WTF? Gov't can destroy iPods,laptops,etc just on suspicion?

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IcedNote
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WTF? Gov't can destroy iPods,laptops,etc just on suspicion?

Post by IcedNote » Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:42 pm

http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=17785

The U.S. Government insisted that the terms of its privacy and rights-trampling treaty were too sensitive to expose to the public

ACTA, short for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, is an all-reaching proposal that may represent an epic victory for the film and music industries in their fight against piracy, a victory that comes at the high expense of citizens' privacy and rights, if it is upheld.

Championed by both former President George W. Bush and current President Barack Obama, the proposal is the child of countless millions in international lobbying money from the media industry. It aims to enact constant monitoring of citizens' online activities -- even perfectly legitimate ones -- and grants border agents in the U.S. and many member states the power of warrantless search and seizures -- provisions that would grant them the power to destroy U.S. citizens' laptops, iPods, or CDs, if the agents suspected that they might contain infringed content. And the best part? The cost of the bill will be footed by the taxpayers themselves -- without even giving them a clue as to what's happening.

With its Big Brotheresque terms, it's little wonder that the U.S. wanted to keep the agreement under wraps. What was unknown until now, though, was just how few nations support the U.S. in keeping the agreement secret, or the fact that the Obama and Bush administration negotiators overpowered other major nations to keep the treaty out of the public eye.

Officials in the Netherlands, a nation pushing for the treaty to be exposed to the public, "accidentally" leaked (Dutch, Google English translation) a memo from a secret ACTA negotiation meeting in Mexico, which detailed who supported keeping the treaty secret from citizens of member nations.

Only a handful of European nations -- Belgium, Portugal, Germany, and Denmark -- and two other nations -- South Korea and Singapore -- supported keeping the treaty a secret. Denmark was reportedly the most vocal supporter of secrecy.

The majority of the other participating nations -- the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Ireland, Hungary, Poland, Estonia, and Austria, the UK, and Japan supported releasing details to the public. The UK and Japan, two of the world's biggest powers, reportedly were particularly vocal about transparency. Other nations, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, were not listed in the memo, but have been advocates of transparency.

Despite the vast majority supporting openness, the U.S. fought to silence these voices. With the help of the handful of nations supporting secrecy, it successfully prevented the ACTA terms from being aired to the public, even as the U.S. government considers warrantless border searches for "pirate materials".

Of course, a vast body of information regarding ACTA made it to the public eye anyways, thanks to the internet and leaks sites like Wikileaks.

The treaty and the recent information on how the U.S. fought to keep it secret raises alarming questions about politicians at the highest level on both sides of the political aisle. Why would our nation's leaders plot and champion a treaty that would raise citizens' taxes in order to violate their constitutional rights, as a favor for major corporations? And more importantly, why would these leaders fight to keep the treaty secret, when transparency and public participation form the foundation of our nation?

It's all to protect you -- even if you don't know about it. At least that's what your elected officials say.
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Maybe I'm misreading this but.... :shock: :x

-G
Harakiried composer reincarnated as a nonprofit development guy.

DavidRoss
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Re: WTF? Gov't can destroy iPods,laptops,etc just on suspicion?

Post by DavidRoss » Fri Feb 26, 2010 4:55 pm

To those of us who believe the Constitution is the highest law of the land, that it means what it plainly says, that disputes about that can be answered by reference to the historical context, and that it accommodates change via the amendment process (not judicial activism or neglect), the 4th and 5th Amendments are clear and dispositive:

4th Amendment: 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.

5th Amendment: 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 offense 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.
"Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." ~Leo Tolstoy

"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale Turner

"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either." ~Albert Einstein
"Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it; but, in the end, there it is." ~Winston Churchill

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absinthe
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Re: WTF? Gov't can destroy iPods,laptops,etc just on suspicion?

Post by absinthe » Fri Feb 26, 2010 5:12 pm

America is always at it.

It wasn't known until 2006 that the US was secretly monitoring transactions across the (European) Swift cross-border bank payment system.

A recent attempt to renew the agreement has fallen foul of Brussels much to America's chagrin.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8510471.stm

Barry
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Re: WTF? Gov't can destroy iPods,laptops,etc just on suspicion?

Post by Barry » Fri Feb 26, 2010 5:42 pm

IcedNote wrote:... It aims to enact constant monitoring of citizens' online activities -- even perfectly legitimate ones -- and grants border agents in the U.S. and many member states the power of warrantless search and seizures -- provisions that would grant them the power to destroy U.S. citizens' laptops, iPods, or CDs, if the agents suspected that they might contain infringed content. And the best part? The cost of the bill will be footed by the taxpayers themselves -- without even giving them a clue as to what's happening....
There is clearly a lot of opinion here. It's not straight reporting. But if the writer's characterization is accurate, I agree that it crosses the line of constitutionality, and since it has nothing to do with exigent circumstances involving national security, it shouldn't be allowed to stand.

I guess that makes me less of a surveillance fetishist.
Last edited by Barry on Fri Feb 26, 2010 8:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

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Ralph
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Re: WTF? Gov't can destroy iPods,laptops,etc just on suspicion?

Post by Ralph » Fri Feb 26, 2010 7:32 pm

Hate to be the lawyer here but there is NO warrant requirement for seixing contraband from anyone, american or not, when entering the country. Federal law provides for a due process hearing to challenge seizures of material where there is a colorable argument that the seizure was wrong (obviously not if a bomb or controlled substances.

