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FBI to step up monitoring of social media


dude

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This is an interesting approach to law enforcement. I find I have mixed emotions falling on both sides of the fence. I imagine others will also view this with mixed emotions.

The internet has produced an entirely new dimension to our daily lives - both good and bad and in an accelerated fashion like never before.

Why would law enforcement not be looking at intelligence gathering too? I understand the privacy issue and take a deep breath! On the other side, based on the info in the article there definitely is a major positive on the enforcement side too.

I would hope that everybody is aware of the fact that putting ANY information on the web opens you and your thoughts to public viewing. That is a risk you take in offering information to the web/world. Why shouldn't this also work for intelligence gathering by 'Big Brother'? The benefits are huge based on the arrests mentioned in the article. Why wouldn't I approve of their information gathering – in the end it makes me safer! Right?

On the other side of the fence I can only think that the butt heads that placed this information on the internet did so knowing full well that it wasn't safe doing so – or, at least, should have been aware (smart enough) to NOT do it.

After all, alls fair in love and war.

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Why is it when I see news like this, I think of the rise of the fascist powers of World War II, and not the democratic Allies and the ideals from American and English and French philosophy that went into the founding of America?

This isn't the first time I've wondered if I will wake up one day and discover that I no longer recognize the country I love.

I would really suggest the people who want to put things like those kinds of monitoring and limits in place, really should go back and *read* the Constitution and Amendments. Oh, such things as freedom of speech, press, assembly, religion, and more. The notion of separation of church and state. The idea of innocent until proven guilty. The idea that a free and educated citizen is the best defense in any country, enough to be ready at a minute's notice to rise to defend him- or herself and his/her neighbors.

I can't recall right now the exact quote, but if I remember correctly, it was Simon Wiesenthal who said (paraphrasing) that it was all well and good until it was you they came for in the middle of the night.

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The most common characteristic of all police states is intimidation by surveillance. Citizens know they are being watched and overheard. Their mail is being examined. Their homes can be invaded.

-Vance Packard

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Living next door to the U.S. has its own interesting perspective. Canadian culture isn't so different, so the States is more-or-less familiar, and it's extremely easy to blend in. People don't act different around you, since they mostly assume you're another American. I've visited often, the first time that I remember when I was only 10 years old or so. And many times since.

But, I don't live there. Perhaps that's why I notice the changes so clearly every time I go there. Starting, of course, at the border stations. Then the road signs, the increased militarization of their police forces, the increased visibility of the military, the change in people's attitude towards authority and government, the increased mistrust of anything odd or different, the increasing polarization of opinions....

I don't want to paint with too broad brush strokes. It's a wonderful country full of beautiful people and great things to see. That's why I go there. But, honestly, I really, really don't like what I'm seeing the last few visits. And, once again quite honestly, if this continues it won't be long at all before I will be making the decision to not go there again. It just won't be worth the hassle, or the risk.

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Firstly I have never trusted Facebook, so I never joined it.

Second, I concur that we are living in over-regulated authoritarian and would-be theocratic nations, with bureaucracies reminiscent of despotic regimes,1984, and Brave New World, than the Utopia of The Enlightenment. One of the problems is that we have over-populated the planet to the point where the old political systems just can't cope. Our politicians are just not capable of handling the needs of so many people.

What this means is anyone's guess, but there is certainly a feeling over of overt rebellion against the way things are being run. Whether this degenerates into a war or civil violence around the world is something that is worrying many people. It helps to standback and realise we each need to take responsibility for our lives and our ability to support our planet so that it can help us survive.

In the mean time, join me in the front garden with a flash light, so that we can attempt to signal the mother-ship to come and rescue us, or least give us all the satisfaction of a good and well deserved anal probing.

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First they came for the communists' date='

and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,

and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,

and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the Catholics,

and I didn't speak out because I was Protestant.

Then they came for me

and there was no one left to speak out for me.

