Dark Days - A Dangerous Road

Discussion in 'privacy general' started by luv2bsecure, Nov 21, 2002.

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  1. luv2bsecure

    luv2bsecure Infrequent Poster

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    My first post in quite some time. I have a lot to say, but I think it's very important for anyone who resides in the United States to take the time to read. I make no apologies for the length this time.

    I write in a state of real sadness at what has happened to the United States, not only in the shocking new laws regarding Internet and computer privacy, but in the about-to-be lost liberties -- all in the name of "security."

    I have spent so much time with my late uncle's estate and then, just as I got that wrapped up until the actual probate proceedings begin in January, I was called to do something that was both exciting - and frightening. I had the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. (paid for by by an organization I work with) to lobby against the Department of Homeland Security bill that is a 484-page bill loaded with more threats to all Americans freedom and liberties than anything one could have possibly imagined just two short years ago. (I never thought I would say this - but I long for the day when the news was filled with whether the president and a young intern had a dalliance.) The bill passed the Senate 90-9. The pressure to "support the president" was enormous. It was quite an experience. Only two of the nine senators opposed the bill with the guts to call it what it is, "undemocratic." They voted strictly on the "liberty" question.

    You can add this bill to the USA Patriot Act and the many things done under Executive Order, the frightening things in the pipeline to paint a picture of the United States as a nation soon to be under the thumb of Big Brother. George Orwell's book may have been off by 18 years, but it is happening.

    Internet privacy was incinerated in this bill. Make no mistake, things will never be the same on the net again in the United States. Now, more than EVER, there is a need for those communicating to and from (and inside) America to use encryption if they are sending sensitive email. Unfortunately, that includes email dissenting against the current government policy, as this bill has a catch-all provision that puts simple kitchen table discussion under suspicion of "terrorist activity."

    Beyond the Homeland Security Act of 2002, we must look now to the workings of John Poindexter and his "Information Awareness Office" housed inside the offices of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA....ironically, the folks who brought us the Internet). The "Total Information Awareness" database is downright scary. Under Poindexter's proposal, as William Safire put it, "Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical prescription you fill, every Web site you visit and e-mail you send or receive, every academic grade you receive, every bank deposit you make, every trip you book and every event you attend — all these transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department describes as "a virtual, centralized grand database.".... And then the news tonight (Wednesday 11-20):
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,70992,00.html --- is almost too much. From Fox News, the story is titled, "Pentagon to Track American Consumer Purchases." All part of the monolith that is "Homeland Security." Many say this database could be years away, others say DARPA employs some of the best of the best and it could literally be up and running within 24 months. By the way, here is the web site for the "Information Awareness Office" http://www.darpa.mil/iao/ To me, even the logo is frightening enough.

    What all of this means to Internet and Computer security and privacy will be spelled out more clearly by me - and hopefully many others - in the coming days and weeks.

    One last word: I worked with many people on the hill attempting to stop a runaway train and I cannot tell you how much respect I now have for the American Civil Liberties Union. Yes, the ACLU. I have always been a bit worrisome about them, because they would take the constitution so literally that they were considered "radical" often taking what were considered "liberal positions" though actually, (like defending the Nazi's right to march in Skokie, Il and their support for the right to Home Schooling), really are just constitutional purists. They put up a gallant and heart-felt effort to stop the HSA. Their passion for civil liberties - and their willingness to fight for them, even when unpopular - is inspiring. To see liberals, progressives, conservatives, libertarians in an alliance together against Big Brother was (excuse the corn) touching. Rep. Bob Barr's gallant fight spending 16 hours a day lobbying over in the senate. Ron Paul from Texas. Dennis Kucinich, the fiery populist from Ohio, Russ Feingold (who picks up the mantle of Paul Wellstone now in the Senate) - and the spirit of Senator Wellstone, who you can be sure would have given the most impassioned speech against this bill he thought was such a threat to liberty and freedom. I would have loved to have heard that speech.

    I'll stop here with a couple of links to places you should visit:
    The Weekly Lowdown and their article "And Then There Were Nine" http://www.weeklylowdown.com/112002.shtml
    A sampling from Mike Duncan's article - and this quote says it all -
    "It's merely another step in a long, involved process to empower the state over the individual - the opposite direction of nearly 250 years of growing liberal freedoms."

    Mike Swickey's, swickey.com at http://www.swickey.com is a must-read for the page of quotes from our founding patriots whose own words would in today's climate be considered subversive.

