If You're Not Doing Something Wrong, You Still Have Something To Worry About

from the good-answer dept

We're still waiting for a good answer to the question we asked a few months ago for a Godwin's Law-like name for the assertion that in any discussion about expansions of government surveillance, the longer the discussion goes, the more likely it is that someone will say "if you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about." While the concept still doesn't have a name, Bruce Schneier has written up a scathing rebuttal to anyone who utters the phrase, noting that privacy is not about hiding a "wrong," but about the basic human concept of liberty. In a world where your every movement is watched, it's always easy for the watchers to abuse that info, either by defining what's wrong (which can change rapidly), or simply by using that info to embarrass or blackmail a person -- even if the actions are perfectly legitimate. With that in mind, people act very differently under constant surveillance. They are not free to be themselves -- even if they're not doing anything "wrong." So, the answer to the question of what are you worried about is simple. It's the loss of basic human freedom and liberty.
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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 May 2006 @ 11:54am

    what if you're black or Asian?

    "if you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about."

    what if you're black or Asian? then you should be worried for the simple reason of, "guilt by 'looking guilty'" - even though you may have done absolutely NOTHING wrong at all. you are just stereo-typed as someone who may have done something wrong.

    try being black and driving your nice car down the street of an "upper-class" neighborhood and see if you don't attract the eyes of several "whities" or even the attention of the police to turn on his siren for a, "what business do you have in this neighborhood" check.

    or try being Asian and driving your acura or honda civic to a car show, and while on your way, you are accused of being involved of illegal car racing - or at least hassled for having "illegal" car components installed.

    Heck - not all Asians with fixed-up cars are racers (no, the wing and stickers do NOT make your car go faster)... and not all blacks in a good neighborhood are crooks (not all blacks are poor thieves - many actually do have good jobs and make good money and are responsible citizens).

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    • identicon
      shane, 18 May 2006 @ 12:50pm

      Re: what if you're black or Asian?

      I don't know if i agree with any of this stuff.
      Almost anybody young driving around a nice neighborhood gets checked, and i know that anybody with a "fixed up car" gets checked too.
      it just happens. it has always happened. I've had a tuner and now i have a classic car, i still get eyed just as much by the cops. it's a thing about possible/easy money for the car thing.
      the racial part. i believe that's dying out.
      the worst area i know of in my town is very mixed.
      Regardless of race a person in a tight spot i believe will react the same.

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      • identicon
        White Kid, 18 May 2006 @ 12:58pm

        I don't know

        Both of you are probably correct. Some places are probably very different from others. I think some things are getting better, but some are getting worse.

        I'm going to admit that I may not be the poster child for integration/tolerance/etc, but I feel as though I and most of the people I know are much better than my parents generation, and CERTAINLY better than my grandparents generation. So, we may not be there yet, but we are at least getting closer.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 May 2006 @ 1:17pm

          Re: I don't know

          amen white kid. its hard and confusing sometimes to look at ourselves and correctly judge the levels of active *ism in our society. but all you have to do is look a couple of generations back for a comparison point and its pretty stunning how much we've improved.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Another Shane, 18 May 2006 @ 1:16pm

        Re: Re: what if you're black or Asian?

        Racism is just an excuse to bitch and be lazy. Try being an white male American.....how much worse of a stereotype can you be. We're (WMA) the reason no one has a job...can't live in a good neighbor hood and we keep beating the "people's power" down...what a joke. Here's an Idea. Instead of spending all your money on fixing a car that has nothing wrong with it. Put it into your community and plan to send your children to good schools. Then you too could live in a "good" neighbor hood. Most of my friends were Asian growing up. Not a single one of them fit any stereotype and they are all well off and happy now. They never "fixed" cars up either. Racism will never die, as long as people can bitch and point the finger at another race. Welcome to the planet of 2nd graders. Oh yeah....some birds just flew by my window...let's see if we can turn that into a racial topic.

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    • identicon
      Born Free, 18 May 2006 @ 1:20pm

      Re: what if you're black or Asian?

      To begin I am not giving a email adress so this will most likely not get posted.
      My family has ben here in America since 1636 and has fought suffered and yes died in every war since day one. One saying that has echoed down through the years and is still right on today is " IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT , LEAVE . "
      America has always ben first in line to offer and give help to any country in the world when disaster strikes no matter who they are,the color of their skin or if they look , act , or sound different than we . Name one country, just one that can say that. We dont go around blowing or own horn , but sometimes you have to remind comon folks what side of their bread is buttered. You would not dump sewage in your own yard, nor should you disrecpect this Great Country of Mine and Yours .
      I live in a small town whrer it is uncomon to see a stranger come cruseing around. You beter belive no matter what he looks like , if he or she hangs around to long the cops will be called to check hie or her out. That my fellow american is what they call Neghiborhood Watch . So maybe you are not diong anything wrong , but we see to it that nobody has a chance to .

