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FBI Target Puts His Life Online

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the go-ahead-investigate dept.

Privacy 324

After the FBI mistakenly targeted him as a terror suspect five years ago, art professor Hasan Elahi began recording his entire life online for the perusal of government agents or anyone else who wants to look in. "I've discovered that the best way to protect your privacy is to give it away," he says, grinning. "It's economics. I flood the market."

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Come on... (5, Informative)

niceone (992278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233415)

You could at least try to slashdot the guy's site [trackingtransience.net] , it is^H^Hwas kind of cool.

Re:Come on... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19233547)

It's the perfect alabi. He obviously spends all his time making "arty" websites with no actual content.

Re:Come on... (5, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233671)

If his site gets slashdotted due to your link, the FBI might think he's turning it off so that they don't see what he does at that moment. You are responsible if they send him to Guantanamo because of it!

Momus already said this ... (3, Insightful)

Potor (658520) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233683)

...in his song The Age of Information [phespirit.info] .

"Your reputation used to depend on
What you concealed
Now it depends on what you reveal"

New religion (5, Interesting)

Romwell (873455) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233437)

Privacy nowadyas is like a religion. Some people believe in it, some don't; some fight to protect it. But it is still as intangible and unattainable as deities from other religions.

Re:New religion (2, Funny)

bedonnant (958404) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233575)

we *have* to fight to protect it. otherwise the world will be a big MySpace page.
God forbid.

Re:New religion (5, Funny)

mlk (18543) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233623)

Good Goddess no. Real life animated gifs.

Re:New religion (4, Insightful)

Elemenope (905108) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233585)

I agree. But that doesn't mean we are less worthy for the trying. Sometimes, the attempt is the worthier part. And, just like attempts to attain the attention and favor of deities may make us observe closer whehther and how we could be made to deserve such an attention, perhaps the jealous guarding of one's own life's contents might provoke at least the possibility of introspection, and lead us to discover just what it is about our lives that makes their sanctity worth guarding.

And, meanwhile, I don't want you to know my taste in porn. That's just none of your damn business!

Re:New religion (5, Interesting)

m1k3y121 (1039338) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233617)

The attempt is what matters, at least to me. I currently am a member of the Army and it makes me realize that privacy is important to most people. Some people don't have a problem with people knowing just about everything about them (small towns), but people like me and alot more hate having a roommate and our whole life being watched. When I get out, it will be like heaven for me for that reason. p.s. other than that it's not a bad job

Let me tell you a story (5, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233759)

Let me tell you a story. An "in Soviet Russia" kind of story. A true one at that. The story of how the state kept all those people in line and not fighting oppression.

Short story: lack of privacy. And literally FUD. Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt over what they'll do about your words and deeds.

The side of the story everyone knows is the KGB and GULAG part. Those are true, and were especially true in Stalin's times. But then it evolved into something that worked cheaper and better: thinking that Big Brother knows everything you do. So people started to avoid doing or saying anything that could bite them in the ass.

The illusion was that the secret police has dossiers (the dead tree kind) on anyone and everyone, and that it _will_ come back to bite you in the ass sooner or later.

Even if you realized that in such a low tech setting they can't know _everything_, you didn't know exactly _what_ they know, and exactly _what_ and _when_ they'll use it against you. Maybe they'll do nothing. Maybe they'll send you to Siberia. Maybe you just won't be allowed to travel abroad any more. Maybe your kid won't ever get a high paying job because his dumbass father got drunk once and complained about the party.

Worse yet, this naturally killed support for any dissidents. If comrade Piotr speaks against the party, egads, you don't want it on your dossier that you sat, listened and nodded. Do you really know if Piotr isn't an agent provocateur? Or if he's just a dumbass, who else in your circle of friends will run to tell the authorities about that talk? Better avoid Piotr entirely from now on. Better safe than sorry.

_That_ is what privacy is supposed to help against.

And that is what "privacy is just a religion" and "if you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to fear" lemmings just don't get. Sometime, at some point, it may become _necessary_ to do something "wrong" to just freakin' keep your _other_ liberties. If you gave up privacy, then you might as well give up everything else, because you won't have any means left to defend them. If it ever becomes necessary to resist the government, lack of privacy means you'll never get more than 1-2 disidents which are quickly removed or isolated. As soon as someone does speak out, everyone else just makes themselves scarce, if they think the government will know where they are.

If everyone's life was public, the USA still would be a British colony, because everyone would be affraid to even be seen anywhere around those Jefferson and Hancock guys. India would still be a British colony too, because people would be affraid to be seen anywhere near that Gandhi guy. Etc.

Re:Let me tell you a story (5, Insightful)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233885)

Funny that you mention Ghandi. His life was quite public, and his supporters well known. Privacy is only important under truly oppressive regimes, which is why they go to such length to eliminate it. It's only important when people have a legitimate fear of their government.

Re:Let me tell you a story (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233981)

How do you tell whether it's legitimate? Do you know whether you just happen to have been picked for the IRS checkup at random or 'cause you said something inappropriate? I mean, after all, Al Capone was also just caught for tax evasion.

Any government today has the means to get quite uncomfortable if they want to, even with "legal" means. Not even breaking any of your liberties. You just "happen" to be the lucky winner of some governmental hassles.

Re:Let me tell you a story (5, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233929)

People always forget the most obvious privacy invasion. A stranger walks up to you and tells you the names of children, their date of birth, what schools they go to, what classes they are in, their grades, what time they go to school and what time they come home and how they travel between home and school, the names of their friends and to top that off hands you a series of recent photographs of them. Honestly, how would you feel. You don't just protect your privacy, you protect the privacy of all those people around you, especially your family.

