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Great Debate: Panopticon

Last posted Jun 17, 2013 at 07:16PM EDT. Added Jun 12, 2013 at 03:41PM EDT
27 conversations with 12 participants

So, most of you have heard of the recent news of online monitoring with the current US government. Edward Snowden, an ex-CIA worker, leaked information that government agents were violating, what many citizens claim, privacy rights that are protected by the Constitution.
More on that here

A recent poll by Aljezeera (released Monday) showed that 41% of the public found phone tapping unacceptable, 56% saying they thought it was acceptable. 64% thought that investigation was more important than privacy, while only 34% said it was not more important than an individuals privacy. With internet privacy, 45% said that internet monitoring was alright, while 52% said it was not alright.
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So, this issue is fairly divided. Some think it is necessary, some think it is excessive. As such, I wanted to extrapolate what people think. Do you think that monitoring technology is a good thing or a bad thing? Or perhaps an mix of the two?

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(Also, if you’re wondering why/what is Panopticon, it’s essentially a prison in which all cells could be overseen by a single point, a tower, though cell mates would never know if someone was in the tower, thus, they would be more well behaved because they felt the constant presence of a “watcher”. This is reflective of sociological and psychological theories like the Hawthorne effect, or in this case is reflective of how government having a constant “presence” can alter peoples online behavior.)

Last edited Jun 12, 2013 at 03:42PM EDT
Jun 12, 2013 at 03:41PM EDT
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The internet is a dangerous place, as people like us should know all too well. Sure, it might be fun and games, but the dark corners of the web contain more criminal offenses than one would like to admit. Rape, Child Pornography, Assassination planning, Drugs, Human Trafficking, nothing is a taboo anymore on the internet.

In that way, the need for monitoring is a must, as the internet simply is not a place you should leave unguarded. The anonymity the internet otherwise would offer can drive a man to crazy actions, the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory also says so on a milder level. Not to forget that its a commonly used source for evidence in trials, trials that you could call impossible without some unrestricted access.

So do I state monitoring is acceptable? Yes. For the safety of a nation you simply need to give up some privacy. The internet has become a huge part of our daily lives, that is simply the times we live in, and it’s only natural to adapt and accept to what comes along with it at occasion. The CIA and other government agencies (I’m not US, but it’s what the topic presents me) are professionals in this. They were trained to monitore and know the difference between a threat and a joke. I don’t believe there’s much reason for fear or paranoia there.

Last edited Jun 12, 2013 at 04:04PM EDT
Jun 12, 2013 at 03:59PM EDT
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Monitoring internet use is a divisive issue.

Because the internet is our frontier.

The Frontier Thesis says that Americans need a frontier. We need to have somewhere to go when we disagree, or don’t fit in.

People, all throughout US History have moved West when they just couldn’t stand things anymore. When they needed to escape.

Thus the “Wild West” happened, where law was dubious, everything was dangerous, but people could literally do WHATEVER THEY WANTED. This could be good or bad, but you got to choose whether you wanted to move west or not.

The internet is our Wild West. We’re all computer cowboys, in a dangerous world where your innocence can be killed with a single click. Your only defense is your wit and your savvy. And the internet is where people go when they’re fed up with the Zeitgeist, when they need to be free-er.

Should we take that away? It would make us safer. It would protect us from the dark places RandomMan mentions, but what would American society freak out if we lost our frontier?

To those outside the US: Do you have a frontier? If so, has it helped or hindered? If you do not have a frontier, has the lack thereof caused grief, or betterment?

Jun 12, 2013 at 04:24PM EDT
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@RandomMan
Interesting take, I hadn’t thought about what people foreign to the US would think :o I wonder if it is much different from the American public’s ideals?

