Olice-pay Ate-stay: What to do if you feel you live in one?

None of the possibilities you list require the ability to perform intercepts without a warrant.

The abilities outlined in the AT&T whistleblower case would provide that capability.

Nor did I suggest that they be used without a warrant. In fact, *any* capability that can be used *with* a warrant can be used without it. A warrant is a piece of paper, not a preventive technology.

So, given that the issue of *permission* is not a technical one, I repeat - do you regard these technical capabilities as having no utility whatsoever?

Robear wrote:
None of the possibilities you list require the ability to perform intercepts without a warrant.

The abilities outlined in the AT&T whistleblower case would provide that capability.

Nor did I suggest that they be used without a warrant. In fact, *any* capability that can be used *with* a warrant can be used without it. A warrant is a piece of paper, not a preventive technology.

So, given that the issue of *permission* is not a technical one, I repeat - do you regard these technical capabilities as having no utility whatsoever?

The law is a piece of paper, not a preventative technology.

"UV Ink Branding" at Occupy Montreal

This is the first I've seen or heard of this tactic and if the blurb about it being in the skin is true than it's even more disturbing.

93_confirmed wrote:

"UV Ink Branding" at Occupy Montreal

This is the first I've seen or heard of this tactic and if the blurb about it being in the skin is true than it's even more disturbing.

So is there anywhere that's *not* a police state?

CheezePavilion wrote:
93_confirmed wrote:

"UV Ink Branding" at Occupy Montreal

This is the first I've seen or heard of this tactic and if the blurb about it being in the skin is true than it's even more disturbing.

So is there anywhere that's *not* a police state?

One thing that was talked about when the global recession began is just how much all of this crosses national boundaries. The heads of state in most of the world deal with the same corporations. They have a lot of the same financial interests. And thus they have a lot of the same interests in maintaining order. In so far as governments are generally corrupt and generally run by people who are influenced by multi-national corporations you're always going to have similarities throughout the world. It doesn't mean ever country is a police state. However it does mean that most nations in the world care more about maintaining power than listening to their people.

CheezePavilion wrote:
93_confirmed wrote:

"UV Ink Branding" at Occupy Montreal

This is the first I've seen or heard of this tactic and if the blurb about it being in the skin is true than it's even more disturbing.

So is there anywhere that's *not* a police state?

That's something I've been thinking about lately. There used to be a lot of agitation about traffic cameras and other surveillance in Britain, and even pop culture (Children of Men, V for Vendetta) portrays the UK as being willing to go there in the name of an orderly society.

How much of the worry in the US is due to these things being objectively disturbing, and how much is about mourning the ideal of the free republic (or being better at democracy than everyone else)?

DSGamer wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:
93_confirmed wrote:

"UV Ink Branding" at Occupy Montreal

This is the first I've seen or heard of this tactic and if the blurb about it being in the skin is true than it's even more disturbing.

So is there anywhere that's *not* a police state?

One thing that was talked about when the global recession began is just how much all of this crosses national boundaries. The heads of state in most of the world deal with the same corporations. They have a lot of the same financial interests. And thus they have a lot of the same interests in maintaining order. In so far as governments are generally corrupt and generally run by people who are influenced by multi-national corporations you're always going to have similarities throughout the world. It doesn't mean ever country is a police state. However it does mean that most nations in the world care more about maintaining power than listening to their people.

Okay, but that doesn't answer the question. If Canada is a police state, then isn't there something wrong with the way people are using the word 'police state'? Or are things just that bad everywhere?

CheezePavilion wrote:
DSGamer wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:
93_confirmed wrote:

"UV Ink Branding" at Occupy Montreal

This is the first I've seen or heard of this tactic and if the blurb about it being in the skin is true than it's even more disturbing.

So is there anywhere that's *not* a police state?

One thing that was talked about when the global recession began is just how much all of this crosses national boundaries. The heads of state in most of the world deal with the same corporations. They have a lot of the same financial interests. And thus they have a lot of the same interests in maintaining order. In so far as governments are generally corrupt and generally run by people who are influenced by multi-national corporations you're always going to have similarities throughout the world. It doesn't mean ever country is a police state. However it does mean that most nations in the world care more about maintaining power than listening to their people.

Okay, but that doesn't answer the question. If Canada is a police state, then isn't there something wrong with the way people are using the word 'police state'? Or are things just that bad everywhere?

My opinion is this. The rise of hypercapitalism and gigantic multinational corporations is making it such that governments are competing with one another for the jobs, economic investment, etc. of these companies. So nations that have undue influence from corporations and lobbyists are all taking measures that are creeping towards becoming a police state. The question is how strong the central government is, how much the people are willing to push back and how badly do corporations own the government.

So is the whole world a police state? No. Could most nations become police states? Certainly. I think countries like the US and UK are unique in having a combination of means (the ability to put together sophisticated camera systems and computer systems for surveillance), the will, and a pliant populace.

DSGamer wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:
DSGamer wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:
93_confirmed wrote:

"UV Ink Branding" at Occupy Montreal

This is the first I've seen or heard of this tactic and if the blurb about it being in the skin is true than it's even more disturbing.

So is there anywhere that's *not* a police state?

One thing that was talked about when the global recession began is just how much all of this crosses national boundaries. The heads of state in most of the world deal with the same corporations. They have a lot of the same financial interests. And thus they have a lot of the same interests in maintaining order. In so far as governments are generally corrupt and generally run by people who are influenced by multi-national corporations you're always going to have similarities throughout the world. It doesn't mean ever country is a police state. However it does mean that most nations in the world care more about maintaining power than listening to their people.

Okay, but that doesn't answer the question. If Canada is a police state, then isn't there something wrong with the way people are using the word 'police state'? Or are things just that bad everywhere?

My opinion is this. The rise of hypercapitalism and gigantic multinational corporations is making it such that governments are competing with one another for the jobs, economic investment, etc. of these companies. So nations that have undue influence from corporations and lobbyists are all taking measures that are creeping towards becoming a police state. The question is how strong the central government is, how much the people are willing to push back and how badly do corporations own the government.

So is the whole world a police state? No. Could most nations become police states? Certainly. I think countries like the US and UK are unique in having a combination of means (the ability to put together sophisticated camera systems and computer systems for surveillance), the will, and a pliant populace.

I guess it's interesting to me how when it's bad stuff America is doing, that term "police state" gets thrown around like a frisbee on a 90s college quad. When the issue of other countries doing nasty things comes up, all of a sudden the tone of the conversation changes.

clover wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:
93_confirmed wrote:

"UV Ink Branding" at Occupy Montreal

This is the first I've seen or heard of this tactic and if the blurb about it being in the skin is true than it's even more disturbing.

So is there anywhere that's *not* a police state?

That's something I've been thinking about lately. There used to be a lot of agitation about traffic cameras and other surveillance in Britain, and even pop culture (Children of Men, V for Vendetta) portrays the UK as being willing to go there in the name of an orderly society.

How much of the worry in the US is due to these things being objectively disturbing, and how much is about mourning the ideal of the free republic (or being better at democracy than everyone else)?

As someone who followed a lot of the Northern Ireland civil rights debacle, that does pop up on my radar, too.

CheezePavilion wrote:
DSGamer wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:
DSGamer wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:
93_confirmed wrote:

"UV Ink Branding" at Occupy Montreal

This is the first I've seen or heard of this tactic and if the blurb about it being in the skin is true than it's even more disturbing.

So is there anywhere that's *not* a police state?

One thing that was talked about when the global recession began is just how much all of this crosses national boundaries. The heads of state in most of the world deal with the same corporations. They have a lot of the same financial interests. And thus they have a lot of the same interests in maintaining order. In so far as governments are generally corrupt and generally run by people who are influenced by multi-national corporations you're always going to have similarities throughout the world. It doesn't mean ever country is a police state. However it does mean that most nations in the world care more about maintaining power than listening to their people.

Okay, but that doesn't answer the question. If Canada is a police state, then isn't there something wrong with the way people are using the word 'police state'? Or are things just that bad everywhere?

My opinion is this. The rise of hypercapitalism and gigantic multinational corporations is making it such that governments are competing with one another for the jobs, economic investment, etc. of these companies. So nations that have undue influence from corporations and lobbyists are all taking measures that are creeping towards becoming a police state. The question is how strong the central government is, how much the people are willing to push back and how badly do corporations own the government.

So is the whole world a police state? No. Could most nations become police states? Certainly. I think countries like the US and UK are unique in having a combination of means (the ability to put together sophisticated camera systems and computer systems for surveillance), the will, and a pliant populace.

I guess it's interesting to me how when it's bad stuff America is doing, that term "police state" gets thrown around like a frisbee on a 90s college quad. When the issue of other countries doing nasty things comes up, all of a sudden the tone of the conversation changes.

I think you're reading into things. I'm simply answering the question. It seems like many want to completely discredit the idea that the US is functionally a police state. And one way to do that is to compare it to other countries and challenge that assertion. You asked the question and I gave you an answer. I'm worried about the direction the whole world is headed in terms of the level of control the corporations assert. I'm worried that Chinese citizens jump out of windows because their working conditions are so deplorable. I worry about Mexico effectively having a civil war over drugs largely caused by US laws against drugs not created by Merck, Phizer, etc. It makes me sad to think of people across the planet affected by oil spills or chemicals in their water that will never see redress because their governments have effectively made those companies untouchable. This all bothers me and weighs on my mind.

But you asked what people consider a police state and not a police state. I answered with my opinion.

DSGamer wrote:

It seems like many want to completely discredit the idea that the US is functionally a police state. And one way to do that is to compare it to other countries and challenge that assertion.

And what's wrong with that? If we're comparing it to Ubeki-beki-beki-stan-stan or some other easy target that's one thing, but it we're comparing it to the other western democracies, then what's illegitimate about making that comparison?

CheezePavilion wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

It seems like many want to completely discredit the idea that the US is functionally a police state. And one way to do that is to compare it to other countries and challenge that assertion.

And what's wrong with that? If we're comparing it to Ubeki-beki-beki-stan-stan or some other easy target that's one thing, but it we're comparing it to the other western democracies, then what's illegitimate about making that comparison?

Nothing's wrong with it. But when I answer your question it's weird to question why I'm not sufficiently alarmed while answering it, no?

CheezePavilion wrote:

I guess it's interesting to me how when it's bad stuff America is doing, that term "police state" gets thrown around like a frisbee on a 90s college quad. When the issue of other countries doing nasty things comes up, all of a sudden the tone of the conversation changes.

DSGamer wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

It seems like many want to completely discredit the idea that the US is functionally a police state. And one way to do that is to compare it to other countries and challenge that assertion.

And what's wrong with that? If we're comparing it to Ubeki-beki-beki-stan-stan or some other easy target that's one thing, but it we're comparing it to the other western democracies, then what's illegitimate about making that comparison?

Nothing's wrong with it. But when I answer your question

Well, that's the thing: I don't feel like my question is being answered. Is Canada a police state? Is Britain? I can't tell from your responses what your opinion actually is, and those are questions of mine.

Well, given that in Canada you can pretty much badmouth the government, question its decisions and object to the actions of the government as much as you want...I would have to say that Canada is probably about as far from a police state as you can get.

And all you have to do is be willing to get etched with a UV tag! It's like catch-and-release.

clover wrote:

And all you have to do is be willing to get etched with a UV tag! It's like catch-and-release.

clover wrote:

And all you have to do is be willing to get etched with a UV tag! It's like catch-and-release.

And that's 1000. Congrats!

Aww man, Catch and Release is not going to be my tag.

Edwin wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:

[...]

It's easy to press the panic button and assume we are in the end times, just like every other generation has claimed. But these events led to more freedom, not less. They were reality checks, and affected change in the system.

I was lucky enough to be a board-op for talk radio in the 90's. Let me tell you, the paranoia and worry about the police state was 100 times worse. Black helicopters were all the rage. Bill Clinton had hit list of political opponents he had murdered. It was scary how far paranoia drove people.

What we have today is another crisis, and humans struggling to deal with it. But it isn't some conspiracy to strip of us our rights. It's scared leaders over-reacting to protesters that are hitting too close to home. But effective protests have ugly moments. It sucks, but it is a predictable cycle.

When millions and millions live in the same country, there are going to times that test our ability to be civilized. And while there are some that think a crackdown will make the country safer, in the end, the opposite is what works. We'll get through this, and hopefully the officers will pay.

I just think it serves us better to deal with the current events, rather than trying to make this out as the end of times.

Thanks for your post and perspective. I really appreciate first hand knowledge like this.

jdzappa wrote:

Actually, we were more of a police state in WW I than WW II. It was made an act of treason to protest the war and hundreds of liberal anti-war protesters were thrown in prison to rot. The government also actively encouraged citizens to snitch out communists, anarchists, and other "traitors."

But history lessons aside, I don't think we live in a police state - yet. The Patriot Act makes it very easy for the government to institute martial law if things get bad enough. We've also crossed into really dark gray areas such as spying on the e-mails and phone calls of millions of Americans, or ordering the death of an American citizen.

Thank you too for pointing this out. My knowledge of pre-adulthood politics is limiting and I am always finding new things I didn't know about daily, and sometimes hourly.

Bear wrote:
jdzappa wrote:

Actually, we were more of a police state in WW I than WW II. It was made an act of treason to protest the war and hundreds of liberal anti-war protesters were thrown in prison to rot. The government also actively encouraged citizens to snitch out communists, anarchists, and other "traitors."

But history lessons aside, I don't think we live in a police state - yet. The Patriot Act makes it very easy for the government to institute martial law if things get bad enough. We've also crossed into really dark gray areas such as spying on the e-mails and phone calls of millions of Americans, or ordering the death of an American citizen.

I really wish we'd stop acting like we pulled some guy out of his house in Omaha and shot him on the street. Yes, he was an American citizen by birth, but through his actions he renounced his citizenship years ago.

75 years ago he would have been called a traitor and shot

I would have liked to at least seen due process and a trial first. That's my biggest problem with the extra judicial execution of an American citizen and son. I also believe that is what most people complained about.

Is there another case where someone has committed treason against his/her birth country and was not given a trial of some kind?

If Awlaki was tried and found guilty in absentia, then I'd feel a lot better. But this is just one piece that needs to be weighed alongside sanctioned torture, err "enhanced interrogation", widespread wiretapping and tracking of electronic communications, extremely intrusive searches at airports, etc. Taken as a whole, I still believe we're in a very dangerous place, and it would only take some serious disaster to push America over the line.

The TSA searches are so ridiculous and arbitrary as well. Complete security theater. On the way to visit relatives for Thanksgiving I opted out of the new machines and said I wanted the pat-down. It's invasive and stupid but it's more embarrassing and inconvenient for them than me. The TSA agent asked me why I didn't want to go through the machine. I explained that I didn't trust it in terms of privacy or safety and I didn't think it was necessary. We proceeded to have an argument about the relative security merits of other nations as I explained to him how onerous security procedures were in the US compared to places I'd traveled abroad. He told me he'd never travel abroad or fly on foreign airlines. So an exchange of ideas took place between the TSA agent and myself.

On the way home I did the same thing like always. I opted out of the scan. They pulled me aside from the pat-down and then said they didn't have anyone to do the pat-down and that I could move on. So that's the TSA for you.

"These security measures are super important to protect you from terrorists. Unless we don't feel like performing them."

I still believe we're in a very dangerous place, and it would only take some serious disaster to push America over the line.

See, I think you guys have a really serious misconception here.

You're defining 'police state' as whether or not it affects YOU. Bear talked about this upthread, that he'd believe it was a police state when his rights were seriously impaired.

But it's not about you. It's hardly about us at all. We're mostly white, middle class men, with a few exceptions. The police treat us with relative respect. By the time OUR chains are so tight as to be choking us in day to day life, it will be far too late to fix the damage.

Rather, we need to be focused on the margins of society, especially the Muslims that are being demonized. What is life in America like for them? They can be surveilled at will, have GPS devices implanted on their cars without warrants, have their phones tapped, their friends interviewed, and in some cases be arbitrarily thrown into jail or even killed because of something they might do.

And if that's happening to ANY American, then we're in a police state.

DSGamer wrote:

TSA ridiculousness

Speaking of TSA, I'm not sure if this was discussed earlier but these goons are now operating on select highways, waterways, and railroads.

If you thought the "Transportation Security Administration" would limit itself to conducting unconstitutional searches at airports, think again. The agency intends to assert jurisdiction over our nation's highways, waterways, and railroads as well. TSA launched a new campaign of random checkpoints on Tennessee highways last week, complete with a sinister military-style acronym--VIP(E)R-as a name for the program.

As with TSA's random searches at airports, these roadside searches are not based on any actual suspicion of criminal activity or any factual evidence of wrongdoing whatsoever by those detained. They are, in effect, completely random. So first we are told by the U.S. Supreme Court that American citizens have no 4th amendment protections at border crossings, even when standing on U.S. soil. Now TSA takes the next logical step and simply detains and searches U.S. citizens at wholly internal checkpoints.

In other police state news, the Department of Homeland Security is currently testing "mind reading terrorist pre-crime detectors." Combine this technology with National Defense Authorization bill and every American becomes a terrorist. Welcome to 1984.

Robear wrote:
None of the possibilities you list require the ability to perform intercepts without a warrant.

The abilities outlined in the AT&T whistleblower case would provide that capability.

Nor did I suggest that they be used without a warrant. In fact, *any* capability that can be used *with* a warrant can be used without it. A warrant is a piece of paper, not a preventive technology.

So, given that the issue of *permission* is not a technical one, I repeat - do you regard these technical capabilities as having no utility whatsoever?

The abilities outlined in the AT&T whistleblower case give the government the ability to intercept any portion of internet traffic passing through Mae West (and all the other nodes listed as being cut in to the secret monitoring circuit). This circuit is always connected, and even AT&T employees have no way of knowing when data is being intercepted or what portion of data is being intercepted.

This contrasts with the previous case of the government having to produce a warrant and/or subpoena data from ISPs for those cases where an individual or organization are deemed sufficiently nefarious to merit investigation.

The latter is an outcome I'm (comparatively) okay with. The onus is squarely on the government to produce evidence of suspicious behavior prior to gaining any access to user data.

That's not the case with an always-connected monitoring setup. The only two advantages of the setup outlined in the AT&T whistleblower case are timeliness and the ability to surreptitiously access more information than might be strictly legal. As mentioned above, I don't find the timeliness argument a compelling one when balanced against individual liberty and privacy - and I view the ability to surreptitiously access more information than there is a clear and demonstrated need for to be a very large defect.

[I didn't respond to your earlier lighter fluid analogy because I felt it was off the mark and a derail, but if you want to run with that a more fair comparison would be: your neighbor has created a backpack lighter-fluid dispenser, so he can have immediate access to lighter fluid wherever he goes. It's possible that he just wants to be ready for a barbecue with friends. It's perhaps more than a little possible that he is a dangerous pyromaniac. :)]

[Edit to fix a grammatical trainwreck in my second paragraph]

Malor wrote:

See, I think you guys have a really serious misconception here.

You're defining 'police state' as whether or not it affects YOU. Bear talked about this upthread, that he'd believe it was a police state when his rights were seriously impaired.

