Tag Archive: Surveillance


Bloggers, Surveillance And Obama’s Orwellian State

 

 

 

 

 

 After resigning as the press secretary for President Obama on June 20, Carney gave insight into the Obama administration’s handling of classified documents, and responded to criticism that this administration has been the most Orwellian in recent history.

“ I know — because I covered them — that this was said of Clinton and Bush, and it will probably be said of the next White House,” said Carney in a recent New York Times Magazine interview. “I think a little perspective is useful…It is a serious, serious matter to leak classified information. Some of the debate around this kind of forgets how serious that is.”

 

 

Even in retiring Carney can’t help but pull out the old “Bush did it” card …

 

 

” But, it could also be the changing nature of the relationship between the media and the White House. At a recent event at the New America Foundation, journalists and historians challenged Carney, arguing that this White House has been more secret than previous occupants.

“Increasingly, the Obama White House has become so brittle, and so controlling of the message, that people are afraid to respond to me,” said Kimberly Dozier, a former Associated Press reporter. She was one of the journalists whose phone records were obtained by the Department of Justice last spring during its investigation into a leak of classified information about a failed Al-Qaeda plot. The scope of that investigation, some critics said, was unprecedented overreach.

  According to ProPublica, the Obama administration has filed eight cases under the Espionage Act, which criminalizes disclosing information harmful to national security. Before the Obama administration, only three known cases had ever been charged under the act.”

 

    In the end Time reverts to it’s roots and blames bloggers in justifying the administration crack-down on journalistic freedom , comparing bloggers to “pamphleteers” and calling for them to uphold “the same standards as 20th century journalists” … LOL , not exactly setting a very high bar now are they ?  … Read the rest at Time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Report: Ordinary Americans Caught Up In Data Sweep

 

 

 

 

 

” When the U.S. National Security Agency intercepted the online accounts of legally targeted foreigners over a four-year period it also collected the conversations of nine times as many ordinary Internet users, both Americans and non-Americans, according to a probe by The Washington Post.

  Nearly half of those surveillance files contained names, email addresses or other details that the NSA marked as belonging to U.S. citizens or residents, the Post reported in a story posted on its website Saturday night. While the federal agency tried to protect their privacy by masking more than 65,000 such references to individuals, the newspaper said it found nearly 900 additional email addresses that could be strongly linked to U.S. citizens or residents.”

The Snowden revelations continue to reveal the extent of State spying during the Age Of Obama …

” The material reviewed by the Post included roughly 160,000 intercepted e-mail and instant-message conversations, some of them hundreds of pages long, and 7,900 documents taken from more than 11,000 online accounts. It spanned President Barack Obama’s first term, 2009 to 2012, and was provided to the Post by former NSA analyst Edward Snowden.

  The daily lives of more than 10,000 account holders who were not targeted were catalogued and recorded, the Post reported. The newspaper described that material as telling “stories of love and heartbreak, illicit sexual liaisons, mental-health crises, political and religious conversions, financial anxieties and disappointed hopes.” The material collected included more than 5,000 private photos, the paper said.”

AP News

New Sensors Will Scoop Up ‘Big Data’ On Chicago

 

 

 

 

 

 

” 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 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NSA Spy Program One Step Closer To Extinction

 

 

 

 

 

 

” The House of Representatives is moving ahead to curtail how the National Security Agency collects and retains telephone data on Americans, the National Journal reported.

  The House Judiciary Committee voted 32-0 Wednesday to amend the USA Freedom Act, the National Journal said. The House Intelligence Committee will vote on its version of the legislation on Thursday. The intelligence committee version doesn’t include a blanket prohibition on bulk collection.

  House members will need to reconcile conflicts between the two versions. The final bill is expected to be in line with President Barack Obama’s announced NSA reforms. A vote by the full House could take place by the end of May, The Wall Street Journal reported.

  Amending the USA Freedom Act is aimed at minimizing how much private information the government retains and to proscribe how such data can be obtained, the Journal reported.”

 

 

 

    While we applaud any efforts at reining in government spying , we remain exceedingly skeptical that much will be accomplished in reestablishing our citizenry’s privacy as long as we have the Patriot Act and the FISA courts which really amount to a “Star Chamber” . Read more at Newsmax

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facebook Knows Everything About You, And If You Don’t Believe Us Here’s Proof

 

 

o-DIGITAL-SHADOW-570

 

 

” A marketing stunt for the upcoming Ubisoft game “Watch Dogs” is inadvertently allowing users to check how well they’ve set up their Facebook privacy settings.