And GIFT is proven time and time again (though the generic theory which deals with anonymity in general in psychology has another name), and not just online, but in the physical world. The artist, Marina Abramović, once did a performance where she gave the audience control, standing still for 6 hours with various items placed around her that the audience could use. At the end of the 6 hours, some people had put rose thorns on her stomach, some had torn her clothes, and one even pointed a gun at her (one of the items), though, was disarmed by another audience member. When she started walking towards the audience, they all ran off to avoid her.
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However, if I may play the devil’s advocate :P Anonymity is a corner stone of internet cultures without such most would not partake in nearly as much as they do online. Some rather notable examples would be the Furry community, MRM sites, LGBT support sites and various fetish sites, all of which count on said anonymity for their own protection (physical or social). People may be upset by this monitoring because of fear of someone leaking information that could be damaging to them. Food for thought :3

@Serious Business
Another interesting take. I have a suspicion that the American public’s reception to this will be different than other nations, not just because it is where the focus is in my initial post, but because our culture is more, um, rowdy(?) than others.
But yes, that is true, as I just pointed out above anonymity is central to what makes the internet to unique. The Internet is a unique place, being a frontier, as you point out, where we can discuss and share things we would be to afraid to share in most public spaces (though, the discussions aren’t always a good ones)
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I’ll play devil’s advocate again, and ask do you think that privacy is more important than protection? Do you think the benefits outweigh the costs? :3

Jun 12, 2013 at 04:45PM EDT
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Kyntak wrote:

However, if I may play the devil’s advocate :P Anonymity is a corner stone of internet cultures without such most would not partake in nearly as much as they do online. Some rather notable examples would be the Furry community, MRM sites, LGBT support sites and various fetish sites, all of which count on said anonymity for their own protection (physical or social). People may be upset by this monitoring because of fear of someone leaking information that could be damaging to them. Food for thought :3

As I stated in my previous post, the ones monitoring here are goverment agencies and the CIA. This isn’t an insurance company or your former classmates from school. I don’t think they have much interest in the fetishes and hobbies of one specific individual in a country of millions, nor do I see why they would want to leak it. As long as the law allows it they should be able to ignore it. Learn to trust goverment agencies a bit, they’re not conspiracy galore. Let’s also not forget that groups such as furries or the LGBT-community are not completely innocent either, they are no difference from general human nature when it comes to actions that break the law.

Although, in certain Middle Eastern countries, I have to give you kudos for this point, as their taboo of LGBT is taken to the next level, with punishment being no uncommon thing. But the topic is the US, not the Middle East, so this doesn’t apply.

Jun 12, 2013 at 05:56PM EDT
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RandomMan wrote:

The internet is a dangerous place, as people like us should know all too well. Sure, it might be fun and games, but the dark corners of the web contain more criminal offenses than one would like to admit. Rape, Child Pornography, Assassination planning, Drugs, Human Trafficking, nothing is a taboo anymore on the internet.

In that way, the need for monitoring is a must, as the internet simply is not a place you should leave unguarded. The anonymity the internet otherwise would offer can drive a man to crazy actions, the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory also says so on a milder level. Not to forget that its a commonly used source for evidence in trials, trials that you could call impossible without some unrestricted access.

So do I state monitoring is acceptable? Yes. For the safety of a nation you simply need to give up some privacy. The internet has become a huge part of our daily lives, that is simply the times we live in, and it’s only natural to adapt and accept to what comes along with it at occasion. The CIA and other government agencies (I’m not US, but it’s what the topic presents me) are professionals in this. They were trained to monitore and know the difference between a threat and a joke. I don’t believe there’s much reason for fear or paranoia there.

Note that the actual crimes happen in the Deep Net. They happen there because the government can’t track it. TOR was built by the CIA to get around China’s cyber-monitoring capabilities; I doubt the feds would have an easy time getting through it.

State monitoring is acceptable. State monitoring without a warrant is not. Without due process, there is no oversight as to when it is acceptable to look at your data. Any official high up enough on the chain of command can look at your data, including how to access your bank account, your medical history, that message you sent to your sister… if they don’t think you should run your office, hell, they can just publish your porn.
If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear, because they won’t search you. In theory. In reality everyone has something they’d rather the world not see, and it’s their own goddamn business.

