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Comment Re:Can someone remind me? (Score 1) 321

NSA doesn't have police powers.
CIA doesn't have police powers.
DIA doesn't have police powers.
NRO doesn't have police powers.
NGA doesn't have police powers.

No, they don't DIRECTLY have police power but they do have regulatory power and the ability to turn those that are in some form of violation of their powers over to those that do have police powers such as the FBI, DEA, Secret Service and IRS.

There is a reason there was put up a wall between the intelligence gathering community and police community. Namely to prevent the McCarthyism ( ) that preceded it from happening again. Then came along 9/11 and whole new laws known as the Patriot Act and Homeland Security Act that tore down those barriers leading to a new era of McCarthyism this time substituting "communist" for "terrorist".

And what is the driving force? Well, in the McCarthy era it was the military industrial complex. Today, it is the security industrial complex. There is huge money to be had in peddling fear.

Comment Re:Third amendment challenge? (Score 2) 230

Then you would still have to overcome the "but in a manner to be prescribed by law." part. Since the "national security" part (I am assuming at least in the Patriot Act and / or Homeland Security Act) would satisfy that.

No, a better way would be to take back our Congress and get them to revoke those acts that allow stuff like this. Of course, that requires a ground swell against the established parties and is likely to not succeed because of the campaign financing / media control mess.

Comment Re:Third amendment challenge? (Score 2) 230

That's really grabbing at straws. Several things would have to be resolved for that to stick.

1. Is the FBI and / or the court considered "soldiers"?
2. Is an email service considered "home"?
3. Is the Supreme Court likely to make such a broad interpretation especially since they tend to take a very narrow view on just about everything?
4. And lastly, is it even likely to make it that far?

Comment Re:What is this? (Score 1) 143

The largest cry that spam filter providers hear is, "I am in your filter by mistake!". Spamhaus in particular is also known for blocking spam resource providers. Have you checked that your upstream provider isn't housing spammers or other spam resources? The idea behind that is to curtail providers that do nothing about their spam problems. It forces the users of those domains to complain to the provider raising the noise level to get them off their ass and fix their spam problems. And it works too. Hit them where it counts.... The wallet when their users leave in droves because their emails are blocked nine ways to hell.

Comment Re:Web-bugs (Score 1) 143

Web-bugs are also only effective for HTML based clients. I routinely setup my client to only deal in plain text. And no, I don't use webmail in any form. It boils down to using the right tool for the right job. A web browser is NOT an email client any more than an email client is a web browser. They have differing security concerns not least of which are things like web-bugs.

Comment Re:Boarding schools (Score 1) 143

I work in state government and can tell you that the arbitrary and capricious manner employed in this state's filtering boggles the imagination. A site that was accessible for weeks suddenly gets blocked today. They have even blocked federal sites from time to time and those truly are work related. And given that most agencies have a social network presence blocking them really doesn't make sense anymore. Instead of counseling or disciplining those that abuse the rules, they are punishing everyone and doing it poorly.

A better solution is to allow specific times that the system can be used for personal use such as lunch or in the case of the school, after the last class has dismissed. Still block the most egregious sites (porn) but allow the others at those specific times. The employees know exactly when they can do outside personal business (such as banking, shopping, chatting with friends and family, etc) which will make a happier employee. And a happy employee is far more productive than an unhappy one.

Comment Re:JIT Education (Score 3, Informative) 745

Then as an educator you should know what the real problem is. It breaks down to 3:

1. Localized school boards more interested in political gains than education. They are busy trying to maintain their kingdoms that they have built and trying to expand it.That leads to differing results from community to community.

2. Changes in laws such as No Child Left Behind (an Orwellian title if ever there was one) mandating that teacher retention be tied to student performance has made it necessary for self preservation for teachers to teach to the tests. Add in dwindling budgets and anything not directly related to those tests gets cut from the curriculum. Many primary schools have dropped music, art and classics from their teaching programs all together.

3. Lack of parental involvement in their children's education. This may be one of the most important reasons that education is failing in the US. With both parents needing to work just to make ends meet because the average income level has declined while costs have increased, it makes it difficult for parents to spend the proper amount of time with their kids education.

Until these issues are addressed, we will continue to see a decline in education in the US.

Comment Re:Increased by 1000 (or 500, etc) percent (Score 2) 47

Still, 3,382 requests in a three-month span doesn't sound like all that much.

Maybe not to you, but that's where the value of the comparison you are so quick to dismiss comes into play.

Not only that, but if you have never had to respond to one then you really don't know what is involved. It is gathering all requested documents within the time limit the laws (yes, there are differing state FOIA laws) allow as well as knowing what is exempt in those laws and should not be disclosed. There is the tedious process of redacting documents of data not covered as well as preparing the deliverable. It isn't as easy as you would think.

There are legitimate reasons to deny a FOIA request that the law allows for like it or not. National Security is one of those reasons.

Comment Re:I still want... (Score 1) 256

As people grow older, they tend to get more conservative. The baby boomers are retiring now and when they do finally retire, that is when you will see havoc. Why? Because old people have nothing better to do with their time than visit their friends and family in the cemetery and vote! So if you think it is conservative now, just wait... The worst is yet to come.

Comment Re:Good. (Score 1) 214

The 4th Amendment allows the government to wiretap as long as a warrant has been sought.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

With restrictions, the US Government can wiretap. Further, see

Olmstead v. United States

and Katz v. United States

In the Olmstead case, the courts upheld the Federal Government's argument that wiretapping doesn't require a warrant. In Katz, that ruling was overturned.

The NSA case remains at odds with these two cases since FISA is in play.

Private companies are governed by both federal and state privacy laws such as the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (18 U.S.C. 2510 et. seq.) That authority comes from Article 4:

This Constitution and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land.

Comment Re:Other than a few uber nerds (Score 0) 236

You might suggest this is an over-reaction, that you're merely pointing out that the internet isn't for people who want to hide. But the point is, it should be.

No, it shouldn't. You are doing the same exact thing you are accusing the poster of doing. Imposing your will on the entire Internet when you do that. The whole intent of the Internet is to share data. What form that data takes is irrelevant. It is far easier if you are that paranoid that you leave the Internet than to ask the Internet to conform to your paranoia.

Comment Re:Oh, really? (Score 1) 1255

Good for you...

I also had a combination of public and private school with military training (Field Radio Repair) and graduated that in the top 5. I started out taking apart gadgets as a kid. I progressed to the 150 in 1 electronics projects kit from Radio Shack (back when they actually sold electronics parts instead of becoming just another cell phone store). My dad was very supportive of my technical learning. And that is what it all comes down to. Do the parents actually take an interest in what their kids do and support them in their efforts.

The same goes with the choice of schools. Why would anyone support a failing school and risk their kids future just to prolong that failing school's agony so they can force the same substandard education on other victims? This whole argument is based on the premise that parents have the time or inclination to keep that substandard school around for nostalgic reasons alone. The best thing for those schools is to vote with your feet.

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