Monday, August 09, 2004

Big Brother Going Private's Big Business

From the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) and via Wired Magazine, this report (Pdf 1.5 MB) open a trend of how Bush can bypass legal restrictions on domestic spying! Here some little snips :

Florida’s TIPS.
In a direct local imitation of the original TIPS concept, police in Orange County, Florida are planning to train emergency personnel, cable workers and other public and private workers to look for and report evidence of terrorism, drug trafficking, or child pornography in private homes. Overseen by Florida state police officials, the program’s brochure originally included an element of explicit racial profiling. Though that was removed, the program is still underway, leaving homeowners to wonder if anything in their home might draw suspicion whenever a cable or utility worker comes in to do a repair.
Colleges and universities.
A 2001 survey found that 195 colleges and universities had turned over private information on students to the FBI, often in apparent violation of privacy laws; 172 of them did not even wait for a subpoena.
Internet service providers report that search orders have “gone through the roof.” ISPs maintain records of individuals’ Internet use, including records of IP addresses (a number that is assigned to each computer that connects to the Internet) that can be combined with logs automatically maintained by most Web servers to identify which individuals have visited a Web site, participated in “anonymous” chat or message boards or adopted a particular online pseudonym. In 2002 alone, for example, BellSouth received about 16,000 subpoenas from law enforcement and 636 court orders for customer information.

A system for government “Google searches” through Americans’ private financial records
The Patriot Act mandates that companies transform themselves into surrogate agents for the government.
Background checks: from reporting to enforcement
It turns companies into sheriff’s deputies,responsible not just for feeding information to the government, but for actually enforcing the government’s wishes, for example by effectively blacklisting anyone who has been labeled as a suspect under the government’s less-than-rigorous procedures for identifying risks.
Happy to live up north!!!

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