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United States

FBI Stops Satellite Phones 250

redbird writes "According to this article, the FBI is temporarily (although they have a different meaning for that word) blocking satellite phones that would allow world wide wireless service because such communications are difficult to tap."
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FBI Stops Satellite Phones

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Communism is a completely different thing. Communism is ONLY an economic system. It is not a philosophy of massive oppression and/or censorship on the people.
  • by m|sTaMoFo ( 50402 ) on Wednesday August 04, 1999 @04:35AM (#1766430)
    1: wiretapping is worthless against criminals. Criminals learned long ago to always speak in code over phone lines. Wiretapping only exists today for the monitoring of political groups that might pose a threat to the rampant corruption in American government, especially in agencies like the FBI that are used against the American people for political reasons.

    2: hmmm.... looks like nations are becoming obsolete. About fucking time. A few more decades and they can just drop the facades and the world will be able to go corporate!
  • I hope my original post didn't come across as too harsh. I wasn't trying to offend. Just trying to offer a different viewpoint.

    I find it interesting that everyone automatically assumes that people who are "paranoid" live in a constant state of fear.

    Do sysadmins live in a constant state of fear, or are they merely prudent? It seems to me that it is entirely possible to be prudent and cautious without living every waking moment in a state of fear.

    Currently, the average American is more than likely to be the victim of at least one violent crime in their life. Taking that information into account when you act is not letting your life be ruled by fear, any more than installing a firewall at work means letting your life be ruled by fear. It is merely prudent.

    I was trying to point out that you were not in any actual way truly punished. A woman got scared. Big deal, it happens, especially in today's society. The police checked up on you. Big deal, that's their job. You felt like an idiot and criminal. But those are just your feelings.

    I believe that you could have just as easily taken the position of understanding the woman's position and the cops' position and not felt like an idiot or criminal. Rather than feeling offended you can have felt understanding and sympathy. But that is just my opinion, not gospel :-)

    I agree that it is a little sad that we can no longer trust complete strangers. I also doubt that the sense of threat was her first impression. Probably at first she thought it strange that the car behind her was flashing its lights. Then when it persisted and escalated she began to get worried. Then when it pulled up beside her she got a little scared. And then there was some note that he held up to the window but she couldn't make out what it said and she got kinda scared at that point. Finally, when the car drove away she breathed a sigh of relief and decided to call the police. She decided that if she read a story in the newspaper about some poor girl getting raped and murdered by someone driving the same car as you, she wouldn't be able to live with herself not having called the police. She figured she was probably overreacting and being foolish, but she decided she would let the professionals figure out what the truth was rather than making that decision on her on.

    I don't know if that's what happened, but the point is neither do you. You are jumping the gun and making assumptions just like you are saying she did. Just like you claim she didn't try to understand your point of view, it seems to me that you aren't trying to understand her point of view. You are automatically assume the worst of her at the same time that you decry her assuming the worst of you.

    [For the record, there are many cases of female motorists who are kidnapped and raped while there is traffic around, so I don't think that substantially diminishes the validity of her fear.]
  • Screw Earth. The sooner all of us Smart People get off this dirtball and go to Mars/L5/Luna/Wherever, we'll be in MUCH better shape. If the normals want to spiral down the toilet bowl of restrictive governments and Racial Tensions (tm), let 'em. Those of us with courage, vision, initiative, imagination, and know-how can just move elsewhere. Maybe I'm selfish, but I'm not smart enough to solve all the problems of this planet. I AM smart enough, however, to route around them.

    It's like that scary dude in Alien:Resurrection said: "Earth...what a shithole..."
  • However much you do or do not trust the FBI, this is still bad news. If satellite phone companies are willing to give wiretap capabilities to a "legitimate" government in one case, why not other cases? And there are clearly governments out there that have even less regard for life than the FBI has for privacy.

    In fact, Iridium originally excited me because it is essentially a democratic technology. It can give information the power to cross borders unsupervised by authorities. Even at 2400 baud, it could send a whole lot of newspaper articles into the hinterlands of China or out of the jungles of Chiapas. If the corporation controlling it is going to start collaborating with governments, I guess that potential will be squashed.
  • Thats from Mao, only I think it was actually "freedom comes from the barrel of a gun", which is something I suspect an Objectivist might have some trouble with if the gun belonged to the state, but would agree with wholeheartedly if it was his own.
  • Consider the McCarthy witch hunts. If the technology had been in place to precisely know who 'the real Communists' were, innocent non-Communists would not have been persecuted. The information would have been better, hence far fewer innocent lives would have been ruined.
  • Heh... in the UK you have laws which require
    you to pass over all your encryption keys if
    asked by the government with a jail term if
    you fail to... that doesn't sound much better.

    Bolie IV
  • The following is from today's Philidelphia Daily News:

    A former IRS clerk in Philadelphia allegedly used a confidential government computer data bank to find and try to kill a restaurant manager who had accused him of robbing her.

    Dameia "Omar" Smith, 27, of Magnolia Street near Walnut Lane, Germantown, was indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury on robbery, attempted murder, unauthorized computer access and related charges.

    If convicted, Smith could be facing about 40 years in prison without chance of parole, said Assistant U.S. Attorney John J. Pease.

    Earlier this month, Smith was sentenced to 111/2 to 23 months in prison by a Bucks County judge for an unrelated attempted bank robbery in January in Northampton Township.

    In the new federal case, Smith allegedly pulled a pistol and robbed about $1,887 from a manager of a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant on Sept. 6, 1998. At the time, Smith worked nights as a clerk in the IRS' collection division of the Philadelphia Service Center in Northeast Philadelphia.

    The robbery happened in daylight outside a bank on City Avenue, where the restaurant manager had gone to deposit the restaurant's earnings from the prior night.

    Later, Smith was arrested for the stickup and learned the restaurant manager would testify against him.

    On Oct. 7, 1998, Smith allegedly tapped into an IRS computer data base, the Integrated Data Retrieval System, which contains "sensitive information about taxpayers."

    He used the IRS computer, without authorization, to get the witness' home address, the grand jury said.

    Then he used the information "to threaten and intimidate her to prevent her from cooperating with law enforcement officials," the prosecutor said.

    After she testified against him at a hearing in December, Smith tried to persuade an associate to kill her by handing him a gun outside her house on Jan. 25, 1999, the grand jury said.

    The associate, now cooperating with federal authorities, refused to do Smith's bidding.

    In February, Smith was arrested in Baltimore on unrelated charges and was sentenced to a short prison term for possession of a stolen handgun. He's been in jail since then.

    The IRS canned Smith in April, the prosecutor said.

    Note: The article does not say why he still had access to IRS computer after being busted on two violent felonies! Still feel safe if you have nothing to hide?

  • You checked with your own government here? Asked if they aren't actively blocking the Iridium frequencies? After all, the Chinese government is _almost_ as good at depriving you of your rights as the American...
  • I never realized exactly what was going on until I read your post. I think that these fears are encouraged because only the fearful will give up their rights for the promise of security. Divide and conquer as the saying goes. Divide the country, make citizens fearful of each other, and you'll be able to run right over them. It's really a very old trick and I'm somewhat embarrassed that I didn't see it before now.
  • Nonsense. Proof of innocence doesn't prevent corrupt politicians from targeting their enemies -- just ask Billy Dale. "Better information" just makes it possible for corrupt politicians to improve their aim.
    /.
  • It was a long, drawn out, complicated mess, and not well handled by the government authorities.

    What David Koresh and his followers didn't do that would almost certainly have saved their lives was come out with their hands up when asked to do so by clearly identifiable authorities. That would have required an amount of common sense greatly absent, however.

    Hindsight is always 20/20 of course.
  • It could turn out that we are of the same mind, if we work out the causal chains.

    But as people are distrustful of the gov, their distrust is unfocusable. It becomes a heat-seeker, and targets the strange, the unknown and the different. A black family in a white neighborhood, or the smiling stranger in a faceless crowd.

    I think that the distrust of the government is the *consequence*, not the cause. There is a biological bias to be distrustful of the strange and the different. If you perceive the environment around you as safe (huge media role!), then you become more tolerant of the different ones, and vice versa.

    It seems the causal chain would go like this:

    There is a certain level of actual crime ->

    Media tends to focus on crimes, so the *perceived* threat level becomes very high ->

    People become afraid and distrustful, especially of strangers (note that depending on the circumstances that might be the correct and rational thing to do) ->

    People tell politicians that they want 'safety' ->

    Politicians, quite happy, increase the powers of the government "to protect the people" and, usually not explicitly, to prohibit 'strangeness' and 'freakiness'.

    Yes, this is one way the governments get to be more powerful. My point was however, that govenments innately hunger for power without any prodding from the populace. So we should distrust governments and limit their power just because they are governments, and not because the population is afraid and actually encourages the governments to take away freedoms.