From a legal perspective, this makes no sense; it’s in violation of the US constitution, and the court saying it isn’t doesn’t make the language different. Search and seizure without evidence mandating it is prohibited. But, in the immortal words of George W. Bush, “The constitution is just a goddamn piece of paper”.

Jun 12, 2013 at 07:27PM EDT
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@RM

For the safety of a nation you simply need to give up some privacy.

How did that line go again? He who sacrifices liberty for security deserves neither?

Jun 12, 2013 at 10:11PM EDT
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Getting some interesting rebuttals here.
RandomMan points out that one of the governments duties is to protect the public, and as such, trust may be needed for them to preform such protection. As it is the governments job to track and prosecute criminals, it may be a real possibility that monitoring is a necessity to catch cyber criminals.
But MDF points out that another duty of the government is to keep a persons rights intact. He also states that a lot of the crimes online are hard to track, and one reason it is such a problem is because government agencies are still trying to catch up to modern technology/technological systems.

I do want to expand on both their ideals of officials being trained/corrupt. Even though government agencies train their agents to be professional, they are not robotic, and can be swayed by monetary or political reasons. Not to say that all agents are corrupt, but we always have those outliers (much like Edward Snowden is, for speaking out).

And BSOD, I did not forget you ;3 I think I’ll try to counter your quote (which, is a good one) with “Those who have nothing to hide, have nothing to fear”. It’s a bit of a folly, but at the same time, true. Only those opposed to search have something they don’t want discovered, the real question then becomes who is fearful of being discovered a criminal, and who is simply fearful of being embarrassed. It also becomes a question of how much you trust your government/how corrupt your government is.
I will close in saying, that complete trust in anything is a disaster waiting to happen.

Jun 13, 2013 at 08:12AM EDT
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Those who have nothing to hide, have nothing to fear

And I counter this with “I don’t deserve to be treated like a terrorist”. It’s a bit of a folly, but at the same time, true. Only those opposed to search wants their taxpayer dollars going towards fixing the economy and not wasting time monitoring my every damn move because I’m a law abiding citizen of no significance or they have something they don’t want discovered, the real question then becomes who is fearful of being discovered a criminal, and who do not wish to be falsely accused and labeled as a criminal

Last edited Jun 13, 2013 at 09:03AM EDT
Jun 13, 2013 at 09:03AM EDT
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I’d like to elaborate more on the legal principles behind this. Might as well do something with all these legal studies.


In the Katz case of 1967, the Supreme Court ruled that the 4th Ammendment prevents the government from tapping phone booths. It was decided that a person is searched when a) the person expects privacy in the thing searched and b) society believes privacy in the thing searched to be reasonable.
The significance of this definition is it determines what requires a warrant and due process by law.

Now, the users of mobile networks are under the assurance that their data is not to be given to 3rd parties; they expect privacy. Society views mobile phones as the exact same as ordinary phone lines; thus we can conclude that society as a whole views the privacy of phone lines to be reasonable.
Barring a reversal of the Katz Case, the NSA can be found to have acted in violation of the 4th ammendment.

In 2010, the United States Court of Appeal ruled that email providers can not be asked to turn over emails that have not yet been viewed by a 3rd party without a warrant.
On these grounds a warrant must be obtained for the NSA to perform any of the searches and seizures it has done under PRISM. Such warrants must also be publically available or they violate due process.

Ergo, the US government is violating the constitution, and I’m laughing at you from Canada.


EDIT:
“John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, accused Mr Snowden of “the worst form of treason” and joined mounting calls to see him prosecuted under the Espionage Act of 1917.”

I could not possibly be on the same side as House Bolton.

But yeah, the US government is immediately labeling Snowden a Chinese Agent, and Al-Qaeda supporter, etc.

