Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 2, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

YOU ARE WHAT YOU SURF....The Bush administration is moving into even newer frontiers in their ongoing mission to know everything that every American citizen ever does:

Big Internet and telephone companies are girding to fight an unprecedented call by the Bush administration for them to keep detailed records of customers' online activities for two years.

....Gonzales and Mueller asked Google Inc., Time Warner Inc.'s AOL and other companies to preserve the data at a May 26 meeting, citing their value to investigations into child-pornography distribution and terrorism. Internet companies typically keep customer histories for only a few days or weeks.

....Beyond law enforcement, though, the trove also could be available to lawyers arguing civil lawsuits including divorce cases and suits against people suspected of swapping copyrighted movie and music files online. Privacy advocates fear the user histories could be exploited by criminal investigators conducting inappropriate exploration or pursuing minor cases.

I wonder if they keep track of all the mail flowing through U.S. post offices? And if not, what's stopping them?

Kevin Drum 11:09 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (79)

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Comments

Privacy? What Privacy?

Posted by: Kryptik on June 2, 2006 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know what makes you liberals so concerned about the AG's desire to have access to this information. If you're a Republican, you won't have visited any pornographic websites anyway.

Posted by: HappyConservative on June 2, 2006 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

The post office is so analog, man.

Posted by: craigie on June 2, 2006 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

Nothing.

Posted by: lib on June 2, 2006 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

I'm willing to give up these data if everyone's data - and I specifically mean Congresscritters and Senators - is publicly available.

That should concentrate their minds a bit.

Posted by: craigie on June 2, 2006 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder if they keep track of all the mail flowing through U.S. post offices? And if not, what's stopping them?

Too much like work. The postal unions would whine and demand overtime and it's not worth the trouble anyways.

Satan
['We need our cus...um, the evil terrorists to search out the good porn for us. It's a distributed pronacopia!']

Posted by: Satan on June 2, 2006 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Today, the only thing stopping them is logistics - HOW will you get/store all that data.

In a few years, when all those problems have been solved, there'll be nothing in the way - they can get/store anything and everything they want.

These issues need to be hashed-out today BEFORE we're in that boat.

Even the most benign administration shouldn't have that kind of power. AND this is the most malignant administration in 35 years.

Posted by: rusrus on June 2, 2006 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

I laugh that you think you have any chance to change anything. Just read this, and rest assured that The Good Guys will remain in power:

http://tinyurl.com/njbdc

RFK Jr. knows the score!

Posted by: Freedom Phukher on June 2, 2006 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Funny....in all the blowup over scanning phone records, nobody seems to have asked the obvious question: "Are you also demanding and getting copies of everyone's credit card records?"

They demanded and got data from the airlines. They are getting phone records. They want to keep Internet traffic records. Hard to believe their reach hasn't already extended to MC, Visa, AMEX and Discovery.

Posted by: dweb on June 2, 2006 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

The Feds should store the wastewater from everyone's dwelling for two years. What if criminals are flushing drugs down the toilet?

Not to mention we could finally get rid of all those aligators being turned loose in the sewer every day. And we could find Nemo.

Posted by: craigie on June 2, 2006 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

If you aren't a terrorists or working with the terrorist why would you have to worry about Bush keeping track of your phone calls?

Posted by: Al on June 2, 2006 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

Everyday brings more and more evidence to confirm my long held suspicion/belief that the non-Republicans have been successfully neutered and have been reduced to just whining about their powerlessness in blogs and songs and films, just like the kids get to watch their TV.

Sad state of affairs, but most probably more likely to be true than false.

Posted by: lib on June 2, 2006 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

Is there anyone left, other than in wingnuttia, who still believes this is just about terrorism?

Posted by: Susan Paxton on June 2, 2006 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

To me, it's funny that Republicans are so willing to give-up one of their tenets: small government, to support an administration called "Republican."

These are the most trusting people in the world - easy money...

Posted by: rusrus on June 2, 2006 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

Al nails it! Of course, I'm more concerned about the insidious effects of pornography than terrorism any day of the week.

Santorum/Keyes '08

Posted by: HappyConservative on June 2, 2006 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, I've got an idea! Why don't we have tiny drone aircraft equipped with digital movie cameras following everyone around for 24 hours a day, every day? Imagine what an aid that would be for prosecuting crimes!

