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Police can read e-mails 180 days old without a warrant, it's time to petition to stop it.

Last posted Jun 09, 2013 at 12:57AM EDT. Added May 29, 2013 at 02:42PM EDT
40 posts from 17 users

I’ve been rather chill on politics here lately, but here’s an internet related political post.

A communications bill from 1986 allows for police to access old e-mails without warrant. Sen. Patrick Leahy (LOL IRONY) has put up a bill to keep your privacy safe.

Link to Congressional petition

May 29, 2013 at 02:42PM EDT
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There’s not really something in my mail I rather not want police officers to know about. Mails are an easy way for criminals to send plans to each other, and if accessing them with ease helps solving crimes, I won’t really mind that they can check the bullshit I have in my inbox.

May 29, 2013 at 04:02PM EDT
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RandomMan wrote:

There’s not really something in my mail I rather not want police officers to know about. Mails are an easy way for criminals to send plans to each other, and if accessing them with ease helps solving crimes, I won’t really mind that they can check the bullshit I have in my inbox.

Without a warrant? It is unconstitutional, remember? 4th Amendment?

But I thought you were Dutch, so it doesn’t apply to you directly.

May 29, 2013 at 04:08PM EDT
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Katie C. wrote:

Without a warrant? It is unconstitutional, remember? 4th Amendment?

But I thought you were Dutch, so it doesn’t apply to you directly.

No it doesn’t apply to me, but that doesn’t mean I can’t given an outsider’s point of view on a situation over there.

May 29, 2013 at 04:11PM EDT
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E-mails, however private you may think they are, are not private. Any number of people can read your e-mails without a warrant. After 9-11 in Murica we lost a lot of freedoms that people didn’t even notice or complain about. By being labeled a terrorist, you can be held indefinitely without a trail and the terms on which they can label you a terrorist is as simple as telling someone you are going to kill them.

May 29, 2013 at 04:27PM EDT
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Derpy Vazquez wrote:

E-mails, however private you may think they are, are not private. Any number of people can read your e-mails without a warrant. After 9-11 in Murica we lost a lot of freedoms that people didn’t even notice or complain about. By being labeled a terrorist, you can be held indefinitely without a trail and the terms on which they can label you a terrorist is as simple as telling someone you are going to kill them.

90% of social media confirmed terrorists.

May 29, 2013 at 04:28PM EDT
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Katie C. wrote:

Without a warrant? It is unconstitutional, remember? 4th Amendment?

But I thought you were Dutch, so it doesn’t apply to you directly.

The Fourth Amendment didn’t account for the Internet, or the level of public information we allot.

May 29, 2013 at 05:37PM EDT
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The Fourth Amendment doesn’t currently apply to anyone living within 100 miles of a coastline (Read: 3/4 Americans), the FBI has been listening to all of you calls since Bill Clinton, and the FBI already has it’s backdoor access programs in all major digital communications networks. I think it’s time to give up on your privacy and learn some newspeak.

May 29, 2013 at 06:20PM EDT
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RandomMan wrote:

There’s not really something in my mail I rather not want police officers to know about. Mails are an easy way for criminals to send plans to each other, and if accessing them with ease helps solving crimes, I won’t really mind that they can check the bullshit I have in my inbox.

Yeah, I pretty much agree with this. I don’t really care as I have nothing to hide. Plus, it’s not like they will check my emails unless I give them reason to be suspicious.

@derpy

Why would you tell someone you are going to kill them in the first place? I’m sure they will ignore shit like " Imma kill you nigga with my penis launcher." , but if you make a threat that sounds legitimate, then that’s your own fault.

Honestly, use common sense and don’t go around breaking major laws and none of this will ever apply to you.

Last edited May 29, 2013 at 06:42PM EDT
May 29, 2013 at 06:30PM EDT
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Well, something needs to be done to stop that activity. Until then, try to include text from emails which authorities wish they didn’t read.

May 29, 2013 at 06:49PM EDT
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Cale wrote:

The Fourth Amendment didn’t account for the Internet, or the level of public information we allot.

“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.”