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        SomeOtherGuy, 18 May 2006 @ 1:38pm

        Re: Re: what if you're black or Asian?

        "If you don't like it, leave"? What a cop out; the coward's way. America has always been a place where if you didn't like something, you'd actually do something about it!

        As far as being first in line to help ... no, that's not true. Furthermore, much of the government's help is tied to other things (e.g., AIDS awareness requires the receiving government to teach abstinence).

        Name one country that steps up to the plate? Well, there's Canada. There's also Sweden. You'd be surprised how much Saudia Arabia contributes to disasters.

        Don't go around blowing our own horn? Man, you gotta be deaf!

        Um, why would you call the cops to check out someone who's not doing anything? Sounds like you'd enjoy living in a police state.

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      • identicon
        Grubber, 18 May 2006 @ 1:44pm

        Re: Re: what if you're black or Asian?

        Okay troll I'll bite. How about using this saying instead: "If you don't like it, try to change it." Ya know with the democratic process and crazy stuff like that.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Zossima, 18 May 2006 @ 4:10pm

        Re: Re: what if you're black or Asian?

        One saying that has echoed down through the years and is still right on today is " IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT , LEAVE . "

        Actually, all the things that are good about the country came about because those who did not like it fixed it.

        I hate the "Love it or leave it" mindset vehemently. It is a trick borne of logical fallacy. You are presenting two options and implying that these are the only choices when, in fact, there are many others.

        The essence of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution is that Americans not only have these rights and choices, but must exercise them in order to avoid losing them.

        America, love it or leave it is about as un-American a sentiment as I have ever heard.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 May 2006 @ 4:56pm

        Re: Re: what if you're black or Asian?

        We even tolerate people who can't spell.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      stew, 18 May 2006 @ 2:34pm

      Re: what if you're black or Asian?

      ok then this is way off topic but i was working in newark nj and it is mostly blacks and hispanics and i and everyone i was there working with was harrased by police they said what are you doing in this neighborhood they made sure we had a purpose of bieng there so before you open your mouth realize that this happens everywhere whether your white black asian or what have you at least when you come to our neighborhoods you dont get charged with wandering in a high drug trafficing area they are just checking you out i was not there to get drugs but what is the white folk doin in the getto

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    • identicon
      Louis, 19 May 2006 @ 3:57am

      Re: what if you're black or Asian?

      I have tried being black and it did not work.

      I promptly got my ass kicked by a two burly black guys when I greeted them enthusiastically with "Wazzup ma nizzle?"

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Grumpy Old Man, 18 May 2006 @ 11:54am

    Ben said it best

    To paraphrase old Ben Franklin "Those willing to give up freedom in the name of security get neither"

    GOM

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    • identicon
      Ben, 18 May 2006 @ 1:15pm

      Re: Ben said it best

      Good quote!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2006 @ 5:54pm

      Re: Ben said it best

      When people say "if you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about."
      I say to them, ok, you forward all of your sail mail to me and I will open and look inside all your mail then seal it up and forward it back to you, I sure you won’t mine considering the fact you have done nothing wrong or anything to hide.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Jack, 20 May 2006 @ 2:00pm

      Re: Ben said it best

      Too true, but I can't get too worked up about any of this simply because for several generations Americans have put up with an income tax, which necessarily involves the government knowing everything about your finances, and claiming the right to do any kind of financial investigation, seizing any kind of financial records, outside of due process. How is this somehow more acceptable than a government agent reading, for instance, any of the emails you sent in the last year?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    anonymous coward, 18 May 2006 @ 12:28pm

    are animals in a zoo "free"? according to our government they are "free". they are in the zoo so they can be observed, monitored, and protected from predators. sounds alot like what our government say that they are doing for us.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 May 2006 @ 12:47pm

      Re:

      AC wrote: "are animals in a zoo "free"? according to our government they are "free". they are in the zoo so they can be observed, monitored, and protected from predators. sounds alot like what our government say that they are doing for us."

      That's one of the dumbest thing's I've ever heard - and I worked for the federal government for years. Zoo animals are "captive", hence the term "in captivity". Protected, observed, and monitored? Yes. But free? No. By giving up your privacy (or, rather, having it taken away) you're even worse off than the animals. You're still captive, and you're not protected. How can your captor (the predator) be your protector? That's not freedom by any stretch of the imagination.
      [Note: looks like I agree with your opinion, just not your worthless analogy...]

