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Slipping Us A Digital Mickey (Finn)

Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009 3:46 AM

A word to those who want to spread the talking point that it wasn't FDR and the New Deal that lifted the nation out of the Great Depression, it was World War II.

Unlike the post hoc, ergo propter hoc argument justifying George W. Bush's legacy and how he 'kept us safe,' we can see how the economy turned around when FDR brought his New Deal into action. And America's involvement in World War II was still eight years away; in fact, the economy would dip slightly when Republicans prevailed upon FDR to cut back spending.

The Register reports that none other than California's Dianne Feinstein may be trying to slip some non-economic hoodoo into the stimulus bill via committee.

The clause would allow ISP's (think Comcast) to exercise 'reasonable network management' in order to detect and prevent child pornography, copyright infringement, and other 'unlawful activity.'

Which is double-speak for allowing corporations like Comcast to meddle with your connections - as they did last year by interfering with file transfers by having their systems tell participants on either end that the transaction was concluded - an action that a court deemed illegal.

And here's the thing - how would you know a given data stream was illicit material? Theoretically, it's nothing but ones and zeroes, and you're not able to see what it is unless there's some kind of file header contained within or appended to the data, which means the ISP is nosing around your files or even your computer.

No less ominous is the open-ended other 'unlawful activity,' the same kind of steaming bullcrap that we've seen with laws like USA PATRIOT and Protecting America. Terrorism turns to drug smuggling turns to child pornography turns to pirating movies and so on; what goes unnoticed is that the tactic/measure wasn't effective against its original intended target, so it's shopped around to find a better fit.

Also, using 'child pornography' as a red-flag issue quells dissent. I mean, you're not on the side of child pornographers, are you?

Throw in the government's pussy-footing around the Constitutional standard of 'probable cause' and supplanting it with the far less stringent 'reasonable suspicion,' and this isn't 'reasonable network management,' it's ham-handed money-grubbing.

Via Bruce Schneier's Security Blog, some excellent advice on privacy for Facebook users.

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