Another Must Read

Thanks to a regular reader for linking to this article in Scientific American.  Were I to stop writing this blog today, this would not be a bad final note to leave because it very succinctly describes how the pursuit of targeted advertising (i.e. the brass ring of Web 2.0) has fostered a design that creates an illusion of choice.  While the Web industry promotes messages of populism, individual opportunity, and innovation, the truth is the money is all predicated on organizing the market (that’s us) into a limited number of paths based on data mining our profiles. Anyone who buys into the notion that the Web is all about elevating the rights of the many over the power of the privileged few should consider what this article implies and perhaps question why it is the Web seems to foster at least temporary monopolies in any given category.

© 2013, David Newhoff. All rights reserved.

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  • Oddly, all i hear is ‘crickets’ from the peanut gallery on this one… 🙂

    • David Newhoff

      It’s early yet.

    • This is what we call a red herring. As if opposing invasive forms of copyright enforcement means that you love invasive tracking cookies and other privacy violating nonsense from Internet companies. Makes sense, because Google is the puppet-master that pulls all our strings right? Am I getting how the narrative goes these days?

      So let me guess, are you a card carrying EFF member? Since they are the largest organizations tackling these privacy issues. Oh wait, they also don’t like invasive copyright enforcement, how confusing!

      Not really actually. Privacy rights is very bad for copyright enforcement on the Internet. Because how the hell am I suppose to know if you are violating my copyright if I can’t know what you are sending in the first place?

      • David Newhoff

        I think the EFF’s focus on privacy is at least half red-herring itself. Setting aside copyright for a moment, the EFF is not a purely independent body; it is funded by and supportive of the Web and consumer electronics industries. And there’s nothing inherently wrong with that just as the link between social goals and the agenda of those industries can be aligned without necessarily being sinister. BUT taking a cautious view of how pretty much all industries operate and have always operated, the privacy agenda has at least as much to do with fostering an anti-government sentiment as it does with privacy concerns. Why? Because businesses don’t like regulation of any kind, and so vilifying government is the favorite pastime of industry spokespeople. So, the contradiction you’re asserting is only true if we assume EFF is purely altruistic. You can believe this if you want, but I got a couple centuries worth of history to suggest maintaining some skepticism.

      • Are you serious? Because there are organizations other than the EFF that receive corporate donations and promote privacy. (An example that came up before was the ACLU). Are they shady fronts for the Kochs or Google or the Illuminati as well?

        In the case of the EFF in particular, they have repeatedly lobbied for increased privacy regulation at the expense of (and in opposition to) businesses including Google. I hope earnestly that you’re able to meet someone (anyone) from the EFF one day and ask him about his views on corporations. I recommend you try Eben Moglen first. Pls livestream and let me know in advance so I can have popcorn ready.

        To insinuate that “the privacy agenda” favors corporate anti-regulatory interests is…I will be civil and say it’s just an unviable argument. Corporations (particularly the “web industry” you vilify, but also the insurance companies and others mentioned in this thread) are the first to profit when privacy erodes. Even the warrantless government surveillance projects that may or may not offend you benefit corporate contractors. By contrast, when the public gets concerned about privacy, the result tends to be regulations that are burdensome to comply with (e.g. HIPAA, Graham Leach, EU data protection regs). Corporations often air rhetoric about “consumer choice” (makers of fatty foods and cigarettes) and “self defense” (guess who), but, for the private sector, “privacy” 99% of the time is a dirty word.

        To be honest, if Google as an entity (rather than individual employees) are giving large amounts of $ to EFF, I’d suspect it has much less to do with the privacy component of EFF’s mission (which is antithetical to Google’s profit model as illustrated by the OP you just posted) and much more to do with interoperability. EFF detests locked-down platforms (like the iphone) and wants both regulators and tech companies to foster an environment where consumers are free to mix and match platforms, content and software components, with all those components able to talk to one another seamlessly. Google’s entire business strategy depends on maintaining a high-interoperability environment — and in the tablet/smartphone space, that’s no sure thing. Put simply, both Google and EFF want people to be able to jailbreak their iProducts. I would wager this is even more important to Google than weakening copyright, though Google and EFF are united on that, too.

        Also, I am not one of those zealots who invokes Orwell all the time but re-read your post and try to deny with a straight face that it’s creepy. You’re leery of “the privacy agenda” because it “foster[s] anti-government sentiment”? (Or because it’s just a pretext for fostering anti-government sentiment?) Either way,,,wow.

