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UK Mass Digital Surveillance Regime Ruled Illegal

UK Mass Digital Surveillance Regime Ruled Illegal 

On 30 January, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act of 2014 (DRIPA), which made way for the Investigatory Powers Act of 2016 (IPA), did not restrict the access of confidential personal phone and web browsing records to investigations of serious crime. The IPA means that Internet service providers must now store details of everything we do online for twelve months and render it accessible to dozens of public bodies. 

This data can be virtually everything, from browsing records to personal information on private citizens, to include but not limited to: search engine activity, every phone call to text message plus geographical location, private financial and credit repair services, personal correspondence, medical records, and data from banking, insurance, and investment services which is stored on computers and mobile telephones.  This law obliges technology companies to hand over the data that they have about private citizens to intelligence agencies and it can force tech companies like Apple to remove encryption, ultimately weakening the security of their own products in total secrecy.

The ability of the government to spy on private citizens’ includes the encroachment upon the fundamental rights of privacy in financial matters, such that a “super-spy search engine” has become part of the arsenal that the Home Office is accused of hosting.  What does surveillance mean in an era where financial information needs to be safeguarded and when economic interests such as crypto robots and cryptocurrencies could face government spying?

Let’s step back to 2004, when philosopher Giorgio Agamben refused to submit passport biodata in 2004 in the United States when he famously rescinded his appointment to lecture at New York University.  Resisting the submission of fingerprints required to enter

the United States as a foreign visitor, Agamben’s actions then foreshadowed what he would later address in his 2013 Athens lecture:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Seattle to Remove Controversial City Spying Network After Public Backlash

Seattle to Remove Controversial City Spying Network After Public Backlash

After rejecting a massive network of surveillance cameras and tracking devices, Seattle residents are now being forced to pay for the removal of the invasive equipment.

Following years of resistance from citizens, the city of Seattle has decided to completely remove controversial surveillance equipment – at a cost of $150,000. In November 2013, Seattle residents pushed back against the installation of several mesh network nodes attached to utility poles around the downtown area. The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington and privacy advocates were immediately concerned about the ability of the nodes to gather user information via the Wi-Fi connection.

The Seattle Times reports on the latest developments:

Seattle’s wireless mesh network, a node of controversy about police surveillance and the role of federal funding in city policing, is coming down.

Megan Erb, spokeswoman for Seattle Information Technology, said the city has budgeted $150,000 for contractor Prime Electric and city employees to remove dozens of surveillance cameras and 158 “wireless access points” — little, off-white boxes with antennae mounted on utility poles around the city.

The nodes were purchased by the Seattle Police Department via a $3.6 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security. The Seattle Police Department argued the network would be helpful for protecting the port and for first-responder communication during emergencies. As the Times notes, “the mesh network, according to the ACLU, news reports and anti-surveillance activists from Seattle Privacy Coalition, had the potential to track and log every wireless device that moved through its system: people attending protests, people getting cups of coffee, people going to a hotel in the middle of the workday.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trump Administration to Test Biometric Program to Scan Faces of Drivers and Passengers in Vehicles

Trump Administration to Test Biometric Program to Scan Faces of Drivers and Passengers in Vehicles

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection is preparing to launch a pilot program to scan the faces of drivers and passengers at Anzalduas Port near McAllen, Texas.

On Thursday the U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced plans for a new pilot program that will test out biometric facial recognition technology as part of an effort to identify fugitives or terror suspects. The Austin-American Statesman reported on the announcement:

Thanks to quantum leaps in facial recognition technology, especially over the past year, the future is arriving sooner than most Americans realize. As early as this summer, CBP will set up a pilot program to digitally scan the faces of drivers and passengers — while they are in moving vehicles — at the busy Anzalduas Port of Entry outside of McAllen, the agency announced Thursday.

The Texas-Mexico border is being used as the testing grounds for the technology. The results of the pilot program will be used to help roll out a national program along the entire southern and northern borders. The Statesman notes that the Department of Energy hired researchers at Tennessee’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory to help overcome the difficulties of using facial recognition technology on moving vehicles. The researchers developed a method for combating window tinting and sun glare which can make a vehicle’s windows impenetrable to cameras. The facial recognition technology being developed for the pilot program will be capable of identifying the driver, front passengers, and the passengers riding in the back.

