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A spider named Big Brother
February 9, 2006 7:54 AM   Subscribe

Shut yo' mouth! The US government, will soon spider the entire web analyzing all pages -- including your blog -- for evidence of "terrorism". It greatly extends prior government watching of the web for "terrorists" like the ACLU. But not for political speech, of course. Never that.
So shut your mouth and shut down your blog if you don't want to end up on a list of people to be "neutralized" -- like Mario Savio, hounded for ten years despite never breaking a law.
posted by orthogonality (111 comments total)

 
I'd now like to request that Matt immediately allow all users to change their usernames at will. And I'd like to ask Matt what his policy on retention of server logs is.
posted by orthogonality at 7:57 AM on February 9, 2006


yeah


I posted something on my site about cheney and bush being assholes....checked my server logs a few days later and that particular entry had been viewed 122 times by someone on a DOJ server

freakin bush
posted by timsteil at 7:59 AM on February 9, 2006


Neener neener, they can't touch me.
I'm a filthy foreigner in a filthy foreign land.

Think I might go buy some subversive reading material from Amazon right about now. And then post excerpts and heated opinions in my blog.
posted by slimepuppy at 8:00 AM on February 9, 2006


So will they have to use government money to buy subscriptions to porn sites to spider them?
posted by a47danger at 8:01 AM on February 9, 2006


I think we should all game them right back. Do you have a recipe site? Rename all your recipes "Terrorist's Trifle" and "Firebomb Spareribs".
posted by orange swan at 8:06 AM on February 9, 2006



People who like blink182 have politics?
posted by beerbajay at 8:06 AM on February 9, 2006


"Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free." - Eugene Debs, a man after my own heart.

It would seem that my website now has quite a high index of suspicion.
posted by The White Hat at 8:20 AM on February 9, 2006


So which member of this site is a narc? Maybe me, I'm new.
posted by Liquidwolf at 8:21 AM on February 9, 2006


"There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick to heart that . . . you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop."

Mario Savio
Berkeley Free Speech
posted by Relay at 8:21 AM on February 9, 2006


I analyzed all of your blogs, all the news-services you use and a lot of other websites for terrorism
posted by insomnus at 8:27 AM on February 9, 2006


What depresses me about this whole SIGINT stuff isn't that the government wants to look so hard for 'terrists' but that they'll do such a godawful bad job of it.

Oh, and that whole 'civil liberties' thing, but I think that went away a while ago.
posted by Skorgu at 8:29 AM on February 9, 2006


Terrorists probably just use code anyway. Like "apple" for "bomb." And "farm" for "terrorist cell."

Red Apple Farm

OH NO!
posted by a47danger at 8:33 AM on February 9, 2006


Narc!
posted by InfidelZombie at 8:33 AM on February 9, 2006


I think we should all game them right back.

You don't even need to orange swan.

The volume of information is already way too large:

Result 1 - 10 of approx. 21,400,000 searching on al qaeda.

And who is going to follow up on all of these computer generated hits? Government employees? Postal workers? Give me a break. It's a ruse. No one in their right mind would expect this to produce useful results.

On the other hand, if you want to get a bunch of Democrats to stop talking about Healthcare and Jobs violate someone's civil rights.
posted by three blind mice at 8:37 AM on February 9, 2006


mmmm...internet = public, no? I just think it's kinda stupid for the government to expect to find much secure information, but that just makes this another in a long list of stupid things this administration has thrown money at.

Really, what's the issue here? That the government is doing this just to get dirt on their enemies? The internet has always been public. The government can already dig up dirt on you.
They aren't going through private accounts (e-mail, ebay, whatnot) are they?

I feel I'm missing something.
posted by es_de_bah at 8:42 AM on February 9, 2006


This is just the kind of news I was hoping to hear today! Thanks, I feel safer already.
posted by OmieWise at 8:43 AM on February 9, 2006


All your blogs are belong to us(a)
posted by twistedonion at 8:45 AM on February 9, 2006


I wonder if they'll respect robots.txt.
posted by rycee at 8:46 AM on February 9, 2006


Matt, I would like my membership/commenting history expunged. Is that possible?
posted by jon_kill at 8:50 AM on February 9, 2006


And who is going to follow up on all of these computer generated hits? Government employees? Postal workers? Give me a break.

