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Comment Re:Snowden: 1 Obama:0 (Score 1) 359

How about no parties? At least not as they exist now as legally ingrained parts of the electoral process. As factions the two parties have been more concerned with control of turf and spending to perpetuate the interests of their whatever constituencies keep them in power.

Comment Re:The corporatism of America (Score 1) 359

Number 1 isn't even clear yet... it is To Be Determined. One of the options being suggested is merely outsourcing the NSAs data warehouse to a third party company. Basically creating or designating a company to aggregate all this data. Think Google times Google times Google = Keeping all your eggs in one privatized NSA basket. That would be bad... very bad. But yes, it has also been suggested to let the data stay in place with the companies that are generating the records in the first place and merely introduce specific data retention requirements so the NSA and other government agencies can transfer specific targeted subsets of the data pertaining to a named individuals communications when they have a specific court order. That would be a very good thing and restore the rule of constitutional law. So we will see.

Comment Re:The corporatism of America (Score 1) 359

Like most things a politician or spook says... what is actually going to happen isn't clear.

1) The NSA merely outsources the same thing it is doing now. That would be the worst of all scenarios. Where they set up a psuedo private entity to store all the business records that the NSA is forcing businesses to hand over without a constitutionally valid warrant. That option would merely continue today's unconstitutional practices and outsource the data storage provider. Literally just outsourcing the management of the building NSA built to some third party company. Complete BS and potentially even more dangerous to privacy.


2) The government passes a law specifying certain types of business records that must be kept on hand for a certain amount of time. For instance phone records need to be kept for 5 years, email logs or website logs need to be kept for 3 years and sms messages need to be kept for 1 year or something like that. However, exempt individuals from these data retention requirements because that could be abused to penalize people arbitrarily. And then work with the largest companies to standardize how the data needs to be transmitted in the case of a valid warrant (or I'll grant the need to just turn on the flow of real time data about everything to the NSA during briefly defined times of national emergency as ordered by the president and approved by congress, such as on the day of 9/11 when there were active attacks going on). In this scenario, data stays with the businesses that generated the records in the first place and goes no further without a constitutionally valid warrant or in times of imminent and great peril in which case privacy as a primary concern goes out the window, as it should when bombs are exploding and bullets flying.

But this is the issue. Will the government and industry honestly approach the option of data retention in place or as the initial reactions suggest will the NSA merely fight like hell to keep their power to collect everything as they see fit while Industry fights to keep their cushy contracts which have resulted from providing this data.

Comment Re: Or, stay low tech ... (Score 1) 133

Good point about dating notes and limited disclosure for patent purposes. Although perhaps printing your relevant notes periodically, having them bound, signed and notorized would be the equivalent best practice while keeping the originals in electronic form for ease of search and ability to incorporate CAD drawings and other data.

Comment Re:LIAR (Score 1) 572

The NSA and the US Government under at least the last two administrations has betrayed the United States Constitution and undermined the freedom that generations have fought and died for.

No line that Snowden has crossed is even remotely comparable to the wholesale betrayal by the NSA and the executive of our Bill of Rights or diminishes from the debt of gratitude that we owe Snowden for revealing the depth and breadth of that betrayal.

What we need to do now is focus on what is wrong with what the NSA has been doing. That they and the entire US government again comes to respect the Bill of Rights, within our own borders, and stops forceably collecting records without constitutionally valid warrants.

Such times and needs surely do exist in the extreme, but we don't want to live in a society where this level of government spying has become the norm. We have faced greater threats before and, even in the face of complete nuclear annihilation, our history shows that such spying by the government on Americans is never acceptable.

Comment Re:Reverse Santa? (Score 2) 418

Don't blame Disney. This evil starts with Amazon, they're the ones that allow your purchased products to be stolen back again on a whim.

So, the article says that Amazon said that this was a glitch and has now been corrected... so perhaps we could get a real story with some actual verification that users have access to their purchases again. Seems like this story is way way overblown. If it were true, then obviously people are due refunds... but it doesn't appear to be true.

