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NJCubScouter

The "Patriot Act" and the freedom to read

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Here is my take on this.

You can collect all the info you want but how it is used is the issue. If any information is collected improperly a judge will exclude it from trial so it can't be used.

An example;

I am an Amateur Radio Operator I can listen in on all kinds of things but if I act on it I can be in big trouble.

I beleive this is the check. A small one maybe but a check non the less.

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"Is Canada a terrorist target? Do people in other countries hate Canadians? I wonder why not? ."

 

Because Canada is like Swaziland, most people don't even know that it exists.

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KoreaScouter, I appreciate the information about how terrorists and other criminals use "draft" e-mails and shared e-mail addresses to communicate while covering their tracks. I did not know about that. But interestingly enough, the sign that I saw at the library does not cover that activity. It mentioned "records of books and other materials that you borrow or information that you view on computers at this library." It says nothing about "material that you write and save." If the sign said, "This is a public terminal, and if you write or send e-mail, others may be able to read what you have written," I don't think I would have the same concern. (That's assuming that a copy of an e-mail that I write and save into an account as a "draft" exists somewhere on the computer, in a cache somewhere, but if it does not, I'm not sure how it relates to this subject at all.)

 

Anyone interested in learning about prisons from a sociological standpoint can get a brief tour; preferable to committing a crime and getting a long tour. Likewise, anyone interested in learning more about any form of child abuse can get a policeman or prosecutor to come to a committee meeting or Roundtable; preferable to possessing the material.

 

I wasn't talking about committing a crime, and the only "material" I was talking about was a perfectly legal book that discusses a sensitive and controversial topic. The sign at the library mentioned records of books and materials that I borrow. My concern was, how far could this be taken?

 

Before anyone goes off the deep end, please remember that the authorities don't have the resources to go to every public library computer and "data mine" -- it's only going to happen on a lead of some sort.

 

First of all, I choose to ignore the condescending tone implied in "Before anyone goes off the deep end." Second of all, I seem to remember that in the 60's the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover somehow had enough "resources" to collect huge dossiers on many innocent people and to infiltrate many groups whose only "crime" was that they vocally disagreed with the government's (or sometimes just Hoover's) positions on civil rights or the War in Vietnam. I shudder to think how all of that would have gone if the communications and surveillance technology of today had existed back then. Third of all, I know that in saying "a lead of some sort" you were not aiming for legal precision, but it still ties into my point. I have a concern that that the "degree" of lead required to investigate further will just be of "some sort" -- as opposed to the sort that actually indicates that some has been committed or is being planned by a particular individual.

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OK, Here is the real question: Who would win in a fight between Herbert Hoover and J. Edgar Hoover?

 

Seriously though, I don't want to give the impression that we shouldn't be vigilant regarding government intrusions. I just don't happen to think that looking into library records happen to be an invasion of any right. In fact, it wouldn't bother me if the usage records (as far as checkout goes) were open to the public. If the government owns the facilities, the usage records should be open to them. If the people own the facilities (I tend to lean this way), then the usage records should be open to them.

 

Yes, we should keep an eye on such actions, but this particular instance seems too benign to cause much concern. In fact, I'm surprised that the government even felt it necessary to notify the public. Hey, maybe it's a decoy for the real intrusive espionage that we will never be told about..

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Collect away! I have nothing to hide! And if this method will help protect my family & country from being attacked then it's worth it! It seems the only people this really bothers is those who HAVE something to hide or those who are paranoid!

 

Ed Mori

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In fact, I'm surprised that the government even felt it necessary to notify the public.

 

Maybe they figured that a lot of people were making the same vague, almost "unconscious" assumption that I was probably making, that my library records were NOT open for the public to see, and that the government could see them only if I were an actual suspect in a crime or the government had some other really good reason for getting a search warrant. Maybe that assumption was incorrect all along. But as I said, I couldn't have been alone, because the government did feel the need to require the library to put up the sign.