In the last three weeks, three people I know have told me they've been contacted for recruitment by the FBI for, purportedly, just this kind of, um, analysis.
posted by WolfDaddy at 8:53 AM on February 9, 2006


I should also mention that all three are also multilingual, and two of them know Farsi so ... there you are.
posted by WolfDaddy at 8:54 AM on February 9, 2006


In the last three weeks, three people I know have told me they've been contacted for recruitment by the FBI for, purportedly, just this kind of, um, analysis.

Well they'll need to do a lot better than that WolfDaddy. They've got at least, um, 21,400,000 leads to follow up... and that is before you begin to search on the various combinations of "Bush sucks."
posted by three blind mice at 8:59 AM on February 9, 2006


WolfDaddy writes "I should also mention that all three are also multilingual, and two of them know Farsi so ... there you are."


Farsi that's what they speak in Iraq right?

No?!? That's what they speak in Iran (and some parts of Afghanistan)?

How soon until the FBI finds the Iranian terror cell in the US,. providing a pretext for another "defensive" war?
posted by orthogonality at 9:00 AM on February 9, 2006


es_de_bah, the csm article does mention email, but it's unclear whether email is actually included in the scope of this thing. A guy from the EFF also mentions online purchases and search histories as being part of the "dots" that the government can connect, but it's also unclear whether those are in the scope of ADVISE.

Apart from that, yeah, stuff on the Internet is there for all to see, including blogs. Just looking at the stuff shouldn't be considered harmful; it's what they might do with what they glean from it that's worrying (e.g., use it as an excuse to start a warrantless wiretap, or some such).
posted by Gator at 9:02 AM on February 9, 2006


Does it seem that people keep forgetting that the problem with September 11th wasn't that the information wasn't already available, it's that people didn't deal with it correctly. If anything collecting more information is going to make it harder to find the good information.
posted by pembleton at 9:04 AM on February 9, 2006


i was just reading a story about a nurse at a public hospital who got a visit because she wrote disparagingly about Bush and Cheney on her blog.
posted by amberglow at 9:10 AM on February 9, 2006


well, I'm gonna keep saying my shit. Fuck 'em.
posted by By The Grace of God at 9:13 AM on February 9, 2006


I was just reading a story on someone's blog about how they saw Bush kissing Hitler.
posted by smackfu at 9:14 AM on February 9, 2006


i was just reading a story about a nurse at a public hospital who got a visit because she wrote disparagingly about Bush and Cheney on her blog.

One down, 21,399,999 to go.
posted by three blind mice at 9:16 AM on February 9, 2006


nato davos enron wto chechnya milosovic afghanistan cyberterrorism network terror waco oklahoma suicide bomber iraq iran ngo gmo homeland security ashcroft cia nsa fbi saddam hussein chemical weapon mass destruction bush cheney reagan hemp opium bin laden al qaeda andersen cocaine ecstasy anthrax bolivia black helicopters dirty bomb arafat khaddafi taliban
posted by specialk420 at 9:17 AM on February 9, 2006


i was just reading a story about a nurse at a public hospital who got a visit because she wrote disparagingly about Bush and Cheney on her blog.

Jesus Christ, that is really crazy if in any way true. Sorry to invoke Godwin but if that isn't a sign that America is heading towards a Nazi style police state I really don't know what is.

I someone knocked on my door because I wrote about Blair being a lying retarded cunt I'd be fucking furious at the obvious intrusion on my personal freedom.
posted by twistedonion at 9:17 AM on February 9, 2006


i was just reading a story about a nurse at a public hospital who got a visit because she wrote disparagingly about Bush and Cheney on her blog.

Oy. Link? (That "Little Red Book" fiasco has made me skeptical of such tales.)
posted by Gator at 9:21 AM on February 9, 2006


Government discovers the internet, proceeds to ruin it for the rest of us. Stupid government.
posted by muddgirl at 9:23 AM on February 9, 2006


esus Christ, that is really crazy if in any way true. Sorry to invoke Godwin but if that isn't a sign that America is heading towards a Nazi style police state I really don't know what is.

Uh, doesn't the fact that the nurse can pretty much tell them to fuck off and talk to her lawyer mean that this ISN'T a police state? Look, they can collect all the information they want, but none of it is really evidence of anything. The FBI can come "disturb me at my place of business" all they want, they still won't catch me making any bombs.
posted by muddgirl at 9:25 AM on February 9, 2006


Neener neener, they can't touch me.
I'm a filthy foreigner in a filthy foreign land.