      • David Newhoff

        Hah. That certainly almost got you to come out swinging, but I appreciate you maintaining your cool. You’ve already stated concerns about privacy, so I’m not surprised this touched a nerve; but there’s a reason I said “half red herring,” and it’s because the other half is that I believe there is value in keeping an eye on these issues. Still, much of what I’d respond would be variations on things I’ve already said, but here it goes…

        First, I sneer just a little at privacy fears sowed by an industry whose bread and butter is data mining all of us in order to sell that data to other private companies. As I said, I’m more concerned with what an insurance company might do with data gleaned from Facebook than I am with the NSA spying on me. The first is already happening, the other really isn’t (especially post sequester :)).

        Second, we live in a world with a 140-character attention span (thanks to these technologies), and EFF’s headlines are too blunt and incendiary for my taste, particularly with regard to complex matters like trade agreements. I’ve been around professional marketing people my whole life and am, therefore, highly skeptical of just about everything on face value.

        Third, it’s a matter of record who funds the EFF, and I already said that this is not inherently sinister and that there is an ideological synergy between that organization and Silicon Valley industries. I think it’s far more complex than tobacco, which just set up fronts to confuse people on medical data about their product. In this case, I think we’re arguing about the future of society on several fronts, and there’s a very strong libertarian (even Randian) theme running through technologists’ agenda that I personally distrust for a variety of reasons. But it isn’t binary like tobacco, where I can just point to it and say it’s all a lie.

        Fourth, interesting that you mention jailbreaking because look who’s making a name for himself taking up that particular cause — the would-be poster boy of the conservative anti-copyright agenda, Derek Khanna. Khanna wrote the famous RSC memo that “got him fired” and launched him into the spotlight — not bad for a document lacking either research or original thought. The point is I don’t think people should go to jail for cracking their phones, but I maintain skepticism about the agenda in this case, partly because it is viewed as a component of an anti-copyright movement, which itself is a component of a larger ideology I don’t trust.

        You read my comment as “creepy,” but I’m something of an equal-opportunity cynic. Privacy is a concern, but I maintain more skepticism of the private sector than I do the government; and I think it is in the interest of organizations like the EFF to find the bogeyman everywhere they can. I’ve already said as much, but people are going nuts over the somewhat limited capabilities of things like drone surveillance while the average social media data they share voluntarily is highly detailed. I think there’s more than a little narcissism going on here — as though the FBI actually gives a damn about your blog. The EFF will talk about how social media data might be shared with law enforcement, but they seem pretty silent on how Google et al intend to monetize that data (you mentioned your own concerns about future employers). So, it’s not that I question the entire privacy agenda, but that I maintain what I consider a healthy dose of concern about the long-term goals of massive corporations.

        I don’t vilify Google per se, but there’s no getting past the fact that they own search and advertising worldwide, that they are beyond wealthy, that their technologies are highly integrated with everyday life, and that their leadership espouses a world view up to and including a utopian vision of the Technological Singularity. So, on the creepy meter, I’m sayin’ our notoriously inefficient, representative government with all its oversight and internal competitions don’t spook me nearly so much as the prospect of four billionaires in a room with visions of a new world order.

      • First, I sneer just a little at privacy fears sowed by an industry whose bread and butter is data mining all of us in order to sell that data to other private companies.

        Yes, but in what sense are these fears sowed “by” this industry? I bring up the ACLU — does this mean that when the ACLU fights housing discrimination, they’re secretly working on behalf of the subprime-securitizing Wall Street banks who give them money? As I’ve repeatedly demonstrated, the EFF in its pro-privacy stance is adverse to Google et al. So while you’ve “said” that this suspect “privacy agenda” is really being advanced by the “web industry,” you haven’t shown it.

        But let’s talk about Google giving EFF money. You say that’s a matter of public record — do you have a link? I found one EFF annual report online and, while the CEA is listed as a major donor, Google is not. Google did pay EFF a large chunk of money the following year — as part of a court-ordered penalty for violating the privacy of its users. I don’t know if you’re familiar with cy pres settlements, but they occur in class action lawsuits when the class is sufficiently large or the settlement is sufficiently small that individual class members would receive trivial amounts of money. So, instead, the judge orders that the money be divided among charities that monitor the misconduct complained of. Among other cy pres recipients were the ACLU (which received 7x as much as EFF) and various academic institutions. Exhibits submitted with the proposed settlement reveal that Google gave the EFF $25k in donations in 2010. Since that amounts to less than 1% of total donations EFF received, it’s no surprise Google failed to make the annual report.

