All your tweets are belong to us – or rather, the USA government

Most everyone has heard about the Wikileaks, erm, leak drama regarding United States diplomatic cables. Since the leak, the US government has started an investigation to try to bring Wikileaks “to justice”. I put “to justice” in quotes not because I am taking the side of Wikileaks (I am neither pro or anti Wikileaks), but rather because not everyone agrees on this matter. Anyway, apparently as part of this investigation, the US Attorney’s office has convinced a District Court judge data held by Twitter is “relevant and material to [the] ongoing criminal investigation”; Twitter has been subpoenaed to hand over data related to various different Twitter accounts but the two big names in the list are Julian Assange, the founder/CEO/whatever of Wikileaks, and Birgitta Jonsdottir, an Icelandic MP.

Originally the subpoena came with a gag order, but Twitter fought back and the gag order was lifted; Twitter is now legally allowed to let the public – and the respective account holders – know about the US Attorney’s Office’s demand to hand over data.

According to the BBC, the data demanded from Twitter by the US Attorney’s office includes “mailing addresses and billing information, connection records and session times, IP addresses used to access Twitter, email accounts, as well as the ‘means and source of payment’”.

While I am not pro/anti Wikileaks, USA government, or Iranian government, the following response by Julian Assange (to this Twitter subpoena) really struck home with me:

If the Iranian government was to attempt to coercively obtain this information from journalists and activists of foreign nations, human rights groups around the world would speak out.

As I said, I am not pro/anti any of the parties involved; however, I can’t help but agree with Assange. There definitely are double-standards when it comes to politics, especially on a global scale.

Furthermore, personally speaking, while I understand why the US Attorney’s Office is looking into all things Assange (they really want to take this guy down, badly), I feel the investigation into an foreign dignitary (i.e. Birgitta Jonsdottir) may turn out to be a big mistake. Of course, Iceland may just brush off the investigation and not pursue any diplomatic repercussions, but they may also react strongly to one of their MPs being investigated by the USA government. I am sure the United States government would react if an American congressperson was being invested abroad.

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Feel free to discuss in the comments below (consider this an open politics discussion thread), but keep it civil.

[via BBC News]

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74 comments

  1. Bruce

    This is typical Assange BS:
    “If the Iranian government were to attempt to coercively obtain this information from journalists and activists of foreign nations, human rights groups around the world would speak out.”
    This is such a flawed analogy that I don’t know where to start.
    However, just to keep it short: Iran would not have any standing to ask for this data, as it wasn’t their secret cables that were published by Assange.
    An equivalent scenario would be for Iran to request info. from an IRANIAN “Twitter” as evidence in an investigation of leakage of secret Iranian cables.
    Plus, since Iran is not generally well regarded in the US, there is an obvious question of bias in the use of such an analogy by Assange.
    What he’s doing is known as sophistry….

  2. Dan

    @Robert:

    I don’t think it can or ever will be that simple..as both science and religion are inextricably linked..it’s just our own human imature understanding that results in us tending to look either to the left or the right of the road down which we travel..instead of looking straight ahead. If we did that, then we would see at once that although both sides of the read..sicene and religion..exist in their own right..they wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for the road itself.

    It’s kind of like the old adage of there being two sides to every wall..and there not being good if there were no evil. In the end, it can be argued that everything we feel and think is merely the result of our attempts at explaining and/or understanding the external world from the confines of our internal minds. The non-physical or spiritual will always be just that..just beyond our reach and being based on our own individual beliefs and colored by the current solid scientific proofs to hand. After all, science deals with the “here and now”, whereas religion tends to focus on what comes after and how to get there.

    In the end, nobody really knows if there is life after death..it’s a matter of belief..and nobody has the right to tell anyone else what they can or can’t believe.

    Dan

  3. mohsen

    hi ashraf, wow politics;
    anyway you can have my word that american government would never take down those information leakers for Wikileaks, because they can’t arrest themselves, Wikileaks is just a sou-pap , just may close it.

  4. Dan

    @moonstructures

    Interesting post. Thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed and insightful reply to this thread. I know some..if not many..reading your words will no doubt laugh or disagree with you..but I, for one, agree with most of what you said.

    It seems the more you read, the more you find real, solid accounts of sightings and encountors that never seem to make it into the mainstream press / media..and not because they are “crazy” or the ramblings of some metally challenged person. If anything, it appears to be because they are so bassed in fact and reason that there is a fear they will lead to public panic if reported on the evening news or over the airways. If anyone doubts this, then call to mind the resulting chaos and uproar caused by the Orson Welles (..another “George” by the way..) radio production of “War of the Worlds”..things haven’t changed much since.

    Also, it seems the only accounts that ever get mentioned are the ones that can easily be debunked or explained away..the very ones that don’t deserve our attention in the first place!

    Rarely do we hear about such “events” as those both witnessed and recorded by the likes of Christopher Columbus, just before he encounted the US for the first time..

    Or the much taked about “Star Map” drawn from memory by the late Betty Hill, which she claimed to have seen aboard a UFO..and which showed the position of stars that were not even discovered by modern astronomers until some years later.

    There are other debateable “instances” over the years..but they all seem to end up lost in the memory of time, while only the crazy and obvious hoxes make it into the press and public eye..and which we are told is all there is to this subject.

    In the end, it comes down to there really being far more about us and the world we live in..and just who knows what and how much is needed to be known by how many. After all, they say knowledge is power and it has never been more true than it is right now.

    Maybe some fear the lost of any or all perceived power they currently hold..or just change itself, while others might well fear the unknown and all that such a notion brings to mind. But I tend to think we already have all the answers out in the open, as they have always been for some time now..we just fail to see this, due to the way we look at the world in which we live.