Last edited Jun 13, 2013 at 09:52AM EDT
Jun 13, 2013 at 09:49AM EDT
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The Snowden situation smells like a foreign intelligence operation with a public relations campaign wrapped around it. First, we have the news that falls into three categories:

1. Evidence of potential invasions of privacy whose legality may be arguable, presented without the opposing argument.
2. Accusations of clear and large-scale violations of the 4th amendment with no evidence.
3. Blatant propaganda praising Snowden as someone the public should emulate.

Second, we have the manner in which the leak occurred. It came out the other day that Snowden leaked “thousands” of classified files. That kills the “whistleblower” theory that Snowden did it to expose wrongdoing for the good of his country. That is far more information than would be needed to expose any wrongdoing, and the potential for harming US interests through such a large breach of secrecy exceeds the potential benefit of ending an illegal practice. The information was not leaked to the public, but is being held secret by a select group of individuals who are simultaneously putting out the ideas that the state should not keep these documents secret and the people should not be allowed to see the documents for themselves.

Then there’s the fact that the biased-to-inaccurate news coverage followed the leak. Glenn Greenwald et al held onto the files until a story could be written to justify the leak as something that the public could approve of. They called him a simple whistleblower when they knew that this was not the case. Among the unrevealed secrets in this story is the real reason that Snowden leaked the files; one can assume that Greenwald knows and is not telling.

It certainly means something that Snowden chose to leak to the Guardian, but I’m not sure what. Of all English-language newspapers, the Guardian with its links to the Muslim Brotherhood is possibly the worst possible one to send classified information to. It would have been less damaging to US security if Snowden had leaked the files to Russia Today. Assuming that Greenwald sent the files to his editors, the worst of the world’s bad guys now have the files Snowden leaked while we the people do not. Now consider that Snowden is a techie. If a techie had wanted to leak information to the public, he would have sent the files to Cryptome, set up a torrent, published them on Scribd, or placed them on a public FTP server. He would have leaked the information to the public. Snowden did not.

Thirdly, we can see that a similar pattern has happened before, quite recently, in a case that was linked to foreign intelligence. We were told that Bradley Manning was a “hero”, a “whistleblower” who only wanted to expose the crime of “collateral murder”. Then it turned out that Manning leaked every document he could find to Wikileaks, that Wikileaks sent every document straight to Belarussian, and that the “crime” Manning had intended to expose had never happened as the “unarmed civilians” in the helicopter’s video were armed combatants. Like now, Wikileaks was slow to release information to the public and portrayed the fact that the leak occurred as evidence that a serious crime was committed. Like now, there were “activists” demanding everyone express support for Manning, condemning anyone who did not fall in line, and trying to direct the debate towards fear and hatred of US government institutions rather than fixing any problems. It’s like a script is being followed. It worked once, do it again.

Jun 14, 2013 at 01:34AM EDT
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I only support the government doing such activities if they wear little Nazi caps and cackle manically after talking about their plans.

Jun 14, 2013 at 08:08PM EDT
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RandomMan wrote:

So do I state monitoring is acceptable? Yes. For the safety of a nation you simply need to give up some privacy. … I don’t believe there’s much reason for fear or paranoia there.

Although, in certain Middle Eastern countries, I have to give you kudos for this point, as their taboo of LGBT is taken to the next level, with punishment being no uncommon thing. But the topic is the US, not the Middle East, so this doesn’t apply.

I think you’re missing the bigger picture, but I think I can paint you a scenario.

As I have stated or hinted at a handful of times on this site, I consider myself to be bisexual. I have also stated a few times that my wife is a conservative fundamentalist Christian. See the potential problem?

My wife is the only person besides myself who knows my full sexual history, so I’m lucky to not have this as a dark hidden secret, but you surely could imagine that it could be. What if I’d admitted to someone online in a much less public place than this that I was bisexual, or maybe I’d spent a fair amount of time perusing gay porn, and the government had records of this? The government doesn’t think I’m a terrorist, so I’m safe, right?

