Maybe I missed something along the way, but for the life of me, I can't remember when that grassroots movement agitating for mass civilian surveillance began. And was it "leftwing" or "rightwing," do you remember? But then again, I must have amnesia, because I don't remember the grassroots phenomena that pushed to invade Iraq, organized to enact TARP, or wanted to spend gazillions on "stimulus" either.
Of course, none of those came to fruition via grassroots advocacy. Each represents an edict handed down by our Ruling Class Betters. Depending on which team was behind the policy - Democratic or Republican - I'm sad to say, approximately 50% of the population cheered them on (without regard for consequence) too. And on those rare occasions they couldn't drum up public support (TARP), our Ruling Class Betters just went ahead and did what they damn well pleased, anyway.
They are the masters. We are the serfs.
There was once a time in America, believe it or not, when the government derived it's "just powers from the consent of the governed." But that was long ago. Today, as Hal O'Boyle puts it: "We get to go to the polls every couple of years and choose between two flavors of the same gruel. The inmates get to elect the guards. Then, having exercised our rights as free citizens of a great social democracy, we go back to obeying orders."
Total Surveillance State of America
Our masters are devising so many ways to spy on us (paid for with money confiscated out of your paycheck), that it's virtually impossible to list them all. Consider the following as our Surveillance State "highlights."
A new piece of technology may soon be coming to South Florida, but is already raising concerns from residents.
The Miami-Dade Police Department recently finalized a deal to buy a drone, which is an unmanned plane equipped with cameras. Drones have been used for years in Iraq and Afghanistan in the war against terror.
Apparently, they're at war against you too.
When I was a kid going to summer camp in New York’s Adirondack Mountains, I counted myself lucky if I saw a black bear once or twice in a season. But campers may soon be able to regularly see something bigger and badder when climbing the High Peaks: Reaper drones flown by the New York Air National Guard’s 174th Fighter Wing based in Syracuse, New York.
And drones aren’t just buzzing over the Adirondacks. The proposal to begin training missions there is part of a bigger push to build a drone infrastructure for flying missions throughout the United States. So new drone bases are being built. The FAA is setting aside airspace for drone flights. And you can even get an accredited college degree in roboplane repair or operations. (No word whether you can get advanced placement credit for using drones in Call of Duty, but check this space for updates.)
Yeah, I heard "terrorists" are really into camping. It's my understanding too that, they particularly love to eat s'mores.
Public interest group Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) published yesterday (March 2) a series of government contracts dated from 2006 to 2008 regarding the possible rollout new anti-terrorism technologies. The Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has denied allegations of a public rollout of the technology.
The document, which was handed over through a Freedom of Information Act request (FOIA), detailed how backscatter X-ray scanners and video cameras would be tacked on to mobile vans that could scan city streets and intelligent tracking devices could be mounted on buildings and poles. This would be a part of "covert inspection of moving subjects" to monitor pedestrian body and eye movement.
The report also discussed how walk-through screening systems that use active millimeter wave technology would be set up in key locations. This is the same imaging technology currently causing a stir in U.S. airports due to privacy, effectiveness and radiation-related health concerns.
The TSA is obviously in denial. Where's Fox News contributor Dr. Keith Ablow when you need him?
A portable, breadbox-sized scanner could map out your body's DNA in less than an hour -- and the Feds want it added to the agency's tool bag.
The device is being studied in the research-and-development wing of the Department of Homeland Security, which provided a special small-business contract to Network Biosystems (or NetBio) to build it. The agency will use the scanner at first on asylum seekers and refugees -- but civil liberties guardians warned that the device has explosive potential for misuse.
Sources at DHS assure FoxNews.com that evaluation of the DNA-screening technology will occur only after the department sets privacy and civil liberties safeguards ...
Politicians and bureaucrats, being such sticklers for the Constitution and all, are checking on those "privacy and civil liberties safeguards" for us. Yeah, that's it.
For the record, most of the Tea Party quit their principles of liberty on February 14, 2011 – 20 days into the new Congress – when Tea Party leaders abruptly abandoned their opposition to the Patriot Act and voted to extend intrusive domestic surveillance, wire tapping and warrantless searches of American citizens. In so doing, they exposed the fraud of their soaring campaign promises to defend the liberty of ordinary Americans, and fight government intrusions on freedom. All those wide-eyed speeches that flowed with such thrilling devotions, all of it proved to be self-aggrandizing lies.
The Tea Party didn't even put up a fight. Briefly they rejected a sneak attack to renew three surveillance clauses of the Patriot Act on a suspension vote. That filled my heart with hope. One push from the Republican elite, however and they went down with a loud thud.
Not even the newly-elected "Tea Party" candidates are interested in protecting our Natural and constitutionally-protected rights. Losers.