  The campaign called “Digital Shadow“, which currently is available only in the US, requests permission to access a user’s account and then pulls information to build a comprehensive dossier of the user as if he or she were an assassin’s target. And we do mean comprehensive.

  Digital Shadow first shows users the photos they’ve tagged as public, then it moves on to examine their friends. It shows users which of their Facebook friends they interact with most, which interact with them the most, which they don’t interact with at all, and (gulp) which friends they’ve been stalking that haven’t been stalking them back. (Those who’ve been keeping tabs on their exes should avoid this section at all costs.) “

 

    We’ve tried and tried without success to access the “Digital Shadow” website in order to report first-hand on how it works but the site is either down for service or , more likely , swamped with traffic from the above referenced article .

 

 

Huff Post has the story

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even Liberals Booed Pelosi Off Stage As She Defended Obama

 

pelosinancy-300x199

 

 

” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was booed off stage last week—by liberals.

  Pelosi defended President Obama’s position on the NSA’s surveillance programs, and suggested that leaker Edward Snowden broke the law by whistleblowing. The congresswoman’s defense of spying was not well received.

“ People on the far right are saying ‘Oh, this is the fourth term of President Bush,’” Pelosi said. “Absolutely, positively not so.”

  Pelosi then advocated for a greater cooperation between security and privacy agencies.

  But the audience did not care for her rhetoric. Several audience members were removed from the room after objecting to Pelosi’s speech.”

 

GOP Daily Dose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shock Poll: Americans Trust IRS, NSA More Than Facebook

 

 

IRS Trust

Click pic for video

 

” A new Reason-Rupe poll to be launched Thursday morning indicates that 35% of Americans trust the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) with their personal data, while only 10% trust Google and only 5% trust Facebook. In fact, while trust in the IRS is low, the tax collection agency remains the most trusted in America, even after a scandal in which the IRS targeted conservative nonprofit groups and leaked confidential tax information.”

 

   You have to admit that if the IRS and NSA are more trusted than you , you’ve done something wrong . Breitbart has the story

 

 

 

 

 

 

Police The Police

 

The NSA Is Recording And Storing Every Single Phone Call In A Foreign Country

 

 

 

” The National Security Agency (NSA) has built and is apparently currently operating a program that allows them to capture and review every single phone call made inside a foreign country, according to a new report from The Washington Post based on documents supplied by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. 

Basically, the NSA is DVRing an entire country’s worth of phone conversations. From the Post story:

  The voice interception program, called MYSTIC, began in 2009. Its RETRO tool, short for “retrospective retrieval,” and related projects reached full capacity against the first target nation in 2011. Planning documents two years later anticipated similar operations elsewhere.”

 

 

 

 

” In the initial deployment, collection systems are recording “every single” conversation nationwide, storing billions of them in a 30-day rolling buffer that clears the oldest calls as new ones arrive, according to a classified summary.

  Right now, the program is operational in at least one country. Yet although it was built with collection from only one foreign nation in mind, the agency has contemplated using it on other nations as well. It’s possible, in fact, that the program has expanded beyond its initial target already: “

 

Reason has more details

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dianne Feinstein Wants Drones Regulated

 

 

Feinstein Spied On By Drone

 

 

” For Sen. Dianne Feinstein, regulation of unmanned aerial vehicles has gotten personal.

  In an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” that aired on Sunday night, the California Democrat said a drone spied into the window of her home during a protest outside her house, and that privacy concerns for the technology were “major.”

“ I’m in my home and there’s a demonstration out front, and I go to peek out the window and there’s a drone facing me,” she recalled.

  Demonstrators from Code Pink who were protesting government surveillance at the time, said the device was merely a toy helicopter, but Feinstein used the instance to sound off about the importance of controlling the technology through government regulation.” 

 

    We can be sure that the authoritarian proclivities of Madam Feinstein preclude any hindrance of State operated drones and confine themselves to the use of the technology by private citizens only . Continue reading

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supreme Court Takes A Pass On Challenging Legality Of Government Surveillance Programs

 

 

 

 

” The Supreme Court has just given the government (and the NSA’s defenders) a little more breathing room on the issue of the legality of the agency’s surveillance programs.

  In a case very similar to a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against warrantless surveillance made “legal” by the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) of 2008, which the Supreme Court declined to grant “standing” in February 2013, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) announced the Court had rejected their lawsuit against Bush-era warrantless surveillance. 

“ The Supreme Court’s refusal to review this case guarantees that the federal courts will never address a fundamental question: Was the warrantless surveillance program the NSA carried out on President Bush’s orders legal? The Court’s decision also guarantees that the Obama administration, which has for the last five years refused to take any position on that question, will now never have to answer either,” CCR declared.

