Text for LPSF surveillance brochure

Dear Starchild and Everyone Else;

Below and also attached is a revised edited version for everyones consideration.

Ron Getty
SF Libertarian


[graphic of a camera lens staring at the viewer here]

Was your voice being recorded? Did you pass through a "security checkpoint" where you or your vehicle was subject to a search? There's a good chance the answer these questions is yes!

In San Francisco all MUNI busses, BART cars and every taxi cab now have cameras installed. There are dozens of "red light" cameras on city streets - with many more on the way. Ordinary people going into City Hall, courthouses and other government buildings are made to submit to searches.

Around holidays, law enforcement agents often set up random “drunken driving checkpoints" where they search peoples' cars. Police officers can easily run a check on your license plate, pull you over for no reason or make up a “probable cause” reason. Thousands of people on parole are subject to random searches of their homes. Others who have served their sentences are forced to wear electronic monitoring devices 24 hours a day. The San Francisco Public Library wants to put electronic RFID chips in the books they lend out so they can tell where the books are you are reading.

[They're making it more expensive to travel over the Bay or Golden Gate Bridge unless you buy an electronic card that records your identity.} This is a questionable statement as the cards are basically fast passes for cars on the bridges. ??

Under the "PATRIOT" Act and other new enactments the federal government is empowered to do several things. The government can listen to your phone calls, read your emails and look at your medical records without consent or a warrant or review your banking transactions. A US citizen can be held indefinitely as a prisoner in an undisclosed location, after being arrested by the military, without trial or due process after being declared an "enemy combatant."

New cars and cellphones are being manufactured with GPS devices allowing authorities to pinpoint your location when using them. It is becoming more and more difficult to travel, including leaving the country, without using government-issued identification.

A wall hundreds of miles long is scheduled to be built along the Mexican border. Already, drivers many miles from the border are stopped and their vehicles subject to searches. People of Latino, Middle Eastern or African-American descent, especially young people, are frequently subject to racial profiling, whether in border areas, airports, high crime urban areas or elsewhere.

Far from resisting this trend, the business sector has been complicit. Many stores and businesses install their own cameras. These cameras often capture photos of passers-by on the street and customers. Companies like AT&T have helped the National Security Administration build databases to spy on people. Others like the Correctional Corporation of America help government run prisons as part of the system that keeps a higher percentage of people behind bars in the U.S. than in any other country in the world.

Firms including Gillette and Wal-Mart are eagerly looking into putting RFID chips in consumer products. Voicemail systems used by large companies typically inform you "your call may be recorded or monitored." Personal data collected by corporations’ starts out in many different private hands instead of under the control of a powerful central authority that's trying to run your life. The federal government governments can easily demand access to this data and footage once it exists. A company called Applied Digital Solutions (ADS) is even making chips designed to be implanted in human beings. ADS targeted top customer - the U.S. government.

With the steady advance of this "surveillance society," it’s obvious to anyone who's paying attention we are rapidly losing our freedoms and privacy. The problem is few people seem to be paying attention. Many have become so conditioned to fear terrorism or ordinary crime they welcome the security. They believe submitting to more surveillance brings more security without thinking about the consequences. The potential consequences, in an era with more and more capable technology, are truly frightening.

"By comparison with that existing today, all the tyrannies of the past were half-hearted and inefficient. Even the Catholic Church of the Middle Ages was tolerant by modern standards. Part of the reason for this was that in the past no government had the power to keep its citizens under surveillance.” - George Orwell, "1984"

It's true that authoritarian police states typically have few terrorist incidents and low levels of ordinary assaults, burglaries, vandalism and similar "street crime." This was as much the case in Orwell's fictional society of 1984 as it has been in the real world. But this "security" did not make human beings in places like Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, or Maoist China happy or ultimately safer. Millions of people in those societies paid a horrible price for the power accumulated by the governments that ruled over them -- crushing poverty, torture, starvation, even genocide.

Of course the United States has a strong legacy of individual liberty backed by the Bill of Rights – which prohibits government officials from searching and spying on innocent people - let alone arbitrarily killing them. But that and $1 will buy you a cup of coffee - as the saying goes.

These days, Republicans and Democrats politicians offer lip service to the Constitution while routinely violating it and the courts usually let them get away with it. How long can this go on before America bears no resemblance to a free republic based on a democratic process and the rule of law?

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. - Benjamin Franklin

Special Note - This is not a Benjamin Franklin quote but has been historically attributed to him - but was originally the title to a book written by one Richard Jackson and published by Benjamin Franklin.

Do you deserve to be free? What are you doing to win back your freedoms or protect those you have left? In this supposed "land of the brave," will you be among those who have the courage to stand up for freedom against the growing government control that is slowly enslaving all of us?

The Libertarian Party is part of a movement that is trying to stop a police state from happening here. Our mission is to defend your civil and economic rights and liberties without compromise, and we urgently need your support. Please call or visit our website today. It's not illegal -- yet.

noon8window.pdf (36 Bytes)

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