        Let’s see, what else…if the NSA is not spying on you, it’s only because you aren’t exchanging email with anyone outside the U.S. (or, perhaps, anyone with an Arab-sounding name). And even if you’re a die-hard advocate of government surveillance (if libertarians dislike it then it must be worth defending) but dislike datamining by Facebook and advertisers, you should still be donating to EFF, since few others seem to be doing anything about the social media privacy problem. (And EFF, btw, is not “silent” on Google’s collection and monetization of users’ data, as evidenced by any of the zillion links I’ve pasted in this thread). If you’re deterred because of EFF’s blunt “headlines,” I assume you’ve also sworn off donating to your Radioactive Zipper Awareness League and whoever made this (talk about fear mongerering).

        As an alternative, you could donate to the Electric Privacy Information Center (EPIC), which is about half EFF’s size and doesn’t do anti-copyright advocacy. Of course, EPIC did bring recent impact litigation against the TSA, a move cheered by randians and true progressives alike. So maybe you want to stay away from them.

        Semi-relatedly, how do you feel about immigration reform? Because libertarians and big industrial interests are all for open borders and/or amnesty, since this gives companies access to cheap labor. Are you skeptical of the immigration reform agenda just because conservatives are pro-?

      • I can’t respond to all of that right this moment, least of all the tangential question of immigration. But, yes, I’m familiar with class-action settlements, and I’m glad you brought that up because it reminded me of this piece regarding disbursements from the Buzz Privacy settlement.

        All else aside for a second, the penalty for invading privacy is a cash settlement not for the victims but for “watchdog” organizations who just so happen to support other agendas conducive to our business. It starts to smell a little like tobacco in here to me.

      • David Newhoff

        I didn’t click on that ad yesterday, but were I their communications consultant, I’d tell them what a dumb ad it is. Style and tone count, and that piece isn’t fear-mongering so much as just inviting mockery. Even if the content in the narration is based in fact, it’s just a dumb way to present the whole thing. Reminds me of the famous “your brain on drugs” spot with the egg in the frying pan.

      • David Newhoff,

        That’s not really true. The EFF is largely funded by individual memberships/donations. I’ve also personally donated to the EFF several times. Their agenda is both convenient to Internet companies in some areas in inconvenient in others, so they aren’t the ideal organization to represent them.

      • In the interest of fairness, I want to mention something that’s been bothering me for awhile about the organization you blog for sometimes. I’d like to contrast EFF to “Copyright Alliance”, some organization that seems to be on the pro-copyright spectrum of things.

        I can’t even find a place to donate money to them as an individual. EFF makes it incredibly obvious on their home page.

        I look at their member’s page, and all I see is corporations and various organizations in the content industry represented. No individuals that I can see. I’ve tried several times but I still couldn’t find an annual report anywhere. So I can’t figure out how they are funded. So who funds Copyright Alliance? You might know since you are involved with them.

        They claim to represent individuals. If they aren’t funded by individuals, how can this truly be the case? But if I wanted to influence them as a individual member (ie. not a corporate member), how would I do that?

      • Actually, Copyright Alliance makes it very clear that their major supporters are indeed those large members of the media entertainment industry. They’re transparent about who their board members are, and the page you linked shows them without apology. The grassroots members, of which I am one, are mostly middle-class, working artists, who use the Alliance as a resource but are not expected to donate to the organization. It’s also worth noting that CA is a staff of fewer than five people with one senior IP attorney at its head in contrast to the size and scope of EFF. The mission of CA is to protect copyright as a relevant right for all creators. Of course their funding will come from the wealthiest creators. And if you think EFF would exist solely from private donations, I got a bridge to sell you. If you wanted to influence them as an individual creator, you would write to them as such and initiate correspondence, no money necessary. I can get into this more later, but I have to run.

