Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Freakin' FCC



Recently, the FCC made itself more powerful, giving itself authority over the internet. This is despite a Federal Court telling the FCC that it has no authority over Net Neutrality.

Part of the FCC's reasoning is that it will prevent ISPs (Internet Service Providers) from blocking content. This already isn't a problem as any company which tries to do so will soon find itself devoid of customers, or under assault from internet groups like Anonymous. These kinds of groups have proven time and again to be extremely effective as crime fighters (another link about the same guy, but definitely NSFW) as well as attacking MasterCard.

The problem is, these people are not elected officials. If they do something the American people don't like, they don't have to worry about upcoming elections and suddenly finding themselves with a job. Further, once created, a government agency or commission has only one option: grow larger and more powerful. The original purpose of the FCC was to deal with Morse Code, and that's it. Now it oversees radio, phone and television, and has decided that the Internet also lies within it's domain.

The FCC claims that it has the good of the people in mind, but the people themselves are having none of it. What's the keep the FCC from doing things similar to China, and blocking certain traffic, "for the good of the people?"

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cameras, Police, and Privacy

There are actually a couple issues in this article, the first, which is only briefly mentioned is about an "eye-sore" ordnance that likely more than a few counties in this country have.

Michael Allison fixes up cars. He doesn't own an actual auto-shop, he fixes them in his driveway, or in the driveway of his mom just one county away. Both counties have the aforementioned ordnance, which extends to cars. Under the law, Michael has to either fix the cars in an enclosed garage, which isn't an option for Michael due to his property size and his income, or pay to have the vehicle properly licensed and registered with the state, also not an option due to his income.

Now, it seems to me that a car which someone is actively working on, shouldn't be classified as an eye-sore. It's being fixed, and therefore isn't a permanent fixture, so something like that should get a pass, provided you can prove you're actually fixing it. It also occurs to me that someone should be able to place whatever they want to own their own property provided it isn't causing harm to someone else. That someone doesn't like the look of something isn't actually harming them, and if it is, that person really needs to step back and rethink their life.


The second issue addressed is the recording of police officers while on duty. Most courts, (with sane judges) find that a police officer, while out in public (ie, not in his car) they have no reason to expect any kind of privacy in performing their job where other people can see them. Since a patrol car is in effect the officer's office, they do have a right to privacy in there. The main problem is that the laws governing recordings were made well before people could conceive of things like cameras on a cellphone, or even cellphones, for that matter. And despite numerous cases where this is causing problems, the legislative branch of the government has done nothing to try and rectify the situation. As a result, Michael Allison could face up to 60 years in prison for doing something almost every law abiding citizen would say isn't against the law.

One of my main problems with this whole issue is this: When you decide to serve in the military, you basically are choosing to give up some of your rights under the constitution in order to help protect your country's citizens. Or at least, that's the impression I got from some of the recruiters I've talked to, as well as some of my friends who have served. Why isn't this the same for police officers and judges? These are public officials, and when the course of their job takes them into the public, they should have no expectation that their fourth amendment right to privacy should be in effect.

Furthermore, the first ten amendments of the constitution of the united states is there to protect the citizens from government corruption. Included in these rights is freedom of press, the right to report on events without fear of retribution from the government.

What it comes down to though, is the legislators need to address this issue, and sooner, rather than later, because the way things are proceeding we're on a dangerous road of the government trying to take away the rights of its citizens.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Update

I'm working on something about public recordings, so to all my 2(?) readers, I haven't abandoned the blog. I finally am working again, after over a year of unemployment, and so this new job has been devouring my spare time.

I have a job working as a driver for FedEx Home, so I'll likely have a post or two about route fun in the future, and definitely a post about what I think about the mail system in general.


In the meantime, enjoy this NSFW video on the game Tag

Saturday, December 4, 2010

TSA, Weird Gun Laws, and a Raw Deal.

This likely won't be the last time I talk about the TSA, though I will try to keep it from dominating the majority of my posts. According to this article, our friendly security officers haven't been changing their gloves after each sexual assault. These gloves are repeatedly going rubbing all over passengers, particularly groin, armpits and touching people who may be ill (which given the season, is likely a lot of sick people). One passenger in the article described the officer reaching into her pants to feel around. The same practice was used on the 12 year old boy so I'm betting that reaching into our pants is per regular operating procedure for our overly-friendly TSA officers. Unfortunately, despite health concerns you still can't refuse both the Full Body Scanner and the pat down, however what you can do is insist that the officer wash their hands and change their gloves before touching you. I would also suggest that you insist that you be allowed to watch them put on new gloves, so that you can be sure that they aren't just walking for a few minutes, talking to a coworker and then coming back without having changed their gloves at all.


In other news, a returning resident to New Jersey may end up spending 7 years in prison for illegally transporting guns. Brian, the man in question, was found guilty of illegal gun possession, despite having taken every precaution he could to make sure that he was in fact not breaking any laws, even having called the New Jersey police department and asking how he should go about legally transporting his guns to his new residence. The man has demonstrated that he is not a criminal threat, and is a very responsible gun owner, and yet he is still being treated like someone who robbed a convenience store and murdered everyone inside it.

I'm not familiar with New Jersey law, but the gist of it is that even though you can get a purchaser's permit to buy guns, that doesn't mean you can actually own the guns if you live in New Jersey.

Is there someone familiar with New Jersey law that can explain how this doesn't violate the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?



In the final article I'll address in this post, the government is cracking down an incredibly unsafe and dangerous product, raw milk. Huh?

Apparently, even though it's perfectly legal to buy raw animal, and raw vegetables, as well as being able to have our steaks and burgers cooked to order (anything from rare to well-done) we aren't free to purchase raw milk.

The government has already maintained that a woman has a right to do with her body whatever she chooses, however this right apparently stops at the decision of whether or not to kill an unborn child. That's right, you can kill the potential of human life, but you can't drink raw milk, or smoke marijuana (at least in America).

I love my country. I'm proud of America, but sometimes the decisions of the people who help run it make me wonder if I haven't gone insane and am only imagining that these policies exist.