Jan 12

Jimmy Savile sex-abuse scandal stretches across decades, report says (LA Times, Jan 11, 2013):

LONDON — The late entertainer Jimmy Savile sexually abused children on an unprecedented scale in Britain over half a century, using his fame and charitable work to deflect accusations of misconduct and to find vulnerable victims, particularly youngsters in hospitals, police said Friday.

A report by Scotland Yard after weeks of investigation painted a sickening portrait of a pedophile who molested hundreds of young people across the country between 1955 and 2009, a period during which he rose to national prominence and received various awards, including from Queen Elizabeth II, for his charity work.

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Jul 11

Group Also Asks Secret Intelligence Court Not To Exclude Public From Any Proceedings On New Law’s Constitutionality

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org

NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union filed a landmark lawsuit today to stop the government from conducting surveillance under a new wiretapping law that gives the Bush administration virtually unchecked power to intercept Americans’ international e-mails and telephone calls. The case was filed on behalf of a broad coalition of attorneys and human rights, labor, legal and media organizations whose ability to perform their work – which relies on confidential communications – will be greatly compromised by the new law.

The FISA Amendments Act of 2008, passed by Congress on Wednesday and signed by President Bush today, not only legalizes the secret warrantless surveillance program the president approved in late 2001, it gives the government new spying powers, including the power to conduct dragnet surveillance of Americans’ international communications.

“Spying on Americans without warrants or judicial approval is an abuse of government power – and that’s exactly what this law allows. The ACLU will not sit by and let this evisceration of the Fourth Amendment go unchallenged,” said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. “Electronic surveillance must be conducted in a constitutional manner that affords the greatest possible protection for individual privacy and free speech rights. The new wiretapping law fails to provide fundamental safeguards that the Constitution unambiguously requires.”

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Jun 04

The telecoms who are being sued for their cooperation in the government’s illegal warrantless surveillance program have received billions in government contracts. According to Washington Technology magazine, Verizon received $1.3 billion, Sprint $839 million and AT&T $505 million in federal prime contract revenue for fiscal 2007, for a total of $2.6 billion. While the companies have been government contractors for a long time, it still represents a significant increase in revenue.

Telecom apologists like to suggest that the communications companies’ motivation was not financial. As Judge Walker noted when examining EFF’s allegations of dragnet surveillance: “AT&T cannot seriously contend that a reasonable entity in its position could have believed that the alleged domestic dragnet was legal.” Yet, the prospect of $2.6 billion per year can go a long way to explaining why an industry might cooperate with a program far outside the limitations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), despite the difficulty of believing it was legal.

Note that the numbers represent publicly available information for prime contracting only and do not include subcontracting revenue. Any monies paid for the secret NSA surveillance program would be in addition to the public contracting numbers. Continue reading »

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Mar 06

Authorities to Gain Fast and Expansive Access to Records
Several thousand law enforcement agencies are creating the foundation of a domestic intelligence system through computer networks that analyze vast amounts of police information to fight crime and root out terror plots.

As federal authorities struggled to meet information-sharing mandates after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, police agencies from Alaska and California to the Washington region poured millions of criminal and investigative records into shared digital repositories called data warehouses, giving investigators and analysts new power to discern links among people, patterns of behavior and other hidden clues.

Those network efforts will begin expanding further this month, as some local and state agencies connect to a fledgling Justice Department system called the National Data Exchange, or N-DEx. Federal authorities hope N-DEx will become what one called a “one-stop shop” enabling federal law enforcement, counterterrorism and intelligence analysts to automatically examine the enormous caches of local and state records for the first time. Continue reading »

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