Local Governments Requiring Businesses To Spy On Patrons?

from the seems-a-bit-orwellian dept

We've all heard stories about how surveillance cameras are just about everywhere these days, with both private companies and government organizations taking party in surveillance nirvana. However, some companies still don't see the need to spy on all of their customers -- and to them, a bunch of politicians are saying "too bad." New laws are being proposed in a variety of places, including Chicago, that would require many businesses to install security cameras, even if they're not wanted by the business owners. Also, can someone please come up with the equivalent for Godwin's Law concerning any discussion on potential privacy violations? Here, I'll take a shot: in any discussion about potential privacy violations, it's only a matter of time until someone says: "If you're not doing anything wrong, what do you have to worry about?"


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Wolfger, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 4:41am

    No Subject Given

    "If you're not doing anything wrong, what do you have to worry about?"
    To which I say, "Fine. Let me install cameras in your bedroom and your shower." It's not a matter of whether or not I'm doing something wrong, it's a matter of "I don't want you watching me." Quite similar to the way many people hate somebody reading over their shoulder. With the plethora of cameras in modern society, somebody is *always* looking over your shoulder, for no good reason.

    Not to mention the fact that there are so many laws out there, I could be doing something illegal and not even know it. Like failing to disassemble my car and hide it in the bushes when a horse approaches. :-)

     

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  2.  
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    indiejade, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 5:29am

    Re: No Subject Given

    Mistrust only breeds more mistrust. Is this a good way to keep a society united? The potential for privacy violations are astounding.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Jeremy, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 6:31am

    No Subject Given

    The government is getting too much say in what we do in a business and in a private life. This country is becoming one that is putting a lot of hinderance on our FREEDOM, whether it be a freedom to run my own business the way I want it or screw up my life the way I want. It is still my choice to do it that way.

     

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  4.  
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    Sean, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 7:00am

    Communism

    These times have started to start looking like a Communist state. Seriously with all the government regulations, all the watching they are doing, the USA is pretty much just a few steps from becomming a communist country.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 7:22am

    Re: Communism

    No where near go look up the meaning of communism......nothing to do with cameras.....the government has better things to do than to ticket u for not dissasembling your car and hiding it....where did cameras in the shower come from? they are talking about businesses......

     

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  6.  
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    Scott, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 7:43am

    Re: Communism

    I have no issue with cameras on street corners(that don't see into any building), but these are private businesses. The gov't should not be able to control things like this in a private location, excluding of course business involved in sensitive/secret gov't work.

    This is where the communism correlation comes into play. When gov't tries to start controlling private business in this manner it is getting dangerously close.

    Communism
    1: a theory advocating elimination of private property(i.e. the gov't tells you what you will or will not do with your property as it is now theirs not yours)
    2: a totalitarian system of government in which a single authoritarian party controls state-owned means of production(If they mandate cameras, can they next mandate how/what the business can produce?) This is the farther reaching of the two, but things tend to start small here and there and before you know it, it is everywhere.

     

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  7.  
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    Dani, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 7:44am

    Re: No Subject Given

    What you do in your home is one thing. When you go out in public, you no longer have privacy. What does it matter if there's a camera watching you when there are people all around seeing what you do?

    Freedom doesn't really cover ripping off stores, selling drugs in a public parking lot, leaving a bar with the girl you intend to rape then kill, etc.

    It doesn't happen often, but I agree with the gov on this one! I'm a mom of 3. I think it sucks that we've degenerated our society to this, but I'd rather have a few cameras over my shoulder.

    If you want to do something questionable, stay at home. You still have your freedom and it's not as likely to infringe on the freedom of others.

    If you have a problem shopping in an establishment with cameras, shop online...unless you were planning on stealing...

     

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  8.  
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    wolff000, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 7:45am

    Complete BS

    There is no way they could pass a law to make a private citizen add cameras if they don't want them. As long as business owners stand up and say no way then it won't happen. It could go to the supreme court and I'm sure they would throw it out. If the law even gets passed. It is an obvious violation of a business owners rights. Until the law is on the books I'm not worried about it. All kinds of crazy laws are proposed all the time and never go anywhere.

