Carnivore,  Einstein,  Tempest,  and  Echelon

Carnivore and Echelon were apparently developed and implemented in the 1990s, long before 9/11/2001 and long before the current debate over wiretaps and domestic surveillance.

Much of the information on this page is obsolete by now, and the technology that was used has most likely been replaced by something more effective, with another name.  But it is interesting to know that the federal government has been working on the idea of monitoring every electronic communication — nationwide if not worldwide — for at least 20 years.

Fusion centers
Domestic surveillance
The U.S. spies on its allies
Edward Snowden
Snowden II
Other government threats to your privacy

On other nearby pages:
Snitch on your neighbor
The Department of Justice vs Apple Computer
The USA Patriot Act
Carnivore / Echelon Trigger Words
The local police have been given too much authority
Commercial and Industrial Threats to Privacy
License plate readers and toll tag readers


Einstein is a more recent development than either Carnivore or Echelon, but like the other two, Einstein has stayed out of the mainstream press.  Among other things, the system will monitor visits from Americans — and foreigners — visiting .gov Web sites.

I think I can tell already where Einstein is headed:  it will make it more difficult — if not hazardous — for someone to compile a list like this, just to explore and document the width and depth of the overgrown federal government.

Einstein sounds a lot like a program called Snort, which is available at no cost.  So whatever amount Uncle Sam spent on Einstein was probably a complete waste of money.

US government's $6bn super firewall doesn't even monitor web traffic.  The US government's firewall, named Einstein, is not as smart as its name would suggest. [...] Among the extraordinary pieces of information to emerge are the fact that the system — which has cost $5.7 b[illio]n to develop — does not monitor web traffic for malicious content, just email.  It can't uncover malware on a system and it doesn't monitor cloud services either.  The system also carries out only signature-based threat assessment and intrusion detection i.e. it's a dumb terminal waiting to be told what to find rather than looking for unusual activity.  And that means it is wide open to zero-day attacks.  If that wasn't enough, the department behind the system — the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) — hasn't included anything to measure the system's own performance so it doesn't even know if it's doing a good job or not.  And it is failing to ask for or share information with other agencies, effectively making it blind.

Every day, we have to prove we have 'nothing to hide'.  For this writer, the political effect of 9/11 was immediate, personal and direct.  Six days before the towers came down, the European Parliament had passed 25 recommendations for securing domestic and international satellite communications from the Anglo-American surveillance system known as Echelon.  I had uncovered and first reported on the Echelon network in 1988.  It took a decade more for its significance to become widely known, mainly because of further investigation and revelations by New Zealand investigator Nicky Hager in his book Secret Power.  Although now widely mis-described in web chat as a generalised surveillance octopus, Echelon's purpose and hardware was quite specific.

FBI wants widespread monitoring of 'illegal' Internet activity.  The FBI on Wednesday [4/23/2008] called for new legislation that would allow federal police to monitor the Internet for "illegal activity."  The suggestion from FBI Director Robert Mueller, which came during a House of Representatives Judiciary Committee hearing, appears to go beyond a current plan to monitor traffic on federal-government networks.  Mueller seemed to suggest that the bureau should have a broad "omnibus" authority to conduct monitoring and surveillance of private-sector networks as well.  The surveillance should include all Internet traffic, Mueller said, "whether it be .mil, .gov, .com — whichever network you're talking about."

Einstein  is the network monitoring tool used by the United States federal government's Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  Einstein is used to automatically monitor and analyze Internet traffic when it moves in and out of federal computer networks, filtering packets at the perimeter. … Participating agencies have used Einstein in network gateways since 2004.  In conjunction with the Trusted Internet Connection (TIC) initiative launch in 2008, DHS mandated that all federal agencies must use Einstein.

Congress worries that .gov monitoring will spy on Americans.  A new Bush administration plan to capture and analyze traffic on all federal government networks in real time is generating privacy worries from congressional Democrats and Republicans alike.  At a hearing convened here Thursday by the U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, politicians directed pointed questions to Department of Homeland Security officials about their plans to expand an existing "intrusion detection" system known as Einstein.

Doubletalk alert:
Visiting a web site is not an intrusion.

Einstein keeps an eye on agency networks.  DHS officials named the program Einstein because they think their monitoring program is smart.  Since 2004, Einstein has monitored participating agencies' network gateways for traffic patterns that indicate the presence of computer worms or other unwanted traffic.  By collecting traffic information summaries at agency gateways, Einstein gives US-CERT analysts and participating agencies a big-picture view of bad activity on federal networks.

Einstein and U.S. cybersecurity.  At a hearing last week on Capitol Hill, officials faced close, skeptical questioning about the program, an intrusion detection system that will automatically monitor and analyze Internet traffic into and out of federal computer networks in real time — allowing officials at the Department of Homeland Security to scan for anomalies that might represent hackers or other intruders trying to gain access or steal data.

House legislators rip Bush's Cyber Initiative plan.  The initiative is a long-range plan to upgrade the security of the federal government's networks and comprises a number of separate proposals, most notably an overhaul and expansion of the government's intrusion detection system, known as Einstein.  Currently, Einstein is simply a passive traffic-monitoring system that records basic data such as the originating IP address of a packet, its size and where the packet came from and where it is headed.


Carnivore is an e-mail wiretap system being developed and used by the FBI to read messages being circulated amongst suspected criminals and terrorists... and everybody else.  There is a great deal of concern being expressed nationwide, and not just by privacy fanatics, because it is likely that such eavesdropping occurs before there is any other evidence that the affected individuals have done anything illegal.  It would be much less of an issue were it not for a little technicality called the Fourth Amendment.  The FBI is relying on the public (and the mainstream news media) to ignore charges such as the ACLU's statement that Carnivore represents "an unprecedented power grab that threatens the privacy of all Americans."

There is good news about Carnivore, however.  Recently I attended a meeting of local computer security experts (legitimate professionals, really, not the guys at the 2600 meeting) and the moderator of the program offered his opinion that "Carnivore is not very effective."

If you really think somebody is reading your email — or if you think Facebook and Twitter (or the FBI) are scanning every account — looking for trigger words or anything else, ˙ɯǝɥʇ ɹoɟ ʇlnɔᴉɟɟᴉp ʇᴉ ǝʞɐW
It won't do any good to write your email in tiny letters.
D0N7 JU57 L4Y 0U7 Y0UR M3554635 1N PL41N 73X7 F0R 3V3RY0N3 T0 533.
Gur crbcyr jub jnag gb gnxr njnl lbhe evtugf ner zbfgyl choyvp fpubby fghqragf jub ner pbzcyrgryl onssyrq ol phefvir jevgvat, nanybt pybpxf, naq ebgnel-qvny cubarf.  Gurl jbhyq arire svther guvf bhg.

Decryption of the following message is left to the reader as an exercise:

|.  .|  ||       |  ..|  .|       .|.  .  ...
.|  ||.  ..  |  ..|  .|.       .||.  .|  .|.  ..  .  ...
|.|.  ..|  ||       .||.  .|.  |||  |..|  ..  ||  |||
.|  .|.  |..  .  |  .|.|.|
You never even saw this message, did you?

If you really are paranoid, encrypt everything.

Don't be fooled:  DCS1000 is still a "Carnivore" at heart.  After a flurry of controversy over the FBI's Carnivore system for intercepting e-mail, the feds have moved promptly to address concerns — by renaming it "DCS1000".

DCS1000:  The Device Formerly Known as Carnivore:  Despite some reports indicating that the name is an acronym for "data collection system," an FBI spokesperson told Reuters that it "doesn't stand for anything."

Carnivore changes name, enters witness protection program:  Carnivore, the FBI's controversial Internet communications monitoring system, is undergoing a makeover.  First, the FBI is going to pull out its teeth, and re-christen Carnivore DCS1000, which, in our esteem, is just a little too close to HAL2000…

FBI axes Carnivore, eats investment.  The FBI has abandoned its custom-built Internet surveillance technology, dubbed Carnivore, and is now using commercial software to eavesdrop on computer network traffic during investigations of suspected criminals, terrorists and spies.  In addition, it's asking Internet service providers to conducting wiretaps on targeted customers, when necessary. … The FBI didn't disclose how much it had spent on Carnivore, but outside experts estimate expenditures at somewhere between $6 illion and $15 million.

Carnivore  was an Internet surveillance system developed for the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) so that they could monitor the electronic transmissions of criminal suspects.  Critics, however, charged that Carnivore did not include appropriate safeguards to prevent misuse and might violate the constitutional rights of the individual.  The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) reported in early 2005 that the FBI had replaced Carnivore with other, unspecified surveillance software from commercial sources.  Such software usually includes a packet sniffer.

FBI retires its Carnivore.  FBI surveillance experts have put their once-controversial Carnivore Internet surveillance tool out to pasture, preferring instead to use commercial products to eavesdrop on network traffic, according to documents released Friday [1/14/2005].

FBI Abandons Web Surveillance Technology.  The FBI has effectively abandoned its custom-built Internet surveillance technology, once known as Carnivore, designed to read e-mails and other online communications among suspected criminals, terrorists and spies, according to bureau oversight reports submitted to Congress.

[That's a misleading headline.  The FBI hasn't abandoned their web surveillance technology, they have just changed to another make and model of software.]

 Read this:   Feds raid orchid-grower's home:  George Norris said he believes his troubles may stem from the US Fish and Wildlife Service's use of CARNIVORE, a government system that can tap into computer e-mails.  "They showed me page three of a five-page e-mail from several years ago where I was being offered smuggled plants," he said.  "They did not show me pages four and five, which were my answer to this fellow, telling him we would not buy any such plants that were undocumented.  This was so old that I don't even remember this e-mail.

 Editor's Note:   Please see the George Norris subsection on this page for more details on this case.

Inside DCSNet, the FBI's Nationwide Eavesdropping Network.  The $10 million DCS-3000 client, also known as Red Hook, handles pen-registers and trap-and-traces, a type of surveillance that collects signaling information — primarily the numbers dialed from a telephone — but no communications content.  DCS-6000, known as Digital Storm, captures and collects the content of phone calls and text messages for full wiretap orders.  A third, classified system, called DCS-5000, is used for wiretaps targeting spies or terrorists.

FBI turns to broad new wiretap method.  Instead of recording only what a particular suspect is doing, agents conducting investigations appear to be assembling the activities of thousands of Internet users at a time into massive databases, according to current and former officials.  That database can subsequently be queried for names, e-mail addresses or keywords. … "What they're doing is even worse than Carnivore," said Kevin Bankston, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation who attended the Stanford event.  "What they're doing is intercepting everyone and then choosing their targets."

FBI's Carnivore-lies may have blown bin Laden inquiry.  Fundamental design flaws in the FBI's infamous Carnivore packet sniffer have led to the destruction of evidence related to a suspect possibly involved in Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network which had been obtained legally under a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant, the watchdog group EPIC has learned.

Carnivore  is a surveillance tool for data networks.  At the heart of the project is CarnivorePE, a software application that listens to all Internet traffic (email, web surfing, etc.) on a specific local network.  Next, CarnivorePE serves this data stream to interfaces called "clients."  These clients are designed to animate, diagnose, or interpret the network traffic in various ways.  Use CarnivorePE to run Carnivore clients from your own desktop, or use it to make your own clients.

Echelon:  The US government has long conducted extensive eavesdropping overseas, as part of the National Security Agency's foreign intelligence collection activities.  This foreign surveillance occurs outside the normal limitations of the Constitution.  With the globalization of communications, the overseas snooping activities of the US and its allies have attracted renewed attention and concern.

Congress Passes "Roving Wiretaps," Expands Surveillance Authority.  Oct 1998, in a closed-door manuever, controversial "roving wiretap" provisions were added to the Intelligence authorization bill and passed by the Congress.  Prevoiusly, wiretapping law allowed tapping of a particular person's phones.  The new provisions dramatically expanded current authority by allowing taps on any phone used by, or "proximate" to, the person being tapped — no matter whose phone it is.  Such a broad law invites abuse.  In 1996, the full House of Representatives had rejected these provisions after an open and vigorous debate.  But in 1998, behind closed doors, a conference committee added the provisions to the important Intelligence Authorization Conference Report.

Does Technology Threaten Our Privacy, Morality and Freedom of Religious Expression?  Two new powerful multi-billion dollar eavesdropping tools originally invented to spy on the Russians have now been turned on the American people.  [They're talking about Echelon and Tempest, although Carnivore is also discussed.]

Carnivore page at COTSE dot net,  which is apparently a privacy-enhanced email service.

Carnivore, Altivore, Echelon:  In terms of privacy concerns as well as raw technological power, Carnivore looks like a toy compared to Echelon.  Echelon is almost certainly the world's most sophisticated network monitoring system and, if rumors are to be believed, anyone who feels uncomfortable with the secrecy surrounding Carnivore should feel downright paranoid where Echelon is concerned.

Where Carnivore Lives:  The FBI has already employed Carnivore in a number of cases.  By law, the details of these investigations have generally not been released publicly.  The only ISP positively identified as cooperating with such an investigation, in fact, is Earthlink.

Independent Technical Review of the Carnivore System:  Carnivore is a software-based Internet Protocol (IP) packet sniffer that can select and record a defined subset of the traffic on the network to which it is attached.  Packets can be selected based on IP address, protocol, or, in the case of email, on the user names in the TO and FROM fields.  In limited cases, packets can be selected based on their content.  Packets can be recorded 'in their entirety (full mode) or recording can be limited to addressing information (pen mode), i.e., IP addresses and usermames.

Why Carnivore Is Bad For You:  The FBI can hardly be trusted to conduct their investigations with proper handling and precision, but even if they could, Carnivore/DCS1000 will end up hurting innocent people.  The amount of guesswork involved in a sweeping search like the type Carnivore/DCS1000 does insures that many "dead ends" and "bad leads" will be pursued.  What this means is that the FBI will inevitably end up investigating (including search, seizure, intimidation, prosecution, etc.) innocent people.

Confounding Carnivore:  How to Protect Your Online Privacy.  Ever since the FBI confirmed the existence of their Internet wiretapping device — a device which they named Carnivore — cyberprivacy activists have been up in arms.  Carnivore promised to be their worst nightmare:  a technology that could track and record every email sent, every Web page browsed, every chat room visited.

Carnivore, Altivore, Echelon:  Three big names in the world of network monitoring.  In terms of privacy concerns as well as raw technological power, Carnivore looks like a toy compared to Echelon.  Echelon is almost certainly the world's most sophisticated network monitoring system and, if rumors are to be believed, anyone who feels uncomfortable with the secrecy surrounding Carnivore should feel downright paranoid where Echelon is concerned.

Carnivore, Sniffers, and You:  The Carnivore network diagnostic tool (sniffer) may be peeking at your email.  This article offers the scoop on the FBI's latest crime-fighting tool.

Sniffer — A Definition:  Network sniffers monitor data without altering its content.  Sniffers are now commonly used by governments, corporations, by hackers, and by students.

FBI's Carnivore hunts in a pack.  Carnivore, the FBI's controversial e-mail snooping program, is part of covert surveillance triad known inside the bureau as the "DragonWare Suite," according to recently declassified documents.  The documents also outline how the DragonWare Suite is more than simply an e-mail snooping program:  It's capable of reconstructing the Web surfing trail of someone under investigation.

FBI Statement for the Record on the Carnivore Diagnostic Tool

The Backdoor, the Rogue Agent, and the Mishap:  the Hidden Dangers of Carnivore.  This paper is intended to provide convincing reasons, beyond the 4th Amendment argument, why Carnivore is a law enforcement tool that we all should reject.

The preceding article appears at a web site called Stop Carnivore Now.

Carnivore FAQ  (Sample:  It is important to note that Carnivore is a passive wiretap.  It does not interfere with communication.  Some news reports falsely claim that Carnivore interposes itself into the stream, first grabbing data, then passing it along.

The Legal Authorities of the National Security Agency:  U.S. Representative Bob Barr asserts, "While Americans remain solidly in support of a strong foreign intelligence gathering capability, they are not willing to do so at the expense of their domestic civil liberties."

Colleges Protest Call to Upgrade Online Systems.  The federal government, vastly extending the reach of an 11-year-old law, is requiring hundreds of universities, online communications companies and cities to overhaul their Internet computer networks to make it easier for law enforcement authorities to monitor e-mail and other online communications.

Carnivore and Reno:  Janet Reno's answers to questions about Carnivore in her weekly press conferences at the Justice Department.

Clinton Favors Computer Snooping:  The Clinton administration wants to be able to send federal agents armed with search warrants into homes to copy encryption keys and implant secret back doors onto computers.

Congress, Privacy Rights Activists Blast Carnivore:  Fears that the FBI is going too far with its technological invasions of communications systems were hardly soothed when Dr. Donald M. Kerr, the director of the FBI's laboratory division revealed what the bureau plans for the future.

FBI Shows Off Carnivore:  FBI officials defended Carnivore by telling hand-picked media representatives that the system is necessary "because some smaller ISPs do not have the capability to provide the data that law enforcement needs quickly," the Washington Post reported.

Feds Deny Asking ISPs to Watch E-mails:  Last month, the European Union passed a resolution that would require all ISPs to store for up to seven years e-mail message headers, Web-surfing histories, chat logs, pager records, phone and fax connections, passwords, and more.  Already, Germany, France, Belgium, and Spain have drafted laws that comply with the directive.  Technology experts say the U.S. federal government may try to do the same thing using the vast law enforcement allowances provided under the USA Patriot Act.

Carnivore:  Interview with Rep. Bob Barr (R - Ga.):  When the FBI launched its latest crime-fighting project, known by the name Carnivore, a lot of people worried that this new system could be dangerous - not for crooks, but for innocent people.

Outside Review of Carnivore Planned:  The Justice Department is moving swiftly to get an independent evaluation of the FBI's Carnivore e-mail intercept system, even as the system is denounced by congressional Republicans and civil libertarians as a threat to privacy on the Internet.

 Excellent!   The Fourth Amendment and Carnivore:  The Carnivore system appears to exacerbate the over collection of personal information by collecting more information than it is legally entitled to collect under traditional pen register and trap and trace laws.

Now It's Carnivore 2.0 ... Even 3.0:  The Federal Bureau of Investigation is now describing its Carnivore software that peeks into e-mail accounts without individual computer users' being aware as just "the tip of the iceberg."

White House Wants Cyber-Snoop Rules:  The Clinton-Gore administration will propose legislation putting e-mail surveillance on legal footing akin to phone taps — but leaving the FBI's "Carnivore" spying intact.

FBI: Federal Bureau of Intrusion?  "Carnivore" sifts through all online communications, such as e-mail or website traffic looking for illegal activity.  The problem is that it collects all communications, legal and illegal, thus violating the privacy of citizens who are just innocently and legally conversing online with family or friends or who happen to be surfing the Net.

More DOJ Delays in Carnivore Investigation

Carnivore FOIA: A Justice Department Joke

EPIC Carnivore FOIA Documents

GOP Wants to Pull Carnivore's Teeth:  What has upset so many people who use the Internet to communicate is the new high-tech FBI device — called "Carnivore" because it finds the "meat" of e-mail messages.  It enables law enforcement officials to sort through every bit of everybody's e-mail messages to find those of questionable legality.

Testimony of Robert Corn-Revere, April 6, 2000:  "I believe it is vital for Congress now to examine the Fourth Amendment implications of electronic surveillance on the Internet and the World Wide Web.  As the United States Supreme Court explained in 1997, the Internet is a unique and wholly new medium of worldwide human communication."

Some of the technical aspects of Carnivore:  Recent press reports have disclosed the existence of an FBI Internet wiretap device, known as "Carnivore".  This is troubling for many reasons, not the least of which is that it is unclear just what the software and hardware does or how it works.  In the U.S., there are serious legal restrictions on the use of wiretaps by police agencies.  The Supreme Court has consistently held that wiretaps qualify as searches under the Fourth Amendment.

Government Privacy Violators:  These days it's hard to find a politician without some plan to impose new privacy regulations on business.  The physicians should first try to heal themselves.  Our various levels of government have a long and undistinguished record of disrespecting our personal privacy.

Report Says Carnivore Is Tame; Critics Skeptical:  The FBI developed Carnivore in 1997 to monitor the activities of suspects who communicate using e-mail, much the way the agency uses wiretaps and pen registers to monitor telephone calls and capture caller information.  Privacy advocates have expressed concern the tool is too powerful, too invasive and a potential danger to civil liberties.

Carnivore - E-mail Invasion "I hope that you will research this subject more.  Contact your ISP and urge them to refuse to accept Carnivore on their system.  It is not a question of whether you have anything to hide.  Your right to privacy is at stake.  If this is allowed it can only snowball."

Help Kill the Carnivore!:  Carnivore is a hardware-software device that the FBI secretly developed at its lab in Quantico, Va. Almost immediately after the existence of this project was disclosed in a July 11 Wall Street Journal article, public outrage began to mount.

Ashcroft to Chew On Carnivore:  John Ashcroft, President Bush's pick for attorney general, says he'll take a long, hard look at Carnivore if he gets the job.  [January 2001]

FBI Drags its Heels on Carnivore Papers:  Get a court order to monitor a specific POP mailbox — but don't skim all the messages hoping to find something interesting.

Putting a Leash on Carnivore:  House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, says Internet surveillance can undermine "the minimum expectation that individuals have that their personal electronic communications will not be examined by law enforcement devices unless a specific court warrant has been issued.'

Why Carnivore/DCS1000 Is Bad For You:  Here are some reasons why Carnivore/DCS1000 is bad for America, and, more specifically, bad for you.  [For example,] it's Unconstitutional.

ACLU Slams Biased Review Team Thumbs-Up for Carnivore

EPIC Sues to See Carnivore Code:  The Electronic Privacy Information Center has accused the FBI of sandbagging its requests for documents pertaining to the FBI's Carnivore e-mail snooping system.

Congress Isn't Swallowing Carnivore:  Officials from the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice faced a skeptical — and at times downright hostile — House Judiciary Committee during an oversight hearing on the constitutional issues raised by the FBI's Carnivore electronic monitoring program.

A kinder, gentler Carnivore?  Any organization agreeing to review Carnivore is forbidden from publishing any independent comments about the program.

Armey of One Takes on Carnivore:  One year after hearings in which the Clinton Administration vigorously defended the FBI's email-tapping Carnivore surveillance system, Rep. Dick Armey, R-Texas, is asking the new attorney general to reopen the debate.

Carnivore Panel Called Insiders' Stacked Deck:  "This Department of Justice proposal has confirmed my fears," Armey said.  "This important issue deserves a truly independent review, not a whitewash."

FBI Gives a Little on Carnivore:  The FBI says it will conduct a privacy audit of a controversial surveillance system, but the agency won't release key information about how Carnivore works.

Privacy Eaten Away by Carnivore:  It seems that we, the American public should trust the FBI to look at only those email messages that directly have a bearing on a particular investigation and completely ignore all other email messages, no matter how inflammatory they may seem.

Will Crypto Feast on Carnivore?  Do you encrypt your email before you send it?  Probably not.  Most electronic mail traverses the Internet as unscrambled, easy-to-read packets of text.

ACLU: Law Needs Carnivore Fix:  An FBI spokesman said the notion that it would look at more emails than the agency is entitled to under the law is a misunderstanding of the system's purpose and operation.

U.S. to Track Crypto Trails:  Over 2,450,000 telephone conversations were legally intercepted in 1999, according to government statistics.

Carnivore Eats Your Privacy:  critics say the practice of intercepting the network traffic of all users, even for a brief period of time, could run afoul of federal privacy laws and even the U.S. Constitution's prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizure.

Carnivore Can Read Everything.  "We've been led to believe that the purpose of Carnivore is to filter and pinpoint the particular communications that the FBI is authorized to obtain.  If that's true, then why are they testing the system's ability to store and archive everything?"

Letter to Reps. Canady and Watt:  The ACLU urges the heads of the Constitution Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee to take action on Carnivore.

Invasion of Your Privacy Has Just Begun:  'Carnivore, the most recent example of FBI snooping software, is reported to be able to scoop up all of targeted individuals' Internet traffic, including e-mail.  Carnivore is only one project aimed at destroying America's privacy.  In fact, the FBI under the Clinton administration developed an entire series of hardware and software devices intended to monitor U.S. citizens.'

New documents disclose extent of FBI's Web surveillance: The FBI records show the agency used its controversial Carnivore system 13 times between October 1999 and August 2000 to monitor Internet communications, and a similar device, Etherpeek, another 11 times."

Numerous other Carnivore links

Feds Fail to Protect Privacy of E-mail:  The federal government has yet to implement a Supreme Court decision protecting your e-mail privacy.  That has prompted House Majority Leader Dick Armey to fire off a letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft urging that the court be obeyed and that your privacy be protected.  Zeroing in on the FBI's 'Carnivore' program, the high court said devices that allow police technology to erode the privacy guaranteed in the Fourth Amendment is unconstitutional.

Urge Congress to Stop the FBI's Use of Privacy-Invading Software:  In traditional wiretaps, the government is required to minimize its interception of non-incriminating - or innocent - communications. But Carnivore does just the opposite by scanning through tens of millions of emails and other communications from innocent Internet users as well as the targeted suspect.

Mueller Noncommittal on Carnivore:  FBI Director Robert Mueller has refused to commit to an independent review of the agency's Carnivore surveillance system.

House leader wants investigation of 'Carnivore':  A powerful house lawmaker asked the FBI to re-examine the extent to which its e-mail sniffing tool, "Carnivore," infringes on privacy.

Feds Fail to Protect Privacy of E-mail:  The federal government has yet to implement a Supreme Court decision protecting your e-mail privacy.  That has prompted House Majority Leader Dick Armey to fire off a letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft urging that the court be obeyed and that your privacy be protected.  Zeroing in on the FBI's "Carnivore' program, the high court said devices that allow police technology to erode the privacy guaranteed in the Fourth Amendment is unconstitutional.

Invasion of Your Privacy Has Just Begun Carnivore, the most recent example of FBI snooping software, is reported to be able to scoop up all of targeted individuals' Internet traffic, including e-mail.  Carnivore is only one project aimed at destroying America's privacy.  In fact, the FBI under the Clinton administration developed an entire series of hardware and software devices intended to monitor U.S. citizens.

The trouble with 'deep packet inspection'.  The data is already dismal when it comes to people peeking at your Internet travels.  Twenty percent of U.S. companies hire employees specifically to snoop at employee e-mail and 41 percent perform some kind of e-mail monitoring, according to a survey published earlier this year by Proofpoint.  Two-thirds of companies monitor Web surfing, and 12 percent even monitor outside blog activity.  Even if your company doesn't watch you as a matter of policy, employees might be sneaking a peek anyway.

Spooks told to get used to encrypted VoIP.  A British security firm has urged the government not to impose heavy-handed interception regulations on VoIP providers, ahead of the forthcoming consultation on communications data.  Cellcrypt, based in London, develops and sells a smartphone application that allows companies to make encrypted VoIP calls internationally.  The software can be pushed to handsets over the air, offering near-instant voice security for workers in the field.

Senate Panel to Probe Allegations NSA Illegally Wiretapped American Phone Calls, E-Mails.  Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein says she will investigate indications of new wiretap violations by the National Security Agency.  The Justice Department confirmed Wednesday [4/15/2009] that it had reined in the NSA's wiretapping activities in the United States after finding out the agency had improperly accessed American phone calls and e-mails.

N.S.A.'s Intercepts Exceed Limits Set by Congress.  The National Security Agency intercepted private e-mail messages and phone calls of Americans in recent months on a scale that went beyond the broad legal limits established by Congress last year, government officials said in recent interviews.

This was written in 1999:
The Echelon attack.  Internet activists last week tried to overwhelm National Security Agency eavesdroppers by flooding the Echelon spy system with fabricated messages about terrorist plots and bombs.  The idea never posed a real threat to the NSA, but the electronic protest helped raise awareness of the fact that the government is snooping on every man, woman and child in the country through this system.


Electronic voting machines vs Tempest technology.  Tempest is a code word for electromagnetic snooping.  It's usual for military electronics to be "Tempest hardened" in order to shield them from high-tech spying, disruptive interference, and EMPs.  It isn't an exaggeration these days to consider an election to be a military target.  In any case, a non-Tempest-hardened voting machine is likely to leak emissions that give a suitably-equipped passer-by the details of each voter's preferences.

The Complete, Unofficial TEMPEST Information Page:  One-stop shopping for TEMPEST information.

Cell phones as TEMPEST analyzers.  Professor Yuval Elovici, head of Ben Gurion University's Cyber Security Lab, has demonstrated software that allows a cell phone to spy on the activities of a nearby computer even though there is no connection between the phone and the computer.

Soft Tempest:  Hidden Data Transmission Using Electromagnetic Emanations.  It is well known that eavesdroppers can reconstruct video screen content from radio frequency emanations.  The authors discuss techniques that enable the software on a computer to control the electromagnetic radiation it transmits.  This can be used for both attack and defense.

Tempest  was the name of a classified (secret) U.S. government project to study (probably for the purpose of both exploiting and guarding against) the susceptibility of some computer and telecommunications devices to emit electromagnetic radiation (EMR) in a manner that can be used to reconstruct intelligible data.  Tempest's name is believed to have been a code name used during development by the U. S. government in the late 1960s, but at a somewhat later stage, it became an acronym for Telecommunications Electronics Material Protected from Emanating Spurious Transmissions.

The Complete, Unofficial TEMPEST Information Page.  The general principle is that computer monitors and other devices give off electromagnetic radiation.  With the right antenna and receiver, these emanations can be intercepted from a remote location, and then be redisplayed (in the case of a monitor screen) or recorded and replayed (such as with a printer or keyboard).

Compromising emanations:  eavesdropping risks of computer displays.  (8 Megabyte PDF)

The Complete, Unofficial TEMPEST Information Page


This section is about Project Echelon, [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] which is a government eavesdropping system along the lines of Carnivore, but on a world-wide scale.

What is Echelon?  "Only in a 'police state' is the unrestricted interception of communications permitted by government authorities."

Skype Users Beware:  Big Brother May Be Listening.  [Scroll down]  Immediately after the bust, the European Commission opened an investigation.  Alain Brun, the head of data protection at the Commission, told reporters, "The suspect [i.e., Clinton staffer] worked at the U.S. National Security Agency, where he learned of an agreement between Skype and Echelon to enable a 'spy' mode on all Skype products."  What has yet to be explained is:  What did Hillary Clinton's staffer need this information for?  And where has this former Clinton staffer gone?

Inside Echelon:  During the 1980s, the NSA developed a "fast data finder" microprocessor that was optimally designed for this purpose.  It was later commercially marketed, with claims that it "the most comprehensive character-string comparison functions of any text retrieval system in the world".  A single unit could work with "trillions of bytes of textual archive and thousands of online users, or gigabytes of live data stream per day that are filtered against tens of thousands of complex interest profiles."

ECHELON:  America's Secret Global Surveillance Network.  In the greatest surveillance effort ever established, the US National Security Agency has created a global spy system, codename ECHELON, which captures and analyzes virtually every phone call, fax, email and telex message sent anywhere in the world.

Echelon  is an officially unacknowledged U.S.-led global spy network that operates an automated system for the interception and relay of electronic communications.  Monitored transmissions are said to include up to 3 billion communications daily, including all the telephone calls, e-mail messages, faxes, satellite transmissions, and Internet downloads of both public and private organizations and citizens worldwide.

Echelon  is a term associated with a global network of computers that automatically search through millions of intercepted messages for pre-programmed keywords or fax, telex and e-mail addresses.  Every word of every message in the frequencies and channels selected at a station is automatically searched.

Echelon:  Someone Is Listening.  Every phone call you make, every email or fax you send may be monitored — and probably is.  Surprise!  It's our own government.

ECHELON  is a term associated with a global network of computers that automatically search through millions of intercepted messages for pre-programmed keywords or fax, telex and e-mail addresses.  Every word of every message in the frequencies and channels selected at a station is automatically searched.

Echelon Exists, and You're Busted.  Don your tinfoil hats, folks, because the hush-hush NSA project ECHELON just had a little light shined on it.

A Most Unusual Collection Agency.  During the Cold War there were hundreds of secret remote listening posts spread around the globe.  From large stations in the moors of Scotland and mountains of Turkey that were complete with golf ball-like structures called "radomes" to singly operated stations in the barren wilderness of Saint Lawrence Island between Alaska and Siberia that had only a few antennae, these stations constituted the ground-based portion of the United States Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) System or "USSS."

Carnivore, Altivore, Echelon:  In terms of privacy concerns as well as raw technological power, Carnivore looks like a toy compared to Echelon.  Echelon is almost certainly the world's most sophisticated network monitoring system and, if rumors are to be believed, anyone who feels uncomfortable with the secrecy surrounding Carnivore should feel downright paranoid where Echelon is concerned.

Somebody's listening.  American, British and Allied intelligence agencies are soon to embark on a massive, billion-dollar expansion of their global electronic surveillance system.  According to information given recently in secret to the US Congress, the surveillance system will enable the agencies to monitor and analyse civilian communications into the 21st century.  Identified for the moment as Project P415, the system will be run by the US National Security Agency.

Echelon's Architect:  Echelon now has a big brother.  Meet Bruce McIndoe, lead architect for Echelon II, the 'most productive intelligence program' in history.

The Echelon attack.  Internet activists [in October 1999] tried to overwhelm National Security Agency eavesdroppers by flooding the Echelon spy system with fabricated messages about terrorist plots and bombs.  The idea never posed a real threat to the NSA, but the electronic protest helped raise awareness of the fact that the government is snooping on every man, woman and child in the country through this system.

Exposing The Global Surveillance System.  Designed and coordinated by NSA, the ECHELON system is used to intercept ordinary e-mail, fax, telex, and telephone communications carried over the world's telecommunications networks.  Unlike many of the electronic spy systems developed during the Cold War, ECHELON is designed primarily for non-military targets:  governments, organizations, businesses, and individuals in virtually every country.  It potentially affects every person communicating between (and sometimes within) countries anywhere in the world.

My parents were spies.  I grew up just outside RAF Chicksand (at the time an American base, despite the "RAF").  It's most distinctive feature was a giant double circle antenna we used to call "The Elephants Cage" which didn't appear on any maps.  It was common local knowledge amongst kids that it was part of a global spy network and if you ever said "bomb" on the phone it would start taping you.  Hence whenever using the phone we used to say "bomb" a lot.  Don't ask me where we got this from, but it looks like it's turned out to be at least partially true.

Echelon:  Someone is Listening:  A huge information resource on Echelon.

Somebody's listening:  This network of monitoring stations is able to tap all international and some domestic communications circuits, and sift out messages which sound interesting.

Echelon Watch:  The goal of EchelonWatch is not to disband legitimate intelligence operations but to insist that they be subject to proper oversight.

Echelon Research Resources: Huge collection of articles and links.

Echelon — Rights Violation in the Information Age:  Now that the cold war is over, covert agencies around the world are increasingly turning their SIGINT assets, most notably a vast global electronic spy system known as Echelon, against civilian targets.  It's enough to give any decent rights-respecting individual nightmares.

Echelon:  Big brother without a cause?  Critics accuse the United States' intelligence community and its English-speaking partners of waging what is in effect a new Cold War.  At stake are international contracts worth billions of dollars, and at the disposal of the spymasters is an intelligence gathering system of immense power.

Report Downplays Echelon Effect.  A global surveillance system known as Echelon does exist and has the ability to eavesdrop on telephone calls, faxes and e-mail messages, a European Parliament committee has concluded.

Q&A:  What you need to know about Echelon.  Civil rights groups who monitor Echelon say it can be used to intercept almost any electronic communication, be it a phone conversation, mobile phone call, e-mail message, fax transmission, net browsing history, or satellite transmission.  The wildest estimates of its capabilities report that it can sift through up to 90% of all internet traffic.

Echelon Panel Calls It a Day:  "I think it's very good that the report states clearly that Echelon exists, so the work we've done is not in vain."

Echelon excesses:  There is a strong belief in intelligence circles that Brian Regan may have been the first spy nabbed by "Echelon," the highly classified information gathering and dissemination network operated by the U.S. National Security Agency and its global partners.

They're Listening to Your Calls:  Echelon monitors phones, E-mail, and radio signals.

E-mail users warned over spy network:  Computer users across Europe should encrypt all their e-mails, to avoid being spied on by a UK-US eavesdropping network, say Euro-MPs.

US spy system under attack:  The Echelon system, originally set up during the Cold War, is known to be capable of intercepting private telephone conversations, faxes and e-mails worldwide.

Louder Call for Echelon Probe:  Fresh outrage in Japan over alleged U.S. satellite-based spying, coupled with European pressure on the same subject, could add urgency to calls for Congress to engage in a serious investigation of the so-called Echelon system.

England leads the way

DARPA to begin mysterious 'Project GANDALF'.  The Gandalf program is an advanced technology and development and demonstration program that is seeking solutions to … radio frequency (RF) geolocation and emitter identification using specific emitter identification (SEI) for specific signals of interest.  The ultimate goal of the Gandalf program is to enable a set of handheld devices to be utilized to perform RF geolocation and SEI on RF signals of interest to the Gandalf program.  The specific goals and performance objectives associated with RF geolocation and SEI for the Gandalf system are classified.

Big British Brother:  [The National Post's] editorial board traditionally has argued that, in the post-9/11 age, law-enforcement and security services should enjoy broad powers to investigate and apprehend terrorists.  But even we are appalled by a British proposal, revealed over the weekend, to monitor the telephone, cellphone, text message, e-mail and Web surfing activity of every citizen in the U. K. in the name of homeland security.

'Black box' will store all traffic on Net.  Fears were growing today over government plans to store details of all internet traffic in the UK using new "black box" technology.  Home Office officials have told senior telecommunications figures of proposals to use the Interception Modernisation Programme to retain raw data of every phonecall, email and internet visit, which would be transferred to a database controlled by the Government.  The information would be used to fight terrorism and serious crime.

Every phone call, email or website visit 'to be monitored'.  The proposals will give police and security services the power to snoop on every single communication made by the public with the data then likely to be stored in an enormous national database.  The precise content of calls and other communications would not be accessible but even text messages and visits to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter would be tracked.

Fusion Centers

13 Ways The American Police State Squanders Your Tax Dollars.  [#13]  $1.4 billion for fusion centers.  These fusion centers, which represent the combined surveillance and intelligence efforts of federal, state, and local law enforcement, have proven to be exercises in incompetence, often producing irrelevant, useless, or inappropriate intelligence, while spending millions of dollars on "flat-screen televisions, sport utility vehicles, hidden cameras, and other gadgets."

Has the Dept. of Homeland Security become America's standing army?  Data collecting agencies spread throughout the country, aided by the National Security Agency, fusions centers — of which there are at least 78 scattered around the U.S. — constantly monitor our communications, collecting and cataloguing everything from our internet activity and web searches to text messages, phone calls and emails.  This data is then fed to government agencies, which are now interconnected:  the CIA to the FBI, the FBI to local police.  Despite a budget estimated to be somewhere between $289 million and $1.4 billion, these fusion centers have proven to be exercises in incompetence, often producing irrelevant, useless or inappropriate intelligence, while spending millions of dollars on "flat-screen televisions, sport utility vehicles, hidden cameras and other gadgets."

NSA Utah data center
We know the whereabouts of the "lost" IRS emails.  Access to any of those records can be had with a simple directive from the President of the United States.  The facility where the records are stored, along with the private emails, text messages, google searches and 20 trillion domestic phone calls since 2001 is owned and operated by America's National Security Agency which, among other things, is responsible for the monitoring of American citizens and storing any and all digital interactions captured on private and public telecommunications lines.  The NSA's most advanced intelligence monitoring facility is located at Camp Williams and is called the "Utah Data Center."  If the emails ever existed, whether they were deliberately wiped or accidentally lost, the National Security Agency undoubtedly has a digital record of them.

More about Lois Lerner's very convenient computer crash.

Fusion Centers: Expensive and Dangerous to Our Liberty.  A domestic surveillance system established after the terrorist attacks of September 11 collects and shares intelligence on a mass scale about "the everyday activities of law-abiding Americans, even in the absence of reasonable suspicion," according to a new report. [...] "Until 9/11, police departments had limited authority to gather information on innocent activity, such as what people say in their houses of worship or at political meetings," the report explains.  "Police could only examine this type of First Amendment-protected activity if there was a direct link to a suspected crime.  But the attacks of 9/11 led law enforcement to turn this rule on its head."

New NSA data center reported plagued by meltdowns.  A huge new data-storage facility for U.S. spying is plagued by chronic electrical surges that have prevented the center's opening, documents and officials say.

NSA hunger demands 29 petabytes of data a day.  As the National Security Agency (NSA) spying furore rumbles on, the agency has claimed to be looking at only 0.00004 percent of the world's total internet traffic.  In a document on the website, the agency said that the internet carries 1,826 Petabytes of information per day, and that its activity "touches" 1.6 percent of that data — approximately 29 petabytes, or 29 million gigabytes, of data each day.  Of that number, the agency says 0.025 percent is selected for review.

Information Fusion Centers and Privacy.  Fusion Centers are intelligence databases that collect information on ordinary citizens.

America Under Barack Obama.  [Scroll down slowly]  McCarthy's regime was ended by Senators who realized that he had gone too far.  What we have now may be more insidious.  What we have now in America is a surveillance society.  We have no idea how much the government knows and how much the CIA even knows about average citizens.  The government is not supposed to be doing this in this country.  They listen in on our phone calls.  I am not exaggerating because I have studied this a long time.  You have to be careful about what you do, about what you say, and that is more dangerous than what was happening with McCarthy, but the technology the government now possesses is so much more insidious.

Information Sharing and Fusion Centers:  Many State and major urban areas have established information fusion centers to coordinate the gathering, analysis, and dissemination of law enforcement, homeland security, public-safety, and terrorism information.  As of September 1, 2007, over 66 of these centers are operating or are being established in States and localities across the country.

Federal Support For and Involvement In State and Local Fusion Centers.  The Subcommittee investigation found that DHS-assigned detailees to the fusion centers forwarded "intelligence" of uneven quality — oftentimes shoddy, rarely timely, sometimes endangering citizens' civil liberties and Privacy Act protections, occasionally taken from already-published public sources, and more often than not unrelated to terrorism.  The Subcommittee investigation also found that DHS officials' public claims about fusion centers were not always accurate.  For instance, DHS officials asserted that some fusion centers existed when they did not.

Explosive findings about DHS operations in congressional report.  An explosive 141-page investigative report was quietly released just after midnight by the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs is an indictment of the practices and procedures of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. [...] Of the 386 unclassified reports reviewed during this investigation, only 94 were found to relate "in some way" to potential terrorist activity, or the activities of a known or suspected terrorist.  Of those 94 reports, the usefulness of those reports were deemed as "questionable."

DHS Fusion Centers Spend Much, Learn Little, Mislead a Lot.  A network of 77 "fusion" intelligence centers, set up around the country under the auspices of the federal Department of Homeland Security, has over the past decade uncovered little information that could be useful in defending the nation against terrorism.  It also created numerous reports on the legal, everyday of activities of ordinary Americans, according to a Senate report released Tuesday.

Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations Federal Support for Fusion Centers Report.  The Subcommittee investigation found that DHS-assigned detailees to the fusion centers forwarded "intelligence" of uneven quality — oftentimes shoddy, rarely timely, sometimes endangering citizens' civil liberties and Privacy Act protections, occasionally taken from already-published public sources, and more often than not unrelated to terrorism.

Report: Napolitano misled Congress on terrorism 'fusion' centers.  Homeland Security Secretary Janet A. Napolitano repeatedly misled lawmakers about one of her department's signature initiatives, the special centers where state and local police share information about terrorism with their federal counterparts, a key lawmaker who helped author a damning report on the project said in an interview Thursday [10/4/2012].  A bipartisan report from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations states that Ms. Napolitano and her department failed to report to Congress serious problems with the so-called "fusion center" program.

Nothing is Private Under the False Flag of Terrorism.  In a possible preparation for the ability of the CIA to spy on American citizens with their household items, the NSA's Utah Data Center is located in the Utah desert in the foot hills of the Wasatch mountain range.  This is the centerpiece of the Global Information Grid; a military project that collects yottabytes of data.  They are listening to every conversation, reading every post, intercepting every text message under the false flag of terrorism.  The facility has the technological ability to record and analyze every communication in the world.  From emails to phone calls to text messages to chats; nothing is private anymore.

This is an original compilation, Copyright © 2024 by Andrew K. Dart


Smile for Those Surveillance Cameras, Trapwire is Watching You.  Bloggers and a myriad of other independent media sources are abuzz with news of Wikileaks latest revelation, but you probably won't hear much about it in the main stream media, at least for now.  The topic of discussion is a facial recognition and surveillance system being used across the country by the name of Trapwire. [...] And perhaps this system would not appear so ominous were it not for the Obama administration's determination to use the National Defense Authorization Act against American citizens without the benefit of due process.  Trapwire was developed by Abraxas, a Northern Virginia company staffed with elite from America's intelligence community.  Former senior intelligence officials who run Abraxas have developed a super-sophisticated surveillance system that makes most modern facial recognition technology seem antiquated.  And according to messages hacked from over 5 million emails by Anonymous, the capabilities and scope of Trapwire have largely gone unnoticed by America at large.  Every few seconds, data picked up at surveillance points in major cities and landmarks across the United States are recorded digitally, encrypted, and immediately delivered to Abraxas' fortified central database center at an unidentified location for use by a variety of government and private intelligence concerns.

TrapWire Training Courses Reveal Possible Purpose for its Creation.  TrapWire is a massive and technologically advanced surveillance system that has the capacity to keep nearly the entire population of this country under the watchful eye of government 24 hours a day.  Using this network of cameras and other surveillance tools, the federal government is rapidly constructing an impenetrable, inescapable theater of surveillance, most of which is going unnoticed by Americans and unreported by the mainstream media.

Stratfor emails reveal secret, widespread TrapWire surveillance system.  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.

Everything You Need to Know About TrapWire.  [Scroll down]  There is certainly something to worry about in the pervasive post-9/11 mentality that TrapWire represents:  The obsession with preventing terrorist attacks through constitutionally dubious profiling and surveillance.  But TrapWire on its own doesn't seem to be anywhere near the level of, say, the NSA's warantless wiretapping program.

Unravelling TrapWire.  [Scroll down]  One thing that makes TrapWire a particularly interesting company is that its president, chief of operations and director of business development are all former employees of the Central Intelligence Agency. [...] Abraxas Corporation, the company that originally created TrapWire under its subsidiary Abraxas Applications, also has significant ties to the CIA.  The company was founded by Richard "Hollis" Helms in 2001, two years after he left the CIA where he had worked for nearly 30 years.

Trapwire: It's Not the Surveillance, It's the Sleaze.  Ever since WikiLeaks began releasing a series of documents about the surveillance system Trapwire, there's been a panicked outcry over this supposedly all-seeing, revolutionary spy network.  In fact, there are any number of companies that say they comb through video feeds or suspicious activity reports in largely the same way that Trapwire claims to do.  What's truly extraordinary about Trapwire was how it was marketed by the private intelligence firm Stratfor, whose internal e-mails WikiLeaks exposed.

Trapwire: Big Brother Now Monitors Your Every Move.  The latest Wikileaks data-dump reveals that the government now has the ability to grab video from far-flung surveillance cameras located in stores, casinos and other businesses around the country.  It uses sophisticated facial recognition software to identify people of interest captured by the ubiquitous cameras numbering in the millions.  The software, Trapwire, is a significant breakthrough for the surveillance state.

Wikileaks reveals "TrapWire," a government spy network that uses ordinary surveillance cameras.  According to documents leaked on Wikileaks, a company run by ex-CIA agents has created a piece of technology, called TrapWire, that siphons data from surveillance cameras in stores, casinos, and other businesses around the country.  TrapWire then analyzes this data for, well, people of interest.  Are we living in a total surveillance state without even realizing it?

Is it a bug or a feature?

Stories on this subject are all over the map.  The government denies knowing about it until just recently.  Others say the government has been using it as a tool and a weapon for years.  If even half of the material on this page is true, I'm inclined to believe the non-government sources.

Obama administration denies knowing about Heartbleed before this month.  The Obama administration is denying that the National Security Agency or any other part of the government knew about a flaw in the way that many websites send sensitive information, known as the Heartbleed bug, before it was discovered earlier this month.

The NSA denies it knew of the Heartbleed bug.  The NSA is disavowing its knowledge of the Heartbleed security vulnerability after a Bloomberg report suggested that the spy agency had exploited it for at least two years.  "NSA was not aware of the recently identified vulnerability in OpenSSL, the so-called Heartbleed vulnerability, until it was made public in a private-sector cybersecurity report," NSA spokesperson Vanee Vines told The [Washington] Post.  "Reports that say otherwise are wrong."  The White House and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence echoed that statement Friday, saying neither the NSA nor any other part of the U.S. government knew about Heartbleed before April 2014.

Obama Lets N.S.A. Exploit Some Internet Flaws, Officials Say.  Stepping into a heated debate within the nation's intelligence agencies, President Obama has decided that when the National Security Agency discovers major flaws in Internet security, it should — in most circumstances — reveal them to assure that they will be fixed, rather than keep mum so that the flaws can be used in espionage or cyberattacks, senior administration officials said Saturday.  But Mr. Obama carved a broad exception for "a clear national security or law enforcement need," the officials said, a loophole that is likely to allow the N.S.A. to continue to exploit security flaws both to crack encryption on the Internet and to design cyberweapons.

NSA Said to Exploit Heartbleed Bug for Intelligence for Years.  The U.S. National Security Agency knew for at least two years about a flaw in the way that many websites send sensitive information, now dubbed the Heartbleed bug, and regularly used it to gather critical intelligence, two people familiar with the matter said.  The agency's reported decision to keep the bug secret in pursuit of national security interests threatens to renew the rancorous debate over the role of the government's top computer experts.

How the NSA shot itself in the foot by denying prior knowledge of Heartbleed vulnerability.  The National Security Agency has eyes and ears everywhere.  At least, so we thought.  In 2012, during a classified but widely-known operation at Fort Meade, MD, government crypotographers and developers downloaded the OpenSSL source code, as it does with dozens of other software published on the Web.  The operation's objective was to find weaknesses in the library and exploit those vulnerabilities as part of wider efforts by the intelligence agency to conduct mass-scale surveillance.  After the code was downloaded and compiled, the developers were soon able to pinpoint a programming flaw in the code, which would have allowed the agency to collect usernames and passwords far quicker, more efficiently, and at a lower cost than its bulk data collection programs, notably its fiber cable tapping operation named Upstream.

Domestic surveillance

It is amazing to me that the people who seem to be most outraged by "domestic spying" are the same people who want the government to keep getting bigger and more powerful every year.

It is naïve to expect complete privacy when talking on the phone.  The chances are pretty good that your phone conversations are just between you and the person you called, but there are no guarantees.  When you use a cordless phone or a cell phone, you are talking on a two-way radio, and your expectations should be appropriately lower.

But a list of the phone numbers you have called is a long way from a wiretap.  Long-distance phone carriers have been keeping lists like that for years.  And if it will help catch and convict dangerous criminals, why not let the three-letter agencies sift through the records?  And the answer is simple:  When the feds have put away all the mass-murderers and terrorists, they'll keep looking for smaller and smaller fish in the sea of phone records, especially with people like Hillary Clinton and Janet Reno at the highest levels of the government.  For example, if your brother-in-law is arrested for selling marijuana, and then the police discover that you have called his house about a hundred times (for various reasons), you could have a big problem.

Incidentally, if you are really concerned about "domestic spying", you should think twice about putting a toll road access tag on your car.

There was a flurry of new information about domestic surveillance in June, 2013, related to an information leak by a young man named Edward Snowden.  He now has his own subsection, located here.  In the section immediately below, there are still several excerpts that mention Mr. Snowden, but the focus is not specifically on him.

Related topics:
Commercial and Industrial Threats to Privacy
License plate readers and toll tag readers

The car bomb in Nashville, Tennessee, December 25, 2020

Overviews of domestic surveillance:

More About Intelligence Agencies (CIA/DNI) Spying.  Because of the excessive secrecy surrounding CIA operations, little is known about its domestic activities.  In its 1947 charter, the CIA was prohibited from spying against Americans, in part because President Truman was afraid that the agency would engage in political abuse.  But the law didn't stop the CIA from spying on Americans.  During the 1960s, in clear violation of its statutory mission to co-ordinate foreign intelligence operations only, the CIA ventured into the domestic spying business through "Operation Chaos," in which it spied on as many as 7,000 Americans involved in the peace movement.

Every Tragedy Caused by Government Is Done with the Best of Intentions.  President Bush's "war on terror" in response to the worst attack on U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor not only led to two of the longest wars in U.S. history without producing clear-cut long-term victories but also initiated a mass surveillance state that is now used against Americans by the FBI, NSA, and U.S. military to target constitutionally protected political beliefs.

Reassessing Orwell to Understand Our Times.  Orwell's Big Brother has become a reality in the NSA's tracking and recording all email, text and telephone communication in the United States.  But Big Brother has a new dimension with social media and consumer giants, Google, Facebook, and Amazon, knowing almost everything about people's preferences through their artificial intelligence peering into peoples' "telescreen" computers and smartphones.

Squeaky clean, huh?  Obama forgot about these 25 scandals.  [#16] NSA Spying on Americans:  In June 2013, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the U.S. government was collecting an enormous amount of data on millions of Americans with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments.  The director of national intelligence, James Clapper, had testified to Congress just the opposite, the year before.  When Snowden's revelations became public, Clapper said he had misspoken, not lied.  Obama claimed laws and safeguards prevent the NSA from collecting information without a warrant, but WND has reported many sources, including a Democrat congressman, said that is not true.

10 Ways Big Government Harms You.  [#1] Big government invades your privacy.  Unfortunately the NSA spying scandal is not a singular event nor is the fundamental issue going to be resolved by a simple changing of NSA policy by the President, the courts, or the congress.  The bigger government becomes the more its appetite increases to monitor what its citizens are doing, what they are saying and even what they are thinking.  From Sun Tzu to Julius Caesar, from FDR to Barack Obama, political leaders have been keeping track of their citizenry for centuries.  The problem heightens as the government gets larger because as big government tries to control more, it is increasingly susceptible to dissent and subversion.  A sense of paranoia develops that feeds upon itself.  Leaders inside the expanding state have reason to believe that somebody is fomenting rebellion against their rule.

The surveillance state is here, and to stay.  If great Washington scandals come in threes, as disasters are said to do, we're there.  First there was Watergate, regarded as the granddaddy of them all.  A third-rate burglary at the Watergate Hotel grew to a scandal big enough to cashier a president.  This was followed a decade later by Iran-Contra, an attempt by Reagan administration rogues to exploit trouble in one country to fix a problem in another, and now there's what may be the most far-reaching scandal of all.  The administration of Barack Obama, eager to advance the interests of Hillary Clinton, who was to be the front for his otherwise constitutionally forbidden third term, sought court approval to spy on a suspected colluder with Russians, and in doing so advanced the surveillance state that will now spy on everybody.

What Touches Classified is Classified.  In the three thousand years of the history of espionage and of criminal investigations, a primary element has been the practice of reading other peoples' mail.  Wiretapping, steaming open envelopes, forging letters to get an incriminating response — these are ploys of reality as well as fiction.  Google and AT&T are said to have helped the National Security Administration scan our emails for code words and other data.  Who we write to in itself can help reveal what we are up to.  Your mail is being monitored.

Government Plays a Dangerous Game with Mass Surveillance.  The Fourth Amendment was designed to guard against the harms government invasions of privacy wreak on a free people.  It protects our homes and our private conversations, including those online, because these are where we should feel most protected from government interference.  Absent a warrant or an emergency, it has no right to violate this reasonable expectation of privacy.  Unfortunately, that's not the America we live in today.

Here Are The Major Scandals That Took Place When Robert Mueller Was FBI Director.  [#3] NSA Warrantless Surveillance (2001-2013):  illegal collection of domestic phone records and internet communications that were sent or received by US citizens, in violation of Fourth Amendment protections against warrantless search and seizure, followed by potential perjury committed by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who denied the practices under oath; the 2013 Snowden revelations proved that the 2004 story about Comey and Mueller stopping illegal surveillance practices meant absolutely nothing in reality[.]

Surveillance.  On any given day, the average American going about his daily business will be monitored, surveilled, spied on and tracked in more than 20 different ways, by both government and corporate eyes and ears.  With all branches of the government stridently working to maintain its acquired powers, and the private sector marching in lockstep, The Rutherford Institute is sounding the alarm in an effort to warn the American people about the ubiquitous surveillance state.  Whether you're walking through a store, driving your car, checking email, or talking to friends and family on the phone, you can be sure that some government agency, whether the NSA or some other entity, is listening in and tracking your behavior.  This doesn't even begin to touch on the corporate trackers that monitor your purchases, web browsing, Facebook posts and other activities taking place in the cyber sphere.

Getting Rid of Comey Is Only the Start.  Numerous times during its history, the FBI has taken a keen interest in veterans groups after they come back from overseas.  In some instances the bureau has gone as far as raiding the homes of veterans who espouse unpopular political beliefs.  If the brave men and women who risk their lives defending Americans' sacred liberties aren't safe from FBI overreach can the average citizen feel safe?  No, they cannot.  Partnering with local law enforcement agencies the FBI has created physical infrastructure to listen in on calls across the country, without a warrant, or probable cause.  Local communities from coast to coast are under constant surveillance, many without even realizing it.  Even if you manage to live in an area where the FBI is not partnering with local authorities to listen in on your phone calls, which is unlikely, you may still be targeted if you utilize social media.  A striking case which laid bare the FBI's understanding of its own power came when they publically demanded that Apple create a "backdoor" for its consumer products which would allow them to break into anyone's phone at any given time.  The audacity of a government agency demanding that a company make its products less safe rightfully enraged the public, but many soon forgot after the crisis was averted.

10 Conspiracy Theories That Turned Out To Be True.  [#10] The US Government Illegally Spies On Its Own Citizens:  Even after it was revealed that the NSA has been illegally eavesdropping on us and collecting our cell phone metadata for over a decade, people still hedged on the meaning of it.  Yes, they are analyzing our transmissions, but it's under the auspices of national security.  "In a post 9/11 world" certain liberties must be sacrificed for the sake of security, right?  It turns out that is patently untrue.  Not only is there no evidence that the NSA has protected us from terrorism, there is growing evidence that it makes us more vulnerable.  Thanks to revelations about the NSA and their Prism project, we know that the scope of the NSA's eavesdropping is even beyond what we originally believed.

10 More Crazy Conspiracy Theories That Became Conspiracy Facts.  [#10] CIA monitors U.S. citizens via their smart devices:  Early in 2017, the organization Wikileaks began releasing their first post-2016 election cables with a series of explosive data dumps regarding the CIA's cyber hacking abilities and exploits.  It is called Vault 7.  Updated serially in "Year Zero," "Dark Matter," "Marble," "Grasshopper," "HIVE," "Weeping Angel," and "Scribbles," the documents show the unprecedented collection of cyber vulnerabilities, exploits, and hacking abilities consolidated within the agency that many believe constitute wide-ranging breaches of civil liberties.  Chief among these breaches is domestic surveillance and extrajudicial cyberhacking, which the Wikileaks documents confirm are taking place in an abundance of forms.

The Illusion of Freedom:  The Police State Is Alive and Well.  [Scroll down]  In fact, the American police state has continued to advance at the same costly, intrusive, privacy-sapping, Constitution-defying, relentless pace under President Trump as it did under President Obama. [...] The surveillance state hasn't stopped spying on Americans' communications, transactions or movements.  On any given day, whether you're walking through a store, driving your car, checking email, or talking to friends and family on the phone, you can be sure that some government agency, whether it's your local police, a fusion center, the National Security Agency or one of the government's many corporate partners, is still monitoring and tracking you.

The chickens have come home to roost.  In our misguided efforts to keep the country safe, we have neglected to keep it free.  We have enabled a deep state to become powerful enough to control a powerful president.  We have placed so much data and so much power in the hands of unelected, unaccountable, opaque spies that they can use it as they see fit — even to the point of committing federal felonies.  Now some have boasted that they can manipulate and thus control the president of the United States by selectively revealing and concealing what they know about anyone, including the president himself.  This is a perilous state of affairs, brought about by the maniacal passion for surveillance spawned under George W. Bush and perfected under Barack Obama — all with utter indifference to the widespread constitutional violations and permanent destruction of personal liberties.

Obama Says He's Had A Scandal-Free Administration.  Here Are 11 of His Scandals.  [#5] The NSA conducted mass surveillance against American citizens without a warrant.  Thanks to leaking from former government contractor Edward Snowden, it was revealed that the National Security Agency had been conducting mass surveillance against American citizens — a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment.  In 2015, the NSA eventually ended their bulk data collection of phone records.

September 11: Remembering Lives and Liberties Lost 15 Years Ago.  [The attacks on 9/11/2001] changed our country in ways that have significantly undermined our cherished liberties.  The indignity of imposing TSA security theater at airports is the least of it.  Security checkpoints are everywhere requiring citizens to show ID and undergo screenings by metal detectors in order to enter practically all public and many private buildings.  But even worse are the secret erosions of our rights as citizens not to be surveilled by our government.  We now know that the federal government is engaged in pervasive unconstitutional domestic spying on essentially all Americans.  The monetary costs of "Homeland Security" are estimated to run about $75 billion per year.  The "black budget" of the federal government's "intelligence community" exceeds $52 billion annually.  The percentage of it that is spent on spying on Americans is not clear, but is certainly billions, if not tens of billions.  Since the September 11 atrocities, 94 Americans have been killed in domestic attacks by violent jihadists, which are the kind of attacks against which our elaborate security apparatus purports to protect us.

This Is Not Your Government.  So, here we are: the government regularly and with specific intent violates the 4th Amendment.  What are you going to do about it?  They are listening to your phone calls, reading your emails, scanning your Facebook and other social media sites, all in the name of deterring terrorism, but they cannot even stop something like San Bernardino or Orlando.  We have traded liberty for security and every warning we have ever been given has been ignored and the consequences are being suffered.  It is common knowledge that the government is monitoring all of these aspects of our lives and it is met with a shrug.

There Will Be No Second American Revolution:  The Futility Of An Armed Revolt.  [Scroll down]  Even government agencies with largely administrative functions such as the Food and Drug Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Smithsonian have been acquiring body armor, riot helmets and shields, cannon launchers and police firearms and ammunition.  In fact, there are now at least 120,000 armed federal agents carrying such weapons who possess the power to arrest.  Rounding out this profit-driven campaign to turn American citizens into enemy combatants (and America into a battlefield) is a technology sector that is colluding with the government to create a Big Brother that is all-knowing, all-seeing and inescapable.  It's not just the drones, fusion centers, license plate readers, stingray devices and the NSA that you have to worry about.  You're also being tracked by the black boxes in your cars, your cell phone, smart devices in your home, grocery loyalty cards, social media accounts, credit cards, streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, and e-book reader accounts.

