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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • 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 []), this has been inferred from the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and the courts have often upheld this right.

      In reading through the links that I presented, one might reasonably question why the government has a right to know what brand of toothpaste I purchase. Further, I don't care for the FBI checking out my reading material at the libraries [].

      Recently, the Justice Deparment exempted the NCIC computer from accuracy requirements []. (You can read the original Federal Register publication [], if you wish). Reading through the Privacy Act which the NCIC is now exempted from, not only can the government stuff anything about you in the NCIC computer that they might happen to overhear, you're not allowed to know about it! Further, this change isn't even subject to public debate because it's a publication in the Federal Register, giving it the same force as law, but without the inconvenience of getting Congress to rubber-stamp it. (oh, and they can now share this potentially inaccurate information with anyone and not bother to note with whom it has been shared).

      In the context of the things happening in this country, otherwise silly comments such as Ari Fleischer's "Americans ... need to watch what they say, watch what they do []" take on an ominous tone. As such, I don't think it's unrealistic for people to question the wisdom of those who are making these decisions, so I will confess to being puzzled by your title stating that I deserve neither freedom nor safety.