The CBP currently operates facial recognition exit programs at almost a dozen international airports in the United States. Colleen Manaher, the CBP’s executive director of planning, program analysis and evaluation, told the Statesman that travelers have been accepting of the technology and noted that “we can thank the Apples and the Googles for that.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Net’s Good Old Boys: Dr. (Don’t Be) Evil Meets Dr. Strangelove

The Net’s Good Old Boys: Dr. (Don’t Be) Evil Meets Dr. Strangelove

Dr. Eric Schmidt has called for intelligence agencies to stop illegally prying into personal information and has been doing his best to convince the government to pay Google to do it legally instead. That said, in 2009 he was widely rebuked for telling CNBC:

If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place, but if you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines including Google do retain this information for some time, and it’s important, for example that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act. It is possible that that information could be made available to the authorities. ~ Dr. Eric Schmidt, Google CEO, 2009

Schmidt didn’t add that Google is obliged to turn over email content under court order and not tell users it did so. He didn’t have to. We all know about FISA and PATRIOT. Same goes for Hotmail, AOL, or any US email provider, only Google has much more to give.

When Schmidt described Google searches as being up for grabs, he left out Gmail, Google Maps, Google Store or Google Play. Neither did he mention that you can enhance your privacy by encrypting your email and search Google anonymously via VPN servers and proxy search engines like StartPage and DuckDuckGo. He doesn’t want you to do that. It’s bad for your personality profile, and you’re likely up to no good if you do. But you are free to open “incognito” (private) windows on your browser that don’t record your search history. Google’s Your Data page says:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The FISA Memo is All the Ammunition Trump Needs to Take on the CIA

The FISA Memo is All the Ammunition Trump Needs to Take on the CIA

FISA is an abomination. Let’s get that out of the way. And since I don’t believe there are any coincidences in U.S. or geo-politics, the releasing of the explosive four-page FISA memo after Congress reauthorized FISA is suspicious.

Former NSA analyst (traitor? hero?) turned security state gadfly Edward Snowden came out in favor of President Trump vetoing the FISA reauthorization now that the full extent of what the statute is used for is known to members of the House Intelligence Committee, who are rightly aghast.

But, like I said, timing in these things is everything. And the timing on this leak is important.

Someone leaked this memo to the House Intelligence Committee with the sole intention of giving President Trump the opportunity to do exactly what Snowden is arguing for.

And well Trump should.  This is the essence of draining the swamp.  It is the essence of his war with the Shadow Government.  If one makes the distinction between the Deep State and the Shadow Government, like former CIA officer Kevin Shipp does, then this falls right in line with Trump’s goals in cleaning up the rot and corruption in the U.S. government.  In a recent interview with Greg Hunter at USAWatchdog.com,

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Customs And Border Protection Clarifies: You Have No Rights While Traveling

The government is like a poorly trained dog. If you let one bad behavior go, it just escalates until they bite.

The government has been searching electronics like cell phones and laptops at the border since early in the Bush administration. But because the 9/11 attacks were fresh, and because the practice was not widespread, it went largely unnoticed.

Fast forward to fiscal year 2015 and the Customs and Border Protection searched 8,503 airline passengers’ electronic devices. In FY 2016 they searched 19,033. And in FY 2017 CBP searched the devices of 30,200 travelers.

The CBP obtained no warrants for these searches. Many people searched were foreign travelers to the U.S. but last year over 6,000 were American citizens.

In response to growing complaints Customs and Border Protection revised their policy. Last week they issued a new directive. But in some ways, it is worse.

For starters, their guidance claims the authority to search a traveler’s electronic devices “with or without suspicion.”

The guidance now claims passengers are “obligated” to turn over their devices as well as passcodes for examination. If they fail to do so, agents can seize the device.

That is all considered a “basic search.” Agents must have suspicion in order to conduct an “advanced search.” This includes copying information from devices, or analyzing them with other equipment.

Finally, CBP agents can not “intentionally” search information stored on the cloud, versus on the device’s hard drive.