      • David Newhoff

        Last note before I really have to focus on some work. I think you and Anon are both looking for black and white where there is gray, as though I’m claiming funding for EFF from tech and Web = 100% shilling and spin. What I’ve said repeatedly is that I think it’s more complex than that and that organizations like the EFF have an agenda that just so happens to fit the business goals of those industries. Issue for issue, we could quarrel about the validity or value of each cause they take on, but that isn’t really what we’re talking about here. Put it another way, the MPAA is a major supporter of Copyright Alliance. I don’t support everything the MPAA does or says, but we do share a belief that copyright still matters, and our common ground, for purposes of this discussion, is CA. I really am more interested in the big picture, cultural stuff than I am in a lot of the tactical wrangling between industry titans. If the big studios come down, and that winds up being good for filmmakers, so be it. But if what happens is merely a shift to a different kind of corporate consolidation, maybe not so good.

      • If you’re in fact familiar with class action settlements, then the tobacco reference is pretty disingenuous, because you know that cy pres is common and rarely if ever signifies collusion. It’s just a pragmatic response to situations where distributing $2 to each class member would be of no practical benefit to anyone. FYI, class representatives are involved in these settlement negotiations, too; not infrequently, plaintiffs rather than defendants propose cy pres.

        The “Tech Liberation Front” is not analyzing the final settlement. If you want to do that, follow the link I gave you which is to the docket itself. Though I do find it ironic that while you’re ambivalent about privacy because Randians like it, you’re linking an analysis by a guy who holds senior positions at the Cato Institute and Heritage Foundation — groups that will criticize anything relating to consumer class action lawsuits (wild guess why). But regardless, if you like that article, you should like my earlier recommendation that you donate to EPIC. I personally donate to both EPIC and EFF.

        In the meantime, I suppose you have a $603k bridge to sell me, since that’s the amount reported by EFF in individual “major” donations alone (not even counting membership fees and smaller donations from non-wealthy individuals). There are plenty of charities that exist on similar amounts of money. So the idea that EFF (or other privacy groups) would cease to exist but for corporate donations is hogwash.

      • David Newhoff

        (Dammit. I’m going to be up so late with my project.) Okay. Total income in the 2009-2010 Annual Report: about $3.6 million. Total salaries, which we expect to be the main expense: about $2.6 million. Staff listed: 43 people, including several attorneys, whom you have to pay if you want to keep. 1O members on the Board of Directors. 7 Fellows. Even the docket you shared lists EFF as receiving $1 million from Buzz. So, no I don’t think the scope of the EFF would be anywhere near what it is without major corporate backing, and there’s nothing wrong with that per se. It really feels like we’re getting into the weeds on this.

        Also, re. your suggestions regarding donations, what part of middle-class, struggling artist with a family did you miss? 🙂

      • One last point before I stop spamming your website with comments:

        You claim to see things in shades of gray, but what you’ve essentially said here is that you’re leery of or ambivalent about “the privacy agenda” because libertarians and Google support it. (Setting aside, for a moment, the glaring fact that Google does not support it and that unlike the EFF, libertarians don’t support privacy if it means additional regulation). I mean, isn’t that your bottom line?

        M and I have both taken issue with your inaccurate perception of the EFF, but I’m not wedded to the EFF. I’m probably just reacting to the fact that you seem more interested in criticizing “the web industry” than defending privacy, which is your prerogative, although obviously it makes privacy-related criticisms ring hollow. (And this is doubly true when you turn around and criticize people who advocates for privacy).

        In the end, neither of us will get what we want, because both privacy and copyright are becoming increasingly anachronistic and irrelevant.

      • David Newhoff

        I think you’ve misconstrued what I am saying to mean that I don’t care about the issue of privacy, which is not the case. I am mostly talking about the use of highly emotional headlines used to create paranoia where it may not be warranted, and this is a trend I see well beyond issues of concern to the EFF. You mentioned radioactive zippers earlier, and that was certainly one a friend posted that caused a double-take. The numbers on the recycling don’t really seem to justify the imagery being employed in this case. But I think this is one of the prices we pay for the information explosion — that every message must compete for our attention. Am I concerned about privacy? Sure, but not that drones are following me around, etc. Am I concerned about radioactive waste? Yes, but there’s no way the fraction of radioactive metals proposed for recycling results to toxic zippers. And so on.

        I’ll criticize the web industry when I believe its spokespeople are manipulating free speech or privacy concerns to serve its business goals, and I’ll criticize movie studios for making crappy movies or media conglomerates for turning news into entertainment. Regardless, I disagree that privacy or copyright are necessarily anachronistic, but I’ve already admitted to being a sucker for false hope.