Comment Re:Easy. (Score 1) 509

We are arguing different points. I am arguing for a workable compromise. You are arguing for the ideal. Which is fine, but if we don't find a workable compromise then the status quo means certain death to our Liberty and our democratic form of government. I think it is important to try and find a compromise that preserves Liberty yet still means that when investigators identify a terrorist that they can then go back and search their past business records. Right now we have an NSA chief saying the only way they can do that sort of search is to collect every single piece of data they can about everyone up front in as close to real time as possible and then they can sort it out later. Which he is 100% correct that that is the only way they can do that sort of search of past communications, purchases and movements, if and only if you presume that companies are going to destroy their own records. With a simple requirement to preserve records, records companies are most likely already preserving to some degree, then you undermine the argument that the dragnet of business records is necessary. Then they are left with the only legitimate argument for why they want the records that don't have any links to terrorism or espionage which is to do pattern analysis and big data mining. Once you remove the logical flow of an investigation from a known terrorist to their co conspirators, then most of the reasons for doing dragnet collections of business records are not mission critical and the "needle in the haystack" of finding a lone person planning something big becomes less believable. I get that you would choose privacy over security.. That is great. If you (and I) were in the majority then the debate would be unnecessary. But many people are willing to make some compromises, to them I am suggesting a compromise that is more secure yet still respects the constitution.

Comment Re:Easy. (Score 1) 509

Agreed. It would be better not to have to make such a compromise in the name of security. But I would rather see a compromise that results in an intrusive requirement that businesses keep certain types of records for 5 years with some sort of standardized way of transferring specific records rather than the current situation which fundamentally violates a constitutional right that generations have fought to preserve.

Comment Re:Easy. (Score 1) 509

Yes, but hard to see how a requirement to keep certain records for a certain period of time and hand them over if presented with a constitutionally valid warrant violates the constitution. Versus just ordering companies (and presumably individuals if they operate a business as an individual) to hand over all their business records without a warrant on an ongoing basis which should be seen as a clear violation of the 4th amendment.

Comment Re:Easy. (Score 1) 509

Companies already have to keep a variety of business records for periods of time for regulatory purposes, so requiring companies keep additional specific business records for a period of time would be nothing new. Yes, it is somewhat worrisome, but it actually preserves the 4th amendment by keeping the records in situ until there is a warrant. And people would know exactly how long their records were required to be kept because it would be a law or published regulation so there would be transparency where now the only transparency is from leaks.

Comment Re:Metadata data (Score 1) 509

The difference with the mail is that you are giving your letter to a Federal agency to deliver it to the intended recipient. They know the sender and recipient because you are voluntarily telling them.

In the case of "business records" kept by a private company or an individual I say they have a right to keep those records private unless the government obtains a warrant.

Whether it is an individual or a business it doesn't matter. If I have a letter from you in my possession then it is my fourth amendment right to keep that private unless the government has a warrant. But it would also be my right to surrender that letter to the government at their request.

The parts I object to regarding current practices are the government demanding that letter and forcing me to turn it over and the fact that congress has interfered with private contracts between companies or individuals and other individuals by saying that companies or people are not liable for violating their privacy agreements by complying with government requests for data. If I have an agreement with you that you will not give my letter to anyone without a warrant, then courts should uphold that as a legal contract.

Companies should be free to refuse demands for data that don't come with a warrant and customers should be free to sue companies if they violate their privacy agreements by conveying specified business records to the government. And therefore companies should be able to compete on the strength of their privacy agreements and customers can decide what level of privacy they want.

Comment Re:duh (Score 1) 509

you obtain the necessary warrant and then perform whatever action is necessary without breaking the law. was that so hard?

No it shouldn't be. As long as the businesses keep the records for a period of time, then you can leave them in place with the businesses until you have enough for a warrant.

Data mining for suspicious patterns on the communications and records of millions of Americans that otherwise aren't related to any targeted persons or haven't accessed any targeted websites should be off limits.

Also, even if we lowered the standard to something less than a warrant for foreign intelligence and terrorism cases, you don't "connect the dots" by collecting all the dots first and then sorting them out later. Target known terrorists, suspected terrorists and connect the dots from there using a network approach starting with the originally targeted and monitored persons or web sites.

The only thing you might miss from the approach of only requesting data relevant to an ongoing investigation with particular named targets is the random lone terrorist that doesn't communicate with known terrorists or access terrorist websites that are being monitored. Or perhaps fit some sort of e-profile for some sort of targeted behavior. But that is the line where creepy and big brother meet the road and we shouldn't be treading in those waters... to mix metaphors.

As it stands now everything that is being discussed publicly is about catching people that interact with known terrorists or terrorist web sites which means you should be monitoring all the communications of known terrorists already based on a warrant for a named person and can spider out your monitoring based on frequency, type and content of communications with additional requests based on information derived from the first warrant. The result should also be of higher quality because investigators will be dealing with less noise.

Comment Re:How? (Score 1) 414

I say there should be no guns. I think that is an ideal situation. But the point is that if it is good enough for a traffic cop, then it should be good enough for any individual that hasn't been disqualified because of crime or mental status. If cops need guns then so do we.

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