    Kaa
  • just like vietnam. in vietnam everythings illegal so the govt can nab any trouble makers it wants whenever it wants. Again it makes me kinda spooked if they decide to try to regain control again by going marshall law through some strategically planned Y2K disasters. Typically Im not a paranoid person but all these things the govt is doing openly is starting to get at me.
  • They can, although it isn't as easy for them as something like DES which I suspect they've found a flaw in. They've got a lot of very bright people working for them to undermine your constitutional rights in the name of national security. I wouldn't put my money on any encryption method being beyond their ability to crack. It would be funny though to give them encrypted white noise and see what kinds of funky patterns they do find in it.
  • on one more note, the fact that people living in cities and suburbs arent very neighborly is power in the gov'ts eyes. We cant easily gang up on the govt if we're so involved in work that we cant defend ourselves. I think its a good time to implement grassroots-style stuffs like a 2600 meeting in every city or whatnot. My dad owns guns (legally), which puts my house as a red flag in the gov't's eyes. To the gov't the cities are easy to take, the real work is going to be in the small towns scattered across america if they ever did pull that marshall law crap.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Let's get some things straight here about Iridium and similar sattelite phones.


    - The don't encrypt their transmissions. This was intentional because of the international nature of the phones. Many governments around the globe insisted on this as a condition of having Iridium downlink centers in their country. This enables any intelligence agency on this planet to hear everything you say on these phones with or without a warrant.


    - The phones can act a location device already. If the phones can see three sattelites they can pinpoint your location anywhere on the planet including current altitude. Apparently this feature already exists in Iridium from rumors I've heard.


    Don't feel sorry for any of these agencies, they have it all arranged to ensure they can keep snooping on anyone using these phones that they want. There are devices that can be used with the phones to encrypt all your transmissions, but from what I understand they are restricted because they don't want people doing this. Basically if you use a sattelite phone you are carrying a fully-eavesdroppable tracking device for the governments of the world. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if the NSA had a vested interest in keeping Iridium going for this very reason. They would probably be giving the phones away to people if they could afford to do it.

  • We have to assume that every legal form of communication that the FBI has not complaints on, is now being taped easily?

  • I found the following in S.1217 Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2000. [loc.gov]
    TELECOMMUNICATIONS CARRIER COMPLIANCE FUND For payments authorized by section 109 of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (47 U.S.C. 1008), $15,000,000, to remain available until expended.

    15 million directly spent to protect our governments ability to tap phones.
    It seems like a lot of effort being spent on a task that in the long run is going to fail.

    In the long run I don't think that the government can keep everything under wraps, it is as doomed to failure as the efforts in past centuries to keep the reading of the bible the exclusive domain of clergy.

    The only argument I have ever read by a non gov official for this sort of thing is in one of the Tom Clancy novels, were he has the terrorists using encryption to prevent their detection. However these same terrorists have the resources of an oil producing nation to back them up, So would pgp being exported really have been needed for them to be protected or would they have just been able to buy what they needed? After all in the book they are able to produce biological weapons to attack the US with, so how hard would it have been for them to operate without coming to the notice of the CIA without public domain strong encyption?

    So give me a break. Read my mail if you want to, but have fun I even have trouble keeping up with it.

    Check out the Lance Armstrong Foundation [laf.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm French and I would like to point out two things:
    - With the Echelon system, the US gov. has the means to control/tap every bit of data that get aired. I don't think that sat phones would be a great challenge.
    - I bet that a similar tradition of tapping already exists for the traditionnal wireless phones. In fact, in France, it has allowed to solve the murder of a high ranking official.

    Now, would the french police go to such extend to solve my own murder?

    As for the privacy, I don't think we ever had one...

    Snake (I've forgotten the password again - sigh, I should ask the NSA to retrieve it for me :)
  • hear, hear brother!

    Just because the news media portrays us all as twisted psychos on the edge of reality, doesn't mean we all are. Sure, maybe when I play Quake, but after that I'm just some dude. Our sensationalist news organizations portray a very different and scary world than the one outside, and they do it for ratings, no other reason. While this may help their bottom line, it warps the perspective of viewers (esp. over a long time)

    The FBI needs to chill the f*ck out and quit relying on wiretaps to get info. I can't even imagine some of the stuff that has been done in my name for my National Security.
  • Well here is a shameless plug for the libertarian
    Party. See what thier view is on the governments police tactics.

    http://www.lp.org
  • Once more, I hear paranoia at /. The Gvmnt right to a digital feed of phone info is emminent domain. Believe it or not, they don't have time to track ordinary law abiding citizens, just the criminals. Would you have a terrorist/drug trafficker in the US able to coordinate activities without any way for law enforcement to track his communications?

    Think about it, you're opening Pandora's box; and folks like don't care who gets hurt. True you take the risk that the law may be abused at some time, but then if you don't have such a law.. you can be certain that the loophole will be exploited by terrorists or criminals.

    Too many posts at /. have paranoid reply's, unfortunately our Founding Fathers had no idea of nukes, germ warfare, car bombs, etc. I have no doubt if they had, they would have supported the ability to infringe on those folks rights (who would commit such crimes) for the greater good of the nation.

    I've said it before, I'll say it again. If you have nothing to hide, you really have nothing to fear. But I personally support the right for the Law to fight back. You fight the Law...the Law will win.

  • Well, this will come close to nailing the coffin lid shut on Iridium. That company has had virtually nothing good happen to them, and are on the verge of filing for chapter 6 protection.
  • If we all showed up at big friendly 2600 meetings, whom would be left to "human engineer"? (translation- lie to, deceive, and steal from).
  • You sure got that one right. It the same reason why you have so much effort going into gun control. An armed populace is a free populace.
  • The old "UNIX" license plates were intended as humor. People wanted a Unix license. So somebody produced one. Get rid of the GPL and we can have such fun again.
  • Funny, last night Art Bell was talking to some woman in South America over an Iridium phone.. it sounded like she was in the studio with him. I was impressed.
  • The most recent example that comes to my mind are the McCarthy era commie witchhunts, although there are other much less publicized and more recent examples.

    I think this is heavily overshadowed by The War On (Some) Drugs, too. Thanks to the people's right to be protected from personal and property crimes inherent to drug dealing and consumption, we get to live in a frickin' police state.

  • by spinkham ( 56603 )
    Acording to this, the FBI is scared that they can't tap the phones easily, and when they can they can't trace it to a location. I happen to like that...
    What business does the FBI have having my location and phone call audio handed to them? If it's really that important for them to monitor a few "national security" cases, they can expend the energy themselves. However, making the phone companies set up their systems to trace everyone smacks of random monitoring and other Orwelian measures...
    I don't like our governments stand on privacy these days... Not at all.. It's only getting worse too...
  • Too bad Iridium seems to be in such bad shape... after all their initial hype, they're losing so much money that they're apparently near closing their doors. Motorola is near pulling funding for them as well.

    Check out this article on wired [wired.com] for more.

    -s
  • I hate conspiracy theories, but do you have any idea how much the CIA actually does?

    Don't sweat the CIA, baby. Ever since the Church Commission hearings, their wings are clipped, domestically anyway. Instead, why not worry about the NSA? They're the outfit with the capabilities.

  • Replace all occurrances of the word "criminal" with "citizen" and "terrorist" with "law abiding American" and you will see what the US government is really concerned with--tracking ordinary people to sell their information to the corporations who are really holding the strings.
  • In this so called democracy of ours, we, the minority, have to bend to the will of the majority. That works ok in many cases, but shouldn't there be a limit on what the majority can impose on the minority? Taking someone's privacy away crosses that line I would think.

  • For US$4000 for the phone and something like US$8 a minute it better sound like the person is in the next room!

    But really, this is the absolute last thing Iridium needs... they're so far in the debt tank I feel sorry for them now. Again, another great idea far ahead of its time.

    (You can see this story [suntimes.com] at the Chicago Sun-Times... today August 4th for more Iridium woes.)

  • We have an Iridium phone, they say a global connection is possible, but we could not get it to work in China or Hong Kong without being 1 mile from any building or tree. They must have 10 sats above the US and 1 above the whole cont. of Asia. It works fine in the states. But who needs it in the states right? This tech has a while to go before I use it again.
  • Isn't irridium pretty much shutting themselves down? They are 4+billion in debt and can't hold on to subscribers. Their service costs and arm and a leg, it's worth it to the small segment that needs it but that's really small.
  • Doesn't take much editing to produce:

    The FBI and other U.S. law enforcement agencies are worried that new space-based telephone systems, which theoretically allow a citizen to use a wireless phone from virtually anywhere on earth, will undermine their ability to control people and trace thought criminals through cellphones.

    Some may argue I am just paranoid. But I offer this: being paranoid is the way we protect our rights. The problem these days is we have been tricked into no longer caring. We are so wrapped up in petty material addictions, we can't even focus on the real issues. And when no one cares anymore, we will lose all of our rights.

    my $cents = $penny x 2;

  • If you think this version of the phone is bulky, you should see some of the prototypes of the Iridium Phone and Iridium Pager they have inside the Motorola Museum. They make the current one look sleek...
    ---
  • Blah, think I might have posted a blank message by mistake. Anyway:

    There are sufficient reasons to feel somewhat paranoid about this. "Why would governments collect this information and sell it to corporations, why not just raise taxes?" Because increased taxation looks bad, because lowering taxes has been a traditional campaign promise, and because it's harder to track monies coming from the sale of personal data than it is to track monies from taxation.

