It isn't just the Democrats and Obama. All the current Republican Candidates are for more surveillance. Remember that it was during the George W. Bush administration that the Patriot Act was passed and the NSA began bulk collection of data.
I avoid Facebook even though my local city now requires me to have a Facebook account to view their website since it is now only on Facebook. I would prefer to visit a website without having to use Facebook since I don't like Mark Zuckerberg and others tracking my every move for marketing purposes. My local newspaper has now decided to take down their own comment section and require me to create a Facebook or Twitter account in order to even post comments on their site. A lot of people are leaving Facebook but now find themselves forced to create an account because companies (and even cities) are taking down their website and creating a Facebook page instead.
I'm hoping that it is the beginning of the end. Unfortunately my local city got rid of their internet site and now I'm required to have a Facebook site just to access my own city website for public notices. I also have to get a Facebook account if I want to comment in my local newspaper. I am being forced to get a Facebook account even though I am 100% opposed to Facebook. The problem is business and even cities are too lazy to create their own websites and like the idea that they can easily create a page on Facebook and assume everyone will simply get a Facebook account not understanding that some people don't like Facebook and have either never created an account with them or resigned from Facebook.
Even with the best legal advice before he created Megaupload, he could still be in violation of at least one US law. Some estimate that the average US Citizen commits at least three felonies a day without even knowing it. Even if he isn't breaking any laws at the time he created Megaupload, he could be in violation of some future law or the US Government could twist the meaning of a law if they seriously want to go after someone.
Then Microsoft would have their assets seized. Under copyright law you can only make one copy of music. A lot of people who are using Windows 10 have no idea that Microsoft is storing their files on the cloud and by doing so Microsoft is committing copyright infringement by making an unauthorized copy of copyrighted files.
Unfortunately as a result of the "war on drugs" and the "war on terrorism" most Americans don't see a problem with law enforcement coming into your house in the middle of the night shooting your dog and seizing your property because someone claimed you were a drug dealer or terrorist. Some Americans are waking up but most figure that this will never happen to them since they are doing nothing wrong. They don't understand how this abuse of Constitutional powers will eventually be used against them. A lot of Americans still support the Patriot Act even with the revelations from Edward Snowden and others about abuses by the Government. They are happy that law enforcement makes money off of asset forfeiture instead of them having to pay more in taxes not realizing that someday they could end up with their assets seized for a crime they are innocent of.
Unfortunately the mainstream media is what most US people rely on for news and they consider cases like this boring anyway and are more interested in what the Kardasians or whatever they names are up to or the latest on the Caitlyn Jenner from the Bruce Jenner transformation. If they paid attention or cared, they would be terrified that their government is able to legally do this and get away with it because nobody pays attention.
I thought ICE was involved in enforcing immigration laws, not taking down web sites of suspected copyright or intellectual property violators. Something needs to be done if a website domain can be legally seized based on a claim by RIAA that a violation occurred but they are not providing ICE evidence of this violation. Like all other A$$et forfeiture laws, it violates a suspects right to due process. Since a lot of law enforcement agencies make money off of seizures they have an incentive to abuse these powers.
So basically it will be similar to the asset forfeiture laws that allow the police to confiscate property without due process for alleged drug trafficking. Currently they only want to seize assets after a court case but eventually law enforcement will ask to have laws to seize assets from people they suspect are involved in child porn. This will be a great source of income for child porn units of law enforcement agencies and what is stopping a law enforcement agency from planting evidence for a conviction. They have conflict of interest since they will get to seize property if they can get a conviction under these laws. This means they have a great source of stable revenue unlike government funding that can always get cut. If they don't get enough people charged with child porn, they will go around looking harder for people involved in child porn and even arrest people who are not involved in child porn in order to make money off of seizing assets. This is a bad idea and we need to take the rest of the asset forfeiture laws off the books.
I don't see it as feasible for the US Government to shut down Bitcoin but I can see them try. Many alternative currencies such as the Liberty Dollar were raided by the US Government. I think the bankers may want to worry more about people losing faith in the US dollar. If people start to distrust the US Government in handling financial obligations such as paying off the national debt, people may decide to use alternative currencies. One reason Gold has enjoyed a bear market is because a lot of people are buying gold fearing that the US dollar could collapse. With inflation, the spending power of the dollar declines which means if you work where your wages have been stagnant for quite some time, you are actually getting a hidden demotion since the spending power of a dollar isn't what it was a couple of years ago or even longer. Eventually we might see the US Government make Gold hoarding illegal again. They will also try to block alternative currencies such as the bitcoin through legislation but it may fail.
We already don't have any choices when it comes to broadband services. A lot of phone companies were merged with companies such as Centurylink who is just as bad as Comcast and Time Warner. Where I live I have a choice between poor lines. I can either use 1.5 Mbps from CenturyLink or 20 Mbps from Comcast and there isn't a chance that they will ever upgrade their services since they don't have an incentive to win over customers. They make their money from corporate mergers and creating a legalized monopoly rather than winning over customers. Unfortunately this seems to be the status quo in today's corporate America.