     

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  9.  
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    wolff000, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 7:52am

    Re: No Subject Given

    "What you do in your home is one thing. When you go out in public, you no longer have privacy. What does it matter if there's a camera watching you when there are people all around seeing what you do?"

    The problem here is not the cameras but the government requiring cameras. I could care less if the grocery store has cameras but the government can not require them to have them. It is private property which mean they put up the security that they deem fit. If you want to keep your kids safe just teach them how to handle people in public. I know for a fact thats all it takes I myself was alomst abducted at the age of 7. The only reason the pervert couldn't get me in his car was becuase I wouldn't go near him and when he approached me I yelled for help and ran towards the park across the street. There were lots of people there that's why I went that way. Too many kids don't know how to react to people. So again it is your job to watch your kids not the government. if you feel your kids are not safe someplace then they shouldn't be there, that simple.

     

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  10.  
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    Greg, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 8:00am

    Re: No Subject Given

    So basically you're saying that my freedoms only extend to my house?

    if the government tells private businesses that they have to put cameras in their stores what's to stop them from telling them that they have to put the cameras in the dressing rooms? Would you like to checked out while you're changing in a dressing room?

    Unfortunately, you have to take the bad with the good when it comes to freedom. We shouldn't abandon the rights of all just because there are a few people out there taking advantage of the meaning of freedom.

     

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  11.  
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    joop, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 8:00am

    Re: Complete BS

    No way they could pass a law to make a private citizen add cameras?! Tell me then, how did they pass a law that people can't smoke in my restraunt? It's my restraunt! I spent half my life building it! Yet, the government tells me who I can serve. I don't smoke, and don't like smoke - and that isn't the point - so don't go off on a tangent - the point is, yes, the government will be telling me very soon that I have to install cameras.

     

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  12.  
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    dani, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 8:09am

    Re: No Subject Given

    My kids are my responsibility. I don't want the government involved in raising my children. my oldest is 6, he's homeschooled.

    A business, however, even if it is privately owned, is still a public place. I wouldn't agree with the gov forcing owners to place cameras in the back or other private areas. But the actual sales floor is PUBLIC.

    Also, even if a child is raised the right way, taught the right thing to do in every situation, things can still happen, things can still go wrong. I would feel better knowing there's a possibility of finding/figuring out whatever happened.

    An example...though I really don't want cameras in public restrooms...
    Our top news story last night...
    33 year old man arrested in Walmart. He entered the restroom after an 11 year old boy went in. Waited for the child to begin urinating, stuck his mobile under the stall door, and snapped a picture.

    The boy told his mom who told store authorities, who detained the man for police, but that could cause some trauma for a child. Should the mom have escorted her son to the bathroom? Or stood gaurd at the door so no one could enter until her son came out?

    Seriously, things are getting a bit out of hand. If cameras can reduce it, even by a small percentage, I'm all for it!

     

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  13.  
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    dataguy, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 8:12am

    Re: No Subject Given

    "If you have a problem shopping in an establishment with cameras, shop online...unless you were planning on stealing..."

    That's a good example of the problem with the whole "if you have nothing to hide…" argument - it's just another way of saying: "guilty until proven innocent."

    One constitutional amendment I would support is to expand the bill of rights to include: "Every citizen is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty". I'm not a lawyer but it's my understanding that the presumption of innocence isn't an actual right, it's simply a legal convention and thus can be eroded over time.

    Back on topic - if a business doesn't feel a need for security cameras the government shouldn't even care, let alone edict a requirement. If this law is such a great idea, require the taxpayers pay for the mandated cameras and see how fast this bill gets shot down.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    dani, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 8:21am

    Re: No Subject Given

    "require taxpayers pay..."

    I've seen tax money go to worst things...

    As a small business owner and past retail manager, I don't see why any owner would object other than the expense. Maybe the business owners should negotiate some financial breaks with the gov.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Yah, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 8:34am

    Re: Communism

    Communism - A system of government in which the state plans and controls the economy and a single, often authoritarian party holds power, claiming to make progress toward a higher social order in which all goods are equally shared by the people.