Attempting a police omniscience seen in only about 20 U.S. cities, the Ogden Police Department is gearing up for a "real time crime center" to be operational soon after its Crime Blimp launches.
The center hopes to eventually be linked with the thousands of private and government security cameras around town, including the city's own inventory of some 200 cameras.
Utah Department of Transportation and Utah Transit Authority are already on board to share their cameras with Ogden police in the video center planned for soon-to-be-remodeled offices in the department headquarters.
Officials are shooting for an April launch date for the blimp, under construction by Weber State University's Utah Center for Aeronautical Innovation and Design, which will feed video to a fledgling version of the RTCC. They hope the center is fully operational by July.
Yes, you read that correctly - "real time crime center."
Do you remember the census?
[A]n army of some 140,000 workers hired in part with a $700 million taxpayer-funded contract to collect GPS readings for every front door in the nation.
The data collection, presented as preparation for the 2010 Census, is pinpointing with computer accuracy the locations and has raised considerable concern from privacy advocates who have questioned why the information is needed. The privacy advocates also are more than a little worried over what could be done with that information.
Well, I suppose they need information for their "real time crime centers" and everything ... I wonder what else they're collecting?
When Annie Brown's daughter, Isabel, was a month old, her pediatrician asked Brown and her husband to sit down because he had some bad news to tell them: Isabel carried a gene that put her at risk for cystic fibrosis.
While grateful to have the information -- Isabel received further testing and she doesn't have the disease -- the Mankato, Minnesota, couple wondered how the doctor knew about Isabel's genes in the first place. After all, they'd never consented to genetic testing.
It's simple, the pediatrician answered: Newborn babies in the United States are routinely screened for a panel of genetic diseases. Since the testing is mandated by the government, it's often done without the parents' consent, according to Brad Therrell, director of the National Newborn Screening & Genetics Resource Center.
In many states, such as Florida, where Isabel was born, babies' DNA is stored indefinitely, according to the resource center.
What if you were born before they started storing your personal DNA information? Well, don't you worry your pretty little head, because the good-ole TSA is harvesting DNA too!
Hey, you know that cool new cell phone you got with GPS? Well, Uncle Sam's got a surprise for you.
There are numerous other fronts in the privacy wars—about the content of e-mails, for instance, and access to bank records and credit-card transactions. The Feds now can quietly get all that information. But cell-phone tracking is among the more unsettling forms of government surveillance, conjuring up Orwellian images of Big Brother secretly following your movements through the small device in your pocket.
How many of the owners of the country's 277 million cell phones even know that companies like AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint can track their devices in real time? Most "don't have a clue," says privacy advocate James X. Dempsey. The tracking is possible because either the phones have tiny GPS units inside or each phone call is routed through towers that can be used to pinpoint a phone's location to areas as small as a city block. This capability to trace ever more precise cell-phone locations has been spurred by a Federal Communications Commission rule designed to help police and other emergency officers during 911 calls. But the FBI and other law-enforcement outfits have been obtaining more and more records of cell-phone locations—without notifying the targets or getting judicial warrants establishing "probable cause," according to law-enforcement officials, court records, and telecommunication executives.
Oh, it gets even better.
The FBI appears to have begun using a novel form of electronic surveillance in criminal investigations: remotely activating a mobile phone's microphone and using it to eavesdrop on nearby conversations.
The technique is called a "roving bug," and was approved by top U.S. Department of Justice officials for use against members of a New York organized crime family who were wary of conventional surveillance techniques such as tailing a suspect or wiretapping him.
What about those government-issued laptops the schools just "need" for the children?
The FBI is investigating a Pennsylvania school district accused of secretly activating webcams inside students' homes, a law enforcement official with knowledge of the case told The Associated Press on Friday.
The FBI will explore whether Lower Merion School District officials broke any federal wiretap or computer-intrusion laws, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the investigation.
Days after a student filed suit over the practice, Lower Merion officials acknowledged Friday that they remotely activated webcams 42 times in the past 14 months, but only to find missing student laptops. They insist they never did so to spy on students, as the student's family claimed in the federal lawsuit.
You got that right. They're spying on your kids too. Nothing can be outside the reach of Uncle Sam's all-seeing eye.
It's long past time we had a real conversation in America. Because as Eric Peters says: "We’re going to have to decide what kind of country we want, what kinds of lives we want to live."
Option A is a henpecky, busybody society in which everything you do is everyone’s else’s business, too. Where there’s no real choice, there’s no real freedom. Your individualism is drowned in a sea of We.
Option B is what America used to be. You do your thing, I do mine. Our lives intersect on a voluntary basis only. I can’t force you to pay my medical bills; you can’t force me to “buckle-up for safety.”
Which one sounds more appealing to you?
I'll take Option B. How about you?