Posts Tagged ‘privacy’

Liberals Caught Video Surveilling Children In Their Own Homes

February 24, 2010

Remember how the left came emotionally unglued over George Bush approving the eavesdropping of phone calls to the US from known terrorists overseas?

You’d have thought that Bush had gone to the Library of Congress and personally torn apart the original copy of the Constitution.  And then defecated on the pieces.

Of course, monitoring the phone calls from foreign terrorists wanting to have an obviously nice, harmless chat with someone in America was terrible.  And of course, liberal school districts using cameras to record children in the privacy of their own bedrooms and bathrooms in their own homes is perfectly appropriate.

Or not.

I go with not.

Big Teacher Is Watching You
February 24, 2010 – by Jeff Schreiber

My laptop’s webcam now has a postage stamp covering it. Does yours?

This week, a district court judge in Philadelphia, PA, had to do the unthinkable: issue an order preventing a school district from further remote reactivation of webcams on laptop computers issued to nearly 2,000 high school students, a practice which has left many students and parents wondering whether school administrators had unfettered access into their homes and lives.

Just last week, a high school sophomore named Blake Robbins filed a class action lawsuit in federal court against the Lower Merion School District, the wealthy destination district on Philadelphia’s prestigious Main Line which gave the world numerous doctors, lawyers, financial managers — and Kobe Bryant. The school district, Robbins alleges, has been spying on students and students’ families in their own homes by means of remote access to webcam-equipped laptop computers provided to all students through an initiative funded largely by federal and state grants.

Neither students nor parents were provided notice by Lower Merion School District about the remote-access capability when the computers were distributed or at any other time. Robbins and his family only discovered the capability when the 15-year-old was approached at school by an assistant principal at Harriton High School and accused of engaging in “improper behavior” in his own home.

A photograph captured by Robbins’ laptop webcam was offered as evidence.  The “improper behavior” which so concerned school administrators? Assistant Principal Lindy Matsko pointed to what looked like prescription drugs being held by Robbins in the photograph and voiced concern that he was selling drugs; in reality, Robbins was eating his favorite candy, Mike & Ikes, while at the computer in his own home.

Lower Merion School District, Robbins claims, has violated a long list of federal and state laws designed to protect personal privacy and stored information, including but not limited to the Electronic Communication Privacy Act, the Computer Fraud Abuse Act, the Stored Communications Act, §1983 of the Civil Rights Act, the Pennsylvania Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act, and Pennsylvania common law. And then, of course, there’s the matter of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Even for those who do not read a bona fide right to privacy into the Constitution, considering that the Fourth Amendment was written and drafted by our founders in response to the practice so many years before of British soldiers who conducted warrantless searches of colonists’ homes in search of signs of smuggling, that this case features an overreaching school district peering into private homes without notice or consent, all in search of “improper behavior” of the sort that Robbins was confronted with, should be cause for alarm for anyone who values liberty and individual freedom.

In the week which has followed the filing of the complaint, a number of students have come forward to say that either they noticed a green light indicating an active camera illuminate arbitrarily, or that they may not have noticed the light but often have the laptop open in their bedrooms, or even in their bathrooms, where music from iTunes can make showering more enjoyable for anyone who belts out Lady Gaga tunes into their shampoo bottle.

Most curious, though, has been the response from Lower Merion School District. Almost two days after the class action complaint was filed, the district released a statement on its website admitting to nearly every allegation made by Blake Robbins and his attorney.

By saying that “[t]he laptops do contain a security feature intended to track lost, stolen and missing laptops,” the district admitted that it did indeed have the capability to remotely access portals into students’ private lives.  By saying that “[t]his feature has been deactivated effective today,” the district admitted that the capability had indeed been active. By saying that “the feature was activated by the District’s security and technology departments,” administrators admitted that the feature can be activated at their own discretion, and by saying that future activation of the remote access capability would not occur “without express written notification to all students and families,” the district admitted that it had peered into private homes with neither notification nor consent.

In fact, perhaps the biggest fight the school district has put up was this week in the hearing preceding the issuance of the order, when the lead counsel for Lower Merion School District voiced concern over the language of any order issued by the court.

We don’t want it to be called an ‘injunction,’” said lead counsel Henry Hockheimer Jr. of Philadelphia law firm Ballard Spahr, noting that his clients had similar reservations about words like “enjoined,” preferring the more innocuous “prohibited.” Judge Jan E. DuBois agreed, waving his robed arm high along an imaginary marquee, saying that he understood the district wanting to avoid certain types of headlines.