The FBI Has Quietly Collected 434,000 Iris Scans Of US Citizens.  Working together with local police departments, U.S. Border Patrol, and the Pentagon, the FBI has discreetly amassed 434,000 iris scans.  The surveillance technology, used primarily by airports and private security companies, was pitched in 2013 as a way to help police departments catch criminals in a safer and more efficient manner.  At that point, the FBI already had 30,000 scans and was looking to coordinate with local and national agencies to develop a searchable database of scans taken by police departments across the nation.  The iris scan, which can be taken from a distance and requires no physical contact, was to be taken upon arrest and submitted whether charges were pressed or not.

U.S. Defense Contractor To Blanket Earth With New Surveillance Technology.  Google has received vast criticism for its Google Earth, Google Maps and Google Streetview systems that have essentially removed the inherent right to privacy and transferred it to the whim of corporate terms and conditions.  However, this would seem to pale in comparison to what is being announced from the largest U.S. defense contractor, Lockheed Martin, working in tandem with commercial space imagery vendor, DigitalGlobe.  According to Lockheed, they are making final preparations for a next-generation global imaging satellite called DigitalGlobe WorldView-4.  If all remains according to plan, the new satellite will be launched into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base as early as September 15, 2016.

Engineered Chaos And Fear The New Norm In America As Many Assume The "Reality" Of Staged Events.  There was a time when there was actually a sense of normality all around us and there was a sense of justice and accountability at the government level even if it was mostly the perception of it. [...] There was even a time when you could comfortably plan on traveling pretty much anywhere in the world, especially here in the United States for business or pleasure without having to deal with the prospect of "terrorism" or another psyop mass shooting, terror truck drivers, snipers or lockdowns.  You also didn't have to worry about a violent police state, checkpoints, surveillance cameras, killer robots, government spying and 24/7 fear, death and destruction being put out by the mainstream media news.  There was a sense of order, in other words, that many of us still remember and we remember exactly what it felt like.  Obviously you can't miss something or yearn for the days you've never experienced.  This disconnect that the younger generation has to what some may refer to the good old days is important in the grand scheme of things because this chaos is all they know and it is a grand example of learned helplessness.  For the first time in modern American history we have a generation that doesn't know what order, calmness and peace looks like.

A Week in the Life of the American Police State.  The following incidents constitute a typical week in the life of the American police state.  [#1] Not content with merely spying on our emails and phone calls, the NSA wants to spy on thermostats, refrigerators, and pacemakers.  [#2] Reinforcing fears about how easily surveillance technology can be abused by government officials, local police in California are using money acquired through asset forfeiture to buy surveillance equipment that was then used to blackmail city council members.  [#3] Small-town police departments continue to militarize their forces, acquiring military equipment such as BearCat armored vehicles and SWAT teams at an alarming rate.  [#4] According to the Government Accountability Office, the majority of people in the government's criminal face-recognition database have never committed a crime. [...] [#7] The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that as long as the government shows "good faith," it can search your digital files as much as it wants.  [#8] The FBI and other government agencies have been hiding cameras in city utility poles in order to carry out warrantless, covert surveillance on Americans.

Fruit of the Poisonous Tree.  Roy Olmstead had been convicted for bootlegging on the basis of words he used in overheard telephone conversations.  Because he had used a phone at his place of work that the government had tapped without breaking and entering his workplace, the high court ruled — despite the fact that the government had not obtained a warrant — that he had no right to privacy.  [Justice Louis] Brandeis dissented.  Over time, the Brandeis dissent became the law.  The Fourth Amendment, which protects the privacy of all in our "persons, houses, papers, and effects," was interpreted to cover telephone conversations and eventually emails and text messages.  So today, if the government wants information contained in those communications, it needs to obtain a search warrant, which the Fourth Amendment states can only be given by a judge — and only upon a showing of probable cause of evidence of a crime contained in the communications it seeks.

The NSA doesn't even know how many Americans it's spying on.  The National Security Agency (NSA), which is behind some of the world's most sophisticated mass surveillance operations, can't say how many Americans it's spying on in these endeavors.  That's not because it's a secret, though that might be a reason too.  It's because the agency's operations are so vast that it can't even figure out the number.

Saint or Sinner, Government Eyes Are Watching Every Move You Make.  We now find ourselves in the unenviable position of being monitored, managed and controlled by our technology, which answers not to us but to our government and corporate rulers.  Consider that on any given day, the average American going about his daily business will be monitored, surveilled, spied on and tracked in more than 20 different ways, by both government and corporate eyes and ears.  A byproduct of this new age in which we live, whether you're walking through a store, driving your car, checking email, or talking to friends and family on the phone, you can be sure that some government agency, whether the NSA or some other entity, is listening in and tracking your behavior.

It's Time to Put an End to the NSA's Bulk Collection of Americans' Metadata.  The authors of our Bill of Rights included the Fourth Amendment because they knew that one of the best protections against tyranny is to limit the government's power to search its citizens.  Specifically, the Framers wanted to ensure that the federal government could not issue broad general warrants that would empower the executive branch to indiscriminately rummage through the private lives of American citizens — in other words, to spy on them.  Unfortunately, that is exactly what the National Security Agency is doing today.

Advisor: Obama, NSA use internet to silence critics like Tea Party.  The Obama administration is expanding its online data search of Americans to find potential civil unrest — like the 2010 Tea Party movement — and squash it before they take root, a prominent financial advisor has warned clients.  David John Marotta compared the administration's efforts to those used by former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover against his critics and 1960s activists.  Targeting activists isn't anything new.  J. Edgar Hoover made it his life's work.  What has changed is the vigor with which the government has assumed its own activism against certain groups, he said.

50 Things Barack Obama Has Done Wrong:  [#15]  The NSA has spied on Americans under Obama.  [#16]  Under Obama, the CIA spied on the Senate.

What the Future of Government Surveillance Looks Like.  [Scroll down]  These partnerships make no sense when the primary goal of intelligence is government vs. government espionage, but are obvious and appropriate when the primary goal is global surveillance of the population.  So while the German government expresses outrage at the NSA's surveillance of the country's leaders, its BND continues to partner with the NSA to surveil everyone else.  The endgame of this isn't pretty:  It's a global surveillance network where all countries collude to surveil everyone on the entire planet.

Agents performing warrantless searches are the hallmark of totalitarianism.  When Edward Snowden revealed the nature and extent of the domestic spying that the government unleashed upon us post-9/11 and made us all aware of its use of the Patriot Act to do so, the authors of the Patriot Act expressed outrage and anger.  What was the government doing?  The government was secretly gathering data on all of us and using warrants that were not based on probable cause and that did not specifically describe the place to be searched or the person or thing to be seized.  When members of Congress realized that they, too, were being spied upon, the outrage grew.  That outrage and anger metastasized into a new law enacted earlier this year, called the USA Freedom Act, which took effect this week.  That law, its supporters have argued, will tame the National Security Agency into constitutional compliance and keep its 60,000 agents and contractors out of our private affairs.  In fact, it is now worse.

The Truth About USA Freedom.  [Scroll down]  The proponents of the NSA's warrantless domestic spying program also vastly oversell its effectiveness.  The program was still in operation when terrorists struck Paris and had expired just four days before the San Bernardino attacks.  If this program was so essential, why did it not stop these attacks?  Furthermore, just as Obama can't identify a single mass shooting that his gun control proposals would have stopped, supporters of warrantless domestic spying can't point to a single attack the NSA's domestic program prevented.

Obama: yes we scan
CISA Is Now The Law: How Congress Quietly Passed The Second Patriot Act.  Why was the CISA included in the omnibus package, which just passed both the House and the Senate?  Because any "nay" votes [...] would also threaten the entire budget of the federal government.  In other words, it was a question of either Americans keeping their privacy or halting the funding of the US government, in effect bankrupting the nation.  And best of all, the rushed bill means there will be no debate.  The bottom line as OTI's Robyn Green said, "They've got this bill that's kicked around for years and had been too controversial to pass, so they've seen an opportunity to push it through without debate.  And they're taking that opportunity."  The punchline:  "They're kind of pulling a Patriot Act."  And when Obama signs the $1.1 trillion Spending Bill in a few hours, as he will, it will be official:  the second Patriot Act will be the law, and with it what little online privacy US citizens may enjoy, will be gone.

Related topic:  The Department of Justice vs Apple Computer, a case in which the government is attempting to compel a cell phone manufacturer to unlock the encryption in a dead terrorist's cell phone — and all other phones in that product line.

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Domestic surveillance news and opinion This is an original compilation, Copyright © 2024 by Andrew K. Dart

European Politicians Declare War On Text Message Privacy.  In recent weeks, Public has documented how ruling European politicians appear to have weaponized government intelligence agencies to discredit and censor their political enemies.  Now, Public has learned that the European Union is close to winning new legislation that would allow it to monitor all private digital conversations, from text messaging to emails.  The new law would give EU police the power to read all messages on Gmail, WhatsApp, and other mail and text messaging services.  [Paywall.  No, thanks.]

We're Not Safe from Government Peeping Toms.  We are no longer safe in our homes, not from the menace of a government and its army of Peeping Toms who are waging war on the last stronghold of privacy left to us as a free people.  The weapons of this particular war on the privacy and sanctity of our homes are being wielded by the government and its army of bureaucratized, corporatized, militarized mercenaries.  Government agents — with or without a warrant, with or without probable cause that criminal activity is afoot, and with or without the consent of the homeowner — are now justified in mounting virtual home invasions using surveillance technology — with or without the blessing of the courts — to invade one's home with wiretaps, thermal imaging, surveillance cameras, aerial drones, and other monitoring devices.  Just recently, in fact, the Michigan Supreme Court gave the government the green light to use warrantless aerial drone surveillance to snoop on citizens at home and spy on their private property.

Columbia crackdown led by university prof doubling as NYPD spook.  Rebecca Weiner is a Columbia U. professor who also serves as intelligence director of the NYPD. Mayor Eric Adams credits her with spying on anti-genocide student protesters and directing the militarized raid that dislodged them from campus.  The violent crackdown carried out on Columbia University students protesting Israel's genocidal assault on the Gaza Strip was led by a member of the school's own faculty, New York City Mayor Eric Adams has declared.  During a May 1 press conference, just hours after the New York Police Department arrested nearly 300 people on university grounds, Adams praised adjunct Columbia professor Rebecca Weiner, who moonlights as the head of the NYPD counter-terrorism bureau, for giving police the green light to clear out anti-genocide students by force.

Data Centers Hiding In 'Spy Country' Northern Virginia Will Need Reactor's Worth Of Power.  Since the beginning of the digital age, most of the world's internet data has flowed through massive data centers in Northern Virginia.  The area is known as "Data Center Alley" because it's home to the world's largest concentration of data centers.  Some call the area 'spy country' because of the number of data centers used by the Central Intelligence Agency and other intelligence agencies.  Given the exponential proliferation of smartphones, streaming services, smart devices, and now generative artificial intelligence, the power demanded by data centers in Northern Virginia will need nuclear reactors worth of power, if not much more, according to utility Dominion Energy.  On Thursday, Chief Executive Officer Bob Blue told investors on a company earnings call that "economic growth, electrification, and accelerating data center expansion" is boosting power demand across the area.

Spies are the foundation of the American police state.  Why does any country — particularly a democratic one — require 18 different intelligence agencies?  It doesn't, of course, unless these cells of fetid political surveillance are also working with the growing list of armed security forces in America to rob people of their democratic rights and freedoms.  Nazi Germany only had two intel agencies:  the Abwehr, which was the state's military intelligence arm and the notorious Sicherheitsdienst, or SD, which was the Nazi party's own intelligence agency attached to the SS and under the command of Reinhard Heydrich, one of the most evil and ambitious men in the Third Reich.  Yet the U.S. actually brags about having so many intelligence groups that most Americans have lost count.

Now We Are Supposed to Cheer Government Surveillance?  They are wearing us down with shocking headlines and opinions.  They come daily these days, with increasingly implausible claims that leave your jaw on the floor.  The rest of the text is perfunctory.  The headline is the takeaway, and the part designed to demoralize, deconstruct, and disorient.  A few weeks ago, the New York Times told us that "As It Turns Out, the Deep State Is Pretty Awesome."  These are the same people who claim that Trump is trying to get rid of democracy.  The Deep State is the opposite of democracy, unelected and unaccountable in every way, impervious to elections and the will of the people.  Now we have the NYT celebrating this.  And the latest bears notice too:  "Government Surveillance Keeps Us Safe."  The authors are classic Deep Staters associated with Hillary Clinton and George W. Bush.  They assure us that having an Orwellian state is good for us.  You can trust them, promise.  The rest of the content of the article doesn't matter much.  The message is in the headline.

FBI Director Forecasts Major Terror Attack, Lies about Monitoring Protests.  In a wide-ranging interview with NBC published Tuesday, FBI Director Chris Wray forecasted a terrorist event in America similar to ISIS-K's alleged attack on Russia last month, when members of the Islamic group killed nearly 140 people at a concert hall in the suburbs of Moscow.  "We are increasingly concerned [about] the potential for some kind of coordinated attack here in the homeland, which may be not that different from what you saw against the concert hall in Russia a few weeks ago from ISIS-K," Wray told NBC's Lester Holt.  Wray didn't mention that Russia has accused the U.S. of being behind the ISIS-K attack.  While such an accusation may seem absurd to some, recent investigative journalism has shown that ISIS-K is led by a NATO contractor.  [Tweet]

SSCI Chairman Mark Warner Lies About FISA-702 Fundamentals.  This statement by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner is so fraudulent in narrative construct it's almost ridiculous. "SEN. WARNER: Let's remember what 702 is.  It is the ability for the United States government to surveil, listen in, on non-Americans foreigners who are abroad."  Absolutely nothing about this statement is accurate.  Foreigners do not have U.S constitutional protection.  All foreign communications can be intercepted without issue, without FISA.  FISA-702 authority only pertains to Americans.  The term "702" is specifically referencing private communication with/by an American.  [Video clip]

Congressional Testimony On Section 230 Was So Wrong That It Should Be Struck From The Record.  A few months ago, we wondered if Wired had fired its entire fact-checking staff because it published what appeared to be a facts-optional article co-authored by professional consistently wrong Jaron Lanier and an academic I'd not come across before, Allison Stanger.  The article suggested that getting rid of Section 230 "could save everything."  Yet the article was so far off-base that it was in the "not even wrong" category of wrongness.  I'm not going to review all the reasons it was wrong.  You can go back to my original article for that, though I will note that the argument seemed to suggest that getting rid of Section 230 would both lead to better content moderation and, at the same time, only moderation based on the First Amendment.  Both of those points are obviously wrong, but the latter one is incoherent.

Down with Big Brother:  Warrantless Surveillance Makes a Mockery of the Constitution.  The government long ago sold us out to the highest bidder.  The highest bidder, by the way, has always been the Deep State. [...] Just as the USA Patriot was perverted from its stated intent to fight terrorism abroad and was instead used to covertly crack down on the American people (allowing government agencies to secretly track Americans' financial activities, monitor their communications, and carry out wide-ranging surveillance on them), Section 702 has been used as an end-run around the Constitution to allow the government to collect the actual content of your conversations (phone calls, text messages, video chats, emails and other electronic communication) without a warrant.  Now intelligence officials are pushing to dramatically expand the government's spying powers, effectively giving the government unbridled authority to force millions of Americans to spy on its behalf.  Basically, the Deep State wants to turn the American people into extensions of Big Brother.

Speaker Mike Johnson Believes "History Will Judge Well" Extending Warrantless Searches and Giving Ukraine Unlimited Funds.  Many of the most professional political class in Washington DC just flat out believe the echo-chambering bubble created by the intelligence apparatus inside the beltway. [...] They are so detached from comprehending anything adverse to their worldview, they genuinely believe what they are saying is factually accurate and true.  It's not; all of it is total nonsense, but the pressure from the intelligence apparatus is so strong and encompassing, these politicians cannot fathom it's wrong.  To be sure, there are some like Mitch McConnell, Chuck Schumer, John Cornnyn, [sic] John Thune etc. the UniParty leadership, that know the IC narrative is completely false; they know what they are doing is corrupt and wrong, but they dare not challenge the administrative state apparatus that controls them.  However, in the case of Johnson and others like Scalise, he really doesn't know.  He's a believer in this fraud.

Congress Passes FISA-702 Extension, Allowing Warrantless Document Searches and Electronic Surveillance of Americans.  The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution says:  "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."  Late last night, early this morning (after midnight), the United States Senate passed a FISA reauthorization bill that directly and specifically violates every tenant of the 4th Amendment.

Senate reauthorizes warrantless spy powers just after midnight deadline.  The Senate passed a controversial extension of the federal government's warrantless spying powers just after a midnight deadline on Friday over objections from Democrats and Republicans who opposed the incidental collection of US citizens' data as part of the authority.  In a 60-34 vote, Democrats and Republicans voted to reauthorize Title VII of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) until 2026, sending the legislation to President Biden's desk for a signature.  The White House issued a statement in strong support of the legislation, called the Reforming Intelligence and Securing America Act, before it passed the House last week in a 273-147 bipartisan vote.  The FISA authority was set to expire on April 19, which proponents had warned would end critical intelligence-gathering efforts through a provision known as Section 702.

Speaker Johnson Caves on Spying on Americans Without Warrants.  Unfortunately, Speaker Johnson is caving again.  He goes from giving in on spending bills, and possibly the border, to warrants for FISA.  Some Republicans voted warrantless FISA down.  They insisted on the warrants since the Intelligence agencies have abused them over and over.  They even spied on President Trump and his campaign.  FISA expires next week.  In this clip, he sounds too easily swayed.  The GOP can't lose him since they have a barely negligible majority; hopefully, he will do well in fundraising.  We can't count on Republicans.  [Tweet with video clip]

Supercharged Spying Provision Buried In "Terrifying" FISA 702 Reauthorization.  On Monday, the House finalized procedural business on a bill to reauthorize the nation's warrantless surveillance powers under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) called "one of the most dramatic and terrifying expansions of government surveillance authority in history." [...] I'll explain how this new power works.  Under current law, the government can compel "electronic communications service providers" that have direct access to communications to assist the NSA in conducting Section 702 surveillance.  In practice, that means companies like Verizon and Google must turn over the communications of the targets of Section 702 surveillance.  (The targets must be foreigners overseas, although the communications can — and do — include communications with Americans.)  Through a seemingly innocuous change to the definition of "electronic communications surveillance provider," an amendment offered by House intel committee (HPSCI) leaders and passed by the House vastly expands the universe of entities that can be compelled to assist the NSA.  If the bill becomes law, any company or individual that provides ANY service whatsoever may be forced to assist in NSA surveillance, as long as they have access to equipment on which communications are transmitted or stored — such as routers, servers, cell towers, etc.

Lawmakers, Privacy Experts Sound Alarm on Most 'Terrifying Expansions of Government Surveillance' in History in Spy Powers Bill.  Lawmakers and privacy experts on both sides of the political spectrum are sounding the alarm on a provision in a spy powers reform bill that one senator described as one of the "most terrifying expansions of government surveillance" in history.  Eighty-six House Republicans last Friday voted for the Reforming Intelligence and Securing America Act (RISAA), a bill that would reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).  Section 702 is a government surveillance authority that is meant to target foreign adversaries, but often surveils Americans' communications without a warrant.

86 Republicans Vote To Allow Warrantless Spying Of Americans With FISA.  Eighty-six House Republicans voted against an amendment to the FISA reauthorization bill, which would have added a warrant requirement to prevent the U.S. government from spying on Americans without their knowledge.  FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, recently grabbed headlines nationwide after conservatives pointed to the intelligence community's illegal surveillance of the then-candidate Donald Trump's campaign during the 2016 election.  This surveillance, authorized by FISA, has been criticized for its role in perpetuating the "Russiagate" narrative against Trump's presidency.  House Republicans believed the amendment, introduced by Republican Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs, would serve as a guardrail against the intelligence community's abuse of power.  Among the Republicans who voted for the legislation without the inclusion of Biggs' amendment are Speaker Mike Johnson, Majority Leader Steve Scalise, Majority Whip Tom Emme and Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw.

K-12 Public Schools' Digital Policies Are Ripe for Persecuting Conservative Students.  Many of the district's students and parents are unaware that Fairfax County Public Schools offers administrators, counselors, and teachers a program called Lightspeed Systems.  It is essentially an unrestricted power for multiple school employees to surveille students' computer screens in real time.  While his classmates were taking their test, the teacher was spending her time figuratively watching over the student's shoulder to see what he was reading.  Lightspeed is a new program in Fairfax County Public Schools and its use has not been codified into the district's Acceptable Use Policy.  An Acceptable Use Policy in a K-12 educational setting outlines guidelines and expectations for the appropriate use of technology resources within the school community.  It serves as a framework to ensure that students, teachers, staff, and other stakeholders understand their rights and responsibilities when using digital devices, networks, and online services.

FISA Reform Failed Because The Whole Point Of Section 702 Is To Spy On Americans.  A group of 19 Republican lawmakers on Wednesday [4/10/2024] joined with Democrats to block a bill that would have reauthorized the federal government's spying authority with a few minor tweaks.  At issue is Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which allows warrantless surveillance of foreigners but is also routinely used to spy on American citizens.  As it stands now, the law, which is set to expire April 19, allows U.S. intelligence agencies to spy on foreign nationals based overseas, but it also lets the FBI comb through the massive amounts of data the intelligence community collects and gather information about American citizens.  These are known as "backdoor searches," and an unlikely coalition of conservative Republicans and left-wing Democrats want to change how these searches are conducted.  Specifically, they want to require that the FBI obtain a warrant before searching Section 702 data for information about Americans — a reasonable reform.  The intelligence community, and the members of the House Intelligence Committee over whom they have influence, oppose this.  Why?  The most straightforward answer is that the main purpose of the intelligence community's surveillance programs isn't to spy on terrorists or foreign adversaries overseas, it's to spy on American citizens.  So of course the intelligence community opposes FISA reforms that would make it harder to spy on Americans.

Congress Is Lying to You About FISA.  The first lesson we're going to learn is that a lot of powerful people in the Congress are liars.  They lie without shame, in fact, with pride.  And they do so at the behest of or because of blackmail instituted by the intel agencies.  And at the head of that list would be the chairman of the House intel committee, Mike Turner of Ohio.  We're going to play a clip from Mike Turner of Ohio saying exactly the opposite of what is true here.  Is Mike Turner reassuring you that face, it would never, under the face of law, the U.S. government would never be allowed to spy on you without a war, because that's unconstitutional.  It never happened.  It never will happen.

'Almost Orwellian': Feds black out nearly all emails about trucker surveillance proposal.  A Department of Transportation component slammed the brakes following semi-furious opposition to its proposal for "on demand" law enforcement surveillance of commercial vehicles a year and a half ago.  It took another six months to turn over the records after a FOIA lawsuit to compel their release, a day before they were due in court Thursday, with no indication yet from FMCSA when it would release a final rule.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration had internal conversations about those public comments over several months, including via personal email, at the same time it was stalling a Freedom of Information Act request for its communications about the "constitutional implications" of the electronic-tracking advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM).

Oakland [is] Installing Hundreds of Police Cameras.  Liberals [are] Outraged.  It seems as if the closure of In-N-Out Burger in Oakland, California was a bridge too far.  Crime was already out of control in Oakland, particularly retail theft and carjacking.  Now Governor Gavin Newsom and Mayor Sheng Thao are finally ready to do something about it.  Or at least they're going to throw some money at the problem and give the appearance of doing something.  The Governor announced yesterday that they have entered into a contract with Flock Safety to install nearly 500 security cameras around the city.  The cameras will primarily monitor vehicular traffic.  Unfortunately, the usual list of anti-police suspects immediately showed up to complain about a rising police state, racism, and all the rest of the accusations we typically hear any time anyone tries to do something about crime.

How smart cars exposed the dark side of driving.  Starting at just under $49,000, the Cadillac XT6 is billed as a marriage of "luxury, speed, power and handling" in promotional brochures.  The seven-seater SUV boasts a sunroof, heated front seats, a surround sound speaker system and a reported top speed of 132 miles per hour.  It is also — like many other cars today — essentially a computer on wheels, full of technology and sensors that constantly monitor performance and watch out for hazards.  While that sounds like a good thing, for Romeo Chicco it has turned into a nightmare.  Three months ago, when the American motorist was trying to renew his car insurance, he discovered his vehicle had been spying on him.  Worse still, it had passed on his information to insurance providers, which were now seeking to nearly double his premium.

Google and Meta Function as Extensions of the US Intelligence Community.  Name redacted has published an expose on X exposing the enormity of government censorship and the willing subjugation of America's largest tech companies.  For those of us censored and suspended for years, we hardly knew or understood the enormity of what the individual was up against.

Feds are now hunting down Americans who simply viewed "certain" YouTube videos.  We've all cracked jokes about how our "Google searches" might one day land us behind bars, not realizing we were pretty much on the nose.  Welcome to Biden's version of 1984.  A recent report reveals that if you tuned into certain YouTube videos last year, the feds are now curious about who you are.  A US federal court has ordered Google to reveal the identities of tens of thousands of viewers who watched specific videos within a set period.  Let freedom ring, right?  Day by day, it feels like we're inching closer to a North Korea-style surveillance state, and it doesn't seem like it's going to ease up.  Securing the White House in 2024 is critical, but even then, we have to wonder:  have we crossed a point of no return?

If you watched certain YouTube videos, investigators demanded your data from Google.  If you've ever jokingly wondered if your search or viewing history is going to "put you on some kind of list," your concern may be more than warranted.  In now unsealed court documents reviewed by Forbes, Google was ordered to hand over the names, addresses, telephone numbers, and user activity of Youtube accounts and IP addresses that watched select YouTube videos, part of a larger criminal investigation by federal investigators. [...] Privacy experts, however, are worried about the kind of precedent the court's order creates, citing concerns over the protections of the first and fourth amendments.  "This is the latest chapter in a disturbing trend where we see government agencies increasingly transforming search warrants into digital dragnets," executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project Albert Fox-Cahn told the publication.  "It's unconstitutional, it's terrifying, and it's happening every day."

Google Has Been Ratting Out YouTube Viewers to the Feds.  You really need to keep an eye on the Department of Injustice these days because you never know what they're up to.  The latest example comes to us from Forbes this week.  It involves Google and a collection of YouTube videos that have attracted the attention of the feds.  It's not just the creators of the videos who are of interest, however.  Forbes uncovered warrants showing that the FBI had demanded user data on everyone who watched particular videos.  We're talking about tens of thousands of viewers in some cases.  It remains unclear how many of these cases resulted in Google turning over the user's data, but it's almost certainly a non-zero number.  The company has yet to offer specifics about compliance, but they claim to be making changes that will make it more difficult for user data to be vacuumed up on a massive scale in that fashion.

Did someone mention Google?

The FBI's Otherwise Illegal Activity.  How deeply is law enforcement interfering in the daily lives of American citizens?  For example, it was recently reported that the FBI labeled Americans who "support the biological basis for sex and gender distinction as potential domestic terrorists."  Then what?  What does the FBI, and those who cooperate with the FBI, do to such Americans?  Does the FBI label FBI employees who support biology as potential terrorists?  Or, is the FBI saying that no FBI employees support the biological basis for sex and gender distinction?  The FBI and local police keep their specific actions, methods, and technologies mostly secret; thus, one cannot say with certainty what occurs after the FBI labels a person as a potential domestic terrorist.  Americans might study the history of the FBI and local police cooperating with the FBI for hints about what might occur after being labeled as a potential domestic terrorist.

Elon Musk's SpaceX Building Global Satellite Surveillance Network for U.S. Intelligence Agency.  According to a recent Reuters report, Elon Musk signed a $1.8 billion contract in 2021 with the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) to launch a system of orbiting surveillance satellites.  According to the report, "if successful, the sources said the program would significantly advance the ability of the U.S. government and military to quickly spot potential targets almost anywhere on the globe." [...] Knowing that for a period of about ten years beginning in 2012, USG/DHS essentially operated inside the platform of Twitter for the purposes of controlling public opinion, I find it very challenging to believe the relationships with DHS, FBI, HHS and USIC — along with the Pentagon and State Dept, just ended after Musk purchased the platform.  One could make a compelling argument the purchase of Twitter held an ancillary benefit and protected the USIC from revelations that would not be controlled by any other process.  Long before the "Twitter Files" were released under tight controls, the structure of Jack's Magic Coffee shop was increasingly visible.  Beyond the Twitter Files, the COVID-19 pandemic revealed just how much control the government held over the platform.  A $1.8 billion USG contract buys a lot of symbiosis and influence.

New America:  Guilty Until Further Notice.  This article continues a discussion on the U.S. government's use of neuroscience and directed energy to develop weapons which can secretly affect the brain and body from a remote location without requiring surgically implanted neural technologies.  Government scientists during the Obama-Biden Administration described plans for large remote surveillance systems which determine a person's intentions, potentially including surveilling and affecting brain activity.  Importantly, U.S. government scientists suggested the remote detection of covert intent technologies and their planned "larger systems of systems" could have dual uses in the civilian economy, including "crowd control, antidrug and anticrime operations, border security, and ensuring the security of government and private personnel and property."  Emphasis should be on the use of remote and secret technologies for "anticrime operations" in the previous quotation; the U.S. government suggested using remote and secret technologies which potentially affect the human brain and/or body to prevent crime, not necessarily to solve crimes already committed.

FBI Colludes With Banks in Fascist-style Surveillance Operations.  Last Thursday, the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government held a three-hour hearing on a congressional investigation into how the FBI worked with big banks to surveil Americans — all without warrants, and much without reasonable suspicion.  This type of collusion between private companies and government is the core of fascism as defined by Benito Mussolini.  [Video clip]

Alaska high court rules against warrantless ariel surveillance of private ciitizen.  Alaska law enforcement agencies do not have the right to conduct aerial surveillance of private property with high powered telephoto technology without first obtaining a search warrant.  This was the March 8 ruling of the Alaska Supreme Court in the case, State of Alaska v.  John William McKelvey.  Back in 2012 the Alaska State Troopers received a tip that McKelvey had a grow operation on his property located in rural Fairbanks.  After initially flying over the property and taking photos with a telephoto lens, the Troopers then obtained a search warrant.  The central issue in this case concerned the validity of the search warrant and whether the Troopers' use of aerial photos violated the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the Alaska Constitution's rights to privacy and freedom from unreasonable searches.  According to the Alaska Supreme Court's ruling, the State Constitution protects Alaskans from law enforcement aerial surveillance by requiring a warrant prior to taking pictures of private property from the sky.

Canadian vending machines were secretly using facial recognition software; nobody would have known except for a display error.  A vending machine at the University of Waterloo malfunctioned and displayed a rather worrisome error to the users.  No one was aware that the vending machines, which sold snacks like chocolate bars and chips, were using facial recognition software.  'We wouldn't have known if it weren't for the application error.  There's no warning here,' said River Stanley, a fourth-year student, who investigated the machines for an article in the university publication, mathNEWS.  As news of the facial recognition software error spread around campus, students started covering a small hole on the machines where it was suspected that the camera was housed.  Stanley said.

The Benefits of Hardship.  While the Patriot Act broadened the toolkit for tracking down foreign threats, its nefarious use as a domestic surveillance weapon took a sledgehammer to Americans' privacy. [...] In the wake of 9/11, President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney erected an unconstitutional infrastructure that could be used to spy on Americans' communications and financial transactions.  They enlarged the welfare state, created whole new departments and agencies, increased debts and deficits, expanded federal intrusion into local education and family life, and squandered a great deal of goodwill both at home and abroad.  Instead of championing conservative principles and constitutional governance, the Bush-Cheney White House championed American empire abroad, while sacrificing rights and freedoms at home.

The Day They Turned the Spies on Us.  Mike Benz, a former State Department official, argues that over the decades since World War II the U.S. has developed a huge intelligence system to spy and spread propaganda and influence elections in foreign countries.  In about 2016 the U.S. government converted these intelligence systems elections to spy and censor and manipulate elections right here in the U.S. [...] The idea that the government is spying on us right here at home would be nothing but a conspiracy theory but for The Twitter Files.  If nothing else, Matt Taibbi & Co. clearly showed that the intelligence community was directing traffic during the late COVID unpleasantness through direct communication with social media companies and the disinformation/misinformation/malinformation ideology of the nation's Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency. [...] It's not just Trump.  It's the entire populist nationalist movement that has to be stopped.  Because?  You can understand the point of view of the global ruling class.

IRS Official Tells O'Keefe Media Group Reporter That the IRS uses AI to Spy on Americans' Bank Accounts.  O'Keefe Media Group has infiltrated the IRS!  According to Alex Mena, an IRS official with the criminal investigations unit in New York, who met with O'Keefe Media Group's undercover journalist, the IRS uses artificial intelligence technology to spy on American citizens and company bank accounts without a warrant or evidence to uncover what they consider fraud.  According to the source, the IRS is "going after the small people" and "destroying people's lives."  All of the agents are "like robots," said Mena.  This is quite ironic, as The Gateway Pundit recently reported that O'Keefe Media Group exposed the No Mas Muertes (No More Deaths) organization, a nonprofit and ministry of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson, for smuggling illegal immigrants from the border in Arizona.  This 501(c)(3) organization holds a tax-exempt status for hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations, but the IRS is targeting innocent Americans!

Congress Aims to Extend Warrantless Surveillance for the Foreseeable Future.  Late last year, Congress extended Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and, in doing so, secured "the nation's warrantless surveillance powers" until April 2024.  With that month fast approaching, House Republicans have unveiled a new package to reauthorize those same powers, within limits.  As the Hill reports, the new package "focus[es] on more reforms at the FBI to address misuse of the powerful spy tool," but the deal does not include requirements for a warrant, which is "deemed a red line for the intelligence community but nonetheless a top priority for privacy advocates in Congress."  The new measure "would severely limit the number of FBI personnel who can query the database, forcing more oversight from some 550 supervisors or lawyers before agents can tap into the database to gain information on Americans."  The bill aims to "protect members of Congress or other high-profile officials" by requiring consent before a "defensive briefing."  The FBI will be required to "notify a member of Congress, with some limitation, if they have been queried in the 702 database."

Treasury Dept. Admits to Using Political Search Terms to Surveil Citizens' Bank Transactions.  On Friday, the U.S. Department of the Treasury confirmed, in a letter to Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), that the Treasury has been using political watchwords in searches during surveillance of the financial transactions of American citizens.  Senator Scott is the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee. [...] The Department of the Treasury is arguably in violation of the Fourth Amendment in this process, as they are flying in the face of the people's rights " be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures." [...] None of that was applied here; it looks an awful lot like the Treasury Department indulged in a fishing expedition, seeking anyone who was even tangentially related to the January 6th, 2021, hooliganism at the Capitol.

Yellen dodges on whether Treasury Department moved to surveil Americans' legal purchases.  Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen sidestepped questions about whether her department ordered surveillance of consumer purchases and transactions.  Yellen was asked Tuesday during a hearing whether the Treasury Department instructed financial institutions to monitor legal purchases for signs of "extremism," as claimed in a House Judiciary Committee letter last month.  "Has Treasury — including FinCEN or federal banking agencies like the Fed, FDIC, OCC — instructed financial institutions to search Americans' legal transactions in attempts to surveil their purchases?"  Republican Missouri Rep. Ann Wagner asked Yellen.  "Well, we received the letter from you, I believe, on this topic, and we intend to investigate and to respond," Yellen responded.

San Francisco Police Spent 193 Hours Over 3 Months Watching Private Surveillance Footage.  In 2022, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance that would allow the city's police department to access footage from private security cameras under certain circumstances.  A new city report sheds light on just how much the police have used the privilege.  Between 2021 and 2022, news reports depicted a wave of "smash-and-grab" retail thefts across California.  San Francisco Mayor London Breed complained that city policy did not allow police to access security camera footage during emergency situations. "Where there were multiple robbery crews hitting multiple stores, [police] couldn't even access those cameras, which is ridiculous," Breed said in December 2021.  "There is a balance to be had, I know," she noted.  "But right now, if our officers cannot use cameras during a mass looting event, then that policy is out of balance."

How Much Government 'Bio-Surveillance' Is Okay?  Throughout history, tyrannical governments have taken freedoms from their citizens openly.  In a country such as America, though, government employees might try to take away freedoms and leisure somewhat secretly, or disguised as something good.  An example might be U.S. federal laws on "biosurveillance," which allow for "real-time, all-hazards biosurveillance capabilities" and collection of data on humans and threats to humans.  Such laws on using real-time biosurveillance capabilities for "all-hazards," which apparently means what it says — every type of potential harm to humans — have multiple potential interpretations.  Could some interpretations be used by government employees to support the use of some of the most intrusive technologies possible?  For example, could biosurveillance laws support the use of radio wave surveillance technologies (types of radar) that "see into" homes and have been used by the FBI?

Annoyed With Clear, the Company That Fast-Tracks Its Customers Through Airports?  Like some 10 million others, I am a member of TSA PreCheck, the federal program through which Americans can access faster airport security lines while keeping their shoes on and their laptops in their bags as they pass through the scanner.  Applying for TSA Pre, as it's often called, requires providing fingerprints and undergoing a background check, as well as paying $78 every five years.  When TSA Pre first rolled out in 2013, its efficiency suggested genuine progress.  But that feels like a long time ago.  At Virginia's Dulles Airport recently, I idled in a lengthy TSA Pre queue as the handful of people in another line to my left got far speedier service.  This was thanks to Clear Secure, a publicly traded company.  Clear Secure's identity-verification product, CLEAR, is entirely separate from TSA Pre; its members typically pay over $100 per year to have their retinas and fingerprints scanned at airports.  After a member's identity is confirmed, Clear Secure workers usher them straight to a TSA agent, ahead of everyone else.

Reaction to the article above:
CLEAR wants to scan your face at airports.  Privacy experts are worried.  In case it's not obvious, CLEAR is a scam, a way to pay extra money to cut ahead in the TSA line and slow everyone else down.  It has nothing to to do with improved security or simplified processes (that's TSA precheck), just pay to go ahead of the proles:  [Link to the article above]  Having said that, the face scanning genie left the bottle quite a long time ago.  I have NEXUS, which is similar to Global Entry, get approved as a low risk traveler so you can go through immigration faster.

NSA Purchases Internet Metadata To Spy on You Without a Warrant.  The National Security Agency (NSA) is the latest intelligence agency spying on Americans without a warrant by buying access to their data.  That revelation comes from a letter released last week from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines.  "As you know," Wyden wrote, "U.S. intelligence agencies are purchasing personal data about Americans that would require a court order if the government demanded it from communications companies."  Now, Wyden writes, the snoop in question is the NSA, which is "buying Americans' domestic internet metadata."  Such information "can reveal which websites they visit and what apps they use," according to a press release from Wyden's office.

Biden regime expanding intrusive facial recognition scans to all 430 'federalized' airports.  Joe Biden's Transportation Security Administration is moving forward with plans to expand facial-recognition technology at 430 U.S. airports despite the fact that a bill has been introduced with bipartisan support calling for the government to end the invasive policy of stealing the biometric data of millions of airport passengers.  The TSA announced it will install enhanced Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) devices at the airports, an upgrade from previous units used in a pilot program at nearly 30 U.S. airports.  "TSA uses facial recognition algorithms developed by top-performing vendors," the agency says in its press release.  This is a system powered by artificial intelligence.  In the press release, TSA makes it sound like it is willing to jump through any hoop to protect passengers' privacy, when we know this is an outright lie.  In another document, Homeland Security, under which TSA is a sub agency, admits they are collecting personally identifiable data on people at airports.

Houston Man Files Lawsuit After Being Arrested When Facial Recognition Misidentified Him as a Robber.  At a time when technology increasingly intersects with law enforcement practices, the story of Harvey Eugene Murphy provides a cautionary tale about the potential pitfalls of using various technologies that can lead to injustice.  Murphy has filed a lawsuit against Sunglass Hut's parent company after a store's facial recognition program falsely identified him as a robber.  As a result, he was arrested and jailed, which led to him being sexually assaulted.

Study: Thousands of Companies Are Monitoring Every Facebook User.  A recent study by Consumer Reports, in collaboration with The Markup, has unveiled the extensive scale of data tracking aimed at Facebook users.  Some users in the study were tracked by as many as 7,000 companies.  A recent study from Consumer Reports engaged 709 volunteers who provided archives of their Facebook user data.  Astonishingly, Consumer Reports discovered that 186,892 different companies transmitted data about these users to Facebook.  On average, data from each participant was shared by 2,230 companies, with some users' data being shared by over 7,000 companies.  This examination highlighted a lesser-known form of tracking known as server-to-server tracking, where personal data is transferred directly from a company's servers to Meta's servers, alongside the more visible method involving Meta tracking pixels on company websites.

Biden's Financial Crimes Unit Hunted MAGA Americans.  Rep. Jim Jordan, Chair of the Weaponization Committee, notified Noah Bishoff, former Director of a division of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), that they wanted to interview him about his hunt for terrorists in bank transactions involving MAGAs, Trump, religious items, and small arms.  After January 6, 2021, FinCEN is accused of distributing materials of "typologies" of persons they wanted financial information on.  They were looking for terms like "Trump" and "MAGA" in Zelle payment messages.  They warned financial institutions of "extremism" indicators that include "transportation charges, such as bus tickets, rental cars, or plane tickets, for travel to areas with no apparent purpose" or "the purchase of books (including religious texts) and subscriptions to other media containing extremist views."  The letter continued: "In other words, FinCEN urged large financial institutions to comb through the private transactions of their customers for suspicious charges on the basis of protected political and religious expression."  They even looked for terms like "Small Arms, Sporting and Recreational Goods and Supplies, Cabela's, Dick's Sporting Goods, among many others.

Alarming Surveillance:  Government May Have Tracked Your Transactions at These Common Stores.  The House Judiciary GOP had some troubling questions they posed on X.  [Tweet]  "Shop at Bass Pro Shop recently?  How about Cabela's?  Bought a bible?  If so, the federal government may be coming after YOU."  House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan explained in a troubling letter to Noah Bishoff, the former Director of the Office of Stakeholder Integration and Engagement in the Strategic Operations Division of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in the Treasury Department.  [Tweet]  They also looked at other things like "'transportation charges, such as bus tickets, rental cars, or plane tickets, for travel areas with no apparent purpose" and "the purchase of books (including religious texts) and subscriptions to other media containing extremist views."  What qualifies as "extremist views" here?  As Jordan said, the government seemed to be looking into potentially protected political and religious expression.

Feds Used J6 To Conduct Mass Surveillance On Bank Transactions Flagged With Terms Like 'Trump,' 'MAGA': Jim Jordan.  Federal law enforcement instructed financial institutions to use search terms such as "MAGA" and "Trump" when searching private transactions, Republican Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan said Wednesday.  Jordan, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and Select Subcommittee on Weaponization, wrote a letter describing how the federal government flagged terms like "MAGA" and "Trump" to see if those phrases were used by Americans when they conducted financial transactions following the Jan. 6th Capitol riot.  The letter is addressed to Noah Bishoff, former Director of the Office of Stakeholder Integration and Engagement in the Strategic Operations Division of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).  The letter was first reported by Fox News.

The Deepest Part of the Swamp [is] The FBI.  [Scroll down]  The CIA possessed a device for surveillance and meddling in elections.  The computer and its software were called Hammer and Scorecard.  The CIA has no charter to be used for domestic objectives; therefore, it is illegal to use it for domestic purposes.  Never-the-less, In February 2009, the Obama administration commandeered The Hammer and Scorecard.  Notwithstanding, onetime director of the FBI, Robert Mueller, spent $5 million to fund the expansion of the Hammer to be used to spy on Americans and 'other' domestic purposes, according to whistleblower Dennis Montgomery.

Your Vehicle Is Spying On You, And Now They're Going To Start Installing ChatGPT In New VW Models.  Be careful what you say while you are driving your vehicle, because you are being watched.  Today, we live in a giant surveillance prison in which virtually everything that we do is being monitored, tracked, recorded and analyzed.  In this day and age, you should just assume that nothing that you do is ever private.  When I was much younger, if I really wanted to have a private conversation with someone I thought that taking a long drive with that person was a great way to do that.  But those days are long gone.

Lobstermen Sue State Agency for Mandating Installation of 24-Hour Electronic Location Monitoring System on Their Boats.  A group of five Maine lobstermen are suing Maine Department of Marine Fisheries (MDMR) Commissioner Patrick Keliher over new rules mandating that all federally permitted lobster boats be equipped with a 24-hour electronic location monitoring system.  These mandated devices — provided by the MDMR — identify a vessel's location every sixty seconds while in motion and once every six hours when stationary.  Using one of these devices, a boat's position is able to be accurately determined within 100 meters, or 328.1 feet.

The Editor says...
[#1] How many "electronic location monitoring system[s]" exist, other than GPS?  If you're talking about GPS, just say so.  [#2] An inexpensive GPS receiver can determine its position within two or three meters.  The estimated accuracy of 100 meters was probably provided by the State of Maine, in an effort to mask the state's surveillance accuracy.  [#3] There is no need to ask why the State of Maine wants to track the position of every fishing boat.  If they implement this rule without objection, the system will be expanded to track every boat.  Then it will expand to include every truck, then every car and motorcycle, and eventually every person.  Insidious government programs always start small and expand incrementally.

The Beneficial Ownership Information Reporting rule and the surveillance state.  The 2021 National Defense Authorization Act created the Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) reporting rule to ostensibly target money laundering.  Beginning January 1, 2024, the Act mandates U.S. companies, regardless of size, to register their beneficial and controlling owners with the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).  FinCEN claims the corporate ownership database will be used exclusively to identify anonymous shell companies involved in money laundering and terrorist activities.  Once again, like the Patriot Act, it grants surveillance powers violating the Constitution.  There is no provision for judicial oversight to protect individual rights as if that ever mattered.

147 Worthless Republicans Vote to Reauthorize FISA Program So DOJ-FBI Can Spy on President Trump Again.  147 worthless Republicans voted on Thursday to reauthorize the FISA program abused by the FBI to spy on candidate and then President Donald Trump the entire time he was in office.  No one was ever jailed for the injustice, and the FBI, of course, hid this illegal act from the American public.  According to Rep. Eli Crane, "FISA 702 is a violation of the 4th Amendment.  Additionally, this bill continues to entangle us in forever wars abroad and even managed to abandon heroes from Northern Arizona, including the Navajo Nation, that sacrificed for our country during WWII."  [Tweet]  According to Rep. Matt Rosendale, "FISA Section 702 has allowed the FBI to spy on U.S. citizens more than 278,000 times without a warrant!  FISA should not be combined with our national defense, and it is UNACCEPTABLE that the D.C. Cartel is bypassing regular order to jam Members by forcing them to vote on two unrelated bills in one vote."

Pharmacies Providing Medical Info to Law Enforcement w/o Warrant.  A Senate Finance Committee inquiry has found that the country's biggest pharmacies are handing over customer medical records to law enforcement agencies without requiring warrants.  Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore., revealed this in a Tuesday letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, raising concerns about the situation.  "All of the pharmacies surveyed stated that they do not require a warrant prior to sharing pharmacy records with law enforcement agents, unless there is a state law that dictates otherwise."  Wyden said in the letter, referencing Amazon, Cigna, Optum Rx, Walmart, Walgreens Boots Alliance, CVS Health, The Kroger Company and Rite Aid Corporation.  "Those pharmacies will turn medical records over in response to a mere subpoena, which often do not have to be reviewed or signed by a judge prior to being issued."

The Perversion of FISA and FISC.  When Congress passed The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, it sought to provide judicial and congressional oversight of foreign intelligence surveillance activities while maintaining the secrecy necessary to effectively monitor national security threats.  In theory, FISA sets out procedures for physical and electronic surveillance and collection of foreign intelligence information.  Initially, FISA addressed only electronic surveillance, but was significantly amended to include programs monitoring Internet communications, trap and trace devices, physical searches, and business records.  This bill also set-up the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).  This is a special U.S. Federal court that holds nonpublic sessions to consider issuing search warrants under FISA.  Proceedings before the FISC are ex parte.  "Ex parte" means that the government is the only party present.  So individuals being tried in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court are not even aware that they are being judged and they have no right to an attorney.  This includes US citizens who may have had information gathered up in the FISA net.  These are often large data sweeps through their Internet communications monitoring, AI/machine learning — algorithmic searches as well as trap and trace devices.  FISA violations occur at a rate of more than 4,000 per year and these illegal data collection practices and warrants must end.

46 Deep State Officials Including Rosenstein, Clapper and Morell Urge Congress to Expand Domestic Surveillance.  For those confused.  There are two bills to modify the FISA702 reauthorization in the House.  (1) HR 6611 from the House Intel Committee and (2) HR 6570 from the House Judiciary Committee.  The intel committee bill expands domestic surveillance authority under the modifications; the judiciary committee bill requires the DOJ to get a search warrant before they can look at the incidental collection of American citizens.  Both bills came out of committee and were scheduled for a floor vote tomorrow, which has been cancelled due to public outcry (good job).  Speaker Mike Johnson initially planned to let both bills get voted tomorrow and the bill with the most votes advances to the Senate.

Who, other than the FBI, would have any use for such data, AND the ability to steal it?
23andMe confirms hackers stole ancestry data on 6.9 million users.  On Friday, genetic testing company 23andMe announced that hackers accessed the personal data of 0.1% of customers, or about 14,000 individuals.  The company also said that by accessing those accounts, hackers were also able to access "a significant number of files containing profile information about other users' ancestry."  But 23andMe would not say how many "other users" were impacted by the breach that the company initially disclosed in early October.  As it turns out, there were a lot of "other users" who were victims of this data breach:  6.9 million affected individuals in total.  In an email sent to TechCrunch late on Saturday, 23andMe spokesperson Katie Watson confirmed that hackers accessed the personal information of about 5.5 million people who opted-in to 23andMe's DNA Relatives feature, which allows customers to automatically share some of their data with others.  The stolen data included the person's name, birth year, relationship labels, the percentage of DNA shared with relatives, ancestry reports and self-reported location.

The Editor says...
I never report my location, and yet my web browser seems to have a pretty good idea of where I live.

CIA Google Spent $26 Billion To Hide This Phone Setting From You.  There's a setting on your phone and web browser that Google is desperate to keep you from discovering.  How desperate?  In 2021 alone, Google paid Apple, Samsung and others $26.3 billion to keep it buried.  That's more money each year than McDonald's makes selling burgers.  This setting affects who gets to track your location and watch what you look up online.  It affects the usefulness of the information you see and how much of your screen is taken up by ads.

CIA Spying Lawsuit: Do Americans Have Privacy Rights When Abroad?  The Dissenter Newsletter, which posts about cases of whistleblowers and their struggle against governments and corporations, stood out for its first-hand reporting when its journalist Kevin Gosztola reported the update on last year's story of a lawsuit brought against the CIA and its former director Mike Pompeo.  Last year, the lawsuit by two American journalists along with a couple of attorneys against the CIA and its former head Mike Pompeo made headlines in some major media outlets.  The four Americans claimed that CIA under Pompeo spied on them when they visited Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange in 2017 and 2018 at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where Assange had been granted asylum.  A video of an attorney representing the plaintiffs serving Pompeo the lawsuit papers at an event made rounds on Twitter/X in November 2022.  [Tweet]

Special Counsel Jack Smith Demands X/Twitter Give Info on All Americans Who Interacted with Donald Trump.  Special Counsel Jack Smith, in a search warrant sent to X, formerly Twitter, requested a vast swathe of information about the account of former President Donald J. Trump, as well as information on the millions of accounts that interacted with it — even those that liked a tweet by Trump in the timeframe of October 2020 to January 2021.  The heavily redacted search warrant requests a list of all users who liked or retweeted posts from Trump between October 2020 and January 2021, including "all associated logs and metadata," which could cover location data.  This extraordinarily expansive request would result in data on millions of American users being turned over to the DOJ.

Special Counsel Jack Smith Requested Details of All Donald Trump Twitter Followers.  In response to a media lawsuit for information being withheld by the DOJ, a heavily redacted search warrant was revealed.  Within the warrant issued to Twitter-Xcorp, Special Counsel Jack Smith demanded the information on every account that engaged with the Donald Trump Twitter account.  The ridiculously overbroad warrant and demand for information, was initially fought by Twitter; however, it appears the courts ultimately demanded compliance and Twitter acquiesced.  That is a stunning amount of information included in the search warrant. [...] While the release of the warrant is initially surprising, it should not come as a great surprise to know the Biden government wants to generate a list of what they would consider subversives to the interests of the state.  Previously, the Obama/Biden administration, through the DOJ, used the IRS to assemble a list of people and entities against their interests.  Once that revelation came to light, as a result of a whistleblower, the Obama/Biden administration then began a process of using the NSA database to monitor political opposition.  Ultimately, that led to the targeting of candidate Donald Trump in 2016 and the later targeting of President Trump after his inauguration.

FBI tells Newsweek that Trump supporters are enemies of the state and must be secretly tracked, monitored, investigated.  According to an October 4 report in Newsweek, "the federal government believes that the threat of violence and major civil disturbance around the 2024 U.S. presidential election is so great that it has quietly created a new category of extremists that it seeks to track and counter:  Donald Trump's army of MAGA followers."  Notice the term "army."  There's a sinister purpose behind that word.  The government, in cooperation with its corporate partners at Newsweek, are trying to paint a picture of an organized military force ready to go to war with Trump as its leader.  As a member of the conservative movement in America, I can tell you that it is the most unorganized, disjointed and fragmented movement in the country.  It is not in any way monolithic and as such poses no threat to the government or anyone else.  But this is who our government has targeted for monitoring and tracking.  They're not worried about the Chinese men of military age pouring over the open border at a rate of 2,000 to 4,000 per month under Biden.  They're not worried about Iranian sleeper cells.  NO, they're worried about American citizens on the Trump team who want to see their candidate in the White House.

Biden's DOJ Targets Trump Supporters on Twitter — Demands List of All Users Who Retweeted, Liked, or Mentioned President Trump's Twitter Account.  Political hitman Jack Smith ordered Twitter-X to turn over information on President Trump's popular Twitter account during his continued fishing expedition into President Trump.  Jack Smith and the Biden DOJ also demanded information on all Twitter-X users who retweeted President Trump, liked President Trump's tweets, or mentioned President Trump's account in their tweets.  Merrick Garland is going to target all of the Trump supporters in their continued witch hunt against President Donald Trump.  This is what tyranny looks like.

Hemisphere, an 'invasive' surveillance program, has tracked trillions of phone records for Americans each year.  Congress is demanding answers from the Biden administration about a secret spying program that tracks more than a trillion phone records from innocent and unsuspecting Americans each year.  The under-the-radar system, known as Data Analytical Services or 'Hemisphere,' has been in operation for over a decade.  It allows federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to tap into the phone records of U.S. citizens who have not been accused of any crime.  Under the Hemisphere program the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) pays phone service provider AT&T to hand over phone records as far back as 1987.

DEA's Domestic Surveillance 'Mission Creep'.  Normally, when Americans see a story mentioning the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), they expect it to deal with the nation's endless (and futile) war on drugs.  And most of the time, the news about or coming from the DEA concerns illicit drug trafficking, arrests, and prosecutions.  But during the 2020 national protests against the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, the DEA got publicity for another mission its leadership generally doesn't want to discuss:  domestic surveillance.  On June 2, 2020, BuzzFeed News reporters Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier broke the story that the Justice Department (DOJ) had authorized the DEA to go outside of its normal legal boundaries of drug enforcement.  The DEA was authorized "to enforce any federal crime committed as a result of protests over the death of George Floyd."  The mission included "covert surveillance," according to the DEA memo obtained by BuzzFeed.  That authority was supposed to expire after two weeks, but after pursuing litigation using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), an investigation by the Cato Institute has thus far failed to confirm that the DEA's covert surveillance operations were, in fact, terminated by mid-June 2020.

Oh... so that's who those guys are.
Air Marshals National Council Director Reveals Marshalls Are Quietly Following Every Person Who Flew to DC Around January 6, 2021.  Sonya Labosco, Director of the Air Marshalls National Council said Air Marshalls are quietly following Americans who flew into the DC area around January 6, 2021.  Labosco said Air Marshalls are no longer going after terrorists or the bad guys because they are now stalking and following every single person who flew into the DC area around January 2021 even if they did not go to the US Capitol.  "We're not flying right now.  The only missions that we are doing are 'Quiet Skies' missions and those are missions that are following the January 2021 people," Labosco said.  "So we're either on the border for illegal immigrants or we're following folks from January 2021.  We're not doing our regular missions where we're out there looking for the bad guys so for now most flights you're not gonna have Air Marshalls."  The Fox News host was stunned: "What do you mean that you're following January 2021 people?  What does that mean?  Labosco said their primary mission is to stalk every single person who flew into the DC area even if they never went to the Capitol and were never charged with any crimes.  "That means our primary mission is a little group called 'quiet skies' — it's a mission called quiet skies that we're following people that flew into the national capital region in January 2021 and they did not have to go to the Capitol or the rally and you've been put on a specific list that TSA has now assigned Air Marshalls to follow these people who have not had any type of criminal investigation — they haven't committed a crime, but yet three years later we are following the same individuals day in and day out," Labosco said.

Surveillance Tech Companies Are Writing Press Releases For Cops.  Worse, News Agencies Are Publishing Them.  There's nothing new about cop shops letting their tech providers write their press releases for them.  Law enforcement officers love power but often think nothing of surrendering their autonomy to the providers of the snooping tools.  For years, Harris Corporation — the maker of Stingray devices — told cops what they could or couldn't say about their use of the tech, tying them up (often with the help of the FBI) with non-disclosure agreements.  Ring — the biggest name in front-door surveillance — has given cops cameras to hand out in exchange for expanding its customer base and allowing Ring to man the PR front.  And there's nothing new about so-called journalists acting as stenographers for cops.  When something happens that suggests police misconduct, some journalists do nothing more than publish PD press releases and/or seek comment only from law enforcement PR reps or police union representatives.

NY Gov Admits Out Loud to Social Media Surveillance, Government Will "Reach Out" if They Catch You Using "Hate Speech".  Big Sister is now watching.  George Orwell predicted a future of a dystopian surveillance state where words are monitored, unacceptable speech is censored, and a person's existence can be denied for ideological thought crimes.  Unfortunately, we are now in a time where acceptable speech is decided by both elected and unelected bureaucrats over what is permitted online.  New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Monday that the state is "very focused" on collecting data from social media platforms as part of an effort to counter online "negativity" and "hate speech" after a rise in antisemitic attacks.  [Tweet]

The U.S. Government is Secretly Stealing Newborn Babies DNA — Is This Tied to Creating a Biometric Digital ID?  A lawsuit has been filed by the Institute for Justice over a state program in New Jersey that has been obtaining, and secretly holding onto, blood from newborn babies.  The Institute for Justice explained in a press release it is representing two sets of parents in the case.  The state claims it can use the DNA from the babies' blood samples for any reason, without informed consent from parents.  The case charges that state law in New Jersey demands that when babies are born, blood be taken and tested for various diseases.  This same demand exists in all states.  But, according to the attorneys representing the parents, what makes New Jersey different is that, "after the testing is over, New Jersey's Department of Health keeps the leftover blood for 23 years.  The state does not ask parents for their consent to keep their babies' blood, failing to even inform parents that it will hold on to the residual blood.

Senate Republicans Launch Investigation Into Justice Department for Spying on Congressional Staffers.  Every time we think we're done with the Justice Department's Spygate and Russia collusion controversy, it pulls us back in.  It appears that at this point, we are the political versions of Michael Corleone, who can't seem to escape what is one of the most egregious scandals in American political history.  Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are reportedly delving deeper into allegations that the Justice Department conducted a number of covert surveillance operations on congressional staffers during the period when the agency was embroiled in the Trump-Russia investigation hoax.

Keep Your Head on a Swivel.  [Scroll down]  Neither the FBI nor the larger Intelligence Community is motivated by the prospect of saving American lives.  Why would the U.S. government see Americans as expendable?  The most straightforward answer is that it does not serve the American people but is instead interested exclusively in expanding its own powers.  What 9/11 confirmed for the Intelligence Community is that even its worst failures can be used to institute unconstitutional laws, such as the Patriot Act, that serve to broaden government authority.  In the subsequent two decades, the federal government has created a complex surveillance system that enables it to spy on every citizen of the United States.  Not only has freedom been foolishly traded for the promise of security, but also that promise proved to be a lie.

House GOP Crafting Major FISA Reform to Block Snooping on Americans' Phone Records Without Warrants.  House Judiciary Committee Republicans are pressing ahead with sweeping reforms to the government's FISA surveillance powers that among other things would would prohibit the FBI from searching through Americans' phone records without a court-approved warrant.  The effort is on track to be wrapped up by the end of the year when several Patriot Act powers expire.  Republicans and Democrats are coming together on this matter in rare bipartisan cooperation, lawmakers told Just the News. [...] Jordan said he was focused on what is known as the Section 702 system "where they can create this database" of phone communications metadata that currently can be searched by agents without a warrant.

Your smart speaker data is used in ways you might not expect.  Smart speakers offer amazing convenience — from playing your favorite tunes to re-ordering toilet paper — with only a simple voice command.  But that convenience can come with a steep cost in privacy that many consumers aren't even aware they're paying.  We've all had the uncanny experience of searching for something on the internet and then suddenly ads for that very thing are popping up everywhere we look online.  It's no coincidence, said Umar Iqbal, an assistant professor of computer science and engineering at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St.  Louis.  "My collaborators and I uncovered that Amazon uses smart speaker interaction data to infer user interests and then uses those interests to target personalized ads to the user," Iqbal said.  "That's something that Amazon was not upfront about before our research."

The Creepy All-Seeing Eye of 'Geofencing'.  As worshippers gathered at the Calvary Chapel in 2020, they were being watched from above.  Satellites were locking in on cellphones owned by members of the nondenominational Protestant church in San Jose, California.  Their location eventually worked its way to a private company, which then sold the information to the government of Santa Clara County.  This data, along with observations from enforcement officers on the ground, was used to levy heavy fines against the church for violating COVID-19 restrictions regarding public gatherings.  "Every Sunday," Calvary's assistant pastor, Carson Atherly, would later testify, the officers "would serve me a notice of violation during or after church service."  Calvary is suing the county for its use of location data, a controversial tool increasingly deployed by governments at all levels — notably in relation to the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.  While enabling law enforcement to more easily identify potential offenders, the practice, called "geofencing," has also emerged as a cutting-edge privacy issue, raising constitutional issues involving warrantless searches and, with Calvary Chapel, religious liberty.