The laws should really be changed, any time that anyone access your records or the records of your family, that are held by state or federal government, or even any major private institution, for any reason, should you not be notified of who did it and why. Also if any changes are made to your records should you not be notified of that change, who made it and why they made it.

With the power of computers and the Internet this could be easily done and would be a major step forward in not only protecting your privacy, but also maintaining the accuracy of your private data, as well as providing you the opportunity to challenge that data and force corrections when it is inaccurate.

The weirdest thing at the moment is that the current republican administration deems it important to restrict you from accessing records about yourself and specifically legislates to keep secrets about you hidden from you, a sick way of ensuring they can protect the lies they about create you in order to control you.

Re:Let me tell you a story (5, Insightful)

FromTheHorizon (1008223) | more than 7 years ago | (#19234053)

It's interesting that you mention Gandhi, because he had some interesting views on privacy (sorry I can't reference them online, I read them in a book on Gandhi)

Gandhi primary philosophy was discovering truth, which he believed to be like God. Quote: "Truth is God". In accordance to this he lead a very open life, and was not afraid to voice his views. As a result he spent quite a bit of time in prison. Neither did he hide his life from the world. He believed in full openness (It is common knowledge that he gave in to his carnal urges and was having sex while his father died - who shares those sorts of details?!?!?)

I think his idea worked the opposite way to Communist Russia, and more similarly to free speech. If everyone says what they think, how can the government prosecute all of them? The more we keep private, the more isolated it is for those who want to speak out to speak out. If everyone kept every private, how would the first revolutionary start talking to the second one?

I think Gandhi's views are interesting in the modern perspective, when technology is eroding our privacy. I do worry about what information there is about me out on the internet, and double check my blog posts for information that might bite me in the arse later down the track. However I think that I don't really have anything to worry about. Sure, there will be some photos of me drunk online somewhere, acting like an idiot. But it's not like that's unusual behavior. I've voiced some pretty opinionated views that would have got me thrown into the Gulag. But the internet is built by people voicing opinionated views, we're not all going to be thrown into the Gulag!!!

At the end of the day, I don't want to do the things which I might be embarrassed by or arrested for if they got out into the public domain. For the other things, who cares? I'd prefer to worry about making sure that I lead a good life, than worry about who knows what I'm doing.

Re:Let me tell you a story (5, Insightful)

starwed (735423) | more than 7 years ago | (#19234061)

If everyone's life were public, you'd know if Piotr was an agent. You'd know who in your circle of friends ran to authorities. You'd know the personal lives of those running the country. This isn't just some pedantic point, it gets at the heart of how the systme worked; the government didn't eliminate privacy, they controlled it.

A society without any privacy at all would be unimaginably different from our own; I don't think you can claim a priori that it would be worse.

Re:Let me tell you a story (1, Insightful)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 7 years ago | (#19234153)

"And that is what "privacy is just a religion" and "if you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to fear" lemmings just don't get. "

Unfortunately technology and business make privacy impossible, most of your daily actions can be recorded/deduced via technology not in your presence (sattelites, microscopic cameras, etc). With the great UK experiment (CCTV cams, etc), I'm certain the invasiveness will only get better and better from here on out.

In a way it's a good thing because... the only way you need privacy is if you live in a world of idiots and irrational people, that is really the only reason "to protect yourself" from some person, group or power (corporate or government). But the internet and electronic money, and other technology (black boxes in cars, debit cards, cell phones, RFID, etc) benefits are going to outweigh any concern of privacy, we're moving towards a completely scientific society and as such at some point privacy will have to go the way of the dodo.

Nazi Germany (3, Interesting)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 7 years ago | (#19234177)

Even if you realized that in such a low tech setting they can't know _everything_, you didn't know exactly _what_ they know, and exactly _what_ and _when_ they'll use it against you. Maybe they'll do nothing. Maybe they'll send you to Siberia. Maybe you just won't be allowed to travel abroad any more. Maybe your kid won't ever get a high paying job because his dumbass father got drunk once and complained about the party.
I can't speak about Soviet Russa but I do know a bit about Nazi Germany from people who lived through that time and basically the same was true there. You kept your mouth shut because there was a very good chance of even a single moment of carelessness biting you in the ass sooner or later with dire consequences. Even though everybody knew that the State couldn't know everything they still kept their mouth shut because:
  1. The Gestapo offered quite handsome bounties for tips on people who exhibited treasonous or regime critical behavior or uttered any derogatory comments about the 'Führer' the party or it's policies.
  2. Even if the Gestapo didn't get tipped off by one of it's professional informers they would probably eventually learn about any such details the moment they shook somebody down for some minor infraction and that person named you and a couple of dozen others to save his own skin. These tips could range from subversive activities, such as being a communist or social democrat to having once been seen reading a communist leaflet or having been overheard telling a treasonous joke.

Basically the Nazi system wasn't all that dissimilar in it's inner workings to the tactics employed by Senator McCarthy and his goons except it went much further. Those who got named weren't merely socially ostracized as they were in the USA, in Nazi Germany and the cooupied territories they got sent to a camp and executed. There was actually a group of people both in Germany it self and the occupied countries who made a tidy business out of regularly informing on anybody that acted even mildly suspiciously. Once the Gestapo did lock in on you they were practically guaranteed to find _something_ to hang you with. Believe it or not, purely out of fear of a Gestapo visit, people both Germans and non Germans sorted the scrap paper they used on the toilet in case it contained any leaflets or other printed material from politically unreliable elements or, god forbid, contained a picture of Adolf him self. People today may find that funny but there were actually people who did long stretches in KZ camps or even died there for the simple offence of insulting the visage or persona of the 'Führer'.

