More on “Where have all the children gone”

This is a follow-up to my posts on Where have all the children gone and More on the “Missing Children”.

Bruce Schneier writes about how overprotective we’ve become of children. He quotes a story of a mother who lets her son take the New York City subway home on his own, trusting him to follow her instructions and be safe.

Long story longer, and analyzed, to boot: Half the people I’ve told this episode to now want to turn me in for child abuse. As if keeping kids under lock and key and helmet and cell phone and nanny and surveillance is the right way to rear kids. It’s not. It’s debilitating — for us and for them.

Now, I may not have grown up in New York City, but as a kid I used to wander for miles and miles on my own. I’m sure many people reading this can say the same thing – and we all turned out OK, right?

So why are we so scared to let children go out and actually be children?

On Surveillance

Surveillance is power.

When surveillance become ubiquitous, we place utmost faith and trust in those performing surveillance to use that power justly.

And as we all know… power corrupts.

If we wish to become a surveillance society, we must have checks and balances on surveillance, just as we do with other forms of government power – if not more so.

To do otherwise is to give utmost power to those performing surveillance – the ultimate result of which will be the collapse of a free, democratic society.

It is important for everyone to understand these issues if only because this is still our government. If we remain ignorant of the issues, our government will remain ignorant of the issues, and they will slip through the cracks and we will wake up to a police state without even knowing it. And you can kiss your civil liberties, your privacy, your old way of life goodbye.

And I seriously doubt anyone really wants that.

On Copyrights, Patents, and the Constitution

Techdirt: On The Constitutional Reasons Behind Copyright And Patents:

This short series of posts starts out really well – by quoting (of all people) Thomas Jefferson:

“Stable ownership is the gift of social law, and is given late in the progress of society. It would be curious then, if an idea, the fugitive fermentation of an individual brain, could, of natural right, be claimed in exclusive and stable property. If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property.”


The implication of course being that the founders did see the problems with giving exclusive control (ownership) of ideas to people (or companies) willy-nilly, and the need for balance.

A really good examination of the subject, and well worth the read, IMHO.

Effects of REAL ID

C|NET News has a great writeup on what the effects of REAL ID are going to be to people in different states – depending on whether your state has complied or not.

There are some SERIOUS problems here of course – for example, you may not be able to go visit your representative in Washington DC if you don’t have a REAL ID – which is a clear violation of your right to petition your government.

And of course, today the news broke that the Department of Homeland Security is suggesting that REAL ID might be required to buy medicines that contain pseudophedrine. Of course, this has absolutely nothing to do with the original goal of REAL ID – it’s clear feature creep and the start of that slippery slope thing… that we were promised wouldn’t happen this time (really!).

As usual, the law – as it was originally passed – was supposed to be used to “stop terrorists.” Now it’s expanded to include immigration control, drug restrictions, and a “big stick” to beat down rebellious states – within our own country! States that have the guts to stand up and say “this is wrong, we won’t do it” are being beaten down with the power given to the DHS by the REAL ID Act.

Once again, we have taken another step towards becoming a police state. May I see your papers, please?