    The more doors the government opens for it self the more control over our Freedom they gain. The government tries to say it is to better our life’s but if you can’t see the potential for this type of control forcing businesses to do something they don’t want then where is the Freedom in that? This country seems to pride it self on trampling the rights and freedoms of everyone to suit their control needs.

    Maybe I missed it but what is the reason for making businesses to install these cameras? To spy on all of their customers I just don’t see why everyone needs their every move watched.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 8:38am

    No Subject Given

    No matter what world you live in, you should always watch your children. No matter what world you live in, bad things will happen. There will always be someone simply a victim of circumstance. Surveillance doesn't stop this. Cops can't stop it. All we can do is learn to be self aware and be in a community where people have trust. One thing the government could do is help promote this type of supportive community.

     

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  17.  
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    txjump, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 8:40am

    question

    everyone is in a tizzy about the government requesting data from google.

    how is this much different? they are trying to require cameras so they can get data (video footage) that the store owners will accumulate of the "browsing" (activities) habits of consumers.

    i dont have anything to hide and if a business wants to do it so be it. but for the government to want this so they can data mine, profile, etc ... i say no.

    big brother ... ? ... ?

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Tyshaun, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 8:59am

    Re: No Subject Given (in response to Dani)

    In responde to Dani:
    A business, however, even if it is privately owned, is still a public place. I wouldn't agree with the gov forcing owners to place cameras in the back or other private areas. But the actual sales floor is PUBLIC.
    Not necessarily. This is a bit of a seedy example but it seems rather salient to the point. Let's say the business was a strip club. First of all, the main area is not PUBLIC because there is restricted admittance. Second of all, I'm sure most of the patrons wouldn't be very thrilled knowing that their every move was being taped (although I know some clubs do already). My point, this law wouldn;t just cover Walmart, it would also cover traditionally adult venues such as bars, dance clubs, and yes, the strip clubs. If your rationale is it may help save a child then fine, mandate them for places that kids can go, but keep them out of my local watering hole watching me down beers.
    Should the mom have escorted her son to the bathroom? Or stood gaurd at the door so no one could enter until her son came out?
    Yes, and why they hell not! My mother used to always walk me over to the bathroom when I was a kid. Hell, when I was really young, I was taken into the ladies room with her (I'm a guy). As I got older she taught me how to spot trouble and told me to be aware and if it doesn't feel right, run back to her or find a COP. This is no reflection on you but I hear too many parents talking about how we need to protect the kids. I agree, but the best protection isn't spy cameras all over the place, it's teaching them to evaluate situations and respond.
    Seriously, things are getting a bit out of hand. If cameras can reduce it, even by a small percentage, I'm all for it!
    OK, so let's throw the constitution out the window to satisfy your paranoia. Again, take a look at the statistics and you'll see the number of crimes against children (and most areas in fact) has been decreasing over the last decade or so, not increasing. You know what's increasing, parental paranoia! We have this "Amber Alerts" now and all it serves to do is make people hyper-sensitive and get the perspective the problem is much worse than it is. Don't get me wrong, there are lots of sick, wack jobs who I wouldn't mind throwing under a bus, but let's deal with the problem in a measured discipline way that doesn't throw away our rights to give us the "perceived" sense of security.

    I would offer up to you the fact that the only thing that will "protect" children is teaching them to avoid and diffuse potentially bad situations, the only thing more security cams will do is MAYBE help find the sicko after he's already violated the child.

    I have a 4 year old and I already teach him that if a situation doesn't feel right, get away and find an authority figure. That will protect him far more than attaching a security camera to his shoulder.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 9:05am

    No Subject Given

    According to Godwin, the proper reply in a privacy debate to: "If you're not doing anything wrong, what do you have to worry about?"

    Should be: "So, the Jews, under Hitler, were doing something wrong and deserved to be tagged and have the movements tracked?"