Not a religion at all (2, Insightful)

dscho (819239) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233847)

It's not anything like a religion. Many people seem to be unable, much like you, to see that you _need_ privacy to live a happy life. Much like you need clean air to live a happy life.

Yes, you can survive without both, clean air and privacy. Yet, is this a life you want to have?

Go watch "Life of others". It is really depressing to live in a surveillance society.

Maybe those countries who did _not_ experience Gestapo-like distrust, arbitrariness, and the mental consequences this brings to your personal life, _have_ to go through a phase like that, to be able to value what the founding fathers tried to establish by the right of anonymous speech and the pursuit of happiness.

However, this would be only the second-best solution: I personally know people who lived in East Germany, and even if some of them experienced this kind of soul-destroying constant pressure only in their childhood, they are spoiled for life. When they talk to me on the phone and hear a click, their _first_ thought (if they want or not) is that somebody is listening in.

This is absolute terror.

Re:Not a religion at all (1)

mashedbananasoup (1005563) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233973)

Fuckin A. "X" is a new religion is becoming a regular comparison on slashdot and it is a transparent attempt to sustain a wooly argument. Privacy is not the new religion. Scientology is a new religion. They may be a private religion which means they may possibly have something to lose if their secrets of enlightenment come to light. As I see it this chap from the article pre empted the FBI by making his life public, thereby removing secrets and anything to lose.

Re:New religion (4, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233897)

But it is still as intangible and unattainable as deities from other religions.

Unattainable? Tell you what, why don't you try and get, say, Rupert Murdoch or King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to realise what a false and unobtainable idol they are coveting. I mean, anyone can just waltz right up to them on the street and snap a picture.

It's not like they have hired goons squads and political connections and secretive schedules which outright confound your ability to snoop into their lives is it? I mean, privacy is a fantasy right? There's no way the rich and powerful could have something the rest of us don't if that something simply just doesn't exist right?

Privacy is very, very real. In todays market centric humanisms, one could almost describe privacy as an obtainable asset which people are willing to pay money for, and one which, because of it's decreasing availability, is becoming ever more expensive to obtain by simple laws of supply and demand. I await an astute poster's follow up comment discussing the rise of a "privacy industry" in response to decreasing supply of this so called "intangible" notion.

Nice, clever, but still not right (4, Interesting)

mcvos (645701) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233461)

It's great that he's created the perfect alibi, and keeping himself out of accidental incarceration on Gitmo, but the real message here is that government institutions are way too sloppy, and that if you do not give up your privacy like this, you may be risking all sorts of harassment and worse. Innocent people do get locked up because of mistakes, malice, or a combination of both.

Re:Nice, clever, but still not right (2, Insightful)

bedonnant (958404) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233479)

it actually is the saddest story of all. it is the defeat of the individual, defeat of freedom. this guy spends his every hour in a state of rational paranoia. thank God I dont live in the US anymore.

Re:Nice, clever, but still not right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19233531)

I agree, it's part of why I left too

Re:Nice, clever, but still not right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19233557)


Where do you both live now? Why do you consider it is more private? Is it why you moved?

Re:Nice, clever, but still not right (0)

magores (208594) | more than 7 years ago | (#19234201)

I'm not either of the parent posts, but I'll answer anyway.

I moved to China.

Not necessarily because it's more anonymous, or because the government seems more rational that that of the US at the moment. Or because it gives me a chance to live in, and understand a little better, a country that most Americans will never see. Or because it gives me a chance to learn the language from "life"rather than from a textbook. Or, because the women here are hot.

Oh wait... That last one is pretty much a major reason I'm here.

Not paranoid (5, Funny)

TheSciBoy (1050166) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233565)

Well, it's not paranoia if they're actually after you.

Re:Not paranoid (3, Insightful)

bedonnant (958404) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233595)

Well, it's not paranoia if they're actually after you.

yes, because the FBI would have arrested him for vital information such as what he had for lunch. What he does is surrendering his rights and freedoms as an individual, the victory of an orwellian society.

Re:Not paranoid (1)

metushelach (985526) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233697)

I believe that the exact quote is "Just because you are paranoid does not mean they are not after you"

Re:Not paranoid (1)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233711)

No they are not...wait someone's at the doorAKKDfpadmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm mmmmmm

Re:Nice, clever, but still not right (3, Informative)

Fruit (31966) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233625)

It's even worse in the Netherlands [www.nrc.nl] though (article in Dutch, unfortunately). Summary: privacy and other citizen rights continuously eroding and no one cares.

Re:Nice, clever, but still not right (1)

VagaStorm (691999) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233943)

I can't read dutch, but even if survilance is worse, I doubdt that the risk of it beeing abused in the same way....

Re:Nice, clever, but still not right (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233971)

I can't read dutch, but even if survilance is worse, I doubdt that the risk of it beeing abused in the same way....

The risk is always the same. The difference is that in the US, there's plenty of evidence that it is already being abused. In Netherland it's still only the risk that it may happen. (Or is it?)

Re:Nice, clever, but still not right (4, Interesting)

Simon (815) | more than 7 years ago | (#19234111)

The difference is that in the US, there's plenty of evidence that it is already being abused. In Netherland it's still only the risk that it may happen.

Well, the article gave a couple good examples of how laws are being abused.

Een dakloze liet Rick van Amersfoort laatst een stapeltje van dertig boetes zien. De oogst van een maand op straat leven: oversteken bij rood licht, in het openbaar een joint roken, hangen op een bankje voor het Amsterdamse Muziektheater. Van Amersfoort werkt bij het bureau Jansen en Janssen, dat geworteld is in de kraakbeweging en politie- en inlichtingendiensten kritisch" volgt. Jij en ik zouden er geen boete voor krijgen, maar deze dakloze is lastig, dus pakt de politie hem zo aan."