    Science dictates how we view the world..what the world is and how we fit into that world..while every religion through out history has dealt with the spiritual nature of humanity and our existence. Each
    of these two domains have traditionally appeared to be poles apart, arguing and pursuing two very different approaches in an attempt to explain just who we are and how we came to be in the first place.

    Perhaps, in the end, these two movements are engaged in the attempt to explain the same thing..just coming at it from opposite ends..a case of one feeling emotion..while the other see it as merely the result of a chemical reation taking place inside the body..but both are right and valid at the same time..the paradox of life and understanding!

    Politics, in all of this, is the bridge that spans the divide between those who know and those who don’t as much as they think they should! As William Shakespeare said, in “Hamlet”, Act 1 scene 5, There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

    Dan

  5. moonstructures

    @Dan and forum…I’ve been saying this for quite some time, the old saying “people are basically good” is just that, “old”…I don’t believe people are basically good. People were basically “good” in the early 1900′s. The “good” began it’s turn around in the late fifties, and has been getting worse ever since and it will continue. People on this planet need to face this fact. The planet has been spiriling out of control for a long time and it will continue. Greed is at the root of this, and greed is here to stay. Greed and the powerful go hand in hand. Is there a way out? Pray to the Creator, our only hope. Only Divine intervention can stop this mess. And it is a mess. Step outside and look in. The world is at war. Natural disasters have overwhelmingly bombarded this planet one after the other. Violence is everywhere and only getting stronger and more sophisticated. Take a look sometime at Jesse Ventura’s “Conspiracy Theory” as he exposes corruption, especially in the “powers that be”. Here is a project the world can do without…..
    “Major aspects of the program are kept secret for alleged reasons of “national security.” Yet there is no doubt that HAARP and electromagnetic weapons capable of being used in warfare do exist. According to the official HAARP website, “HAARP is a scientific endeavor aimed at studying the properties and behavior of the ionosphere, with particular emphasis on being able to understand and use it to enhance communications and surveillance systems for both civilian and defense purposes.” The ionosphere is the delicate upper layer of our atmosphere which ranges from about 30 miles (50 km) to 600 miles (1,000 km) above the surface of the Earth.”

    Continue reading on Examiner.com: HAARP: Secret weapon for weather modification, electromagnetic warfare? – National US Intelligence | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/us-intelligence-in-national/haarp-secret-weapon-for-weather-modification-electromagnetic-warfare#ixzz1ApiunMID
    I’ve been so disallusioned with the way things have been going with our world that I needed to find out if there is more to us than what we were brought up to believe. That somehow there is more, so finally I researched and found that I had been brought up with tunnelvision, with ‘blinders on’ that what you see is what you get and thats it. Wrong.
    The world has know about life out side this world for a long time. Another well kept (or maybe not so well kept) secret is the government involvement with extraterrestrial life, it’s knowledge (yes, Roswell did happen, they did recover a craft, and they did recover dead bodies and one living that was kept alive for quite some time, a year or more) of et’s, the reverse engineering of crashed craft, and this is not EVEN scratching the surface. The more you research the more youu unc0ver, the more you uncover the more there is to find out, it keeps getting deeper and deeper, and I might add, unbelievable. There is more to us and our reality than the average person realizes. A knowledge of all this and continuing research and reading has helped me to cope with our spriling out of control.
    Did you know that one of the biggest reasons why there are so many ufo sightings (well documented, “pheonix lights, 1997″) ? They are visiting and keeping watch because of our nuclear weapons and that we are a nuke infested world. Our nuclear capabilities are of tremendous concern to them.
    Captain Robert Salas, who, along with six others is to break his silence on the subject, said: ‘We’re talking about unidentified flying objects, as simple as that.
    ‘The U.S. Air Force is lying about the national security implications of unidentified aerial objects at nuclear bases and we can prove it,’ he said.

    The former officer said he witnessed such an event first-hand on March 16, 1967, at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana.
    ‘I was on duty when an object came over and hovered directly over the site.
    ‘The missiles shut down – ten Minuteman [nuclear] missiles. And the same thing happened at another site a week later. There’s a strong interest in our missiles by these objects, wherever they come from. I personally think they’re not from planet Earth.’
    Colonel Charles Halt claims to have seen a UFO at RAF Bentwaters, near Ipswich, one of the few bases in the UK to hold nuclear weapons.
    I believe that the security services of both the United States and the United Kingdom have attempted – both then and now – to subvert the significance of what occurred at RAF Bentwaters by the use of well-practised methods of disinformation.’
    The six former U.S. Air Force officers and one former enlisted man, are to present declassified information which they claim backs up their findings. They have witness testimony from 120 former or retired military personnel which points to alien intervention at nuclear sites in the U.S. as recently as 2003.
    They will urge the authorities to confirm that alien beings have long been visiting Earth.
    A press conference today in Washington will also highlight testimony from retired U.S. Air Force Captain Bruce Fenstermacher, whose security team saw a cigar-shaped UFO hovering above FE Warren nuclear base in Wyoming in 1976.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1315339/Aliens-hit-nukes-They-landed-Suffolk-base-claim-airmen.html#ixzz1Apr1CYNo

    Some may say, ‘what does this have to do with this thread”? It is about our world which is in essence what this thread is about. If you think aboutit, it has a lot to do with this thread. The “powers that be” is a highly secretive entity, but it holds more than you will ever imagine, or believe. This post is also about knowing more of who we are, that we are in serious trouble. So much so that intelligence from other universes are coming by to watch, to intervene as well from what I’ve read. “People are basically good” is not relevant anymore. “We are not alone” is.

