Intel Official: Expect Less Privacy - Ubuntu

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  1. Intel Official: Expect Less Privacy

    Intel Official: Expect Less Privacy

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- As Congress debates new rules for government
    eavesdropping, a top intelligence official says it is time that people in
    the United States changed their definition of privacy.

    Privacy no longer can mean anonymity, says Donald Kerr, the principal
    deputy director of national intelligence. Instead, it should mean that
    government and businesses properly safeguard people's private communications
    and financial information.

    Kerr's comments come as Congress is taking a second look at the
    Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

    Lawmakers hastily changed the 1978 law last summer to allow the
    government to eavesdrop inside the United States without court permission,
    so long as one end of the conversation was reasonably believed to be located
    outside the U.S.

    The original law required a court order for any surveillance conducted
    on U.S. soil, to protect Americans' privacy. The White House argued that the
    law was obstructing intelligence gathering because, as technology has
    changed, a growing amount of foreign communications passes through
    U.S.-based channels.

    The most contentious issue in the new legislation is whether to shield
    telecommunications companies from civil lawsuits for allegedly giving the
    government access to people's private e-mails and phone calls without a FISA
    court order between 2001 and 2007.

    Some lawmakers, including members of the Senate Judiciary Committee,
    appear reluctant to grant immunity. Suits might be the only way to determine
    how far the government has burrowed into people's privacy without court

    The committee is expected to decide this week whether its version of
    the bill will protect telecommunications companies. About 40 wiretapping
    suits are pending.

    The central witness in a California lawsuit against AT&T says the
    government is vacuuming up billions of e-mails and phone calls as they pass
    through an AT&T switching station in San Francisco.

    Mark Klein, a retired AT&T technician, helped connect a device in 2003
    that he says diverted and copied onto a government supercomputer every call,
    e-mail, and Internet site access on AT&T lines.

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which filed the class-action suit,
    claims there are as many as 20 such sites in the U.S.

    The White House has promised to veto any bill that does not grant
    immunity from suits such as this one.

    Congressional leaders hope to finish the bill by Thanksgiving. It
    would replace the FISA update enacted in August that privacy groups and
    civil libertarians say allows the government to read Americans' e-mails and
    listen to their phone calls without court oversight.

    Kerr said at an October intelligence conference in San Antonio that he
    finds concerns that the government may be listening in odd when people are
    "perfectly willing for a green-card holder at an (Internet service provider)
    who may or may have not have been an illegal entrant to the United States to
    handle their data."

    He noted that government employees face up to five years in prison and
    $100,000 in fines if convicted of misusing private information.

    Millions of people in this country - particularly young people -
    already have surrendered anonymity to social networking sites such as
    MySpace and Facebook, and to Internet commerce. These sites reveal to the
    public, government and corporations what was once closely guarded
    information, like personal statistics and credit card numbers.

    "Those two generations younger than we are have a very different idea
    of what is essential privacy, what they would wish to protect about their
    lives and affairs. And so, it's not for us to inflict one size fits all,"
    said Kerr, 68. "Protecting anonymity isn't a fight that can be won. Anyone
    that's typed in their name on Google understands that."

    "Our job now is to engage in a productive debate, which focuses on
    privacy as a component of appropriate levels of security and public safety,"
    Kerr said. "I think all of us have to really take stock of what we already
    are willing to give up, in terms of anonymity, but (also) what safeguards we
    want in place to be sure that giving that doesn't empty our bank account or
    do something equally bad elsewhere."

    Kurt Opsahl, a senior staff lawyer with the Electronic Frontier
    Foundation, an advocacy group that defends online free speech, privacy and
    intellectual property rights, said Kerr's argument ignores both privacy laws
    and American history.

    "Anonymity has been important since the Federalist Papers were written
    under pseudonyms," Opsahl said. "The government has tremendous power: the
    police power, the ability to arrest, to detain, to take away rights. Tying
    together that someone has spoken out on an issue with their identity is a
    far more dangerous thing if it is the government that is trying to tie it

    Opsahl also said Kerr ignores the distinction between sacrificing
    protection from an intrusive government and voluntarily disclosing
    information in exchange for a service.

    "There is something fundamentally different from the government having
    information about you than private parties," he said. "We shouldn't have to
    give people the choice between taking advantage of modern communication
    tools and sacrificing their privacy."

    "It's just another 'trust us, we're the government,'" he said.

    (Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

  2. Intel Official: No not of the processors!

    jim wrote:
    > Intel Official: Expect Less Privacy

    Damn, for a moment I thought I had to switch to AMD to retain my privacy
    (and anonymity)

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