"A homeless person showed Rick van Amserfoort his collection of 30 fines. The harvest of one month on the streets: crossing against a red light, smoking a joint in public, loitering on a bench in front of the Amsterdamse Muziektheater. Van Amersfoort works at the bureau Jansen en Janssen, which grew out of the squatting movement, and critically follows the work of the police and the intelligence service. You and I wouldn't receive a fine, but this homeless person is difficult, so the police are always on to him."

and another example:

De legitimatieplicht is volgens Brenninkmeijer een goed voorbeeld. Waarschuwingen dat de politie hem zou kunnen misbruiken, werden weggewuifd. "Nu zie je dat politie betogers vraagt om hun legitimatie. Dan is het een repressiemiddel geworden."

The legitimatieplicht (=law requiring everyone to carry ID in public) is according to Brenninkmeijer a good example. Warnings that the police would misuse this law were waved off. "Now you see that police ask protesters for their ID. It has become a tool of repression."

--
Simon

Re:Nice, clever, but still not right (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 7 years ago | (#19234035)

Not sure why he just doesn't move to the UK. There he can be recorded on video everywhere he goes, without any extra effort from himself.

Re:Nice, clever, but still not right (1)

Mostly a lurker (634878) | more than 7 years ago | (#19234135)

Unfortunately, that may not be enough to keep you out of the CIA's clutches. For instance, there were these guys [washingtonpost.com] . Even assisting MI5 with counter terrorism [independent.co.uk] may not help.

Re:Nice, clever, but still not right (3, Insightful)

WoodenRobot (726910) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233487)

Indeed - and that's why 'if you've done nothing wrong you've nothing to fear and no need to hide' is a load of bull.

Re:Nice, clever, but still not right (2, Insightful)

CurbyKirby (306431) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233657)

Total openness is an interesting idea, but only if you are guaranteed that everyone is totally open too. Yes, this means organizations as well as individuals. Otherwise, requiring you to publish your life in order to escape either incompetence or profiling (when the results of either is questionably humane incarceration) is absurd. If the government isn't totally open, then why should you have to be? This project is interesting as a thought/art exercise, but its original intent/purpose makes it another blow against the fourth amendment.

Re:Nice, clever, but still not right (4, Insightful)

Torvaun (1040898) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233811)

You think the government are the only people who can make your life miserable if you want to keep your privacy? Think blackmail. These days, you don't even have to do something embarrassing, as long as the blackmailers can get someone you care about to think you did something. Due process doesn't apply to relationships.

So, if someone said to you, give me a couple hundred dollars, or your wife will leave you, what happens? Maybe the hassle isn't worth the money. But now you're actually concealing something, and a missing $200 can have all sorts of connotations, from hookers, to gambling, to drunken revelry. It could also be something like a present for your wife, or you loaned it to a buddy of yours, but spin is a very big thing, and it's definitely powerful enough to turn that $200 into more.

Compare that to this guy. He's got the perfect alibi, because millions of people can confirm it. He's completely immune to any game that relies on suspicion. And how much privacy has he really lost? Most people won't care, most of the ones who do care will never meet him, and most of the ones that do care and do meet him won't put two and two together, especially if he doesn't put a picture on the site. He's really only lost vulnerability.

Re:Nice, clever, but still not right (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 7 years ago | (#19234095)

The best way to avoid that kind of blackmail is to be the kind of person that establishes a certain level of trust. Without extraordinary-seeming evidence (which, to be fair, is fakeable these days) I doubt you could convince my wife that I was up to no good, nor could you convince me about her because we trust each other. Similarly, I have a network of friends, relatives and associates that I can use as character references.

Am I blackmailable? Sure, if someone wants to hard enough, but I've tried to maintain a reputation such that people who know me would be disinclined to believe such an allegation. Basically, you need to try to be a decent person. I don't have to worry about my wife or kids finding porn on my computer because there isn't any. I wouldn't be embarrassed if someone were to see my browser history (except for maybe all the time I spend on sites like /.). I don't have to worry about the kids or wife finding things around the house that I wouldn't want them to see because there isn't anything.

I don't have to worry about a prospective employer finding out things about me online because there's nothing there I'm embarrassed about (now, whether or not they like my arrogant opinionated ranting is another matter). In other words, the best way to avoid that problem is to not allow yourself to be easily implicated.

Of course, in the case of the the subject of the article, there are lots of benign things that can get the government all up in your case, not to mention the proclivity of (at best) semi-competent bureaucrats to make huge mistakes, but that's a different matter, and as we continue to let the U.S. government take more and more power, this kind of problem will become more and more common. The problem is that I don't see an easy solution. Both political parties are equally culpable and equally eager to continue down that road, and they've done such an effective job that even mentioning a third party is greeted with scorn and derision (or at best a sense of utter futility), although I think at this point, it's the only alternative that makes sense. This is not a post-9/11 problem... it's been going on for decades, it's just accelerated.

Just plain silly (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19233469)

FTFA:

He figures the day is coming when so many people shove so much personal data online that it will put Big Brother out of business.

Man, this is when I feel proud not belonging to that Web 2.0 (haha) generation. And if you cant see what's wrong with the quote I cant help you either.

Killing time? (3, Interesting)

cb_is_cool (1084665) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233475)

Sounds to me like he's just made it into some wierd pseudo-hobby. I don't think I could ever be that comfortable posting my every move.