    Finally, this is a good rundown on the Internet and Privacy issues in the aftermath of the approval of the Department of Homeland Security - from EPIC:
    http://www.epic.org/alert/EPIC_Alert_9.23.html

    Sorry (again) for the length, but it's been quite a ride. Oh, I wasn't going to apologize for the length, but it was long, and for those of you who took the time to read it in its entirety - thank you.

    "If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all." - Noam Chomsky

    By the way, THANK YOU to "Ghost" for understanding the importance of all of this and trying to get people to take it seriously here in these forums and to ACT! Good going!

    John
    Luv2BSecure
     
  2. Detox

    Detox Retired Moderator

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    This is scary stuff...

    After reading your post fully, I do wonder one thing.

    This is certainly not to detract from the seriousness of the situation; it is serious and I'm definitely not saying otherwise. I just wonder how something can be implented on such a grand scale as this database.. At least in a timely manner. Perhaps if I was familiar with more details of the act I would see how much money was being allocated; but this has to be such a tremendous amount of computing/storage power! And the networking to funnel all this information!

    Again, I'm really not saying it's impossible, far from it...
    It's just that at the same time as the prospect bothers me, it also awes me to think of what kind of systems would have to be in place to implement it! I guess what I wonder, John, is whether you ahve an opinion on the feasability of this kind of thing really getting online and doing its "job" effectively? I would put my opinion but I don't have one; I just don't know enough about what would be needed and what might already be halfway in place (networking type stuff I suppose)...

    Hope I didn't ramble and you see what I am wondering about.

    btw, I voted for Ron Paul ;-)


    Edit - Looking back; I do not want to lead this thread off topic which maybe my post would do... But I don't want to delete it either because I'm very curious - if the thread isn't a good place or I am off topic, maybe anyone with knowledge of this could IM me instead... Argh I'm tired someone else tell me if I'm off topic hehe
     
  3. luv2bsecure

    luv2bsecure Infrequent Poster

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    Hey, Detox!

    You know, this is the big question. But what is mind blowing is that the "experts" seem to agree that if they really want to do this Total Information Awareness database, it's not a matter of if but when. So, as hard to believe as it is - how long will it take them is the question. (If they're not stopped.)

    The thing to remember is we are talking about the Pentagon and a budget that - face it - is almost unlimited. If a committed group of people want to do this - it's hard to doubt them. To me, just look at Echelon. That is mind blowing. There is a new book by James Bamford, which I read just a few weeks ago, that argues people would be shocked if they knew half of what the "national security state" including of course the NSA, can do. He claims Echelon is much more powerful than even the most tech-people in private enterprise can imagine.
    Here's a link to the book:
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0385499078

    "Echelon is perhaps the most powerful intelligence gathering organization in the world. Several credible reports suggest that this global electronic communications surveillance system presents an extreme threat to the privacy of people all over the world. According to these reports, ECHELON attempts, and succeeds in capturing staggering volumes of satellite, microwave, cellular and fiber-optic traffic, including communications to and from North America. This vast quantity of voice and data communications are then processed through sophisticated filtering technologies that blow the mind."

    From DARPA:

    "According to the Information Awareness Office's blueprint, TIA's five-year goal is the "total reinvention of technologies for storing and accessing information ... although database size will no longer be measured in the traditional sense, the amounts of data that will need to be stored and accessed will be unprecedented, measured in petabytes."

    I won't gamble against them. The same types put men on the moon, casually roam space in a reusable space vehicle, have built the most sophisticated killing machines in the world (being able to hit a building with a pin-point strike from 1500-2000 miles away)......no, I won't bet against these people.

    Actually Detox, I too, would like to hear from database experts in more detail as to exactly how it would work. But, as someone said on one of the Sunday morning talk shows, "You can guarantee that whatever we're speculating about, they are way ahead of us and much of how it works (if and when it does) we'll never know how!"

    Good for you in voting for Ron Paul! What a tireless advocate for privacy - calls 'em likes he sees 'em.

    John
    Luv2BSecure
     
  4. Scotcov

    Scotcov Guest

    This article: "Watching You, Systematic Federal Surveillance of Ordinary Americans" at http://www.cato.org/pubs/briefs/bp-069es.html
    shows that Americans are already being electronically tracked from birth. The social security number is what has made that possible. So, the means to accomplish what Luv2BSecure has written about are already in place.
    It's a long article, but very informative, and very frightening.
    Scotcov
     
  5. Ghost

    Ghost Guest

    Ghost sez: It was a pleasure.

    It was also a duty.
     
