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SERIOUSLY? Part III

My friend Borepatch alerted us to the following:

Spy On Me Barbie®

What could possibly go wrong?

A new “smart” Barbie doll’s eavesdropping and data-gathering functions have privacy advocates crying foul.

Toymaker Mattel bills Hello Barbie as the world’s first “interactive doll” due to its ability to record children’s playtime conversations and even respond once the encrypted audio is transmitted to a cloud server, much in the way that Apple’s Siri voice assistant works.

No word on whether Mattel plans to share suspected Double Plus Ungood Thoughtcrime with Big Brother.

No doubt the software has had extensive security review to make sure it’s not hackable. (snark font!)

SERIOUSLY?
We already have ‘them’ prying into our computer use, email, what we purchase, our jobs, what we watch, how we look when we watch(!), our spending, our gun purchases, and now a toy (that could be a tool) to spy on our children?
I wonder if the little brothers of girls receiving such a gift will nip this in the bud by deftly removing Barbie’s head, as he did with all the others?
Or is the microphone in her torso?
And is GI JOE next?

Protocol

our mastersFound @ Theo Spark

I couldn’t have said it better!

Drug Stores

Remember when we called a spade a spade?  Not pharmacies?

I remember, as a grade-school kid, going into Skaggs Drug and buying CP potassium nitrate in 4 oz. bottles.  No one questioned me.  There were no forms to fill out.  No one asked if I was making rocket fuel or gunpowder from it.  (I was!)

And I still have all my eyes, hands and fingers!

Here it is some 50 years later, and my roommate not only acquired the crud I had (and am finally getting over, thank you!) but it progressed into some kind of respiratory infection.  Antibiotics and numerous pills later, she too is finally getting better.

And one of the medications prescribed was sudephedrine.  You know, the stuff that can be distilled into methamphetamine. 

And I had to present my driver’s license (which they swiped into the cash register computer system) and then sign for it.  For the 12 tablets!

Not only am I annoyed at this invasion of privacy, but for THIS amount?  When the Mexican cartels are buying it by the ton and making meth and exporting it here?

PITA.

The Travis McGee Reader recounts a similar story.  Go there and read it.

The shed a tear for our loss of more freedom, once again.

And, if you can, go launch a bottle rocket.bottle rockets

Law Enforcement ‘Desperately’ Trying To Hide Use of Surveillance Cell Towers

Law enforcement organizations around the country are desperate to keep the public unaware of the use of Stingrays, a surveillance technology that secretly monitors cell phones, even as courts and lawmakers are starting to fight back.

verbatim from Sipsey Street Irregulars

Now go see the previous post regarding the Olmstead case.

Then, go back to your sub-basement and to wearing your tin foil hat!

tin_foil_hat_area

The NSA/CIA/Patriot Act Stuff BEGAN With Olmstead

The lovely and skilled Tamara reminded me, with this post:

That was educational…

Just got back from a trip with some friends to visit the Indiana State Museum. They have a great temporary exhibit there on Prohibition (you know, the thirteen year period in this country that created modern organized crime and from which we learned absolutely nothing?)Check this out:

That’s the actual phone in question from Olmstead v. United States, the case where the Supreme Court decided 5-4 that listening in on a dude’s phone lines without a warrant to catch the guy incriminating himself somehow didn’t violate either the Fourth or Fifth Amendments.

Red Light – Green Light

red lightRemember that game growing up?

John Lott gives us yet another perspective:

From the Wall Street Journal:

The Chicago Tribune delivered the “first-ever scientific study” of the nation’s biggest camera program. Researchers commissioned by the paper found little or no safety benefit: Mid-intersection “T-bones” declined, but rear-end collisions sharply increased as drivers slammed on the brakes to avoid a ticket. Most damning, the Trib cited the city’s “long-standing reliance on using the lowest possible yellow light time” to maximize revenues even at the cost of encouraging more accidents. . . .

Apparently, the message is getting out as the company that have made these cameras are slowly exiting the business.

With Redflex losing money in North America, its Australian parent company recently instructed him to “de-risk the business” by diversifying into electronic toll-taking and traffic management. Nonetheless Mr. Saunders remains keen to rescue the reputation of photo enforcement, even if that seems like a Hail Mary at this point. . . .

