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Do you have a secret? (doyouhaveasecret.org)
432 points by chuckharmston on Aug 1, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 105 comments

Brandon Mayfield was arrested as a material witness, not as a suspect. The problem here is the increasing use of material witness warrants to arrest people suspected of a crime, rather than actually getting an arrest warrant.

According to Wikipedia, "Ensuing lawsuits have resulted in a formal apology from the U.S. government and a $2 million settlement."

I'll be honest: I feel like I'm being swindled by doyouhaveasecret.org. Instead of presenting me with facts, they're relying on emotion and hearsay. And that's just as bad as the government wanting to search my laptop. The EFF's campaign is a more mature: https://cyberspying.eff.org/

And that's just as bad as the government wanting to search my laptop.

No, no it isn't. It isn't in the same league of bad. Even if they were lying outright, it wouldn't be.

The government has the power to put you in prison for life or even take your life. Any bad from an organization like that will always be far worse than an attempt to get an emotional reaction to a cause by stretching the truth.

> Brandon Mayfield was arrested as a material witness, not as a suspect.

If I'm sitting in jail and have not committed a crime, the underlying legal excuse for my unjust detention isn't going to matter to me. The net result is the same.

The sad part is that the people we have to convince that these laws are a bad idea will only be swayed by emotion. It's emotion that convinced them to support bills like this and it is going to take an appeal to emotion to convince them otherwise.

It sucks to admit that, but it's how many humans work.

Physicians contended for a long time that they were too educated, thoughtful, and professional to be swayed by advertising and other promotional efforts that were not directly related to efficacy and cost of drugs:


Nobody is immune to advertising, PR, or emotional appeals. Some of us are more/less impacted by specific types of advertising, but we are all susceptible. Including the people in this community.


It seems physicians have a long history pompous bullshit.


Which puts them in the beautiful company of the rest of humanity.

Edit: Also Semmelweis was a badass.

We have this interesting idea that modern medicine is what is responsible for greatly extending life expectancy. Semmelweis's work largely showed at least in his day that for women it was the opposite (remember his work started with the question of why midwives had so much lower maternal mortality rates than physicians), and even today, it is probably a distant third behind year-round food supply and modern sanitation.

I agree and upvoted you but at the same time, would you put references from your terms of service on your homepage to convince people to buy? Offhand, that was the best analogy I could think of for what is sure to be some obfuscated language in the bill. It's less sad than it is a fact of life that buying is an emotional decision. This is a sales page and while it would have been nice if they could have weaved some of the bill's language in there (w/ a link to read more), maybe that would have detracted from the "conversion" percentage.

"the people we have to convince that these laws are a bad idea will only be swayed by emotion"

While ridding yourself of the core of supporters turned off by campaigns based on more emotion than fact?

Fine. Those people will instead support the EFF. There is a "market" for this advocacy media and producing material supporting a viewpoint but in different formats appealing to difference audiences is called market segmentation.

Just because people are turned off by this advertising, doesn't mean they will be turned off from supporting this cause. They'll still support it, but via other means, such as the EFF.

I agree to some degree.

However, I think it's easy to underestimate the benefit of hindsight here.

I seriously doubt Mr. Mayfield was thinking "Awwww yeah, I'm about to get paid off this bullshit!" when he was arrested.

More likely, just thinking over the possibilities of being wrongfully implicated in a horrific act of terrorism took a few years of his life.

Huh? What does any of this have to do with CISPA?

There are good reasons to oppose CISPA. You shouldn't appreciate people trying to manipulate you into opposing it.

There are good reasons to oppose CISPA. You shouldn't appreciate people trying to manipulate you into opposing it.

This is something that really annoys me. It's incredibly frustrating to see people argue "on my side", but using reasons that are based almost entirely on FUD and hyperbole. It undermines that entire side of the argument, because people who aren't already on your side assume that if you had valid reasons, you wouldn't be resorting to manipulative exaggerations for shock value. Unfortunately, when the internet outrage machine is whipped up into a frenzy, people don't seem to care and will happily upvote and share anything that supports their side, even if it's completely full of shit.

And what's worse is, this could have been a valid (if cheap and manipulative) exercise if they were just explicit about their position being "oppose all cyber-security legislation".

