” Activists on the left are demanding President Obama flex his muscle over the country’s spy agencies.
The CIA’s admission that a handful of officials spied on Senate staffers is proof that the White House has lost control of the intelligence agencies, critics say. They are also discomforted by the continued support Obama has offered for agency Director John Brennan.
“ This is not an isolated incident,” said Becky Bond, political director with the progressive group Credo.
“ The fact that these intelligence officials are able to keep their job when major breaches or major assaults on the Constitution are made public — let alone all the things that are happening that we don’t know about — it sets a very dangerous precedent,” she added.
In recent days, more than 42,000 people have signed Credo’s petition calling for Obama to “fire” Brennan, along with agency officials who knew about the snooping on Congress. The petition also calls for the Justice Department to file criminal charges against people involved in the congressional snooping.
The spying is just “the latest evidence that America’s shadowy intelligence agencies are out of control,” the group said in its petition. “Yet disturbingly, President Obama is still defending Brennan.”
The administration’s positions have inflamed civil libertarians on both sides of the aisle. But for liberals who supported Obama based in part on his opposition to the powerful security apparatus of the administration of President George W. Bush, the shift is especially painful.
“ It looks incredibly hypocritical relative to the promises he made over the campaign, and that’s completely been made transparent,” said Demand Progress executive director David Segal. “
” In mid-June, the U.S. government relaxed its previously strict rules on high-definition satellite imaging, allowing mapping services like Google Maps to scale up to a higher resolution. DigitalGlobe led the charge in changing the U.S. ruling in part because of its upcoming Worldview-3 satellite, which will provide the first public high-resolution photos of our planet.
Google and Microsoft will be likely beneficiaries of this advanced space imaging since both are DigitalGlobe customers, and the detail this satellite provides is pretty stunning. The company says Worldview-3 will capture sub-50cm resolution, allowing clear views of “manholes and mailboxes,” according to the BBC.
The satellite will launch at 2:30pm ET on August 13, which you can watch live, because who doesn’t love a good rocket show. “
” A well known iPhone hacker and forensic scientist has unearthed a range of undocumented and hidden functions in Apple iOS mobile operating system that make it possible for a hacker to completely bypass the backup encryption on iOS devices and can steal large amounts of users’ personal data without entering passwords or personal identification numbers.Data forensics expert named Jonathan Zdziarski has posted the slides (PDF) titled “Identifying Backdoors, Attack Points, and Surveillance Mechanisms in iOS Devices” showing his findings, from his talk at the Hackers On Planet Earth (HOPE X) conference held in New York on Friday.Jonathan Zdziarski, better identified as the hacker “NerveGas” in the iPhone development community, worked as dev-team member on many of the early iOS jailbreaks and is also the author of five iOS-related O’Reilly books including “Hacking and Securing iOS Applications.”The results of his overall research on the iOS devices indicate a backdoor into iOS device’ operating system, although it is not at all that much widely open as a number of reports have suggested.You can protect your iOS device settings, Messages, Camera Roll, documents, saved games, email account passwords, Wi-Fi passwords, and passwords that you enter into websites using iTunes Backup feature. iTunes also allows users to protect their backup data with an encryption.”
” Cameras showed the Navy Yard gunman’s every move, but arriving police didn’t know the control room existed. Employees who had cellphones locked away to protect military secrets had no way to dial 911. Arriving police were stuck outside security gates as the base went on lockdown. Aaron Alexis came face-to-face with several Navy Yard employees who survived, including one who threw a megaphone at the gunman and ran as a shotgun blast sailed by. These are among the dozens of details in a new report obtained by The Washington Post under a Freedom of Information Act request. The report was written by D.C. police to better understand how the shooting unfolded and what lessons they could take away.
A private security guard was in an office with monitors showing the feeds from 160 security cameras while the shootings occurred. Those cameras, police now know, covered almost every inch of Building 197 and were documenting in real time every move by gunman Aaron Alexis. But the guard locked the door, hid and notified no one that he was there with access to the information. “
The report is a damning indictment of security at the Navy Yard as well as the performance of the Metro DC police and various Federal law enforcement agencies with allegations of many DC officers “self-dispatching” themselves to the scene and thus leaving large swathes of the city unprotected along with mentions of numerous “private photographers” on the scene representing different law enforcement entities .
