Press "Enter" to skip to content

Privacy and resistance

MS Jordan posted in the comments section yesterday about Phil Mocek, the Seattle man just acquitted of four counts stemming from his polite refusal to show ID at the Albuqueuque, NM, airport. There’ve been a quite a few blips of info on Mocek, but this news story, with its video and links to earlier stories about Mocek, gives the best look I’ve found so far.

Took the jury all of an hour. No surprise. As usual the police/TSA account of Mocek “shouting” and creating a disturbance turns out to be a pack of lies. And as usual, the “authorities” didn’t know the law, either. They were just enforcing their thuggery.

The video Mocek took during the encounter is really something. It shows a perfect performance by a man who knows and asserts his rights. Mocek’s experienced at this — and other forms of activism, as well.

And probably he’s used to being dragged off to jail by thuggish boobs for contempt of cop.

Me, I’d rather stay home. Lorri, the friend I traveled to Panama with last year, is agitating for a trip to Australia. I’ve always wanted to go to New Zealand. A natural twofer. Neither of us can afford it now so it’s a moot point, but even if we were rich, it would be too much of a Hobson’s choice. No, more properly a Morton’s fork. “Would you prefer the pube-groping or the nude-o-scanning today, ladies?”

Either way, I find myself feeling sad at a moment I’d like to be rejoicing for Mocek’s victory.


In the nice, easy, doable privacy realm, Brad at reports there’s a new privacy-protecting search option. You know about StartPage, the European-based privacy-respecting alternative to Google. Well, now there’s a newcomer with the charmingly odd name DuckDuckGo.

I’m with Brad, I love DuckDuckGo’s sister site, DontTrack.Us. It not only has a simple, pictorial description of what Google and third-party advertisers do with your information, but once you’ve scrolled down to the very bottom they show their seriousness about privacy by listing and linking to a passel of privacy-enhancing browser add-ons.

Good on them. I still admire StartPage, which is represented in the U.S. by the amazing, awesome, fabulous, wonderful Katherine Albrecht. But the appearance of a privacy-loving competitor says maybe there’s a market for the good guys, eh?


  1. It's Me
    It's Me January 25, 2011 7:31 am

    I’ve been hearing about that using a “proxy” to search also helps with privacy. Any experience with that? As my life stands it right now, I don’t have much disposable income, so likely non-free probably means non-buy.

  2. Claire
    Claire January 25, 2011 7:45 am

    It’s Me — Very true about using proxies for privacy (although using a proxy may also cripple some functions on sites and you might want to disable the proxy occasionally). I pay $6 a month for proxy services from (which also gives email and other good things). Have used Cotse for years with only minor glitches. But there are lots of other options, some free. I’ll let others here who’ve used them chime in on them.

    Some of the links at the bottom of the DontTrack.Us page might interest you. “HTTPS Everywhere” and TOR are useful …

  3. Claire
    Claire January 25, 2011 8:43 am

    Dan — Yes, when it comes to searches, I’m completely inconsistent. But with purpose. I mix up my searches between Google and StartPage (and now probably between them and DuckDuckGo, as well).

    I don’t think Google is evil (though it sometimes verges on being so). There are some ways it’s better than StartPage (e.g. faster; also better for Americans who are shopping for something — StartPage tends to toss up links to stores in the UK, in my experience).

    Sometimes, it’s just easier to Google. OTOH, I disallow all third-party cookies and regularly delete or refuse Google cookies, search through a proxy, and do various other things to mess up profiling.

    Thanks for the DuckDuckGo search link. The results are at least as good as Google’s and prettier in their presentation. I’ll change the link in the blog entry because you’re right; Google was a disconcerting choice in that context. I need to be more conscious, don’t I?

  4. Scott
    Scott January 25, 2011 10:16 am

    Every state has its own identity laws,but here(Kentucky),you are only required to carry ID when driving,voting,or on jury duty. With that said, a cop could say you were “acting suspiciously” and take you off to someplace you don’t want to be until somebody vouches for you. City cops seem to be less informed about the law than small-town ones, reverse of the Hollywood image.
    Back in the ’90’s, a friend of mine almost went to jail because he was walking down the street with a housekey,small folding knife, and five bucks in his pocket,to get a burger and fries. He looked “suspicious” according to the cop(unconventional appearance-the cop didn’t understand a “FIAWOL” T-shirt,and he had a odd,but legal pocketknife). He talked his way out of it, but contempt of cop is a very real thing.

  5. bumperwack
    bumperwack January 25, 2011 11:18 am

    can anyone explain the difference between “license and registration”and/ “your papers please!”….

  6. Claire
    Claire January 25, 2011 11:26 am

    Scott, I don’t doubt for a minute that contempt of cop is real and getting more real by the minute. Glad your friend talked his way out of it. How many people have died, been beaten, or spent time in jail and money on lawyers because they couldn’t?

  7. Scott
    Scott January 25, 2011 1:16 pm

    Who you are, where you live, what color your skin is, what you’re wearing,what sort of accent you have,and a zillion other trivial factors determine how much contempt of cop will apply to you. No doubt many people’s lives have been made miserable simply because they didn’t look right to a cop and no other reason. you’re driving and one you’re walking?

  8. Philalethes
    Philalethes January 25, 2011 8:37 pm

    Scott, what’s a “FIAWOL” T-shirt?

  9. Philalethes
    Philalethes January 25, 2011 9:09 pm

    Well, yeah, that’s what FIAWOL meant to me, as I was a science fiction fan back in the 50s and 60s — though hung out more with the FIJAGH crowd in those days. Just wondered who Scott’s friend might have been, why he was wearing a T-shirt that (I gather) said FIAWOL on it. IOW, was he a fan or has the outside world picked up FIAWOL for some reason? Interesting how so much terminology — e.g. “fanzine”, of which I published a bunch — and other stuff that was exclusive to our subculture back then (before, I believe, the word “subculture” was invented) has spread out into the world at large.

  10. Chris D.
    Chris D. January 25, 2011 9:47 pm

    Claire, you and your friend should try traveling via container/cargo ship. I think its much cheaper (takes longer to reach destination), but I don’t think they have scanners, etc. Meals on board and such.

  11. Claire
    Claire January 25, 2011 9:57 pm

    Philathes — sorry. Didn’t realize you already knew all that — though I probably should have. Oh well, I hope the link was useful to others who might be curious.

    Chris D. — Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve actually looked into that — the romance of “traveling by tramp steamer” and all that always appealed to me. I’d love to do it. But I looked into traveling by cargo ship before the Panama trip, and unless you know something I don’t, “tramp steamer” ain’t what it used to be! The shipping lines I found wanted horrendous thousands of dollars per passenger. The prices were more like what I’d expect from cruise ships. Maybe not luxury cruise ships. But still … I’m remembering prices of $4-$5,000 for month-long trips. I spent three weeks in Panama — airfare, lodging, meals, souvenirs, gifts, excursions, and all for about $1,500.

    But if you DO know something I don’t, please let me know. That would be a fantastically adventurous way to travel.

Leave a Reply