UK government keeping files on teaching assistants' and librarians' internet activity.  The government has been monitoring the social media accounts of "dozens" of ordinary teaching staff, including teaching assistants, and is keeping files on posts that criticise education policies, the Observer has learned.  Two weeks ago, this newspaper revealed how the Department for Education is monitoring the social media activity of some of the country's leading education experts.  Now evidence has emerged that the monitoring is much more widespread, covering even the lowest paid members of staff.  Ordinary teaching and support staff said this weekend that they were "gobsmacked" and angry after discovering that the department had files on them.  Many outraged educators have rushed to submit subject access requests [SARs] compelling the DfE to release any information it holds under their name, after discovering there were files up to 60 pages long about their tweets and comments challenging government policy or the schools inspectorate, Ofsted.

State governments collect the DNA of nearly every newborn baby in the U.S..  Most new parents have no idea that by the time they leave the hospital with their newborn, a sample of their child's blood has already been sent to the state government.  Depending on the state, the government may store and use their child's blood for anywhere from months to indefinitely — and not only is it legal, it's actually mandated by law.  Each American state has its own newborn screening program through which healthcare professionals who deliver babies are required to collect a blood sample in order to test for rare genetic or metabolic diseases.  Only in two states, Maryland and Minnesota, are healthcare practitioners even required to obtain parental consent.  Wyoming law technically requires parents' "written consent," but is worded vaguely enough that in practice, it amounts to a system that must be opted-out of rather than opted into.

22 Years of Blowback from the USA Patriot Act.  [Scroll down]  Allowing the government to spy on the citizenry will not reduce acts of terrorism, but it will result in a watched, submissive, surveillance society.  Not only did the USA Patriot Act normalize the government's mass surveillance powers, but it also dramatically expanded the government's authority to spy on its own citizens without much of any oversight.  Thus, a byproduct of this post 9/11-age in which we live, whether you're walking through a store, driving your car, checking email, or talking to friends and family on the phone, you can be sure that some government agency is listening in and tracking your behavior.  This doesn't even begin to touch on the corporate trackers that monitor your purchases, web browsing, Facebook posts and other activities taking place in the cyber sphere.  We have all become data collected in government files.

The Cult of Our Betters.  [Scroll down]  The most closely held freedom to destroy is your privacy.  That threatens them.  They know and understand that they cannot succeed without knowing your innermost secrets.  If control is desired, there must be perfect knowledge about those you wish to enslave.  Individual privacy is a dagger to the heart of COOB.  To that end, governments allow and partner with large tech companies to collect and monetize data on their subscribers.  How many understand that virtually all the big mega-media companies read all your mail and rob you of your privacy, even mining your contacts simultaneously?  That allows them to create individually accessible data points defining your life in over two hundred searchable metrics, which can be bought for the right price or used to support secret government FISA Court warrants.  It can also be for an international warrant, a Justice Department warrant, or even your local prosecutor.  Remember, your information is commercial property for sale to any number of companies and groups, and your control or ability to opt out is limited in practice.

Surveillance at School Expands Through Alliance of Administrators and Tech Companies.  Millions of American children are being insensibly softened to the boundless scope of a federal surveillance state.  From hallway cameras to cameras in classrooms, American children from age 4 or 5 to 18 grow up under the never-blinking eye of the federal government.  Additionally, they are told that but for this monitoring they would be at greater risk of violence at school.  This will result in Generation Z regarding federal surveillance as no more noticeable than a cloud on a rainy day.  It is this desensitization that has drawn the attention of a new report on the growth of the schoolhouse surveillance state and the effect such an atmosphere will have on this generation.

Previously secret Homeland Security report on illegal use of smartphone location data now public.  A Homeland Security report on the illegal use of smartphone location data by multiple government agencies — including the US Secret Service — has now been made public.  The report concludes that three separate US agencies broke the law by breaching privacy protections. [...] We've known for at least three years that the US Secret Service and other government agencies were purchasing smartphone location data harvested from a wide range of apps. [...] US Customs and Border Protection was identified as another agency purchasing this data.  The questionable legality of this was raised at the time, by Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, who said that it violated the 4th Amendment.

FBI Quietly Created New Category of Extremism Ahead of 2024 Election to Include Trump-MAGA Supporters.  The FBI is beyond repair.  As the 2024 election season heats up the FBI has created a new terrorism category to include Trump supporters.  This is taking place at the same time the Biden regime is targeting President Trump with over 91 indictments on bogus criminal acts in several states.  And it occurs as the demented President screams about MAGA during his public speeches. [...] FBI whistleblower Steve Friend weighed in on the latest admission by the Deep State.  Steve Friend calls for the indictment and arrest of every single FBI and DOJ executive who took part in this scam and to abolish the FBI!  "Glad to see Newsweek reporting that everything I blew the whistle about is accurate.  The FBI used January 6th to manipulate and artificially boost its domestic terrorism stats."

Fifth Circuit to DHS: Shut down Big Brother.  Looks like another federal court doesn't support the idea that Homeland Security's writ includes America's "cognitive infrastructure."  In a unanimous ruling yesterday, the Fifth Circuit expanded bars on the Biden administration's Big Brother censorship activities, blocking the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) from any speech-policing communication with private-sector media platforms.  This comes from a further review of Missouri v Biden, which the Supreme Court will also take up in an ill-advised appeal by the administration to an earlier ruling: [...]

Homeland Security Publishes Guidance for Using Artificial Intelligence as Tool for Surveillance, Monitoring and Tracking of American Citizens.  You might ask, why is the Dept of Homeland Security (DHS) in the business of conducting widescale surveillance, monitoring and tracking of American citizens.  Unfortunately, if you are asking that question, then you likely don't know the first, fourth and fifth amendment to the U.S. constitution were usurped by the 2001 Patriot Act.  George W Bush and Dick Cheney created the domestic surveillance system under the auspices of DHS and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.  Barack Obama and Joe Biden then took that DHS surveillance system and modified the dials (Justice Dept., FBI) so the surveillance only applied to their ideological enemies. [...] I find it very interesting the DHS memo was issued on August 8th, but only published for the general public yesterday.  July and August were when I first identified AI spider crawls were already underway.

Your Car Reports on Your Activities, Even Those in the Back Seat.  While you've got your eye on the road, your car has its spyware on you — and is reporting your every move back to Detroit, Tokyo, or Stuttgart.  According to a new study by the Mozilla Foundation, "cars are the worst product category" the organization has ever reviewed for privacy, collecting and reporting "how fast you drive, where you drive, and what songs you play in your car," and even whatever details they can glean about your sex life.

Almost all major businesses now use monitoring software to track workers' keystrokes and web searches.  Most businesses now use monitoring software to track workers' activity while on the clock, a new study has shown - with several such as JPMorgan tracking and penalizing employees even while in the office.  In a survey of some 1,000 business leaders across the country, found 96 percent of respondents working at organizations with either a remote or hybrid workforce said their firms used some form of employee-monitoring software.  Only 10 percent of those companies were doing so before the pandemic, the survey found - as firms like Google, Amazon, and Meta continue to commit to crackdowns for not spending sufficient time in their offices.

Globalists Resurrect Roman Censor to Police Public Morals.  Western governments embrace widespread censorship today because they have gained tremendous leverage over our property.  They do not need to conduct a census or inspect our farms to determine the size of our homes or the numbers of our various livestock.  They simply conduct warrantless searches of our financial transactions, recorded debts, and digitized savings — while monitoring our movements and business activities.  They do not need to formally assess our qualification for certain honors.  They simply conduct warrantless searches of our phone calls, text messages, emails, and social media histories to determine whether we are "worthy" of receiving State-bestowed group privileges or social-credit-score-enabled ranks.  They do not need to chastise us for breaching "woke" public morals.  They simply "cancel" us from the online public square and deny us access to the digital infrastructure connecting the modern world.

U.S. government to deploy surveillance software to detect 'problematic sentiment and emotion'.  The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has purportedly partnered with AI tech firm Fivecast to deploy social media surveillance software that, according to its proprietor, can detect "problematic" emotions of social media users and subsequently report them to law enforcement for further action. [...] What could go wrong?  If the government is going to utilize surveillance software to more precisely ascertain our sentiments and emotions on social media, and then determine if they are "problematic," how else will it use it?  What other methods will it deploy to keep us from stepping out of line?  And who determines what is "problematic," anyway?

Don't Look Up! 'Orwellian' AI Traffic Cameras Raise Privacy Concerns.  Existing traffic cameras set up across America to find speeding and red light scofflaws are being replaced by smarter, artificial intelligence-fueled versions equipped with upgraded software that for the first time gives the government the ability to monitor behavior inside of private vehicles, raising the alarm of privacy advocates.  "The public should be rightly concerned," Electronic Frontier Foundation Senior Policy Analyst Matthew Guariglia told The Epoch Times.  "Congress has completely abdicated their responsibility to protect people's privacy."  The Biden administration's 2022 $2.2 trillion infrastructure legislation has led to a dramatic rise in new traffic cameras after federal guidance issued after the bill became law allowed many states to invest in surveillance equipment.  Previously, transportation funds allocated to states were limited to fund infrastructure projects, such as repairing roadways and bridges, with the spending of federal funds for cameras only permitted for school zones.  However, the Biden administration authorized states to utilize up to 10 percent of the bill's $15.6 billion highway safety funds to purchase cameras and other "automated traffic enforcement" tools — and many did just that.

New York Police to Use Drones to Monitor Backyard Labor Day Parties.  Kaz Daughtry, the assistant NYPD Commissioner made the announcement during a security briefing on J'ouvert, an annual Caribbean festival.  Daughtry's plan to use police drones to monitor backyard barbecues got immediate backlash from civil liberties groups.  "It's a troubling announcement and it flies in the face of the POST Act," said Daniel Schwarz, a privacy and technology strategist at the New York Civil Liberties Union, referring to a 2020 city law that requires the NYPD to disclose its surveillance tactics, according to AP.  "Deploying drones in this way is a sci-fi inspired scenario."

NYC migrant shelter neighbor says he's 'a prisoner in my own neighborhood,' after cops install surveillance cameras outside his house.  A Staten Island man who lives next door to a controversial school-turned-migrant shelter says cops seem more focused on keeping tabs on residents than the site as police beefed up security in the area Tuesday.  Scott Herkert, 53, told The [New York] Post he was baffled as he watched city workers install surveillance cameras outside his house Tuesday — rather than the shelter at the former St.  John Villa Academy in Arrochar that has already sent hundreds of ticked-off locals to the street in protest.  "I'm in a fishbowl," he said.  "I don't recognize my country anymore.  They're doing things in secret, and now I'm the one under a microscope for standing up for what I worked hard for."  "I'm a prisoner in my own neighborhood now," Herkert added.

Biden Admin Sought Power to Spy on TikTok Users, Moderate Content.  In yet another sign of the Biden Administration's determination to control, censor, and spy on American social media users, the draft of a proposed deal between Chinese-owned TikTok and the Biden administration shows the latter requesting extraordinary authority over the platform.  The proposed deal, outlined in a 100-page draft obtained by Forbes, would give the U.S. government the power to examine TikTok's servers with no notice — something that could potentially allow the government to spy on American users.

U.S. Government Now Using AI to [Interpret] 'Sentiment and Emotion' in Social Media Posts.  Customs and Border Protection (CBP), under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has reportedly been partnering with an AI tech firm called Fivecast to deploy social media surveillance software that, according to its proprietor, purportedly detects "problematic" emotions of social media users and subsequently reports them to law enforcement for further action.

California Church Sues Government Over Alleged 'Spying' on Worshippers.  On Tuesday, a California church that had previously been ordered to pay over $1.2 million in fines to the state government filed a lawsuit in federal court, claiming that the local government spied on its worshippers.  Fox News reports that the Calvary Chapel San Jose, led by Pastor Mike McClure, alleges that officials in Santa Clara County utilized the Colorado-based company SafeGraph to engage in "an invasive and warrantless geofencing operation to track residents" without their knowledge.  The lawsuit was filed on the church's behalf by the advocacy group Advocates for Faith & Freedom.  "Geofencing" refers to a location-based tool that is often used by the government to track someone through their cell phone data.  In this case, the lawsuit alleges, the local government spied on cell phones located in the vicinity of the church to determine who were regular church-goers.

Citibank Subpoenaed For Providing Biden DOJ With Private Customer Information After J6.  House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) issued a subpoena to Citibank over allegations that the company provided private information of customers involved in the January 6 Capitol Hill protests to the weaponized Department of Justice.  The subpoena came after Jordan declared the bank was not cooperating with the Committee's requests to turn over crucial documentation. "The Committee and Select Subcommittee have obtained evidence showing that at least one major financial institution provided the FBI with private financial data without legal process," Jordan wrote to Sunil Garg, CEO of Citibank North America.  "Bank of America (BoA) provided the FBI — voluntarily and without any legal process — with a list of individuals who made transactions in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area with a BoA credit or debit card between January 5 and January 7, 2021."  Jordan's letter also stated that individuals who previously bought a firearm with a BoA product were moved to the top of that list — regardless of the time or place of the firearm purchase.  The Committee alleges that the bank shared individuals' private information regarding their accounts with the FBI despite having no criminal past.

Utah and Oregon Now Require GPS Trackers on EVs in Lieu of Registration Fee, Tax Drivers by the Mile.  State governments have historically generated revenue to maintain roads, traffic lights, and the like by adding a tax at the pump.  Owing to the federal government-prodded transition to electric vehicles (EVs) to combat something called "climate change," states stand to lose out on this source of revenue as EVs obviously don't require gasoline to operate.  Utah's novel solution is to charge a "per-mile fee" for EVs with a government GPS tracker attached to monitor movement. [...] For a little added Orwellianism, the DriveSync® app also assigns a "driving score" based on how fast the slave citizen accelerates, brakes, corners turns, and drives.  The app records bad driving behavior and shows it to the slave citizen on a digital map.

The Editor says...
The same tracking system can also tell the government where you go, and how many times you've been there before.  In fact, that information might be the main idea, not the tax revenue.  Of course, your cell phone tells them where you are, too, because you never go anywhere without it, do you?

Devin Nunes:  David Weiss is Another John Durham Protective Silo - The Deep State Operation Tracks Back to Obama Weaponizing Intel and DOJ.  This interview segment is almost as if Devin Nunes reads here.  The former House Intel Committee chairman outlines the appointment of David Weiss as another DC silo creation similar in construct to John Durham.  Obviously, Nunes is correct.  Additionally, as Nunes accurately outlines the entire weaponization process traces back to when Barack Obama took office and unleashed the apparatus of the intelligence agencies to target domestic political opposition.  At the same time, Obama's AG Eric Holder created the DOJ National Security Division and then weaponized surveillance under the auspices of FARA and FISA Courts to target one side of the political dynamic.  [Video clip]  Elevator Speech:
  [#1]   The Patriot Act turned the intel surveillance radar from foreign searches for terrorists to domestic searches for terrorists.
  [#2]   Obama/Biden then redefined what is a "terrorist" to include their political opposition.

The Stifling Effect Of Living In A Surveillance State Like The USA.  How different would the script of your life be if you knew your every word might end up as part of some government dossier?  How much could you embrace freedom and focus on having fun, sowing your wild oats, finding your passion, or risking failure to pursue some crazy dream if you were constantly wondering what some government bureaucrat with the power to throw you in prison or destroy your business or take away your kids might think?  And that's true even if you didn't do anything illegal.  And that's the problem.  Since 2013's Snowden revelations, we've known the government is actively collecting reams of data on virtually all of us.  Back then, even the NY Times called it a "Threat to Democracy."  The government, against virtually the entire Bill of Rights, was and currently is looking at everything Americans do.

Woman Sues City For Arresting Her While Pregnant Based On False Facial Recognition.  A woman sued the city of Detroit following her arrest while eight months pregnant based on an alleged false facial recognition match, according to several reports.  Porcha Woodruff, 32, filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, alleging wrongful arrest, The New York Times (NYT) reported.  Woodruff was arrested for robbery and carjacking back in February while eight months pregnant and getting her two daughters ready for school, per The NYT.  Woodruff, a licensed aesthetician and nursing school student, reportedly asked the officers, "Are you kidding?" given her state of pregnancy.  The carjacking victim had reportedly picked up a woman on the street and had sex with her in a liquor store parking lot.  Afterwards, the victim allegedly gave up his car at gunpoint at a gas station to a man who was allegedly waiting to pick up the same woman, The NYT noted.

America and the Common Characteristics of Authoritarian Regimes.  [#13] The Omnipresent State:  The regime wants to ensure that it is present and can monitor every aspect of the citizenry.  It could be a dietary restriction, that sounds innocuous.  It could be the monitoring of communications or financial transactions citing a terror threat.  This often leads to self-censorship on the part of citizens.  The regimes of Iran, Singapore, China, Singapore, the UAE, Vietnam, and Yemen have invasive surveillance policies.

Home Office secretly backs facial recognition technology to curb shoplifting.  Home Office officials have drawn up secret plans to lobby the independent privacy regulator in an attempt to push the rollout of controversial facial recognition technology into high street shops and supermarkets, internal government minutes seen by the Observer reveal.  The covert strategy was agreed during a closed-door meeting on 8 March between policing minister Chris Philp, senior Home Office officials and the private firm Facewatch, whose facial recognition cameras have provoked fierce opposition after being installed in shops.  In a development that ignores critics who claim the technology breaches human rights and is biased, particularly against darker-skinned people, minutes of the meeting appear to show Home Office officials agreeing to write to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) advocating the merits of facial recognition technology in tackling "retail crime".

NSA Reportedly Opposes Congress' Attempts to Curb Its Spying on US Citizens.  US National Security Agency (NSA) officials have been making attempts to thwart an effort by American lawmakers to effectively prevent the agency from tracking US citizens domestically without a warrant.  The amendment in question, brought forth by House Representatives Warren Davidson and Sara Jacobs, would essentially bar US agencies such as the NSA and the Defense Intelligence Agency from "purchasing data that would otherwise require a warrant, court order, or subpoena" to procure, according to a US media outlet that first reported on this matter.  The amendment has already been approved by the House during the consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), though it remains to be seen which policies are going to be included in the Senate version of this bill, the media outlet points out.

FBI Carried Out Warrantless Monitoring on Man Who Posted Guns for Sale on Facebook.  A Texas man who posted on Facebook that he was selling his own guns was placed under warrantless surveillance by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).  The ATF investigated the man, found no evidence, yet gave his information to the FBI to monitor him for at least six months.  According to internal documents reviewed by The Epoch Times, two ATF special agents interviewed the Hispanic man who admitted to "advertising" his personal firearms for sale on Facebook.  He stated that he had a "habit" of purchasing new guns, tinkering with them, losing interest, and subsequently selling them.  The man told the agents that he never made a profit.  "I kept waiting for the part where ATF identified something illegal, and it never came," Eric Olson, a lawyer for Gun Owners of America (GOA) told The Epoch Times.

This AI Watches Millions Of Cars Daily And Tells Cops If You're Driving Like A Criminal.  In March of 2022, David Zayas was driving down the Hutchinson River Parkway in Scarsdale.  His car, a gray Chevrolet, was entirely unremarkable, as was its speed.  But to the Westchester County Police Department, the car was cause for concern and Zayas a possible criminal; its powerful new AI tool had identified the vehicle's behavior as suspicious.  Searching through a database of 1.6 billion license plate records collected over the last two years from locations across New York State, the AI determined that Zayas' car was on a journey typical of a drug trafficker.  According to a Department of Justice prosecutor filing, it made nine trips from Massachusetts to different parts of New York between October 2020 and August 2021 following routes known to be used by narcotics pushers and for conspicuously short stays.  So on March 10 last year, Westchester PD pulled him over and searched his car, finding 112 grams of crack cocaine, a semiautomatic pistol and $34,000 in cash inside, according to court documents.  A year later, Zayas pleaded guilty to a drug trafficking charge.

The Editor says...
If all they're doing to capturing drug dealers, few others will object to this system.  But we've seen how this goes.  The Patriot Act was supposed to be a tool to detect and thwart Islamic terrorist attacks, but now it's a tool for spying on political opponents.  Don't give tools like this to the local cops without some oversight on the ways they use those tools.

Millions of cars daily analyzed by artificial intelligence for 'suspicious' behavior.  Dystopian surveillance is here and providing a growing market for tech entrepreneurs.  Police agencies are daily using artificial intelligence to identify "suspicious" patterns of behavior in millions of random cars caught on surveillance cameras connecting with databases of ownership, and enabling searches and arrests.  In an era with politicized law enforcement, what could go wrong? [...] [A recent] article describes the growing number of companies providing AI-powered systems of surveillance that can be hooked up to not just traffic and police cameras, but to private surveillance cameras that opt in to the system.  Connect all of these cameras to public and private databases, and we have a recipe for police to repress political opposition that even Big Brother himself couldn't dare dream of.  Imagine cops knowing that you're headed in the direction of a rally for, say, Donald Trump and that you rarely drive that way.

A Specific Type of Continuity.  As we have exhaustively outlined on these pages, the outcome of the Patriot Act was to create a system where every American was now viewed by our federal government through the prism of the citizen being a potential terrorist threat.  The federal government aligned all of our institutions and systems accordingly.  DHS was created to monitor American behavior, the TSA was created to scan American travelers, and the FBI was enhanced with resources to conduct surveillance despite our Fourth Amendment protections within our Constitution.  Instead of the U.S. Govt protecting U.S. citizens from foreign threats, the Patriot Act changed the mission of government to protect itself from potential citizen threats.  In essence, We the People became the suspects, and all of the constitutional viewpoints within the FBI and Dept of Justice were modified to create monitoring systems.

Is the FBI illegally spying on private homes and buildings?  Members of Congress recently questioned the FBI Director about, among other things, surveillance of Americans.  Congress reportedly described such surveillance as illegal.  It is not clear if Congress is aware that the FBI might not care if FBI employees do illegal things.  (It is also not clear if Congress really cares whether FBI employees do illegal things, but that is a different subject.)  The FBI apparently allows itself (and others, [...]) to commit crimes which are described as "otherwise illegal activity."

Fighting back against Smart Cities.  So-called "smart city" technology includes ultra-high resolution, internet-connected cameras, license-plate readers, facial-recognition scanners and speakers.  It will set the framework for digital eyes and ears to spy on citizens 24/7, uploading personal data in real time to be perused and analyzed by law enforcement, financial decision-makers and other third-party stakeholders. [...] The tools of the surveillance state, however, are not just being installed in major cities and international airports.  Kootenai County in North Idaho is also up against a smart city plan.  And the city of Jackson, Wyoming, last week became the latest to install AI-powered mass surveillance cameras. [...] The purpose is not to save lives but to control behavior and effectively cripple Americans' longstanding freedom of movement.  The long-term plan is to entirely automate all transportation, using driverless cars, kill switches and social-credit scoring systems to define and limit the extent to which individuals are allowed to travel.  Essentially, all transportation will be public transportation.

We're All Suspects Under the Government's Precrime Program.  We're all being targeted now.  We're all guilty until proven innocent now.  And thanks to the 24/7 surveillance being carried out by the government's spy network of fusion centers, we are all now sitting ducks, just waiting to be tagged, flagged, targeted, monitored, manipulated, investigated, interrogated, heckled and generally harassed by agents of the American police state.  Although these precrime programs are popping up all across the country, in small towns and big cities, they are not making us any safer but they are endangering individual freedoms.  Nationwide, there are upwards of 123 real-time crime centers (a.k.a. fusion centers), which allow local police agencies to upload and share massive amounts of surveillance data and intelligence with state and federal agencies culled from surveillance cameras, facial recognition technology, gunshot sensors, social media monitoring, drones and body cameras, and artificial intelligence-driven predictive policing algorithms.  These data fusion centers, which effectively create an electronic prison — a digital police state — from which there is no escape, are being built in partnership with big tech companies such as Microsoft, Google and Amazon, which helped to fuel the rise of police militarization and domestic surveillance.

A State of Martial Law: America Is a Military Dictatorship Disguised as a Democracy.  It's not just the drones, fusion centers, license plate readers, stingray devices and the NSA that you have to worry about.  You're also being tracked by the black boxes in your cars, your cell phone, smart devices in your home, grocery loyalty cards, social media accounts, credit cards, streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, and e-book reader accounts.

How to Fix the FBI.  [Scroll down]  While Section 702 surveillance is targeted only at foreigners located outside the U.S., it does sweep in some communications involving persons in the U.S., and the FBI has improperly dipped into the 702 database more than 278,000 times to gather information on Americans for purposes having nothing to do with national security.  The subjects of these improper FBI searches have included Jan. 6 rioters, Black Lives Matter protesters, visitors to the FBI headquarters, and even donors to congressional campaigns, among others.

France To Allow Police To Spy On Citizens Through Phone Cameras and Microphones.  French police will be granted the power to spy on citizens by accessing their smartphone cameras and activating device microphones, according to a justice reform bill agreed on by lawmakers last Wednesday.  French news outlet Le Monde reported that while the bill only applies to suspects in crimes that are punishable by a minimum of five years in jail, the move has been widely condemned as a heavy-handed authoritarian "snoopers" charter.

Nationwide AI Mass Surveillance System Takes Root In Another State.  The town council of Jackson, Wyoming, agreed in a close vote last month to install the 30 solar-powered license plate recognition (LPR) cameras along their streets and traffic lights, which feeds into a centralized surveillance system managed by the private company Flock Safety.  The town is the first in the state of Wyoming to install the cameras.  Council members who agreed to the measure expressed reluctance with their decision.  Councilman Jonathan Schechter indicated his belief that the cameras marked a negative trend down an undesirable path.  "I don't like this particular arc of this particular part of history," said Schechter.  "I'm screaming 'stop' as I vote 'yes.'"  The cameras in Jackson are part of the "Falcon" line, which sends instant alerts to law enforcement.  There are different models of the AI surveillance technology, each named after birds:  Raven, an audio device for detecting sounds of crime such as gunshots, breaking glass, sawing metal, and screeching tires; Wing, which combs through thousands of hours of footage for specific vehicle identifiers for police; and Condor, which provides a live feed with zooming capabilities.

A spy in your pocket.  You knew it was coming.  I knew it was coming.  But cell phones are so darn convenient that we have been crossing our fingers and hoping it wouldn't happen.  You phone will be (already is?) spying on you.  Well, the future is here in France.  A bill just passed that will allow the government to secretly turn on your phone's camera and microphone without your knowledge.  As of now, the power to do this legally will be restricted by the need for a judge's assent, but if you think that this limitation will be respected and that it never will change, I have news for you:  your privacy is gone.  [Tweet] [...] The list of abuses the FBI has engaged in over the past few years is impressive.  Illegal searches, lying to the FISA court, opening an investigation into a presidential candidate/president based upon no evidence, intimidation of activists...   [Tweet with video clip]  Books will be written about the corruption of the intelligence apparat in the United States in the past decade or two, and the US has more legal protections for citizens than most countries.  But the abuses of power go unpunished, and when they do they multiply.  Now France is openly sanctioning turning your expensive cell phone into a snitch, and you can bet that governments around the world have been doing this for a long time without anybody knowing.

Secret map on your cell that shows you everywhere you've been — and how to disable it.  Years ago you might've been branded a conspiracy theorist for claiming your cellphone is tracking you — but not anymore.  Your iPhone has been keeping track of everywhere you've ever been, and you can view it in map form with a few clicks.  It can be quite a handy feature if you are forgetful.  For example, your phone can automatically generate directions home or find your parked car.

WHO Declares 'Infodemic,' Announces 'Misinformation' Surveillance Program.  The World Health Organization (WHO), funded primarily by the CCP and Bill Gates tag team, has been very busy getting its so-called "pandemic treaties" into place, which in effect hand over national control of a state's public health response to unaccountable multinational bureaucrats — whose interests, not unimportantly, are not shared by the populations over which they exercise authority.  Relatedly, the WHO also succeeded recently in instituting "vaccine passports" across the European Union.  Dovetailing with both of those projects of social control is the organization's declaration of war on something called an "infodemic."

Bombshell report finds Pentagon's new surveillance tools can 'pinpoint' private citizens.  In a shocking report published by The Intercept on June 17, details have emerged of a U.S. national security surveillance strategy to covertly track, locate and identify anyone expressing dissent or even dissatisfaction with the actions of the U.S. military and its leadership.  The measures, undertaken by the Army Protective Services Battalion, fall under their remit of safeguarding top generals from "assassination, kidnapping, injury or embarrassment."

The feds are buying mountains of your personal data and one day could use it against you.  Federal agencies are secretly accumulating mountains of data that could be used for "blackmail, stalking, harassment and public shaming" of American citizens.  That allegation doesn't come from a pink-haired civil-liberties fanatic — it's in a new report for the nation's chief spymaster, Avril Haines.  The Fourth Amendment recognized Americans' right "to be secure ... against unreasonable searches and seizures."  But Washington is mothballing that lofty standard for a new motto: "Those who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear."  The latest federal surveillance tsunami is being spurred by purchases of commercially available information (CAI) that private companies vacuum up from data from smartphones, computers and other digital devices and trackers.

Military Monitors Social Media for Mean Posts About Generals.  The U.S. Army's Protective Services Battalion (PSB), the Department of Defense's equivalent of the Secret Service, now monitors social media to see if anyone has posted negative comments about the country's highest-ranking officers.  Per a report by the Intercept, the PSB's remit includes protecting officers from "embarrassment," in addition to more pressing threats like kidnapping and assassination.  An Army procurement document from 2022 obtained by the Intercept reveals that the PSB now monitors social media for "negative sentiment" about the officers under its protection, as well as for "direct, indirect, and veiled" threats. [...] Per the report, the Army intends not just to monitor platforms for "negative sentiment," but also to pinpoint the location of posters.

The Editor says...
The Army brass must think we're really stupid.  If somebody was plotting an assassination, would they talk about it on social media?  Or even on the phone?

US Government Has Been Secretly Stockpiling Dirt On Americans Via Data Brokers.  The US Government has been purchasing troves of information on American citizens from 3rd party data providers, according to Wired, which cites privacy advocates who say this constitutes a "nightmare scenario." [...] The government has been using 'craven interpretations of aging laws' to bypass privacy rights, as prosecutors have increasingly ignored limits traditionally imposed on domestic surveillance.  "I've been warning for years that if using a credit card to buy an American's personal information voids their Fourth Amendment rights, then traditional checks and balances for government surveillance will crumble," according to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR).  During a March 8 hearing, Wyden pressed Haines to release the panel's report -- after Haines said it should "absolutely" be read by the public.  On Friday, that's exactly what happened after the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) released it amid a battle with the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) over various related documents.  "This report makes it clear that the government continues to think it can buy its way out of constitutional protections using taxpayers' own money," said EPIC law fellow, Chris Baumohl.

The CIA Is Begging Congress to Please Keep Spying on U.S. Citizens Legal.  High-level officials from the CIA, FBI, and NSA are testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, asking Congress to continue allowing the agency to spy on the communications of US citizens.  They are urging Congress to reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) — one of the nation's most hotly contested government surveillance programs.  Intelligence agencies have long cited the powerful 2008 FISA provision as an invaluable tool to effectively combat global terrorism, but critics, including an increasing number of lawmakers from both parties, say those same agencies have morphed the provision into an unchecked, warrantless domestic spying tool.  The provision is set to expire at the end of this year.  Federal agents urged lawmakers to reauthorize 702 without adding new reforms that could potentially slow down or impair operators' access to intelligence.

US Intel Is Stockpiling Dirt on All Its Citizens.  Wired reports that the United States government has been secretly amassing a large amount of sensitive and intimate information on its own citizens.  A group of senior advisers informed April Haines, the DNI, more than a year ago that they are accumulating data on the most minute details of Americans' lives.  In late 2021 Haines told her advisers to untangle a web of secretive business arrangements between commercial data brokers and you, US intelligence community members, reports Wired.

Report: Intelligence Agencies Buying 'Sensitive and Intimate' Data of American Citizens.  Arecently-declassified report alleges that multiple U.S. intelligence agencies have been actively "flouting the law" by gathering massive collections of "sensitive and intimate" data on American citizens.  According to the New York Post, the claims were made in a report to Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Avril Haines, which was only recently declassified and is now being amplified by watchdog groups and privacy advocates.  The report details a loophole that has allowed intelligence agencies, including the FBI, DHS, and NSA, to simply buy large troves of cell phone data for tracking purposes without needing a warrant.  If the information was paid for, the report notes, then it is technically considered "publicly available."  The government only needs to ask for a warrant if they are asking to access a cell phone's location, and thus would raise Fourth Amendment concerns necessitating a judge's approval.

U.S. Spy Agencies Buy Vast Quantities of Americans' Personal Data, U.S. Says.  The vast amount of Americans' personal data available for sale has provided a rich stream of intelligence for the U.S. government but created significant threats to privacy, according to a newly released report by the U.S.'s top spy agency.  [Paywall]

The 'Wrongthink' case against Biden could help end federal policing of public speech.  It's not every day that a federal judge asks attorneys representing the president if they've read their "1984."  Yet Judge Terry A. Doughty did just that last month, invoking the dystopian novel in questioning lawyers for President Biden, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and other officials about their Orwellian conduct.  These are the defendants in perhaps the most consequential First Amendment case you've never heard of.  That case, Missouri v. Biden, has exposed arguably the most extensive mass-surveillance and mass-censorship regime in the history of mankind.  In so doing, it has set in motion events that could lead to that regime's collapse.

WHO to Use 'Listening Surveillance Systems' to Monitor Americans' Speech for 'Misinformation'.  Congress is launching an investigation into the World Health Organization (WHO) after details emerged of the United Nations health body's disturbing Orwellian plan to combat so-called "misinformation."  The WHO's pandemic prevention initiative, the Preparedness and Resilience for Emerging Threats (PRET), pushes plans to use "social listening surveillance systems" to monitor the public's speech for "misinformation."  However, PRET has been met with a backlash as more people start to push back against unelected bodies who are trying to suppress speech and potentially override sovereignty.  PRET aims to "guide countries in pandemic planning," according to documents from the UN agency.

Was the Durham Report a distraction to cover up something even worse?  Some recent events have caused me to pause and ask some questions about why now.  When multiple "bad" items are reported in tandem, I am often left to ask:  is this really the thing, or is it perhaps a distraction?  In the same timeframe during which the Durham report was released, we also saw a report released on the FBI FISA abuses.  We are supposed to be happy that only 278,000 unauthorized (illegal) warrantless searches occurred in 2020 and accept that the FBI has resolved this situation.  Interesting... a system created to keep tabs on foreign threats is being used to illegally spy on American citizens at an alarming rate.  And the most absurd item in the story is that we are to believe that the FBI has new processes in place that resolve this.  I would not be surprised if we learn later that they redefined the definition of searches to cut down on the number of illegal searches (think redefining gain-of-function research to say we aren't funding it).

FBI Collected License Plate Numbers of Parents Attending School Board Meetings.  During Thursday's hearing by the House Judiciary Select Committee on the weaponization of the federal government, FBI whistleblower Stephen Friend testified that he was ordered to write down the license plate numbers of parents who attended school board meetings.  Friend — a 12-year veteran of the bureau — was suspended after he refused to take part in a SWAT-style raid on a January 6 suspect who was facing misdemeanor charges last summer.  "I have an oath to uphold the Constitution," Mr. Friend, a 12-year veteran of the bureau, told his supervisors when he declined to participate in the raid on August 24, 2022.  "I have a moral objection and want to be considered a conscientious objector."  On Thursday, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) questioned the FBI whistleblowers on the bureau's "terrorism symbol guide."  The agents told Gaetz that voicing support for the second amendment, the Betsy Ross flag and writing "2A" were all among the FBI's designated domestic terrorism symbols.  Gaetz then turned his attention to Friend and asked about school board meetings.

FISA Court Report: FBI Continued to Abuse Surveillance Tool After Trump-Era Abuses.  The FBI continued to abuse a powerful digital surveillance tool even after the Bureau promised reforms following its Trump-era abuses, according to a newly-unsealed Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court document.  The FBI misused Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) more than 278,000 times, the Washington Post reported, "including against crime victims, January 6 riot suspects, and people arrested at protests in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in 2020."  In one particularly egregious case, they reportedly relied on Section 702 to spy on 19,000 donors to a congressional candidate.  Section 702 is a provision of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 that "permits the government to conduct targeted surveillance of foreign persons located outside the United States, with the compelled assistance of electronic communication service providers, to acquire foreign intelligence information."  The law, created in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, allows National Security Agency and FBI employees a to search a vast database of electronic communications and other information.

FBI misused controversial surveillance tool to investigate Jan. 6 protesters.  The FBI improperly searched the personal communications of Americans who participated in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and the 2020 protests over police violence, newly declassified documents show.  The inappropriate searches of data intercepted under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) were originally detailed in a classified April 2021 certification issued by the court that oversees the statute and found roughly 300,000 abuses logged between 2020 and early 2021.  The Biden administration on Friday also shared a second, significantly redacted document that detailed a technique for the FBI to conduct physical searches for the first time under FISA.

FBI Misused Surveillance Tool More Than 278,000 Times Including Against Jan. 6 People, BLM, Political Donors.  The FBI has a surveillance tool that it can use to deal with foreign intelligence questions.  The tool is supposed to be used to target foreign actors, not Americans, and you are supposed to have an evidentiary basis for using it.  According to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order that came down in April 2022, but was released with redactions on Friday, the FBI misused that database more than 278,000 times.  The order was released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. [...] The report explained that 13 people connected to Jan. 6 were "inappropriately queried" to see if they had foreign ties.  In the case of BLM people, the FBI searched for 130 of them in the database during the 2020 riots.  Over 19,000 donors to a congressional campaign were also looked into, as well as victims of crimes, including "individuals listed in police homicide reports."  The latter included "victims, next-of-kin, witnesses, and suspects."  They didn't reveal who the congressional campaign involved.

FBI obtained Americans' bank records without subpoena: Whistleblowers.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation obtained the financial records of Americans' from Bank of America "without any legal process" following the January 6, 2021 riot, according to an interim staff report from the House Judiciary Committee and Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.  The report containing allegations from FBI whistleblowers is the subject of a select committee hearing on Thursday.  "Just like FBI whistleblowers [Garret] O'Boyle and [Stephen] Friend, retired FBI Supervisory Intelligence Analyst George Hill provided the Committee with detailed allegations of FBI civil liberties abuses," read the report, which was released ahead of Thursday's hearing.  "Specifically, he testified that following the events at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, Bank of America (BoA) gave the FBI's Washington Field Office a list of individuals who had made transactions in the D.C., Maryland, Virginia area with a BoA credit or debit card between January 5 and January 7, 2021.  He also testified that individuals who had previously purchased a firearm with a BoA product were elevated to the top of the list provided by BoA," it also read.

New York to Track Residents' Food Purchases and Place 'Caps on Meat' Served by Public Institutions.  New York City will begin tracking the carbon footprint of household food consumption and putting caps on how much red meat can be served in public institutions as part of a sweeping initiative to achieve a 33% reduction in carbon emissions from food by 2030. Mayor Eric Adams and representatives from the Mayor's Office of Food Policy and Mayor's Office of Climate & Environmental Justice announced the new programs last month at a Brooklyn culinary center run by NYC Health + Hospitals, the city's public healthcare system, just before Earth Day.  At the event, the Mayor's Office of Climate & Environmental Justice shared a new chart to be included in the city's annual greenhouse gas inventory that publicly tracks the carbon footprint created by household food consumption, the Gothamist reported.

FBI Audit Reveals 8,000 Unjustified Searches of Americans' Communications.  The FBI conducted thousands of queries on digital data collected on U.S. citizens in 2021 and 2022 despite having no warrant and no justification under the FBI's own rules, according to an internal report released on May 10.  The audit, conducted by the FBI Office of Internal Auditing (OIA), was intended to examine the agency's compliance with rules for querying data the government routinely collects on U.S. citizens under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA).  FISA allows the government to collect electronic data including phone calls, text messages, and emails of foreigners overseas, even if the communications involve a U.S. citizen.  U.S. agencies can then search that data in connection with national security investigations.

American Despotism.  The United States surveillance state, with no analytics to assess mountains of data, uses intelligence not for the public but for the kleptocrats' interests:  to spy on conservative media and political enemies, including President Trump.  The FBI not only peddled the fraudulent Steele dossier, it has long wasted taxpayer money for its agents to infiltrate unimportant dissident groups, entrap their members in silly plots, and then imprison them.  In the farcical plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Whitmer, five of the "militiamen," those who concocted the plot, were FBI agents or informants entrapping those they arrested. [...] Unsurprisingly, the FBI payroll funded the leaders of the Proud Boys and the Three Percenters who called for violence at the January 6 capitol riot.  Homeland Security labels the riot an "insurrection" to justify its increased surveillance over political dissidents even as it declares "white supremacy," meaning Trump supporters, the country's greatest terrorist threat.

RFK Jr.  Lays Out 3-Step Plan to Dismantle Deep State Censorship.  Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has announced his intent, if elected, to neutralize the ability of U.S. intelligence agencies to spy on its own citizens.  In a tweet posted Friday morning [5/5/2023], Kennedy posited that the "surveillance state" has taken a number of steps to silence dissent of U.S. foreign policy and prosecution of whistleblowers.  He promised to replace officials instructing tech companies to suspend users identified as problematic to national interests, end prosecutions of whistleblowers by the Department of Justice, and rescind policies that permit spying on American citizens.

Largest Mass-Surveillance and Mass-Censorship Program in American History Uncovered.  Just the News reports that the law firm America First Legal has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that private parties conspired with the government to target millions of Americans for pervasive censorship and surveillance.  In its introductory statement, the lawsuit asserts that the so-called "Election Integrity Partnership" and "Virality Project" constitute "probably the largest mass-surveillance and mass-censorship program in American history."  The Election Integrity Partnership and Virality Project collaborated "closely with state and federal government officials," per the lawsuit.  The defendants are monitoring and censoring social media platforms under their pressure, directives, and coercion.  The complaint was filed predominantly on behalf of Jill Hines, co-director of the consumer and human rights nonprofit Health Freedom Louisiana, and Jim Hoft, founder and chief editor of the news website The Gateway Pundit.  According to the lawsuit, both parties have been subjected to "extensive censorship" and continue to be subjected to it.

Over One Million Secret FBI Searches [were] Made in Error: Watchdog.  More than one million secret searches of Americans conducted by the FBI were made erroneously, a watchdog testified to Congress on April 27.  Around 30 percent of the approximately 3.4 million searches were done in error, Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz testified.  "It's obviously very concerning that there's that volume of searches," Horowitz told a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee, adding that he was particularly concerned with the high error rate.  The searches in question were conducted by FBI personnel with authority under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).  The bill enables U.S. authorities to gather information on U.S. citizens suspected of being involved with possible spies or terrorists.  Some 3.39 million searches were conducted by the FBI in 2021, U.S. intelligence officials have said.  That was up from just 1.2 million in 2020.

DOJ Inspector General Reveals More than 10,000 Federal Employees Have Access to NSA Database for Surveillance Inquiries.  Office of Inspector General Michael Horowitz testified yesterday that more than 3.4 million search queries into the NSA database took place between Dec. 1st, 2020 and Nov. 30th, 2021, by government officials and/or contractors working on behalf of the federal government.  These search queries were based on authorizations related to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).  Approximately 30% of those 3.4 million search queries were outside the rules and regulations that govern warrantless searches, what the politically correct government calls "non-compliant searches."  Additionally, IG Horowitz also admitted that somewhere north of 10,000 federal employees have access to conduct these searches of the NSA database; a database which contains the electronic data of every single American, including emails, text messages, social media posts, instant messages, direct messages, phone calls, geolocation identifiers, purchases by electronic funds, banking records and any keystroke any American person puts into any electronic device for any reason.

More Than 10,000 Government Workers Can Conduct 'Backdoor' Surveillance on Americans.  Inspector General Michael Horowitz was unable to provide a clear answer when questioned by Republican Florida Representative Matt Gaetz about the number of federal government officials authorized to conduct backdoor searches on Americans using the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).  Under FISA Section 702, intelligence agencies have the authority to conduct targeted surveillance on non-U.S. individuals outside the country, but this power has been misused on Americans in the past.  According to the 2022 Transparency report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, there were a staggering 3.4 million backdoor searches conducted in 2021.  These figures highlight the potential for abuse of FISA, and raise concerns about the privacy of American citizens.  Some Republicans in both the House and Senate have expressed opposition to the reauthorization of FISA, citing previous abuses that were exposed, in part, by Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

New York City to Track Personal Food Choices Using Credit Card Data.  Remember the crazy right-wing conspiracy theory alleging that our food purchases will be tracked to reduce our CO2 consumption?  That one is turning out to be true!  Yesterday, New York City announced its plan to track the "food choices" of New Yorkers using credit card data from individual store purchases.  According to the mayor, tracking individual food choices is a step towards "reducing the CO2 output" of New Yorkers. [...] You would think such a plan would only be made after a conversation with New Yorkers, right?  After all, the mayor of New York is supposed to serve New Yorkers, not the other way around.  However, the reality is that there was no consultation and no "conversation" because New York's mayor Eric Adams is sure that people do not even want to have a "conversation" about interrogating their food choices.

NYC's Vegan Mayor Eric Adams to Limit Amount of Meat People Can Eat to Combat Climate Change.  New York City's vegan mayor Eric Adams wants to limit the amount of meat people can eat in an effort to combat climate change.  Adams wants to reduce food-based gas emissions by 33% in the next 7 years.  "Food is the third-biggest source of cities' emissions right after buildings and transportation.  But all food is not created equal.  The vast majority of food that is contributing to our emission crises lies in meat and dairy products," Adams said.  "According to new data released by the city, 20% of the Big Apple's greenhouse gas emissions come from food production and consumption.  The mayor is now vowing to reduce the city's food-based emissions at agencies by 33% in the next seven years and challenging the private sector to follow suit."

The Editor says...
[#1] That's okay, the tourism industry in New York is dead already.  [#2]  Since the mayor is opposed to eating, because it's wrecking the earth, would he prefer to oversee a city with no restaurants?

Time to Deal with Root Causes, Not Symptoms.  [Scroll down]  There have been many stories of domestic surveillance conducted by federal agencies, as well as the weaponizing of those agencies against political enemies of the Democrat Party.  Republicans in the House of Representatives are beginning to expose some of the abuses, but nobody is talking about dealing with the root cause that enabled the spying on Americans:  The Patriot Act of 2001.  Few people know that "Patriot" is an acronym that stands for "Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism."  And that euphemism means domestic surveillance!  The events of 9/11 stampeded Congress to unanimously pass the Act, which refocused the vast intelligence collection apparatus built to track the actions of potential adversaries onto US citizens for the first time — all in the interests of "anti-terrorism."  The result was weakened bank secrecy laws, new types of warrants on the flimsiest of excuses, and information collection by signals intelligence and electronic surveillance systems focused on Americans on our home soil.  Other increases in the government's surveillance powers are discussed [elsew]here.  Since 2001, the domestic surveillance apparatus has been politically weaponized to go after Democrat-defined terrorists, including "white supremacists," nationalists, and Trump supporters (refer to the continuing FBI investigations of J6 protestors).  A big part of the solution is to repeal the key root cause that opened the door for politicization of federal surveillance capabilities against Americans.  Time to repeal the Patriot Act.

The West Declares War on Itself.  Politicians may feign obedience to the will of the people, but it is the people who will be forced to obey.  Power, once obtained, is not relinquished voluntarily.  A federal government that has expanded in both size and authority well beyond anything the Founding Fathers conceived will not cut its own workforce, strip itself of powers stolen from the people and the states, rein in exorbitant tax and spend policies, or submit to constitutional checks and balances long since discarded.  A national security surveillance State will not publicly admit that its obscene domestic spying network violates the heart of the Fourth Amendment's prohibition against warrantless searches. [...] If America today feels less like a free country and more like an eavesdropping system run by the NSA, CIA, FBI, and other espionage agencies, that's because it is.

IRS Looking to Buy Internet-traffic Monitoring Technology.  The IRS is in the market for technology that would give them the ability to monitor Americans' online activity.  The monitoring system sought by the IRS has already been sold by the manufacturer to the FBI and the Department of Defense. [...] Vice says the product description page claims that Recon can "trace malicious activity through a dozen or more proxies and VPNs to identify the origin of a cyber threat."  Now, the IRS would likely claim that they want to monitor internet traffic in order to prevent hackers from gaining access to the the agency's servers, and thus to protect the private data of millions of Americans from being stolen.  Anyone who has kept up with just how committed the tax collectors are to identifying and targeting groups and individuals of a conservative bent would realize that there's little to no chance that the IRS intends to use the Recon technology to defend data.  The more likely purpose for the purchase is to keep track of the online traffic of those they want to audit for being patriotic.

IRS Wants to Buy Internet Mass Monitoring Tool.  The IRS wants to purchase an internet monitoring tool from a company that has sold products to sections of the U.S. military and the FBI, according to public procurement records.  The company, called Team Cymru, provides access to "netflow" data, which can show activity on the wider internet, such as which server communicated with another.  This is information that may ordinarily only be available to the company hosting the server or the internet service provider carrying the traffic.  The news shows federal agencies' continued interest in Team Cymru's data and products.  The procurement records show the IRS also wants to buy subscriptions from a variety of cybersecurity companies, suggesting the intended use case may be defensive in nature.  In essence, Team Cymru's products let cybersecurity professionals monitor activity outside of their own networks and observe what is happening on the wider internet.  This may benefit defenders in identifying hackers' infrastructure, but multiple cybersecurity professionals have previously expressed concern to Motherboard about the sale of netflow data.

AI Firm Scrapes 30 Billion Social Media Photos, Hands Them to Law Enforcement.  One of the most notorious privacy-breaching tech companies in operation, Clearview AI, has, according to its CEO, scraped 30 billion social media photos, packaged and curated them, and passed them along to the surveillance state authorities to do with what they will (in the dark, with no oversight, naturally, as the Founders warned such authorities would if left unchecked).  Clearview's collaboration with law enforcement reportedly includes handing over information to help identify and prosecute the January 6 "insurrectionists" currently being hounded by the FBI. Let's assume for the sake of argument that all of the social media images that Clearview gave to the police depicted Americans.  With 30 billion images divided by the current American population of roughly 330 million, that's 90.9 images, on average, of every man, woman, and child in the United States that Clearview gifted the police state with — irrespective of whether or not they were ever suspected of criminal activity.

FBI Associates Slang Like 'Based' With 'Extremism,' Docs Show.  An investigation launched by The Heritage Foundation's Oversight Project found in early April that the FBI associated common social media language with "violent extremism."  Using a Freedom of Information Act request, The Heritage Foundation accessed a glossary of terms used by the FBI to flag indications of "involuntary celibate violent extremism" or "racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism," according to documents posted on Twitter.  Phrases such as "LARPing," "red pill," and "based" were all considered part of racial and ethical-extremist language, according to the documents.  The FBI also listed terms like "red pill; black pill," "rope," and "chad," as part of linguistics used by involuntary celibate violent extremism, or "incels." The document further argues that incels are those possibly wanting to "commit violence in support of their beliefs that society unjustly denies them sexual or romantic attention, to which they believe they are entitled."

The Editor says...
Thanks for the tip.  I have added these words to the list of Carnivore Trigger Words.

Nashville DA Spends $32K on Cameras to Spy On Public, Employees.  Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk's office is under investigation by the Tennessee Attorney General for recording audio of visitors and employees without their knowledge, and spending $32,000 on cameras, according to an Open the Books investigation.  The DA's office bought $32,000 worth of cameras and supportive equipment from October 2020 to August 2021 from vendor Southern Contracting, and records show some of the cameras have audio capabilities.

Republicans lay the groundwork for 2025 indictments.  [Scroll down]  Godfather Biden is just one of many targets.  While Ted Cruz gallantly leveled Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over his open borders policy, House members were digging into the Go To Jail stuff on his turning his agency into one that spies on all Americans in America.  Politico reported, "Congressional Republicans are launching an investigation into an under-the-radar domestic intelligence-gathering program within the Department of Homeland Security.  "House Homeland Security Chair Mark Green (R-Tenn.), as well as Reps.  Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) and August Pfluger (R-Texas), two subpanel chairs, on Monday warned DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas that the program 'raises serious concerns about the Department's overreach of its statutory mandate and potential violations of Americans' fundamental civil liberties.'  'There appears a pattern of mission creep and overreach by the Department emerging at the expense of Americans more than foreign actors who threaten the homeland,' the three GOP lawmakers wrote in a letter to Mayorkas."  The story said, "The probe comes after Politico reported last week that, under the program, officials are collecting information by questioning people within the United States and that employees within DHS' intelligence office have raised concerns that their work could be illegal, according to a broad tranche of internal documents."

A.I., Brain Scans and Cameras: The Spread of Police Surveillance Tech.  A brain wave reader that can detect lies.  Miniaturized cameras that sit inside vape pens and disposable coffee cups.  Massive video cameras that zoom in more than a kilometer to capture faces and license plates.  At a police conference in Dubai in March, new technologies for the security forces of the future were up for sale.  Far from the eyes of the general public, the event provided a rare look at what tools are now available to law enforcement around the world: better and harder-to-detect surveillance, facial recognition software that automatically tracks individuals across cities and computers to break into phones.  Advances in artificial intelligence, drones and facial recognition have created an increasingly global police surveillance business.  Israeli hacking software, American investigation tools and Chinese computer vision algorithms can all be bought and mixed together to make a snooping cocktail of startling effectiveness.

The Patriot Act on steroids: D.C. Uniparty wants to use anti-TikTok legislation as Trojan horse for censorship and surveillance.  TikTok is indeed a pestilence upon our society.  But there are right ways to go about minimizing this "digital opium" and its impact on our lives, and other means that will allow the American government to leverage the situation to further curtail our individual rights.  And unsurprisingly, the latter idea is making lawmakers in the beltway beyond giddy this week.  The Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology (RESTRICT) Act (S.686), which was introduced in the Senate earlier this month, would do much more than just ban TikTok.  This bill is no mere "TikTok ban," it is a mechanism for a massive, sweeping surveillance and censorship overhaul.  The RESTRICT Act goes far, far beyond potentially banning TikTok.  It gives the government virtual unchecked authority over the U.S. communications infrastructure.  The incredibly broad language includes the ability to "enforce any mitigation measure to address any risk" to "national security" today and in any "potential future transaction."  The Senate legislation currently has 19 cosponsors, all of whom are Uniparty members in good standing.

Is Your Homeowner's Association Playing Big Brother Without Your Knowledge?  Apparently, it is not only local governments that will engage in tyranny.  Homeowner's associations (HOAs) have also been found to participate in some questionable practices.  In some cases, they have essentially formed their own mini surveillance states, monitoring residents — sometimes without their knowledge. [...] Communities across the United States are experiencing increased surveillance without the knowledge or consent of many residents, thanks to a partnership between police departments and private surveillance company Flock Safety, a startup founded in Atlanta in 2017 and currently valued at around $3.5 billion.  The company has strategically focused on homeowners associations (HOAs) to become one of the largest surveillance vendors in the United States.  HOAs are a prime target for Flock due to their large budgets and potential access to private gated areas that are normally out of reach for law enforcement.

Left/Right Alliance Could End Massive Domestic Spying Program.  A once highly controversial and radical law, enacted in 2008, that empowers the U.S. government to spy without warrants is once again up for renewal.  The Biden administration is demanding that the spying law be not just renewed, but renewed with no reforms or safeguards of any kind.  The entire Democratic establishment is predictably in line, as always, behind the Biden administration's demands.  But what makes all this interesting and noteworthy — and potentially newsworthy — is that the same left-right populist coalition that just united to vote in favor of Matt Gaetz's resolution to withdraw troops from Syria is starting to align again against renewal of the spying powers, meaning that, as so often happens, the establishment wings of the two parties will have to unite in defense of the U.S. Security State if Biden's demands for more powers are to be met.  In other words, if Joe Biden is to win and get the spying powers he's demanding, he'll need Republican establishment votes, presumably in large numbers, in order to do it.

CDC Bought Phone Data to Monitor Americans' Compliance With Lockdowns, Contracts Show.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) purchased data from tracking companies to monitor compliance with lockdowns, according to contracts with the firms.  The CDC paid one firm $420,000 and another $208,000.  That bought access to location data from at least 55 million cellphone users.  The contracts, approved under emergency review due to the COVID-19 pandemic, were aimed at providing the CDC "with the necessary data to continue critical emergency response functions related to evaluating the impact of visits to key points of interest, stay at home orders, closures, re-openings and other public heath communications related to mask mandate, and other merging research areas on community transmission of SARS-CoV-2," the contracts, obtained by The Epoch Times, state.  The CDC said it would be using the tracking data to "assess home-by-hour behaviors (i.e. curfew analysis) by exploring the percentage of mobile devices at home during specific period of time."

The FBI Just Admitted It Bought US Location Data.  The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation has acknowledged for the first time that it purchased US location data rather than obtaining a warrant.  While the practice of buying people's location data has grown increasingly common since the US Supreme Court reined in the government's ability to warrantlessly track Americans' phones nearly five years ago, the FBI had not previously revealed ever making such purchases.  The disclosure came today during a US Senate hearing on global threats attended by five of the nation's intelligence chiefs.  Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, put the question of the bureau's use of commercial data to its director, Christopher Wray:  "Does the FBI purchase US phone-geolocation information?"  Wray said his agency was not currently doing so, but he acknowledged that it had in the past.  He also limited his response to data companies gathered specifically for advertising purposes.

Unconstitutional spying on Americans: Will it ever end?  Last week, the Biden administration asked Congress to permit its agents to continue to spy on Americans without search warrants.  The actual request was to reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.  FISA requires warrants from the FISA Court for all domestic spying.  Section 702 is a 2008 amendment to FISA.  It expressly authorizes warrantless spying of foreign persons.  The Supreme Court has characterized spying as surveillance and surveillance as a search under the Fourth Amendment.  That amendment requires search warrants issued by judges and based upon probable cause of crime demonstrated to the judges under oath and specifically describing the place to be searched or thing to be seized for the surveillance to be lawful.  Since FISA Court warrants — issued by a secret court in Washington, D.C. — are not based on probable cause of crime, and since Section 702 does away altogether with the warrant requirement when foreign persons are even peripherally involved, both FISA and its Section 702 are unconstitutional.

FBI Whistleblowers: Threat Tags Were Used to Target Conservatives.  In the latest stunning testimony from whistleblowers at the FBI, it has been alleged that the bureau actively used intelligence threat tags to label multiple groups of conservative activists as potential domestic terror threats.  According to Just The News, one such whistleblower told the House Judiciary Committee over the weekend that a terrorist threat tag originally created to target far-left activists who threatened conservative Supreme Court justices after the overturning of Roe v. Wade was ultimately flipped to the opposite purpose, and instead became a marker for pro-life activists that the FBI considered dangerous for simply protesting at abortion clinics.

The Right To Be Let Alone: When The Government Wants To Know All Your Business.  There was a time when the census was just a head count.  That is no longer the case.  The American Community Survey (ACS), sent to about 3.5 million homes every year, is the byproduct of a government that believes it has the right to know all of your personal business.  If you haven't already received an ACS, it's just a matter of time.  A far cry from the traditional census, which is limited to ascertaining the number of persons living in each dwelling, their ages and ethnicities, the ownership of the dwelling and telephone numbers, the ACS contains some of the most detailed and intrusive questions ever put forth in a census questionnaire.  At 28 pages (with an additional 16-page instruction packet), these questions concern matters that the government simply has no business knowing, including questions relating to respondents' bathing habits, home utility costs, fertility, marital history, work commute, mortgage, and health insurance, among other highly personal and private matters.

DHS has a program gathering domestic intelligence — and virtually no one knows about it.  For years, the Department of Homeland Security has run a virtually unknown program gathering domestic intelligence, one of many revelations in a wide-ranging tranche of internal documents reviewed by POLITICO.  Those documents also reveal that a significant number of employees in DHS's intelligence office have raised concerns that the work they are doing could be illegal.  Under the domestic-intelligence program, officials are allowed to seek interviews with just about anyone in the United States.  That includes people held in immigrant detention centers, local jails, and federal prison.  DHS's intelligence professionals have to say they're conducting intelligence interviews, and they have to tell the people they seek to interview that their participation is voluntary.  But the fact that they're allowed to go directly to incarcerated people — circumventing their lawyers — raises important civil liberties concerns, according to legal experts.

While you are watching your TV, your TV is watching you.  In February 2018, an analysis by the reputed magazine Consumer Reports announced that their testing revealed that the increasingly ubiquitous "smart TV" was capable of "watching" the viewer and keeping a detailed record of the viewer's TV watching patterns and related behaviour.  As more of smart devices find a place in the average home, there are other gadgets that can work in tandem with smart TVs to perform the task of "watching."  Consider, for instance, the Alexa device that responds to voice commands to perform simple tasks, including connecting with a smart TV to control the smart TV.  All such devices and functions rely on the fact that these devices always "surveil" their environment — watching with built-in cameras, listening with built-in microphones, and capturing data with built-in sensors.  Real people occupy the space that is under the surveillance of these devices.

Charter Boat Captains Don't Have To Share Their Location Data With the Government, Court Rules.  Boat-tracking regulation is a warrantless search, court says.  Can the government force charter boat captains to continuously transmit their location information to the authorities?  It seems preposterous, but the Department of Commerce and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) this privacy-infringing protocol in 2020.  The rule required charter-boat captains to install — at their own expense — onboard monitoring systems that regularly relayed their boats' GPS locations to the government.  A group of charter boat captains represented by the New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA) sued, saying the rule violated rights to due process, privacy, and freedom of movement, among other things.

Twitter Coordinated with Intel Agencies.  Over the course of some 15 "Twitter Files" exposés, independent journalists also revealed the tech giant worked closely with intelligence agencies, resulting in the censorship of more speech.  As Matt Taibbi put it:  ["]The files show the FBI acting as doorman to a vast program of social media surveillance and censorship, encompassing agencies across the federal government — from the State Department to the Pentagon to the CIA.["]  "Requests poured in from FBI offices all over the country, day after day, hour after hour: Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Baltimore," Taibbi wrote, with Twitter "taking requests from every conceivable government agency, from state officials in Wyoming, Georgia, Minnesota, Connecticut, California, and others to the NSA, FBI, DHS, DOD, DOJ, and many others."  And although Twitter's new owner, Elon Musk, could only share Twitter's internal communications, that material showed the CIA — referred to under the euphemism "Other Government Agencies" in the emails — "ended up sharing intelligence through the FBI and FITF [Foreign Influence Task Force] not just with Twitter, but with Yahoo!, Twitch, Cloudfare, LinkedIn, even Wikimedia."

Facial Recognition Comes to a TSA Checkpoint Near You.  Facial recognition technology has come a long way in recent years, spurred in equal parts by convenience and the priorities of government snoops.  Now, if you plan to go a long way via air travel, you can expect to be required to stare into a camera as a computer algorithm scans your features to make sure you're no imposter.  The TSA is trying out facial recognition technology at airports as a means of ensuring that travelers are who they claim to be and speeding security lines.  It's, maybe, an improvement for impatient travelers, but even more so for the never-satisfied security state.

