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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Have a Political Bumper Sticker? The FBI Might Be Snapping Photos of You

 I told my wife that it was not good to have here political bumper sticker for her choice for president on her car.

Today marks the 35th anniversary of Food Not Bombs, the peace organization that seeks to democratically divert military spending into free food for the needy.

 But as documents recently obtained by MuckRock show, even such tepid support as a bumper sticker for the outspoken anti-violence organization could land you in FBI files

Read on for yet another example of how the FBI puts war protesters, Juggalos, and animal rights activists in the same category as organized crime and terrorist groups.

I rarely see anyone with a political bumper sticker these days. 

Most of us bloggers have an FBI file due to the content we share and just for the fact that we speak truth to power at times.

The Beatle John Lennon had an FBI file for his stance on "Give Peace A Chance" among other thoughts. 

Don't think that you have an FBI file dear Christian?

Think again.

For those who meet resistance in obtaining information.

And then there are those mysterious cameras collecting data at post offices.

Actually it is a Federal Law Enforcement and Security Arm Of the US Postal Service.

  License-plate readers let police collect millions of records on drivers.

When the city of San Leandro, Calif., purchased a license-plate reader for its police department in 2008, computer security consultant Michael Katz-Lacabe asked the city for a record of every time the scanners had photographed his car.

The results shocked him.

 How License Plate Readers Are Being Used To Record Americans' Movement. 

Folks we are living in a surveillance society.

At the annual meeting of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Vernon Keenan, director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, gave a speech warning his colleagues that social media monitoring is a "hot stove issue" for police.

"[And I] know what happens when you touch a hot stove — you get burned," he said.

 Ryan Calo, a professor at the University of Washington law school who specializes in privacy issues, says police could run into trouble searching on the Internet.

"If officers were [scanning social media] on the basis of gender and then making decisions on that basis, you could run into constitutional scrutiny," Calo says. "And you'd be almost sure to if your keyword involved the word 'Muslim.' "

Calo says the law is fuzzier when it comes to other kinds of searches, such as political keywords.

 The law and the courts are far behind the technology, and no police department wants to become the test case.

 Calo says it's not clear whether it would be illegal for police to monitor for a keyword such as "Occupy," but that doesn't mean police should feel free to do so.

"Any police officer ought to sort of think through a kind of publicity principle, which is, 'If it were to get out that we did this exact search, what would the public reaction be?' " Calo says.

 That's why Keenan is now campaigning to get more police departments to set up internal rules for social media scanning.

 He thinks the tools are useful, and he's worried that a public backlash could cause law enforcement to lose them.

Ya, we out here in the blog sphere are uncomfortable when the face of tyranny starts appearances here and there.

Whether you're a newly minted blogger or a relative old-timer, you've been seeing more and more stories pop up every day about bloggers getting in trouble for what they post.

Like all journalists and publishers, bloggers sometimes publish information that other people don't want published.

You might, for example, publish something that someone considers defamatory, republish an AP news story that's under copyright, or write a lengthy piece detailing the alleged crimes of a candidate for public office.

The difference between you and the reporter at your local newspaper is that in many cases, you may not have the benefit of training or resources to help you determine whether what you're doing is legal.

And on top of that, sometimes knowing the law doesn't help - in many cases it was written for traditional journalists, and the courts haven't yet decided how it applies to bloggers.

But here's the important part:

 None of this should stop you from blogging.

 Freedom of speech is the foundation of a functioning democracy, and Internet bullies shouldn't use the law to stifle legitimate free expression.

Bloggers Rights.


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