But maybe I work in an office where one of my co-workers is a suspected terrorist, and the government knows I’m tech savvy, I sit next to him, and I’m a closet bisexual. I’m informed by a member of the DHS that they want me to break into my co-worker’s computer and do something (it doesn’t matter what, let’s just assume it’s something I’m able to do, yet would not because it goes against my values). I say no. They inform me that they are going to ask me again, and I am going to say yes or my wife, children, and everyone at my church will be informed of my sexy little secret. So…

Kyntak wrote:

“Those who have nothing to hide, have nothing to fear”

…is complete bullshit when virtually nobody has nothing to hide. While the strategy above would not work for me, I have no doubt that there are millions for whom that or a similar strategy would work, and although I can’t think of what it would be (and certainly wouldn’t admit it if I could) there must be something that would work for me in its stead.

And as I believe I said in a previous thread on a similar topic, if the aim is to catch terrorists, then when you’re trying to find the needle in the haystack, the solution is not to find a bigger haystack. Every CIA, NSA, or DHS agent that spends one minute checking how much gay porn I do or do not browse is losing a minute she could be spending looking for actual terrorists.

In fact, let me say outright to any government agent reading this on taxpayer dollars, “FUCK YOU AND YOUR FASCIST BOSSES.” If they’re not here, but off doing something useful, then they will not read that, because it doesn’t apply to them.

Jun 16, 2013 at 05:03AM EDT
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They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

--Ben Franklin

Jun 16, 2013 at 06:48AM EDT
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@Bat pug

That is still despicable and backwards.

Even if I wasn’t a US citizen, I still don’t deserve to be monitored with suspicion and prejudice just because I’m from outside the US

Jun 16, 2013 at 01:48PM EDT
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Blue Screen (of Death) wrote:

@RM

For the safety of a nation you simply need to give up some privacy.

How did that line go again? He who sacrifices liberty for security deserves neither?

And because some famous person quoted that this is of course true by default. That quote is an opinion, as my post is an opinion, sue me for having one that clashes with his.

It seems we’re misunderstanding each other here a bit. I am a person who takes his privacy very serious, to the point that if I’m browsing the web and someone suddenly walks in I will minimalize all my tabs as a reflex, because its not necessary for them to know everything personal about me. Like a lot say, it’s simply within my rights to have some privacy.

Perhaps my opinion on monitoring and the handing out of personal info is more related to a case-by-case situation. I as well do not find it necessary to have people know everything about me all the time, but that’s where warrants jump in. They can’t get to my personal info unless they have a damn good reason to do so.

If a relative of mine is a suspect in a murder case, I would have no issue to answer some private questions if that would proof his innocense. As I said, sometimes you simply need to give up some privacy. Would you let them walk up to the scaffold instead?


There are rather popular sites that allow people to check if there are pedophiles living near their area, because fuck their privacy and all that even if they are not a risk for their kids amirite? Yet people still spew fire whenever their privacy is at risk. That’s not protecting privacy nor liberty, that’s called double standards. People only care about their own privacy, and will shamelessly break that of others even for just some good gossip. Why do you think gossip magazines are so popular?

I’m no Ron Paul fan, but as he once stated regarding Wikileaks: “in a free society we’re supposed to know the truth.” Do you support that statement, or do you believe privacy is something that should apply to everyone, even those that are a risk to your safety or those dear to you?

Last edited Jun 16, 2013 at 02:56PM EDT
Jun 16, 2013 at 02:26PM EDT
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A little off topic but I thought I would share. I’ll be perfectly honest, the first time I read the thread title, I thought “I know about lolicon and shotacon, whats this?” Then I clicked on it and I felt overwhelmingly stupid.

