The FBI, which is proving to to be the worst thing to happen to America since dubya, is pushing for laws that will require your Internet Service Providers to record all that you do and make it available for police review.
"Records retention by ISPs would be tremendously helpful in giving us a historic basis to make a case on a number of child pornographers who use the Internet to push their pornography" or lure children, Mueller said.
Yes it would. But it would also allow them to many other things that might not be so justified. If we've learned anything, its that the FBI can't be trusted with unchecked snooping powers.
(H/T to Slashdot for the link)
If you didn't already know, TV is going fully digital by February 2009. That means that all TVs, VCRs, etc that don't speak digital will be left in the lurch. You'll need to buy a converter and fortunately, the government is offering $40 coupons to all families (one per household) to defray the costs of conversion. Better yet, sometime this summer there should be a digital converter that you can buy for about $40 (making your net cost $0).
There have been some problems with the coupons though.
Apparently a Lending Tree employee gave internal passwords to external lenders without permission. This resulted in people being offered loans by lenders who shouldn't have been able to see their data. While Lending Tree doesn't believe that this particular activity is likely to lead to ID theft, it is a problem nonetheless.
I wasn't going to cover this story because it's so typical of what's happening recently, but this stuck in my craw. In a letter shared with the Consumerist by a reader, Lending Tree is recommending that people get fraud alerts on their accounts as a precaution.
Fraud alerts are practically worthless! Don't even bother. Get a freeze and you'll actually be protected.
From the "Well flipping duh" committee as assisted by the "It's about freaking time" guild, a NJ court has ruled that we have privacy rights online and that "law enforcement officials need a grand jury warrant to have access to their private information".
(H/T to Privacy.org for the link)
First the FBI was going to put the DNA of innocent people on permenant file, but now they're going to drag in the DNA of any relatives to the offenders as well.
He was a church-going father of two, and for more than 30 years Dennis Rader eluded police in the Wichita area, killing 10 people and signing taunting letters with a self-styled monogram: BTK, for Bind Torture Kill. In the end, it was a DNA sample that tied BTK to his crimes. Not his own DNA. But his daughter's.
Investigators obtained a court order without the daughter's knowledge for a Pap smear specimen she had given five years earlier at a university medical clinic in Kansas. A DNA profile of the specimen almost perfectly matched the DNA evidence taken from several BTK crime scenes, leading detectives to conclude she was the child of the killer. That allowed police to secure an arrest warrant in February 2005 and end BTK's murderous career.
The sad thing here is that the practice could be used to do great good, but we can't let the FBI ever have the power to do this because they can't be trusted to use it properly.
The U.S. government will soon begin collecting DNA samples from all citizens arrested in connection with any federal crime and from many immigrants detained by federal authorities, adding genetic identifiers from more than 1 million individuals a year to the swiftly growing federal law enforcement DNA database.
If you are found innocent, you can't be treated like a criminal. Duh.
What is happening at the FBI that they can violate our privacy and rights over and over and over?
(H/T to Privacy.org for the link)
Reunion.com is using a deceptive marketing strategy where they pretend to be someone you know who is inviting you to Reunion. If you go to Reunion.com to see who it is, sign up, and make the horrible gross mistake of giving them your e-mail address password, they will automatically send out false e-mails to all the people in your contact list.
Two things are going horribly wrong here. One is that Reunion.com is using false and deceptive practices and is doing nothing less than what a virus or hacker would do. I hope the hammer of law hits them hard and fast
The second thing is that people somehow believe it's ok to give up their e-mail address password which is a huge no no.
(H/T to The Consumerist for the link)
The FBI has been doing a lot of illegal and immoral things recently haven't they?
Counterterrorism officials in FBI headquarters slowed an investigation into a possible conspirator in the 2005 London bombings by forcing a field agent to return documents acquired from a U.S. university. Why? Because the agent received the documents through a lawful subpoena, while headquarters wanted him to demand the records under the USA Patriot Act, using a power the FBI did not have, but desperately wanted.