Is it possible that the school district is not quite fully aware of the trouble it’s in? For the most part, after all, educators sit on the far left of the traditional political spectrum, a place where most of their immediate ideological neighbors share the notion that government knows better than the individual, and that schools and school administrators in their infinite wisdom can parent better than parents. Is it really so outlandish to consider that officials at Lower Merion School District wholeheartedly believed not only that it was their right to police its own population — even at home — in search of possible wrongdoing, but that they were looking out for the best interests of their students by doing so?

Looking around Courtroom 12-B yesterday afternoon, I became acutely aware that of the four laptops in the room, my own was not the only one with an obscured webcam. Walking through a common area at my law school later yesterday evening, I noticed even more.

Whatever the reasoning, whether the lens obstruction is symbolic in nature — mine sports a “forever” first class stamp prominently featuring a photo of the Liberty Bell — or if the concern for privacy is actual, it is clear in the suburbs of Philadelphia that the Nanny State is alive and well, and that even in school districts where the students seem to have everything, true freedom and liberty can still be elusive.

In case your eyes popped out of your head as you were reading the paragraph about the public school official freaking out over a student eating Mike & Ike candy in his bedroom, it’s really true.

I think of the Democrats who attacked Bush over his “irresponsible” deficits.  I remember the words of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid from March 16, 2006:

“The deterioration of the federal government’s finances is the direct result of the misguided priorities of this administration and this rubber stamping republican Congress.  these deficits have resulted in an unprecedented and dangerous borrowing spree.”

But here Harry Reid and the same Democrats are now engaging in spending which makes Bush’s deficits look like chump change:

Mr. Obama cannot dismiss critics by pointing to President George W. Bush’s decision to run $2.9 trillion in deficits while fighting two wars and dealing with 9/11 and Katrina. Mr. Obama will surpass Mr. Bush’s eight-year total in his first 20 months and 11 days in office, adding $3.2 trillion to the national debt. If America “cannot and will not sustain” deficits like Mr. Bush’s, as Mr. Obama said during the campaign, how can Mr. Obama sustain the geometrically larger ones he’s flogging?

I think of Democrats lambasting the tactic of reconciliation (which the media called “the nuclear option” when Republicans considered using it to underscore just how extreme it was), only to now hypocritically and deceitfully repudiate everything they claimed to stand for.

What was it that Joe Biden said about the procedure he’s all in favor of now?

Joe Biden 5/23/2005: “This nuclear option is ultimately an example of the arrogance of power. It is a fundamental power grab.”

What was it Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said?

It’s a moment of truth for the United States Senate.

Today, Senate Democrats represent the last check on President Bush’s power.

Republicans want to eliminate this check and give President Bush power no president has ever had — the ability to hand out lifetime federal judgeships without consensus from the other party. […]

A government in which one party has control over all decisions is bad for America and bad for all our people.

Our country works better when we cooperate and work towards compromises that benefit the greater good and not one group over another.

What we are seeing now is the most vile hypocrisy – perpetuated by Democrats against their very own rhetoric.  Democrats essentially are saying, “Republicans shouldn’t use the nuclear option because they aren’t treasonous slime.  WE ARE TREASONOUS SLIME, so we feel fine using it.”

For the record, the Republicans did not use the “nuclear option” in that instance, nor have they ever used it in anything remotely close to the way that Democrats are talking about using it now.

How do Democrats’ skulls not explode from trying to contain all the contradictions?

Why is it that the mainstream media is never around to confront these dishonest hypocrites when they daily spew their demagoguery?

This not only amply demonstrates what totalitarian big government fascists liberals are, but it also illustrates another important conservative doctrine: that if you give Democrats power over your life by accepting their bribes and their free lunches, they will own you.

You take their programs – or their computers – you unknowingly welcome their spying eyes and their chains.  Because everything they give you, they can take away.

Statements from our founding fathers such as this one from Samuel Adams

“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!”

– are being illustrated in their supreme wisdom more and more every day.

Obama: “Now That I’ve Been Elected, One’s Associations Really ARE Important”

November 13, 2008

The exciting thing about an Obama presidency – aside from the very real possibility that an inexperienced radical will fail spectacuarly and send the whole country plunging to its ruin – is the neverending stream of hypocrisy that flows from the man.

The man whose campaign offered a constant stream of “that amounts to the charge of guilt by association” when reports of Jeremiah Wright, Tony Rezko, William Ayers, Rashid Khalidi, and others surfaced, is now more fixated on “associations” than any President in history.  This from a man who would certainly fail to achieve a security clearance in any administration other than one in which he was President.