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 May 2006 @ 12:31pm

    All this is done in the name of national security, but i would rather take my chances against the terrorists. At least they are honest about their goals and motivation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Ricky Clinch, 18 May 2006 @ 2:40pm

      Re:

      I already posted but read this idiotic and selfish post. This is part of our problem as a nation. We have individual rights, a great part of our country, but those rights only exist as long as the country exists. (Notice I said country and not government as WE are the government and WE need to learn more about our country to take it back if we feel it has been taken from us.)

      We need to protect our country from those who would harm us and the attitude of "take our chances" is assinine because some part or US is going to be harmed when it happens, therefore WE are all harmed.


      by Anonymous Coward on May 18th, 2006 @ 12:31pm
      All this is done in the name of national security, but i would rather take my chances against the terrorists. At least they are honest about their goals and motivation.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 May 2006 @ 4:19pm

      Re:

      All this is done in the name of national security, but i would rather take my chances against the terrorists. At least they are honest about their goals and motivation.

      The worst that a terrorist can do is take your life. A government can take your life and your liberty.

      I forget who it was who noted that the incidents in New York, Madrid, London etc proved that no terrorist attack, no matter how awful, will ever destroy civilisation. Even if they manage to get a nuclear weapon, it still won't destroy civilisation. One hurricane, on the other hand, can destroy all semblances of civilisation in the places where it touches overnight.

      And that is why I'm more scared of hurricanes than terrorists.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Old Timer Thoughts, 18 May 2006 @ 9:08pm

        Re: Re:

        Your are sure right about Hurricanes....They can pack a mighty big punch. . But when it comes right down to it wether it is a hurricane , a burning building or a terrorist with exploisives straped to his back , you just have to run in head first and think of the lifes you might save if you can get their first before it goes off . That is what is called being a HERO. Yeah,some will be scared, but when you are face to face with it you do not think of yourself. You just di it because your Human . Even these cry babys that are so worried about themselfs and theire rights would be running into the mouth of the tiger when faced with it. Not to take anything away from the cry babys but they won't understand till it is right behind them and bites them on the backside. Sooner or latter I am afraid they will get the chance to find out. They want to live like nothing is wrong and everybody Likes Americans . Let the Learning Begin.

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  • identicon
    Jimbo, 18 May 2006 @ 12:32pm

    How about this name

    How about the "Big Brother Corollary"?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    justok, 18 May 2006 @ 12:46pm

    Then

    If I've got nothing to hide, why are you looking?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    EH, 18 May 2006 @ 12:49pm

    I wonder...

    I wonder if the government is really intruding on us that much more than they used to, or if we just know about it more now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anon, 18 May 2006 @ 1:01pm

      Re: I wonder...

      Considering what I was told when I worked for one of the big 3 phone companies, I'd say we just know MORE.


      Was told by an old central office tech, you see the guys in the black suits, you turn around, walk away from that area, and if anyone EVER asks, you saw NOONE.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 May 2006 @ 9:08pm

      Re: I wonder...

      I wonder if the government is really intruding on us that much more than they used to, or if we just know about it more now.

      I'd say we just know more about it now.

      http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nationworld/bal-nsa517,0,5970724.story?page=1&c
      oll=ba l-home-headlines

      While the story is clearly spun to imply current collection methods are far more invasive today, the fact still remains that even under democratic leadership the government was involved in large scale data maing at least as far back as 1998.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jamie, 18 May 2006 @ 12:52pm

    Not that I don't agree with the main point of the article, but I find it rather comical that he is saying you should worry even if you aren't doing anything wrong since his main reasoning is that that info could be used to embarrass or blackmail you. If the info can blackmail or embarrass a person, then that person or his peer group must consider it wrong. Otherwise the info could not be used that way, since the victim wouldn't care about the info being made public.
    That said, many of us engage in activities that we or others consider wrong (not illegal, but not right either). So the point holds, and as he said it could very easily become illegal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Eileen, 18 May 2006 @ 1:05pm

      Re:

      "If the info can blackmail or embarrass a person, then that person or his peer group must consider it wrong. Otherwise the info could not be used that way, since the victim wouldn't care about the info being made public. "

