Discussion in 'privacy general' started by luv2bsecure, Jan 2, 2003.

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  1. luv2bsecure

    luv2bsecure Infrequent Poster

    Feb 9, 2002
    Judge Rules Against Homeland Security Office in Privacy Suit
    By Leslie Miller
    Associated Press
    Published: Jan 2, 2003​

    WASHINGTON (AP) - The Office of Homeland Security lost the first round in a legal fight to keep its activities secret as a federal judge ruled it will have to answer questions about its power over other federal agencies.
    U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ordered the office to prove it has no authority other than helping and advising President Bush if it wants to dismiss a lawsuit seeking access to its records.

    The ruling last week favored the Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Center, which is trying to get Homeland Security records on proposals for a national driver's license and for a "trusted flyer" program that relies on biometric information to identify airline passengers.

    Kollar-Kotelly said the center "may inquire into the nature of the authority delegated to (the Office of Homeland Security) to determine whether or not it possesses independent authority."

    David Sobel, attorney for the privacy group, called the ruling an intermediate victory over Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge.

    "This is about opening a window into the activities of what has been, until now, a very secretive entity," Sobel said.

    Homeland Security tried to get the lawsuit dismissed, claiming it doesn't have to release records because it's not an agency. The privacy group said it didn't have enough information to prove otherwise and asked for permission to find out how the office exercises its authority.

    The privacy group has until Feb. 24 to find out whether other agencies receive instructions or directions from Homeland Security or if they have to get the office's approval for policies or activities.

    Homeland Security spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said the office is reviewing the opinion and working with the Justice Department to figure out what to do next.

    The office, created by President Bush after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, has consistently denied that it's an agency. Earlier this year, Ridge refused to testify before Congress about the office's budget on the grounds that he merely advises President Bush.

    Homeland Security will no longer be able to make that argument when it becomes a new federal department on Jan. 24.

    Sobel said Homeland Security's increased power and reach will warrant even closer public oversight.

    The new department, for example, will receive information from the FBI, which has expanded powers under the USA Patriot Act, passed in response to the Sept. 11 terror attacks, Sobel said.

    "We're already seeing an effort on the part of all the separate entities to really close the door on any scrutiny," he said.

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  2. root

    root Registered Member

    Feb 19, 2002
    Missouri, USA
    Could this be the beginning of the long hard struggle back to freedom and independance?
    Dare we hope? :doubt:
  3. sk

    sk Registered Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Well, it's a start. But I also remember that for the longest while it seemed as if MS actually lost the anti-trust suit brought against it. But in the long run, after all the appeals and what-not, it sure doesn't seem as if they've really changed - or been made to change - their practices very much. If anything, it looks more like an abuser who had never been made to feel any real consequences and who then ends up coming back more arrogant and feeling more empowered than before. My first thought here was: "I wonder how long THAT judge is gonna have a job?" But regardless, a 'w' is a 'w', as they say. So put this one in the win column for now. Let's just hope it keeps going in that direction. But I hasten to add that it would be naive to think that at the level we're talking about here, these folks are anything less than absolute masters of misdirection. They thrive off of having people think things are one way when in reality they are almost always the exact opposite. They work it to a point that even when a person tries to sort it out, it's so many layers deep it's almost impossible to ever really know. Like great magicians working their craft; everybody KNOWS David Copperfield didn't really make the building disappear. Yet unless you know the trick - or even if you DO - it sure LOOKS like it disappeared. (I think it's time to change my sig: "Pay VERY CAREFUL ATTENTION to the man behind the curtain".)

  4. Chuck57

    Chuck57 Registered Member

    Sep 2, 2002
    New Mexico, USA
    I'm probably going to be slightly off subject, but I think it relates closely enough.

    We did win a modest victory in round one. Whether anything comes of it is another matter. Still, 'they' bear watching and bear being closely watched. A negative court ruling has never stopped any government from doing what it wants, in particular when a virtually free world wide source of information exists.

    The Internet is entirely too free and open. Government, any government, cannot bear the thought of having few, if any, controls over such a situation. Americans allegedly live in a free and open society, or so those people want us to believe. We don't, and haven't in over three quarters of a century.

    The Internet, whether forums or email, chat or instant messaging frightens governments all over the world. Now, and for as long as it lasts, what THEY tell us concerning a given situation can be investigated with a few clicks of a mouse. Encryption frightens them, thus their attempts to gain a master keys to encryption software, of course under the guise of crime prevention.

    Bottom line, we must keep our guard up and challenge any attempts to invade and control this free and open virtual society.

    I don't remember the exact quote, nor who said it but, "A government that does not trust its people cannot be trusted."
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