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Charles, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 9:19am

    Re: No Subject Given

    A business, however, even if it is privately owned, is still a public place. I wouldn't agree with the gov forcing owners to place cameras in the back or other private areas. But the actual sales floor is PUBLIC.
    dani, by that logic, you should have no problem if the gov't mandates that you install cameras on your front lawn and on your garage. You might not mind installing them yourself in order to be secure in your person, but do you really want someone else to be in control of that? I believe this is truly the heart of the issue being discussed here.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    REparsed, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 9:36am

    No Subject Given

    I would guess that the government would want access to the cameras and require that they are recorded and the tapes be kept for a prescribed period of time. If a tape was lost, erased or damaged could that be considered tampering with evidence if there were something on that tape the government wanted to see?

    Would store owners become agents of the government?

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Yah, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 9:38am

    Re: No Subject Given

    dani, by that logic, you should have no problem if the gov't mandates that you install cameras on your front lawn and on your garage. You might not mind installing them yourself in order to be secure in your person, but do you really want someone else to be in control of that? I believe this is truly the heart of the issue being discussed here.

    I agree with you.

    There is a choice and the choice should be yours.

     

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  23.  
    icon
    crystalattice (profile), Feb 15th, 2006 @ 10:17am

    The problem w/ cameras

    Most people fail to realize exactly what purpose the security cameras serve. Cameras don't prevent crime, they only make it easier to find the culprit. They may serve to deter crime, but seriously, no one knows how much because you can't quantify it. Look at Britian. Remember that story a few years back about the two adolescents who "kidnapped" another boy, led him to some train tracks, then bashed his brains out w/ rocks? The street CCTV cameras didn't prevent the crime but police were able to trace the route the kids took after the kidnapping. In summary, installing cameras rarely prevent a crime, so you're children won't be any safer if they're in an area under surveillance. Proper education is still the safest route.

     

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  24.  
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    Anarchy_Creator, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 11:16am

    Ladies, And Gentlemen...

    welcome to 1984.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    txjump, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 11:23am

    Re: Ladies, And Gentlemen...

    i was wondering when someone else would make the corelation.

     

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  26.  
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    giafly, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 12:55pm

    Re: Ladies, And Gentlemen...

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    the unknown, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 2:54pm

    i would accept it with a couple conditions

    Yeah sure cameras in our businesses and our homes for safety, why not? Only on the following conditions:
    1- Cameras installed in the white house (including bathrooms, vehicles and secret annexes) and all other establishments and vehicles the president uses while working or resting that all citizens can access from the internet anytime without interference what-so-ever.
    2- We can expand the borders of Mexico and Canada at will within the current US borders. Taking my home as an example, it would mean that it could be Mexico in my back yard and Canada in my front yard divided by a line running through my kitchen. The US borders within my privately owned land starting at the center of my dog's food bowl and ending at it's perimiter.
    3- I don't have to pay for the cameras.
    4- We change the laws of gravity too because wouldn't it be safer for our kids if gravity didn't pull them to the earth so quickly?
    On acceptance of these conditions, i accept to have cameras anywhere, everywhere, and at all times.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Fishbane, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 5:01pm

    No Subject Given

    Cops can have a camera in my place of business as soon as I get a camera in the police station.

    Don't try and say it is different, because police are doing it for my own safety* - if anything, as public servants, cops should be more accountable to me than I am to them.

    *They aren't. Cameras don't stop crime, they allow analysis of committed crimes. I've seen no coherent statistics that show a deterrent effect, and if anything, they sometimes increase accidents when employed at stoplights. Widely deployed they lead to an arms race, like any other technology deployed between adversaries.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Patriot, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 11:41pm

    Re: No Subject Given


    I’m sorry Dani, I don’t mean this to be pejorative, but you are the perfect example of why democracy is a shitty form of government.

    You are so completely paranoid and hysterical about “protecting” your children that you are obviously incapable of making an informed decision. But it is not completely your fault – you have simply been well programmed by the media and your government to believe that there is threat, and terror around every corner. Well publicized Amber alerts, Perverts with cameras in bathrooms, and kidnappings have all done their job – to make you afraid.

    All the while the prevalence of crimes against children have been dropping. But you are more afraid.

    And now you are perfectly willing to trade my liberty, and your own liberty, and ironically the liberty of your own children, for a bit of perceived – but not real – protection.

    What you don’t realize is that in trying to “protect” you are doing more harm than what you are protecting from could ever do.