Posted by: RT on June 2, 2006 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

That's a good idea, Kevin. Let's have the Post Office keep a record of each and every piece of mail that households get.

Posted by: undersiege on June 2, 2006 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

The government already has too much power over its citizens.

Posted by: Moe is me on June 2, 2006 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

Some of the comments are sarcastically funny, but what is happening here is not. I can only hope that enough "genuine conservatives", authentic libertarians, etc., can join with liberal/progressive/ordinary sane centrist whatevers to stop this cancer.

PS - I will never forgive little stuff-shirt Nader for putting his own ego above the national interest. Oh, really, "the parties are alike" - and now we have this atrocity. Don't ever let that bastard past a door if you can help it.

Posted by: some jerk off the street on June 2, 2006 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Why don't we have tiny drone aircraft equipped with digital movie cameras following everyone around for 24 hours a day, every day?

Isn't that going to be Google's next feature?

Posted by: craigie on June 2, 2006 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

Well, shit, there goes my plan for armed revolution.

But, will they track me down and bust me for my pot plants?

What about all those White House oficials using the web to spread bad economic theory?


Posted by: Matt on June 2, 2006 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

all those conservatives will sing a different song when it's President Hillary snooping through their records, setting up a datamining effort to link people who subscribe to Soldier of Forture with people who bought the Turner Diaries with people who buy a lot of fertilizer from different stores. after OKC, we can't be too careful when it comes to lunatic wingnut militias.

Posted by: cleek on June 2, 2006 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

For all the latest NSA domestic spying news, legal documents, statutes and more, see:
"The NSA Domestic Spying Scandal Resources."

Posted by: AvengingAngel on June 2, 2006 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

"If you aren't a terrorists or working with the terrorist why would you have to worry about Bush keeping track of your phone calls?"

Because I voted for Kerry.

Posted by: the fake Fake Al on June 2, 2006 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

President George W. Bush is a cunt.

Posted by: Hostile on June 2, 2006 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

Soldier of Forture ?

that's the new spin-off from Soldier Of Fortune - it's the same gritty survivalist shctick as the original, but with an emphasis on the exciting new field of torture.

Posted by: cleek on June 2, 2006 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Hostile, I don't see why you have to bismirch the perefectly good name of female body parts everywhere just because there's no really good word for what Bush is. Come to think of it, you're right.

Posted by: Kenji on June 2, 2006 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

Here's the derivative scandal in this invasion of privacy--they're so incompetent that they can't catch anyone even with all the data--no pedofiles, no terrorists, no leakers.

Posted by: anonymous on June 2, 2006 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

Al nails it! Of course, I'm more concerned about the insidious effects of pornography than terrorism any day of the week.

That's not all...Bush is set to announce his War on Gay Marriage on Monday. Immigration reform hasn't sufficiently rallied the troops.

Posted by: Alf on June 2, 2006 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Currently, court orders can force e-mail providers, Internet access providers and others to turn over records when they have them. The speed with which online footprints fade has frustrated law enforcement. Police, for instance, have testified before Congress they often run into dead ends in child-sex cases.

From Roe v. Wade, to Lawrence v. Texas, to this, liberals consistently oppose anything that will allow society to protect the interests of children. Why is that?

Posted by: American Hawk on June 2, 2006 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum wondwers I wonder if they keep track of all the mail flowing through U.S. post offices? And if not, what's stopping them?

As I recall, a significant portion of mail is now machine sorted. So it would be easy to keep a record of the destination for each piece of machine sorted mail, and pass the information on to the FBI. I doubt that the USPO thought about scanning the sender's address but it would be simple enough to add that capability, and do so under the cover of upgrading the current sorting machine.

Come to think of it, parcel post used to be sent strictly by wait, now each clerk has to enter in the destination zip code because rates are now zone based. Again we're close to looking at each individual piece of mail being logged into the USPO system.

Posted by: beb on June 2, 2006 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

"From Roe v. Wade, to Lawrence v. Texas, to this, liberals consistently oppose anything that will allow society to protect the interests of children. Why is that?"

Because we're trying to retroactively ensure that you will never be born. You haff been tehminated!

Posted by: Kenji on June 2, 2006 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

American Squawk:

That's why every single '04 Democratic presidential candidate had a plan for universal healthcare for children, and why liberals generally support government subsidized daycare. The Dems also passed the Family and Medical Leave Act, which Bush I refused to sign and Clinton put into effect as an executive order as his first act of office.

