Rewiring the System

What Can We Do About This State of World Affairs?

Posted in Uncategorized by rewiringangel on July 25, 2009

24 July It’s Official: Your IP Isn’t Private – Sovereign Society

If you’re reading this posting, you’re probably sitting in front of your computer without anyone gazing over your shoulder. It’s therefore easy to believe that what you do on the Internet—browsing, chatting, e-mailing, or whatever—is private.

Don’t believe it. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can monitor every e-mail message you send, every Web page to which you surf, and every chat session you initiate. If police demand this information, your ISP must turn over a record of everything you’ve done online. And now, thanks to a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones in Seattle, you have no right to keep your “Internet identity” anonymous. That opens the door to even greater privacy invasion.

Jones issued the ruling in dismissing a class-action lawsuit against Microsoft stemming from the company’s practice of collecting the “Internet Protocol addresses” (IP addresses) of consumers who download automatic updates from the company. Your IP address is a unique number that represents your publicly visible identity on the Internet. But because the address identifies your computer—and not you personally—according to Jones, you have no “expectation of privacy” in the address. That means any Web site can legally collect your IP address, unless they’ve promised not to do so.

The electronic Police State is here.

Most of us are aware that our governments monitor nearly every form of electronic communication. We are also aware of private companies doing the same. This strikes most of us as slightly troubling, but very few of us say or do much about it. There are two primary reasons for this: 1. We really don’t see how it is going to hurt us. Mass surveillance is certainly a new, odd, and perhaps an ominous thing, but we just don’t see a complete picture or a smoking gun. 2. We are constantly surrounded with messages that say, “Only crazy people complain about the government.” However, the biggest obstacle to our understanding is this: The usual image of a “police state” includes secret police dragging people out of their homes at night, with scenes out of Nazi Germany or Stalin’s USSR. The problem with these images is that they are horribly outdated. That’s how things worked during your grandfather’s war – that is not how things work now.

An electronic police state is quiet, even unseen. All of its legal actions are supported by abundant evidence. It looks pristine. An electronic police state is characterized by this:

State use of electronic technologies to record, organize, search and distribute forensic evidence against its citizens. The two crucial facts about the information gathered under an electronic police state are these:

1. It is criminal evidence, ready for use in a trial.
2. It is gathered universally and silently, and only later organized for use in prosecutions.

In an Electronic Police State, every surveillance camera recording, every email you send, every Internet site you surf, every post you make, every check you write, every credit card swipe, every cell phone ping… are all criminal evidence, and they are held in searchable databases, for a long, long time. Whoever holds this evidence can make you look very, very bad whenever they care enough to do so. You can be prosecuted whenever they feel like it – the evidence is already in their database. Perhaps you trust that your ruler will only use his evidence archives to hurt bad people. Will you also trust his successor? Do you also trust all of his subordinates, every government worker and every policeman? And, if some leader behaves badly, will you really stand up to oppose him or her? Would you still do it if he had all the emails you sent when you were depressed? Or if she has records of every porn site you’ve ever surfed? Or if he knows every phone call you’ve ever made? Or if she knows everyone you’ve ever sent money to? Such a person would have all of this and more – in the form of court-ready evidence – sitting in a database, waiting to be organized at the touch of a button. This system hasn’t yet reached its full shape, but all of the basics are in place and it is not far from complete in some places. It is too late to prevent this – it is here. Our purpose in producing this report is to let people know that their liberty is in jeopardy and to help them understand how it is being undermined. – The Electronic Police State


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