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Old 04-16-2004, 10:04 AM   #1
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Will Your Computer Habit Get You in Trouble?

Will Your Computer Habit Get You in Trouble?

Computer hobbyists and gadgetphiles, (a description that fits us and many of our readers) often have higher than normal electric bills because of all the electronic toys that require power. We have Web servers, a mail server, a couple of domain controllers, two file servers, our primary workstations, the "kitchen computer," the Media Center PC, the iMac and the firewalls, all
of which stay on all the time. Then there are the laptops that have to be charged, not to mention two wide-screen TVs, home theater/audio equipment, the external hard disks, surveillance cameras, and more mundane household
appliances. We cringe every month when the bill from the power company comes in.

If you're like us, though, it's worth the extra cost to be on the cutting edge of technology. But now there's a new worry to go along with how to pay
the bill: is your high usage of electricity going to get you in trouble with the police?

You might think that's a silly idea, and a suburban family in Carlsbad, California probably would have thought so, too - until their home was raided
last month due in part to their $250-300 per month electric bills. Police suspected the high power usage indicated that they were using high intensity lamps to grow marijuana, and got a judge to sign a search warrant based on their suspicions. You can read a summary of the story at:
http://www.shortnews.com/shownews.cf...233&u_id=31509

Given the huge number of consumer electronics on the market today, most of which consume electricity, along with spouses and children who leave doors open when the air conditioning is on and don't turn off the lights when they leave the room, we hope this doesn't become a trend. It seems that even as the "smart house" becomes more of a reality, even for non-billionaires, the
"home as castle" concept is fading fast. What do you think? Should your electricity usage be scrutinized and used against you to prove that you
"might" be dealing drugs? Was this just an isolated incident of a judge exercising poor judgment, or do you think our fifth amendment right to be secure in our houses against unreasonable searches and seizures is in danger?
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Old 04-16-2004, 10:35 AM   #2
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Yeah, I never thought about that and it makes sense, but, they shouldn't be able to raid a home just based on electricity usage, that is abserd.
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Old 04-16-2004, 10:52 AM   #3
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crap, that sucks for that family...although i don't grow any marijuana, i can't have cops barging into my house and finding all my "borrowed" software...not to mention the illegal gambling ring, prostitution, and sweat shop i got going on in my basement...

seriously tho, my TV and computer are on 24 hours a day...i sleep with that stuff on...my entire room is a fire hazard as i have 6 port surge protectors all filled up on each of my outlets...
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Old 04-16-2004, 11:15 AM   #4
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We are so desperate at home, we have ALL electronics on a 3+ hour battery back-up. We never know when the power goes out because our stuff stays on! (At night we do not usually have lights on.)
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Old 04-16-2004, 11:30 AM   #5
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I don't have a computer at home.
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Old 04-16-2004, 11:31 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by guy321
I don't have a computer at home.
*GASP* It's not April Fool's any longer! :p
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Old 04-16-2004, 11:32 AM   #7
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My house hums unless the power goes out.
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Old 04-16-2004, 11:49 AM   #8
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I have my laptop that work provides me. that's it. Unlike other computer geeks, I do not feel the need to recreate my work enviornment at home Im not even home most of the time.

Quote:
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*GASP* It's not April Fool's any longer! :p
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Old 04-16-2004, 12:02 PM   #9
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Your tax dollars at work folks. Anyway, what are a few (more) personal freedoms lost (like freedom from unreasonable search)?

Hell we lost alot more than that with the so-called 'Patriot Act' (so named to quell any opposition in Congress - how would it look at re-election time to defend a vote against a "Patriot Act" bill!)

And like our cops have nothing better to do than puruse electricity bills of the neighbors and try to bust home pot growers based on that.

Anyone watch the 9/11 hearings? Terrorism was hardly even ON the radar of those law enforcment folks!
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Old 04-16-2004, 12:31 PM   #10
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I think most people know my stance on this one. I am no fan of the "War on Drugs" in regards to marijuana. As I posted it before I am sure that between highschool and college many on this forum have done some epxerimenting. Some here may even use it with prescription from their physician and it may be legal in their state. But who would come out and say it. With current marijuana prices being at $350/ounce in most areas of the US for medical grade marijuana you would not only be subject to dealing with the federal government but also you would risk local thugs trying to steal from you as well.

Look at BC and Ontario. They have done just about everything but decriminalize the possesion of marijuana and the police in Vancouver won't even site you for possesion. You can smoke in certain coffee shops and it is really out in the open. Do they have a huge crime problem associated with marijuana? No. In fact I am sure that this has freed up the local law enforcement to go after the real drug problems like methamphetimine, herion, cocaine, etc. These drugs cause real problems in communties and should be the ones that our money is going after.

Oh and the government shouldn't be trying to take away our civil liberties so looking at energy consumption and using drug sniffing dogs to walk around the property in order to get a search warrant are not acceptable. What's next heat imaging equipment so they can see what you and your partner are doing inside your home?
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Old 04-16-2004, 12:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by 93rdcurrent
What's next heat imaging equipment so they can see what you and your partner are doing inside your home?
Good Times! You gave me some blackmail ideas for a couple of people here at work!! :p
Also gives new meaning to the game Hide and Peek.. I mean Seek!
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Old 04-16-2004, 12:43 PM   #12
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I think I see some new internet sites going up in the near future. But will it be art or ****? Or will it be closer to reality TV/Internet?
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Old 04-16-2004, 01:21 PM   #13
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It reminds me of the virtual/real technology shown in the Ahhh-nold move, Eraser. Neat flick... still can't believe he is the govenator.
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Old 04-16-2004, 01:21 PM
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