    But why else would the government want to collect this sort of information? A barrel of political reasons stick out. The slippery slope from "tracking criminals" to "tracking undesirables" has existed since the advent of computer technology. Another possibility is the same theory that drives insurance rates -- if the Jews, or the people making $25,000 to $45,000 a year, or the fathers of 2.5 or more kids are more likely to commit crimes, statistically, then monitoring those groups more closely would lead to prevention. Right?

    While it's easy to say "They are out to get us", I hope people will settle for "This makes it easier for them to get us" -- prepare for the worst, rather than expect it.
  • I thought that quote was from Chairman Mao....doesn't matter.
  • Amen... you hit it on the head. In the current frenzy for politicians to seem like they are "doing something" freedom is going right out the window. Amazing how little sense of history (or outrage) the body politic currently possesses.
  • I've been considering just emailing the FBI, CIA and NSA whenever I do something. Just so that their info is up to date. Maybe send some general outlies of my phone calls every now and then. For example "today a telemarketer called, I told him I didn't want any" or "well, I'm off to the bathroom. more email when I get back"

    Only problem is that I haven't figured out exactly whom to send it to. DDI maybe? Now if everyone did this, imagine how much money we could save in taxes! Could probably also flood their systems if enough people did it.
  • How about voting libertarian instead of democrat or republican?

    Bush and Clinton have both supported the spooks in their insistence that crypto be regulated and every phone be tapped.

    Nah. We want our hand-outs too bad. We would much rather watch the two parties have a pillow fight over a tax cut that amounts to 1% of GDP and accept the fact that they agree on everything that matters.

    Better to let the status quo proceed to the point where we are all fitted with wireless monitors and shock collars, which would only be invoked after due process and a court order, so don't worry.

    ;-)
  • Unfortunately corporations controlling things is what you get in a capitalist democracy. Especially a large one. It's caused by the need for vast amounts of money to get the name recognition necessary to win an election. So you go to the "people" with vast amounts of money, corporations. Thus, you are beholden to the folks that _really_ got you elected, not the people that voted to get you elected. Anyone follow that? It's why I'm chanting "Jesse in 2004", if for no other reason than to shake up a stagnant system.

    Reform is needed, communication is needed, education is needed, and VOTE GADDAMMIT! If people here spent half as much time researching candidates and picking the ones they want as they did bitching about the ones they have...they would save half their wasted time.

    The problem is the one of the fat and happy man. Being that because he is fat and happy he doesn't give a shit about what else happens, especially to "other" people, as long as he stays fat and happy....right up until the time his heart bursts.
  • >Check out the other reply, I mean; can't people express themeselves without juvenile vulgarity? The again he's probably a pubescent 21 year old who thinks every f*ur letter word is a great way to make a point.

    Sometimes a good expletive is exactly what fits, to borrow a bit from Buddy Hacket, if you were working in your garage and dropped an anvil on your foot, what would you scream "Speing is here!"? No, what would fit is something along the lines of "F*CK, my foot! I think I F*CKING broke it! OWWW, F*CK!"

    I'm sick of pointy heads pretending that they're too evolved to use profanity.

    >My reply...easy; I like being safe; and while it's shame that happened to you, ask yourself if she was your sister or wife; if that wouldn't make you feel better.

    If it was my sister or wife (I'm not married yet, 45 days and counting) I'd be happy that someone was nice enough to try to keep her from breaking down in the in middle of nowhere where some REAL sick could rape/murder her.

    >I have friends in Law Enforcement, and the trick is.. they are all fine people, who think of the greater good. Not Hitler types who want to infringe rights at every turn.

    I too have friends and relatives in law enforcement. MOST of them are great people, but some cops (the minority, but still far too many) get into the field because they have a power fetish and are too into the "I'm a cop" thing.

    There are two types of people who become LEOs, one is the honest caring person who wants to help society, the other is an asshole who wants to abuse power and push people around.

    LK
  • Neither Lenin, nor Stalin, nor any other Russian, Chines, or Eastern European leader claimed to run communist states, because a communist state is an oxymoron

    That is entirely correct. However, the common usage in the West was to call countries like the Soviet Union "communist" and countries like Sweden "socialist". The Marxist terminology, as you said, would be to call the first one "socialist", and the second one "capitalist".

    Furthermore, Marxism has been tested with warying degrees of success several places

    I claim that the "varying degrees of success" was not varying at all -- everywhere the "test" turned out to be a complete failure.

    However, in none of these cases where the conditions that Marx himself set forth (for instance in The German Ideology, and also of course in the Manifesto of the Communist Party) for a foundation for a successful transition to socialism and later communism present.

    That is also entirely correct, although the conditions that Marx set forth did not occur anywhere. I would argue that this point to (one of many) weaknesses of Marx's ideology, rather than serve as an explanation why the USSR could not be called a marxist state.

    ... a lot of early Soviet history skipped ...

    You are applying the classical western-marxist analysis to the Russian revolution. I myself tend to think that among the Russian revolutionaries some were idealistic "good guys", some were bloodthirsty sadists on a power high, and some were pragmatic "whatever it takes for me to keep my job/position/comforable existence". The ranks of the idealists thinned in the late teens and early twenties when they had to deal with a chaotic country that almost fell apart into many pieces, and the rest of them were shot during the purges on the late 20s and 30s. In the 30s the bloodthirsty sadists came to power (with very unfortunate consequences to the country) and since the 50s the pragmatists ran the slowly dying colossus. I am quite sure that the preponderance of peasants in the Russian population didn't make that much of a difference and even if the majority of the population *were* proletariat, things would have turned out to be much the same.

    Face it, Marx was wrong.

    Kaa
  • Agreed on the cause --> effect sequence. The same [c|w]ould happen in an anarchy, so the government doesn't impart the fear.

    My take on the government 'will to power' draws on Nitsche's Zarathustra however. As stated, governments are composed of individuals. Individuals are hungry for power, and being in a position to enforce one's will simply provides the means. A corrupt politician is the example. So is 'you can't fight city hall'. If you call their motives or reasoning into question, you are undermining their means to retain (or continue to gain) power - the resonse is driven by self-preservation. {tangent!! Ooga! Ooga!}

    This is why Communism failed {IMHO}. Individuals were handed means, and their individual interests overpowered the ideology.

    So, same conclusion: We should prevent (through inspection, peer-review, whatever) individuals and interest-homogenous groups of individuals (government, corporations, special interests, ethnicities, religions, earning brackets... umm.. thin ice?) from achieving too much power over other individuals or groups thereof.

    Thomas Jefferson said that a majority has no more right to enforce it's will onto an individual than an individual does to enforce his will onto a majority. This was said in the context of tyranny vs democracy. Oddly, Jefferson was a slave owner. Go figure! :)
  • 04.08.1999

    The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) places a ban on satellite phones, deeming them a risk to National Security. This ban remains in effect until the 43rd amendment (2011), outlawing any audio communication not routed through FBI voice-processing computers (VPCs).

    21.03.2000

    U.S. cryptography export regulations are tightened, limiting which countries cryptographers are allowed to visit. Banned countries include Tibet, Botswana, and the entire continent of Antarctica.

    02.04.2001

    President Bush Jr. (xtR)announces a "new commitment to making this country safe," and demands a four billion dollar budget for the Selective Wire-tapping Initiative Group (SWIG).

    21.09.2001

    SWIG begins random wire-taps under direction of the Federal Bureau of Investgation and Communication (FBIC).

    13.10.2002

    FBIC announces an alliance with France (a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Global) with the goal of "stopping all those France people from speaking in code."

    01.02.2004

    The US government places a temporary ban on fiber-optic pathways. Senator Slade Gorton (xtxtxtR, WA) cites that they "pose a very real, very present, very immediate threat to national security."

    30.01.2005

    President Bush Jr. signs into effect legislation requiring all citizens to carry Personal Identification Cards (PICs) which state relevant information including height, weight, gender, marital status, and political affiliation.

    25.05.2007

    After being re-elected by a landslide vote in the first MS Vote(tm) presidential election, George Bush pushes for stronger personal information availability. Personal Informative Devices (PIDs), which must be left on at all times, broadcast the wearer's religious affiliation, sexual orientation, and Operating System. A group of renegade Linux hackers, lead by known occultist Linus Torvalds, re-preogram their devices, thus creating Personal Un-identification Devices, and a great furor over the use of their PUDs.

    05.11.2008

    In a show of just how stupid they really are, the American people vote George Bush Sr. (xtxtR) back into the White House.

    07.04.2009

    President Bush Sr. gets lost on his way to the bathroom. In a breach of policy, he is not replaced by Vice President A Mr. Potato Head Doll, but by a vat-grown clone of J.E. Hoover.

    08.04.2009-03.01.2013

    History not available as it poses a risk to National Security.

    04.01.2013

    MS George Bush 3 takes office.

    07.01.2013

    MS George Bush 3 collapses in the Oval Office from apparent heart-failure.

