"Who's Watching You?"

by Edward Langenback

© 4/15/06

More and more our lives are subject to the fact that some authority or other is watching us and making judgements based on those observations. More and more we have to be carefull about things that were once considered none of anybody's business because we're never sure how those who watch will react.

Of course, all this watching is in the name of preventing terrorism, fighting crime and the general safety and public well being. The problem with all this is summed up in the question "Who watches the watchers?". All this watching tracking and general surveillance is entirely too prone to being abused both on an individual level and on higher, governmental and military levels.

To those who mirror the Houston police chief's statement of "If you are not doing anything wrong, Why should you worry about it?" I would say that we should all worry about it because personal privacy and civil liberties are being eroded by this excess of surveillance cameras and tracking devices. And also because when people are complacent enough to not get upset about things like this they will be ripe for antichrist when he advances spying on and tracking the general public to the most invasive level imaginable.

Police chief wants surveillance cameras in Houston apartments
By PAM EASTON / Associated Press

Houston's police chief proposed Wednesday placing surveillance cameras in apartment complexes, downtown streets, shopping malls, and even private homes as a way of combatting crime with a shortage of police officers.

"I know a lot of people are concerned about Big Brother, but my response to that is if you are not doing anything wrong, why should you worry about it? " Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt told reporters Wednesday at a regular briefing.

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Here's another thing that, on the surface, sounds good but when you look closer at it and the implications it doesn't sound so wonderfull.

Keeping track of children in this ever more dangerous would is indeed very important. However one should ask "How and when will this technology be misused?", because only the truely naive can possibly believe that it cannot or will not be misused.

===== Sprint Users Can Track Children Via GPS
Apr 13, 3:17 AM (ET)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Up until now, parents had to deal with a separate company or buy special equipment to track their children through their cell phones. Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) becomes the first U.S. wireless provider to sell its own product when the Family Locator Service rolls out Thursday.

Using the Global Positioning System, the service allows parents to track up to four cell phones over the Internet or on their own wireless device. Parents can periodically ask the service to find the child's phone, displaying the location on a road map.

Parents can also set alerts, automatically warning the parent if the child isn't at a certain place, such as school or soccer practice, at a specific time.

The child's phone also displays a text message, letting the child know they've been searched for and found.

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This story brings President Bush's domestic spying program back into the front page where it belongs. If even a fraction of what is being alleged is true, then not only have AT&T, The NSA and probably many others been party to warrantless wiretapping and wholesale datamining on a monstrous scale, but it drives home how very little privacy we have left.

I also find it very interesting to note that while news items posted on apnews1.iwon.com inevitably contain urls for groups, companies and products mentioned in their stories, they did NOT include one for the EFF.

Electronic Frontier Foundation ( http://www.eff.org/ ) is a nonprofit group founded in 1990 when most people had never heard of the Internet. They have been working to preserve free speech, privacy, consumer rights and more. I have found their site to be very informative and strongly recommend it to everyone.


AT&T, Group Challenge U.S. Spy Program
Apr 13, 11:30 PM (ET)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - AT&T Inc. (T) and an Internet advocacy group are waging in federal court a privacy battle that could expose the reach of the Bush administration's secretive domestic wiretapping program.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation said it obtained documents from a former AT&T technician showing that the National Security Agency is capable of monitoring all communications on AT&T's network.

"It appears the NSA is capable of conducting what amounts to vacuum-cleaner surveillance of all the data crossing the Internet, whether that be people's e-mail, Web surfing or any other data," whistle-blower Mark Klein, who worked for the company for 22 years, said in a statement released by his lawyers.

U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker is considering whether to unseal documents that Klein provided and AT&T wants kept secret. EFF filed the documents under seal as a courtesy to the phone company, but is seeking to unseal them.

The EFF lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, seeks to stop the surveillance program that started shortly after the 2001 terror attacks. The suit is based in large part on the Klein documents, which detail secret spying rooms and electronic surveillance equipment in AT&T facilities.

The suit claims AT&T company not only provided direct access to its network that carries voice and data but also to its massive databases of stored telephone and Internet records that are updated constantly.

AT&T violated U.S. law and the privacy of its customers as part of the "massive and illegal program to wiretap and data-mine Americans' communications" without warrants, the EFF alleged.

Klein said the NSA built a secret room at the company's San Francisco central office in 2003, adjacent to a "switch room where the public's phone calls are routed." One of the documents under seal, Klein said, shows that a device was installed with the "ability to sift through large amounts of data looking for preprogrammed targets."

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