top bar
QuickTopic free message boards logo
Skip to Messages

TOPIC:

A librarian on PATRIOT

^     All messages            11-26 of 26  1-10 >>
26
Larry CohenPerson was signed in when posted
06-05-2003
11:25 AM ET (US)
At the recent Orwell 2003 event in Washington, DC (http://www.orwell2003.org/), Both Bruce Schneier (security expert) and Judy Krug (expert librarian) were panelists.

Judy mentioned that the Patriot Act bars librarians from even mentioning that the FBI had been there. She indicated that an idea some librarians had been playing with is to immediately put up a sign that says "The FBI has not been here." When the FBI comes by, the sign is then removed. So... watch for a state transition between a sign there / sign not there.

Bruce Schneier elucidated a cogent set of questions to evaluate security plans:

1. What are the assets you are trying to protect?
2. What are the risks against those assets?
3. How well does the security system mitigate those risks?
4. What problems does the solution introduce?
5. What are the tradeoffs being made?

With respect to libraries, the answers to these questions are probably something like:

1. We're trying to protect the nation's populous and critical infrastructure.
2. The risk is that a "bad guy" will learn how to build a bomb, poison gas, etc. from reading books in the library.
3. The solution (of tracking people's reading habits) probably does a relatively poor job of determining who has checked out books on bomb-making unless all books on the subject have the title "how to build bombs."
4. The risks/tradeoffs being made are a. you've got to pay for a system of codifying the contents of books (i.e. - you've got to get a lot of people around to rate the terrorist potentiality of books contents) b. you've got to pay for a system of tracking people's reading habits diverting money from other security measures (like paying for more security guards around nuclear power plants,) and c. you scare the livin' bejesssus out of the population that some book they are reading now or have read over the past 15 years will be put on the "banned" list.
5. The tradeoff is that you will discourage citizens from using their libraries, a move that will ultimately be detrimental to American society.

There's also the issue of false positives. What if we decide that someone is a terrorist based on their reading habits. What then? I would imagine that they would be put on a watch list or rounded up and sent to camp X-Ray. What is the accuracy of this system? Let's assume that one in 10,000,000 people is a terrorist (which is probably a consirvative estimate) and that the system has a false positive rate of 1 in 10,000 (which is a VERY conservative estimate), we still get something like 1,000 false positives. Is there perhaps a better way to target evildoers?
25
UnseeliePerson was signed in when posted
06-04-2003
09:10 PM ET (US)
Don't be too hard on LoveGravy... I find that I agree with him about half the time, and when I don't it's not uncommon for something he's said result in me strengthening my own arguement/convictions... of course, I was a debate geek in school, so I like friendly arguements.

Besides, what he asked in this particular thread was nothing... I've seen worse.
Edited 06-04-2003 09:12 PM
24
Lord of The CowsPerson was signed in when posted
06-04-2003
07:55 PM ET (US)
"didn't 'stop those commies'" /m23

What ? Now you've got it all wrong. See, America is not communist today so it's normal to conclude that the FBI monitoring must have worked!

I should really read more on history. I'd probably be surprised at how often it repeats itself :) Good point toast.
23
secret agent toastPerson was signed in when posted
06-04-2003
07:37 PM ET (US)
> The Patriot Act was a clearing house for all of those police powers that law enforcement has been wanting all along.

I worked in a Library at one time, years ago. The main librarian there told me that we weren't, under any conditions, to hand out information on anyone's reading habits to police/feds; we were to pass the cop/fed off to her, and she would deal with it. She told me that, back during the 'red scare' that the FBI monitoried a lot of what people read/checked out, mostly to harrass people that they felt would be easy targets for communist witch-hunts. Laws were passed to end this; and the FBI has complained until they got them back via 9/11. But before thier ability to know what you were reading didn't 'stop those commies' (who if you'll remember/read about were talked about in those days as being as 'dangrous' as a 'terrorist' seems to be today; what the hell, are these terrorists uber-ninjas or something? just because they are suicidal doesn't make them invincable) it instead was just used to bully and harrass normal shmoes like you and me.

What's old is new again.

And lovegravy, you're still an inflamitory asshole. Your little 'mission' to show us all 'what the other side thinks' is so trite, that it would be sad if it wasn't so funny watching you crap all over yourself. You know very little about us, yet that doesn't for a moment seem to make you stop and think about how to really reach us. Your agenda isn't to 'show us the other side of things' or to even help us, it's to get yourself attention, plain and simple. If you really cared to 'show us the other side' you would at least *try* to understand who the hell you were talking to first.
22
Neoncat93Person was signed in when posted
06-04-2003
07:33 PM ET (US)
I feel compelled to mention Celine's Law: National Security is the cause of National Insecurity.

The only real way for the government to prevent terrorism is for them to develop artificial wombs to grow surgically removed fetuses in, train the Bush Youth to operate in pairs, then assign a pair to every person in America at all times. Laws to see what people read, or to prevent them buying guns at gun shows, or even buying weapons of a certain caliber won't prevent terrorism. Anyone who thinks so is either deluding themselves, or attempting to delude others.
21
UnseeliePerson was signed in when posted
06-04-2003
06:07 PM ET (US)
What self-respecting terrorist is going to go to the library now to get info on how to make bombs? None! Or if they do, you can bet they'll bypass the super-high security forms that you have to fill in when you get your library card.