    013.07.2013

    The Federal Bureau (FB) places a temporary ban on eye-contact, citing a high risk to national security.
  • Isn't it true that organisations only render evidence inadmissable as evidence if they don't gather it under a warrant? This means, they can do as much wiretapping as they like when out fishing for criminals, then they can apply for a warrant to get the evidence needed to nail the criminals.

    No, the fact of illegal search or wiretap not only invalidates it as an evidence against the person who was searched or wiretapped but can also get them sued just for doing it regardless of the reasons or purpose. There probably can be a lot of trouble with proof (unless they attempted to use it in court -- that makes proof of their illegal activities self-evident), however once it's proven, they are guilty.

  • So, same conclusion: We should prevent (through inspection, peer-review, whatever) individuals and interest-homogenous groups of individuals (government, corporations, special interests, ethnicities, religions, earning brackets... umm.. thin ice?) from achieving too much power over other individuals or groups thereof.

    We are almost in complete agreement, except that I would add a big stick to the means to prevent groups from getting too much power. Big sticks on occasions can be very useful...

    You are also right that the issue boils down to the philosophy of individual vs. a group. There is a basic, axiomatic choice to be made: in case of conflict of an individual and a group, whose values/interests/goals/points of view are more important? It's almost impossible to argue this issue, as it is too basic -- it's like arguing the existence of God. The issue under discussion -- what are acceptable limits to what a group can impose upon an individual "for the common good" -- follows directly from the stance taken in the base issue. Obviously, libertarians tend to favor the individual, and utilitarians tend to favor the group.

    Kaa
  • I should have said in the original post, that from the moment I drove away from the girl, through my interview with the police, I totally understood their rationale. Yes, she had every right to be scared - though IMHO she was overly so (subjective, I know).

    Yes, they were doing their job - prudently. I wish all the reports they have to follow-up on are as benign (while one was taking my statement, nicely as pie, the other was getting my cat to chase his flashlight up the wall - they both had fun). I sincerely hope that her 'encounter' with me is the worst thing that ever happens to her.

    What struck and thoroughly frustrated me, was that good intentions are simply not assumed by anyone. Everyone expects to get screwed by everyone. I somehow saw this as a judgement of my character. I know what my intentions were - but as you point out - no one else does.

    It's like being asked to take a drug test before getting a job offer. To me, it's an offense against my integrity, since I do not do that. The company is just trying to protect itself. Ah well, what can you do?

    Still, it would be nice to change something, that fundamental something.. I don't know if it's a factor of being human, or if it's a uniquely American phenomenon. I'm originally from Poland, and this would have never been an issue there, so I have to wonder.

    But anyway, I wish there was something that we could all do, to make sure that the world is less hostile (perceivably as well as actually) for our kids. I'd prefer that my child didn't have to face a similar situation from either perspective.
  • When the FBI says in 1993 that crime statistics show that 8 out of 10 Americans will be the victim of a violent crime during their lifetime, it's not paranoia.

    It's common sense.

    Have you ever read Strong on Defense? It's a thoughtful book. One of his main points is My safety first, your feelings second. His book is full of stories of people who were raped and murdered because they were trying to be considerate and didn't want to offend people.

    Really, who gives a fuck if you are insulted or think I'm rude as long as I am still alive and okay?

    What's more, I think the girl did the right thing by not pulling over. She should have kept driving until she found the first open business. Sorry that some police did the prudent thing by checking you out. Sorry that you were offended that they did their job. Sorry that some girl was afraid of stopping in a dark road in the middle of the night at the urging of some guy she does not know.

    I'm sorry if I'm coming across as harsh here, but really, I think she was prudent to not take the chance by stopping.

    I also think that the insecurity the average person feels on a dark street when a group of youths carrying guns approaches them has nothing to do with the government's paranoia of Iraqi terrorists or biological weapons. It has to do with the fact that Americans kill, rape, and rob other Americans.

    Finally, how exactly were you punished? Were you crucified? I don't think so. So just chill down and get off your offended high horse.

    Or would you prefer that when a scared woman calls the police they just ignore her complaint and don't follow up on it? What's the next step? You call the police because you think there is an intruder in your home, or because you were mugged and they figure you're just overreacting? Please. The police have an obligation and all they did was ask you some questions. Were you charged with anything? Did they incarcerate you?

    You weren't punished in any way. So don't try to pretend that you were.
  • You've hit the nail right on the head. It's always annonying to hear anti-communists rants from people who have obviously never read the Communist Manifesto.
    Additionally, there is a big difference between big-c Communists, and small-c communists. Big-c Communists are members (or supporters) of the traditional Communist Parties in China and the former USSR. Neither of these parties have exactly adhered closely to the ideals laid down by Marx. Small-c communists, on the other hand, are simply people who believe that the society Marx proposed would be a good one to work towards. This is analogous to the relation between small-d democrats and big-d Democrats. Just about everybody in America calls themselves democrats, but not everybody votes for the Democratic Party.
  • 04.08.1999

    The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) places a ban on satellite phones, deeming them a risk to National Security. This ban remains in effect until the 43rd amendment (2011), outlawing any audio communication not routed through FBI voice-processing computers (VPCs).

    21.03.2000

    U.S. cryptography export regulations are tightened, limiting which countries cryptographers are allowed to visit. Banned countries include Tibet, Botswana, and the entire continent of Antarctica.

    02.04.2001

    President Bush Jr. (xtR)announces a "new commitment to making this country safe," and demands a four billion dollar budget for the Selective Wire-tapping Initiative Group (SWIG).

    21.09.2001

    SWIG begins random wire-taps under direction of the Federal Bureau of Investgation and Communication (FBIC).

    13.10.2002

    FBIC announces an alliance with France (a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Global) with the goal of "stopping all those France people from speaking in code."

    01.02.2004

    The US government places a temporary ban on fiber-optic pathways. Senator Slade Gorton (xtxtxtR, WA) cites that they "pose a very real, very present, very immediate threat to national security."

    30.01.2005

    President Bush Jr. signs into effect legislation requiring all citizens to carry Personal Identification Cards (PICs) which state relevant information including height, weight, gender, marital status, and political affiliation.

    25.05.2007

    After being re-elected by a landslide vote in the first MS Vote(tm) presidential election, George Bush pushes for stronger personal information availability. Personal Informative Devices (PIDs), which must be left on at all times, broadcast the wearer's religious affiliation, sexual orientation, and Operating System. A group of renegade Linux hackers, lead by known occultist Linus Torvalds, re-preogram their devices, thus creating Personal Un-identification Devices, and a great furor over the use of their PUDs.

    05.11.2008

    In a show of just how stupid they really are, the American people vote George Bush Sr. (xtxtR) back into the White House.

    07.04.2009

    President Bush Sr. gets lost on his way to the bathroom. In a breach of policy, he is not replaced by Vice President A Mr. Potato Head Doll, but by a vat-grown clone of J.E. Hoover.

    08.04.2009-03.01.2013

    History not available as it poses a risk to National Security.

    04.01.2013

    MS George Bush 3 takes office.

    07.01.2013

    MS George Bush 3 collapses in the Oval Office from apparent heart-failure.

    013.07.2013

    The Federal Bureau (FB) places a temporary ban on eye-contact, citing a high risk to national security.
  • Urgh.

    "Communism is not an economic system at all. It is a political repression system, where one of the major ways to make the people completely dependent on the government is to prohibit private property (other than personal one)."

    This is not true. Communism, as it was originally intended, is the united force of the population taking care of itself through cooperation. ("Workers of all nations unite" (At least, I think that's how it goes)) What most misinformed Americans (including myself up until about two or three months ago) believe the only form of communism is the supposed Russian atrocities, but this is false. Many countries are using some form of communism.

    In true communism, people give up their possessions voluntarily, to provide for a better life for others. It is only when these rules are enforced at penalty of death that communism becomes what most consider it to be.

    Personally, I'll forever be thankful that I live in the United States, but I can actually see that other systems are not totally evil.
  • by jabber ( 13196 ) on Wednesday August 04, 1999 @08:22AM (#1766511) Homepage
    Point well taken, but as I see it, the two issues are strongly interconnected.

    I agree that distrust of the establishment is the duty of all citizens. After all, the gummint is there to represent US, it is there to work for US and to carry out our orders. We tell the gov what we want by voting. [If politicians tell us what we want to hear to get elected, and then do their thing, the system fails, but that's another matter]

    But as people are distrustful of the gov, their distrust is unfocusable. It becomes a heat-seeker, and targets the strange, the unknown and the different. A black family in a white neighborhood, or the smiling stranger in a faceless crowd.

    My point is that the overall level of distrust in the country is such, that it is out of control. It should be applied rationally, but there's simply too much of it. Each day we hear about murders, molesters, shooting sprees... Who has time to think through the latest anti-encryption legislation and what it really means, when they're worried about "road rage", Tim McVeigh and the kids in the local high-school??

    The government is (intentionally or not) playing the same game that makes the insurance companies tick. The probability of any given individual being a homocidal freak is small, but eveyone has to pay [with their liberties] to provide some semblance of security. This is why kids have to pass through metal detectors on their way into a school. They are uniformly subjected to heavy-handed authoritative behavior control, to protect them from the freak. But the message they receive is that any one of them might be a freak, and so they should be afraid of everyone.