Are you kidding? Lets recall whose civil rights the United States is most keen to violate right now? Americans or Foreigners? Better yet, which violation of civil rights do Americans get the most angry over?

Sorry, bub, expect to be grabbed off the street via CIA Italy style any day now.

p.s. Can I have your subversive books?
posted by Atreides at 9:26 AM on February 9, 2006


And who is going to follow up on all of these computer generated hits? Government employees? Postal workers? Give me a break.

In the last three weeks, three people I know have told me they've been contacted for recruitment by the FBI for, purportedly, just this kind of, um, analysis.


Is this something I could do from home? References furnished upon request. E-mail in profile.

Best Regards,
Otis
posted by Otis at 9:26 AM on February 9, 2006


government [i]invented[/i] the internet.
posted by pmbuko at 9:27 AM on February 9, 2006


oops. invented
posted by pmbuko at 9:27 AM on February 9, 2006


Neener neener, they can't touch me.
I'm a filthy foreigner in a filthy foreign land.


Oh Yeah? Watch out. Freedom is on the march (TM).
posted by Otis at 9:28 AM on February 9, 2006


Hi Dios.
posted by Balisong at 9:30 AM on February 9, 2006


I wouldn't think they'd just do simple text searches (though the level of incompetence from this administration to date doesn't rule it out).

More likely they'll find somebody they know or strongly suspect is a terrorist and then push through their indexes and logs to find out where he went and what he did, and then try to find others doing the same thing.

Isn't that the way the whole NSA wire taps are supposed to be working? It's troubling (but only a little troubling and this from a huge civil libertarian), and it may well be a giant boondoggle that will produce nothing of value. However, the problems described above don't seem very likely to be problems to me.
posted by willnot at 9:33 AM on February 9, 2006


MeTa
posted by theora55 at 9:37 AM on February 9, 2006


I run my own web and mail server, in a closet in my home. I do it for convenience, and because I'm a geek and that's what I do.

This just makes me wonder if the efforts I expend to keep script kiddies and true crackers out of my server need to be stepped up to prevent infiltration from da gov.

Meanwhile, if I ever want to exchange dangerous and illegal information, I'll use hand-delivered paper and wear gloves when I write on it.

hopefully my pen doesn't have a traceable crooked 'm'
posted by davejay at 9:40 AM on February 9, 2006


When I 'am told or I read that a govt person said that we have already caught terrorists etc etc but then can not tell us who or how or where or when, then I am not about to believe an assertion of this sort...that sort of claim is not unlike Intelligent Design telling us that someone designed things.

You can not mine the net and focus only on terrorists. You mine it by looking for key words...but then my guess is that this has been going on for a while and the article really means that some even better technology is in the works. After all, what did Eschelon do (or still is doing)?
posted by Postroad at 9:50 AM on February 9, 2006


Wouldn't the real terrorists be using cryptology? Its not so difficult. Funny, originally I put real in quotes there, and realized it was totally unnecessary. Then I wondered why I did it. It was because they appear more in imagination than reality --they are exaggerated symbols to help this administrations purposes. So much meaning is in the way we word our speech.
posted by uni verse at 9:54 AM on February 9, 2006


I like to sign e-mails with:

"And now, something to liven up Echelon's day: BOMB TERRORIST ANTHRAX PLANE CRASH BUILDING NEW YORK OSAMA BLOW JOB."
posted by Mikey-San at 9:55 AM on February 9, 2006


The government is going to read what I write in a public forum and post for all the world to see?? Outrageous! How dare they think that they have the right to read and even analyze what I publish publicly?!
posted by JekPorkins at 9:59 AM on February 9, 2006


JekPorkins writes "How dare they think that they have the right to read and even analyze what I publish publicly?!"


You really don't see any chilling effect, dhoyt Jek? How hard do you have to work to not see it?
posted by orthogonality at 10:01 AM on February 9, 2006


Information wants to be free deleted.
posted by WolfDaddy at 10:03 AM on February 9, 2006


I was just reading a story on someone's blog about how they saw Bush kissing Hitler.
posted by smackfu at 12:14 PM EST on February 9 [!]
That's the last time I trim my nose hairs while reading Metafilter. It hurt.
posted by Ohdemah at 10:04 AM on February 9, 2006


i was just reading a story about a nurse at a public hospital who ...

