McCain the E-tard

Crazier-than-batshit Senator and Presidential hopeful John McCain is up to no-good again. Mr. “Iron Triangle” is once again embarking on a quest to protect teenagers from the evil internet. How is he going to do this? By introducing legislation that is impossibly expensive for ISPs and content providers to comply with, the cost of which will of course be passed on to the consumer. Declan McCullagh from CNet reports:

A forthcoming bill in the U.S. Senate lays the groundwork for a national database of illegal images that Internet service providers would use to automatically flag and report suspicious content to police.

The proposal, which Sen. John McCain is planning to introduce on Wednesday, also would require ISPs and perhaps some Web sites to alert the government of any illegal images of real or “cartoon” minors. Failure to do would be punished by criminal penalties including fines of up to $300,000.

Why should we be worried?

Civil libertarians worry that the proposed legislation goes too far and could impose unreasonable burdens on anyone subject to the new regulations. And Internet companies worry about the compliance costs and argue that an existing law that requires reporting of illicit images is sufficient.

The fact that this man is a Senator is disturbing enough. The possiblility of him being elected President is downright frightening. If the worst does happen then we can only hope that he’ll blow a head gasket during one of his infamous temper tantrums. That and hopefully that he picked a decent running-mate.

ISP Snooping Law Revived by Republicans

Bad legislative bills don’t die they just wait a year.  Declan McCullagh reports at CNet:

All Internet service providers would need to track their customers’ online activities to aid police in future investigations under legislation introduced Tuesday as part of a Republican “law and order agenda.”

Employees of any Internet provider who fail to store that information face fines and prison terms of up to one year, the bill says. The U.S. Justice Department could order the companies to store those records forever.

“Law and Order” is legislative code for bend over and take it like a citizen.

The FBI’s Vacuum Cleaner Approach to Internet Surveillance

Declan McCullagh at ZDNet reports on the FBI sucking down large amounts of internet traffic data and databasing it for later mining. This new method is even more indiscriminate and intrusive than the Carnivore system that stirred a backlash from privacy advocates years ago. The Carnivore system at least used a filter to try and limit data collection to interesting sources while the new system just takes everything on the pipe and archives it.

The FBI appears to have adopted an invasive Internet surveillance technique that collects far more data on innocent Americans than previously has been disclosed.

Instead of recording only what a particular suspect is doing, agents conducting investigations appear to be assembling the activities of thousands of Internet users at a time into massive databases, according to current and former officials. That database can subsequently be queried for names, e-mail addresses or keywords.

Such a technique is broader and potentially more intrusive than the FBI’s Carnivore surveillance system, later renamed DCS1000. It raises concerns similar to those stirred by widespread Internet monitoring that the National Security Agency is said to have done, according to documents that have surfaced in one federal lawsuit, and may stretch the bounds of what’s legally permissible.

Read the entire ZDNet article here.

Britain is a ‘Surveillance Society’

Fears that the UK would “sleep-walk into a surveillance society” have become a reality, the government’s information commissioner has said.

Richard Thomas, who said he raised concerns two years ago, spoke after research found people’s actions were increasingly being monitored.

Researchers highlight “dataveillance”, the use of credit card, mobile phone and loyalty card information, and CCTV.

Monitoring of work rates, travel and telecommunications is also rising.

There are up to 4.2m CCTV cameras in Britain – about one for every 14 people.

But surveillance ranges from US security agencies monitoring telecommunications traffic passing through Britain, to key stroke information used to gauge work rates and GPS information tracking company vehicles, the Report on the Surveillance Society says.

It predicts that by 2016 shoppers could be scanned as they enter stores, schools could bring in cards allowing parents to monitor what their children eat, and jobs may be refused to applicants who are seen as a health risk.

Read the rest of the BBC article

US Citizens Can Now Be Deemed “Enemy Combatants” and Stripped of All Rights

A federal appeals court Wednesday ruled President Bush has the authority to designate U.S. citizens as “enemy combatants” and detain them in military custody if they are deemed a threat to national security.

read more | digg story

We Are Now Officially Living In A Dictatorship

Its official, fellow Americans. A fantastic article breaking down exactly why things are just that bad here in the States.

read more | digg story

Big Brother Talking-Cameras Berate Brits

Big Brother is not only watching you – now he’s barking orders too. Britain’s first ‘talking’ CCTV cameras have arrived, publicly berating bad behaviour and shaming offenders into acting more responsibly.

The system allows control room operators who spot any anti-social acts – from dropping litter to late-night brawls – to send out a verbal warning: ‘We are watching you’.

Middlesbrough has fitted loudspeakers on seven of its 158 cameras in an experiment already being hailed as a success. Jack Bonner, who manages the system, said: ‘It is one hell of a deterrent. It’s one thing to know that there are CCTV cameras about, but it’s quite another when they loudly point out what you have just done wrong.

‘Most people are so ashamed and embarrassed at being caught they quickly slink off without further trouble.

Read the rest