      You have not thought about this enough, and the upside is you are probably a nice, decent person and not nearly paranoid enough for today's world. Here's an example of how a completely legitimate but private action, if laid before the eyes of the world, could be devastating to a person's standing: You have sex with your wife. Unbeknownst to you, someone videotapes it. You are mailed a copy anonymously with a demand. End of story. Are your peers apalled that you have sex with your wife? Of course not. Are they seriously disturbed that you have a sex tape floating around that reveals your particular taste in sex toys? yes.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Brian, 18 May 2006 @ 2:05pm

        Re: Re:

        How did this turn into the government filming in our bedrooms. I beleive the gov't is trying to protect it's citezens. Remember this was to remain secret so that it would be effective in catching the perpetrators. If the gov't acted on the stupid things like people cheating on their wives, then their would be no point to keeping the spying secret. I would rather the gov't do what it can to protect the US. If they started to use the information for any other reason than terrorisn, then we should complain. Until they actually act on any of the information and take away our freedoms, I'd rather them do what is necessary to keep us safe.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Born Free, 18 May 2006 @ 2:30pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Heres to keeping us safe . Lets hope Uncle Sam continues diong his job no matter what decent comes his way. You know it is pretty hard to save someone when they keep swing at you kinckin and biteing . Sometimes I have to wondre as I am sure those in Home Ladn Security and other Govt agnencies do to , Why not let a few terorist or two into this country's hart land tp blow off a siutcase nuke and let some of these goody to shoes what it is like to have theire family member or close friend blowen apart or burned to death. Then they might see what all about . If you don't like the way it is Then YOU CAN Leave. OR, Seeing that you are in America and ARE a Leagle Citizien. You can VOTE and bring about a change .

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            slick, 18 May 2006 @ 3:26pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Why not let a few terorist or two into this country's hart land

            Do you actually think they are keeping them out now? You are seriously deluded if you think that what they are doing could prevent any specific attack.

            "Well tho moon hasn't fallen on us, so the Magic Moon Holder must be working!"

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          lemonnfresh, 19 May 2006 @ 9:00am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Remember this was to remain secret so that it would be effective in catching the perpetrators."

          Because the terrorists never suspected that their communications would be intercepted? Come on. Isn't this the whole idea behind sleeper cells. That you don't constantly communicate with one another?

          It's not a matter of if this surveilance will be used against you, Joe Citizen, but when. It doesn't have to be the Government using this info against you, it could simply be your wife's divorce lawyer asking for your phone records. Or maybe that neighbor you pissed off with your fence knows somebody at the phone company and he now wants the world to know about your chats on the sex line. Or maybe.....you get the idea. Once the information has been collected it's ripe for use and abuse.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      SomeOtherGuy, 18 May 2006 @ 1:10pm

      Re:

      If you're doing nothing wrong, can you be embarrassed? Maybe not, but you'll sure be subject to persecution. Try having a religion very different from your neighbors. Try being homosexual in the bible belt. Try having very different political views. Try being of middle-eastern descent. Try having a spouse of a different racial group. Need I go on?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        CDQZ, 19 May 2006 @ 4:59am

        Re: Re:

        You are making the assumption that being homosexual is not wrong...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Eileen, 19 May 2006 @ 6:27am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Assumption, eh? More like logical deduction. See, I'm not poisoned by the irrationality of religious beliefs so I can look at the situation and see that homosexuality hurts no one. Oh, it offends your sensibilities, sure. Go cry in church about it and let other people live their lives in a way that makes them happy. I'm not beating down your door because I think it's wrong that you teach your children that some guy named Jesus was actually god, or that masturbation is evil and will send you to hell. Return the favor.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Ben, 18 May 2006 @ 1:12pm

      Re:

      I understand what you're saying but just because something is embarassing doesn't mean its wrong. How about going into planned parenthood or the disease clinic? That might embarass some, but what if they are just volunteering at those places, it still looks to the observer like they are going for treatment or asistance. thats just one example and im sure there are plenty more. I'd hate to be watched all the time, even if its just going to the store, or to rent a movie. lol sorry if it sounds like im jumping down your throat.

      on the plus side it would be hillarious to see how many politions check out a cute girl walking by.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      SomeOtherGuy, 18 May 2006 @ 1:23pm

      Re:

      If you're doing nothing wrong, can you be embarrassed? Maybe not, but you'll sure be subject to persecution. Try having a religion very different from your neighbors. Try being homosexual in the bible belt. Try having very different political views. Try being of middle-eastern descent. Try having a spouse of a different racial group. Need I go on?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Jamie, 18 May 2006 @ 2:31pm

        Re: Re:

        "You have not thought about this enough, and the upside is you are probably a nice, decent person and not nearly paranoid enough for today's world."