That counts as effects

May 29, 2013 at 07:58PM EDT
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Katie C. wrote:

“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.”

That counts as effects

*Except withing 100 Miles of the Coastline because fuck you, constitution. -Department of Homeland Security

May 29, 2013 at 09:02PM EDT
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Dac wrote:

Yeah, I pretty much agree with this. I don’t really care as I have nothing to hide. Plus, it’s not like they will check my emails unless I give them reason to be suspicious.

@derpy

Why would you tell someone you are going to kill them in the first place? I’m sure they will ignore shit like " Imma kill you nigga with my penis launcher." , but if you make a threat that sounds legitimate, then that’s your own fault.

Honestly, use common sense and don’t go around breaking major laws and none of this will ever apply to you.

It has changed in California but I don’t think it has changed in any other states or by the feds

California Penal Code 422 PC defines the crime of “criminal threats” (formerly known as terrorist threats).

A “criminal threat” is when you threaten to kill or physically harm someone and

that person is thereby placed in a state of reasonably sustained fear for his/her safety or for the safety of his/her immediate family,

the threat is specific and unequivocal and

you communicate the threat verbally, in writing, or via an electronically transmitted device.

Criminal threats can be charged whether or not you have the ability to carry out the threat…and even if you don’t actually intend to execute the threat

Last edited May 29, 2013 at 09:22PM EDT
May 29, 2013 at 09:21PM EDT
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@derpy

My question still stands, why threaten to kill someone? Also, how can you determine whether or not the person who made the threat actually wants to do it? Because they deny actual intent? I’m sorry, but that’s not gonna cut it. Be smart, don’t make threats. Especially with people who might take it the wrong way.

A story, at my brothers elementary school, this guy went to the front office to pick up his kids even though he no longer had custody. They told him that he couldn’t pick them up. He then told them that he would be back, that’s it. The principal called the police and he was arrested when he was off the premises. Technically he hadn’t done anything. There wasn’t a restraining order, so the dad wasn’t breaking that by trying to pick them up. Regardless, I’m happy he was arrested because who knows what he could have done. These are the kinds of cases that these laws were created for.

May 30, 2013 at 12:24AM EDT
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Guys, if you agree with it, then sign it. if you don’t, then don’t sign it. Simple as that. I, for one, signed it, but that’s just my opinion. Knowing our wonderful government, they’ll just toss it aside like yesterday’s leftovers, but it didn’t require much effort on my part to sign it anyway (Thank you, AutoComplete), and it’s still worth a shot.

May 30, 2013 at 01:39AM EDT
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Myconix wrote:

Guys, if you agree with it, then sign it. if you don’t, then don’t sign it. Simple as that. I, for one, signed it, but that’s just my opinion. Knowing our wonderful government, they’ll just toss it aside like yesterday’s leftovers, but it didn’t require much effort on my part to sign it anyway (Thank you, AutoComplete), and it’s still worth a shot.

What if you’re Canadian and enjoy mocking Americans.

May 30, 2013 at 11:20AM EDT
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I always assumed that whatever you put on the internet was fair game for everyone, despite whether or not it’s a private message or a Facebook post. I agree that it would help thwart potential crimes and such, and if you’re so concerned about privacy issues, I’m sure you can just find another method of correspondance with whomever you are sending sensitive text/pictures.

May 31, 2013 at 11:50AM EDT
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Dac wrote:

@derpy

My question still stands, why threaten to kill someone? Also, how can you determine whether or not the person who made the threat actually wants to do it? Because they deny actual intent? I’m sorry, but that’s not gonna cut it. Be smart, don’t make threats. Especially with people who might take it the wrong way.

A story, at my brothers elementary school, this guy went to the front office to pick up his kids even though he no longer had custody. They told him that he couldn’t pick them up. He then told them that he would be back, that’s it. The principal called the police and he was arrested when he was off the premises. Technically he hadn’t done anything. There wasn’t a restraining order, so the dad wasn’t breaking that by trying to pick them up. Regardless, I’m happy he was arrested because who knows what he could have done. These are the kinds of cases that these laws were created for.

