Chapter 18: Computers and Private Detectives

     Many concerned citizen groups are worried about the dangers of the computers to invade a person's privacy. They keep warning us of that danger, raising the specter of Orwell's book '1984' , and that scenario for the U. S. citizen. It's here ladies and gentlemen.
     There is a one danger that I'm certain you already know about. That is the danger when you go on line and your computer is connected to a tele-phone line. It's a fact that people can dial into your computer and insert bits of information that you don't want, don't know is there, and can be used against you. PDs can and probably have put pornographic pictures into their victims' computers from on line.
     However, the concerned groups of citizens are worried more about the information people can insert in computers about you that you don't know about. That is a worry and a scary thought. But these concerned citizens are attacking the wrong thing first. The first step is to stop the false, wrong, and sometimes deliberate lies collected by the so-called investigative agencies. They then enter that has face into the omnipresent computers.
     The computer is nothing more than a storage bin and a retrieval system. It's the information in that system that is bad, wrong, and false much of the time. The computer, since the PDs and the credit companies collect the information, etc. isn't as much of a threat as the secret police type operations data of the PDs. It's the data that the people should worry about.
     These same groups worrying about the computers are, also, fearful of a national police force taking over and controlling the country. In fact, that is the reason we put restraints on the police of all and any police force to con-trol over-zealous, outright sadistic officers, and control their power. One that might act illegally and infringe on the peoples' rights, become a rogue elephant in the natioin. They have a right to worry, it has happend in other nations: Argentina, where the police formed murder squads, in Chili were they ran rampant over the peoples' rights. There are others.
     Our own Federal police have alreday been caught doing that. Their misdeeds uncovered many time in the last few years are the FBI, the CIA, the Secret Service, the IRS, the Drug Enforcement Bureau, etc. We've heard of our federal police breaking into our homes, bugging our phones and homes, opening and reading our mail. As an added thought for you to worry about the biggest non-police force who operates as if they are a police force is the private detective agencies. The federal police need a court order, a warrant to look at peoples' mail, yet, with the postal employees that work for the Private Detectives they can bypass the warrants.
     Strange to say I've yet to hear anybody--the press, our elected officials the police, the talking head who alwazys know so much about everything--warning us about the ever present danger of the uncontrolled PRIVATE DETECTIVES. I'm sure that's because they are unaware of the danger the PDs represents to our citizens' rights. The PDs invade more peoples' lives and privacy, more extensively, more secretly every day than all of the other police forces combined. I would like to see all of the information and miss-information packed into the PDs files and computers. It must be a tremendous load.
     What's worse these invaders of our privacy are unlicenced much of the time and non-regulated in every case. I had the idea our police forces were conceived formed, controlled, and established by our government bodies: Federal, State, County, and City to fight crime. Yet, the PDs appoint themselves and then operate without the benefit of laws, regulations, or licenses to control them and not to fight crime but to earn money.
     Here we have a private police force, for hire to anyone, with no legal reason to exist and operate. Yet, operating in such secrecy the public knows or understands less than noting about the threat they pose to our rights. A so-called police force dedicated to making money, a profit, not to defend our laws. In fact, they break those same laws constantly.
     The reason the private detectives canand do invade our privacy is that neither the public nor the government has any type of control over them or their actions. I imagine there are laws regulating their activities but no one checks on them and they can operate without interference from anyone and do. MOREOVER THE OPERATE WITH THE HELP OF PERSONS WHO WOULD SCREAM BLOODY MURDER IF THEY CAUGHT THE POLICE OR THE FBI DOING THE SAME THING, PARTICULARLY, IF IT WERE AGAINST THEMSELVE.
     It's because, without licensing, PD agencies can use anyone in their secret snooping and harassment attacks. For example, two day ago, Mar. 24, 1979 in the Oregon Journal newspaper (NOW DEFUNCT) there was an article about a FAMILY private detective business. The article quoting the mother, said, "In their private detective practice the parents used their three minor children extensively as agents."
     I don't know about you, but I don't think teenage children have the maturity or intelligence or knowledge to spy on people, make reports on other people private lives. Come to think of it, neither do the adults for that matter.