What this means:

It actually adds insult to injury that the new guidance starts: “CBP will protect the rights of individuals against unreasonable search and seizure and ensure privacy protection while accomplishing its enforcement mission.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. This is clearly a violation of the Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure. This violates the privacy of everyone searched.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Same Democrats Who Denounce Trump as a Lawless, Treasonous Authoritarian Just Voted to Give Him Vast Warrantless Spying Powers

Rep. Adam Schiff, right, D-Calif., ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speak during the Los Angeles LGBTQ #ResistMarch, Sunday, June 11, 2017, in West Hollywood, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Photo: Mark J. Terrill/AP

The Same Democrats Who Denounce Trump as a Lawless, Treasonous Authoritarian Just Voted to Give Him Vast Warrantless Spying Powers

LEADING CONGRESSIONAL DEMOCRATS have spent the last year relentlessly accusing Donald Trump of being controlled by or treasonously loyal to a hostile foreign power. Over the last several months, they have added to those disloyalty charges a new set of alleged crimes: abusing the powers of the Executive Branch – including the Justice Department and FBI – to vindictively punish political opponents while corruptly protecting the serious crimes of his allies, including his own family members and possibly himself.

The inescapable conclusion from all of this, they have relentlessly insisted, is that Trump is a lawless authoritarian of the type the U.S. has not seen in the Oval Office for decades, if ever: a leader who has no regard for Constitutional values or legal limits and thus poses a grave, unique and existential threat to the institutions of American democracy. Reflecting the severity of these fears, the anti-Trump opposition movement that has coalesced within Democratic Party politics has appropriated a slogan – expressed in the hashtag form of contemporary online activism – that was historically used by those who unite, at all costs, to defeat domestic tyranny: #Resistance.

One would hope, and expect, that those who genuinely view Trump as a menace of this magnitude and who view themselves as #Resistance fighters would do everything within their ability to impose as many limits and safeguards as possible on the powers he is able to wield. If “resistance” means anything, at a minimum it should entail a refusal to trust a dangerous authoritarian to wield vast power with little checks or oversight.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

House Passes Legislation Renewing Controversial NSA Surveillance Program

Update 3: The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act has been renewed by the House of Representatives. Originally enacted in 1978, the act outlines the lawful procedure for collecting foreign intelligence. FISA Section 702 allows the US government to pull in communications from foreign nationals but does not permit surveillance of US citizens, even if they are suspected of criminality or terrorism. Ahead of a vote to extend FISA for six years, US President Donald Trump initially hit out at the key intelligence provision, although later updated his stance through a tweet declaring that the country needs FISA.


“House votes on controversial FISA ACT today.” This is the act that may have been used, with the help of the discredited and phony Dossier, to so badly surveil and abuse the Trump Campaign by the previous administration and others?

With that being said, I have personally directed the fix to the unmasking process since taking office and today’s vote is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land. We need it! Get smart!


As Glenn Greenwald notes, this is the list of House Democrats who stood with Trump, Devin Nunes and the NSA to ensure ongoing warrantless eavesdropping on Americans, adding “Note how many of the leading #Resistance leaders are on this list.

55 House Democrats – including Pelosi, Hoyer, Schiff – voted to kill a surveillance reform bill that would have (among other things) added a warrant requirement to 702 searches.

Full list of Dem ‘no’ votes:


…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

DHS Announces Program to ILLEGALLY Scan Our Faces—And They’re Forcing Us to Pay For It

DHS Announces Program to ILLEGALLY Scan Our Faces—And They’re Forcing Us to Pay For It

Both Congress and the Department of Homeland Security have never justified the biometric scanners at airports that could cost Americans $1 billion in 2018.

scan

As TSA agents continue to prove their incompetence in the “War on Terror,” the Department of Homeland Security is now allocating $1 billion in taxpayer funding to create a facial recognition program that will illegally scan Americans’ faces.

A study conducted by Georgetown Law’s Center for Privacy and Technology looked at the biometric scanners that are creating an inventory of the faces of individuals leaving the country at airports across the United States. While they are only at certain major airports right now, the full implementation of these scanners could cost Americans up to $1 billion.

The study noted that while the “9/11 Response and Biometric Exit Account” created by Congress has the funds for the program, neither Congress nor DHS has ever justified the need for the program.”

In addition to the fact that Congress has never provided a reason why the system is needed in the U.S., the study claimed that DHS has “repeatedly questioned ‘the additional value biometric air exit would provide’ compared with the status quo and the ‘overall value and cost of a biometric air exit capability,’ even as it has worked to build it.”