  6. Leslie

    @MikeR: As a UK Ex-pat who left in the early 80′s I am totally disgusted as to what has happened in the homeland. The number of CCTV cameras alone should be raising concerns for all – George Orwell predicted this and now you will all be arrested for Thoughtcrime (execpt the Cockney’s – I mean Proles).

    Before I left Thatcher said the Euro would never be adopted and how right she was.
    Oh what has happened to you, my Beloved England ?

  7. MikeR

    An excellent thread, and no reason why it shouldn’t be on dot tech seeing as how the harvest from technology is being discussed.

    Nor is dot.tech alone in this regard: many, many UK websites that report and debate computer tech issues were pretty much filled a couple of years ago with the great debate about Phorm and the conduct of British Telecom in undertaking stealth trials of Phorm technology without the consent of BT’s subscribers. For that kind of debate to have been censored because “we’re-only-here-to-talk-about-software” would’ve been witless.

    PS: Note to Ashraf:

    One of the joys of living in the UK is that its House of Lords is peopled by the great and the good, the ignoble and the bad, and the downright bonkers. In neither the US nor anywhere else for that matter can there surely be anyone more gloriously bonkers than our Lord James, Baron of Blackheath, whose speeches of late, recorded in Hansard, exceed the wildest imaginings of any fiction writer, anywhere.

  8. Dinker

    @Twolane:
    I am US supporter. however I think Assuange should be left alone and US state dept make sure such leaks don’t happen in future. However about Iran the human rights abuses are all enveloping. You can do wrong even when your doing right. For ex: helping an senior citizen, who is a dissident, to cross a street

  9. waynos

    As J.A. is an Australian citizen Aust should have first rights to detain him for what he’s released about his own government, if they can face the embarrassment.
    Its funny how there was more freedom of speech under Reagan and Nixon as I don’t recall any journalist ever being in troube for reporting on the ” Iran Contra affair,” or “Watergate,” or the supply of rocket launchers to the Mujahadeen ( later to be known as the Taliban ) to help them to fight Russian tanks and helicopters.
    Are these reporters now American hero’s ? freedom of speech sure is different in recent times.

  10. Franklin

    The US Justice Department is investigating a possible crime and therefore subpoenas information from Twitter and possibly other internet sources. They get a court order to allow this. The initial “gag” order was allowed by the court to prevent the elimination of information by those named in the subpoena, once the court was assured by Twitter that the information would remain secured, the gag order was lifted. This is the way the Law works in the USA so what is the problem? If the Justice Department feels that they have enough evidence to bring charges against any of those named in the subpoena they will file charges and then then the courts decide the outcome. Wikileaks is just another possible crime breaking organization (of US law) that is being investigated and may face possible charges in the future in the USA.
    Interesting questions arise, such as can a person in another country who hosts a web site in the USA be charged and convicted in the US courts if that web site is used to break the law? Does the World Court need to be involved? I’m just a spectator for these events but it will be interesting to see how this particular situation plays out.

  11. Robert

    Hmmm I certainly wish I had wise thoughtful friends like Patrick and Dan to converse with daily.

    /because the world is full of people who haven’t a clue or just don’t give a bleep….

    which is one of the many reasons why I’m investing in silver mines….

  12. Dan

    There are some really great posts here to this thread..some really great reading in general..that it’s hard to offer anything that hasn’t already been touched on already better than I could have!

    I guess I just wanted to add..hopefully without sounding too much of a nut-job..just how close our world has become to those “dark” worlds we grew up reading about and watching on TV and in the movies! As recent as one generation ago, we honestly thought good still over-came evil..that humanity was essentially good at heart and that politics still worked, no matter how flawed politicians may be in person. Then 9/11 happened and the world suddenly turned on its head.

    A shadow has since been cast over the globe..one both Georges ( Lucas and Orwell) could hardly have conceived, even though both came close to it in their work. The world we now live in seems more focused on getting than giving..life has become cheap and poverty is what the future holds for far too many.

    I am not trying to be all “doom and gloom” here..just stating the simple facts as they now stand..in a world who’s population is ever-growing, as its resorces continue to dwindle at an alarming rate!

    In short, we are where we should be, given the road we took to get here..and it should come as no surprise to anyone. We can’t undo what has been done or what will happen in the near future..but we can try and branch off of the path we are currently on..one that will lead us to a very different future..but to do this, we all need to change and demand others chance, too..including the way our contries are run..and that it not going to be easy.

    Until that day comes, we will continue to see things like this happen..watch from the sidelines, as our rights are stolen away from us..one by one! As Aldous Huxley said, “Liberties are not given, they are taken.” Our rights come from God..no matter if you believe in such an entitiy or not..and each person has the same rights in society..or should have, all things being equal.

    How did it get to be like this? I guess there is no one clear reason to give in answer to that question, other than to recognize it is more than just one thing that has lead to this point..and each “thing” has lead, urgred or pushed us all closer to where we now find ourselves.

    As simple as it may sound, we each need to change the way we act and react in this world if we want to see the kind of changes we all know at heart need to be effected. We each need to learn, as well as teach the children of this world, the difference between what we “need” and what we “want”..and how the two are not always the same and often mutually exclusive.

    We need to become more considerate and compassionate in our dealings with others and empathetic to the plight of those less fortunate than ourselves.

    We need to understand that sometimes our “right” to act is not the right thing to do..and that not acting can be as powerful as reacting..if not more so!

    I could go on, but I’m sure you get the general point of what I’m saying here.

    Thanks to everyone for a very interesting thread.