But that's not what they're saying. They're saying oppose CISPA. You come pretty close to needing to oppose all cyber-security legislation if you strongly oppose CISPA.

Agreed, yet it's also frustrating to live in a world where deceptive and emotional manipulation works because most people aren't that good at recognizing it and counteracting it.

Do you just gnash your teeth and stick to your moral high ground while everything burns?

Or do you "play the game", and use manipulation to achieve the moral good?

Personally, I think I tend to do the former. When I get the relatives' chain email with stories that support my political ideals yet disagree with the facts as I know them or can learn them -- I try to correct the ignorance by sending out a Snopes or other factual link.

Sometimes I feel like a sucker doing that, though. Should I try to correct the email outrage of a few people I know when that outrage might get them into the voting booth flipping the lever the way I want? Will that email outrage insulate those less curious against the deluge of misinformation coming from "the other side"?

Sometimes you can correct the ignorance, sometime you best ignore it.

But in the end even Starfleet had Section 35. The world is dirty and sometimes it is better to play dirty than to lose.

I am not sure if this is one of those times though.

did you mean section 31? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_31

Yes. I am hearing darkerprojects section 31 files (a really well done Star Trek audio series), but I missed up the numbers.

Sorry about that.

"because people who aren't already on your side assume that if you had valid reasons, you wouldn't be resorting to manipulative exaggerations for shock value."

Related is the idea of building a case by throwing in the entire kitchen sink in order to make your point with both strong and weak points. I've found it's best to try and stick the the basic strongest points. If you put weak points in your argument and people think "that's no big deal" it will detract from your main point and make people think "oh is that all they've got?"

An fictional example to try and illustrate:

"Bill Jeffrey the CEO of XYZ flies in a corporate jet and has a $10 million salary. He also gets free lunch in the cafeteria as well a laptop computer for his house in addition to a company car". (Now add on 10 other mundane things that many execs get)

Ideological war versus honest discourse. It comes down to which of these you believe is the engine of progress.

If it's war, then naturally all's fair in the name of winning the cause. If not, you probably believe that a cause is not a cause worth believing in if you have to betray it to make it happen, that the only way is through honest discourse and "being the change", even if it means social evolution.

The generally horrible state of politics is the direct result of too many people following the cynical view, that it's war. Another manifestation of our sad human tendency to favor the short-term over the long.

I don't believe in progress, so I guess that settles that. I think that societies are constantly adapting and people are much the same as they always have been. We are living in a nice time where complexity of our society allows for good sanitation, delivery of food from half-way around the world to off-set local production problems and seasonal shortages, and modern medicine is paid for by the fossil fuels which are causing global warming.

So I guess I am probably as cynical as they get.

The thing though is that within the article there is a great deal of honest discourse, but you can't put all the supporting data into it in that format. The fact is that we have a society where all the rhetoric about rule of law and a government of laws aside, the people expect the government to prosecute people they have been told are "bad guys" and so you get:[1]

1) Lori Drew prosecuted for hacking and by hacking I mean violating the terms of service of a web site. Her conviction was later set aside on vagueness grounds.

2) Jeff Skilling prosecuted for honest services fraud under a standard that would make viewing HN from work a federal felony. His conviction for honest services fraud was set aside by the Supreme Court on vagueness grounds.

3) Daniel Hurwitz prosecuted because he knew or should have known that there was a statistical likelihood that at least some of his pain patients were selling narcotics from their prescriptions on the street. Hurwitz was following general medical consensus regarding medically appropriate prescriptions for chronic pain as well as the DEA's guidance. He was convicted, won a right to a new trial, and was convicted a second time for a smaller number of charges.

4) You also see federal entrapment of Randy Weaver for firearms violations (it is undisputed that Weaver would not have violated the law but for the repeated and prolonged insistence of a government informant paid to get convictions). Weaver may not be a good guy but neither is Skilling. This sort of thing, as well as additional problems with the case going forward (bad advice from lawyers, incorrect statements by a judge, etc) set up the tragedy at Ruby Ridge and FBI conduct so egregious that a man who shot and killed an FBI agent won a significant settlement from the government.[2]

These patterns have been building since Reagan was in office.[3]

The real problem here is breaking through the social consensus that we could never do what China does despite the fact that our civil liberties are degrading and the basic infrastructure is in place for those exact sorts of abuses. Indeed the only real difference is in degree, not in kind.

I am reminded of Karl Doenitz's thoughts on the lessons from Nazi Germany. Doenitz, the architect of the U-boat war, was the one who lead the Third Reich from Hitler's suicide to the surrender. He said that the primary lesson one should draw from Nazi Germany was on the importance of a robust tradition of civil liberties.[4] (The fact that this is a systemic argument I think avoids Godwin's Law and puts this simply in the domain of history discussion.) The upshot is really that the problem that lead to the rise of the Nazis was not caused by bad people as we are lead to believe but rather by systemic deficiencies in German government before their rise to power. It's worth noting also that at the outset of WWI, the Kaiser Wilhelm stated that no civilized nation does not carefully rein in their press (responding to Serbian statements that freedom of the press prevented them from telling the press not to celebrate Archduke Ferdinand's death).

[1] see "Three Felonies a Day: How Feds Target the Innocent" by EFF/ACLU veteran Harvey Silverglate. He covers the Hurwitz and Skilling cases, though the book was published before the Supreme Court ruled on the honest services fraud statute.

[2] See "No More Wacos" by Kopel and Blackman.

[3] Ibid. The authors blame Waco and Ruby Ridge largely on the militarization of law enforcement under Reagan and Clinton, and the drug exception to Posse Comitatus under Reagan.

[4] See "Ten Years and Twenty Days" by Karl Doenitz.

Unfortunately, while the sticklers insist on moral purity and perfect argument, they live in a world that operates on FUD and is grotesquely exploited and has become the modus operandi of our government, corporations, and fear mongering right.

It is the reason that science and reason cannot take hold in many human societies, because there is a false equivalency of opposition. Opposing heinous attempts to control are not equivalent to opposing freedom, liberty, and self-determination.

That's nice rhetoric, but when you disregard the truth in order to keep up in the arms race of lies that you claim the other side started, you become as reprehensible as them.

Telling lies and X is not equally as bad as telling lies and not X. EX: Where X is killing people. 'Smoking cigarettes makes you popular smoking cigarettes makes you unpopular.'

Unfortunately, we rarely have an absolute scale upon which to judge X. Everyone always claims the moral high ground, justifying their attempts to be deceptive with the same defense you provide there.

That's a particularly bad example, since the idea that cigarettes will make you unpopular will be a transparent falsehood to the target audience, and might cause them to doubt you when you say that cigarettes will kill them.

There was some recent anti smoking advertising that used that line, basically smoking = bad smell/yellow teeth = unpopular. Where a few years ago similar advertising used the smoking = cool = you become popular line of argument.

Granted this was sub textual, but the implications where clear enough.

When the currency of the debate is lies, the party that tells the best lies wins. The best liars rarely happen to be the ones you want to win.

As responsible for what though? As responsibly for lying? Yes.

In the end you have to be able to say 'I am right on this subject, and they are wrong' and act accordingly.

And when the fight is over there is zero point for being virtuous.

Lies are lies.

I had a similar problem with SOPA. I had lots of people telling me SOPA sucked, but very few were willing to tell me why it sucked. It seemed the bill was just a product of evil and I should oppose it. There was a lot more seeking to be understood than to understand. (Caveat: I wasn't really reading HN at the time, where maybe I could have gotten a decent discussion, including opponents to the bill who could have described why the proponents liked it without dumb sarcastic comments.)

For those of us trying to catch up, what are some good reasons to oppose CISPA?

It has clauses that intentionally ignore other laws protecting privacy, starting paragraphs with things like this:

"Notwithstanding any other provision of law..."

Beyond that, read sections (SEC. 701., 703. 704. etc http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112s2105pcs/pdf/BILLS-112...) which are heavily couched in language like "safeguards" and "threats" but the effective result is more about authorizing full monitoring of personal communications and sharing all of that with other private companies in government "cybersecurity exchanges". The protections in this bill seem to only protect private companies from getting sued for sharing personal communications.

Why aren't our representatives writing laws that further protect our privacy? Instead we get bills that ignore or even override and nullify existing privacy law. I feel betrayed by our elected representatives in government. It seems they are working for someone else.

(edited to add link to PDF of the Bill)

I fail to see the link between the title plus domain of this site and opposing CISPA.

I do not think I could even call it link bait. They may as well have called it, "doyoulovebluewhales.org"...

