Mike German is the National Security Policy Counsel
for the American Civil Liberties Union.
He was an FBI agent specializing in domestic counterterrorism for many years.
In a December 24, 2010 Democracy Now! / Amy Goodman radio interview, he states:
“…after 9/11, those standards have been diluted significantly to where
now the FBI literally requires no factual predicate to start an investigation.” ….
“…, your innocence doesn’t protect you anymore,
that they can literally start collecting information on anyone.”
[Read further important excerpts from that interview at this link.]
The FBI Deputizes Business
By Matthew Rothschild - (February 7, 2008)
Today, more than 23,000 representatives of private industry
are working quietly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.
The members of this rapidly growing group,
receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does --
and, at least on one occasion, before elected officials.
In return, they provide information to the government, which alarms the ACLU.
But there may be more to it than that.
One business executive, who showed me his InfraGard card,
told me they have permission to "shoot to kill" in the event of martial law.
Smoking Gun - Roadway Surveillance Cameras’ “Stand-Alone” Agenda:
There was an article on the front page of the Sunday, Aug. 29, 2010, St. Louis Post-Dispatch entitled, “Green lights are a work in progress” -- with the subtitle, “Region’s 3-year plan includes millions to coordinate more traffic signals.” Near the end of the article (on the continuation on page 16A), there was a brief mention that:
“…. Few additional signals will be added to the network. Instead, future upgrades will include adding surveillance cameras…” [Bold emphasis added.]
From what can be readily observed, the surveillance cameras "upgrades" program is disturbingly well under way throughout the St. Louis Metro area. The tall pole, 360-degree, inverted black-dome surveillance cameras have now been installed at many intersections, and all along numerous state and county roads in St. Louis County and adjacent counties.
A brand new, 4-way intersection -- constructed where there was no previous roadway intersection -- was recently opened (in early 2011) just east of I-270 on Dorsett Road and Old Dorsett Road in Maryland Heights (St. Louis County), Missouri. A 360-degree, inverted black-dome surveillance camera was installed at that brand new intersection, along with four brand-new “regular” traffic-light cameras, too! (So much for the “surveillance cameras” merely being an “upgrade” to the system…they obviously have another “stand-alone” agenda!)
[Note: There are additional installations of tall-pole, 360-degree, inverted black-dome surveillance cameras now at many of the roadway intersections throughout Maryland Heights; as well as all along I-270 and other roadway connectors throughout the Metro area. --BikeBob]
As these 360-degree, inverted-black-dome surveillance cameras are now becoming ubiquitous, there are some serious violations of privacy concerns to be considered. Through the use of augmented infrared vision, these surveillance cameras also can “see in the dark.” These surveillance cameras are also capable of seeing extreme detail (example: being able to tell whether or not you have shaved) from a distance of a mile or two away! So, if you live within direct-line-of-sight of one of these surveillance cameras, it would be wise to keep your window blinds closed!
But, no need to be that concerned…“they” can’t watch everything/everybody all the time…can they? Actually, YES “they” can, AND do! These surveillance cameras utilize 24/7 digital streaming video -- which is real-time archived to computer servers. Real-time analysis of the digital video stream is being constantly done automatically via software…”red-flag” tagging any “suspicious activity.” Additionally, it must be kept in mind that ALL the 24/7 digital-stream images/video is permanently archived on computer hard drives. Anything/everything the cameras “see” is part of the “permanent record.”
Finally, here’s a pertinent excerpt on the subject. The excerpt is taken from the Sunday, April 13, 2008, Washington Post article, “The Government Is Trying to Wrap Its Mind Around Yours,” which was written by Nita Farahany, who is an assistant professor of law and philosophy at Vanderbilt University, and is the editor of "Genes and Justice: The Impact of Behavioral Genetics and Neuroscience on Criminal Law." [Emphasis added]:
Consider Cernium Corp.'s "Perceptrak" video surveillance and monitoring system, recently installed by Johns Hopkins University, among others. This technology grew out of a project funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency -- the central research and development organization for the Department of Defense -- to develop intelligent video analytics systems. Unlike simple video cameras monitored by security guards, Perceptrak integrates video cameras with an intelligent computer video. It uses algorithms to analyze streaming video and detect suspicious activities, such as people loitering in a secure area, a group converging or someone leaving a package unattended. Since installing Perceptrak, Johns Hopkins has reported a 25 percent reduction in crime.
Stratfor Emails Reveal Secret, Widespread TrapWire Surveillance System - (August 11, 2012 - by Autonomous Nonprofit Organization - RT) - Former senior intelligence officials have created a detailed surveillance system more accurate than modern facial recognition technology — and have installed it across the US under the radar of most Americans, according to emails hacked by Anonymous.
Every few seconds, data picked up at surveillance points in major cities and landmarks across the United States are recorded digitally on the spot, then encrypted and instantaneously delivered to a fortified central database center at an undisclosed location to be aggregated with other intelligence. It’s part of a program called TrapWire and it's the brainchild of the Abraxas, a Northern Virginia company staffed with elite from America’s intelligence community. The employee roster at Arbaxas reads like a who’s who of agents once with the Pentagon, CIA and other government entities according to their public LinkedIn profiles, and the corporation's ties are assumed to go deeper than even documented.
The details on Abraxas and, to an even greater extent TrapWire, are scarce, however, and not without reason. For a program touted as a tool to thwart terrorism and monitor activity meant to be under wraps, its understandable that Abraxas would want the program’s public presence to be relatively limited. But thanks to last year’s hack of the Strategic Forecasting intelligence agency, or Stratfor, all of that is quickly changing. - http://tinyurl.com/cdtpqxw
Digital Spies Are Watching You:
Under Project Echelon, U.S. security agencies scan Web communications and wireless conversations.
[According to Wikipedia]: ECHELON is a name used in global media and in popular culture
to describe a signals intelligence (SIGINT) collection and analysis network
operated on behalf of the five signatory states to the UK–USA Security Agreement
(Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, known as AUSCANNZUKUS).
It has also been described as the only software system which controls
the download and dissemination of the intercept of commercial satellite trunk communications.
Big Brotheresque App Kills Your Automotive Anonymity - http://mcaf.ee/b2d5a
- (December 16, 2010) - ‘A new app that lets frustrated
drivers vent their anger at boneheaded motorists already has branded your
bumper with a “How's My Driving” sticker, and it could raise your insurance
premium. It's like having thousands of unmarked police cars and speed cameras
on every roadway, and it could spell the end of anonymity behind the wheel.
DriveMeCrazy, developed by Shazam co-founder Philip Inghelbrecht, is a voice-activated app that encourages drivers to report bad behavior by reciting the offender's license plate into a smartphone. The poor sap gets “flagged” and receives a virtual “ticket,” which may not sound like much until you realize all the information — along with date, time and location of the “offense” — is sent to the DMV and insurance companies.
Anyone can write a ticket, even pedestrians and cyclists. No one is safe from being tattled on. Even if you don't use the program, which went live Wednesday, you can't opt out of being flagged if someone thinks you're driving like a schmuck.’
10 Ways We Are Being Tracked, Traced, and Databased - http://theintelhub.com/2010/07/10/8704/
The Government Is Trying to
Wrap Its Mind Around Yours
By Nita Farahany - Sunday, April 13, 2008; B03 - [Washington Post]:
“…a question I think we should be asking as the federal government invests millions of dollars in emerging technology aimed at detecting and decoding brain activity.
And though government funding focuses on military uses for these new gizmos,
they can and do end up in the hands of civilian law enforcement and in commercial applications.
As spending continues and neurotechnology advances,
that imagined world is no longer the stuff of science fiction or futuristic movies,
and we postpone at our peril confronting the ethical and legal dilemmas it poses for a society that values not just personal safety but civil liberty as well.”
Nita Farahany, an assistant professor of law and philosophy at Vanderbilt University,
is the editor of the forthcoming "Genes and Justice:
The Impact of Behavioral Genetics and Neuroscience on Criminal Law."
“60 MINUTES” - [Transcript of Feb. 27, 2000 TV show] - “ECHELON; WORLDWIDE CONVERSATIONS BEING RECEIVED BY THE ECHELON SYSTEM MAY FALL INTO THE WRONG HANDS AND INNOCENT PEOPLE MAY BE TAGGED AS SPIES” - http://cryptome.org/echelon-60min.htm
’40,000 violations of the law’ in FBI snooping: report
Companies 'all too willing' to comply with FBI requests for personal information, EFF says
As the US prepares once again to extend the Patriot Act,
a new report from a privacy watchdog indicates that
the FBI's use of the law and other surveillance powers may have led to
as many as 40,000 violations of the law by the bureau in the years since 9/11.
According to documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation,
from 2001 to 2008 the FBI reported nearly 800 violations
of surveillance law and the Constitution to the Intelligence Oversight Board,
a civilian monitoring group that reports to the president.
The EFF also determined that the FBI investigated some 7,000
potential violations of the law that occurred during surveillance operations.
The group estimated that, based on the rate of reporting of violations,
the FBI may have violated the law as many as 40,000 times during investigations since 9/11
Is the Pentagon Spying on Americans? - Secret Database Obtained by NBC News Tracks ‘Suspicious’ Domestic Groups - http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10454316/
Report: NSA's Warrantless Spying Resurrects
Banned 'Total Information Awareness' Project
(By Ryan Singel - March 10, 2008 - Wired)
Information Awareness --
the all-seeing terrorist spotting algorithm-meets-the-mother-of-all-databases
that was ostensibly de-funded by Congress in 2003,
never actually died, and was largely rebuilt in secret by the
according to the Wall Street Journal's Siobhan Gorman.
FBI's Sought Approval for Custom Spyware in FISA Court - (By Kevin Poulsen - February 06, 2008 - Wired) - Officials processing a Freedom of Information Act request from Wired.com have turned up some 5,000 pages of FBI documents about the CIPAV, according to an FBI FOIA official. They date back to at least 2005. ….
As first reported by Wired.com, the software, called a "computer and internet protocol address verifier," is designed to infiltrate a suspect's computer and collect various information, including the IP address, Ethernet MAC addresses, a list of open TCP and UDP ports, running programs, operating system type and serial number, default browser, the registered user of the operating system and the last visited URL, among other things.
That information is sent covertly to an FBI computer in Quantico, Virginia. The CIPAV then monitors and reports on all the target's internet use, logging every IP address to which the machine connects. - http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/02/secretive-surve.html
Darpa Wants a Thinking Camera
(By Spencer Ackerman - January 5, 2011 - Wired)
Darpa announced yesterday that it’s moving forward in earnest with a program to endow cameras with “visual intelligence.”
That’s the ability to process information from visual cues, contextualize its significance,
and learn what other visual data is necessary to answer some pre-existing question.
Visual-intelligence algorithms are already out there.
They can read license plates in traffic or recognized faces (in limited, brighly-lit circumstances).
But the programs are still relatively dumb; they simply help collate data that analysts have to go through.
Darpa’s program, called Mind’s Eye,
seeks to get humans out of the picture.
If it works, it could change the world of surveillance overnight.
… Mind’s Eye would have dramatic privacy implications.
Right now, the firehose of data that surveillance cameras give to government analysts
acts as de facto privacy protection for individuals caught up in a sprawling surveillance net.
But what happens when that firehose becomes a targeted stream?
What happens when cameras decide for themselves who to spy on?
