Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Long live Big Brother! Privacy is double-plus ungood!

Ah, bipartisanship at last! The Obama Justice Department and congressional Republicans have united on one front: They want to mandate ISPs to retain all sorts of data on customers. Naturally, the feds are using the bugaboo of kiddie porn to scare everyone into compliance, but everyone knows that this move has little to do with your sons and daughters and much to do with Big Brother.

It is unclear just how far this mandate will go: Are we talking about retaining customers' IP identification numbers, or does Uncle also want records of web chats and Skype calls and such? Will this affect computers used in coffee shops and college libraries?

I think this comment sums up the sitch:
Demanding the retention of data so it's available in the event of needing a search warrant is an unfunded mandate and an end run around search warrants.
Just so. It's a bit like the government requiring you to keep records of every transaction you make, just in case the feds might want to look at them. (Of course -- in a hidden way, you have already acquiesced to such a system. That's what those grocery store "club cards" are for.)

The fact that Republican congressfolk are down with this plan tells us much about the Tea Party's alleged concern for governmental over-reach. The fact that Obama is down with this plan tells us nothing we didn't already know about his sell-out of true Democratic ideals.
The peas are snuggling in their pods.
Rush Limbaugh was banging away on the media about things like this.

If this were Bush the Lesser the folks at MSNBC would be in hysterics but since it's Obama it crickets.
Admittedly off topic, but what is your take on this:
My recollection is that Mr. Stanford has some history.
I've been saying for some time that the Obama Administration's record on human rights should strike terror into the hearts of all Americans.

Did you ever think you'd see a supposedly Democratic President maintaining a list of U.S. citizens marked for assassination? If you saw it in a movie, you'd ask for your money back.
Thought I'd bring up something tangentially related.
The U.S. has pushed worldwide for extensive monitoring and data retention (as well as privileging above all else of "intellectual property rights") - including in Sweden. In Sweden, laws and policies to this effect were first pushed by Minister of Justice Thomas Bodstrom (Bodstrom was Sweden's Minister of Justice from 2000-2006 and subsequently served as chair of the Swedish Parliament's committee for juridical issues until October 2010, when he temporarily moved to the U.S.).
via google translate: "New Report: Marching on Bodstrom Society"
"The government is creating a society that in its extreme form may be future dystopia in 1984 to fade. Nevertheless, the debate has not really taken off. Thomas Bodstrom has cleverly put the picture of the proposals he put exclusively suffered serious criminals. As this report shows is that a wrong impression.Oscar Swartz concentrates on the proposals has to do with the storage and monitoring of human communication, mostly via the Internet and telephony. He calls such as KU-examination of Bodström action to get through the retention of internet traffic in Europe."
"In an earlier TV interview following the raid Justice Minister Thomas Bodström denied strongly any foreign influences behind the raid, so the Swedes will get today public proof of his lying in that interview."
"The fallout from the Pirate Bay seizure is that the minister of justice (Thomas Bodstrom) has been accused of ordering the police to take action after pressure from the US government. Bodstrom, who is the initiator of the EU data retention directive, IP spoofing on Swedish main nodes, extended bugging laws etc., and also known as a proponent of a totalitarian big brother society, has been requested for constitutional hearings."
"'But if we are self-critical we have to say that we should never have set this free from the beginning.'- Thomas Bodström, minister of justice, about the Internet, according to one of HAX´ readers who met him today."
"It's tragic that the Social Democrats, and Thomas Bodström in particular, are such supporters of surveillance."
Comment – part 2

Sweden's acquiescence to U.S. wishes appears to have continued to the present:
"WikiLeaks: Swedish government 'hid' anti-terror operations with America from Parliament"
Leaked U.S. cable: "She [Anna-Karin Svensson, Director of the Division for Police Issues] believed that, given Swedish constitutional requirements to present matters of national concern to Parliament and in light of the ongoing controversy over Sweden's recently passed surveillance law, it would be politically impossible for the Minister of Justice to avoid presenting any formal data sharing agreement with the United States to Parliament for review. In her opinion, the effect of this public spotlight could also place other existing informal information sharing arrangements at jeopardy."
Leaked cable: "Due to domestic political considerations, the extent of this cooperation in not widely known within the Swedish government and it would be useful to acknowledge this cooperation privately, as public mention of the cooperation would open up the government to domestic criticism."
"Cables: US driving Swedish Data Retention"

Thomas Bodstrom was also involved in extraordinary rendition of two Swedish residents - they were handed over to the CIA, flown to Egypt, and tortured.

Interestingly, in the Assange case, the law firm representing the accusers is Borgstrom & Bodstrom
(which succeeded in getting the case reopened by prosecutor Marianne Ny after prosecutor Eva Finne concluded "I don't think there is reason to suspect that he has committed rape.").
Like Bodstrom, Claes Borgstrom, the lead lawyer in the case, is also a highly politically wired former government minister (Swedish Government's Equality Omnibudsman, 2000-2007).

An interesting article on the case, by former Chief Judge Brita Sundberg-Weitmann (Sundberg-Weitmann is currently an Associate Professor of Law and is a past President of the Swedish Civil Rights Movement).
See press release at
Original Swedish article:
English translation of article:
"It is therefore not unlikely that extraditing him from UK to US would seem politically impossible, whereas having him extradited from Sweden would probably not cause much protest amongst Swedes. All the mass media in Sweden have a rather biased view on the case to the detriment of Assange, and they express great confidence in Sweden’s judiciary in the present case."....
"To be sure, there can be no doubt that she [Ny] has acted contrary to European law as established by the Court of Justice of the European Union."....
"So would it be legal under Swedish law to let considerations of foreign relations policy influence a prosecutor’s decision whether or
not to issue a European Arrest Warrant? I think yes, perfectly legal."....
"Why these halftruths allocating all responsibility to Ny for the procedure in Sweden and to the British for Sweden´s appeal in Britain? Well, I don’t know the answer to that, but it does appear as if something is being hidden under the carpet."
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