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» Saturday, December 02, 2006

Big Brother and You

It's The Law...?Big Brother is very busy busy busy...   It seems these stories got about 2 minutes worth of air time, since the Middle East is going to Hell in a Hand Basket.   The airport screening risk assesment tool afforded Homeland Security is greeted sceptically by Kevin Drum at Political Animal.

The last two stories provide new insight as to how email is to be handled in the 21st Century.   The first excerpt below informs us of new rules requiring corporate entities to store email that may be of interest in legal matters.   The second story is how EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) is fighting in court to make email a private matter akin to postal mail and private papers in your possession.   It is important for all of us to stay informed on these issues that affect us as an internet community and a nation as a whole.   - fc

YOU ARE BEING WATCHED....You swat down one data mining project and it turns out there's another one waiting right behind it. Say hello to ATS:

The Associated Press reported Thursday that Americans and foreigners crossing U.S. borders since 2002 have been assessed by the Homeland Security Department's computerized Automated Targeting System, or ATS.

The travelers are not allowed to see or directly challenge these risk assessments, which the government intends to keep on file for 40 years. Some or all data in the system can be shared with state, local and foreign governments for use in hiring, contracting and licensing decisions. Courts and even some private contractors can obtain some of the data under certain circumstances.

....Almost every person entering and leaving the United States by air, sea or land is assessed based on ATS' analysis of their travel records and other data, including items such as where they are from, how they paid for tickets, their motor vehicle records, past one-way travel, seating preference and what kind of meal they ordered.

Patrick Leahy claims to be outraged by the whole thing, and I confess I'm curious about whether this is really the first that Congress has heard of it. Probably not. On the other hand, what Leahy is mostly outraged about is the fact that (a) the feds seem to be sharing this information pretty promiscuously and (b) nobody is allowed to know their own terror score. If yours is high, you'll never learn about it and you can never appeal it. You'll just get hassled a lot every time you travel.

Did Congress know about that? Probably not. So bring on the hearings.

Continue Reading This Article...

Update :: Other articles about this issue
U.S. Gov't Terror Ratings Draw Outrage
Keeping Score - by tristero
New rules compel firms to track e-mails

WASHINGTON - U.S. companies will need to keep track of all the e-mails, instant messages and other electronic documents generated by their employees thanks to new federal rules that go into effect Friday, legal experts say.

The change makes it more important for companies to know what electronic information they have and where.

The rules also require that lawyers provide information about where their clients' electronic data is stored and how accessible it is much earlier in a lawsuit than was previously the case.

Continue Reading This Article...
Court Tells Gov't 4th Amdt.Goes For Email Too

A landmark court decision found that the federal Stored Communications Act (SCA) violated Fourth Amendment protections from unreasonable search and seizure by allowing the government to search and seize email from email service providers.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation sent out notice of the decision and of their own filing of a brief supporting the decision. The decision was regarding Warshak vs. United States, filed by Steven Warshak who sought to stop the government from secretly searching and seizing his stored email based on the SCA. The court ruled that government must obtain a search warrant.

The government will appeal the decision to the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals. The decision is the first to decide whether email users have a "reasonable expectation of privacy" in their stored email.

Continue Reading This Article...

EFF News Release
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