My ex lived in Philly for about 10 years, and they had a government contractor maintaining the traffic signals so poorly that both turned green.  And her new car was totaled.

And there was no one to answer for it from the government works.

Yes, my friends, government works for the common good!

NO…stop a minute!

 

Ask Not For Whom The Bell Tolls…

bellBayou Renaissance Man posted regarding the recent interactions between the constabulary and suspect(s), the protests that followed, and the police political assassinations that followed THOSE actions.

And, as usual, he did so with aplomb.  You should go to the link above and read him.  (And, if you are not regularly reading him, why not?)

And he brought up a recent court decision and the Peelian Principals.  (Sir Robert Peel being the founder of Modern Law Enforcement.)  They are:

  1. To prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to their repression by military force and severity of legal punishment.
  2. To recognise always that the power of the police to fulfil their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behaviour, and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.
  3. To recognise always that to secure and maintain the respect and approval of the public means also the securing of the willing co-operation of the public in the task of securing observance of laws.
  4. To recognise always that the extent to which the co-operation of the public can be secured diminishes proportionately the necessity of the use of physical force and compulsion for achieving police objectives.
  5. To seek and preserve public favour, not by pandering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws, by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard to their wealth or social standing, by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humour, and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life.
  6. To use physical force only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient to obtain public co-operation to an extent necessary to secure observance of law or to restore order, and to use only the minimum degree of physical force which is necessary on any particular occasion for achieving a police objective.
  7. To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
  8. To recognise always the need for strict adherence to police-executive functions, and to refrain from even seeming to usurp the powers of the judiciary of avenging individuals or the State, and of authoritatively judging guilt and punishing the guilty.
  9. To recognise always that the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, and not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them.

And here’s Peter’s money quote:

I can already hear the scoffing from police officers that those principles are utterly outdated when dealing with a society that regards the rule of law as nothing more than a polite fiction.  I can’t blame them;  our politicians and leaders in other spheres often appear to honor our laws more in the breach than in the observance.  Needless to say, our citizens all too often take their cue from their leaders (or is it the other way around?)  Nevertheless, any officer of the law who enters upon his career regarding the people he’s called to “protect and serve” as the enemy rather than his peers and fellow citizens is riding for a fall.  Sooner or later, someone’s going to provide one for him. (end)

It does appear as though we as a Society have transcended into pre-civil war status.  That is, that those charged with ‘protecting and serving’ the public are ‘protecting and serving’ each other, to the exclusion of the public (not entirely) and engaging in rampant abuses of power and authority not seen in many years.  In The United States, anyway.

Including wholesale surveillance of cellular telephone and email communications.  Restrictions placed on travel (elimination of 4th Amendment protections at border crossings, airports, ‘sobriety checkpoints’ and even some railroad and bus stations)!  And lets not forget misused or misapplied warrant services.  Does the name Jose Guerena come to mind?  Rendition and torture, in violation of both civil and military law.

And punishing of those who wish to bring such facts to light via the Internet or even cell phone cameras.

And now the remaining folks in blue who actually do their jobs and refrain from abuse are being subjected to political assassination, in the name of social justice?

Isn’t this what some Internet bloggers have been suggesting for the past few years?  Just because it’s painted in race doesn’t make it any less real.

Can we as a Society fix this before it’s too late?  Before cities, towns and States are overrun with folks tired of the governmental abuses?

Ask not for whom the bell tolls.

It peels for thee, Republic.

Bureaucratizilla On Your Doorstep

Or on your physician’s computer…

The Weekly Standard shared with us the following, in part:

This week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the release of the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2015-2020, which details the efforts of some 35 departments and agencies of the federal government and their roles in the plan to ‘advance the collection, sharing, and use of electronic health information to improve health care, individual and community health, and research.’” [emphasis added]

What departments and agencies?