Re:Killing time? (4, Funny)

farkus888 (1103903) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233491)

I'm picking my nose right now. this post written in the interest of keeping my ass out of jail.

Re:Killing time? (2, Insightful)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233651)

Sounds to me like he's just made it into some wierd pseudo-hobby. I don't think I could ever be that comfortable posting my every move.
Also, what about the people he happens to be with? Are they comfortable about such openness? And does he document the night hours too? What does his wife think about that?

Re:Killing time? (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 7 years ago | (#19234151)

His wife doesn't mind the privacy concerns, but she does get tired of having to dry-hump a bean-bag with a wig on every night while her husband makes bombs in secrecy.

Re:Killing time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19233757)

justin.tv anyone?

Re:Killing time? (1)

fmstasi (659633) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233767)

Then it's true, like another poster said, that it's like a religion - either you believe in privacy, or you don't. I amusingly idientified myself with the guy. I wouldn't care a bit to post every move of mine on the web - well, it may be a little boring, since I don't travel that much, but I don't care a bit if somebody sees where I was, what I bought, what I ate, and what I am doing right now. Maybe this should be a poll? :)

I understand of course that other people may feel differently about their privacy, so I understand, for example, the rather paranoid law on privacy we have here in Italy.

Shouldn't we all stop fighting? (5, Insightful)

Nymz (905908) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233489)

"But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother." Part 3, Chapter 6

Re:Shouldn't we all stop fighting? (1)

nephridium (928664) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233899)

I wonder why nobody has made it into a movie yet, seeing as the book was published as early as 1949(!). And the story is as fresh and thought-provoking as ever. Maybe call the movie "Twenty-sixteen" - you could even film many scenes "on location" nowadays ;)

Re:Shouldn't we all stop fighting? (3, Informative)

Blondie-Wan (559212) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233991)

I wonder why nobody has made it into a movie yet, seeing as the book was published as early as 1949(!).
It has been made into a movie - multiple times, in fact: a version in 1956 [imdb.com] , a made-for-TV version in 1965 [imdb.com] , a version actually released in 1984 [imdb.com] , and yet another version currently in development, to come out in 2009 [imdb.com] .

Re:Shouldn't we all stop fighting? (1)

peterprior (319967) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233997)

They have [wikipedia.org] :)

Re:Shouldn't we all stop fighting? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19234007)

They have made a film of it. Twice. Once in 1956, once in 1984.

Word has it that the CIA changed the ending of one of the films, the story I heard being that they thought it far too sinister that the system could beat Winston so completely. I'm not sure which film was changed, as I've not seen either. Here's an extract from an NYT piece on it:

The agency also changed the ending of the movie version of "1984," disregarding Orwell's specific instructions that the story not be altered. In the book, the protagonist, Winston Smith, is entirely defeated by the nightmarish totalitarian regime. In the very last line, Orwell writes of Winston, "He loved Big Brother." In the movie, Winston and his
lover, Julia, are gunned down after Winston defiantly shouts: "Down with Big Brother!"

Re:Shouldn't we all stop fighting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19234013)

I wonder why nobody has made it into a movie yet, seeing as the book was published as early as 1949(!)
if you mean 1984, do a trivial search before talking garbage: 1984 [imdb.com]

Re:Shouldn't we all stop fighting? (1)

zalle (637380) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233925)

How is this stopping fighting? It's quite the opposite - this may have an effect on the perception the U.S. public holds about the "security" services you have. Oh, and it's not that I think that people employed as spies or policemen outside the U.S. are in any way competent. Yours are just particularly arrogant, obnoxious and, unfortunately, powerful.

Re:Shouldn't we all stop fighting? (1)

Nymz (905908) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233995)

How is this stopping fighting? It's quite the opposite - this may have an effect on the perception the U.S. public holds about the "security" services you have. Oh, and it's not that I think that people employed as spies or policemen outside the U.S. are in any way competent. Yours are just particularly arrogant, obnoxious and, unfortunately, powerful.

I assumed most Slashdotters would be familiar with the quote, but I should have provided the full source George Orwell's 1984 [wikipedia.org]

As for your attitude against America, please try to think that we are all in this together, so that if your neighbor's human rights are violated, irregardless of his nationality, we all lose.

Clearly, he's guilty as sin! (0, Redundant)

Caspian (99221) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233509)

His name sounds middle-eastern! He HAS to be guilty.

</sarcasm>

Re:Clearly, he's guilty as sin! (4, Interesting)

rs79 (71822) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233709)

There are sometimes more than one way to spell Arab surnames. For example "El Ashi" could be "Elashi".

In the case of "Hasan Elahi" that's close enough to "Hassan Elashi [google.com] " that it's probably "close enough for government work". I'd be willing to bet this is the source of his trouble.

In the early 80s Bayan [google.com] , Ghassan and Hassan Elashi had a little company that made computers for the royal Suadi family. My boss was Jewish and he and I were the only white guys there; we did all the software. All the Elashi's are in jail now on what appears to me to be trumped up charges. Trivia: the Elashis paid for the only decent UUCP node in LA at the time; they held the .IQ [theregister.co.uk] tld for a while Bayan called Jon Postel one day and Jon just gave it to him by virtue of an Arabic accent. Bayan told me while giggling he was holding it hostage from the Iraqi government. I still have a watch Bayan gave me that I posted about in alt.horlology in 1988.

Let me be less subtle. We ran their computers and were nosy. If they're terrorists then I'm Stephen fucking Hawking.