    Dan

  13. waynos

    The only reason Julian has become the whipping boy is because he has repeated the embarrassing things that governments have said about each other,or exposed the lies they have told their citizens. If governments would respect each other the way most of their citizens respect other nations and if goverments did not lie to their own people Assange would have nothing to talk about.
    Assange might end up in a cell with a wood plank bed and no pillow or blanket like the American who gave him the info , but Rupert Murdoch and all the other media moguls who published what he leaked will go on dining with presidents. Julian will be one of the most nominated persons for Australian of the year this year but I’m betting it goes to a doctor or a sports star.

  14. Numsekrummen.dk

    Good posts and really nice to see people discuss with maners ^^

    “Its not the Wikileaks crisis thats funny – Its peoples reaction to it! Runnin around like headless chickens… Saying “w00t” “w00t”!!!”

  15. msusey

    Technology and legality (aka politics) overlap all the time within the world wide web. Insightful (inciteful?) admissions such as “the internet was not designed to be a private place” and “the probative value of documents posted on WikiLeaks in a court of law is a question for courts to decide” should not be overlooked. Whether it be dotTech or facebook or Google or Twitter or any other hosting entity, the privilege to post is always accompanied by policy; in other words, for those shouting “big brother!” or “freedom of speech!” or “get offa mah lawn!” – check the terms of service…

    Kudos for encouraging such dialog, Ashraf! These comments are much better than the simple “Nice find!” or “lol that reference!” or “Thank you!” posts that so often show up. For what it’s worth, my vote for best response goes to nene – with an honorable mention to all of the incensed blather in it’s entirety, which made me think of this

  16. Patrick

    @clockmendergb:

    “As an aside…” Ever since 9/11 many western (and other) countries have installed anti-terrorist legislations that make it so much easier to invade a person’s privacy and even emprison one without proper detailed charge(s) for an extended number of days or months to give governments the “time needed for investigation”.

    We have seen numerous US- and non-US citizens/persons been picked up in the USA or abroad (without any consent from the foreign governments concerned), deported and emprisonned without charge for very long periods, “interrogated” and finally released without trial, without any explanation or excuse (or some endemnification). This was mostly the work of US military and secret services.

    Second in row regarding such internationally illigal actions may be the UK, as always very obliging towards the US.

    Protests by human rights organizations and others have been to no avail and no one has had the guts to bring the US and it’s accomplices to trial.

    Note that this sort of repressive actions are not new in US history (nor in the history of other countries for that matter).

    It is obvious that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is in fact just a piece of paper and little more than that. It is also obvious that modern ICT, crosslinked databases, observation technology and data analysis techniques are powerfull weapons to monitor, closely observe and guide the average citizen, eventually leading to subtlle or brutal repression whenever the powerfull deem it convenient to fully excercise their power. They make it a prority to inspire fear and paranoia so that the populace will gladly accept repressive and privacy invading legislation worldwide.

    Finally, with the unimaginably large amount of available information comes a comparable amount of disinformation. It takes more than just common sense nowadays to distinguish between thruth and lies, between genuine information and downright mass manipulation – as has been the case with the Bush administration and starting the last war in Iraq. The shameless manipulations, the scale of it all and the hypocracy demonstrated by governments and policymakers (also outside the US, e.g. the UK, the Netherlands,…) is unprecedented in history.

    The WikiLeaks “scandal” and the hunting down of Assange (and his coworkers whenever they will be located) may serve as another testcase about how far “the powers that be” may go and how meek the “common man” really is.

    To Uncle Sam (#47) “The mentally ill Julian Assange should be classified as an enemy combatant and hunted down.” and some other people: let’s hope that the wrath of the real Uncle Sam never comes down on you. He has a strange habit of coming down hard on innocent and even very patriotic individuals (or groups) from time to time. Perhaps you have forgotten the paranoid and hysteric hunt for communists after the Second World War (McCarthyism – remember e.g. Oppenheimer) inspired by a true madman (J. Edgar Hoover, head of FBI), or the deportation to concentration camps of totally innocent American-Japanese citizens after Pearl Harbour.

    History has lots of lessons that we seem to readily forget. One is : beware of the powers that be. Another one : power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    As for this discussion being somewhat out of place here, I would point out that no technology is a-political. So this discussion is not totally out of place. But it might be indeed preferable (for some) to vent political ideas on libertynewsforum.com and similar sites. I myself think of it as a one time sort of experiment, unconciously initiated by Ashraf. I have no objections to that…

    Greetz,
    Patrick.

  17. socal70xr7

    Nice to see Uncle Sam has been drinking his own koolaide! If they prosecute a non citizen for treason I don’t know how they in turn won’t try and do the same to everyone else in the world who speaks out against the wrongs of the American Govt. Talk about your Imperial attitude! And Ashraf Don’t even get me started on the whole internet i.d. thing. Bill Gates has been pushing that for a while well that and population reduction…..
    Thanks for all you do for all of us here at your site Ashraf.

  18. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @a simple happy man: When I posted this article I honestly didn’t anticipate posting about this topic was so complicated. It is just something I read about on BBC and thought I should share. Similarly, I don’t see the relation between this topic and porn. Two whole different categories in my opinion.

    However, at the same time, I can understand where some people may consider politics to be as taboo as porn on dotTech. Maybe this type of post would have been better made on the forums.

    Thank you for the feedback; I appreciate it, especially you taking the time to explain why you consider this post inappropriate for dotTech. Let’s chalk this one up as a learning experience. I was going to make another political-tech post about how Americans may be getting a single online identity, but guess who has two thumbs and will layoff the topic? Yeah, that’s right: Me.