    Our rights and liberties are being reduced to the lowest common denominator level. It's akin to political correctness - you're not allowed to do anything that someone, somewhere, somehow, might construe as offensive or threatening. You can no longer extend your hand to a stranger, because there is the potential that you will hit them. So if you hold out your hand, you're likely to get a hand-cuff on your wrist as a result.

    Looking back, I truly regret making that girl nervous enough to call the police - the thought never crossed my 'eager to help' mind. But more importantly, I'm sorry that she lives with so much fear in her life. I'm sorry she'll pass it on to her kids and friends and co-workers - just because some freak tried to flag her down on the highway.

    I'm sorry that she's so concerned about her immediate safety, about the threat of another individual, that she doesn't think rationally, and is therefore likely to vote for a liberty abridging ordinance to settle her worried little mind. And this, Kaa, is how being paranoid of individuals is connected to being paranoid of the government - at least in this freak's head.
  • Well, I had a similar history.
    While I was waiting for the bus to go back home from work, I saw a fight, two guys of my age, looked like normal persons, but really upset. In a moment a guy dressed "civilian" came running into the scene with a gun. From the bus stop I yelled "hold on, is not that serious". A simple fight, mostrly insults, don't require a 9mm gun.
    Well, the guy was a cop, and in minute one of it's partners arrested me for being involved in a street fight...(?!). Just because I tried to tell them that it was a simple fight (traffic problems) and a gun was a bit out of place.
    Next time I'll keep silent and I'll watch the guy kill someone. Who cares? This is the new millenium society!
  • >well now.. who would need it in the states? people who don't live there ofcourse.

    Huh? If you don't live/travel in the states, why would you care if its available in the states? He didn't say if you don't live in the states you don't need it. He asked if you *do* live in the states, why would you need it? (if you are out of coverage of traditional terestrial wireless away from populated coverage areas.)

  • This is the information age. It has nothing to do with money. It has to do with information. They are trying to figure who is on their side, and who's not.

    By the way, I'M NOT ON YOUR SIDE, YOU BASTARDS!!!
  • So all the potential buyers will have to buy and register somewhere else then.
  • Yes, and your statement is essentially correct. There is a band in the 1.6GHz range that is very popular for radio astronomy use, and the Iridium phones are transmitting right next to it. This adjacent signal can overwhelm the extremely sensitive receivers used in radio astronomy. They can't really filter Iridium out because the filter circuits reduce the sensitivity in the band they are interested in.

    There have been some agreements between astronomers and satellite telephone providers; take a look here [spaceviews.com].


    ...phil
  • Check out the other reply, I mean; can't people express themeselves without juvenile vulgarity? The again he's probably a pubescent 21 year old who thinks every f*ur letter word is a great way to make a point.

    My reply...easy; I like being safe; and while it's shame that happened to you, ask yourself if she was your sister or wife; if that wouldn't make you feel better.

    I have friends in Law Enforcement, and the trick is.. they are all fine people, who think of the greater good. Not Hitler types who want to infringe rights at every turn.

    But you're right, there is too much paranoia, as the reply's to this /. post will show.
  • Since I've had fantasies about living on a cruising yacht, where exactly this kind of highly portable, global service would make a lot of sense, I was intrigued by Iridium and did some careful checking.

    (1) It's useless for data. I believe the top transmission speed is something like 2400 baud.

    (2) It's horrendously expensive. The older Inmarsat technology can deliver a similar service using a suitcase-sized phone for about $ 1.50 a minute. This is less than half the cost of Iridium, and the phones cost about the same. Reports I've read about Iridium say that Inmarsat service actually works, with far superior service quality.

    (3) Service quality is terrible. It must be used outdoors, line of site with the satellites. Again, the old technology works a lot better.

    I read a news.com article (linked to the original story) which said that Iridium is failing because of marketing deficiencies. This is not true at all; I think Iridium's ads were pretty cool. The problem is the product and the pricing, both of which are terrible. As a cruising wannabe, I can only hope things get better.

    I hope GlobalStar realizes that unless they give much better service than Iridium, they will go down the same path. Lower per-minute rates are a good start, but they'll need to supply decent service, too. And that's going to be tough.

    D

    ----
  • "In true communism, people give up their possessions voluntarily, to provide for a better life for others. It is only when these rules are enforced at penalty of death that communism becomes what most consider it to be. "

    hmm so what do i live in? false communism? heh here in Canada and I imagine in the States as well is my taxes are "involuntarily" used for welfare, to provide a "better?" living for others. Its all shit no matter how you look at it.
  • I have friends in Law Enforcement, and the trick is.. they are all fine people, who think of the greater good. Not Hitler types who want to infringe rights at every turn.
    Ah, but those who would destroy freedom always think they're acting for the "greater good". McCarthy was quite sincere. COINTELPROers really believed that Martin Luther King was a dangerous subversive. Even Hitler and Stalin though they were doing the right thing.

    Didn't Justice Brandeis say something about how the greatest danger to liberty comes from well-meaning men?

    No one ever sets out to be an evil tyrant.

  • You're making several factual errors.

    I don't think so.

    I suggest you READ the Communist Manifesto - it's available on the web

    I have. I've read it before there was a Web.

    Prohibiting private property has nothing to do with communism ... Prohibiting private ownerships of the means of production has.

    And that's exactly why I said "other than personal". Private property other than personal is, to a great degree, property of means of production.

    ...Some Marxist ideology skipped...

    That's all fine, but we are not talking about Marxism, we are talking about communism. See the my post above about the two meanings of the word "communism". You may argue that the system that existed in the Soviet Union, etc. was not really Marxist, and technically was not communist at all, but the common usage in the Western countries clearly points to the USSR as the quintessential "communist" country. Marxism in its pure form was never implemented anywhere, so there is not much point in discussing what society might have looked like it it has happened somewhere. Communism (again, in the common meaning) has happened -- and the consequences were very brutal and unpleasant.

    Kaa
  • does anyone know what some of the keywords they pick up on are? I'd assume bomb, and possibly saddam hussein etc.

    Maybe we should pick one specific time to all call someone we know and put the slashdot effect to work :)

  • "Power comes from the barrel of a gun".

    The metaphor still works today, but it's a little different. More like: power is in the hands of those who are feared.


    Now assuming the FBI isn't the corrupt force that we believe it to be and that they actually are looking out for our "national interests," this means that the people get the power. This is the point of a democracy. So we aren't really loosing any power, just sacrificing direct control of it for indirect control.
  • Consider the McCarthy witchunts of a few decades ago (when super-paranoid Uncle Sam hounded his OWN citizens and demanded they answer questions abut their political views. "Are you now, or have you ever been, a Communist").
    These days, if your government wanted to track all Communists, for example, they woudl no longer need those expensive and potentially embarrassing trials.


    I take your point, but I think it is important to remember that the McCarthy trials were not in any way, shape or form about finding 'communists'. It was all about a particularly objectionable group of people retaining and increasing their power. The trials were not only desirable to those involved, they and the publicity they generated were the whole point (There may have been some rather ignorant and stupid people involved who actually believed they were fighting the 'dirty commies', such people have always and will always be used as pawns in the games of others (to paraphrase a certain astute political analyst mentioned in my .sig :)).
  • That means abortions are legal, drugs are legal, nothing against homosexuality, etc. That makes a lot of sense to me, far more than those damn Flying Monkey Right Republicans saying all that stuff is against the Bible, so it should be outlawed.

    Especially since most of the time they are just waving the Bible around and screaming nonsense since the Bible doesn't mention a lot of the stuff that they proclaim to be evil. People like that give us real christians a bad name.

    Kintanon
  • I've been thinking about this for a while now and it strikes me this would make a really good fun project and would pretty much render any of the govt's half-assed attempts of listening in obsolete. I'm thinking something that looks like a ratshack dialer that negotiates strong encryption on pickup (providing clearvoice if negotiation doesn't work). i.e. something *really* simple to use. Well okay maybe that wouldn't work, maybe just building the specs for a phone..

    But to get around encryption policy, we'll do what all the smart kidz do, separate hardware from software :)... have a serial port or something that uploads the code automatically (via windows,macs,linux etc) .. the hardware kidz don't have to worry about export controls since they are just selling a glorified modem, and the software kidz can write their own drivers..

    I guess this can be done in steps

    1) providing strong encryption capabilities to 'net phones' would be easy to do (if this hasn't been done already)
    2) work out a simple box that basically mimics the capabilities of a modem i.e. just like above but automatically ..
    voice->digital->encyption->analog->phoneline->anal og->decryption->voice

    3)stick the code in ram use the cheapest general purpose chips available, on a cheap circuit board, provide an interface to upload the code *separately* from the hardware..
    but make the use is simple enough that everyone and their mom will use it.. (i.e again it should be no more complicated than plugging it in to a serial/usb port and running a program that asks for a number between 512->8192 for length of key for example :) )

    hell how cool would it be to make the thing
    get the code automatically by dialing up a 1800 number !


    now no one will get busted for selling the hardware since by default it doesn't do anything or just sends cleartext (or clearvoice i mean:)). The software people will do what they are good at.

