Legislation to Leech Freedoms
My rant is in response to legislation being headed by Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick to target libraries into monitoring use of minors on social-networking sites.
Check out Declan McCullagh’s article at news.com.com/Congress+targets+social+network+sites/2100-1028_3-6071040.html for background on the issue.
You would think that if the politicians are THAT concerned about pedophiles among us, the first place they would start would be making tougher laws against pedophilia (many repeat offenders, when released, go on committing crimes, some until they escalate into murder because they want to avoid witnesses in three-strikes staes) www.princeton.edu/~lawjourn/Fall97/II1belin.html
Having worked directly with serial killer profilers (specializing in children's cases) who worked every minute of their free time to pass tougher legislation to protect children, I saw that they fought uphill battles trying to get effective legislation in place to protect children. Most politicians, especially young, ambitious ones, look to where the money is and where their next contribution is coming from before they take on a cause that doesn't have the potential of lining their pockets in preparation for the next election.
That said, let’s take a look at Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick who introduced Deleting Online Predators Act to ID library users. Who is he and what are his motives?
www.govtrack.us/congress/votingrecord.xpd?people=400646 www.issues2000.org/PA/Mike_Fitzpatrick.htm#Families_+_Children are great sites that allow you to track legislation and the representatives pushing it. In a web search, I did not see a strong trackrecord between Fitzpatrick and child advocacy groups, nor legislation that protects children from pedophiles. What I did find was H.R. 5020: Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h109-502 ; H. Res. 806: Providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 5122) www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=hr109-806 , a bill regarding a ban on protesting and S. 2271: USA PATRIOT Act Additional Reauthorizing Amendments Act of 2006 www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s109-2271 ; H.R. 4659: PATRIOT Act Extension bill www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h109-4659 ; H.R. 356: Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act of 2005 www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h109-356 . Fitzpatrick also voted YES on continuing military recruitment on college campuses, voted against funding embryonic stem cell research, and tried to introduce legislation to keep Theresa Marie Schiavo alive www.votesmart.org/issue_keyvote_detail.php?vote_id=3479&can_id=MPA29358. Fitzpatrick also voted to eliminate contraceptives from the list of prevention methods available under a new program to treat and prevent obstetric fistula—a debilitating injury with lifelong consequences for women. Simply, this vote jeopardizes the health and lives of women by limiting access to a full range of family planning options.
Fitzpatrick is affiliated with/serves as “the immediate Past President of the Bucks County Council, Boy Scouts of America and a member of many charitable, civic and business organizations including the Temple Lower Bucks Hospital Board of Directors, the Conwell-Egan Catholic Board of Advisors, the Knights of Columbus, the Levittown Bristol Kiwanis Club, the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Brehon Law Society.” Contributions records www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.asp?cid=N00027229
Does this sound like someone who has a grasp on technology, the social issues surrounding it, privacy, or even cares about the ramifications of putting such laws into place? Who were the advisors on this legislation and how were they qualified? AND what money is backing this legislation?
Has he ever used a social networking site? The 41-year-old has six children - it would be interesting to review he and his children's browser histories over the last year and see if he is still as outspoken. Too bad constituents can't get this kind of information as easily (and without a warrant) as just about any law enforcement agency in America. AND…do his kids (under 18) have a NetNanny-like program on their computers that needs admin approval for every site they go to?
So if this legislation isn't about protecting children, what is it about? This guy is not above using the cloak of “good for everyone” regarding legislation he supports when it is about pushing his morality into law.
So, let's look at other triggers of such legislation that the quick-draw 9/11 club might have an interest in pushing through.... The Bush Man has already moved library protections into place www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2005-05-17-librarian-edit_x.htm www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=21404
news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/3820079.stm that were greatly resisted by the American Library Association. So, the perfect answer for Fitzpatrick to get libraries on board with government monitoring of computers is to make it look like he is protecting children from themselves and keeping them from the clutches of pedophiles on the Internet.
