New US gov't project to monitor electronic communication

Discussion in 'Blazers OT Forum' started by Colonel Ronan, Dec 5, 2011.

  1. Colonel Ronan

    Colonel Ronan Continue...?

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    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/12...t-project-to-monitor-electronic-communication

    "PRODIGAL (Proactive Discovery of Insider Threats Using Graph Analysis and Learning) is a recently uncovered US government program created in partnership with the Georgia Tech School of Computational Science and Engineering, ostensibly to monitor IMs, texts, and emails on government networks, is feared to be turned on the US population at large. From the article: 'Cherie Anderson runs a travel company in southern California, and she's convinced the federal government is reading her emails. But she's all right with that. "I assume it's part of the Patriot Act and I really don't mind," she says. "I figure I'm probably boring them to death."'"


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  2. speeds

    speeds $2.50 highball, $1.50 beer Staff Member Administrator GFX Team

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    I love that people perceive the government to be a model of inefficiency and incompetence, until it comes to conspiracy, then they are stealthy masterminds.
     
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  3. Colonel Ronan

    Colonel Ronan Continue...?

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    Hey, you excel what you're good at!
     
  4. Denny Crane

    Denny Crane It's not even loaded! Staff Member Administrator

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    Technically, the govt. isn't reading the emails. It is data mining them, which is cause for some concern.

    You ISP or gmail scans emails in a similar manner. They look for the string "To:" to figure out who to deliver the message to. Gmail will also index all the key words in the message so you can search for a message fast. Gmail also ties key words to the ads it displays when you read a message.

    The govt. can do a lot with its data mining without reading the emails. Like flag messages containing the word "WMD" (or variant). They could flag emails sent to a known terrorist's email address.

    At some point, they do need a human to read an email to see the context the flagged words are used. For that, there are warrants issued, tho some might be after the fact.

    There's a relevant supreme court case about to be ruled on that should apply.

    We'll see how it plays out...
     
  5. BrianFromWA

    BrianFromWA Editor in Chief Staff Member Editor in Chief

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    So you're saying that I should watch my back for approaching stormtroopers when I send my wife an email asking if she went to the DMV today?
     
  6. Denny Crane

    Denny Crane It's not even loaded! Staff Member Administrator

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    I don't know that one flagged email would trigger anything of a bad sort for you.

    The kind of data mining that I think should be prohibited is them building a history of any individual's email habits. They are entitled to know if you send an email to a known terrorist, or even a dozen emails. They shouldn't be building a profile of you sending 'n' emails to your family, to customer support at some company, etc.

    Not without a warrant, anyhow.

    The SCOTUS case deals with whether the police can track someone by planting a GPS device on their car without a warrant. The police can follow anyone they want without a warrant now. It's called a stakeout or a tail. The GPS device is quite different.
     
  7. MARIS61

    MARIS61 Real American

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    The government shouldn't be reading anybody's emails. Or anybody's mail. Or listening in on anybody's phones. Or watching anybody's houses. Or following anybody's cars. Or registering anybody's guns. Or over-riding anybody's doctor's orders.

    Somehow, The Constitution and The Bill of Rights have been pushed completely aside and there is no branch of government still loyal enough to return this country to The People.
     
  8. Denny Crane

    Denny Crane It's not even loaded! Staff Member Administrator

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    The 4th amendment grants the govt. the power to read your email, listen on your phone, watch your house, etc.

    If you are on the highway and speeding, a cop can drive the same speed as you (follow you) to determine your speed and then pull you over and give you a ticket.

    If you are out in public, anyone can follow you, including the police. Just like with "reading" emails, they simply don't have enough people to follow everyone everywhere, or read more than a tiny fraction of all the emails sent.

    http://articles.latimes.com/2011/nov/08/news/la-mobile-scotus-gps


    GPS tracking concerns Supreme Court

    The Supreme Court justices, both conservative and liberal, voiced alarm on Tuesday at the idea of giving the government unlimited power to monitor people in public through the use of GPS devices or other tracking technology.

    The comments came during an argument over whether FBI agents need a search warrant before they secretly install a GPS tracker on a suspect's car.

    A government lawyer insisted that because no one has a right to privacy when they move on the public streets, the Constitution puts no limits on such high-tech surveillance.

    It would "not be a search if you put a GPS device on all of our cars, monitored out movements for a month?" asked Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

    "The justices of this court?" said deputy Solicitor General Michael Dreeben.

    Yes, Roberts said.

    "Under our theory and under this court's case, the justices of this court when driving on public roadways have no greater expectation ... "

    "So your answer is yes," Roberts interjected.

    The chief justice said he understood the notion that agents could follow a person on foot or in a car, but "this seems dramatically different."

    The new technology allows an agent to sit at in an office and monitor the movements of many persons, he said.

    Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said he had the same concern. The "heart of the problem," he said, is that computers now permit the government to gather huge amounts of information on people and their activities. "Isn't there a real change" because of computers and surveillance technology, he asked.

    Dreeben said no. It's "not a dramatic change," he said, in part because the government has no interest in tracking large numbers of citizens. He said the FBI uses GPS devices sparingly to monitor suspicious persons, including in terrorism cases.

    But the justices kept returning to the same point. "Under the government's theory, any of us could be monitored whenever we leave home," said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

    "If you win," said Justice Stephen G. Breyer, " it sounds like '1984,' " a reference to George Orwell's novel of a futuristic state with total surveillance of the populace by the government.

    Despite the justices' worries over unlimited surveillance, the argument did not offer a strong clue as to how the court will rule.
     
  9. Denny Crane

    Denny Crane It's not even loaded! Staff Member Administrator

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    BTW, 9-0 decision:

    http://supreme.justia.com/us/460/276/


    United States v. Knotts, 460 U.S. 276 (1983)

    Held: Monitoring the beeper signals did not invade any legitimate expectation of privacy on respondent's part, and thus there was neither a "search" nor a "seizure" within the contemplation of the Fourth Amendment. The beeper surveillance amounted principally to following an automobile on public streets and highways. A person traveling in an automobile on public thoroughfares has no reasonable expectation of privacy in his movements. While respondent had the traditional expectation of privacy within a dwelling place insofar as his cabin was concerned, such expectation of privacy would not have extended to the visual observation from public places of the automobile arriving on his premises after leaving a public highway, or to movements of objects such as the chloroform container outside the cabin. The fact that the officers relied not only on visual surveillance, but also on the use of the beeper, does not alter the situation. Nothing in the Fourth Amendment prohibited the police from augmenting their sensory faculties with such enhancement as science and technology afforded them in this case. There is no indication that the beeper was used in any way to reveal information as to the movement of the chloroform container within the cabin, or in any way that would not have been visible to the naked eye from outside the cabin.
     
  10. MARIS61

    MARIS61 Real American

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    It does not.

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    Furthermore, I am within my rights to take whatever steps necessary to protect myself, my family, and my property from harm, whether the assailant is a private citizen or a government employee.
     
  11. MARIS61

    MARIS61 Real American

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    No surprise there.

    SOTUS sold itself to the highest bidder over a decade ago.
     
  12. Denny Crane

    Denny Crane It's not even loaded! Staff Member Administrator

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    You just quoted the part that allows the govt. to read your email, listen on your phone, watch your house, etc.

    Upon probable cause.

    Then there's what a "search" actually is.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth...tates_Constitution#Definition_of_.22search.22

    Definition of "search"

    In Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967), the Supreme Court ruled that a search occurs only when 1) a person expects privacy in the thing searched and 2) society believes that expectation is reasonable.

    In Katz, the Supreme Court ruled that a search had occurred when the government wiretapped a telephone booth.[20] The Court's reasoning was that 1) the defendant expected that his phonebooth conversation would not be broadcast to the wider world and 2) society believes that expectation is reasonable.

    This is a threshold question in Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, since the Fourth Amendment only protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. If no search or seizure has occurred, the court ends its analysis.
     
  13. MARIS61

    MARIS61 Real American

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    I quoted the entire Amendment, and it does not allow anything of the sort.

    That's why it's called The Bill of Rights, rather than The Bill of Allowances, or the Bill of Infringements and Trespasses.
     
  14. MARIS61

    MARIS61 Real American

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    Pretty clear that stealing emails, sneaking looks at and recording a citizens communications, buying preferences, group memberships, and tapping/tracking cell phones would fall under the unreasonable searches and seizures definition.
     
  15. Denny Crane

    Denny Crane It's not even loaded! Staff Member Administrator

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    You quoted the entire amendment, but apparently you haven't read it or you don't comprehend it. Read it carefully, especially after the word "but"
     
  16. huevonkiller

    huevonkiller Change (Deftones)

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    Learn from Denny. On Public Property or on land that does not belong to you, the Government can do stuff like that.
     
  17. MARIS61

    MARIS61 Real American

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    That's not where they are doing it.

    They do it everywhere, mostly on private property.
     
  18. barfo

    barfo triggered obsessive commie pinko Staff Member Global Moderator

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    So, Denny, are you in favor of repeal of the 4th amendment? If not why not?

    barfo
     
  19. MARIS61

    MARIS61 Real American

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    You're the one with compression problems.

    The topic of this thread is government conducting illegal surveillance on it's citizens, without probable cause.

    Read it carefully, especially before the word "but".

    And it (The 4th Amendment) doesn't grant government the right to search with probable cause, it just doesn't protect citizens from it if the law otherwise allows it.
     
  20. huevonkiller

    huevonkiller Change (Deftones)

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    He's trying to explain probable cause.
     

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