Jackie Calmes, writing for The New York Times, says:

A seven-page questionnaire being sent by the office of President-elect Barack Obama to those seeking cabinet and other high-ranking posts may be the most extensive — some say invasive — application ever.

Now, it doesn’t surprise me one iota, but it will likely come as a surprise that the man who campaigned as the paradigmatic symbol epitomizing ‘hope’ and ‘change’ would prove himself to be the paradigmatic Stalinist instead.

My favorite quote of the article:

Just in case the previous 62 questions do not ferret out any potential controversy, the 63rd is all-encompassing: “Please provide any other information, including information about other members of your family, that could suggest a conflict of interest or be a possible source of embarrassment to you, your family, or the president-elect.”

As though anyone could actually embarrass the president-elect more than he has embarrassed himself and the country that voted for him with his own “sources of embarrassment.”

In 1992 it was a serious matter than Bill Clinton had once smoked marijuana; he had to convince voters that he “didn’t inhale.”  Obama used hard drugs like cocaine.  It is difficult to imagine a President having openly associated with openly anti-Semitic PLO functionaries such as Rashid Khalidi, but here we are.  It is beyond impossible to imagine a President having not merely associated with, but actively PARTNERED with, a terrorist who bombed the Pentagon and the Capital building.  But here we are.  It is utterly impossible to imagine a President who spent 23 years attending a racist and anti-American church and remaining with said church even AFTER the pastor shouted for all to hear, “God damn America!”  But here we are.

And his administration is worried that some detail about someone’s life could be “embarrassing”?

Corrupt Democrats Join Partisan Media In Violating Privacy Rights

October 31, 2008

The media tore into the personal and private lives of Obama “infomercial” Roberta Johnston, Larry Stewart, Juliana Sanchez, and Mark and Melinda Dowell, launching a massive investigative journalism war against the private citizens.  State officials joined in the effort to uncover every detail of the citizens’ lives, using state computers from public agencies to conduct thorough background checks.  Details began to come out immediately.  It was discovered that – contrary to her statement that she could only afford half a gallon of milk – Juliana Sanchez was seen buying TWO gallons of milk.  And, in an even bigger bombshell shocker, the Missouri mother that claimed that she couldn’t afford enough snacks for her children was caught buying a new pair of shoes with money that easily could have paid for an entire MONTHS’ worth of snacks.  With shocking developments like these, the effort of going through their trash and the use of state computers to dig up dirt was more than warranted.

Of course, that won’t happen.  It won’t happen because these people are Democrats supporting a Democratic candidate.  And the media is the official propaganda arm for the Democratic National Committee and for the Obama campaign.

Joe “the plumber” Wurzelbacher wasn’t nearly so lucky.  You see, when Wurzelbacher asked Barack Obama – who was walking past his house – a question that revealed that Obama was a socialist who liked to “spread the wealth around,” he became an instant arch-enemy of the Democratic Party and therefore of the media.  It was immediately revealed that his name wasn’t really even “Joe,” but “Samuel.”  “Joseph” is his MIDDLE NAME, which clearly proved that he had deep character flaws.  And THEN it came out that he isn’t really even a licensed plumber, but was working under his employers’ license while he prepared to take the ‘Master plumber’ examination.  They gleefully revealed that Wurzelbacher had a tax lien (conveniently omitting the fact that Obama’s campaign treasurer Martin Nesbitt likewise has a tax lien).  Every salacious detail – or at least every detail that could at least be made to sound salacious – was published and carried on every network and every news service.

Democrats attacked John McCain.  He hadn’t properly vetted Joe the plumber, they accused (which is another way of accusing the McCain campaign of failing to be as Stalinist as Democrats).  Joe the plumber is a private citizen.  Nobody SHOULD be “vetting” him.  All the man did was ask a simple question.  It wasn’t Wurzelbacher’s fault that Obama unmasked himself as a socialist with his answer.

It didn’t stop there.  Democrats are far too corrupt, hypocritical, and crazed to stop when it comes to unleashing the politics of personal destruction to annihilate anyone who gets in their way.  If Democrats had integrity, well, they wouldn’t be Democrats.

The Democrats and their media lackeys did a pretty effective job at convincing people that they had somehow trashed Sarah Palin even though they didn’t have anything on her.  Wicked lies about her pregancy and her family and violating her personal privacy by hacking her email account weren’t too low for Democrats.  Nothing is too low for Democrats.  They began by attacking her as a bad mother and then degenerated from there.

It turned out that Joe Wurzelbacher’s confidential information had been accessed via Ohio state computers:

Ohio’s inspector general is investigating why a state agency director approved checking the state child-support computer system for information on “Joe the Plumber.”