Laws generally restrict those who obey the laws more than criminals. After all, by definition, criminals already disobey the law.

Does that mean that the laws need to go? No. I think some laws are necessary. The question is really whether the 'law' in question actually does what it's supposed to do. I don't think this one does.

Also, keep in mind that the FBI has wanted the ability to secretly access your library records for a LONG TIME. They wanted this long before 9/11, and until 9/11 they've, to the best of my knowledge, never claimed that it was to prevent terrorism.

The Patriot Act was a clearing house for all of those police powers that law enforcement has been wanting all along.
20
UnseeliePerson was signed in when posted
06-04-2003
06:02 PM ET (US)
Also, if Democrats = more government, you're at least implying that Republican = less government.

If that's true, why has discretionary non-military spending increased in this currently republican dominated administration?

A more accurate response would be Government = More Government, which needs to change, no arguement from me on that one...
19
Paul DentonPerson was signed in when posted
06-04-2003
05:46 PM ET (US)
What self-respecting terrorist is going to go to the library now to get info on how to make bombs? None! Or if they do, you can bet they'll bypass the super-high security forms that you have to fill in when you get your library card.

Which self-righteous activist librarians much like the author of this piece have helpfully stopped requiring them to fill out, of course. All in the name of civil disobedience, mmmm? Strike a blow against "incipient totalitarianism," unwittingly aid terrorists by ignoring the problem...hey, it's all good, right?
Edited 06-04-2003 05:48 PM
18
MeriadocPerson was signed in when posted
06-04-2003
05:41 PM ET (US)
I'd be just as upset about the government tracking my Amazon purchase records, or video rental records, as my library loan records.

It does matter what they're being used for. Amazon making inept attempts to show me what it thinks I'd like is merely annoying. John Ashcroft using my reading of books on Islam to prove I'm a terrorist is a lot more than annoying.

Anyone who thinks it's odd of liberals (who, as everyone knows, just love every bit of government on every level: racist southern sheriffs, door-kicking narcs, dictatorial zoning boards, ultra-conservative Supreme Court justices, and all) to be objecting to a government snooping program doesn't have a clue as to what liberals like about government programs, or why.

I suppose the people who cheered Ronald Reagan when he said "Government is the problem" have an explanation for why so many of them are now cheering Bush and Ashcroft's exercise in incipient totalitarianism, but I've yet to read anything that even attempts to bridge the gap.
17
Lord of The CowsPerson was signed in when posted
06-04-2003
05:22 PM ET (US)
"so what's wrong with the government doing the same thing that Amazon.com's doing?" /m7

Because Amazon doesn't have the same power that the government has. Amazon won't have me arrested (or rejected from a high ranking government job, or black-mailed out of an election ...), because I read "How to make cluster bombs for dummies" or "Love me I'm French" :) I'm exagerating of course, but the *potential* for abuse is much more important from the government then from Amazon.

For the record, I'm happy to receive more usefull ads when I go to Amazon or whatever. They have achieved their goal of bringing me better ads. Now, if I give that same power to the government, are they really going to keep me safe by knowing what books I read? That's hard to conclude. I personnally think that the potential for abuse is much greater than the potential for good things comming out of this.

What self-respecting terrorist is going to go to the library now to get info on how to make bombs? None! Or if they do, you can bet they'll bypass the super-high security forms that you have to fill in when you get your library card. If they are smart, they won't even return the book! What are we left with? The government collecting information on "non-terrorist" axis-of-good people. What we get in the end is the potential for abuse, nothing more.

That's my take on this anyway :)
Edited 06-04-2003 05:23 PM
16
erniePerson was signed in when posted
06-04-2003
05:10 PM ET (US)
I guess I tuned that thread out before the ratings came out, thx Eli.
 
 My only point in /m14 being that just because people are left of center doesn't mean they they fit in only one of two parties, thassall, so I jumped on LGs broad brushing.
Edited 06-04-2003 05:12 PM
15
Eli the BeardedPerson was signed in when posted
06-04-2003
05:05 PM ET (US)
I didn't say it pinned anyone as a Democrat, just pointing there
was a "BB poli-poll" to use ernie's term.
14
erniePerson was signed in when posted
06-04-2003
05:03 PM ET (US)
left != Democrat
13
chico haasPerson was signed in when posted
06-04-2003
04:51 PM ET (US)
Unfortunately, Eli, any poll that places me near Gandhi buttresses ernie's, uh, source suggestion.
12
Eli the BeardedPerson was signed in when posted
06-04-2003
03:23 PM ET (US)
ernie (/m11): sort of, very vaguely, in the CA town outlaws
PATRIOT Act discussion.

http://www.quicktopic.com/boing/H/kEg3jRBnBnM

Of four responses:
1 Libertarian Right
3 Libertarian Lefts
11
erniePerson was signed in when posted
06-04-2003
03:10 PM ET (US)
"yet most of you are Democrats"

Was there a BB poli-poll? I guess I missed it, when the results came back that the readers here are >50% democrat. Because if there WASN'T a poll, then there is a chance this comment came straight out of your ass. There are more political persuasions out there than those Rush tells you to hate.
^     All messages            11-26 of 26  1-10 >>

Print | RSS Views: 973 (Unique: 653 ) / Subscribers: 3 | What's this?