  6. Primrose

    Primrose Registered Member

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    To date the House passed a new version of the Homeland Security bill by a vote of 299 to 121. There will be another role call. The President of the United States did NOT hire those 299 representive they were voted into office. We recently had a mid term election in the U.S. and some other individuals are no longer the voice of the people to vote on this issue or others that will come up in the near future.

    I was amazed that the vote was not closer.
     
  7. Detox

    Detox Retired Moderator

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    Well, I suppose you are right; the bill wouldn't be made if implementation wasn't already pretty feasible. I'll have to check out my new Senator's (John Cornyn) stance on the issue.
     
  8. Chuck57

    Chuck57 Registered Member

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    Re:Dark Days - ATTN luv2bsecure

    May I have your permission to copy your post to several other sites? Your nick won't be used, of course, without your permission. I do feel your post deserves wider reading on several non security forums I visit.
     
  9. Pete1

    Pete1 Guest

    Homeland Department May Take a Year to Take Shape -
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A17667-2002Nov20.html

    "But labor unions remain furious about the plan, saying the legislation that passed the Senate on Tuesday contained virtually all of President Bush's demands for management flexibility over workplace conditions. The American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 32,000 of the 45,000 union workers who will be part of the department, ran a notice on its Web site yesterday saying, "Remember your workplace rights - - because you're about to lose them!"

    Beth Moten, AFGE's legislative director, said the union remains concerned that "the heart and soul of the civil service system" is in jeopardy, and is encouraging members to meet with House and Senate members back home over the holidays to try to keep heat on the administration."

    "The General Accounting Office, Congress's investigative arm, warned in a recent report that putting together 177,000 employees from the disparate departments will cause disruption for years, AND POSSIBLY DEGRADE SECURITY, AT LEAST IN THE SHORT TERM." (Emphasis mine - Pete)

    Senate Adjourns Amid Disputes Over Its Record
    Uncertainty Voiced on Homeland Bill Deal
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A17592-2002Nov20.html

    "One provision in the homeland security legislation, Democrats say, will lead to the dismissal of hundreds of lawsuits filed against the pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly and Co. by parents who believe a mercury-based vaccine additive caused their children's autism. At least four senators, including three Republicans, agreed on Tuesday to vote against a Democratic proposal to strike down the provision after Lott assured them that their concerns would be addressed early next year. But aides to House Republican leaders, including incoming majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), said today that their bosses had made no commitments.

    Responding to this, Daschle said it is unclear whether DeLay will allow the provision to be dropped. Even if Congress acts, Daschle said, pending lawsuits covering 100,000 children will be dismissed in court before the new legislation can take effect. "They'll have to start all over again," he said."

    "The prospects for a bill to extend unemployment benefits remained doubtful as the Senate, frustrated in efforts to reach a compromise with the House, stuck by its earlier proposal for a three-month extension. Although House Republicans oppose the Senate proposal, Democrats said they are urging President Bush to intervene on its behalf. Without an extension, benefits for thousands of jobless workers will expire on Dec. 28."

    If every single government worker that'll be affected by this move isn't busy screaming their head off to their representative about this right now - THEY SHOULD BE.

    If every parent of every child affected by Glaxo-Welcome's drugs aren't doing the same - THEY SHOULD BE.

    If every single American isn't worried about that DEGRADED SECURITY in the short term (while all the affected government agencies are fumbling around with both hands and a compass trying to find their a** ) - THEY SHOULD BE.

    I really don't know what more I can say about the insanity of this proposed legislation.

    There's still time.

    http://www.house.gov/writerep/ Pete
     
  10. Loki

    Loki Registered Member

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    Hi,

    In response to the email I sent one of my state Senators this is part of the replie I recieved I have also supported additions to the bill that protect the rights of the new department's thousands of employees. In addition, it is vital that Congress ensure that as we move to protect Americans from terrorism that fundamental civil rights are not compromised. The Department of Homeland Security is a work in progress, but I believe that over time it will become an effective part of America's strategy for confronting the terrorist threat.

    P.S. I hope it's ok to post this replie.
     
  11. the Tester

    the Tester Registered Member

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    This is "mind blowing" to say the least!I never would have thought that something as intrusive as this would actually happen!I don't mind going after terrorists,but not at the expense of American citizens' privacy.This is too steep a price to pay.Like the old saying "give them an inch,they'll take a mile".It's a scary thought indeed to speculate how far this whole program will go!I have a new-found respect for the ACLU,and I never thought I'd say or think that!These particular "executive powers" are way over the top!
     
