuy (150110) | more than 8 years ago | (#14679052)

I would also like to point out that this two sided coin leaves no room for the people. True, the government is a juggernaut but its only due to the unimaginable size of the corporations spanning the globe. As the government paves the way for corporations to move in an privatize basic necessities in third world countries (such as water in africa - including rainwater) the corporations kick back a cut of those disgusting profits. I'm willing to bet a large portion of the American population has never even heard of the IMF (International Monetary Fund), even as riots and protests spark worldwide as they take over yet another country and bring them into worse economic positions than they were before. Guess who is the largest IMF backer? That's right. The United States of America. Sure we'll toss in a $300 million loan to a poor suffering country. But then we get to own them for the entire debt duration, including their once soveriegn people who have absolutely no say in the matter, and are suddenly subjected to a poverty that pales their previous conditions.

People in these countries are dying trying to gain just a spark of freedom that we are pumping money into to put out. Yet Bush speaks of restoring peace and democratizing the world. Come on people.

Re:Careful..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14679151)

I guess the opposing side to this arguement would be, "If you have nothing to hide, what does get to be seen by the government would be of no consequence." This may be an infringement on our basic freedoms, but like the saying goes "You have to spend money to make money," so should giving some freedom to protect the others.

So that's why Verizon is going after Google (4, Funny)

scooter.higher (874622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678395)

They're trying to offset the costs of the wiretaps, and taking a swing at Google, who isn't playing nice with government requests, at the same time.

Anything can make sense if you look for the conspiracy angle.

Funny enough, the top of my screen... (2, Funny)

nathan s (719490) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678478)

...says:

"The next Slashdot story is visible early to free day pass visitors; sponsored by Verizon Business."

Amusing timing.

Strained Carriers (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14678400)

I thought this was going to be about mailmen with hernias.

I'm about to go postal (3, Interesting)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678410)

just from the fact that our rights have been violated on such a consistant basis. Up 44%??????? Are you kidding me? I'm *sure* that all these are completely related to terrorism and not other things.

up 44% (1)

GungaDan (195739) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678586)

And this increase only reflects the cases in which warrants were obtained - who knows what the actual increase is under presidunce "we don't need no steenking warrants" saviorbush?

Re:up 44% (1)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678645)

not to mention badges (or popular vote)..... you know I couldn't help myself there :)

Lies, Damn Lies... (5, Interesting)

Orne (144925) | more than 8 years ago | (#14679069)

Interestingly enough, I find that from the WSJ, the number of wiretaps last year is only at 1,710 in 2004. 1,710 wiretaps for the year vs a USA 2004 estimated population of 293,656,842 is 0.00058% of the population (assuming one tap per person). Hardly something to gawk at.

That made me want to find previous years, so I stumbled on a watchdog group, EPIC, which puts the 2000 wiretap count at 1,190 for a +43.6% ... Yet, 2000 was a local low, the lowest since 1997 (difference of 4 taps), so you could just as easily say "the number of wiretaps from 1997 to 2004 are up 43%". The 1999 wiretap count is at 1,350 [epic.org] , which means only a 26% increase from 1999, since 2000-2001 (election year) involved a large decrease (-11%) from the previous year. I'll leave this to others to argue the exiting government's preparedness for 9/11/2001.

From their data [epic.org] , which goes back to 1968, and a few pokes with Excel, we can see that State Wiretaps outnumber Federal by a 3:2 ratio every year back to 1998 .... there's a 16% increase in federal wiretaps from 2002-2003, and another +26% increase from 2003-2004, to a current 730 Federal Wiretaps for the year 2004. Wiretaps are going up across the board, but looking back at history, 1993-1994 shows the greatest increase in federal wiretaps, single year up 32% compared to +26% in 2004-2005.

The top 3 years of increases in the last twenty are 2001 (25%) 2004 (18%), and 1994 (18%). The wiretaps in 2004 are roughly double the amount in 1991.

If we group by Presidental Office years (since each president tends to change policies and staff when they come into office, group by 4 years), the Bush Administration increase is +14.6% in the first term... impressive, but short of the Clinton Administration's increase of +17.7% in its first term. However, neither president matches the rates of increases in the 80's, with 35% increase by Reagan and 20% increase by Bush Senior.

It is the balance of fears (4, Insightful)

mi (197448) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678421)

The balance between security and privacy is affected by fear. On hand, there is a fear of government's abuse and misuse, on the other — that of the foreign enemies and domestic criminals.

