Internet Privacy Issues

I am very concerned about taking measures to protect society and children in general, but this is problematic. Once we start giving up civil liberties they become very hard to get back and that is part of how I see this.

Information can be used in a variety of ways and once this is collected I wonder what is going to happen with it.

Two bills have been introduced so far–S.436 in the Senate and H.R.1076 in the House. Each of the companion bills is titled “Internet Stopping Adults Facilitating the Exploitation of Today’s Youth Act,” or Internet Safety Act.

Each contains the same language: “A provider of an electronic communication service or remote computing service shall retain for a period of at least two years all records or other information pertaining to the identity of a user of a temporarily assigned network address the service assigns to that user.”

Translated, the Internet Safety Act applies not just to AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, and so on–but also to the tens of millions of homes with Wi-Fi access points or wired routers that use the standard method of dynamically assigning temporary addresses. (That method is called Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, or DHCP.)

“Everyone has to keep such information,” says Albert Gidari, a partner at the Perkins Coie law firm in Seattle who specializes in this area of electronic privacy law.

The legal definition of electronic communication service is “any service which provides to users thereof the ability to send or receive wire or electronic communications.” The U.S. Justice Department’s position is that any service “that provides others with means of communicating electronically” qualifies.

That sweeps in not just public Wi-Fi access points, but password-protected ones too, and applies to individuals, small businesses, large corporations, libraries, schools, universities, and even government agencies. Voice over IP services may be covered too.

Under the Internet Safety Act, all of those would have to keep logs for at least two years. It “covers every employer that uses DHCP for its network,” Gidari said. “It covers Aircell on airplanes– hose little pico cells will have to store a lot of data for those in-the-air Internet users.”

Deadly Force- Can You Use It to Protect Your Neighbor

Would you consider this a crime?

“A so-called “castle doctrine” law recently passed in Texas allows people to use deadly force to protect their homes and property. However, a case in which a Houston-area man in his 70’s killed two apparent burglars he observed breaking into his neighbor’s house has raised new questions about how far that doctrine might extend.

The man called an emergency dispatcher when he first saw the alleged burglars, saying “I’ve got a shotgun, do you want me to stop them?”

“Nope, don’t do that,” replied the dispatcher. “Ain’t no property worth shooting somebody over, ok? … I’ve got officers coming out there. I don’t want you to go outside that house.”

“I understand that,” the caller replied, “but I have a right to protect myself too, sir, and you understand that. And the laws have been changed in this country since September the 1st, and you know it and I know it.”

After five minutes, the dispatcher was no longer able to restrain the caller, who stepped outside and shot both men, reporting, “Here it goes, buddy. You hear the shotgun clicking and I’m going. … Boom, you’re dead. … I had no choice.”

A grand jury will decide whether the man can be charged with a crime. He will probably be found to have acted legally if it is determined that the neighbor whose house was broken into had asked him to protect his property, but not otherwise.”

Misplaced Priorities- The Saggy Pants Crackdown

“Proposals to ban saggy pants are starting to ride up in several places. At the extreme end, wearing pants low enough to show boxers or bare buttocks in one small Louisiana town means six months in jail and a $500 fine. A crackdown also is being pushed in Atlanta. And in Trenton, getting caught with your pants down may soon result in not only a fine, but a city worker assessing where your life is headed.

“Are they employed? Do they have a high school diploma? It’s a wonderful way to redirect at that point,” said Trenton Councilwoman Annette Lartigue, who is drafting a law to outlaw saggy pants. “The message is clear: We don’t want to see your backside.”

I am not a fan of the saggy pants look. It always looked ridiculous to me, but I haven’t viewed it as being a huge problem either. Apparently others do because there is a growing movement to end the sag.

It seems like a bad case of misplaced priorities to me. If they had to pick on one aspect of fashion to go after I’d do something about body modification. Like the guy in the picture below. Why oh why would you do that.

Still, these are low on my list of priorities. What about trying to help the homeless or make health care more accessible than it is today.