The whole episode calls to mind a free-for-all of law enforcement , more interested in covering themselves in glory , securing larger operating budgets and documenting it all for the media than in protecting public safety a la the Dorner affair , Ruby Ridge and Waco .
Read the whole thing at the Washington Post
” The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that police must obtain warrants before snooping through people’s cellphones, delivering a unanimous decision that begins to update legal understanding of privacy rules to accommodate 21st-century technology.
Police agencies argued that searching through data on cellphones was no different from asking someone to turn out his pockets, but the justices rejected that, saying a cellphone holds the most personal and intimate details of someone’s life and falls squarely within the Fourth Amendment’s privacy protections.
“ The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote in the unanimous opinion. “Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple — get a warrant.”
The justices even said police cannot check a cellphone’s call log because it could contain more information than phone numbers, and perusing the call log is a violation of privacy that can be justified only with a court-issued warrant.
Privacy advocates, meanwhile, said the ruling should ignite a broader rethinking of protections at a time when Americans are putting more personal information online.”
Washington Times continues the story of a small step on the road to victory in the war for privacy rights .
” The curled metal fixtures set to go up on a handful of Michigan Avenue light poles later this summer may look like delicate pieces of sculpture, but researchers say they’ll provide a big step forward in the way Chicago understands itself by observing the city’s people and surroundings.
The smooth, perforated sheaths of metal are decorative, but their job is to protect and conceal a system of data-collection sensors that will measure air quality, light intensity, sound volume, heat, precipitation and wind. The sensors will also count people by measuring wireless signals on mobile devices.”
” Some experts caution that efforts like the one launching here to collect data from people and their surroundings pose concerns of a Big Brother intrusion into personal privacy.
In particular, sensors collecting cellphone data make privacy proponents nervous. But computer scientist Charlie Catlett said the planners have taken precautions to design their sensors to observe mobile devices and count contact with the signal rather than record the digital address of each device.”
Chicago Tribune has more on the latest intrusions into personal privacy
” By John W. Whitehead
June 16, 2014
“ A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty.”—James Madison
“ Here [in New Mexico], we are moving more toward a national police force. Homeland Security is involved with a lot of little things around town. Somebody in Washington needs to call a timeout.”—Dan Klein, retired Albuquerque Police Department sergeant.
If the United States is a police state, then the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is its national police force, with all the brutality, ineptitude and corruption such a role implies. In fact, although the DHS’ governmental bureaucracy may at times appear to be inept and bungling, it is ruthlessly efficient when it comes to building what the Founders feared most—a standing army on American soil.
The third largest federal agency behind the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense, the DHS—with its 240,000 full-time workers, $61 billion budget and sub-agencies that include the Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection, Secret Service, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)—has been aptly dubbed a “runaway train.”
In the 12 years since it was established to “prevent terrorist attacks within the United States,” the DHS has grown from a post-9/11 knee-jerk reaction to a leviathan with tentacles in every aspect of American life. With good reason, a bipartisan bill to provide greater oversight and accountability into the DHS’ purchasing process has been making its way through Congress.
A better plan would be to abolish the DHS altogether. In making the case for shutting down the de facto national police agency, analyst Charles Kenny offers the following six reasons: one, the agency lacks leadership; two, terrorism is far less of a threat than it is made out to be; three, the FBI has actually stopped more alleged terrorist attacks than DHS; four, the agency wastes exorbitant amounts of money with little to show for it; five, “An overweight DHS gets a free pass to infringe civil liberties without a shred of economic justification”; and six, the agency is just plain bloated.
To Kenny’s list, I will add the following: The menace of a national police force, a.k.a. a standing army, vested with so much power cannot be overstated, nor can its danger be ignored. Indeed, as the following list shows, just about every nefarious deed, tactic or thuggish policy advanced by the government today can be traced back to the DHS, its police state mindset, and the billions of dollars it distributes to police agencies in the form of grants.
Militarizing police and SWAT teams. The DHS routinely hands out six-figure grants to enable local municipalities to purchase military-style vehicles, as well as a veritable war chest of weaponry, ranging from tactical vests, bomb-disarming robots, assault weapons and combat uniforms. This rise in military equipment purchases funded by the DHS has, according to analysts Andrew Becker and G.W. Schulz, “paralleled an apparent increase in local SWAT teams.” The end result? An explosive growth in the use of SWAT teams for otherwise routine police matters, an increased tendency on the part of police to shoot first and ask questions later, and an overall mindset within police forces that they are at war—and the citizenry are the enemy combatants.”