Well, let’s just say in the heat of an argument you tell your girlfriend to “fuck off and die”. Then said GF calls police. She says he threatened me. You can now be charged as a terrorist. It’s a big difference from being charged with a crime and being charged as a terrorist.

The laws that are written may seem like a good thing at the time, but most laws don’t do what they are intended to do and police don’t use the laws the way they where intended.

Case in point: In California if you get caught peeing in public (who hasn’t done that at least once in their life) you can be charged as a sexual predator. You first think OK yeah, he shouldn’t have his dick out in public, people or even kids could see him, blah blah blah. Seems like a good law. But being charged as a sexual predator isn’t and shouldn’t be the same thing as just getting caught peeing. You can have your life ruined all because you had to piss.

Also your story, schools are retarded when it comes to stuff like that. He could have just been going home to get the court ordered ruling that shows he has visitation rights. Now because some asshat principle wants to be savior of the children, he gets spend the day in handcuffs. All because he wanted to see his kids. Nice. It’s one thing to not allow him to pick up the kids because he isn’t on their list but it’s another to call the cops on him.

Last edited May 31, 2013 at 06:22PM EDT
May 31, 2013 at 06:03PM EDT
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The user agreement is a thing that waives your 4th amendment rights. If you don’t want people to read your email, don’t write it.

Jun 01, 2013 at 04:56AM EDT

@Bat Bug

If you don’t want people to read your email, don’t write it.

So you think you don’t have a right to privacy?

If you don’t want people invading your home, don’t have a door? If you don’t want people watching you masturbate in your bedroom, don’t have windows? If you don’t want to be judged for enjoying the Crazy Frog Christmas album, don’t put the disk in the stereo?

If you go around with that attitude, you deserve to have your every movement treated as potential criminal activity

Privacy is a basic human right. If I don’t want people reading my emails it’s not because I am a criminal, it’s because I won’t be treated like one. My emails are my business and nobody elses. They are between me and my family, my friends, my employers, my contacts, my business dealers.

That’s not something that should be taken for granted.

Jun 01, 2013 at 05:17AM EDT
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@thread:

People who are interested in these sorts of things (and actually, those who don’t understand why it matters) would probably do well to read Doctorow’s Little Brother, which is free for download at the beginning of the related thread. No, I don’t have anything in my e-mails that’s incriminating or even embarrassing, but that doesn’t change the principle of right to privacy. From chapter 4:

There’s something really liberating about having some corner of your life that’s yours, that no one gets to see except you. It’s a little like nudity or taking a dump. Everyone gets naked every once in a while. Everyone has to squat on the toilet. There’s nothing shameful, deviant or weird about either of them. But what if I decreed that from now on, every time you went to evacuate some solid waste, you’d have to do it in a glass room perched in the middle of Times Square, and you’d be buck naked?

Cale the Witch-King of Cats wrote:

The Fourth Amendment didn’t account for the Internet, or the level of public information we allot.

That’s an iffy argument. Should the government have the right to censor anything they want on the Internet because “The First Amendment didn’t account for the Internet…”? Take away any and all weapons you bought online because “The Second Amendment didn’t account for the Internet…”? Take away your computer and give it to the U.S. Army because “The Third Amendment didn’t account for the Internet…”? Force you to confess and throw you in prison without trial for e-mail fraud because “The Fifth and Sixth Amendments didn’t account for the Internet…”? I’m sure I could keep going, but hopefully this was more than enough to make my point.

Dactective L wrote:

Plus, it’s not like they will check my emails unless I give them reason to be suspicious. … Honestly, use common sense and don’t go around breaking major laws and none of this will ever apply to you.

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at the naivete of these statements.

Why would you tell someone you are going to kill them in the first place?

Who says it even needs to go that far before the goverment starts fucking with people?

A story, at my brothers elementary school…

Look, I even understand firsthand why things like that are important (shortly after my parents divorced, my father showed up at my sister’s school, pulled her out, and disappeared for nearly a year) and I still think that’s a bullshit story unless there’s more to it you’re not telling. I don’t think it was wrong to call the cops for safety’s sake, but if all the guy did was say that he was going to be back, that’s a fucked up reason to arrest someone.

myconix wrote:

…it didn’t require much effort on my part to sign it anyway (Thank you, AutoComplete), and it’s still worth a shot.