Of these factors, only the fear of terrorists (foreign and and domestic) has risen noticably in recent years. Hence the willingness of the citizens of democracies to accept their governments' attempts to prevent new attacks.

Re:It is the balance of fears (1)

scooter.higher (874622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678576)

This has been quoted many times in the past few years:

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
    Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

Re:It is the balance of fears (1)

mi (197448) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678678)

Very good. Now you just need to show an essential liberty given up, and demonstrate, that the security increase is merely temporary. Oops...

Re:It is the balance of fears (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678796)

-1st amendment (freedom of speech) - "freedom-of-speech zones" during Bush's inauguration
-4th amendment (unreasonable search and siezure) - wiretaps without a warrant
-5th amendment (self-incrimination) - waterboarding of suspected ter'ists
-6th amendment (speedy and public trial) - Jose Padilla

Just off the top of my head...

Re:It is the balance of fears (1, Interesting)

mi (197448) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678895)

Off-topic. The article is about increases of the use of (lawful) wiretaps (in US and abroad) and its strain on carriers.

And you completely ommitted the second requirement for the applicability of Ben Franklin's quote. You must also demonstrate, that the gains in security are only temporary.

Try again.

Re:It is the balance of fears (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 8 years ago | (#14679118)

I'd argue that none of those things buys you any real safety at all, temporary or permenate. Do you really think that someone determined to kill alot of people won't be able to pull it off, even with the violations of liberties?

Life is dangerous, you should get used to it.

Re:It is the balance of fears (1, Troll)

mi (197448) | more than 8 years ago | (#14679176)

Do you really think that someone determined to kill alot of people won't be able to pull it off, even with the violations of liberties?
So, what you are really arguing for, is the abolition of all law-enforcement efforts. Because if someone is really determined to commit a crime, they'd pull it off, wouldn't they?

It is the balance of riots. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14678682)

"Of these factors, only the fear of terrorists (foreign and and domestic) has risen noticably in recent years. Hence the willingness of the citizens of democracies to accept their governments' attempts to prevent new attacks."

Well the new threats by Osama, and Muslims rioting and death threats certainly isn't helping give anyone peace of mind. The world is a more dangerous place, period.

Maybe the solution is no privacy (5, Interesting)

masterpenguin (878744) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678446)

In David Brin's book "Earth" he talks about a future society with zero privacy. However rather than the Orwellian 1984 version of no privacy, he talks about a world where everyone, from the farmer in the field, to the president of the united states having zero secercy. He debated that with the prolifiation of technology the idea of privacy had become obsolete, and the only way to prevent people with money and power from abusing their ability to spy on the average individual make it so EVERYONE had the capibilities.

I'm not sure if I agree with this thought, but when it comes to privacy, perhaps we've already gone too far, and privacy IS history. Perhaps it is time for total transpancy.

Maybe the solution is knowledge. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14678542)

"I'm not sure if I agree with this thought, but when it comes to privacy, perhaps we've already gone too far, and privacy IS history. Perhaps it is time for total transpancy."

Privacy isn't history. The problem is twofold. One to obtain privacy, one has to work harder. Two most people don't know how to obtain privacy.

Re:Maybe the solution is no privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14678558)

An interesting concept, but for that to work, the elite of the world would have to give up their privacy, and that will never happen. As such, it would be wrong to ask the common farmer to give up theirs.

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Re:Maybe the solution is no privacy (1)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678690)

In David Brin's book "Earth" he talks about a future society with zero privacy. However rather than the Orwellian 1984 version of no privacy, he talks about a world where everyone, from the farmer in the field, to the president of the united states having zero secercy.

I'm all for this. As the saying goes, "You're only as sick as your secrets". I'm open and honest about the things that I do, and some of these things include "illegal" activity. I don't care. I basically do what I want, and I'm confident that I can continue to do so.

The thing is, say we make all phone conversations open like talking in a public place. Does that mean that we have to pay for the government to scour through all of our conversations? Is this necessary?

I mean, when someone's behavior is bad enough and it affects other people, don't people call the authorities, and let them take it from there? Its what I do. If reminders to a neighbor to keep the noise down late at night doesn't do any good, I'll call the police and let them handle it. After repeated requests, what can I do after that? I'm left with violence or threat of violence, which could come back to hurt me. So, I take it up with a third person that has protocols and procedures for taking care of such disputes.

So, are noisy neighbors any different that a so called terrorist or some other harmful or potentially harmful person? I don't see so.

