Privacy in the USA. Some resources.

Privacy in the USA is rapidly changing.

Technology, government and business all factor into this change.  The Internet, mobile phones, laws to protect us from terrorism and business fuel the change.

Here are some resources that I found interesting during my study of privacy –

  • Internet web sites
  • the Constitution of the United States
  • quotes
  • novels
  • TV documentaries
  • TV shows
  • movie documentaries
  • popular music lyrics

Updated March 7, 2015.  Comment and share your favorites.

Internet web sites

The Constitution of the United States

Privacy and the expectation of have been interpreted in the constitution.  The Constitution of the United States is available at archives.gov

  • First Amendment.  (freedom of speech)
  • Fourth Amendment.  (reasonable search, warrants)
  • Fifth Amendment.  (self incrimination)
  • Fourteenth Amendment.  (states may not deprive citizens of property without due process)

quotes

“… the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself ”
– US President Franklin D. Roosevelt at his inauguration address March 4, 1933.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_inauguration_of_Franklin_D._Roosevelt

You have zero privacy anyway.  Get over it.
– Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun Microsystems, January 1999 (source)

You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.
–  Rahm Emanuel, politician, November 2008 (source)

SEN. RON WYDEN: Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?
JAMES CLAPPER: No, sir.
– James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, March 12, 201, (lying under oath to congress)  (source)

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Marcus Ranum interview on surveillance –

Paul Asadoorian (host):  How has technology impacted our ability to monitor the government and vice versa, it kind of seems like privacy is a two way street, you have kind of an interesting take on this.

Marcus Ranum:  Yeah, well that’s an interesting one.

I believe that, well, if you want to take a kind of utilitarian perspective on this stuff what we’re basically saying is that the idea embodied in the 4th Amendment that someone would need go get a warrant to go search my stuff from a legal standpoint, that’s built into the body of law because the founding fathers of the United States were a bunch of smugglers that were actually concerned  and revolutionaries who were actually concerned about things like search and seizure because they would have gotten hung for being treasonous or, they would have been fined for smuggling, so thats why those things are built into that.

If we take a utilitarian perspective, what we say is we grant society the ability to protect itself from criminality through these laws and we also would acknowledge that the reason we let somebody be searched with a warrant is because we have identified that person as possibly more threatening to society and therefore society is willing to abrogate that person’s rights to some degree under some sort of control.

So what we then say is the people that are the most dangerous are the people that should be the subject of most monitoring, the people are that are the most likely to cause damage to society are the people whose privacy rights should be the most strongly impacted.

So that I would say that all politicians should be subject to public 24 7 surveillance completely makes sense.

All police officers, after all society has given all police officers the right and duty to carry a deadly weapon in society’s name and possibly deploy it, we absolutely have a right to see that it is done correctly and then another way of looking at it is to say perhaps we should also have ubiquitous 24 7 ubiquitous surveillance on the wealthy we’ve seen with the Koch brothers and Michael Bloomberg and what not is the the wealthy have moved into politics as well in order to cement their oligarchic control over society so perhaps what we have to do is say that if you are a significant political contributor you should also be subject to 24 7 surveillance of course that’s not going to happen right because they don’t want that and they are the people that really run society.

I mean yeah you can really throw it both ways, one of the tropes that came a lot during the Ed Snowden disclosures was what do you need to hide, what are you afraid of, if you are not doing anything wrong you don’t have anything that you have to hide.  You can turn that around and throw it right back at the surveillance state and say well if you politicians are behaving you’ve got nothing to hide right, right, the fact that the politicians are so deeply concerned about their privacy is not because their privacy is essential to legislation, and their ostensible democracy, in fact privacy on the part of law makers is a farce.  Everything is ostensibly is being done in our name, it should be open, none of these people should have any privacy at all.

Try floating that by them and see what they say.

This is my transcription of this excellent interview, any errors are my bad. Hear the interview at http://wiki.securityweekly.com/wiki/index.php/Episode400  recorded December 14, 2014

——————–

If people did the right thing we wouldn’t need regulations.  Paul Henry on Security Weekly January 22, 2015   securityweekly.com

books – fiction

Nineteen Eighty-four by George Orwell (1949)  This classic novel imagines a future of oppressive government surveillance.  It is available to read online.  A four minute YouTube video by Thugs Notes.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (2008)  This is a contemporary novel with teenagers resisting government surveillance and has some good technology descriptions.  It is available for free download.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by David Shafer (2014)  A contemporary novel about big data collecting all the data in the world and holding it ransom.

TV documentaries

“United States of Secrets.”  May 2014.  PBS TV documentary explores how US government agencies and businesses are collecting data.  Frontline TV show in two parts available with additional materials here.

  • United States of Secrets part 1 120 minutes broadcast May 13, 2014
  • United States of Secrets part 2 60 minutes broadcast May 20, 2014

“Inside the Mind of Edward Snowden.” May 28, 2014.  NBC TV news anchor Brian Williams interviews Edward Snowden.  Approximately 40 minutes.  Available at nbcnews.com with some additional video

TV shows – fiction

Government surveillance themes are appearing in popular TV shows including The Good Wife and Person of Interest.