You’re concerned about Internet security issues, and you use AutoComplete? Maybe this is a separate topic, but am I the only one who finds this an ironic juxtaposition?

Bat Pug wrote:

The user agreement is a thing that waives your 4th amendment rights.

I don’t know who downvoted you or why, because you’re probably right, and it’s a relevant point.

Jun 01, 2013 at 06:17AM EDT
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Blue Screen (of Death) wrote:

@Bat Bug

If you don’t want people to read your email, don’t write it.

So you think you don’t have a right to privacy?

If you don’t want people invading your home, don’t have a door? If you don’t want people watching you masturbate in your bedroom, don’t have windows? If you don’t want to be judged for enjoying the Crazy Frog Christmas album, don’t put the disk in the stereo?

If you go around with that attitude, you deserve to have your every movement treated as potential criminal activity

Privacy is a basic human right. If I don’t want people reading my emails it’s not because I am a criminal, it’s because I won’t be treated like one. My emails are my business and nobody elses. They are between me and my family, my friends, my employers, my contacts, my business dealers.

That’s not something that should be taken for granted.

Not if I waive my right in the user agreement like a dumb ass( it is not important to me, so I don’t mind). No. Yes. Yes.

Last edited Jun 01, 2013 at 06:30AM EDT
Jun 01, 2013 at 06:30AM EDT

Derpy Vazquez wrote:

Well, let’s just say in the heat of an argument you tell your girlfriend to “fuck off and die”. Then said GF calls police. She says he threatened me. You can now be charged as a terrorist. It’s a big difference from being charged with a crime and being charged as a terrorist.

The laws that are written may seem like a good thing at the time, but most laws don’t do what they are intended to do and police don’t use the laws the way they where intended.

Case in point: In California if you get caught peeing in public (who hasn’t done that at least once in their life) you can be charged as a sexual predator. You first think OK yeah, he shouldn’t have his dick out in public, people or even kids could see him, blah blah blah. Seems like a good law. But being charged as a sexual predator isn’t and shouldn’t be the same thing as just getting caught peeing. You can have your life ruined all because you had to piss.

Also your story, schools are retarded when it comes to stuff like that. He could have just been going home to get the court ordered ruling that shows he has visitation rights. Now because some asshat principle wants to be savior of the children, he gets spend the day in handcuffs. All because he wanted to see his kids. Nice. It’s one thing to not allow him to pick up the kids because he isn’t on their list but it’s another to call the cops on him.

I’ve never urinated in public. Unless you consider the woods public. Also, you can’t be charged as a terrorist for threatening an individual. That’s just a ridiculous assertion. What you described would be prosecuted as a domestic dispute. No prison time would be served unless an individual actually made good on the threat. They may take the person making the threat to jail for one night.

This law is designed to halt the distribution of child pornography, which is an epidemic in the United States (despite being a joke on the internet for some bizarre reason). I’m sure we can all agree that is a noble cause. This is 2013. If someone is still sending information over the internet that they don’t want police reading, they’re either engaged in illegal activity or just plain stupid.

Jun 02, 2013 at 01:30PM EDT
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@brucker
Ok, you got me. I made that story up.
/sarcasm

Jun 02, 2013 at 02:37PM EDT
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I see the fallacy of ‘I’ve Got Nothing To Hide’ is very popular here, a phrase that Stalin would love to hear. I believe in the phrase, “Unless you have reason to believe I’m doing something wrong, why are you looking at me?” The reason why I believe this is because I believe that if you are under investigation, then the authorities have the right to search for information that is relevant to the investigation. I do not believe in 24 hour motorization of my emails or online activity because it risks my privacy and it is a waste of resources of the authorities to find practically nothing incriminating. Thankfully Canadian common law promotes the prevention of this type of conduct or information abuse by the authorities.

Jun 02, 2013 at 02:46PM EDT
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The reason we need warrants is because there’s no oversight stopping a policeman from abusing his position.
So basically, and policeman can now effectively read everyone’s emails ever. Kind of ripe for abuse.