  19. Uncle Sam

    It’s baffling why any pro-USA wouldn’t be anti-Wikileaks as they have taken illegally obtained documents and made them public which put our (United States) troops in danger and since the data is hand picked to make us look bad added to the sleazy tactics of al jazeera, it just breeds more Islamic extremists ready to strap a bomb to themselves and blow themselves up along with as many as possible.

    The mentally ill Julian Assange should be classified as an enemy combatant and hunted down.

    As for the oddness of this article being posted st dottech, I think it’s better to shy away from such topics and vent politic thoughts at libertynewsforum.com which has a good balance of liberal and conservative members.

  20. a simple happy man

    @Sobalrio:

    Thanks to Ashraf’s guidance and help here on dotTech I didn’t ruin my pc more than once last month and not once yet since mmm?…. well since last year!

    And you are right our common unity is our common interest in all things good about software (and hardware) whatever our individual opinions and thoughts about world events might be and without Ashraf’s unstinting help my pc would be a lonely unserviceable pile of junk by now

    Thanks Ashraf.

  21. Bea, UK

    @Robert: I’d say that Assange is more a misguided hero than anything else. Yeah, politics is fraught with corruption, it always has been and always will be. Nobody can do anything about it.

    I worry about what Assange has done. Every country needs to have ‘secrets’ from other countries. We are not living in a friendly world. Would you leave your house and walk for ten minutes before knocking on a random door and telling the occupant of the house your life story, your secrets, your bank details – anything and everything they could possibly ever ask about you? Would you let your friend do it, but to tell all your secrets instead of his own?

    No? Why would any country choose to undermine it’s own stability or security for the sake of transparency towards people who don’t need to know some of these secrets?

    Transparency is good, but it has it’s place. How many times have you seen or heard something (either good or bad) that doesn’t concern you or that you’d rather not know about?

    Assange believes he was doing the right thing and I applaud him for that. He’s far from being a hero though, I just hope that everything can be smoothed out with no damage done. Some things I’d rather not know about if it means it’s going to keep our countries and lives as safe as possible.

  22. Sobalrio

    @a simple happy man

    Beautiful sophisticated comment. Still, in my opinion one does not exclude the other one. It’s a matter of opinion and the matter will not be solved to everybodies satisfaction. Why don’t we end this discussion in a pleasant and orderly manner. Neither Assange or government ought to divide this forum. United we install software and enjoy, divided we just ruin our machines. Bushy and tacky. I know. :)

  23. Bea, UK

    @Ashraf: But they are Lords in the House of Lords, Asraf! It’s the members of the House of Commons that are ‘commoners’. You can be a Lord by inheriting the title from your ancestor or by your ecclesiastical merit. I’m doubly stuffed for a seat in the House of Lords, what being the daughter of a commoner and a Humanist!

  24. jayesstee

    @Ashraf, even I don’t know which side of the political divide I am on! They all promise that they are on the side of the “man (person) in the street”, then once in power they screw him/her.
    Anyway, all sides put their puppets into the House of Lords. This particular self-proclaimed front runner of democracy doesn’t have an elected upper house!

    @Annie, I guess that’s what’s called the “global community”.

    @Rob, you still got to buy your own snow blower.

    jayesstee.

  25. a simple happy man

    @Ashraf:

    I wasn’t going to do this but you asked me to elaborate so I will.

    Your banner is “dotTech – Professional Technologians”.

    When i started joining in here it was a breath of fresh air to find a site where the owner was not only witty, but knew a whole lot more than me about tech (which isn’t hard) and had quite clear and positive uplifting ethics that he wouldn’t stick his fingers in pies that didn’t involve him (ie no re-hosting of freebies from magazine cover disks and stuff like that) and was quite likely to show me lots of new stuff that i could learn great things from, as well as having quite clear beliefs of his own that he would not discuss certain aspects of “TECH” online that were to do with contravening his own personal spirituality etcetera and for all of these things he deserved and received my respect and he still does.

    However with this article dotTech its self just became A.N.OTHER bargain basement online gossip column akin to a newspaper tabloid equivalent called “The National Enquirer”

    If it is reasonable to discuss these matters on dotTech because in your thoughts it has to do with “Tech”, or more appropriately, other peoples use of the tech resources available to them as well as yet others reactions to that use of those resources then surely it wouild be just as equally relevant to discuss matters pertaining to the way “Tech” is used in making porn movies and other dubious subjects.

    It is your web site and of course you may do with it what you will, but I am assuming the subject I have touched on is taboo here on dotTech for family orientated and spiritual reasons that I am positive we have no need to discuss at all even with regards to the “Tech” side of those subjects (and I am really not interested in it either as I am just using it as a “for example”).

    As I have hinted at we are not actually discussing the “Tech” side of the “WikiLeaks affair” here on dotTech.

    What we are actually discussing is the moral, ethical, political and international minefield of an individual human being’s rights to free speech and liberty outside of the established territorial borders of a sovereign nation; a sovereign nation to which the individual has no established loyalty and is not a citizen of that nation and has (quite probably and more than likely) never sworn allegiance in any way shape or form to that nation.

    And more importantly, it is that sovereign nation’s attempts to undermine every established one of that individual’s human rights to the well known international freedoms of free speech, and the liberties of an individual human being who is not one of their citizens or subjects that is called into question here.

    And this subject is far more complex and involved than has already been elaborated upon because it has also to do with our God given freedoms too and as we all well know our individual core beliefs, spiritualities and religions have no place in open discussion on dotTech for really obvious reasons.