The only way now that libraries can check to see if you're not a minor is to check your ID and to have you sign a statement. There is something in place already that is similar in quite a few library systems across the country. I drove across the country from CA to NY/Canada last summer - (I had never been through the MiddleLand) I wanted to finally meet all of these people who voted for Bush. There is very little wireless to hitch on, or to buy from here to there. I had to resort to using small town library computers to check email. Most of the libraries had Homeland Security statements they wanted me to sign stating I was who I was (and wanted to make a copy of my driver's license). Some of them did not…the policy was by no means standardized or implemented. Mostly, if you are a member of that community, you have to use your library card number to sign onto their database systems. This kind of library ID does have some kind of identification attached to it if you are an adult (such as a driver’s license, etc.), sometimes you have to have an adult surrender their own info to sponsor you if you’re a minor and have no way of proving who you are (and who they can bill a stolen book to). So, now you have a number/approval attached to your ID so that you don’t need to prove your age every time you sign on to a library computer. With that log on ID, you are now being tracked, under 18 or not.
In my opinion, Fitzpatrick’s legislation is a disguised back doorway to pass a law that is one more layer of Bush’s attack on our freedoms. They couldn’t do it with the librarian report system (that was too blatant), but using the safety of children as the basis for a process seems legit to most librarians. What librarian doesn't want to keep children safe? And you have to admit, for librarians, protecting the privacy of library Internet users does not seem to hold the same weight as a protecting the privacy of the people checking out books.
We are letting all of our freedoms and privacy slip through our fingers as legislators pass more legislation for "our own safety," and "privacy." And some of these are even Democrats who don't read/understand the legislation or are being pressured by do-gooder groups that have been blinded by the patriotic blindfold.
Take back the technology and we take it all back. Technologists created it, they need to own up to the responsibility of keeping it from being directed at us to submit us into complacency. How do we do that? We expose the legislators with the technology. Systematically exposing each and every legislator's and corporate CEO's (who throw the money at legislation because it's in their company's best interest) privacy just as they are doing to their constituents. As Farber says, if there are no votes at stake, the politicians listen to the money – so let the voters get an opportunity to view these bastards in a fishbowl.
As I said at a DefCon talk to hackers - people will pay to keep their privacy (so build something to protect the good guys), and people should pay when they take it. It all comes down to putting a name and a face to the people responsible for taking our freedoms systematically since 911. Until the endless barrage of legislation to eat away at our freedoms, the people trying to pass the legislation and hack away at our freedoms need to be held accountable.
When it comes down to it, personal responsibility is a whole lot easier to achieve than changing the mindset of a blissfully ignorant nation while it patriotically decides the fate of all of us. What would happen if we technologists worked like the scientologists and took personal responsibility to the hilt
- word is when the org's tax status was at stake they'd raise a campaign against individuals within the IRS. BTW, they did get their non-profit status.
So, what’s wrong with a complete open-kimono personal dossier on each person responsible at the highest level (for our vanishing privacy/freedoms)? I feel it could be a very effective policy. It worked for the scientologists. Not many politicians or CEOs could take that kind of spotlight - as we've found out with several of Bush's nominations over the years. This is how our government and politicians have worked for years. Joseph McCarthy did not stop his witch hunts until Edward R. Murrow en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_R._Murrow exposed him for what he was and the world listened. It is no coincidence that the movie Goodnight, and Good Luck came out this year. Why would a black and white low-budget film be so near and dear to Hollywood’s heart? Because McCarthy did a good job of destroying people’s careers and the lives of people who made their living in Hollywood. I suggest seeing Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust www.imdb.com/title/tt0379158/
a movie that outlines the McCarthy era and parallels it with the Bush administration. Film consultant Michael Berenbaum did a great job at looking at McCarthy's open anti-semitism and racial profiling in his Hollywood hearings and the censorship by the government to allow Hollywood to make movies of WWII.