 

Adrian, I wonder how far you would take this. Does it apply to every area of government activity? My driving record is kept on a state-owned computer, does everybody have the right to see it? (The current answer is no, you have to be connected to law enforcement to see it, though my insurance company has every right to make me sign a paper that lets them see it, as a condition of insuring me.) If I were on any government-assisted health program, does everybody have the right to see my medical records? Or better yet, if I were a government employee with government-paid health insurance, are my medical records open to the public? (Currently, no to both.) Although the salaries of most public employees ARE a matter of public record, what about their personnel evaluations? (Currently, no.) How far would you go?

 

Or maybe you think that people who do nothing wrong shouldn't worry about what other people or the government know about them. Your joking dismissal of my "J. Edgar Hoover" reference suggests that might be the case.

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"it wouldn't bother me if the usage records (as far as checkout goes) were open to the public."

 

Considering that I cannot see my child's library records, I don't see why the government should be allowed to see mine.

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Ed,

 

Would you object if the police started pulling over cars to search the trunk? How about if they knocked on your door and rummaged through your wife's underwear drawer?

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If the government suspects my neighbor of something evil, i would hope they can check it out and do something about it than sit back and say they have the freedom to do shady things. I figure if you are a good citizen you have nothing to worry about concerning the Patriot Act. I've got nothing to hide! and neither should any other law abiding american

 

Yours in Scouting

VentureScoutNY

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Pete Townsend was the member of the WHO, who was arrested for having records or images related to child pornography on his computer. Reports I've read indicate he stumbled on some sites while websurfing and was astounded at how easily this material was accessed. He was going to write a paper on the subject and was doing additional research. He was apparently busted after he used his credit card to access certain sites and somehow his credit records were reviewed by police I think, but I'm not certain. Charges were eventually dropped however, he did go through the public humiliation of being accused and his name will stay on a sex offender list.

 

 

SA

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There is no difference between a person who has their freedoms taken by force and one who voluntarily surrenders them.

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures," is one of the foundations of the Republic, being prominent in both the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. Given the price paid to establish and defend that freedom, I'm surprised how inexpensively some are willing to give it away now.

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We have become so accustomed to goverment agencies and programs that we sometimes fail to remember what public facilities are. We assume that the goverment is somehow a distinct (yet elusive to define) entity from the institutions like the post office and public library which we use every day. Perhaps it is the streaks of libertarianism in me, but I usually make note of the public or governmental status of any institution when using it. Because of this, it didn't shock me to think that one governmental agency is able to look into the records of another. Perhaps I am just hoping that the government will never have a monopoly on every particular service, requiring all individuals to use them. In such a case, where the government and public services are the all, a cohesive and intercommunicating government would indeed be concerning. That, however, is not my vision of America.

 

 

The things that I find invasive and concerning are usually accepted as the norm. I find the notion of a tax on income to be disturbing. Income. Being taxed for using your money is one thing (and a debatable one at that), but being taxed for receiving compensation? Wow. I also find the notion of property tax to be disturbing. It seems to me that no one can really own land at all. If you disagree, stop paying the "rent" and see what happens. There are so many zoning and construction laws regarding what you may do on your own land. Can I please build this? Can I sell this? Can I hire someone to work here? Can I raise chickens here? Can I keep this rock? Can I tell my associates about this? Can I wear this? In all these things, the government has their finger. Should I be shocked that they may take a peek at how I use public facilities? Not when I already have to tell them exactly how many pennies I received this year and hope that they don't ask where every single one went. Now that's invasive. The government has been using income tax information for political reasons for decades. Remember all the enemies of Clinton who were audited for the first time after becoming vocal? I wouldn't be terribly surprised if the same thing comes up under Bush. The point of all this is that public facilities usage is the least of our concerns. Let's just be sure that we are being consistent in our vigilance here, and not simply jumping on the anti Patriot Act (or anti-Bush) bandwagon. There is a lot more involved here and it has been going on for a long time.

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Would you object if the police started pulling over cars to search the trunk? How about if they knocked on your door and rummaged through your wife's underwear drawer?

 

Without probably cause yes I would object. However, if they call my plate in that's OK & if they want to watch my house let 'em! Like I said, I have nothing to hide!

 

Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

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Ed

You responded with the following to FOG's question with the following "Without probably cause yes I would object." Isn't that the problem with the Patriot Act - which (my understaning) gives the government the right to search without probable cause?

 

TwoCubDad - I agree with you 100%.

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