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You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > It's official: Homeland Security can now seize ANY device for as long as they want

It's official: Homeland Security can now seize ANY device for as long as they want
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starman
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Aug 1, 2008, 01:16 PM
 

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Luca Rescigno
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Aug 1, 2008, 01:24 PM
 
blah blah, law abiding citizens have nothing to fear, blah blah liberals, blah blah

Yes, this is major bull poo poo.

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Uncle Doof
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Aug 1, 2008, 01:40 PM
 
Remind me. Who controls Congress and the Senate at the moment?

Didn't you guys know about this months ago? The Reg carried the story two or three months back.
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nonhuman
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Aug 1, 2008, 01:43 PM
 
Well, damn. I guess next time I fly internationally I'll be driving up to Toronto first... Does Montreal have a big international airport? That would save me a lot of time.
     
CreepDogg
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Aug 1, 2008, 01:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Doof View Post
Remind me. Who controls Congress and the Senate at the moment?

Didn't you guys know about this months ago? The Reg carried the story two or three months back.
It's "House of Representatives" and the Senate. Congress = both.

If one were to read the linked article, they would observe that these are new policies issued by DHS. DHS is a department of the Executive Branch. Who controls the Executive Branch? That would be the more relevant question. Looks like one of the controlling members of Congress wants to begin legislation to stop this.

Originally Posted by The Article
...the policies, dated July 16 and issued by two DHS agencies, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

"The policies . . . are truly alarming," said Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), who is probing the government's border search practices. He said he intends to introduce legislation soon that would require reasonable suspicion for border searches, as well as prohibit profiling on race, religion or national origin.
     
wallinbl
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Aug 1, 2008, 01:53 PM
 
If you go with rule by majority, then this is what you get. The general population is really not a good source of direction for the country. Most people were scared enough by 9/11 to allow the government to do anything to protect them.
     
Uncle Doof
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Aug 1, 2008, 01:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by CreepDogg View Post
It's "House of Representatives" and the Senate. Congress = both.
I stand corrected. So what the hell do you call people in the HoR? Housers?
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wallinbl
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Aug 1, 2008, 01:57 PM
 
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff wrote in an opinion piece published last month in USA Today that "the most dangerous contraband is often contained in laptop computers or other electronic devices." Searches have uncovered "violent jihadist materials" as well as images of child pornography, he wrote.
Good thing we don't have some kind of global information network or we'd be having this information going all over the place in tubes.
     
wallinbl
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Aug 1, 2008, 01:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Doof View Post
I stand corrected. So what the hell do you call people in the HoR? Housers?
Representatives.
     
OreoCookie
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Aug 1, 2008, 01:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Doof View Post
I stand corrected. So what the hell do you call people in the HoR? Housers?
Members of the House or Representatives.
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Luca Rescigno
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Aug 1, 2008, 02:01 PM
 
Originally Posted by wallinbl View Post
Representatives.
That or House Members.

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olePigeon
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Aug 1, 2008, 02:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by wallinbl View Post
Representatives.
I kinda like Hosers.
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olePigeon
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Aug 1, 2008, 02:04 PM
 
Also, the Congress is preceded by a definite article because it's a group.
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Aug 1, 2008, 02:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by olePigeon View Post
I kinda like Hosers.
Damn Canadians...
     
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Aug 1, 2008, 02:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
Well, damn. I guess next time I fly internationally I'll be driving up to Toronto first... Does Montreal have a big international airport? That would save me a lot of time.
The only problem with your idea is this policy is 'OK' at any border crossing, not just in airports.
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nonhuman
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Aug 1, 2008, 02:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by PBG4 User View Post
The only problem with your idea is this policy is 'OK' at any border crossing, not just in airports.
I guess I'll just have to sneak across the border then.
     
starman  (op)
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Aug 1, 2008, 03:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by wallinbl View Post
Good thing we don't have some kind of global information network or we'd be having this information going all over the place in tubes.
This is exactly why the whole thing is silly. If you want to hide something, put it in the cloud.

These people DO NOT understand the system.

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Uncle Doof
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Aug 1, 2008, 03:23 PM
 
I think the Reg came up with two solutions:

1) Upload data to web site. Download when at destination.

2) Send an encrypted USB stick to destination.