Helen Jones-Kelly, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, confirmed today that she OK’d the check on Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher following the Oct. 15 presidential debate.

She said there were no political reasons for the check on the sudden presidential campaign fixture though the Support Enforcement Tracking System.

Amid questions from the media and others about “Joe the Plumber,” Jones-Kelley said she approved a check to determine if he was current on any ordered child-support payments.

Such information was not and cannot be publicly shared, she said. It is unclear if Wurzelbacher is involved in a child-support case. Reports state that he lives alone with a 13-year-old son.

“Our practice is when someone is thrust quickly into the public spotlight, we often take a look” at them, Jones-Kelley said, citing a case where a lottery winner was found to owe past-due child support. “Our practice is to basically look at what is coming our way.”

Ohio Inspector General Thomas P. Charles confirmed today that he is investigating the incident to determine if “Joe”s” records were legally accessed by Job and Family Services employees.

But Joe the plumber HADN’T won the lottery.  And Roberta Johnston, Larry Stewart, Juliana Sanchez, and Mark and Melinda Dowell have ALSO been thrust into the public spotlight.  The least the media and the Democrats can do is give the Obama infomercial citizens the same microscopically-detailed proctological exam they have given Joe Wurzelbacher.  If one of these people didn’t pay a parking ticket 30 years ago, we should know about it as a “public service.”

Then it turned out that the state computer searches on Wurzelbacher were “more extensive than first acknowledged”:

A state agency has revealed that its checks of computer systems for potential information on “Joe the Plumber” were more extensive than it first acknowledged.

Helen Jones-Kelley, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, disclosed yesterday that computer inquiries on Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher were not restricted to a child-support system.

The agency also checked Wurzelbacher in its computer systems to determine whether he was receiving welfare assistance or owed unemployment compensation taxes, she wrote.

Jones-Kelley made the revelations in a letter to Ohio Senate President Bill M. Harris, R-Ashland, who demanded answers on why state officials checked out Wurzelbacher.

Harris called the multiple records checks “questionable” and said he awaits more answers. “It’s kind of like Big Brother is looking in your pocket,” he said.

Then we found out that Helen E. Jones-Kelly – who had been behind the searches – was a Democrat who had given the maximum contribution of $2,300 to the Obama campaign.  We can only surmise whether she made further contributions under aliases such as Mickey Mouse, Will Good or Doodad.

Jones-Kelly assures everyone that there’s no way she intended anything political out of her tactics.  Why anyone would think that anything turned up in the state computer searches would have somehow found their way to the media is anybody’s guess.

Democrat Gov. Ted Strickland – who appointed Jones-Kelly this past January – claims that he is satisfied that there are no political overtures to the check on Wurzelbacher, a spokesman said.  And we should disregard the fact that the Ohio Governor is about as partisan a Democrat as they come, the kind of guy who’d be as likely to cover up Democratic political hatchet jobs as he would be to engage in demagoguery himself.

Liberals should be THRILLED, shouldn’t they?  They tried to sue the Bush Administration claiming the government had spied on private American citizens, but the lawsuit was dismissed because the ACLU wasn’t able to find anyone who had actually been spied upon.  Now they finally have a guy: Democrat government officials caught red-handed spying on a private citizen!  We can go back to the massive abuse of FBI files compiled against enemies of the Clinton Administration to see what hypocrites these people are.

Democrats are the greatest hypocrites since Jesus took on the nastiest of the Pharisees.  They regard their unsubstantiated allegations against Repubicans as being far more serious than the times they themselves are caught red-handed.  The fact that Democratic voter fraud organization ACORN has now been nailed in 21 states (with the list growing all the time) means nothing; the fact that Democrats allege that Republicans are trying to suppress the vote means everything.  The downfall of Rep. Mark Foley was a terrible disgrace that proved Republicans were corrupt and served as the straw that broke the camel’s back in the 2006 election; but the fact that Rep. Tim Mahoney was nailed doing far worse in the exact same district – with top Democratic officals trying to save his seat – is merely another sex scandal that should be ignored as a “private matter.”

Tragically, it may take an Obama victory, combined with an unholy Barack Obama-Harry Reid-Nancy Pelosi trifecta and one party domination, to finally break the trend that has been building.  After Democrats ruin the nation with their excesses, their incompetence, and their depravities, the public will turn on them, and turn on the media propaganda machine that put them in power.

As much as I would love to see Democratic power broken for a generation and the liberal media driven out of business, I pray it doesn’t come to that.