Re:Clearly, he's guilty as sin! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19233835)

In the case of "Hasan Elahi" that's close enough to "Hassan Elashi" that it's probably "close enough for government work".
I have zero sympathy for these foreigners with complicated Islamic-terrorist-sounding names. If you don't want to be harassed by the government then change your name from Muhammed Al-Assad Il-Bin-Kumani to Michael Smith or something. African-Americans would be the first to back this up. Who is going to get harassed more by the police if you're black, Joe Jackson or Duwante Fahrakan? There's no way in hell they'd have the balls to put Jeff Jones on a terror watch list, they'd be banning 100,000+ people with that name.

Re:Clearly, he's guilty as sin! (2, Funny)

value_added (719364) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233955)

In the early 80s Bayan, Ghassan and Hassan Elashi had a little company that made computers for the royal Suadi family. My boss was Jewish and he and I were the only white guys there

I guess the term white guys could include Jews for large values of white, but some people [aryan-nations.org] might disagree. Then, again, Arabs and Jews can both be characterised as Semites [wikipedia.org] , but that might upset other folks [adl.org] and offend the sensibilities of the politically correct who really don't know WTF they're saying (if anything).

Either way, you're screwed. You'd appeal to larger groups if you use more specific terminology or, as an alternative, use ethnic humour to make the point. If it was me, I'd opt for ethnic humour route, and offend everyone you possibly can. ;-)

Re:Clearly, he's guilty as sin! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19234017)

./offtopic

What's funny is that two nations (well, one at least), and several regions - would quite angrily disagree with white supremacists usage of Aryan in the first place.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aryan [wikipedia.org]

My futile wish is to see a bunch of white supremacist of the aryan-philosophy type approach and attempt to harrass persons of Iranian heritage. It would be priceless.

How to defeat the CCCP (5, Funny)

F34nor (321515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233533)

This was my friend's idea of how to destroy the CCCP. You take every classified document in the US, shuffle, and ship. They would have bankrupted the economy trying to find the gems in the huge piles of useless shit.

Re:How to defeat the CCCP (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233741)

"defeat" funny choice of words.

Noise = good hiding place (4, Interesting)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233761)

You might be joking but that is actually a very good way to hide something -- just cover it with lots and lots of noise. I do that with our beloved friend -- Google. You see, it likes very much to gather my browsing history so in case of a court order it can quickly give it to any lawyer out there, so what do I do? I run the TrackMeNot Firefox extension. It sends a fake query to Google about once in 5 or so seconds. Let Google figure out which one is me browsing and which queries are submitted by TMN. TMN is actually pretty smart while I was typing this it asked Google for such things like "describe dept that", "Chinchilla Farm Investigation", "officials representing diverse views" and "each selective router" -- not bad, just as crazy and random as my own queries would be...

Sorry, no. (3, Insightful)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233555)

That whole "give away so much that they cannot use all the Data" might have worked back when all was done by humans.

Nowdays, you just buy some more computers to do the datamining and cross-referencing. Dont worry, there are thousands of PHDs working at google to make 1984 a reality.

(Dont believe me? Take a look what googles CEO says here : http://www.ft.com/cms/s/c3e49548-088e-11dc-b11e-00 0b5df10621.html [ft.com] . In short, a quote: "The goal is to enable Google users to be able to ask the question such as 'What shall I do tomorrow?' and 'What job shall I take?'")

Re:Sorry, no. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19233779)

In fact the sofware the KGB used got released on the market at the end of the Cold War http://www.infotame.com/Support/faq.shtml [infotame.com]

Re:Sorry, no. (3, Funny)

value_added (719364) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233881)

The goal is to enable Google users to be able to ask the question such as 'What shall I do tomorrow?'

AFAIK, I'm not doing anything tomorrow. Until the new Google service shows up in beta, anyone got any good suggestions?

Re: What shall I do tomorrow? (1)

giafly (926567) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233905)

"The goal is to enable Google users to be able to ask the question such as 'What shall I do tomorrow?' and 'What job shall I take?'"
You already can. Google says I'm going to Lake Tahoe [amazon.com] , then heading off to my new career at Princeton [princetonreview.com] . Silly Google.

I LOVE USA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19233567)

I wanna become American citizen! how to apply citizenship? is it enough if I find american woman who wants to marry me?

Just like millions... (1)

tmk (712144) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233581)

...of users who put evreything on MySpace, Twitter or YouTube.

Re:Just like millions... (1)

antiaktiv (848995) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233653)

So this dude has pictures of himself taken in a mirror with huge cleavage, and does Cyndi Lauper lipsync videos? Hell, I'd pay to see that!

Re:Just like millions... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19233687)

Well with the way you idiots type and spell it won't matter anyway. They'll never be able to figure out what it means.

Here is to hoping... (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233587)

That the goatse guy gets on a terror watch list. Will keep FBI agents occupied and remind them of what our vice president has done to the country.

Re:Here is to hoping... (3, Funny)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233681)

At least he'd be easy to perform a body cavity search on. In and out in a matter of minutes, so to speak.

Stupidest thing I've ever heard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19233603)

So, those 5 minutes you sat at your computer, are you sure you didn't send a short covert message to your terrorist cell? :-)

Seriously, crappy photos with cell phone quite probably are ignored (except by his operator who gets to charge for the traffic..) but any textual data can easily be mined. For example, given the list of all receipts from all supermarkets the feds could crossreference everything he has ever bought to the list of ingredients to build explosives or chemical weapons. Common household chemicals do react dangerously if you mix them around carelessly. For a suspected terrorist it sure is questionable to post online the lists of things he has bought and to taunt the feds to decipher his actions.

Anyway, to go public with a diary like that sounds like a begging egomaniac. If it were just for evicende, it's just as good if you stored it privately. Also I hope he has plenty of home security devices; he documents his coming and going pretty well so it's trivial for burglars to visit when he's gone.