Didn't quonsar get one of these visits over an email sig?
posted by If I Had An Anus at 10:09 AM on February 9, 2006


I would be more concerned about this if it wasn't being conducted by the government.

But it does add another data point to my theory that American day to day reality is heading for a 1 to 1 correlation with the sillier works of Harry Harrison.
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:13 AM on February 9, 2006


If I Had An Anus writes "Didn't quonsar get one of these visits over an email sig?"

Yeah, I remember that too. Something about his guitar being a weapon?
posted by OmieWise at 10:14 AM on February 9, 2006


es_de_bah:
mmmm...internet = public, no? [...] I feel I'm missing something.
Hold up. If we follow your implied rule that any surveillance is game in a public "space," then the government has carte blanc to pretty much follow you from door to door and take note of every building you visit. Furthermore, they can follow you into a public hospital -- right up until they get to your room. They can follow you at the park, they can follow you at school. They can follow you in any privately owned location where they have the owners' permission (read: malls, bookstores, hotel lobbies). In fact, they can follow you around just about anywhere but the bathroom. All of this surveillance can take place without suspicion of a crime and without oversight.

This actually sounds a lot like what they did to folks like Mario Savio and Abby Hoffman. These types of activities have a chilling effect on free speech and free speech is the foundation of functional democracy. There is no democracy without freedom of speech.

muddgirl:
Uh, doesn't the fact that the nurse can pretty much tell them to fuck off and talk to her lawyer mean that this ISN'T a police state? Look, they can collect all the information they want, but none of it is really evidence of anything. The FBI can come "disturb me at my place of business" all they want, they still won't catch me making any bombs.
I think you're looking at it from the wrong angle. We're talking about the harassment of innocent people. If they want to silence your speech, they will harass you until it is no longer worthwhile for you to keep speaking. How many employers would be willing to waste time and resources dealing with FBI visits when they could just as easily fire you? Police States aren't always clearcut. In order to build a totalitarian state, the state must amass power over time. By the time it gets to secret arrests and bullets to the brain, it's a little late for us to fix things.
posted by Skwirl at 10:23 AM on February 9, 2006


WolfDaddy writes "In the last three weeks, three people I know have told me they've been contacted for recruitment by the FBI for, purportedly, just this kind of, um, analysis"

Man how do I get this job without learning Farsi? It would be great on a telecommute contract basis. You could work 2 (18.5 hour days) on / 5 off.
posted by Mitheral at 10:25 AM on February 9, 2006


"This guitar kills fascists." - Woody Guthrie
posted by grabbingsand at 10:25 AM on February 9, 2006


OmieWise writes "Yeah, I remember that too. Something about his guitar being a weapon?"

"This machine kills fascists", which woody Guthrie wrote on his guitar case?
posted by orthogonality at 10:28 AM on February 9, 2006


Don't you think the average blog writer would be happy to know that at least somebody is reading his or her blog?

My daughter is involved in debating the government's power to search without cause and detain without charge. I hereby invite the government to come visit me (after 2:20PM please on a weekday), so that we can discuss my civil liberties.

I agree with Gator that we are just spreading rumors at this point about things like the nurse being visited at work, etc. If anyone has any direct experience with this, please say so, but keep the 7th hand info to yourself.

I believe that there are probably several cases of over-zealousness that can and will be found, but I still don't believe that our government is interested in blogs like Metafilter (or even my own for that matter.) There may also be individuals using these powers for their own personal purposes, but I still think that those cases are few and far between (and I hope will eventually be exposed.)
posted by notmtwain at 10:28 AM on February 9, 2006


notmtwain writes "I believe that there are probably several cases of over-zealousness that can and will be found, but I still don't believe that our government is interested in blogs like Metafilter"


"My uncle won the Iron Cross in the World War. Our synagogue has stood in Berlin for two hundred years. These sorts of rumors could never be true in our modern Germany."
posted by orthogonality at 10:36 AM on February 9, 2006


From the article:
"there's no question that the technology we've invented here at the lab has been used to protect our freedoms - and that's pretty cool."