Jun 02, 2013 at 04:04PM EDT
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Dac wrote:

@brucker
Ok, you got me. I made that story up.
/sarcasm

Pardon my very imprecise wording. When I said it was a “bullshit story” I didn’t mean I didn’t believe that it happened, I meant that I experienced a large amount of moral outrage over the story.

If a guy says, “I’ll be back,” I can understand feeling threatened, and even calling the police just in case, but I don’t see how that alone can be reasonable grounds for arresting someone.

Jun 02, 2013 at 04:35PM EDT
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Ah, ok. Yeah, he was quite aggressive when they didn’t let him take his kids. I don’t know exactly what took place as I wasn’t there, I just was told about it as were all the parents or family members picking up the kids.

Jun 02, 2013 at 04:44PM EDT
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The Illuminati wrote:

I’ve never urinated in public. Unless you consider the woods public. Also, you can’t be charged as a terrorist for threatening an individual. That’s just a ridiculous assertion. What you described would be prosecuted as a domestic dispute. No prison time would be served unless an individual actually made good on the threat. They may take the person making the threat to jail for one night.

This law is designed to halt the distribution of child pornography, which is an epidemic in the United States (despite being a joke on the internet for some bizarre reason). I’m sure we can all agree that is a noble cause. This is 2013. If someone is still sending information over the internet that they don’t want police reading, they’re either engaged in illegal activity or just plain stupid.

Yes peeing in the forest is still considered “in public”.

It is not surprising how seriously law enforcement take any accusation of making a terroristic threat, but what often surprises clients is what types of actions lead to this type of crime. Even threatening to “kill someone” in the middle of a bar room argument, even if you never intended to go through with the act, can be considered a terroristic threat and lead to serious criminal charges.
A Texas man has been charged with a crime for allegedly calling his girlfriend and making threats. The girlfriend alleges that she received several calls in which the man threatened to kill her. If the man did make these phone calls, one would expect him to face some sort of charge, however, making a “terroristic threat” is not the charge that would immediately come to mind. But that is the charge that the man now faces.
As the Texas Practice Series highlights, it is important to note that the statute covers the “intent” of the person alleged to have committed the crime. A charge of making a terroristic threat does not have to even place the supposed victim in a state of fear, just that there was the intent to do so. Furthermore, the person alleged to have made the threat doesn’t even need to have the capacity or ability to carry out the alleged threat, again, just the intent to instill fear in the victim.
A person charged with making a terroristic threat against another: If the threat is made against a family member or member of the household it’s a Class A misdemeanor. For a Class A misdemeanor a person faces a penalty of up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000.

Authorities are leaning more toward zero tolerance of teenagers who fling around online threats about acts of violence or terrorism. As a result, what might have once merited a slap on the wrist may today result in criminal charges.

The case of teenager Cameron Dambrosio might serve as an object lesson to young people everywhere about minding what you say online unless you are prepared to be arrested for terrorism.
The Methuen, Mass., high school student was arrested last week after posting online videos that show him rapping an original song that police say contained “disturbing verbiage” and reportedly mentioned the White House and the Boston Marathon bombing. He is charged with communicating terrorist threats, a state felony, and faces a potential 20 years in prison. Bail is set at $1 million.

So as you can see it doesn’t surprise me that Law Enforcement can read e-mails without a warrant. These things have been going on for a while now. Here is some laws you don’t know about….

US Customs and Border Protection and Department of Homeland Security Policy Changes

Allowed suspicionless searches of documents and electronic devices carried by US citizens returning from overseas travel.

Before this change, a government directive allowed customs officials to read documents or papers belonging to Americans returning from overseas travel only if there was a reasonable suspicion that a US law had been violated. The new policy, introduced by the Bush administration and followed by the Obama administration, allows government officials to search any documents or papers, including the entire contents of laptops and other electronic devices, without any suspicion of wrongdoing.

Authorized “sneak and peak” searches.