    We *ALL* know how efficient it is for the govt to surpress software based encryption right? :)
    (Basically the idea is that the only thing that
    is slowing strong encryption down is ease of use rather than any matter of principle)

    What do you guys think? Have I been smoking too much crack?
  • #define LONG_WINDED_MEANDERING_RANT

    Ironically, on the issue of encryption, big multi-national corporations are more-or-less on OUR side. They do not want their critical business data compromised by some corrupt agency entrusted with key escrow. If privacy is completely outlawed, that means that they can't legally have any privacy either.

    The conflict is pretty national security interests against absolutely everyone else. Statism is worse than corporatism in this case. (Admitting that the State-Corporate relationship has become rather incestuous)

    Corporations operate within the law. Usually when we rail at them it is for some erosion of our liberties that they have successfully lobbied the GOVERNMENT to enact.

    Corporations mechanistically seek the benefit of those they serve (shareholders) within limits imposed on them by the state (laws). Moral Good/Bad doesn't have much to do with it -- they are playing by game rules. I think the reason that capitalism has been so successful an economic engine is that it does not require moral 'goodness' of its participants to function.

    The institution which constrains corporate actions is the state, which in rhetoric serves all the people, particularly the non-powerful, for the principles of fairness and justice. This is the institution that has failed in its mission as well as the institution that is depriving us of freedom now.

    It is a shame that since we do not have a functioning democracy things have gotten to this point. Institutionalized corruption (i.e. campaign finance + media campaigns) masquerading as democracy has predictably failed to insure us our liberties.

    The appalling lack of vigilance in defending their liberties by an apathetic people definitely gets a big heaping serving of blame, though.

    Corporations serve those that own them. The government is supposed to serve the people. When corporations end up owning everything in sight it is the government that has failed.

    On encryption, I'm pretty sure it is not evil corporations lobbying for restrictions on encryption because they pretty much think said restrictions are stupid and make things more difficult for them. The only people lobbying for fascist encryption laws are the police/national security interests.

    A world in which information can be effectively and easily be hidden from subpoenas and spooks is a world in which these agencies cannot be effective and needn't continue to exist. (Gee, what a horrible thing that would be ;-)).

    Nations are becoming paranoic because they have realized, correctly, that they are no longer needed.

    #undef LONG_WINDED_MEANDERING_RANT
  • Ok, a lot to reply to here, so I'll be terse. No offense intended.

    Really, who gives a fuck if you are insulted or think I'm rude as long as I am still alive and okay?

    I refuse to live in that level of fear. I think that quality of life matters as much as it's continuance.

    Sorry that some police did the prudent thing by checking you out. Sorry that you were offended that they did their job. Sorry that some girl was afraid of stopping in a dark road [...] some guy she does not know.

    Not at all. 7:30pm is light, road was busy, but that's besides the point. I'm glad the police followed up, although I was surprised. I'm surprised that the sense of threat was her first impression.

    Finally, how exactly were you punished? Were you crucified? I don't think so. So just chill down and get off your offended high horse.

    My name is now on a police report. It's not an official 'record', but it's in a computer. I wasn't crucified, but I wouldn't be surprised if it came back to bite me. Say I try to get a job working on a government security project. Guess what the background check will turn up... I guess the paranoia is contagious.

    As for my high horse... Apologies. Next time I'll be sure to be more sensitive to your personal point of view, and tailor mine so as to not offent you. After all, it's your world - I just get to live in it.

    You weren't punished in any way. So don't try to pretend that you were.

    Not as such, no. But I ended up feeling like an idiot, and boarderline criminal, for trying to help. Does the name Pavlov ring a bell? I've formed an association now, and if you're broken down along my highway, I'm not likely to stop to help anymore.
  • You have a lot more faith in the integrity of our government than most people on Slashdot. Many of the people here see a government bent on controlling every aspect of our lives "for our protection", while our protection (and rights) seems to take a back seat to the policical agenda of the FBI, Congress, or anyone else who can afford to bribe^H^H^H^H^Hgive soft money to these people.

    The most recent example that comes to my mind are the McCarthy era commie witchhunts, although there are other much less publicized and more recent examples.

    Just put yourself between a politician and his money if you want to see this for yourself.
  • 1) Wiretapping is not going to do anything. Any criminal sufficiently sophisticated to have a satellite phone is also sufficiently sophisticated enough to be able to use a normal phone and encrypt his/her communications. The government can then wiretap a bunch of line noise that's of no use.

    2) Why should I forfeit some of my liberties to catch these drug dealers? If they break other laws, such as killing people, then go after them for that, but I really don't care if they sell a bunch of drugs to people who want to buy them (and will find a way to get them whether the FBI likes it or not) anyway. I certainly don't want my money and freedoms forfeited in a futile effort to stop it.
  • There already is a law: in 1996 the FBI got Congress to pass a law requiring the phone companies to build in silent tapping ability on all phone systems. The FBI was afraid that they wouldn't be able to tap digital phone calls with their old analog skills. This Iridium mess is an offshoot of this law.


    ...phil
  • This poster seems completely ignorant of history. To assert "they [Founding Fathers]would have supported the ability to infringe on those folks rights (who would commit such crimes) for the greater good of the nation." Is utterly ridiculous. In case the poster doesn't realize it, the "Founding Fathers" were revolutionaries who used armed force to overthrow the "legitimate authority" and laws of the colony.

    I suggest that the poster read a little Jefferson, Madison etc. before he further embarrasses himself by displaying such ignorance.

    Needless to say - I strongly disagree with the posters position in addition to being offended by the asinine assertions with respect to the historical context of this type of behavior. Remember, they were just enforcing the law and following the orders of "legitimate" authority in WWII era Germany, in Cambodia, in Argentina, in Chili and so on.
  • >Why woud they go to all these lengths to gather info on everybody just to sell it to corporations?

    Why do you think that several states are selling Driver's License info (along with digital pictures) to a company to make a HUGE "check fraud" database?

    We've been sold out, most of us aren't able to realize it though.

    LK
  • Sounds just like something a Cop would do.

    Don't give in though! We can't let the police/gov. bully us. We are supposed to own this country god dammit! The people!

    I know some people who have had their cars searched without any probable cause at all. If a cop ever tries that with me, I'm gonna kick his ass. Sure I may take a beating and get arrested, but I will make a statement. We are supposed to have rights, we need to protect them.

  • Since Iridium is a LEO constellation, the satellites are always moving wrt the Earth. The US and China should be having the same satellite coverage.


    I wonder if there's a source of electrical interference causing the problems instead, like maybe a frequency conflict with a different ground-based communications system, i.e. some wildcat mobile phone operator infringing on their bandwidth.

    br)
    Phil Fraering "Humans. Go Fig." - Rita
  • To summarize: A man in ancient China invents a kite that can be used for human flight (a sort of hang glider.) The emperor sees the man flying in the sky, and summons him to the court. After the man decribes the operation of the machine, the emperor informs him that he will have to be excecuted, regretfully explaning, (paraphrase) "It is not you I fear, but another man, one who will use the machine for evil purposes." The man is beheaded and the machine burned with his remains, because the security of the state is paramount.

    This is always the case in an authoritarian regime.
  • by jetson123 ( 13128 ) on Wednesday August 04, 1999 @06:55AM (#1766554)
    Let's look at the larger context:

    • Federal three-letter agencies strongly oppose export of encryption. The move is clearly not designed to make encryption inaccessible to criminals (since it's easy to get around the export controls), but to prevent strong encryption from becoming part of the day-to-day communications infrastructure.

    • Upcoming cell phone standards must include GPS or similar in the handsets so that the location of each phone can be determined easily.

    • Echelon and other projects suggest that widespread monitoring of voice and data communications has been carried out in the past and will continue to be carried out.

    • Store and mail order purchase data is recorded for marketing purposes, but also available to law enforcement on demand (c.f. Lewinsky's book buying habits). Purchases of some legal materials (e.g., hydroponics, fertilizer, etc.) could result in closer scrutiny by law enforcement.

    • With some current anti-theft devices and car computers that record trip data for maintenance purposes, the whereabouts of your car and your driving habits may be recorded and available to law enforcement.

    • Public, traffic, and private surveillance cameras are becoming very commonplace, and their data is increasingly networked and stored in digital form.

    • Law enforcement, banks, and medical providers are collecting DNA databases, fingerprint databases, iris databases, dental databases, medical databases, and other biometric databases for a variety of purposes. With that information on-line, it becomes very quick and easy to establish the presence of any person at pretty much any location.

    • Large, anonymous cash transactions are essentially impossible in the US these days, as is the import/export of significant amounts of money without government scrutiny.

    • Much of the data that is being collected is inaccessible by the individuals it's being collected on. Much of it is stored in proprietary databases with no requirements to give anybody (other than law enforcement) access. Even data collected by security agencies and law enforcement may not be available during routine legal proceedings, since the government may make an argument that revealing the full extent of the data collected on you would hamper future data collection efforts. That is, data may be used against you, but you may not be able to obtain access to it for your own defense.