If I knew of someone that was buying 5 tons of fertilizer and some other goodies to make a nice bomb to blow up somebody, I would be on the phone in a heartbeat. Who wouldn't? In fact, isn't knowledge of such activities a crime as well? Depending on how involved you are, there are things like conspiracy, obstruction of justice, or whatever crimes there are to ensure that everybody is a criminal.

Re:Maybe the solution is no privacy (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678731)

"In David Brin's book "Earth" he talks about a future society with zero privacy."

Yay, just what we need, another idiot utopia.

The reality is that in such a world the government would have privacy and the rest of us would have none: politicians are never going to allow the proles to spy on them.

Brin is incredibly naive if he thinks such a society is workable.

Re:Maybe the solution is no privacy (1)

alan.briolat (903558) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678919)

The reality is that in such a world the government would have privacy and the rest of us would have none

I agree, and I think this is the way its already going. It doesn't take much to see that "privacy", along with "rights", is a commodity only available to those that can afford it, or know the right people. Everyone else just gets stood on.

Re:Maybe the solution is no privacy (1)

jjh37997 (456473) | more than 8 years ago | (#14679053)

Don't you get it? The rich, powerful and well-connected already have the power to peer into your life and they always have. You don't have privacy, you just have the illusion of it. The only thing privacy laws do is to prevent us from spying on them. Better to get rid of these laws today because we can't win the privacy arms race....

Re:Maybe the solution is no privacy (1)

masterpenguin (878744) | more than 8 years ago | (#14679146)

In alot of ways I agree that David Brin's opinions in his books are pretty naive. Although the idea of an extreme utopia like the one stated above I think is more to prove a point, not to provide the idea of a workable society.

The point of this one being that we're never going to have the privacy we demand in this new electronic society. Not without taking fairly extreme steps to protect ourselfs. With LiveJournals, Blogs, and Myspaces galore, its not that hard to find day to day information on someone.

If I had the time, and the proper skillset I'd create a bot, that spidered websites like LJ, and myspace and logged everything, then in 20 years when someone ran for office i could do some digging in their closet in a fast efficent way.

Re:Maybe the solution is no privacy (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678913)

You know, I was thinking about this, and I'm glad someone spelled it out already. They probably explained it much better than I could have.

The problem is, how do we get there? I think if some political candidate became one of these 24/7 webcam people, the consituents voted for them, and they still managed to be somehow politically successful (none of the people in government or business want to go on record), that would set the standard, and then everyone had to 'go public'. If Joe Farmer does it, he just looks like a nut with a fetish for exposing himself.

Some minor problems with that (5, Insightful)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 8 years ago | (#14679048)

In David Brin's book "Earth" he talks about a future society with zero privacy. However rather than the Orwellian 1984 version of no privacy, he talks about a world where everyone, from the farmer in the field, to the president of the united states having zero secercy.

One trouble with that, as with all utopian visions, is that implementation never follows design. As Communism inexorably devolves into dictatorial oligarchy, a select few would have privacy while the rest lived as slaves to the Eye.

Even if that weren't to happen, democratic tyranny would be unavoidable. If everyone knows what everyone else is doing, a sheeplike uniformity would be the result, with any oddballs subjected to public disgrace. "You painted your bathroom what color? Weirdo!" "Look, he's got a flashlight under the covers! He's doing something private under there! Pervert!" "You spanked your child? Abuse! Abuse!"

Some of the greatest joys in life are private. A quiet conversation with a spouse. Reading a bedtime story to a wide-eyed child. Singing off-key in the car. Posting anonymous trolls on Slashdot.

The right to privacy is not just an invention of the courts to justify abortion, though some read Roe v Wade that way. Privacy is infused in the Bill of Rights, from the right to practice religion as we see fit, the right not to have troops in our homes, the right to own weapons, and the right to be secure in our "persons, houses, papers, and effects".

Whether abused by the powerful or not, the world Brin proposes is a totalitarian hell.