Madison Square Garden's facial recognition mess.  Back in 2018, the parent company of Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall in New York City (MSG) began using facial recognition software tied into its security cameras at those venues.  They claimed that the system would help them identify suspected domestic terrorists and other security threats.  At the time, that sort of made sense, because those are both large arenas that pack in a lot of people, so either could be a tempting terror target.  But since then, it has come to light that MSG has been identifying and prohibiting access to more people than just ISIS wannabes.  They have singled out attorneys from every law firm representing plaintiffs who have brought lawsuits against the venues.  Others have reportedly been locked out as well.  Now New York's Attorney General has sent them a warning letter and they may have a date in court with her before long.

11,000 Police Surveillance Cars With 360-Degree Cameras and "Perimeter Alerts" To Patrol NYC.  The Wausau Police Department is already using Ford's 360-degree police surveillance vehicles to quietly surveil everyone.  According to Yahoo News the New York City Police Department (NYPD), which employs more people than the FBI, has announced it is turning all their police vehicles into 360-degree surveillance vehicles.  To put the public's mind at ease of having 11,000 spying police vehicles monitor everyone, the NYPD has decided to put QR codes on their new patrol cars.  If and when the public finally cares about losing their privacy, all they have to do is scan a police vehicle's QR code.  This will bring them to a carefully worded law enforcement website that will reassure them that the government really cares about their privacy and that 360-degree surveillance cameras are for the public's safety.  When a concerned citizen approaches a 360-degree police surveillance vehicle, they may be surprised to find out what is really happening inside.  Ford's Police Interceptors come with a factory-installed version of"Surveillance Mode" or a built-in "Police Perimeter Alert" that automatically analyzes people for officer perceived threats.  Because nothing says public safety like an AI that automatically analyzes people for so-called threatening behavior.

Will Jordan's Subcommittee Be Able to Achieve What the 'Church Committee' Couldn't?  Important and laudable as it was at the time (1975), we must conclude that the Senate's vaunted "Church Committee," under Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho), ultimately failed in its mission to reform the CIA, FBI, IRS, and the National Security Agency (NSA) anywhere near permanently. [...] I hesitate to use Wikipedia, given its reflexive bias, but its summary of what the Church group found seems accurate:  "The most shocking revelations of the committee include Operation MKULTRA involving the drugging and torture of unwitting US citizens as part of human experimentation on mind control; COINTELPRO involving the surveillance and infiltration of American political and civil-rights organizations; Family Jewels, a CIA program to covertly assassinate foreign leaders; Operation Mockingbird as a systematic propaganda campaign with domestic and foreign journalists operating as CIA assets and dozens of US news organizations providing cover for CIA activity.  "It also unearthed Project SHAMROCK, in which the major telecommunications companies shared their traffic with the NSA (while officially confirming the existence of this signals intelligence agency to the public for the first time)."  Does any of this sound familiar?  More exactly, what part of this doesn't sound familiar?

U.K. Government spied on citizens over Covid views.  Since his first COVID related video simply titled, "Coronavirus" on January 26, 2020, [Dr. John] Campbell has produced nearly daily videos covering every aspect of the virus and the pandemic.  For three years, subscribers have watched Campbell interpret every piece of scientific data that's been released concerning both the virus and the jabs.  Methodically showing viewers news highlights fresh from his printer, and accentuating text with his fountain pen, his rational calmness and "concerned father" demeanor have established him as a trusted and steady source of valuable information.  Lately, he's questioned the safety and efficacy of COVID "vaccines" with video's such as, "Immunology of mRNA vaccines" and "Excess deaths in all age groups."  He's crafted his words carefully so as not to alarm YouTube censors.  Monday night, he began his latest video by saying he wasn't sure if he was going to post it or not.  These are heavy words from the laid-back Campbell.  Nervously scratching his head, he continued to tell his viewers that, "it turns out there's been a covert military operation observing UK citizens during the pandemic."

British army Psyops battalion monitored UK citizens.  The Sunday Mail lifted the lid — a bit — on how the COVID "emergency" prompted the government to expand domestic surveillance on politicians, journalists, and ordinary UK citizens — using their military psyops Brigade.  In effect, the program was a military operation targeting domestic dissidents, although from what we know the military component was using surveillance technology, while whatever active measures were taken to manipulate information were taken through other channels.  Most of those measures remain shrouded in mystery.

UK military spied on lockdown critics — media.  The UK Ministry of Defence has been closely monitoring the social media accounts of public figures critical of the government's Covid-19 policies since the start of the pandemic, a whistleblower told the Daily Mail newspaper on Saturday.  The claim counters repeated official denials that the government is carrying out any such surveillance.  The military's secretive 77th Brigade compiled dossiers on anyone with a sizable following who questioned the lockdowns, mandates, and predictions of doom that characterized London's response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, according to the source, who worked for the unit during the pandemic.

Why Preserve a 'World Order' without Freedom?  It is increasingly obvious that the Intelligence Community has used the PATRIOT Act and other patently unconstitutional tools at its disposal to spy expansively on American citizens here at home for their "own good."  Social media accounts, private email, search engine histories, banking transactions, location tracking, and countless other pieces of personal data are collected and monitored by the U.S. government with neither warrants nor established probable cause while politicians, judges, and private companies willingly participate in these grotesque violations of Americans' privacy and maintain the cynical pretense that Americans' rights and freedoms remain protected.  It has become fashionable now for lawmakers to demand accountability for the social media site TikTok because it is finally being correctly acknowledged as both an intelligence-gathering net and propaganda fire hose for the Chinese Communist Party.  The irony, though, is that Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google Search provide the U.S. government with identical tools.  The D.C. Deep State does not mind if Americans are spied on and psychologically manipulated by government actors; on the contrary, it seeks a total monopoly on such influence operations.

Feds adapting AI used to silence ISIS to combat American dissent on vaccines, elections.  The government's campaign to fight "misinformation" has expanded to adapt military-grade artificial intelligence once used to silence the Islamic State (ISIS) to quickly identify and censor American dissent on issues like vaccine safety and election integrity, according to grant documents and cyber experts.  The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded several million dollars in grants recently to universities and private firms to develop tools eerily similar to those developed in 2011 by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in its Social Media in Strategic Communication (SMISC) program.  DARPA said those tools were used "to help identify misinformation or deception campaigns and counter them with truthful information," beginning with the Arab Spring uprisings in the the Middle East that spawned ISIS over a decade ago.

Do we have rights any more?  In the past few days I have run across two different stories about how the government has been expanding its monitoring of citizens.  The first was a report from the Brennan Center for Justice, a left-leaning non-profit fighting for its vision of the rule of law under the constitution.  Many of their issues don't float my boat, and like the old ACLU, they might infuriate me while also invoking admiration for their consistent stands on the issues that matter to them.  The second was a report in the Wall Street Journal about how an Arizona non-profit set up by the Arizona Attorney General monitors millions of money transfers and shares the data with law enforcement without any legal oversight.  Both pieces highlight the expansion of the surveillance state in the US, and how "innovate" the government can get when circumventing constitutional limits on the surveillance of Americans.  The Brennan Center report focuses on the problem with "fusion centers," which were set up after 9/11 to facilitate the sharing of information among state and local governments about potential threats.  As with all such agencies and organizations, the initial idea sounds benign and even worthy of support.  The reality is often much different.

US government scooped up information on money transfers without a warrant.  International money transfers are far from private according to findings by The Wall Street Journal and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR).  Regular readers will know Reclaim The Net covered the start of this investigation almost a year ago.  Law enforcement in the US can access international money transfer details without a warrant through a controversial surveillance program the Arizona attorney general's office approved in 2014.  The program resulted in the creation of a money transfers database managed by the Transaction Record Analysis Center (TRAC).  The database contains the full names and amounts transferred for transactions above $500 between the US, Mexico, and 22 other jurisdictions via international money transfer services like MoneyGram and Western Union.  Money transfer services like PayPal, Venmo, Cash App, Apple Cash, and Zelle do not provide data to TRAC.

360 Degree Surveillance: How Police Use Public-Private Partnerships to Spy on Americans.  In this age of ubiquitous surveillance, there are no private lives: everything is public.  Surveillance cameras mounted on utility poles, traffic lights, businesses, and homes.  License plate readers.  Ring doorbells.  GPS devices.  Dash cameras.  Drones.  Store security cameras.  Geofencing and geotracking.  FitBits.  Alexa.  Internet-connected devices.  There are roughly one billion surveillance cameras worldwide and that number continues to grow, thanks to their wholehearted adoption by governments (especially law enforcement and military agencies), businesses, and individual consumers.  With every new surveillance device we welcome into our lives, the government gains yet another toehold into our private worlds.  Indeed, empowered by advances in surveillance technology and emboldened by rapidly expanding public-private partnerships between law enforcement, the Intelligence Community, and the private sector, police have become particularly adept at sidestepping the Fourth Amendment.

Some Information Is More Equal Than Others.  Individual data ownership is a major, underappreciated issue in the 21st century. [...] Information about where we have been, what we have bought, etc., may today be found not only on our phones but throughout the information environment we inhabit:  emails, social media, and location data all bear witness to our innermost actions.  Much of this data is used to benefit private companies and government, who have an interest in harvesting ever more of it.  Attempts to keep individual information from being commercialized by "data monarchs" has been criticized as "injecting enormous friction into free flow of information ... a significant amount of data sharing serves important public interests and values.  The friction and disruption from any system of payments for data would undermine these interests and values ... with little benefit for individual privacy."

Iran Says Face Recognition Will ID Women Breaking Hijab Laws.  Last month, A young woman went to work at Sarzamineh Shadi, or Land of Happiness, an indoor amusement park east of Iran's capital, Tehran.  After a photo of her without a hijab circulated on social media, the amusement park was closed, according to multiple accounts in Iranian media.  Prosecutors in Tehran have reportedly opened an investigation.  Shuttering a business to force compliance with Iran's strict laws for women's dress is a familiar tactic to Shaparak Shajarizadeh.  She stopped wearing a hijab in 2017 because she views it as a symbol of government suppression, and recalls restaurant owners, fearful of authorities, pressuring her to cover her head.  But Shajarizadeh, who fled to Canada in 2018 after three arrests for flouting hijab law, worries that women like the amusement park worker may now be targeted with face recognition algorithms as well as by conventional police work.

Arrest In Idaho Murders Is A Reminder That Your DNA Is Not Private Or Safe.  On Friday, police finally arrested a suspect in the savage stabbing and murder of four University of Idaho students in November.  According to law enforcement, 28-year-old criminology graduate student Bryan Christopher Kohberger was identified through DNA sourced from a public genealogy database.  Kohberger's arrest is a relief to Americans across the country, particularly the victims' families and the traumatized Moscow, Idaho community.  However, it is also a reminder that DNA technology is a dangerously unaddressed issue that poses a threat to personal freedoms, privacy, and safety.  In 2018, DNA famously helped catch Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., a serial killer, sex offender, and burglar, who terrorized Californians for more than a decade in the 1970s and '80s.  Investigators found DeAngelo via distant relatives who had used GEDmatch, a free genealogy site where users find relatives by uploading their DNA test results.

NYC Mayor Declares "Big Brother is Protecting You".  New York City Mayor Eric Adams responded to criticism over increasing the use of facial recognition technology by declaring, "Big Brother is protecting you!"  Adams made the comments in response to elected officials who expressed concerns that using such technology could lead to an all-pervasive surveillance state.  Blaming his predecessor Bill de Blasio, Adams asserted that New Yorkers felt they were living in a "state of lawlessness" and that his priority was to "stabilise" the situation.  Facial recognition technology uses surveillance cameras to flag up individuals who appear on databases of criminal suspects when they enter certain public locations, although the technology is far from perfect.

World governments using COVID-19 tech to expand global surveillance.  What he didn't know was that the feared internal security agency, the Shin Bet, was using mass surveillance technology mobilized for coronavirus contact tracing, against Israeli residents and citizens for purposes entirely unrelated to COVID-19.  In the pandemic's bewildering early days, millions worldwide believed government officials who said they needed confidential data for new tech tools that could help stop coronavirus' spread.  In return, governments got a firehose of individuals' private health details, photographs that captured their facial measurements and their home addresses.  Now, from Beijing to Jerusalem to Hyderabad, India, and Perth, Australia, The Associated Press has found that authorities used these technologies and data to halt travel for activists and ordinary people, harass marginalized communities and link people's health information to other surveillance and law enforcement tools.  In some cases, data was shared with spy agencies.

Sen. Wyden Demands Answers From FBI on Hacking of Americans' Phones.  Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has called for the FBI to provide public disclosures about the extent of its hacking of the phones of U.S. citizens and the criteria that the bureau uses in determining when to put specialized software to use to manipulate a person's phone.  In a Dec. 20 letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, the senator expressed a number of concerns related to the agency's acquisition of — and later, its purported decision to not use — highly specialized Pegasus software developed by the Israeli firm NSO Group for the purpose of hacking phones.  The tool can be used to infiltrate a person's phone and extract its contents without the owner's knowledge.

AP: You'll never guess what governments are doing with all of that pandemic tracking tech!  I'm so old that I remember when media outlets would have considered "extreme" any allegations that governments would abuse pandemic-tracking tools.  And yet, here we have the Associated Press reporting its scoop today that reveals precisely that outcome.  After first insisting that individual privacy had to be set aside in an emergency, the AP seems shocked, shocked to find that governments like being able to track and snoop on its subjects — er, citizens: [...] The AP spends a lot of time on China, but Beijing's tyranny began long before COVID arrived.  The Xi Jinping had begun integrating its tech tools, surveillance systems, and domestic intelligence into a "social credit" system that virtually locked down its populations years prior to the physical lockdowns that finally produced a revolt this year.  More interestingly, the AP takes note of the same encroaching domestic surveillance in other nations, countries with democratic values such as India, Israel, and Australia, which had some of the harshest lockdown measures in the Western world.  Their use of health apps turns out to be more like Big Brother, too.

A Twitter data tracker inhabits tens of thousands of websites.  Tens of thousands of websites belonging to government agencies, Fortune 500 companies and other organizations host Twitter computer code that sends visitor information to the social media giant, according to research first reported by The Cybersecurity 202.  And virtually none of them have used a Twitter feature to put restrictions on what the company can do with that data, said digital ad analysis firm Adalytics, which conducted the study.  The presence of Twitter's code — known as the Twitter advertising pixel — has grown more troublesome since Elon Musk purchased the platform.

Not Big Brother, but Close: A Surveillance Expert Explains Some of the Ways We're All Being Watched, All the Time.  A group of researchers studied 15 months of human mobility movement data taken from 1.5 million people and concluded that just four points in space and time were sufficient to identify 95% of them, even when the data weren't of excellent quality.  That was back in 2013.  Nearly ten years on, surveillance technologies permeate all aspects of our lives.  They collect swathes of data from us in various forms, and often without us knowing.  I'm a surveillance researcher with a focus on technology governance.  Here's my round-up of widespread surveillance systems I think everyone should know about. [...]

FBI tracked Jan. 6 protesters' location even if phones were in airplane mode: report.  Government entities can track individuals' smartphone geolocation data even when there's no cell service or if phones are in airplane mode, according to technology website Wired.  The confirmation came in a report about the FBI's tactics to find participants in the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.  In a November 28 report, Wired investigative science and technology reporter Mark Harris highlighted evidence uncovered from January 6 court records.  According to the filings, FBI officials served a bevy of so-called "geofence warrants" to Google to access smartphone location data belonging to individuals suspected of taking part in the riot.

FBI Dragnet for Google Data Pertaining to Jan. 6 Should Concern Us All.  We saw an unprecedented effort by the government to go after those who were at the Capitol on Jan. 6, with the FBI investigating hundreds of people and employing all kinds of tactics to arrest them.  Not only did the FBI have informants who were involved, but they also employed some unusual methods.  Among the tactics in their huge investigatory effort was the "biggest-ever haul of phones from controversial geofence warrants, court records show."  According to a filing in one of the Jan. 6 cases, Google gave up information to the FBI on 5,723 devices that had been in or near the Capitol during the riot.  Geofence warrants allowed them to get anyone in the area using digital services.  There weren't that many people who were inside the Capitol.  About 900 have been charged.  So those warrants were grabbing people who had not been inside the building — they were potentially grabbing information on dissenters and/or random people who were just in the neighborhood.

Google Gives Location Data of 5,000+ Phones to Feds for Unconstitutional Jan. 6 Patriot Crackdown.  A new article from Wired has revealed that Google gave the location data of at least 5,000 phones to the federal government to help them crack down on patriots in their overreaching and unconstitutional probe over the Jan. 6 election fraud protest.  A court filing has shown that Google identified 5,723 mobile devices for the feds in order to help them charge peaceful Capitol protesters at Jan. 6.  Meanwhile, shady provocateurs caught on video inciting violence, such as Ray Epps, remain free.  Jan. 6 was the Reichstag event needed for the feds to initiate war in the domestic home front against dissidents and patriots, and Big Tech is fully on board for these treasonous affronts against the people.

A Peek Inside the FBI's Unprecedented January 6 Geofence Dragnet.  The FBI's biggest-ever investigation included the biggest-ever haul of phones from controversial geofence warrants, court records show.  A filing in the case of one of the January 6 suspects, David Rhine, shows that Google initially identified 5,723 devices as being in or near the US Capitol during the riot.  Only around 900 people have so far been charged with offenses relating to the siege.  The filing suggests that dozens of phones that were in airplane mode during the riot, or otherwise out of cell service, were caught up in the trawl.  Nor could users erase their digital trails later.  In fact, 37  people who attempted to delete their location data following the attacks were singled out by the FBI for greater scrutiny.  Geofence search warrants are intended to locate anyone in a given area using digital services.  Because Google's Location History system is both powerful and widely used, the company is served about 10,000 geofence warrants in the US each year.  Location History leverages GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth signals to pinpoint a phone within a few yards.  Although the final location is still subject to some uncertainty, it is usually much more precise than triangulating signals from cell towers.  Location History is turned off by default, but around a third of Google users switch it on, enabling services like real-time traffic prediction.

Americans Should Pay Close Attention To The FBI And Zero-Click.  Here's Why.  During the Trump administration, the FBI paid $5 million to an Israeli software company for a license to use its "zero-click" surveillance software called Pegasus.  Zero-click refers to software that can download the contents of a target's computer or mobile device without the need for tricking the target into clicking on it.  The FBI operated the software from a warehouse in New Jersey.  Before revealing any of this to the two congressional intelligence committees to which the FBI reports, it experimented with the software.  The experiments apparently consisted of testing Pegasus by spying — illegally and unconstitutionally since no judicially issued search warrant had authorized the use of Pegasus — on unwitting Americans by downloading data from their devices.

Massachusetts Illegally Installed Covid Spyware on Android Users' Phones.  A federal lawsuit alleges that the Massachusetts Department of Public Health installed Covid spyware on the Android smartphones of millions of state residents to code and trace their movements without their knowledge.  The state hid the application from users, the lawsuit says, by ensuring that it did not launch a shortcut on the phone's homescreen.  The lawsuit says the move violates the federal and state constitutions, and asks for an injunction to stop the state from spying on both their residents and those from other states who also fell victim to the scheme.

Is Facebook sharing user information with the FBI illegally?  Is Facebook secretly giving the FBI user information in violation of the the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986?  Maybe, according to FBI director Christopher Ray.  He can't say for sure.  Oh.  Really?  The allegations that the FBI is doing a lot of shady things are not exactly new, although they are only sporadically covered in the MSM.  After all, the MSM likes censorship — as long as it isn't censorship of themselves.  So if the FBI is helping censor us bad people, that is probably a good thing.  [Indeed], the MSM didn't even mind when one of their own was called a spy and had his phone records seized — he was a Fox News guy, so big deal.  Besides, Obama did it so that makes it OK.

FBI deployed unconstitutional 'zero-click' Pegasus surveillance software.  During the Trump administration, the FBI paid $5 million to an Israeli software company for a license to use its "zero-click" surveillance software called Pegasus.  Zero-click refers to software that can download the contents of a target's computer or mobile device without the need for tricking the target into clicking on it.  The FBI operated the software from a warehouse in New Jersey.  Before revealing any of this to the two congressional intelligence committees to which the FBI reports, it experimented with the software.  The experiments apparently consisted of testing Pegasus by spying — illegally and unconstitutionally, since no judicially issued search warrant had authorized the use of Pegasus — on unwitting Americans by downloading data from their devices.

Security Cameras Make Us Feel Safe, but Are They Worth the Invasion?  San Francisco, long a capital of progressivism and a haven for techies, is about to embark on a citywide surveillance experiment that privacy experts warn could set a dangerous precedent.  It signifies an important moment in which anyone who owns a security camera, including popular devices like Amazon's Ring and Google's Nest Cam, should pause to reflect on some critical questions: What are we actually getting from these cameras?  What are we giving away?  Are the trade-offs worth it?  First, let me explain what's happening in San Francisco.  This week, the city will put into effect its new camera ordinance, which is aimed at helping the police investigate crimes.  The legislation, crafted by the city's mayor, London Breed, gives the police the right to request access to the live footage of privately owned internet cameras.  In the past, the police could request recorded footage from the owners of internet cameras, or they could ask the tech companies for the data.  The police say having access to live footage will enable them to respond to crimes happening in real time.

Leaked Documents Outline DHS's Plans to Police Disinformation.  The Department of Homeland Security is quietly broadening its efforts to curb speech it considers dangerous, an investigation by The Intercept has found.  Years of internal DHS memos, emails, and documents — obtained via leaks and an ongoing lawsuit, as well as public documents — illustrate an expansive effort by the agency to influence tech platforms.  The work, much of which remains unknown to the American public, came into clearer view earlier this year when DHS announced a new "Disinformation Governance Board": a panel designed to police misinformation (false information spread unintentionally), disinformation (false information spread intentionally), and malinformation (factual information shared, typically out of context, with harmful intent) that allegedly threatens U.S. interests.  While the board was widely ridiculed, immediately scaled back, and then shut down within a few months, other initiatives are underway as DHS pivots to monitoring social media now that its original mandate — the war on terror — has been wound down.

Report: Twitter and Facebook Had Regular Meetings with DHS on Censoring Americans.  Executives from Facebook and Twitter, including the recently-fired head of trust & safety Vijaya Gadde, held regular meetings with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to discuss censorship on a wide range of topics, including the withdrawal from Afghanistan, coronavirus, and "racial justice," according to leaked documents.  The information came to light via leaks to the Intercept, as well as documents and minutes revealed through Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt's lawsuit filed against the Biden Administration that alleges government collusion with Big Tech to suppress Americans' First Amendment rights.

Leaked DHS Documents Show Portal Connections Where Govt Officials Backchannel Instructions to Social Media Engineers and Conduct Surveillance.  [Scroll down] DHS gets domestic surveillance tools under the guise of 'national security'.  Meanwhile, massive social media companies get financial offsets for the extreme data processing costs associated with millions of simultaneous users.  That's the mutual benefit behind "Jack's Magic Coffee Shop."  Previously people called it a 'conspiracy theory', I didn't care, still don't, it just makes the most sense; Occam's Razor applies.  Today, all that was almost certain is now brought forth with buckets of evidence showing how social media enterprises have direct portals to DHS to transmit information and receive instructions.  It's a public-private partnership, just like it always appeared.

Signal says it will leave India if the government bans encrypted messaging.  Signal is one of the apps competing in the security and privacy-first market, offering users who put these features first encrypted communication.  Another thing Signal promises is not to collect huge amounts of data, that could then be abused by any number of malicious actors — from hackers to governments.  When governments and law enforcement criticize this kind of app or service, the argument usually comes down to those allegedly promoting less security both for a country as a whole and individuals — since criminals can also use them to safely communicate.  And as of late, another narrative in favor of undermining encryption — that of the need to stop the spread of "misinformation" — has also been gaining in popularity in those circles.  These governments, naturally, don't go into how individuals and societies are threatened by government overreach when messaging and chat apps are unencrypted and open to data harvesting and warrantless mass surveillance.

The Civilization That Knew Too Much.  [Scroll down] The digital revolution has provided the troubled states with the technical means to spy their population's activity while simultaneously giving that same public the awareness of how often they are being spied on.  Wherever one looks, whether Russia, China, Iran, the EU, Latin America or the US, this duality is evident:  there is conflict within societies as well as friction between civilizations fueled by a popular awareness of identity, grievance and controversy that could not have existed twenty years ago.  The underlying cause of both is that trust-based governance and institutional arrangements which were viable in the information-poor environment of the 20th century are hopelessly inadequate in the information-rich 21st.

The Politicization of the Department of Justice.  Now, it is bad enough to have a politically-neutral surveillance state controlled by the national security crowd and their DOJ cousins.  But take that panopticon and put it in the hands of an executive branch willing to weaponize its reams of information against its perceived political enemies, and we've got a frightening problem on our hands.  Laws such as the Patriot Act were designed to fight the unique problem of terrorism.  But they quickly morphed into a mechanism by which the government keeps constant tabs on law-abiding Americans and threatens to disrupt their lives if they dare act contrary to those in power.  And it's within this world of omnipotent oversight and control that the U.S. Department of Justice now operates.  They have all the tools of the surveillance state at their disposal, and the only thing standing in their way is an independent judiciary willing to enforce our constitutional rights.

Biden Executive Order Abolishes Constitutional Safeguards Against Spying on Americans.  Joe Biden unilaterally abolished protections preventing the federal government from spying on Americans without a warrant.  A presidential memorandum on an executive order issued on October 7, entitled "Enhancing Safeguards for United States Signals Intelligence Activities," admits that the EO removes the "the safeguards for personal information collected through signals intelligence established by Presidential Policy Directive 28 of January 17, 2014 (Signals Intelligence Activities) (PPD-28)...."  After expressly revoking the previously enacted protections against collection of domestic surveillance data without a warrant, the Biden order declares that "Signals intelligence activities shall be authorized by statute or by Executive Order, proclamation, or other Presidential directive and undertaken in accordance with the Constitution and with applicable statutes and Executive Orders, proclamations, and other Presidential directives."  Only two of the items in that list — statutes and the Constitution — have the force of law in the United States.  The latter of those two legal documents explicitly declares in fact that "All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States...."  That very clear language not only grants exclusive power to Congress to make laws for the union, but by implication denies such authority to the president of the United States!  Therefore, Mr. Biden, your executive orders, proclamations, and directives are of no legal effect in the union.

These Are The World's Most-Surveilled Cities.  This may come as a surprise, but it wasn't until 2007 that the global urban population overtook the rural population.  At that time, the two groups were split nearly 50/50, with around 3.3 billion people apiece.  Today, the percentage of people living in urban areas has grown to over 55%, and is expected to reach 68% by 2050.  Due to this trend, many of the world's largest cities have become home to tens of millions of people.  In response to such incredible density, governments, businesses, and households have installed countless security cameras for various purposes including crime protection.

Gates Foundation gives $200 million to help establish global digital ID system of surveillance.  The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently pledged $1.27 billion toward the United Nations' openly pro-abortion 2030 Agenda goals, with $200 million going directly to aid in the creation of an invasive global digital ID system.  According to a September 21 press release published on the Gates Foundation's website, the $200 million package will be used to create an infrastructure that "encompasses tools such as interoperable payment systems, digital ID, data-sharing systems, and civil registry databases" that purports to make countries "more resilient to crises such as food shortages, public health threats, and climate change, as well as to aid in pandemic and economic recovery."  The 2030 Agenda was adopted by the UN in 2015 and establishes a set of 17 goals that are rooted in Marxist theory.  These goals, set to be achieved by 2030, aim to control the population through abortion and contraception, reduce fossil fuel consumption supposedly for the sake of the climate, and instigate a global ID system in which people's every move will be tracked and monitored.

China is using half of all security cameras in the world.  There are more than a billion surveillance cameras in operation around the world and more than half of them — roughly 540 million — are in China.  The Chinese Communist Party is actively working towards having a comprehensive profile on every single one of its 1.4 billion citizens.  They're making this goal possible by using the staggering number of active surveillance cameras in the nation, according to research from an investigation by the New York Times and ChinaFile.  For every 1,000 Chinese citizens, there are at least 372 cameras tracking their every move.

Big Brother watching?  Government agencies buying cell phone, internet data to track Americans.  In a little noted trend, law enforcement agencies at every level of government are increasingly buying data from private, third-party data brokers on Americans' phone and internet activities in order to track them, often without a warrant.  While proponents say this practice provides critical help for investigations, critics argue it poses a serious violation of civil liberties that needs to be addressed through legislation.  One of the latest revelations about this controversial public-private partnership came from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to "defending civil liberties in the digital world."  EFF recently obtained a trove of records through Freedom of Information Act requests on local and state police departments, as well as federal entities, purchasing a cellphone tracking tool that can monitor people's movements going back months in time.  The tool, Fog Reveal, is a product of the company Fog Data Science, which claims it has "billions" of data points about "over 250 million" devices that can be used to learn where people work, live, and associate.

Postal Service surveilled protesters with pro-gun, anti-Biden agendas.  The U.S. Postal Service monitored protesters across the country, snooping on Americans focused on issues involving guns and President Biden's election, according to records obtained by The Washington Times.  Postal inspectors tracked the actions of gun rights activists gathering in Richmond, Virginia; people preparing to demonstrate against police in Louisville, Kentucky, after an investigation into the police shooting of Breonna Taylor; and far-right groups headed to the District of Columbia after Mr. Biden's election.  Cato Institute senior fellow Patrick Eddington obtained the heavily redacted records detailing the postal inspectors' spying from September 2020 through April 2021, including through covert social media surveillance called the Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP).

Postal Service monitored protests in 2020 and 2021: Report.  The Postal Service surveilled protests in 2020 and 2021, specifically ones that were pro-gun and against President Joe Biden, a new report alleges.  The report from the Washington Times cites redacted documents obtained by Patrick Eddington, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, from September 2020 to April 2021 that allegedly show postal inspectors tracking protests in various locations across the country.  The service reportedly monitored a number of protests through its social media surveillance program, the Internet Covert Operations Program.  A document shows the various bulletins posted using intelligence obtained through the program warning of protests and keeping tabs on any plans for protesting.

New York City subway trains [will be] getting security cameras.  Security cameras, which are already ubiquitous on New York's streets, will soon be installed in all of the city's nearly 6,400 subway cars as officials work to rebuild riders' faith in the system's safety.  The Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to put two cameras in each train car in a project expected to take three years to complete, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Tuesday as she announced the effort at a rail yard in Queens.  "You think Big Brother's watching you on the subways?  You're absolutely right," said Hochul, a Democrat.

Connections, Facebook Spies on Private Messages and DHS Uses Private Chats Against J6 Detainees.  This 'surveillance system' has been of great interest to CTH for several years, in part because it is a key aspect of the domestic intelligence system now operating as a functioning part of the Fourth Branch of Government.  The overwhelming majority of the investigative resources within the Dept of Homeland Security (DHS) are used in this whole of network monitoring system.  I cannot emphasize the importance of the connections enough.  Surveillance of domestic communication, to include surveillance of all social media platforms, is now the primary mission of DHS. The information is gathered by social media, funneled by direct portals into the DHS network then distributed to DOJ-NSD and FBI officials as well as the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.  This communication surveillance network is what DHS, created as an outcome of the Patriot Act, is all about.

Big Tech Whistleblower Exposes Twitter's Close Relationship With The Chinese Communist Party.  A former Twitter executive testified to the U.S. Congress on Tuesday regarding concerns about Twitter's data security issues.  His testimony and the following Q&A with senators revealed many problems relating to the safety and security of user data, but the most disturbing revelation was Twitter's relationship with China.  Peiter Zatko, the former head of security at Twitter, was fired by the company in January of this year.  Zatko filed a whistleblower complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last month, alleging the company "prioritized profits over security" and exposed Twitter users worldwide to data privacy and security risks.

Facebook spied on private messages of Americans who questioned 2020 election.  Facebook has been spying on the private messages and data of American users and reporting them to the FBI if they express anti-government or anti-authority sentiments — or question the 2020 election — according to sources within the Department of Justice.  Under the FBI collaboration operation, somebody at Facebook red-flagged these supposedly subversive private messages over the past 19 months and transmitted them in redacted form to the domestic terrorism operational unit at FBI headquarters in Washington, DC, without a subpoena.  "It was done outside the legal process and without probable cause," alleged one of the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.  "Facebook provides the FBI with private conversations which are protected by the First Amendment without any subpoena."

Facebook Worked With FBI to Spy on Americans Who Questioned 2020 Election.  According to Department of Justice sources, Facebook has been spying on the private messages and data of Americans who questioned the 2020 election results and reporting them to the FBI.  Since the election, Facebook has worked in conjunction with the FBI to report on "subversive" private messages, sending them to the FBI's domestic terrorism operational unit, supposedly in redacted form, a direct violation of Americans' First and Fourth Amendment rights.  "It was done outside the legal process and without probable cause," one of the sources told the New York Post.  "Facebook provides the FBI with private conversations which are protected by the First Amendment without any subpoena."  According to the Post, "These private messages then have been farmed out as 'leads' to FBI field offices around the country, which subsequently requested subpoenas from the partner US Attorney's Office in their district to officially obtain the private conversations that Facebook already had shown them."

The FBI's Apex Bureaucracy Is Dangerous.  Twenty years after the post-9/11 PATRIOT Act architecture redefined Americans' constitutional rights without amendment ratification or public permission, perhaps it is time for Americans to insist that federal officers once again deign to establish probable cause and execute valid warrants before they go snooping where they have not been invited.  Maybe it is time for citizens to recognize that with their silence and compliance, they have handed away a mountain's worth of personal liberty for an anthill's hollow promise that they would remain secure.  Any way you slice it, nothing about the expansive, entrenched, and cumbersome national security Deep State that exists today is remotely conducive to Americans' constitutional rights or personal liberties.  The surveillance state buttressed by the DOJ and FBI justifies its enduring need to violate Americans' privacy by disseminating waves of fear to the public and pretending that its existence, however unsavory, is critical for Americans' personal survival.  It is far past time for Americans to recognize this ruse as the con it is and reclaim their inherent freedoms.

US government finally unseals long-hidden rulings on mass surveillance.  The US government has finally released previously classified rulings from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), which have revealed how the secretive court interprets the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a law that allows mass surveillance of foreigners.  FISC was created by Congress in 1978 to act as a warrant court that approved the surveillance of individual foreign targets.  However, after 9/11, the court's role expanded and it started approving mass surveillance programs, some of which illegally collected data of foreigners and US citizens.  In 2015, Congress passed the USA Freedom Act, which required the government to make public all significant rulings by the FISC.  However, the executive branch argued that the USA Freedom Act did not apply to FISC rulings issued before the passing of the law in 2015.

Not Just The FBI: Institutions Across The Board Have Forfeited America's Trust.  In 2007, programs that were developed to target terrorists quickly morphed into domestic spying programs.  The NSA began capturing and monitoring Americans' electronic communications and metadata through the PRISM program.  Both John Brennan and James Clapper denied the government was monitoring American citizens and openly lied to Congress.  They were never charged with perjury, and not a single person who authorized this program was ever held accountable for this direct assault on the Fourth Amendment.  Journalists have also been routinely monitored by federal agencies making a mockery of the First Amendment. [...] What about the U.S. Postal Service's iCOP program, where postal inspectors were monitoring people's social media accounts and forwarding posts to the Department of Homeland Security?  Again, no accountability.  Federal courts have also admonished the FBI on several occasions for illegally accessing the NSA's repository for information on Americans.  Multiple intelligence and federal law enforcement agencies continue to monitor and collect the data of American citizens, including the FBI, the CIA, and ICE.  The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) has amassed millions of records on legal firearm owners even though a gun database is strictly prohibited by Congress.

New Jersey is accused of keeping a database of DNA from babies, to use for solving crimes and more.  New Jersey police are facing a lawsuit on suspicion of obtaining blood samples taken from babies for disease screening purposes and doing this without a warrant to use the results of DNA analyses to help in investigations against the parents.  The legal action was launched by the New Jersey Office of the Public Defender (OPD) and the first hearing is set to take place on September 8.  The Office initially tried to learn more about the practice through public records law requests, but these were denied on two occasions.  Blood samples are taken from babies at birth to screen for diseases, and all states store them — some, like California, New York, Michigan, and Minnesota for a very long time — sometimes decades.  Needless to say that newborns cannot give consent for their blood samples to be used in police investigations, but what's even more jarring is that parents are also not informed about the possibility of the samples/DNA of their children being used in this way — nor are they asked for permission, i.e., given a chance to opt-out.

GCHQ experts back scanning of encrypted phone messages to fight child abuse.  Companies could police encrypted messaging services for possible child abuse while still preserving the privacy and security of the people who use them, government security and intelligence experts said in a discussion paper published yesterday [7/20/2022].  Ian Levy, technical director of the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), and Crispin Robinson, technical director for cryptanalysis at GCHQ, argued that it is "neither necessary nor inevitable" for society to choose between making communications "insecure by default" or creating "safe spaces for child abusers".  The technical directors proposed in a discussion paper, Thoughts on child safety on commodity platforms, that client-side scanning software placed on mobile phones and other electronic devices could be deployed to police child abuse without disrupting individuals' privacy and security.

The J6 Motive — The Political Surveillance of American Citizens.  After 9/11/01 the electronic surveillance system that was originally created to monitor threats from abroad was retooled to monitor threats inside our country.  That is when all of our electronic 'metadata' came under federal surveillance.  That inflection point, and the process that followed, was exactly what Edward Snowden tried to point out.  What Barack Obama and Eric Holder did with that new construct was refine the internal targeting mechanisms so that only their political opposition became the target of this new national security system.  The problems we face now as a country are directly an outcome of two very distinct points that were merged by Barack Obama.  (1)\ The post 9/11 monitoring of electronic communication of American citizens; and (2) Obama's team creating a fine-tuning knob that it focused on the politics of the targets.

RCMP admits to remotely turning on phone cameras, mics of criminal suspects.  The RCMP has admitted for the first time that it has been using spyware to infiltrate the cell phones of Canadians, including by remotely turning on the camera and microphone of suspect's phones and laptops.  The RCMP says those tools were only used in serious cases when other, unintrusive measures were not successful.

The Editor says...
The only difference between the RCMP and the FBI is that the RCMP admits they're listening to your cell phone, and the FBI brushes off such an idea as a conspiracy theory.

RCMP admits they hack Canadians' devices to spy on them.  According to Politico, the RCMP claim they only use such spyware in the most "serious cases," such as when there are national security concerns.  However, this is the first time the RCMP has openly admitted that they infiltrate mobile devices to collect data, despite having access to the technology for years.  Their admission came after a Conservative MP questioned what government programs are used to gather data on Canadians last week.  "This is a kind of capability that they have done everything possible to keep incredibly quiet," said UofT senior research associate Christopher Parsons.  "This is a remarkable finding and, for the first time, publicly reveals that the RCMP is using spyware to infiltrate mobile devices, as well as the broad capabilities of their spyware."  Parsons continues, saying that many security experts have been aware of these capabilities but that this is the first time the RCMP has admitted it.

Norway Is Tracking What Everyone Buys, And Biden Wants To Follow Suit In The United States.  A report published at the end of May by NRK, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, notes that the official statistics bureau of Norway will soon track most grocery store purchases made in the Scandinavian country, a development that should serve as a warning to Americans about the growing trend in Western nations to expand surveillance and tracking of everyday citizens.  In an article titled "Statistics Norway demands to know exactly what Norwegians buy in the grocery store," reporter Martin Gundersen wrote that Statistics Norway has "ordered the grocery chains NorgesGruppen, Coop, Bunnpris and Rema 1000 to share all their receipt data with the statistical agency."  Gundersen further reports that Nets, a payment service provider that processes about 80 percent of all in-store payments, "has also been required to share detailed information on all transactions."

Norway launches new monitoring scheme to track all food purchases of private citizens.  Statistics Norway (SSB), which operates the Nordic country's data collection operations, now has a new task that involves tracking the food purchasing habits of Norwegians.  According to reports, the SSB will force all private companies — not just public ones — to hand over data on what foods people in Norway are buying, and in what quantities.  NRK says that the SSB, which collects, produces and communicates statistics related to the Norwegian economy at the national, regional and local levels, will essentially become a Big Brother entity to surveil, track and report on what Norwegians are doing at the grocery store.  "In Norway every citizen is linked to their fødselnummer (birth number), and thus the SSB is well-informed about what individuals earn, their taxes due and their criminal records," reports Free West Media.

Houston Forces Private Businesses to Install 24/7 Citywide Digital Surveillance Cameras for Warrantless Access by Police.  The Rutherford Institute is calling on the City of Houston to address glaring constitutional concerns relating to a recently adopted ordinance that requires private businesses to install citywide digital surveillance cameras that can be accessed by police without a search warrant.  The Exterior Security Cameras Ordinance, adopted by the Houston City Council on April 20, 2022, requires private businesses to purchase and install digital surveillance cameras that carry out round-the-clock, citywide surveillance on the populace while "allowing" police to access the footage at any time, for any reason, and without the need of a court-issued warrant.  In a letter to the Houston City Council, Rutherford Institute attorneys warn that the City's thinly veiled attempt to evade oversight and accountability for Fourth Amendment violations by forcing a quasi-private/public arrangement on private businesses regarding the ownership and governance of digital surveillance cameras will not likely hold up to judicial scrutiny.  "By placing the burden of round-the-clock, citywide surveillance on private businesses, the City of Houston is clearly attempting an end-run around the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement as it relates to surveillance by government officials," said constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute[.]

Norwegian Government is Collecting Details of Personal Supermarket Purchases Through Bank Card Transactions.  Norway is a leading country when it comes to digital ID.  It is already an almost "must" to be able to live life:  for online banking and many other things, wrote Swedish journalist Peter Imanuelsen.  Now Norwegian authorities want even more control over citizens.  The Norwegian State Statistics Bureau ("SSB") already knows where people live and their income and now, they also want to monitor Norwegians' grocery store purchases.  They want to know every single food item that consumers buy.

Did you take part in the Freedom Convoy?  Maybe you were wiretapped like this retired cop.  We're going to get to the bottom of this and we're going to try to make this right.  This isn't China or Venezuela where it's perfectly acceptable for the government to spy on political dissidents.  We're going to come out this from four different angles.  First, we have to tell the story.  Because the story of the Ontario government wiretapping political dissidents is so outrageous that if we didn't have the proof documents, no one would believe it.  Then, we've got a petition that we will deliver to the attorney general of Ontario, and the federal public safety minister — if we find out the federal government was involved in this also.

Report Shows FBI Spied on 3.3 Million Americans Without a Warrant, GOP Demands Answers.  Top House Republicans are demanding answers from the FBI after court-ordered information came to light showing that the federal agency had collected the information of over 3 million Americans without a warrant.  In a May 25 letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Mike Turner (R-Ohio) asked Wray to explain why his agency had wiretapped and gathered personal information on over 3.3 million Americans without a warrant.  Limited authority to gather foreign intelligence information is granted by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).  Specifically, section 702 of the bill says:  "the Attorney General (AG) and the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) may jointly authorize the targeting of (i) non-U.S. persons (ii) who are reasonably believed to be outside of the United States (iii) to acquire foreign intelligence information."

Largest US high-tech facial recognition software rolled out at Miami Airport.  By 2023, all of Miami International Airport's (MIA) more than 130 gates will be equipped with facial biometric recognition technology, making it the "largest implementation of biometrics at a US airport".  Critics fear that this surveillance could undermine privacy.  "MIA says it will merely require passengers to step in front of a camera at a boarding gate and have their identity verified," reported Biometric Update magazine.  As early as 2017, the MIA started a pilot project with biometric output technology in cooperation with the US Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP).  In 2019, a biometric output technology was introduced in cooperation with the information technology company SITA, CBP and Lufthansa.

CE has assembled a 'surveillance dragnet' with facial recognition and data, report says.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, "now operates as a domestic surveillance agency," according to a new report by Georgetown Law's Center on Privacy and Technology based on a two-year investigation.  The report details how, since the agency was established in post-9/11 legislation, ICE has moved beyond cooperating primarily with other law enforcement agencies to assemble an infrastructure that enables it to pull detailed information on Americans, immigrants and non-immigrants alike, with data from private data brokers and state and local governments.  ICE's "surveillance dragnet" also uses facial recognition, especially the scanning of driver's license photos for immigration enforcement, according to the report, which involved hundreds of Freedom of Information Act Requests and reviews of the agency's contracting and procurement records.  Between 2008 and 2021, ICE spent about $96 million on biometrics, a category that also includes fingerprinting and DNA testing, according to the report.

FBI opened multiple investigations into protesting parents, GOP lawmakers say.  The FBI has opened multiple investigations into parents protesting education policies, including a father who was upset over mask mandates, according to new whistleblower revelations.  The FBI's activities were publicly revealed in a letter Wednesday from Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee to Attorney General Merrick Garland.  The specifics of the FBI's investigations were disclosed to lawmakers by whistleblowers.  Garland directed the FBI and the Department of Justice to form a joint task force in October 2021 to investigate threats against school board members after the National School Boards Association asked the Biden administration in a September 2021 letter to investigate parents protesting at school board meetings as domestic terrorists under the Patriot Act.

Sen. Johnson Opens Probe Into CDC Tracking Americans Through Phone Location Data.  Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) is investigating the CDC for tracking million of American through phone location data.  "Just because data exists, doesn't mean that the government should be using it to track Americans, I would think that that really raises some very serious constitutional issues," Senator Ron Johnson told John Solomon [...].  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention used phone location data to track millions Americans in 2021.  The CDC monitored curfew zones, churches, schools, neighbor-to-neighbor visits and trips to pharmacies through SafeGraph, a controversial data broker.

The CDC Spied on Americans by Purchasing Location Data for Tens of Millions of Phones.  "I always feel like somebody's watching me," sang Rockwell in his catchy '80s hit.  If you feel the same way, you're probably right.  A Vice Motherboard report published Tuesday claims that the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) bought cell phone data for tens of millions of phones owned by Americans to track compliance with COVID lockdown orders and vaccination efforts.  You know things have jumped the shark when a government organization ostensibly set up to control disease resorts to spying on Americans.

FBI: Russian cyberthreat fueled almost 2M warrantless searches of Americans' data in 2021.  The threat of cyberattack from Russia fueled more than half of the FBI's 3.39 million warrantless searches of Americans' data last year, according to a government report.  The warrantless searches, legal under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, were up sharply from approximately 1.32 million reported in 2020, according to the report, published Friday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.  Almost all of the increase can be traced to one Russian cyberthreat to critical U.S. infrastructure in 2021.  The FBI's response to the threat accounted for approximately 1.9 million searches.

The CDC paid $420,000 to track tens of millions of cell phones and see who went to schools and churches in the pandemic.  The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention paid for location data harvested from millions of cell phones to track compliance with COVID-19 lockdown measures, according to a new report.  The CDC paid $420,000 for a year of access to the cell phone location data from the data brokerage SafeGraph, according to documents reported by Vice News on Tuesday [5/3/2022].  The data was aggregated, meaning that it was intended to show general trends rather than the movements of specific phones, however the move still set off alarm bells with some privacy advocates.

CDC Tracked Millions of Phones to See If Americans Followed COVID Lockdown Orders.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) bought access to location data harvested from tens of millions of phones in the United States to perform analysis of compliance with curfews, track patterns of people visiting K-12 schools, and specifically monitor the effectiveness of policy in the Navajo Nation, according to CDC documents obtained by Motherboard.  The documents also show that although the CDC used COVID-19 as a reason to buy access to the data more quickly, it intended to use it for more general CDC purposes.

Biden's Ministry of Truth will spy on American citizens.  In a disturbing development for freedom of speech, the Biden administration announced that it will collaborate with social media to crack down on any information that is critical of Biden's vaccination policy.  Disinformation, said Tucker Carlson, "seems to be anything the Biden administration does not want the people to know including, for example, how effective the COVID vaccines actually are and what the potential side effects might be from taking them."  You would no longer be allowed to text such information to other people.  Your private conversations would be controlled by Joe Biden and the Democrats.  "The Biden administration considers censorship applicable to private speech," said Carlson.  To add insult to injury, we have a new development that frankly is beyond my comprehension.  The president has created an information czar to spy on American citizens.  Biden is establishing what he calls the Disinformation Governance Board as part of the Department of Homeland Security.

More about Ministry of Truth.

The FBI may have conducted as many as 3.4 million searches of Americans' electronic data without a warrant last year.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation may have conducted as many as 3.4 million searches of Americans' elecronic [sic] data without a warrant last year.  The Wall Street Journal first cited the number Friday [4/29/2022], saying it came from an annual report published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.  The report doesn't allege that the FBI was illegally or improperly searching American data, but still could alarm members of Congress over privacy concerns.

Biden Regime Announces Creation of "Disinformation Governance Board" Under the Authority of Homeland Security with a Lunatic in Charge.  Following Elon Musk's purchase of Twitter last week, which was a triumphant victory in the ongoing war over free speech, the Biden Regime announced the creation of a "Disinformation Governance Board" that will be tasked with silencing anything deemed to be misinformation that's related to homeland security.  And, yes.  It's just as dystopian and creepy as it sounds.  The new board will operate under the authority of the Department of Homeland security with a special focus on Russia and "irregular migration," according to the Post Millennial.

Former Intel Officials Want Efforts to Break Up Big Tech Stopped.  Former Obama era intelligence officials, those who helped construct, organize and assemble the public-private partnership between intelligence data networks and supported social media companies, have written a letter to congress warning that any effort to break up Big Tech (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google, Microsoft, etc.) would be catastrophic for the national security system they have created.  Citing the information control mechanisms they assembled, vis-a-vis the ability of social media networks to control and approve what is available for the public to read and review, the intelligence officials declare that any effort to break up the private side of the intel/tech partnership will only result in less ability of the intelligence apparatus to control public opinion.  They willfully admit that open and uncensored information is adverse to the interests of the intelligence state and therefore too dangerous to permit.  They specifically argue, if the modern system created by the partnership between the U.S. government and Big Tech is not retained, the national security of the United States is compromised.

Pentagon Throws Privacy Out the Window as They Launch Surveillance Balloons in the Midwest.  Irrespective of privacy concerns from The American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota, the Pentagon has decided to launch solar powered balloons across six different states this Friday.  These balloons are intended to be a persistence surveillance system in order for the Pentagon to track narcotics and Homeland Security threats.  This is according to the filing with the Federal Communications Commission.  The Federal Communications Commission authorized these balloons to be launched into high altitude on July 12th.  This is considered an experimental special temporary authorization.  About two dozen balloons will be carrying radars that can track vehicles over 25 square miles beneath them in the states of Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Missouri. [...] It is unknown if this is just a test or if it is actually a real time investigation.  Additionally, it is unknown what information will be recorded exactly, what will happen to the information that is gathered during this event, and who will have control of the information after this event.  Information such as what vehicles are driving to where and at what time.

Project Veritas:  DOJ Secretly Spied on Journalists' Apple and Google Accounts.  Project Veritas on Wednesday [4/13/2022] revealed the DOJ secretly spied on journalists' Apple and Google accounts.  "Apple and Google have come forward to disclose that between November 2020 and March 2021, the Department of Justice issued nine secret subpoenas and warrants to them for the private information of Project Veritas journalists." Project Veritas reported.  The DOJ also compelled Apple and Google to keep quiet about the spying.  The DOJ was able to access journalists' browsing history, payment information and other personal information, James O'Keefe said.

Ten Steps to Totalitarianism.  Does anybody still think totalitarianism can't happen here?  Ask yourself how many of these steps we've already galloped past. [... #10] Digital Identity Tracking:  What started with Obamacare and socialized medicine and quickly expanded with Democrat cities' experimentation with COVID-19 digital passports is set to go into overdrive with the introduction of central bank digital currencies.  If government-issued cyber-monies replace the relative anonymity of physical cash, then no purchase, donation, or investment can be free from the prying eyes of the State.  Combined with government control over health care and the imposition of mandatory digital IDs, the State will have created the perfect surveillance system.  When all human activity is monitored and social credit scores are the norm, personal choice disappears.

Post office social media surveillance program found to be illegal.  A review conducted by the Postal Service Office of Inspector General found that the Postal Service surveillance program iCOP exceeded its legal authority by surveilling Americans during protests between 2018 and 2021.  In 2021, Yahoo News reported the existence of the secret program, prompting outrage from lawmakers and constitutional experts who noted the program operated without oversight from Congress.  Soon after the Yahoo News' report, Congress requested the Inspector General's office to launch an investigation into iCOP (Internet Covert Operations Program).  "We determined that certain proactive searches iCOP conducted using an open-source intelligence tool from February to April 2021 exceeded the Postal Inspection Service's law enforcement authority," the March 25, 2022, Inspector General report stated.

Project Veritas scandal sparks scrutiny of federal courts' secret spying warrants.  The recent covert seizures of Project Veritas emails has led to new criticism from conservatives and civil rights groups alike of law enforcement's use of Big Tech companies to spy on the communications of journalists and media organizations.  The Trump-era Department of Justice, which was investigating the theft of Ashley Biden's diary during the 2020 election campaign, forced Microsoft to turn over emails from nine accounts associated with Project Veritas, according to court filings from the project that Microsoft confirmed.  Project Veritas, an investigative reporting project led by James O'Keefe and known for its controversial sting operations over the years, claims the government spying on it using gag orders is an infringement of the First Amendment and retribution for O'Keefe's investigations.

Court Won't Hear Merits of EPIC Suit Challenging Secret Postal Service Surveillance Program.  A federal district court on Friday dismissed EPIC's lawsuit challenging a secret surveillance program run out of the law enforcement wing of the Postal Service, reasoning that EPIC did not suffer a "cognizable injury in fact" from the Service's unlawful refusal to disclose information about the program.  In EPIC v. USPS, EPIC is seeking to enforce privacy protections in the E-Government Act of 2002 against the Postal Inspection Service.  In recent years, agents from the Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP) have used facial recognition, social media monitoring tools, and other advanced surveillance technologies to infiltrate online communities and monitor protests.  The Postal Inspection Service used these tools without undertaking and publishing a privacy impact assessment, as required by the E-Government Act of 2002.

The O'Keefe Project:  All is in order edition.  We only learned this week that the FBI and Southern District prosecutors have had James O'Keefe and Project under surveillance in the case of Ashley Biden's diary roughly since President Biden was sworn in.  I wrote about the related court orders [on] (March 22) and [on] (March 23).  This surveillance was in addition to the raids executed by the FBI this past November and subsequently leaked to the friends of the national security establishment at the New York Times.  I take it that the government is out to get Project Veritas.  Yesterday [3/24/2022] the government responded to the motion filed by O'Keefe and Project Veritas this past Wednesday. [...] According to the government, they dotted every "i" and crossed every "t."  All is in order.  I can only say that if I were Judge Torres, I would feel that the government has been inexcusably disingenuous and that if I were James O'Keefe I would be worried about what comes next.

NYPD Sued Over Illegal Collection And Storage Of Citizens' DNA.  The NYPD's DNA database is comprised of an ever-growing number of genetic profiles of thousands of innocent New Yorkers, including children, a lawsuit alleges.  The Legal Aid Society, in a suit filed Monday [3/21/2022] in Manhattan Federal Court, is asking a judge to declare unconstitutional the "practice of secretly taking, analyzing and maintaining peoples' DNA in its suspect index."  The public defenders group seeks an order the NYPD expunge those DNA files and records.  There are 31,826 DNA profiles in the database at last count, according to the suit.  The database, which is maintained by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, has been the subject of much debate the past few years.

Project Veritas says feds secretly accessed its emails.  A group that has singled out journalists and Democrats in undercover operations contends that prosecutors misled a federal court and sought unwarranted gag orders during a federal investigation of the group's ties to the alleged theft of a diary belonging to President Joe Biden's daughter Ashley.  In November, the FBI conducted predawn raids at the home of Project Veritas founder James O'Keefe and the homes of two other individuals who worked with the group.  The agents acted with warrants that allowed them to seize phones and computers to search for evidence of trafficking in interstate property.  The raids generated controversy in some circles because Project Veritas identifies itself as a news organization and the use of search warrants against journalists and news outlets is extremely rare due to Justice Department policies and a federal law passed in 1980 to limit such investigative steps.

The O'Keefe Project:  Surveillance edition.  I infer from yesterday's New York Times story that the FBI is working with prosecutors in in the Office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York to nail James O'Keefe and Project Veritas.  Given the bylines of Michael Schmidt and Adam Goldman on the Times's coverage, I see the Times as the public relations arm of the operation.  The SDNY first obtained a warrant and grand jury subpoena for documents from Microsoft in November 2020, some two weeks after the election.  The FBI has had Project Veritas under some form of surveillance since January 2021.  The surveillance has been conducted under previously sealed search warrants and court orders prohibiting Microsoft from disclosing it to Project Veritas.  Eight Project Veritas journalists (and the organization's human resources officer) have been subject to the surveillance.

DOJ collected Project Veritas emails but didn't reveal it to federal judge overseeing case.  An attorney for Project Veritas sent a letter to District Court Judge Analisa Torres accusing the Department of Justice of sidestepping her prior rulings designed to protect the journalistic and attorney-client privileges of the organization.  Microsoft recently revealed that the DOJ had previously seized Project Veritas documents from a cloud account using a warrant which was not revealed to the court and which Microsoft was forbidden from revealing until recently.  At the base of all of this is the FBI investigation into how Project Veritas wound up in possession of Ashley Biden's diary.

DOJ collected Project Veritas emails but didn't reveal it to federal judge overseeing case.  An attorney for Project Veritas sent a letter to District Court Judge Analisa Torres accusing the Department of Justice of sidestepping her prior rulings designed to protect the journalistic and attorney-client privileges of the organization.  Microsoft recently revealed that the DOJ had previously seized Project Veritas documents from a cloud account using a warrant which was not revealed to the court and which Microsoft was forbidden from revealing until recently.

A Great Reset Is Already Underway in Utah.  [Scroll down]  Abuse here is not just likely; it's inevitable, Clapper's faux reassurances notwithstanding.  Ironically, the Bluffdale paradigm and curtailment surveillance was born out of the ashes of Islamist 9/11 infamy.  The literal response to Islamic religious fanaticism is now virtual digital fascism.  Who wins that fight?  To be sure, Orwellian spying is possible only with industrial-scale collaboration.  The Davos crowd was in on the meta-mega-collection paradigm caper from the start.  Here, the tradeoffs are obvious:  big data in exchange for a laissez-faire internet.  Uncle Sam now has access to communications and internet "back doors" across the world, and that includes all commercial and domestic digital scat at your house, coast to coast.

DHS Collected Americans' Financial Records in Bulk:  Sen. Wyden.  The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has collected Americans' financial records in bulk, according to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).  Wyden revealed the existence of a DHS financial surveillance in a March 8 letter to the department's inspector general, calling for an investigation into the previously unknown activities.  Wyden said he recently learned that Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) — a law enforcement component of DHS — was operating an "indiscriminate and bulk surveillance program that swept up millions of financial records about Americans."  "After my staff contacted HSI about the program in January 2022, HSI immediately terminated the program," Wyden wrote to DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari.  The senator said his office was briefed by HSI on Feb. 18 — the first time Congress has been told about the program.

States sue Biden admin over FBI surveillance of parents protesting school boards.  Thirteen states have signed on to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking Biden administration records on any FBI surveillance of parents protesting school boards.  Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, a former member of Congress, has taken the lead in the lawsuit against President Biden, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, citing a failure of U.S. officials to honor FOIA requests.  The Indiana attorney general previously demanded all communications and records relating to the FBI's decision to investigate violent threats against local education officials.  "We just want the facts," Rokita told Fox News Digital.

A School District Spied on Parents and Reported Social Media Activity to Their Employers.  Apparently, we have a school district that spied on parents, compiled a dossier of their social media activity, and reported such activity to the employers of these problematic parents.  And by 'problematic', I mean, they were politically conservative.  This little spy game was conducted by Rochester Schools, which is located outside Detroit.  Elena Dinverno, a parent, filed a lawsuit in 2021.  The Center Square has more, but this operation is straight-up insane.  Dinverno alleges that the school district's harassment led to her employment being terminated.

Rochester Schools collect dossier, call employers on critical parents.  Rochester Community School (RCS) officials were sued for compiling a dossier on parents who commented negatively on the school's virtual learning policy.  One official even called a parent's employer, which possibly resulted in the parent's termination.  Parent Elena Dinverno sued the district in 2021, claiming school officials called her place of work in the fall of 2020, and told her employer Dinverno was part of a group threatening the school district.  She was fired in December 2020.  The Detroit News first reported the story.  A lawsuit filed on May 3, 2021, claims Dinverno advocated on two separate Facebook groups to reopen schools in-person:  "RCS Parents for In-Person Education" and "Conservative Parents for Rochester."  Dinverno asked other parents for video testimony of how virtual school was hurting kids.

Supreme Court Sees Nothing Wrong with Prolonged, Warrantless Spying of One's Home by Police Using Hidden Cameras.  The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to stop police from using hidden cameras to secretly and warrantlessly record and monitor a person's activities outside their home over an extended period of time.  In refusing to hear an appeal in Travis Tuggle v. U.S., the Supreme Court left in place a lower court ruling which concluded that no "search" in violation of the Fourth Amendment had occurred because the private activity recorded by the hidden surveillance cameras took place in public view.  The Rutherford Institute and the Cato Institute had filed an amicus brief in Tuggle warning that without adequate safeguards in place, there would be no turning back from the kinds of intrusions posed by such expansive, ever-watching surveillance technology capable of revealing intimate details of a person's life.

Court Chides F.B.I., but Re-Approves Warrantless Surveillance Program.  For a second year, the nation's surveillance court has pointed with concern to "widespread violations" by the F.B.I. of rules intended to protect Americans' privacy when analysts search emails gathered without a warrant — but still signed off on another year of the program, a newly declassified ruling shows.  In a 67-page ruling issued in November and made public on Monday [9/20/2021], James E. Boasberg, the presiding judge on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, recounted several episodes uncovered by an F.B.I. audit where the bureau's analysts improperly searched for Americans' information in emails that the National Security Agency collected without warrants.  Rather than a new problem, however, those instances appeared largely to be additional examples of an issue that was already brought to light in a December 2019 ruling by Judge Boasberg.  The government made it public in September.

CIA spying on Americans and their collaborators.  In the past month, this column has twice addressed the unbridled propensity of federal intelligence agencies to spy on Americans without search warrants as required by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  These agencies believe that the Fourth Amendment — which protects the individual right to privacy — only regulates law enforcement and does not apply to domestic spying.  There is no basis in the constitutional text, history or judicial interpretations for such a limiting and toothless view of this constitutional guarantee.  The courts have held that the Fourth Amendment restrains the government.  Period.  Last week, Congress got burned when the CIA released a heavily redacted summary of its current spying in the United States.