Spying on Internet Users - Beware the government's avatars, especially fear your own
(Feb. 23, 2011) - By Wayne Madsen
‘The Department of Homeland Security is conducting massive spying on Internet users through a program called "Avatar Identity." The existence of the program was disclosed to WMR by a source who stated that the development of avatars for every user of the Internet had its beginnings with the U.S. Air Force and the Advance Research Projects Agency (ARPANET) at the outset of the fielding of World Wide Web (WWW) technology in the early 1990s.
At the core of Homeland Security's Avatar Identity Program is the reliance on genetic algorithms developed for the analysis of the stock market to come up with prime investment strategies. The program was developed through the aegis of the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA), which inherited many of the invasive Internet surveillance programs from its Pentagon cousin, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency(DARPA), after its programs, including the proposed Total Information Awareness program, were defunded by Congress
The Avatar Identity Program appears to coincide with another Air Force project to solicit "persona management software" to create virtual users on the Internet in order to conduct perception management campaigns to inundate chat rooms, letter to the editor, and on-line polls to sway public opinion on key issues.’
‘…. The program matches recommendations from White House Office of Information Regulatory Affairs chief Dr. Cass Sunstein, who has referred to such operations as "cognitive infiltration."
However, Homeland Security's Avatar Identity program involves the creation of an avatar for every Internet user that pulls information from the actual user's Google searches, Twitter messages, Facebook postings, on-line commerce activities, and other web interactions and feeds the transactions to the avatar program. Intelligence analysts then query the avatar for details of the user's activities.’ - http://www.opinion-maker.org/2011/02/spying-on-internet-users/
Journalist Returning from Abroad Has Notes, Computer and Cameras Searched and Copied by US Authorities at Airport - http://mcaf.ee/04f35
NSA’s Treasure Trove - “The Quiet Zone” was originally broadcast on the (up until then) popular weekly “Wired Science” PBS television show on Dec. 26, 2007. Without any explanation or notice, that was the very last time “Wired Science” appeared on PBS.
The video segment is 10 minutes long. While the entire video is well worth watching -- with the first half essentially covering radio astronomy, the most important part is the last half (beginning at about 6-1/2 minutes in) which exposes -- for the very first time for public view -- the NSA (National Security Agency) “Naval Security Group Activity” (land-locked) Sugar Grove, West Virginia, domestic “listening post” which covers the entire spectrum of electromagnetic communications.
During this last-half of the video, James Bamford -- author of three books on the NSA -- details some of the capabilities of the NSA’s Sugar Grove site. While he particularly highlights the facility’s “domestic surveillance” capabilities (which, by the way, such use by the NSA is proscribed by law…in other words: illegal), he does not mention that it is a major part of NSA’s “ECHELON” program.
You can watch this must-see video via this URL: http://www.pbs.org/kcet/wiredscience/video/308-the_quiet_zone.html
Surveillance robots know when to hide - (March 21, 2011 - New Scientist) - The creation of robots that can hide from humans while spying on them brings autonomous spy machines one step closer - http://tinyurl.com/h636ycq
Wholesale surveillance unwarranted - (Sunday, August 30, 2009 - By Karl Skala - The Columbia [Missouri] Daily Tribune) - http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/2009/aug/30/wholesale-surveillance-unwarranted/
You Are Being Watched - Spotlights the high costs of camera surveillance systems, both in terms of money and civil liberties. Do we want a society where we live under an ever-watchful video eye? - http://www.youarebeingwatched.us/
Gerald Celente's Top Trends for 2011
(6-1/2 min. YouTube audio/video)
'America lives in a fascist state' - Gerald Celente
(11-1/4 min. YouTube audio/video)
‘Predator’ Smart Camera Locks Onto, Tracks Anything … Mercilessly - (4-1/4 min. - YouTube audio/video) - (April 4, 2011 - by Charlie Sorrell- Wired) - Zdenek Kalal’s Predator object-tracking software is almost uncanny. Show anything to its all-seeing camera eye, and it will quickly learn to recognize it and then track it, whether it fades into the distance, hides amongst other similar objects or — in the case of faces turns sideways.
It really lives up to its name, reminding us of the Predator’s HUD-enhanced vision in the movie of the same name.
Kalal is a Ph.D. student at the University of Surrey in England, researching projects that make computers see. His Predator algorithm is both fast and powerful.
After telling it what to look for (by dragging a box over the onscreen image) the Predator gets to work. Within seconds it can recognize patterns, objects and faces and track them as they shrink, grow and rotate. When Kalal hides from the camera and holds up a sheet of paper with his photo among a patchwork of thumbnails, Predator picks his face out immediately.
Four minutes might seem like a long time in today’s attention-starved world, but you should watch Kalal’s demo video. It’s worth it just to see him scooting hyperactively around on his office chair.
Keep watching past the credits and you’ll see plenty of other uses, such as tracking individual animals for research, and chasing cars and people across multiple security cameras. It’s not hard to imagine more. -
How I Almost Got Put on the Domestic Terrorist List for Handing Out Leaflets - (March 28, 2011 - Alternet) - Will Potter explains how confronting animal abuse made the government target him as a terrorist -- and taught him to never hide from those who try to silence him.
The following is an excerpt from The Next Eco Warriors: 22 Young Women and Men Who Are Saving The Planet, edited by Emily Hunter (Conari Press, 2011).
Few activists will be visited by the FBI, even fewer will be arrested.
The real purpose of all this—the FBI visits, the public relations campaigns,
the legislation—is to instill fear and make everyday people afraid of speaking
up for their beliefs. The scare-mongering has had what attorneys call a
chilling effect: it has made everyday people feel as if they must choose
between their activism and being labeled a terrorist, and that is not a choice
anyone should have to make.
It can be unsettling and frightening to learn how far the government has gone to attack political activists, and sometimes I wonder if spreading this information simply makes more people afraid. But time and again, in dozens of venues, from the New York City Bar Association to anarchist bookstores, I have seen an incredible thing happen when people learn about these issues and then turn to their neighbors. Their conversations are never about how they are afraid; they are about how they are angry and want to take action. - (Will Potter is an award-winning independent journalist based in Washington, DC. He has just released his first book, Green Is The New Red, from City Lights Books.) - http://mcaf.ee/da246
Next phase of FBI technology: Iris scans, gait and scent detection - (Sunday, April 10, 2011 - By Torsten Ove, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) - http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11100/1138293-455.stm#ixzz1J8hlH93o
Cops Spot Bad Guys in a Crowd Using Cyborg-Style Shades - (April 14, 2011 - By Christina Bonnington - Wired) - … “RoboCop” glasses, which can identify a criminal’s face in a crowd of people.
“To the naked eye, two people may appear identical,” says Major Leandro Pavani Agostini, chief of military police in Sao Paolo. But these powerful shades can scan up to 400 faces per second, up to 50 yards away, using 46,000 biometric points to identify an individual and ensure a correct match.
Faces are scanned with a tiny camera in the glasses then checked against a database of known criminals. A red light pops up if a perpetrator is found, and the cop can apprehend them without the need for questioning or requesting documents.
The settings of the glasses are adjustable, so if a crowd is more sparse and spread out, it can identify faces as far as 12 miles away at a slower rate. - http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2011/04/cops-cyborg-shades/
Obama administration unveils online ID system (but insists it's not a Big Brother plan to snoop on Internet users) - (April 16, 2011 - By David Gardner - Daily Mail/UK) - http://mcaf.ee/762df
[As noted at the following URL]:
Geolocation is a rather secret feature
of some browsers and toolbars.
It allows the creator of that program
to get a fix on the location of your computer
to within a few meters of where you actually live.
For the potential dangers
read the article from BBC News entitled
attack knows where you live' here.
The question is therefore
how to effectively disable this feature.
At this moment this site offers solutions for
Apple Safari, Firefox, Flock,
Google Chrome, Google Toolbar,
Opera and Twitter:
Gadget gives cops quick access to cell phone data - (4-20-11 - By Bob Sullivan - MSNBC) - The "Universal Forensic Extraction Device" sounds like the perfect cell phone snooping gadget.
Its maker, Israel-based Cellbrite, says it can copy all the content in a cell phone -- including contacts, text messages, call history, and pictures -- within a few minutes. Even deleted texts and other data can be restored by UFED 2.0, the latest version of the product, it says.
And it really is a universal tool. The firm says UFED works with 3,000 cell phone models, representing 95 percent of the handset market. Coming soon, the firm says on its website: "Additional major breakthroughs, including comprehensive iPhone physical solution; Android physical support – allowing bypassing of user lock code, (Windows Phone) support, and much more." For good measure, UFEC can extract information from GPS units in most cars. - http://mcaf.ee/d9760
Facebook, Google, Yahoo
spying tools for US intelligence
says Wikileaks Julian Assange
(13 min. - YouTube audio/video)
DARPA's Automated Video Surveillance Will End Public Anonymity - (May 5, 2011 - by Evan Dashevsky - ExtremeTech) - To be in public is to be on camera, but most video footage is discarded, as only so much can be sorted and analyzed -- until now. DARPA has created a technology that can index and analyze video in real-time, marking the end of anonymity in public places. - http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0%2C2845%2C2384968%2C00.asp
Police buy software to map suspects' digital movements - (May 11, 2011 - Ryan Gallagher and Rajeev Syal - The Guardian/UK) - Geotime software, bought by the Met, collates data from social networking sites, satnavs, mobiles and financial transactions - http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/may/11/police-software-maps-digital-movements
Sheds New Light on NSA’s Warrantless Wiretapping and Data Mining - (May 16, 2011 - By Kim Zetter - Wired) - New details about the NSA’s post–Sept. 11 domestic surveillance programs have emerged in a stunning New Yorker article about NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, who faces trial next month for allegedly leaking information about waste and mismanagement at the agency.
The article provides new insight into the warrantless surveillance program exposed by The New York Times in December 2005, including how top officials at the intelligence agency viewed the program. Former NSA Director Michael Hayden, in 2002, reportedly urged a congressional staffer who was concerned about the legality of the program to keep quiet about it, telling her that she could “yell and scream” about the program once the inevitable leaks about it occurred.
Asked why the NSA didn’t employ privacy protections in its program, Hayden reportedly told the staffer, “We didn’t need them. We had the power,” and admitted the government was not getting warrants for the domestic surveillance.
The New Yorker also spoke with a former head of the agency’s Signals Intelligence Automation Research Center, or SARC, who invented software codenamed ThinThread that is believed to have been adapted by the NSA for the warrantless surveillance. The program had privacy protections built into it, but the official says he believes the NSA rejiggered the program to remove those protections, so that it could collect data on everyone, including people in the United States. - http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/05/new-yorker-on-thomas-drake/
Privacy storm after police buy software that maps suspects' digital movements - Used by the U.S. military, security programme Geotime tracks suspects' movements and communications and displays them on a 3D graphic - (May 12, 2011 - Damien Gayle - Mail/UK) - http://mcaf.ee/06d3k
Billboards that target you in real time - (4-30-11 - by Caitlin Petre - The Filter Bubble) - We knew this day would come, if only because we saw Minority Report: A new NYC-based start-up, Immersive Labs, makes outdoor ads that scan your face as you approach and guess your age and gender. Combining this info with data about the weather and nearby social media activity, Immersive’s billboards then serve up the ad most likely to get your attention. They gauge success by measuring how long your eyes linger on the chosen ad. And the system gets smarter with each new passer-by.
