If you’re an American citizen, then the government has a personal file on you. Think of it like your permanent record from your grade school days. These records contain highly sensitive personal information about you such as where you live, your contact info, your relatives and associates, arrest records, and even speeding tickets. But what many people don’t know, is that this information is all considered “public record,”—and anyone can access it.
Now, a controversial new site is taking things a step further by gathering these records together and posting them online, so anyone with a computer and Internet access can see them. Continue reading »
The UK government’s proposed surveillance legislation is “worse than scary”, the United Nations privacy chief has said.
Joseph Cannataci, the UN’s special rapporteur on privacy, attacked the government’s draft Investigatory Powers Bill, saying he had never seen evidence that mass surveillance works. He also accused MPs of leading an “absolute offensive” and an “orchestrated” media campaign to distort the debate and take hold of new powers.
The comments came during a live streamed keynote presentation at the Internet Governance Forum in Brazil, where leading experts from around the world have gathered to discuss the future of the internet and web policy. Continue reading »
– Patriot Act 2: Obama Executive Order Will Promote Sharing Of Confidential Information With Corporations (ZeroHedge, Feb 13, 2015):
Here come the “information sharing and analysis organizations”, or ISAOs.
* * *
In the aftermath of the Snowden whistleblowing scandal which has now all but been forgotten, there was a brief period when it seemed the growth of the US spying apparatus would be halted if not put into reverse. Those days are long forgotten and later today Obama is expected to to sign an executive order “that aims to make it easier for the government to share classified cyberthreat information with companies.”
The spin, as proposed by the WSJ, is that “this will be effort designed to spur collaboration and deter hackers, the White House said.” In reality what Obama’s latest executive order will do, is expand the universe of entities that has access to the trove of private confidential data contained in the vast government spying apparatus, which as has been made all too clear now focuses as much on US citizens as it does on legitimate foreign threats, and further eviscerate the concept of individual privacy in the US. Continue reading »
– ‘Hostile to privacy’: Snowden urges internet users to get rid of Dropbox (RT, Oct 12, 2014):
Edward Snowden has hit out at Dropbox and other services he says are “hostile to privacy,” urging web users to abandon unencrypted communication and adjust privacy settings to prevent governments from spying on them in increasingly intrusive ways.
“We are no longer citizens, we no longer have leaders. We’re subjects, and we have rulers,” Snowden told The New Yorker magazine in a comprehensive hour-long interview. Continue reading »
– Nowhere To Hide As Minority Report-Style Facial Recognition Technology Spreads Across America (Economic Collapse, Sep 17, 2014):
What is our society going to look like when our faces are being tracked literally everywhere that we go? As part of the FBI’s new Next Generation Identification System, a facial recognition database known as the Interstate Photo System will have collected 52 million of our faces by the end of 2015. But that is only a small part of the story. According to Edward Snowden, the NSA has been using advanced facial recognition technology for years. In addition, as you will see below, advertising companies are starting to use Minority Report-style face scanners in their billboards and many large corporations see facial recognition technology as a tool that they can use to serve their customers better. Someday soon it may become virtually impossible to go out in public in a major U.S. city without having your face recorded. Is that the kind of society that we want? Continue reading »
– CIA spies on Senate. Here’s how to take back your digital privacy [FREE] (Sovereign Man, Aug 14, 2014):
Back in March serious allegations came out of the Senate that the CIA was monitoring and even hacking Senate computers. They were denied vehemently at the time by CIA director John Brennan, who went so far as to say “that’s just beyond the scope of reason.”
Unsurprisingly, of course, the CIA has now come out saying that, yes, they did in fact spy on Senate aides’ computers. Oh, and that they’re sorry. Very sorry.
This is stuff that would have been a major scandal not too long ago, causing a public outcry for the heads of those responsible.
Today, it seems par for the course. It’s taken for granted that governments around the world, spearheaded by Uncle Sam, monitor communication via email, phone, social networks, webcam etc. en masse. Continue reading »
– 4 Ways that Mass Surveillance Destroys the Economy (Washington’s Blog, June 29, 2014):
Prosperity Requires Privacy
Privacy is a prerequisite for a prosperous economy. Even the White House admits:
People must have confidence that data will travel to its destination without disruption. Assuring the free flow of information, the security and privacy of data, and the integrity of the interconnected networks themselves are all essential to American and global economic prosperity, security, and the promotion of universal rights.
Below, we discuss four ways that mass surveillance hurts our economy. Continue reading »
The Supreme Court of the United States said Wednesday that police officers must have a warrant before searching the cell phone contents of an individual under arrest.
In a unanimous ruling announced early Wednesday, the high court settled two cases surrounding instances in which law enforcement officials scoured the mobile phones of suspects in custody and then used information contained therein to pursue further charges.