Also, the soundtrack ruins its factual/informative presentation value and use of scripting for such a light site makes it feel unprofessional and insecure.

Some of the content and flow of information is good though. But overall just too light, lowbrow and unconvincing if I was not a techie but otherwise had half a brain to care about issues like this.

Ok, two things.

The first element loaded here on the train was stop soundtrack ... that made me bounce as I thought "My mobile tethering will choke on this" and "I don't have headphones hooked up".

* A lot of idle browsing come from idle time spent at coffee shops, libraries, and trains using low-power devices (e.g. netbooks, tablets, phones). If you want that to be your time then you have to play by those rules. Make sure your experience is acceptable for these scenarios.

* People don't expect playing audio on page-load. If you are trying to shock, ok. But if you are trying to get a message across, and people are around other people they will bounce from your site or have to quickly press mute...you're forcing your user to be really reactive here. Instead of trying to understand the content, they are doing damage control.

Think about your grandparents riding the subway reading the old-time newspaper or standing in line somewhere with the 25cent novel. Although our media today has changed, the purpose of the content consumption really hasn't. Make sure you captivate people in analogous ways.

Second, the domain made me think it was a reboot of "post-secret".

You can go with a goofy or an intriguing domain as long as you deliver something that matches the level of goof or intrigue. The delivery here is ok ... being on HN, I just expected more I guess.

Exactly, if there's one thing I don't miss from mid 90's internet it's embedded, can't be turned off audio. And, as you pointed out, I also thought it was going to be a post-secret type thing or news story about how common certain 'secrets' are.

That most of the 'facts' present are at best tangentially related to what the bill allows just made it worse.

Very good remark, just have nothing to add more.

This site showed me nothing about the bill in question. I would have liked at least a few references to sections of the bill that are considered bad.

Anyway, a link to the bill is here: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112s2105pcs

This is just creating a database of informed CISPA dissenters. Wake up sheeple! </tinfoilhat>

On a more serious note, this could have been presented much better. This gave me the same feeling as that semi-attractive girl in college stepping into your personal space to tell you all about how unjust mandated meal plans are.

Your first remark cuts right to my amusement at the real tinfoil hatters. 'Cause you know, if I thought every government and every corporation was conspiring against me, I sure wouldn't let them know I knew, let alone make a public spectacle of myself.

why does it give you that same feeling?

It's pandering to the lowest common denominator in an unprofessional and not entirely honest fashion, using shitty vectors (a soundtrack, really?).

To each his own. I found the presentation pretty well done and the soundtrack was a nice touch. Perhaps that's exactly why it could be seen as a problem; it is too appealing and thus "unprofessional" (i.e. not boring enough to cause one hit the back button midway through).

For a slightly more balanced take on it, check out the Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyber_Intelligence_Sharing_and...

There are definite problems with CISPA in regards to privacy, but a lot of the stuff on that "Do you have a secret?" page is just mindless FUD.

> calls page mindless FUD when in fact there are specific examples cited on page

> doesn’t back up own claims of FUD


Please explain how either of the examples (one is specific, one is not) have anything to do with CISPA. One was a traditional terrorism investigation that was horribly botched, while the other is a case in a foreign country with laws that are completely different (and much, much worse) than CISPA.

Both qualify as FUD because their factual relevancy is extremely low, while their shock value is high. Their only use on the page is to scare visitors into going "Oh my god, that could happen to me!" so that they tell all their friends about all these terrible things that the evil gubmint is going to do if we all don't oppose CISPA.

> Their only use on the page is to scare visitors into going "Oh my god, that could happen to me!" so that they tell all their friends about all these terrible things that the evil gubmint is going to do if we all don't oppose CISPA.

Sounds relevant to me.

They’re just taking a big picture approach here, not focusing on CISPA. I think that’s okay.

I question how seriously people would have taken this website if it was designed based on "ransom note" 1990's design standards. And wasn't operated by the age group that has taken up these causes.

It draws attention to the "Center for Rights" http://fightforthefuture.org/ and on that page there are a bunch of hipsters http://fightforthefuture.org/#staff who know how to play things to the media and get taken seriously.

Certainly a case at the very least for the importance of good design.

Ok. I guess I was the only one who enjoyed the site and soundtrack. I thought it was rather creative.