While these ads raise obvious privacy concerns, Immersive Labs CEO Jason Sosa told the Huffington Post that they don’t save face-scans or collect any personally identifiable information. Still, one wonders how far companies like Immersive are going to take this. Right now, the ads just scan for age and gender, but might they one day add, say, race or body-mass index to that list? If they can pick up Foursquare and Twitter data, will they soon personalize ads based on data pulled from your mobile phone as you walk by?
Of course, targeted ads are nothing new — we’re used to seeing them pretty much all over the Internet. But Immersive’s ads raise the question: is there something about the very public nature of a billboard that sets it apart from other forms of targeting?
(Caitlin Petre is a PhD student in the Sociology Department at NYU, where she studies how the migration of news to the internet is changing journalistic ethics and practices. Caitlin's writing has appeared in Newsday, Newsweek and the Albuquerque Journal.) - http://www.thefilterbubble.com/billboards-that-target-you-in-real-time
Crazy Military Tracking Tech, From Super Scents to Quantum Dots - (May 18, 2011 - by Adam Rawnsley and Noah Shachtman) - Scents that make you trackable, indoors and out. Nanocrystals that stick to your body, and light up on night-vision goggles. Miniradar that maps your location on Google Earth.
You can run, but you'll learn it's hard to hide from a new range of military tech. - http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/05/crazy-military-tracking-tech/
(3-1/2 min. - YouTube audio/video - CNN)
NSA, Internet Spying, AT&T
(8 min. - YouTube audio/video - ABC News)
(1 hr. + 13 min. - video)
exhibits the “10 Steps”
…as is now happening
in the United States!
Fascist America, in 10 easy steps - (4-24-07 - by Naomi Wolf - The Guardian/UK) - From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms. And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush and his administration seem to be taking them all [And, all 10 of those steps have been implemented and are still in place now in the U.S.!] - http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/apr/24/usa.comment/print
The Patriot Act: When Truth Becomes Treason - (May 23rd, 2011 - By Susan Lindauer, former CIA Asset covering Iraq & Libya - TheIntelHub) - http://theintelhub.com/2011/05/23/the-patriot-act-when-truth-becomes-treason/
A Skinner box
that trains you
(12-1/2 min. - YouTube audio/video)
There’s a Secret Patriot Act, Senator Says - (May 25, 2011 - by Spencer Ackerman - Wired) - You may think you understand how the Patriot Act allows the government to spy on its citizens. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) says it’s worse than you’ve heard.
Congress is set to reauthorize three controversial provisions of the surveillance law as early as Thursday. But Wyden says that what Congress will renew is a mere fig leaf for a far broader legal interpretation of the Patriot Act that the government keeps to itself — entirely in secret. Worse, there are hints that the government uses this secret interpretation to gather what one Patriot-watcher calls a “dragnet” for massive amounts of information on private citizens; the government portrays its data-collection efforts much differently.
“We’re getting to a gap between what the public thinks the law says and what the American government secretly thinks the law says,” Wyden tells Danger Room in an interview in his Senate office. “When you’ve got that kind of a gap, you’re going to have a problem on your hands.”
What exactly does Wyden mean by that? As a member of the intelligence committee, he laments that he can’t precisely explain without disclosing classified information. But one component of the Patriot Act in particular gives him immense pause: the so-called “business-records provision,” which empowers the FBI to get businesses, medical offices, banks and other organizations to turn over any “tangible things” it deems relevant to a security investigation. - http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/05/secret-patriot-act/
US to store passenger data for 15 years - (May 25, 2011 - Alan Travis - The Guardian/UK) - The personal data of millions of passengers who fly between the US and Europe, including credit card details, phone numbers and home addresses, may be stored by the US department of homeland security for 15 years, according to a draft agreement between Washington and Brussels leaked to the Guardian.
The "restricted" draft, which emerged from negotiations between the US and EU, opens the way for passenger data provided to airlines on check-in to be analysed by US automated data-mining and profiling programmes in the name of fighting terrorism, crime and illegal migration. The Americans want to require airlines to supply passenger lists as near complete as possible 96 hours before takeoff, so names can be checked against terrorist and immigration watchlists.
The agreement acknowledges that there will be occasions when people are delayed or prevented from flying because they are wrongly identified as a threat, and gives them the right to petition for judicial review in the US federal court. It also outlines procedures in the event of anticipated data losses or other unauthorised disclosure. The text includes provisions under which "sensitive personal data" – such as ethnic origin, political opinions, and details of health or sex life – can be used in exceptional circumstances where an individual's life could be imperilled. -
Shocking Video: Americans Arrested Violently at the Jefferson Memorial -- for Dancing - (May 29, 2011 - video - AlterNet) - So now the Jefferson Memorial is a "protected area" per the Patriot Act?
Watch what happened today at the Jefferson Memorial in DC. CodePinker Medea Benjamin and others were arrested for "dancing," and others were body slammed for the crime of movement!Since Congress reauthorized the Patriot Act, more acts of self expression may be deemed “protesting in a restricted area.” - http://mcaf.ee/71esl
One Brain, Hundreds of Eyes: Darpa Plots Manhunt Master Controller - (May 31, 2011 - By Adam Rawnsley - Wired) - Thought military tracking technology couldn’t get any creepier? Hold onto your tinfoil hats and hide behind the nearest curtain because the next generation of manhunting gear just took another step closer to reality.
The Pentagon’s bleeding-edge research shop, Darpa, announced this week that it awarded a $14 million contract to defense contractor SAIC [Science Aplications International Corporation] to build Insight, its system-of-systems effort to mashup snooping sensors that’ll find human prey… - http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/05/manhunt-master-controller/
Barcode? Passé. Here comes the QR. - (June 17, 2011 - by Shan Li - Los Angeles Times/MCT) - Barcode for the digital age: Quick Response codes are designed for smart phones. And they convey far more data than a barcode.
For privacy advocates, however, QRs are one more source of concern. That's because the codes don't just impart information, they can also collect data on where and when a QR was scanned. They can, in some cases, even latch on to the phone user's name, age and other personal information.
LOS ANGELES – Suddenly, they're popping up everywhere — those square, futuristic-looking matrixes that appear to be a cross between abstract art and Rorschach tests.
You'll find them in the corner of newspaper and magazine ads, in department store aisles, on product displays, price tags and For Sale signs in front of homes. Giant-size versions have shown up on billboards.
Called quick response codes, or simply QRs, they're the barcode for the digital age — but ones that convey far more information, and which can be scanned by consumers with smartphones and tablet computers to open a Web page, play a video or even place a call.
How the Patriot Act Is Being Used to Fight the Drug War and Eavesdrop on Journalists - (June 20, 2011 - by Zack Kaldveer - AlterNet) - The Constitutional “precedent” set by the Patriot Act appears to be serving to accelerate the rapid disintegration of civil liberties in this country. - http://mcaf.ee/r5046
5 Outrageous Government Crackdowns on Peaceful Activists - (June 20, 2011 - by Lauren Kelly - AlterNet) - Activists continue to be arrested, assaulted and otherwise harassed by the nation's police and government agencies for participating in nonviolent protests and other actions. - http://mcaf.ee/il5tv
Cisco Poised to Help China Keep an Eye on Its Citizens - (JULY 5, 2011 - BY LORETTA CHAO IN BEIJING AND DON CLARK IN SAN FRANCISCO - Wall Street Journal) - Western companies including Cisco Systems Inc. are poised to help build an ambitious new surveillance project in China—a citywide network of as many as 500,000 cameras that officials say will prevent crime but that human-rights advocates warn could target political dissent.
The system, being built in the city of Chongqing over the next two to three years, is among the largest and most sophisticated video-surveillance projects of its kind in China, and perhaps the world. Dubbed "Peaceful Chongqing," it is planned to cover a half-million intersections, neighborhoods and parks over nearly 400 square miles, an area more than 25% larger ... - http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304778304576377141077267316.html
Why Do the Police Have Tanks? The Strange and Dangerous Militarization of the US Police Force - (July 5, 2011 - by Rania Kahlek - AlterNet) - The federal government has supplied local police departments with military uniforms, weaponry, vehicles, and training. - http://mcaf.ee/yimc4
Are ‘Smart Meters’
(4-1/2 min. - YouTube audio/video)
Coming Soon to an Airport Near You - (July 6, 2011 - by Wendy McElroy - The Future of Freedom Foundation) - If you fly within the United States in the future, keep your expression neutral, do not blink too much or too little, and do not sweat. Carefully maintain a normal respiration and heart beat as you submit to demands from Homeland Security agents. If you question or resist their demands, you could be detained as a pre-crime suspect, fined up to $11,000 and added to a No Fly list.
On July 5, a headline in the bioethical news source BioEdge declared, “‘Pre-crime’ terrorist detector field tested in US.” BioEdge explained that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has finished initial testing of Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST), which is “designed to spot people who intend to commit a terrorist act.” According to DHS documents, however, FAST targets a far broader range of people, from “individuals planning to cause a disturbance or use false documents to individuals who are planning an assassination or terrorist attack. The future time horizon can range from planning an event years in advance to planning to carry out the act immediately after passing through screening.”
Unlike most other security measures, FAST is not aimed at finding contraband or explosives but at identifying suspicious people before they can cause trouble. ….
FAST aims at mechanizing this detection process, although on-site human analysts will still receive and interpret the data. Pre-criminals will be identified through the use of remote cardiovascular and respiratory sensors, a remote eye tracker, thermal cameras, high-resolution video, and an audio monitor for pitch change. Additional sensors, such as pheromone detectors, are being considered. People with aberrant readings are likely to receive “special treatment” on the suspicion of their being suspicious. - http://www.fff.org/comment/com1107c.asp
Device Raises Fear of Facial Profiling - (July 13, 2011 - by Emily Steel and Julia Angwin - The Wall Street Journal) - Dozens of law-enforcement agencies from Massachusetts to Arizona are preparing to outfit their forces with controversial hand-held facial-recognition devices as soon as September, raising significant questions about privacy and civil liberties.With the device, which attaches to an iPhone, an officer can snap a picture of a face from up to five feet away, or scan a person's irises from up to six inches away, and do an immediate search to see if there is a match with a database of people with criminal records. The gadget also collects fingerprints. - http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303678704576440253307985070.html
It might sound like tilting at windmills, but a privacy organization says it will appeal a federal judge's ruling that the super-secret National Security Agency (NSA) doesn't have to disclose its relationship with Google, or for that matter whether it has or ever has had such a relationship.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) began its quest for information following press reports that the NSA and Google had formed a partersnhip of some kind after hackers in China launched a cyber attack on the U.S. government in January 2010.
EPIC first filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking any documents that would reveal whether NSA and Google were developing technical standards that would enable greater surveillance of Internet users.
Not surprisingly, NSA denied the request, saying it could neither confirm nor deny that any such documents existed.
EPIC said it plans to appeal the decision by U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon, noting NSA's argument that revealing a relationship with Google could dissuade other companies from working with the agency in the future.
"This is a serious concern which … warrants finding for the NSA," Leon wrote.
