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EFF Deeplinks: Stand Up Against TSA’s Invasive Security Procedures

The Transportation Security Administration has adopted “enhanced” security procedures — presenting people with the horrible choice of either submitting to body scanners that show passengers unclothed or submit to what are called “groping” pat-down techniques which include touching both breasts and genitalia. As some have noted these processes appear to have little likelihood of increasing the safety of fliers.

Individuals appalled by these procedures have a right to submit formal complaints to the TSA. It is important the passengers and crew submit complaints to showcase the widespread resistance to these procedures. TSA maintains that they have seen no increase in complaints about the new security procedures. EFF will be filing FOIA requests to test this claim, but in the meantime we wanted to make sure that people who wished to complain knew how to make their thoughts and feelings heard.

There are informative links to online forms, iPhone apps, and other ways to complain about the security theater at airports.  Flyers are being forced to give up their Fourth Amendment rights as well as their dignity in the name of “security”.  It’s a sham.  Fight back.

To quote Ben Franklin (thanks for the reminder, Scott):

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Don’t be forced to be part of “they”.  Resist having your rights and dignity taken away.

Reading this NYT article in the Sunday Patriot-News, I couldn’t help but think that the officials that are up in arms about Google’s “inadvertent” Wi-Fi data collection are ignorant about the security available when web browsing:

“Google is in the process of frittering away its last shred of credibility,” Mr. [Till] Steffen [the justice senator for the city-state of Hamburg] said. “The company must immediately disclose to what degree it has secretly eavesdropped as we’ve sent e-mails to friends in Germany and the rest of Europe or as we’ve done our banking in the Internet.”

This prompts a question: are there still banks that don’t use HTTPS when dealing with customers’ sensitive data over the internet?  Even if someone is using open, unencrypted Wi-Fi, their HTTPS session data is protected with encryption.  That would also be the case for any other protocols that encrypt their payload end-to-end (POP3S, SFTP, SSH, etc.).  For example, I use HTTPS sessions by default with Gmail and Google Reader.

The cited German privacy laws as they apply to electronic communications seem to be a way to compensate for the ignorance of those who implement and use this technology in unsecure ways.  I’m not a fan of Google’s collection of that data, but I don’t think that they are on the wrong side of this issue.  Wi-Fi is a broadcast-based technology using public airwaves, and if you’re not securing your broadcast you’re open to being spied upon.

I think the bigger issue here is whether the benefits of technologies like Street View and Wi-Fi-based geolocation outweigh the personal liberty of people whose image or data might be caught by a machine.  Would it make a difference if the Street View vehicles had a bunch of photographers in the back as opposed to automated cameras?  If they had nerds wardriving with laptops as opposed to automated Wi-Fi sniffers/collectors?  I can only recommend that you protect your communcations and wear a mask in public if you’re worried about this kind of stuff.  Or, for now, move to Germany. 🙂

Yes, I’m a fan of Google in general and Street View in particular.  It’s nice to be able to view pictures of an unfamiliar location before having to navigate it for the first time.

Only two more days until the election.  I think I’ve made my decisions.  I’m not voting a straight ticket, that’s for sure.

President: Barack Obama (D).  Regardless of the rhetoric, and having to choose between him and McCain, I think he will best lead our federal government and will best represent our country to the rest of the world.  He’s run a relatively consistent and thoughtful campaign.  I wish he hadn’t spent so much of the campaign dollars he received on big media buys, though.

State Senate: Judy Hirsh (D).  Jeff Piccola’s relentless negative campaigning cost him my vote.  Judy Hirsh attacked his political record when she called him “do-nothing”.  He sent mailer after mailer to my home with pictures of her looking like an alien, attacking her for having a house in Florida, and citing her personal financial troubles.  Looking at the issues, I’m very against Piccola’s view that no portion of property taxes should fund public schools.

State Representative: Ron Marsico (R).  Marsico’s running unopposed this year.

US Representative: Toni Gilhooley (R).  Tim Holden (D) doesn’t have much of a presence around here and I’m not very aware of how he’s represented our district in Washington.  He didn’t film a video for WITF’s Open Access program, so that shows me that he’s not trying to earn my vote.  Like most other US Representatives, he hasn’t responded to the Change Congress pledge.  His campaign funds are supposedly flush with PAC money.  In her Open Access video, Gilhooley touched on issues I think are important.

PA Attorney General: Tom Corbett (R).  I haven’t investigated this campaign and sticking with the incumbent seems like a safe bet.

PA Auditor General: Jack Wagner (D).  Another incumbent vote.  I don’t think there is a challenger in this race.

The first visible signs of the economic crisis are starting to show up around here.  I passed several gas stations today where unleaded was $3.09.  My 401(k) is 32% down for the year.  However, I’m optimistic.  I’m good at my job and make a decent wage; so does Melissa.  We don’t plan to retire for at least another 25 years, and don’t have debt other than our mortgage and cars.  I just hope that the market gets strong during the next 10 years so that Ryan (and seven years after him, Zachary) will have plenty of money for college.  If you aren’t too strapped already, this is probably a great time to think about investing in funds or companies you believe will bounce back.  Don’t listen to financial talking heads; aside from a few like Robert Reich I think they’re mostly air.

If so, what and why?

McCain:  Cold, cantankerous, knowledgable, wordy.

Obama:  Engaged, gracious, specific (at times), clear.

I know which man I’d rather have represent the U.S. to other nations.

I’m disappointed that both campaigns are airing primarily attack ads now. I’m glad I skip past commercials, but I know many don’t. Here’s a video that takes on some of the McCain campaign’s biggest distortions.  If you have one that summarizes Obama’s, please share it.  I’ve pulled down my Obama button because of some of the crap ads I’ve seen references to.

Hoping the upcoming debates are going to get issues back on the table.

From the Commission on Presidential Debates website:

First presidential debate
Friday, September 26
The University of Mississippi, Oxford, Miss.
Jim Lehrer
Executive Editor and Anchor, The NewsHour, PBS

Vice presidential debate
Thursday, October 2
Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.
Gwen Ifill
Senior Correspondent, The NewsHour, and Moderator and Managing Editor, Washington Week, PBS

Second presidential debate (town meeting)
Tuesday, October 7
Belmont University, Nashville, Tenn.
Tom Brokaw
Special Correspondent, NBC News

Third presidential debate
Wednesday, October 15
Hofstra University, Hempstead, N.Y.
Bob Schieffer
CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent, and Host, Face the Nation

Each debate will begin at 9:00 p.m. EST.

More info about the debates’ formats here.

New blog bling: Change buttons.  Support change by voting for Obama and helping to Change Congress.

I’m getting the majority of my political news from the Meet The Press podcast and NPR.  This issue of the Florida and Michigan primaries, which were held early and without the blessing of the Democratic party, now needing to be counted since the Clinton/Obama race is so close.  MTP just played two quotes from Hillary Clinton, an earlier one dismissing the primaries, the current one saying that those voters were disenfranchised.  Let the “flip-flopper” name calling begin.  PA, please vote for a person whose opinions seem a bit more thoughtful and consistent: Barack Obama.