    If a motoring magazine I was subscribed to suddenly started discussing the pros and cons of using vehicles in drive by gang shootings and requested their subscribers to contribute their own personal views as to their personal positives and negatives for any vehicles being used in this manner or not and whether the police had the right to interfere in a localised gang event or not, purely and simply because it had to do with “motoring”, I would seriously question not only whether the subject was one that the magazine should discuss at all but also the editorial staff’s motives about this and whether I wanted to continue to be linked with such a periodical, no matter what other benefits I might receive in other ways by continuing my subscription!

  26. rob

    wow! I was going to make a comment but after reading those above…..all I can say is glad to live in Canada.
    pretty much free range here.
    Free health care and the Government really does not care what you write or say as long as you pay your tax’s on time.

  27. Daniel

    The Democrats want socialism, the Republicans want Fascism. The “Patriot Act” gives them the power to accomplish this.
    The US is on a very slippery slope that it is going to be almost impossible to stop the slide.
    If the Attorney General decides to declare a state secrets clause to get the tweets, then that’s that. However, since they are allowed to monitor all communications anyway, this suit is just a formality.

  28. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @annie: You know everything else said in this thread by other dotTechies I have pretty much discussed in my head (with myself :-P) already. However, the point you just brought up, the fact that the US government is trying to hold a non- US citizen/resident accountable , is a very good point and I didn’t even think about that. Makes the whole situation a bit more complex, huh?

  29. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @jayesstee: LOL I think I understand what part of the political divide you are on =P Yeah, I know they aren’t “real lords” – and I believe the name is because of prior British political system where you literally had to be a noblemen to sit in the House of Lords – but that doesn’t mean I can’t laugh at the name. xD

  30. annie

    I can’t see how the US government can accuse a non-US citizen or resident of committing a crime against US law for behaviour that did not occur within the USA.

    It’s a bit like Iran wanting to convict and stone to death a US woman for adultery committed in the USA, and trying to extradite her to Iran for that purpose.

    Really, I know the USA is generally a good global citizen, but this is pretty scary stuff.

  31. jayesstee

    @Ashraf, the aint real lords anymore, just political appointees, not so much the “great and the good”, more the “wealthy and willing to contribute to the political parties”!
    Power to the people (and dotTech).
    jayesstee.

  32. jayesstee

    I think there three elements to this:
    #1 Anybody posting anything on line, be it Twitter, Facebook or (dare I sat it) dotTech, has as much privacy as if you put your message on a neighborhood wall with a paint spray.
    #2 Ayone who upsets their own or someone else’s Government is going to get swatted big time.
    #3 The US Government is very pink-faced (embarrassed) that a foot soldier of lowly rank was able to access, download, retain and eventually transfer to a third party (Wikileaks) what was very sensitive (secret) information.
    This last the reason for the high-handed action of the US Attorney’s Office. It distracts the public from such carelessness and appeases the red-neck politicians who want somebody hung or shot or both.
    I don’t know the rights or wrongs about the leaking of this information, but I do know that somebody leaked that a British Government appointed committee looking into British Members of Parliament expenses were “editing” them until somebody blew the whistle and got a major Newspaper involved. Three days ago one of these elected “representatives got 18 months jail for falsifying his expenses. Three more MP’s and 3 members of the House of Lords (equiv. to US Senate) are on trial. So some whistle blowing is worthwhile.
    jayesstee.

  33. Robert

    @nene:
    Why is it that [bleep] who watch faux news have no clue about what is right and wrong????

    Julian is a TRUE HERO! I’ve found that one’s remarks re him say volumes about a person….

    /Hugging the flag when it’s become soiled with hypocrisy and deceit is the act of an idiot
    /What the fark happened to obama??? So much promise…..and yet he’s turned out to be a turncoat
    for all his supporters. Thank gawd Pelosi still cares…..
    /The chamber of commerce in the US is PURE EVIL!!!

  34. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @a simple happy man: and @Jerry H.:

    …quite frankly i am very surprised to see it being brought up and discussed on dotTech…

    …Ashraf, you score a big “fail” on this one.

    Please elaborate why. I don’t see why it is so wrong to post and discuss a current event, especially since it is related to tech. I would understand if people flamed me for taking sides on the issue, but I clearly am not; instead I am being a neutral moderator allowing dotTechies to express their minds and share their thoughts on the idea. Would you say the BBC “failed” for posting this? Or would you be surprised CNN posted about it? Probably not. So what’s the issue with posting about it here? I understand disagreeing with my opinions on the matter (not everyone has to agree with me); but what I don’t understand is disagreement regarding if this topic should be posted about or not. We aren’t under a gag order. :-P

    That said, anyone curious about my personal viewpoint on the matter: While I won’t go into specific details, I am one of those people that believes all parties involved, Wikileaks/Assange and the USA government, are at fault. Neither one’s actions are 100% wrong or right and I feel both could have handled the situation better.

  35. Paul

    Any time a government or government agency issues a gag order a HUGE red flag should pop up. The US government, now in power, believes it is above the law and has pushed many things on us that are contradictory to what the Constitution allows. Freedom of press was written very broadly so as to include all forms of documents, paper or electronic, and the government holds no power to squelch anything that falls under that protection. We, the People need to stand up and take control back from the thieves and collaborators who repeatedly violate our rights.

    The government needs to operate in the open, where their actions can be monitored and judged by the people they represent. This includes ALL actions by anyone at all levels of government. Then, whenever the people find a government official violating the law, the person needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Too many dirty deals are made that the people are unaware of.

    Asange is in the same position as anyone running a newspaper and the documents he publishes are protected under the constitution. If the government is allowed to prosecute him, that will open the door where they will then be able to prosecute any reporter or publisher who publishes anything they don’t agree with. Publishers like Asange need the public to back their actions up, otherwise the government will feel they have the right to do anything they like, legal or not.