EPIC says it is also seeking information from the NSA about Internet vulnerability assessments and its private findings on how its practices impact Internet privacy. EPIC also wants details about the NSA's "Perfect Citizen" program. - http://mcaf.ee/107tq
Spy Files - Illegal Domestic Spying
Today the government is spying on Americans in ways the founders of our country never could have imagined. The FBI, federal intelligence agencies, the military, state and local police, private companies, and even firemen and emergency medical technicians are gathering incredible amounts of personal information about ordinary Americans that can be used to construct vast dossiers that can be widely shared with a simple mouse-click through new institutions like Joint Terrorism Task Forces, fusion centers, and public-private partnerships. The fear of terrorism has led to a new era of overzealous police intelligence activity directed, as in the past, against political activists, racial and religious minorities, and immigrants.
This surveillance activity is not directed solely at suspected terrorists and criminals. It's directed at all of us. Increasingly, the government is engaged in suspicionless surveillance that vacuums up and tracks sensitive information about innocent people. Even more disturbingly, as the government's surveillance powers have grown more intrusive and more powerful, the restrictions on many of those powers have been weakened or eliminated. And this surveillance often takes place in secret, with little or no oversight by the courts, by legislatures, or by the public.
The erosion of reasonable restrictions on government's power to collect people's personal information is putting the privacy and free speech rights of all Americans at risk. The American Civil Liberties Union and its affiliates across the country have uncovered and reported on many aspects of this growing domestic surveillance activity over the last several years. Our updated Spy Files website combines the information we've collected from Freedom of Information Act requests, ACLU lawsuits and reports, and news accounts so that members of the public can begin to get a comprehensive view of how these networked intelligence activities threaten their civil liberities. - http://www.aclu.org/spy-files
Fingerprint analysis tech aims to revolutionize drug testing - (July 26th, 2011 - A new technology that analyzes the sweat from a person's fingertips looks to revolutionize the drug testing market, providing on-site results in minutes with a test so advanced it can even detect marijuana intoxication.
Using gold nanoparticles and special antibodies, the tech produced by British firm Intelligent Fingerprinting latches on to metabolites on the fingerprint and turns a specific color depending on which drug byproducts are detected.
While it can be configured to search for drugs like nicotine, methadone and cocaine, it also presents another innovation: helping to determine if someone is actively intoxicated on marijuana.
Marijuana's psychoactive ingredient is fat soluble, so it stays in the body for weeks locked in fat cells. This means that traditional drug testing using urine analysis can detect whether a person has used marijuana up to a month afterwards, but it doesn't actually reveal if the person was intoxicated at the time the test was taken.
The fingerprint test, on the other hand, can detect minuscule amounts of broken-down drug compounds in metabolites in just minutes, pointing to whether that person was stoned or not. The development leads to a breakthrough that could result in more accurate testing to determine whether a person is driving while drugged.
'Secrets Of The FBI'
min. - audio)
(August 2, 2011 - Morning Editon/NPR)
Steve Inskeep talks with
about his new book,
The Secrets of the FBIhttp://www.npr.org/2011/08/02/138916011/home-visits-and-other-secrets-of-the-fbi
(From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/InfraGard )...
InfraGard is a private non-profit organization serving as a public-private partnership between U.S. businesses and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The organization describes itself as an information sharing and analysis effort serving the interests and combining the knowledge base of a wide range of members. InfraGard states they are an association of businesses, academic institutions, state and local law enforcement agencies, and other participants dedicated to sharing information and intelligence to prevent hostile acts against the United States.
Concerned about human rights, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) warned that there "is evidence that InfraGard may be closer to a corporate TIPS program, turning private-sector corporations — some of which may be in a position to observe the activities of millions of individual customers — into surrogate eyes and ears for the FBI". As of September, 2010, the organization reported membership at over 40,000 (including FBI).
It should be
noted that John Ventre
stated that it is his aspiration
to be International Director of MUFON.
also stated --
in an attempt to avert contentions that
MUFON has either
been infiltrated by government agents,
or is a willing useful tool of same --
that Clifford Clift,
the current (2011)
International Director of MUFON,
is merely a Christmas tree farm grower
and is not
working for any government agency.
(What Ventre did not say is that Clifford
was a member of the Army Security Agency;
as was the previous
Director, James Carrion.
The ASA is a military version of the NSA.) ---
You can hear Ventre make these statements
when he was an
(during the first 35 minutes)
on an online broadcast of
Visions Magazine Radio
via this URL:
[This article excerpt is from Dec.
3, 2008 issue of “San Antonio Texas
Current.” Early that year, James
Bamford -- author of non-fiction
books on the NSA, such as, "The Puzzle Palace" and "The Shadow Factory" -- talked
about this (see below) twice on NPR…on
both "Fresh Air" and "The Diane Rehm Show." He emphasized that he considered the
physical proximity of the NSA and Microsoft facilities as an ominous
development. He also said that both the Microsoft and NSA facilities
in San Antonio are HUGE...each covering at least a city block...purportedly to
contain vast electronic storage-capacity facilities. --- Interestingly, this may have also been
connected with Microsoft’s development of its “Bing” search-engine and its promotion of “cloud computing.”]:
Bamford writes about how NSA and Microsoft had
both been eyeing San Antonio for
years because it has the cheapest electricity in Texas, and the state has its
own power grid, making it less vulnerable to power outages on the national
grid. He notes that it seemed the NSA
wanted assurance Microsoft would be here, too, before making a final
commitment, due to the advantages of “having their miners virtually next door
to the mother lode of data centers.” The
new NSA facility is just a few miles from Microsoft's data center of the same
size. Bamford says that under current law, NSA could gain access to Microsoft's
stored data without even a warrant, but merely a fiber-optic cable.
“What the Microsoft people will have will be just storage of a lot of the email that is being sent. They keep this email — I don't know why — and there should be some legislation saying how long it should be kept,” said Bamford in a phone interview last week. “The post office doesn't keep copies of our letters when we mail letters; why should the telecom companies or the internet providers keep copies of our email? It doesn't make sense to me. But there's no legislation. So they need a place to store it, and that's where they're storing all this stuff.” - http://www2.sacurrent.com/news/story.asp?id=69607
James Bamford ‘Outs’ NSA’s
on “Democracy Now!”
Louis County suburb,
Bridgeton, Missouri, and
San Antonio, Texas, facilities)
(10 min. - YouTube audio/video)
New Anti-Censorship Scheme Could Make It Impossible to Block Individual Sites - ScienceDaily (Aug. 10, 2011) — A radical new approach to thwarting Internet censorship would essentially turn the whole web into a proxy server, making it virtually impossible for a censoring government to block individual sites.
The system is called Telex, and it is the brainchild of computer science researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of Waterloo in Canada. They will present it Aug. 12 at the USENIX Security Symposium in San Francisco.
"This has the potential to shift the arms race regarding censorship to be in favor of free and open communication," said J. Alex Halderman, assistant professor of computer science and engineering at U-M and one of Telex's developers."The Internet has the ability to catalyze change by empowering people through information and communication services. Repressive governments have responded by aggressively filtering it. If we can find ways to keep those channels open, we can give more people the ability to take part in free speech and access to information." - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110810133023.ht
A prime aim of the growing Surveillance State - (Aug. 19, 2011 - by Glenn Greenwald - Salon) - Economic suffering and anxiety -- and anger over it and the flamboyant prosperity of the elites who caused it -- is only going to worsen. So, too, will the refusal of the Western citizenry to meekly accept their predicament. As that happens, who it is who controls the Internet and the flow of information and communications takes on greater importance. Those who are devoted to preserving the current system of prerogatives certainly know that, and that is what explains this obsession with expanding the Surveillance State and secrecy powers, maintaining control over the dissemination of information, and harshly punishing those who threaten it. That's also why there are few conflicts, if there are any, of greater import than this one. - http://mcaf.ee/l6th0
How 'gesture technology'
like Microsoft Kinect
will change the way we live
(11 min. - video)
(8-19-11 - Need To Know/PBS)
(3 min. - YouTube audio/video)
What a Difference a Decade Makes: Ten Years of "Homeland Security" - (Sept. 1, 2011 - by Nancy Murray and Kade Crockford - Truthout) - Over the decade, we have seen the emergence of a national security surveillance state, in which some 800,000 local and state operatives file reports on the most common everyday behaviors and members of the public contribute hotline tips about "suspicious" people and activities. - http://www.truth-out.org/what-difference-decade-makes/1314126592
CIA's Next Mission is to Keep Prying Eyes Off Your Screen - (Sept. 14, 2011 - by John P. Mello Jr., PCWorld) - The CIA takes such a dim view of people peeking at computer displays while someone is working that the agency is investing in Oculis Labs, a company that makes software to prevent prying eyes from gleaning any information from computer screens.
The spy agency is investing in Oculis through a nonprofit investment company called In-Q-Tel that was chartered in 1999 by a group of private citizens at the request of the director of the CIA and with the support of Congress. It was launched in response to the agency's desire to increase its access to private sector innovation.
In a statement announcing its partnership in Oculis, In-Q-Tel said it was making a "strategic investment" in the software maker. The amount of that investment wasn't revealed.
"Oculis Labs is an important addition to our investment portfolio and we are excited about this technology's ability to address a critical need in information security, protecting the last two feet of the network," T.J. Rylander, a partner on In-Q-Tel's investments team, said in a statement. "Oculis Labs' technologies offer a vital new capability in securing computer systems against a wide range of insider and outsider threats."
Oculis makes both a consumer and military version of software products. The consumer offering, called PrivateEye ($1.99), uses a webcam and facial recognition software to blur your computer screen when you walk away from it or turn your head to talk to someone behind you. It will also detect someone approaching you from behind as far as 10 feet away and obscure your display as they get closer. - http://mcaf.ee/3c9px
Atlanta increases surveillance of city - (Sept. 19, 2011 - by Jeremiah McWilliams - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution) - Plans to put Atlanta’s public spaces under camera surveillance will move forward this week with the opening of a state-of-the-art video monitoring center.
Whether it’s good that Atlanta is joining other big cities in the video surveillance race depends on your comfort level with being watched more often by police.
The downtown “Video Integration Center,” funded by a mix of private donations and public money, has already given Atlanta police links to more than 100 public and private security cameras.
Talks are underway to link up with more cameras at CNN Center, Georgia State University, the Georgia World Congress Center and MARTA, along with cameras in Buckhead.
Officials say hundreds or thousands more private-sector cameras will eventually feed into the center. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution toured the center last week, as live footage of a traffic stop and archived video of a DragonCon parade played on a 15-foot screen. Officers can watch up to 128 views at once.“This is just the beginning,” said Dave Wilkinson, president of the Atlanta Police Foundation, which helped raise money for the center. “This is going to grow by leaps and bounds over the years. The goal, of course, is to have the entire city blanketed.” - http://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta/atlanta-increases-surveillance-of-1183905.html
Law Enforcement Appliance Subverts SSL - (March 24, 2010 - by Ryan Singel - Wired) - Normally when a user visits a secure website, such as Bank of America, Gmail, PayPal or eBay, the browser examines the website’s certificate to verify its authenticity.
At a recent wiretapping convention, however, security researcher Chris Soghoian discovered that a small company was marketing internet spying boxes to the feds. The boxes were designed to intercept those communications — without breaking the encryption — by using forged security certificates, instead of the real ones that websites use to verify secure connections. To use the appliance, the government would need to acquire a forged certificate from any one of more than 100 trusted Certificate Authorities.