Lawrence vs Kansas? What kind of a repressed and projecting pervert *are* you?

You honestly give a shit about what consenting adults do behind their bedroom walls? This *concerns* you, somehow?

Sounds a little ... unhealthy to me, big fella.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on June 2, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

One wonders if George Orwell ever thought "Big Brother" would speak with a Texas fundie accent.

Posted by: Vincent on June 2, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

I had a friend (now deceased) who was a Master Sgt. in the Air Force reserves. Back during GWI she was at an AFB in Ohio, working on computer networks for NSA. She told me the govt was listening to millions of phone conversations, and looking at emails, and when words like bomb or weapons came up the conversation was flagged and kept, but they had so many that it was doubtful that they would all get listened to by a human. I didn't doubt her for a minute, she had top clearance.
Now that this has come out, how do we find out what else the govt has on us?

Posted by: geography lady on June 2, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Breaking... "In a strange twist of fate, President Bush is under investigation for possible terrorist-related activity. Sources in the intelligence community have revealed that records of the president's online, telephone, and public communications have concluded that his behavioral pattern was "red-flagged" by the NSA's latest data-mining project. It appears that the president has referrenced the words "9/11", and "terrorist" more than any other person in human history, excluding of course Rudy giuliani and Hugh Hewitt whome were transferred to Guantanamo Bay last week."

Posted by: enozinho on June 2, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

I have an idea that will make us all safer. What if we made all TVs two-way, so that they could watch us as well? And then you could never turn them off? And you would have to have one in every room? Huh?

It would be a good thing, like being taken care of by your older, bigger brother. Whatdya think? Huh? Huh?

And it would work even better if we encouraged people to tell the government if they thought their neighbors were doing weird shit. You know, in a neighborly, looking out for others kind of way. That would help a lot too.

Good bye terrorism!

Posted by: craigie on June 2, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Conservatives are being inconsistent... its OK if the government collects the data, but shouldn't it be made public? Isn't the private sector efficient enough that some company will appear that ferrets out terrorists and pedophiles better than the government? Of course, that would involve making the records of our dear leaders and their families public.... but that shouldn't be a problem. Why should GW care, for instance, if everything about Jenna is online for everyone's viewing? As Al points out, it would only be a problem if she's got something to hide.

Posted by: cactus on June 2, 2006 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

Is the maker of Anonymizer software publicly traded? I sense a boom coming.

Posted by: Daryl Cobranchi on June 2, 2006 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

If you aren't a terrorists or working with the terrorist why would you have to worry about Bush keeping track of your phone calls?
Posted by: Al

Geez, Al, you'd think you'd be a little concerned about them know about your calls to NAMBLA. But if you're OK with it...

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on June 2, 2006 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Why not just follow the example of the European Union, like a lot of other progressive issues?

Posted by: alvin on June 2, 2006 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Another software solution, besides anonymizer, would be a 100 million people running a background program that spends 24/7 visiting sites at random. I'm thinking the only way we'll be secure from these idiots is to fill up disk space faster than they can buy it.

Posted by: peterE on June 2, 2006 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

"Why not just follow the example of the European Union, like a lot of other progressive issues?
Posted by: alvin on June 2, 2006 at 12:57 PM"

The left looks at europe and likes the universal healthcare, mass transit, etc.

The right looks at europe and likes the widespread surveillance, anti-terror police powers, national language laws, etc.

Posted by: jefff on June 2, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Man, I woke up this morning and found myself in Nazi Germany 1941.Heial Bush.

Posted by: now on June 2, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

How about we all keep a list of our favorite sites and email it to the attorney general and his henchmen -- each of us ... several times a day?

Throw some fun sites in the list just for yucks, like http://english.aljazeera.net/HomePage.

That should give 'em what they want, and keep 'em busy, to boot!

Posted by: Mike H. on June 2, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

I have an idea that will make us all safer. What if we made all TVs two-way, so that they could watch us as well?

What do you think that V-Chip thing was really for?

Posted by: Alf on June 2, 2006 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Snail mail will become cool again.

As will walks on the beach with the crashing surf to muffle the conversation.

Although soon there will a chip embedded to record everything you say.

Posted by: lilybart on June 2, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Anonymizer has already sold out to the NSA. Trying to obscure your identity probably just puts a flashing icon next your activity log.