Actually, while it may have protected our bodies and buildings, our freedoms are still very much under attack.
Unless he meant it in the "we had to destroy our freedoms to protect our freedoms" sort of way. Pretty cool, indeed.
posted by bashos_frog at 10:40 AM on February 9, 2006


Well, remember Eco-Activists are now terrorists. So don't say anything nice about animals or the earth. Because if you're a terrorist they can take you away and do anything they want to you.
posted by lumpenprole at 10:41 AM on February 9, 2006


This internet kills fascists.
posted by EarBucket at 10:42 AM on February 9, 2006


I trained an endangered owl to kill fascists.
posted by selfnoise at 10:43 AM on February 9, 2006


Does it seem that people keep forgetting that the problem with September 11th wasn't that the information wasn't already available, it's that people didn't deal with it correctly. If anything collecting more information is going to make it harder to find the good information.


Thank you for pointing this out. I wonder why nobody else has noticed how easy it was to piece together the lives and actions of the hijackers once we already KNEW who they were. Turns out the information was there all along.

That said, I still find this new development to be disturbing, simply because of its potential for abuse. I don't trust Bush & co with the toys that they already have. The last thing I want to see is for them to obtain more.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:47 AM on February 9, 2006


I still find this new development to be disturbing, simply because of its potential for abuse.

Can anyone please present one administration policy that had been argued that it was a slippery slope position that was prone to abuse before it's inception, that later, did not in fact get abused.
posted by Balisong at 10:52 AM on February 9, 2006


uni verse : "Wouldn't the real terrorists be using cryptology?"

In a sense. They might use cryptography (The principles, means, and methods of rendering information unintelligible, and for restoring encrypted information to intelligible form), an application of cryptology (the study of hidden, disguised, or encrypted communications, which includes cryptanalysis and cryptography). But if you remember how bin Laden liked to play with the knowledge that the Americans were tracing his cell phone in Afghanistan (sending the device for a long trip far away from his owner's current location), they may also use plaintext as a counter-intelligence asset.
posted by nkyad at 10:53 AM on February 9, 2006


Um, this is just not a big deal. If you are publishing stuff on the internet then you should assume that a government agency may be monitoring it. There are steps you can take to reduce the risk (e.g. encryption, destroying logs every two weeks and only keeping aggregate statistics), but this is just the cost of doing business on an international open communications network. Now as for emails and other protocols like SMTP where there's a reasonable expectation of privacy, I don't think the government would so blatantly disregard the fourth amendment.
posted by nixerman at 10:55 AM on February 9, 2006


nixerman writes "I don't think the government would so blatantly disregard the fourth amendment."

That would be the government whose leader just boasted in his State of The Union address that he is in fact blatantly disregarding the Fourth Amendment, right?
posted by orthogonality at 10:59 AM on February 9, 2006


If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – for ever.
posted by jockc at 10:59 AM on February 9, 2006


If you think the govt and its helpers are benign:
"Acxiom Proposed Massive Web Monitoring Plan
Documents (pdf) obtained by EPIC under the Freedom of Information Act show that commercial data broker Acxiom proposed a system to automatically scan the Internet and identify websites "belonging to advocates of extremist views and actions..." The plan proposed to extract personal information from websites and use it for "cross-reference analysis to establish possible connections between extremist groups" and to collect data for an "Identity Verification System to be used by airlines, rental car agencies, and other business and government agencies." For more information, see EPIC's Commercial Data Broker page. f
and for MORE on this sort of thing
posted by Postroad at 11:03 AM on February 9, 2006


nixerman: There should be no greater expectation of privacy for SMTP. It is a supremely insecure protocol.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:04 AM on February 9, 2006


Looks up at the virtual sky...

"Hi!"

I should setup a pool here on MeFi - how long until the first abuse is reported.
posted by SirOmega at 11:26 AM on February 9, 2006


And now the admin is trotting out one if its supposed successes.
posted by papakwanz at 11:27 AM on February 9, 2006


When shit like this happens, you don't "Shut your Mouth" you shout louder.
posted by slatternus at 11:35 AM on February 9, 2006


Well, that about wraps it up for me. This is indeed the thin end of the wedge. Looks like I’m a rebel now. The economic stuff, all the abuses (Gitmo for example) I can argue against and still maintain that the foundation of government is still good.