  12. 999

    999 Guest

    My question is this:

    Is a true democracy possible when the majority of people are either uninformed , ignorant or apathetic to what is happening in their country.

    second , with this system in place there will be zero privacy. Answers to questions like : Who you are , what you are like and what you will do will be possible.

    The future...perhaps retinal scanning , dna records and profiling , implantable chips , 24hrs scrutiny within your own home ?
     
  13. controler

    controler Guest

    I have been watching the new cover this very topic for the last two weeks. I am an avid watcher of Fox News. Love the show. If anybody dares tells the news it is Fox News. I keep reminding them that as things progress in this brave new world, Do NOT stop thinking about China !!!!!!!!!!
    Connie Chung has also been covering the new Homeland Security Bill.
    Both of these channels have so called experts comming on, trying to pasify Connie with their knowalegde of the Act.
    One thing Bill O Rilley asked was , Say for instance I don't want the gov knowing I was a highschool ediot, Will the new laws protect that my right not to have my old high school records?One of his guests said oh no no Bill, That information will still not be that easy to get with out a court order, BUT on the other hand court orders are now 75 percent easier to get.
    Are we intelligent enough here to protect our fellow mans privacy?
    Is it our duty and cause?
    Are those here being watched now?
    YES!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The Govs filters might be looking at Arab decent indivuduals at this point in time MOSTLY, but that all will be tweaked and honed as time goes by.

    Two things to remember.

    Remember the Golden Rule
    Let him who is wothout sin cast the first stone.

    Common internet users need new, very user firendly privacy tools.
    tolls they can use to look and understand what is in their DLLs
    INFs ect. Do you understand what I am saying here and preaching here?
     
  14. Ghost

    Ghost Guest

    Homeland Security Bill Headed to President's Desk

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,71217,00.html
     
  15. Primrose

    Primrose Registered Member

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  16. the Tester

    the Tester Registered Member

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    That's an interesting link Primrose.Thanks.At the risk of getting a little bit "political" I'll say a few things.I am a conservative.I am more than a little surprised that this is coming from this administration!Shocked would be more accurate.I e-mailed my Representative a few days ago about this bill.I don't do that often,but this is a HUGE issue.If people don't take the time to let their opinions/concerns be known to their representatives,I think there will come a time very soon when everyone will regret not doing that!
     
  17. Gnostic

    Gnostic Registered Member

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    I am not saying anything about anyone's personal politics, but this administration is JUST the type I would expect this legislation to come from.

    If anyone truly believes that you "have to give up some freedoms to preserve your freedom"--then you deserve what you get. Just what are "some freedoms"??

    It's sad enough that we as Americans have to fear terrorism, but to have to fear our own government in it's attempt to "save us" is sadder still. I understand some measures taken after 9/11 to aid secuity agencies--I have no problem with being searched at airports-- but I see no need for the government to collect every piece of data on every one of it's citizens. What one adminstration gathers, another may use for who knows what. I suppose that if I start using PGP for all my e-mail communications I will be suspect. I'd move elsewhere, but no offense to any other country, I feel this is still the most free nation (for now). The real problem is that the vast majority of Americans are too busy, too disinterested or plain too lazy to follow or care about most things that smell political.

    I am hopefull when I do see people like some of the Wilder's family who do follow these things and do care about the fate of our freedoms. Thank ya'll for your work. Freedom is something to fight for. I hope that Americans don't learn to appreciate freedom after they have lost it.

    Gnostic :'(
     
  18. wink

    wink Registered Member

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    It's all going in a scary direction, most people will only realise the ramifications of such legislation once it is in place.

    If only the public realised the mechanisms being designed instead of just receiving information in generalised statements such as ‘It’s needed to fight terrorism’.

    Good thread as like so many I have been reading in this forum.
     
  19. An interesting peice of reading , it gets better half way down ,
    http://www.nexusmagazine.com/overview.html

    Robert
     
  20. TTT

    TTT Guest

    That last link was rediculous.

    This seems like a want-to-be conspiracy theorist, he better stick to the UFO stuff.

    Sad this stuff is read by some as accurate and reliable. Not even well documented :(

    Peace,
    J
     
  21. luv2bsecure

    luv2bsecure Infrequent Poster

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    Please....NO posts or links and/or responses that are not related to the political issue at hand that relates to Internet security/privacy violations. Period. This isn't a conspiracy board. Not siding one way or another on the issue, that's for OTHER BOARDS - only stating the policy here - and it's firm.

    John
    Luv2BSecure
     
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