And when they got the power, they horribly abused it. Nice huh?
(H/T to Slashdot for the link)
This time, it's in New Jersey.
On its Web site, www.lifelock.com, the company reports that it places requests for fraud alerts with credit bureaus on behalf of its clients. “If someone is trying to use your personal information, you will be contacted by the creditor that is issuing the line of credit, ? LifeLock says.
“If you receive a call and you are not the one applying for credit, the transaction should be stopped immediately. ?
But creditors are not required to contact applicants even if they have fraud alerts in their files, says the Pasternak lawsuit. The Experian lawsuit makes a similar argument. The Pasternaks also blast LifeLock’s $1 million guarantee, claiming that the fine print renders it virtually worthless.
EXACTLY! Finally someone gets it.
I'm skeptical of the Federal Trade Commission's ability to deal with spyware or Spam, but the crack-down on fake blogging and unlabeled DRM is interesting.
Fake blogs (flogs), like the ones set up by Sony to promote the PSP, also try to gain authenticity by masquerading as homegrown labors of love. And while most established media sites have policies designed to keep editorial and advertising separate, blogs may have no such rules in place.
Case in point: the Sony BMG rootkit fiasco, a case in which the Commission actually did charge the company with deception for not informing consumers that certain CDs contained DRM that limited their usefulness.
While this is all true and pays great lip service to those of us who are against these practices, based on how they handled , I don't really expect much from the FTC.
It was just yesterday that I was explaining why closed circuit tv systems (the the ones they have prominently installed all over London) don't work. Here's an article about a London Graffiti artist who carefully painted a giant message to the authorities that spans three full stories on a building right next to a security camera.
The secretive graffiti artist managed to erect three storeys of scaffolding behind a security fence despite being watched by a CCTV camera.
Then, during darkness and hidden behind a sheet of polythene, he painted this comment on 'Big Brother' society.
Way to make a point.
The last thing this cult wants is more exposure into their secret operating documents. Go Wikileaks!
D.C. officials are giving police access to more than 5,000 closed-circuit TV cameras citywide that monitor traffic, schools and public housing — a move that will give the District one of the largest surveillance networks in the country.
(H/T to epic for the link)
Of course, this has been suspected/known for a long time, but Ars Technica covers the story of cities that seem to be changing the timing of traffic lights to ever shorter durations in order to increase revenues from red light cameras.
This is hardly surprising. Bush, the [sarcasm]champion of freedom and the American way[/sarcasm] will be turning US spy satellites on Americans.
(H/T to Slashdot for the link)
South Carolina's Governor just signed into law a bill that gives SC residents the ability to freeze their credit for free!
And of course there's always this:
The credit reporting industry has opposed such legislation relating to credit report freezes. One concern is that too many states will have different regulations, which would make it difficult for credit reporting bureaus to comply. That's a good argument, and it's why this issue needs to be addressed at the federal level. In the meantime, South Carolina was right to take action on the state level.
Imagine that! Different states have different laws! Oh wah wah, cry me a freaking river! If they wanted to do business in Mexico or Canada, do you think there might be some different laws? It's not as if there aren't companies who do business in tons of different countries in the world successfully despite all the different laws and customs.
This is such a bogus argument, I'm going to have to try to remember not to even bother getting worked up about it anymore.
Someone I know of who works at a three-letter agency forwarded me this CIA Simple Sabotage Field Manual from 1944 that was recently declassified. If you every wondered if someone was TRYING to get in the way at work, maybe they are…
Here's the full list in case you don't want the pdf:
- Insist on doing everything through "channels." Never permit short-cuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.
- Make "speeches" Talk as frequently as possible and at great length. Illustrate your "points" by long anecdotes and accounts of personal experiences. Never hesitate to make a few appropriate "patriotic" comments.
- When possible, refer all matters to committees, for "further study and consideration." Attempt to make the committees as large as possible – never less than five.
- Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.
- Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions.
- Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to re-open the question of the advisability of that decision.
- Advocate "caution." Be "reasonable" and urge your fellow-conferees to be "reasonable" and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on.
- Be worried about the propriety of any decision – raise the question of whether such action as is contemplated is within the jurisdiction of the group or whether it might conflict with the policy of some higher echelon.
- Demand written orders.
- "Misunderstand" orders. Ask endless questions or engage in long correspondence about such orders. Quibble over them when you can.
- Do everything possible to delay the delivery of orders. Even though parts of an order may be ready beforehand, don't deliver it until it is completely ready.
- Don't order new working materials until your current stocks have been virtually exhausted, so that the slightest delay in filling your order will mean a shutdown.
- Oder high-quality materials which are hard to get. If you don't get them argue about it. Warn that inferior materials will mean inferior work.
- In making work assignments, always sign out the unimportant jobs first. See that the important jobs are assigned to inefficient workers of poor machines.
- Insist on perfect work in relatively unimportant products; send back for refinishing those which have the least flaw. Approve other defective parts whose flaws are not visible to the naked eye.
- Make mistakes in routing so that parts and materials will be sent to the wrong place in the plant.
- When training new workers, give incomplete or misleading instructions.
- To lower morale and with it, production, be pleasant to inefficient workers; give them undeserved promotions. Discriminate against efficient workers; complain unjustly about their work.
- Hold conferences when there is more critical work to be done.
- Multiply paper-work in plausible ways. Start duplicate files.
- Multiply the procedures and clearances involved in issuing instructions, pay checks, and so on. See that three people have to approve everything where one would do.
- Apply all regulations to the last letter.
- Make mistakes in quantities of material when you are copying orders. Confuse similar names. Use wrong addresses.
- Prolong correspondence with government bureaus.
- Misfile essential documents.
- In making carbon copies, make one too few, so that an extra copying job will have to be done.
- Tell important callers the boss is busy or talking on another telephone.
- Hold up mail until the next collection.
- Spread disturbing rumors that sound like inside dope.
- Work slowly. Think out way s to increase the number of movements necessary on your job: use a light hammer instead of a heavy one, try to make a small wrench do when a big one is necessary, use little force where considerable force is needed and so on.
- Contrive as many interruptions to your work as you can: when changing the material on which you are working, as you would on a lathe or punch, take needless time to do it. IF you are cutting, shaping or doing other measured work, measure dimensions twice as often as you need to. When you go to the lavatory, spend a longer time there than is necessary. Forget tools so that you will have to go back after them.
- Even if you understand the language, pretend not to understand instructions in a foreign tongue.
- Pretend that instructions are hard to understand and ask to have them repeated more than once. Or pretend that you are particularly anxious to do your work, and pester the foreman with unnecessary questions.
- Do your work poorly and blame it on bad tools, machinery, or equipment. Complain that these things are preventing you from doing your job right.
- Never pass on your skill and experience to a new or less skillful worker.
- Snarl up administration in very possible way. Fill out forms illegibly so, that they will have to be done over; make mistakes or omit requested information in forms.
- If possible, join or help organize a group for presenting employee problems to the management. See that the procedures adopted are as inconvenient as possible for the management, involving the presence of a large number of employees at each presentation, entailing more than one meeting for each grievance, bringing up problems which are largely imaginary, and so on.
- Give lengthy and incomprehensible explanations when questions.
- Report imaginary spies or danger to the Gestapo or police.
- Act stupid.
- be as irritable and quarrelsome as possible without getting yourself into trouble.
- Misunderstand all sorts of regulations concerning such matters as rationing, transportation, traffic regulations.
- Complain against ersatz materials.
- In public, treat axis nationals or quislings coldly.
- Stop all conversation when axis nationals or quislings enter a cafe.
- Cry and sob hysterically at every occasion, especially when confronted by government clerks.
- Boycott all movies, entertainments, concerts, newspapers which are in any way connected with the quisling authorities.
Click to download the original PDF