This is a different thing entirely.

It is not production or the courts or even the banks that determine social processes, it is the chain of communication.
We have an entirely new form - currently without definition - of communication and control of the chain of communication is being co-opted from it’s inception.

As Camus said - being a rebel means saying “No.” In some sense, so does being a conservative (a real one - not the co-opted label), and most particularly in this case. The choices made by this administration - and those in power (of whatever political stripe) - have exhibited nothing short of radical behavior.

It is clear any social mores or traditions currently in their infancy are being completely disregarded and this is seen as purely a means of control of the people.
A way to circumvent freedom of speech because it is not “speech” in the traditional sense nor is it “oppressive” in any of the formerly gross usages of the term.

But no matter how fine a point, this is unquestionably a path to tyrrany.

“Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of a day; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers, too plainly prove a deliberate, systematic plan of reducing a people to slavery.” --Thomas Jefferson
posted by Smedleyman at 11:54 AM on February 9, 2006


Despotism.
posted by Otis at 12:00 PM on February 9, 2006


But since speaking on privacy at the 2004 DHS workshop, she now doubts the department is building privacy into ADVISE. "At this point, ADVISE has no funding for privacy technology."

Well that's comforting. Privacy technology is gratuitious at this stage anyway. The article mentions concerns about "oversight."

Who will act as a watchdog? Who has reason to believe this watchdog entity would exhibit any objectivity?
posted by AllesKlar at 12:08 PM on February 9, 2006


Um ... is "How to blog against the Great Satan" really that huge a chapter in the terrorist handbook? Surely any really serious terrorist cell would be communicating in code, possibly using steganography, and probably not in publicly-accessible websites. I reckon www.we-are-not-really-terrorists.com might be giving out too subtle a clue when Mr. G-man clicks on "Forum" and up pops "Please enter your 256-digit password we secretly sent you last week in ten different polaroid pictures sent in ten different letters via snail-mail. Oooh, what a give-away"
posted by kaemaril at 12:15 PM on February 9, 2006


Google Upgrades Desktop.

Google Desktop Search: The Feds Own Your Data
"Google's new Desktop Search could prove to be the biggest government invasion of privacy of all time. The new tool lets you store your desktop data on Google servers."
posted by ericb at 12:25 PM on February 9, 2006


What is truly more frightening than the Bushies are the many millions of people in this country who take what they say as gospel. No pun intended.
posted by notreally at 12:30 PM on February 9, 2006


You'll get my robots.txt file when you pry it from my cold, dead web server!
Respect my file you spybots!
posted by nofundy at 12:33 PM on February 9, 2006


The problem was never that the CIA/FBI/NSA didn't have enough data, the problem was that the bureaucracy kept the data from getting where it needed to go. This will make the problem even worse, by burying useful information in a giant mound of useless information.

But, on a more serious note, I suggest we protect ourselves by posting in 1337 5p34k, f0r 53cur17y purp0535.
posted by Jatayu das at 12:40 PM on February 9, 2006


I am in sooooooooooooooooooooo much trouble. Better go do some find/replace on Bush, douchebag, retard, etc...
posted by weirdoactor at 12:43 PM on February 9, 2006


weirdoactor : "Better go do some find/replace on Bush, douchebag, retard, etc..."

Nah, just replace every occurrence of "Bush" by "Kerry", "Clinton" or "Kennedy". They may even offer you a recently vacated position at NASA.
posted by nkyad at 1:02 PM on February 9, 2006


Ptui. So what? this is the 21st century - we want Thought Police!

(or maybe Judge Anderson of Psi division. Rowr.)
posted by Sparx at 1:19 PM on February 9, 2006


I've printed this article out, I'm going to wrap it around a Jackson and slip it through the EFF mailbox on the way home from work.

Everyone open your wallets, send $10 to the EFF right goddamn now. If there is any money left over, after they save our asses from the gulag, perhaps they can commission a snazzy logo or buy some celebratory lemon cakes.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 1:29 PM on February 9, 2006


All is lost. The great towers that once blazed with the light of good have been torn asunder.
posted by Balisong at 1:44 PM on February 9, 2006


Why are people so concerned. Doesn't Yahoo already do this for the US government?
posted by chunking express at 2:02 PM on February 9, 2006


"Google's new Desktop Search could prove to be the biggest government invasion of privacy of all time. The new tool lets you store your desktop data on Google servers."