  This refusal will give those who claim the programs are “legal” another notch on the rhetoric belt, as if not discussing the legality (or illegality) of the program was the equivalent to being found legal by the highest court in the land. If the courts are unwilling to entertain surveillance-related cases, either by refusal to grant standing or refusal to hear the case at all, the defenders can continue to claim the programs are legal. “

 

 

    Read the whole thing at TechDirt . It’s been a very sorry week for individual rights and the Constitution thanks to the “nine old swine” . Madison and Jay would be appalled . 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edward Snowden, Winnie Mandela, Ross Kemp: All The Greats Have Been Rector Of Glasgow University

 

 

 

 

” What were Glasgow’s students thinking when earlier this week they elected Edward Snowden as Rector of that ancient and great institution?In Scottish universities the office of Rector is an important role. Not only is it his or her job to represent the interests of undergraduates. A good Rector can also play a key role in the development of the university.

  Snowden cannot possibly do the job, because he is in hiding or on the run. Perhaps, from a top secret location, he could be “Skyped” in virtually to chair the university court, one of the functions of he is supposed to fulfill at the University of Glasgow. The moment I suggested that there I regretted it. That’s what they’re going to do, isn’t it? The designer protest Rector of the tech generation, who is at war with the US government over internet spying, can be beamed in remotely, thus “sticking it to the man”.

  In truth, much of the outraged reaction from traditionalists over Snowden’s election is hugely overdone. The whistleblower Snowden is merely the latest in a long and quixotic line of choices. All the greats have been Glasgow Rector. Winnie Mandela did the gig, although it was never clear whether she actually knew she had been elected. Questions were asked about the validity of her nomination papers and the authenticity of her signature. Her supporters in the Labour Club always insisted she had signed up.”

 

The Telegraph has more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

German Television Does First Edward Snowden Interview

 

German TV Interviews Edward Snowden

 

 

 

 

” German Television Channel NDR does an exclusive interview with Edward Snowden.
Uploaded on LiveLeak because German Television thinks the rest of the world isn’t interested in Edward Snowden.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Radio Yacht

 YACHT Parties at the NSA with Marc Maron

 

 

 

 

 


” The National Security Agency is snatching the emails and telephone calls of millions of ordinary Americans from the fiber-optic backbones that carry our most private thoughts across the world. They are doing this with the assistance of our nation’s largest phone and Internet companies. Even if you trust these corporations and the NSA–the largest and most obscure of U.S. intelligence organizations–with your private information, the precedent set by this far-reaching and unaccountable domestic spying program is unacceptable. We live much of our lives online; we should be outraged by the extent of the NSA’s domestic spying programs. Instead, we are sinking into a dangerous indifference. Insidious forces are at work. Help us reverse the entropy. 

  The Electronic Frontier Foundation is a donation-supported nonprofit that fights back against the government to protect our digital rights; 100% of your donation to download “Party at the NSA” will go straight to fund their important work.”

 

“Party at the NSA” Lyrics:

Did you read my mail again?
How do you find the time?
I lost my signal yesterday,
But it was never mine.

We don’t need no privacy.
What do you want that for?
Don’t you think it’ll spoil our fun
If you let that whistle blow?

P-P-P-Party at the NSA,
Twenty, twenty, twenty-four hours a day!

There is a rainbow at the end of every P-R-I-S-M.

Be careful where you look today,
Careful what you share.
We’re gonna make history.
But it won’t know we’re there.

The world looks stranger when you look
Through electronic eyes.
There’s a place in the Beehive State
Where the network goes to die.

P-P-P-Party at the NSA,
Twenty, twenty, twenty-four hours a day! “
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Electronic Frontier Foundation Offers A Tribute To Aaron Swartz On The Anniversary Of His Tragic Death

 

Aaron Swartz

 

” One year ago, we lost Aaron Swartz, a dear friend and a leader in the fight for a free and open Internet. The shock was, and remains, a profound one. It’s a testament to the power of his commitments and ideals that both in life and in death he has inspired millions around the world, including all of us at EFF, to redouble our own efforts to advance the causes that he believed in, and to untangle the twisted and brutal computer crime laws that were used to persecute him.”

 

 

 

 

” Aaron was a passionate activist, but he also stood out as a technologist whose ambitions were always aligned towards a better, more just future. His pioneering work demonstrated a passion for harnessing technology to advance the public interest. As the Internet community confronted massive new challenges to free speech and privacy in 2013, there were many moments when we wondered quietly about what Aaron would have said and done.”

 

 

More about Aaron and efforts to fight State control can be found here and at the links below .