The CIA Got Caught Spying On Americans Again.  It's Time For Congress To Make Them Stop.  Nearly a decade ago, Edward Snowden dropped a series of bombshell revelations on the world, chief among them revealing the presence of the PRISM program: a constitutionally dubious surveillance program under which the National Security Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Central Intelligence Agency gather and search through the emails, internet calls, photos, and chats of Americans without obtaining a warrant, usually through the backdoor of America's major tech companies.  In response, Congress passed the USA Freedom Act in 2015, a bill that amended the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to ban the bulk collection of Americans' telephone records and internet metadata under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act.  In its place, Congress authorized more targeted measures subject to transparency, declassification, and reporting requirements.

CIA has secret program that collects Americans' data, senators say.  The CIA has a secret, undisclosed data repository that includes information collected about Americans, two Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee said Thursday.  While neither the agency nor lawmakers would disclose specifics about the data, the senators alleged the CIA had long hidden details about the program from the public and Congress.  Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico sent a letter to top intelligence officials calling for details about the program to be declassified.  Large parts of the letter and documents released by the CIA were blacked out.  Wyden and Heinrich said the program operated "outside the statutory framework that Congress and the public believe govern this collection."

Maryland Legislature Considers Creating 'Advisory Council' to Collect Data on Homeschoolers.  If we have learned anything about left-wing cultural revolutionaries over the past few years and decades, it's that they insist that all conform to their view of "diversity."  All are welcome, except for those who disagree.  That's why it's so troubling to see government authorities rope in, and attempt to control, people attempting to maintain their independence.  Maryland Delegate Sheila Ruth, a Baltimore County Democrat, recently proposed legislation in the Maryland House of Delegates that would create a deeply worrisome "advisory council" to watch over and gather data on homeschool families.  The 16-seat council would be staffed by four political appointees, four government officials, and eight members of the homeschool community.  It would "gather information on the needs of homeschool parents and homeschool umbrella schools," and would effectively sweep homeschool parents under the wing of a government agency.

IRS Wants Bio Data from Phones & Computers for ID Which Can Then Be Used As Evidence.  The new IRS face-scanning system will require taxpayers to use their phones or computers to submit biometric data.  And according to the IRS, "Mobile phones are used as a piece of identity evidence themselves" noting that "Geolocation can be gleaned from the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in the event of an investigation into a user."

U.S. accused of procuring Israeli spyware that surveils through smartphones.  The U.S. intelligence community is accused of acquiring spyware technology from the Israeli tech firm NSO Group that could snoop on just about anyone through their smartphone.  The alleged procurement of the technology came before the Biden administration blacklisted the tech last year.  NSO Group's Pegasus product allows access to a smartphone user's messages, camera, and microphone without action by the victim, according to the Pegasus Project, an investigation organized by the news outlet Forbidden Stories.  Pegasus has attracted attention from surveillance-focused watchdogs and from governments interested in becoming users.

FBI considered using Pegasus spyware for US domestic surveillance.  A new report uncovers how Israel used the NSO Group's infamous Pegasus iPhone hacking tool, and how the FBI secretly bought it.  It has previously been reported that Israeli police have used the Pegasus spyware against its own citizens, and done so without legal oversight.  Now the New York Times has released the results of a year-long investigation into the company behind the Pegasus spyware, including how the US considered using it and a more advanced tool.  According to the full report, and a New York Times summary of it, the FBI secretly bought Pegasus spyware in 2019. The NSO Group also reportedly gave the agency a demonstration of Phantom, a newer tool which was able to hack American phone numbers.

The Vaccine Passport Pathway to a Social Credit System.  Simply put the vaccine programs are really population control programs, because by pushing vaccines the elites are pushing vaccine passports which are the first step to creating digital ID numbers on a software platform where every subject's personal information will eventually end up.  Control of information means control of the subjects.  The real-life model for this is the Chinese social credit system.  This system is, through the totalitarian perspective, a brilliant combination of national digital identification numbers combined with high surveillance technology all controlled by advanced artificial intelligence.  Each Chinese subject is branded with a digital number and the surveillance state can follow his employment, medical, criminal and schooling records, his online browsing records, his voiced political views, and even the places he visits through GPS positioning technology. If the subject so much as jaywalks across a street, it will likely be picked up by one of the millions of surveillance cameras installed in Chinese cities and run through face recognition software.

Fight the American Stasi with Mockery.  In a 2019 article for The Atlantic, "The Lingering Trauma of Stasi Surveillance," Charlotte Bailey explores how many of the thousands of Germans who were victims of the The Ministry for State Security — commonly known as the Stasi — still suffer from psychological trauma. [...] The Stasi, Bailey writes, "wiretapped, bugged, and tracked citizens.  It steamed open letters and drilled holes in walls.  It had nearly 200,000 unofficial informers and hundreds of thousands more occasional sources providing information on their friends, neighbors, relatives, and colleagues. [...] The record of your permanent digital footprint and the growing power of tech companies such as Facebook, Google, and YouTube mean that just a few companies have more information about you, and power over you, in 2022 than the Stasi could ever have imagined.  With an entire spy apparatus available on their phones, students snitch on each other.

China harvests masses of data on Western targets, documents show.  China is turning a major part of its internal Internet-data surveillance network outward, mining Western social media, including Facebook and Twitter, to equip its government agencies, military and police with information on foreign targets, according to a Washington Post review of hundreds of Chinese bidding documents, contracts and company filings.  China maintains a countrywide network of government data surveillance services — called public opinion analysis software — that were developed over the past decade and are used domestically to warn officials of politically sensitive information online.

Do Democrats Want to Build Back Better, or Do They Want a Coup?  In the so-called Build Back Better (BBB) legislation, the leftist cult now in power (albeit marginally) wants to double the size of the IRS by adding 86,000 agents.  The net result of this incredible increase is not to increase oversight, but to weaponize the IRS as an instrument of public intimidation.  Just as conservative political organizations were targeted by the IRS during the Obama administration, the present desired expansion will allow for more harassment and fines of individuals in our new surveillance society.  Does anyone really think surveillance of individuals in our society and world is just paranoia?  Haven't we seen, if we message a friend on Facebook or in an email about looking for insurance, that, suddenly, ads for insurance start appearing on our Facebook accounts?  The surveillance society is already here.  It's just a question of the extent to which that expertise will be applied to monitoring our daily lives.  The doubling of the IRS, I propose, is a giant step toward extending the surveillance state.

Internal Amazon Documents Show Alexa Owners Aren't Using Devices.  According to a recent report, Amazon is aware that many owners of its Alexa devices are not using them after as little as two weeks of use.  According to internal documents viewed by Bloomberg, as many as 25 percent of Amazon's smart home assistants become expensive paperweights just weeks after being activated.  A recent report from Bloomberg reveals that Amazon knows that users of its Alexa devices are not utilizing the full capabilities of the smart home assistant, and often are becoming bored with the device as quickly as two weeks after getting it.

The Editor says...
If you get tired of it, don't just ignore it.  Pull the power cord, so it won't keep listening and/or recording everything you say.

The AP would like to know why DHS is tracking journalists.  Over the weekend, we learned that a special unit of Customs and Border Protection had been using sensitive government databases (designed to track terrorists) to monitor several American journalists, congressional staffers, and potentially even some members of Congress.  One CBP agent who accessed the system in this fashion shrugged off any complaints about the process, saying it was totally routine.  But that didn't stop a rapidly evolving uproar among journalists claiming that this type of activity represented an infringement of the First Amendment.  One of the journalists whose name showed up on the list was a Pulitzer Prize winner with the Associated Press, so the AP quickly took the question to the Department of Homeland Security demanding answers.

Watchdog: Federal anti-terror unit investigated journalists.  A special Customs and Border Protection unit used sensitive government databases intended to track terrorists to investigate as many as 20 U.S.-based journalists, including a Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press reporter, according to a federal watchdog.  Yahoo News, which published an extensive report on the investigation, also found that the unit, the Counter Network Division, queried records of congressional staffers and perhaps members of Congress.  Jeffrey Rambo, an agent who acknowledged running checks on journalists in 2017, told federal investigators the practice is routine.

Eighty House Republicans Vote for More Government Spying.  Our lack of privacy, not to mention the increased ability of the government to spy on us, has been ratified by eighty — count 'em eighty — House Republicans, including minority leader Kevin McCarthy (who wants us to see him as a viable replacement of, an actual savior from, Nancy Pelosi) and Burgess Owens of all people (Et tu, Burgess?  Who can we rely on now?)  What these GOP members of what seems more and more like the People's Congress of Cambodia under Pol Pot have voted for en masse, joining one hundred percent of the Democrats (something suspicious right there), is a bill to fund a Federal Vaccination Database.  Known as the Immunization Infrastructure Act (H. R. 550), this baby would provide $400 million of your dollars and mine for an "immunization system data modernization and expansion" of "a confidential, population-based, computerized database that records immunization doses administered by any health care provider to persons within the geographic area covered by that database."  In other words, it's a handy way to get the "wrong" people fired, ostracized or whatever, while getting their children kicked out of school.

House passes federal vaccine database bill, 80 Republicans betray their voters — again.  Yesterday [12/2/2021], the House of Representatives passed a bill called H. R. 550 that would facilitate the creation of a federal vaccination database.  The purpose would be to track the vaccination status of all U.S. citizens.  To call this bill a danger to the personal freedoms of every citizen is an understatement.  The bill states that $400 million of taxpayer money will be used to "direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to take actions to improve data sharing and other aspects of immunization information systems.  These are confidential, population-based databases that maintain a record of vaccine administrations." [...] To sum it up, the bill provides sweeping powers to CDC and compels public and private health care providers at both state and local levels to share information with the central government.

The Frogs Have Begun Fleeing the Government's Boiling Pot.  The federal government spies on every email, text, and call you make.  It uses your phone's location services to pinpoint where you are at all times.  It knows which I.P. addresses are associated with online comments that have been deemed "politically incorrect."  Its partnerships with Amazon and Walmart let it know what you're reading and buying.  Its partnerships with Google and Facebook let it know what you're thinking.  Its partnerships with Twitter and Hollywood allow it to censor unapproved messages before too many brains have the opportunity to consider new thoughts.  Its alliance with credit card companies allows it to track all your financial transactions and thereby understand your habits, preferences, choices, and addictions.  Its alliance with cellular companies allows it to monitor all your movements, contacts, and associations.  And all of these consumer comforts that are used by the "national security" surveillance state to watch everyone in real time constantly measure every American's potential for subversiveness, even when that American is engaged in the most mundane things during the course of an ordinary day.

Los Angeles Police Tried Out Social Media Surveillance Software To Spy On The Public.  The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) partnered with a data analytics company to spy on social media profiles, according to internal LAPD documents.  In 2019, the LAPD engaged in a four-month trial with data collection and surveillance software company Voyager Labs, according to documents requested by the Brennan Center for Justice and first reported by The Guardian.  The software offers the ability to surveil and analyze massive amounts of data collected from social media profiles, according to communications between Voyager and the LAPD.

The FBI Just Admitted Something Terrifying and No One Seems to Be Noticing.  Why [...] was there an FBI drone directly over the [Rittenhouse] shooting?  Have we even considered the ramifications of what that actually means?  Our government, for any reason that they perceive to be a threat, can conduct mass surveillance of you without a warrant?  Certainly, this was a public place and the courts have ruled that surveillance can be conducted in public without a warrant, however, there were local police resources.  Why would the FBI be conducting this surveillance if they had no way of stopping or preventing what was happening, from occurring?  Regardless of the legality of it, should we as citizens become comfortable with the idea that this is normal? [...] And probably most importantly, how did you end up directly over this shooting that night, despite all the other areas in the city where bad things were happening?  While I have never been a conspiracy theorist and abhor conspiracy theories, it seems wildly coincidental that of the several dozen square block area of Kenosha where there was violence going down that night, that you end up directly over the one shooting that is going to cause a national debate?  I can't be the only one here thinking that's awfully convenient.

US government ordering Google to provide users' search data: report.  The US federal government is secretly ordering Google and other search engines to track and provide data on anyone who searches certain terms through "keyword warrants," according to a new report.  In recent years, only two such warrants have been made public, but accidentally unsealed court documents obtained by Forbes show the government has been making these requests far more frequently.  The unsealed warrant stemmed from a 2019 federal investigation in Wisconsin, where investigators were searching for men they believed had taken part in trafficking and sexually abusing a minor.  In an effort to track them down, officials ordered Google to provide any information on users, including account names, IP addresses and CookieIDs, that searched the victim's name, two spellings of her mother's name and her address over 16 days throughout the year.

Accidental leak reveals US government has secretly hit Google with 'keyword warrants'.  The U.S. government is using 'keyword warrants' to uncover the identity of anyone who searches Google and other search engines for certain search terms that may be related to a crime, according to a new report.  The controversial practice, which is already drawing civil liberties concerns about sweeping government overreach, was revealed on Tuesday [10/5/2021] in 'accidentally unsealed' court documents obtained by Forbes.  Keyword warrants — which have been secretly employed for at least several years — are drawing backlash as many argue they violate an individual's constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure.

I've got some keywords for ya.

FBI Director:  Ban Encryption to Counter Domestic Extremism.  FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Sept. 21 that restrictions on encrypted chat services are needed to combat domestic terrorism — a claim that has been disputed by a wide array of tech companies, industry associations, and privacy groups, as well as other government agencies.  Wray made the remarks during the Senate Committee on Homeland Security's counterterrorism hearing.  "I can't overstate the impact of default encryption and the role it's playing, including on terrorism," Wray said in response to a question from Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) about what tools Congress can give law enforcement to counter domestic extremism.  "The information that will allow us to separate the wheat from the chaff, in terms of social media, is being able to — with lawful process — get access to those communications, where most of the meaningful discussions of the violence is occurring."

The Editor says...
[#1] If all the FBI wants to do is combat bona fide terrorists and anarchists, especially Islamic terrorists, I wish them all the best.  But recent history shows they're much more interested in right-wing rednecks than suicidal Muslims.  The FBI is mainly interested in protecting the government, not the citizens.  There's a big difference.  [#2] Just wait til you see the government's new definition of "encryption."  No, I haven't heard anything, but it's obvious that if the government bans encryption, that ban will be expanded (by changing the dictionary) to include everything from ROT13 to Base64 to the Morse Code.  U.S. citizens have the right "to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures," and sometimes my "papers and effects" include email, and sometimes my email is cryptic, if not encrypted.  Keeping my personal communications from prying eyes is the difference between a first-class letter and a postcard.

Rand Paul urges end to FISA-authorized snooping on Americans.  Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky announced his opposition to using FISA warrants on American citizens, specifically political candidates, during an exchange Tuesday with FBI Director Christopher Wray.  At a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing, Paul questioned Wray about the surveillance of American citizens via the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).  "The problem is the system can be abused," Paul said.  "We should obey the Constitution.  I don't think Americans nor political candidates should be investigated using a foreign intelligence surveillance court."  Wray responded to the senator's comments saying he believed FISA warrants were constitutional and that they have a "difference of opinion on how to characterize" its legality. [...] FISA was enacted into law in 1978 at the height of the Cold War.  Attempts to reform or abolish it would take an act of Congress.

Court rules cops violated Constitution by filming man for 3 months.  A police force can't set up a camera to peer over the top of a man's privacy fence, then record him for months, before finally filing criminal charges against him.  That's the ruling from the state supreme court in Colorado, where the decision freed suspect Rafael Tafoya from what was expected to be a significant prison sentence.  According to a report in Courthouse News, officers in Colorado Springs set up a special camera on top of a utility pole next to Tafoya's home after a "tip" from an anonymous source.  Without a search warrant, they watched him and his property, recording events there, for months.

The Freedom to Be Left Alone.  What must animate a "free society" is the understanding that you are not only free of the unwanted gaze from others, including the state, but that you and your fellow citizens must avoid looking into the private lives of others.  A free society minds its own business.  That would be the opposite of what we see in modern America.  This is a land of the perpetual and promiscuous busybody.  Gossip may be the national pastime, but it is the crude art of not minding your own business that defines the American.  Everywhere you go in America, you are hounded by busybodies poking into your affairs.  Everyone feels she has a right and duty to know everything about you and what you are doing.

Is Apple Gearing Up for China-Style Internet Control in the U.S.?  Recently, Apple announced that it will deploy a new algorithm, NeuralMatch, to monitor iMessages and images on its devices.  The ostensible purpose is to scan for photos containing nudity sent by or to children and also for photos of nude or seminude children. [...] But, well-intentioned as the motive may sound, this is a matter of grave concern for privacy.  Once such surveillance is begun, it opens the gates for other tech firms to follow suit, and worse, for warrantless scans for nefarious government purposes.  Coming as it does from Apple, this is a curious development in the U.S. For although Apple has bent over backward to please the Chinese government on its surveillance and censorship needs, it has vehemently resisted assisting the U.S. government.  It has refused to unlock cellphones for criminal investigations and prosecutions, citing concerns about protecting the data and privacy of its customers.  It has received — and objected to — at least 10 requests from federal courts for extracting data from locked iPhones.  But now, in a complete turnabout, if Apple thinks (or its algorithm decides) that certain images are illegal, it will cooperate with the authorities.

10 Govt Agencies Want To Expand Use Of Facial Recognition Technology.  Federal agencies have planned to expand the use of facial recognition technology in the next few years.  According to a Government Accountability Office report on Tuesday, 10 federal agencies would begin implementing artificial intelligence technology in more aspects of their work.  The report indicated many of the agencies already use facial recognition to give employees access to their the buildings or computers.  However, the agencies have wanted to expand such technology to track crime and investigate people of interest.

Synopsis from the Risks Digest.
The Chinese smart city that knows people's personal habits.  Chongqing (population ~16M in 2019) is wired with ~300K cameras that continuously surveils the population, applying facial recognition to ensure public order, and to suppress the free expression of ideas that might challenge the supremacy of political governance priorities.  [Video clip]

The Pentagon has a laser that can identify people from a distance — by their heartbeat.  Everyone's heart is different.  Like the iris or fingerprint, our unique cardiac signature can be used as a way to tell us apart.  Crucially, it can be done from a distance.  It's that last point that has intrigued US Special Forces.  Other long-range biometric techniques include gait analysis, which identifies someone by the way he or she walks. [...] An individual's cardiac signature is unique, though, and unlike faces or gait, it remains constant and cannot be altered or disguised.  A new device, developed for the Pentagon after US Special Forces requested it, can identify people without seeing their face:  instead it detects their unique cardiac signature with an infrared laser.  While it works at 200 meters (219 yards), longer distances could be possible with a better laser.  "I don't want to say you could do it from space," says Steward Remaly, of the Pentagon's Combatting Terrorism Technical Support Office, "but longer ranges should be possible."

Apple's Plan to "Think Different" About Encryption Opens a Backdoor to Your Private Life.  Apple has announced impending changes to its operating systems that include new "protections for children" features in iCloud and iMessage.  If you've spent any time following the Crypto Wars, you know what this means:  Apple is planning to build a backdoor into its data storage system and its messaging system.  Child exploitation is a serious problem, and Apple isn't the first tech company to bend its privacy-protective stance in an attempt to combat it.  But that choice will come at a high price for overall user privacy.  Apple can explain at length how its technical implementation will preserve privacy and security in its proposed backdoor, but at the end of the day, even a thoroughly documented, carefully thought-out, and narrowly-scoped backdoor is still a backdoor.

The Editor says...
Apple's excuse — that they're only looking for child pornography — is a thin wrapper to make us think their intentions are honorable.  If the mechanism is in place to sift through your words and pictures, it will soon be used to find "deadbeat dads," tax evaders, gang members, and anybody who's wanted by the FBI.  At that point, if Apple still hears no objections, there can be no doubt that they will start using this wholesale surveillance technology for left-wing political purposes.

Chinese Regime Has Stolen Enough Data to Compile 'Dossier' on All Americans:  Former Official.  A former U.S. national security official warned that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is stealing data to compile a "dossier" on every American adult and may use coercive means to influence private citizens and political leaders.  During a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing this week, former Trump deputy national security adviser Matthew Pottinger said the CCP has stolen Americans' sensitive data via illicit methods, including cyber theft and hacking.  "Assembling dossiers on people has always been a feature of Leninist regimes, but Beijing's penetration of digital networks worldwide, including using 5G networks ... has really taken this to a new level," Pottinger said, referring to former Soviet dictator Vladimir Lenin.

Senate Infrastructure Bill Seeks to Make Breathalyzers, Interior Cameras Mandatory.  The U.S. Senate is currently considering a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that's primarily targeting the ailing highway system, with tens of billions left over to spend on advancing the nation's EV charging infrastructure and incorporating more eco-friendly modes of public transportation.  But there's also some really kooky shit that you need to be made aware of before this passes into law.  Along with new regulations that would mandate the inclusion of collision detection systems and automatic emergency braking, where the car calls your bluff and applies the wheel-stoppers independently of your actions, provisions have been made that would also require some kind of in-car breathalyzer.  The stated aim is to reduce incidents of drunk driving.  However, the proposed system may also include driver-monitoring cameras, totally undermining any nobility the cause might otherwise have had.  Complaining about regulatory overreach is kind of my beat and the last few years have kept me truly busy.  But this is on a whole other level as the nanny state runs amok — and we're just getting started.

That Senate Infrastructure Bill Shreds Privacy in the Sanctuary of Your Own Car and Blows Up the Budget.  The U.S. Senate plans to take a vote on the infrastructure bill on Saturday, according to the best available reports for you late-to-the-party fact-checkers.  The bill as it's currently written is fiscally disastrous, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), and removes what's left of any vestige of privacy in your own private vehicle. [...] That "mass surveillance" is part of a system to keep track of where and how much you drive, as if that's any of their beeswax.  But they'll use it against you eventually.  No doubt it would have Fourth Amendment implications. [...] The bill requires that breathalyzers — which detect too much alcohol but not weed or other substances — be installed in all vehicles. [...] But look at what has to happen for it to "work."  Cockpit cameras check to make sure your sober buddy isn't blowing into the contraption for you, and facial recognition software will "track face and eye movements in case you're planning to get drunk while driving."

Are The Tech Giants Afraid of Something?  Over the past three weeks, some of the most powerful tech companies in the world have taken a number of steps — unprecedented even by their standards — to monitor their users.  On July 26, a consortium of tech companies including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Reddit, Verizon, Airbnb, and Mailchimp announced it would shift the focus of their joint counter-terrorism program, the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT).  Previously dedicated to tracking Islamic extremists, the coalition would now focus its attention on material shared online by "white supremacists" and "far-right militias."  The next day, PayPal, the leading online payments processor, announced a partnership with the far-left Anti-Defamation League to uncover and disrupt payment flows to those who are allegedly profiting from, according to Reuters, "antisemitism, Islamophobia, racism, anti-immigrant, anti-Black, anti-Hispanic and anti-Asian bigotry."  In addition to sharing its data with the far-left ADL, PayPal said it would share data with law enforcement.

Apple Will Scan iPhones for Illegal Child Abuse Images, Sparking Privacy Debate.  Apple announced Thursday is it planning to scan all iPhones in the United States for child abuse imagery, raising alarm among security experts who said the plan could allow the firm to surveil tens of millions of personal devices for unrelated reasons.  In a blog post, the company confirmed reports saying that new scanning technology is part of a suite of child protection programs that would "evolve and expand."  It will be rolled out as part of iOS 15, which is scheduled for release sometime in August.  Apple, which has often touted itself as a company that promises to safeguard users' right to privacy, appeared to try and preempt privacy concerns by saying that the software will enhance those protections by avoiding the need to carry out widespread image scanning on its cloud servers.  "This innovative new technology allows Apple to provide valuable and actionable information to [the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children] and law enforcement regarding the proliferation of known CSAM," said the company, referring to an acronym for child sexual abuse material.

'Privacy Company' Apple Plans To Monitor All US iPhones For Evidence Of Child Porn.  As the old saying goes:  If you aren't doing anything illegal, then you have nothing to fear from surveillance.  Smartphones already act like tracking devices broadcasting the whereabouts of their owners, but Apple is about to open the door to far more advanced forms of smartphone-based voluntary surveillance by launching a new program designed to detect and report iPhone users who are found to have child pornography — known by the academic-speak acronym CSAM — which stands for Child Sexual Abuse Materials.  According to a handful of academics who were offered a sneak preview of the company's plans — then promptly spilled the beans on Twitter, and in interviews with the press.

News Outlets That Criticized Trump for Targeting Reporters [are] Mostly Silent About 'Unmasking' of Tucker Carlson.  The New York Times, The Washington Post, and CNN strongly objected and protested when the Trump administration obtained reporters' phone records as part of an investigation into the leak of classified information.  Yet those same news organizations aren't willing to stand with popular Fox News Channel host Tucker Carlson, who the National Security Agency "unmasked" during the early months of the Biden administration.  The New York Times is "very concerned about government surveillance of journalists," a spokeswoman said when asked this week about the Carlson revelations.  Just last month, the Times' executive editor, Dean Baquet, said the Trump administration's action "profoundly undermines press freedom." [...] After an internal investigation, the Biden administration's National Security Agency admitted that Carlson's identity was "unmasked" and leaked, as first reported July 23 by The Record, a news site focused on cybersecurity, and later by other news outlets.

Former Head NSA Lawyer:  Tucker Carlson's Allegations Merit Further Investigation.  The National Security Agency's reported internal review of Fox News host Tucker Carlson's spying allegations suggests that the matter should be investigated further, according to a former NSA general counsel.  Citing two unnamed sources familiar with the matter, The Record reported last week that the NSA's internal review found that government officials indeed "unmasked" Carlson's identity in classified documents — supporting some of the claims the Fox News host has made against the agency.  "The nation's top electronic spy agency found that Carlson was mentioned in communications between third parties and his name was subsequently revealed through 'unmasking,' a process in which relevant government officials can request the identities of American citizens in intelligence reports to be divulged provided there is an official reason, such as helping them make sense of the intelligence documents they are reviewing," The Record reported.

Grassley presses FBI to explain its monitoring of conservative women's group.  Sen. Charles E. Grassley is pressing the FBI to explain the reasoning for its newly revealed probe into the conservative group Concerned Women for America, The Washington Times has learned.  The FBI's review of the pro-life women's organization has prompted an outcry from the group's leadership and others concerned about law enforcement and intelligence community surveillance of Americans.  The FBI determined in July 2016 that there was nothing to investigate regarding Concerned Women for America after a "charity assessment" for potential "embezzlement of non-profit organizations/corporate fraud," according to a document that the FBI revealed in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the Cato Institute.

The NSA WAS monitoring Tucker Carlson.  National Security Agency (NSA) sources say they found no evidence to support Tucker Carlson's claims that he was being spied on by the agency, according to a report, but they admit his identity was 'unmasked' in communications between third parties.  The unmasking can be approved only by senior officials.  The report didn't identify the two parties allegedly having a conversation that mentioned Carlson; it also didn't identify who approved the alleged unmasking.  Two people familiar with the matter told cybersecurity news outlet The Record that a review confirmed the NSA did not target the Fox News host's communications, but that he had been swept up in the agency's monitoring of communications between other people.

NSA Reportedly Admits To Unmasking Tucker Carlson's Identity.  The National Security Agency (NSA) under the Biden administration allegedly unmasked Fox News host and Daily Caller co-founder Tucker Carlson's identity, according to a Friday report by The Record.  According to the report, the NSA admitted that Carlson's name was unmasked after it was mentioned by a third party during intelligence gathering.  [Tweet]  "The NSA has just completed its internal review of the matter," Fox News host Brit Hume said.  "The NSA now admits that it unmasked Tucker's identity after an intelligence intercept.  By law, the identities of American citizens are concealed when they're caught up during foreign intelligence gathering.  They can only be unmasked in extraordinary circumstances."

Company tied to Obama Foundation spying on Americans' online activity — for the government?  We have seen over the past several months the Biden administration putting out continuous dog whistles about "white supremacy," going so far as to claim that "domestic white extremism" is the biggest threat to our country since... well since forever.  Newly discovered information however shows to what extent the administration and the Pentagon are going in trying to "root out" alleged extremism.  According to numerous sources including Fox News, the Pentagon is apparently working with a company, Moonshot CVE which has ties to — surprise, surprise — the Obama Foundation — is currently working on data which would provide military leaders which military bases and branches have the most troops searching for so-called "domestic extremist" content.  So what does Moonshot consider to be a "search for domestic extremist content?" How about if you put the following into your web browser:  "The truth about Black Lives Matter."  According to Moonshot, that along with a number of other seemingly innocent searches shows signs of either interest in or engagement with white supremacism, according to Defense One.

New Report Raises Even More Questions About NSA Spying on Tucker Carlson.  A cyber security media outlet called The Record is reporting that the NSA, after an investigation of themselves, say that they weren't targeting or spying on Tucker Carlson.  Oh, goodie, I'm always comforted when government agencies investigate themselves.  Especially given the sketchy statement that they put out when the issue exploded last month.  [Tweet]  Attorney Harmeet Dhillon went through some of the problems with the statement.  [Tweet]  What they are admitting, at least according to this report, was that his name came up in a discussion and his name was unmasked when some government official asked for it to be.  Fox was furious at the report. [...] But as Dhillon says this just raises more questions.  Why were they unmasking his name?  This doesn't pertain to his messages, so what about that?  And what justification would there be for leaking to the media.  Hint:  there isn't one, unless you are trying to harm him in media, which goes back to the point Tucker originally made — that this was done with purpose to hurt him.

Regime Spokesperson Very Defensive About Americans Knowing the White House is Reviewing Their Social Media.  The Biden regime is becoming increasingly unstable as they attempt to keep control over the American people.  During a terse exchange today, spokesperson Jen Psaki attempts to justify the White House surveillance of American speech saying the Facebook platform users should be "more concerned" with people dying from COVID than having their community speech monitored by the federal government.  When questioned about the U.S. Federal Government now openly admitting Big Brother is watching you, the regime defender responds: "They are more concerned about that, than people dying across the country because of a pandemic where misinformation is traveling on social media platforms?"  Continuing with, "That feels unlikely to me, if you have the data to back that up I'm happy to discuss it."  Fox News journalist Peter [Doocy] asked the regime to name the 12 people on Facebook the White House has identified as problematic for the interests of the state; however, the spokesperson refused to name them, obviously and transparently fearing a lawsuit.

House Republicans Demand Information From NSA About Allegations The Agency Illegally Spied On Tucker Carlson.  A group of House Republicans sent a Tuesday [7/13/2021] letter to the National Security Agency (NSA) demanding information about allegations the agency illegally spied on Fox News host and Daily Caller co-founder Tucker Carlson.  The Daily Caller first obtained the letter, which was spearheaded by Republican Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert and Republican Florida Rep. Bill Posey.  In the letter, the lawmakers call on the NSA to provide them with information about allegations that the agency was spying on Carlson in regards to communication with U.S.-based Kremlin intermediaries pertaining to a potential interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Axios reported.  The Axios report referenced two sources "familiar with Carlson's communications."  In late June, Carlson said that the NSA was spying on him, and reading confidential texts and emails in order to try and take his show off the air.

Bidenites dispatch DNC operatives to police private SMS texts for COVID 'misinformation'.  In what looks like a confluence from hell, the Democratic National Committee plans to police your SMS messages for "misinformation" about COVID vaccines.  It sounds like a bad joke, or a right-wing conspiracy theory.  But nope, it's right there in Politico:  ["]The White House has decided to hit back harder on misinformation and scare tactics after Republican lawmakers and conservative activists pledged to fight the administration's stated plans to go "door-to-door" to increase vaccination rates.  The pushback will include directly calling out social media platforms and conservative news shows that promote such tactics.["]

Biden Allies and DNC Instructing Cell Phone Carriers to Filter and Censor Text Message Content.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Fact checking your SMS text messages through your carrier, your cell phone or internet provider.  This is a rather remarkable escalation in totalitarian censorship instruction.  Not only will Big Tech social media networks (Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter) censor, delete, and look into any content placed in their "private sector" domain, but the implication is now that AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, T-Mobile etc. etc. will deploy monitors and fact-checkers to control what you are allowed to say in text messages to your friends and family.  We have noted in past discussion that ISP providers have been enlisted to use their control nodules to steer and restrict internet travel; even placing landing warnings on websites that are arbitrarily deemed dangerous to approved government messaging.  However, taking the leap to control the content of all communication platforms is another level entirely.

Rand Paul seeks Tucker Carlson investigation.  Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is requesting an investigation into allegations by Tucker Carlson that the National Security Agency was spying on him, Axios has learned.  The senator sent a letter to Gen. Paul Nakasone of the National Security Agency, casting doubt on the NSA's public denial of spying on Carlson and defending the Fox News host as a journalist who should be protected by the First Amendment.  Paul, who sits on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, wrote that he is "open-minded" to believe the NSA may be telling the truth.

Rand Paul Demands Investigation Into Allegations US Intelligence Spied on Tucker Carlson.  The National Security Agency's head should investigate whether officials spied on Tucker Carlson, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said.  "I write to demand that you investigate the National Security Agency's (NSA) alleged spying and unmasking of Tucker Carlson, as well as any leaks of his private emails from the NSA to other reporters," Paul wrote in a recent letter to Gen. Paul Nakasone, the NSA head.  Carlson, the most popular cable news host in the country, alleged on his Fox News show last week that his identity was unmasked by the NSA after he tried arranging an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin.  Carlson also alleged that the NSA leaked some of his emails to media outlets.  Unmasking refers to intelligence officials revealing the identity of a person.

CPAC: Richard Grenell Urges Federal Action Over Alleged 'Unmasking' of Tucker Carlson.  Former Acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Richard Grenell on July 10 said federal action should be taken against the individual or individuals who allegedly "unmasked" the identity of Fox News host Tucker Carlson to the National Security Agency (NSA).  Speaking on Saturday [7/10/2021] at a Conservative Political Action Conference's (CPAC) in Dallas, Texas, Grenell said two violations were potentially committed, based on the claims from Fox News host Carlson.  Carlson claimed Wednesday during his popular cable television show, "Tucker Carlson Tonight," that his identity was "unmasked" by the NSA, which conducts surveillance on foreign targets, after he attempted to schedule an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The NSA's spying on Tucker Carlson is the tip of the iceberg.  Well, everyone could see it coming.  It turns out that the National Security Agency (NSA) didn't just eavesdrop "incidentally" on the emails and text messages of Tucker Carlson, one of the few journalists in America willing to stand up to the Deep State.  Anyone with half a brain could see the lizard-like lawyering in the NSA's "non-denial denial."  As Bill Clinton famously put it, "it depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is."  "Tucker Carlson has never been an intelligence target of the Agency," the NSA statement read, dodging the question of whether it had obtained and read his emails and texts, "and the NSA has never had any plans to try to take his program off the air."  Again, from what we know of lying government lawyers, the tenses are crucial:  the NSA never "had" any plans.

License to monitor:  National strategies, the Capitol Police, and Tucker Carlson.  On 15 June, the Biden administration published its new National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism.  At the time, commentary outlets including Liberty Unyielding recognized the "Strategy" as a pretext for vilifying and ultimately criminalizing a huge segment of the American population.  In that earlier treatment, I focused on the process of vilification and how the media would factor into it; e.g., seeking to discredit factual reporting by raising "questions" about it (without proving anything against it), and then making the leap from that to calling the disfavored factual reporting "disinformation."  But another use for the "Strategy" is now emerging — notably a mere two to three weeks after the Strategy was published — and needs highlighting so people can see the link clearly.  The Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism will be used to justify a lot of things.  When the wording is inspected, the reader can readily discern what they are.  We're already seeing the evidence that such justifications will be used, and how.

The Biggest Question:  Who Illegally Unmasked Tucker Carlson?  [Scroll down]  This is of paramount concern because unless he was the direct target of surveillance, a possibility that the NSA has categorically denied, then someone very high up in the food chain would have had to request his unmasking and subsequent leaking of his communications to the press.  For background, Axios published an article yesterday referencing the electronic communications the NSA has between Carlson and U.S.-based liaisons with Putin's people.  It drew much attention, not only because it verified the most viable scenario for the existence of the leaked emails was the NSA spying on him or someone with whom he was corresponding.  The whole scenario gets trickier when we consider that any reports regarding the communications would require Carlson's identity to be masked.  Unmasking him, particularly in the timeframe in question, required someone very powerful at the White House.  The list of people who have that type of clout is very short.

Tucker Carlson Says NSA Is Leaking The Contents Of His Emails To Journalists.  Tucker Carlson claimed Wednesday [7/7/2021] that the National Security Agency (NSA) leaked the contents of his emails to journalists as part of an effort to target his show and take it off the air.  Appearing on Fox Business' Mornings With Maria with host Maria Bartiromo, the Fox News host and Daily Caller co-founder said that he was contacted by a journalist who read back to him the contents of his emails that he says were leaked by the NSA.

The NSA Leaked Details of Their Tucker Carlson Surveillance to Allied Deep State Media.  This is a great example of how the Intelligence Branch of the U.S. government now operates.  Not only did the NSA conduct surveillance of Tucker Carlson's electronic communication, but the NSA also leaked Carlson's emails to allied intelligence media (Axios, CNN, New York Times, Washington Post) who operate as PR firms on behalf of the Intelligence Branch.  [Video clip]

Tucker Carlson got the General Mike Flynn treatment.  When Tucker Carlson first said that the National Security Agency (NSA) was spying on him, various leftist media outlets had a good laugh.  However, that laughter became a bit forced when the NSA issued a letter that merely denied "targeting" Tucker.  The obvious implication was that the NSA had gotten to him as an incidental person while targeting someone else.  The NSA also didn't bother to explain how it was that it unmasked Tucker.  There's no laughter now.  It's clear that the NSA did spy on Tucker, that it illegally unmasked him, and that it even more illegally leaked to one or more media outlets the information it gathered.  On Wednesday night [7/7/2021], Tucker explained that he was trying to do what many other outlets have successfully done, which was to get an interview with Vladimir Putin.

Tucker Carlson was trying to set up Putin interview amid claims of NSA spying, report says.  Tucker Carlson emailed Russian "intermediaries" in the United States about an interview with Vladimir Putin before he claimed the National Security Agency was spying on his communications, according to reports.  Quoting "sources familiar with the conversations", Axios said Carlson was in talks with the US-based Kremlin contacts to secure an interview with the Russian president when US government officials learned of the efforts.  The report comes after Carlson said on Fox News earlier on Wednesday that his emails were leaked to journalists in an "effort to discredit me".

The NSA Does Not Deny Reading Tucker Carlson's Emails.  [Scroll down]  The NSA's non-denial of Carlson's allegations therefore raises some serious questions.  Why did the NSA not flatly state it never accessed Carlson's communications?  Were Carlson's communications "unmasked" at the request of White House officials?  Susan Rice admitted she unmasked Trump campaign aides during the Obama administration and now serves in the Biden White House.  Has Rice resumed her previous efforts to weaponize NSA reporting against the political enemies of another Democratic president?  A more troubling question is whether this story, if true, indicates that NSA did not actually halt its "upstream collection" of emails, as it claimed in 2017.  So in response to the NSA statement, I admit that I may have been wrong and Carlson may be right.  The NSA only denied Carlson was an intelligence target.  It did not deny reading his emails or violating his privacy rights.

Are US Spy Services Monitoring the Opposition's Communications?  Fox News host Tucker Carlson has reported during the last week about a whistleblower who told him that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been monitoring his electronic communications with the intention of leaking them to get his show taken off the air.  While most of the prestige press has dismissed Carlson's claims, the whistleblower may have struck just the tip of the iceberg — it's possible that along with Carlson much of the leadership of the American opposition movement is also under surveillance.  The NSA denied that Carlson is "an intelligence target of the Agency."  It explained on its Twitter account that the "NSA has a foreign intelligence mission.  We target foreign powers to generate insights on foreign activities that may harm the United States.  With limited exceptions ... NSA may not target US citizens without a court order that explicitly authorizes the targeting."  As absurd as it sounds, it's not hard to imagine U.S. officials presenting phony evidence to a secret court to try to show that an American TV star is actually a foreign spy.  They did it when the former host of "Celebrity Apprentice" ran for president in 2016.

Tucker Carlson Pushing Back Against NSA Surveillance.  Tucker Carlson used his TV broadcast on Wednesday night [6/30/2021] to continue pushing-back against NSA operational data collection that appears to have caught him in their surveillance dragnet.  However, what Carlson (and many others) have yet to reconcile is the totality of control held by the newest branch of government, the Intelligence Branch.  CTH has been contacted by numerous interested stakeholders in the larger dynamic.  Tomorrow we hope to be able to give readers an explanation of exactly how each traditional branch of government; including the administrative agencies within them; have been taken over by a methodical expansion of the Intelligence Community.  Everything is now controlled by the Intelligence Branch, and the underlying mechanisms of government have abdicated, perhaps even abandoned, their oversight.

Microsoft Honcho Testifies That the DOJ Routinely Abuses Secrecy Orders to Seize Data From American Citizens.  A Microsoft executive on Wednesday [6/30/2021] testified that the Department of Justice routinely abuses "secrecy orders" in order to seize data on thousands of American citizens without letting them know.  Tom Burt, Microsoft's corporate vice president for customer security and trust, made the accusations during a House Judiciary Committee hearing examining leak probes and prosecutorial abuse.  The hearing followed recent revelations that the Justice Department secretly seized the records of several news organizations while investigating leaks under both the Trump and Biden administrations — a practice that became increasingly routine during the Obama administration.

The greatest conspiracies are open and notorious.  [Scroll down]  In my life, I've had enough of both the practice and the theory.  In my work for the United States National Security Agency, I was involved with establishing a Top-Secret system intended to access and track the communications of every human being on the planet.  And yet after I grew aware of the damage this system was causing — and after I helped to expose that true conspiracy to the press — I couldn't help but notice that the conspiracies that garnered almost as much attention were those that were demonstrably false:  I was, it was claimed, a hand-picked CIA operative sent to infiltrate and embarrass the NSA; my actions were part of an elaborate inter-agency feud.  No, said others: my true masters were the Russians, the Chinese, or worse — Facebook.

Tucker Carlson Says the NSA Is Spying on Him.  Sadly, It's Plausible.  Tucker Carlson now says a "whistleblower" in the NSA tipped him off that the agency was planning to leak emails and texts to get him off the air over a story he's working on.  Sounds rather fantastical.  We've seen no evidence or corroboration of the accusation.  My initial instinct should be to dismiss conspiratorial claims about domestic espionage.  As it happens, though, I've been alive for the past two decades.  And history tells us it is wholly conceivable that intelligence and law-enforcement agencies would spy on a television personality.  They spy all the time.  They do it illegally.  They do it for partisan reasons.  They do it to lawmakers.  They do it to journalists.

Of course they deny it!  Is there another option?
NSA denies leaking scheme to take Tucker Carlson off the air.  The National Security Agency insisted Tucker Carlson "has never been an intelligence target" after the Fox News host claimed the Biden administration spied on him.  The NSA has a "foreign intelligence mission," a spokesperson said Tuesday [6/29/2021] in response to Carlson's claims the night before that a government whistleblower told his team the agency was spying on their communications and "planning to leak them in an attempt to take this show off the air."  "This allegation is untrue," the NSA spokesperson said.  "Tucker Carlson has never been an intelligence target of the Agency and the NSA has never had any plans to try to take his program off the air."

NSA Responds to Tucker Carlson Claim of Surveillance, The Generic and Very Political Non-Denial Should Alarm Everyone.  Last night Fox news host Tucker Carlson reported on a whistleblower contact from within the intelligence community who informed him the NSA was conducting electronic surveillance of his private communication (email and text messages). Tonight the NSA responded via Twitter:  [Tweet]  Techno Fog noted something most of us would also note the NSA statement is an obtuse non-denial. [...] First, notice the time of the tweet message.  Exactly 8:00 pm to coincide with the beginning of Tucker Carlson's broadcast.  That's typical political operative snark, which wouldn't be too surprising if it were not the fact this is from the actual National Security Agency.  Many people in/around the intelligence apparatus have noted and confirmed to me that most of the modern human resources, within the working analytical part of the intelligence apparatus, are immature, solitary and emotionally stunted individuals.  Accepting things as they directly appear, this subtle snark is actual confirmation.

Whistleblower Told Tucker Carlson Biden Admin's IC is Illegally Monitoring His Electronic Communications.  In what may be an early example of the saying "What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander," Tucker Carlson reported on his show Monday night that he has received notice — AND EVIDENCE — that internal communications among the staff of his show are being monitored by the Intelligence Community of the Biden Administration.  This would be the first reported instance that I'm aware of regarding a Biden Administration official leaking information to a news media outlet calling attention to allegedly illegal/objectionable conduct taking place inside the Administration.

Fox News Host Tucker Carlson Reveals NSA Conducting Surveillance on His Electronic Communication, Texts and Emails.  As disturbing as this statement is, considering the prior admissions of warrantless wiretapping by the FBI using the NSA database, this does not come as a surprise.  Remember, for five consecutive years the U.S. intelligence community has admitted to the FISA court they continually conduct illegal searches of U.S. citizen data, using the NSA database, and they admit to illegally extracting information which is illegally shared with interests outside the intelligence community.  Tonight [6/28/2021] on Tucker Carlson the Fox News Host outlined how an NSA whistleblower contacted him and told him the NSA was conducting electronic surveillance of his communication.  To verify the authenticity of the claim the whistleblower told Carlson what the content of his private text messages and emails contained.  While alarming in part, again this should not be surprising.  [Video clip]

Tucker Carlson Announces Whistleblower Confirmed the NSA is Plotting to Leak Info and Get His Show Pulled Off Air.  Tucker Carlson has revealed that a whistleblower told his show that the National Security Agency is spying on him and plotting to leak information in an effort to have him pulled off the air.  Carlson announced the shocking news on Monday evening's episode of Tucker Carlson Tonight.  "The NSA is monitoring our electronic communications and is planning to leak them in an attempt to take this show off air," Carlson said, admitting that it is a shocking claim and normally he would be skeptical of it, as it is illegal for the NSA to spy on American citizens.  However, Carlson explained that the whistleblower even provided details about a story that the show was working on, which someone would only know from looking at his personal texts and emails.

NSA Agrees to Release Records on FBI's Improper Spying on 16,000 Americans.  The National Security Agency (NSA) has agreed to release records on the FBI's improper spying on thousands of Americans, the secretive agency disclosed in a recent letter.  The agreement may signal a rift between the NSA and the FBI, according to attorney Ty Clevenger.  Clevenger last year filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on behalf of The Transparency Project, a Texas nonprofit, seeking information on the FBI's improper searches of intelligence databases for information on 16,000 Americans.  The searches violated rules governing how to use the U.S. government's foreign intelligence information trove, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg, an Obama nominee who currently presides over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, wrote in a 2019 memorandum and order that was declassified last year.

FBI built fake phone company in global wiretapping operation of historic proportions.  The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation built a fake telephone service provider for a secret worldwide operation that officials described on Monday as "a watershed moment" in law enforcement history.  The operation, known as TROJAN SHIELD, began in 2018 and involved over 9,000 law enforcement officers in 18 countries around the world.  When the existence of TROJAN SHIELD was announced in a series of official news conferences yesterday, officials said the operation had "given law enforcement a window into a level of criminality [that has never been] seen before on this scale".  The operation centered on the creation of an entirely fake telephone service provider, known as ANØM.  The fake firm advertised cell phones that were specially engineered to provide peer-to-peer encryption, thus supposedly making it impossible for government authorities to decipher intercepted messages or telephone calls between users.

USA Today fights FBI subpoena for readers' data from report on shooting that killed two agentsUSA Today is fighting an FBI demand for information related to readers who accessed a report on the newspaper's website earlier this year about a shooting in which two agents were killed during a search at a Florida apartment.  The FBI made the request via subpoena to USA Today's owner, Gannett, in April.  The agency sought information including the IP addresses and mobile identification information of people who accessed the Feb. 2 article about the agents during a 35-minute window.  After Gannett objected to disclosing the subpoenaed records, the FBI confirmed on May 25 it had received the response, and the company moved to quash the subpoena as unconstitutional, according to a May 28 court filing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The New Domestic War on Terror Has Already Begun — Even Without the New Laws Biden Wants.  Pending Domestic War on Terror legislation favored by the White House — sponsored by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) — would simply amend the old War on Terror laws, which permitted a wide range of powers to fight foreign terrorist organizations, so as to now allow the U.S. government to also use those powers against groups designated as domestic terror organizations.  Just as was true of the first War on Terror, this second one would thus vest the government with new, wide-ranging powers of surveillance, detention, prosecution and imprisonment, though this time for use against U.S. citizens on U.S. soil.  Even while that legislation is pending, the U.S. government is already waging an aggressive new domestic war on terror that has largely flown under the radar.  Grave warnings from DHS are now just as common, vague and unreliable — but also fear-inducing — as they were in the days of Tom Ridge.  Domestic surveillance is also on the rise.

House Democrat, Republican leaders demand investigation of Postal Service spying.  The House Oversight Committee on Tuesday [5/25/2021] urged an inspector general to investigate the extent of the U.S. Postal Service's surveillance of Americans' social media accounts.  The Postal Service's law enforcement arm previously confirmed to lawmakers' staffs that the agency's Internet Covert Operations Program or iCOP had monitored social media for "inflammatory" posts and shared details about the accounts and posts with other federal law enforcement agencies, according to lawmakers.  "These activities raise serious questions about the scope of the program, the extent of sharing of information among law enforcement agencies, and whether [U.S. Postal Inspection Service] has the authority to conduct such an operation," the committee's top Democratic and Republican wrote in a letter to Postal Service Inspector General Tammy L. Whitcomb.

Your Car Is Spying On You, and a CBP Contract Shows the Risks.  U.S. Customs and Border Protection purchased technology that vacuums up reams of personal information stored inside cars, according to a federal contract reviewed by The Intercept, illustrating the serious risks in connecting your vehicle and your smartphone.  The contract, shared with The Intercept by Latinx advocacy organization Mijente, shows that CBP paid Swedish data extraction firm MSAB $456,073 for a bundle of hardware including five iVe "vehicle forensics kits" manufactured by Berla, an American company.  A related document indicates that CBP believed the kit would be "critical in CBP investigations as it can provide evidence [not only] regarding the vehicle's use, but also information obtained through mobile devices paired with the infotainment system."  The document went on to say that iVe was the only tool available for purchase that could tap into such systems.

Report: USPS 'Internet Covert Operations Program' Is 'Much Broader in Scope Than Previously Known'.  Last month, Yahoo News ripped the lid off of a government surveillance program run by a division of the USPS. The program monitors, scans, and collects information on social media postings considered "inflammatory" enough to pass along to other government agencies.  It includes posts promoting the coordination and planning of upcoming political demonstrations.  The program's existence came out after the news outlet obtained a copy of a March USPS bulletin that was "distributed through the Department of Homeland Security's fusion centers."  It warned of the possibility of violence at upcoming protests though they acknowledged they had no reliable intelligence to suggest any alleged threats were legitimate.

1 in 10 police departments can now access videos from millions of consumers' Ring security cameras.  Nearly one in 10 U.S. police departments have access to videos from millions of privately owned Amazon Ring devices.  Ring's Active Agency Map shows the home security camera company now has partnerships with more than 1,800 police departments in the U.S. out of nearly 18,000 total departments across the country.  The company's "Neighbors" app notifies Ring users when neighbors or local law enforcement agencies send out public safety alerts.

USPS Uses Facial Recognition and Other High-Tech Tools To Monitor Social Media.  Is every federal agency a surveillance unit now?  With a plethora of law enforcement and intelligence agencies deputized to monitor American communications, it seems insane to think that the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) would also be enlisted for this task.  But indeed it has been, as Yahoo News revealed earlier this year.  Now, new details have emerged about the postal service's Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP), including the fact that the agency has been using facial recognition software from Clearview AI and has a specific program to monitor people posting about protests.  As part of the iCOP program, postal service employees have been monitoring Americans' social media posts and sharing things they deem suspicious with law enforcement agencies.  "Yet the program is much broader in scope than previously known and includes analysts who assume fake identities online, use sophisticated intelligence tools and employ facial recognition software," writes Yahoo News' Jana Winter.

Facial recognition, fake identities and digital surveillance tools:  Inside the post office's covert internet operations program.  The post office's law enforcement arm has faced intense congressional scrutiny in recent weeks over its Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP), which tracks social media posts of Americans and shares that information with other law enforcement agencies.  Yet the program is much broader in scope than previously known and includes analysts who assume fake identities online, use sophisticated intelligence tools and employ facial recognition software, according to interviews and documents reviewed by Yahoo News.  Among the tools used by the analysts is Clearview AI, a facial recognition software that scrapes images off public websites, a practice that has raised the ire of privacy advocates.  The U.S. Postal Inspection Service uses Clearview's facial recognition database of over 3 billion images from arrest photos collected from across social media "to help identify unknown targets in an investigation or locate additional social media accounts for known individuals," according to materials reviewed by Yahoo News.

Pentagon Surveilling Americans Without a Warrant, Senator Reveals.  The Pentagon is carrying out warrantless surveillance of Americans, according to a new letter written by Senator Ron Wyden and obtained by Motherboard.  Senator Wyden's office asked the Department of Defense (DoD), which includes various military and intelligence agencies such as the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), for detailed information about its data purchasing practices after Motherboard revealed special forces were buying location data. [...] Netflow data creates a picture of traffic flow and volume across a network.  DNS records relate to when a user looks up a particular domain, and a system then converts that text into the specific IP address for a computer to understand; essentially a form of internet browsing history.  Wyden's new letter to Austin urging the DoD to release that answer and others says "Information should only be classified if its unauthorized disclosure would cause damage to national security.  The information provided by DoD in response to my questions does not meet that bar."

Washington Post says US secretly obtained reporters' records.  The Trump Justice Department secretly seized the phone records of three Washington Post reporters who covered the federal investigation into ties between Russia and Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, the newspaper said Friday.  The disclosure sets up a new clash between the federal government and news organizations and advocates for press freedom, who regard the seizures of reporters' records as incursions into constitutionally protected newsgathering activity.

Lara Logan:  Surveillance of Americans 'much, much worse' than most realize, only benefits 'tyrannical elite'.  Fox Nation host Lara Logan warned on Wednesday that Big Tech surveillance of Americans is "much worse" than most people think, while adding that we are quickly becoming a "monitored class" of people much like what occurs in totalitarian regimes like China.  In an interview with Fox News host Pete Hegseth said Logan, who hosts "No Agenda" on the network's streaming service, is currently working on a documentary that will air in June detailing just how widespread the surveillance is, and why it's a problem for Americans who live under Constitution that supposedly protects their privacy.  "I can honestly tell you that with everything in me it is much, much worse than anybody realizes.  Most people have no idea how valuable our information is," Logan began.

Russiagate the Model.  On Monday, reports surfaced that the Joe Biden administration may use private firms to collect intelligence on its critics, recategorized by the White House as "domestic terrorists."  What makes them dangerous, according to Biden surrogates, is that they believe — like many of the participants in the Jan. 6 events who have been held for five months in Washington, D.C. jails without bail — the 2020 election was compromised.  Do Biden aides believe that using outside contractors to circumvent laws against spying on Americans will shore up the president's legitimacy?  No, the aim is to prevent the America First movement from mobilizing.  To kill it before it grows, according to reports, the private firms licensed by the government, will "gather large amounts of information that could help [U.S. intelligence] identify key narratives as they emerge."  The basic premise of this Biden initiative should sound familiar — it's Russiagate's first plot point.

House Republicans Demand Answers from FBI on FISA Abuse Revelations.  House Republicans have called on FBI Director Christopher Wray to provide a "detailed accounting" of every instance since 2019 that the agency has used warrantless surveillance authority to obtain information unrelated to national security, while accusing the FBI of "illegal spying activities."  Reps.  Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), in a joint letter to Wray, cited a 67-page opinion from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), which they said shows the FBI has been "seriously and systematically abusing its warrantless electronic surveillance authority" by overstepping the limitations under section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).  Section 702 allows the attorney general and the director of national intelligence to jointly authorize warrantless surveillance of non-U.S. citizens residing outside the United States, subject to certain constraints.  These include requiring investigators to adopt "targeting procedures" to make sure the information obtained under Section 702 warrantless surveillance is indeed limited to noncitizens and to prevent the "intentional acquisition" of communications within the United States.  Section 702 also requires a FISA court order for a review of query results in criminal investigations that aren't related to national security.

Rep. Jim Jordan Calls for Hearings into DHS Using Non-Profits to Spy on Republicans.  Fox News host Laura Ingraham warned Monday [5/3/2021] that the Department of Homeland Security is using private messaging apps to spy on Americans to look for domestic extremist chatter.  She cited a CNN report that said DHS is "limited in how it can monitor citizens online without justification and is banned from activities like assuming false identities to gain access to private messaging apps used by extremist groups such as the Proud Boys or Oath Keepers."  Therefore, according to CNN, DHS might partner with non-profit groups that "periodically use covert identities to access private social media groups like Telegram, and others used by domestic extremist groups," which "thrusts DHS into a potential legal gray area even as it plugs an intelligence gap that critics say contributed to the failure to predict the assault on the Capitol."

CNN: Biden Admin Considering Using Private Firms To Conduct Warrantless Surveillance Of U.S. Citizens.  President Joe Biden's administration is reportedly considering working with private firms to monitor "extremist chatter by Americans online" because the federal government is legally limited to what they can do without a warrant.  The report said the federal government is also banned from using false identities to gain access to private messaging apps and groups.  The government can scan public social media profiles.  "The plan being discussed inside DHS, according to multiple sources, would, in effect, allow the department to circumvent" laws that limit what the federal government can do in surveilling U.S. citizens without a warrant, CNN reported.  "A source familiar with the effort said it is not about decrypting data but rather using outside entities who can legally access these private groups to gather large amounts of information that could help DHS identify key narratives as they emerge."

Biden Administration considering outsourcing domestic spying to private companies to get around laws that prohibit domestic spying.  [Scroll down]  See, the problem they are trying to address is that whole cumbersome civil liberties thing.  Constantly gumming up the works.  Apparently these private messaging apps are not used by extremist groups like Antifa.  Besides, Antifa is not extremist.  Also, it's not a group. [...] Using private agents you pay as opposed to public agents you also pay, gets around the bother of having to first get permission from a judge in the judicial branch of government the purpose of which is to provide a check on the unbridled power of the executive branch, and in doing so, provides unbridled power to the executive branch.

Biden team may partner with private firms to monitor extremist chatter online.  The Biden administration is considering using outside firms to track extremist chatter by Americans online, an effort that would expand the government's ability to gather intelligence but could draw criticism over surveillance of US citizens.  The Department of Homeland Security is limited in how it can monitor citizens online without justification and is banned from activities like assuming false identities to gain access to private messaging apps used by extremist groups such as the Proud Boys or Oath Keepers.

The Editor says...
Is BLM an extremist group?  Is Antifa an extremist group?  Is Planned Parenthood an extremist group?  Is the NAACP an extremist group?  Is "The Squad" an extremist group?  What about the Black Panthers?  What about the Nation of Islam?  What about Jeremiah Wright's church?

Spy Plane Identified Circling the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum Where the Election Audit Is Taking Place.  A spy plane was identified flying over the Maricopa County audit.  What information are they after?  Sunday morning [5/2/2021] we were alerted to the fact that a plane was circling around the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum last week.  We received only the picture above.  We followed up and found more information on this plane and additional information on other events where a plane circled the sky in a similar fashion.  One such incident was in San Bernadino after the shooting spree by Islamic terrorists Farook and Malik.  But we looked further into this flight above in Arizona and found the plane used was owned by the City of Phoenix.

Chinese smart TVs are snooping on their owners.  Hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers had a surprise discovery last week:  Their TV sets know a lot more about them than they'd ever thought, or ever agreed to.  It turns out Beijing-based Gozen Data, a leading Chinese TV viewership analytics firm, has been collecting personal data in real time using smart TVs — without users' consent.  The practice was first exposed when a user on V2EX, an online forum for tech enthusiasts, noticed their Skyworth-brand smart TV had become slow and analyzed the code of back-end programs to figure out why.  What they found was a program that scans the user's Wi-Fi every 10 minutes and uploads a wide range of information to Gozen Data's website.

Gaetz, House Republicans introduce bill to defund Postal Service covert operations program.  Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and a group of other House Republicans on Friday introduced legislation to end funding for an arm of the U.S. Postal Service that carries out online surveillance.  The legislation was rolled out in response to a March bulletin, reported by Yahoo News earlier this month, distributed by the Postal Service's Inspection Service's Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP).  The bulletin cited iCOP concerns about potential "significant" protests planned for March 20 based on "online inflammatory material" and posts on social media platforms Parler and Telegram.  "iCOP analysts are currently monitoring these social media channels for any potential threats stemming from the scheduled protests and will disseminate intelligence updates if needed," the agency wrote in the bulletin.

USPS admits it IS spying on Americans:  Law enforcement arm is snooping on social media posts and 'working with other agencies'.  The U.S. Postal Service admitted during a Wednesday meeting to spying on citizens with its law enforcement arm, claiming it worked with other agencies to track Americans' social media posts.  Chief Postal Inspector Gary Barksdale briefed lawmakers on the Oversight Committee regarding the program known as iCOP, or Internet Covert Operations Program, but could not provide a date for when it was initiated.  'The Chief Postal Inspector was wildly unprepared for this briefing,' GOP Representative Nancy Mace of South Carolina told following the meeting with Barksdale.  The inspector was called for a briefing after iCOP was first made public in a report last week.

Postal Service 'wildly unprepared' to answer allegations it spied on Americans:  Rep. Nancy Mace.  The U.S. Postal Service failed to answer lawmakers' questions in a Wednesday briefing about its alleged spying on Americans, according to Rep. Nancy Mace, South Carolina Republican.  Chief Postal Inspector Gary R. Barksdale briefed lawmakers on Wednesday about its "Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP)" that allegedly monitored Americans' social media posts.  Mr. Barksdale could not give a date for when the program started and denied that it was even a program but said an 'executive' was overseeing it, according to Ms. Mace's office.  "The Chief Postal Inspector was wildly unprepared for this briefing," said Ms. Mace in a statement to The Washington Times.

Declassified FISA Opinion Shows More FBI Abuses.  A FISA Court opinion and order declassified today reveals continued FBI abuses of "raw FISA-acquired information."  After a DOJ National Security Division review, the FISA Court noted "the FBI's failure to properly apply its querying standard when searching Section 702-acquired information was more pervasive than was previously believed."  This opinion includes these findings:  April 2019 - July 2019:  An FBI technical information specialist was involved in "Compliance incidents" by conducting 124 queries of Section 702-acquired information on (1) Volunteers who had requested to participate in the FBI's "Citizens Academy"; (2) Persons who needed to enter the field office to perform repairs; and (3) Persons who reported they were victims of a crime.