The Good Wife.  “The Bit Bucket” Season 5 Episode 2  10/6/2013.  “Neil Gross of internet giant Chum Hum, seeks Lockhart & Gardner’s help in fighting the NSA regarding its recently leaked PRISM surveillance program. The NSA, while actively eavesdropping on the firm’s phone calls, discovers a possible link to terrorism in a former client of theirs” (Wikipedia)

The Good Wife.  “All Tapped Out.”  Season 5 Episode 18.  4/20/2014. “When Florrick/Agos takes  on the case of an NSA whistleblower, they learn the agency has been monitoring both the firm and Alicia’s personal life.” (Microsoft Media Center)

Person of Interest.  “Deus Ex Machina (Finale)” Season 3 Episode 23. 5/13/2014.  “The team work to stop Samaritan from coming online and targeting them; the battle against Vigilance reaches a conclusion.” (Microsoft Media Center)

movie documentaries

Citizenfour by Laura Poitras (2014).  This 114 minute movie reveals how the NSA documents collected by Edward Snowden were released to the media.  Laura Poitras tells the story of how she and Guardian newspaper reporters Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill worked with Edward Snowden to publish the NSA documents.  The NSA documents show the many techniques it uses to collect all the data it can, including data on US citizens.  This movie won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature 2014.

music

Surveillance themes in popular music.

“Integral” by Pet Shop Boys. (2007) Video at YouTube.

“Integral” by Pet Shop Boys. (2007) JCRZ – QR Code Video Remix. Video at YouTube.

“Somebody’s Watching Me” by Rockwell (1984)   Video at YouTube.

========================================

Following are excerpts from the resources cited above.

Constitution of the United States (excerpts)

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment IV
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

Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

AMENDMENT XIV
(Excerpt Section 1 by markdigital.com)
Section 1.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

————————————
Nineteen Eighty-four by George Orwell (1949) Excerpt by markdigital.com

“… in the past no government had the power to keep its citizens under constant surveillance. The invention of print, however, made it easier to manipulate public opinion, and the film and the radio carried the process further. With the development of television, and the technical advance which made it possible to receive and transmit simultaneously on the same instrument, private life came to an end. Every citizen, or at least every citizen important enough to be worth watching, could be kept for twenty-four hours a day under the eyes of the police and in the sound of official propaganda, with all other channels of communication closed. The possibility of enforcing not only complete obedience to the will of the State, but complete uniformity of opinion on all subjects, now existed for the first time.”  Part Two, Chapter 9.

————————————-

Person of Interest.  “Deus Ex Machina (Finale)” Season 3 Episode 23. 5/13/2014.  Screen captures.

Person of Interest TV show screen capture.

Person of Interest TV show screen capture.

Person of Interest TV show screen capture.
Person of Interest TV show screen capture.
Person of Interest TV show screen capture.
Person of Interest TV show screen capture.

———————————
“Integral” by the Pet Shop Boys.  Lyrics from the Internet.

If you’ve done nothing wrong
You’ve got nothing to fear
If you’ve something to hide
You shouldn’t even be here
Long live us
The persuaded we
Integral
Collectively
To the whole project
It’s brand new
Conceived solely
To protect you
One world
One reason
Unchanging
One season
If you’ve done nothing wrong
You’ve got nothing to fear
If you’ve something to hide
You shouldn’t even be here
You’ve had your chance
Now we’ve got the mandate
If you’ve changed your mind
I’m afraid it’s too late
We’re concerned
You’re a threat
You’re not integral
To the project
Sterile
Immaculate
Rational
Perfect
Everyone has
Their own number
In the system that
We operate under
We’re moving to
A situation
Where your lives exist
As information
One world
One life
One chance
One reason
All under
One sky
Unchanging
One season
If you’ve done nothing wrong
You’ve got nothing to fear
If you’ve something to hide
You shouldn’t even be here
You’ve had your chance
Now we’ve got the mandate
If you’ve changed your mind
I’m afraid it’s too late
We’re concerned
You’re a threat
You’re not integral
To the project
One world
One life
One chance
One reason
All under
One sky
Unchanging
One season
If you’ve done nothing wrong
You’ve got nothing to fear
If you’ve something to hide
You shouldn’t even be here
You’ve had your chance
Now we’ve got the mandate
If you’ve changed your mind
I’m afraid it’s too late
We’re concerned
You’re a threat
If you’ve done nothing wrong
You’ve got nothing to fear
If you’ve something to hide
You shouldn’t even be here
We’re concerned
You’re a threat
You’re not integral
To the project
Sterile
Immaculate
Rational
Perfect

 

“Somebody’s Watching Me” by Rockwell.  Lyrics from the Internet.

I’m just an average man with an average life
I work from nine to five, hey, hell, I pay the price
All I want is to be left alone in my average home
But why do I always feel like I’m in the twilight zoneI always feel like somebody’s watching me
And I Have No Privacy
I always feel like somebody’s watching me
Tell Mi Is It Just A Dream When I come home at night
I bolt the door real tight
People call me on the phone, I’m trying to avoid
But can the people on TV see me or am I just paranoid

When I’m in the shower I’m afraid to wash my hair
‘Cause I might open my eyes and find someone standing there
People say I’m crazy, just a little touched
But maybe showers remind me of Psycho too much
That’s why

I always feel like somebody’s watching me
And I Have No Privacy
I always feel like somebody’s watching me
Who’s Playin’ Trics On Me

I don’t know anymore
Are the neighbors watching me
Well is the mailman watching me
And I don’t feel safe anymore, oh what a mess
I wonder who’s watching me now— (BOOO!) -The IRS?

I always feel like somebody’s watching me
And I Have No Privacy
I always feel like somebody’s watching me
Tell Me Is It Just A Dream

I always feel like somebody’s watching me
And I Have No Privacy
I always feel like somebody’s watching me
I always feel like somebody’s watching me

I always feel like somebody’s watching me
I always feel like somebody’s watching me
Tell Me This Can’t Be

I always feel like somebody’s watching me
I always feel like somebody’s watching me

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