— Martin Niemöller. http://en.wikipedia....y_came%E2%80%A6

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Living next door to the U.S. has its own interesting perspective. Canadian culture isn't so different, so the States is more-or-less familiar, and it's extremely easy to blend in. People don't act different around you, since they mostly assume you're another American. I've visited often, the first time that I remember when I was only 10 years old or so. And many times since.

But, I don't live there. Perhaps that's why I notice the changes so clearly every time I go there. Starting, of course, at the border stations. Then the road signs, the increased militarization of their police forces, the increased visibility of the military, the change in people's attitude towards authority and government, the increased mistrust of anything odd or different, the increasing polarization of opinions....

I don't want to paint with too broad brush strokes. It's a wonderful country full of beautiful people and great things to see. That's why I go there. But, honestly, I really, really don't like what I'm seeing the last few visits. And, once again quite honestly, if this continues it won't be long at all before I will be making the decision to not go there again. It just won't be worth the hassle, or the risk.

The change began with 9/11. Bush and his cronies allowed the fears that sprouted from that to spread, and that led to things like the Patriot Act, and tightened airport security, and a whole new attitude towards insuring domestic security by increasingly reducing personal freedoms.

It's terribly difficult to put the genie back in the bottle, but that's what needs to be done. We're a huge country, with the strongest military in the world by about a factor of ten. We shouldn't act like scared little children, and we don't need a national police force controlling us. But once the mindset is in place that we're not safe, there are terrorists among us, and freedoms must be curtailed to stop them, changing that is so difficult. Especially when so many conservatives think we should have done this years ago.

We need more people talking about this, and we need our representatives to know we're strongly against all this heightened security meaures to keep us safe. We need to return to pre-9/11 conditions. But I don't see it happening any time soon.

C

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Within ten minutes of seeing the World Trade Towers fall, watching the news broadcasts here in LA, I turned to my partner and said, "everything is going to be different now. You just wait: the government is gonna go nuts, using this as an excuse to tighten up the borders, fire up the military, and cut back on our rights."

I really, really wish I had been wrong about this.

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The change began with 9/11. Bush and his cronies allowed the fears that sprouted from that to spread, and that led to things like the Patriot Act, and tightened airport security, and a whole new attitude towards insuring domestic security by increasingly reducing personal freedoms.

It's terribly difficult to put the genie back in the bottle, but that's what needs to be done. We're a huge country, with the strongest military in the world by about a factor of ten. We shouldn't act like scared little children, and we don't need a national police force controlling us. But once the mindset is in place that we're not safe, there are terrorists among us, and freedoms must be curtailed to stop them, changing that is so difficult. Especially when so many conservatives think we should have done this years ago.

We need more people talking about this, and we need our representatives to know we're strongly against all this heightened security meaures to keep us safe. We need to return to pre-9/11 conditions. But I don't see it happening any time soon.

C

Within ten minutes of seeing the World Trade Towers fall, watching the news broadcasts here in LA, I turned to my partner and said, "everything is going to be different now. You just wait: the government is gonna go nuts, using this as an excuse to tighten up the borders, fire up the military, and cut back on our rights."

I really, really wish I had been wrong about this.

The thing is, you're both absolutely right. It's obvious, it's visible, and it's palpable. Dinner conversations about traveling are different here now. It isn't long where, instead of people talking about going to Jamaica or France or Cuba, they're instead talking about how they're never, ever, going to the States again. Usually accompanied by a horror story of a strip search at the border or their car being torn apart. If not that, then stories about how long they had to wait in a US airport, or other indignities. I know, from certain news stories, that US tourism is suffering as a result.

Don't get me wrong. It's getting worse here too. But, we're probably ten or fifteen years behind in terms of survelliance and authoritarianism/militarization.

When I was a kid, crossing the border didn't even require ID. The border guard would more or less wave you through. Even fifteen years ago I remember crossing the border from Saskatchewan to Montana. The border at that time on that smallish highway consisted of one small building on one side of the road for US customs, and one small building on the other side of the road for Canadian customs. No gate. No booth. No nothing. The road was marked by a yellow line at the actual border. When I pulled up, absolutely nobody, nobody at all, was around. I stopped, looked around, then drove past the border and pulled off the road. I wandered into the customs building and rang the little bell at the desk. Eventually a friendly looking guy came out from the back, asked me if I had any fruits or vegetables, and then said thanks and went back where he came from. That was it. I could have breezed on through without even slowing down should I have chosen to, and I doubt there would have been any consequence at all.

