Not acceptable and not much you can do about it.

By on July 27, 2014 5:06:54 AM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

DrJBHL

Join Date 04/2002
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The FBI has been using drones for some time probably about 9 years). Years, in fact. When Sen. Paul (R-KY) started asking questions about that, the FBI decided to comply with the law and did the requisite “Privacy Impact Analysis”…which is on one hand pretty funny and on the other hand pretty serious. Since the FBI started the drone business in 2005, and deployed them in 2006, there had to be a PIA (which I’m sure the FBI and any other Agency receiving one considers them) and records show that at least one was completed. It should be available by FOIA – at least on line, by default.

Therefore, Muckrock filed a series of FOIA’s because, well, that’s what Muckrock does to obtain those PIA/PIAs. It even fought a tough lawsuit for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

So? They got the PIA, right? Nope.

All those PIA documents have been redacted in full. Even the cover page. Turns out there’s a Catch-22 or Rule-22, if you will which isn’t totally outrageous. Some things have to remain secret, although you have to really wonder just who gets to decide that.

“Justice Department guidelines allow agencies to withhold PIAs if publication would “reveal classified, sensitive, or otherwise protected information (e.g., potentially damaging to a national interest, law enforcement effort, or competitive business interest).” Department guidelines require separate justification for keeping PIA findings from the public, but the FBI did not release any such justification documents, either.” – Muckrock

So they refiled because the FBI didn’t even bother to justify the non production of documents. Just what that will accomplish is unclear.

So what’s funny about the whole thing?

When asked to clarify the wholesale redaction of the privacy impact assessment, the FBI cited its litigation with CREW as a block on responding. "Unfortunately this matter is pending litigation," wrote Christopher Allen of the FBI Office of Public Affairs, "so I will not be able to comment."- Muckrock

In other words, “Do drones invade your privacy? Sorry, that’s private”.

So much for the promised transparency.

Btw, by writing about privacy, I’ve probably triggered NSA interest: Check this Make Use Of article out. Not that they need an excuse…they can always lose the HDD.

 

Sources:

http://www.neowin.net/news/fbi-redacts-entire-drone-privacy-assessment

https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2014/jul/24/fbi-refuses-release-drone-privacy-assessment/

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/interest-privacy-will-ensure-youre-targeted-nsa/

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July 27, 2014 5:47:17 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

There are many sides to this.  I am very leery, in fact with some aspects that have made it out in public, outright disdainful of U.S. agencies utterly regarding the people of the United States to essentially be enemies and regarded as such in terms of taking way too many liberties in spying.

However, in regards to drones, the determination of right versus wrong isn't so clearcut.  Pull back a bit from the question of "is it right or wrong for agencies in the United States to use unmanned drones to spy?" to more basic questions such as "who owns the air above private property?"

One might be tempted to declare that private land owners should own the air above their property, but such a basic declaration would utterly destroy all air travel, as air travel can only happen on the premise that the property owned by private property owners does not extend very far in the sky ... there are really no paths for aircraft to follow between cities in the U.S. that would not take those aircraft directly over private property.  All of those aircraft have windows, and cameras and binoculars are not forbidden for passengers on aircraft, which leads to the reality:  there is nothing at all to stop anyone from spying on anyone from the air in the U.S.

It is well understood that it is not only the authority of law enforcement, but indeed their duty to peer into suspicious activity regardless of whether the activity occurs on public or private property; in the olden days, it was policemen on foot or horseback looking out for crooks and criminals while patrolling.  Even early on, it was realized law enforcement authorities must be allowed some "reasonable" level of authority to enter private property without express permission nor even a warrant on the grounds of "reasonable suspicion."  "Reasonable"-ness is, of course, a vague descriptor ... if you were to define a restrictive standard for what is reasonable, what would it be?

In my home state where I currently reside, Washington state, there are some terrible wildfires burning out of control in the drier portion of the state east of the Cascade mountains.  "Drone" aircraft are being used to help monitor the extent of the fires, which direction they are burning toward and how fast they are spreading which has triggered a number of debates.  The smoke and dynamic nature of the fires means flights even by seasoned professional pilots trained to deal with emergencies can experience a conflux of circumstances that make flying around ongoing hazards, such as these wildfires, much more hazardous than normal flight.  Is the government use of "drone" aircraft not just or reasonable?