    Now, I don't think this is one big conspiracy. Each of the individual decisions may make sense, but the overall result is that the government, and possibly other people with enough money, can find out just about anything about you that they want to.

    This might not be quite so bad if everybody understood clearly the possibilities. But most US residents still seem to assume that their privacy is protected, that their conversations are private, and that a purchase at most results in annoying junk mail.

    Similarly, the legal system and juries have no basis yet for judging the new realities. For example, setting penalties for anything from traffic violations to murder has not only been based on the severity of the infraction, but also on the likelihood being caught; penalties for speeding and car pool violations are high because people get away with them most of the time. If photo enforcement changes that, it completely changes the equation.

    There is also considerable potential for abuse of such data. Information gathered by these means may not reveal illegal behavior, but law enforcement may still be used to embarrass and harrass potential witnesses or suspects.

    The US strikes me like one of the countries furthest along in eroding privacy rights. For example, in many other countries, strong encryption is legal, large cash tranasactions are not subject to reporting requirements, and buying plant growing equipment doesn't automatically make you suspect of growing pot (or if it does, it may simply be legal).

    Many of those mechanisms have been put into place under the umbrella of the "war against drugs", "anti-terrorism measures", and "protecting US defense secrets". But the societal costs resulting from the compromises that needed to be made to achieve those goals are not well understood. I must admit, the US government's obsession with drugs, terrorism, and defense secrets strikes me as bordering on collective paranoia.

    We may well be able to live comfortably in a world in which all of our actions are very transparent and accessible to a wide variety of government agencies and businesses. But the combination of 19th/20th century laws, behaviors, and assumptions of privacy together with 21st century surveillance, tracking, and database technology strikes me as very dangerous. Either we have to regulate surveillance uses of these new technologies and enact strong privacy regulations, or our society has to undergo some profound transformation to deal with the new realities.

  • This is the FBI we're talking about. This is the organization that was illegally surveilling every significant civil-rights organization in the US in the '60's, 70's, and 80's.

    This is the pack of jackbooted thugs who stormed Randy Weaver's house, murdering his wife and son, after he refused to show up in court on a charge that he was framed with.

    (Remember the name "Lon Horiuchi." Mr. Horiuchi shot Vicki Weaver in the head, with a sniper rifle, knowing that he himself was in no danger whatsoever from Weaver. That son of a bitch would be in the fucking gas chamber if this country still had a *justice* system.)

    This is the club of hard-core racists who sent death threats to Martin Luther King, demanding that he commit suicide.

    This is the agency who's world-renowned "crime lab" has been shown to have a habit of delivering whatever "evidence" a prosecutor asks for.

    I don't *want* their job to be any easier, god damn it. I want them disbanded, and every single agent in the chain of command of *any* illegal operation barred from working in law enforcement anywhere in the United States.

    Don't kid yourself. The FBI routinely does things that we'd all like to believe only communist governments do.

    -jcr
  • The purpose of criminalizing peaceful activities is to allow the government to fuck over anyone they find inconvenient to deal with.

    I'll tell you this, though: If the good citizens (i.e those who can still vote because they never did time on a bullshit drug-posession charge) of the USA (i.e those who can still vote because they never did time on a bullshit drug-posession charge) ever decide to outlaw Judaisim the way they outlawed being Japanese in the 1940's, I'll be the best-armed Jew anyone ever tried to ship to a camp.

    -jcr
  • the FBI is temporarily (although they have a different meaning for that word)

    Do you mean the word "temporarily" or the word "is"?
    /.

  • Sounds more to me like the Chinese government is doing something to prevent the system working in there area Iridium Jamming anyone?. Or maybe it just works that bad everywhere.... There are a great many Iridium sattellites, somewhere around 60, and they are all in low orbits , not geostationary ones. Hence you cannot have a certain number sitting above any fixed area.
  • Jerks

    (Go ahead, moderate me down, I dare you!)

    Kris.

    Win a Rio [cjb.net] (or join the SETI Club via same link)
  • It's funny, yes... But I wonder how the CIA, FBI, NSA, IMF, KGB, etc (Echelon et al) would stand up to full disclosure. After all, the government is composed of citizens, and the citizens have the right to know. They should know. Everything. I'm installing a pressure sensor under my toilet seat right now!!

    Could the NSA and company HANDLE a denial of service data flood? Any spooks out there care to comment? Comon guys... We know you're listening... Don't be shy.
  • Here here! Read the Constitution. It isn't difficult, or long. It spells out what the government is permitted to do, what it is especially not permitted to do, and reserves all other rights to the people. Read the Declaration of Independence. It is frightening that espousing those views today makes you a dangerous potential terrorist if the tone of the media these days is any indication. And if you think what a bunch of dead white guys wrote is irrelevant today, go back farther, to St. Francis, to Rome, to Greece. It is amazing how much relvance Plutarch's "Lives" has to the vicissitudes of corporate culture today. People have not changed much in 3000 years. 220 years ago, the highest and best expression of personal freedom was created and enacted into the fundamental law of the U.S. It's a damn shame to let it slip away. For all our technical cleverness, we will be regarded as especially stupid if we let it happen.
  • Market System:
    you trade one cow for three sheep

    Beauracracy:
    the government takes your three cows, kills two, and pours the milk down the drain

    Fascism:
    the government takes all your cows, and sells you milk

    Communism:
    the government takes all your cows and gives you milk
  • All of this wiretapping crap is done "in your best interest". Well, maybe I know what my best interest is, dumbass.

    Government intervention in cases like this is about trading individual freedom off against freedom for everyone. In many cases, it could be in _your_ self-interest to do X, but if everyone did X, we'd all be worse off. So the government has to step in and forbid X. In this particular case, you're trading off individual freedom to encrypted communciations, against freedom for everyone from terrorist attacks, crime and the like.

    This is not to say that I agree with what the US government and the FBI are doing. Quite the opposite in fact. But you can't just say 'Get your hands off me, let me do whatever the hell I want'.

    Maybe you don't agree with the tradeoff that the government has made - it gives too much emphasis to the group and not enough to individual freedoms. But in other cases, even you depend on the government to restrict people's freedom. What if everyone decided to apply your 'I know what my best interest is, dumbass' principle to serve their own 'best interest' by, say, stealing? It's in the 'best interest' of individuals, but not of society as a whole.

    Not to mention that gun thing - You can ask the poor people in Kosovo about what happens when you take all the guns.

    You can ask them what happens when you have militias with guns roaming the streets. The most important task in Kosovo right now is to disarm the KLA, and get rid of the guns. Otherwise you get revenge attacks, such as those Serbian farmers who were murdered while bringing in their harvest. If the KLA had been disarmed, that would not have happened.

    You might argue that the best answer to Serbian military aggression is to arm the KLA and let them fight back; but if countries like Russia had not armed the Serbs in the first place, the war could not have happened.

  • Communism is a completely different thing. Communism is ONLY an economic system. It is not a philosophy of massive oppression and/or censorship on the people.

    Whaaaat? [boggle]

    Communism is not an economic system at all. It is a political repression system, where one of the major ways to make the people completely dependent on the government is to prohibit private property (other than personal one).

    You could, maybe, argue that marxism is an economic system, although there are major problems here as well. But communism?? Communism cannot exist without massive oppression and censorship.

    And yes, I know what I am talking about.

    Kaa
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 04, 1999 @04:12AM (#1766607)

    Again, I'm a lowly Canadian here and SOMETIMES I think that our government is a little more sane, although over time the spineless PM here knuckles under to the US for whatever reason. But these events are starting to worry me.

    All of this wiretapping crap is done "in your best interest". Well, maybe I know what my best interest is, dumbass. Freedom is not without risk. You can't have it both ways. Personally, I want less governemtn invovlement and more risk - because I can make that decision.

    Before the chorus starts up about Drug Dealers, Iraqi Nuclear Bombers, Sarin-Gas wielding manaics, etc, let's assume you're right. Why not give them what they want! Let's wiretap everything. Let's outlaw all encryption. Let's do away with that pesky probable cause. Let's take all the guns from the people. Let's have a drug test mailed in with your income tax. Let's censor the media.

    That's not a world I want to live in. That's not what millions of people died in World War II to protect.

    We're selling our souls, and it's almost to the point where only outlaws have freedom. Not to mention that gun thing - You can ask the poor people in Kosovo about what happens when you take all the guns. Ban guns in Cities - don't ban my right to OWN a gun. That's how the Wild West worked.

    I'm on a rant here - but you can fucking bet that when I get my finances to the point where I'm independantly wealthy, I'll be working on the last refuge we have - transparent encryption of all communications. You've lost all your other "freedoms".

    Remember kids.. Power comes from the barrel of a gun. Don't let anyone else tell you otherwise.

    AC.. With damn good reason.

  • It's not about rights and liberties, it's about fear. It's about the expectation of the worst overshadowing the fact that people are inherently not evil. Bear with me...

    ... snip! ...

