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Comment Re:POLICE STATE AMERICA (Score 1) 396

should apply, not does. that's part of the current issues at hand. If probable cause exists but court is a rubber stamp, then what?

It always applies, but it is sometimes ignored. The abstract construction used by cold fjord tells us that he is talking about how things are supposed to work.

Comment Re:made up rules (Score 1) 288

Sure, war is bad and killing people is bad. But some acts of war are seen as more bad than others. This isn't entirely arbitrary. The more directed and targeted an attack is, the more society is likely to accept it as reasonable and justified. Shooting an advancing soldier immediately furthurs a clear military goal while causing the least damage to non-participants. Planting a land mine in his path may stop him, but it is more likely to kill a child or a farmer years from now. Finding his family and killing them in order to demoralize him is not only unnecessarily crual, it directly harms non-participants, and fails to achieve a military objective since it gives him a personal stake in the fight and inspires others to join up on his side.

Such laws don't "hamper the good guys", they express a consensus about what makes someone a bad guy. Bad guys, blinded by anger or a lust for power make war more painful and destructive than it already is.

Comment Re:Then it should be applied across board... (Score 2) 288

Films should at all times should add scenes which show the consequences of those serious violations. Songs should at all times have a chorus that show the consequences of those serious violations. Books same thing. Of course, the media will get quickly boring when they are forced to follow a recipe.

It would get boring if the consequences were tacked on in predictable way like the disclaimers and warnings at the end of a prescriptional drug commercial on TV. But the idea of writing realistic consequences into the plot of a video game is interesting. And I don't mean simplistic stuff like "if you shoot civilians without justification, you may bet caught and thrown into the brig". How about a "reputation meter" which would indicate how others view your actions. As it got lower, your enemies would be able to justify the use of more agressive measures against you and parties which had been trying to stay out of it might join in and start fighting you.

This is a pattern which has played out in numerous real wars. Rushing in with advanced weaponry and shooting the place up is fun, but the neigbors really, really resent it. Break too much stuff, shoot to many of the 'wrong' people, disrupt their lives too much, utter too many threats, strut around too much, and they will get angry and try to put you in your place. Before you know it, you will be caught in a quagmire.

Comment Re:What the F$&*? Talk about a big fat fallacy (Score 1) 100

Of course men and women use different language in their emails. Young men would use different language than middle aged or older people do. A person emailing a friend would have different language than when they email their boss. This is not indicative of there "emotions". This is indicative of their education, wisdom, and who they are having a conversation with and the topics of discussion.

I don't the researchers claim that the words directly reflect the writers emotions. When people write persuasively they instead try to stir emotions in their readers. For example, if I write: "I am deaply concerned that our current strategy exposes us to unnecessary risk." I am fear words in the hope that my readers will take what I have to say more seriously.

Comment Re:What moron judge allowed this? (Score 1) 527

No, Lavabit didn't win. It appears they handed over the keys as demanded, and then shut down, so the FBI must have received the data it was looking for.

It appears the key they handed over was their SSL key which is used to encrypt communications with their server as it passes over the Internet. The FBI wanted to wiretap their Internet line and decrypt the communications. They shut down so that there would be no communications.

Comment Re:What moron judge allowed this? (Score 1) 527

I wholeheartedly agree with what you are saying, and i would agree that it would apply to communications that stayed within the confines of the Lavabit encrypted Mail system. But the second an email leaves and head to another email server, it is now public and would no longer have an expectation of privacy. the email headers would have to be in the clear in order for the email to reach its destination.

The question is not whether if is physically possible for a determined third part to abtain this information. The question is does the sender have a "reasonable expection of privacy". The established legal principle is that when the expectation is high enough, a search warrant is required. Precautions which leave a wiretap on the Internet as the most practical way to obtain the information create a significantly higher expecation of privacy.

Comment Re:What moron judge allowed this? (Score 2) 527

Then congress will quickly pass a new law to overrule that precedent. They can call it the... 'PATRIOT' is taken. Maybe the 'SAFE AMERICA' act. Something with an awkward backronym, anyway.

Congress can "overrule" court precedent under two circumstances: 1) the law was ruled unconstitutional due to a correctable technical fault such as being too vague or 2) the court ruled that the law did not apply to the specific case and that if congress wants it to apply to such cases in the future it should rewrite it. But congress cannot overrule a court finding that a law violates the constitution by its intent. That requires a constitutional amendment.

Comment Re:What moron judge allowed this? (Score 1) 527

A private contract between a company and end user does not increase a right to privacy with respect to the government. In this instance it _might_ have triggered a lawsuit by users against Lavabit for breach of contract. Lavabit would win such a suit with the defense of having followed a court order.

You are correct in that a contract in which one party promises not to comply with court orders is unenforcable. But if the law says that a pen register can be used under certain circumstances, the parties absolutely can enter into a contract which prohibits them from creating those circumstances. If the Lavabit contract offered guarantees that the e-mail header information would not or could not be read by employees, that may have created a "reasonable expectation of privacy". Since reasonable expectation of privacy is a very important factor in determining whether monitoring by government officials is legal or illegal, creating such an expecation will in fact increase your legal protection from government monitoring. For example, if you are doing something on your front law, the police may observe. If you go inside and pull down the blinds, they need a search warrant.

Comment Re:What moron judge allowed this? (Score 1) 527

The other possibility is that your opinion is contrary to settled law.

I think that is the key to why the judge ruled in favor of the prosecutor. From a technical perspective what was requested was analygous to a pen register and so he applied the pen register precedent. The problem with such a ruling is that Lavabit had offered guarantees of privacy which the telephone companies do not. This means that while the access requested may be the technical equivalent of a pen register, it may not be equivalent from a legal standpoint. But maybe this is something that has to be decided by an appeals court.

Comment Re:What moron judge allowed this? (Score 2) 527

Lavabit shut down. Their other customers have lost service. They are almost certainly going to lose in court. I doubt many in the public will support them when the fact emerge that they were defying court orders.

What if their appeal creates legal precedent which strengthens privacy protections? Presumably that is something the 400,000 users who lost service care about.

Comment Re:What moron judge allowed this? (Score 5, Insightful) 527

Stop right there. The fact that they are allowed this without probable cause is already too much.

It is interesting that the prosecutor portrayed this as a pen trap. Courts have ruled that users do not have a reasonable expectation that the numbers they dial on their phone line will remain private (basicaly because they show up on the bill) but that they do have a reasonable expectation that nobody is listening in. That is why this information can be obtained without probable cause. But if Lavabit offered specific guarantees that this information would not be recorded except in the encryted e-mail boxes, then the users had a reasonable expectation of privacy. This might make the use of a pen trap without probable cause illegal.

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