Don't encrypt the data and leave it on your device. You'll have to give them the key or they can detain you until you do so.
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imitchellg5
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Aug 1, 2008, 03:29 PM
 
Once again, I don't see why people are freaking out. If you've done nothing wrong, why should you be worried? It's not like they're gonna come by and take your iPhone 3G cause they can't find any in stores.
     
Hugi
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Aug 1, 2008, 03:32 PM
 
Just out of curiosity - if the government decides to classify you as a terrorist in the US, do you have any civil rights left?
     
moep
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Aug 1, 2008, 03:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Doof View Post
Don't encrypt the data and leave it on your device. You'll have to give them the key or they can detain you until you do so.

Not with truecrypt’s “outer volume” for plausible deniability. But yeah, I wouldn’t risk it.

Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
Once again, I don't see why people are freaking out. If you've done nothing wrong, why should you be worried?

quick history check, guess the topic:

7. Obsession with national security. Inevitably, a national security apparatus was under direct control of the ruling elite. It was usually an instrument of oppression, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting “national security,” and questioning its activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.
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starman  (op)
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Aug 1, 2008, 04:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
Once again, I don't see why people are freaking out. If you've done nothing wrong, why should you be worried? It's not like they're gonna come by and take your iPhone 3G cause they can't find any in stores.
You don't get it.

They can take it for an INDETERMINATE PERIOD OF TIME.

Some people have reported days/weeks.

If they glanced through it and gave it back, no biggie. But the fact that they can SHIP IT OFF-SITE WITH NO SUSPICION should raise lots of warning signs.

This has nothing AT ALL to do with having anything to hide. They just take it. Poof. Gone. Get on the plane without it.

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Uncle Doof
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Aug 1, 2008, 04:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
Once again, I don't see why people are freaking out. If you've done nothing wrong, why should you be worried? It's not like they're gonna come by and take your iPhone 3G cause they can't find any in stores.
The way I heard it, they also have the right to copy all of your data. That's including your company secrets, website designs, artwork, ideas and contact list.
That's why people are worried.
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starman  (op)
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Aug 1, 2008, 04:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Doof View Post
The way I heard it, they also have the right to copy all of your data. That's including your company secrets, website designs, artwork, ideas and contact list.
That's why people are worried.
Right, that too. I neglected to mention it.

And they say they have to destroy the data IF you're cleared. Do you trust them to do so?

What if business documents are copied? Client/data info?

I don't want to get on a soapbox but you people really need to understand the implications of this.

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Aug 1, 2008, 04:21 PM
 
"Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one." - Thomas Jefferson


Interesting that I just came across this thread after reading the thread debating what conservatism is about...
     
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Aug 1, 2008, 04:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
Once again, I don't see why people are freaking out. If you've done nothing wrong, why should you be worried? It's not like they're gonna come by and take your iPhone 3G cause they can't find any in stores.
As Doofy and Starman have pointed out, there is a whole host of problems with this type of government action.

For starters, there is taking of physical property. Assuming you didn't steal the electronic device in question, the government is taking it from you, depriving you of it use. Generally, the government (at the local, state, or federal level) must have serious justifications for depriving you of use of your property before they can do so. That's why the topic of eminent domain has become such a big deal. It used to be that government would take part of your land to build a highway with justification that it was "for the greater public good". But two years ago the Supreme Court decided that taking of land for purely economic reasons did not violate the Constitution. So now, the government doesn't even have to make a "public good" argument for taking land; They can use an economic reason for doing so.

What about your privacy. Let's say you have all the contact info for your family and friends on your iPod. Do you want that information to be accessible to random strangers? What if some of that contact information is not publicly available, say the unlisted private number for a family member? If your control of that information is compromised then you have just given someone else the opportunity to violate the privacy of one of your family members. Heck, everyone seems to know one slightly rich or famous person. What if you have private personal contact info for your Uncle Bob in your iPod but your Uncle Bob is Robert DeNiro or Robert Redford. Do you think they are going to be happy knowing their private, personal contact info is now in the hands of a complete stranger?

Then there is the question of intellectual property. What if your laptop has work information on it pertaining to financial statements of your company. Do you really want some stranger to see all your company's detailed financial data? Or, what if the laptop in question belongs to your company and you are a graphic designer with the latest logo redesign for a major corporation? Does your employer or their client (the major corporation) want their advertising to be made available outside the context of their marketing plans? And let's not even talk about data that, by law, must be kept confidential. Say you are part of a M&A team for a big law firm and you are returning from a meeting with an overseas client. On your laptop is confidential financial and corporate information that cannot be made public before the merger takes place. Doing so would allow individuals to use that information to unfairly manipulate stock prices for the companies in question. What do you do when one branch of the US government (CBP) takes this private and confidential information out of your control in contradiction to legal requirements about control of that information from another branch of the federal government (SEC)? That's a nice little quandary, isn't it?