What of the case of using drones to try and suss out terrorists or other armed and dangerous fugitives on the loose, such as Christopher Dorner (the former LAPD cop turned homicidal maniac who murdered the daughter and her fiance of an LAPD police captain whom had represented Dorner in a disciplinary case hearing [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Dorner ])?

I'm certainly not going to argue that any and all use of drone aircraft is justified, nor that U.S. law enforcement and spy agencies have not overstepped their bounds, but I find it very frustrating when someone pursues a course of action based on a gross oversimplification without considering the arguments they are making in a broader context and taking even basic steps to ensure their arguments are logical, reasonable and sound.

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July 27, 2014 11:41:44 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

The OP related to the FOIA's involved to see the PIAs (it appears there are 2).

The Justice Dep't. has a mechanism to refuse...but they didn't even relate to that.

The 'Answer' was essentially redaction of the documents.

What does that mean? To me that means that FOIA has been negated in an unacceptable way, regardless of whether they were being used in a reasonable manner or not.

I'm not debating that point, since there's no evidence now, one way or another (well, there is, but who knows where). I think there are probably reasonable uses just as there are unreasonable uses, just as there are reasonable and unreasonable uses of tracking devices placed on targeted vehicles.

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July 27, 2014 1:17:52 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Well, the only thing that confuses me is why, if you're not doing anything illegal or immoral, etc., would you even worry about this? If you are doing something illegal or immoral, etc., then you don't deserve any privacy in my opinion, and I sure hope you get caught by the very measures identified here.

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July 27, 2014 1:55:32 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

The "If you're not doing anything wrong, what's the big deal?" argument seems a smidgen tired.

http://chronicle.com/article/Why-Privacy-Matters-Even-if/127461/

http://www.wired.com/2013/06/why-i-have-nothing-to-hide-is-the-wrong-way-to-think-about-surveillance/

 

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July 27, 2014 2:12:51 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting LightStar,

Well, the only thing that confuses me is why, if you're not doing anything illegal or immoral, etc., would you even worry about this? If you are doing something illegal or immoral, etc., then you don't deserve any privacy in my opinion, and I sure hope you get caught by the very measures identified here.

 

so if the goverment is doing nothing illegal or immoral here, why do they think they have something to hide? 

or what about cameras in your living room? you have nothing to hide after all.

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July 27, 2014 2:13:01 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

If you run for congress and the incumbents campaign mysteriously ends up with your entire life history in personal calls, emails, video chats, purchasing habit, etc(questionable or not) and leaks it on the internet, you'd think differently.

 

No one has nothing in their life that others would view critically.  Put someone under a microscope, and you're bound to find something to shut them up with even if they've been squeaky clean.  Campaigns end over nude photo's basically every time they come up.  If the FBI takes a shot of a candidate having sex with their spouse in a normally private, but aerially visible location, the leak could be politically catastrophic, as well as a severe personal violation.  What position you're in could be a 10 point swing in the polls overnight.

 

You don't have to be doing something wrong to be humiliated in public for disagreeing with those in power.  The current administration is already persecuting political opponents.  Gibson Guitars was hit for millions in legal costs and fines incurred by a raid from the US fucking Fish and Wildlife Service, all over a law broken in other countries, that those other countries said doesn't exist.  Our government is dangerous.

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July 27, 2014 2:22:43 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Desiring privacy should not mean, de facto, that you must have something nefarious 'to hide'.  But that's exactly what it means to National Sports Authority. 

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July 27, 2014 3:21:32 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

 

As has been stated by others, all of us actually do have something to hide.  Anything that might seem to be unflattering in any way we would prefer to keep hidden from society at large.  This presents a problem when someone (using which 'tools') must decide what is and what isn't just 'unflattering' behavior or circumstance.