ID before buying calling cards (2, Interesting)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678455)

some also require registering with identification before buying telephone calling cards

China to require registration for text messaging Thursday February 02, @12:44PM Rejected

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China_Business/HB03Cb 04.html [atimes.com]

Had this story been posted this wouldn't be news.

thats why (2, Funny)

dotpavan (829804) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678468)

I have resorted to pigeons. This post was sent via a pigeon which flew to India where my outsourced-poster hit the submit button

Re:thats why (1)

insert cool name (889389) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678809)

I have resorted to pigeons. This post was sent via a pigeon which flew to India where my outsourced-poster hit the submit button

Forget pigeons, harness the awesome bandwith of snails with SNAP.

http://www.notes.co.il/benbasat/10991.asp/ [notes.co.il]

-----

http://www.jarfinder.com/ [jarfinder.com]

Fourth amendment (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14678482)

You know, there's a reason the fourth amendment exists. This BS of "if you have nothing to hide, you don't need privacy" is crap. Why are people ok with handiong power over to the state. What happens when a bad president gets elected? Who honestly think that can't happen? Right now Bush may be good, but many of his supporters will say clinton/democrats are bad. And vice versa. The point is, once the state has all this power good luck trying to curb abuses.

Second, all humans have an INHERENT right to privacy. Even the constution alludes to that when it says the "right against unreasonable searches without warrants shall not be violated"

All of us have the responsibility of ensuring that innocent humans are not harmed by overzealous and wrong "security" measures. How is it in the nation's interest for all her citizens to have to explain to God why tyranny was carried out in the name of security?

Terrorists don't deserve due process or privacy .. nobody will dispute that. The problem is that the innocent do, and it's the burden and responsibility of the free to ensure it. Many have forgotten Ben Franklin's words "those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither".

Painful Election (1)

MS-06FZ (832329) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678861)

What happens when a bad president gets elected? Who honestly think that can't happen?

Yeah! I mean, just look at...

Right now Bush may be good...

Wait... you lost me. These two sentences refer to ideas that connect together, but I don't think it's the way you think they do.

Re:Fourth amendment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14678969)

What happens when a bad president gets elected? ... Right now Bush may be good

Huh? No ablo crazy talk

Re:Fourth amendment (1)

alan.briolat (903558) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678980)

Terrorists don't deserve due process or privacy .. nobody will dispute that. The problem is that the innocent do

I almost took you seriously up until that point. Without due process, all you have is a "terrorist suspect". They are not guilty. You are assuming that a terrorist suspect is already guilty, just because they are being detained under one law instead of another.

I hereby sentance you to deprivation of your "Constitutional rights" soapbox.

Imagine that... (1)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678485)

A contracting company that does wiretaps tauting the strain on carriers. Poorly written hype.

Surveillance is like DRM. (2, Informative)

Caspian (99221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678495)

It's a technological attempt to solve a problem not solvable through technological means.

Even if literally EVERY phone call was monitored (a nearly impossible feat), what's to stop "terrorists" from talking in code?

E.g.:

Terrorist_1: "How's the weather?" ("How's our plan going?")
Terrorist_2: "Fine." ("Fine.")
Terrorist_1: "That's good. Is it going to rain tomorrow? ("Are we ready to go with our attack tomorrow?")
Terrorist_2: "Yes, the weatherman says so." ("Yes, Osama gave me the go-ahead.")

Once terrorists start pulling tricks like this, then what would the wiretappers try? Arresting anyone who calls anyone in the Middle East and talks about innocent-sounding subjects?

Re:Surveillance is like DRM. (1)

Neoprofin (871029) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678589)

Nah, you just wait until 13 people call the same number every friday asking about the weather and getting into long discussions about how the weatherman is angry that people aren't using their umbrellas.

Re:Surveillance is like DRM. (1)

jasonditz (597385) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678916)

And then you arrest a local meteorologist and haul him off to Guantanamo Bay.

If it's any sort of decent cell system they're not all calling the same guy... one guy calls another guy who calls another guy...

Re:Surveillance is like DRM. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14678770)

Caspian: Hi, I am Caspian, I'm here to interview for the new analyst job.
CIA Hiring Manager: Hi Caspian. We've got some questions for you. But first, your shoe is untied.
Caspian: What? Where? No it isn't!
CIA Hiring Manager: Please show yourself out, Caspian.

Re:Surveillance is like DRM. (1)

eheldreth (751767) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678784)

I've wathced shows on the FBI taking down MOB bosses and thats essintialy what they where doing. It took the FBI some time but they where able to desipher the code and arrest a large portion of the involved family.

Re:Surveillance is like DRM. (1)

alan.briolat (903558) | more than 8 years ago | (#14679043)

You forgot end-to-end encryption. (As far as I know) encrypting data is not a crime. If you intercept the communication, you have nothing without being able to decrypt it. Why do people keep thinking they can catch terrorists with methods that would only catch a normal non-techinal person unawares.

