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05/23/2003 Archived Entry: ""
A good cartoon entitled "Lawyers Then and Now", compliments of Marc. B. This article just received..."SARS is a very dangerous virus with links to Al Osama Bin Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's former regime in Iraq," declared Bush as he advocated bombing Toronto to rid the world of the disease And, yes, the story is another bit of humor which springboards off my last blog entry about the hysteria gripping the US.
But this next article is serious. The Register reports, "Microsoft's latest security lapse with its Passport information service could trigger a $2.2 trillion fine on the company courtesy of the US government. The Federal Trade Commission last year demanded that Microsoft improve its Passport security or face stiff fines of up to $11,000 per violation. Redmond promised to work harder to protect consumer information and launched it's Trustworthy Computing initiative to put regulators' minds at ease. Well, the FTC is looking into the Passport breach and could slap Microsoft with a fine of $2.2 trillion to cover all 200 million violated users."
My last blog dealt with the threat posed by the mass hysteria being stirred up by government and the media, both of which downplay the *real* threat of economic deterioration. I mentioned only in passing that a police state was sweeping into our homes and lives on the coattails of the hysteria. The whoelsale destruction of civil liberties is not merely a threat, it is a reality and one that is likely to become much worse before it gets better. I am endebted to Vin Carreo who offered the following response to my commentary on the nowarblog Vin wrote, "Here's something to be afraid of. The Pentagon is about to embark on a stunningly ambitious research project designed to gather every conceivable bit of information about a person's life, index all the information and make it searchable..... The embryonic LifeLog program would dump everything an individual does into a giant database: every e-mail sent or received, every picture taken, every Web page surfed, every phone call made, every TV show watched, every magazine read.
"This gigantic amalgamation of personal information could then be used to "trace the 'threads' of an individual's life," to see exactly how a relationship or events developed, according to a briefing from the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency, LifeLog's sponsor. Someone with access to the database could "retrieve a specific thread of past transactions, or recall an experience from a few seconds ago or from many years earlier ... by using a search-engine interface."
Vin also provided a link to Carl Takei's piece entitled "Building a Nation of Snoops," for which he offered the following commentary, "WATCHING AMERICA with Pride, not Prejudice." This is the Orwellian motto of the New Jersey-based Community Anti-Terrorism Training Institute, or CAT Eyes, an antiterrorist citizen informant program being adopted by local police departments throughout the East Coast and parts of the Midwest. Mike Licata, a high school teacher and retired Air Force officer, created the CAT Eyes program.... Said Licata: ''I envision 100 million Americans looking for indicators of terrorism and promptly reporting it to a central database where it would get analyzed.''...
Even communist East Germany, a tightly controlled society with more informants per capita than either Stalinist Russia or Nazi Germany, was not as ambitious about citizen surveillance as CAT Eyes. In its heyday, the East German secret police, or Stasi, is generally believed to have had about 2 million informers, or about one-eighth of the East German population."
My thanks to the indomitable John Zube for alerting me to online "freebies" of interest to libertarians and anti-war advocates: "WHAT HAS TO BE CHANGED IN THE CONSTITUTIONS OF ALL STATES TO MAKE A LASTING PEACE POSSIBLE AND HOW CAN THESE REFORMS BE REALIZED?" and "AN ABC - AGAINST NUCLEAR WAR" -- both written by John. Each book is in a large single file at the panarchism site. In addition, John writes, "Available via e-mail [firstname.lastname@example.org] in bearably small batches are now PEACE PLANS 1-20, 183 & SLOGANS FOR LIBERTY letters A-J upon request. They include the three classical monetary freedom books by Ulrich von Beckerath, in PP 9-11."