FISA court doc shows FBI looked for domestic terrorists without warrants, report.  The FBI has without court orders looked through troves of National Security Agency foreign communications for information on American "racially motivated violent extremists," according to a news report based on a recently declassified report.  The agency conducted the reviews despite being warned several years ago by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which approves warrants for such investigations, that such inquiries were constitutionally alarming, according to the Daily Beast.  The FBI's warrant-free queries, known as backdoor searches, were related to criminal investigations including those on "domestic terrorism involving racially motivated violent extremists."

The Editor says...
Why limit the search to those who are racially motivated?  Aren't other motivations just as dangerous?  Terrorists motived by Islam, for example.  Antifa terrorists motivated by anti-capitalism.  Eco-terrorists motivated by militant environmentalism.  In general, violence and hate speech come from the left.

The Postal Service Is a Spy-Op Now.  Why is the U.S. Postal Service (USPIS) reading Americans' social media posts?  Now there's a question for someone to ask Biden administration Press Secretary Jen Psaki.  The news broke this week when someone leaked a "Situational Awareness Bulletin" to Yahoo News.  Dated March 16, 2021, this two-page "intelligence summary" reported that USPIS's Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP) had monitored "multiple social media platforms" including Facebook, Parler, Twitter, and Telegram.  What caught their eye?  Postings and conversations related to possible March 20 protests at state capitals and in Washington, D.C., against Biden's election, 5G cellular, and tyranny.  The agency did not say it was investigating any of the individuals surveilled.  Rather, the USPIS document said iCOP had shared the "inflammatory" postings with the Department of Homeland Security's fusion centers, which merge intelligence across a variety of federal and state agencies.

If you really think somebody is reading your email, some handy tips about low-level encryption can be found here.

FBI turn to high-tech facial recognition, undercover operations to nab Capitol invaders.  The number of U.S. Capitol invaders charged with crimes has topped 400, Justice Department records show, and in a recent case the FBI disclosed new twists in identifying and ensnaring a suspect.  A Washington Times review of scores of law enforcement affidavits justifying an arrest show this pattern:  Agents examine thousands of videos and photos taken inside the Capitol on Jan. 6.  In old-school detective work, officers pick out a target and compare Capitol images to online posts from that day or previous days based on tips from the invaders' friends, co-workers and even family.  To seal the deal, FBI agents openly approach the suspect in a phone call or home visit.  The targets in many cases readily admit to their actions.  It is difficult to deny wronging when caught on camera.

The US Postal Service Surveillance Scandal is Targeting Trump Supporters, Not All Americans.  Journalist Lee Smith hits the sweet spot in his discussion of the U.S. Postal Service conducting surveillance on Americans.  As Smith notes the targeting is not to identify the political ideology of "all Americans", rather the objective is surveillance of people who likely did not vote for Joe Biden.  [Video clip]  Again it is important to repeat, this type of activity is one long continuum.  The IRS was previously used; federal contractors for the FBI have previously been used; allied Big Tech companies have been used; and now the United States Postal Service is running a covert surveillance program against Americans that sounds suspiciously like the prior DHS announcement.

Congress Presses Postal Service After Report Agents Are Monitoring American Social Media Accounts.  Members of Congress on Thursday [4/22/2021] asked Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to provide information about an alleged group in the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) that has been monitoring Americans' social media accounts.  The United States Postal Inspection Service is the law enforcement arm of the Postal Service.  The inspection service has a group called the Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP) that has been monitoring activity on social media, including posts on Parler and Telegram, according to Yahoo News, which says it obtained a March government bulletin on the matter.  "If the reporting is accurate, iCOP raises serious questions about the federal government's ongoing surveillance of, and encroachment upon, Americans' private lives and discourse," House Oversight Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) and House Judiciary Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), along with 30 other Republican lawmakers, wrote to DeJoy.

We Discovered Where the Post Office Likely Got Their List of Conservatives to Spy On.  Today we found out that the US Postal Service is spying on Americans who just happen to be conservative.  We noted that the law enforcement arm of the US Postal Service, the US Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), is secretly monitoring and collecting Americans' social media posts, according to documents obtained by Yahoo News.  The spying program is known as iCOP, or Internet Covert Operations Program, and involves goons trolling through social media sites to look for "inflammatory" posts — and then sharing the information with other government agencies.  Last we checked, "inflammatory" language was covered by the First Amendment.

The Postal Service is running a 'covert operations program' that monitors Americans' social media posts.  The law enforcement arm of the U.S. Postal Service has been quietly running a program that tracks and collects Americans' social media posts, including those about planned protests, according to a document obtained by Yahoo News.  The details of the surveillance effort, known as iCOP, or Internet Covert Operations Program, have not previously been made public.  The work involves having analysts trawl through social media sites to look for what the document describes as "inflammatory" postings and then sharing that information across government agencies.

Shedding light on fairness in AI with a new data set.  Facebook AI has built and open-sourced a new, unique data set called Casual Conversations, consisting of 45,186 videos of participants having nonscripted conversations.  It serves as a tool for AI researchers to surface useful signals that may help them evaluate the fairness of their computer vision and audio models across subgroups of age, gender, apparent skin tone, and ambient lighting.  To our knowledge, it's the first publicly available data set featuring paid individuals who explicitly provided their age and gender themselves — as opposed to information labeled by third parties or estimated using ML models.

Devin Nunes warns intel chiefs against targeting Americans, 'particularly Republicans'.  Republicans are putting the Biden intelligence chiefs on notice that their agencies are moving dangerously close to spying on Americans in the U.S.  They raised concerns on Thursday [4/15/2021] at a House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence hearing featuring President Biden's five top intelligence officials, including Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines and FBI Director Christopher A. Wray.  The fears stem from both the past and the present.

Appeals Court Hearing:  Pelosi/Schiff Argue Congress Can Secretly Subpoena Phone Records of Citizens.  Judicial Watch today [4/12/2021] released a transcript of the March 24 oral argument before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit challenging a lower court ruling upholding the secrecy of controversial secretly-issued congressional subpoenas for phone records by Rep. Adam Schiff, Chairman of the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, relating to the impeachment of President Trump.  The appeals court hearing came after a lower court ruling in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, Judicial Watch v.  Adam Schiff and U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (No. 1:19-03790)), requesting subpoenas issued by the Committee on or about September 30, 2019.  The Judicial Watch lawsuit sought the controversial impeachment-related subpoenas for phone records, including those of Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's lawyer.  Schiff and the Committee are being represented by the Office of General Counsel for the House of Representatives.  The phone records led to the publication of the private phone records of Giuliani, Congressman Devin Nunes, journalist John Solomon, Trump attorney Jay Sekulow, attorney Victoria Toensing, and other American citizens.

I wish this article was completely off-topic, but I don't think it is.
Senators Offer to Let NSA Hunt Cyber Actors Inside the US.  A bipartisan group of senators offered to help expand the National Security Agency's authorities allowing the spy agency to hunt domestically for signals intelligence against foreign adversaries that U.S. officials have said are behind a string of recent attacks, like the recent SolarWinds hack.  Several members of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday voiced their support for expanded authorities for the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command to conduct more intelligence gathering domestically, something that the Biden administration already is exploring, according to Gen. Paul Nakasone, who leads both agencies.  Committee members heaped praise on Nakasone for his efforts to secure the 2020 elections from foreign interference.  The NSA and Cyber Command conducted some two dozen operations to protect U.S. infrastructure and target adversaries in the runup to November, Nakasone said.

Senators on Armed Services Committee Promote Expansion of NSA Domestic Data Gathering and Surveillance — NSA Response:  "The Fourth Amendment is a "Key Obstacle" You Need to Remove.  OK, before I blow a blood pressure cuff on this issue, please keep in mind the warnings provided on these pages about DHS now starting to assemble lists of dissident citizens under the guise of domestic extremists.  Also remind yourself the same DHS and FBI are now using private contractors embedded in Big Tech to scour public information on social media and provide feedback to help DHS assemble those lists.  Now, we take that foundation and build it one step further.  This well-written report about the recent Senate Armed Services Committee discussion with the National Security Agency (NSA) needs to be absorbed with the prior information as context.  These paragraphs are alarming in the extreme: [...]

Magic Kingdom Uses COVID-19 As An Excuse To Install Facial Recognition.  Sadly, Walt Disney World has joined the ranks of airports and corporations using COVID-19 as an excuse to install facial recognition.  According to the Disney Tourist Blog, Walt Disney World will [test] facial recognition at Magic Kingdom. [...] Walt Disney World has been treating families like suspected criminals at a TSA checkpoint so it's the next logical step for them.

Amazon is reportedly telling delivery drivers they must give 'biometric consent' so the company can track them as a condition of the job.  Amazon is telling its delivery drivers to sign a consent form that allows the company to track them based on biometric data as "a condition of delivering Amazon packages," Motherboard's Lauren Kaori Gurley reported on Tuesday [3/23/2021].  Thousands of drivers across the US must sign the "biometric consent" paperwork this week, and if they don't they'll lose their jobs, according to Motherboard.  The form, which was viewed by the outlet and published in the report, states that Amazon would be allowed to use "on-board safety camera technology which collects your photograph for the purposes of confirming your identity and connecting you to your driver account." The system would then "collect, store, and use Biometric Information from such photographs."  The technology specifically would track a driver's location and movement, like how many miles they drive, when they brake and turn, and how fast they are driving.

Greenwald: If Left Can Create Narrative The Country Is Always Under Threat, They Can Expand Mass Surveillance.  Glenn Greenwald warned the left is desperate to contain the "mythology" of what happened on the day of the Capitol Riot in order to preserve the Capitol Wall and have Congress create laws expanding surveillance.  [Video clip]

China using 'emotion recognition technology' for surveillance.  China has been ramping up surveillance known as "emotion recognition technology" in order to monitor human feelings — and help them with law enforcement, according to reports.  Emotion recognition technology tracks traits such as facial muscle movements, vocal tone and body movements in order to infer a person's feelings, the state-run Global Times reported.  "Emotion recognition is definitely the direction of humanity's future tech development," Ma Qingguo, who is head of the Academy of Neuroeconomics and Neuromanagement at Ningbo University, told the outlet.  Some Chinese experts boast that the new technology is up to 95 percent accurate at detecting people's emotions.

Drones With 'Most Advanced AI Ever' Coming Soon To Your Local Police Department.  Three years ago, Customs and Border Protection placed an order for self-flying aircraft that could launch on their own, rendezvous, locate and monitor multiple targets on the ground without any human intervention.  In its reasoning for the order, CBP said the level of monitoring required to secure America's long land borders from the sky was too cumbersome for people alone.  To research and build the drones, CBP handed $500,000 to Mitre Corp., a trusted nonprofit Skunk Works that was already furnishing border police with prototype rapid DNA testing and smartwatch hacking technology.  Mitre's unmanned aerial vehicles didn't take off.  They were "tested but not fielded operationally" as "the gap from simulation to reality turned out to be much larger than the research team originally envisioned," a CBP spokesperson says.  But the setback didn't end CBP's sci-fi dreams.  This year, America's border police will test automated drones from Skydio, the Redwood City, Calif.-based startup that on Monday [3/1/2021] announced it had raised an additional $170 million in venture funding at a valuation of $1 billion.

Instagram Will Now Monitor Your Private Messages To Watch For 'Hate Speech'.  Instagram announced in the past week that they will begin policing private direct messages in their latest crackdown on so-called "hate speech" on their platform, a report says.  In line with the recent racial abusive comments that are "targeted at footballers in the U.K." after losing a match, the social media platform Instagram announced Wednesday that they will be imposing stricter measures in order "to help prevent" the further spread of abuse and hate speech in direct messages, Daily Wire reported.

In San Diego, 'Smart' Streetlights Spark Surveillance Reform.  A homicide detective looked up from the scene of a fatal shooting in San Diego's Gaslamp District in August 2018 and saw something unusual:  The streetlight glowing overhead didn't look like a normal streetlight.  That's because it wasn't.  The LED light on the pole was also equipped with an optical sensor.  As it illuminated the city, it was capturing 24-hour video footage of the scenes beneath it.  "We had no idea what the quality of video would be, or what it would capture," said Jeffrey Jordon, who leads special projects and legislative affairs for the San Diego Police Department.  "The first time we saw it we were like, '[Indeed], that's really good video.'"  The San Diego Police Department knew that the city had been recently outfitted with a few thousand such "smart" streetlights, installed to monitor car and foot traffic, Jordon says.  But until that moment, he said the department had not yet thought to ask the city for the light's recordings.

The future of "smart" cities is in street lights.  Cities are rushing to replace their legacy street lights with "smart" LED fixtures that could one day be able to find you a parking space, monitor air quality, and announce an oncoming thunderstorm.  Despite a bumpy and controversial start to some smart street light programs, cities are saving tons of money on energy by banishing traditional bulbs — and may soon be able to turn a profit by monetizing data from smart LED sensors or leasing space on light poles.  There's been lots of hype about "smart cities," where connected technology helps governments serve us better — but also lots of money wasted on expensive projects that fizzled or caused public outcry over police use of camera surveillance.

Is the FBI Already Engaged in a Coverup in the Nashville Bombing?  [Scroll down]  There is nothing delusional or irrational at all in thinking 5G, 4G, or any G before or since, including the earliest iterations of cellular, is being used to spy on Americans.  It's a fact.  It is and has been.  Indeed, it has been known since the publication of James Bamford's book "The Puzzle Palace" that the National Security Agency and others have the capability to spy on virtually every citizen of this country — and that was close to 40 years ago (1983)!  And it's only gotten worse since.  I'm sorry to say it, but anyone who thinks he or she has any privacy is a fool.  Even the current president was spied upon.  Edward Snowden, as I indicated in my previous column, made it clear just how deeply implicated AT&T is in this activity.  In fact, that company may well be the government's principal private industry ally in clandestine work, helping to connect it with other cellular companies.  If I know that, why wouldn't Warner, an IT professional, know that? [...] I believe they are once again covering up here, creating a distraction from the actual motive, because the one thing they don't want to be investigated — well, one among many — is the alliance between private industry and our intelligence agencies, coupled with the realization we all live now in an Orwellian surveillance culture, not dissimilar to that in China.

Harris Poll:  Most Americans Concerned Govt Tracking Them Through Cellphone.  Fifty-five percent of American adults are concerned that the government is tracking them through location data generated from their cellphones, according to a new Harris Poll survey, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday [11/25/2020].  The survey also revealed that 77% of respondents said the government should get a warrant to purchase the kind of detailed location information that data brokers regularly buy and sell on the commercial market.  The government is currently buying such data for criminal law enforcement and border-security purposes, but without any court oversight, according to the Journal.

Mississippi Cops Can Now Use Your Ring Doorbell Camera To Live Stream Your Neighborhood.  The Jackson, Mississippi police department is piloting a 45 day program that allows them to live stream private security cameras, including Amazon Ring cameras, at the residences of its citizens.  It's no surprise that Amazon's Ring cameras were the only brand named for the pilot program, as EFF pointed out, since they have over 1,000 partnerships with local police departments.  The program allows Ring owners to patch their camera streams to a "Real Time Crime Center" - i.e. a dispatcher on desk duty whose new favorite way of passing the time is to watch you bring out your garbage twice a week in a bathrobe.

Michigan Governor:  Up To Six Months In Prison If Businesses Don't Surveil Customers For Contact Tracing.  The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is requiring restaurants, barbershops, tattoo parlors, recreational facilities, and entertainment establishments to record the names, contact information, and visit times of all customers to "aid with contact tracing." Any establishment that does not comply is threatened with a maximum $200 fine and a misdemeanor charge punishable with up to six months in prison.  The order, announced Friday [10/30/2020], comes as Michigan's Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and her administration began backtracking on the state's latest reopening plan and tightening COVID-19 restrictions, citing rising hospitalizations and deaths.  Other states including New York have implemented similar contact tracing rules, requiring restaurants to record diners' information in the case of an outbreak.  In addition to scaling back the number of people at gatherings at indoor venues from 500 to 50, the order also advised against shouting and screaming at events, claiming that cheering could spread the virus in the air 30 times more than speaking.

A 'Persistent Eye in the Sky' Coming to a City Near You?  "Gorgon Stare will be looking at a whole city, so there will be no way for the adversary to know what we're looking at, and we can see everything."  That same persistent eye in the sky may soon be deployed over U.S. cities.  At the time he made that comment about surveillance drones over Afghanistan, Maj. General James Poss was the Air Force's top intelligence officer.  He was preparing to leave the Pentagon, and move over to the Federal Aviation Administration.  His job was to begin executing the plan to allow those same surveillance drones to fly over American cities.  This plan was ordered by Congress in the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act.  It directed the Departments of Defense and Transportation to "develop a plan for providing expanded access to the national airspace for unmanned aircraft systems of the Department of Defense."

Portland Bans Facial Recognition Technology to Protect Peaceful Rioters.  Portland has some really, really strange things going on.  On Wednesday [9/9/2020], amid a record-setting season of chaos, arson, vandalism, and violence in the streets, the city decided to ban the use of facial-recognition technology by local law enforcement. [...] What's the technology good for?  Well, it "could help with tasks ranging from solving crime to checking student attendance at school."  But it "comes with fundamental privacy issues."  In addition to the cops, "private entities in places of public accommodation" are now barred from using it as well.  That means businesses that serve the public — restaurants, grocery stores, etc.

Portland Bans Police Using Facial-Recognition Technology.  On Wednesday [9/9/2020], the city of Portland — which has been decimated by rioters the last three months — banned the use of facial-recognition technology by local police.  "Its decision to prevent both local government and businesses from employing the technology appears to be the most sweeping ban yet by an individual city," CNN reported, adding:  ["]The new rule prevents 'private entities in places of public accommodation' in Portland from using it, too, referring to businesses that serve the general public — a grocery store or a pizza place, for instance.  It does not prevent individuals from setting up facial-recognition technology at home, such as a Google Nest camera that can spot familiar faces, or gadgets that use facial-recognition software for authenticating users, like Apple's Face ID feature for unlocking an iPhone.["]

60 Percent of Police Drones Are Chinese Made.  Chinese manufacturers produced more than three in five drones used by local and state law enforcement, potentially exposing sensitive geographic and personal data to the Chinese government.  Chinese tech companies have sold or gifted drones to more than 970 law enforcement and first responder agencies across the country, presenting a massive national security risk, according to a new report by John Venable and Lora Ries, senior research fellows at the conservative Heritage Foundation.  The authors of the report warn that the Chinese government can compel these companies to cough up sensitive data collected in the United States.  The technology could help Beijing identify vulnerabilities in U.S. critical infrastructure and track down the location of American civic leaders.

New York Cops stationed at tunnels and bridges to scan license plates.  Travelers coming into New York City from 35 COVID-19 hotspot states were met at road entry points Wednesday under a program announced earlier in the day by Mayor Bill de Blasio.  At a press conference on Wednesday morning, de Blasio said those who do not self-isolate for 14 days once they arrive in the city from those locations could face a $10,000 fine.  He failed to explain how he would enforce the order.  Pictures taken by show police officers stationed at the Goethals Bridge toll plaza Wednesday evening.  The sheriff's department scanned plates and pulled people over, onlookers say.

California Police, Amazon Ring Partnerships Raise Concerns.  As nationwide protests force a deep examination of police tactics and funding, technology companies say they are re-evaluating their relationship with law enforcement as well.  Amazon has halted police use of its facial recognition technology for one year and the website Nextdoor has stopped forwarding tips to police.  Now, privacy groups and activists are scrutinizing the relationships between Amazon and local police departments that allow law enforcement to request access to video recordings from doorbell cameras installed in private homes.  Amazon's expanding network of law enforcement "partners" for its Neighbors app remains intact, an arrangement that critics say is designed to boost sales of its Ring cameras and capitalize on fears of property crime.  Social media and news channels are filled with stories of package thieves and other incidents captured on Ring cameras, which acts as a form of marketing for the products.

Apple Suddenly Catches TikTok Secretly Spying On Millions Of iPhone Users.  As I reported on June 23, Apple has fixed a serious problem in iOS 14, due in the fall, where apps can secretly access the clipboard on users' devices.  Once the new OS is released, users will be warned whenever an app reads the last thing copied to the clipboard.  As I warned earlier this year, this is more than a theoretical risk for users, with countless apps already caught abusing their privacy in this way.  Worryingly, one of the apps caught snooping by security researchers Talal Haj Bakry and Tommy Mysk was China's TikTok.  Given other security concerns raised about the app, as well as broader worries given its Chinese origins, this became a headline issue.

Study Finds Some Governments Already Using Contact Tracing Apps For Mass Surveillance.  For months, privacy experts like Edward Snowden were warning about governments using virus contact tracing phone apps to conduct mass surveillance on citizen populations.  As most of us know, governments are already spying on domestic citizens, but if they have access to data from the contact tracing apps, it gives them yet another tool that helps to give them a clearer picture of everyone's day-to-day activities.

Liberals Still Think Obama Was the 'Best President Ever,' Here Are 14 Reasons Why That's Ridiculous.  [#8] He literally spied on millions of Americans.  Fans of the book 1984 got a real treat during the Obama years.  Potential terror suspects may not have been under the eye of the federal government, but everyday citizens were.  The NSA surveillance program experienced exponential growth on Obama's watch, altering surveillance methods away from terror suspects and toward mass surveillance.  According to the ACLU, there was a 64 percent growth in electronic spying by the United States government during Obama's first term.  The Obama administration argued in federal court in 2012 that the public has no "reasonable expectation of privacy" regarding their cell phone location data and that the government can obtain these records without a warrant.  Further blemishing Obama's record on civil liberties, his administration green-lighted a giant government database of information on millions of citizens who weren't even suspected of terrorism or any crime at all.

Obama Used National Security to Spy on Americans Opposed to Islamic Terrorists.  We know when Obamagate ended, but we don't know when the policy of spying on Americans began.  The tangled roots of the domestic surveillance of political opponents by the NSA predate the alarmism about Russia.  Tracing them back into the fetid swamp takes us not toward Moscow, but to Tehran.  The first public revelation that the White House was spying on high level members of the political opposition came in 2015.  Members of Congress had been eavesdropped on as part of an operation to sabotage Prime Minister Netanyahu's campaign against the Iran Deal.  The Israeli leader and his entire country had earlier been targeted by a massive spy campaign to stop Israel from taking out Iran's nukes.  But the new wave of surveillance was no longer just against a potential Israeli attack on Iran, but was part of a political campaign to win the domestic argument to aid Iran and legalize its nuclear program.

Recommendation: Do Not Install or Use Centralized Server Coronavirus (COVID-19) Contact Tracing Apps.  As I write this, various governments are rushing to implement — or have already implemented — a wide range of different smartphone apps purporting to be for public health COVID-19 "contact tracing" purposes.  The landscape of these is changing literally hour by hour, but I want to emphasize MOST STRONGLY that all of these apps are not created equal, and that I urge you not to install various of these unless you are required to by law — which can indeed be the case in countries such as China and Poland, just to name two examples.  Without getting into deep technical details here, there are basically two kinds of these contact tracing apps.  The first is apps that send your location or other contact-related data to centralized servers (whether the data being sent is claimed to be "anonymous" or not).  Regardless of promised data security and professed limitations on government access to and use of such data, I do not recommend voluntarily choosing to install and/or use these apps under any circumstances.

America is awash in cameras, a double-edged sword for protesters and police.  On Saturday night, as protests were still taking place in city streets across the country, the Dallas police department put out a call for help on Twitter.  It asked anyone who had video from the protests showing "illegal activity" to upload it to its anonymous tip app, iWatch Dallas.  What it got was a different kind of protest, in the form of a flood of videos and images of K-pop stars performing.  The department later tweeted that the app was down because of technical difficulties.  In the tense and escalating standoffs between law enforcement and protesters that have now spread to more than 100 cities in the wake of George Floyd's killing in Minneapolis police custody, photos and video footage are being collected and wielded by all sides.  And there is no shortage of cameras to pull from.

IBM Bails Out Of "Racist" Facial Recognition Software Development.  The field of companies racing to develop reliable facial recognition software just became a bit less crowded.  IBM CEO Arvind Krishna made the announcement this week that his company would no longer work on such projects while simultaneously sending a letter to Congress asking them to take action.  But what action is he looking for?  Congress isn't particularly well known for its coding skills.  No, Krishna isn't pulling his company out of the game because the technological challenges are too daunting.  He's bailing out because the software is racist, you see.  And he wants Congress to shun such applications as well.

The Rule of Doctors Threatens Trump's Reelection, American Well-Being.  Sports entrepreneur Mark Cuban, whose principal claim to fame is that he owns a basketball team, came up with the gimcrack idea of hiring and training millions of the newly unemployed to act as contract tracers, snooping around the sick to find out with whom they've come into contact.  Thus far, no one has suggested the East Asian solution (South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong), which involves cellphone monitoring via apps and quarantining visitors for 14 days with the mobile phone equivalent of an ankle bracelet, but you can bet that's coming.

8 Genius Ways to Trick Surveillance Systems.  Today's databases are jam-packed with, well, our data, from our license plate numbers to our fingerprints to photos of our actual faces.  But that doesn't sit right with some hackers, who take issue with all the ways we can be tracked and surveilled through technology.  So the world's best black hats have come up with a clever solution to defeat databases: feed them with faulty data to make the systems less effective and more expensive.  Here are some of their most resourceful methods for fooling surveillance systems, and how you can follow suit.

Your cell phone is being followed wherever you take it.
Apple data from Memorial Day weekend shows driving is back to pre-pandemic levels.  The number of Americans venturing out over the Memorial Day weekend has spiked to levels not seen since the coronavirus pandemic brought the United States to a grinding halt more than two months ago.  Cellphone data from Apple's COVID-19 mobility trends report shows that the number of people out driving across the US increased by more than 25 percent on Saturday [5/23/2020] alone.  The number of people out walking also increased on Saturday to levels not seen since mid-March when stay-at-home orders were put in place across most of the country.  In some states — like Missouri and Mississippi — the levels of driving at the weekend increased to levels not seen this year.

The Left Is What It Once Loathed.  Compare the current progressive view about civil liberties against the old liberal positions of the past.  Surveillance and spying on U.S. citizens?  Remember liberal Senator Frank Church of Idaho and his 1975 post-Watergate select Senate investigative committee?  It found the CIA, FBI, and NSA improperly over three decades had tapped into the phones of Americans, opened their mail, and worked with telecommunications companies to monitor the data of supposedly suspect politicians, actors, celebrities, and political activists.  "Collusion" with the communists and the Russians was often the pretense to surveil American citizens.  Consider Church either a bastion of civil liberties protection or a dangerous firebrand who weakened the CIA and FBI.  But the point is that the Left's position had once mostly been that the government's unelected deep-state intelligence officers simply had too much power to trust.

Dan Bongino Finds Out There's a Fourth Way the Government Can Spy on a Citizen.  [Scroll down]  The government is surveilling Kislyak.  They're receiving transcripts of his phone calls.  How do they know who he's speaking with?  FBI officials know Flynn would be vacationing in the Dominican Republic at the end of December.  It would be easy for Obama officials to identify a Kislyak call to the Dominican Republic.  How can Obama officials guarantee that Kislyak will call Flynn while he's there?  They might announce sanctions against Russians or they might expel 35 Russian diplomats and close two Russian compounds for interference in the 2016 presidential election.  Which is exactly what they did.  To be precise (and this distinction will become clear shortly), on December 28, Obama signed Executive Order #13757 which enacted sanctions on several Russians and Russian entities.  On the next day, December 29, 2016, Obama announced the closing of two Russian compounds and the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats.  Odd timing, is it not?  Why did they wait so long after Election Day?

Inside the Media's Desperate Cover-Up of 'Obamagate'.  Obama's Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, now a CNN contributor, told his viewers that it is "routine" to unmask Americans who are communicating with foreigners under surveillance.  Yahoo News told its readers unmaskings are "routine."  New York Times reporter Charlie Savage tweeted the practice is so "routine" that under President Trump, the National Security Agency handled 10,000 unmasking requests last year and 17,000 requests in 2018 — an average of 37 per day over the two years." [...] What all of these Obamagate deniers are about is a determined effort to journalistically cover-up what arguably is the biggest scandal in American history — a silent coup attempt against a President of the United States by a collection of dirty cops and dirty bureaucrats.

Was Obama systematically spying on everyone who could threaten his legacy?  [Scroll down]  First, I am indebted to Mary Theroux, of the Independent Institute, who alerted me to the National Security Agency's collection and storage capacity.  Its Utah Data Center, completed in May 2019 at a cost of $1.5 billion, is located at Camp Williams, near Bluffdale, Utah.  The structure covers somewhere between 1 [and] 1.5 million square feet, with 100,000 square feet dedicated to the data center and the remainder for technical support and administration.  The Data Center's storage capacity is estimated to exceed exabytes, plural.  If you're wondering, a single exabyte is equal to one quintillion bytes (or 10 to the 18th power of bytes).  That's a lot of information.  Mary Theroux pointed out that there is no way that the U.S. can scan this information in real time.  That is, there's nothing in this massive database that will alert our intelligence agencies to a planned terrorist attack.  Instead, this database exists as a repository to hunt down information after the fact.  In that regard, it gives the government power that Lavrentiy Beria only dreamed about.  Lavrentiy Beria was the head of the secret police under Stalin.

Report:  John Brennan Used Private Contractors to Unmask Trump Officials.  [Scroll down]  "Unmasking" an American is a major breach of people's privacy — attaching a name to a call that shouldn't have been eavesdropped on in the first place, not without a warrant.  So you're supposed to have a very strong intelligence or law enforcement pretext for doing so.  Instead, the Obama administration just stared unmasking every call made by Trump personnel "inadvertently" spied on by Obama's minions.  They did this so that the information could be leaked.  In his last days in office, Obama also changed the rules about who was allowed to see "unmasked' names.  Previously, the secret must be closely held — again, to keep some privacy for Americans wrongly spied on.  But Obama changed the rules so that the names could be propagated far and wide in government, with hundreds, possibly thousands, of people having access to unmasked names which are supposed to be a closely-held secret.  He did this so that anyone who wanted to leak the names to the press could not be caught — if just one or two people know the names, it would be easy to determine the leakers, and prosecute them.

ACLU attempts to block Baltimore surveillance planes from flight.  There was a rather amazing bit of good news coming out of Florida this weekend.  As of yesterday, there have been no murders recorded in the city of Miami for seven straight weeks.  If that sounds like an underwhelming statistic to you, we should put it in context and note that this is the first time that's happened since 1957.  The ongoing pandemic is being credited by the police as the largest factor driving this happy news.  I brought up that story mostly to draw a contrast with another city where things aren't going nearly as well.  That would be Baltimore, Maryland.  To be sure, the murder rate in Charm City is down from the same period last year (finally).  After averaging more than one murder per day through the first six weeks of the year, even some of the gang bangers seem to be staying at home.  But there have still been 85 murders on the year, with four more recorded in the past week.

Documents Reveal Feds Are Excited To Create A Mass Surveillance Network.  A FOIA request by the Electronic Privacy Information Center revealed how excited the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI) is about using CCTV cameras to create a national surveillance network.  An NSCAI presentation titled "Chinese Tech Landscape Overview" discusses China's facial recognition CCTV camera network in glowing terms.  "When we talk about data resources, really the largest data source is the government.'"  The presentation discusses how the Chinese government profits from encouraging companies to use facial recognition on visitors and employees. [...] In America things are not all that different.  In the United States, the Feds encourage private companies like Clearview AI, Amazon Ring and Flock Safety to use facial recognition and automatic license plate readers to identify everyone.

Adam Schiff's surveillance state.  Lawmakers are debating ways to prevent the Federal Bureau of Investigation from abusing its surveillance authority again.  While they're at it, they have an obligation to address their own privacy transgressor, Rep. Adam Schiff.  That's the gist of a pointed letter from Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr, which landed Thursday at the House Intelligence Committee.  Chairman Schiff spent months conducting secret impeachment hearings.  His ensuing report revealed that he'd also set up his own surveillance state.  Mr. Schiff issued secret subpoenas to phone carriers, to obtain and publish the call records of political rivals.  Targets included Rudy Giuliani and another attorney of the president, the ranking Republican on the Intelligence Committee (Rep. Devin Nunes) and a journalist (John Solomon).

Why FISA Should Be Abolished!  It's time to put "foreign" back into the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.  The Russia Hoax exposed FISA to the world; all the lies and deceptions that were sold to the FISA court to spy on Trump campaign associate, Carter Page, is proof.  As a result, Americans have lost trust in the FISA court... because they have lost faith in the FBI & DOJ to present evidence honestly in surveillance warrant applications.  There are only two real solutions.  1) Abolish FISA or, 2) Enact Senator Rand Paul's proposal that it can no longer be used against Americans.  Republicans are reluctant to renew FISA because of the chronic and pervasive abuse.  Democrats, who supposedly care more than anyone about civil liberties, should also be against it.

State proposes spy cameras to charge 'presumed guilty' citizens.  [The Virginia] legislature is considering the deployment of automated cameras and radar to "bring speeding charges for which the accused is presumed guilty." The Rutherford Institute is denouncing House Bill 1442, which would authorize "photo speed monitoring devices."  "At a time when the Commonwealth of Virginia is struggling with critical issues on almost every front, it is a poor reflection on the General Assembly that one of its top legislative priorities — authorizing the installation and deployment of automated speed cameras throughout the state — involves a backdoor means of generating revenue for localities and police agencies at the expense of the citizenry's rights to privacy and due process," said constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, the institute's president.  "To the detriment of all, House Bill 1442 will further extend the government's pervasive and oppressive surveillance of citizens."

Trump's Presidency Reveals 7 Undeniable Facts About The Swamp.  [#7] As a result of what became known as Edward Snowden's 2013 Global Surveillance Disclosures, American and British initiatives were exposed including PRISM and Tempora that revealed cooperation with governments around the world working in connection with multi-national corporations including Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, Google, British Telecommunications, and Verizon.  Moreover, backdoor data-gathering programs such as XKeyscore were unveiled along with other various ways by which government spooks could intercept phone calls, text messages, and private data from commonly used internet platforms like Yahoo.  Just as technological breakthroughs in computing and the proliferation of "smart" communication and entertainment devices gave rise to government spying, it was not a very large leap of understanding to see how easy it would be to blackmail and control not only citizens, but government administrators, politicians, officials, and even judges, around the world.

Rogue NYPD cops are using facial recognition app Clearview.  Rogue NYPD officers are using a sketchy facial recognition software on their personal phones that the department's own facial recognition unit doesn't want to touch because of concerns about security and potential for abuse, The [New York] Post has learned.  Clearview AI, which has scraped millions of photos from social media and other public sources for its facial recognition program — earning a cease-and-desist order from Twitter — has been pitching itself to law enforcement organizations across the country, including to the NYPD.  The department's facial recognition unit tried out the app in early 2019 as part of a complimentary 90-day trial but ultimately passed on it, citing a variety of concerns.  Those include app creator Hoan Ton-That's ties to, which was involved in a widespread phishing scam in 2009, according to police sources and reports.

New Jersey cops told to halt all use of controversial facial-recognition technology.  The state attorney general is ordering all New Jersey police to stop using a powerful new facial-recognition technology that's pulling millions of photos from social media.  The order was issued Friday [1/24/2020] to county prosecutors, concerning a New York-based company called Clearview AI.  "Like many people, I was troubled," state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said about the company's techniques, which were first reported by The New York Times.

The Role of Facial Recognition for Law Enforcement.  Faces have unique qualities that allow individuals to be recognized through computer algorithms that have developed to the point where software is being used by law enforcement to help identify perpetrators of crime.  As its use becomes widespread, the technology is raising concerns about privacy and security.  Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) are attempting to address these issues in their legislation, S. 2878, the Facial Recognition Technology Warrant Act of 2019, which was introduced on November 14, 2019.  This bipartisan legislation would impose limits on use of facial recognition technology by federal law enforcement agencies and require a warrant before this technology could be used for surveillance activities.  Since 2013, Citizens Against Government Waste has supported modernizing laws that would require a warrant to access email content and data stored in the cloud, including the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) of 1986.  However, efforts to update ECPA have stalled with the current Congress.  The legislation introduced by Sens. Coons and Lee does not address access to email content and data accumulated and retained using new technologies beyond facial recognition algorithms and technology.

Mysterious drones are flying around the Midwest, Great Plains, and no one has answers.  Local and federal authorities are investigating confirmed reports of mysterious drone sightings in northeastern Colorado and Nebraska that appeared in the night sky this week.  Sheriff's offices in Lincoln, Washington and Sedgwick counties have been getting calls this week about the unknown winged devices after initial reports came out of Phillips and Yuma counties, sheriffs said.  The drones have 6-foot wingspans and fly between 7 and 10 p.m. in gridlike patterns 150 to 200 feet in the air in groups of six to 10, the Denver Post reported.

A Big And Bizarre Drone Mystery Is Unfolding In Rural Colorado.  [Scroll down]  Based strictly on the descriptions conveyed, it sounds like someone or some group is testing a broad-area surveillance capability with lower-end autonomous drones.  This could include something as simple as having a group fly a series of planned routes and return with the information gathered via autopilot.  By doing so, a group of small, relatively inexpensive drones can cover a large area quickly instead of single, far more expensive assets that could take more time and offer less redundancy.  Such a capability could be used for search and rescue, mapping, and general intelligence gathering.  This also doesn't require man-in-the-loop control that would necessitate line-of-sight connectivity.

Here are the FISA Court Documents Revealing How the Obama-Comey FBI abused surveillance powers.  In a little-publicized opinion issued on April 26, 2017, FISC Judge Rosemary Collyer scalded Obama-era intelligence agencies for rampant abuse of NSA databases.  These agencies, including the FBI, routinely accessed the communications (emails, texts, etc.) of American citizens.  Nearly 90 percent of all such queries were deemed violations of various laws, starting with the Fourth Amendment prohibiting illegal searches.  And no one, to my knowledge, has ever been held accountable.

The DNA database used to find the Golden State Killer is a national security leak waiting to happen.  A private DNA ancestry database that's been used by police to catch criminals is a security risk from which a nation-state could steal DNA data on a million Americans, according to security researchers.  Security flaws in the service, called GEDmatch, not only risk exposing people's genetic health information but could let an adversary such as China or Russia create a powerful biometric database able to identify nearly any American from a DNA sample.  GEDMatch, which crowdsources DNA profiles, was created by genealogy enthusiasts to let people search for relatives and is run entirely by volunteers.  It shows how a trend toward sharing DNA data online can create privacy risks affecting everyone, even people who don't choose to share their own information.

UNH poll infers 70% favor giving FBI all NH license photos.  A survey released by the University of New Hampshire claims to show that an overwhelming majority of residents support sharing driver's license photos with the Federal Bureau of Investigation for inclusion in a national facial recognition database.  New Hampshire officials do not share Department of Motor Vehicle photos with the FBI, but 21 states do support of the agency's efforts to build a massive database of over 400 million photos.

Gartner Predicts 11.2 Million 5G IoT Surveillance Cameras by 2022 and 49 Million Units for Connected Cars by 2023.  Don't like being watched?  Concerned about all the accidents and warnings associated with automated vehicles?  Worried that the Telecom Industry has provided NO scientific evidence that 5G is safe and many doctors and scientists say it isn't? [...] Opposition and litigation regarding forced 5G installation is increasing in the U.S. and worldwide.  It's going to take more than common sense to stop this insanity.

Christopher Wray Has Some Explaining to Do.  A constitution is a piece of paper.  The powerful must respect and submit to it or it has no power.  In America, our Constitution is supposed to protect Americans from government snooping.  While the framers might have feared overzealous constables with powdered wigs and silk stockings, the protection against unreasonable searches and spying is even more relevant today.  With our most private secrets stored online, Americans are more vulnerable than ever to spying by our own government.  Over the past few weeks, we found ourselves distracted by the Ukraine farce, courtesy of the CIA and its allies in the media and Congress.  You likely missed the release of a series of bombshell rulings that partially laid bare illegal spying on Americans by the FBI.

The government can now activate your phone camera to stream live video of whatever you are seeing.  A New Jersey police department recently implemented new technology that allows 911 operators in the area to stream live video from callers' smartphones with the touch of a button.  While callers will still have to give their consent to such monitoring, some media outlets have dubbed the technology a slippery slope towards automatic surveillance, whereby Big Brother will one day have immediate access to people's smartphones without their consent.  In the meantime, some police departments plan to utilize 911eye, as it's called, a product of Capita Secure Solutions and Services, for permission-based surveillance during emergencies, which will allow first responders to see exactly what callers are seeing before they arrive.

Rashida Tlaib, in contentious tour, tells Detroit police chief to hire only black analysts for facial recognition program.  Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib told Detroit's chief of police that he should hire only black people as analysts to run their facial recognition software because, she claimed, non-black people think they all look alike.  The suggestion came Monday as Chief James Craig gave Tlaib a tour of the Real Time Crime Center, where the department uses facial recognition technology to find suspects.  Craig was showing Tlaib how the software works, and how analysts use it to identify and locate individuals.  But the tour quickly turned contentious as the freshman Michigan congresswoman made repeated requests that were shot down by the chief.

No One Noticed When Clinton and Obama Abused Whistleblowers.  [Scroll down]  President Obama promised to be different.  In his official campaign documents, candidate Obama presented himself as a whistleblower's best friend, this in high relief to his predecessor who "stifled" the "courage and patriotism" of those who dared speak out.  As Thomas Drake can attest, Obama fell rather spectacularly short of his promises.  Drake, an Air Force veteran and NSA analyst, objected, as did others, to an NSA data collection program known as TrailBlazer.  Drake testified honestly when the accusations of waste, fraud, and mismanagement reached the Inspectors General office in the Department of Defense.  The Inspectors General report substantiated Drake's testimony, but that did not stop NSA management from persisting with TrailBlazer and punishing Drake with a purgatory of petty assignments.  In November 2007, Drake's life took a turn for the Kafkaesque when a dozen FBI agents raided his house for allegedly leaking info about the NSA's warrantless wiretap program.

Facial Recognition for a Free Travel Ticket in China?  Welcome To Orwell's 1984.  China wants to give its prisoners (populace) the ability to pay with their faces to ride subways; this will be combined with its social credit program — which already tracks the communist nation's citizens traveling — and if points are too low, it prevents travel. [...] In Shenzhen, China, home of OnePlus, Huawei and internet giant Tencent, the city has released a new government system for elderly Chinese.  This new program will allow residents of China over the age of 60 to register for free subway rides, using just their face as their ticket.  If you think this is just a one-off, you would be utterly wrong.  This form of facial recognition is already being experimented in other cities including Jinan, Shanghai and Nanjing according to the South China Morning Post.

Baltimore To Fight Crime By Airplane Surveillance Of Entire City.  The head of an aerial surveillance company is pitching Baltimore officials on flying not one but three camera-laden planes above the city simultaneously, covering most of the city and its violent crime, he said in emails obtained by The Baltimore Sun.  A pair of Texas donors have stepped forward to help fund three planes and extra police, 40 local analysts and oversight personnel if there is city buy-in, the records and interviews show.  The effort aims to "demonstrate the effectiveness" of such an all-seeing surveillance system in fighting crime in the city. [...] Each plane would be capable of recording up to 32 square miles at a time, and each would fly 45 to 50 hours a week, McNutt said.

Secret FBI Subpoenas For Personal Data Go Far Beyond Previously Known.  Secret subpoenas issued by the FBI for personal data go far deeper than previously known, according to new documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, according to the New York Times.

Orwellian Nightmare:  Six US Cities Make List Of Most Surveilled Places In The World.  A new report from Comparitech, a technology research firm, details how an Orwellian society, very similar to what was written in George Orwell's (non-fiction) novel 1984, is playing out across cities in the US. According to Comparitech, six US cities made the top 50 list of the most surveilled places in the world.  Why?  Because closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in the US have increased from 33 million in 2012 to nearly 62 million in 2016 and could double or triple from there in the next five years.  Both government and private sources operate these cameras in cities.

Detroit Police Commission Board Approves Use Of Facial Recognition Technology Despite National Backlash.  The Detroit Board of Police Commissioners voted to approve the Detroit Police Department's use of controversial facial recognition technology on the public, Courthouse News reported.  According to the directive, police would be limited to using the system when officers have "reasonable suspicion" of home invasions and violent crimes involving incidents like shootings, sexual assaults and carjacking.  Further, the system doesn't have assess to check immigration status on individuals and was restricted from accessing live surveillance streaming video or any security camera device.  Outside agencies would be allowed access to the information if needed after proper paperwork is filed.

This Company Built a Private Surveillance Network.  We Tracked Someone With It.  In just a few taps and clicks, the tool showed where a car had been seen throughout the U.S. A private investigator source had access to a powerful system used by their industry, repossession agents, and insurance companies.  Armed with just a car's plate number, the tool — fed by a network of private cameras spread across the country — provides users a list of all the times that car has been spotted.  I gave the private investigator, who offered to demonstrate the capability, a plate of someone who consented to be tracked.

Don't Smile for the Camera.  Our federal government's 60,000-person strong domestic spying apparatus already captures every keystroke — even those which we think we have deleted — on every device used to transmit digital data on fiber optic cable in the United States.  That covers every mobile, desktop and mainframe device.  The government, of course, will not acknowledge this publicly.  Yet some of its officials have told as much to me privately.  They have also told me that they believe that they can get away with this so long as the data captured is not used in criminal prosecutions.  Why is that?  The last thing the feds and rogue police want is for government agents to be compelled to answer under oath how they acquired the evidence they are attempting to introduce.  Yet the admission of spying assumes that the right to privacy, which is guaranteed in the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, is protected from governmental invasion only for criminal prosecution purposes.

Rutherford Institute Launches Inquiry Into Government Use of Drivers' License Photos to Build Facial Recognition Database, Track Citizens.  Pushing back against the expansion of secret government surveillance programs at the expense of individual privacy, The Rutherford Institute is asking the State of Illinois to disclose information about its participation in the federal government's scheme to establish a massive facial recognition database by collecting the drivers' license photographs of millions of Americans.  In a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request made on behalf of Illinois resident Dmitry Feofanov, The Rutherford Institute is seeking details about the federal government's facial recognition program, which allows government agents to track citizens whenever they are in public.  The request comes after it was disclosed in July 2019 that the FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have mined information kept by state DMVs to create a massive database of biometric photos and personal information without the consent of citizens.

California Bill Would Ban Facial Recognition Tech On Body Cams.  A proposed bill banning facial recognition features on police body cameras is waiting for California Governor Gavin Newsom's stamp of approval.  According to reports, the state's legislature voted in favor of the controversial law Thursday [9/12/2019].  Supporters of the bill say the devices would be helpful to crack down on crime, but critics warn the new age technology comes with flaws.  This comes as several studies have shown facial recognition technology to be inaccurate, especially when trying to identify minorities, women and in some cases even well known lawmakers.

Dem senator worries Amazon's Ring doorbell could cause increased racial profiling.  Sen. Edward Markey expressed worries Thursday [9/5/2019] that Amazon's video doorbell Ring and its partnership with law enforcement could lead to increased racial profiling, particularly with people of color.  Mr. Markey wrote a letter to Amazon's chief executive saying he was "alarmed to learn that Ring is pursuing facial recognition technology" and offering police departments access to Rekognition, their face-matching program.  The Massachusetts Democrat added the technology raises "serious privacy and civil liberties concern" that "could easily create a surveillance network that places dangerous burdens on people of color" in areas where Ring has partnered with police officials.

The Editor says...
The creation of a Big Brother surveillance state is alarming enough.  There is no need to inject a racial component into this issue.

The Surveillance State Is Here and Now.  The Police State with full Surveillance State capability is not coming; it is already here.  And private citizens are purchasing and installing the apparatus used to build it.  Amazon-owned Ring, which sells video doorbells and other security cameras, announced last week that it has "partnered" with more than 400 police departments across the United States to create the Neighbors Active Law Enforcement Map using the video feeds from doorbells bought, paid for, and installed by private citizens. [...] On the darker side of the equation, your ever-connected spy-cam is also accessible by the Amazon employees and the police, if your local department has joined Ring's "partnership" program.  All of your comings and goings, all of your friends comings and goings, and all of the traffic in front of your home — and within the range of the camera — are part of the data now available to police without so much as applying for a search warrant.

Your Apple Watch May Be Used to Decide Whether You Can Own a Gun.  The Trump administration is reportedly considering a proposal that would see the federal government partnering with Google, Amazon, and Apple in order to use their smart home devices to capture data on users — and then use that information to determine whether users exhibit signs of mental illness and a potential for violent behavior.  The Washington Post published the report, citing sources within the administration.  Although it did not specify whether the president himself approves of the proposal, it was apparently brought to the White House by the Suzanne Wright Foundation.

Doorbell-camera firm Ring has partnered with 400 police forces, extending surveillance reach.  The doorbell-camera company Ring has quietly forged video-sharing partnerships with more than 400 police forces across the United States, granting them access to homeowners' camera footage and a powerful role in what the company calls the nation's "new neighborhood watch."  The partnerships let police automatically request the video recorded by homeowners' cameras within a specific time and area, helping officers see footage from the company's millions of Internet-connected cameras installed nationwide, the company said.  Officers don't receive ongoing or live-video access, and homeowners can decline the requests, which Ring sends via email, thanking them for "making your neighborhood a safer place."

American And Chinese Cities Lead The World In Spying On People.  It is no longer speculation, American law enforcement has been lying to the public about the expansion of CCTV camera surveillance.  A recent report released by CompariTech confirmed what I have been warning people about for years:  American law enforcement has become a world leader in spying on its citizens. [...] CompariTech measured the amount of CCTV cameras per 1,000 people in a city and two U.S. cities made the Top 20.  "Atlanta has 7,800 cameras for 501,178 people or 15.56 cameras per 1,000 people and Chicago has 35,000 cameras for 2,679,044 people or 13.06 cameras per 1,000 people."  But that only scratches the surface of American police surveillance.

The opposite of journalism:  CNN is encouraging government officials to lie.  In March 2013, U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied under oath before the Senate Intelligence Committee.  Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., asked Clapper, "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions, or hundreds of millions of Americans?" Clapper responded with a flat denial.  "No, sir. ... Not wittingly.  There are cases where it could, inadvertently perhaps.  But not wittingly."  This was a blatant lie, told knowingly and willingly, in public and under oath.  Just months later, Edward Snowden's leaks proved it.  Clapper had been exposed, and he could have been prosecuted, if not for the chummy Washington culture in which the powerful protect one another.

Unmasking the unmaskers.  In early 2009, Department of Justice officials acknowledged that broad authority granted by the previous Bush Administration had resulted in government "overcollection" of domestic communications by the National Security Agency.  Under President Barack Obama, the FBI, CIA, and other agencies' searches of names or phone numbers of U.S. citizens in surveillance metadata exploded from 9,500 in 2013, to 30,355 in the election year of 2016.

Pentagon testing mass surveillance balloons across the US.  The US military is conducting wide-area surveillance tests across six midwest states using experimental high-altitude balloons, documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reveal.  Up to 25 unmanned solar-powered balloons are being launched from rural South Dakota and drifting 250 miles through an area spanning portions of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Missouri, before concluding in central Illinois.  Travelling in the stratosphere at altitudes of up to 65,000 ft, the balloons are intended to "provide a persistent surveillance system to locate and deter narcotic trafficking and homeland security threats", according to a filing made on behalf of the Sierra Nevada Corporation, an aerospace and defence company.

LAPD Spied On Left-Wing Activists During Trump Protests.  The LAPD ordered a confidential informant to secretly record the group Refuse Fascism, the documents show.  Transcripts of the interaction were obtained in a criminal case against activists who were charged with trespassing after blocking traffic on a California freeway amid anti-Trump protests.  The operation was spearheaded by the LAPD's Major Crime Division in October 2017 ahead of potential mass demonstration to mark the first anniversary of Trump's election.  The informant was equipped by police with a hidden recording device and assigned the informant to attend Refuse Fascism meetings at a local church "in an attempt to elicit information regarding the closure" of the freeway and to express interest in being involved "in any such future activities", police wrote.

Israeli security company reportedly has tool that spies on Apple, Google and Facebook cloud data.  An Israeli cybersecurity company has developed spyware that can scrape data from the servers of Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft products, according to The Financial Times.  The report says NSO Group's proprietary smartphone malware, Pegasus, harvests not only data stored on a device, but also any information stored in the cloud, including a user's location data, archived messages and photos.  NSO Group, who previously installed malware in Facebook's WhatsApp, denied that it markets software capable of capturing data in the cloud.  It's unclear if it has developed the tools internally.

When Does the Deep State Morph into the Police State in Our Country?  The East German state police agency, the Stasi, was granted virtually unlimited power to monitor and spy on the lives of their citizens with the objective of maintaining absolute control over all aspects of the personal and professional lives of its people.  The Stasi was renowned for being highly proficient and effective in its ability to subjugate East Germany's citizens.  This movie is a warning to Americans about the dire consequences of increasing the powers of the state.

NSA collected phone data it was not authorized to obtain.  The NSA's much maligned phone data collection program was dealt another blow Wednesday [6/26/2019], after it emerged it had collected call and text records it wasn't authorized to obtain — the second time such an incident has occurred.  The error, which took place last October, happened several months after the agency said it had purged hundreds of millions of metadata records it had over-collected since 2015, following a similar incident.

State GOP Learns to Love Big Brother.  In Great Britain, officials are arresting people who refuse to submit to a random face scan.  Their facial-scan system has proved wildly inaccurate, often leading to aggressive police actions against people misidentified as suspects.  You can't walk around any British city without being monitored by police cameras somewhere — something that has turned once-free citizens into the kind of sheep who have to be careful about anything they say or do lest it trigger a police visit.  American cities are trying to follow this police-state model, emboldened by tech companies that will earn a fortune by opening up this taxpayer-funded marketplace.  California agencies want body cameras not only to record police encounters — something that protects the public from abusive officers and officers from unfounded abuse allegations — but to alert the authorities if the person's face matches that of a suspect on some growing database.  The problems are obvious.

Review: Google Chrome has become surveillance software.  It's time to switch.  You open your browser to look at the web.  Do you know who is looking back at you?  Over a recent week of web surfing, I peered under the hood of Google Chrome and found it brought along a few thousand friends.  Shopping, news and even government sites quietly tagged my browser to let ad and data companies ride shotgun while I clicked around the web.  This was made possible by the web's biggest snoop of all:  Google.  Seen from the inside, its Chrome browser looks a lot like surveillance software.

They are Watching Us — All the Time.  During the Obama presidency, Americans discovered that his administration's intelligence agencies were spying on us.  In fact, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied to Congress about it, for which he was never charged — but then, he's a Democrat, the laws don't apply to them.  Eventually, he came clean, admitting that all Americans were being spied on, all the time, with spy agencies keeping a record of all phone conversations, texts, and emails made by every American.  This was merely a precaution in case they ever needed to prosecute any of those who disagreed with Barry.  Yet, I believe that the tech industry not only does the same thing (spying) but does it better.

The Omnipresent Surveillance State:  Orwell's 1984 Is No Longer Fiction1984 portrays a global society of total control in which people are not allowed to have thoughts that in any way disagree with the corporate state.  There is no personal freedom, and advanced technology has become the driving force behind a surveillance-driven society.  Snitches and cameras are everywhere.  People are subject to the Thought Police, who deal with anyone guilty of thought crimes. [...] Incredibly, as the various nascent technologies employed and shared by the government and corporations alike — facial recognition, iris scanners, massive databases, behavior prediction software, and so on — are incorporated into a complex, interwoven cyber network aimed at tracking our movements, predicting our thoughts and controlling our behavior, the dystopian visions of past writers is fast becoming our reality.

Report:  Obama seriously violated the 4th Amendment.  A new report reveals that the government routinely violated American 4th Amendment protections under the Obama administration while snooping through overseas intercepts.  Administration officials only revealed the illegal actions as the previous president headed out the door.  That's according to a report out from Circa, which confirms suspicions that American privacy suffered greatly under President Barack Obama.

Faces in the crowd.  The Lockport (N.Y.) City School District was poised to test a facial recognition security system for students and staff this week until a late-breaking memo from the New York Department of Education temporarily halted the program.  The district told parents the goal was to enhance student safety, but the proposal drew criticism from concerned local residents and the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU).  The system would have provided surveillance at schools and issued an alert when the cameras detected someone whose face appeared in a database of flagged individuals.  The NYCLU asked the New York Department of Education to intervene, stating that schools should be "safe spaces" where students are not "constantly surveilled."

The Case for Prosecuting Comey and Brennan.  Just imagine a snooping government making a word-searchable transcript of audio and digital recording of video passively transmitted from your phone.  What could a curious agent, with access to a feed from the two cameras in your phone, record while simultaneously viewing your private life in both directions?  Such data could give unlimited power to influence and blackmail elected officials, private citizens, judges, law enforcement, journalists, and so on.  When Americans see a public official or an influential journalist suddenly reverse a position or do something otherwise deemed illogical, speculation often runs to question whether "somebody has something on" that official.  We should worry about the potential abuse of a database containing essentially unlimited source material that easily could be used to gain power over our fellow Americans.

FISA Court exposes Obama's abuse of NSA to spy on Americans.  The Obama White House used the most sensitive intrusive surveillance systems of the NSA to spy on Americans.  A ruling by FISA Court Presiding Judge Rosemary Collyer finds that 85% of NSA database requests under FISA section 702 authority at the DOJ were illegal or noncompliant.  Surveillance systems, including PRISM, spying on hundreds if not thousands of Americans.  Including Donald Trump and those around him.  Moreover, Collyer finds, that the Department of Justice showed an appalling "lack of institutional candor".

The "Secret Research Project" — an IRS List, an NSA Database, and Resulting "Files" on Americans.  In April 2017 Judge [Rosemary] Collyer wrote a highly critical FISA Court opinion following discoveries by Director Admiral Rogers of government contractors accessing the NSA database, and extracting illegal search results from the electronic records of every American.  The scale of abuse was incredible and the surveillance issues had been covered up for years.  Collyer cited the Obama administration as having "an institutional lack of candor" in their responses to her and the FISA court.  The judge focused her criticism after a review of the period 2012 through April 2016.

Waking up in a virtual jail with no recollection of how you got there.  China's growing surveillance state has made the news again.  The NYT described a "God's-eye" — perhaps better described as a State's-eye — view of Chinese society as seen from the millions of networked devices that are blanketing the country. [...] The combination of ubiquitous sensors and database fusion has allowed the Communist Party to create "virtual cages" for millions of people.  It's easy with Internet of Things technology to turn off an individual's credit card, phone, car, refrigerator, etc., should he stray into a proscribed zone.

Huawei's An Asset All Right — But It's Not Our Asset.  China's 1.4 billion people are encircled, monitored and censored in their digital communications by the "Great Firewall of China."  Anyone who dares dissent openly from the Party line risks prison.  China's rulers are now enlisting technology to enhance the usual pervasive domestic surveillance with an Orwellian system designed to control everyone in its sights by assigning scores, rewards and penalties for "social credit."

Police Facial Recognition Systems Have Registered Over 117 Million Americans.  Massive nationwide study in 2006 reveals that thirty-six percent of Americans are in a facial recognition database, and the number is growing rapidly.  Law enforcement is mostly unregulated and agencies are free to drift toward a police state reality.

Listen to Joe diGenova.  If diGenova's track record holds, a legal rain of ruin is about to befall the deep state operatives who tried to steal the 2016 election and, failing that, to unwind the result.  And if, in fact, the enormous surveillance powers of our intelligence agencies were usurped by the Obama administration to spy for years before the election on the opposing political party, then the implications go far beyond just one election and one presidential candidate.  If that happened, then there can be no doubt that, when candidate Obama promised to "fundamentally transform America," he really meant it.  If Obama's "fundamental transformation" involved not only the atrocious harassment and intimidation of the Tea Party patriots by his Internal Revenue Service, but also included surveillance state spying on the Republican Party generally, there must be no question about whether the deep state actors should be punished for their actions.

NSA Metadata Collection May Be a Thing of the Past.  The agency is now calling for an end to the PATRIOT Act's Section 215 data program.

Can We Give James Clapper The Roger Stone Treatment Yet?  On March 12, 2013, Gen. James R. Clapper, Jr., President Obama's director of the Office Of National Intelligence, testified under oath before the Senate Intelligence Committee.  Responding to a question from Oregon Sen. Ron Wyder on whether the U.S. government was collecting "any type of data at all" from American citizens, Clapper paused and said, "No, sir. ... Not wittingly."  Three months later, when Edward Snowden dumped millions of stolen government documents into the public domain, it became abundantly clear that Clapper lied.  The U.S. government was, in fact, vacuuming up details about virtually every electronic communication by every American citizen.  When asked directly about his answer to Wyden, Clapper said that his response was "the least untruthful" answer he could give.

The Feds 9,000 "Opportunity Zones" Will Allow Law Enforcement To Spy On 35 Million People.  Is there no end to Big Brother's desire to turn America into a mirror image of China?  An article in Go Erie, revealed how the Feds are classifying parts of cities as "Opportunity Zones" or as I call them "Opportunity Surveillance Zones" (OPS ).  The U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service are using Opportunity Zones to help law enforcement turn sections of cities into federally funded surveillance zones.  Mayor Joe Schember's administration is using federal grants to turn Erie, Pennsylvania into an OPS.

Report: ICE Agents Given Access to Private License Plate Database.  The more important lead story of this article is buried within the outcome story of ICE agents using a private license plate database to capture illegal aliens. [...] Use a private-sector database to track down people for missed property tax payments; or use the database to track lawful gun owners; or use the database to stop a traveler from entering an airport until they pay an unpaid parking fine, and hey, no biggie.  But start using that private database to arrest illegal aliens, and Whoa, now the ACLU says we've got a problem.

Facial recognition's 'dirty little secret': Millions of online photos scraped without consent.  Facial recognition can log you into your iPhone, track criminals through crowds and identify loyal customers in stores.  The technology — which is imperfect but improving rapidly — is based on algorithms that learn how to recognize human faces and the hundreds of ways in which each one is unique.  To do this well, the algorithms must be fed hundreds of thousands of images of a diverse array of faces.  Increasingly, those photos are coming from the internet, where they're swept up by the millions without the knowledge of the people who posted them, categorized by age, gender, skin tone and dozens of other metrics, and shared with researchers at universities and companies.

18 Real Attacks on the 'Rule of Law'.  [#1] Unmasking:  Obama Administration officials "unmasked" hundreds of Americans who were caught up in government surveillance of foreign nationals.  It's illegal for the government to spy on Americans without a warrant.  So when an American is heard speaking to a target of a legal foreign wiretap, the government is supposed to take action to shield the American from the effect of the surveillance.  Without those safeguards, it's just the government spying on an American citizen without a warrant.  Hundreds of Americans were outed (unmasked) by former United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power and other Obama officials in the closing months of Obama's tenure, despite the fact that Power as the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. had no reason to be perusing the private conversations of American citizens.