I'm surprised so many people want to use cloud storage after hearing about what has happened to megaupload and other sites. They must assume that all the customers of megaupload are involved in illegal activity when a lot of the people were using the site to store information and backups that wasn't a violation of any law. In addition, cloud storage is susceptible to snooping by ISP's, and government agencies such as the NSA. I avoid the cloud like the plague.
What's amazing is how they are now hated more than the IRS when everyone has to deal with the IRS but not every American has to deal with the TSA since for the most part they are in airports and sometimes they set up a VIPR checkpoint (surprise checkpoint set up in public places and roadblocks). This means that a lot of people who cannot afford to travel (especially by air) have never dealt with the TSA and have no idea how the TSA acts. There are plenty of first time flyers or people who haven't flown after the TSA took over airport security who still experience the TSA for the first time. Despite not everyone dealing with the TSA, more Americans dislike the TSA more than the IRS.
A much better solution is to abolish the TSA and return airport security to what it was prior to 9/11. The TSA is out of control and when airport security was privatized, the security companies could think outside of the box. The reason the pre-9/11 security didn't detect the terrorists with boxcutters was because boxcutters were legal at the time. In addition, the US intelligence community had tips from various sources that Al Qaeda may be planning to attack the USA on US soil prior to 9/11. Instructors from flights schools indicated they were concerned some middle eastern students were asking questions that a person flying a small plane would rarely ask and they seemed more interested in flying airliners than small aircraft. They also asked questions about airline security that normal students wouldn't ask. It isn't like Al Qaeda hasn't tried to attack the US before. Months earlier the USS Cole was attacked off the coast of Yemen and in the late 1990's, it was believed Al Qaeda was behind an attempted truck bombing of the World Trade Towers. With the information they had, they could have alerted our nation's airlines and airports to look out for Al Qaeda who appears to be planning an attack of some kind involving hijacked airliners. It isn't like the 9/11 terrorists didn't raise any eyebrows prior to their attack. Many were suspicious of their intentions but couldn't do much other than contact the FBI or other law enforcement agency about their concerns. Plenty expressed concerns but the FBI and other agencies didn't think these tips indicated any activity worthy of their attention.
I'm sure Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups would be glad to tell you what most likely is on this list. They may even have a website but you probably don't want to visit since you will be profiled as a terrorist and end up on the no-fly list. Most of what ends up on the TSA list is derived from previous attempts by terrorist groups worldwide against US and other interests. It really doesn't do much not to publish this list when terrorist organizations most likely already know from experience what will alert the TSA and other organizations in charge of airport security worldwide.
I'm not too optimistic of this bill either. Most likely the bill will be significantly watered down as it goes through Congress. The US Intelligence community still has a lot of political clout and can always say that they need this power "in the interests of national security" or secretly break the law and since they now have a tighter lid to prevent someone like Edward Snowden from leaking valuable information on this, they can keep it secret. I imagine if you did a poll, a majority of people would say they are opposed to the NSA and want it abolished but this isn't how our politicians feel about the NSA and domestic spying. If it becomes law it will be watered down and most likely the NSA will violate this law and since it's all top secret, no watchdog group could determine if the NSA is following the rule.
Sadly 9/11 was not just a tragic day because of the loss of many lives but also the losses of our civil liberties. Before 9/11, the government was trying to justify the use of warrant less wiretapping to catch drug dealers and I believe even had a system called Carnivore that was designed to go after criminals such as drug dealers but was challenged by civil rights groups as unconstitutional. With the 9/11 attacks, warrant less wiretapping was deemed as necessary for this new "war on terror" and people were sold on the idea that the Patriot Act is to protect them from terrorists but in reality it set the stage for widespread surveillance of US Citizens who are not terrorist threats to our nation. Then we were sold the BS that the TSA was necessary to prevent hijackings even though our security could have detected the box cutters used by terrorists providing they weren't legal prior to 9/11 which in fact they were and if they caught someone with box cutters prior to 9/11 as long as their blade was not longer than a few inches they were legal. Terrorist attacks on US soil have been rare and still are rare and this isn't because of the TSA, the DHS, or any other federal agency spying on us. You're more likely to be struck by lightning than become a victim of a terrorist attack but we justify the investment of billions and have lost our Constitutional rights as a result of 9/11 to protect us from these rare attacks. In addition, the widespread surveillance from the Patriot Act and the invasive procedures by the TSA cannot prevent terrorist attacks by a determined terrorist.
"For me, I would have approached the folks who built my bankís or credit cardís website or Google or Yahoo for the job. Instead, it was government as usual and making sure the connections get greased and the campaign coffers filled. "
I'm not so sure you would want to have Yahoo working on such an important project with the bugs in their new Yahoo interface that has resulted in long time Yahoo customers closing their accounts. They are still working out the kinks but before I canceled, my account was broken into even though I have a strong password and most likely was compromised as a result of a cross scripting or SQL injection attack. They tried to fix what wasn't broken replacing it with a buggy interface that is as slow as molasses and removed things that a lot people found useful but they decided in the new implementation to remove.
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