Angus T. Jones on 'Two And A Half Men' -- FIRE the ungrateful little bastard!

Are you voluntarily sacrificing your privacy, security and freedom in exchange for convenience?

How many people realize that your DNA can be manipulated by the authorities to provide a false positive to a crime report? That is, they do not actually need your physical DNA as would be found at a crime scene to pronounce you guilty. All they would need is the numerical coded value that represents your DNA. Likewise, your fingerprints or any other biometric values used for identification.

How many people realize that Facebook represents the big brother’s dream of a master database, containing facial recognition data, voice recognition data, indications of your close associates and a timeline of your activities and purchases. Mostly available to the authorities without a warrant – just for the taking?

And here you are, providing information to the public that would require a warrant and weeks of investigation to obtain by a federal agency – many prohibited from creating, storing and maintaining such information without suitable safeguards and usage limitations.

Even worse, your service provider is aggregating your data with data from other sources; purchases from supermarkets, movies you have rented – and profiting from selling this expanded information to anyone with the money and need for such data. Woe to us the day a major credit repository contracts with a social media site to provide a full and complete picture of your financial, educational, employment and recreational activities. Think it might be hard? Consider what information may be held in Experian’s Credit Repository, Amazon’s purchase database, LinkedIn’s employment and resume files, Facebook and any online picture repository – and then think again.

And the law is not on your side!

There is no Constitutional protection against the use of volunteered information. No Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination. No pity for the stupid criminals who post details or actual photographic evidence of their crimes on Facebook or any one of the social media sites. There is no such thing as retroactive protection against stupidity.

Even worse, you do not own the preponderance of software on your computer, you license it under terms and conditions which are ever-changing, barely understandable, confer unprecedented use to the creator, allow access to other information on the computer, ostensibly to guarantee a “quality user experience,” and all with a take-it-or-leave-it unilateral agreement. We have seen instances when Amazon has wiped out an entire library of books and unilaterally closed a customer’s account, all the while refusing to tell the customer exactly what wrong was committed. Under media scrutiny and public outrage, the problem was resolved – but how many individuals have a compelling unique story and access to the media, or in the alternative, the funds to sue a vendor whose damages are contractually limited by their terms and usage agreements to little more than what you have recently paid for the service – in most cases, zero.

Even the Courts are unable to decide what rights you may have in this digital. Some think that browsing through a computer requires a warrant showing probable cause, but will freely allow investigators to browse through your cellphone – even if it is a computer. Consider the debate whether or not you actually own the data. Does your cellphone location data constitute privileged data or does it belong to the common carrier as a business record needed to facilitate a transaction? The difference can mean regarding you as a suspect or a material witness because your cellphone placed you at the scene of a crime at the time the crime was being committed. 

Another recent case that is yet to be heard involves a school system who demands students carry trackable identification at all times while on campus. Smart students will wrap their card in tinfoil and defeat the scanners. Why is this important to the school system? Follow the money. Schools are paid on the basis of their “average daily attendance” and without verifiable proof, they may lose money. It also allows the school system to determine who ditched school and may be costing them money. Other uses include payment of lunch money to prevent students from being mugged by other students. It is an interesting case only because the great majority of these students are voluntarily trackable with their cellphones.

Bottom line …

We need to start thinking about the tradeoffs in our lives. Freedom for faux safety and security at the government level. Privacy for convenience at the personal level.

The one thing that I would most like to see is an extension of the law that criminalizes government (and their contractors, agents and informants) access and usage of electronic data for personal, political or commercial purposes. With mandatory sentences, loss of pension, no ability to plea bargain the charge downward or be eligible for parole before the sentence is served. This same penalty can apply to those investigators and prosecutors who use “manufactured or manipulated” electronic evidence against any individual or organization.

Think hard and long about what George Orwell said in his prophetic book, Animal Farm; “some animals are more equal than others,” and then look at his other prophetic book, 1984, a dystopian tale of Big Brother and a totalitarian regime. Both books conveying elements of truth about today’s ruling elite and the future of individuals versus the socialist collective.

-- steve 

“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS