You say Police State, I say potato. Either way let's discuss surveillance and government overreach.

Well maybe here's some news that might get people on both sides of the prior issues to agree:

A man described as a spokesman for Osama Bin Laden has been arrested and will be tried in New York City, the US has confirmed.

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith was captured within the last week in Jordan, Congressman Peter King said on Thursday.

Mr Abu Ghaith is Bin Laden's son-in-law and played a role in plotting the attacks of 9/11, US officials said.

...

Mr Abu Ghaith's trial will mark one of the first prosecutions of senior al-Qaeda leaders on US soil.

Since 9/11, 67 foreign terror suspects have been convicted in US federal courts, according to data obtained by the group Human Rights First.

Some US lawmakers disagreed with the decision to try Mr Abu Ghaith in New York.

An arrest made by way of an extradition treaty, and a trial in America in a Federal court, of someone that's not even a citizen.

CheezePavilion wrote:

Well maybe here's some news that might get people on both sides of the prior issues to agree:

A man described as a spokesman for Osama Bin Laden has been arrested and will be tried in New York City, the US has confirmed.

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith was captured within the last week in Jordan, Congressman Peter King said on Thursday.

Mr Abu Ghaith is Bin Laden's son-in-law and played a role in plotting the attacks of 9/11, US officials said.

...

Mr Abu Ghaith's trial will mark one of the first prosecutions of senior al-Qaeda leaders on US soil.

Since 9/11, 67 foreign terror suspects have been convicted in US federal courts, according to data obtained by the group Human Rights First.

Some US lawmakers disagreed with the decision to try Mr Abu Ghaith in New York.

An arrest made by way of an extradition treaty, and a trial in America in a Federal court, of someone that's not even a citizen.

Countdown to "we can't try him in NYC" in 5.. 4.. 3..

Why? Salim Ahmed Hamdan was brought to a military tribunal after being held in Guantanamo Bay. The government asked for 30 years to life for being a part of Al Quaeda, to set a precedent to deter future terrorist wannabes - he was just a driver and bodyguard for OBL who testified he just needed the money. He challenged the tribunal in court, and the Supreme Court ruled in his favor. He was tried again on charges of conspiracy to commit terrorism, convicted of a lesser charge, and sentenced to 66 months with time served. Five and a half months later, he was back on a plane to Sana, Yemen, land of the drone killings.

Pretty severe slap in the face for the theory of the all-powerful Executive. Obama didn't have him hunted down and killed, either. Instead, Hamdan's conviction was later vacated entirely by a US Federal appeals court.

Tanglebones wrote:

Countdown to "we can't try him in NYC" in 5.. 4.. 3..

IMAGE(http://i1094.photobucket.com/albums/i453/czpv/NY-City_zpsaf043837.jpg)

So there are still good judges. That's the lesson to me. I would bet money that he gets a drone missile someday.

DSGamer wrote:

I would bet money that he gets a drone missile someday.

And yet he's hasn't in the more than four years he's been walking free...

ACLU to examine the "militarization" of police forces".

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/0...

I would contend that as long as we are still able to discuss and investigate the issue, we're probably going to be ok.

I want to write a story about how the ACLU should go back and read about the history of Western police, and how they were designed in the 19th Century to be militaristic. That is why they wear uniforms, have specialized training, a command structure, rank, happen to be armed. The 20th Century really ramped it up as wars were declared on various criminals or crimes.

Examples of leniency in the case of personas not deemed to be particularly dangerous does not seem to me to be very suggestive of the absence of authoritarian rule. Marcos didn't hunt down and kill every single person who offended him, either.

National Security Letters ruled unconstitutional; government ordered to cease issuing them. EFF moves anti-secrecy case forward in the courts.

Excellent.

Is that the same ruling as this?

Edwin wrote:

Is that the same ruling as this?

No, Robear's case is out of the 9th Circuit, yours is the DC circuit. That is strange because the DC circuit mostly does Veteran, patents, marks, and copyright suits.

I thought a little good news was suitable for the topic.

It looks like private and city surveillance cameras will play a large role in any capture of a suspect in the Boston bombings. Police sources are saying they have footage of every area involved for every second of the time frame, before the race through the aftermath of the bombings.

How does this use of surveillance technology, and it's immediate availability to government, relate to the discussion? Is this capability a good thing in this case, or a bad thing, and how do we conclude whether this one mode of surveillance is overall useful, or harmful? Can similar decisions be made for other types of surveillance? How do we prevent the technology from being used by *private* citizens and companies, given that it's available, in a way that amounts to ubiquity? And how far should the government intrude on private rights in this case? How far should the government go in setting up surveillance? And who should we trust more, the government (with it's potential for oversight and correction), or millions of individuals (with all the well-known abuses and strengths that come with the private market)?

Why has no one stepped up to condemn the complete surveillance coverage in this case as indicative of the rise of the police state? Can it be that this issue is one that demands compromise and balance rather than rhetoric? (Forgive me, I slipped into idealism there for a moment, imagining "compromise" to be like "principles".)

No they are not DS. They used to be, look up some of the declassified Hoover era FBA tapes. Most boring stuff you could ever read, and a huge waste of resources. You are not important or scary enough to be monitored.

Where you see the upside of the surveillance state I see the downside. Our emails are spied on, our phones are wiretapped and yet this happened. We gave up liberty for security and didn't even get security. The job of the police is easier. I don't personally think that's worth the trade-off.

The. Boston bombing happened the day I was heading home from a short trip out of town. All I could see was the futility of it all as I looked at the TSA doing their job. I wasn't comforted or chastened. Instead I looked at this giant security apparatus we have assembled, all that we've lost as a failure. I dutifully took off my shoes and submitted myself to a pat down and I felt less safe than ever by it.

Assuming that that entire post wasn't completely rhetorical and an "I told you so", that is.

Hang on, isn't the standard pro-surveillance argument that surveillance prevents crime? Because recent events demonstrably show that's not the case. Perhaps surveillance greatly expedites catching criminals after the fact but that's very marginal solace if you're the victim of some traumatic event. But this markedly changes any argument for surveillance.

KingGorilla wrote:

No they are not DS. They used to be, look up some of the declassified Hoover era FBA tapes. Most boring stuff you could ever read, and a huge waste of resources. You are not important or scary enough to be monitored.

Basically an irrelevant argument. The point is not who is or is not important enough to be monitored, the point is "why should >99% of the population give up rights/freedoms for the sake of protection against exceptionally rare traumatic events?".

The Hoover era tapes were a huge cost of resources but that's true because we're talking about a period where the equipment and man power necessary to gather that data did indeed cost a huge amount lot. But the internet and commodity storage turns that on it's head, the marginal cost of surveilling any individual is approaching $0. When you get to that point, and we're already seeing it, the state becomes open to the logic that it's reasonable (with regards to the resource costs) to surveil everyone and keep such data indefinitely. And this puts everyone at additional legal jeopardy; if at some future point the state decides you are an enemy then anything you may have previously written or said will be poured over to hang you by. It's not for no reason that this supposed quote from Cardinal Richelieu has been floating around for a couple of hundred years;

Give me six lines written by the most honest man, and I will find something there to hang him.

Well, no, recent evidence demonstrates that surveillance greatly reduces atrocities. NPR had a pretty long list of prevented disasters, many of which were prevented by surveillance. That this one slipped through could be seen as a vindication of surveillance in that its still shocking that it occurred.

Well the ring around the rosie continues. Because in Boston we are talking about public places, and asking for video from private citizens voluntarily. Are you trying to conflate private security cameras and camera phones as agents of the shadow government? I think you want to be in the Xbox 720 tinfoil hat thread. Bill Gates is watching you wack it using the built in camera.

If you have some ridiculous idea that public places afford you privacy, I cannot help you there.

If you want to talk about information gathering, and sorting. You are completely incorrect. It is far more costly and time consuming today for regulators and law enforcement to pour over the huge amount of data. Investigation costs are going up, up, up not to zero. If you get e-mail records from an internal subpoena, grand jury, warrant, or discovery order the relevant material does not magically appear to you.

Do you think that the Fate computer is real?

Have you ever been an inside party to a criminal or civil investigation? Where do you get that it is so damn easy to conduct an investigation?

Plus, living in London, what are the cameras used for? Tracking dissidents? Or writing tickets?

KingGorilla wrote:

Well the ring around the rosie continues. Because in Boston we are talking about public places, and asking for video from private citizens voluntarily.

You brought up the hoover tapes, so I reasonably assumed surveillance where people might assume they have privacy was a fair game conversation switch.

KingGorilla wrote:

If you have some ridiculous idea that public places afford you privacy, I cannot help you there.

Seriously meh. I didn't make that point.

If you want to talk about information gathering, and sorting. You are completely incorrect. It is far more costly and time consuming today for regulators and law enforcement to pour over the huge amount of data. Investigation costs are going up, up, up not to zero. If you get e-mail records from an internal subpoena, grand jury, warrant, or discovery order the relevant material does not magically appear to you.

Do you think that the Fate computer is real?

Have you ever been an inside party to a criminal or civil investigation? Where do you get that it is so damn easy to conduct an investigation?

No doubt the cost of investigation is going up, that's the nature of having more and more data available. Parsing data is time consuming and I'm not arguing that it isn't. Neither am I suggesting that ubiquitous surveillance leads to everyone's records being poured over. The cost of data gathering and storage is approaching zero nonetheless. Keeping data on everyone is a great threat to keep everyone in line, whether you attempt to target everyone or not. As every police state will tell you.

KingGorilla wrote:

Plus, living in London, what are the cameras used for? Tracking dissidents? Or writing tickets?

Both usually. There's plenty of "Have you seen this man" CCTV captures available after riots or dissident action.

But the thing is, the governments are not keeping the information we are talking about here. People are volunteering it to Google, Microsoft, Adobe, Facebook, the hospital systems, schools, etc. And government entities have very limited access to that information.

I wanted to ask again, have you ever been involved in a criminal or civil investigation? Because if your information is coming from Boing Boing or C-Net, they are off their rockers.

If you want a real conspiracy theory:

Why did the phone, telecom, and internet companies make a big stink over SOPA and PIPA in the US legislator which would given them liability. But CISPA is set to pass, with much the same language but removing liability for telecoms, internat companies like Goodle, and the phone companies?

KingGorilla wrote:

But the thing is, the governments are not keeping the information we are talking about here. People are volunteering it to Google, Microsoft, Adobe, Facebook, the hospital systems, schools, etc. And government entities have very limited access to that information.

You are conflating a whole load of different things together there, some of which you have almost no say in. Sure I could opt out of using health care or the schools system and I could go and live in the wilderness in a wooden shack somewhere. That people willing give up data to Google+, Twitter and facebook I think is a complex discussion but is a field where current legal privacy regimes are absolutely outdated.

But the pertinent point here, as I pointed out pages and pages ago, is that the state is not stupid and will quite happily offload the costs surveillance to private companies that are either already doing so or can be legally compelled to do so. They certainly pick up a cost in having to have warrants but it's not for no reason that most western governments are floating around the idea of forcing ISPs to hold complete logs of your internet activity for long or indefinite periods.

KingGorilla wrote:

I wanted to ask again, have you ever been involved in a criminal or civil investigation? Because if your information is coming from Boing Boing or C-Net, they are off their rockers.

I've not been on the investigation side. My brother is a forensic accountant who investigates criminal tax fraud though so I have some cursory understanding of the sheer amount or data/time it takes them to get investigations under way and completed. But as as I say, that's beside the point, the problem is the threat of being investigated at any time and (potentially) being held accountable for anything you ever did.

DSGamer wrote:

The. Boston bombing happened the day I was heading home from a short trip out of town. All I could see was the futility of it all as I looked at the TSA doing their job. I wasn't comforted or chastened. Instead I looked at this giant security apparatus we have assembled, all that we've lost as a failure. I dutifully took off my shoes and submitted myself to a pat down and I felt less safe than ever by it.

You're arguing that we shouldn't bother with fire departments because someone got shot.

The TSA is the TRANSPORT Security Administration. We can argue about their effectiveness at securing the transport infrastructure, and that's a conversation worth having, but even if they were 100% effective, they would have had no impact on the Boston marathon bombing.

Jonman wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

The. Boston bombing happened the day I was heading home from a short trip out of town. All I could see was the futility of it all as I looked at the TSA doing their job. I wasn't comforted or chastened. Instead I looked at this giant security apparatus we have assembled, all that we've lost as a failure. I dutifully took off my shoes and submitted myself to a pat down and I felt less safe than ever by it.

You're arguing that we shouldn't bother with fire departments because someone got shot.

The TSA is the TRANSPORT Security Administration. We can argue about their effectiveness at securing the transport infrastructure, and that's a conversation worth having, but even if they were 100% effective, they would have had no impact on the Boston marathon bombing.

You intentionally missed the point. It's all of a piece. America has changed significantly since 9/11 and I've never felt like any of those changes have made us safer. Does it really make a difference to take off our shoes? To restrict gels to only 3oz? I see those efforts as futile and arbitrary and unnecessary infringements on our rights. As with most everything else we've done since then.

Broadening that out to the Boston Marathon, what good is all the surveillance, data collection, etc. if we're still no safer. We could simply hire and train intelligence agents to look for threats without surrendering our rights to due process and privacy. I suppose next we'll have background checks for ball-bearings and pressure cookers to prevent the next Boston.

Also, data collection is very real. I thought we knew this.

https://www.eff.org/nsa-spying

The evidence also shows that the government did not act alone. EFF has obtained whistleblower evidence [PDF] from former AT&T technician Mark Klein showing that AT&T is cooperating with the illegal surveillance. The undisputed documents show that AT&T installed a fiberoptic splitter at its facility at 611 Folsom Street in San Francisco that makes copies of all emails web browsing and other Internet traffic to and from AT&T customers and provides those copies to the NSA. This copying includes both domestic and international Internet activities of AT&T customers. As one expert observed “this isn’t a wiretap, it’s a country-tap.”

At this point we can *almost* combine this thread with the gun control thread and the Boston bombing thread.

DSGamer wrote:

You intentionally missed the point. It's all of a piece. America has changed significantly since 9/11 and I've never felt like any of those changes have made us safer. Does it really make a difference to take off our shoes? To restrict gels to only 3oz? I see those efforts as futile and arbitrary and unnecessary infringements on our rights. As with most everything else we've done since then.

Thanks for telling me about my intentions. That's not at all dismissive or arrogant. / snark

"Unnecessary infringements on our rights" is going way too far for my tastes. Do you have an unalienable right to not have your socks touch the ground in airports? Or a right to possess large quantities of hair gel a mile above the ground?

DSGamer wrote:

Broadening that out to the Boston Marathon, what good is all the surveillance, data collection, etc. if we're still no safer.

Are we still no safer? Really? Or are we in fact, significantly safer, but you just don't see it, because it's difficult to count the number of bombs that aren't planted? We're certainly not perfectly safe, Boston shows that to be the case. But the fact that events that like that, which have a death toll counted on only one hand, are still few and far between. We're pretty darned fricking safe, pal.

Is any of that due to the visible parts of the security apparatus? I don't know, and that's a good question to ask, but I'll tell you that I don't worry about my safety on a daily basis. Being killed by terrorist action in this country is exceptionally rare. Some of that security infrastructure is working, either that, or terrorists really really aren't trying very hard.

The EFF's suit against AT&T was dismissed for lack of standing, currently AT&T has no obligation to put up a fight with certain date-write your congressman, and don't buy the hype the next time Google, Verizon, and Time Warner want to shirk responsibility in the name of your liberty.

Their suit against the NSA is still pending, Jewel v. NSA is still floating around the 9th circuit, which has been busy with other matters lately-pertaining to patents, copyrights, and some gay thing.

and to DanB. Then I do not know what the hub-bub is about, bud. You are the ultimate guardian and entity responsible for your privacy. As time has progressed it became clear that certain information we share with doctors, clergy, our spouse, or legal counsel should retain strong protection as well. When you share that information with others, it stops being private. When you go into a meeting with an attorney, with a friend, that meeting is not private. You share your information with numerous places, and then jut expect them to safe guard your information at great cost to yourself. A lot of it is not even private-your name, not private; your phone number, not private; your address, not private; and so forth.

Western Union began archiving telegrams in the 1860's. You can view them at the Smithsonian. So tell me again how modern data retention is new, and will take the world to hell. Or at least how it is significantly different. Is it just because you use Google and not Western Union because it is no longer 1895?

Where you see the upside of the surveillance state I see the downside.

Just to be clear, DS, I see both sides, and I have not yet decided where the overall balance is, in large part because there are different considerations for different types of surveillance. I know you assume I'm pro-government on most things, but that's incorrect. (It seems to come from the fact that I often argue with people who are extremely anti, but people seem to forget that there's a spectrum and just assume I'm as far one way as they are the other.) What I'm getting at here is that even the most stridently anti-surveillance person has to account for times where it's useful, and also for the use of private surveillance (which can then be accessed by government).

In no way am I celebrating the rise of the surveillance state, just thinking about it's implications.

DSGamer wrote:

You intentionally missed the point. It's all of a piece. America has changed significantly since 9/11 and I've never felt like any of those changes have made us safer. Does it really make a difference to take off our shoes? To restrict gels to only 3oz? I see those efforts as futile and arbitrary and unnecessary infringements on our rights. As with most everything else we've done since then.

It's all security theater. It's there to make the idiots feel safer without actually making anyone actually safer (and costing a lot)

I was traveling a lot to NYC right after 9/11 and would see all the National Guardsmen armed with M16s in the terminals. You know what? The magazines in their rifles were empty. It was all for show.

When the shoe bomber hit and suddenly lighters were verboten I asked the TSA guys why the ban also didn't apply to matches. His reply was that matchbooks didn't show up on the x-ray machine so there really wasn't anyway to prevent them from getting on board.