“Sneak and peak” search warrants allow the government to search your home or business without telling you about it until months later. Although national security concerns were the stated justification for this authority, these warrants are issued overwhelmingly in drug cases, with less than 1 percent used for terrorism cases.

Jun 02, 2013 at 05:18PM EDT
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Derpy Vazquez wrote:

Although national security concerns were the stated justification for this authority, these warrants are issued overwhelmingly in drug cases, with less than 1 percent used for terrorism cases. (My emphasis -Brucker)

In many ways, this is what the disturbing thing is about this sort of thing. If my government is going to do something about combating terrorism, a knee-jerk response is “Great!” On the other hand, consider the fact that our tax dollars are going to pay for these searches, and less than one penny out of every dollar has anything to do with terrorism. I know drugs can be a problem; I’ve got several friends who are drug addicts, and I see how it’s screwing up their lives. That doesn’t change the fact that the “war on drugs” is stupid and ineffective, and I have no interest in supporting it.

But that’s the thing; not only is some law enforcement official probably reading your e-mail without any requirement for probable cause and without having to let you know that they read it, but you are paying their salary for them to do it when they could be spending literally over 9000% more of their time doing something constructive about terrorism.

Jun 02, 2013 at 05:52PM EDT
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ITT:

Jun 02, 2013 at 10:55PM EDT

I think we should send incredibly disgusting emails to each other constantly instead

Jun 03, 2013 at 10:23AM EDT

You know what the best part about the Internet is?

Government slowly erodes our civil liberties: Meh.

Microsoft makes crappy game console: Rage!

Jun 03, 2013 at 11:42PM EDT
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Brucker wrote:

You know what the best part about the Internet is?

Government slowly erodes our civil liberties: Meh.

Microsoft makes crappy game console: Rage!

The internet at work.

Some here may be indifferent about something like this because “It doesn’t effect them”, but I for one can not stand the government constantly taking a shit on our bill of rights. Governments use terrorist/war threats as a reason to take away rights that they like to tell the public are “necessary for our protection” and a lot of the public doesn’t even seem to care. The government is scared of its own people, and they are trying to control us. We shouldn’t let them do that.

Thanks for the link, Katie. signing a petition might not do much, but it’s better than sitting around doing nothing.

Last edited Jun 04, 2013 at 12:10AM EDT
Jun 04, 2013 at 12:07AM EDT
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Brucker wrote:

You know what the best part about the Internet is?

Government slowly erodes our civil liberties: Meh.

Microsoft makes crappy game console: Rage!

Well, I don’t know how many people caught the latest development, which wasn’t much of a surprise, really. However, there was something I had been considering saying here with respect to the sentiment I expressed above, and apparently, I wasn’t the only one thinking it:

I was going to say that if the government takes away our civil liberties, then you can expect all of your video games to be like SimCity because the NSA and the DHS will want to make sure you aren’t doing anything subversive with your PlayStation 4. Unfortunately, it’s only sort of a joke.

Jun 07, 2013 at 04:37PM EDT
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I actually admire Obama for being very out front about these things, I don’t mind them happening in the open.

Last edited Jun 08, 2013 at 11:35PM EDT
Jun 08, 2013 at 11:32PM EDT

Bat Pug wrote:

I actually admire Obama for being very out front about these things, I don’t mind them happening in the open.

So if Obama says that he’s going to stick a camera in every house, does that mean that it’s ok, as long as he tells everyone that he’s doing it?

Jun 08, 2013 at 11:36PM EDT
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I say, have fun digging through my junk mail. I’ll be surprised if they ever find anything.

Jun 08, 2013 at 11:41PM EDT
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Nothing to find in your junkmail? Too bad. Looking at today’s spam folder, I see that a package failed to be delivered to me from FedEx, it’s my last chance to buy some special software, there are new jobs available that fit my requirements, some new miracle treatments for ADHD are available, I can buy a “home warranty”, there’s a no annual fee credit card for me, I can pay whatever price I want for name brand items, learn a foreign language in two weeks, find a local dentist, or have my resume looked over by a resume expert. I think this sort of thing will be very useful for the government.

Jun 09, 2013 at 12:57AM EDT
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Skeletor-sm

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