The start of something bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19233605)

How long before Bush forces the rest of the professors in the country to do the same? We're seeing yet another piece of Bush's plan to destroy freedom for the entire world.

Slashdot points (0, Troll)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233637)

Slashdot rules for the police:

1) Doing ANY research on an innocent individual is obviously completely illegal for the police
2) If any individual actually commits a crime, that's a failure of the police, not a problem in this individual
3) nobody, not even convicted murderers, are guilty

Obviously this is a recipe for disaster. The things the police is allowed to do should be well-defined, and respected, by "us", meaning the parliament. They should include, at least, surveillance of an individual, overt or covert, administrative arrest for a limited time, and the option to forcibly question anyone (without torture obviously), whatever violence is required to bring someone in for questioning is perfectly allowed for the police to inflict, wounds resulting from resistance against the police do NOT indicate a problem with the police, quite the contrary, a problem with the suspect.

As long as they stay within these limits, they can hopefully only do limited damage to an individual even if they are malevolent, and they actually have a chance of catching a criminal.

I do not see how this guy's rights were violated. Can someone please explain.

On the contrary, while I do not agree with the argument that his current actions are violating the rights of the state (of the police if you will), he is danguerously close to doing just that.

Re:Slashdot points (1, Interesting)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233727)

Fuck the police. There are so many problems with the criminal/legal system that it isn't funny. Innocent people being locked up, harassed etc., is just the tip of the ice berg. There is so much shit happening under the surface that you can't see, that you don't hear about (and you are a relativly intelligent person who doesn't get all their news from the mainstream media, or at least I assume you are...).

>1) Doing ANY research on an innocent individual is obviously completely illegal for the police
Well it should be, it should be as hard as possible for the police to do their job, that way they might actually not misuse their powers ...
>2) If any individual actually commits a crime, that's a failure of the police, not a problem in this individual
I wouldn't say the police alone, what causes property crimes? The existence of property...
>3) nobody, not even convicted murderers, are guilty
Plenty of convicted murderers (let alone people who were convicted of other "crimes") aren't actually guilty at all... Why? Two reasons, incompetence and malice. For example, the police and prosecutor fucking up the evidence. Or the jury and/or judge being biased towards the defendant (racist perhaps), or the police framing the defendant, or whatever. The police don't often care if who they get is the actual criminal, they just want a conviction...

>The things the police is allowed to do should be well-defined, and respected, by "us", meaning the parliament.
I don't know about you, but I'm not represented in any parliament. In fact, the only true way for be to be represented would be if I was in their myself! No parliament is the answer, government by the people (not the "people's representatives", who are actually often just bought corporate shitheads) is the answer.

>On the contrary, while I do not agree with the argument that his current actions are violating the rights of the state (of the police if you will), he is danguerously close to doing just that.
Care to explain, 1) how the police or state actually has any rights at all, 2) how his actions are borderline close to violating these (non-existent) rights?

(And for all the trolls who think they might jump in and mention the Cold War, fuck off. I'm an anarchist, who ever won, the people would have lost. The only winning move is not to play.)

Re:Slashdot points (1)

demon driver (1046738) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233789)

The things the police is allowed to do should be well-defined
Yes, and they should be well-warranted and not carried out haphazardly on innocent people. Which is why, for example, police need a search warrant to search. And prerequisites of that kind, measures to protect citizens from unsubstantiated prosecution, which unmistakenly have to be part of every system calling itself democracy, have constantly been watered down in western nations since the post-9/11 "war on terror" started. Not that they would have been really too much a protection beforehand, everywhere.

Re:Slashdot points (1)

dgun (1056422) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233903)

Doing ANY research on an innocent individual is obviously completely illegal for the police

Here is a term for your consideration: Probable cause

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probable_cause [wikipedia.org]

Re:Slashdot points (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#19234185)

On the contrary, while I do not agree with the argument that his current actions are violating the rights of the state (of the police if you will)

The "state" has no rights -- "rights" are given to the people of the United States, not its government. And how is publishing a blog on your life "dangerously close" to "violating the rights of the state?"

-b.

information countermeasures (2, Interesting)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233649)

IMHO, what he should be doing is flooding the internet with both real and fake information about himself, the more and the more varied the better (*). In an age where people look you up on Google, the best (only?) way to regain your privacy (once it's been breached only) is to poison the information index with total and contradictory garbage. The more obviously contradictory, the quicker people will give up reading page after page of Google's results about you.

This principle is similar to Rivest's winnowing and chaffing [mit.edu] cryptographic system, or the military countermeasures used to confuse self guiding missiles.

(*) but not fake terrorism, that would be counterproductive in his case :)

It's Not Worth It (2, Interesting)

jellie (949898) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233661)

I understand the intentional irony in his actions, but I don't agree that it would work. It's the government, for crying out loud. They do not act rationally, neither in placing him on some terrorist watch list nor in continuing to monitor him because they don't trust someone with an Arabic-sounding name. Suppose his the batteries in his GPS unit fail - then the FBI would scream, "Get him! He's going off the grid!" My life is probably more boring than his, but I don't want invisible agents snooping around my house or following my online activities. Treat us like citizens should be treated, not like characters in a video game. I've never been detained at an airport, so I can't imagine what it's like to have to call the FBI before every flight.

Re:It's Not Worth It (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233753)

"They". The people elected the government right ? If it isn't : time for revolution.

So I'm wondering (1)

dgun (1056422) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233665)

What does one have to do to be considered a terrorist suspect?

Crap...

