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Comment Re:If it were a "modest" encroachment, ... (Score 1) 341

You have to read between the lines a bit. Their system is to store all metadata AND to record all phone calls. They can then go to a judge and get a warrant for calls that took place in the past, and (having previously recorded them) pull them up at will.

And metadata is a very broad term that encompases all data excluding the original. For example, "metadata" for a phone call would include electronically generated transcripts of the phone call. In theory (and probably practice) some algorithm scans these transcripts for keywords; on a match, they get a rubber stamp from a in-house judge, and then pass the records on to a human to do the real work.

Basically, someone figured out that you can use computers to wiretap the whole nation, and then did it. The whole constitution, legal framework, and morality be damned.

Comment Re:Mommy... (Score 1) 1435

This is true in many other governments, but in the USA, the government has no right or ability except what is stated in the agreement with the people (aka Constitution). It specifies exactly what the government can do, and anything not specified is off-limits at the federal level and reserved to the states and the people. The first 10 amendments were largely considered redundant when they were passed, because they were just naming specifics cases of things that were off-limits. A favorite quote from James Iredell (a Justice from the first US Supreme Court):

It would be not only useless, but dangerous, to enumerate a number of rights which are not intended to be given up; because it would be implying, in the strongest manner, that every right not included in the exception might be impaired by the government without usurption; and it would be impossible to enumerate every one. Let any one make what collection or enumeration of rights he pleases, I will immediately mention twenty or thirty more rights not contained in it.

Nowadays, any constitutional restrictions are largely worked around, or completely ignored, by all three branches of federal government. There was originally a check in place to counter expansion of federal power vs state soverenty, but that was removed with the adoption of the 17th amendment.

Comment Re:Gingrich & Huckabee Weigh In (Score 1) 1168

To own an assult rifle, a Title II firearm as defined by the 1934 National Firearms Act, a person must fill out an ATF form 4 which has to be signed by your local sheriff, as well as submit fingerprint cards, passport photos, pay application fees, and some other paperwork. If the ATF approves, then you can purchase the firearm (assuming your state also allows it). Of course, this really only applies to people who collect older guns as the sale/transfer to the public of newly manufactured automatic firearms has been completely banned since the 1986 Firearm Owners Protection Act. This ban has not been relaxed or lessened in any way during the last 27 years.

Comment Re:Gingrich & Huckabee Weigh In (Score 2) 1168

Guns are made and sold to be a force equalizer, not necessarily to kill, and definitely not to murder. They are used on a daily basis to prevent or stop violence, not just by the police, but everyday people. The most frequent occurance is fending off rapists and home intruders, but their uses extend to public areas as well. e.g. Handgun stops school stabbing

Comment Re:One More Baby Step to Global Sharia Law (Score 3, Interesting) 678

There were any number of horrific experiments performed on Jews in the name of science during World War II; the USSR, with state enforced atheism, murdered millions of its own people and shipped uncounted more off to die in Siberia. Does that imply that science and atheists are evil? No, that would be a silly argument. Violent people will use anything they have at their disposal to justify themselves, but we need to remember that it's the people who are doing the evil, not the concepts they purport to support.

Comment Re:Guns (Score 1) 213

What nonsense! By my impeccible logic, I am sure that if you remove guns from society then criminals using guns will suddenly choose to become outstanding citizens. Obviously, guns corrupt people's minds and once they are removed we can all live happily ever after.

What's that, ol' chap? Knife crime?

Blimey! Well, by my impeccible logic, I am sure that if you remove knifes from society...

Comment Re:Dismiss every drug case (Score 1) 242

Four U.S. states do not require a permit to carry a concealed pistol, and the overwhelming majority of remaining states are "shall-issue" with regard to permits, which means you default to being allowed a permit unless the state can dig up some legal reason why you should be disqualified. Much like drug laws, people opposed to simple freedoms are usually fearful and misinformed, if not completely ignorant.

Comment Re:This is not capitalism (Score 1) 686

The Constitution is a contract between the people and the government. Being that the government has violated that contract, does it not follow that the contract is void? In which case no federal laws, taxes, or regulations apply to any of the residents of the fifty Independent States of America.

Just a thought to consider.

Submission + - RIAA Backs Down Again in Chicago

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "The RIAA seems to have a problem making things stick in the Windy City. It has once again backed down in BMG v. Thao, after suing a misidentified defendant. Same thing occurred last October in Elektra v. Wilke. In the Thao case, the RIAA based its case on information that the cable modem used to partake in file sharing was registered to Mr. Thao. However, it turned out that Mr. Thao was not even a subscriber (pdf) of the ISP (pdf) at the time of the alleged file-sharing, and therefore did not have possession of the suspect cable modem at that time."
Linux Business

Submission + - Conservatives Urge Fair Play With Open Source

Scott Ainslie Sutton writes: "According to Conservative MP for Tatton, George Osborne, Open Source Software isn't being given a fair chance. He has pledged that the Conservative Party will help create a level playing field for Open Source and allow it to mature alongside proprietory solutions. He himself is a Mozilla Firefox user, and a recent convertee at that; "Ever since I visited the Headquarters of Mozilla in Palo Alto I have become a user of its Open Source Firefox Web Browser. I am not alone. Almost 20 per cent of Online Europeans use Firefox instead of Internet Explorer." He also stated that Open Source software was not a given choice in the Government's Catalyst database, a list of approved IT suppliers and that he thinks Open Source software 'could save UK taxpayers over £600m a year.' More at source."

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