        You guys are right, I didn't totally think through the fact that there are some things that are embarrassing that are not considered "wrong" by anyone. Things like video tapes of me and my wife could very easily be used against me.

        Though from some of the responses to my post (not the one I quoted above), I don't think they read through my whole post. I was actually in agreement that privacy is important. After all, even if you don't think it is wrong, that doesn't mean that someone else doesn't. And if someone else thinks it is wrong, then it could very easily be used against you.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Not Jamie, 18 May 2006 @ 2:56pm

      Re:

      Just because *you* have no reason to want privacy doesn't mean nobody else deserves it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Bogamol, 18 May 2006 @ 4:06pm

      Re:

      If the info can blackmail or embarrass a person, then that person or his peer group must consider it wrong. Otherwise the info could not be used that way, since the victim wouldn't care about the info being made public.

      But what if the embarrassing thing is something that can't be controlled?

      Maybe the person is running for public office and his incumbent opponent, through use of surveillance, knows that the challenger is a bedwetter?

      What if you are walking along and you trip on a lawn jart and fall on your face?

      What if you have some medical condition that you don't want attention brought to?

      Any one of those is enough for me to adamantly oppose all this big brother crap that we are seeing now.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 May 2006 @ 4:24pm

      Re:

      If the info can blackmail or embarrass a person, then that person or his peer group must consider it wrong.

      A trade secret is a good example that nobody would consider "wrong", but could still be used to blackmail. "Give us the money or we'll tell everyone the secret recipe for your cola."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    paranoid android, 18 May 2006 @ 1:13pm

    Big Picture

    Given: U.S. spies on its citizens.
    Given: U.S. imprisons people without charge or lawyers.
    Given: U.S. tortures prisoners.
    Given: U.S. spies on the press, democratic PAC's, quakers, and environmentalists.
    Given: U.S. generously employs misinformation.

    Given: Clinton just wanted a bj or two.

    Could someone please give me a moral comparison?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Another Shane, 18 May 2006 @ 1:23pm

      Re: Big Picture

      Sounds like someone is feeling left out? Maybe the Government should broadcast all of it's top secret files on 20/20...World War III shouldn't be too bad.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Ricky Clinch, 18 May 2006 @ 2:29pm

      Re: Big Picture

      You forgot a couple:

      Given: Clinton approved and used Echelon

      Given: Clinton used and updated Carnivore and Omnivore

      Given: All politicians worry more about getting elected and gaining power than any single one of us citizens

      Conclusion: Politicians just use the public's general ignorance and the "People Magazine" like idol worship of certain individuals to herd us all in a direction that insures their control of the power pie... doesn't matter who it is. Clinton was just as filthy as any other president or politician has been and will be.
      Does anyone think that the ants in an anthill in the middle of a herd of sheep realize that they are trapped in the herd? Until someone tells them they are trapped, they are fine and nobody will tell them until it will give them some kind of advantage.
      The best thing we could do in this country would be to turn off our TVs and start going to all public hearings, congressional debates, and read up on our civics instead of praying to the red or blue altars!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    riots, 18 May 2006 @ 1:57pm

    Re: If You're Not Doing Something Wrong, You Still

    I cannot think of a truer statement than the original subject of this thread.

    Consider this: talking about legalizing prostitution, or repealing the prohibition on some drugs, or any other "hot" topic. Just talking about it, not in any way doing it.

    I remember in college philosophy classes being able to discuss anything with an almost unhindered freedom - it was a rare moment when a class did not end with some significant realizations on a given topic.

    OK, leave the campus and go try to have the same discussion in a public forum. How often will you be shouted down, checked out or investigated, kicked out or otherwise have your liberties trampled upon?

    The simple fact is that even if every ounce of surveillance we're removed in the blink of an eye We The People would still be the primary barrier to Liberty.

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  • identicon
    MikeT, 18 May 2006 @ 2:01pm

    A lot of it is just ignorance, willfull and otherw

    In my experience, most people simply don't understand (and are usually afraid to find out) how much information can be gathered on them through things like Rep. Sensenbrenner's data retention law or the NSA phone records. They have this inkling that it really could bite them in the ass, but... it couldn't be me... right?

    I think that the very fact that most people cannot bring themselves to acknowledge that no knock raids have resulted in a lot of innocent people getting killed and has increased unprofessionalism among cops is a worrying trend as well. Getting the government to reform itself is a monumental task, one usually requiring either a sweeping democratic revolution that ousts the ruling class or... a 1776 sort of action.