The attack is a classic man-in-the-middle attack, where Alice thinks she is talking directly to Bob, but instead Mallory found a way to get in the middle and pass the messages back and forth without Alice or Bob knowing she was there.
The existence of a marketed product indicates the vulnerability is likely being exploited by more than just information-hungry governments, according to leading encryption expert Matt Blaze, a computer science professor at University of Pennsylvania.
“If the company is selling this to law enforcement and the intelligence community, it is not that large a leap to conclude that other, more malicious people have worked out the details of how to exploit this,” Blaze said. - http://mcaf.ee/teabs
Post-9/11, NSA 'enemies' include us - (bSomewhere between Sept. 11 and today, the enemy morphed from a handful of terrorists to the American population at large, leaving us nowhere to run and no place to hide.
Within weeks of the attacks, the giant ears of the National Security Agency, always pointed outward toward potential enemies, turned inward on the American public itself. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, established 23 years before to ensure that only suspected foreign agents and terrorists were targeted by the NSA, would be bypassed. Telecom companies, required by law to keep the computerized phone records of their customers confidential unless presented with a warrant, would secretly turn them over in bulk to the NSA without ever asking for a warrant.
Around the country, in tall, windowless telecom company buildings known as switches, NSA technicians quietly began installing beam-splitters to redirect duplicate copies of all phone calls and email messages to secret rooms behind electronic cipher locks.
There, NSA software and hardware designed for “deep packet inspection” filtered through the billions of email messages looking for key names, words, phrases and addresses. The equipment also monitored phone conversations and even what pages people view on the Web — the porn sites they visit, the books they buy on Amazon, the social networks they interact with and the text messages they send and receive.
Because the information is collected in real time, attempting to delete history caches from a computer is useless.
At the NSA, thousands of analysts who once eavesdropped on troop movements of enemy soldiers in distant countries were now listening in on the bedroom conversations of innocent Americans in nearby states. - http://tinyurl.com/zn9hsw8
Fear of Repression Spurs Scholars and Activists to Build Alternate Internets - (Sept. 18, 2011 - by Jeffrey R. Young - The Chronicle of Higher Education/Wash. D.C.) - Protecting Privacy…Mr. Moglen, the [Columbia U.] law professor. He's leading the development of a device called the Freedom Box, and though it doesn't look like much—a gadget the size of a paperback book—he believes that it would be able to help Internet users preserve their privacy.
The concept: It's a personal server, which automatically scrambles digital data to make them harder for unauthorized people to intercept. The idea is to create a personal "cloud," or online storage space, for data before the information is sent to standard e-mail or Web services.
Mr. Moglen and a team of programmers are developing the software under the auspices of the FreedomBox Foundation, a nonprofit organization, and plan to release it under an open license that lets anyone use and modify it. The initial Freedom Box code is expected to hit the Web in the next week or two, although it is more of a framework for developers at this point and lacks most of the planned features.
For Mr. Moglen the work is part of a longtime mission. The Chronicle profiled him several years ago, soon after he founded the Software Freedom Law Center and published what he called The dotCommunist Manifesto.
In the manifesto, he argues that all software should be developed by groups under free licenses rather than by companies out to make profit. Critics have called his approach extreme and unworkable, but in some areas open-source software has gained ground in recent years."The Net we have is increasingly monitored, measured, and surveilled everywhere by everybody all the time, or at least by somebody who's doing it for somebody else and would answer a subpoena if they got one," he argued at a conference this year. "Our Net has been turned against us." - http://mcaf.ee/rnf07
Internet of things: Should you worry if your jeans go smart? - (Sept. 22, 2011 - It sounds far-fetched, but it's possible - if one of your garments is equipped with a tiny radio-frequency identification device (RFID), your location could be revealed without you knowing about it.
RFIDs are chips that use radio waves to send data to a reader - which in turn can be connected to the web.
This technology is just one of the current ways of allowing physical objects to go online - a concept dubbed the "internet of things", which industry insiders have shortened to IoT.
This is when not only your PC, tablet and smartphone can connect to the web, but also your car, your home, your baseball cap and even the sheep and cows on a farm.
And as we switch from IPv4 towards IPv6, which will support some 340 trillion trillion trillion addresses, more and more objects will jump into the web.Smart buildings and intelligent cars with assigned IP addresses are already making cities smarter - and soon enough, the entire planet may follow. - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15004063
[This obviously is the reason why -- a few years ago -- there was a push on by cell phone service providers (in "the service" of the government?) to get folks to upgrade their analog mobile phones to newer digital models. The newer cell phones were required -- by government edict -- to be manufactured with GPS-tracking chips preinstalled. The official explanation for that requirement was to enable "911" call-tracking. Also, the newer cell phones are "always on" -- even when they are supposedly "turned off." That, too, was supposed to facilitate "emergency" GPS-location tracking. Unless you physically remove the battery from your cell phone, the 24/7 whereabouts of your cell phone is always known. --Bike Bob]:
'Stingray' Phone Tracker Fuels Constitutional Clash - (Sept. 22, 2011 - by Jennifer Valentino-Devries - Wall Street Journal) - Stingrays are designed to locate a mobile phone even when it's not being used to make a call. The Federal Bureau of Investigation considers the devices to be so critical that it has a policy of deleting the data gathered in their use, mainly to keep suspects in the dark about their capabilities, an FBI official told The Wall Street Journal in response to inquiries.
[….]A stingray works by mimicking a cellphone tower, getting a phone to connect to it and measuring signals from the phone. It lets the stingray operator "ping," or send a signal to, a phone and locate it as long as it is powered on, according to documents reviewed by the Journal. The device has various uses, including helping police locate suspects and aiding search-and-rescue teams in finding people lost in remote areas or buried in rubble after an accident. - http://mcaf.ee/qpjkb
Which Telecoms Store Your Data the Longest? Secret Memo Tells All - (Sept. 28, 2011 - by David Kravets - Wired) - The nation’s major mobile-phone providers are keeping a treasure trove of sensitive data on their customers, according to newly-released Justice Department internal memo that for the first time reveals the data retention policies of America’s largest telecoms.
“People who are upset that Facebook is storing all their information should be really concerned that their cell phone is tracking them everywhere they’ve been,” said Catherine Crump, an ACLU staff attorney. “The government has this information because it wants to engage in surveillance.” - http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/09/cellular-customer-data/
How Automatic License Plate Recognition Tracks Your Steps - (October 2011 - by Lance Page, Truthout and ACLU Massachusetts) - As the surveillance state continues to expand, the push to track the movement of individuals across state borders has also expanded. Automatic license plate recognition technology is at the forefront of this move, not only capturing thousands of license plates per minute and storying the information in a database, but also recording the GPS location of where it was "pinged." According to the ACLU of Washington, law enforcement agencies don't delete any of this information.This creates a vast database of personal data of where a person traveled, when and for how long. Data firms and multinational intelligence companies are also jumping on the bandwagon, furthering the reach of the surveillance matrix. - http://www.truth-out.org/license-plate-recognition/1317338816
Cloud-Powered Facial Recognition Is Terrifying - (Sept. 29, 2011 - by Jared Keller - The Atlantic Monthly) - By harnessing the vast wealth of publicly available cloud-based data, researchers are taking facial recognition technology to unprecedented levels
…a new application developed by Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College that's designed to take a photograph of a total stranger and, using the facial recognition software PittPatt, track down their real identity in a matter of minutes. Facial recognition isn't that new -- the rudimentary technology has been around since the late 1960s -- but this system is faster, more efficient, and more thorough than any other system ever used. Why? Because it's powered by the cloud.
The logic of the new application is based on a series of studies designed to test the integration between facial recognition technology and the wealth of data accessible in the cloud (by which we basically mean the Internet). ….
Naturally, the development of such software inspires understandably Orwellian concerns. Jason Mick at DailyTech notes that PittPatt started as a Carnegie Mellon University research project, which spun off into a company post 9/11. "At the time, U.S. intelligence was obsessed with using advanced facial recognition to identify terrorists," writes Mick. "So the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) poured millions into PittPatt." While Google purchased the company in July, the potential for such intrusive technology to be used against law-abiding citizens is cause for concern.
While private organizations may vie for a piece
of PittPatt's proprietary technology for marketing or advertising purposes, the
idea that such technology could be
utilized by a tech savvy member of the public towards criminal, fraudulent, or
extralegal ends is as alarming as the potential for governmental abuse. - http://mcaf.ee/en5l4
Policing the Prophets of Wall Street - (Oct. 5, 2011 - by Amy Goodman - TruthDig.com) - On Labor Day 2008, the “Democracy Now!” news team and I were covering the first day of the Republican National Convention in St. Paul. Thousands protested outside. I was on the convention floor, interviewing delegates from what that week was the hottest state, Alaska. Blocks away, my colleagues Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar were covering a police assault on the dispersing crowd of marchers.
The riot police had hemmed the protesters into a parking lot, along with credentialed journalists. The police charged at Nicole, shouting “On your face!” She shouted back “Press, press!” holding up her press credentials in one hand and filming with the other, video-recording her own violent arrest. She screamed as they brought her down on her face, a knee or boot in her back, dragging on her leg and bloodying her face. The first thing they then did was pull the battery from her camera, if there was any question about what they did not want documented. As Sharif tried to calm the riot(ing) police, they pushed him against a brick wall, kicked him in the chest twice, threw him down and handcuffed him.
I got a call on my cell phone and raced from the Convention Center to the scene of the arrests. The riot police had encircled the area. I ran up to the police, my credentials hanging around my neck. I asked for the commanding officer to get my journalist colleagues released. It wasn’t seconds before they tore me through the police line, twisted my arms behind my back and handcuffed me. Finally brought to stand next to Sharif, as fully credentialed journalists, we demanded to be released, whereupon a Secret Service agent came over and ripped the credentials from around our necks.
We filed suit. This past week, the St. Paul and Minneapolis police and the Secret Service have settled with us. In addition to paying out $100,000, the St. Paul police department has agreed to implement a training program aimed at educating officers regarding the First Amendment rights of the press and public with respect to police operations—including police handling of media coverage of mass demonstrations—and to pursue implementation of the training program in Minneapolis and statewide.As we move into the next conventions and cover protests like Occupy Wall Street, this largest settlement to come out of the 2008 RNC arrests should be a warning to police departments around the country to stop arresting and intimidating journalists, or engaging in any unlawful arrests. We shouldn’t have to get a record while trying to put things on the record. - http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/10/05-0
Meet In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s Venture Capital Firm - (Oct. 9, 2011 - by James Corbett - The Corbett Report) - [Transcript:] - Gainspan Corporation manufactures low power Wi-Fi semiconductors that form the heart of modern remote sensing, monitoring and control technologies.
Recorded Future Inc. is a Massachusetts web startup that monitors the web in real time and claims its media analytics search engine can be used to predict the future.
The common denominator? All of these companies, and hundreds more cutting edge technology and software startups, have received seed money and investment funding from In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s own venture capital firm.
Publicly, In-Q-Tel markets itself as an innovative way to leverage the power of the private sector by identifying key emerging technologies and providing companies with the funding to bring those technologies to market.
In reality, however, what In-Q-Tel represents is a dangerous blurring of the lines between the public and private sectors in a way that makes it difficult to tell where the American intelligence community ends and the IT sector begins.In-Q-Tel has generated a number of stories since its inception based on what can only be described as the “creepiness” factor of its investments in overtly Orwellian technologies. - http://www.corbettreport.com/meet-in-q-tel-the-cias-venture-capital-firm-preview/
Wall Street Firms Spy on Protesters in Tax-Funded Center - - ) - In a secretive government facility Wall Street firms get to sit alongside the New York Police Department and spy on law-abiding citizens.