My only complaint is the scrolling is a bit broken.

No, I don't have a secret. That isn't really what privacy is about. You don't have to have something to hide in order to not want everything you do/say and everywhere you go tracked. This makes it seem like everyone is hiding a folder full of kiddie porn or emails from their other girlfriend and therefore that is why you should care about privacy protection.

I think the key here is the ability of massive surveillance to be used to find something to use to prosecute "bad guys" especially when combined with vague laws. Really, everyone needs to read "Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent."

Exhibit A: The Lori Drew prosecution. A lot of people thought that because she did something bad, that we should find something to charge her with, so the US attorney in California charged her with unauthorized access to MySpace's computer systems for the "crime" of violating their terms of service. After she was convicted of misdemeanor and acquitted of felony charges, the judge held the law was too vague as applied and threw out the convictions.

Exhibit B: The Daniel Hurwitz prosecution. Here was a doctor following exactly what the DEA's public guidance was, who was prosecuted and eventually convicted on the basis that he had some knowledge of the statistical certainty that some of his patients were selling narcotics on the street from his prescriptions. And indeed when the defence noted that they had the DEA's public guidance to submit into evidence the DEA's response was to remove it from their web site.

The fact is that total surveillance + vague laws is exactly what the USSR used to lock people up and exactly what China uses to lock people up. The comparison to China on the page in question is actually a very good one.

It's really annoying when all these people complaining about bills like CISPA and other potentially dangerous bills don't actually mention why the bills are bad. Even the Wikipedia article on CISPA was horrible since it didn't directly quote the bill but just quoted others people paraphrasing the bill.

So what in particular is bad about this bill? http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/s2105/text

I object first and foremost to the obnoxious length of this bill.

A while back, the Apple Safari team had a build system that would run performance tests against every code commit. If the commit degraded performance, it was ejected and the developer had to "fix" it. Sometimes that fix meant going into another totally different piece of code to improve the performance there so that the overall commit wouldn't degrade performance.

Something like that should be required of congress. They should be required to constantly refactor laws so that the overall legislative burden upon society remains constant or maybe even decreases.

>Even the Wikipedia article on CISPA was horrible since it didn't directly quote the bill but just quoted others people paraphrasing the bill.

Direct quoting of something to prove something is "original research", then it's violation of Wikipedia's rules.


Directly quoting the law and citing the source of the law would not be "original research" in the context of your link. To quote your link:

  The term "original research" (OR) is used on Wikipedia
  to refer to material--such as facts, allegations, and
  ideas--for which no reliable, published sources exist.
For example, the Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Amendment_to_the_United_S... includes the text of the US Constitution's 1st Amendment. By your interpretation that would make it original research.

Directly quoting a bill, citing the house.gov or whichever source, provides context for the ensuing discussion (pros and cons) which in turn should consist of a set of citations.

start reading at section 701

Turn off soundtrack by default please.

Yes I agree, Many software engineers frequent HN while on work breaks.

I really don't like propaganda. I don't need you trying to whip me into hysteria. Just tell me what the CISPA does that you think is so bad and let me decide.

let me decide

I don't think you understand how modern politics work.

I am never sure just how much point there is to opposing such bills, due to my assumption that intelligence agencies always have and always will have all the indiscriminate access to domestic communications that they want. I think even publicised history provides more than abundant examples of that.

If there is a real fight, it is over criminal procedure, rules of evidence, and other things useful in more banal dealings with law enforcement, and thus having some bearing on the juridical outcome in the event that one is prosecuted (or persecuted) on the basis of some illegal surveillance technique. In other words, you could get acquitted of dealing drugs if the state's main evidence against you is something obtained through warrantless electronic surveillance, and that surveillance is illegal. And that's important.

But why is it important? It's important because it's small stuff, not the kind of stuff governments would throw national-level resources like NSA supercomputers at. So, the argument is really about the gaps, not the fringes. As far as terrorism and national security-type activities go, it seems to me they already have unlimited _de facto_ authority, capability, and inclination to spy on you all they want, and that this has more or less always been true.

Thus, I find that the rhetoric is a bit off. This isn't about stopping the government having "access to your e-mails". They already have that, in principle. With enough initiative and spiritual commitment, they can track you, read your e-mail, and listen to your voice communications. The real objective ought to be framed more precisely, perhaps something like: "There shouldn't be a law that goes out of its way to grant unto pedestrian police the formal sanction to employ surveillance capabilities hitherto the province of spooky intelligence agencies".

