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The ACLU wants to protect your privacy
April 15, 2001 7:55 AM   Subscribe

The ACLU wants to protect your privacy from government electronic surveillance programs like Echelon and Carnivore. Their full page ad in today's NYT claims 4th amendment rights are being violated by the US government, which is overstepping their bounds, and nearly free of up-to-date laws. Is it to late or can anything be done to protect civilian electronic communication?
posted by mathowie (7 comments total)

 
I can't help thinking that the article linked here was overblown. It keeps talking about these things that do these things with these things. There's not a lot of detail. Which, I suppose, is partly their point, but raising the specter of some giant governmental menace without much clear data strikes me as pandering to the anarchist sentiment that exists on so much of the net.

I'm very aware of electronic communication privacy issues. During my divorce, my wife and her attorney attempted to depose both my ISP and Yahoo to get records of all the sites I'd visited on the net and my complete e-mail correspondence. My attorney said that she couldn't find a way to stop the action; fortunately, both Starpower and Yahoo refused to participate.

People need to be aware that anytime they send an email or post something on Metafilter, or do anything online, it's not that different from writing something down on a piece of paper. That doesn't mean that the government is monitoring everything, but it does mean there's a record out there that someone may be able to get a hold of.

I don't think that's entirely a bad thing. A lot of people use the anonymity of the net to behave irresponsibly. There needs to be a balance between our right to privacy and accountability for our actions.
posted by anapestic at 8:17 AM on April 15, 2001


Overblown, perhaps, within the US; but it'd be nice if we had some right to know what's going on in places like Menwith Hill and Fylingdales: air bases less than 25 miles from me, run as unaccountable fiefdoms of the US, that are implicated in cases of industrial espionage and surveillance over their host country and the rest of the EU.

Right now, they're at the heart of Echelon; soon, they're expected to be at the heart of National Missile Defence. And we don't have no fourth amendment, childers.
posted by holgate at 8:38 AM on April 15, 2001


StopCarnivore.org has been running for a while now, but I don't know how active they are anymore. Seems like their latest "news" item was posted last year.
posted by frednorman at 8:43 AM on April 15, 2001


Not to be to be overly cynical, but I recall that when I once had to get copies of documents from the FBI, they sent me many pages with heavily blacked out lines through all the text but the words The, A, And, But. There was an explanation that said that this was done for security purposes but that if I could show from the documents that security was not at risk, they would send me a clean copy.
How was I to submit proof when I could not view that which I was to contest?
the nice thing about NSA stuff is that you never know how much of what it is they are doing and you have no way of finding out. Ask them. If they answwr, will you bellieve them?
If you would like to be monitored, send e-mail out of the country and include randomly any of the following:
CIA, NSA, China, missle shield, FBI, Naval Intelligence etc
But then also put in a note and say Hi Guys, how is the work going. They will be annoyed but not answer.
posted by Postroad at 9:11 AM on April 15, 2001


Heck, how come those Alexa Internet Archive guys are wasting their time and money? Here we're spending tax dollars and it's just going to some hole in West Virginia.

Postroad, not a new idea. See NSA line eater (aka Echelon bait); see also the emacs spook function.
posted by dhartung at 10:38 AM on April 15, 2001


dhartung: I know what I posted was not new. I send a fairly large amount of e-mail to a number of warmish to hot overseas spots and from time to time do get playful.
Years ago, there was a book on NSA--first full one out--but the book done before the full use of computers available and I had often wondered what it would take to handle the new technology private folks now had available.

This might help for those interested
posted by Postroad at 11:18 AM on April 15, 2001


Sorry to be taking of space and time with a number of posts but just locatedwhich is an update on the book I had referred to The Puzzle Palace, with remarks by the author worth reading.
posted by Postroad at 11:22 AM on April 15, 2001


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