Below are a list of other ways in which the State is busy eroding our Constitutional rights , all explored in greater depth at the Rutherford Institute .
” Spying on activists, dissidents and veterans.
Distributing license plate readers.
Contracting to build detention camps.
Tracking cell-phones with Stingray devices.
Carrying out military drills and lockdowns in American cities.
Using the TSA as an advance guard.
Conducting virtual strip searches with full-body scanners.
Carrying out soft target checkpoints.
Directing government workers to spy on Americans.
Conducting widespread spying networks using fusion centers.
Carrying out Constitution-free border control searches.
Funding city-wide surveillance cameras.
Utilizing drones and other spybots.
It’s not difficult to see why the DHS has been described as a “wasteful, growing, fear-mongering beast.” If it is a beast, however, it is a beast that is accelerating our nation’s transformation into a police state through its establishment of a standing army, a.k.a. national police force.
This, too, is nothing new. Historically, as I show in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, the establishment of a national police force has served as a fundamental and final building block for every totalitarian regime that has ever wreaked havoc on humanity, from Hitler’s all-too-real Nazi Germany to George Orwell’s fictional Oceania. Whether fictional or historical, however, the calling cards of these national police agencies remain the same: brutality, inhumanity, corruption, intolerance, rigidity, and bureaucracy—in other words, evil. “
Read more here
” Expecting House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to win his GOP primary in Virginia, I spent Election Day in Pennsylvania – interviewing angry Republicans, Democrats and independents about the rise of political populism.
I was in the wrong state, but I had the right topic. Cantor’s defeat has less to do with immigration reform than it does with an uneven movement that should frighten conservative and liberal political elites to their shallow cores.
Americans see a grim future for themselves, their children and their country. They believe their political leaders are selfish, greedy and short-sighted – unable and/or unwilling to shield most people from wrenching economic and social change. For many, the Republican Party is becoming too extreme, while the Democratic Party – specifically President Obama – raised and dashed their hopes for true reform.”
Only someone who has lived in a cave for the past twenty years could believe that real change can come from the District of Corruption . Despite the best efforts of the Corporate-State run media to demonize all things Tea Party and despite the occasional drug-addled morons shooting up the neighborhood a la Las Vegas , more and more citizens are coming to the conclusion that the ballot box and the courts offer no recourse …
” At the West Chester’s popular D.K. Diner, a U.S. veteran who served five combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan said the only solution may be a revolution against political elites. “We may need to drag politicians out and shoot them like they did in Cuba,” said a grim-faced Frederick Derry two days after a Los Vegas couple allegedly shot two police officers. The attackers draped their bodies with a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, according to ABC News, pinned a swastika on them and a note that read “The revolution has begun.”
A violent revolution is unconscionable. But what may be in the air is a peaceful populist revolt – a bottom-up, tech-fueled assault on 20th century political institutions. In a memo to his fellow Democrats, former Clinton White House political director Doug Sosnik writes persuasively about “an increasing populist push“ across the political spectrum.
At the core of Americans’ anger and alienation is the belief that the American Dream is no longer attainable. Previous generations held fast to the promise that anyone who worked hard and played by the rules could get ahead, regardless of their circumstances. But increasingly, Americans have concluded that the rules aren’t fair and that the system has been rigged to concentrate power and wealth in the hands of a privileged few at the expense of the many. And now the government is simply not working for anyone.”
Sosnik is wrong in that the government is working for some people and some businesses , just not the bulk of the taxpaying public . It’s working just fine if you draw a publicly funded paycheck as a federal employee or are a lobbyist , politician or corporate bigwig . It also works quite well if you happen to be a member of the media elite as the cronyism and nepotism between those two entities is well-documented .
But he is correct in thinking that the time is nigh for the average citizen to choose sides and decide if he/she will indeed take part in the destruction of the barricades .
” Which side of the barricade are you on? Populists from the right and the left – from the tea party and libertarian-leaning Rand Paul to economic populist Elizabeth Warren – are positioning themselves among the insurgents. Sosnik pointed to six areas of consensus that eventually may unite the divergent populist forces:
- A pull back from the rest of the world with more of an inward focus.
- A desire to go after big banks and other large financial institutions
- Elimination of corporate welfare.
- Reducing special deals for the rich.
- Pushing back on the violation of the public’s privacy by the government and big business.