Compare that to my last crossing, about five months ago. I wasn't on a busy highway. I figured a small crossing might be easier, since all the extra security these days at the main crossings means slower and longer lines. I was on my motorcycle. I pulled up to the heavily steel-gated booth. I could see cameras and microphones prickling from every corner. The guard was out and watching me approach before I even rounded the last curve, so obviously they have cameras to watch for approaching vehicles even on the Canadian side. I stopped and before I could even move, the guard was standing right beside me, with a heavy steel hand on my shoulder and his other hand on his waist, near his firearm. He said, in a montone but very serious voice, "Turn off the engine and stay seated." No smile. No hello. No "sir." Just an order. I felt like a damned criminal. Eventually after taking my passport and spending an inordinate amount of time in his booth on his computer with it, he came back out, this time much friendlier. We had a short chat about the weather and I was off, but his improved demeanor did nothing to calm my nerves.

Unpleasant doesn't begin to describe it. Then, right after you cross, there's all the warning signs beside the road. Don't do this. That prohibited. Don't you dare... You'd better not.... etc, etc, etc. And I must've passed at least three or four state troopers before I had gone five miles.

Once you get past that it's fine, of course. And small towns are still mostly the same as they ever were, but still. There's a feeling, a sense of impending...something. Like everyone is holding their breath.

So, yeah. There it is.

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Like it or not, we little Aussies have lost our innocent, laid back, fair go mate, she'll be roiyht, attitude. Of course, being the friend and ally we have always been and probably always will be to the UK and the USA, and the Commonwealth of Nations, (is that still going?) it was obvious to most of us that whatever happened as a result of 9/11, we would be involved.

The impending, something's going to happen, happened with the loss of civil liberties influenced by the Bush regime's fear over the axis of evil.

As a shift worker I notice the almost total lack of early morning, (after midnight) traffic on the roads. Late night revellers are discouraged and the horror is that the loss of employment and opportunity has precipitated what used to be called 'unsavoury' characters wandering the streets looking for houses to invade or lone travellers to mug.

We've had a few scares of terrorist activities but I have from the beginning of those draconian security measures, repeatedly quoted Benjamin Franklin,

"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

I wasn't the only one to quote this, and I certainly wasn't the only one who was ignored.

What frightens me is the rise of the aggressive extremist right wing Christian sects acting, mirroring the mentality and bigotry of the Taliban.

I really want to ask, why do we not see the peaceful loving Christians disassociating themselves from those extremists?

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The change began with 9/11.

It's been going on for a lot longer than that.

Forty years ago, people were afraid of criminals so we gave the police more power.

Thirty years ago we were we were afraid of drugs so we gave the police more power.

Twenty years ago we were afraid of perverts so we gave to police more power.

Ten years ago we were afraid of terrorists so we gave to police more power.

Now we are told that the Internet needs to be controlled for our protection.

We have been building a police state slowly- brick by brick and any mention of it is scoffed at. Now it is becoming a huge technological monster that has the potential for more repression than humanity has ever known. The terrorists do not scare me. The stupid little short-sighted men in suits who errect the technological terror one brick at a time, one law at a time, one constutional right at a time are the ones that keep me up nights.

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II agree it has been going on longer than 9/11.

I'm damned if I can remember who said it, but I recall that the allies were warned during WWII

that if they adopted the Nazi attitudes to fight the Third Reich, then even if they defeated them,

they would have become what they were trying to stop.

In many ways I think this has happened; the Germans lost the war, but the Nazi mentality won the peace.

Our own police state has been busy throwing out the safeguards of common law that it took centuries to build.

It may not be much longer before we are not allowed to discuss these matters in this way.

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