Those two sentences don't go together.
posted by smackfu at 2:08 PM on February 9, 2006


Is favorable blogging of the anniversary of Boston Tea Harbor Day (Dec 17th) now a crime? Because I do that.
posted by StephenV at 2:21 PM on February 9, 2006


Those two sentences don't go together.

I think the author of the article is referencing the fact that Google has recently filed suit against the federal government's request that they hand over data. If they lose, they'll be compelled to hand it over.
posted by ericb at 2:24 PM on February 9, 2006


Uncle Sam Wants Google’s Data.
posted by ericb at 2:27 PM on February 9, 2006


I, personally, have no interest in Google's upgraded Desktop Search tool. Why? With the recent incidences of both accidental and intended leakage of customer data and the potential for criminal "phishing" and government "fishing" expeditions I can trust them.
posted by ericb at 2:31 PM on February 9, 2006


*I can't trust them*
posted by ericb at 2:32 PM on February 9, 2006


Result 1 - 10 of approx. 21,400,000 searching on al qaeda.

The volume of data is surely staggering. Though one wonders whether or not these "Feds" might use new, advanced computing technology to reduce the work...

I've been telling people for a long time that Google and their ilk are the big risk, though honestly I saw it playing out differently. I thought that the Gov might essentially outsource security to the private sector, where it could be executed without violating the Constitution. I didn't foresee that the Executive would essentially decide to reinterpret the Constitution like a Baptist preacher reinterprets his KJV.
posted by lodurr at 2:38 PM on February 9, 2006


I found hits from cifa.mil on my stats today.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 2:48 PM on February 9, 2006


Clarification for above:

*With the recent incidences of both accidental and intended leakage of customer data by various companies (such as the Boston Globe and ChoicePoint)*
posted by ericb at 3:01 PM on February 9, 2006


I can't see what people could pos[fuck bush]sibly have to worry about there.
posted by clevershark at 3:52 PM on February 9, 2006


Everyone open your wallets, send $10 to the EFF right goddamn now

I sent the ACLU a benjamin last week after reading this. I'd say that both they and the EFF are worth causes.

/card-carrying member
posted by Afroblanco at 4:00 PM on February 9, 2006


>slimepuppy:
>Neener neener, they can't touch me.
>I'm a filthy foreigner in a filthy foreign land.

You think that'll save you? Go ask any Iraqui how
thats been working for them.

> three blind mice:
>And who is going to follow up on all of these computer >generated hits? Government employees? Postal workers? >Give me a break. It's a ruse. No one in their right mind >would expect this to produce useful results.

You remember all those guys in India who read English just fine, and will happily work for $0.15/hour? There are millions of them. Besides, in practice one of the attractive features of this program will be the ability to apply it to someone - anyone - who for any reason has annoyed the administration, or some minion thereof.

>JekPorkins:
>The government is going to read what I write in a
>public forum and post for all the world to see??
>Outrageous! How dare they think that they have
>the right to read and even analyze what
>I publish publicly?

It's not the public internet part that's the problem. They are going to tie it in with every place you've ever been and anyone you've ever written to, every resume' you've ever mailed, every dollar you've ever spent. The internet part just gives them more sticks to beat you with if you mouth off on your way to the Free Speech Zone or something. God help you if you match, or kind of match, some kind of profile.

>es_de_bah:
>Really, what's the issue here?...
>They aren't going through private accounts
>e-mail, ebay,... are they?

ebay will give *everything* they have to anybody with a badge and a cover letter. They don't require warrants.

If your ISP is Roadrunner, then your ISP can hand over anything they like, for any reason or none at all. They don't need to mention it to you. They allready have your written permission in the contract.

>chunking express:
>Why are people so concerned. Doesn't Yahoo
>already do this for the US government?

Er no, that's the Chinese government.
We have no idea what they do for the US govt.
posted by Ken McE at 4:04 PM on February 9, 2006


I've always assumed that things I've said on the internets would light up a little 'this is a bad man' blinker at immigration if I ever tried to enter the US. Same thing for many other blog folk. Now I can be reasonably sure.