    Now is the time to contact your representatives and voice how you feel on this matter, or plan to have the Constitution re-written and have the most important phrase it holds, “We the People” removed. Then all the sheeple in the US will be able to follow everything the leaders choose or be prosecuted for no-longer having any rights.

  36. Brown

    Candidate Obama promised that things would be different. Evidently, he forgot to tell that to President Obama who is trying his best to emulate The Village Idiot on this (and just about every other) issue.

    Sad, it is.

  37. Locutus

    Typo in your beautiful poster: I want you tweets. Should be “your”.

    I read that the way they would track the Wikileaks tweets would be by IP of who got them… but there’s a problem with that. One of the people I follow retweeted some of Wikileaks’ tweets. What about me? And the other couple thousand of people that follow him?!

  38. socal70xr7

    Jerry H- You are obviously watching too much Govt T.V. and that’s fine for you and your little world.
    michel- Only what the Govt. allows out gets out. Wikileaks is a pawn of the CIA.
    Open your eyes while you are out driving around. Go outside and look at all the chemtrails filled with aluminum and barium. And when you are ready for the truth your eyes will be opened and hopefully not too late! Like Emrys said do a google of A.J. or check out infowars.com. It’s all out there in print if you are willing to remove your blinders and really see how corrupt the Govt really is.
    Thanks Ashraf for posting this. Hopefully some will realize that the Govt. is really spying on it’s citizens for using there Free Speech granted by the Constitution.

  39. Jerry H.

    A couple things “a simple happy man” said are spot on:
    “This is a subject that is far T00 intense, too high a level, and too complex an issue…! and quite frankly i am very surprised to see it being brought up and discussed on dotTech”

    Reading all the anti-American and anti-government comments above that only remotely address the issue only shows that people are angry and are going to spew garbage before they bother to really think about the situation, or try to think of what they personally would do if someone leaked all their personal information all over the internet like “michel” said.

    Ashraf, you score a big “fail” on this one.

  40. prema

    “All your tweets are belong to us – or rather, the USA government”
    Woot Grammar Check!!
    ~i am not sure about the “are” i think you should slice that sucker off!

    the best place in the world: DotTech!!

    thanks Ashraf..

  41. mikeart

    nene, well said, I think you summed up the situation just fine, freedom of speech is something we should all cherish, but that has to be tempered with, responsible actions regarding that free speech, at first I was impressed with the Wikileaks revelations, but now question his motives, not sure they are all so moralistic as he claims they are.

  42. michel

    @Leslie: I’m no cheerleader for the US Government, but this is not anti-free speech. Somehow wiki leaks acquired access to classified documents, and published them. If they had acquired access to your email account and published it, would that be free speech? It doesn’t help to confuse the issue.

  43. Emrys

    This is another example of a government out of control. When they use video cameras to record traffic stops or red light runners, they claim that we have no reasonable right to privacy. But if you video a policeman making an arrest you might be arrested for obstruction of justice or some such nonsense. Google up Alex Jones for more info on the leaks and much more.

  44. Moseph Joseph

    Our rights in the USA are being taken away by a thousand cuts. Each time it is so small that no one seems to notice, but collectively much liberty has been taken from us in the past 10 years. Now you are either molested or irradiated before flying commercially, and Homeland Security encourages us to spy on our neighbors and report any “suspicious activity” to the authorities – there are video screens promoting it at Wal-Mart, and even an iPhone app for it. It all sounds like Hitler Youth to me.

  45. a simple happy man

    This is a subject that is far T00 intense, too high a level, and too complex an issue for a simple thinker like me! and quite frankly i am very surprised to see it being brought up and discussed on dotTech

    There is only one thing i can do with something like this and that is to hand it over to God to deal with and let it go, knowing and trusting in God to bring about the best possible result for all conceened, whatever that may be.

    I am not preaching or pushing God on anyone here, it is just that there are somethings that are way beyond my capabilities as a human being and this is one of them.

    As far as i am concerned that puts it in the Almighty’s territory and i have to have enough faith that God will deal with it in the best way possible and then i get on with what i can actually personally deal with on a simple day to day basis

  46. Mike

    The subpoena for Twitter records is just like anything else in the legal process: a party may subpoena the information or have a judge issue a subpoena, for cause. The fact that the records are electronic rather than paper makes no difference. What may make a difference, though, is people coming to realize that this information may be obtained, when little or no thought typically is given to that possibility.

  47. Harry Razor

    Everybody has little dirty secrets and does not want them to be published throughout the world. This applies to all governments too. They have a lot to lose. Many citizens still believe the government is for the people and the politicians want them tho continue to think like that. It really does not matter if one is against Assange or does not like the way the US is dealing with the issue. Just open your eyes and you will get a lifetime education in very short time about freedom, government and truth. I do not know why A. is doing this and I don’t believe in a noble cause. But he takes of the mask off a government and shows the reality. By now everybody should understand that you cannot trust government and its representatives. It’s as simple as that. They lie, they have people killed for “freedom”, they create rules and laws and anticipate us to follow. For them of course these rules only apply if they are beneficial for them. You think you have freedom of speech ? Look at this article and see how somebody is covering his back. Freedom and democracy, some of the most abused words in this world. Not only in the US.