Last edited Jun 16, 2013 at 07:24PM EDT
Jun 16, 2013 at 07:23PM EDT
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Bat Pug wrote:

The unconstitutional stuff only happens to people outside America.

See, he was German, so this is socially acceptable.

I fail to see how that article is relevant to this discussion in any way.

As it stands, the government has declared it has the power to assassinate, hold without charge, hold secretly, and seize any information. They have said they can do this to American citizens, and they may do it within America; however, trust us, we certainly won’t do that, we just need the power to. Because if we can’t legally arrest someone and hold them without charge without the outside world knowing about it, the terrorists win.

Effectively, martial law has been declared during peacetime. They’re spending on the war on terror like it’s a conventional war, and it clearly isn’t. The threat is much less severe; you’re more likely to accidentally blow yourself up within your own house with fireworks on the 4th of July than be directly affected by a terrorist attack. That is a confirmed statistic. Every year, over a thousand young black men are shot and killed in Chicago.

The War on Terror seems to have been lost. We’ve let our actions be governed by terror; sacrificing our freedoms, our money, and the live of American soldiers for very little actual gain.

And when I say we, I mean hahahahah silly Americans eh, why is it so cold in Ontario. Because I was denied citizenship in the US despite my mother being born there and despite living there for months at a time. Denied citizenship that is until they legalized taxing American citizens who don’t reside in America. Your country has problems.

Last edited Jun 16, 2013 at 09:22PM EDT
Jun 16, 2013 at 09:21PM EDT
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@BSoD:

I think Bat-pug was being sarcastic.

@RandomMan:

Of course the quote is an opinion, and thus not necessarily true, but I think people cite famous quotes when they agree with them. I happen to agree as well.

Call it a double-standard if you will, but in my opinion, people who have committed felonies forfeit certain rights, which may vary depending on the crime. (Someone who has committed assault or murder can’t own a gun, etc.) I also believe that the government doesn’t have the right to privacy the way individual citizens do. In the case of something like Wikileaks, we’re talking about journalism, and I believe it’s the responsibility of journalists to be watchdogs of the government, as well as people of public interest such as politicians and various celebrities. I don’t think the latter part of that includes their personal lives (I’m personally tired of hearing about political sex scandals), but anything they do that influences their careers? Sure.

Jun 16, 2013 at 09:35PM EDT
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He was working with the CIA for some time, from what I have heard. Anyway, heard an interesting theory someone had about the CIA bit. Appently the CIA REALLY dislikes the NSA, and have been pretty weird about them over the years. A guy had the idea maybe the CIA is working with him to basically put some flith on the NSA. Honestly, the CIA and NSA are equally awful organisations in theory, but the CIA has shown to not go through with plans they deemed too stupid or too invasive in the past, while the NSA seems to go for just about every wild idea they have and make it happen…regardless of what sort of laws they are breaking, bending, etc.

Jun 16, 2013 at 11:14PM EDT
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Brucker wrote:

@BSoD:

I think Bat-pug was being sarcastic.

@RandomMan:

Of course the quote is an opinion, and thus not necessarily true, but I think people cite famous quotes when they agree with them. I happen to agree as well.

Call it a double-standard if you will, but in my opinion, people who have committed felonies forfeit certain rights, which may vary depending on the crime. (Someone who has committed assault or murder can’t own a gun, etc.) I also believe that the government doesn’t have the right to privacy the way individual citizens do. In the case of something like Wikileaks, we’re talking about journalism, and I believe it’s the responsibility of journalists to be watchdogs of the government, as well as people of public interest such as politicians and various celebrities. I don’t think the latter part of that includes their personal lives (I’m personally tired of hearing about political sex scandals), but anything they do that influences their careers? Sure.

I agree with that, if you have commited crimes what you are allowed to should be limited as a result of the crime you commited. I however am also a person of forgive and forget. People change, and their mistakes from the past should not always come back to haunt them. A pedophile who can control his urges with ease for a good 20-30 years already, would you still consider him a threat to your kids?

