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Comment: Re:Founding Fathers read Orwell? (Score 4, Insightful) 172

by Virtucon (#49590101) Attached to: FBI Slammed On Capitol Hill For "Stupid" Ideas About Encryption

The term was Orwellian, which constitutes a few things..

"Orwellian" is an adjective describing the situation, idea, or societal condition that George Orwell identified as being destructive to the welfare of a free and open society. It denotes an attitude and a brutal policy of draconian control by propaganda, surveillance, misinformation, denial of truth, and manipulation of the past, including the "unperson" – a person whose past existence is expunged from the public record and memory, practised by modern repressive governments. Often, this includes the circumstances depicted in his novels, particularly 1984.

While I don't think our founding fathers understood the concept of an "unperson" or manipulating the past, they did understand how Colonial rule worked which by all accounts came close to being Orwellian.

Comment: Baltimore was ripe for this (Score 1) 141

by Virtucon (#49589767) Attached to: Can Riots Be Predicted By Social Media?

Baltimore represents the best of urban decay. Sure there's new developments, the Harbor etc. but most of Baltimore resembles Detroit. If you take the plight of people living in that squalor and add a few professional malcontents and any reason, you can have a riot. Unfortunately Baltimore's leadership also failed, miserably. The Mayor should resign because from all news accounts and her public statements she didn't sufficiently protect the neighborhoods and businesses becoming trashed in the name of "racial justice."

Comment: Driving down the cost of content (Score 2) 329

by Virtucon (#49563183) Attached to: ESPN Sues Verizon To Stop New Sports-Free TV Bundles

This is another attempt at a Cable Company attempting to dictate the pricing that a content provider demands. Recently Verizon got rid of the Weather Channel. I for one applaud it because unlike a weather service, it's become a drama pump for all Comcast/NBC shit that the wouldn't put on the other channels. Especially during the evenings where instead of getting weather information you're getting "digging for rocks on mountains with pick axes" or "weather disasters that happened decades ago." Bah!

I think this is a double-ended play by VZ, one to squeeze the content providers and two to squeeze the consumers at some future point because they channels you had now are just going to cost you more because we "unbundled it for you" just like electricity providers unbundled the power generating services from the wires into your home. Yeah, that never works out well.

Comment: While I'm not agreeing with discrimination... (Score 1) 349

by Virtucon (#49542143) Attached to: Median Age At Google Is 29, Says Age Discrimination Lawsuit

I just have to wonder why we're all amazed as jobs get moved overseas with all the posturing, extortion and lawsuits that go on against companies. I mean if Google did it, then shame on them but if I had Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton doing their shakedown dance along with age, sex and X discrimination suits, it's no wonder that more jobs are being pushed overseas. On one side I praise businesses that are keeping jobs here and also saying "more power to you" in the face of all this litigation and extortion. Businesses, you shouldn't discriminate, ever. As soon as you learn this then you won't be getting taken to the cleaners either by plaintiffs or your own legal defense team or both.

Comment: Enabling technologies and law (Score 1) 66

by Virtucon (#49538941) Attached to: New Privacy Concerns About US Program That Can Track Snail Mail

The metadata collection of mail, or specifically knowing senders, receivers and dates of communication etc. has long been known as a law enforcement tool. The contents of private correspondence has been protected not only by the fourth amendment but also affirmed in 1878 ex parte Jackson:

a distinction is to be made between different kinds of mail matter -- between what is intended to be kept free from inspection, such as letters, and sealed packages subject to letter postage, and what is open to inspection, such as newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, and other printed matter purposely left in a condition to be examined. Letters and sealed packages of this kind in the mail are as fully guarded from examination and inspection, except as to their outward form and weight, as if they were retained by the parties forwarding them in their own domiciles. The constitutional guaranty of the right of the people to be secure in their papers against unreasonable searches and seizures extends to their papers, thus closed against inspection, wherever they may be. Whilst in the mail, they can only be opened and examined under like warrant, issued upon similar oath or affirmation, particularly describing the thing to be seized, as is required when papers are subjected to search in one's own household. No law of Congress can place in the hands of officials connected with the postal service any authority to invade the secrecy of letters and such sealed packages in the mail; and all regulations adopted as to mail matter of this kind must be in subordination to the great principle embodied in the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.

Of course based on reasonable suspicion law enforcement could always obtain warrants or with the help of postal inspectors focus in on one group or hierarchy of mail delivery to focus in on collecting this metadata. The protection for criminals conducting illegal activities was that there was so much mail that it would be hard to filter through it unless suspicious activity was observed. The FBI under Hoover however took it a bit further and intercepted mail and examined it without warrants under the guise of "counter intelligence." The Church Committee found:

Too many people have been spied upon by too many Government agencies and too much information has been illegally collected. The Government has often undertaken the secret surveillance of citizens on the basis of their political beliefs, even when those beliefs posed no threat of violence or illegal acts on behalf of a hostile foreign power. The Government, operating primarily through secret and biased informants, but also using other intrusive techniques such as wiretaps, microphone "bugs", surreptitious mail opening, and break-ins, has swept in vast amounts of information about the personal lives, views, and associations of American citizens. Investigations of groups deemed potentially dangerous—and even of groups suspected of associating with potentially dangerous organizations—have continued for decades, despite the fact that those groups did not engage in unlawful activity.

So, the NSA and it's surreptitious activities are nothing new to the Feds.

With the advent of OCR technology now you could sort the mail faster, 1000s of times faster than before but the side benefit was that huge amounts of metadata could be easily collected and it didn't require warrants or suspicions. Since sending letters requires another party, the Third Party Doctrine and in 1967 the Supreme Court in Katz v. US established a test to determine if when a person could assume that their communications were private:

1) "The Government's activities in electronically listening to and recording the petitioner's words violated the privacy upon which he justifiably relied while using the telephone booth and thus constituted a 'search and seizure' within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment." – Justice Stewart[1]
        2) Regardless of the location, a conversation is protected from unreasonable search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment if it is made with a "reasonable expectation of privacy".
        3) Wiretapping counts as a search (physical intrusion is not necessary).

Then in 1979, Smith v. Maryland, the Supreme Court ruled a pen search wasn't something that fell under the 4th ammendement. It further ruled:

Electronic equipment is used not only to keep billing records of toll calls, but also "to keep a record of all calls dialed from a telephone which is subject to a special rate structure."

Or as I read it "We live in the modern world, there's going to be records kept for billing that require tracking information or metadata"

So there you have the logical justification for mass collection of metadata, especially that as held by third parties including the US Postal Service which can now track all mail and provide huge metadata dumps to any government agency who wants them.

What has to happen is that third party doctrine needs to be constitutionally amended to include data we give to third parties. Third party doctrine also needs to include information shared to other Third Parties without your knowledge, which is what Facebook, Google, Intelius and other companies are all about.

Comment: Well then.. (Score 1, Funny) 197

by Virtucon (#49524259) Attached to: Concerns of an Artificial Intelligence Pioneer

"Our AI systems must do what we want them to do."

Then you probably shouldn't have chosen LISP then to indoctrinated AI students then, should you? Note: Stuart's and Norvig's AI book are one of the defacto references, I have read it cover to cover and anybody in CS should read it even if they aren't planning on working in AI.

Comment: Re:Those skeletons don't like daylight (Score 2) 163

The problem is American Revolution 2.0 will be viewed as a terrorist attack in today's political and cultural environment. It would be better if state governments took the lead to reign in the political issues at the Federal level. I'm not saying that States don't have their own corruption problems but their leverage would be more substantial than that of the general population rather than a bunch of crackpots flying gyrocopters onto the capital mall.

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

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