Each day the reality of what still constitutes privacy 'shrinks' (in my opinion).  Through the widespread adoption of various media worldwide by which everyone/everything can be watched it is my opinion that 'privacy' has simple become another way to describe 'choosing lack of scrutiny' and the real debate shouldn't just be centered around by whom and what means we subject ourselves to that scrutiny but also the end result.  In other words, laws should not be focused on 'protecting privacy' but rather on protecting/enhancing the 'due process' of how information obtained through scrutiny is and can be used.

I hope some of that made sense.....

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July 27, 2014 3:30:46 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting moshi,


Quoting LightStar,

Well, the only thing that confuses me is why, if you're not doing anything illegal or immoral, etc., would you even worry about this? If you are doing something illegal or immoral, etc., then you don't deserve any privacy in my opinion, and I sure hope you get caught by the very measures identified here. 


so if the goverment is doing nothing illegal or immoral here, why do they think they have something to hide? 

or what about cameras in your living room? you have nothing to hide after all.

 

The NSA, FBI, CIA and other government agencies exist for a purpose. I am terribly sorry that most Americans don't understand that purpose.  The safety and security of this country and its people are far more important than anything being discussed here. Just my opinion. Having served this country for 22 years makes you understand things like this a little better.

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July 27, 2014 4:10:21 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting LightStar,

The NSA, FBI, CIA and other government agencies exist for a purpose. I am terribly sorry that most Americans don't understand that purpose. The safety and security of this country and its people are more important than anything being discussed here.

 

How information (gleaned from us lowly citizens in whatever manner) can/is allowed to be used should be of concern to us all,  such actions have a nasty tendency to create precedent after which any change in 'policy' becomes immeasurably more difficult.

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July 27, 2014 4:23:09 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

It's the failing of people working in a position of artificial peril to lose grasp of the realities of the problems we face.

 

9/11 was a month of driving, we wont take away someone's license and throw their ass in jail for getting caught driving drunk, but we'll spy on every facet of the peoples lives just in case some towel head blows themselves up and fails horribly at killing as many people as they could have just driving a car through a crowd of people.

 

Terrorists have never been a significant threat to safety.  Bathtubs, wall outlets, swimming pools, there are a great many things vastly more dangerous to the population than terrorists.  Excusing an abusive, power hungry government filled with corrupt agencies that routinely violate the Constitution, just for a little safety from Islamic terrorists that have, collectively over their entire history, killed far less people in the US than automobile accidents do each year, is a mark of insanity.

 

I'm all for killing off radical islamists wherever we can find them, but my interest ends where infringing on my rights over something far less likely than being struck by lightning.  A surveillance riddled police state is far more dangerous to the population than the terrorists are.

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July 27, 2014 5:55:08 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Quoting psychoak,

A surveillance riddled police state is far more dangerous to the population than the terrorists are.

I'm down with that.

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July 27, 2014 6:16:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Not much you can do with a cowardly populace that would eagerly give up liberty for freedumb.

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July 28, 2014 1:39:33 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Stardock's Admins have an issue with the phrase 'towel heads', just as we have an issue with the terms 'wet backs' and 'niggers'.

None of these is acceptable on these forums.

Their use violates our T.O.S. found here ... http://www.wincustomize.com/terms-of-service 

Relevent section 3a.

 

The suggestion that the deaths from 9/11 is comparable to a month's driving incompetence on the roads is patently absurd in every way other than the statistc itself.

Most [not all] road fatalities are 'accidents' [of varying culpability due to stupidity or incompetence] wheras 9/11 was a criminal act [terrorism] which, if perpetrated by a sovereign country or state would instead have been regarded as an Act of War, with actual consequences [think Pearl Harbour].

Even singling out 'radical islamists' is about as narrow-sighted/myopic and discriminatory as one can get.  ALL 'radical' factions/entities are dangerous, from animal rights activists to white supremacists.  Cleverly the same Constitution everyone feels is threatened by 'Government agencies' PROTECTS radical extremists [provided of course they are Americans too].  