The next step will be for the DEA to require automated sampling of your sewage line. The water company will just store the samples until they might be needed.

Posted by: B on June 2, 2006 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not worried at all.

The 'watchers' are mendacious, corrupt, and arrogant but also really bad at actually getting anything meaningful done.

Bush's people already put memos on his breakfast table about planes crashing into buildings and doomsday hurricanes. Nothing happens.

They want to collect data on every single American citizen? Let 'em. They'll forget the password.

Posted by: seven p on June 2, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Another software solution, besides anonymizer, would be a 100 million people running a background program that spends 24/7 visiting sites at random.

That is f*cking brilliant! Sort of similar to how the US State Department constantly sends gibberish data over their secure lines to the embassies, so that you can't detect any abnormal traffic.

Even if it didn't fill up disk space, if EVERYONE is constantly and randomly accessing ALL porn sites and political blogs, then there would be almost no way to reliably use that information as evidence of wrongdoing.

Posted by: xyz on June 2, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

We will just have to careful not to say words like BOMB or TERRORIST hold on a sec there is a knock on the door.

Posted by: now on June 2, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

It is just for tracking rightwingers to see if they are being loyal,If not, Bush won't have to service them anymore.The rest of are safe.

Posted by: Then on June 2, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

lilybart:"Snail mail will become cool again."

No way. The anthrax terrorist used snail mail and look how fast they caught . . .oh, wait.

Anyway, it's not like anyone could use snail mail to establish codes referenced in emails or arrange calls made between pay phones or disposable cell phones.

Posted by: cowalker on June 2, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

This stuff is useless against terrorism: they don't even have enough translators to keep up with the volume of intercepts they were getting before 9/11/01. There's just too much data to find the tiny number of bad guys.

But it could be very useful to counter political organizing by progressives, who increasingly rely on the Web as the chief organizing tool. It also could be very useful to identify who is a Bush supporter and who is an opponent.

Posted by: Joe Buck on June 2, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

"EVERYONE is constantly and randomly accessing ALL porn sites and political blogs, then there would be almost no way to reliably use that information as evidence of wrongdoing."

It would also break website visitor tracking, and some data mining.

Unfortunately it is probably also a really really good way to get infected with spyware! Though I suppose a special program to do this could be made hugely resistant to such tricks, just don't write a simple script to have firefox, or even worse IE, do this on a computer you like to use.

Oh, and piss your ISP off and generally clog up the internet.

Posted by: jefff on June 2, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

One word: Tor. Download it, set it up, use it. You lose some surfing speed but you gain anonymity and Big Brother cannot work it out. That handles anonymous browsing - or you could use the anonymizer for a web-based solution. For email you should learn one of the following AND USE IT: PGP, OpenPGP, and GnuPG. This takes care of privatizing your email messages. Coupled to Tor, you can anonymize it as well. Or get/use a Hushmail account (or related). You can also read up on nyms and nym servers for anonymous messaging.

With tor, the more people use it, and in particular, set their system up as a Tor proxy as well (if you have a good broadband connection) the faster the browsing performance. You can also set it up so that it operates only for certain websites so you can cordon off certain sites from Big Brother prying eyes.

There are ways to thwart Big Brother's spy aims - they take a LITTLE effort but once setup, they are setup and not difficult to use.

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on June 2, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

What goofy acronym will they come up with when the full-on Stasi-like system is set up and people are rewarded (or punished) for keeping tabs on each other?

Posted by: Tilli (Mojave Desert) on June 2, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and piss your ISP off and generally clog up the internet.

Well, yeah.

How about a bittorrent for web content? It would make it much harder to determine what you are actually accessing if the source addresses are dispersed. The seeding site could even mask what the content is...

Posted by: xyz on June 2, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

To follow up my previous post about Tor...for the non-intimidated (by computers and software) the site you wish to visit is: http://tor.eff.org. You can count on anything sponsored/promoted by EFF to be something worthwhile. For PGP: http://www.pgpi.org and for OpenGPG/GnuPG: http://www.gnupg.org (for Linux and Macs and Windoze).

For the rather arcane nym mail and nym servers (nym is taken from "pseudonym"): http://www.iusmentis.com/technology/remailers/nym.html

Don't just whine about your privacy and anonymity (or be GOP and be for privacy before you were against it), act. Repeatedly hit up your reps about this crap...and take an active role and actually setup your computers/email so that Big Brother can't watch/read.