    Another thing, it's usually a sign of how far down a society has fallen when things like these become common place. Most Americans are even more afraid of being called bigots than they are of being blown up by terrorists. After 9-11, deporting all Saudi nationals would have done more to end the terror threat against us than monitoring, detention without trial, etc. combine. Instead, even American Muslim citizens suffer because we don't want to be called "bigots" toward the Saudis even though Saudis are disproportionately represented in terror groups, especially anti-American ones.

    Our country won't get over these cliches and this PC culture that prevents us from having liberty and security until it's too late, I'm afraid.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Some IT Bastard, 18 May 2006 @ 2:08pm

    Nobody Likes You

    Who cares? Who is the last person you personaly knew that got arrested for something that was aquired through spying?

    Who is the last person you knew persoanly that was blackmailed with something obtained through spying?

    Listening to phone conversations is nosey. The technology is there, and some guy knows he can...it only takes time before he does...just to see if he can. Well he can, and he kept doing it.

    Here is a test for the paranoid and brave.

    First: Mail a letter to yourself with the exact plan and make it 100% clear that this is only a test.

    Second: Call a friend and say you have a bomb and are going to blow up a government building.

    Third: Wait to see if anyone shows up to arest you. Have letter in hand. Make sure to mail it to yourself, and have it ready, unopened, and postmarked. That way it shows that you had no intentions of actually doing it.

    Good Luck!

    For those of us that are not paranoid and worrying about racism. Just sit back and hope someone you know does that test, and lets you watch (just in case something does happen).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    John, 18 May 2006 @ 2:12pm

    I still think the best repose to "if you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about" is to repond with a question:

    "If the Founding Fathers considered your question to be legitimate, why did they go to such great lengths to ensure that the rights of the innocent are protected?"

    In other words, why would our founders think we needed a Bill of Rights at all if the innocent had nothing to worry about?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    brian, 18 May 2006 @ 2:14pm

    Niemoller's Law

    How about Niemoller's Law? He's the "then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak up" guy.

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Martin_Niem%C3%B6ller

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    LookoutforChris, 18 May 2006 @ 2:43pm

    "The innocent have nothing to fear." ...

    That is my most hated meme, wish it would die.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Joe, 16 Jul 2006 @ 7:52am

      Re:

      When someone says, "The innocent have nothing to fear."

      The proper resonse is, "If that were the case then we wouldn't need a Bill of Rights."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 May 2006 @ 2:53pm

    Not all of Newark NJ is a High Crime Zone , but it dose havee its problem spots . If you wrer from out of town maybe you didn't realise where you where. That is the main reason for stoping someone to let them know where they are. If that makes you feel like theire picking you for what ever reason then so be it . It is the innocient that is being looked out forof which you may or may not have been. Again someone is trying to keep someone SAFE, ie : TO PROTECT AND TO SERVE and again they have to be Busting someones Chops . Try Being Nice to the Cops caues someday you will need them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 May 2006 @ 2:53pm

    Not all of Newark NJ is a High Crime Zone , but it dose havee its problem spots . If you wrer from out of town maybe you didn't realise where you where. That is the main reason for stoping someone to let them know where they are. If that makes you feel like theire picking you for what ever reason then so be it . It is the innocient that is being looked out forof which you may or may not have been. Again someone is trying to keep someone SAFE, ie : TO PROTECT AND TO SERVE and again they have to be Busting someones Chops . Try Being Nice to the Cops caues someday you will need them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Gabriel, 18 May 2006 @ 3:00pm

    Re: Security.

    I've just read several post written by the weak. They
    are the reason this Geographical Area will soon fall.
    We are being sold out by both major parties in favor
    of one World goverment and the cheap workers it will
    need. I only have a short time left so it may not happen in my lifetime, but Ii feel sorry for some of you. If you think your being watched now wait till FREEDOM is gone. A Country with no will to even guard it's own gates will fall. I only pray none of you will be a victim of the next act our enemies are planning at this very moment. The Enemy is at the Gate and you let them in, and some of them appear to walk the halls of Congress. Now all of you go
    back to sleep. They depend on that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Laughing, 19 May 2006 @ 2:48am

      Re: Re: Security.

      A Country with no will to even guard it's own gates will fall. I only pray none of you will be a victim of the next act our enemies are planning at this very moment. The Enemy is at the Gate and you let them in, and some of them appear to walk the halls of Congress. Now all of you go
      back to sleep. They depend on that.


      I see we have another here that wants to make another East Berlin...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    slick, 18 May 2006 @ 3:09pm

    then that person or his peer group must consider it wrong. Otherwise the info could not be used that way, since the victim wouldn't care about the info being made public.

