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Ovid (2709)

Ovid
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http://publius-ovidius.livejournal.com/
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Stuff with the Perl Foundation. A couple of patches in the Perl core. A few CPAN modules. That about sums it up.

Journal of Ovid (2709)

Wednesday April 02, 2003
10:34 AM

The Land of the Watched

[ #11403 ]

And here I am doing what I said I wouldn't.

Is it going to take the US government using subpoenas and outright purchases of commercial data (which they legally cannot collect themselves) to finally convince people that maybe, just maybe, our civil liberties aren't what they once were? If the government is not allowed to collect this information directly, why is it okay if they allow private corporations to do this for them?

Yeah, I've heard the arguments before: "our government would never do (insert bad thing here)." Of course, when the government gets around to doing that, people say "it was for our own good and if you haven't done anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about," and yet another civil liberty falls.

The PATRIOT act was passed one and a half years ago, but since the average person sitting in McDonalds eating his clown meat hasn't noticed; he doesn't care. ("hey, they're after terrorists, not me!").

They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. (I suspect most people American's wouldn't recognize the origin of that statement).

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  • Just a guess, but I'd say that's Ben Franklin.

    Yup, fortune confirms it, which is probably where I saw it first. I love fortune.

    -Dom (in the UK)

  • You accept the laws that protect you from criminals and in so doing have given up many liberties. In general it is the giving up of some liberties to a greater good that moves a group of people from Anarchy to a more civilized lifestyle.

    That said -- the "Patriot Act" is a horribly scary thing.
    • I agree that I give up certain liberties for safety. In short, I specifically give up the freedom to harm others. However, where do we draw the line between our freedom and our safety? Where do we draw the line with the government's need to invade our privacy? While the constitution does not explicitly guarantee us a right to privacy (here are some interesting comments regarding the "right" to privacy [publaw.com]), this has been inferred from the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and the courts have often upheld t

    • It was a bitcy day and I probably wasn't clear....

      I take issue with people who trot out pithy little sound bites but ignore the full implications of them; In this case Ben's quote regarding liberties, freedom, and safety. We all give up liberties ( and I know he refers to "essential" ) in order to become part of a civilized society.

      So, is retaining your privacy regarding what toothpaste you use an "essential" liberty -- probably not, what books you read may well be. The tough question is, as you said,
      • Perhaps the only answer is to stop all likely, even remotely, such individuals at the border: "Sorry America is Closed, please return to where you came from." -- is that the nation we should become?

        But Timothy McVeigh was born inside America, so that wouldn't have stopped him.

        Or do we preserve our need to keep private what toothpaste we are using to brush our teeth while we watch the 5th suicide bombing in an American mall in a month?

        Presumably turning people away at the border is somewhat akin to fir

      • It could be argued that this is essentially a "last 5%" kind of problem -- that there's a great bulk of things handled by the imperfect system, and that making the system perfect requires a huge amount of expenditure of some form.

        Witness: There are problems, of course, and random violence and whatnot in many places. But on the whole, people are (forgive me) benevolent, if not necessarily all that bright. Most people walk around not knowing any better and not being able enough to exact vengeances agains

        --

        ------------------------------
        You are what you think.
  • Is it going to take the US government using subpoenas and outright purchases of commercial data (which they legally cannot collect themselves) to finally convince people that maybe, just maybe, our civil liberties aren't what they once were?

    This assumes facts not in evidence, that we have always had a significant amount of privacy from the government.
    • This assumes facts not in evidence, that we have always had a significant amount of privacy from the government.
      True -- but there was a time when government officials could be trusted to attempt to let people have their privacy.

      Not in my lifetime, sure, but still...

      --

      ------------------------------
      You are what you think.
      • True -- but there was a time when government officials could be trusted to attempt to let people have their privacy.

        When was this? I think you have us confused with some other country ...