- Reducing the size of government.
In Washington, Cantor’s defeat is being chalked up to the tea party’s intolerance toward immigration reform. While he paid a price for flirting with a White House compromise, Cantor’s greater sin was inauthenticity – brazenly flip-flopping on the issue. Typical politician.”
Mr Fournier’s contention that Elizabeth “Fauxcahontas” Warren is anything but a confirmed Statist aside , we are willing to concede that the lines of battle are being drawn and that there is much common ground to be found between the Occupy crowd and the Tea Partiers .
The question remains , which American personage will be able to unite these disparate interests and lead the charge over the barricades of corruption to reinstate American republicanism and reestablish a nation of limited government .
” Well, this is unfortunate. After yesterday’s back and forth between the DOJ and the EFF over the ongoing destruction of key evidence in the Jewel v. NSA case, the court ordered an emergency hearing for this afternoon. About an hour before the hearing, the DOJ presented its opposition to the temporary restraining order, arguing, basically, that it would be too damn complicated to stop destroying evidence in the case. Part of this is because the data collected under the Section 702 program apparently isn’t just one big database, but is quickly fed into all sorts of other systems.”
Tech Dirt has the whole story . See also :
” A local New Hampshire police department agreed Thursday to pay a woman who was arrested and charged with wiretapping $57,000 to settle her civil rights lawsuit. The deal comes a week after a federal appeals court ruled that the public has a “First Amendment” right to film cops.
The plaintiff in the case, Carla Gericke, was arrested on wiretapping allegations in 2010 for filming her friend being pulled over by the Weare Police Department during a late-night traffic stop. Although Gericke was never brought to trial, she sued, alleging that her arrest constituted retaliatory prosecution in breach of her constitutional rights. The department, without admitting wrongdoing, settled Thursday in a move that the woman’s attorney speculated would deter future police “retaliation.”
” Unfortunately, sometimes, the only thing that changes entrenched behaviors is if it becomes too costly to continue those behaviors,” attorney Seth Hipple said. “This settlement helps to make it clear that government agencies that choose to retaliate against videographers will pay for their retaliation in dollars and cents. We are confident that this settlement will help to make arrests of videographers a thing of the past.” “
The First US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled (PDF) in Gericke’s case last week that she was “exercising a clearly established First Amendment right when she attempted to film the traffic stop in the absence of a police order to stop filming or leave the area.”
Read more on this big win for citizen’s rights
” Surveillance footage used to solve crimes usually comes from a stationary camera, perhaps mounted in the corner of a gas station, a shopping center, or an ATM. But even security cams have now gone mobile, as evidenced in a new YouTube clip filmed with a GoPro.
Last Saturday, Malcolm Fox was finishing up a bike ride at Sir Lowry’s Pass in the Western Cape province of South Africa. Fox fitted himself with a GoPro helmet for the trek. As the cyclist crossed a set of train tracks, he looked up and saw a man armed with a gun approach him.
Fox immediately stopped, got off the bike, and raised both hands in the air. According to Fox, two accomplices then joined the suspect. The biker was cooperative, not putting up a fight as the robbers took his sunglasses, car keys, cellphone, and bike.
They left Fox with just his helmet, with the GoPro camera still mounted to it and recording.”
Read more about these geniuses at Yahoo News
Surveillance camera photo of the individual suspected of leaving the gun in the toy aisle of a Myrtle Beach, SC Target retail store.
” One unyielding characteristic in the citizen control movement is a “the ends justify the means” mindset. They will say or do nearly anything to get their way, and don’t let small things like morality, decency, or honestly ruin their plans.
From the early days of Handgun Control Inc. (which is now the Brady Campaign) up to today’s Bloomberg-paid duplicitous demanding moms, the citizen control movement has always relied upon hyperbole, hypocrisy, smears, rigged research, and outright lies to advance their cause.
A man in South Carolina was recently captured (only on camera so far) leaving a loaded firearm in the toy section of a Target retail store.
It is illogical to think that a man would enter a brightly lit retail store known for having both interior and exterior security cameras simply to ditch a weapon. There are countless swamps, brackish creeks, and bodies of salt water in the area that would be far easier to access without being observed, all of which would conceal the handgun, and some of which would begin destroying the gun itself and any evidence on it via abrasion, corrosion, and other natural processes.”
Bob Owens at Bearing Arms has more on this possible plant and was kind enough to provide both a picture of the suspect and contact info for the police should one of our readers recognize the idiot in question .