Not only is a government agency pouring $1 billion into a program to increase the country’s security measures even though it lacks full confidence, and has no evidence that the program it is implementing will do so, there is also the fact that the program requires Americans to give up their civil liberties, and it has never been explicitly authorized by the government. As the researchers from Georgetown Law noted:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Finland’s Largest Newspaper Faces Treason Charges For Publishing Leaked Files On Spy Ops Targeting Russia

Finland’s Largest Newspaper Faces Treason Charges For Publishing Leaked Files On Spy Ops Targeting Russia

A bizarre story of a police raid on a Finnish journalist’s home is drawing international attention, especially as it occurred in a country known for its protection of press freedoms. The journalist is Laura Halminien from Finland’s largest daily newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, where she published a bombshell investigative report on Saturday based on previously leaked documents connected to a Finnish intelligence operation which closely monitors Russian military movements just across the border in the St. Petersburg region.

The report gave details of Finish Defense Intelligence Agecy (VKoeL) secretive facilities and ongoing operations regarding surveillance of Russia, with special focus on a signals surveillance complex in the city of Tikkakoski in central Finland. The Tikkakoski complex is said use a high tech and advanced monitoring system to observe Russian military maneuvers based on electromagnetic radiation. 


Main offices for Finland’s largest daily newspaper, which is now under investigation over the leaks. Image source: 
Hakaniemi

The unusual police search occurred on Sunday evening, when authorities showed up the journalist’s home without a warrant, yet in response to a possible fire. According to Reuters the series of events unfolded as follows:

Finnish police searched a reporter’s home and seized her computer after she tried to destroy the hard drive to protect sources linked to a security story, her newspaper reported. The journalist, Laura Halminen, said she tried to smash up her computer with a hammer in her home, but the laptop then started smoking and she called the fire brigade, according to an interview published by her employer Helsingin Sanomat.

Police officers who came to her home with the fire service to investigate the blaze then took her computer and searched her property, police said…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Supreme Court to Debate Warrantless Collection Of Cellphone Records in Huge Fourth Amendment Battle

Supreme Court to Debate Warrantless Collection Of Cellphone Records in Huge Fourth Amendment Battle

In one of the most important Fourth Amendment battles of the digital age, the Supreme Court is preparing to tackle a case involving law enforcement accessing cellphone records without a warrant.

On Wednesday the US Supreme Court is scheduled to address the case of Carpenter v. United States to determine whether or not law enforcement should be required to obtain a warrant before accessing the cellphone records of an individual. The case deals with a set of armed robberies that took place between December 2010 and March 2011. Several men worked together to rob RadioShack and T-Mobile stores in the Michigan and Ohio areas, stealing cell phones and holding store employees and customers hostage in the process.

A couple of the men were arrested and quickly confessed afterwards. However, one man remained at large. With one of the suspect’s phones in their possession, the FBI gained access to”transactional records” from various wireless carriers for 16 different phone numbers contained within the phone. These records contained all the location info and call records made to and from the phone. Using the “cell-site records” pulled off the phone, the FBI was able to locate and arrest the final suspect, Timothy Carpenter. He was charged and convicted by a jury of aiding and abetting robbery that affected interstate commerce, and aiding and abetting the use or carriage of a firearm during a federal crime of violence. Carpenter now faces life in prison for his crimes.

The FBI gained access to the cell-site records using provision set forth by the Stored Communications Act, which was passed in 1986 to deal with the protection of information stored digitally.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Staggering Variety of Clandestine Trackers Found in Popular Android Apps

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 01: (MANDATORY CREDIT PHOTO BY DAVE J. HOGAN GETTY IMAGES REQUIRED)  A general view of atmosphere at the Exclusive Google Play gig to launch Take That's new album 'III' which will be available to stream exclusively on Google Play throughout December at Dover St Arts Club on December 1, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
Photo: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

RESEARCHERS AT YALE Privacy Lab and French nonprofit Exodus Privacy have documented the proliferation of tracking software on smartphones, finding that weather, flashlight, rideshare, and dating apps, among others, are infested with dozens of different types of trackers collecting vast amounts of information to better target advertising.

Exodus security researchers identified 44 trackers in more than 300 appsfor Google’s Android smartphone operating system. The apps, collectively, have been downloaded billions of times. Yale Privacy Lab, within the university’s law school, is working to replicate the Exodus findings and has already released reports on 25 of the trackers.