      • Since I am a creator, I’d like to join the Copyright Alliance but only if I would have a say in its functioning. For instance, would a creative that was genuinely opposed to SOPA allowed to join Copyright Alliance and have influence in the organization? Or must I follow the specific agenda promoted by their large content industry “members”?

      • David Newhoff

        I can’t speak with authority to this question and especially don’t know the myriad opinions on all issues of all members. But I assume the question would be what you’d expect in terms of influence with any organization that has a stated agenda. If your views are inconsistent with that agenda, why would you want to be a member?

  • I’m not very familiar with Scientific American, but I’d have hoped their approach would be more…scientific than this. This article recycles very old news and pairs it with an incendiary (if, from a mathematical perspective, laughably inaccurate) OWS dog-whistle headline.

    For anyone who would like to read in greater detail about this issue, it’s been reported credibly and thoroughly by, among others:
    ^EFF has been trying to alert you about this since 2007…probably an elaborate false flag ploy to conceal the Google puppetstrings, amirite?

    None of this surprised me when I saw Michael Fertik’s byline. He’s no scientist — he’s a cynic who wants to garner a few quick bucks and pageviews by riding the coattails of people who’ve done real reporting on what is concededly a very interesting issue. If I sound like I dislike Fertik, that’s because I do: I went to school with him, he was a douche then and he’s a douche now.

    What Fertik didn’t tell you (but probably the most interesting part of this) is that if you have a Google account and go to Settings and Ad Preferences, you can see the profile they’ve assembled on you based on all the data they’ve gleaned (and you can modify this profile if you want). Instructions here:

    (Also, if you are interested in shielding yourself from this sort of tracking, there are plenty of things you can do. I won’t bore you with them because I suspect most of you know, and they are very easy to google). Of course, the irony of it is that through Fertik’s lens, if you protect yourself you are disenfranchising yourself and landing among the unwashed 99%, since companies won’t target you with “offers” (ads) designed for people whose recorded browsing habits indicate they’re rich.

    • David Newhoff

      Thanks for the links. The NY Times article is really good; I won’t get a chance to read the others right away. The larger point isn’t really whether consumers have opt-in functionality (never mind the fact that many consumers will find even this process cumbersome), but to distinguish the social message (i.e. “It’s all about you.”) from the business agenda, which is all about treating you like a commodity. This goes to the industry’s interest in weakening copyright, which has nothing to do with ideology or social justice and everything to do with wanting to fully monetize activity on the Web without such nagging barriers as the rights of creators and authors.

      • Thanks, appreciate it.

        And sure– their interest in weakening copyright is blatantly profit-motivated, though I think there is probably a sliver of legitimate overlap between the copyleft crowd and the Silicon Valley crowd…just like there is an overlap between the Democratic Party and the national press, even though there is no official conspiracy to inject liberal bias into the news. Also, Google et al. derive revenue from IP, too, so either they’ve calculated the precise optimal amount of anti-IP crusading they can do before it affects them, have decided the negative effects net out, or they’re acting potentially against their own interest (in which case some amount of ideology may be at work).

        For many years, my response to articles like this was to shrug and say, well, you can opt out, and besides, how did you think these companies were providing these immensely popular bandwidth-intensive services for free? You knew Google was an advertising company. But there are disconcerting potential consequences that haven’t even begun to be examined (though some of the EFF technolibertarian types have scratched the surface): any time there is a massive trove of data about you, someone will develop an interest in that data and try to obtain it and use it for purposes even less benign than targeted ads. For example, picture a nasty custody dispute where your ex has an ability to subpoena Google and obtain information about literally everything you have searched, texted or done; everywhere you’ve traveled; every site you’ve browsed. The government can subpoena that data, too — and while I realize that people here (at least David) scoff at fears of government compared to corporate overreach, it is not inconceivable that innocent activities could put you on the wrong government “list” — perhaps your likelihood of an IRS audit increases, or your likelihood of being pulled aside at the airport.

      • David Newhoff

        All of those things are valid concerns, and it’s not that I scoff at all fears of government overreach vis a vis data mining so much I scoff at how oversimplified those fears usual are. People tend to talk about the government as though it’s one entity with a unified point of view and endless resources to target innocent individuals, and nothing could be further from the truth. I do worry about data mining vis a vis job applications (as you mentioned), insurance applications, college admittance, etc. It’s not that you shouldn’t keep an open eye about the government, but if you’re looking for who has motivation and resources, it’s going to be the private sector. Moreover, I think it’s a little silly to quake over government surveillance while simultaneously volunteering lots of information via social media. As my son says, “The government doesn’t need to spy on you, Google and Facebook get you to spy on yourself for them.”