But it's not about you. It's hardly about us at all. We're mostly white, middle class men, with a few exceptions. The police treat us with relative respect. By the time OUR chains are so tight as to be choking us in day to day life, it will be far too late to fix the damage.

Rather, we need to be focused on the margins of society, especially the Muslims that are being demonized. What is life in America like for them? They can be surveilled at will, have GPS devices implanted on their cars without warrants, have their phones tapped, their friends interviewed, and in some cases be arbitrarily thrown into jail or even killed because of something they might do.

And if that's happening to ANY American, then we're in a police state.

If that's your definition of "police state" then I'd argue that every organized society going back has been a police state. The Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, England, France, Scotland, Japan, Ireland, Germany et al have all had groups that have been the target of suspicion and unfair treatment. In many cases, their treatment was far worse than surveillance and questioning.

The rationale for the disparate treatment changes (religion, politics etc) but by your logic, our founding fathers entire society was a "police state". If fact, they were the original founders of our police state.

Bear wrote:

If that's your definition of "police state" then I'd argue that every organized society going back has been a police state. The Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, England, France, Scotland, Japan, Ireland, Germany et al have all had groups that have been the target of suspicion and unfair treatment. In some cases, their treatment was far worse than surveillance and questioning.

Well... yeah, basically. At least in my opinion, any "civilized" society in recorded history has been a police state to varying degrees. But that's just it-- I feel that it isn't a black-and-white issue of police state or not-- I feel that it's very much a scale, and things like recent local police behavior, DHS and TSA actions, "corporate personhood", etc. are all pushing American society into the black. Some degree of policing is necessary in any civilized society in order to maintain civility and freedom, but to what degree is determined by what that society on a whole accepts. On the other hand, just because a society is more accepting of stronger police behaviors by their government, doesn't discount the fact that said behaviors are those of a police state.

How did we get to the point in the conversation where the act of policing becomes a move towards a police state? How is this different from other threads where all taxes become a form of theft?

Well, for one, saying "all taxes are a form of theft" is an all-or-nothing statement, and I specifically said that there are elements of police state behavior that are determined necessary by a society in order to remain civil. It isn't a black and white issue, and your statement is specifically trying to make it as much.

CheezePavilion wrote:

As someone who followed a lot of the Northern Ireland civil rights debacle, that does pop up on my radar, too.

Yeah. I forget when, but someone had pointed us to the BBC special "So You Think I'm Scottish?" (starring David Tennant) and my wife and I watched it last night:

(It's in 6 parts on YouTube, that's the first one...)

I knew, in only the most basic way, what happened in the Irish civil war, and really didn't know/learn about the hand-wringing regarding "home rule" and the things leading up to Bloody Sunday. Only really knew that "the Protestants and Catholics were fighting." We probably spent no more than 20 minutes discussing it as a small part of world history in highschool in Illinois. My only first-hand knowledge of it is hearing about the IRA on the news, when I was younger.

Watching that documentary (which probably seems like very basic history "everyone knows" to anyone in the UK) was eye-opening. The parallels to the civil rights movement in the US, and to things I'm seeing now with OWS were surprising to say the least.

It's easy to be immediately outraged by the things happening to OWS camps around the US (and it's legitimate to be so), but being only 35, I didn't grow up during the civil rights movement, or even Viet Nam, so it all feels very new to me. The imagery that everyone my age knows from those conflicts are "just" things we grew up with as part of history, and it's always going to feel more crazy and immediate if you're watching things unfold live.

So, I don't really know where I'm going with this, other than while it feels like all these things I see are signs that we're moving towards a police state, when I step back and view the current state of things in the context of oppression from days past, it's hard to say that the government is any worse than it always has been.

On the other hand, as technology improves, it seems self-evident that even if the government as a whole becomes no more malicious than it has ever been, it's easier for bad actors to affect the general populace more and more. If that's the case, no one has to try any harder to be "evil" for things to get worse as far as individual liberty. So by that measure, perhaps we're all trending towards "police states.