Wall Street’s audacity to corrupt knows no bounds and the cooptation of government by the 1 per cent knows no limits. How else to explain $150 million of taxpayer money going to equip a government facility in lower Manhattan where Wall Street firms, serially charged with corruption, get to sit alongside the New York Police Department and spy on law abiding citizens.According to newly unearthed documents, the planning for this high tech facility on lower Broadway dates back six years. - http://mcaf.ee/p508r
How Far Will the Government Go in Collecting and Storing All Our Personal Data? - (November 10, 2011 - by Sunita Patel and Scott Paltrowitz - CommonDreams) - New FBI Documents Shed Light on the Answer
…between the potential to monitor all public movements via GPS and the FBI’s ever-expanding Next Generation Identification (.pdf)(NGI) system, which collects and stores all aspects of our personal physical characteristics– our biometric data – Big Brother is already upon us.
NGI is a massive database program that collects and stores personal identifying information such as fingerprints, palm prints, iris scans, scars, marks, tattoos, facial characteristics, and voice recognition. Data can be collected not only from arrested individuals, but also from latent prints (fingerprints left behind at a crime scene or anywhere else) or through handheld “FBI Mobile” biometric scanning devices. Worse than the FBI accessing all your personal data, when NGI becomes fully operational in 2014, other federal agencies will gain access to the bio-data without your knowledge or consent.
…newly-released documents also reveal that not only do the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice already have access to this personal information, but so do the Department of Defense, the U.S. Coast Guard, foreign governments, and potentially the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Indeed, CJIS has information-sharing relationships with more than 75 countries.
This ubiquitous world-wide surveillance of anyone and everyone should serve as a wake up call for what the future may hold. Rapid deployment of the new technologies uncovered in the FOIA records brings us closer to an extensive and inescapable surveillance state, where we blindly place our hands on electronic devices that capture our digital prints, stare into iris scanning devices that record the details of our eyes, and have pictures taken of different angles of our faces so that the FBI and other federal agencies can store and use such information.
Expanding NGI raises numerous concerns about government invasion of privacy (because of the access, retention, use, and sharing of biometric information without individual consent or knowledge), the widening of federal government surveillance (the NGI database will hold information that can be used to track individuals long into the future), and the increased risk of errors and vulnerability to hackers and identity thieves. - http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/11/10-9
The Department Of Homeland Security Wants All The Information It Has On You Accessible From One Place - (11/29/2011 - by Kashmir Hill - Forbes Staff ) - http://mcaf.ee/7cf4z
According to Mr Assange, more than 150 organisations around the world have the ability to use phones as tracking devices as well as intercept messages and listen to calls.
Those companies then sell the wholesale information, often the telecommunications data of "entire populations".
He told a press conference at City University in London that the publication of the "Spy Files" is a "mass attack on this mass surveillance industry".
The 40-year-old asked the audience of students and press: "Who here has an iPhone? Who here has a BlackBerry? Who here uses Gmail?
"Well, you're all screwed.
"The reality is, intelligence contractors are selling right now to countries across the world mass surveillance systems for all those products."
Mr Assange said this interception, although lawful, is leading towards a "totalitarian surveillance state".
WikiLeaks is releasing 287 documents today, in conjunction with website spyfiles.org.
Mr Assange said the US, UK, Australia, South Africa and Canada are all developing the "spying systems", and the information is being sold to "dictators and democracies alike".
He said: "Today we release over 287 files documenting the reality of the international mass surveillance industry - an industry which now sells equipment to dictators and democracies alike in order to intercept entire populations."
The Australian national said the surveillance industry has grown over the last 10 years from "a covert, very secretive, small industry" to one involving 160 companies and 25 countries."There is an international corporatised mass surveillance industry," he said. - http://mcaf.ee/qo0j6
Is Carrier IQ’s Data-Logging Phone Software Helpful or a Hacker’s Goldmine? - (December 3, 2011 - Controversy over what else the company could do with the information it gathers arose a few weeks ago, when software developer Trevor Eckhart pointed out on his Android Security Blog that Carrier IQ can tap into a variety of information stored on a handset, including “manufacturer and model, available memory and battery life, the type of applications resident on the device, the geographical location of the device, the end user’s pressing of keys on the device, usage history of the device, including those that characterize a user’s interaction with a device.” Eckhart, who claims to have obtained this information from a Carrier IQ patent filing, then tested the software for himself.
Eckhart’s subsequent claims that Carrier IQ is a “rootkit” that logs mobile phone users’ activity and location prompted the company to obtain a cease-and-desist order, which was later rescinded when Eckhart retained the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Rootkit is a loaded cyber-security term referring to keylogging, trojan or other software installed without a user’s consent or knowledge for the purpose of tracking activity on that device. More recently, software developer Grant Paul (a.k.a. chpwn) claimed that Carrier IQ is installed on iPhones as well the Android, Blackberry and Nokia phones originally identified by Eckhart. Apple has since distanced itself from Carrier IQ, as Macworld.com noted on Thursday.
More disconcerting than the evidence that Carrier IQ is collecting sensitive data is the lack of evidence that the company knows how to protect that data, says Chris Soghoian, a privacy and security researcher at the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University Bloomington. “You have this application running on your phone with basically full privileges—able to access users’ e-mails, phone calls, location information, text messages and photographs—and it’s just sitting there,” he adds. “Even if you believe that Carrier IQ is well-intentioned or believe that the carriers are not receiving this information, you still have a security crisis just waiting to happen when a hacker figures out how to exploit this information. This is an absolute gold mine for hackers or intelligence agencies or law enforcement.”
The notion that spy agencies or law enforcement could take advantage of Carrier IQ to access private information is particularly relevant given the California Supreme Court case earlier this year that awarded police the authority to search mobile phones without a warrant.Carrier IQ’s software is like “a gremlin living inside your phone that has the capability to report back to someone else if asked to do so,” says Soghoian, who is also a graduate fellow at the Indiana University’s Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research. Despite Carrier IQ’s claims that it is working to improve network performance for callers, Soghoian adds, the company is hired by the carrier and the performance improvements are only a marginal aspect of what the collected user data could be used to do. - http://mcaf.ee/njb5k
Assange on mass surveillance:
'You are all screwed!'
(1 min. - YouTube audio/video)
Reform the Patriot Act | Section 215 - [ACLU]
Access to Records - [NPR]
Probably the most hotly debated provision of the law, Section 215 has come to be known as the "libraries provision," even though it never mentions libraries or bookstores. Civil liberties groups attack the breadth of this section -- which allows investigators to obtain "any tangible thing (including books, records, papers, documents and other items)," as long as the records are sought "in connection with" a terror investigation.
Library groups said the law could be used to demand the reading records of patrons. But the government points out that the First Amendment activities of Americans are specifically protected by the law. The Justice Department has released previously classified statistics to show the law has never been used against libraries or bookstores. But the act's critics argue that there's no protection against future abuse.Civil liberties groups have proposed numerous amendments: special protections for libraries and bookstores; a requirement that investigators explain the reason the records are sought; and an end to the "gag rule" that prohibits people who receive a 215 order from talking about it with anyone. The Justice Department has agreed that recipients can consult with an attorney and is open to an amendment that specifies this right. But the government says the controversy over this provision is an overreaction, and that this section merely expands longstanding access to certain business records. - http://www.npr.org/news/specials/patriotact/patriotactprovisions.html#issue3
A Dangerous Woman: Indefinite Detention at Carswell - (December 11th, 2011 - by Susan Lindauer - Thepeoplesvoice.org) - Some things are unforgivable in a democracy. A bill moving through Congress, authorizing the military to imprison American citizens indefinitely, without a trial or hearing, ranks right at the top of that list.
I know—I lived through it on the Patriot Act. When Congress decided to squelch the truth about the CIA's advance warnings about 9/11 and the existence of a comprehensive peace option with Iraq, as the CIA's chief Asset covering Iraq, I became an overnight threat. To protect their cover-up scheme, I got locked in federal prison inside Carswell Air Force Base, while the Justice Department battled to detain me "indefinitely" up to 10 years, without a hearing or guilty plea. Worst yet, they demanded the right to forcibly drug me with Haldol, Ativan and Prozac, in a violent effort to chemically lobotomize the truth about 9/11 and Iraqi Pre-War Intelligence.
Susan Lindauer is the author of "Extreme Prejudice: The Terrifying
Story of the Patriot Act and the Cover Ups of 9/11 and Iraq,"
which describes her work as an Asset covering Iraq and Libya, and her arrest on
the Patriot Act shortly after requesting to testify before Congress about the
CIA's advance warnings about 9/11 and a peace option in Iraq. -
Carrier IQ Explains Secret Monitoring Software to FTC, FCC - (December 14, 2011 - by David Kravets
- Wired) - The software maker
said the data it vacuums to its servers
from handsets is vast -- as the software also monitors app deployment,
battery life, phone CPU output and data and cell-site connectivity, among other
things. But, the company said, the
software is logging every keystroke. - http://mcaf.ee/3hfm6
American Companies Providing Technology Helping Repressive Regimes (& the U.S. Gov’t.) Spy On Protestors - (31 min. audio) - (Dec. 14, 2011 - Fresh Air/NPR) - journalist Ben Elgin talks about a Bloomberg News series, "Wired for Repression," which details how Western companies are selling surveillance technology to regimes including Iran, Syria, Bahrain and Tunisia.
Those regimes have then used the information obtained from those technologies to torture protesters and dissidents, Elgin tells Fresh Air contributor Dave Davies.
The surveillance industry is booming, Elgin says, with some analysts estimating that the sector brings in between $3 billion and $5 billion a year. A recent surveillance trade show — which is not open to the public — was attended by 1,300 people, with representatives from 35 U.S. federal agencies.
"Some of the sessions at these shows are just remarkable," Elgin says. "They do publish the agenda online so you can see the types of things that they talk about. In an upcoming show in Dubai in February, there's a session on government IT hacking, on how governments can essentially penetrate the computers or cellphones of would-be targets — their citizens. ..." - http://www.npr.org/2011/12/14/143639670/
Cell phones are 'Stalin's dream,' says free software movement founder - (March 14, 2011 - by Jon Brodkin - Network World) - Richard Stallman: iPhones and Androids are 'Big Brother' tracking devices
Nearly three decades into his quest to rid the world of proprietary software, Richard Stallman sees a new threat to user freedom: smartphones.
"I don't have a cell phone. I won't carry a cell phone," says Stallman, founder of the free software movement and creator of the GNU operating system. "It's Stalin's dream. Cell phones are tools of Big Brother. I'm not going to carry a tracking device that records where I go all the time, and I'm not going to carry a surveillance device that can be turned on to eavesdrop."