        And let’s not discount stories like this one: Stopping a serial killer before he starts, or invasion of privacy and free speech?

      • Also, one thing I will say about opt-out is that opt-out matters if we’re talking about an “illusion of choice.” Because technically you do have a choice. Though I get that you’re also touching on the aesthetics these companies use to market themselves, which emphasize choice even though some of their profit mechanisms limit your field of choices by default (unless you opt out).

      • David Newhoff

        I’m also saying that many of the mechanisms that sound easy enough to people who just so happen to work in the IT field are a lot more cumbersome for the average user. Look at all the nonsense that happens every time Facebook changes its privacy or usage terms, half of which is hysteria in the wrong direction. I include myself in the category of consumers who want to enjoy these tools but not constantly be my own IT security department. I suspect the majority of these companies are counting on that, and perhaps the next generation will relate to these technologies differently.

        And now, I must spend the day ignoring comments other than to approve them, lest I fall farther behind on a project.

      • Go do your project. I need to go to work, too. For the record I agree with you about Facebook — one of the most extreme cases. The best approach is simply not to use Facebook. I made my profile circa Facebook’s launch (this is me bragging about being an early adopter) when they didn’t require your “real name” or birthday or a full profile, and I still have that legacy account. I still consider deleting it.

        And unlike M, I’ve never worked in IT or anything close to it, but I see what you mean. If you are privacy-minded there are certain easy habits you can get into, like using a couple of popular browser extensions and never giving out your name or info without a good reason, which sounds paranoid and burdensome but when you do it for long enough is just second nature. I think I sometimes err, though, in assuming that other people think about these things too.

      • And to your other post, I agree it’s silly to be paranoid about the government while volunteering to be surveilled on Facebook (especially because the government surveills Facebook). I’ve probably talked enough about my own social media habits by now.

        As for the NPR article you linked, I would be fine with the government obtaining this type of information if they met a substantial evidentiary threshold and the charges were very serious. But often they don’t need to meet any evidentiary threshold at all, and spying ensnares plenty of innocent people (flashes of that Muslim kid who found a GPS device on his car).

        I took a university course that covered topics including Al Qaeda, and some of the materials we analyzed for a project included recruiting and training materials obtained by our professor (a sometime consultant to the CIA and military). Before we were allowed to view the materials, we had to sign our names to a list so the government could keep a closer eye on us, apparently lest we fall instantly under the spell of these shitty grainy videos and morph into jihadists overnight. I don’t see the government as an evil cabal, but their policy in many cases is “let’s keep track of these people just in case.” And not infrequently, they misinterpret information they collect. And it creeps me out and annoys me.

  • “M” Wrote: “ Privacy rights is very bad for copyright enforcement on the Internet. Because how the hell am I suppose to know if you are violating my copyright if I can’t know what you are sending in the first place?
    As i have repeatedly pointed out (on another blog) yet you cling to it unabashedly –this is a false choice.
    I don’t need to know… nor do i care what you personally are downloading from TPB, for example. It’s not the end-user i’m concerned with, it’s the for-profit illegal enterprise blatantly hosting or illegally pointing to (and profiting from) my work. Privacy does not come into the picture. Your “all or nothing” take on copyright is a delusion that you won’t let go of. No law or penalty will 100% stop ANY behavior. And ‘eliminating’ piracy is not the end goal, certainly not mine. “Managing” it and getting it out of the mainstream is certainly an attainable goal… and one that does not conflict with privacy in any form.
    Those who would say you need to give up one right in order to have another right, are misleading people… at best.
    If ‘Joe Public’ can find/’see’ the host, so can i, and so can law enforcement. I don’t care who visited a site, i care who owns the site…

  • Random note here. I recently met someone from EFF. She
    lectured me on ‘choice’. Apparently choice is sacred. More so than
    life is sacred? Well I invited her to meet a musician dying of
    pancreatic cancer and surviving solely on royalty checks. Not
    interested. In fact she doesn’t know anyone who is a musician. That
    was stunning to me. Didn’t know any musicians and never occurred to
    her to meet one.

    • Not surprising many of those that pontificate about Welfare don’t know any one on Welfare. Most of those that pontificate on the Middle East know no Arabs, or no Jews. Those that pontificate on Race know no Blacks or Asians.

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