How can we stop what the Bush admin has started again? What about a whole org that has tech and paparazzi teams assigned to each target and an offshore website to broadcast hourly reports? A Homeland Security for the people, by the people. Sounds like the perfect solution. Sounds like something Thomas Jefferson (someone who, every time he sent a letter of importance via the USPS, wrote his correspondence in code because of the distrust in the agency) would appreciate. Let's face it, we're a whole lot smarter and have the technical resources available to outwit the buffoons in power.
It may sound ridiculous, but think hard about the every-day web of data collection that you're subjected to. Do you realize that your daily web visits are recorded and can be brought up for the government (or whomever) w/o a warrant, that your phone calls (if not audibly monitored) are being used as trackable metadata (and probably more)? That details of your health are stored in an insurance database? That your credit card usage is being tracked and sold to the highest bidder? In 44 states all of your voting data is available for sale (some counties such as San Diego ask a whole host of other questions that have nothing to do with voting, including your SS number). That your cable provider has the ability to track what you watch and to sell that information? That there are no privacy policies about GPS? If you own a Fast Pass, your daily time schedule/route is available. How many webcams/traffic cams have you driven/walked by today? And don’t even get me started about what Google can do with all of that information it has on you.
Have you read the HIPAA protection law? Everyone says that it's in place to protect your privacy. Now, every new doctor/hospital you go to has you sign some version of it. And they ask you for your SS number - I never give mine out, they don't need it for billing and you do have a right to privacy no matter how they protest. Basically, with HIPAA, you are signing away your rights to privacy - law enforcement can get your health records w/o a warrant AND hospitals/doctors/dentists can share them with whatever database agencies/companies they consider necessary. There is very, very little to actually protect consumers and a whole lot of giveaway power in that sign-off.
Do you realize that when you apply for most jobs that you sign a piece of paper that very clandestinely gives permission to check any resource that your potential employer has available to them?
www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs16-bck.htm Most employers will check your SS records to check back on the dates you say you worked over your years of employment (and how much you were making), they look to see any and all lawsuits, DMV records, legal records (mortgage records, previous employer complaints with gov/state agencies, divorce records, criminal records, etc.) wrongful or otherwise, in some cases even medical insurance databases and your credit records.
Make note, these are some of the same records that Homeland Security checked to give you points to see if you were a terrorist and rated you for airflight approval. They also factored in facts like marriage status, children and property ownership into the terrorist equation. I should know, as I was set-aside and hand-checked and delayed for questioning more than two – dozen times in a row at airports shortly after 9/11. The backend stats program on my website reads like a who’s who of government agencies – especially at a time when the government said it wasn’t targeting websites. I was pretty clearly declared a dissident on whatever blacklist millions of other Americans who care about freedoms and privacy found themselves on.
So what happens when you end up on a list or get turned down for a job with no explanation? If you have incorrect information - such as wrongful information on your credit reports; my identity has been stolen so I do know how this can look - what repercussion to you have? If you don't know that they're actually going through such great lengths you'll never know to offer up an explanation, or defend yourself from their findings. Corporations hire security-checking companies that run thousands of these reports every day - and keep all of your data of file in case some company wants to purchase it again. And this is all because people sign the bottom line on an application without a real privacy statement being in place (the terms you are signing to are very vague at best). And if you don’t sign the bottom line, you are no way in hell going to get the job. Wouldn’t it have been nice to have even known if the company you were applying with and the security-checking company had any privacy policies (at all) regarding your sensitive data that is now gathered, labeled and filed? But, hey, if you have nothing to hide, why should you care, right?
America is giving it all away and it doesn’t even know it. Check out www.aclu.org/pizza/ for a look at our future if we don’t put an end to the leeching of our privacy and freedoms.
Fuck you very much, Mr. Bush en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_W._Bush – you have done what Joseph Raymond McCarthy en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_McCarthy couldn’t quite achieve. This and the deaths of thousands of men, women and children will be your legacy. I look forward to election/ejection day,
Further reading –