Singapore to test facial recognition on lampposts, stoking privacy fears.  In the not too distant future, surveillance cameras sitting atop over 100,000 lampposts in Singapore could help authorities pick out and recognize faces in crowds across the island-state.

'Inherently invasive': FBI counter-hacking operations raise red flags over privacy.  To catch a hacker, sometimes you have to be a hacker.  But when it's the FBI doing the hacking, civil liberties groups get worried.  The agency's revelation this week that it joined a computer botnet attack piggybacking on the malware's signal to track its activities has raised new questions about what is acceptable in cybersecurity.  The problem, the civil liberties advocates say, is that the FBI collected IP addresses and "ancillary" information from computers it traversed as it tried to map the Joanap malware.

How To Use Encrypted USB Memory Sticks.  To protect your data on your USB stick, you should encrypt your data.  There are two methods to encrypt data on a USB stick — hardware and software.  Hardware encryption is a special USB stick that includes additional chips in the USB stick to encrypt your data.  Software encryption uses a normal USB stick and does the encryption though software on the computer.

Border Patrol and the TSA [were] allowed to secretly spy on everyone's social media accounts.  The U.S. Border Patrol (CBP) and the TSA claim they need to secretly spy on everyone's social media accounts so they can understand a person's relationship with their friends, family and the government.  According to a DHS report published last month, nothing can stop the Border Patrol or the TSA from secretly spying on everyone's social media accounts.  "In order to conduct a complete investigation, it is necessary for DHS/CBP to collect and review large amounts of data in order to identify and understand relationships between individuals, entities, threats and events, and to monitor patterns of activity over extended periods of time that may be indicative of criminal, terrorist, or other threat."  Understanding a person's relationship with "entities" is just a euphemism for the government.  The Feds want to know if you are anti-government an activist or a protester.

Schools in China introduce 'smart uniforms' with GPS chips to track students' movements and stop napping.  Schools in China have created uniforms with tracking chips to monitor students' whereabouts and stop them playing truant.  The so-called "smart uniforms", which have been criticised on social media, record the time and date a student enters the school and a short video parents can see through a mobile app.  Eleven schools in the southwest province of Guizhou have introduced the uniforms, developed by local tech firm Guizhou Guanyu Technology.  Skiving off classes triggers an alarm to notify both teachers and parents of the student's absence and an automatic voice alarm is activated if a student leaves school without permission.

The Editor says...
That's a little extreme, although I've worked with some people who always seemed to be someplace other than their work station, and could have used a little of this automatic supervision.

Connected cars accelerate down data-collection highway.  Automakers are collecting valuable pieces of information thanks to the internet connections, cameras and sensors built into most vehicles in recent years.  The online access makes it possible for cars to be unlocked remotely if the keys are lost.  It's how safety features can be upgraded wirelessly and maintenance schedules adjusted based on performance.  But these digital peepholes are also offering a windshield-size view of people's lives.  That's creating the potential for intrusive marketing pitches and government surveillance.

Before and After:  What We Learned About the Hemisphere Program After Suing the DEA.  In late 2013, right as the world was already reeling from the Snowden revelations, the New York Times revealed that the AT&T gives federal and local drug enforcement investigators access to a phone records surveillance system that dwarfs the NSA's.  Through this program, code-named Hemisphere, police tap into trillions of of phone records going back decades.  It's been five long years of privacy scandals, and Hemisphere has faded somewhat from the headlines since it was first revealed.  That was long enough for officials to rebrand the program "Data Analytical Services," making it even less likely to draw scrutiny or stick in the memory.  Nevertheless Hemisphere remains a prime example of how private corporations and the government team up to help themselves to our digital lives, and the lengths they will go to to cover their tracks.

Hemisphere:  Law Enforcement's Secret Call Records Deal With AT&T.  For almost 10 years, federal and local law enforcement agencies across the country have engaged in a massive and secretive telephone surveillance program known as "Hemisphere."  Publicly disclosed for the first time in September 2013 by the New York Times, the Hemisphere program provides police access to a database containing call records going back decades, combined with a sophisticated analytical system.  The program involves a private-public partnership with AT&T.  "Hemisphere" came to light amidst the public uproar over revelations that the NSA had been collecting phone records on millions of innocent people.  However, Hemisphere wasn't a program revealed by Edward Snowden's leaks, but rather its exposure was pure serendipity:  a citizen activist in Seattle discovered the program when shocking presentations outlining the program were provided to him in response to regular old public records requests.

The Hemisphere Project (f/k/a Hudson Hawk): The Latest Spy Scandal Involving 4 Billion Recorded Phone Calls Per Day.  It is convenient that in a recent post covering the latest historic Verizon M&A deal we showed a spaghetti chart, created by the WSJ, of the US telecom space because it lays roughly how many current subscribers that other US telecom giant, AT&T, has.

Facebook's Deepest, Dirtiest Secret.  Facebook is a for-profit surveillance company disguised as a social media company.  Once you invite it into your life, it will suck as much data as it can from you.  If you're on Facebook — or if you use Facebook-owned WhatsApp or Instagram — you're sharing the most intimate details of your private life with advertisers and political campaign strategists.  If that doesn't alarm you, consider that Facebook is also an unofficial arm of the Deep State's surveillance apparatus.  Leaked documents from the National Security Agency (NSA) revealed this back in 2013.  As the result of secret court orders, Facebook — along with Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo — routinely hands over users' account details to the U.S. government spooks.

Homeland Security Will Let Computers Predict Who Might Be a Terrorist on Your Plane — Just Don't Ask How It Works.  You're rarely allowed to know exactly what's keeping you safe.  When you fly, you're subject to secret rules, secret watchlists, hidden cameras, and other trappings of a plump, thriving surveillance culture.  The Department of Homeland Security is now complicating the picture further by paying a private Virginia firm to build a software algorithm with the power to flag you as someone who might try to blow up the plane.  The new DHS program will give foreign airports around the world free software that teaches itself who the bad guys are, continuing society's relentless swapping of human judgment for machine learning.

Chinese businesswoman accused of jaywalking after AI camera spots her face on an advert.  Chinese police have admitted to wrongly shaming a famous businesswoman after a facial recognition system designed to catch jaywalkers mistook an advert on the side of a bus for her actual face.  Dong Mingzhu, president of Chian's biggest air conditioning maker, had her image flashed up on a public display screen in the city of Ningbo, near Shanghai, with a caption saying she had illegally crossed the street on a red light.  But Ningbo's facial recognition cameras had actually only caught an advert featuring her face on the side of a passing bus — a fact quickly spotted by Chinese citizens, who shared pictures of the alert on Weibo, a social network similar to Twitter.

Surveillance cameras equipped with thermal imaging allow police to identify people by their gender, body size and color of their skin.  BriefCam's Video Synopsis version V allows police and retail stores to use surveillance cameras to identify individuals and cars in real-time.  "BriefCam is the industry's leading provider of Video Synopsis® solutions for rapid video review and search, real-time alerting and quantitative video insights.  By transforming raw video into actionable intelligence."  What is really disturbing about the video is no one knows where it is being used and by whom.  BriefCam's limited disclosures, claim it is being used by top law enforcement agencies and governments but that's it.

Sheriff's Dept.: The 1,079 Privileged Jailhouse Calls We Intercepted Was Actually 34,000 Calls.  A few months back, the Orange County Sheriff's Department admitted it had been listening in on privileged conversations.  Calls from inmates to lawyers were being swept up along with everything else by service provider Global Tel Link.  This violation of state law (among other things) jeopardized dozens of prosecutions.  In all, GTL's so-called "technical error" resulted in the interception of more than 1,000 privileged calls.  The Sheriff's Department claimed it told GTL to fix the problem, but didn't appear to have been terribly bothered by this evidentiary windfall... some of which made its way into the hands of prosecutors.  It made several disappointed noises about its provider when confronted in court, but its quasi-proactive "knock it off" — directed towards GTL — didn't explain its lack of proactivity when it came to informing criminal defendants and their legal reps their cases may have been compromised by attorney-client privilege violations.

Feds Also Using 'Reverse Warrants' To Gather Location/Identifying Info On Thousands Of Non-Suspects.  Because nearly everyone carries a tracking device on their person these days, it's become a whole lot easier for the government to find out where everybody's been.  It's TinEye but for people, and it appears to be a new go-to tool for law enforcement.  What used to be officers canvassing the area where a crime took place is now a warrant sent to Google to obtain location data and identifying info for all people and devices in the area.  These so-called "reverse warrants" first started coming to light earlier this year.  The Raleigh Police Department (NC) was serving warrants to Google in hopes of figuring out who to suspect of committing crimes, rather than having a suspect in mind and working forward from there.  The warrants were of the "general" variety, guaranteed to give the RPD location/identifying info of hundreds of non-suspects who just happened to be in the area.  There's some evidence Google has pushed back against these warrants, but it hasn't been enough to deter law enforcement from continuing to use Google as one-stop shopping to bulk location/identifying info.  This practice isn't limited to the local boys.

Obama-era CIA peeked at congressional staff emails.  The CIA during the Obama administration intercepted and analyzed the email of some congressional staffers, the agency publicly confirmed this week, releasing declassified notifications from 2014 that contained details of the snooping.  The emails dealt with CIA whistle-blowers, and the agency said they were snared during "routine counterintelligence (CI) monitoring of government computer systems."  The agency then prepared a report on the information in the emails — apparently sensitive conversations about protecting whistle-blowers looking to report malfeasance by the agency.

That sign telling you how fast you're driving may be spying on you.  The next time you drive past one of those road signs with a digital readout showing how fast you're going, don't simply assume it's there to remind you not to speed.  It may actually be capturing your license plate data.  According to recently released US federal contracting data, the Drug Enforcement Administration will be expanding the footprint of its nationwide surveillance network with the purchase of "multiple" trailer-mounted speed displays "to be retrofitted as mobile LPR [License Plate Reader] platforms."  The DEA is buying them from RU2 Systems Inc., a private Mesa, Arizona company.  How much it's spending on the signs has been redacted.  Two other, apparently related contracts, show that the DEA has hired a small machine shop in California, and another in Virginia, to conceal the readers within the signs.  An RU2 representative said the company providing the LPR devices themselves is a Canadian firm called Genetec.

That Radar Speed Road Sign Might Be Saving Your License Plate for Later.  Zooming down the highway past a radar speed sign can serve as a reminder you're going a little to hard on the gas pedal, but it can also get your license plate number siphoned into a massive data dragnet used by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).  A new report in Quartz details an extensive new government contract between the DEA and RU2 Systems, a manufacturer of Radar Speed Display Trailers, and other contractors based in California, Virginia and Canada.

Shanghai airport automates check-in with facial recognition.  It's now possible to check in automatically at Shanghai's Hongqiao airport using facial recognition technology, part of an ambitious rollout of facial recognition systems in China that has raised privacy concerns as Beijing pushes to become a global leader in the field.

Welcome to the Quiet Skies.  Federal air marshals have begun following ordinary US citizens not suspected of a crime or on any terrorist watch list and collecting extensive information about their movements and behavior under a new domestic surveillance program that is drawing criticism from within the agency.  The previously undisclosed program, called "Quiet Skies," specifically targets travelers who "are not under investigation by any agency and are not in the Terrorist Screening Data Base," according to a Transportation Security Administration bulletin in March.

Facebook's creepy new speakers are freaking people out.  Facebook is rolling out its first-ever tech gadget — and it's every bit as creepy as you'd expect.  The social-networking giant on Monday unveiled a new line of voice-activated home speakers with screens that enable video chats with friends and family — but critics said they sound more like Big Brother spy devices.  In addition to collecting data on users' commands with Alexa-powered artificial intelligence software, the Portal and Portal+ speakers are equipped with cameras that can follow users around a room and enhance the sound of their voices when they talk.

What happened to the FBI's quest for web browsing data?  Senate leaders eagerly championed FBI Director James Comey's 2016 request for more power to seize Internet browsing histories without court oversight in national security investigations.  But after coming just two votes from victory, the FBI's "number one legislative priority" hasn't received much attention. [...] Experts were reluctant to speak on the record about why they believe the fight stalled.  One policy advocate who opposed expanding national security letter authority told the Washington Examiner that it is important to discern whether the FBI is relying on other authorities or methods to get this information without a court order.

We Are Living Nineteen Eighty-Four.  George Orwell's 1949 dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four is no longer fiction.  We are living it right now.  Google techies planned to massage Internet searches to emphasize correct thinking.  A member of the so-called deep state, in an anonymous op-ed, brags that its "resistance" is undermining an elected president.  The FBI, CIA, DOJ, and NSC were all weaponized in 2016 to ensure that the proper president would be elected — the choice adjudicated by properly progressive ideology.  Wearing a wire is now redefined as simply flipping on an iPhone and recording your boss, boy- or girlfriend, or co-workers.

Turning the Tide on Police Surveillance.  The stories seem non-stop.  The NSA, FBI, and other federal agencies are spying on us in new ways and with new programs or authorities.  But surveillance that is most overlooked, but is equally as pervasive, is how state and local police spy on their own residents.  In Baltimore, the police department secretly deployed Stingrays to track the phone calls of residents in primarily black neighborhoods.  In New Orleans, the police entered into a six-year contract with data mining firm Palantir to conduct predictive policing.  When residents found out, their opposition was so fierce that within two weeks, the city canceled the agreement.  And in cities and towns all over the country, police departments are tracking people's movements with surreptitiously installed automatic license plate readers.

Public Transit Becomes Another Tool for Total Government Surveillance.  Richmond, Virginia's new bus-rapid-transit system, the Pulse, has been beset with controversy.  The original price tag of $49 million has risen to around $65 million.  Some community leaders and City Council members thought its footprint didn't go far enough.  The system was supposed to be up and running months ago, and businesses along the affected Broad Street corridor have complained about the way the drawn-out construction has kept customers away.  City marketers like to say Richmond is "easy to love," but loving the Pulse takes more effort.  Now there's another reason to harbor a resentment against it:  surveillance.

You May Be Secretly Watched by the TSA on Your Next Airplane Flight.  A government surveillance program that secretly monitors Americans on domestic flights, even if they are not suspected of any crime and have no ties to terrorism, is being questioned by civil liberties advocates and the general public.  The program — called "Quiet Skies" by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) — has been in existence since 2010, when Barack Obama was in the White House.  But it was disclosed to the general public this past weekend via reporting by The Boston Globe.

Flying the quiet skies.  Federal air marshals have begun following ordinary US citizens not suspected of a crime or on any terrorist watch list and collecting extensive information about their movements and behavior under a new domestic surveillance program that is drawing criticism from within the agency.  The previously undisclosed program, called "Quiet Skies," specifically targets travelers who "are not under investigation by any agency and are not in the Terrorist Screening Data Base," according to a Transportation Security Administration bulletin in March.  The internal bulletin describes the program's goal as thwarting threats to commercial aircraft "posed by unknown or partially known terrorists," and gives the agency broad discretion over which air travelers to focus on and how closely they are tracked.

The cameras that know if you're happy - or a threat.  Facial recognition tech has been around for decades, but it has been progressing in leaps and bounds in recent years due to advances in computing vision and artificial intelligence (AI), tech experts say.  It is now being used to identify people at borders, unlock smart phones, spot criminals, and authenticate banking transactions.  But some tech firms are claiming it can also assess our emotional state.  Since the 1970s, psychologists say they have been able to detect hidden emotions by studying the "micro expressions" on someone's face in photographs and video.  Algorithms and high definition cameras can handle this process just as accurately and faster, tech firms say.

Six Reasons Why Barack Obama Is the Worst President in History.  [#5] Obama's surveillance state:  According to the ACLU there was a 64 percent growth in electronic spying by the United States government during Obama's first term.  The Obama administration argued in federal court in 2012 that the public has no "reasonable expectation of privacy" regarding their cell phone location data and that the government can obtain these records without a warrant.  Further blemishing Obama's record on civil liberties, his administration green-lighted a giant government database of information on millions of citizens who weren't even suspected of terrorism or any crime at all.  In May 2017, we also found out that Obama's National Security Agency had been conducting illegal searches on Americans for years and was rebuked by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).  We didn't hear about it sooner because the Obama administration covered it up.

Amazon's Facial Recognition Wrongly Identifies 28 Lawmakers, A.C.L.U. Says.  Representative John Lewis of Georgia and Representative Bobby L. Rush of Illinois are both Democrats, members of the Congressional Black Caucus and civil rights leaders.  But facial recognition technology made by Amazon, which is being used by some police departments and other organizations, incorrectly matched the lawmakers with people who had been charged with a crime, the American Civil Liberties Union reported on Thursday morning [7/26/2018].  The errors emerged as part of a larger test in which the civil liberties group used Amazon's facial software to compare the photos of all federal lawmakers against a database of 25,000 publicly available mug shots.  In the test, the Amazon technology incorrectly matched 28 members of Congress with people who had been arrested, amounting to a 5 percent error rate among legislators.

Amazon's face ID tool mismatched 28 members of Congress to mugshots:  ACLU.  A facial recognition tool that Inc (AMZN.O) sells to web developers wrongly identified 28 members of Congress as police suspects, in a test conducted by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the organization said on Thursday [7/26/2018].

Facebook As The Ultimate Government Surveillance Tool?  Earlier this month it came out that among Facebook's myriad algorithmically induced advertising categories was an entry for users whom the platform's data mining systems believed might be interested in treason against their government.  The label had been applied to more than 65,000 Russian citizens, placing them at grave risk should their government discover the label.  Similarly, the platform's algorithms silently observe its two billion users' actions and words, estimating which users it believes may be homosexual and quietly placing a label on their account recording that estimate.  What happens when governments begin using these labels to surveil, harass, detain and even execute their citizens based on the labels produced by an American company's black box algorithms?  One of the challenges with the vast automated machine that is Facebook's advertising engine is that its sheer scale and scope means it could never possibly be completely subject to human oversight.  Instead, it hums along in silence, quietly watching the platform's two billion users as Big Brother, silently assigning labels to them indicating its estimates of everything from their routine commercial interests to the most sensitive and intimate elements of their personality, beliefs and medical conditions that could be used by their governments to manipulate, arrest or execute them.

NSA Deletes Hundreds of Millions of Records They Should Never Have Had.  [Scroll down]  So who's at fault?  The NSA refuses to say, but Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who has made shielding Americans' data from the NSA his prime focus, blames the telecom companies.

NSA Began Deleting Phone Records In May, Cited Authorization Issues.  The National Security Agency is permanently erasing years of phone records due to alleged authorization errors.  In a statement Thursday [6/28/2018], the agency cited the Title V Surveillance Act as the reason they started erasing call details.  Officials added, irregular technical errors found in phone data were an additional reason the clean-up is taking place.

CEO of facial-recognition company calls police use "irresponsible".  Last month, controversy erupted around news that at least two police departments have deployed or tested Amazon's Rekognition platform.  Facial-recognition algorithms have been shown to be less accurate at identifying people of color, often because their images are underrepresented in the datasets that algorithms are trained on.

Sales Tax, Cell Phones, and the Court.  [Carpenter v. United States] concerns a warrantless collection of cell phone location data.  The defendant, Carpenter, had his cell phone records acquired by the government, which it used to prove that he led a series of robberies of (ironically) cell-phone stores.  Carpenter argues that this collection amounts to GPS tracking, and is therefore a search.  The government argues, however, that this cell phone location data was freely shared by Carpenter with a third party, his service provider.  The Court typically considers information shared with a third party (such as bank records) to lose any privacy protections.  The Justices, by a 5-4 margin, decided that principle doesn't extend to cell phone location records.  Justice Roberts, joining the Court's liberal Justices, delivered the Court's opinion.  Unusually, three of four dissenting Justices wrote a separate dissenting opinion.  Still, at points, those dissents agreed with each other.  The majority logic starts from the premise that someone has a particularly powerful privacy claim at stake when someone can track their movements.  Specifically, when it can be tracked constantly and easily.  From here, the Court reaches its conclusion by a single step.  Constant surveillance, even in the form of voluntary cell phone use, is always a search.  It does not matter how the government gets that information: even if the data is being collected by a private company during business transactions, the person being tracked always expects privacy from the government.

The Wiretap Rooms.  Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. In each of these cities, The Intercept has identified an AT&T facility containing networking equipment that transports large quantities of internet traffic across the United States and the world.  A body of evidence — including classified NSA documents, public records, and interviews with several former AT&T employees — indicates that the buildings are central to an NSA spying initiative that has for years monitored billions of emails, phone calls, and online chats passing across U.S. territory.  The NSA considers AT&T to be one of its most trusted partners and has lauded the company's "extreme willingness to help."  It is a collaboration that dates back decades.  Little known, however, is that its scope is not restricted to AT&T's customers.

Supreme Court says warrant necessary for phone location data.  Carpenter v. United States is the first case about phone location data that the Supreme Court has ruled on.  That makes it a landmark decision regarding how law enforcement agencies can use technology as they build cases.  The court heard arguments in the case on Nov. 29.  The dispute dates back to a 2011 robbery in Detroit, after which police gathered months of phone location data from Timothy Carpenter's phone provider.  They pulled together 12,898 different locations from Carpenter, over 127 days.  The legal and privacy concern was that police gathered the four months' worth of Carpenter's digital footprints without a warrant.  A Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals judge ruled that cellphone location data isn't protected by the Fourth Amendment, which forbids unreasonable search and seizure, and therefore didn't require a warrant.

Orlando International Airport to scan faces of US citizens.  Florida's busiest airport will be the first in the nation to require a face scan of passengers on all arriving and departing international flights, officials said Thursday, a move that pleases airport executives but worries privacy advocates.

Police use spying doorbells to create digital neighborhood watch networks.  It seems like all I have been writing about lately, is how police are using cam-share programs to create city-wide surveillance networks.  When I first heard about 'Ring' a smart doorbell with a video camera, I didn't think much of it.  I mean how could the police state turn what appeared to be an innocuous smart device into another surveillance tool?  Enter Amazon, who recently purchased Ring for $1 billion dollars.  Fast forward a few months and Amazon announces that Ring is on a mission to work with law enforcement across the country.

New Technologies Nurturing Big Brother.  Centralized control over all financial activity has reached the point where there is talk of abandoning cash for all-0electronic transactions, the better to flesh out the state's dossiers on all of us.  Various security measures allow eavesdropping on our telephone conversations, monitoring our internet access, and taking photos of us in public places. [...] Money was created as a vehicle to grease the wheels of commerce, a way to transact business without having to trade two swords for a horse.  And money provided an accurate method of valuing disparate objects:  a pair of shoes is worth three chickens, but you no longer need the chickens to acquire the shoes. [...] Money's only purpose is to facilitate free trade.  But in a Big Brother state, free trade will wither and die, eliminating the need for money.

The NSA Continues to Abuse Americans by Intercepting Their Telephone Calls.  One of the few positive things in the ill-named USA FREEDOM Act, enacted in 2015 after the Snowden revelations on NSA domestic spying, is that it required the Director of National Intelligence to regularly report on its domestic surveillance activities.  On Friday [5/4/2018], the latest report was released on just how much our own government is spying on us.  The news is not good at all if you value freedom over tyranny.  According to the annual report, named the Statistical Transparency Report Regarding Use of National Security Authorities, the US government intercepted and stored information from more than a half-billion of our telephone calls and text messages in 2017.  That is a 300 percent increase from 2016.  All of these intercepts were "legal" under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which is ironic because FISA was enacted to curtail the Nixon-era abuse of surveillance on American citizens.

Liberals Upset That License Plate Readers Are Used To Find Illegal Aliens.  The battle of public safety and law enforcement versus privacy concerns isn't going away any time soon.  Much of the debate these days revolves around increasingly affordable and available technology allowing the use of publicly mounted (or drone-based) cameras which can record both automobile license plate numbers and even human faces.  Scanners and facial recognition software can interpret this data and assist law enforcement agencies in locating suspects more quickly and accurately.  But this has some people highly upset.

Spy agency NSA triples collection of U.S. phone records: official report.  The U.S. National Security Agency collected 534 million records of phone calls and text messages of Americans last year, more than triple gathered in 2016, a U.S. intelligence agency report released on Friday [5/4/2018] said.

NSA admits to collecting more than 534 million phone calls and text messages from Americans last year.  The U.S. National Security Agency collected more than 534 million records of phone calls and text messages from American telecommunications providers last year, tripling the amount of data it collected in 2016, according to a report released Friday [5/4/2018].  Service providers like AT&T and Verizon are providing much of the data.  That includes records of phone calls received and made, but not the actual contents of what was said, according to the report from the office of the Director of National Intelligence.  The report does not explain why the increase in data collection was so large.

DHS expands police spying by adding surveillance cameras to bus stops.  Not content with surveillance cameras on buses, the police state has now begun adding them to bus stops.  Last month an article in WTVR 6 revealed that the Greater Richmond Transit Center (GRTC) is installing more than one hundred surveillance cameras at bus stops.  What should really concern everyone is the amount of cameras being installed at each bus stop.

How Federal Surveillance and "Parallel Construction" Undermine the Rule of Law.  When we talk about NSA spying, most people's eyes glaze over.  They just don't think it will have any impact on them.  After all, the surveillance agency only spies on foreigners and terrorists, right?  And if some Americans' data ends up in NSA databases in the process, well, that doesn't really matter.  It's the price we pay for security.  But in fact, federal surveillance and the investigative practices it fosters undermines and subverts the fundamental rule of law in the United States.  State and local law enforcement agencies use the reams of data the NSA collects to prosecute Americans.  Most of these cases have nothing to do with terrorism or national security.  In fact, the vast majority relate to the so-called "war on drugs."  In the process, these state and local cops shred due process, obliterate the Fourth Amendment and make a mockery out of the "rule of law."

Las Vegas Installs 37 DHS Surveillance Cameras on the Strip.  What happens in Vegas will be recorded by cameras provided by the Department of Homeland Security.  All along the storied Las Vegas Strip, 37 surveillance cameras watch and record every movement.  Such an expensive purchase might surprise citizens of Sin City given that the Metropolitan Police Department is in the middle of a hiring freeze and has laid off dozens of officers all over the city.

Obama Staffer: Facebook Knew Presidential Campaign Improperly Seized Data, Looked the Other Way.  Facebook is embroiled in a political controversy over the manner its social data was utilized by the Trump campaign, but a former Obama campaign staffer argues the social media company has been allowing this type of behavior since at least 2012.  The social media giant is being lambasted for failing to verify that data from an estimated 50 million users was deleted by the Steve Bannon-led firm, Cambridge Analytica.  However, a former Obama campaign staffer has come forward to claim that Facebook turned a blind eye to the same issue in 2012.

FBI Paid Best Buy Technicians to Inform Them about Illegal Content on Customer Devices.  The FBI recruited computer technicians at Best Buy to inform them about illegal content on personal devices customers brought in for repairs, new Bureau documents show.  The informants were discovered after Best Buy's Geek Squad technicians at a Kentucky repair shop found thousands of child-pornography images on California doctor Mark Rettenmaier's computer.  The documents from the ensuing court case showed that eight informants were cooperating with the FBI to turn over illegal content.

Best Buy Gave Obama FBI [a] Tour of [a] Geek Squad Facility [and the] FBI Paid Employees As Informants.  Well isn't this interesting?  The FBI was given it's [sic] own private tour of the Best Buy "Geek Squad" computer repair facilities during the Obama and Comey days.  This was done back in September of 2016, at the height of the election season.  We'll wait (and wait and wait) to see if Mr. Magoo Jeff Sessions or his boss Rod Rosenstein do anything about this.

Police are creating a national surveillance network using COMTEC, Project Green Light etc.  Detroit officials have been using the Macomb County Communications and Technology Center (COMTEC) to spy on everyone since 2013.  According to an article in the Macomb Daily News, law enforcement and DoT officials are using CCTV cameras to spy on everyone. [...] But this year things changed for the worse; law enforcement soon made it mandatory for businesses to pay the police to let them spy on everyone.

Super-secret spy court raises alarm over feds' snooping.  It's a mysterious court that hides behind a hulking vaulted door and impenetrable concrete walls — and it's where the federal government makes some of its most secretive decisions concerning Americans' basic liberties.  If you dare ask where the secret court is located, employees at the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse in Washington, D.C. — where the court reportedly relocated in 2009 — won't tell you.  That's because the super-secret court is far beyond the reach of any journalist or curious American citizen.  Fortified with biometric hand scanners, wooden and metal doors and walls reinforced by concrete, it's the room where it all happens:  Eleven powerful court judges approve wiretaps, data collection and government requests to monitor suspected terrorists, spies and even American citizens.  And they're given sweeping power under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA.

Amazing New Breakthrough to Reduce Mass Shootings.  As fun as it is to ridicule the FBI for devoting massive resources to chasing down Hillary Clinton's oppo research while blowing off repeated, specific warnings about school shooter Nikolas Cruz, we've put a lot on the agency's plate.  We're hauling in nearly 2 million manifestly unvetted Third World immigrants every year, leading to a slew of FBI "Watch Lists" with a million names apiece.  In 2015, Director James Comey said that there were ISIS investigations in all 50 states — even Idaho and Alaska!  And that's just one terrorist organization.  Maybe the FBI brass would still be a bunch of incompetent, PC nincompoops if we weren't dumping millions of psychotic and terrorist foreigners on the country.  But even the most efficient organization would have trouble keeping track of the Nikolas Cruzes when our immigration policies require approximately one-third of the country to be constantly watching another third of the country.

An emerging police state that spies on Americans?  The left yawns.  Ever since the McCarthy era, hasn't it been a cultural norm from the left to holler about the U.S. becoming a police state?  A police state that spies on innocent Americans? [... But then] We had the Internal Revenue Service spying on and repressing internal dissidents, which were not people who sought to harm us, as the left's heroes did, but who called themselves the 'Tea Party' and campaigned for lower government spending.  The IRS and its minions such as the notorious Lois Lerner, who looks every bit like the warden she was, spied away, admitted their political motivation, and got off scot-free, retiring to their multi-million-dollar beltway manions as their reward.  And from the principled left?  Silence.

Critically important:  FISA, the NSA, and the 4th Amendment.  [Scroll down]  Jump now to the National Security Agency.  It has no criminal investigative purpose.  Instead, it was formed in the 1950's with a mandate to capture signal intelligence for foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes.  Almost seventy years later, modern communication systems mean that the NSA sucks up a goodly portion of the world's electronic communications, including those of Americans within our borders.  We know that last bit because, in 2013, James Clapper, then-Director Of National Intelligence, appeared before Congress.  When asked, "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions, or hundreds of millions of Americans?"  Clapper's response was swift and sure:  "No, sir. ... Not wittingly."  It later came out that in fact the NSA does, quite wittingly, sweep up electronic communications from hundreds of millions of Americans and that Clapper knowingly committed perjury with his answer.  But as is true for everyone else in the Obama administration who committed criminal offenses, Obama's DOJ and FBI declined to pursue criminal charges against him.

NSA Deletes "Honesty" and "Openness" From Core Values.  The National Security Agency maintains a page on its website that outlines its mission statement.  But earlier this month, the agency made a discreet change:  It removed "honesty" as its top priority.  Since at least May 2016, the surveillance agency had featured honesty as the first of four "core values" listed on, alongside "respect for the law," "integrity," and "transparency."  The agency vowed on the site to "be truthful with each other."  On January 12, however, the NSA removed the mission statement page — which can still be viewed through the Internet Archive — and replaced it with a new version.  Now, the parts about honesty and the pledge to be truthful have been deleted.  The agency's new top value is "commitment to service," which it says means "excellence in the pursuit of our critical mission."

Paul Craig Roberts Slams The NSA: "It's A Blackmail Agency".  The main function of the National Security Administration is to collect the dirt on members of the house and senate, the staffs, principal contributors, and federal judges.  The dirt is used to enforce silence about the crimes of the security agencies.  The blackmail mechanism was put into gear the minute the news reported that the House Intelligence Committee had assembled proof that the FBI, DOJ, and DNC created Russiagate as a conspiracy to unseat President Trump.  Members of Congress with nothing to hide demanded the evidence be released to the public.

NSA deleted surveillance data it pledged to preserve.  Since 2007, the NSA has been under court orders to preserve data about certain of its surveillance efforts that came under legal attack following disclosures that President George W. Bush ordered warrantless wiretapping of international communications after the 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S.  In addition, the agency has made a series of representations in court over the years about how it is complying with its duties.  However, the NSA told U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White in a filing on Thursday night [1/18/2018] and another little-noticed submission last year that the agency did not preserve the content of internet communications intercepted between 2001 and 2007 under the program Bush ordered.  To make matters worse, backup tapes that might have mitigated the failure were erased in 2009, 2011 and 2016, the NSA said.

Senate renews surveillance law that collects email from an unknown number of Americans.  The Senate voted Thursday [1/18/2018] to renew for six years a surveillance program that collects the content of an unknown number of Americans' email, text messages, photos and other electronic communication without a warrant.  The Senate voted 65-34 to renew the controversial law, known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.  The action came after Senate leaders narrowly won a vote Tuesday night to allow the renewal bill to move forward.  The House approved the legislation last week, and President Trump is expected to sign the bill before the law expires at midnight Friday.

Lawmakers want James Clapper prosecuted for surveillance testimony before statute of limitations runs out.  Some lawmakers would like to see the Justice Department prosecute former spy chief James Clapper for inaccurate testimony to Congress about domestic surveillance before it's too late.  Privacy-conscious critics say looming five-year statutes of limitation for perjury and making false statements — establishing a March 12 deadline for charges — make an urgent case for action, and that nonprosecution would set a dangerous precedent that impedes oversight and executive-branch accountability.  Clapper, director of national intelligence from 2010 to 2017, testified during a March 2013 Senate Intelligence Committee hearing that the NSA was "not wittingly" collecting "any type of data at all" on millions of Americans.  Months later, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed secret court orders forced phone companies to turn over all U.S. call records on an "ongoing, daily basis."

House Committee to vote on voiding Fourth Amendment rights.  While the country was being treated to a mega-dose of tweets proclaiming Trump's "genius" over the weekend, so-called conservatives (i.e.  Trumplicans) in the House of Representatives were making plans to hold a vote on a bill that will void the Fourth Amendment rights of every American.  Scheduled for this week, the House Rules Committee will meet to consider a bill re-authorizing Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) which, according to Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) "allows the government to conduct warrantless searches on Americans and maintain massive troves of our data."

Not Smiling About DHS Facial Recognition Program.  Now that the US Department of "Homeland Security" is well on its way to achieving more power than even Hitler's Reich Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, ever dreamed of, they are positioning themselves for the ultimate Orwellian horror:  their ability to know where each and every one of us is, at any time, no matter where on earth we go.  DHS recently announced they are adding $1 billion to fund a facial recognition program that will scan the faces of Americans who board airplane flights exiting the country.  Too bad this is as illegal as it is ineffectual.

DHS Announces Program to Illegally Scan Our Faces.  Both Congress and the Department of Homeland Security have never justified the biometric scanners at airports that could cost Americans $1 billion in 2018.  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.

Inventory of surveillance cameras installed on Seattle City Light utility poles.  [An email conversation between a privacy activist and an opaque municipal bureaucracy.]

CIA and NSA first sought to exploit commercial databases in mid-80s.  Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) is the least famous, least exciting, and most prevalent form of intelligence, covering any sources that are theoretically open to anyone, such as newspaper articles, published books, or social media posts.  With the ubiquity of the internet, the use of such commercial databases is beyond routine for both the Intelligence Community and the government at large, but there was a time, however, where the mere interest was not only cutting edge, but problematic.

10 times the intel community violated the trust of US citizens, lawmakers and allies.  No matter where you stand politically, a growing body of facts raises the question:  Is there systemic corruption or misfeasance at work inside America's intelligence agencies?  By that, I don't mean people stealing money.  I mean officials who are stealing our privacy — using the tools of intelligence-gathering and law-enforcing, which are meant to protect Americans, to instead spy on them, to gather information that isn't the government's business (at least not without a court's approval).  And, in some instances, it appears, to punish or silence those with whom they disagree — personal and political foes, in and out of government — rather than to pursue and protect Americans from the country's real enemies.  Perhaps more alarming is the growing evidence that suggests some officials at all levels in intelligence and justice agencies are operating in a way that is clearly intended to serve their own political beliefs and interests — not the public's interests.

The State Government Agency That Spied on Citizens.  The 88-page report by Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel details the notorious "John Doe" investigations that went after almost every conservative, nonprofit organization in Wisconsin (the state chapter of Club for Growth among them) for supposed violations of campaign finance laws.  Except that there were not any actual violations of the law, according to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  The court shut down the prosecutions in 2015, calling the legal theory under which the prosecutors were pursuing the case "unsupported in either reason or law."  The state's highest court used the word "amazing" in describing the "breadth" of documents seized by prosecutors through numerous, wide-ranging subpoenas and search warrants.  This included "virtually every document possessed by the [targets] relating to every aspect of their lives, both personal and professional, over a five-year span."  The report from Schimel, a Republican, has an unbelievable list of 218 subpoenas and search warrants issued in the investigation — and this is only a "partial" list.

Fusion GPS Dossier cabal was using spy tradecraft to evade leaving electronic footprints for NSA surveillance.  The National Security Agency (NSA) picks up and records almost all electronic communications, thereby effectively wiretapping telephone conversations, email, and practically everything else we send out electronically.  When a FISA court permits "unmasking" of American citizens, that universal wiretapping capability can be used to spy on their conversations.  It now appears that an elaborate plot was crafted to generate phony accusations of dirty ties to Russia that would be used to get a FISA Court warrant to "unmask" members of the Trump campaign, and thereby enable spying on that campaign.  We do not know how many members of that campaign were "unmasked" (i.e., spied on), but there are suggestions that the list ended up quite long.

NSA Whistleblowers:  NSA Collects 'Word for Word' Every Domestic Communication.  PBS interviewed NSA whistleblowers William Binney and Russell Tice this week.  Binney is the NSA's former director of global digital data, and a 32-year NSA veteran widely regarded as a "legend" within the agency.  Tice helped the NSA spy with satellites for 20 years.  Binney and Tice confirmed that the NSA is recording every word of every phone call made within the United States.

iPhone Apps Can Secretly Turn On Your Camera And Take Pictures At Any Time.  A new warning has been issued to iPhone users.  Apps downloaded to the smartphones can turn on the phone's camera and take pictures at any time, and it's doing it secretly.  Felix Krause, an Austrian developer who works for Google, built an app that was able to take pictures of its user every second and upload them, without the app or the phone ever notifying the user.

LAPD Drones Threaten Privacy.  Today, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) civilian police commission voted to approve proposed guidelines for a one-year unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) pilot program.  According to the LAPD's guidelines, UAVs will not be equipped with lethal or nonlethal weapons and will only be deployed in a narrow set of circumstances.  The guideline also requires officers to obtain a warrant before using a UAV "when required under the Fourth Amendment or other provision of the law."  This looks all well and good, except that the Fourth Amendment and California law provide little protection when it comes to aerial surveillance.  The Fourth Amendment protects "persons, houses, papers, and effects" from "unreasonable searches and seizures."  Many Americans could be forgiven for thinking that this constitutional provision would act as a shield against warrantless aerial surveillance.  Sadly, this is not the case.

Cities are getting paid to turn street lights into spying SmartNodes.  SmartNodes will soon replace street lights, because they are equipped with cameras, microphones, speakers etc., all-in-one light pole.  The city of Los Angeles, Calfornia is working with Phillips Lighting and ENE-HUB to turn 110,000 street lights into a one-of-a-kind citywide SmartNode surveillance network.

6 Dangerous Electronics & Apps Secretly Spying On You In Your Home.  [#2] Smart TVs:  While smart TVs allow you to connect to the Internet directly, they can also be used to collect your data.  For example, a new technology called TVision Insights allows companies to monitor TV watchers' viewing habits.  This means that they can literally watch you as you watch TV. They even record data on where your eyes are looking, when you're distracted, and what emotions you're conveying.  In early 2015, Samsung warned its customers:  "Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party."

To see your gestures, the TV will have to watch you continuously.  Do you really want that?
End of the TV remote could be nigh as scientists invent technology to change channel using gestures.  The television remote could become a thing of the past according to scientists who have developed a new technology that allows the device to be controlled through gestures instead.  Computer scientists at Lancaster University have come up with a system that makes it possible interact with screens simply by using body movements, or waving objects.  Requiring only a simple webcam, the "Matchpoint" works by displaying moving targets that orbit a small circular "widget" in the corner of the screen.

Revisiting Orwell to Understand Our Times.  Just two or three generations ago, most Americans understood that George Orwell's classics Animal Farm and 1984 were written to explain how freedom is lost to totalitarianism and the intolerance that accompanies it.  "Big Brother," a term still casually used to describe an all-knowing governing authority, comes right out of 1984.  In the society that Orwell describes, everyone was reminded that "Big Brother is watching you," by way of a constant surveillance through the pervasive use of "telescreens" by the ruling class. [...] Orwell's Big Brother has become a reality in the NSA's tracking and recording of all email, text, and telephone communication in the United States.  But Big Brother has a new dimension with social media and consumer giants, Google, Facebook, and Amazon knowing almost everything about people's preferences through their artificial intelligence peering into people's "telescreen" computers and smartphones.

Mystery Surrounds Metal Towers Popping Up In Tunnels & Bridges.  Mysterious metal towers are popping up at local tunnels, and soon they'll start appearing at bridges, too.  But even people on the MTA board in charge of the towers can't say why they're being used or what's in them, CBS2's Dave Carlin reports.  Jose Lugo said the tall metal towers quickly appeared up after the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel tolls booths came down.  "We don't really know what's the purpose of this," he told Carlin.  It's a $100 million MTA project shrouded in secrecy, with 18 of them for tunnels and bridges.  So what are they exactly?

The Editor says...
It doesn't matter if these devices are lights, riot control machines, automatic license plate readers, or surveillance cameras.  If the project costs $100 million and they won't tell anybody what it's for, it's not going to be good.

Sharyl Attkisson explains what we are up against.  Sharyl Attkisson is the bravest reporter of her generation, so much of a threat to people with access to the capabilities of our intel agencies that she was spied upon and worse.

It looks like Obama did spy on Trump, just as he apparently did to me.  Nobody wants our intel agencies to be used like the Stasi in East Germany; the secret police spying on its own citizens for political purposes.  The prospect of our own NSA, CIA and FBI becoming politically weaponized has been shrouded by untruths, accusations and justifications.  You'll recall DNI Clapper falsely assured Congress in 2013 that the NSA was not collecting "any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans."  Intel agencies secretly monitored conversations of members of Congress while the Obama administration negotiated the Iran nuclear deal.  In 2014, the CIA got caught spying on Senate Intelligence Committee staffers, though CIA Director John Brennan had explicitly denied that.

Distrustful U.S. allies force spy agency to back down in encryption row.  In interviews and emails seen by Reuters, academic and industry experts from countries including Germany, Japan and Israel worried that the U.S. electronic spy agency was pushing the new techniques not because they were good encryption tools, but because it knew how to break them.

NSA Blocks Release Of Loretta Lynch-Bill Clinton Airplane Tape For 'National Security'.  The National Security Agency (NSA) blocked the release of a purported tape of Bill Clinton and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch's private airplane talk with a rare legal justification used to protect top national security secrets.  The NSA's block of the release of this information — citing one of President Obama's executive orders — undercuts Hillary Clinton's claim that her husband and Lynch had a "purely social" conversation about grandkids and golf on June 27, 2016, two weeks before Lynch dropped the Department of Justice investigation into Hillary Clinton's email scandal.  Citizen researcher Larry Kawa is pressing the government to release the contents of a taping system that is required to have been installed on Lynch's government airplane.  Kawa points to the Tempest system, a NATO-certified system by which the NSA tracks and records sound that emanates within government structures.

End Warrantless Deep State Spying:  Don't Renew 702.  As former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed to the world in 2013, the U.S. government routinely spies on its own citizens.  "I, sitting at my desk, could wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president," Snowden told the journalists crowded into his hotel room before the publication of his leaked documents.  The leaks exposed lies from government officials about the mass surveillance of American citizens, with former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testifying before Congress that the NSA didn't "wittingly" collect any data on millions of Americans.  Four years after the Snowden leaks, the government is still collecting Americans' private information.  Though the NSA claims it ended bulk collection of domestic phone calls, the agency is still operating several other far-reaching domestic spying programs.

Intel kill switch ME code indicates connection to NSA.  Security researchers studying the Intel Management Engine discovered an undocumented kill switch in the code, as well as references to a National Security Agency program.  Dmitry Sklyarov, Mark Ermolov and Maxim Goryachy, security researchers for Positive Technologies, based in Framingham, Mass., found the Intel kill switch that has the ability to disable the controversial Intel Management Engine (ME).  Experts have been wary of the Intel ME because it is an embedded subsystem on every chip that essentially functions as a separate CPU, with deep access to system processes, and it could be active even if the system were hibernating or shut off.

How California police are tracking your biometric data in the field.  EFF and MuckRock teamed up in August to reveal how state and local law enforcement agencies are using mobile biometric technology in the field by filing public records requests around the country.  With the help of members of the public who nominated jurisdictions for investigation, we have now obtained thousands of pages of documents from more than 30 agencies.  Because of the volume of records we've received so far — docs continue to flow in faster than EFF and MuckRock's teams can read through them — we're starting with California.  Nine of the agencies have responded to our requests with documents, while many more claimed they didn't have any records.  Of those that did respond, most employed a digital fingerprinting device.  Facial recognition has also been widely embraced among agencies in San Diego County, with Santa Clara County law enforcement agencies close behind.

Obama-Comey FBI Monitored Social Media On Election Day For Memes.  You'll be glad to know that your tax dollars were wasted on election day by both Obama and James Comey to monitor social media for "fake news" and memes.  This despite the fact everyone expected Hillary Clinton to easily win, with every poll saying as much.  Even Obama and Comey had to believe their own BS about Clinton easily winning in November.  So then why would Obama and Comey have to monitor social media for "fake news" and memes?  Even more ironic, it's the fake news kings at CNN that claim this "exclusive" story.

CIA Dumbo Project Created to Take Over Webcams, Microphones.  Details of the CIA's Dumbo project, a system that manipulates devices such as webcams and microphones on Microsoft Windows-operating systems, have been published by WikiLeaks.  The program also corrupts video recordings, according to the leaked documents.  The whistleblowing organization released the files as part of its Vault 7 series on the CIA's hacking capabilities.  According to Wikileaks, the technology is intended for use where the deployment of a special branch within the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence could be compromised.  Dumbo can identify, control and manipulate monitoring and detection systems on a target computer running the Microsoft Windows operating system, according to the documents.

Newly declassified memos detail extent of improper Obama-era NSA spying.  The National Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation violated specific civil liberty protections during the Obama years by improperly searching and disseminating raw intelligence on Americans or failing to promptly delete unauthorized intercepts, according to newly declassified memos that provide some of the richest detail to date on the spy agencies' ability to obey their own rules.

Busted: Vermont DMV Caught Using Illegal Facial Recognition Program.  The American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont has obtained internal Department of Motor Vehicles records describing a DMV facial recognition program that is banned by Vermont state law and compromises the privacy and security of thousands of Vermonters.  In a letter delivered yesterday to DMV Commissioner Robert Ide, the ACLU demands an immediate end to the program, which was first implemented in 2012.  Vermont DMV records provided to the ACLU show the agency using facial recognition software (FRS) to search and share with other state and federal government agencies the photographs and personal information of Vermont ID holders.  That violates a 2004 state law barring the use of technologies that "involve the use of biometric identifiers."

NSA Reneges On Promise To Tell Congress How Many Innocent Americans It Spies On.  Technocrats are data hoarders and will never divulge how much data they have collected, legally or illegally.  The NSA and the entire intelligence network have gone rogue on the American public and have become a key element in the impending Technocracy waiting to be established.

Vault 7, Internet Security, and Your Life on Display.  When I talk with fellow engineers about the possibility that the feds are sucking up every bit of data they can get their packet sniffers on, we all agree it is happening, to an unknown extent.  How amazing to now get an actual peek behind the overpriced GSA-schedule gray curtain.  These disclosures are disturbing in multiple ways, for example, that our tax dollars are funding the federal government's hacking of free citizens' lives, all under the premise that they are only targeting criminals and spies.  Most commentators find this the greatest outrage.  The most disturbing fact to me, as a tech insider and developer, is that the Swiss cheese computing tools we use today are way more hole than cheese.  Vault 7 is evidence of this.  There are exploits in Vault 7 for nearly every modern computing platform, operating system, and communications method.  Everything connected to the Internet is broken.

NSA's use of 'traffic shaping' allows unrestrained spying on Americans.  A new analysis of documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden details a highly classified technique that allows the National Security Agency to "deliberately divert" US internet traffic, normally safeguarded by constitutional protections, overseas in order to conduct unrestrained data collection on Americans.  According to the new analysis, the NSA has clandestine means of "diverting portions of the river of internet traffic that travels on global communications cables," which allows it to bypass protections put into place by Congress to prevent domestic surveillance on Americans.

Real Scandals The Trump-Obsessed Media Are Ignoring.  In late May, Circa News published a truly bombshell report about how the National Security Agency had been conducting illegal searches on American citizens for years, "routinely violat(ing) American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts."  In addition, the administration "failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall."  Classified documents obtained by Circa showed that "one out of every 20 searches seeking upstream internet data on Americans inside the NSA's so-called Section 702 database violated the safeguards Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011." [...] The three network news programs all ignored this report, and it got little attention by any of the other mainstream news outlets.

First Arrest Made From Cameras Linked to Public Facial Recognition Database.  U.K. police recently made their first arrest using facial recognition software following a series of trials at large-scale public events.  According to authorities, the man was arrested three days prior to the UAEA Champions League Final June 3rd while South Wales police were conducting their most recent experiment with the high-tech surveillance.  Cameras linked to facial recognition software were located around the stadium, local train station, and designated police vehicles to monitor people in and around the city center.

Did the FBI have evidence of a breach larger than Snowden?  A lawsuit says yes.  A former U.S. intelligence contractor tells Circa he walked away with more than 600 million classified documents on 47 hard drives from the National Security Agency and the CIA, a haul potentially larger than Edward Snowden's now infamous breach.  And now he is suing former FBI Director James Comey and other government figures, alleging the bureau has covered up evidence he provided them showing widespread spying on Americans that violated civil liberties. [...] "This domestic surveillance was all being done on computers supplied by the FBI," [Dennis] Montgomery told Circa in an interview.  "So these supercomputers, which are FBI computers, the CIA is using them to do domestic surveillance."

DEA Deploying Powerful Spyware Without Required Privacy Impact Assessments.  It's not just the FBI that can't seem to turn in its privacy-related paperwork on time.  The FBI has pushed forward with its biometric database rollout — despite the database being inaccurate, heavily-populated with non-criminals, and without the statutorily-required Privacy Impact Assessment that's supposed to accompany it.  As of 2014, it hadn't produced this PIA, one it had promised in 2012.  And one that applied to a system that had been in the works since 2008.  Unsurprisingly, another federal law enforcement agency hasn't felt too compelled to produce PIAs for privacy-impacting programs.

Court Criticizes Obama Admin for Illegal Spying on U.S. Citizens.  [Scroll down]  Writing the 99-page opinion for FISC, Judge Rosemary Collyer castigated the Obama administration for failing to follow the Section 702 procedures designed to ensure that the government does not violate Americans' civil rights as it is performing work that is vitally important to national security.  Collyer declared that the previous administration's cavalier violations of Section 702's requirements created "a very serious Fourth Amendment issue."  Collyer sharply criticized the National Security Agency's inspector general and the NSA's Office of Compliance for Operations for their "institutional 'lack of candor,'" signaling that in addition to ignoring legal constraints, the Obama administration was not being honest with the court about its violations of federal law.

James Rosen:  Comey's FBI Broke Its Own Rules & Procedures On Spying On Americans.  The sheer scale of the 4th Amendment violations is staggering, as was the sternness of the rebuke of the Obama administration by the FISA court, which ordinarily approves 99.9% of the government's request.

New Revelations Shed Light On Extent Of NSA Spying Under Obama.  Typically, when an American citizen is swept up in NSA surveillance, they are supposed to be "masked" to protect their identity, but there are large loopholes in place that allow the NSA to spy on Americans without a warrant or any probable cause whatsoever.  When the NSA conducts what is known as "upstream collection" of Internet communications, it is impossible to target a single email, instead sweeping up "packets" of data containing several messages.  The NSA is supposed to sift through the data packets and discard all but the targeted email(s).  That alone poses some privacy issues, as before they are discarded the NSA can momentarily see the contents of the communications, but, when coupled with the NSA's targeting practices, the problem expands to a serious violation of American constitutional rights.

Secret court rebukes NSA for 5-year illegal surveillance of U.S. citizens.  U.S. intelligence agencies conducted illegal surveillance on American citizens over a five-year period, a practice that earned them a sharp rebuke from a secret court that called the matter a "very serious" constitutional issue.  The criticism is in a lengthy secret ruling that lays bare some of the frictions between the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and U.S. intelligence agencies obligated to obtain the court's approval for surveillance activities.  The ruling, dated April 26 and bearing the label "top secret," was obtained and published Thursday [5/25/2017] by the news site Circa.

Vermont DMV Caught Using Illegal Facial Recognition Program.  The Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles has been caught using facial recognition software — despite a state law preventing it.  Documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont describe such a program, which uses software to compare the DMV's database of names and driver's license photos with information with state and federal law enforcement.  Vermont state law, however, specifically states that "The Department of Motor Vehicles shall not implement any procedures or processes... that involve the use of biometric identifiers."

FISA Court Finds "Serious Fourth Amendment Issue" In Obama's "Widespread" Illegal Searches Of American Citizens.  In describing the violations, the FISA court said the illegal searches conducted by the NSA under Obama were "widespread" and created a "very serious Fourth Amendment issue."  These new discoveries come from a recently unsealed FISA court document dated April 26, 2017 and center around a hearing dated October 26, 2017, just days before the 2016 election, in which the FISA court apparently learned for the first time of "widespread" and illegal spying on American citizens by the NSA under the Obama administration.

Gowdy: Surveillance Programs Won't Be Renewed Until 'Unmasking' Questions [are] Answered.  Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) said this morning that key surveillance programs won't be reauthorized by Congress until questions about intelligence "unmasking" are answered.  At a House Intelligence Committee hearing yesterday in the Russia investigation, Gowdy asked former CIA Director John Brennan about the issue.

Obama intel agency secretly conducted illegal searches on Americans for years.  The National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall, according to once top-secret documents that chronicle some of the most serious constitutional abuses to date by the U.S. intelligence community.

Massive increase in searches of NSA data on U.S. citizens during election year.  Under President Obama, U.S. officials vastly expanded their searches of sensitive data captured about Americans during NSA surveillance of foreign targets. [...] Recently, the website broke this major story.  A few years ago, the same story would have made big international headlines.  But today's news environment is highly-managed, and the reporting didn't get as widely circulated as one would expect.

Inspector General's Report Shows Section 702 Isn't The Only Thing Being Abused By The NSA.  There's more than Section 702 up for renewal at the end of this year.  Most of the attention has been focused on Section 702 because it's used most frequently for internet communications and data collections.  Not only does the NSA make use of this collection, but other agencies (FBI, CIA) are allowed unminimized access to NSA 702 data stores.  With this many agencies reliant on NSA communications interception, the sales pitches have been focusing on this particular authority.  But there are other surveillance authorities under Title VII:  Sections 704 and 705, which allow the NSA to target US persons located outside of the country.  The numbers put up by these sections aren't as impressive as Section 702's (~3,000 selectors for 151 million records), but 704/705 isn't supposed to result in incidental collection.  It's a US spy agency actively spying on US citizens.

Despite "Freedom Act," NSA Collected 151 Million Phone Records in 2016.  An April 27 report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence revealed that during 2016 the National Security Agency (NSA) collected some 151 million phone records of Americans, despite passage of the USA Freedom Act of 2015.  While that law supposedly ended the program enabling the NSA to collect the phone records of Americans in bulk, it nonetheless allowed the NSA to continue accessing records from phone numbers of suspected terrorists via court orders.  The report revealed that the NSA still collected 151 millions [sic] phone records the next year under the new system, while obtaining court orders on only 42 individuals with suspected terrorist ties.

The Cloud Panopticon:  Google, Cloud Computing and the Surveillance-Industrial-Complex.  In June 2007, Privacy International, a U.K.-based privacy rights watchdog, cited Google as the worst privacy offender among 23 online companies, ranking the "Don't Be Evil" people below Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, eBay, LinkedIn, Facebook and AOL.  According to the report, no other company was "coming close to achieving [Google's] status as an endemic threat to privacy."  What most disturbed the authors was Google's "increasing ability to deep-drill into the minutiae of a user's life and lifestyle choices."  The result:  "the most onerous privacy environment on the Internet."  Indeed, Google now controls an estimated 70 percent of the online search engine market, but its deep-drilling of user information — where we surf, whom we e-mail, what blogs we post, what pictures we share, what maps we look at, what news we read — extends far beyond the search feature to encompass the kind of "total information awareness" that privacy activists feared at the hands of the Bush Jr. administration's much-maligned Total Information Awareness program.

Online Privacy Guide for Journalists 2017.  [Scroll down]  Let's begin by listing what you can do when it comes to communicating with a source, and storing sensitive information obtained thereof: [...] Always encrypt everything:  Security experts use simple math to make their point:  As you raise the cost of decrypting your files (say, for intelligence agencies like the NSA), you automatically increase the degree of effort expended on following you.  If you're not Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, or Edward Snowden and if you weren't involved in active surveillance around Trump Tower apartments, they may give up the effort even if your encrypted communications were stored.  And should anyone decide to track you despite your efforts, it will be more of a headache if you use strong encryption like AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) and tools like PGP or openVPN, which are the strongest widely available encryption methods (VPN's are used by the US government itself).  But if you want bullet-proof security, you will need more than the AES encryption method.

Former DNI James Clapper Denies Any Impropriety in 'Unmasking' U.S. Citizens During Surveillance.  Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper categorically denied any political or "voyeuristic" motive to the "unmasking" of Trump campaign associates when he addressed the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism Monday [5/8/2017].  "At no time did I ever submit a request for personal or political purposes or to voyeuristically look at raw intelligence, nor am I aware of any instances of such abuse by anyone else," Clapper told the Committee in his initial address.

James Clapper:  Intel Community 'Unmasked' 1,934 U.S. Persons in 2016.  Barack Obama's former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, testified Monday before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism that the intelligence community "unmasked" 1,934 U.S. persons in 2016.  Clapper said the term "unmasking" is often misunderstood and that it is important to know the context.

Obama's team 'asked for NSA secrets on more than 30,000 Americans in 2016 and circulated 6,000 intelligence reports without removing their names'.  Barack Obama's team used NSA technology to examine data gathered on tens of thousands of Americans abroad during the election, it has emerged.  Officials searched both metadata and the actual contents of communications for the names of more than 30,000 US citizens, according to data released by the he Office of the Director of National Intelligence this week.  And more than 3,000 of the resulting intelligence reports were then circulated among government departments without the names of the searched parties being redacted, sources with direct knowledge told Circa.

NSA Halts Controversial Data Collection Program.  In what is being called a "sudden and unexpected triumph" for privacy advocates, the U.S. National Security Agency on Friday announced that it will no longer collect without a warrant the digital communications of Americans who are mentioned by a foreign intelligence target.  During the Obama years, warrantless surveillance programs vastly expanded, giving the government more power than ever to monitor American citizens — including political opponents — by collecting emails, texts, phone records, chats, locations, purchases, and other private information en masse.  Under the new rule, only communication to and from those targets will be collected.

N.S.A Halts Collection of Americans' Emails About Foreign Targets.  The National Security Agency has halted one of the most disputed practices of its warrantless wiretapping program: collecting Americans' emails and texts to and from people overseas that mention foreigners targeted for surveillance, according to officials familiar with the matter.  National security officials have argued that such surveillance is lawful and helpful in identifying people who might have links to terrorism, espionage or otherwise are targeted for intelligence-gathering.  The fact that the sender of such a message would know an email address or phone number associated with a surveillance target is grounds for suspicion, these officials argued.

NSA blimp
NSA Blimp Spied in the United States.  Back in 2004, a division of the NSA called the National Tactical Integration Office fitted a 62-foot diameter airship called the Hover Hammer with an eavesdropping device, according to a classified document published Monday by The Intercept.  The agency launched the three-engine airship at an airfield near Solomons Island, Maryland.  And from there, the blimp was able to vacuum up "international shipping data emanating from the Long Island, New York area," the document says.  The spy equipment on the airship was called Digital Receiver Technology — a proprietary system manufactured by a Maryland-based company of the same name — which can intercept wireless communications, including cellphone calls.

Report: School-Issued Computers 'Spy' on Children Without Parental Consent.  A new report finds that, under the guise of "personalized learning," school-issued computer devices — now distributed to one-third of K-12 students in schools across the United States — are serving to collect and store an unprecedented amount of personal data on children without their parents' notice or consent.  A newly released investigation by Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) reveals student use of technology in school has grown at a profound rate, especially with free or low-fee devices issued by schools.  The education technology industry, according to the report, is now valued at over $8 billion.

The Editor says...
Please note that laptop computers, which are obsolete after only a few years, are often paid for with 30-year municipal bonds.  So you're paying for outdated computers long after they're in the landfill.

Workplace Surveillance Is the New Office "Perk".  Whether through "voluntary" corporate wellness programs, smart badges that record voices and GPS locations, or surveillance apps in their mobile phones and personal computers, Americans are offering up more and more personal data at work.  Most of them don't have much idea of where that data goes, or how it will be used — and there aren't that many limits on what employers can find out about their employees, or what they can do with the data.  The more people who opt in now, the harder it will be to opt out in the future.  And it's about to get much worse.

Reports in unmasking controversy were detailed, had info about 'everyday lives.  The intelligence reports at the center of the Susan Rice unmasking controversy were detailed, and almost resembled a private investigator's file, according to a Republican congressman familiar with the documents.  "This is information about their everyday lives," Rep. Peter King of New York, a member of the House Intelligence committee said.  "Sort of like in a divorce case where lawyers are hired, investigators are hired just to find out what the other person is doing from morning until night and then you try to piece it together later on."

How California police are tracking your biometric data in the field.  [Scroll down]  Nine of the agencies have responded to our requests with documents, while many more claimed they didn't have any records.  Of those that did respond, most employed a digital fingerprinting device.  Facial recognition has also been widely embraced among agencies in San Diego County, with Santa Clara County law enforcement agencies close behind.  In addition, In addition, the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department's biometrics system includes tattoo recognition, while the Orange County Sheriff's Department is also investigating iris recognition.

Comey warns there is no longer 'absolute privacy' in US.  FBI Director James Comey said Wednesday that Americans should no longer have the expectations of complete privacy. [...] "Even our memories aren't private," he said.  "Any of us can be compelled to say what we saw.  In appropriate circumstances, a judge can compel any of us to testify in court on those private communications.  There is no place in America outside of judicial reach."