 

Take Action

TheDayWeFightBack.org

Reddit

AARON SWARTZ GETS “STREET ART” TRIBUTE AT HIS FINAL WORKPLACE

Remember Aaron Swartz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NSA Seeks To Build Quantum Computer That Could Crack Most Types Of Encryption

 

 

” In room-size metal boxes ­secure against electromagnetic leaks, the National Security Agency is racing to build a computer that could break nearly every kind of encryption used to protect banking, medical, business and government records around the world.

  According to documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the effort to build “a cryptologically useful quantum computer” — a machine exponentially faster than classical computers — is part of a $79.7 million research program titled “Penetrating Hard Targets.” Much of the work is hosted under classified contracts at a laboratory in College Park, Md.”

 

 

Washington Post has the story

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feds May Require Cars To Talk To Each Other To Avoid Crashes

 

 

 

” Federal officials will decided in the “coming weeks” whether to require new cars to include smart technology that would alert drivers of a coming crash, even in vehicles that are two or three cars away.

  The vehicle-to-vehicle — or V2V — technology has undergone testing in recent years and has already been installed in some cars that are on the road.

  Putting smart cars on the road comes with complications beyond cost, which is expected to be “modest relative to the price of a new vehicle,” according to the GAO.

” Privacy is the real challenge,” Wise said. He said the V2V will likely rely on GPS-type data that could track a person’s movements.

” Who has access and how do you secure the data?” Wise asked rhetorically. He also raised the specter of someone hacking the system and causing havoc on the road. “

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obama’s NSA Watchdog: Tracking Cars Is Reasonable

 

 

 

” If one member of President Obama’s NSA review group charged with recommending surveillance policy gets his way, tracking cars could become a routine procedure in law enforcement.

  University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey Stone took issue with a Supreme Court ruling in the case of the Jones GPS Tracking case. Stone took his case to the Stanford University Law Review in an article entitled, “A Reasonableness Approach to Searches After the Jones GPS Tracking Case.”

 

     Here is a helpful hint on how to locate a tracking device on your own car :  

                                                                               How to Find a GPS System Under a Car | eHow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Judge Napolitano On NSA Ruling: ‘NSA Couldn’t Even Prove Its Phone Surveillance Stopped An Attack’

 

 

Published on Dec 17, 2013

” A federal judge ruled that the NSA’s mass collection of Americans’ phone records is likely unconstitutional. Appeals Court Judge Richard Leon called the NSA surveillance “almost Orwellian,” saying that Founding Father James Madison would be “aghast” at the NSA’s “indiscriminate” invasion of Americans’ privacy.

  The surveillance will continue for now, since the ruling was immediately stayed pending further appeals.

  Judge Andrew Napolitano, a vocal critic of the NSA, weighed in this morning on Fox and Friends, telling Elisabeth Hasselbeck that judges on the FISA court have overstepped in granting permission to the NSA to collect these vast amounts of data.

  The NSA also could not or chose not to demonstrate that these collections helped keep the country safe, he explained.

” Not only is this unconstitutional because it violates the Fourth Amendment. Not only is this wrong because it permits the government to listen to all phone calls and keep copies of them forever, but there isn’t even any evidence that it works,” said Napolitano.

  He called it “startling” that the NSA wasn’t able to show Leon instances where phone surveillance stopped a suspected terror plot.

” It’s mystifying as to why they wouldn’t have told them about one,” said Napolitano, adding that up to this point the government’s main argument is that the NSA surveillance helps keep Americans safe.

  The NSA will not have to change its tactics unless a higher court upholds Leon’s ruling. Napolitano believes the case will eventually be decided by the Supreme Court.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lawmakers Who Oversee Government Surveillance Programs Receive Millions From Intelligence Companies

 

 

Chart via Maplight.org.

 

 

” Amid the NSA scandal, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence — the committees in charge of oversight — denied stricter reform attempts to the NSA programs and instead propelled legislation aimed at restoring their trust. The committees are intended to keep waste, fraud, and abuse in check given most of these programs are hidden from the general public.

  Every single member on the committees received campaign contributions from the largest intelligence companies in the U.S. performing services for the the government.

  A report from Maplight, a nonpartisan research organization that reveals money in politics, highlights the donations from political action committees (PACs) and individuals from the intelligence services companies to these members. The report shows donations amount to over $3.7 million from 2005-2013.”

 

 

As usual money talks while the people suffer the resulting corruption.

 

 

” Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D- Md.), the highest ranking Democrat on the House committee, received the most amount of money. He was given $363,600 with $124,350 of this coming from a single company — Northrop Grumman. As the Center for Public Integrity notes, Rep. Ruppersberger’s Maryland district includes the NSA. He is also a member of the “Gang of Eight” and receives extremely detailed intelligence reports that many other members do not receive.