There are many, many reasons to be afraid of this ruling. Not least among them is the fact that the US government is now acting on the presumption that US citizens are inherently worthy of suspicion for having been outside the country. (This decision would be less frightening if it applied solely to non-US citizens but it applies equally to all individuals crossing a US border. So, the US government seems to think that if you are a US citizen who has left the country for some reason and are now returning, you are equally suspicious to a non-US citizen coming into the country temporarily.) If that sort of xenophobic mind-set doesn't freak you out I don't know what will.
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wallinbl
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Aug 1, 2008, 04:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
Once again, I don't see why people are freaking out. If you've done nothing wrong, why should you be worried? It's not like they're gonna come by and take your iPhone 3G cause they can't find any in stores.
Read a history book. Seriously. If you think that governments leave people alone to be happy, you're nuts. Governments have a long history of interfering with people in ways that they have no business doing. It's part of why we revolted and why we wrote the Constitution. You'd be a fool to let all of it slip away under the apathy of "I haven't done anything wrong so I don't care what they do to other people". When you're falsely imprisoned, you'll be wishing that things like reasonable cause, subpoenas and warrants were still required instead of the security at all costs detain anyone you want BS that has come back lately.
     
imitchellg5
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Aug 1, 2008, 05:11 PM
 
Okay, I can see what Uncle Doof is saying about information. I'm not understanding why I would be falsely imprisoned because 1) If I had a serious problem with the issue I would just move away, 2) Only during times of war where the common people couldn't get what they needed (rubber, tin, etc) has the US government taken citizen's property, 3) I'm not a terrorist, I've never broken a law, besides the speed limit so there is really no reason to imprison me. They don't just take people in for fun. Let's be reasonable. Our government is not the Gustapo. The Department of Homeland Insecurity may be a bit secretive, but they aren't out to wisk us away at night. And anyway, I'd be happy to give up a laptop or iMac, or even car if it meant American lives would be saved.
     
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Aug 1, 2008, 05:34 PM
 
When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.



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I think this should be moved to the politics subforum by the way.
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SSharon
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Aug 1, 2008, 05:38 PM
 
I am not a fan of this type of legislation. A local and/or remote kill switch for my laptop and iphone would be nice. If they ask me to hand it over I quickly unlock it and erase it. What do they do then, take the phone anyway?

This is yet another case of pissing off the honest people while doing nothing to prevent the people they are hoping to stop.
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besson3c
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Aug 1, 2008, 05:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
Okay, I can see what Uncle Doof is saying about information. I'm not understanding why I would be falsely imprisoned because 1) If I had a serious problem with the issue I would just move away, 2) Only during times of war where the common people couldn't get what they needed (rubber, tin, etc) has the US government taken citizen's property, 3) I'm not a terrorist, I've never broken a law, besides the speed limit so there is really no reason to imprison me. They don't just take people in for fun. Let's be reasonable. Our government is not the Gustapo. The Department of Homeland Insecurity may be a bit secretive, but they aren't out to wisk us away at night. And anyway, I'd be happy to give up a laptop or iMac, or even car if it meant American lives would be saved.

1) You can't just move away to a random country, there are immigration laws to consider

2) Who makes these distinctions, and when are they made? Any kind of war (even small wars such as the Gulf War)? Volunteer only wars? An open ended war like the one we're in now which will probably have no clear victor, and which is difficult to define?

3) Just like our government doesn't torture? Doesn't wiretap? Doesn't screen justices based on their political affiliation? The government needs a constant watch dog, it needs to be constantly surveyed for these sorts of abuses of power because there is a tremendous amount of historical precedence for this. We have every right to distrust this, or any other government, and to say that we don't is frankly naive. What is the purpose of the second amendment?