    So I guess you don't mind if we post pictures of you on the toilet on the internet, along with a analysis of bathroom visit frequency and what you had for lunch?

    I don't consider having sex with my wife wrong, but I don't want videos of it on the internet. In fact I would be upset if people knew when I had sex without my telling them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    All American Retired, 18 May 2006 @ 3:11pm

    Hers to LOVE IT or LEAVE IT .

    Don't forget your in AMERICA . The borders may someday be closed to keep OUT undesireables and illeagles , but they will Always Remain open for anyone who wishes to leave .

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Eileen, 18 May 2006 @ 3:56pm

    Anyone notice the amusing correlation between grammar/spelling skills and desire to sloppily post "LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT?"

    Seriously. Who would you consider 'undesirables'? Gays? People with skin any shade darker than a gentle bronze? Yes you're in America, a nation founded foremost on the idea that the government shouldn't meddle with our basic freedoms for the sake of a little false security. The fact that everyone, save the Native Americans, had to immigrate here at some point (1650 or 1950, who cares?) means that you really can't point the finger at others and say 'you don't belong here' just because your family got here first without being a pretty big asshole. Your ancestors got here in 1636 eh? All of them? They must have had a hard time finding only mates who didn't get here any later. You wouldn't want to lose your place in line for Bestest American Ever!

    BornFree: I understand your sentiment completely. Sometimes I consider what fun it will be to stop fighting the erosion of basic freedoms in this country and leave my dear old homeland (tear) and watch from afar as the thought police take over. Some day, patriotic man, you will finally see. Too bad it will probably be as they are dragging you away for crimes against the state.

    Dark ages commence!

    P.S. I have ancestors that came over on the Mayflower in 1621. I'm soooo beating you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Torvo, 18 May 2006 @ 4:18pm

    Pablum

    "if you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about"

    is often attributed to Trent Lott on this very subject. Why not name it after him?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Tim, 18 May 2006 @ 4:58pm

    And soon just not wanting to be watched will raise suspicion. What's your spouse think when you say you want to be alone? Perhaps you're already to afraid to say such a thing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Clair Ching, 18 May 2006 @ 9:43pm

    This is what my friend and I were talking about before: having the freedom to live. Each of us has free will but if there are governments that intrude upon our personal freedom, now that is too much. Big Brother-ish, as he said. I agree. Sure, we want a nice and safe place to live in but the thing is that if things will be twisted around that even the littlest things we do can be used against us and cause our persecution, I don't think it's fair at all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bongoman, 19 May 2006 @ 7:26am

    Wrongonot's Law

    States that the amount of surveillance is proportional to the amount of indifference times 4.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dope, 19 May 2006 @ 1:39pm

    Problems with Authority?

    Also, most commonly the people 'in control' are basically moral and intellectual children... Either falling prey to ideology riddled with logical fallacies, or knowingly pass laws filled with rhetoric that also contains similar inaccuracies; because there hearts lust for the power those lies grant them. Or just because they have not yet reached the plane of conciseness that requires you to leave behind hate, bigotry, and violence as a tool for validating one's ego... Actually I would argue being on that plane often prevents many from going into politics.


    'If you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to be afraid of.'

    Tell that to Rosa Parks, MLK Jr., and all the whites helping the underground railroads. Tell that to the Jews in Nazi germany, the innocent people being tortured as we speak in Guantanamo Bay, and how about SCREAMING it in Tiananmen Square? Maybe it would be a good lesson to teach amerikkkan gays, abortion doctors, or people in China that practice Falun Gong. Tell that to Michael Donald, or the people in Rosewood Florida, or for that matter any of the hundreds of black men in the south lynched by mobs for crimes they did not commit.

    Seriously, I wish anyone that has ever said that statement and meant it would instantly get zipped away to a parallel universe which consist of one small room, two cups of chinese tea and this man... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image%3ATianasquare.jpg
    For how ever long he decides is necessary.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2006 @ 5:57pm

    When people say "if you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about."
    I say to them, ok, you forward all of your sail mail to me and I will open and look inside all your mail then seal it up and forward it back to you, I sure you won’t mine considering the fact you have done nothing wrong or anything to hide.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Summary so Far: List of facts., 20 May 2006 @ 4:25am

    Summary of some points.

    1:
    "If you have nothing to hide then let everyone in the world read your mail and watch films of you and your wife"

    *There have always been corrupt groups/governments or belief based 'gangs', allow violations of privacy and they gain the means to know everything you do:
    "So your wife's black huh?...well, you're gonna pay me $300 a week or we'll hang her, our little secret"

    Unless you thing that being black
    (or any race, belief or opinion) in an offence punishable by death, it would be unwise to let anyone violate anyone elses privacy rights without 'steel-solid' reasons.

