Re: War On Drugs Targets Tech

From: Ross A. Finlayson (
Date: Sat Feb 03 2001 - 13:44:19 MST

Just because the government has bad technology doesn't mean it should be able to
take it out on us. The government should just get better technology.

As soon as I feel like it, I will start actively arguing against FCC regulations
that I do not like. There are ways to get all laws changed, for the better.
Import/export is one thing, but if it's in this country then it's American.

The "War on Drugs" is a "War on the Influence of Drugs", not against them. It's
the only war we've ever had, here, where it is the government against the
people, or, some of the people. Drugs should be made legal, to adults.


Matthew Gaylor wrote:

> War On Drugs Targets Tech
> Friday February 02 01:16 PM EST
> War On Drugs Targets Tech
> By Lewis Z. Koch Special To Interactive Week,
> The new scapegoat for the failed War on Drugs is, of all things, technology.
> The 120-page December 2000 International Crime Threat Assessment report -
> created by basically every federal law enforcement agency in the U.S. - is
> riddled with examples of how computer technology has advanced the cause of
> national and international crime. Modern telecommunications and information
> systems, state-of-the-art communications equipment, computers - they're all
> to blame.
> What the report fails to squarely acknowledge is that the oil that fuels
> organized crime in the U.S. and abroad, including terrorist organizations,
> is profit from the trade in illegal drugs bound for the U.S. - billions of
> dollars in profit from drug sales that enhance the power of international
> crime cartels and their ability to corrupt police, judges and governmental
> officials from Tijuana to Tanzania.
> "Through the use of computers, international criminals have an
> unprecedented capability to obtain, process and protect information and
> sidestep law enforcement investigations," the report stated. "They can use
> the interactive capabilities of advanced computers and telecommunications
> systems to plot marketing strategies for drugs and other illicit
> commodities, to find the most efficient routes and methods for smuggling
> and moving money in the financial system and to create false trails for law
> enforcement or banking security."
> It goes on to assert: "More threateningly, some criminal organizations
> appear to be adept at using technology for counterintelligence purposes and
> for tracking law enforcement activities."
> In other words, it's not our flawed drug policy that's to blame - it's new
> technology.
> Where All This Began
> In 1937, Harry J. Anslinger, six years into his 30-year-reign as director
> at the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, testified before the U.S. Senate on
> behalf of the "Marihuana Tax Act." This delighted the Hearst newspapers,
> which, lacking a real war to increase newspaper sales, launched an all-out
> battle against demon marijuana. Here are a few excerpts from Anslinger's
> sworn testimony. Clearly, our drug policy traces its roots to reasoning
> that was as racist and alarmist as it was wildly inaccurate:
> * "There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are
> Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz
> and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana can cause white women
> to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others."
> * "The primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate
> races."
> * "Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity,
> criminality and death."
> * "Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind."
> With Hearst's backing, Anslinger's war on marijuana escalated to an all-out
> war on narcotics.
> Now, after six and a half decades of speeches and hundreds of thousands,
> perhaps millions, of arrests, convictions and sentences, what signs point
> to even modest success in this multitrillion-dollar war against drugs? Drug
> trafficking is the most profitable of all illegal activities, according to
> the International Crime Threat Assessment.
> Where Do We Go from Here?
> Instead of rethinking the sanity of our basic policy on drugs, federal
> police agencies appear bent on blaming technology - unbreakable encryption
> via e-mail, encrypted cellular phones and faster, cheaper networked
> computers - for the losses sustained in the drug war. This is clearly
> nonsense.
> In 1999 alone, Americans spent an estimated $63 billion on illegal drugs,
> according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. And the National
> Institute on Drug Abuse stated: "The estimated total cost of drug abuse in
> the United States - including health care and lost productivity - was $110
> billion in 1995, the latest year for which data is available."
> In addition, a U.S. Customs Service report said the department will soon be
> able to inspect only 1 percent of all goods entering the U.S.
> This is the score after six and a half decades of our drug policy. Do we
> have to wait until 2037 to recognize that we lost the Hundred Years' Drug
> War? And,! in the meantime, will we see more and more attacks on technology
> as the evil ally of narcotics?
> The obvious yet politically difficult solution here is to remove the
> profitability factor from drugs. Will there be more casualties? Will more
> people succumb to addiction? Maybe. But don't we already have casualties?
> You have to employ some tortured logic to rationalize how removing the
> profit incentive from drug use could make things any worse than they are.
> Now the Feds want to escalate the war as an excuse for having their way
> with encryption. But encryption is an essential business tool and a means
> of protecting our privacy. Outlawing it as a scapegoat of our drug policy
> is like trembling in fear before the great Wizard of Oz and paying no
> attention to the discredited man and his policies behind the curtain.
> Introducing Lewis Koch's "First Annual George Orwell 1984 Award"
> The prize, a 1949 first-edition copy of Orwell's 1984, worth about $100,
> will be awarded to the reader who supplies the best tip about an
> egregious assault on personal privacy. The judges will be yours truly, plus
> Richard M. Smith and other officers of the Privacy Foundation.
> E-mail all suggestions to lzkoch@< All tips
> will be held in strictest confidence, so the award might well go to
> "anonymous." All suggestions will be fully investigated and thoroughly
> checked.
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Ross Andrew Finlayson
Finlayson Consulting
Ross at Tiki-Lounge:
Confucious says, "My name is Confucious."

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