A bill extending wiretapping provisions to cell phones and covering a wider range of crimes - including kidnaping, human trafficking and money laundering - has been approved by the Texas Senate. Only murder, drug-related crimes and child pornography investigations are covered by existing lawful interception laws in Texas, AP …
And why do we have a problem with organized crime?
"Sen. John Carona, the architect of the bill, argued that the legislation would help police to fight organised crime and terrorism in the state."
Students of history will notice that organized crime only became a serious problem for the USA when Prohibition was instituted. It was only a few years later that the Federal government noticed that it wasn't working, and alcohol was re-legalized.
And now we have organized crime that is trafficking in prohibited recreational drugs - and making huge profits from it.
Oh sure, I'm going to give Omar at the 7-Eleven enough information to steal my identity.
dillon in Tejas, out to buy some pre-paids tonight
It's funny, the government is frequently seen telling people to "protect" their social security numbers. The primary reason is that it's much easier to commit identity fraud when you have someone's SSN. So why is it that everywhere I look, applications are requiring your SSN? It seems to me that the overzealous collection of SSNs has devalued any "protection" the individual could give to it. It's come to the point where someone's SSN is simply used as a national identification number, with no protection at all. Hell, the IRS even instructs you to write your SSN on your check if paying your income tax by check. How do you mesh that with telling people to "protect" their SSN? How can I protect my SSN while simultaneously writing it on a paper that will be seen by many people?
What exactly *IS* "organized crime"? You often hear such crimes as money laundering, loan sharking, racketeering, etc. referred to as "organized crime". But is it just me, or does the government only call it "organized crime" when it's run by families or groups of individuals? When big corporations do the exact same thing, it's called business.
The RIAA is clearly guilty of racketeering, in their endless extortion of individuals ("pay us or we'll sue you" isn't much different from "pay us or we'll burn down your business").
Credit card companies do the same exact thing that a loan shark does -- they offer you credit in return for a promise to pay that money back. Loan sharks may charge more interest (though I would consider a credit card with a 24-25% interest rate a "loan shark"), and if you fail to pay their reaction is certainly more severe, but the act of lending money is the same.
Illegal drugs? People only use illegal drugs because there are no legal drugs which offer them the same "benefits". Of course, if there were, they would be offered by pharmaceutical companies at unreasonable prices.
Copyright infringement (black-market CDs and software, etc)? If the rights-holding companies charged a reasonable price for their product, this wouldn't be an issue. But $300 for an operating system, $400 for an office suite, and $22 for a 45-minute CD are all unreasonable.
So when does it stop being "business" and start being "organized crime"?
I would go further
I would say that the only reason so many crimes are committed is because the acts that cause them to be crimes are illegal. Without this ridiculous "Nanny State" tendancy, crime would plummet, no-one would misuse drugs, murder would be pain-free, theft would be commoditized...it would be the Utopia we all know we need!
RE: Organised Crime
It only becomes organised crime when they stop paying tax on it.
As long as the government is getting that percentage of their takings they're perfectly happy to let them extort, threaten, etc.
Coming back to Chris's point about charging a reasonable price for products. Don't forget that the same product (ie the intellectual property) seems to cost 2x more in the UK.
I think that by charging a country more for the same product, they are more likely to pirate it.
James's point about it only becomes organised crime when they stop paying tax on it.
Think of itunes, that are in direct contravention of EU law by over charging the UK, are still selling illegally.
Which is fine ... unless you are a pirate, when its not.
Anyway, back to the main point. People get there credit cards cloned at the checkout throught dodgy staff. Givening them your SS number and address isn't going to help them.
And what happens if you sell the phone on after?
Any Texans know how much info you've to hand over before you're allowed to buy a gun?
Kids and folks with little or no disposable income are usually the only people who buy prepaid cellular in the US. These also happen to be the people who are least likely to have some sort of ID displaying a SSN. Not a big surprise here, we love making it hard for poor people to have luxuries in the US, no matter how inexpensive they may be. God forbid poor people get a cellie, they may launch a crime family and start bombing things.
If we're going to label this under homeland insecurity, I can understand the limit on numbers of phones bought at one time, or even needing an ID to buy more than 5(?) at a time, but not to just buy one. Besides that, do we really believe a terrorist is going to show his real ID when purchasing his bomb parts?
I like prepaid because it makes it easy and affordable to change providers, costs less to change my # (30.00 cingular VS 20.00 new prepaid phone), and because they can be obtained so cheap, if I damage my phone, I can get a new one instantly, for less than the cost of handset repairs or replacement for one of the contract plans, which may take anywhere from an hour to a couple of weeks.
Good thing I'm not in Texas, I might be tempted to find one of the local teens and buy him a 36 pack of nasty-lite in exchange for buying me a prepaid under his name and SSN, just to stick it to the bastards who created this waste of legislative power.
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