I envisage a point where terrorists post openly on blogs because the government has stopped looking there because its too obvious. Then again, maybe not any time soon... [slashdot.org]

Authorized (3, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678503)

The number of telephone wiretaps authorized by state and federal judges increased by 44%

And how many more were not authorized?

Fear, fear, fear and more fear. (5, Insightful)

revscat (35618) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678541)

The #1 theme of the Bush administration has been fear: terrorists, they say, are an existential threat so dire that any and all means used to oppose them are justified.

No.

Various nations have seen and defeated far worse threats than terrorism. Liberty is not a weakness, it is a strength. A robust and fair justice system is not a weakness, it is a strenghth. Democracy is not a weakness, it is a strength. Combined they serve as the absolute best form of not only protecting ourselves from others but protecting ourselves from ourselves.

I wholly reject the notion that the threat posed by "terrorism" is so substantial as to justify any tactic. I am not afraid, and I will not be goaded into fear by the government. I will fight, but I will fight for liberty, justice, and democracy, and will oppose all efforts to undermine them, whether from abroad or at home. I hope those of like mind throughout the civilized world will do similarly.

Re:Fear, fear, fear and more fear. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14678806)

The #1 theme of the Bush administration has been fear: terrorists, they say, are an existential threat so dire that any and all means used to oppose them are justified.
 
The #1 theme of every administration is fear. We were afraid of Communists. We were afraid of militias. We were afraid of music hurting our children. We're afraid of video games hurting our children. We were afraid of swine flu, avian flu, SARS, SIDS, new virulent TB coming in with illegal immigrants, drug pushers, drug runners.
 
Every government has a vested interest in keeping the population afraid of something. A population in fear is malleable. And a government that "protects" the population is one that gets ellected to second terms.

In Other News... (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678552)

Water is wet and the sun rises in the east.

1. I'm not sure why this is an issue. It's been happening for quite a while in one form or another. Doesn't anyone wonder where these personal data companies get their largest customers?

2. Articles like this assume the gov't entities are super-functional and actually do something with this data. They'll catch a few more of the dumbest criminals and that's about it. It's flushing money down a toilet building giant datacenters storing petabytes+ of information.

3. All the "oh no's!" from /.'ers and absolutely nothing will change. No one will take any action. Americans could (and do) change rules and regulations when the will is there. No will = no change.

Re:In Other News... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14678695)

One man against a mass of dedicated fools (e.g. religious people) can accomplish little.

CALEA (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14678567)

Wire taps my ass. Check out: http://www.askcalea.net/ [askcalea.net]

Yes, I have worked for various carriers though out my professional career; everything from RBOC/LECs, CLECs, CAP's, Cellular. The current state of affairs is freakin depressing. The old school method of getting a wire tap is:
1) Get a court order
2) Submit it to a carrier to get a tap
3) Carrier puts on tap and makes all sessions available to authorities.

Ya want to know how it works now.
1) Remote login (law enforcement)
2) Start recording (aka run a few commands)
3) WTF happened to the court order

All companies that make communications equipment have CALEA access built into their equipment. The system is getting freakin abused and no one has a clue that this *hit is going on.

PS: Yeah, I am just a wee bit touch about the situation.
PSS: The telco folks have always done their job; but that wasn't good enough... Direct access is what has been given away.... and that is a load of horse *hit. By the way; CALEA stands for Communications Assistance Law Enforcement Act.

"It's for you." (1)

mmell (832646) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678572)

"J. Edgar Hoover is on the phone"

"Why is J. Edgar hoover on your phone?"

"Well, why shouldn't he be on my phone? After all, he's on everybody else's!"

<* rimshot *> - Hey, thanks folks; don't forget to tip the wait staff - I'll be here until Wednesday.

Who is at fault? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14678591)

Ya know, someone posts an article like this, and everyone starts running around like chicken little worrying about their personal freedoms. Yet I have to see one article modded up that acknowledges that the fault does lay with certain groups in the middle east who hate YOU and EVERYTHING YOU STAND FOR.

Re:Who is at fault? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14678749)

You're right. Worrying about personal freedoms is just ridiculous.

Re:Who is at fault? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14678928)

Worrying about keeping your privacy at the expense of your brother's or mother's life is not ridiculous?

If you are not muslim, your life is insignificant. Read the quo'ran.

Re:Who is at fault? (3, Insightful)

robertjw (728654) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678775)

Hell, you don't have to go all the way to the Middle East to find someone who hates me. There are people much closer than that, should we be spying on them too?