My private life will not be public. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19233715)

He may be ready to give up his private life, I'm not. And if this is what it takes to keep out of the hands of some overzealous, hyperparanoid government, than the best solution is to depose that government.
How can you live in a world like that? That's not 1984, that's 1984 under Stalin with Hitler and Mao as his henchmen. That's Bush, Cheney and Rice for you.

Correct headline (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19233755)

would be "FBI gives attention whore perfect excuse"

Re:Correct headline (1)

2Bits (167227) | more than 7 years ago | (#19234119)

Well, the question is, why is the Female Body Inspector interested in him? Oh wait, you talked about that FBI...

Now he's a target for criminals instead... (5, Insightful)

sifi (170630) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233801)

With the nice big red arrow saying "Hello, I'm no where near where live, please come by and rob my house."

Nowadays YOU need to prove innocence!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19233833)

At least it was the way to live for Elahi.
Just shows how much overboard the thing got.




The more scary thing is that... it was also the reason,
for which US went to war with Iraq: they couldn't prove guilt nor innocence.



Mistakenly targeted ... (0)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233851)

...as a terror suspect.

Wait a minute, I thought the definition of suspect was "regarded or deserving to be regarded with suspicion", in other words, the FBI was 'suspicious' about him or his activities with relation to acts of terrorism.
What I can't seem to find any information on, is why were they suspicious ?

Oddly enough, the FBI didn't suspect me, or anyone that I know; and with good reason, they don't need to be. I doubt I, or anyone I know, have ever done anything that could be considered suspicious with regards to terrorism. (plenty of other stuff, mind you, but not terrorism)

In fact, so far, my guess is that the vast majority of FBI suspects deserve to be suspects. They have enagaged in activities which correlate to indicators of intent to commit acts of terrorism. When there is enough of a correlation, the FBI rightly 'targets' them, becuase their activities are 'suspect', and they become a terrorism suspect. I like it that way; keep up the good work FBI.

If Professor Elahi he really wanted to convince me that he was 'wrongly' targeted, he would publish some more detail about his questioninng, his past activites, and explain why it was such an egregious wrong to have been suspicious of him. Instead what I see is a sophomoric reaction to, as far as I can tell anyway, a legitimate suspicion, wrapped in the guise of 'conceptual art'. Please spare me, I've been to the Tate Modern and seen enough unmade beds, feces covered walls, and vats of urine to know art when I see it.

Re:Mistakenly targeted ... (1)

kanweg (771128) | more than 7 years ago | (#19234137)

First question: What's the story with your last name, Mr. Professor.

Bert

Re:Mistakenly targeted ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19234205)

(plenty of other stuff, mind you, but not terrorism)


There is minimal profit for the FBI in terrorism. Other stuff? An abundance of potential profit for "law enforvcement" organizations. ;) Anti-terrorism makes a good cover.

Re:Mistakenly targeted ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19234209)

"the vast majority of FBI suspects deserve to be suspects"

Yeah, "the vast majority." Makes me wonder why you didn't have the conviction to say "all".
Even if there's just ONE guy who doesn't deserve it, that makes HIS life hell - doesn't matter to him what percentage of the other guys deserve it.

Re:Mistakenly targeted ... (1)

Denial93 (773403) | more than 7 years ago | (#19234221)

I doubt I, or anyone I know, have ever done anything that could be considered suspicious with regards to terrorism.
 
You have no idea what counts as suspicious for terrorism these days. You can be a Muslim or have an Arab parent or have been to the Middle East or have attended a peace rally or even just make numerous references to the US constitution [keepandbeararms.com] to be noticed and given a database entry that will stay forever. And if you share the name or adress of someone who does, that is frequently enough.

Of course this dilutes the "terrorist" label for beyond usability. I guess less than a percent of a percent of the people who fulfill these criteria have even committed violent acts of terrorism. But that's fine because the suspicion system has long ceased to be a means of catching those. It is now a multi-purpose government tool that serves for everything from law enforcement to garnering support for war.

This won't work! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19233865)

I work for the FBI and I say he's a terrorist!!!

Of course he's doing photos to proove differently. (Bin Laden made whole movies(!) and made channels show them on TV.) But what does he between the photos? Does he force women to hide their faces. Does he force children to hold and use a rifle?

We, the FBI and CNN, will find out.

Impressive (1)

james_bray (188143) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233963)

An FBI agent willing to put his life "online" as well as "on the line" :-)

Hm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19233993)

Perfect alibi... right, manipulating digial photographies and GPS logs is really hard

seecrut (1)

cky625 (947281) | more than 7 years ago | (#19234015)

As a regular human beings, doing what other human would do, like working, eating, shitting and so on, I don't see much point about privicy. The only disadvantage would be when grudge or theft applies, the first is annoying but revenge is bad, insurance is there to solve the latter situation. Pure minds are only a dream, IRL minds of such are dishes for dinner. A good guard has to know how intruder works to be good.

Does freedom imply privacy? (2, Interesting)

rumli (1066212) | more than 7 years ago | (#19234183)

I grew up thinking that one cannot have freedom without privacy. But having thought about it a bit, they seem like orthogonal concepts. Of course, this depends on one's definition of freedom and privacy. Very roughly speaking, the definitions I use are: 1. Freedom is your right to act as you choose so long as your actions do not harm others, and 2. Privacy is your right to control the dissemination of information about yourself. You might argue that lack of privacy can limit choices by the threat of embarrassment, but freedom does not preclude embarrassing actions from your choice set. In other words, freedom does not require your choices to be easy and embarrassment-free, just possible. This is not to say that privacy isn't a right worth fighting for. But I don't think we should use the right to freedom to justify the right to privacy.

Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19234215)

Well, if Microsoft got its way [slashdot.org] , he wouldn't have to bother.
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