Texas State Invasive Driver’s Licensing

Prepare your sphincter... (photo courtesy <a href=http://www.usanetwork.com/house>USAnetwork</a>)
Prepare your sphincter... (photo courtesy USAnetwork)

Moving to Texas? Plan to drive? Then prepare your sphincter!

To get a license, even as someone who already has an out-of-state license, you have to bring an enormous amount of paperwork with you. You can see the details on their webpage, but what makes it a truly rectal experience is when they ask for your Social Security information and take your fingerprints. Last I checked, I'm not applying for a job with the DMV nor am I a criminal so what reason or right do they have to either of these pieces of information?

The False Dilema people would just say, "if you don't like it, don't get a license and walk or ride a bike", but I'm quite certain that it's not unreasonable to ask them to put away the latex gloves.

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Government Databases are Dangerous to Privacy – Well Duh!

Why on Earth would anyone be surprised that when someone has access to a lot of sensitive data about people they know, they'd be tempted to look at it? Check out this story outlining several recent cases of government workers peeping on people with government databases.

Creation of government databases should be limited. Any that are legitimately created must be carefully controlled and restricted to only the people that need it. Breaches of trust should be visible and accounted for.

As far as I'm concerned, private databases owned by companies should fall into the same boat. No one should be tracked and tagged like an animal unless they're a convicted criminal.

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Prosecuting Whistleblowers

It seems there’s a been a big push recently to punish those naughty whistleblowers who leaked government secrets and put everyone in danger. The only problem is, they didn’t leak any secrets or put anyone in danger. Instead, they embarrassed their leaders and paid the price.

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Government Employees Have No Privacy on Government Devices

The city obtained a transcript of Quon’s messages during an investigation to determine whether officers were using their pagers for personal messages. The transcripts showed that Quon had been exchanging sexually explicit messages with his wife, his girlfriend and another SWAT team member.

In the end, the US Supreme Court ruled that for government employees at least, there is no privacy for your use of government furnished equipment.

To me, this is no shocker. What does surprise me is that this made it all the way to the Supreme Court! This guy really wanted someone to blame since obviously someone who's cheating on his wife AND his two girlfriends shouldn't be pointing fingers at himself.

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Australian Government Getting Worse and Worse

Australia has so much Big Brother nastiness going on, sometimes they make even the UK look tame!

The newest development comes where the government is demanding service providers to store all e-mail and possibly web browsing history for all its subjects citizens.

According to the directive, where internet access is concerned, this means the ISPs must retain the user ID of users, email addresses of senders and recipients of email, the date and time that users logged on and off from a service, and their IP address — whether dynamic or static applied to their user ID.

Like most ideas of this nature, it's sold with a plausible premise of catching criminals, but if innocent people are to accept such an invasion, it must first be shown that:

  1. The data actually DOES help catch bad guys.
  2. The data won't be abused and misused by the government.

In the US, we fail most consistently on the second. I don't know, but I'm going to guess that Australia's track record isn't a lot better.

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EU to Prevent Child Porn By Monitoring All Internet Searches

As depressing as the privacy and security landscape gets around here, sometimes our European friends come out with laws that make us seem so much better by comparison.

While everyone knows child porn is a very bad thing, some people will use that to push big brother agendas that are way worse than the crime they try to prevent! But won't you please think of the children!?

Remember folks, perfect society is easily obtained! Just remove all privacy and freedom from EVERYONE and we'll easily be able to weed out the bad guys at any time. Sweet!

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Senators Send Angry E-mail to Facebook Over Privacy Changes

Some US senators are not happy about the new privacy changes and have sent a letter to Mark Zuckerberg about it.

Facebook now obligates users to make publicly available certain parts of their profile that were previously private. If the user does not want to connect to a page with other users from their current town or university, the user will have that information deleted altogether from their profile.

If you read the entire letter, you can clearly see that they actually know what they're talking about. Surprising really.

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UK To Turn Anti-Terror Technology Against Citizens

We'll be watching you...
We'll be watching you...

For whatever reason, the future proposed in the movie V for Vendetta seems to be approaching every day in the UK.

From the Guardian:

Police in the UK are planning to use unmanned spy drones, controversially deployed in Afghanistan, for the ­"routine" monitoring of antisocial motorists, ­protesters, agricultural thieves and fly-tippers, in a significant expansion of covert state surveillance.

The UK is constantly in the news for gathering data on its citizens into databases so this comes as no surprise, but it's like watching your beloved sibling descending into drug addiction and homelessness. We can offer the people of the UK a safer place to live (for now anyway), but as far as the government's over-reaching dictatorship tendencies, all we can do is advise and hope for the best.

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22 Million “Lost” Bush-Era E-mails Recovered

I'm outta office. Too late sucka!
I'm outta office. Too late sucka!

E-mail records required by law to be available were "lost" during the Bush administration and somehow no one seemed to end up bearing the responsibility. That aside, the e-mails have now been "found" and it will be very interesting to see what's in them.

Meredith Fuchs, general counsel to the National Security Archive, said "many poor choices were made during the Bush administration and there was little concern about the availability of e-mail records despite the fact that they were contending with regular subpoenas for records and had a legal obligation to preserve their records."

"We may never discover the full story of what happened here," said Melanie Sloan, CREW's executive director. "It seems like they just didn't want the e-mails preserved."

"It seems like they just didn't want the e-mails preserved"…. No kidding. During a time when they were blocking the subpeona's of congress for Whitehouse staffers to testify against them for the screwups of WMDs in Iraq, the CIA leak, the security agency spying case, and more. I wonder what they could have to hide?

More importantly, can they retro-actively impeach him or is there some kind of statue of limitations? One of the biggest mistakes Obama has already made was to say that we should look forward and not back. That is incorrect mister president. The American public needs to see that abusers of power are held accountable. Make it so!

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UK Police Can Hack Citizens Computer Without Warrant

This comes from a long string of stories about how bad privacy is getting in the UK. As bad as it’s become in the US, apparently our friends out there have it much worse.

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