The FAULT lies with the US Government and the US citizens. Yes, certain groups in the middle east have done horrible things, and we have no/little control over what they do. OTOH, we have complete control in how we respond.

Increasing the noise level (3, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678637)

One of the problems of trying to monitor a population the size of the US is the sheer volume of information and the time it takes. You may be able to wiretap world+dog but there still has to be someone analyzing that information and listening to those calls. Even with speech compression and automated key word logging, there's still a boggling amount of time involved. Someone has to listen, decide it's relevant, figure out which jurisdiction the case belongs to and who should get the data. Then get a supervisor's approval to release the information.

With all the increase in wiretaps, all we've really done is bury the important intercepts under mountains of useless data. Like out of all the Bush wiretapping, how many warrants were actually issued? It wasn't that many, less than 20 if memory serves. Out of thousands of wasted man hours combing through wiretap intercepts. Not to mention the potentially crippling political backlash from an electorate that really doesn't like being spied on by anyone, especially their own government.

This is FEMA and Iraq all over again in intelligence gathering. It's insane, likely illegal and it's not going to work right, ever. So it's illegal AND stupid. What a combination.

Hopefully we'll get smart before spending ourselves into a hole we can never get out of, but I'm not holding my breath. This is the country where 52% of the population can't tell the difference between a real war veteran and a draft dodging, Conneticut frat boy prentending to be a religious fighter pilot from Texas.

Is it Fascism yet? (1, Troll)

Paraplex (786149) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678642)

USA: Put a stop to this NOW.
Watch as dissent becomes a threat to national security.

Do you really believe this is to stop terrorism?

What side are you on?
No I don't mean "With us or with the terrorists" trite.

I mean what side are you on?
The side of freedom, self-government, equality, tolerance?

or the side of oppression, protection, surveilance, revenge?

There are people from all nations who represent both sides. Some are fighting for the "terrorists" and some are fighting for the "freedom fighters"

People like Bush & Osama have tried to polarise this for their own agendas by hijacking the english language with doublespeak like "Freedom", "Honour" and "PATRIOTism" and the "With us or against us" rhetoric, but don't be mistaken.

If you don't put a stop to this *Now* you will regret it.

Re:Is it Fascism yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14679016)

Let's get this straigt, true freedom will NEVER be achieved through acts of violence or wilfully lying to get your way. You will only be replacing one problem with another. The U.S. already has checks and ballances in place and they work fairly well... if you think otherwise, perhaps the problem is with you or your methods? In a system such as in the U.S. you should ALWAYS try to work change from WITHIN the law FIRST. Simply going off half cocked all the time loses you credibility.

44% increase in 4 years? (3, Insightful)

funwithBSD (245349) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678643)

Just goes to show how chicken little the left really is on this subject.

Let me get this straight, wiretaps have not EVEN DOUBLED since 911, despite the war, despite so called invastions of privacy, and you want to cry more about it?

Personally, sounds like they have not done enough wiretapping, I would have expected a doubling or tripling of wiretaps.

Instead I find they are very restrained in their requests.

FYI: here is the baseline for 1999 and why they were tapping. 890 were for narcotics, and only 45 landed in the "other" catagory that was not a criminal investigation.

http://www.epic.org/privacy/wiretap/stats/2000_rep ort/table300.pdf [epic.org]

in 2004, 1308 were for narcotics, so there is the growth of 44 percent. Other grew to 64, also an approximately 44% increase.

http://www.uscourts.gov/wiretap04/Table3-04.pdf [uscourts.gov]

64 people in a population of 250 million. THAT is restraint, not taking peoples liberty.

Yes I know that does not include the so called "illegal wiretaps" by the President. I am not too worried unless the taps were not on inbound international calls from known terrorists calling people here in the US. If that is what they are, then there is no crime in doing that.

Anything else and they have to explain it.

Re:44% increase in 4 years? (1)

ticbot (578502) | more than 8 years ago | (#14679009)

Great post! "Knowledge is Power!" liberals hate that...

Re:44% increase in 4 years? (2, Insightful)

Edmund Blackadder (559735) | more than 8 years ago | (#14679063)

"I am not too worried unless the taps were not on inbound international calls from known terrorists calling people here in the US. If that is what they are, then there is no crime in doing that."

If that is what they are they would not have to be done illegally because the courts would be glad to issue warrants for them. So it is obvious that that is not what they are.

But it is nice of you to use your imagination to help out the president. I am sure he appreciates it.