    And how does this pertain to the article subject matter? Well, as long as the government insists on making us feel insecure in our own country, with Commies, and Iraqi terrorists, and biological weapons around every corner, we will keep suspecting each other of cruel intentions. As long as we keep being afraid, the government will keep trying to protect us from each other. As long as the government keeps trying to keep us safe, we will feel our rights erode, and we will be even more paranoid.

    You miss the point. We (at least I, and I suspect, a lot of people on this board) are not afraid of each other or of individuals in general. The whole discussion is not about threats you face on the streets. I have not heard a single person (as opposed to a governent official or a politician) demand more stringent national security because he was afraid of Iraqi terrorists. Fear and suspicion of fellow people is a completely different topic.

    What we are talking about here is government powers and the abuse thereof. I am suspicious of governments and I believe I have good reasons to be. History, and in particular, XX century history, should teach everybody (who is capable of learning, that is) that governments have huge appetite for power and if they get this power, Very Bad Things (tm) tend to happen. It doesn't really matter if the original goals were good/idealistic -- power corrupts and does it quickly and effectively.

    I trust people -- but I definitely don't trust governments.

    Kaa
  • by jabber ( 13196 ) on Wednesday August 04, 1999 @04:16AM (#1766642) Homepage
    This is somewhat off-topic, but pertinent to the larger theme we're seeing here...

    It's not about rights and liberties, it's about fear. It's about the expectation of the worst overshadowing the fact that people are inherently not evil. Bear with me...

    Last night, while driving home from a class, I saw a car on the highway, spewing smoke out the back end. Not from the tailpipe, but from underneath the engine. It was coming out so much that when I pulled behind it, I got dropplets of oil on my windshield.

    I tried to get the driver (a girl my age) to pull over. I flashed my lights, turned on my directionals and hazzards intermittently, and tried to get this girl to pull over, since I thought she might like to know that she stood to loose the engine if she didn't keep an eye on the oil level. Silly me.

    Well, after a couple of minutes, and three lane changes later, the girl wasn't getting the point, and she seemed to be getting upset. So, I wrote a note on a piece of paper that said "leaking oil", showed it to her, and went on my way.

    About an hour later, two state cruisers, two troopers and dog show up at my house to take my statement. Apparently, the girl thought I was trying to run her off the road, and kill her, and rape her and whatever else. So much for good intentions.

    Well, they took my statement, looked at my car for damage (I should have had them look at the oil splattered on the windshield, but in the moment, it didn't come to mind - I should have kept the note, but I tossed it at a gas station since I didn't need it anymore), and left.

    It made me understand how people can stand by and watch as someone gets beaten or killed in the street, and not lift a finger. It's not worth the hassle to go out of your way for another person anymore. It's not worth watching out for your 'fellow man' anymore.

    I'm a parochially schooled, college degreed, well paid professional software engineer. I have a steady girlfriend, a nice car, a normal life, and (god forbid!) good intentions. But, with the rampant paranoia (at least in the U.S.) these days, it's hadly worth the hassle of watching out for anyone buy the proverbial 'number one'. It's a mistake I'll have to be careful not to make again.

    And how does this pertain to the article subject matter? Well, as long as the government insists on making us feel insecure in our own country, with Commies, and Iraqi terrorists, and biological weapons around every corner, we will keep suspecting each other of cruel intentions. As long as we keep being afraid, the government will keep trying to protect us from each other. As long as the government keeps trying to keep us safe, we will feel our rights erode, and we will be even more paranoid.

    We need common sense, and good upbringing. We need to NOT be punished for trying to help. We need to stop crucifying good Samaritans, and start acting like them. We need to stop looking over our shoulder, and start looking into our common good - not just as individuals, but as a nation, and as a world.

    And if someone who can afford a satellite phone wants to sneak information past Echelon, they can hire a personal courier.
  • Communism, as it was originally intended, is the united force of the population taking care of itself through cooperation. ("Workers of all nations unite" (At least, I think that's how it goes))

    You are somewhat confused. Let's try to clear up some of terminology.

    "Utopian socialism": forerunner to Karl Marx from which he (Marx) borrowed a lot of ideas about the desirable form of society. Under utopian socialism everybody lives in the same conditions, labors for the general good, owns nothing, and generally behaves himself. This is basically a secular form of a monastic order. People nowadays tend not to know anything about utopian socialism and tend to be horrified when they learn the details, which are very unpleasant (as in death penalties for insubordination, prohibition on any unsanctioned sex, breeding of people for genetic traits, etc.). Campanella is a good example of an utopian socialist writer.

    "Marxism": an economic, social, and political philosophy, formulated by Karl Marx. Never implemented in reality. Economically it is based on common ownership of means of production (Marx was very vague as to who would actually run factories), socially -- on utopian socialism, and politically -- on violent revolution overthrowing existing governments worldwide, with the semi-anarchic global community without any governments to follow.

    "Communism": two meanings. Meaning one, the original one: a phase in the socio-economic history of manking that follows capitalism. Very rarely used nowadays. Meaning two, the common one: the political, economic, and social structures implemented in Russia in the beginning of the century, and later in Eastern Europe, China and some other countries. It mostly has been developed by Lenin, so sometimes the word "leninism" is used. I use "communism" in it's second meaning.

    By the way, the meaning of the expression "Workers of the world, unite!" is "unite, so that we together can overthrow all the governments in the world". It has nothing to do with population taking care of itself through cooperation.

    What most misinformed Americans (including myself up until about two or three months ago) believe the only form of communism is the supposed Russian atrocities, but this is false.

    First, I am not a misinformed American. Second, the Russian atrocities are not supposed but quite real. By the best estimates Stalin killed about 20 million people by artificially induced famines in the 20s, plus about 10 million perished in labor camps during Stalin's lifetime.

    Many countries are using some form of communism.

    Right now I can think of North Korea, maybe Cuba, but that's about it.

    In true communism, people give up their possessions voluntarily, to provide for a better life for others.

    I don't know what do you mean by "true communism". Karl Marx certainly didn't envision it this way. Some utopian socialist did, but see above re their views.

    It is only when these rules are enforced at penalty of death that communism becomes what most consider it to be.

    It so happened that these rules always were enforced at the penalty of death. Doesn't it tell you something?


    Kaa
  • Anonymous Chemist wrote:

    Once more, I hear paranoia at /. The Gvmnt right to a digital feed of phone info is emminent domain.

    No, "eminent domain" is the right of the government to take private property in exchange for just compensation. It is completely unrelated to what we are talking about here. The government has no right to a digital feed of phone info, in fact, the Fourth Amendment explicitly says the opposite, that a citizen has the right to security against such searches unless probable cause exists, and an appropriatly detailed warrant is issued.


    Believe it or not, they don't have time to track ordinary law abiding citizens, just the criminals.

    Believe it or not, even without bringing paranoia into the mix, they sometimes have trouble distinguishing between law abiding citizens and criminals, and try to track them anyway. That is one reason why we have a Fourth Amendment, to ensure that there are checks and balances on the government when it comes to investigating citizens.


    Would you have a terrorist/drug trafficker in the US able to coordinate activities without any way for law enforcement to track his communications?

    First, you are misrepresenting the issue. We are not preventing the government from tracking terrorists. If they pay attention to the rights of citizens it is merely more difficult to track a terrorist or drug trafficer, not impossible. Secondly, I, and most people I know, know and accept that if they maintain our rights as citizens, law enforcement's job is harder, and there might be more crime. That is the price of freedom.


    Think about it, you're opening Pandora's box; and folks like don't care who gets hurt.

    No, the Feds are opening Pandora's box by removing the citizen's right to protection against searches. They don't care who gets hurt. In addition, if we get another J. Edgar Hoover in the FBI, than the paranoid fears are all justified.


    True you take the risk that the law may be abused at some time, but then if you don't have such a law.. you can be certain that the loophole will be exploited by terrorists or criminals.

    Such laws don't prevent terrorists from using these products. A terrorist can easily go to Europe, buy an Iridium phone, and use it in the US. A terrorist is more likely to do this than a private citizen.


    unfortunately our Founding Fathers had no idea of nukes, germ warfare, car bombs, etc. I have no
    doubt if they had, they would have supported the ability to infringe on those folks rights (who would commit such crimes) for the greater good of the nation.


    I disagree. One of the key rights that was implicit in many of the ideas put forth by the founding fathers (especially Thomas Jefferson) was that the Constitution must maintain the citizen's rights to the means of revolution, should the citizens decide that a change of government was necessary. That thread strongly underlies the bill of rights. Why should a government not allowed to hunt for muskets and bombs be allowed to hunt for automatic weapons and car bombs?


    I've said it before, I'll say it again. If you have nothing to hide, you really have nothing to fear.

    I have nothing to hide, but I disagree. I have a lot to fear from the US Government intruding in my rights. The key fear is "how far will they go?"!

    ----
  • So my question is this:
    Why do 99% of American refuse to see their liberties being eroded right out from under them?

    This WAS the land of the free, but now, every time I turn around, I'm hearing about how the FBI has the right to decrypt my e-mail, listen to my phone conversations and about 100 other things.

    Are we all so complacent that we just don't care anymore?

    Question 2 - is it better elsewhere? REALLY?


What this country needs is a good five dollar plasma weapon.

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