So the Fourth and Fifth amendments have no relevance.
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IcedNote
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Re: WTF? Gov't can destroy iPods,laptops,etc just on suspicion?

Post by IcedNote » Fri Feb 26, 2010 7:42 pm

So is it remotely possible that the posted story is actually something other than a bunch of hokeypokey? Does this have any chance of being true?

-G
Harakiried composer reincarnated as a nonprofit development guy.

DavidRoss
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Re: WTF? Gov't can destroy iPods,laptops,etc just on suspicion?

Post by DavidRoss » Fri Feb 26, 2010 7:50 pm

Ralph wrote:Hate to be the lawyer here but there is NO warrant requirement for seixing contraband from anyone, american or not, when entering the country. Federal law provides for a due process hearing to challenge seizures of material where there is a colorable argument that the seizure was wrong (obviously not if a bomb or controlled substances.

So the Fourth and Fifth amendments have no relevance.
But Ralph--an iPod, or a notebook computer, is not contraband. Random seizures of personal property based on an unsubstantiated presumption that they might contain pirated files is clearly contrary to both the spirit and the letter of the law.
"Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." ~Leo Tolstoy

"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale Turner

"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either." ~Albert Einstein
"Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it; but, in the end, there it is." ~Winston Churchill

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Barry
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Re: WTF? Gov't can destroy iPods,laptops,etc just on suspicion?

Post by Barry » Fri Feb 26, 2010 8:17 pm

Ralph wrote:Hate to be the lawyer here but there is NO warrant requirement for seixing contraband from anyone, american or not, when entering the country. Federal law provides for a due process hearing to challenge seizures of material where there is a colorable argument that the seizure was wrong (obviously not if a bomb or controlled substances.

So the Fourth and Fifth amendments have no relevance.
How about in terms of the government monitoring all of our on-line activity? Has that issue come up in the courts?
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

living_stradivarius
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Re: WTF? Gov't can destroy iPods,laptops,etc just on suspicion?

Post by living_stradivarius » Sat Feb 27, 2010 2:31 am

DavidRoss wrote:]But Ralph--an iPod, or a notebook computer, is not contraband. Random seizures of personal property based on an unsubstantiated presumption that they might contain pirated files is clearly contrary to both the spirit and the letter of the law.
But assuming there was reasonable suspicion, could they technically seize the laptop, iPod, etc.? If cops have reasonable suspicion that you had illegal drugs in your car, they could search your car for them but not seize the car itself right?
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Jean
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Re: WTF? Gov't can destroy iPods,laptops,etc just on suspicion?

Post by Jean » Mon Mar 01, 2010 12:21 am

I think of ones laptop as being similar to a sealed letter. There is an expectation of privacy. There should be probable cause or at the very least a reasonable suspicion of criminality for seizure to be permitted. Destruction of the seized material is another issue entirely. I'm not sure why anyone would destroy it. Either it is evidence of a violation/criminal act or it is permissable and should be returned to the owner.

I must be missing something here. :?
Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every man present his views without penalty there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population. - Albert Einstein

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Jean
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Re: WTF? Gov't can destroy iPods,laptops,etc just on suspicion?

Post by Jean » Mon Mar 01, 2010 12:31 am

It is not possible to monitor all online activity. It isn't realistic. There is no mechanism to funnel all online communications through so that it might even be scrubbed using automated tools. It is possible to track specific commonuications back to their origins and pehaps by extention back to the originator. It's also possible to target an individvidual and attempt to trap all of his online communications.

I think the biggest concern we should have, which never really seems to come to the forefront, is the consolidation of public and private databases which would really endanger the privacy of individuals and perhaps pave the way for forms of discrimination we have not seen yet.
Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every man present his views without penalty there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population. - Albert Einstein

I haven't got the slightest idea how to change people, but still I keep a long list of prospective candidates just in case I should ever figure it out - David Sedaris (Naked)

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Re: WTF? Gov't can destroy iPods,laptops,etc just on suspicion?

Post by Ralph » Mon Mar 01, 2010 7:45 am

DavidRoss wrote:
Ralph wrote:Hate to be the lawyer here but there is NO warrant requirement for seixing contraband from anyone, american or not, when entering the country. Federal law provides for a due process hearing to challenge seizures of material where there is a colorable argument that the seizure was wrong (obviously not if a bomb or controlled substances.

So the Fourth and Fifth amendments have no relevance.
But Ralph--an iPod, or a notebook computer, is not contraband. Random seizures of personal property based on an unsubstantiated presumption that they might contain pirated files is clearly contrary to both the spirit and the letter of the law.
*****

I don't know what the facts are here. But a warant is not needed to efgefct a seizure at an entry point. I have trouble imagining "random" seizures of iPods and laptops.
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Ralph
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Re: WTF? Gov't can destroy iPods,laptops,etc just on suspicion?

Post by Ralph » Mon Mar 01, 2010 7:47 am

living_stradivarius wrote:
DavidRoss wrote:]But Ralph--an iPod, or a notebook computer, is not contraband. Random seizures of personal property based on an unsubstantiated presumption that they might contain pirated files is clearly contrary to both the spirit and the letter of the law.
But assuming there was reasonable suspicion, could they technically seize the laptop, iPod, etc.? If cops have reasonable suspicion that you had illegal drugs in your car, they could search your car for them but not seize the car itself right?
*****

Car searches are often an exceptyion to the warrant requirement but absent consent probable cause is required to search a vehicle, not reasonable suspicion. If a search of a car discloses contraband, the vehicle can be seized. Whether the search was lawful can be the subject of a subsequent suppression proceeding.
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