Tag Archives: Privacy

NSA PRISM: Dissecting the Technology Companies Adamant Denial of Involvement in Goverment Spying Program – ABC News

NSA PRISM: Dissecting the Technology Companies Adamant Denial of Involvement in Goverment Spying Program – ABC News.

If you’re surprised you haven’t been paying attention.  The PRISM program isn’t the first of its kind, though it probably provides the easiest access than its predecessors.  Have you ever heard of Carnivore?  It was a lot more difficult to use since in the earliest versions you had to actually have the hardware physically installed at the ISP.

Next came NarusInsight which AT&T apparently helped the FBI connect to the Internet to monitor us.  I’m sure that there are many more that are up and running and dozens more in development.  The world is full of bad guys and that makes it easy for people in power to justify their actions in the name of security. You don’t have to look far to find reminders of Obama’s grandiose speeches condemning what he’s now calling necessary for the security of Americans.

IRS denies searching emails without warrant – The Hill’s Hillicon Valley

In a 2009 handbook, for example, the IRS said the Fourth Amendment does not protect emails because Internet users “do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications.”

via IRS denies searching emails without warrant – The Hill’s Hillicon Valley.

Let’s look at what the Bill of Rights says and do a bit of compare and contrast, shall we?

The first amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”  This has been used to justify everything from abortions to flag burning.

Yet when it comes to the fourth amendment which clearly states: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”  This same group of judges and politicians don’t think that emails  are protected.  If you have a handful of papers or even a letter that you put in the mailbox out on the side of the street, police can’t read it even if it’s open without a warrant.  How can you not make the same judgment about emails?


As a kid, you form certain views on life that most often aren’t the way life really is.  You views change as you grow older and hopefully wiser  but it’s interesting to me that you can have completely independent ideas that you somehow form on your own without the benefit of your environment.

For instance, a kid grows up in an area and environment where racist views are accepted as fact, yet that kid doesn’t buy into them.  He somehow sees that these facts aren’t really facts at all.  Where does that come from?  God, maybe?

The world as I knew it as a kid wasn’t really the way it was.  In many ways it has improved and in others it’s gone downhill.  Racism isn’t as rampant as it once was which is good.  Freedom and individualism is on the decline which isn’t good.  A government which was once in the extreme of baseless accusations of communist plots is now more active in moving us toward communism than protecting us from it.

The Internet has opened up a whole new world of information to us making vast amounts of information readily accessible at the click of a button.  With this comes new ways of tracking our every move and more creative ways of both sharing information and governmental censorship.  In attempting to allow the FCC to “protect us” from those evil companies who want to prioritize or even worse, charge us for handling our data, once freedom loving Americans are trying to hand over their freedom for said protection.

American Soldiers are dying all over the world protecting our freedoms and we’re back home giving them away in return for a false sense of security.  We buy cars with tracking devices built-in to keep us safe in case we have -gasp- a flat tire!  OK so it’s mostly so that we can have that sense of security that we can be found were we to have an accident.  We are willing to allow ourselves to have every move tracked for that one moment which may never come when we need assistance and can’t get it on our own.  Risk is no longer acceptable at any level.

We want our kids to grow up to be good people, yet we don’t let them work to build their own economy.  Instead, we take the easy way out for us and for them by giving them their every whim.  This, my friends, builds a sense of entitlement that is not easily replaced by a self-sufficient, responsible attitude.  Take one look at the Britney and Lindsay’s of the world to see what spoiling a child will gain both you and them.

I could go on and on as I’m sure you could as well, but in the end it still all comes back to me, and to you, to be responsible for ourselves and to pass on our experiences as best we can to future generations before it’s too late.

Google used Street View cars to take emails and passwords in privacy breach | Mail Online

Trust me, I’m from Google…

The cars’ antennae skipped networks five times a second, it said, meaning each network was only accessed for one-fifth of a second.

But it has now emerged that entire emails, web pages and passwords were copied and stored during that split-second.

The information was only gathered from wireless networks which were not password-protected.

But it means the antennae potentially harvested millions of private emails and passwords around the country. It is not known how many householders have unprotected wireless networks.

via Google used Street View cars to take emails and passwords in privacy breach | Mail Online.

Sprint Turns Over User GPS Data to Police 8 Million Times a Year | Maximum PC

Sprint Turns Over User GPS Data to Police 8 Million Times a Year | Maximum PC.

Are you worried about your rights being violated?  You are in the minority apparently if you answered yes.

Sprint, it turns out, has been routinely handing over GPS information on its customers to law enforcement for some time. So commonplace is the practice that Sprint has setup an automated system for law enforcement to check on subscriber whereabouts (apparently even without a court order).

Sprint coughed-up GPS information to law enforcement eight million times last year. Not on eight million users, Sprint is quick to point out. Rather law enforcement can request GPS information on any particular user every three minutes for up to 60 days. (After that Sprint doesn’t say what happens.)

And Sprint isn’t the only one handing out information about you.

Yahoo and Verizon also provide law enforcement access to customer information. Neither company will discuss the nature or extent of law enforcement surveillance for fear their customers would be “shocked” or “confused” by what types of surveillance law enforcement is permitted. Verizon further justifies its secrecy in the matter saying it doesn’t want to commit resources to dealing with customers that might be concerned with its practices.

The willingness, if not eagerness of companies, such as Yahoo and Verizon, and Comcast and Cox Communications, to ‘rat’ you out is easily explained: they get paid for the service they provide. Comcast, for example, in 2007 charged $1,000 for the first month of a wiretap, and $750 each month after. Cox Communications charges $2,500 for a 60-day pen register/trap-and-trace order, with each successive 60-day interval going for $2,000. Yahoo wouldn’t divulge its pricing scheme, claiming it was “confidential commercial information.” All-in-all, it’s better than 30 pieces of silver.

(Law enforcement’s activities here may well be legitimate. But how can we be certain if, as it appears, there is no system for accountability?)

Random Thoughts

Whether reality or not,  is sure seems that I always get sick on Friday and feel like crap on the weekend.  Same this week.  I’ve gotten a bug from my kids (hand, foot, and mouth disease) earlier in the week that didn’t affect me nearly as badly is it did them, now I have a chest cold.  No fun at all on a weekend.

Is it me, or has President Obama already taken more vacations since taking office than most people take in 20 years?  He seems to be picking nice vacation spots to travel – with his family in tow – to push his takeover of healthcare (and take away our freedoms).

Do that many people really drive their kids to school?  My summer 13 minute drive to work becomes a 30 minute drive the day school starts back for kids.  Maybe it’s a Greenville, SC thing.  I don’t know.

When did we become entertainment directors for our children?  If you don’t have something planned for when their plans don’t pan out, they whine and complain about being bored.  Maybe I should get them a job working on a farm somewhere every time they complain about that.  It sure kept me busy when I was a kid.

Why do people buy lottery tickets expecting to win eventually while never believing they will be in an auto accident or struck by lightning when the former is much more likely than both the latter?

Is there anyone left in government who doesn’t believe that it’s the government’s job to run every aspect of our lives?

Does anyone except those claiming to be improving the economy actually see the economy improving any?

How 10 digits will end privacy as we know it | Security – CNET News

How 10 digits will end privacy as we know it | Security – CNET News.

Americans in particular are so used to freedom that we freely give out information that can very easily be used against us.  For instance, security questions to change email passwords can be found on most people’s personal websites or blogs or even just by asking them.  Hey, what’s your mother’s maiden name, etc…

Be careful out there.