More importantly: it's somewhat presumptuous of you to suggest I need to "grow up" or "take responsibility". I stood up in a ballroom full of law enforcement and telecom executives and advocated for the legal, lawful reasons why someone might want to use a prepaid phone without requiring identification. I argued that once you got past accounting, there was no reason to associate the usage details of a phone with a particular party. I even used examples of law enforcement abuse of these facilities to make my point.
There is a lot of misinformation in this thread about what "interception" really means and how it's done. And I suspect in no small way that this is because LEAs dont want to tip their hands as to sources and methods. I won't either.
What I can say is this: if someone is capturing your traffic and has a court order to do it, it's because there is strong evidence that you're using that traffic to conduct illegal activity. A judge is the final arbiter and looks at the evidence (not collected traffic) to support that conclusion.
Don't try and sell Adderall on Craigslist.
Don't steal credit cards or trade secrets via bots that "phone home".
Don't kidnap children and then send pictures of them to your friends.
The Fourth Amendment protects you against UNREASONABLE search. The reasonableness test is left up to the courts to decide on.
The problem with due process and the rule of law is that those things are enforced by humans. People invariably suffer from corruption, in particular, those in power. The less they are capable of, the safer everyone is. Governments and corporations have done orders of magnitude more harm than smaller entities like gangs (though from an absolute perspective, the separation between a gang and a government is mostly ontological). The criminals are (for the most part) not the ones we should be worrying about.
The legal system we currently have is broken at best and dangerous at worst. Many people have no faith in it's ability to be just or balanced. There are concrete reasons for harboring a distrust of the judicial system, e.g. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=lunchtime-l...
Not to mention that the judicial system is 'dumb' in the sense that it's primary goal is to enforce laws, not to improve society. Having a machine which processes instructions in this way and which simultaneously has the power to ruin someone's life is a bad idea by all metrics. Those two goals (enforcing the law and improving people's wellbeing) are commonly at odds due to the nature of how human societies function and how politics influence things which they ought not to.
The prison system also fares badly when it comes to solving problems - the reoffending rates are extremely high in many places - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recidivism#Recidivism_rates
So how can anyone take this joke of a system seriously and expect it to be capable of policing itself when emotion is so deeply embedded in the judgements and actions it yields? The judge's decisions are emotional. The system as a whole is crafted out of an inability to deal with emotion (i.e. prisons being primarily revenge mechanisms as opposed to institutions which help people to stop being violent against others).
This is the bigger picture of the situation we find ourselves in. IMO, adding to the arsonal of weapons which this system has access to will serve to cripple, not improve society. In other words, this is all counter-productive and does not take the reality of human nature into account. It is an idealistic perspective.
Your comments reflect all the certitude of someone who has never seen real evil up close. To suggest that a system that functions properly 90% of the time is a worthless endeavor isn't a realistic position I'm willing to argue with.
And I don't agree with your assertions. Statements like "Many people have no faith in it's ability to be just or balanced" doesn't jibe with the reality of our political economy. Every single day, hundred of millions of Americans go to work and get on with their lives. If the system was as broken as you claim, I seriously doubt we'd have the strength and standing among nations that you seem to ready to dismiss.
If you're getting all your information from magazines and wikipedia, you're bound to be misinformed about the reality of the task at hand.
And finally, statements like "The criminals are (for the most part) not the ones we should be worrying about" is simply indefensible. The justice system exists because people demand that it exist to protect them. They have agreed either explicitly or implicitly to the arrangement that we have today.
I know many members of law enforcement. They are by and large good people trying to do a hard job. A very hard job. Ask yourself if you have the courage to confront dangerous situations every single day, deal with persistent mendacity from nearly everyone you meet, and still maintain a level of professionalism and respect for individual liberty. That's an awfully high bar to set for a person and part of the miracle of our system is that it happens with such a level of regularity that we take it for granted. That's NOT the case in other countries.
Real evil? Like Santa Clause and Heaven and God and Angels and Fairies?
I did not say that this system is worse than previous ones and I do not see how that ties into my argument at all. I was making a judgement on what currently exists - and it sucks.
> If the system was as broken as you claim, I seriously doubt we'd have the strength and standing among nations that you seem to ready to dismiss.
Since you appear to be in the US - here are some concrete facts about the judicial system in your country - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incarceration_in_the_United_Sta...
That's right, your country jails more people than any other on this planet. But it's not broken, right?
>an estimated 4.8% of black non-Hispanic men were in prison or jail, compared to 1.9% of Hispanic men of any race and 0.7% of white non-Hispanic men.
That's functioning perfectly well, isn't it?
> If you're getting all your information from magazines and wikipedia
Wikipedia is a reputable source and your argument is rooted in a logical fallacy (appeal to authority). http://news.cnet.com/2100-1038_3-5997332.html
> And finally, statements like "The criminals are (for the most part) not the ones we should be worrying about" is simply indefensible. The justice system exists because people demand that it exist to protect them.
People also demand iPhones, junk food, drugs and violence. This is another logical fallacy (argumentum ad populum).
> I know many members of law enforcement.
I did not make a judgement on these people. In WW2, perfectly normal people committed atrocities because their culture and leadership dictated it. Normal people are capable of thoroughly horrible acts.
> I seriously doubt we'd have the strength and standing among nations that you seem to ready to dismiss.
You have your strength and standing because you are an empire with fingers in everyone's pie. The US has overthrown countless democractically elected leaders over the last century for profit. The world does not speak because it will be beaten for it. Why do you think the UN condems Israels actions but does nothing? This is not respect, it is fear. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covert_United_States_foreign_re...
Disagree all you want but the facts speak for themselves.
The US isn't perfect, but there is no other place in the world I'd rather live. For all our faults, people still bang on the doors to get in.
I'd put our record up against that of any other nation in the world. ANY nation. Look hard enough at everyone else and you'll find all the reason you need to hate their countries too.
So, sure, everything's peachy if you just keep your eyes on your house. As soon as you start to look around you'll find that your smile will drop through the floor.
I'm well acquainted with the history of the world and my point still stands: the oppression of the "other" is a HUMAN problem, not a USA/West problem. As long as there are people, there will be these kinds of problems.
Tell me what country you live in and I'll list all the reasons why you are not the USA.
Your viewpoint isn't informed or relevant.
You are responding to a point that I did not argue. I asserted that in the context of recent history and current events, the west, and the US in particular, has done inordinate amounts of damage. I did not claim anything more than that. I did not state that they are the only ones causing damage, just that they are currently the most effective at it. This was in response to:
> I'd put our record up against that of any other nation in the world. ANY nation. Look hard enough at everyone else and you'll find all the reason you need to hate their countries too.
I'd challenge you to consider the following thought experiment: if any other nation in the world was currently the sole military and economic superpower in the world, which one would you choose and why? Whose record would you suggest makes them a better candidate for that role?