Stallman firmly believes that only free software can save us from our technology, whether it be in cell phones, PCs, tablets or any other device. And when he talks about "free," he's not talking about the price of the software -- he's talking about the ability to use, modify and distribute software however you wish. - http://www.networkworld.com/news/2011/031411-richard-stallman.html
OWS Fights Back Against Police Surveillance by Launching "Occucopter" Citizen Drone - (December 22, 2011 - Comment Is Free) and - In response to constant police surveillance, violence, and arrests, Occupy Wall Street protesters and legal observers have been turning their cameras back on the police.The police may soon be watching you in your garden picking your vegetables or your bottom. As police plans for increasing unmanned aerial surveillance take shape, there is a new twist. Private citizens can now buy their own surveillance drones to watch the police. - http://www.alternet.org/occupywallst/153542?page=entire
Tweeting the word 'drill' could mean your Twitter account is read by U.S. government spies - (December 28, 2011 - by Rob Waugh - Daily Mail/UK) - The Department of Homeland Security makes fake Twitter and Facebook profiles for the specific purpose of scanning the networks for 'sensitive' words - and tracking people who use them.
Simply using a word or phrase from the DHS's 'watch' list could mean that spies from the government read your posts, investigate your account, and attempt to identify you from it, acccording to an online privacy group.
The words which attract attention range from ones seemingly related to diseases or bioweapons such as 'human to animal' and 'outbreak' to other, more obscure words such as 'drill' and 'strain'.
The DHS also watches for words such as 'illegal immigrant'.
The DHS outlined plans to scans blogs, Twitter and Facebook for words such as 'illegal immigrant', 'outbreak', 'drill', 'strain', 'virus', 'recovery', 'deaths', 'collapse', 'human to animal' and 'trojan', according to an 'impact asssessment' document filed by the agency.When its search tools net an account using the phrases, they record personal information. - http://mcaf.ee/5cy9z
Drones are coming to skies near you - (December 20, 2011 - by Floyd and Mary Beth Brown - Columbia Daily Tribune/Missouri) - Predator is tool for domestic spying.
Now the Obama administration has quietly authorized Predator drone use by law enforcement officials in the United States to spy on U.S. citizens. - http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/2011/dec/20/drones-are-coming-to-skies-near-you/
US Civilians Are Now Helping Decide Who To Kill With Military Drones - (December 30, 2011 - by Robert Johnson - Business Insider) - http://mcaf.ee/75phi
playing key roles in U.S. drone operations - (December 29, 2011 - by David S. Cloud - Los Angeles Times) - Relying on contractors has brought companies that
operate for profit into some of America's most sensitive military and
intelligence operations. And using civilians makes some in the military uneasy. - http://mcaf.ee/q9oxj
Could the Internet Ever Be Destroyed?January 20, 2012 - The coming threats to the global Internet could take many formsThe redundancy of so much online content and of connectivity routes makes the Internet resilient to physical attacks, but a much more serious threat to its status quo existence is government regulation or censorship. - http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=could-internet-ever-be-destroyed
The Threat of Deep Packet Inspection - (Excerpt from the “PRIVACY WATCH” column by Alex Wawro on page 38 in the February, 2012, issue of “PC World Magazine”)
Bills in Congress like SOPA [Stop Online Piracy Act] and the Protect IP Act may require your ISP to start monitoring your online activity.
…. But if your Internet service provider becomes legally obligated to prevent you from accessing restricted websites, it might use deep packet inspection tools to keep tabs on you.
[….]Absent legal restrictions, however, your ISP can root through all the information you exchange online, perhaps selling your age, location, shopping records, and other personal data in anonymized batches to advertising companies. And, law enforcement can monitor and curtail your Net access without your knowledge.
Supreme Court Court Rejects Willy-Nilly GPS Tracking - (January 23, 2012 - by David Kravets - Wired) - The Supreme Court said Monday that law enforcement authorities might need a probable-cause warrant from a judge to affix a GPS device to a vehicle and monitor its every move — but the justices did not say that a warrant was needed in all cases.The convoluted decision (.pdf) in what is arguably the biggest Fourth Amendment case in the computer age… - http://mcaf.ee/usa37
Drive-by Scanning: Officials Expand Use and Dose of Radiation for Security Screening - (Jan. 27, 2012 - by Michael Grabell - ProPublica) - U.S. law enforcement agencies are exposing people to radiation in more settings and in increasing doses to screen for explosives, weapons and drugs. In addition to the controversial airport body scanners, which are now deployed for routine screening, various X-ray devices have proliferated at the border, in prisons and on the streets of New York.
Not only have the machines become more widespread, but some of them expose people to higher doses of radiation. And agencies have pushed the boundaries of acceptable use by X-raying people covertly, according to government documents and interviews.
While airport scanners can show objects on the surface of the body, prisons have begun to use X-rays that can see through the body to detect contraband hidden in cavities. U.S. Customs and Border Protection is in the process of deploying dozens of drive-through X-ray portals to scan cars and buses at the border with their passengers still inside.
X-ray scanners have been tested at ferry crossings, for visitor entries at the Pentagon and for long-range detection of suicide bombers at special events. And drawing the ire of privacy groups, Customs and the New York Police Department have deployed unmarked X-ray vans that can drive to a location and look inside vehicles for drugs and explosives.Most federal health regulations for medical X-rays do not apply to security equipment, leaving the decision of when and how to use the scanners almost entirely in the hands of security officials. - http://mcaf.ee/mix2d
FBI says paying for your morning coffee with cash a potential terrorist activity,
urges coffee shop owners to report cash-paying customers to authorities - (February 8, 2012 - by Ethan A. Huff - NaturalNews) - Purchasing a cup of coffee using
cash instead of a credit or debit card, using Google Maps to view photos of sporting event stadiums and large
cities, and installing software to
protect your internet privacy on your mobile phone -- these and many other mundane activities are now considered to be
potential terrorist activities by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). And the agency is now distributing a new series of flyers as part of
its new "Communities Against
Terrorism" (CAT) program that
urges shop owners and others to report such "suspicious" activity to
"The Communities Against Terrorism program is funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance through the SLATT Program to provide law enforcement agencies with a tool to engage members of the local community in the fight against terrorism," writes SLATT.org, the program of the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance that is promoting the program, on its website. "To assist law enforcement in the outreach effort, templates of flyers containing potential indicators have been created for distribution to specific industries" (https://www.slatt.org/CAT).
The SLATT program offers both on-site and online training (indoctrination) for coffee shop owners, financial institution employees, tattoo shop artists, and many others into how to spot potential terrorist activities. Included among the many propaganda flyers the FBI is distributing as part of the campaign are ones for how to spot terrorists at local hobby shops and beauty supply stores, for instance, as well as flyers for owners of farm supply and home improvement stores (http://publicintelligence.net).
This little gem warns internet cafe owners to watch out for and report customers that always pay for their coffee with cash, as they could be terrorists (http://info.publicintelligence.net). Another ridiculous flyer intended for owners of boat shops warns them to be on the lookout for people interested in becoming certified scuba divers, as they could be terrorists (http://info.publicintelligence.net). - http://mcaf.ee/p0ixy
Are Drones Watching You? - (January 10, 2012 - by Jennifer Lynch - Electronic Frontier Foundation) - Now drones are also being used domestically for non-military purposes, raising significant privacy concerns. ….
Drones are capable of highly advanced and almost constant surveillance, and they can amass large amounts of data. They carry various types of equipment including live-feed video cameras, infrared cameras, heat sensors, and radar. Some newer drones carry super high resolution “gigapixel” cameras that can “track people and vehicles from altitudes above 20,000 feet[,] . . . [can] monitor up to 65 enemies of the State simultaneously[, and] . . . can see targets from almost 25 miles down range.” Predator drones can eavesdrop on electronic transmissions, and one drone unveiled at DEFCON last year can crack Wi-Fi networks and intercept text messages and cell phone conversations—without the knowledge or help of either the communications provider or the customer. Drones are also designed to carry weapons, and some have suggested that drones carrying weapons such as tasers and bean bag guns could be used domestically.Many drones, by virtue of their design, their size, and how high they can fly, can operate undetected in urban and rural environments, allowing the government to spy on Americans without their knowledge. And even if Americans knew they were being spied on, it’s unclear what laws would protect against this. As Ryan Calo, the ACLU (pdf) and many others have noted, Supreme Court case law has not been friendly to privacy in the public sphere, or even to privacy in areas like your backyard or corporate facilities that are off-limits to the public but can be viewed from above. The Supreme Court has also held that the Fourth Amendment’s protections from unreasonable searches and seizures may not apply when it’s not a human that is doing the searching. …. - https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/01/drones-are-watching-you
Silence Gun: Strange Weapon…Immediately Quiets You, Whether You Like It Or Not - (March 1, 2012 - by Fox Van Allen - Tecca) - This delayed auditory feedback device makes it all but impossible for a human to speak …a strange and unsettling new gun being developed by Japanese researchers shoots sound waves in an effort to disrupt and silence anyone who dares speak out of turn.
The gun operates based on the concept of delayed auditory feedback. An attached microphone picks up the sound being made by the target and plays it back 0.2 seconds later. The effect is incredibly confusing to the human brain, making it all but impossible to talk or hold a conversation. The device doesn't cause the person it's being used on any physical harm — it simply messes with their head.
When the human brain hears its own speech perfectly in sync during normal speech, it easily processes the input and allows you to largely ignore the sound of your own voice. However, by offsetting the response just a bit, the brain hears your mouth speaking as well as the strange echo effect produced by the gun. This unusual combination is confusing enough to effectively shut down the part of your brain responsible for managing speech, and you fall immediately silent.
….The free speech implications of the speech jammer are somewhat disconcerting: A protestor or speaker at a political rally could be easily silenced just for having unpopular views. Political rallies and other protest gatherings could easily be quieted by the strange gun, should law enforcement or other agencies decide to equip themselves with the technology. - http://tinyurl.com/jca9yso
Uncle Sam: If It Ends in .Com, It’s .Seizable - (March 6, 2012 - by David Kravets - Wired) - When U.S. authorities shuttered sports-wagering site Bodog.com last week, it raised eyebrows across the net because the domain name was registered with a Canadian company, ostensibly putting it beyond the reach of the U.S. government. Working around that, the feds went directly to VeriSign, a U.S.-based internet backbone company that has the contract to manage the coveted .com and other “generic” top-level domains.
EasyDNS, an internet infrastructure company, protested that the “ramifications of this are no less than chilling and every single organization branded or operating under .com, .net, .org, .biz etc. needs to ask themselves about their vulnerability to the whims of U.S. federal and state lawmakers.”But despite EasyDNS and others’ outrage, the U.S. government says it’s gone that route hundreds of times. Furthermore, it says it has the right to seize any .com, .net and .org domain name because the companies that have the contracts to administer them are based on United States soil, according to Nicole Navas, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman. - http://mcaf.ee/53pvk
You Are Being Tracked Online: 5 Ways to Protect Your Privacy - (March 6, 2012 - by David Rosen - AlterNet) - More pernicious, your personal Social Security number, phone numbers, credit card numbers, medical prescriptions, shopping habits, political affiliations and sexual orientation are now fodder for both corporate and government exploitation.
Both the ad agencies and data brokers have information capture down to a bad science. They track your every keystroke, your every order and bill payment, words and phrases in your emails and your every mobile movement.
The leading data brokers are Acxiom, ChoicePoint, Intelius, Lexis Nexis and US Search Profile. They acquire, slice and dice your personal information as if they were running sausage factories – and your personal life is the unlucky pig. Nearly all offer some type of “opt-out” procedure, but these are usually restricted to public and elected officials, including law enforcement officers working undercover, on a high-profile assignment, under threat of death or serious bodily harm. The burden to opt-out falls to the user and usually is secured only in writing on official government letterhead.