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on June 2, 2006 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

Check this out cause I've been thinking a lot bout the "Religious Right" Republicans wanting to "track" people.

You see, in the "religious right" lingo of long ago (read: 80's and 90's), the big fear that all fundamentalists would drag through all their talk diaries (this is dobson, robertson, falwell, ah hell, pretty much all of the TV and small church fundie pastors/preachers/et al) and pulpit speeches was "increasing government intrusion on our privacy."
To say the least, they said this was a mark of the anti-christ and the beast who would "control" all men. Then they would whip out all the data points from the bible and say, "yep, here, here, and here proves what I'm tell'n ya!"

So, now, here we are in the 21st century, the "Religious Right" fundies are now the ones in control, they're now the ones implementing all the things that they said the anti-christ and the beast would do.

I guess we all should've taken those Religious Right Fundies far more seriously, cause they were telling us exactly what their plans were when they took over the nation.

Posted by: sheerahkahn on June 2, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

There's really no question that NSA is already tracking the web activities of all Americans (more likely, everyone on the planet), given that web traffic is afforded far less protection under existing eavesdropping laws than phone conversations. The problem for is that none of the NSA stuff is admissible in court.

This looks like one of the first attempts to legitimize the eavesdropping process so it can be used in non-terrorism cases, like child pornography. There is absolutely no logical reason for this data to be used in child porn cases and NOT be used in every other kind of criminal case.

Posted by: owenz on June 2, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

they don't even have enough translators to keep up with the volume of intercepts they were getting before 9/11/01.

This should be a lesson to you tough talking right wingers. I had the FBI at my house questioning me because I studied Arabic abroad. When they were finished four hours later, they asked me if I wanted to work for them. I would have told them to fuck off if they weren't armed.

Posted by: enozinho on June 2, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Immigration reform hasn't sufficiently rallied the troops.
Posted by: Alf on June 2, 2006 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

It worked for the Governator. His popularity for a while was rivalling Cheney's. Now that he's sending troops to the border, Shwartzenegger is back up to a stellar 46%. He may actually pull off a re-election.

From Roe v. Wade, to Lawrence v. Texas, to this, liberals consistently oppose anything that will allow society to protect the interests of children. Why is that?
Posted by: American Hawk on June 2, 2006 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Since when is this society's job? I thought it was the parents' job.

I think you're a poseur conservative, A.H.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on June 2, 2006 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

"No one would talk much in society, if he knew how often he misunderstands others."
---Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Posted by: Quotation Man on June 2, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK
Unfortunately it is probably also a really really good way to get infected with spyware! Though I suppose a special program to do this could be made hugely resistant to such tricks, just don't write a simple script to have firefox, or even worse IE, do this on a computer you like to use.

Why script a big app like a browser to do it? Its not like you want to render anything, or even retain the data. You just need to use a decently secure programming system that doesn't require a lot of work to build a big list of web addresses and then do http requests to them and toss the results in the proverbial bit bucket.

Something like Rebol would probably work, and, though I haven't touched it in a while, I imagine it would be easy to do in, say, Java, too.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 2, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Children are too sheltered anyway. Parents try to protect them from everything and that results in lots of brats growing up. I see it everyday.

Posted by: MNPundit on June 2, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

If you're a Republican, you won't have visited any pornographic websites anyway.

Or you won't have gotten serviced by hookers at the Watergate either.

Posted by: blank on June 2, 2006 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

After thinking about this for a few minutes, it seems obvious the real use for this information will be to do things like directing IRS audits against Democrats, and reducing the number of times Republicans are audited.

Of course, you can only set up a system like that if you are sure you will win the next election.

Ironically, it would probably be just common sense, and boost revenues dramatically, to have the IRS just audit Republicans.

Posted by: serial catowner on June 2, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

My last five googles:

Jewish conspiracy
Dirty bomb
Transsexual adventures
Heroic presidential assassins
Unicorns

That should keep them busy.

Posted by: Hieronymus braintree on June 2, 2006 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

This should be a lesson to you tough talking right wingers. I had the FBI at my house questioning me because I studied Arabic abroad. When they were finished four hours later, they asked me if I wanted to work for them. I would have told them to fuck off if they weren't armed.

