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Civil rights update…

May 22, 2006

The most common retort against privacy advocates — by those in favor of ID checks, cameras, databases, data mining and other wholesale surveillance measures — is this line: “If you aren’t doing anything wrong, what do you have to hide?”

Some clever answers: “If I’m not doing anything wrong, then you have no cause to watch me.” “Because the government gets to define what’s wrong, and they keep changing the definition.” “Because you might do something wrong with my information.” My problem with quips like these — as right as they are — is that they accept the premise that privacy is about hiding a wrong. It’s not. Privacy is an inherent human right, and a requirement for maintaining the human condition with dignity and respect.

I totally agree with this sentiment. Its like supporting Blue security FOR the vigilante angle they took. Though its unfortunate that the spammers won, I never liked the concept of spamming spammers.
Go read the rest of the article. Its excellent!
(I’ve pasted some of the best parts, but the whole thing should be read.)
‘Two proverbs say it best: Quis custodiet custodes ipsos? (“Who watches the watchers?”) and “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”‘
And Mr. Schneier concludes with:
“Too many wrongly characterize the debate as “security versus privacy.” The real choice is liberty versus control. Tyranny, whether it arises under threat of foreign physical attack or under constant domestic authoritative scrutiny, is still tyranny. Liberty requires security without intrusion, security plus privacy. Widespread police surveillance is the very definition of a police state. And that’s why we should champion privacy even when we have nothing to hide.”

Wired News: The Eternal Value of Privacy

Part 2 of today’s civil rights news:
As part of the EFF suit against AT&T wiretapping, has released the statement from the whistleblower. Good for Them!! I say.

A file detailing aspects of AT&T’s alleged participation in the National Security Agency’s warrantless domestic wiretap operation is sitting in a San Francisco courthouse. But the public cannot see it because, at AT&T’s insistence, it remains under seal in court records.
AT&T claims information in the file is proprietary and that it would suffer severe harm if it were released.

Based on what we’ve seen, Wired News disagrees. In addition, we believe the public’s right to know the full facts in this case outweighs AT&T’s claims to secrecy.

They also use words like “anonymous source” and a motion to release the documents along with “other news and civil rights organizations that have already done so, including the EFF, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, the San Jose Mercury News, the Associated Press and Bloomberg.

Before publishing these documents we showed them to independent security experts, who agreed they pose no danger to AT&T. For example, they do not reveal sensitive information that hackers might use to attack the company’s systems.”

Wired News: Why We Published the AT&T Docs

w0w, its a 3fer on civil rights. Our lucky day!
Seymour Hersh has an article in The New Yorker, that just reinforces all the above thoughts.

the N.S.A. began, in some cases, to eavesdrop on callers (often using computers to listen for key words) or to investigate them using traditional police methods. A government consultant told me that tens of thousands of Americans had had their calls monitored in one way or the other. “In the old days, you needed probable cause to listen in,” the consultant explained. “But you could not listen in to generate probable cause. What they’re doing is a violation of the spirit of the law.”
General Hayden, who as the head of the N.S.A. supervised the intercept program, is seen by many as a competent professional who was too quick to follow orders without asking enough questions. As one senior congressional staff aide said, “The concern is that the Administration says, ‘We’re going to do this,’ and he does it—even if he knows better.” Former Democratic Senator Bob Kerrey, who was a member of the 9/11 Commission, had a harsher assessment. Kerrey criticized Hayden for his suggestion, after the Times exposé, that the N.S.A.’s wiretap program could have prevented the attacks of 9/11. “That’s patently false and an indication that he’s willing to politicize intelligence and use false information to help the President,” Kerrey said.

This program was referred to several times as “real time monitoring,” that’s incredibly frightening. That the current administration didn’t consider the consequences of bypassing FISA, and how it was more difficult to go in front of the court, once they started to ignore them, is no shock at all. The Constitution that they have sworn to protect is being ignored entirely.

h/t Talk Left.


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