    Even suspecting someone of murder is a suspect reason, you could simply LIE, then spy on an innocent person that was going to reveal important govt information that society needed to know about..."oh, they're deadly allergic to peanuts...*Govt leaves cooked meal on their doorstep with a 'thankyou' card*.

    There you have it, it's perfectly alright to prevent crimes by teaching children/etc or by tracking down a suspect CSI style...you do not need to tap eveyones phone to find murderers, they will be the ones least likely to reveal such information over phones they know might be tapped.


    2:
    "If you don't like America (or ANYTHING else) leave it alone and go somewhere where in no-longer bothers you."

    Usually it's a large group of people that doesn't like something, imagine America losing 45% of it's population because some people didn't like KKK members harassing them and everyone they cared about.

    In the entire history of our fine America, we have always endeavoured to make it a better place, more free etc.
    This statement innocuously suggests that we break that long lived tradition and become apathetic about anything- Weather it be Terrorism, Agism, Racism, or Read-my-private-letterism.

    The original statement was basically giving an imperative opinion: Do this or this.

    This is similar to saying: "Walk 2 steps then stop" to a stranger without any logical explaination and expecting them to treat you like a well adjusted adult.

    "If something's broken...we're gonna kick it's ass, or fix it"

    Privacy is broken at the moment,
    (It could be worse and it could be better).
    if we can decalre war on a noun (Terrorism), we can fix one as well...we're Americans, we can even declare war on "Spying", and from all that everyone has contributed to on this topic- we have good reason to.


    3:
    "If we reduce the right to privacy, we gain Security...and we MUST have security, *Traces any one of these posts back to your home address* Traitor! you don't believe in security, therefore you don't believe in America! therefore you don't believe in freedom...we don't need a court case to take scum like you away."

    If it can be done by anyone, it can be done by ANYONE else. If the Govt taps the phone of one person, anyone at all, then they can and might tap yours.
    Who is going to stop them?
    Who is going to stop your neighbour exploiting the in-built govt backdoor into your private life? if the govt makes it compulsory for mobile phone manufacturers to include hardware that lets them record your calls...it'll be on Wikipedia:"My uncle works for the govt so here's a way to listen to anyone's phone conversations".

    You might not fear the government, how about someone who asks his fellow criminal
    "left the keys under the flowerpot eh? away on holiday? let's smoke this fat-cat (you)"

    My examples and analogies may not be the best would, however it's clear that there is potential for abuse.
    A gun has the potential to go off...and that's still a lot safer than taking away privacy rights
    (I could give an example but use your imagination).

    I have not been unbiased and make no apologies for coming across as pro human rights/freedom/privacy.

    It's because I don't want the govt knowing that I collect stamps...if word got out my reputation as a bank-robber would be seriously marred...I'd get bank staff going "aren't you that sissy boy that collects stamps?!"
    and I'd have to run out of there crying.

    And there's nothing wrong with collecting stamps...it's my right as an Americ...don't look at me that way...
    you don't know me!

    :-)



    Are There there are a few more point's?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Stephen, 20 May 2006 @ 2:29pm

    Income Tax...

    Such a nasty thing, the Govt needs some money to govern the country. Should the people of the country be given the responsibility of running it, instead of the government? (income tax department that doesn't answer to the government, only people of high integrity allowed to run it etc).

    When people say "if you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about."
    I say to them, ok, you forward all of your sail mail to me and I will open and look inside all your mail then seal it up and forward it back to you, I sure you won’t mine considering the fact you have done nothing wrong or anything to hide.


    This was a very good tool brought up, I now say exactly that. Then "If the govt can spy obn you...what's to stop anyone else?"



    Any other comebacks for: "if you've got nothing to hide, then let me strip search you"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Jack, 20 May 2006 @ 4:35pm

      Re: nasty govm't

      There are all sorts of taxes the govm't can implement to finance itself. Some even do a better job of being regressive (taxing the rich) which was the original excuse for implementing an income tax. Almost all other forms of taxation are more efficient (money raised vs direct and indirect costs of collecting the tax to the public and govm't) and almost all other taxes do a better job of taxing the underground economy.

      ...but I digress. This isn't a thread on taxation, but privacy. My point was the huge intrusion into privacy caused by the income tax...and only honest people submit to the annual financial body cavity search. The underground economy, by definition, still keeps its finances private.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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