However, that's a lot harder to sell.

The "Privacy Policy" button doesn't work ... how ironic.

Sadly, that was my fault (I'm one of the developers over at FFTF). Thanks for the heads up! Sorry for the foolish mistake.

For those playing along at home, here is our privacy policy: http://fightforthefuture.org/privacy

Do you have a secret?

Yes, I have many.

Now can you tell all of your friends?


I'm curious if sites like this even work? There was a lot of them back when SOPA was a bigger deal and you signup, put in your email and it has some canned letter that gets emailed to your senator. If I was a senator getting these I'd filter them all to go to the trash. Unless we are using this method as some type of voting system now. It just seems like there should be a better more personal way than "spam the shit out of your senator".

As a result of all the letters I've sent my representative in the last six months I received a letter from him (Fortenberry, R-NE) asking if I'd like to attend a Q&A with him next week.

Instead of always trying to get the government to listen to its citizens, wouldn't it be better if it were required to seek OUR approval for new legislation?

What do you think elections are?

I realise that sounds sarcastic, but really- we have a democratic system for a reason. No, it doesn't work perfectly, but whole point is that they are representatives of us.

Democratic? Really? Are we still kidding yourselves that we have some sort of democracy? Oh man.

Representatives of "us"? Oh, you donated millions to an election fund, right? No? Oh, OK then, you're a lobbyist, backed by millions? No. Ah well, they aint representing you then.

We are sold government in the same way tobacco companies sold tobacco in the past. Lies, misrepresentation, half truths, and attacks on the other brand. And because advertising is so powerful, yes it is, you think you are part of it. You're not, you are pawns. Necessary to get the "important" pieces in to position, but in the end, sacrificed at will for their greater good. Your jobs, homes, mortgages, businesses, financial health, health, all there for the taking so that those at the top can get rich, or as the banks have shown, survive and keep their bonuses. Its a filthy pyramid scheme, that we are conned in to supporting.

Sorry, democracy is a myth.

I assume its worse in the US.

So what do you propose instead? Direct vote on every issue?

It would be an interesting thought, certainly I'd be willing to entertain the idea of some kind of e-voting system, wherein people could, at very least, keep a running poll for each senator/representative in their jurisdiction regarding each piece of legislation, maybe make it an electoral college/delegate thing. Accurate information is hard to come by in those regards, so a lot of politicians vote the way they've voted for decades because they assume people still believe what they did when they first ran for election. Additionally, I'm intrigued by the Pirate Parties' "liquid feedback" system, which allows people to have a back and forth with their representatives and each other, in addition to being able to vote on the party platform.

Representatives know exactly who's supplying their campaign money and other inducements. And probably know how many citizens support various positions.

Knowing is not the problem. Doing is the problem.

If you could only hire an attorney from 2 options selected by other people that you had no control over and you couldn't fire him for 4 years, who do you think your attorney would be working for?

winner-take-all elections are a poor substitute for a veto over legislation.

Proportional representation is much better. Having both PR and the ability to approve or veto legislation is even better.

Switzerland has BOTH of these features. And government is not the slave of lobbies as it is in the US.

And there's no need for letter writing campaigns in a vain attempt to get these people to listen to the voters.

In Australia, the government is trying to grant their security organisation (ASIO) permission to read citizens emails, monitor web behaviour, etc. There is a similar petition for Australians to sign http://www.getup.org.au/campaigns/privacy/protect-us-but-res...

Instead of simply displaying the phonenumbers of the local Congressmen, they could use a simple Grassroutes widget (http://grassroutes.us/). OccupyWallSt.org and Twitpic.com used the widget during the SOPA blackout.

Makes me consider that ObamaCare compels everyone to give the government their medical records. Yeah, I'd consider those secrets subject to 4th Amendment protection.

This is flatly not true. The Affordable Care Act includes provisions to encourage - not compel - doctors to use electronic medical records; I really don't think this is such a ridiculous thing, and as someone who's work on medical data before I really think it's becoming more and more necessary to keep costs down. Here's a citation from someone who is concerned about security but who explains correctly that the Affordable Care Act in no way forces anyone to hand over medical records to "the government" :


Don't believe everything Glenn Beck tells you.