Check out this list:

  • Administration for Children & Families
  • Administration for Community Living
  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Defense
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Justice and Bureau of Prisons
  • Department of Labor
  • Department of Veteran Affairs
  • Federal Communications Commission
  • Federal Health Architecture
  • Federal Trade Commission
  • Food and Drug Administration
  • Health Resources and Services Administration
  • HHS Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources
  • HHS (Health and Human Services) Assistant Secretary for Health
  • HHS Assistant Secretary for Legislation
  • HHS Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
  • HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
  • HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
  • HHS Office for Civil Rights
  • HHS Office of the Chief Information Officer
  • HHS Office of the Chief Technology Officer
  • HHS Office of the General Counsel
  • HHS Office of Minority Health
  • HHS Office of the Secretary
  • Indian Health Services
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • National Science Foundation
  • Networking and Information Technology Research and Development
  • Office of Personnel Management
  • Social Security Administration
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

(from Rob Douglas)  As an information security expert, I can tell you that there is no way – NO WAY – that the feds will be able to keep your health records secure with that many federal agencies having some type of access.

HIPAA be damned (apparently)!  And what do 90% of these agencies have to do with my (or your) personal health!?  Not to mention them sharing information with the FBI and BATFE (through the DOJ).

Don’t fear the government – fear the power of unfettered bureaucracy.  –  Guffaw

Sneaky Congressional BASTARDS!

But, I repeat myself.

Executive branch granted virtually unlimited access to the communications of every American

When I learned that the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2015 was being rushed to the floor for a vote—with little debate and only a voice vote expected (i.e., simply declared “passed” with almost nobody in the room)—I asked my legislative staff to quickly review the bill for unusual language. What they discovered is one of the most egregious sections of law I’ve encountered during my time as a representative: It grants the executive branch virtually unlimited access to the communications of every American.

On Wednesday afternoon, I went to the House floor to demand a roll call vote on the bill so that everyone’s vote would have to be recorded. I also sent the letter below to every representative.

With more time to spread the word, we would have stopped this bill, which passed 325-100. Thanks to the 99 other representatives—44 Republicans and 55 Democrats—who voted to protect our rights and uphold the Constitution. And thanks to my incredibly talented staff.

Oops, they did it again!

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,[a] 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”

Is the above even passingly familiar to ANYONE?

h/t Brock Townsend

 

Old Photographic Technology

Tamara’s recent post regarding old-fashioned cameras got me to thinking.  Remembering when.

When I was a licensed private investigator, I always wanted the literary trappings of it.  The snap-brim fedora, the trench coat, the shoulder holster.  And a fine 35 mm camera.  A Speed Graphic was a bit to old-school for me.

Alas, I operated on a shoestring, and could not afford such finery.  I did have my Dad’s very-well-used trench coat, that multiple dry cleanings failed to clean.  I used it as an ersatz gun rug for my Ithaca DSPS shotgun.  No fedora.

One of my then brothers-in-law took a job in Japan, and visited with Christmas gifts.  An inexpensive pair of 12×50 binoculars, and a 80-200mm zoom telephoto lens for my then wife’s Yashica camera.

Sadly, the camera leaked light, and the mount had changed in years since the camera was purchased – so the lens didn’t fit.

I did what any reasonable person would do.  I went on an obsessive search for a camera it would fit.  No Internet then, classified ads in multiple camera magazines were the ticket.  And I found one:

A Contax 137 MA.  Contax is to Yashica as Lincoln is to Ford.  And this model had all the bells and whistles, including an internal motor drive!  And the zoom lens fit!  I promptly bought a 2x teleconverter to make the zoom lens 160-400mm!

contax 137And I was in the photographic investigation snoop business!

I went about town taking ‘candid’ shots of folks who had no idea there photograph was being taken.  After all, that was the nature of the business, wasn’t it?

And took many other photographs.  My camera bag was the perfect concealment whilst traveling all over California, Oregon, Nevada, Idaho and Washington.  3-year-old Molly had no objection to having her picture taken.  Walt Disney would have had a fit, if he had known about the 5″ 1911 in the bag with the Contax in his theme park!.

After my wife and I split up, she borrowed the camera and lens.  And had a burglary.  And it was lost.

I even went on-line a few years ago to see if I could locate a replacement model on EBay.  They are out there, but not in the best condition.  And what’s the point?  It’s old photographic technology.    And I cannot afford neither ammunition nor film, anyway.

Sigh.

"One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas - how he got in my pajamas I dunno!" - Groucho Marx as Captain Spaulding in Animal Crackers

This election is not about who gets voted off the island.
It’s about who is at the tiller of this Republic’s Ship of State. - Guffaw

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