In the pre-digital past the government could always get at your papers or your info or your possessions in one way or the other if they wanted to bad enough. Digital encryption changes this and now government is freaking out.
When it comes to encryption, I think people's minds have been skewed by watching hundreds of TV shows and movies where somebody says "just give me a few minutes to crack the encryption" or "it's encrypted so I'll need a little time" or "it's encrypted but that shouldn't be a problem".
But, as somebody pointed out up-stream, encryption is real. Use a moderately complex key and encryption is essentially uncrackable without either the key or a built-in backdoor.
That's why law enforcement is so intent of getting backdoors into everything. If they don't have them it means, for the first time ever, they literally can't get access to stuff they want to see.
What a sad dysfunctional society we are. A epochal new communication system is discovered that can bring monumental advances in almost every aspect of human interaction.
So what do we do? We allow corporate monopolies to create roadblocks and toll gates and limits on this amazing technology in the name of maximizing monopolist profit.
Tiny strands of easily run fiber can bring almost endless bandwidth to everybody. But we can't have that because despicable companies like Comcast can make more profit from choking the internet than expanding it.
The great economic and political delusion of the 21st century is that we will shift most of the world's manufacturing to china allowing them to grow an immensely strong and powerful economy and then they will play by all the rules that western societies have built up over the centuries.
Sorry, but parents ARE responsible for their children and their children's actions until those children reach adulthood. This is an incredibly well-established legal principal.
There are vast hordes of really nasty little kids rampaging around the internet flinging obscenities and racial slurs right and left. Parents need to wake up to the fact that their little "angels" may be evil demons when left unsupervised online.
The people who serve in the legislatures of various nations know that, once in office, they no longer truly serve the desires of their constituents. Instead they serve the global corporate agenda.
Any attempt to cross their true masters means they would be marginalized in the future; no invites to global power conferences, no lucrative private sector jobs for them and their relatives, no campaign financing for future political campaigns.
This is why big corporations and their proxies in public office are working so relentlessly to normalize IP and trade issues through "free trade" agreements and cross-national treaties. This provides the framework that locks in corporate friendly policies.
Anonymous Coward above must be an off-duty cop performing his primary duty of protecting his brother officers.
Officer robs and assaults citizen with no criminal charges filed and he blames it on "anti-police sentiment" and the "morons" making the recording.
That cop should be in a jail cell at this moment.
Anybody care to guess how often this officer has done something like this in his 20 years on patrol? 100 times? 1000? The only thing that has changed is that he is no longer assured of getting away with it unrecorded.
Like the poster above me said, the essential problem is that there is no accountability. In fact there is a powerful structure of unaccountability that has grown in place over decades.
Anybody who works in any non-government job is held accountable for serious mistakes that conflict with the primary nature of the job. Work at a bank and make a mistake that costs the bank a million bucks and you will be fired. Work a restaurant and make a mistake that sickens a bunch of customers and you will be fired. But if you work as a cop and break the law and subvert justice and brutalize members of the public and you will be shuffled around and protected.
The only solution is to start rolling back the web of legal privilege and protection that cops have been granted. First step would be to ban police unions.
But none of this will happen because, for every one of us online who is outraged about things like this, there are 10 suburban voters who are happy to have the cops beating on "thugs" and "criminals" (which are their codewords for minorities).
It's not so simple as saying that data collection is "legal" under current laws until found to be unconstitutional.
What our despotic federal government is doing more and more is starting from misguided laws of dubious constitutionality and then creating SECRET interpretations of the laws that use truly Orwellian semantics to justify the actions they desire.
Once we are down the rabbit hole of the government interpreting and acting on the laws in secret then we truly no longer have any semblance of democracy.
Sad world where copyright lasts longer than an average lifetime, everything cultural is owned and protected and nobody can build new work on top of previous work which was pretty much how human culture always worked until corporate interests took over and perverted the concept.
A return to rational, constitutional copyright would be something like 16 years only IF registered, with one 16 year extension.
The really amazing thing about Asset Forfeiture is that it is not instantly struck down by the courts. It shows how monolithic the power structure is when it comes to protecting it's power and privilege, even when blatantly unconstitutional.
And what about all the cops that take part in what is essentially theft under cover of authority? Once again demonstrates how pliable police morality becomes when something benefits them and their gang.
The fact that we are outraged or even surprised by things like this is because we don't really want to recognize some of the more unpleasant aspects of human nature.
When people are placed within a power structure and given incentives such as increased status or money or position, they are typically capable of committing the most repugnant of actions and happily accepting the standard rationalization provided within the power structure. Most people have a very weak sense of personal morality that is easily overridden by group dynamics.
Additionally, dominant personality types will work incessantly to build power structures, expand power structures and seek out ties with other power structures in order to increase their personal opportunities for gain.
This is why our government has become so intensely dominant in our lives. The multitude of government power structures have grown to such a degree and become interconnected to such a degree that there is probably no way to reverse course short of a complete collapse and rebuild.
I don't understand the endless stream of photos of "police" pointing their guns at civilians. Isn't it the absolute primary rule of gun safety that you don't point a weapon at a person unless you are going to fire?
What's with all the running around in packs and pointing your guns at everything in sight? Makes them look like a bunch of scared little kids who don't even know how to behave and are all the more dangerous for it.
The police in America are organized into Unions which have massive amounts of local political power. Essentially, local politicians in most areas can NOT be elected if they are opposed by the police union.
This is the core of the problem. It's what makes the police an armed and organized gang. The average cop has far more loyalty to his union, his chain of command and his fellows than he does to the public or to the law. He only feels accountable to other cops, not to civilian officials.
Police know that they will not be held accountable for their actions because local civil authorities are too scared to cross the police union. Until police unions are banned and police become answerable to control by elected civilian officials nothing will change.
People rarely even mention that literally millions of literary and scholarly works reside in a state of copyright limbo where the public has no access to them because they are still under copyright while, at the same time, they are not in print or otherwise available because they are no longer profitable.
The simplest form of copyright reform would allow works that are no longer available for sale in any form to fall into the public domain after the original term of 28 years.
Of course, there will never be any broad public support for copyright reform of any kind, because 90% of the American public only care about what's popular right now and are conditioned to pay without complaint for everything they watch, read or listen to.
"Since these authors have given their copyright over to Hachette, they have nothing to complain about. The books they wrote are no longer theirs to do what they want." That is the crux of the matter. These authors have entered into agreements of indentured servitude with legacy publishers. Now they are scared to death that their master's way of business will lose it's dominance and they might have to compete on both price and quality of work.