Citation, please?

It would be nice if you'd provide DC in the list too. We have a senator, they just don't vote.

Would it not be easier to create tools to ensure your complete anonymity when online?

Unfortunately, you can't fight battles like this on only one front.

Ignoring bad, overreaching legislation but finding a technological way to fight back will result in law enforcement going to congress later saying, "You gave us the authority to take these broad measures, but technology prevents us from doing our jobs. We now need new laws that outlaw those technologies or give us new authority to circumvent them. Perhaps we need a law that forces hardware manufacturers to include our backdoors so we can track users hiding behind anonymizing technologies. We'll also need more funding to increase our manpower and research to stay ahead of the subversive technologies out there."

Precisely, especially with Anonymous' doings lately I've heard several senators express a desire to outlaw TOR in the US, ironic since we were so in favor of it's use in Egypt, and since we developed it for use by Chinese dissidents.

No need to shout :)

(That is my reaction to the graphical design of the page.)

bug - the information form at the bottom of the page is missing validation.

Hmm, I'm in trouble. The new NSA Data Center in Utah is being built just down the street from my house.

Flagged as political.

Wait a minute. We're supposed to be upset that the feds took a guy's computer after they matched his fingerprints to a bomb bag used in the Madrid train bombings that killed almost 200 people? And we're supposed to believe this was ethnic harassment because "he is a muslim"? If any police anywhere find near-conclusive proof that you killed 200 people, it doesn't matter if you believe in the flying spaghetti monster. They just might take your computer away from you.

It turns out the fingerprints belonged to somebody else. Blame it on faulty software and faultier human interpretation. This scaremongering about routine evidence-gathering is socially irresponsible.

>It turns out the fingerprints belonged to somebody else...

It's more complex than that.

The problem was the fingerprints of the real bomber and Mayfield's prints were identical, each print was exact match to the other person. Exact at least to the satisfaction of the multiple fingerprint examiners each of those examiners followed a different procedure since there is no science of what's conclusive.

The problem was the FBI absolutely denied any two people could ever have the same prints although there was no way to prove that.

Even after the case was solved a test was done where the prints were sent for analysis again and the same examiners came to a different conclusion given the same prints!

Frontline on PBS covered this situation http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/criminal-justice/rea...

> Blame it on faulty software and faultier human interpretation

So you mean blame it on no one but a man's life gets destroyed.

And you wonder why they get away with murder...

Something bad happens, and the first thing on your mind is, "We have to blame this on somebody!"

And you wonder why America is mocked as such a litigious country...

Im always surprised by peoples aversion for trying to put blame on someone or some thing. Finding where the fault was is part of the process to make sure an error doesn't happen again.

I think there's confusion with the "blame game". As in, once you can blame someone, the problem is over and solved but that's just the start to solving the problem. I always want to know who did something wrong and how it happened so we could work to prevent it from happening again in the future.

Because as people state in this other thread (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4176658) quite clearly:

"It's not about pointing the finger or otherwise apportioning blame. It's about learning from mistakes and preventing them from happening again."

Just assigning blame is a cop-out that doesn't do anything other than make people better by finding a scapegoat and punishing that scapegoat as a result.

Actually, I really don't care about blaming a person or a thing. What I am most concerned about is that the person who was most affected by the issue (the people who were incorrectly arrested) are made whole, as best as they can be.

This would include, to my mind, monetary compensation as well as having the offenders cover the cost of mental rehabilitation.

It's a traumatic experience and we should not be so heartless.

It is a common coping mechanism to find arbitrary things to blame in tragedies where there isn't one. It's part of our rational mind to find meaning and patterns in the natural world. We do this to understand. It's often wrong -- our eyes turn clouds into animals and mere static into design. This is not endemic to America.

What you're talking about is "lets jail someone for no reason other than this computer said so and oops we weren't supposed to jail him. SO SORRY"

I am more concerned with the person who had his life destroyed, not so much the system. The system is guaranteed to muck up, by definition.

if you're not breaking the law you have nothing to fear.

Live streaming webcam from your bedroom please. If you're not doing anything illegal in there, you're happy to do that, I assume?

Also true in the most oppressive regimes.

Godwin, I know, but someone probably said that to Europe's Jews in the early 1930s.

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