  48. socal70xr7

    @a simple happy man: Sadly the current Govt. in place would like to burn the Constitution and everything it stands for in American society and introduce a police state system like Communist Russia or Nazi Germany and control all of the media. This is why the president has gone outside of the normal process and signed into law the whole net neutrality law, food safety law, Obamacare etc.. I believe that what is coming out of Wikileaks is basically what the Govt. wanted to get out so that they could force into play the need for censorship of the internet since they don’t have full control over it like the do with all the regular media services i.e. NBC,CBS,ABC,FOX which have all been bought off and are mostly just propaganda. If you want real info you need to go to places like RT or PressTV

  49. clockmendergb

    I think all the above comments have some relevancy regarding this issue but one does stand out above the rest.
    The observation that none of this stuff was encrypted is surly a very important point.
    What on earth were they(the USA) thinking allowing this information to be accessible so readily.
    I find it interesting how governments ,just as people do, react so aggressively after the horse has bolted.
    Perhaps making sure the door is locked will help prevent these problems happening again.
    But somehow I do not think so!
    Do you?

    As an aside, did you know that to get into the USA we have to give them all our fingerprints now.
    it was just 2 fingers last year.
    will the next step be to strip naked and have all my body scanned just to make sure I haven,t got round the fingerprints.
    I wonder if all the information they have on me is encrypted.
    Probably not.

  50. nene

    So it is OK for one man, with clear personality disorders, to steal communications that belong to someone else and publish them, putting many people in harm’s way. But it is not OK for the ones who are being robbed to use the official justice system, in which so many persons will judge along the way if the legal steps are being followed, to get all his information out in the open. If he really believes all information should be there for everyone to see, why not his info?
    If you don’t agree with your government there is a system to address that: voting or go in politics yourself. That is called democracy.

    Leaving it up to one or 2 people to judge that something you write does not belong to the writer, as before was worldwide accepted, instead of having it pass the scrutiny of a democratic political and judicial system, is tyranny.

    It is so easy to have yourself being lead by glee and anti-Americanism, but please think of what would happen to all of our freerdom and rights if you would apply the wikileaks standard to all what happens ever, worldwide.

    BTW the continued claim that no-one has been put in danger because of it is a plain lie. The man who escaped rom Iran sees now his family being in danger, which is only one of many examples. The lives of diplomats and their families in some countries are in danger, the damge done to diplomacy (you know that process where you try to solve problems by talking iso going to war, or the interference that is needed to help you when you got your sorry ass in trouble in a foreign country) is unfathomable.

    Please think further than just the gaiety of having some Americans being embarrased and think of what will happen to democracy and your own lives if you accept this standard as due process.

  51. Bea, UK

    I think it’s about time the term ‘democratic’ was redefined.

    We have long been oppressed into keeping our heads down and our mouths shut or face the consequences of the power and stealth of the people we elect to run our countries and be in charge of our lives. Whilst I appreciate Assange was doing what he thought was right, it was always going to be to his own detriment. I could have set my clock by the alleged ‘sex offences’ debacle.

    Good on Twitter for managing to lift the gagging order. That’s the only sensible thing that’s happened so far.

  52. Twolane

    American jackboots will never cease trampling the rights of their own citizens or the rights of others. The double standard Amerika applies to other nations makes it a laughingstock around the world. Thankfully, and not soon enough, American hegemony will go the way of the dodo courtesy of their huge budget deficits. How many other nations over the ages, from Roman to British and every nation in between, has been toppled from within by the expense of attempting to maintain foreign armies? All of them.

    Not soon enough.

  53. David

    Number 1 the soldier peon that released a great portion of this stuff should be raked across the coals. And should never had access to that much information.
    Number 2 not being sure how the rest of the info was obtained. I can only say if the state department did not encrypt their communications well enough to keep it from happening then I think they should just try to cover their butts as much as they can, fix the problem, take the pie in the face, and shut up about the rest.
    I only know I would hate to be in their IT department right now. If anyone is left.

  54. MikeR

    What really stinks about this kind of thing is the way it’s done by stealth.

    Whether or not an investigation into Assange / Wikileaks is merited, and whether or not such an investigation should extend to the personal accounts of Twitter users, is actually less of an issue as the fact that the powers-that-be sought to keep their activities secret. (On the age-old basis that the powers-that-be can only exist if Society allows ‘em-to-be.)

    Here in the UK, similar things have gone on, where very rich individuals and powerful corporations have not only issued writs, but have attached to those writs “gagging orders” to prevent anyone other than the parties concerned from even knowing that the writs exist.

    Assange says he wishes to defend open and accountable Democracy.

    I’m not sure that the way he’s gone about it is entirely correct.

    But the actions of those now hunting him certainly demonstrate that when Democracy ceases to be open and accountable — as here with the Twitter gagging order — then the biggest threat to our way of life isn’t individuals like Assange but powerful agencies of State attempting to operate by stealth: in this case, the US Attorney’s Office.

  55. Bobbimo

    Ditto Leslie. The whole affair is both shabby and disgusting. We have lost what little freedom we had
    and it will only get worse. Many have said when speaking of speed radars and red light cameras, “If
    you are doing nothing illegal, you have nothing to worry about”. The same is true for governments.
    The US should be cleaning up it’s act instead pursuing Assange – it’s shameful.

  56. Leslie

    I may or may not like what people have to say, but I will always defend their right to say it.

    I am not Anti-US at all, but this reeks of a double standard. They accuse China and Russia of various anti free speech behaviour Yet I see this whole Wiki leaks as nothing different.

    So at the very least, Wikileaks has informed the public about how hypocritical the USA government really is. I am disgusted at this whole affair.

  57. charles

    I was always under the assumption that Assange was big user of Tor, so their IP tracking would be useless, unless the rumors about a backdoor in Tor is true. Same goes for his use of encryption.
    I am curious about how this gonna play out.