    You should not be allowed to vote. You obviously cannot be trusted with the responsibility to make educated, rational, decisions. Thankfully – according to polling data, chances are that you will not vote.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    dani, Feb 16th, 2006 @ 6:57am

    Re: No Subject Given

    I should have stayed on a bit longer yesterday! I don't know who you think you are "Anom. Patriot".

    First of all, who exactly are you to decide who to take voting rights away from? Seems to me, people with your attitude are the ones ruining democracy.

    And what "category" do i fall into for your data on my voting habits? You know nothing about me and, I'm not wasting my time to check, but I would say my "type" probably always votes.

    I am not "so completely paranoid" that I would give up my freedom. I personally have enough respect for my fellow human that I'm not going to let my imperfections interfere with their lives. Everyone, however, is not so respectful.

    Why, exactly, do you feel crimes on children have dropped? I haven't done any research recently on statistics so I'm not going to doubt it, but if the rate of crimes against children has in fact dropped, would you not say it's probably due to all the extra laws, publicity, registries, etc. that have come into being in the past few years, not to "scare" us and warp our poor, naive, vulnerable little female brains but to actually PROTECT our children (the job they've done if the rate has decreased)?

    I will make a point to cast a vote next election. I don't know if I'll vote for jackass no. 1 or jackass no. 2...maybe I'll go out on a limb this time and vote for that other jackass noone's heard of...

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Stephen Hartin, Mar 14th, 2006 @ 1:15am

    RE: Local Governments Requiring Businesses to 'spy

    There seems to be a great deal of debate over the cameras or no cameras in todays society in general. I feel both sides are correct. No one wants a camera over their shoulder all of the time. On the other hand, if your child's shoelace was caught in an elevator wouldn't you wish someone would come running. How about if a family member was in an accident or someone stole your luggage or laptop. Imagine being a business owner who has to prove they only served a person one drink with dinner or any other liability. You're just as likely to be involved in this situation at your own home.

    As with newer technologies (yes, cameras and cctv has been around for a long time, but now we're in a digital age) there has always been a big hype before it all plateaus and we as a community settle down, to enjoy the lowered crime rate - which you would not otherwise see. Video doesn't have to be all security and surveillance. It can be the best Information Tool a person could own.

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    James F. Marino, Apr 14th, 2006 @ 12:18pm

    Government Spying ON Americans in their bathrooms

    To the person who began this thread, I can tell
    you that you are VERY WISE to be concerned about
    the US Federal Government spying on you within your own homes, including your bathroom and bedroom.

    However, forget about looking for hidden cameras.
    The spying is now being done by way or remote satellite. The National Security Agency has a covert
    program used for spying on the American people.

    It's called SIGNALS INTELLIGENCE and can be used to spy on any American at any given time, and without their knowledge or consent.

    It is done by way of advanced computer technology
    and satellites.

    Even more disturbing is that the only tracking device the NSA needs to target an American citizen is the
    electromagetic flux waves given off by their own body. This EMF acts as a biofinger print which is as
    unique to each person as their own finger prints.

    Once the NSA has targeted them the person is
    no longer able to avoid detection.

    To learn more about this diabolical technology and other violations of Civil Rights that it's capable of
    read John St. Clair Akwei's lawsuit against the NSA
    which can be found on the Google search engine.

    Please circulate John's lawsuit to every American you know, since they can be targeted for the NSA's
    Remote Neural Monitoring technology at anytime
    and never know that they are being watched and judged.

    James F. Marino

    http://www.angelfire.com/ny5/Lyme/page700.html

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Harriet Elliott, May 26th, 2007 @ 5:37pm

    Re: Government Spying ON Americans in their bathro

    I am outraged about this. Why can't we get more information about this? Are the only ones NOT subject to being followed those Nazi patriots that the CIA brought to America under their program called PAPERCLIP? 792 Nazi scientists were brought here under this program, who would otherwise by law have been adjudicated criminals and not allowed to move here.

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    undisclosed, Jun 10th, 2007 @ 9:47am

    Suggested names

    The Fool's Justification.
    The Ostrich's View.
    The (_*_).

     

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