I agree, a little history and healthy skepticism would do you good.
     
wallinbl
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Aug 1, 2008, 06:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
Okay, I can see what Uncle Doof is saying about information. I'm not understanding why I would be falsely imprisoned because 1) If I had a serious problem with the issue I would just move away, 2) Only during times of war where the common people couldn't get what they needed (rubber, tin, etc) has the US government taken citizen's property, 3) I'm not a terrorist, I've never broken a law, besides the speed limit so there is really no reason to imprison me. They don't just take people in for fun. Let's be reasonable. Our government is not the Gustapo. The Department of Homeland Insecurity may be a bit secretive, but they aren't out to wisk us away at night.
The whole point is that innocent people are arrested, detained, and put in jail. It happens. If there are no restraints on law enforcement, this becomes all that much easier. Law enforcement are humans - they make mistakes, they act on emotion rather than reason, and a variety of other reasons to arrest or detain the wrong person. We have restrictions on what they can do in order to protect ourselves from this. Removing these restraints does absolutely nothing positive for "gettin' the bad dudes" and does all sorts of negatives for protecting the rights and lives of innocent people. When I make a mistake at work or make a decision because I'm annoyed with a particular person, it might cost someone else a little time to correct it. When a law enforcement officer acts incorrectly or out of spite, an innocent person winds up in jail. Not good. There is a higher standard there and for good reason.

And anyway, I'd be happy to give up a laptop or iMac, or even car if it meant American lives would be saved.
But you giving up your laptop won't do squat for saving anyone's life. It simply won't. If you are willing to give up freedom for safety, then please move to another country, because this country was founded on precisely the opposite thinking. Innocent people in jail is not an acceptable casualty of fighting the bogeyman everyone is so afraid of.

Two things: If I wanted to blow up a plane, I could do it regardless of whatever insane security you tried to employ. Really and truly. There just isn't any preventing an intelligent and determined person from doing it. Why is everyone so convinced the bogeyman is going to hijack another plane? Why not just drive a big truck into a building (OK City)? That one is pretty simple to do and can't really even be prevented. The moral of these two points is that you shouldn't fantasize that you're going to somehow be safe by giving up your rights. There's a balance there, and it's well short of warrantless, causeless, secret searches.

Power shifts slowly over time. You may think each little thing is no big deal until you wake up one day and the nutjob president now has enough power to run a police state. I'm not being ridiculous. It happens over and over throughout history - power messes people up, and it messes them up badly.

(This thread is headed to the PL soon.)
     
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Aug 1, 2008, 06:23 PM
 
So, [almost] all of us agree that this is bullsh|t.

What do you people intend to do about it?
Sit on your hands and bitch on a internet forum?
     
residentEvil
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Aug 1, 2008, 06:24 PM
 
good think i fly nakid and don't carry baggage. makes check-in sooo much easier.
     
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Aug 1, 2008, 06:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by iMOTOR View Post
What do you people intend to do about it?
Sit on your hands and bitch on a internet forum?
I write my representatives all the time. Surprisingly enough, I get responses that appear to understand what I said to them. At the very least, some clerk is reading them.
     
Trygve
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Aug 1, 2008, 06:32 PM
 
This policy is going way too far and is well beyond unreasonable. My entire business: customer lists, source code to our products, financial records, emails are now up for grabs by any government agent. Most data is kept on disk image files with 256bit encryption and I would never give up the password... perhaps it will gain me a free trip to Cuba.

I have no problem with searches under probable cause... but confiscating property with no reason opens up a whole new chapter in our new police state.

Perhaps now I will have to upload it prior to leaving home (I live overseas now) and re-download it when I arrive in the US. Perhaps I will just stop coming back to the US.

I never thought I would feel more free living under an Arab dictatorship than living in the US. I do today... and have written my Senator (Harry Reid) to tell him so. God I hate what my country has become.

Perhaps we can ask Russia if Lenin might be relocated to the Mall in DC. I think he'd be happier resting in a country more suitable to his ideals.

     
starman  (op)
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Aug 1, 2008, 08:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by iMOTOR View Post
So, [almost] all of us agree that this is bullsh|t.

What do you people intend to do about it?
Sit on your hands and bitch on a internet forum?
I'll give you a clue:

Maybe some of us have never had to handle anything like this before. Do YOU have any suggestions or are you going to bitch about it on an internet forum?

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Aug 1, 2008, 08:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by wallinbl View Post
I write my representatives all the time. Surprisingly enough, I get responses that appear to understand what I said to them. At the very least, some clerk is reading them.
Do you use email or snail-mail?