The Privacy Act of 1974 ostensibly forbids the federal government from collecting personal information for one purpose and using it for another. It also prohibited the federal government from creating records about citizens unless the information is intended for a specific law enforcement investigation. But nothing stops the feds from using data collected from private brokers.
The Government Accounting Office reported in 2006 that the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, State and the Social Security Administration used personal data gathered from brokers.
Bill Would Create Partnership Between NSA And U.S. Corporations - (March 7, 2012 - by Stephen C. Webster - The Raw Story) - Speaking at a policy debate Wednesday at The Heritage Foundation, a representative of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) warned that a bill currently being considered by the House Select Committee on Intelligence would intertwine the National Security Agency (NSA) with corporate America, exposing vast amounts of private civilian data to unprecedented levels of monitoring, all in the name of “cybersecurity.”
H.R. 3523, introduced last year by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), purports to help safeguard American corporations from espionage and cyber crime by allowing the NSA and other federal spy agencies to work directly with large corporate players, funneling them classified information on threat assessments to enable companies to defend themselves.
While the bill is openly supported by companies like AT&T, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, Facebook, Boeing and Intel, ACLU legislative counsel Michelle Richardson cautioned Wednesday that it is not something to be taken up lightly.
“[The Rogers bill] will encourage companies to share personal and private data with the government,” she said. “And then with very little oversight, allow the information to be used in a number of different ways.”“If you put the government in the middle of an information sharing scheme, it is absolutely critical that you clarify that it must be run by a civilian agency,” Richardson added. “One of our biggest criticisms of the Rogers bill is that they either explicitly say information should go to the National Security Agency and Cyber Command, or they’re otherwise silent and allow companies to choose where they want to send information, including to these different military facilities.” - http://mcaf.ee/b59rh
Drones Over America: What Can They See? - (32 min. - audio) - (March 12, 2012 - Fresh Air/NPR) - Unmanned aircraft systems, or drones, have long played a role in military operations. But imagine thousands of drones flying over U.S. skies — something we may see in just a few years. In February, President Obama signed an aviation bill requiring the Federal Aviation Administration to make plans to integrate drones into American airspace.On Monday's Fresh Air, John Villasenor, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a professor of electrical engineering at UCLA, explains what these drones will be able to see and how they work. He also talks about the privacy and national security concerns raised by using drones for surveillance purposes. - http://www.npr.org/2012/03/12/148293470
How the FBI Monitored Crusty Punks, ‘Anarchist Hangouts,’ and an Organic Farmers’ Market Under the Guise of Combating Terrorism - (March 13, 2012 - by John Cook - Gawker.com) - The FBI conducted a three-year investigation, dubbed "Seizing Thunder," into a animal-rights and environmental "terrorists" in the Pacific Northwest that devolved into widespread—and seemingly pointless—surveillance of activists for no apparent reason aside from the fact that they were anarchists, or protested the war in Iraq, or were "militant feminists." Here's the file.
What makes Seizing Thunder interesting, however, is how easily the agents slipped beyond investigating actual federal crimes and devoted considerable resources to tracking political activists with no apparent criminal intent. - http://mcaf.ee/6kluj
CIA Chief: We’ll Spy on You Through Your Television - (March 15, 2012 - by Spencer Ackerman - Wired) - More and more personal and household devices are connecting to the internet, from your television to your car navigation systems to your light switches. CIA Director David Petraeus cannot wait to spy on you through them.
Earlier this month, Petraeus mused about the emergence of an “Internet of Things” — that is, wired devices — at a summit for In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital firm. “‘Transformational’ is an overused word, but I do believe it properly applies to these technologies,” Petraeus enthused, “particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft.”
All those new online devices are a treasure trove of data if you’re a “person of interest” to the spy community. Once upon a time, spies had to place a bug in your chandelier to hear your conversation. With the rise of the “smart home,” you’d be sending tagged, geolocated data that a spy agency can intercept in real time when you use the lighting app on your phone to adjust your living room’s ambiance.
“Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters — all connected to the next-generation internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing,” Petraeus said, “the latter now going to cloud computing, in many areas greater and greater supercomputing, and, ultimately, heading to quantum computing.”Petraeus allowed that these household spy devices “change our notions of secrecy” and prompt a rethink of “our notions of identity and secrecy.” All of which is true — if convenient for a CIA director. - http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/03/petraeus-tv-remote/
‘Total Information Awareness’ Surveillance Program Returns, Bigger Than Ever - (March 16, 2012 - by Stephen C. Webster - Raw Story) - A new feature story in this month’s Wired [by “well sourced intelligence reporter James Bamford”] blows the lid off plans for a massive new National Security Agency data center in Utah that represents the resurrection of a program that Congress killed in 2003, known as “Total Information Awareness,” targeting literally all electronic communications all over the world — including those made by American citizens.In these latest revelations, one of Bamford’s covert sources claims that the NSA is on the verge of a massive coup, putting the U.S. inches away from “a turnkey totalitarian state.” - http://mcaf.ee/z59q2
NSA Chief Denies Domestic Spying But Whistleblowers Say Otherwise - (March 21, 2012 - by James Bamford - Wired) - The agency can also do the actual domestic eavesdropping from foreign countries, such as Canada, or from its greatly expanding listening post in Central England, and then just retransmit the data to the U.S. A former NSA deputy director, Louis Tordella, once referred to this technique when testifying before Congress. He noted that the NSA had asked the CIA to conduct illegal domestic eavesdropping but was turned down because the monitoring would take place “on U.S. soil.”
He added, “I was told that if they could move a group of Cubans up to Canada it would be quite all right, but they would not do it in the United States.” And the U.S. frequently asks its very close foreign partners, Canada, the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand, to conduct eavesdropping on its behalf and vice versa. The countries call themselves, the “Five Eyes.” [NOTE: Canada, the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand are part of the NSA’s ubiquitous and omniscient ECHELON domestic-spying program. -- Bike Bob] Prior to 9/11, says Kinne, these countries were not supposed to monitor citizens in each other’s countries, but that also changed. “We listened to Australians, Canadians, Brits. And so it wasn’t just the Americans but that whole idea that you weren’t supposed to monitor those five countries either – citizens of those five countries.” With the borderlessness of modern digital communications, where the actual eavesdropping is done becomes almost irrelevant. - http://tinyurl.com/7ebufhc
Samsung demoed these features to the press earlier this month. The camera and microphones are built into the top if the screen bezel in the 2012 8000-series plasmas and are permanently attached to the top of the 7500- and 8000ES-series LED TVs.
A Samsung representative showed how, once set up and connected to the Internet, these models will automatically talk to the Samsung cloud and enable viewers to use new and exciting apps.
These Samsung TVs locate and make note of registered viewers via sophisticated face recognition software. This means if you tell the TV whose faces belong to which users in your family, it personalizes the experience to each recognized family member. If you have friends over, it could log these faces as well.
In addition, the TV listens and responds to specific voice commands. To use the feature, the microphone is active. What concerns us is the integration of both an active camera and microphone. A Samsung representative tells us you can deactivate the voice feature; however this is done via software, not a hard switch like the one you use to turn a room light on or off.And unlike other TVs, which have cameras and microphones as add-on accessories connected by a single, easily removable USB cable, you can’t just unplug these sensors. - http://mcaf.ee/jceyu
Lawyers Guild Expects More DHS Documents About Occupy Movement - (March 23, 2012 - by Dave Lindorff - ThisCant'BeHappening.net) - If you want to know where the real government of the United States is located, just check out one of the documents received by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund in response to their Freedom of Information Act request to the Dept. of Homeland Security relating to surveillance of the Occupy Movement. That document, from the Secret Service, dated September 17, 2011, the day the Occupy movement began on Wall Street, from the US Secret Service Intelligence Division, titled Prism Demonstrations Abstract, lists the location as “Wall Street Bull” -- a reference to the bronze statue of a bull on Wall Street in front of the New York Stock Exchange, and the “protectee” as “The United States Government.”
As the National Lawyers Guild comments dryly, “American taxpayers might find it odd to learn that the Secret Service was on duty to protect the Wall Street Bull in the name of protecting the U.S. Government. But there it is.”
The trove of 398 documents (many of them heavily censored) received on behalf of thePCJF, the NLG and filmmaker Michael Moore, consists primarily of materials from top Homeland Security Officials, which PCJF Executive Director Mara Verhayden Hilliard says is a deliberate effort by Homeland Security officials to deflect attention from the workings of the mid-level intelligence staff of the various agencies within DHS who do the spying, and the so-called Fusion Centers around the country -- all wholly funded by DHS -- which link federal agencies like the FBI with local and state police agencies.
“It’s all a game of hide-the-ball” says Verhayden Hilliard, who adds that the National Lawyers Guild is challenging the effort by insisting on getting the records from all levels, including the Fusion centers.
Even so, she says that the documents obtained so far show the extraordinary attention that federal intelligence and police agencies from the Secret Service to the FBI to the Federal Protective Service and others devoted to the Occupy movement from its inception.
“The documents we received were only from the highest officials in DHS,” she stresses, “which shows that the government was highly concerned about Occupy at the highest levels of government.”
The National Lawyers Guild explains that documents show that the DHS, in responding to its FOIA request, looked only at records of the Intelligence & Analysis division and the Federal Protective Service, where any intelligence documents relating to the Occupy Movement had already been “purged, restricted and/or rescinded,” and avoided, in responding to the documents request, looking for Occupy movement-related materials “where they are likely to be found, including in Fusion Centers and DHS sub-division such as the Operations Coordination & Planning sub-division which is responsible for DHS coordination with local and federal law enforcement partners.”
A good percentage of the documents recovered in the first trove (many of which are similar to documents released earlier to Truthout's Jason Leopold who also filed an FOIA request with the agency) are instructions on how to respond to media inquiries about the federal response to the Occupy movement sweeping the nation. For example, on November 16, as the violent nationwide crackdown on occupiers by local police was in full swing, DHS Press Secretary Matthew Chandler sent an email to top-ranking DHS officials, including the chief of staff to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, and to the chief of staff of the DHS general counsel, saying, “We’re getting inquiries from CBS, AP, Daily Caller and others on an un-sourced Examiner.com piece that says that DHS and FBI are collaborating with cities by providing tactics and information on removing Occupy protestors. A check of I & A [Intelligence and Analysis] and FPS [Federal Protective Services] shows that this type of outreach is not occurring in any wholesale manner.”
Of course, as the National Lawyers Guild notes, that last line, saying that such cooperation and direction was not occurring in a “wholesale manner,” pretty much implies that it was going on -- just not in a less-than “wholesale manner,” whatever that means.
Also suspicious is an email exchange dated September 29, 2011, in which DHS officials are discussing a National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center alert, based apparently on monitoring of email, twitter and Facebook communications among Occupy organizers, of the coming Occupy actions. The exchange is about how to respond to inevitable media inquiries about the DHS’s role in monitoring and obstructing the Occupy movement. The whole discussion is redacted from the documents, though one participant is shown writing “Here it is. That answer works.”
That the Fusion Centers were actively involved around the country in planning responses to the demonstrations is clear. An October 52011 document from the DHS Philadelphia Megacenter, titled “Demonstration-Peaceful/Planned” reports on an assembly being planned for “peacefully protesting union solidarity issues.”