I understand where you come from. It’s like BSoD said before: “I don’t deserve to be treated like a terrorist.” Which is perfectly ok, it simply sucks to be called things you know are untrue, but having commited no crimes doesn’t mean you will never commit them. You may know you’re innocent, but how can a third party have that certaincy?

Let’s give a scenario that in a group of 10 people we know with certaincy 2 will murder a person. Now you can go two ways there:
1) You call them all potentional murderers, and will monitor all 10 until the unknown 2 are about to strike so you can stop them before it’s too late.
2) You will leave them all be, claim them all innocent, and will not look into any of them until the murder took place and it’s already too late to save the victims.

It’s a case of prevention is better than cure. Perhaps you don’t like being painted a criminal, but society has enough hidden amongst them. How often do you read articles about normal people of which their neighbours “would never expect them to be like that”. People carry dark secrets.

But don’t forget that I’m am playing partly devil’s advocate here. I agree with all these points that constant monitoring is taking it way too far, but that does not mean I support to just leave everyone be by default and pray they won’t do anything wrong. But that’s where the law, amandements, and warrants jump in. They need a reason to investigate a person.

Of course the quote is an opinion, and thus not necessarily true, but I think people cite famous quotes when they agree with them.

That’s ok, but I dislike it when people use famous quotes like they’re default facts. That’s a stolen opinion, and there is nothing to counter there nor something that will progress the discussion.

Jun 17, 2013 at 08:45AM EDT
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RE: pedophiles

I have an issue with the way that we as a society treat sexual offenders. I know there are a lot of people who feel that we should treat them with no mercy, and I understand that these sorts of crimes are serious, but… If you’re going to treat an offender like they’re no longer a human being, you might as well kill them as let them live while barring them from ever being a productive member of society. We need new ways of dealing with these people, and I don’t have the solution, but I’m sure there’s a better one than society currently tends to offer.

RE: mass monitoring

Let me give you a scenario out of Little Brother that is a well-known issue in statistics. You’ve got a group of 100 people, one of which is a terrorist. You have a method of identifying terrorists that has a 5% error rate. So you find the terrorist, but at the same time, you misidentify five innocent civilians as terrorists. So 94 people get treated like potential terrorists, and six people (only one of which is guilty) get treated like actual terrorists. That’s not acceptable to me.

If the aim of terrorists is to make us all afraid, and our reaction to them is to treat every single person in the world like a potential terrorist, then in my estimation, the terrorists have won. I understand and agree that doing nothing is not a solution either, but with the issue from my previous paragraph, I would say the issue is not to monitor more people, but to find a way to increase accuracy of methods for detecting real terrorists. If we don’t, we’re doing their job for them. Even with as little as has been revealed about the government in the U.S. spying on its own citizens, I’m far more terrified of my own government than I am of Al Qaeda, and that’s not the way things should be.

Jun 17, 2013 at 01:58PM EDT
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…and this morning, there was a helicopter flying low around my house, so immediately thought of this thread, lol. They’re probably looking for the marijuana plants, of which I’m sure there are many in the area. Two summers ago, I took a few hours one afternoon and located several thousand of them in my county via Google maps satellite view. I could show anyone a map who might find it entertaining.

Jun 17, 2013 at 05:15PM EDT
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Wow o.o this place boomed. While I have a minute not trapped in Solstheim (yay Legendary Edition for PS3!) I’ll see if I can stir up the pot.

In response to “Nothing to hide”.
Got a lot of hate (which, is completely understandable), but I think I might be able to better guide what I meant. The first thing I want to state is, it is not illegal to be a suspect. I feel there is a blur among some people as to what a legal suspect, and criminal, is. Per example: If I suspect someone of murder, and interrogate them with either a judges authority, probable cause, or a witness identification. This is not infallible, and sometimes innocents are suspects, and treated with suspicion (but that is not the same as being treated as a criminal). Likewise, if you are treated with suspicion for your searches, history, and interaction on public forums, which leads way for a search of personal information (much like in physical reality, where probably cause leads to warrants of search and seizure or arrest.), is that a violation of privacy?