Government Conspiracy... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678681)

This is nothing more than a government conspiracy to restart the economy by forcing the entire telecom/internet community to upgrade their equipment to accomodate new services and increasing surveillance. The economy was roaring on the upgrade craze prior to 2000 and then went into the toliet after that. On that note, I'm buying more Cisco and Microsoft stock. :P

But don't worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14678693)

The level of surveillance is getting so pervasive, so heavy, and so generalized it's actually stratching the ability of our telecom services to obtain it all.

If the communications industry can't keep track of it all, just think of the kind of strain it must be putting not just on the people who have to relay this information (the telecom people) but on the people who actually have to READ it-- the people who have to actually go THROUGH all this information trying to make sense of it all. Now after they have to go to all that information, think how much time they must have left over, when they arrange the next set of warrants, to select good targets instead of just casting a troll net.

Now think, the people who look at these warrants and decide whether to approve them, usually with (reasonably) incomplete information-- think how overworked THEY must be, think how hard it must be to tell the clearly innocent from the probably-caused suspicious.

Think exactly how truly large the number of people being listened in on must be.

But don't worry. If you aren't a TERRORIST, you won't be targeted.

Search Me (3, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678781)

All the surveillance is worth it, because we've caught all the terrorists! I feel safer knowing we've got all those Qaeda evildoers. I'm finally satisfied that we've caught Osama in our dragnet. And the byproduct, catching all the drug mafia, has really cleaned up the streets - and our nation's veins. So we've made some Quakers paranoid - they live to quake, right? And, in an unexpected bonus, the Republicans won't be taken by surprise by any Democratic Party dirty tricks [google.com] . If only we'd let Emperor Nixon protect us, in his wisdom, we'd have all the oil we want [sfgate.com] , and terrorists would never have attacked us [cfrterrorism.org] .

Criminals will stop using the phone/chat/email (3, Interesting)

Twillerror (536681) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678800)

Criminals will evolve as this techonlogy evolves.

If they know they are probably being tapped, or that their phone conversation might be being recorded by their telcom company ( something I think will happen given the cheapness of storage ) they will stop using it.

I'm not in the business of crime, so I have no need to be hiding my conversations. At the same time I don't want my personal talks about marital troubles being recorded and used against me in a divorce court. ( Sweetie if you reading I don't want that it is just hypothectical ). If I was in crime I certainly wouldn't be talking about it on the phone. Here are my alternatives.

First I'd encrypt several times in a way only know by me and the other side to make it appear to be binary data.

Then I'd chat on private channels on Counter-strike servers or something. Something that I know is not logging. I suppose the govt could sniff the packets and record them all and try and extract the info, but is it worth it. After the tap had been placed on my internet account I guess they would start recording all the packets, but that would sure add up. Heck I'd stream movies in the background just to make it harder. If I was being really paranoid I sent chunks of the message through several channels.

On top of that I'll use a code agreed on by the both parties. "I hate the Dallas Cowboys" means meet me here at xyz time or something.

I think it'd be better if they could tap into my machine via backdoors and take screenshots, however, this would probably require a human, and would be pretty detectable.

If the govt thinks they can just start a blanket approach to this problem, I think they'll find that it will just change the problem. Better to over use taps so people are lazy and continue to use easy to monitor channels.

The argument that we might have stopped 9/11 by having programs like this is a bit silly. We had so much more evidence then phone calls. The FBI and several people knew about the people who where going to do the attack, they just didn't act. Hindsight is 20/20, and if something even remotely like that happens again it will be taken very seriously.

Personally if you do make a phone call out of the country I think the govt has a right to monitor it. They setup the infrastructure and they have jurisdiction to anything dealing with the border. If you fly out of the country they can check you bags at customs and a whole slew of other things. The thing that they need to do is just lay that out. Let people know that they can be tapped, and if they are notify them. When you call long distance before the call starts play a message. "This phone call may be monitored by the U.S. govt for security reasons".

People will say that terrorist then won't use the phone system and we can't catch them that way. Well news flash they already are not.

Finally! (1)

alan.briolat (903558) | more than 8 years ago | (#14679162)

Someone with a little sense, and not afraid to show it! I keep trying to tell people, all that these new measures succeed in doing is criminalising the normal people who hate what their government is doing. How long before "political dissent" becomes "terrorist activities" in the US?

Admittedly, they might catch a couple of terrorists occasionally, but when that happens, if they were stupid enough to get caught like that, they weren't much of a threat in the first place.

"Hey, why does this Anthrax taste like sugar?"