“The police generally may not, without a warrant, search digital information on a cell phone seized from an individual who has been arrested,” the Supreme Court ruled.
“Modern cell phones are not just another technological convenience,” the court continued. “The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought. Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple — get a warrant.”
Orin Kerr, a Georgetown University law professor who focuses primarily on computer cases, wrote Wednesday morning on his Washington Post-hosted blog that the court’s decision was “a big win for digital privacy.” Continue reading »
– ‘You are unauthorized’: Nearly 50% of EU organizations deny access to personal data (RT, June 24, 2014):
Four out of ten organizations obstruct citizens from accessing their own personal data, says a recent study. Companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter also fail to fulfill their duty to be transparent.
The international study, conducted by experts from the University of Sheffield, has inspected at least 327 organizations across Europe, including the UK, Norway and Germany. Continue reading »
– Chaos Computer Club files criminal complaint against the German Government (Chaos Computer Club, Feb 3, 2014):
On Monday, the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) and the International League for Human Rights (ILMR), have filed a criminal complaint with the Federal Prosecutor General’s office. The complaint is directed against the German federal government, the presidents of the German secret services, namely Bundesnachrichtendienst, Militärischer Abschirmdienst, Bundesamt für Verfassungschutz, and others. We accuse US, British and German secret agents, their supervisors, the German Minister of the Interior as well as the German Chancelor of illegal and prohibited covert intelligence activities, of aiding and abetting of those activities, of violation of the right to privacy and obstruction of justice in office by bearing and cooperating with the electronic surveillance of German citizens by NSA and GCHQ.
After months of press releases about mass surveillance by secret services and offensive attacks on information technology systems, we now have certainty that German and other countries’ secret services have violated the German criminal law. With this criminal complaint, we hope to finally initiate investigations by the Federal Prosecutor General against the German government. The CCC has learned with certainty that the leaders of the secret services and the federal government have aided and abetted the commission of these crimes.
– NSA uses Google cookies to pinpoint targets for hacking (Washington Post, Dec 10, 2013):
A slide from an internal NSA presentation indicating that the agency uses at least one Google cookie as a way to identify targets for exploitation. (Washington Post)
The National Security Agency is secretly piggybacking on the tools that enable Internet advertisers to track consumers, using “cookies” and location data to pinpoint targets for government hacking and to bolster surveillance.
The agency’s internal presentation slides, provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, show that when companies follow consumers on the Internet to better serve them advertising, the technique opens the door for similar tracking by the government. The slides also suggest that the agency is using these tracking techniques to help identify targets for offensive hacking operations.
– Meet the NSA’s “Fat Finger” (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Aug 16, 2013):
James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, has acknowledged that the court found the NSA in breach of the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, but the Obama administration has fought a Freedom of Information lawsuit that seeks the opinion.
Generally, the NSA reveals nothing in public about its errors and infractions. The unclassified versions of the administration’s semiannual reports to Congress feature blacked-out pages under the headline “Statistical Data Relating to Compliance Incidents.”
From the Washington Post’s groundbreaking article from last evening
For those of you not familiar with Wall Street lingo, people in the financial industry refer to an outsized move in the markets resulting from a human error as a “fat finger,” ie someone pressed the wrong key when placing an order. Unfortunately for us all, it appears the NSA has a surveillance fat finger. Who would’ve guessed it!
Tags: Barack Obama, Big Brother, Congress, Constitution, Dictatorship, Edward Snowden, Fascism, Freedom, Government, James Clapper, Law, New World Order, NSA, Obama administration, Politics, Privacy, Surveillance, U.S.
– GOOGLE: If You Send To Gmail, You Have ‘No Legitimate Expectation Of Privacy’ (San Francisco Chronicle, Aug 13, 2013):
If you happen to send an email to one of the 400 million people who use Google’s Gmail service, you shouldn’t have any expectation of privacy, according to a court briefing obtained by the Consumer Watchdog website.
In a motion filed last month by Google to have a class action complaint dismissed, Google’s lawyers reference a 1979 ruling, holding that people who turn over information to third parties shouldn’t expect that information to remain private.
From the filing (emphasis added):
– Google Engineer Wins Award from the NSA and then Slams it (Liberty Blitzkrieg, July 29, 2013):
“In accepting the award I don’t condone the NSA’s surveillance. Simply put, I don’t think a free society is compatible with an organisation like the NSA in its current form.”
– Dr. Joseph Bonneau
In case you weren’t aware, Dr. Joseph Bonneau, a google engineer, received an award for the Best Scientific Cybersecurity Paper of 2012 from the National Security Agency’s first annual “Science of Security Competition” on July 19th. He experienced such mixed emotions upon its receipt that he felt the need to express them publicly in a blog post. We should all be thankful he had the courage to do so.
