First of all, I have no idea why IAM was out last night — my assumption is that the power cycled and I just don't have it set up properly to automatically turn things back on, and because this satellite is so unreliable, I don't have a monitor on it. But as far as I can tell it's nothing to worry about.

Congress last week passed the homeland security bill, and yesterday the Senate passed it (90-9 no less!) as well. This article has some information on it (although a couple small changes were made since that article was written), but to simplify, the main issue is massive data consolidation. That is, a single government file will contain not only your passport, social security, driver's info, court records, and so on, but also every note ever made about you by any agency, as well as every school grade, every travel plan you've made, your medical records, every credit card purchase you've made, your internet browsing records, and so on.*

The above sounds unbelievable, I know, but data-mining permissions to do this are built into the bill — this literally represents the end of privacy for American citizens. In addition, the bill amends the FOIA act and bans citizens from inquiring about the actions of the government on this subject and bans them from asking what information has been collected. This FOIA ammendment extends secondary protection as well (so when the power company hands over your records they can't tell anyone they did so, or in the case of a story I've featured before, when the librarian hands over your records they can't tell)

The EFF has also been campaigning against this bill, in part because of its inclusion of the “Cyber Security Enhancement Act” which allows ALL government agencies (everyone from the feds to the local cops to even high school principals) access to your email and voicemail without a warrant or probable cause.

The bill contains other provisions as well such as forced vaccinations of entire communities, and legal protection for vaccine manufacturers so if things go wrong the injured public has no legal recourse. I could go on and on about it, but it's pretty messed up…

I wonder often how far the government can push the American public before they revolt; how many rights are you willing to give up? At this point the American citizen is pretty much the least free demographic group in the Western World (not that most are aware of it I suspect). But then I think back to Vietnam — people on the whole were willing to have their sons and daughters snatched from their homes to be killed overseas in a war that was considered unjust, and they didn't revolt. So I guess most people will die before they'll revolt, as long as McDonalds keeps selling Big Macs.

“Would you like fries with your slavery?”

For me though, I guess it's time to start moving my corporate and financial assets out of the US. It's not worth the risk any more. I suspect many companies that have that option will start taking it as well.

PS. Did Osama come back, or was I imagining that?

* I'll ignore that it's been spearheaded by the guy who run the Iraq-Contra affair and was convicted of five counts of misleading congress but saved from prison because he was given immunity by the government.

Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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