  The second highest amount was given to Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D- Md.) who received $210,150. Sen. Mikulski also happens to be chairwomen of the Senate Appropriations Committee — a committee which allocates federal funds to a majority of government programs, including intelligence.”

 

 

Read the rest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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World Of Spycraft: NSA And CIA Spied In Online Games

 

 

 

 

” Not limiting their activities to the earthly realm, American and British spies have infiltrated the fantasy worlds of World of Warcraft and Second Life, conducting surveillance and scooping up data in the online games played by millions of people across the globe, according to newly disclosed classified documents.

  Fearing that terrorist or criminal networks could use the games to communicate secretly, move money or plot attacks, the documents show, intelligence operatives have entered terrain populated by digital avatars that include elves, gnomes and supermodels.

  The spies have created make-believe characters to snoop and to try to recruit informers, while also collecting data and contents of communications between players, according to the documents, disclosed by the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden. Because militants often rely on features common to video games — fake identities, voice and text chats, a way to conduct financial transactions — American and British intelligence agencies worried that they might be operating there, according to the papers.

  GATHERING INTELLIGENCE: U.S. and British intelligence agencies — including the Central Intelligence Agency, Defense intelligence agency and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters — have operated in virtual worlds and gaming communities to snoop and try to recruit informants. For example, according to Snowden documents, the U.S. has conducted spy operations in Second Life (pictured), where players create human avatars to socialize, buy and sell goods and explore exotic virtual destinations. (Second Life image via Linden Lab)

  Online games might seem innocuous, a top-secret 2008 NSA document warned, but they had the potential to be a “target-rich communication network” allowing intelligence suspects “a way to hide in plain sight.” Virtual games “are an opportunity!,” another 2008 NSA document declared.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

32 Privacy Destroying Technologies That Are Systematically Transforming America Into A Giant Prison

” If you live in the United States, you live in a high tech surveillance grid that is becoming more oppressive with each passing day.  In America today, the control freaks that run things are completely obsessed with watching, tracking, monitoring and recording virtually everything that we do.  If we continue on the path that we are currently on, we will be heading into a future where there will be absolutely no privacy of any kind.  In fact, many would argue that we are essentially there already.  Many people speak of this as being the “Information Age“, but most Americans don’t really stop and think about what that really means.  Most of the information that is considered to be so “valuable” is actually about all of us.  Businesses want to know as much about all of us as possible so that they can sell us stuff.  Government officials want to know as much about all of us as possible so that they can make sure that we are not doing anything that they don’t like.  There is a constant hunger for even more information, and so the surveillance technologies just continue to become even more advanced and the Big Brother control grid being constructed all around us just continues to become even more pervasive.  Even though you may not be consciously aware of it, the truth is that it is surrounding you right now even as you read this.  We live in a society where liberty and freedom are literally being strangled to death, but most Americans don’t seem to care.

  Do you know who else gets watched, tracked and monitored 24 hours a day?

  Prisoners do.

  Surveillance is a form of control, and at this point we are little more than inmates inside a gigantic Big Brother surveillance grid.

  Posted below is a list of 32 privacy destroying technologies that are systematically transforming America into a giant prison.  Following each item, there is a short excerpt from a news report about that particular technology.  If you want to read the entire article where the excerpt came from, just click the link to find the source.  Individually, each of these technologies is deeply troubling.  But when you step back and take a look at them all collectively, it is absolutely horrifying…

#1 Spying On Us Through Our Televisions: Put simply, our TVs have started spying on us.

  Last week, there was a high-profile case in point. An IT consultant called Jason Huntley, who lives in a village near Hull, uncovered evidence that a flat-screen television, which had been sitting in his living room since the summer, was secretly invading his family’s privacy.

  He began investigating the £400 LG device after noticing that its home screen appeared to be showing him ‘targeted’ adverts — for cars, and Knorr stock cubes — based on programmes he’d just been watching.

  Huntley decided to monitor information that the so-called smart TV — which connects to the internet — was sending and receiving. He did this by using his laptop effectively as a bridge between his television and the internet receiver, so the laptop was able to show all the data being sucked out of his set.

  He soon discovered that details of not just every show he watched but every button he pressed on his remote control were being sent back to LG’s corporate headquarters in South Korea.”

   This is a very informative article that lists , with links , many many ways in which the technology revolution is being used by the State to turn America into a virtual gulag where nothing said or done passes un-noticed by our “betters” . If you are looking for a catalogue of present day surveillance technologies start here .

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