As a lawyer stories like this horrify me. As a general rule of thumb, when the FBI or any police come to your house, don't invite them in and don't talk to them. Explain to them, very politely, that you'll only talk to them with an attorney present, and ask them to leave and call you back to make an appointment.

Then call an attorney and, only if he thinks it's OK, arrange a meeting with the agents on neutral ground, such as at your attorney's office with him present. Don't let them bully you into coming in -- you have a perfect right to refuse to talk to them and to refuse them entry into your home. It's generally always a bad idea to have a private conversation with law enforcement when it's only your word against theirs -- always have a lawyer on hand.

Posted by: Stefan on June 2, 2006 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

Or, you could say "sure, but can we have the next cup of coffee at your house?"

Posted by: craigie on June 2, 2006 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

From Roe v. Wade, to Lawrence v. Texas, to this, liberals consistently oppose anything that will allow society to protect the interests of children. Why is that?
Posted by: American Hawk on June 2, 2006 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Since when is this society's job? I thought it was the parents' job.

I think you're a poseur conservative, A.H.

Well, not a bad riposte, but you accepted his framing. Lawrence v. Texas had nothing whatsoever to do with protecting children, not in any way, shape, or form. It was about consenting adults.

Since I believe that a fetus does not possess an immortal soul and is not yet a child, I believe that Roe v. Wade has nothing to do with protecting children, too.

Posted by: Doctor Jay on June 2, 2006 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

Well, when you subvert the electorate and steal elections, you better watch the majority you screwed over pretty closely. Kick a Republican in the groin for me. That's the only place they use recycled paper anyway.

Posted by: Sparko on June 2, 2006 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

As someone on Slashdot noted, child pornography is the root password to the U.S. Constitution.

Posted by: Jinzang on June 2, 2006 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

Here's my suggestion: Internet companies get to keep user data for exactly the same length of time as gun sellers are required to keep buyer data, which is about 24 hours.

The argument conservatives make is: the privacy of all law-abiding gun-buyers shouldn't be compromised for the sake of law enforcement's convenience in finding murderers.

The argument liberals should make is the same: the privacy of all law-abiding internet users shouldn't be compromised for the sake of law enforcement convenience's in finding pornographers.

Posted by: Kathleen on June 2, 2006 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: biy on June 3, 2006 at 5:15 AM | PERMALINK

To expand on beb's comment uptopic:

Mail at the post office falls into, basically, two types: machinable and non-machinable.

Machinable mail goes into great big sorting machines that scan the envelope's address, search a database, and spray on a barcode which is what REALLY directs the piece on the rest of its travels.

TBMK, there's no capability for actually recording the to/from information on each piece. I suppose it might be possible to do an add-on to the software that would do so, and send the info off to a Super-Duper-Mega-Maxi data farm.

But...you could probably get almost all of that to/from info by requiring it from direct mailers, utilities, credit card companies, banks, large retailers, etc. The very-overwhelming majority of machinable mail is direct/advertising mail, bills, and other business mail.

Non-machinable mail, though, is only one small step away from being recordable. If the regular sorting machines can't read an envelope for ne reason or another, those pieces are scanned by a video camera. The video image is sent to a human operator with a keyboard and a monitor; the human being (who may be in a different building across town or even in another state) looks at the video image and keys in enough information for the software to assign a barcode that also includes a human-readable zipcode.

It would take only a minor change in the software to send a second copy of each video image off to the Super-Duper-Mega-Maxi.

So, yeh, I think it could be -possible- to keep track of every (or almost every) piece of mail everyone gets.

But, boy, the noise-to-signal ratio would be... "ridiculous" barely begins to describe it.

Posted by: Bruce A. on June 3, 2006 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

Interesting subject!
Nokia phone
Travel Europe
Car Picture
Nature Picture

Posted by: Cell Phone on June 4, 2006 at 6:58 AM | PERMALINK

I see the Bush administration, and its conservative supporters, lied once again to the American public when it claimed that the expanded scope of executive powers they are embracing is intended only for combatting terrorism.

How long before they start expanding the scope of internet searching to combatting illegal drugs, homosexual behavior, adultery, pre-marital sex, non-marital sex, alleged liberal election fraud (while ignoring real conservative election fraud, of course), identifying employees who turn in their companies for violating state and federal laws, gambling, etc, etc, etc.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 5, 2006 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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