Fuck America. I'm not going there anyway.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:01 PM on February 9, 2006


Besides, in practice one of the attractive features of this program will be the ability to apply it to someone - anyone - who for any reason has annoyed the administration, or some minion thereof.

DING! DING! That's exactly it. This will be used to dig up dirt on enemies of those in power. This is classic, textbook, how it is done.

Bring it on, motherfuckers. I think I shall start a new pseudonymous blog and start spewing forth what I *really* think. (Nothing illegal, and zero approval of any kind of violence, of course).

This is one of those hallmarks of "interesting" times.
posted by beth at 6:03 PM on February 9, 2006


That's a chilling story about Mario Savio. How outrageous that Republicans would hound that poor, defenseless, first-amendment advoca . . . what? . . . Johnson? Oh. Never mind.
posted by esquire at 6:14 PM on February 9, 2006


USGOV to Internet : Shut yer stinkin' trap!
posted by skank at 7:56 PM on February 9, 2006


esquire, I don't want any government, of any party, to have unfettered access to my phone calls, emails, blog posts, search history, snail mail, or any other communication in any form. Do you really distinguish between Republicans and Democrats when you're deciding whether it's okay to hand over your constitutional rights?
posted by vetiver at 9:16 PM on February 9, 2006


"[T]hey still won't catch me making any bombs."

That reminds me of Gary Hart.
posted by davy at 9:16 PM on February 9, 2006


If this happens, I think we can all see the implications: I'll have a lot of explaining to do.
posted by If I Had An Anus at 7:22 AM on February 10, 2006


... Here's where this story takes a turn for the weird. Although Berg has chosen not to comment at this time, [ACLU attorneys] Bach and Kronen say that a few days after the letter was published, VA Information Security employees seized Berg's computer at the local VA hospital where she works. At the time, she was told this action occurred because of suspicions that she'd composed the letter to the Alibi on government time, on government premises, using government equipment.

According to Bach and Kronen, on Sept. 19, 2005, Berg's American Federation of Government Employees Union representative, Thomas Driber, informed Berg that her letter to the Alibi had been sent through "VA channels" to the FBI in Washington, D.C. The attorneys say this information was confirmed by one of the union's Washington lawyers during a conference call between Driber, Berg and the union lawyer. (Multiple phone messages left at Driber's office by the Alibi were not answered.)

As if that weren't creepy enough, the attorneys say Berg made further inquiries and eventually received a response from the VA's Chief of Human Resources, Mel R. Hooker, who, in a memorandum dated Nov. 9, 2005, allegedly admitted that the VA had no evidence the letter was written on Berg's office computer. Despite this, Hooker claimed the investigation was justified because the "Agency is bound by law to investigate and pursue any act which potentially represents sedition."

The government certainly has the right to investigate any non-work activity that employs the use of tax-payer assets. Would the FBI be the appropriate agency to investigate non-authorized use of tax-payer assets? Of course not.
...

posted by amberglow at 1:28 AM on February 11, 2006


and the ACLU's page on the case: ... Simonson added: “The reference to ‘sedition’ is shocking. Even if Laura had used the office computer it would change nothing. None of her actions -- her criticism of the government, or her appeal for a change in the heads of government -- approach an act of unlawful insurrection. Is this government so jealous of its power, so fearful of dissent, that it needs to threaten people who openly oppose its policies with charges of ‘sedition’?”

ACLU attorneys George Bach and Larry Kronen plan to submit a request under the Freedom of Information Act for all documents related to the VA’s actions towards Berg. They have asked Hooker for a public apology “to remedy the unconstitutional chilling effect on the speech of VA employees that has resulted from these intimidating tactics.”
...

posted by amberglow at 1:40 AM on February 11, 2006


EFF issues Google Desktop warning.
posted by ericb at 1:47 PM on February 11, 2006


How interesting that Google is doing something that any self-respecting computer user should instantly recognize as a massive security risk.

derail on Google Desktop: I just got a Dell laptop for a job I'm doing. I had to set it up for a client presentation the other day -- needed to get more screen space in IE, so I figured I'd uninstall the Google Desktop.

Guess what? Can't do it!

Well, you can, but you can't do it by following their directions. Just doesn't work. You have to actually uinstall the program. Otherwise, it just shows up again the next time you start IE.

Can you spell "willfull neglect"?
posted by lodurr at 6:48 AM on February 12, 2006


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