” We hope that someone in will recognize the individual in this photo suspected of leaving the weapon in the store on May 30, 2014 at 5:45 PM. Anyone with relevant information is asked to contact Detective H. Jones of the Myrtle Beach Police Department at 843-918-1911.”
” A routine request in Florida for public records regarding the use of a surveillance tool known as stingray took an extraordinary turn recently when federal authorities seized the documents before police could release them.
The surprise move by the U.S. Marshals Service stunned the American Civil Liberties Union, which earlier this year filed the public records request with the Sarasota, Florida, police department for information detailing its use of the controversial surveillance tool.
The ACLU had an appointment last Tuesday to review documents pertaining to a case investigated by a Sarasota police detective. But marshals swooped in at the last minute to grab the records, claiming they belong to the U.S. Marshals Service and barring the police from releasing them.
ACLU staff attorney Nathan Freed Wessler called the move “truly extraordinary and beyond the worst transparency violations” the group has seen regarding documents detailing police use of the technology.
“ This is consistent with what we’ve seen around the country with federal agencies trying to meddle with public requests for stingray information,” Wessler said, noting that federal authorities have in other cases invoked the Homeland Security Act to prevent the release of such records. “The feds are working very hard to block any release of this information to the public.”
Stingrays, also known as IMSI catchers, simulate a cellphone tower and trick nearby mobile devices into connecting with them, thereby revealing their location. A stingray can see and record a device’s unique ID number and traffic data, as well as information that points to its location. By moving a stingray around, authorities can triangulate a device’s location with greater precision than is possible using data obtained from a carrier’s fixed tower location.”
We’ve posted about the Stingray tracking devices and the company’s harassment of citizen journalists and now we have the Feds stepping in to further prevent the public from learning the truth about this Statist tool .
with that garage owner, Dan Thompson. He explains how he created the scene.
” I whiffled into the garage, grabbed Gary, one of my mechanics, and a pickaxe handle. Came out, laid down in the street, and he stood over me, pretending to give me a leaf massage with the pickaxe handle.”
The 56-year-old has since apologized.
This was after someone finally spotted the image a year later and called the cops, likely fearing it was real, according to The Telegraph. “
” Just because you turned off your phone doesn’t mean the NSA isn’t using it to spy on you.
Edward Snowden’s latest revelation about the NSA’s snooping inspired an extra dose of shock and disbelief when he said the agency’s hackers can use a mobile phone as a bug even after it’s been turned off. The whistleblower made that eye-opening claim when Brian Williams of NBC Nightly News, holding his iPhone aloft during last Wednesday’s interview, asked, “What can the NSA do with this device if they want to get into my life? Can anyone turn it on remotely if it’s off? Can they turn on apps?
“ They can absolutely turn them on with the power turned off to the device,” Snowden replied.
Snowden didn’t offer any details on this seemingly magical feat. But a group of particularly cunning iPhone hackers say it’s possible. They also say you can totally and completely turn off your iPhone so no one—not even the NSA—can use it to spy on you.”
Learn mored at Wired
While being confronted about domestic surveillance and fourth amendment violations a group of high school students get Nancy Pelosi to blame Bush and defend the NSA , thus revealing her to be the tool that she is .
” Six people who are believed to be members of a religious cult have been arrested over the beating to death of a woman at a McDonald’s restaurant in eastern China, police said Saturday.
Four of the six are members of the same family and allegedly attacked the woman because she refused to give them her phone number, Zhaoyuan police said on their microblog.”
” Authorities said the group belong to an organisation that called itself the “All-Powerful Spirit” and has been conducting a drive for new members. They were looking to recruit the unidentified woman, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
All-powerful spirit, or “Quannengshen”, was founded in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang in the early 1990s and later spread to the country’s eastern provinces, the newspaperSouthern Metropolis Daily reports.”
” It’s been less than 48 hours since Google launched its online tool that allows people in the European Union to request to be “forgotten” from search results, and the company has already received 12,000 requests, according to a new report.
The requests are in response to a European Court of Justice ruling earlier this month that found EU citizens have a “right to be forgotten” online and that Google must remove links to search results that can damage a person’s reputation.
Reuters reports the company received 12,000 requests in the first 24 hours the form was online, with requests at times coming in as fast as 20 per minute.”
Mashable has more on people’s desire to be “forgotten”