Also there is the possibility that the ones that are caught are decoys for the real operations to keep the DHS occupied, but just a wild guess there - its what I would do if success was important.

To quote a great leader (2, Insightful)

Tengoo (446300) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678816)

Freedom 9/11 victory 9/11 lurks freedom internets 9/11!

The positive new solution... (2, Funny)

db32 (862117) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678866)

Ok...I have had about enough of this spying nonsense. Lets just admit that its going to happen, noone is going to stop it and just deal with the future. First I propose that since the government is digging so deep into the telco world to spy on everyone, why don't they just deliver the final blow to the industry? Lets just go with government owned communications infrastructure.

We won't have to deal with these dirty money grubbing telcos anymore (see Bellsouth's behaviour over free wifi, or Verizon's wanting more money from the internet content providers)
We won't have service that is any worse. (Government work isn't typically much worse than what we get now)
The prices will go down. (No profit margins to maintain)
This way the government isn't crushing the smaller business for the big telcos by mandating wiretaps. Now its equal for everyone involved.

Disclaimer: This is not meant to be serious, I know some have a problem reading into things like this. Thank you.

How to handle the extra work... (1)

offal (681210) | more than 8 years ago | (#14678948)

...outsourcing, outside the country, so that the very information the spooks deem "sensitive" and "worthy" will first be massaged by third world employees who may very well be closer aligned with those fighting the U.S.. I concur that fear has been blasting our senses via the news, and by making the boogey man ephemeral and nebulous, any gauge of effectivenes (or lack thereof) is purely speculative. By throwing in scenarios like the tapping of Christiane Amanpour, of CNN, one also opens up the ability of tapping Kerry advisor Christiane Amanpour. Democracy's key strength is diluting the demands of the mob through checks and balances, but given the compromises to Democracy to satisfy corporate and government interests that's a moot point as well. Where's H.L. Mencken when you need him.

scarier overseas (2, Insightful)

slackaddict (950042) | more than 8 years ago | (#14679033)

Some countries, such as Italy, as well as government and law-enforcement agencies, are able to remotely monitor communications traffic without having to go through the individual service providers.

I think this is much more interesting than the constant railing against our government's efforts to monitor terrorist and foriegn government agent communication. At least in this country there are several hands this information has to go through. Like the article says, outside of the U.S., governments have the ability to monitor communication directly.

I know that Slashdot is left-leaning and apparently never misses an opportunity to post a "see, President Bush sux0rs!!!!" story and this is just par for the course. Do you think that other liberal administrations haven't monitored communication in this country? As a matter of fact, if you think back over all administrations we've had, which administrations have done more to hurt this country rather than help or protect it? Jimmy Carter's giveaway of the Panama Canal, hostage crisis disater, energy policy disaster, coverup of the three-mile island disaster or remarks that there was no need to apologize for Viet Nam? Bill Clinton's transfer of missle technology to China, bombing an asprin factory and killing the janitor, ignoring an opportunity to capture Osama Bin Laden when he was offered, and (since everyone likes to point out lies) lieing under oath and being impeached? L.B.J./Kennedy starting the Vient Nam war or his remarks about Thurgood Marshall - "Son, when I appoint a nig**r to the court, I want everyone to know he's a nig**r."?

The fact is, President Bush will be trashed no matter what he does or doesn't do. National Protection? He's infringing on civil liberties!! Natural Disasters? He didn't move fast/more/personally or did too much. (Didn't he plant explosives and blow up the dikes himeself?)

What keeps me sane (1)

bostonrobot (948964) | more than 8 years ago | (#14679039)

What keeps me sane is that every time I hear or see a topic like this, there's a lot of uproar. Maybe it's not always for or against the side I'm on. The important thing is that we don't ALL just bend over and take it. Some do, some don't. It gives me the sense that if/when things do go completely wrong, there will be some who will set it right... kinda like what happened 200 years ago.

changing internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14679080)

The network itself was a stateless system, and now being tapped to be a stateful system. Not the original design of the net... and this will kill the bandwidth. Hello 56Kbs days.

I'd rather (3, Insightful)

slashdotmsiriv (922939) | more than 8 years ago | (#14679113)

Cynicism alert:

I dont know about you, but personally I would rather get used to the idea of having a 9/11 once every 2-4 of years, than give away my real freedoms, not the ones advocated by our Texan Overlord.

Hell, I will ever risk my life and I would bare with the risk of having my kid becoming the victim of a pedofile than allowing those shady people to go through all our personal data (general pornography statistics my arse, google hold on there).

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