– The Essence of DNA Identity (Veterans Today, June 10, 2013):
Do you intrinsically possess individual privacy rights, based upon natural law authority, or are your civil liberties arbitrarily defined by the current whims of government?
How you answer, this question speaks loudly about your understanding of the nature of your very being. Those who deem that natural law is a myth or a superstition are poised for voluntary surrender of their vital identity. The cataloging of individual essence is aberrant.
Your deoxyribonucleic acid is the core element of personal uniqueness and human dignity. If your DNA is subject to government collection and storage, the right of personal privacy is destroyed.
– Judge Orders Google To Give Customer Data To FBI (Huffingtion Post, June 1, 2013):
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge has ruled that Google Inc. must comply with the FBI’s warrantless demands for customer data, rejecting the company’s argument that the government’s practice of issuing so-called national security letters to telecommunication companies, Internet service providers, banks and others was unconstitutional and unnecessary.
FBI counter-terrorism agents began issuing the secret letters, which don’t require a judge’s approval, after Congress passed the USA Patriot Act in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Tags: Barack Obama, Constitution, Corporations, Dictatorship, eMails, Fascism, FBI, Global News, Google, Government, Internet, Law, New World Order, Obama administration, Patriot Act, Politics, Privacy, Surveillance, Terrorism, U.S.
– IRS: We can read emails without warrant (The Hill, April 10, 2013):
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has claimed that agents do not need warrants to read people’s emails, text messages and other private electronic communications, according to internal agency documents.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which obtained the documents through a Freedom of Information Act request, released the information on Wednesday.
In a 2009 handbook, the IRS said the Fourth Amendment does not protect emails because Internet users “do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications.” A 2010 presentation by the IRS Office of General Counsel reiterated the policy. Continue reading »
Tags: 1984, ACLU, Barack Obama, Big Brother, Civil liberties, Constitution, Dictatorship, eMails, Fascism, Freedom of Information Act, George Orwell, Global News, Government, Internet, IRS, Law, New World Order, Politics, Privacy, Society, U.S.
Here’s a surprise ruling. For many years we’ve written about how troubling it is that Homeland Security agents are able to search the contents of electronic devices, such as computers and phones at the border, without any reason. The 4th Amendment only allows reasonable searches, usually with a warrant. But the general argument has long been that, when you’re at the border, you’re not in the country and the 4th Amendment doesn’t apply. This rule has been stretched at times, including the ability to take your computer and devices into the country and search it there, while still considering it a “border search,” for which the lower standards apply. Just about a month ago, we noted that Homeland Security saw no reason to change this policy.
Well, now they might have to.
– UK government plans to track ALL web use: MI5 to install ‘black box’ spy devices to monitor British internet traffic (Daily Mail, Feb 6, 2013):
MPs’ report outlines spooks’ take on the draft Communications Data Bill It shows they are keen to implement nationwide surveillance regime They want ISPs to install ‘black boxes’ that can inspect all internet traffic Spies claim they are only interested in ‘communications data’ Campaigners warn it will give spies unprecedented surveillance powers
UK spy agencies want to install ‘black box’ surveillance devices across the country’s communications networks to monitor internet use, it emerged today.
A report by an influential committee of MPs tells how spooks are keen to implement a nationwide surveillance regime aimed at logging nearly everything Britons do and say online.
The spy network will rely on a technology known as Deep Packet Inspection to log data from communications ranging from online services like Facebook and Twitter, Skype calls with family members and visits to pornographic websites.
Tags: 1984, Big Brother, Dictatorship, Facebook, Fascism, George Orwell, Global News, Government, Internet, Jonathan Evans, Law, MI5, New World Order, Politics, Privacy, Skype, Society, Surveillance, Twitter, U.K.
– Congratulations Charlottesville, Virginia! The First City to Pass Anti-Drone Legislation (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Feb 5, 2013):
This simple piece of legislation proves that you can make a difference at the local level. We need a lot more of this type of thing all over these United States. As I have said many times, it’s not that I am against drones in all capacities; however, we must be vigilant about how these things are used and must have serious safeguards in place to protect civil liberties. Kudos to the Rutherford Institute for leading the charge here.
From US News:
Charlottesville, Va., has become the first city in the United States to formally pass an anti-drone resolution.
– Cloud surfing: US surveilance act ‘grave threat’ to EU sovereignty (RT, Jan 9, 2013):
An intelligence bill has put the frighteners on EU citizens as it allows the US access to their personal data stored in internet clouds like those used on Facebook and Google. The law is a ‘grave risk’ to the rights of EU citizens, says an EU report.
The amendments to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was signed into law by President Barack Obama on Monday.