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Aug 1, 2008, 09:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by starman View Post
Do you use email or snail-mail?
Snail mail. Email seems like it means less, but I'm not really sure why.
     
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Aug 1, 2008, 10:31 PM
 
Starman is right. Put stuff in the cloud. If you want to hide a grain of sand, hide it at the beach. If you want to hide a tree, hide it in the forest.

For those who put forward the 'I've done nothing wrong' argument: This is about freedom. The state has to presume me innocent until I am proven guilty. This law fundamentally changes that assumption.
     
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Aug 1, 2008, 10:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by Trygve View Post
I will just stop coming back to the US.
Exactly.
     
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Aug 1, 2008, 11:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Doof View Post
Remind me. Who controls Congress and the Senate at the moment?

Didn't you guys know about this months ago? The Reg carried the story two or three months back.
Gotta love those single digit approval numbers. Hell, they almost make Bush seem like a superstar.
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Aug 1, 2008, 11:19 PM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
Once again, I don't see why people are freaking out. If you've done nothing wrong, why should you be worried? It's not like they're gonna come by and take your iPhone 3G cause they can't find any in stores.
If the government could prove itself competent at separating those who have done nothing wrong from those who have, I'd agree with you. Unfortunately, all those people on the do not fly list who have done nothing wrong (or who's only crime has been to embarrass the government) suggest that the government lacks any such competency.
     
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Aug 2, 2008, 01:32 AM
 
For the furners, specially the Angles. Doesn't matter what congress does. Don't forget congressmen don't have party whips or have to tow the party line. Plenty of representatives vote against party lines, dems or pubbies. Bush can just veto it anyways, as he is prone to do.

Welcome to Mr. Roger's neighborhood. Can you say 'Police State' kiddies?

By the way, what ever happened to the Bill of Rights?
     
Miniryu
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Join Date: Oct 1999
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Aug 5, 2008, 08:40 AM
 
Originally Posted by wallinbl View Post
I write my representatives all the time. Surprisingly enough, I get responses that appear to understand what I said to them. At the very least, some clerk is reading them.
Dude, put up a list or a link to a resource site. I'd love to write to my representative about this.

I travel with the mental health files of clients on my computer- one can lose their license to practice if that information was to be seized. And seriously, if you had a therapist, would you want your private issues and problems to be read by a government agent, or even airport security? What if that agent knew you? I know it seems like a slim possibility but, but the reality of it would surprise you. 8 degrees of separation, after all...

"Sing it again, rookie beyach."
My website
     
Dakar the Fourth
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Aug 5, 2008, 08:45 AM
 
I've heard some tech people posit that this is more of a (underhanded) way to combat digital piracy than terrorism. I just went on a trip a few weeks ago, and I ripped two movies to take with me, and I briefly wondered if that would have any negative consequences had this taken affect back then.
     
Horsepoo!!!
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Aug 5, 2008, 08:50 AM
 
It's starting folks. The US is going down the fascist road. US citizens are losing their rights and liberties left and right and most don't mind. Those that do simply complain about it on websites and call it a day. The US is ********ed. US citizens are slowly becoming slaves to a fascist government posing as a democracy.
     
Horsepoo!!!
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Aug 5, 2008, 08:50 AM
 
Originally Posted by Dakar the Fourth View Post
I've heard some tech people posit that this is more of a (underhanded) way to combat digital piracy than terrorism. I just went on a trip a few weeks ago, and I ripped two movies to take with me, and I briefly wondered if that would have any negative consequences had this taken affect back then.
Oh the naivety. Homeland Security seizing electronic devices to makes sure people aren't pirating?

I wonder when the US people are finally going to wake up. My guess is: when it's too ****in' late to do anything about it. This is not restricted to the US. The UK is well down that road and Canada is definitely going down that road too.
     
Uncle Doof
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Aug 5, 2008, 09:30 AM
 
You got it, Poo!!! The whole World is going down this path. And until people wake up, it's going to get much, much worse.
If you don't want to be eaten, stop acting like food
     
legacyb4
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Join Date: May 2001
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Aug 5, 2008, 09:40 AM
 
You don't believe history is really true, do you?

13. Rampant cronyism and corruption. Those in business circles and close to the power elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism. Members of the power elite were in a position to obtain vast wealth from other sources as well: for example, by stealing national resources. With the national security apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well understood by the general population.
Originally Posted by moep View Post
quick history check, guess the topic:
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