Yale Privacy Lab researchers have only been able to analyze Android apps, but believe many of the trackers also exist on iOS, since companies often distribute for both platforms. To find trackers, the Exodus researchers built a custom auditing platform for Android apps, which searched through the apps for digital “signatures” distilled from known trackers. A signature might be a tell-tale set of keywords or string of bytes found in an app file, or a mathematically-derived “hash” summary of the file itself.

The findings underscore the pervasiveness of tracking despite a permissions system on Android that supposedly puts users in control of their own data. They also highlight how a large and varied set of firms are working to enable tracking.

“I think people are used to the idea, whether they should be or not, that Lyft might be tracking them,” said Sean O’Brien, a visiting fellow at Yale Privacy Lab. “And they’re used to the fact that if Lyft is on Android and coming from Google Play, that Google might be tracking them. But I don’t think that they think that their data is being resold or at least redistributed through these other trackers.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Is the Mexican Government Spying on Journalists?

Is the Mexican Government Spying on Journalists?

On the season finale of ‘CYBERWAR,’ Ben Makuch investigates why government spyware is cropping up on Mexican reporters’ smartphones.

On Tuesday, VICELAND is airing the season finale of CYBERWAR, sending Ben Makuch to Mexico to investigate the government’s potentially fraught use of hacking tools. Mexican authorities purchased spyware for their fight against drug cartels—but now a spate of watchdog journalists covering government corruption have detected the invasive software on their smartphones.

Secret Code Is Recording Every Keystroke You Make On More Than 400 Of The Most Popular Websites On The Internet

Secret Code Is Recording Every Keystroke You Make On More Than 400 Of The Most Popular Websites On The Internet

If someone secretly installed software on your computer that recorded every single keystroke that you made, would you be alarmed?  Of course you would be, and that is essentially what is taking place on more than 400 of the most popular websites on the entire Internet.  For a long time we have known that nothing that we do on the Internet is private, but this new revelation is deeply, deeply disturbing.  In my novel entitled “The Beginning Of The End”, I attempted to portray the “Big Brother” surveillance grid which is constantly evolving all around us, but even I didn’t know that things were quite this bad.  According to an article that was just published by Ars Technica, when you visit the websites that have installed this secret surveillance code, it is like someday is literally “looking over your shoulder”…

If you have the uncomfortable sense someone is looking over your shoulder as you surf the Web, you’re not being paranoid. A new study finds hundreds of sites—including microsoft.com, adobe.com, and godaddy.com—employ scripts that record visitors’ keystrokes, mouse movements, and scrolling behavior in real time, even before the input is submitted or is later deleted.

Go back and read that again.

Do you understand what that means?

Even if you ultimately decide not to post something, these websites already know what you were typing, where you clicked and how you were moving your mouse.

Essentially, it is like someone is literally sitting behind you and watching every single thing that you do on that website.  The following comes from the Daily Mail

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Surveillance State: An Inexorable March Toward Totalitarianism

The Surveillance State: An Inexorable March Toward Totalitarianism

mass-surveillance2

Gizmodo released an article entitled US Homeland Security Wants Facial Recognition to Identify People in Moving Cars,” on 11/2/17 by Matt Novak. The Surveillance State has slowed down its rate of growth since the President took office, however, it has not halted that growth. Instead, it lies festering below the veneer of daily events, inexorably growing its tentacles and extending their reach. Akin to an infestation of weeds, the roots are deep within the fabric of our communications networks: telephones, CCTV (Closed-Circuit Television) cameras, the Internet…all are thoroughly permeated.

Here is an excerpt from that article:

The proposed program would allow Homeland Security to maintain a database of everyone who leaves and enters the US that would now include photos taken by spying robot-cameras at every border crossing. Not only does DHS want this new facial recognition program to work without anyone having to exit their vehicle, the agency wants it to work even if the travelers are wearing things like sunglasses and hats. DHS also wants it to work without cars having to stop.

Seems they really want our information for their database. There is something more. One of the readers on the article’s website who uses the handle Artiofab posted this comment that is important, as he lives on the Texas border with Mexico:

“11/02/17 12:31pm  Hi everybody I live near the US-MX border so I’m happy to give informed opinions on this topic, since I know that a lot of the audience at Gizmodo dot com apparently lives closer to the US-CA border.

Near the US-MX border along major US highways there are these interior checkpoints. If you’re traveling “into” the US (e.g., if you’re in New Mexico and you’re driving north) you stop your car, a USBP agent asks if you’re all US citizens, you say yes, they let you keep going.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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