     Check the requirments and training our FBI agents must meet before they are allowed to join that agency and THEY STILL BREAK THE LAWS. Yet, we are allowing and suppose to believe that the great, very secrtive pri-vate detective won't break those same laws if uncontrolled. Also, as shown above, we let the PDs use their own children to spy on us. This smacks of Hitler's youth movement in Nazi Germany which, in WWII, we had to fight and defeat. Where the children spied and reported on the adults, including their own parents. If we believe the lessons taught to us by the history of WWII, such Nazi-like condition should worry all of us. That scary fact is something to consider.
     The lack of control over the PDs is criminally ridiculous and is due entirely and directly to our legislators. Come to think of it they aren't always so legal in their conduct. Most of those legisators are lawyers and they always insist the police be given a thorough training so as not to be a danger to the public. This is a correct position to take, but these same legilators, on Oregon anyway, did the opposite when it came to the private detectives. They did away with the law that required the PDs to be licensed by the State. That was 35 or 45 years ago, while I was still working for PNB. I remember the time and I argued with people at work it shouldn't be done. Of course, what they should do is outlaw the private detectives, not license them.
     The lawyers' reluctance to pass such a law to license PDs. The lawyers are the greatest users of the PDs services. IF THE PRIVATE DETECTIVES DIDN'T EXIST THE LAWYERS WOULD INVENT THEM. The reason is simple; if the PDs didn't exist the lawyers would have to get off their duffs and do their own leg work, be responsible for what they reported. They, also, wouldn't be able t take as many cases. That's what they are worried about. I'm sure lawyers, if it came to that, would reinvent the PDs in some form.
     Let's tie the dangers of the computers and the PDs together in a clear perspective. There's a tremendous amount of information in the computers on all of us. Government, insurance, miltary, FBI, etc. All that information had to come from somewhere, and a high portion of the informations and mis-information comes from PD reports. The PDs make up these files on people when asked tocheck on that person's activities by that person's employer, crdit corporations, our government agencies and other institutions that make it a practice to use these private snoops.
     How reliable are the fact in those reports, what percentage of them are true: No one knows. The many computer operators who log onto the files aren't able to tell a truth from an untruth when they are inserting this information and reports into or retrieving the data from the computer's files. No one can tell a truth from a lie when there's no way of confirming, proving, or denying the so-called facts. Into the computer it goes and once it is in the computer files, IT IS NOW FACT!
     Later, another computer operator presses the right sequence of keys and out spills the so-called truths about that person. This operator is like the man or woman who inserted the facts into the computer in the first place. He or she has no way of determining if what is reported in the file is true or false, but, because it's in black and white, they will believe it. Worse, anyone hav-ing access to the computer terminal and some who shouldn't have access will believe the computer's information is factual. The number of people who break into the secret files of all sorts of critical information is growing by leaps and bounds.
     Check out what I'm pointing out here, that the computers is nothing more than a storage bin. The truth and falsity of the thousands of bits of data entered into it is strictly up to the PD, the FBI, the IRS, the credit companies, etc., and that is a bad bet. A computer is only as reliable as the fact that are collected and put into it, as truthful as the people who compile the information want it to be.
     Note, any information the PDs report is not going to make the person, company, or group that hired them contradict what that client wants. That's why, allowing the private detective to appear as expert witnesses in a court case is deplorable. The so-called agent is not about to make an unbiased report on what really happened, one that would hurt his client.
     Stop those sneaks from snooping into and invading your privacy and you will eliminate much of the danger of computers. You won't stop all of the danger the computers represent, but it would be a start and a help.

A good way to eliniate much of this spying and harassing would be to make a law which states:

"All information put into a computer is to be designated by the name of the person or agency who supplied that information, their address, and sworn to as to its truth and accuracy. ALSO, A COPY OF THIS SAME RE- PORT, AS EXACTLY INSERTED INTO THE COM- PUTER, SHALL BE SENT TO OR GIVEN TO THE PERSON BEING REPORTED ON AT THE TIME OF ITS INSERTION INTO A COMPUTER.