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July 28, 2014 5:02:40 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Most traffic fatalities are the result of criminally negligent driving, and I find any ready dismissal of deaths due to negligence or margininalizing them as less than deaths from a single act to be patently absurd.  And I would find it laughable, if it were not so tragic, that so many forget that the founding fathers were the 'extremists' of their day, lighting an armed and bloody rebellion.

Deaths from traffic and lack of universal access to health care greatly outnumber terrorist deaths, and we could do a lot more for the same amount of dollars to reduce the death tolls from either than in retribution for a terrorist act (and thus far, we only seem to be inciting more and more people around the globe to hate us and one day act out on the hatred we are bringing on ourselves).  Anyone whining about social safety nets or domestic infrastructure spending as 'too much' needs to take a look at even just the dollar cost of the unholy 'war on terror,' and not just training troops or building bombs -- more than 50,000 troops have been injured, and many of those will require specialized care for decades.  Imagine if we spent just a fraction of the amount of dollars we spend warmongering on improving traffic safety or universal health care at home ... imagine how many lives would be saved.

I'm really not crazy on this culture that seems to prefer to wage war while flipping the bird at the notion of taking care of our people and saving actual lives.

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July 28, 2014 5:34:39 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Jafo,

Even singling out 'radical islamists' is about as narrow-sighted/myopic and discriminatory as one can get.  ALL 'radical' factions/entities are dangerous, from animal rights activists to white supremacists.  Cleverly the same Constitution everyone feels is threatened by 'Government agencies' PROTECTS radical extremists [provided of course they are Americans too].  

Indeed. One BIG exception to 'Free Speech' is 'hate speech'...and NOBODY is entitled to that, citizen or not.

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July 28, 2014 6:00:31 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting DrJBHL,


Quoting Jafo,

Even singling out 'radical islamists' is about as narrow-sighted/myopic and discriminatory as one can get.  ALL 'radical' factions/entities are dangerous, from animal rights activists to white supremacists.  Cleverly the same Constitution everyone feels is threatened by 'Government agencies' PROTECTS radical extremists [provided of course they are Americans too].  



Indeed. One BIG exception to 'Free Speech' is 'hate speech'...and NOBODY is entitled to that, citizen or not.

 

Not in the United States.  Hate speech is as protected as any other speech, such as the obscene hate speech spewed by the Westboro Baptist Church at the funerals for soldiers.

The only real limitations on free speech in the U.S. is speech intended to cause more direct harm (i.e., shouting 'fire' in a crowded theater to create a stampede that gets people hurt), copyrighted material, libel and slander (written and spoken speech, respectively, which is provably untrue and is intended to cause harm to a person's reputation), and threats against specific people.

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July 28, 2014 6:34:28 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Actually, there was a hate speech prevention law that was passed and signed early in 2009. It expanded previous hate speech laws to include gender, sexual orientation, nationality, etc. What the law does is provide federal funds and federal law enforcement resources to local and state governments who are prosecuting persons under their hate speech laws. In other words, the Federal Government doesn't directly make it illegal. But even under local and State laws, there has to be some violent action to people or property before it can be invoked. It is not simply name calling. Here in Forums, one should acquaint himself with the TOU before responding however he/she wishes (specifically 3. a. and 3. k.). This is private, not public land. 

 

 

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July 28, 2014 6:56:41 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting DrJBHL,

Actually, there was a hate speech prevention law that was passed and signed early in 2009. It expanded previous hate speech laws to include gender, sexual orientation, nationality, etc. What the law does is provide federal funds and federal law enforcement resources to local and state governments who are prosecuting persons under their hate speech laws. In other words, the Federal Government doesn't directly make it illegal. But even under local and State laws, there has to be some violent action to people or property before it can be invoked. It is not simply name calling. Here in Forums, one should acquaint himself with the TOU before responding however he/she wishes. This is private, not public land.

 

I did not know about the hate speech prevention law Doc, thanks. I am glad it exists.

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July 28, 2014 11:16:10 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting the_Monk,

 

As has been stated by others, all of us actually do have something to hide.  Anything that might seem to be unflattering in any way we would prefer to keep hidden from society at large.  This presents a problem when someone (using which 'tools') must decide what is and what isn't just 'unflattering' behavior or circumstance.