As an addendum, the constitution does not protect the right of privacy, though the bill of rights does protect certain privacies (i.e. beliefs, self incrimination, search and seizure.), However, if the agent/agency can bring forth reasonable suspicion for a related search, or probably cause, to conduct complete search, then why/how is this different than in physical reality, is one is swerving on the road, hears loud yelling from an apartment building?

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On Innocence:
As BSOD, RandomMan and Brucker touched on, respectively, it is ineffectual to do nothing (as Random points out) so as to not upset people, as it will lead to no actual solution. However, as Brucker points it out, and I think the english jurist William Blackstone said (to some effect, or other) “It is better that 10 criminals be let free, than 1 innocent man suffer”.
Surely is the government does nothing, if fails it’s obligation to keep its people safe. Adversely, convicting innocent people defeats all fundamentals of jurisprudence.
As a personal belief, I believe we and our government lament far too much over severity of punishment, and how to catch criminals, and not enough about how to prevent crime. Legal repercussions tend to be one of the last things criminals account (thus, why they happen), therefore it is better instead to add some sort of reformation in behavior by either conforming them to a certain behavior, or using subtle deterrents (such as social taboo), which can be stronger than any law enforced by a body of government.

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Brucker- Re:Pedophiles
As you’ve probably noticed, I’m critical of how our justice system obsesses with the crime or punishment, much more than prevention, or reforming. We often forget about the psychological implications of things such as dysfunction, chaos, or crime. And we usually ask the wrong questions such as “How to do we punish this?” or “How do we catch this?”, rather than ask “How do we stop this?”. I don’t impose to have all the answers, but, do agree that we need to reassess what happens to criminals, and the sources of crime. Rather than the publics approach, which just demands they receive more years, or receive death (don’t get be started on social justice, which, consequently, helps prove my point about using sociological approaches, instead of legal ones). Otherwise, we will always be catching criminals, but never truly catching them.

Last edited Jun 17, 2013 at 06:48PM EDT
Jun 17, 2013 at 06:47PM EDT
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@Kyntak:

I’d like to clarify that there is a system of law under which we live that I do feel works well. If there was law enforcement officer of some sort who had reason to believe that I was breaking the law, and so they obtained a warrant to look at my e-mails or browsing history or whatever, then that’s fine by me; that’s the correct legal process. It’s the mass spying on people that gets me pissed off; there’s no way that the government had reason to believe that a significant number of Verizon customers were using their phones to break the law, so scooping up everyone’s data is offensive and in the end, silly.

Now as for preventing crime, which I’m taking to be concern of the bulk of your post, I agree that it would be great if we could find a better way to stop crime before it happens rather than punish it afterwards. I simply don’t think that the way you do that is to treat everybody as a potential criminal.

In many ways, what’s worse is the incompetence of our security systems. After September 11, 2001, airport security was suddenly put on alert to look for:
1. People with one-way tickets
2. Who paid in cash and
3. Have insufficient identification
Sounds great, and it isn’t that unreasonable except that the hijackers on 9/11 had valid ID and paid with credit cards for round-trip tickets. Now years later, we’re taking our shoes off at the airport because one guy had some explosives in his shoe this one time. Yes, if the government did nothing, they’d be lax in their duties, but I personally would rather see them do nothing than do something so incredibly stupid it’s offensive. I mean, I can easily imagine that before they caught him, there was a day when Osama bin Laden was sitting in a cave somewhere, and some adviser informed him, “So did you hear? Americans are all taking off their shoes at airports to foil terrorist plots!” and he had a good laugh at our expense while we were pouring billions of dollars into Iraq.

Jun 17, 2013 at 07:16PM EDT
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Skeletor-sm

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