Tags: 1984, Barack Obama, Big Brother, Dictatorship, EU, Europe, FISA, George Orwell, Global News, Government, Internet, New World Order, Obama administration, Politics, Privacy, Surveillance, U.S., warrantless eavesdropping
– Judge Napolitano: ‘What Were FBI Agents Doing Monitoring Petraeus’ Private Emails?’ (FOX News, Nov 12, 2012):
Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano joined Studio B to discuss Gen. David Petraeus’ resignation as CIA Director and pointedly asked, “What were FBI agents doing monitoring the secret emails of the director of the CIA? And, how is it the CIA didn’t know about it?”
According to Napolitano, in order for the FBI to be reading Petraeus’ emails, they would either need a search warrant from a federal judge or they’d have to write their own search warrant under the Patriot Act providing sufficient reason to believe the general was involved in terrorist activities. The only other way that they could have been monitoring his emails is by hacking into his computer, which would be a crime.
Napolitano argued, “General Petraeus just because he’s an adulterer doesn’t lose his constitutional rights. And he has the right to be protected from an unwarranted, unjustified investigation by the FBI or anyone.”
Tags: Andrew Napolitano, Barack Obama, CIA, Civil liberties, Civil rights, Constitution, Crime, David Petraeus, eMails, FBI, Global News, Government, Law, Military, Obama administration, Politics, Privacy, Surveillance, U.S.
– Facebook: snitchgate! (Paul Bernal’s Blog, Sep 21, 2012):
A story about Facebook went around twitter last night that provoked quite a reaction in privacy advocates like me: Facebook, it seems, is experimenting with getting people to ‘snitch’ on any of their friends who don’t use their real names. Take a look at this:
– FBI begins installation of $1 billion face recognition system across America (RT, Sep 8, 2012):
Birthmarks, be damned: the FBI has officially started rolling out a state-of-the-art face recognition project that will assist in their effort to accumulate and archive information about each and every American at a cost of a billion dollars.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has reached a milestone in the development of their Next Generation Identification (NGI) program and is now implementing the intelligence database in unidentified locales across the country, New Scientist reports in an article this week. The FBI first outlined the project back in 2005, explaining to the Justice Department in an August 2006 document (.pdf) that their new system will eventually serve as an upgrade to the current Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) that keeps track of citizens with criminal records across America .
“The NGI Program is a compilation of initiatives that will either improve or expand existing biometric identification services,” its administrator explained to the Department of Justice at the time, adding that the project, “will accommodate increased information processing and sharing demands in support of anti-terrorism.”
“The NGI Program Office mission is to reduce terrorist and criminal activities by improving and expanding biometric identification and criminal history information services through research, evaluation and implementation of advanced technology within the IAFIS environment.”
The agency insists, “As a result of the NGI initiatives, the FBI will be able to provide services to enhance interoperability between stakeholders at all levels of government, including local, state, federal, and international partners.” In doing as such, though, the government is now going ahead with linking a database of images and personally identifiable information of anyone in their records with departments around the world thanks to technology that makes fingerprint tracking seem like kids’ stuff.
Tags: 1984, Barack Obama, Civil liberties, Civil rights, Constitution, Dictatorship, Fascism, FBI, George Orwell, Global News, Government, New World Order, Obama administration, Police State, Politics, Privacy, Society, Surveillance, Terrorism, U.S.
– Roxon edges towards keeping online data for two years (Sydney Morning Herald, Sep. 4, 2012):
The Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, appears to have swung her support behind a controversial plan to capture the online data of all Australians, despite only six weeks ago saying ”the case had yet to be made” for the policy.
The data retention plan – which would force all Australian telcos and internet service providers to store the online data of all Australians for up to two years – is the most controversial element of a package of more than 40 proposed changes to national security legislation.
If passed, the proposals would be the most significant expansion of national security powers since the Howard-era reforms of the early 2000s.
In a speech to be delivered at the Security in Government conference in Canberra today, Ms Roxon will say that law enforcement agencies need the data retention policy in order to be able to effectively target criminals.
A pilot flies over Lancaster in a Cessna equipped with a surveillance system. The city appears to be the first to have a camera sending video continuously to the ground, to be used as an integral part of daily policing. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times / August 24, 2012)
– Lancaster takes to the skies to get a view on crime (Los Angeles Times, Aug 25, 2012):
Police continuously track activity on the city’s streets with aerial video. Officials say guarding privacy is a priority.
The residents of Lancaster probably didn’t notice it, but a small Cessna aircraft on Friday flew high above the desert city, capturing hours of video and ushering in a new era in law enforcement surveillance.
The plane, equipped with sophisticated video equipment, is set fly a loop above the city for up to 10 hours a day, beaming a live video feed of what’s going on below to a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department dispatch center.
The camera will inevitably pick up scenes of mundane day-to-day life. But officials said they plan to use the video only to track reports of crimes in progress, traffic collisions and other emergency situations.