 

for example if you don't like fracking in your neighborhood, the NATO chief suspects you to be a Russian agent. 

 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/fracking/10911942/Russia-in-secret-plot-against-fracking-Nato-chief-says.html 

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July 28, 2014 1:00:48 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Hate speech is speech.  Just like hate crimes are crimes.  Distinction without a difference.  Hate speech laws have no place in a country with a First Amendment.  What ever happened to 'Sticks and stones...' anyway?

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July 28, 2014 1:46:00 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Well, that's your opinion and you're certainly welcome to it but legislators think and thought differently, probably because it ceases to be 'sticks and stones' when linked to a suggestion or a call to hurt those 'others', it can incite to violence...which is also a crime. Therefore, the difference is intent.

"How is hate speech defined? A definition includes: “speech that attacks a person or group on the basis of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.”1 Another source defines hate speech as “speech not protected by the First Amendment (U.S.) because it is intended to foster actions against individuals or groups based on race, religion, gender, sexual preference, place of national origin, or other improper classification.”2 

1 www.dictionary.com
2 Webster’s New World Law Dictionary (2010)"

http://www.allaboutpopularissues.org/hate-speech-definition.htm


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July 28, 2014 2:21:35 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting LightStar,

Well, the only thing that confuses me is why, if you're not doing anything illegal or immoral, etc., would you even worry about this? If you are doing something illegal or immoral, etc., then you don't deserve any privacy in my opinion, and I sure hope you get caught by the very measures identified here.

Okay, so in YOUR mind, you're doing nothing illegal, immoral or wrong.  Okay, Fine, but that's your interpretation, and while you may  be entirely correct based on past lawas and moral views, the standing government of the day and its bureaucrats may see things entirely differently.  That's when you yourself could run afoul of the law - without even realising it - so would it be fair to say that whatever the authorities decide to inflict upon you for  non-compliance such as electroshock treatments, anal probes and bamboo shoots under the fingernails are in fact justified?

Me thinks you would protest vehemently and denounce the government for being too heavy handed, etc... not that it would do you any good.  The presumption of innocence in a paranoid country with a paranoid government that employs paranoid twats who take great delight in making others people's lives a misery is less than a mere fallacy, it's a downright fechen lie.

Sorry, Tom, its all well and good to take a holier than thou stance here, but you may be one in the next batch of victims of the next governmental, bureaucratic witch hunt simply because your initials simply fit some computer mopdel some FBI, CIA twat fed into the computer to justify his/her position and high paid salary

In a perfect world, mate, but in the US you can forget that... and it filters down to local law enforcement, local government, even the stores and supermarket chains you shop in.  Don't believe me?  Do some research on the store surveillance staff and the equipment at their disposal to identify potential thieves, etc, and just how many innocent people are extremely badly treated by civilian security personel.  Believe me, you'd be totally disgusted at some of the shit that goes on in your country under the guise of 'protection'  You might not get the exposes on TV over there, but we get to see them now and then, and Ill be frank, some of what I've seen horrifies me... cos some of the twats in power here seem to think it's acceptable behaviour

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July 28, 2014 2:27:47 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

^ There's a good deal of truth in starkers' words...wait...WHAT!!! The thought of that actually terrifies me! 

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July 28, 2014 2:41:18 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

 

For me the whole issue surrounding 'speech' and the freedom (or not) thereof is much simpler.  I see speech as either having constructive or destructive properties.  I believe one can completely and even vehemently disagree with someone else and yet ensure their speech doesn't devolve into destructive vitriol.  It is my view that 'hate speech laws' and others like it amount to not much more than a Band-Aid to the continual attempts in society to see just how destructive one can allow their speech / interaction with others to get before someone puts the brakes on.

Now going waaaay off topic........I see the real issues there being the loss of shame for one's own behavior (when inappropriate) that society has become all too familiar with, the ease with which we (all) seem to resort to destructive speech / behavior towards others and how accepting we are of the resulting enjoyment (schadenfreude) society seems to take from 'dismantling' each other (in terms of viewpoint or position).

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