     The law wouldn't have any of those roadblcok regulations that forces a person to make a request of the recording company making the report for his or her file. The way you are now forced to do in the FBI files.
     People running security computers, the PRIVATE DETECTIVE AGENCIES, and the FBI, the CIA, and other Federal agencies are going to scream the cost of such a program would be prohibitve. I don't know why; they don't seem to mind spending a lot of money having someone spy on us and compiling the same reports in the first place. If they can spen money to compile it, they can spend money to give the victim one copy.He or she can make her own copies.
     I would venture to say it wouildn't cost too much to make one more copy of the report and mail it to the person the report is on. A Private Detective charges at the least 25 dollars and hour for just ordinary telephone snooping. It's probably more now. Let's say it takes the PD a half hour to complete an unconfirmed data file on you over the phone for a credit company. A file on somebody, as in my case, for someone like the PNB Tele. Co. could run into many thousands of dollars, hundreds of thousands of dollars and millions of dollars.
     A report could cost the investigators $12.50 to compile by phone. Then we would have to add the cost of typing the report up and putting it into the PD computer. Total cost for the report, let's say 30 dollars. Realize, of course, that if the report costs more to compile the margin of cost to the report to one more copy would go down, making one more copy even cheaper in comparison.
     Let's see what it takes to make one more copy and mail the letter to the victim of the investigation. They have already compiled and written the re-port, no charge there. Someone is going to type the report into the computer, no extra charge for copying the report, no charge for typing. The charge for an extra piece of paper, most likely a nickel, but let's be generous, 15 cents apiece, 30 cents total: envelope ten cents, stamps, whatever the going rate for mailing a letter is at the time, handling the paper work, one dollar. Total 1.55 dollars for mailing another copy to the victim.
     If I'm right it costs 30 dollars to compile a report on you, and it costs a $1.55 to mail the victim a copy. It could be less since I estimated on the high side. MAYBE THERE SHOULD BE A LAW MAKING IT SO! Think of all of those reports going out each day and what it would do for the postal service.
     A note to people fighting computers: Make the computers too expensive for such childish uses and you will defeat much of this snooping.
     With the above law coming into effect and the one time victims now getting the reports on themselves, things would change. If they found they had been lied about, maligned by someone in the report by false accusations the victim would have recourse to the courts to sue the people--which, ac-cording to the lawyers, is the way all disagreement should be handled--in the courts, for giving such false information. Right now those people are practically invulnerable. If these people were telling lies or spreading unfounded rumors--wjich they're undoubtedly doing, and much of it false--about the victim, they should and would be held liable.
     This would force the PDs to make a thorough investigation, be precise in their reporting. If the report makes them liable, they wouldn't file it. The PDs make it a practice of starting rumors by leaking their lies and expect to be able toreport the same lies later as told to them. This would eliminate the practice of people reporting falsely just to be making a report. This has happened often and too often in insurance investigations, credit investigation, and other so called investigations.
     Sending the victims copies would stop corporation like the Pacific Northwest Bell Telephone company from hiring PDs to snoop into their employees privacy because of possible law suits. It would stop the PNB security forces from doing that same type of snooping, as well.
     Such a law would eliminate all sorts of dangers and abuses.


     To protect citizens from computer privacy invasion, make the collect-ing agency--private detectives, credit compnaies, or the police--liable--in good, old U. S. dollars--for false information in their files on the victim.
     Consider the thought that Private Detectives agencies and their agents are the United States secret police and they outnumber the legal police forces and, worse, they are not regulated or controlled in any manner.
     Think about what secret police groups in Nazi German, Fascist Italy, the Communist Soviet and its clones in Eastern Europe and every other dictatorial govenment has done to their citizenry in torturing, maiming, jailing, and killing them.
     Give some thought to the Private Detectives practice of using their underage children in their spying activities. I'm doubtful any of you would think that is right, legal, or moral.
     How about that law that makes the reporting agency give a copy of their reports or files on the victim concerned to that victim.