New WikiLeaks reveal proof we are sliding down the slippery slope toward totalitarianism.  The U.S. government must get a grip on the massive opening that the CIA, through its misfeasance, nonfeasance and malfeasance, has created.  If Tuesday's WikiLeaks document dump is authentic, as it appears to be, then the agency left open electronic gateways that make all Americans vulnerable to spying, eavesdropping and technological manipulation that could bring genuine harm.  That the CIA has reached into the lives of all Americans through its wholesale gathering of the nation's "haystack" of information has already been reported.  It is bad enough that the government spies on its own people.  It is equally bad that the CIA, through its incompetence, has opened the cyberdoor to anyone with the technological skills and connections to spy on anyone else.

Spies among us — Congress has created a monster that is coming for us.  Those of us who believe that the Constitution means what it says have been arguing since the late 1970s that congressional efforts to strengthen national security by weakening personal liberty are unconstitutional, un-American and ineffective.  The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which Congress passed in the aftermath of President Richard Nixon's use of the CIA and the FBI to spy on his political opponents, has unleashed demons that now seem beyond the government's control and are more pervasive than anything Nixon could have dreamed of.

CIA Turned Samsung Smart TVs into Listening Devices, WikiLeaks Dump Reveals.  Hackers within the Central Intelligence Agency have developed malware which can turn Samsung Smart TVs into listening devices, leaked documents published by WikiLeaks Tuesday [3/7/2017] reveal.  The malware, coined "Weeping Angel" — released as part of WikiLeaks' "Vault 7" data dump — appears to have been created during a 2014 joint workshop with Britain's equivalent spy agency MI5.  The attack, which seems to require physical access to the TV and an infected USB drive, enables a "Fake-Off mode" that allows the microphone to be accessed remotely even after the TV has been seemingly turned off.  The malware also suppresses the TV's LED lights, removing any suspicion that the device is still active.

The Editor says...
One would hope that the CIA was using this eavesdropping technology against our enemies, and always in foreign countries.  Raise your hand if you think the U.S. government spies on American citizens using the same technology.

Exclusive — NSA Whistleblower:  Agency 'Absolutely' Tapping Trump's Calls.  Regarding [Michael] Flynn's case, [William] Binney stated of the NSA:  If they weren't behind it, they certainly had the data.  Now the difference here is that FBI and CIA have direct access inside the NSA databases.  So, they may be able to go directly in there and see that material there.  And NSA doesn't monitor that.  They don't even monitor their own people going into databases.  So, they don't monitor what CIA and FBI do.  And there's no oversight or attempted oversight by any of the committees or even the FISA court.  So, any way you look at it, ultimately the NSA is responsible because they are doing the collection on everybody inside the United States.  Phone calls.  Emails.  All of that stuff.
[Emphasis added.]

How CIA allegedly turns everyday devices into high-tech spy weapons.  CIA software can secretly turn everyday electronics like smartphones and high-tech TVs into listening devices to spy on unsuspecting users, WikiLeaks claimed in a massive document dump Tuesday [3/7/2017].  Some of the computer programs target the iOS software that runs Apple iPhones as well as Google's Android operating system, which does the same for phones built by Samsung, HTC and Sony, WikiLeaks said.  The "weaponized" software also reportedly provides techniques to defeat the encryption abilities of popular apps including WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram and Wiebo, which claim to supply users with secure and private communications.

FBI needs to explain why Flynn was recorded, Intelligence Committee chairman says.  The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said Tuesday that the most significant question posed by the resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn is why intelligence officials eavesdropped on his calls with the Russian ambassador and later leaked information on those calls to the press.  "I expect for the FBI to tell me what is going on, and they better have a good answer," said Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which is conducting a review of Russian activities to influence the election.  "The big problem I see here is that you have an American citizen who had his phone calls recorded."

Court:  Law enforcement can view private Twitter messages.  A New Jersey appeals court has ruled that law enforcement agencies can view private messages and tweets posted on Twitter.

Memo: New York Called For Face Recognition Cameras At Bridges, Tunnels.  The state of New York has privately asked surveillance companies to pitch a vast camera system that would scan and identify people who drive in and out of New York City, according to a December memo obtained by Vocativ.  The call for private companies to submit plans is part of Governor Andrew Cuomo's major infrastructure package, which he introduced in October.  Though much of the related proposals would be indisputably welcome to most New Yorkers — renovating airports and improving public transportation — a little-noticed detail included installing cameras to "test emerging facial recognition software and equipment."  "This is a highly advanced system they're asking for," said Clare Garvie, an associate at Georgetown University's Center for Privacy and Technology, and who specializes in police use of face recognition technologies.  "This is going to be terabytes — if not petabytes — of data, and multiple cameras running 24 hours a day.  In order to be face recognition compliant they probably have to be pretty high definition."

FBI allegedly paid Geek Squad for evidence.  Last May, the defense in a child pornography trial alleged that the FBI used a member of electronics retailer Best Buy's tech support team, Geek Squad, to peer into the accused's computer on the hunt for evidence of child pornography.  Since then, the defense's lawyers revealed that the FBI had cultivated at least eight of the company's IT handyfolk over a four-year period to serve as confidential informants, who all received some payment for turning over data.  Obviously, this raises serious questions about whether sending devices into the repair shop forfeits a person's right to privacy or unreasonable search and seizure.  The eight Geek Squad members in question worked in the tech support branch's repair center in Brooks, Kentucky, servicing items sent in from all over the country.  Technically, users sign consent to search over to Best Buy when they hand their devices over to get fixed.  This includes fine print indicating that any evidence of child pornography would require the company to hand the device over to authorities.

Your boss is watching you:  Companies fit staff with tracking devices to they can follow their movements night and day.  Employers across Britain and North America are fitting their staff with wearable tracker devices to monitor their fitness, productivity and stress levels 24 hours a day.  At least four companies — including a major bank and part of the NHS — are using 'sociometric badges' to measure the conditions of their staff.  The credit card-sized devices created by Humanyze include a microphone that analyses the tone, speed and volume, but not the content, of a person's voice, scan for proximity to others and measure physical activity and sleep patterns.

Boston police pause plans for $1.4-million social media surveillance program.  The Boston Police Department on Friday [1/13/2017] announced it was putting a hold on its plans to purchase $1.4 million worth of social media surveillance software, signaling a win for civil liberties activists who said the program was poised to chill free speech and hindered other constitutionally-protected activity.  Local law enforcement had sought social media analytic technology capable of scouring the internet for potential threats, including the ability to monitor platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube in real time for any data of interest to investigators, according to an Oct. 2016 request for proposals.

Obama Just Quietly Gave 16 Gov't Agencies Access To The NSA Data on US Citizens.  In virtually its last gasp, the Obama administration has quietly given the National Security Agency wider powers to share intercepted surveillance data with 16 other government agencies, including the FBI, DEA and CIA, before applying privacy protections.

Anything You Say Around Your Smart Devices Can And Will Be Used Against You In Court.  Are your smart devices spying on you for the State?  In this video, Vin Armani discusses the danger of prosecutors being able to confiscate the entire voice history on your smart devices, like the popular Amazon Echo, to find wrongdoing.

Government requests for Facebook data up 27 percent.  Governments worldwide requested Facebook users' data nearly 60,000 times in the first half of 2016, a 27 percent increase over requests made in the second half of 2015, according to a Facebook bi-annual report published this week.  In addition to government requests for user data, the report details which content Facebook restricts for violating local laws.  The company says it studies each request carefully to determine whether or not it has merit, especially in emergency cases where imminent risk of serious injury or harm is involved.  It ultimately handed over data in 80 percent of cases.

UK mass surveillence is illegal, EU court says.  The UK government's "general and indiscriminate" retention of personal data is not permitted under EU law, the EU's Court of Justice has ruled.  UK Brexit secretary David Davis initially launched the case when he was a backbench MP in 2014, challenging a law that allowed spies to intercept and store data relating to phone calls and online messages.

Federal agencies can spy on phones with 400 cell-site simulators.  The Department of Homeland Security and Justice Department have spent collectively more than $95 million on secret cellphone tracking technology and own more than 400 cell-site simulators that can be used to zero in covertly on the locations of cellphones, according to a congressional report.  A report released Monday [12/19/2016] by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee reveals a tally of how many cell-site simulators federal agencies own and recommends that lawmakers adopt a national standard to govern use of the devices by local and federal law enforcement agencies.  With 194 cell-site simulators, the FBI has the most of any of the agencies identified as owning the devices, which often are referred to by brand names including Stingray or Hailstorm.

Surveillance "Reforms" Allow NSA Greater Access Than Ever to Phone Data.  Even as surveillance hawks such as FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, and joint chairs of the Senate Intelligence Committee Senators Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) continue to claim that terrorists and other criminals are using technology to "go dark," so America needs an increased ability to perform civilian surveillance, the reality is that the hawks have more access to more data than ever before.  And — as recent information confirms — many of the reasons for that increased surveillance ability are the supposed "reforms" that were sold to the American people as a way to curtail that surveillance.  Those in power — especially those who have built their careers in government by expanding the surveillance state — are not above using manipulation to increase their power by increasing that surveillance.  The recent surveillance "reforms" — particularly the misnamed USA FREEDOM Act — prove that point perhaps better than anything else could.

Private Eyes:  The Little-Known Company That Enables Worldwide Mass Surveillance.  Dozens of internal documents and emails from Endace, obtained by The Intercept and reported in cooperation with Television New Zealand, reveal the firm's key role helping governments across the world harvest vast amounts of information on people's private emails, online chats, social media conversations, and internet browsing histories.  The leaked files, which were provided by a source through SecureDrop, show that Endace listed a Moroccan security agency implicated in torture as one of its customers.  They also indicate that the company sold its surveillance gear to more than half a dozen other government agencies, including in the United States, Israel, Denmark, Australia, Canada, Spain, and India.

When AT&T Profits Off Government Snooping, Shouldn't We Be Blaming the Government?  It is easy to forget that Americans had actually been clued in to the likelihood of domestic telecommunication surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA) long before Edward Snowden's leaks.  Snowden helped us understand the massive scope and many particulars about which we were unaware and really put the issue before the public in a way we hadn't seen before.  But have we all forgotten Room 641A? That was the room in San Francisco where telecommunications company AT&T set up a system for the NSA to access the company's internet traffic for surveillance.  It was exposed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a former AT&T technician all the way back in 2006, years before Snowden's leaks.

AT&T Makes Money Mining, Selling Phone Use Data To Police Nationwide.  There's been chatter in the air for years about phone records and metadata, ever since civil rights advocates sued the NSA over its massive record-retention program back in 2013.  But new documents highlight that while federal surveillance might be sweeping, it's got nothing on the scope of the private sector — and that selling data to investigators can be a profitable side-business.  The Daily Beast published new documents today showing that not only does AT&T collect and retain a staggering amount of data on everything that happens in its network, but also that it has formed partnerships with law enforcement agencies all around the country to sell access to that database for as much as a million dollars per year.

Study: 1 in 2 American Adults Already In Facial Recognition Network.  Conducted over a year and relying in part on Freedom of Information and public record requests to 106 law enforcement agencies, the study, conducted by Georgetown Law's Center on Privacy and Technology, found American police use of facial recognition technology is a scattered, hodgepodge network of laws and regulations.  "Looking at the sum total of what we found, there have been no laws that comprehensively regulate face recognition technology, and there's really no case law either," Clare Garvie, an associate at the CPT, told Vocativ.  "So we find ourselves having to rely on the agencies that are using that technology to rein it in.  But what we found is that not every system — by a long shot — has a use policy."

GCHQ broke the law for 17 years... spying on UK citizens.  For more than 17 years British security and intelligence agencies broke the law, illegally collecting vast amounts of data about UK citizens without proper oversight.  That's the judgement of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), the only court that hears complaints against MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, after human rights campaigners at Privacy International launched a legal complaint in June 2015.

Police Use Surveillance Tool to Scan Social Media.  A Chicago company has marketed a tool using text, photos and videos gleaned from major social media companies to aid law enforcement surveillance of protesters, civil liberties activists say.  The company, called Geofeedia, used data from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as nine other social media networks, to let users search for social media content in a specific location, as opposed to searching by words or hashtags that would be less likely to reveal an exact location.  Geofeedia marketed its abilities to law enforcement agencies and has signed up more than 500 such clients, according to an email obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Local Police Using CIA-funded Software to Track All Citizens' Social Media Posts.  Stories from across the country have revealed that several local law enforcement agencies — in Seattle, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Oakland among others — and corporations — the Mall of America and McDonald's — have purchased surveillance software from a company called Geofeedia.  The program will inform police of the physical location from which you made your last social media post.  It will provide the content of your posts, too.  Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are all included in the surveillance sweep, and all the updates posted to any one of these popular services will be uploaded to one single database available all day, every day, to police.  Geofeedia's pamphlet promoting the service touts their intelligence platform's ability to provide "targeted surveillance" and "perpetual monitoring" of social media posts.  Literature produced by Geofeedia also promotes its software's ability to track large crowds, including "protests," athletic events, and natural disasters.

Federal Agents Can Secretly Read Every E-mail of Every American.  Not only is the federal government able to read every e-mail ever sent by every American regardless of any reasonable belief that the target has committed any crime, they have these decisions upheld by secret courts where the owner of the e-mails has no right to question the accusers.  How did the federal government get this power?  They were given it by federal judges who allowed the government to define "premises" in a clever, crafty, and contemptuous way.

A Banana Republic, If We Choose to Keep It.  Here's what Americans have learned in the last two weeks alone. [...] Americans learned that Yahoo built a secret software system designed to search every customer email for the purpose of providing specific information demanded by U.S. intelligence officials.  Both Yahoo and the NSA refused to comment on the matter.  Reuters reported, "Experts said it was likely that the NSA or FBI had approached other Internet companies with the same demand."  No doubt.

Exclusive:  Yahoo secretly scanned customer emails for U.S. intelligence — sources.  The company complied with a classified U.S. government demand, scanning hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts at the behest of the National Security Agency or FBI, said three former employees and a fourth person apprised of the events.  Some surveillance experts said this represents the first case to surface of a U.S. Internet company agreeing to a spy agency's request by searching all arriving messages, as opposed to examining stored messages or scanning a small number of accounts in real time.

Federal Agency Pushed Law Enforcement to Scan License Plates of Gun Show Attendees.  The emails date back to 2010 and were obtained by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).  According to WSJ, "[ICE] crafted a plan in 2010 to use license-plate readers — devices that record the plate numbers of all passing cars — at gun shows in Southern California, including one in Del Mar."  ICE then "compared that information to cars that crossed the border, hoping to find gun smugglers, according to the documents and interviews with law-enforcement officials with knowledge of the operation."

NYPD Terrorism Expert:  We Act on Information and Behavior; We Do Not Spy on 'Constitutionally Protected Activities'.  John Miller, deputy commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism for the New York City Police Department, told Congress Wednesday [9/21/2016] that the NYPD operates on information, behavior and actions in its counterterrorism efforts and does not place spies in the Muslim community to watch people engaged in "constitutionally protected activities."  "We operate under the Andrew guidelines, and the Andrew guidelines specifically say that we operate on information, on behavior, on actions, but we do not place undercovers or spies or people into the community to watch people who are engaged in completely constitutionally protected activities — whether that's at a restaurant, a house of worship, or a meeting," Miller said.

Watched.  Police forces across the United States are stockpiling massive databases with personal information from millions of Americans who crossed paths with officers but were not charged with a crime.  A person can end up in one of these databases by doing nothing more than sitting on a public park bench or chatting with an officer on the street.  Once there, these records can linger forever and be used by police agencies to track movements, habits, acquaintances and associations — even a person's marital and job status, The Post and Courier found in an investigation of police practices around the nation.  What began as a method for linking suspicious behavior to crime has morphed into a practice that threatens to turn local police departments into miniature versions of the National Security Agency.  In the process, critics contend, police risk trampling constitutional rights, tarnishing innocent people and further eroding public trust.

FBI director:  Cover up your webcam.  The head of the FBI on Wednesday defended putting a piece of tape over his personal laptop's webcam, claiming the security step was a common sense one that most should take.  "There's some sensible things you should be doing, and that's one of them," Director James Comey said during a conference at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.  "You go into any government office and we all have the little camera things that sit on top of the screen," he added.  "They all have a little lid that closes down on them.  "You do that so that people who don't have authority don't look at you.  I think that's a good thing."

1970s spy satellite 'better than Google Earth'.  Sorry to break it to you, but Google Earth ain't all that.  In a pre-digital era more than 30 years before Google Earth, an ultrasecret US satellite program spied on other countries by taking much higher quality photos of the planet's surface.  The intelligence community called this program Big Bird and Keyhole-9, but its codename was Hexagon.  "These were much better pictures than Google Earth," Phil Pressel told CNN's "Declassified."

'Pre-Search' Is Coming to U.S. Policing.  News that the city of Baltimore has been under surreptitious, mass-scale camera surveillance will have ramifications across the criminal justice world.  When it comes to constitutional criminal procedure, privacy, and the Fourth Amendment, it's time to get ready for the concept of "pre-search." [...] Since January, police in Baltimore have been testing an aerial surveillance system developed for military use in Iraq.  The system records visible activity across an area as wide as thirty square miles for as much as ten hours at a time.  Police can use it to work backward from an event, watching the comings and goings of people and cars to develop leads about who was involved. [...] But the technology collects images of everyone and everything.  From people in their backyards to anyone going from home to work, to the psychologist's or marriage counselor's office, to meetings with lawyers or advocacy groups, and to public protests.

Homeland Security Plans to Monitor YOUR Social Media Account.  The process for visa-waiver applicants has been under fire from US citizens and politicians alike.  But one program in particular, monitoring the social media presence of foreign visitors, is being targeted by a wide coalition of civil liberties groups.  Twenty-eight organizations are banding together to keep the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) out of visa-waiver applicants' Twitter feeds and other social networking accounts.  Citing a combination of invasion of privacy, potential for racial profiling and general pointlessness, organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Democracy and Technology are hoping to get the DHS to nix the proposal.

How the NSA snooped on encrypted Internet traffic for a decade.  In a revelation that shows how the National Security Agency was able to systematically spy on many Cisco Systems customers for the better part of a decade, researchers have uncovered an attack that remotely extracts decryption keys from the company's now-decommissioned line of PIX firewalls.  The discovery is significant because the attack code, dubbed BenignCertain, worked on PIX versions Cisco released in 2002 and supported through 2009. Even after Cisco stopped providing PIX bug fixes in July 2009, the company continued offering limited service and support for the product for an additional four years.  Unless PIX customers took special precautions, virtually all of them were vulnerable to attacks that surreptitiously eavesdropped on their VPN traffic.

Powerful NSA hacking tools have been revealed online.  A cache of hacking tools with code names such as Epicbanana, Buzzdirection and Egregiousblunder appeared mysteriously online over the weekend, setting the security world abuzz with speculation over whether the material was legitimate.  The file appeared to be real, according to former NSA personnel who worked in the agency's hacking division, known as Tailored Access Operations (TAO). [...] Said a second former TAO hacker who saw the file:  "From what I saw, there was no doubt in my mind that it was legitimate."

Federal Judge Rules Hidden Microphones In Public Do Not Violate Constitution.  On Friday July 22, U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton issued a 17-page ruling which found the practice of placing recording devices on the steps of courthouses in Oakland and Martinez, California to be "unsettling," but not in violation of the Fourth Amendment.  The four defendants in the federal criminal fraud case are accused of rigging real estate bids throughout Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.  In an attempt to eavesdrop on the conversations of the defendants, the Federal Bureau of Investigations placed microphones in a light fixture on the steps of the Almeda County Courthouse and just outside the Contra Costa County Courthouse, among other locations.  The information gathered from the conversations was then used as evidence in grand jury proceedings.

Home Computers Connected to the Internet Aren't Private, Court Rules.  A federal judge for the Eastern District of Virginia has ruled that the user of any computer that connects to the Internet should not have an expectation of privacy because computer security is ineffectual at stopping hackers.  The June 23 ruling came in one of the many cases resulting from the FBI's infiltration of PlayPen, a hidden service on the Tor network that acted as a hub for child exploitation, and the subsequent prosecution of hundreds of individuals.  To identify suspects, the FBI took control of PlayPen for two weeks and used, what it calls, a "network investigative technique," or NIT — a program that runs on a visitor's computer and identifies their Internet address.  Such mass hacking using a single warrant has riled privacy and digital-rights advocates, but Senior U.S. District Judge Henry Coke Morgan Jr. upheld the use of the warrant and even stated that the warrant is unnecessary because of the type of crime being investigated and because users should have no "objectively reasonable expectation of privacy."

As Biometric Scanning Use Grows, So Does Security Risk.  Without you necessarily realizing it, your unique attributes — or "biometrics" — are being used to verify your identity.  Every time you unlock your smartphone, use a fingerprint scanner at the airport, or upload a photo with facial recognition to Facebook, your physical attributes are scanned and scrutinized against a template.  The use of biometrics has exploded in recent years, with companies ranging from 24-Hour Fitness to NYU Langone Medical Center using this convenient technology to identify their customers.

Federal appeals court considers constitutionality of NSA surveillance in terror case.  Civil rights attorneys say surveillance evidence used to convict a Somali-American man who plotted to bomb a 2010 Christmas tree-lighting ceremony was gathered unconstitutionally through the U.S. government's warrantless foreign surveillance program.  They laid out their arguments Wednesday [7/6/2016] before a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in downtown Portland — directly across the street from the plaza where almost six years prior Mohamed Mohamud tried detonating a fake bomb that was part of an undercover operation.

US Government Approved 100% Of Wiretap Applications In 2015.  A ten-year study of how state and federal law enforcement wiretaps suspects shows that the government is extremely efficient at the practice, and is only getting better.  The new report, conducted by the Federal Judiciary, looked at the prevalence of the FBI and state and local police petitioning for a warrant to surveil someone.  Methods range from tracking their computer activity to bugging a home telephone or a room, though it overwhelmingly — 96 percent of the time 2015 — meant tracking or listening to their cell phone calls.  It has become a common enough practice that in a ten-year span, a wiretap request has been denied only eight times, and never more than twice in a year.  According to the report, "No wiretap applications were reported as denied in 2015."

Federal Court:  The 4th Amendment doesn't apply to your home computer.  In a dangerously flawed decision unsealed today [6/24/2016], a federal district court in Virginia ruled that a criminal defendant has no "reasonable expectation of privacy" in his personal computer, located inside his home.  According to the court, the federal government does not need a warrant to hack into an individual's computer.  This decision is the latest in, and perhaps the culmination of, a series of troubling decisions in prosecutions stemming from the FBI's investigation of Playpen — a Tor hidden services site hosting child pornography.  The FBI seized the server hosting the site in 2014, but continued to operate the site and serve malware to thousands of visitors that logged into the site.  The malware located certain identifying information (e.g., MAC address, operating system, the computer's "Host name"; etc) on the attacked computer and sent that information back to the FBI.  There are hundreds of prosecutions, pending across the country, stemming from this investigation.

NJ Transit keeps recordings of your conversations for a month, it says.  NJ Transit officials have broken their silence over what happens to surveillance recordings it makes of passenger conversations on light rail trains.  In April, the state American Civil Liberties Union and commuter groups demanded that NJ Transit disclose information about the surveillance after an NJ Advance Media article revealed that the conversations of passengers on light rail trains were being recorded.  "Audio and video remain in the surveillance device for approximately 30 days, with new video and audio overwriting (recording over) previous files," said Nancy Snyder, an NJ Transit spokeswoman.  "It is our practice and procedure."

Also posted under The police state on wheels.

[The Republican-controlled] Senate Falls One Vote Short of Giving FBI Access to Browser Histories Without a Court Order.  Privacy-minded senators on Wednesday [6/22/2016] blocked an amendment that would give the FBI power to take internet records, including browser histories and email metadata, without a court order.  But the victory may be fleeting.  Just one vote kept the measure from clearing a 60-vote procedural hurdle, and political arm-twisting may soon result in a second vote.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., switched his vote to "no" to allow reconsideration in the near future.  That made the final tally 58-38, with four senators not voting.

New rule lets feds hack your computer anywhere, anytime.  A proposal that Washington bureaucrats be given nearly unfettered permission to hack into private computers, which WND reported earlier was being described as the ultimate "Big Brother" move, is drawing strong opposition from privacy activists and members of Congress.  "We're in the midst right now of one of the biggest battles in the privacy world that we have faced," said U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, on a website mobilizing opposition.  "If we keep down this path, we're going to wake up in a few years in George Orwell's 1984.  This is why, as we fight for security, any intrusion on privacy needs to be narrowly tailored and aggressively overseen."

House reverses course, upholds NSA phone snooping as terrorist attacks shift debate.  The fight is over snooping programs targeting foreigners' communications under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, but which also end up snaring Americans' emails and phone calls.  Intelligence agencies claim the right to go through that data when they are investigating terrorism and say it's critical to preventing plots or learning about the contours of attacks, such as the one in Orlando, as they happen.  Civil libertarians argue that the data shouldn't be collected in the first place and say if agents are going to peer into it, they should get a warrant before looking at Americans' data under Section 702.

Congress Must Shut the Backdoor on Section 702 Surveillance.  The fight over NSA surveillance is about to heat up again.  This week, the House will consider a measure that would require the NSA and other government agencies to follow due process and obtain a warrant to collect the communications of American citizens.  Through an amendment to H.R. 5293, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2017, the House could defund warrantless government searches of the database of information collected under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).  The amendment, proposed by Reps.  Massie (R-Ky.), Lofgren (D-Calif.), and Poe (R-Texas), would prevent the NSA's backdoor spying on American citizens through the use of U.S. person identifiers.  The Massie-Lofgren-Poe amendment also prohibits government agencies from requesting that U.S. companies build security vulnerabilities into their hardware or software in order to make it easier for the government to access them.  This would protect encryption, which has been undermined by the NSA's breathtaking extension of surveillance.

Low Tech: 3 Ways to Beat the NSA.  [#1] Snail mail:  Mail can be sent from any dropbox anywhere, with any return address on it, with hidden messages enclosed, disguised as junk mail.  Yes, Stasi thugs can read your mail, but interpreting all the paper mail would take millions of employees while reading all the emails just takes a few mega-computers.  All the ultra-sophisticated electronic snooping in the world won't be able to physically open, read and check for encrypted messages in all 660 million pieces of mail delivered in the United States every day.

The Editor says...
I would add only this:  If you believe the government will someday sift through your email and paper mail, you should start sending encrypted email and cryptic paper mail to yourself (or having someone in another state send it to you) on a regular basis.  That way, there will be a steady stream of encrypted messages already underway when the time comes, and the government won't be able to tell when the important messages start.  It's called traffic analysis.  An opponent may not be able to decrypt your messages, but they can see when the traffic starts and stops.  For example, you could send yourself a steady stream of artificial junk mail with QR codes and bar codes all over it.  VXNlIHlvdXIgaW1hZ2luYXRpb24u

Crafty plan to give FBI warrantless access to browser histories axed.  A sly attempt to grant the FBI warrantless access to people's browser histories in the US has been shot down by politicians.  Unfortunately, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) Amendments Act of 2015, which would have brought in some privacy safeguards for Americans, was cut down in the crossfire.  The ECPA Amendments Act is very simple:  it amends the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which gives cops and agents warrantless access to any email that has been read or is more than 180 days old.  That 30-year-old act made sense back in the day of 20MB hard drives and when we stored own emails on our own computers:  if we deleted something to save space or to simply destroy it, it was gone.  But in today's cloudy world, where we have no real control over our information, it has proven a privacy nightmare.

Judge Nap Slams Congress Over Web Browsing Access That Promotes 'a Police State'.  The FBI may soon enjoy the authority to access the internet activity of any citizen without a warrant — a continuation of what Fox News judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano described as a decades-old "assault" on the Fourth Amendment.  Lawmakers are considering proposed legislation this week that would grant the FBI that uninhibited access.  Critics, including Google and Facebook, have argued such changes would be a violation of Americans' privacy.  But, in Napolitano's view, elected officials will argue under the "facade" that it is necessary for the population's safety.  [Video clip]

FBI wants access to Internet browser history without a warrant in terrorism and spy cases.  The Obama administration is seeking to amend surveillance law to give the FBI explicit authority to access a person's Internet browser history and other electronic data without a warrant in terrorism and spy cases.  The administration made a similar effort six years ago but dropped it after concerns were raised by privacy advocates and the tech industry.  FBI Director James B. Comey has characterized the legislation as a fix to "a typo" in the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which he says has led some tech firms to refuse to provide data that Congress intended them to provide.

The Editor says...
If they get this passed, you can be sure that the warrantless access won't stop with terrorism cases.

Facial Recognition Software Spells The End Of Anonymity.  Nearly 250 million video surveillance cameras have been installed throughout the world, and chances are you've been seen by several of them today.  Most people barely notice their presence anymore — on the streets, inside stores, and even within our homes.  We accept the fact that we are constantly being recorded because we expect this to have virtually no impact on our lives.  But this balance may soon be upended by advancements in facial recognition technology.  Soon anybody with a high-resolution camera and the right software will be able to determine your identity.  That's because several technologies are converging to make this accessible.  Recognition algorithms have become far more accurate, the devices we carry can process huge amounts of data, and there's massive databases of faces now available on social media that are tied to our real names.  As facial recognition enters the mainstream, it will have serious implications for your privacy.

Seven Giant Scandals That Barack Obama Just Couldn't Keep Undercover!  [#3] NSA Spying:  So Big Brother spied.  On American citizens.  On the Press.  Even on Washingtons own Viper pit called Congress.  If it wasn't for the nerdy guy in glasses with a very dumb sounding cadence (Edward Snowden), the public may have never known about it... unfortunately the pale NSA employee had to flee and choose Russia of all places to call his new home.  Good guy turned bad?  You decide for yourself.

Senate bill would let FBI read your emails without a court order.  Better watch what you put in email.  The Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday [5/24/2016] approved a bill that would make it easier for the government to read what you're writing online.  The 2017 Intelligence Authorization Act, if enacted into law, would let the FBI obtain email records without a court order.  All the agency would need is a National Security Letter, which lets the FBI get information from companies about their customers without alerting the person being investigated.  Currently, the FBI can access phone records that way, but not emails.  The bill is the latest move by the federal government to shore up its powers when it comes to surveilling citizens.  The government has been battling Apple and other tech companies for more access to data stored on devices.  Law enforcement argues it can't fight crimes unless it has access to information on mobile gadgets.  Technology companies and rights groups argue that features like strong encryption, which scrambles data so it can be read only by the intended recipient, are needed to keep people safe and protect privacy.

Bill would expand FBI's warrantless access to online records, senators warn.  Two US senators have warned that a new bill would vastly expand the FBI's warrantless access to Americans' online records.  Although the text of the 2017 intelligence authorization bill is not yet available to the public, two members of the Senate intelligence committee have said the bill could expand the remit of a nonjudicial subpoena called a National Security Letter (NSLs) to acquire Americans' email records, chat or messaging accounts, account login records, browser histories and social-media service usage.

DHS/Police are turning public CCTV cameras into surveillance cameras.  Thanks to Purdue University and Homeland Security, police can now access public CCTV cameras anywhere.  Purdue researchers have developed a prototype system called 'Visual Analytics for Command, Control and Interoperability Environments' (VACCINE) which allows law enforcement to tap into thousands of CCTV cameras.  This means police can spy on you in parking garages, college campuses, national parks, highways etc., no place is safe from Big Brother.

Lawyer: FBI used Best Buy informant to illegally search computers.  An employee at Best Buy's nationwide computer repair center served as a paid FBI informant who for years tipped off agents to illicit material found on customers' hard drives, according to the lawyer for a Newport Beach doctor facing child pornography charges as a result of information from the employee.  Federal authorities deny they directed the man to actively look for illegal activity.  But the attorney alleges the FBI essentially used the employee to perform warrantless searches on electronics that passed through the massive maintenance facility outside Louisville, Ky., where technicians known as Geek Squad agents work on devices from across the country.

Senators move to block FBI from expanding hacking powers.  Two US senators this week introduced a bipartisan bill meant to protect Americans from government hacking.  The Stopping Mass Hacking (SMH) Act from Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) would prevent the implementation of a federal court procedure known as Rule 41.  Approved in May, Rule 41 makes it easier for the Justice Department to obtain warrants for remote electronic searches.  It also allows judges to issue a single warrant authorizing government hacking of numerous devices around the world.  "This is a dramatic expansion of the government's hacking and surveillance authority," Wyden said in a statement.  "Such a substantive change with an enormous impact on Americans' constitutional rights should be debated by Congress, not maneuvered through an obscure bureaucratic process."

The FBI has quietly been hacking Americans for 20 years.  Countless Snowden leaks have detailed the highly sophisticated tools used by the NSA to collect data in bulk from unsuspecting people, including American citizens.  But the NSA isn't the only agency conducting spying operations.  The FBI has been spying on US citizens as part of ongoing investigations for two decades, yet many details about its data collection practices are still secret, despite all of the leaks in recent years.

Secret Gov't microphones spying on citizens.  Big Brother is watching you.  It sounds increasingly like everyday life in the United States — and they don't need a warrant to do it.  That's according to reporter Jackie Ward from San Francisco-Oakland Bay Area station KPIX, who on Friday revealed she had uncovered a secret government surveillance program in the area that has citizens on edge.

Hidden Microphones Exposed As Part of Government Surveillance Program In The Bay Area.  Hidden microphones that are part of a clandestine government surveillance program that has been operating around the Bay Area has been exposed.  Imagine standing at a bus stop, talking to your friend and having your conversation recorded without you knowing.  It happens all the time, and the FBI doesn't even need a warrant to do it.  Federal agents are planting microphones to secretly record conversations.

Philly cops try to illegally disguise powerful surveillance SUV as Google Street View car... and fail badly.  A Philadelphia police surveillance SUV crudely disguised as the Google Maps car has left local residents baffled after it was spotted Wednesday [5/11/2016] — and triggered an internal investigation.  The large silver SUV, which has chunky black cameras on its roof that can photograph thousands of license plates in a minute, looks nothing like the colorful cars that Google uses to create its 360-degree interactive Street View maps.  But that didn't stop someone — presumably within the police — sticking a pair of large, unconvincing Google Maps decals on its back windows in an apparent attempt to disguise the vehicle's true purpose.

House of Representatives approves bill requiring warrants for email searches.  The House of Representatives today unanimously voted to approve the Email Privacy Act, which requires law enforcement officials to obtain a warrant before accessing stored electronic communications, such as emails.  The act updates the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which has been in place since 1986.  Although that law provides some protections, digital privacy activists have long criticized a part of it that ends warrant requirements for stored electronic communications after 180 days.  The Email Privacy Act does away with that provision, and unlike ECPA, the Privacy Act also makes it clear that a warrant is required even if an email is already opened — an occasional point of contention between privacy groups and the government.

The NSA won't tell Congress how many Americans it's spying on because our democracy is broken.  Congress is trying to learn more about the NSA's surveillance programs, and it's not going well.  In a letter delivered today [4/22/2016] to director of National Intelligence James Clapper, a group of 14 legislators (eight Democrats and six Republicans) asked for a ballpark figure on how many Americans are having their data collected under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.  Section 702 is the legal justification for many of the NSA's most invasive programs, including PRISM.  But we still don't have an exact idea of how broad its reach is.  So Congress asked!  They passed FISA, after all, so it's only right that they should know how it's being used.  They don't need an exact number of Americans caught up in PRISM, just a ballpark.  Is it a thousand?  A hundred thousand?  318 million?  Take an educated guess.

The new way police are surveilling you:  Calculating your threat 'score'.  As a national debate has played out over mass surveillance by the National Security Agency, a new generation of technology such as the Beware software being used in Fresno has given local law enforcement officers unprecedented power to peer into the lives of citizens.  Police officials say such tools can provide critical information that can help uncover terrorists or thwart mass shootings, ensure the safety of officers and the public, find suspects, and crack open cases.  They say that last year's attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., have only underscored the need for such measures.  But the powerful systems also have become flash points for civil libertarians and activists, who say they represent a troubling intrusion on privacy, have been deployed with little public oversight and have potential for abuse or error.

U.S. Government spy planes use 'augmented reality' software as they fly above major US cities and 'target Muslim areas'.  The software, which works through the spy plane's high resolution cameras, can be used by pilots to superimpose information — including the names of house owners and businesses — onto their screens.  FBI and Homeland Security can also track the mobile phones of the residents below as dozens of aircraft take to the skies each day.

Encryption gets its Gang of Eight.  A pair of House committees is forming a bipartisan working group of eight lawmakers to prepare for possible legislation addressing how the widespread use of encryption affects law enforcement investigations. [...] The working group will attempt to develop bipartisan consensus in the House on an issue that has scrambled traditional party lines, especially since Apple CEO Tim Cook pledged to fight a court order that his company break into a cellphone owned by one of the San Bernardino terrorists.

Lawmakers Want Big Brother to Get a Warrant Before Looking in Your Inbox.  If the Email Privacy Act becomes law, the inboxes of millions of Americans will get a security update overnight.  The bill would prohibit the government from accessing private email accounts without a warrant. [...] At issue is the 1986 Electronic Communications Act.  Passed by Congress before most Americans went online, that law considers emails older than 180 days abandoned and makes them subject to search.

'Unprecedented' UN global data gathering to add huge amounts of information for governments to collect.  Six months after giving birth to a cluster of nebulous Sustainable Development Goals that aim to dramatically change the economic, social and environmental course of the planet, the United Nations is working on a drastic renovation of global data gathering to measure progress against its sweeping international agenda.  The result that emerged late last week from the U.N. Statistical Commission — an obscure body of national experts that calls itself the "apex entity of the international statistics system" — is a document as sprawling, undefined and ambitious as the sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, themselves — which lay out 17 goals and 169 sometimes overlapping targets to transform global society.

Surprise! NSA data will soon routinely be used for domestic policing that has nothing to do with terrorism.  A while back, we noted a report showing that the "sneak-and-peek" provision of the Patriot Act that was alleged to be used only in national security and terrorism investigations has overwhelmingly been used in narcotics cases.  Now the New York Times reports that National Security Agency data will be shared with other intelligence agencies like the FBI without first applying any screens for privacy.

With Viber's Latest Update, Congress is Losing the Encryption Battle.  WhatsApp, the popular online messaging service, recently changed the landscape of the encryption debate after announcing that their entire platform, between all devices, would offer end-to-end encryption.  This announcement was made on the tail end of Apple's dispute with the FBI, precisely about breaking into encrypted iPhones.  This past week, Viber, another popular messaging app, announced that their latest update would also include end-to-end encryption for all of its users.  While this may just seem like another example of encryption making its way onto popular apps, the case with Viber is particularly more salient in proving just how futile it is for Congress to try to restrict encryption.

BlackBerry's Global Encryption Key.  Last week, there was a big news story about the BlackBerry encryption key.  The news was that all BlackBerry devices share a global encryption key, and that the Canadian RCMP has a copy of it.

FBI director warns encryption makes information warrant-proof.  Apple General Counsel Bruce Sewell questioned Tuesday whether the FBI should have the right to force tech companies to create special software to help the government get into encrypted smartphones and other devices. [...] FBI Director James Comey said Tuesday that Congress must decide if it wants Apple and other tech companies to have the power to effectively bar law enforcement from obtaining evidence of crime and terrorism from encrypted smartphones and other electronic devices.  "The core question is this:  Once all of the requirements and safeguards of the laws and the Constitution have been met, are we comfortable with technical design decisions that result in barriers to obtaining evidence of a crime?" Comey asked the committee.

Obama to Trash Reagan's Restrictions on Domestic Spying.  At a secret meeting of the United States National Security Council on Feb 25, President Obama approved a draft 21-page memo relaxing a Cold War Reagan-era directive called Executive Order 12333 that restricted the number of government agencies that can access, without court order or Presidential approval, the contents of phone calls, emails and data the U.S. National Security Agency vacuums up from around the world.

US Congress locks and loads three anti-encryption bullets.  US Congress is preparing no fewer than three new bills over the ongoing encryption debate:  one banning end-to-end encryption, one setting up a commission to review the issue, and a third to make sure that it is Congress that gets to decide what happens next.  Leading member of the Senate Intelligence Committee Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) — who has been criticized for being too close to the NSA — has said she will introduce a new bill that will impose limits on encrypted devices.

If You Go Near the Super Bowl, You Will Be Surveilled Hard.  A hundred million people will watch the game on TV.  Over the next ten days, 1 million people are expected to descend on the San Francisco Bay Area for the festivities.  And, according to the FBI, 60 federal, state, and local agencies are working together to coordinate surveillance and security at what is the biggest national security event of the year.  The Department of Homeland Security, the agency coordinating the Herculean effort, classifies every Super Bowl as a special event assignment rating (SEAR) 1 event, with the exception of the 2002 Super Bowl, which got the highest ranking because it followed the September 11 terror attacks — an assignment usually reserved for only the Presidential Inauguration.  A who's-who of agencies, ranging from the DEA and TSA to the US Secret Service to state and local law enforcement and even the Coast Guard has spent more than two years planning for the event.

The new way police are surveilling you: Calculating your threat 'score'.  As a national debate has played out over mass surveillance by the National Security Agency, a new generation of technology such as the Beware software being used in Fresno has given local law enforcement officers unprecedented power to peer into the lives of citizens.  Police officials say such tools can provide critical information that can help uncover terrorists or thwart mass shootings, ensure the safety of officers and the public, find suspects, and crack open cases. [...] But the powerful systems also have become flash points for civil libertarians and activists, who say they represent a troubling intrusion on privacy, have been deployed with little public oversight and have potential for abuse or error.

Obama Spies on His Enemies in Congress.  Remember when Obama, the guy with big plans to resettle America's neighborhoods, clashed with Bibi Netanyahu for refusing to abandon construction and resettlement plans in East Jerusalem?  The president was so incensed that Netanyahu hesitated to comply with his demands that he left the prime minister sitting in a room alone while he went upstairs to eat.  That's when, out of fear of being wiretapped, Netanyahu and his delegation chose not to use White House phones.  As usual, Bibi's discernment was on target because recently it was revealed that Obama, concerned about his nuke deal with Iran, directed the National Security Agency to spy on Israel, American Jewish groups, and friends of Israel in the U.S. Congress.

Obama's NSA Spying on Congress Not a Story at AP — Until GOP Responds.  The Wall Street Journal ran a blockbuster story Tuesday afternoon ("U.S. Spy Net on Israel Snares Congress") about how the Obama administration's National Security Agency's "targeting of Israeli leaders swept up the content of private conversations with U.S. lawmakers."  In other words, the NSA spied on Congress.  As talk-show host and commentator Erick Erickson drily observed:  "Congress began impeachment proceedings on Richard Nixon for spying on the opposing political party."  Whether or not Congress has the nerve to defend itself and the Constitution's separation of powers, what the Journal reported is objectively a major story.  Yet the Associated Press ignored it on Tuesday [12/29/2015], and most of Wednesday.

NSA spying on US and Israeli politicians stirs Congress from Christmas slumbers.  After two years of doing little about the mass surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden, the US Congress has sprung into action in less than two days — with investigations into the NSA spying on some the legislature's members.  On Tuesday [12/29/2015] the Wall Street Journal reported that conversations between members of Congress and senior Israeli politicians had been monitored by the NSA under the orders of the White House.  The surveillance of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his advisors occurred during negotiations into a deal with Iran over its nuclear power program.

Hackers Catch Prison Phone Company Securus Recording Attorney Calls.  In an example of Aaron Swartz's SecureDrop technology working as intended, the Intercept received a trove of dumped Securus phone records recently.  Securus, for those who have never been jailed in the United States virtually anywhere, is a phone services leader in the justice industry.  That particular part of the prison industrial complex, communication, is worth about $1.2 billion annually.

NSA stopped from indiscriminately collecting millions of phone records, but it's not enough.  The National Security Agency (NSA) is no longer allowed to collect and trawl the millions of phone calls made in the US each day, following an order by President Barrack Obama last year.  The move sees the end of mass collection of call records, to be replaced with more targeted intelligence gathering.  So, the NSA can still collect data, but not on the indiscriminate scale it had been until today [11/29/2015].

F.B.I. Director Repeats Call That Ability to Read Encrypted Messages Is Crucial.  The F.B.I. director and the Manhattan district attorney on Wednesday [11/18/2015] sought to reopen the argument that law enforcement and intelligence officials need to have access to encrypted information on smartphones with court approval.  The question seemed settled last month after President Obama decided not to push legislation requiring American technology companies — notably Apple, Google and Facebook — to roll back smartphone encryption schemes that make it almost impossible to read a target's communications, even if investigators have a court order.  But the terrorist attacks in Paris may have changed the politics on both encryption and a range of surveillance issues, with critics renewing their charge that the Obama administration is not using all tools available to stop terrorism.

The Editor says...
The article immediately above appears in the New York Times, which naturally argues in favor of Big Government.  Encryption is an inconvenience to Big Brother, and a totalitarian government would naturally like to get your encryption keys and read your email, just in case you're a terrorist.  Or behind on your child support.  Or you have outstanding warrants.

Battle against NSA spying in Courtroom 18.  On Thursday [10/8/2015], the fight to preserve democracy and hold government accountable to the people was unfolding in Courtroom 18 of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, four blocks from the Congress.  I argued to the court our request for a preliminary injunction to immediately halt the government from spying on you and hundreds of millions of other U.S. citizens.  I am pleased to say that I believe we are going to win this for the American people. We expect a decision within a week to 10 days.

Of Course the Government Wants to Read Your Texts.  Imagine, if you will, a law that said all doors had to be left unlocked so that the police could get in whenever they needed to.  Or at the very least, a law mandating that the government have a master key.  That's essentially what some in the government want for your technology.  As companies like Apple and Google have embraced stronger encryption, they're making it harder for the government to do the kind of easy instant collection that companies were forced into as the government chased terrorists after 9/11.  And how could you oppose that government access?  After all, the government keeps us safe from criminals.  Do you really want to make it easier for criminals to evade the law?

NSA phone searches increased by 50 percent in 2013, report finds.  The number of phone numbers searched under the National Security Agency's phone-data surveillance program increased by 50 percent last year, according to a report that otherwise provides scant new information on the numbers of Americans and foreigners subject to U.S. surveillance.  The report, by the Director of National Intelligence, focused on the mechanics of a network of surveillance programs that sweep up millions of American phone records and gain indirect access to 75 percent of the nation's telecom infrastructure to facilitate those searches.  The report, the first such effort under new Obama administration guidelines pledging greater transparency, was as notable for what it left out as what it provided.

NSA phone searches increased by 50 percent in 2013, report finds.  The number of phone numbers searched under the National Security Agency's phone-data surveillance program increased by 50 percent last year, according to a report that otherwise provides scant new information on the numbers of Americans and foreigners subject to U.S. surveillance.  The report, by the Director of National Intelligence, focused on the mechanics of a network of surveillance programs that sweep up millions of American phone records and gain indirect access to 75 percent of the nation's telecom infrastructure to facilitate those searches.  The report, the first such effort under new Obama administration guidelines pledging greater transparency, was as notable for what it left out as what it provided.

Apple and Other Tech Companies Tangle With U.S. Over Data Access.  In an investigation involving guns and drugs, the Justice Department obtained a court order this summer demanding that Apple turn over, in real time, text messages between suspects using iPhones.  Apple's response:  Its iMessage system was encrypted and the company could not comply.  Government officials had warned for months that this type of standoff was inevitable as technology companies like Apple and Google embraced tougher encryption.  The case, coming after several others in which similar requests were rebuffed, prompted some senior Justice Department and F.B.I. officials to advocate taking Apple to court, several current and former law enforcement officials said.

Med Board lets DEA sneak peeks at patient records.  The Drug Enforcement Administration has been sifting through hundreds of supposedly private medical files, looking for Texas doctors and patients to prosecute without the use of warrants.  Instead, the agents are tricking doctors and nurses into thinking they're with the Texas Medical Board.  When that doesn't work, they're sending doctors subpoenas demanding medical records without court approval.  The DEA can't even count how many times it has resorted to the practice nationwide.  A spokesman estimated it was in the thousands.

Appeals court: NSA can resume bulk data collection.  A court of appeals on Friday [8/28/2015] overturned a lower court's ruling that the National Security Agency's bulk collection of phone records was illegal.  The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the NSA may resume collecting data until the USA Freedom Act goes into effect in November, limiting government surveillance.

Hackers can access EVERY call and message you send.  Hackers are able to spy on smartphone users anywhere in the world.  The flaw is in a global telecom network called Signal System 7 that helps phone carriers across the world, including AT&T and Verizon, route calls and texts.  Experts say it is one of the biggest threat to privacy breaches the world has ever seen.

The Editor says...
If hackers can invade SS7 as a hobby, the engineers at the NSA can certainly do it for a living.

AT&T Helped N.S.A. Spy on an Array of Internet Traffic.  The National Security Agency's ability to spy on vast quantities of Internet traffic passing through the United States has relied on its extraordinary, decades-long partnership with a single company:  the telecom giant AT&T.  While it has been long known that American telecommunications companies worked closely with the spy agency, newly disclosed N.S.A. documents show that the relationship with AT&T has been considered unique and especially productive. One document described it as "highly collaborative," while another lauded the company's "extreme willingness to help."

Federal Agencies Fight for Warrantless Access to Emails.  Back in 1986 — in a bygone era before email, the modern Internet, Facebook, the widespread use of cellphones and sharing economy sites — the government passed the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.  And believe it or not, this is still the law that protects the privacy of your electronic life in 2015.  A petition demanding reforms to ensure that emails cannot be accessed without a warrant achieved the necessary 100,000 signatures on the White House website to get a response.  You see, right now, the ECPA considers remotely stored digital files more than 180 days old to be abandoned and forces service providers to hand over those files whenever law enforcement demands — without the need for a warrant.  This means that all those old emails in your inbox aren't granted basic due process protections.

"Smart Cities" to Spy on You in Ways Orwell Never Imagined.  [Scroll down]  According to news reports, in London, data gathered from cameras is cross-referenced with government lists of people who have paid their driving fees, allowing violators to be identified and punished.  Authorities in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Stockholm, and other cities are also openly and purposely trying to become "smart."  In South Korea and the United Arab Emirates, fully "smart" cities are being designed and built from the ground up.  With facial-recognition software now extremely advanced, and billions of people around the world posting their data and pictures online through social-networking services, hand-held "smart" technology has already created potentially totalitarian tools far beyond anything George Orwell could have imagined in his worst nightmares.

NSA secretly tapped Google, Yahoo data centers worldwide, new report claims.  Massive cloud networks from companies like Google and Yahoo cache and serve up much of the data on the Internet — and the NSA has secretly tapped into the unencrypted links behind those company's enormous servers, according to a new report from the Washington Post.  By tapping into that link, the NSA can collect data at will from hundreds of millions of user accounts, the Post reported — including not just foreign citizens and "metadata" but emails, videos and audio from American citizens.  Operation MUSCULAR, a joint program of the NSA and its British equivalent GCHQ, relies on an unnamed telecommunications provider outside of the U.S. to offer secret access to a cable or switch through with Google and Yahoo pass unencrypted traffic between their servers.

NSA phone searches increased by 50 percent in 2013, report finds.  The number of phone numbers searched under the National Security Agency's phone-data surveillance program increased by 50 percent last year, according to a report that otherwise provides scant new information on the numbers of Americans and foreigners subject to U.S. surveillance.  The report, by the Director of National Intelligence, focused on the mechanics of a network of surveillance programs that sweep up millions of American phone records and gain indirect access to 75 percent of the nation's telecom infrastructure to facilitate those searches.

Former National-Security Officials Now See the Peril of Weakening Encryption.  FBI Director James Comey, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and NSA Director Mike Rogers continue to lament the ability of people to secure the privacy of their communications with end-to-end encryption that even governments cannot break.  But the push for laws mandating "backdoor access," or built-in security flaws for the state to exploit, has run into some unexpected opponents:  former national-security officials on the other side of the revolving door.

FOIA Documents Reveal Massive DEA Program to Record American's Whereabouts With License Plate Readers.  If license plate readers continue to proliferate without restriction and the DEA holds license plate reader data for extended periods of time, the agency will soon possess a detailed and invasive depiction of our lives (particularly if combined with other data about individuals collected by the government, such as the DEA's recently revealed bulk phone records program, or cell phone information gleaned from U.S. Marshals Service's cell site simulator-equipped aircraft).  Data-mining the information, an unproven law enforcement technique that the DEA has begun to use here, only exacerbates these concerns, potentially tagging people as criminals without due process.

NSA to Destroy Data Collected From Mass Phone Surveillance.  On November 29, 2015, the National Security Agency (NSA) will stop accessing "historical metadata" collected under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence announced in a press release on Monday [7/27/2015].  The practice of bulk telephone metadata collection, the once-secret practice uncovered by leaker Edward Snowden, briefly came to an end in June when provisions of the post-9/11 Patriot Act expired.  On June 29, however, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court gave the NSA the go-ahead to resume its controversial bulk collection of telephone metadata for six months — the amount of time allotted by Congress in the USA Freedom Act.  This block is meant to give the NSA time to switch to its narrower surveillance program.  After November, the agency must receive approval from the FISA Court before requesting records from phone companies on an as-needed basis.

Exclusive: U.S. tech industry appeals to Obama to keep hands off encryption.  As Washington weighs new cybersecurity steps amid a public backlash over mass surveillance, U.S. tech companies warned President Barack Obama not to weaken increasingly sophisticated encryption systems designed to protect consumers' privacy.  In a strongly worded letter to Obama on Monday [6/8/2015], two industry associations for major software and hardware companies said, "We are opposed to any policy actions or measures that would undermine encryption as an available and effective tool."

Obama lawyers asked secret court to ignore public court's decision on spying.  The Obama administration has asked a secret surveillance court to ignore a federal court that found bulk surveillance illegal and to once again grant the National Security Agency the power to collect the phone records of millions of Americans for six months.  The legal request, filed nearly four hours after Barack Obama vowed to sign a new law banning precisely the bulk collection he asks the secret court to approve, also suggests that the administration may not necessarily comply with any potential court order demanding that the collection stop.

Head of U.S. Marshals Service Resigns Amid Investigation Of Domestic Surveillance Programs.  An underreported story today comes amid the resignation of Stacia Hylton, the head of the U.S. Marshals Service.  The timing of the resignation could not be more transparently tied to a growing investigation into domestic surveillance programs operated without oversight, and potentially unconstitutional.  For the past several years stories have been quietly surfacing about the USMS using stealth cell phone captures via drone and fixed unit operations known as "Stingray Devices".  Stingray technology secretly captures cell phone communication, data, voice and text from users without their knowledge.

NSA reportedly collaborated with Britain to steal cell phone codes.  Britain's electronic spying agency, along with the NSA, reportedly hacked into the computer networks of a Dutch company to steal codes, which allowed both governments to spy on mobile phones worldwide.  The documents given to journalists by Edward Snowden did not offer details on how the agencies used the eavesdropping capabilities.  However, it certainly shows how the NSA and Britain's spy organization will push the limit of their surveillance prowess.

Why We Can't Trust the NSA (And Why That's a Crisis).  No matter where you stand on the debate over renewing the USA Patriot Act, understand that the greatest threat to democracy is not the rise of ISIS, Iran, and "lone wolf" attacks.  While those are real and present dangers, the greater threat is this:  Americans no longer trusting the people and institutions protecting them.  A 50-year slide in the public's faith in government, which began with the dishonesty of the Vietnam War, continues with the duplicity of the post-9/11 "war on terrorism."  One example:  The National Security Agency began secretly collecting phone records of millions of Americans after the September 11, 2001, attacks and gained reauthorization, again in secret, by a special court under Section 215 of the Patriot Act.

Bill ending NSA phone data collection heads to Obama.  Congress on Tuesday [6/2/2015] rejected some of the sweeping intelligence-gathering powers it granted national security officials after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, with the Senate voting to end the government's bulk collection of private telephone records and to reform other surveillance policies.  The bill, known as the USA Freedom Act, passed on a 67-to-32 vote, against the will of Senate Republican leaders who wished to preserve existing spy programs.

US officials warn [there is] no way to monitor ISIS' online encrypted messages.  With ISIS distributing its propaganda and recruiting messages to as many as 200,000 people on social media worldwide, U.S. officials warned Wednesday [6/3/2015] there is no way to monitor their online encrypted communications.  The officials, appearing before the House Homeland Security Committee, said while there are only several thousand hardcore ISIS propagandists, technology was complicating efforts to monitor them.  "There are 200-plus social media companies.  Some of these companies build their business model around end-to-end encryption," said Michael Steinbach, head of the FBI's counterterrorism division.  "There is no ability currently for us to see that" communication, he said.

The Editor says...
If true, the claims made by the government in the article immediately above prove that the widespread use of encryption would completely stymie government surveillance of email if we all used it.

NSA architect: Feds won't stop spying on citizens.  A former high-ranking official at the U.S. National Security Agency said Sunday night the NSA will continue to spy on American citizens irrespective of any action taken by Congress on the Patriot Act.  William Binney, known to many as the architect of the NSA who became a whistleblower against the agency during the administration of George W. Bush, made the comment on Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.

NSA bulk phone records collection to end despite USA Freedom Act failure.  Even as the Senate remains at an impasse over the future of US domestic surveillance powers, the National Security Agency will be legally unable to collect US phone records in bulk by the time Congress returns from its Memorial Day vacation.  The administration, as suggested in a memo it sent Congress on Wednesday, declined to ask a secret surveillance court for another 90-day extension of the order necessary to collect US phone metadata in bulk.  The filing deadline was Friday [5/22/2015], hours before the Senate failed to come to terms on a bill that would have formally repealed the NSA domestic surveillance program.

House Votes to End N.S.A.'s Bulk Phone Data Collection.  The House on Wednesday [5/13/2015] overwhelmingly approved legislation to end the federal government's bulk collection of phone records, exerting enormous pressure on Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, who insists that existing dragnet sweeps continue in defiance of many of those in his Republican Party.  Under the bipartisan bill, which passed 338 to 88, the Patriot Act would be changed to prohibit bulk collection by the National Security Agency of metadata charting telephone calls made by Americans.  In addition, the legislation would bar permitting bulk collection of records using other tools like so-called national security letters, which are a kind of administrative subpoena.

Intel chief 'absolutely' forgot about NSA data sweep program, attorney says.  The National Security Agency's massive data collection program has prompted lawsuits, internal reviews and a fierce congressional debate over whether to scrap it.  But Director of National Intelligence James Clapper apparently forgot the program even existed during a key hearing two years ago.

NSA's phone spying program ruled illegal by appeals court.  A U.S. spying program that systematically collects millions of Americans' phone records is illegal, a federal appeals court ruled on Thursday [5/7/2015], putting pressure on Congress to quickly decide whether to replace or end the controversial anti-terrorism surveillance.  Ruling on a program revealed by former government security contractor Edward Snowden, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said the Patriot Act did not authorize the National Security Agency to collect Americans' calling records in bulk.

Top federal court rules against NSA's phone records program.  A federal court has decided that the National Security Agency's bulk, warrantless collection of millions of Americans' phone records is illegal.  The sweeping decision from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday [5/7/2015] represents a major court victory for opponents of the NSA and comes just as Congress begins a fight over whether to renew the underlying law used to justify the program.

White House report offers more on NSA spying on Americans' calls, with Patriot Act set to expire.  With debate gearing up over the coming expiration of the Patriot Act surveillance law, the Obama administration on Saturday [4/25/2015] unveiled a 6-year-old report examining the once-secret program to collect information on Americans' calls and emails.  The Office of the Director of National Intelligence publicly released the redacted report following a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the New York Times.  The basics of the National Security Agency program had already been declassified, but the lengthy report includes some new details about the secrecy surrounding it.

Jeb Bush: NSA Snooping 'The Best Part of the Obama Administration'.  Plenty of Republicans (Rand Paul especially) have been railing against the NSA's bulk metadata collection for a while now, but not only does Jeb Bush support it, he thinks it's the best thing about the Obama administration.  Bush was defending NSA surveillance months ago as "hugely important program to use these technologies to keep us safe."  Today, he was on Michael Medved's radio show, and was asked directly what he considers the best part of the Obama administration.  Bush said, "I would say the best part of the Obama administration would be his continuance of the protections of the homeland using the big metadata programs."

The Editor says...
The government's job is to keep us free.  Whether we are safe or not is left up to the states, or to us individually.

State Dept. contractor allegedly paid by Chinese agent to spy on Americans — yet no charges filed.  Newly unsealed court documents obtained by Fox News show a State Department contractor allegedly was paid thousands by an individual thought to be a Chinese agent in exchange for information on Americans — but despite an FBI probe, the Justice Department declined to prosecute.  A November 2014 FBI affidavit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, shows the bureau investigated the contractor for her admitted contact with individuals she believed to be Chinese intelligence officers.

McConnell introduces bill to extend NSA surveillance.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced a bill Tuesday night [4/21/2015] to extend through 2020 a controversial surveillance authority under the Patriot Act.  The move comes as a bipartisan group of lawmakers in both chambers is preparing legislation to scale back the government's spying powers under Section 215 of the Patriot Act.

Marxists and Crony Capitalists Driving the Information Highway Bus.  By the time self-acclaimed whistleblower Edward Snowden blew the cover on the National Security Agency (NSA) forever more known as 'Spies are Us', it was already way too late for the privacy of online online private citizens.  Privacy, like commonsense and government altruism, doesn't live here anymore.  Before NSA, we were already big-time data-based with every nuance and details of our private lives spied upon and standby stored by Google, FaceBook and other unsavory social networks on the take.  Blowback from the Snowden-exposed NSA has über dominated the Big Brother spydom we've been talking about ever since.  Public outrage was guaranteed mostly because the NSA is a billion dollar government agency.

Wikipedia Is Suing the NSA.  Wikipedia filed a lawsuit on Tuesday [3/10/2015] challenging the constitutionality of the National Security Agency's mass surveillance of Internet communications, a sudden and striking challenge that comes nearly two years after Edward Snowden's disclosures first began.  The online encyclopedia's suit against the NSA and the Justice Department claims that the U.S. government's mass surveillance regime threatens freedom of speech under the First Amendment and the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable search and seizures.

The law and unintended consequences.  Discovering such bugs in the mess of code that underpins the internet is not unusual.  But unlike most flaws, this one — dubbed FREAK (for "Factoring RSA Export Keys") — is not an accident.  Rather, it is a direct result of the American government's attempts to ensure, two decades ago, that it could spy on the scrambled communications of foreigners.  That is an idea which, following Edward Snowden's revelations about the long reach of Western spy agencies, is back in the news again.

The NSA spied on everyone — other than Hillary Clinton.  From the 'Believe it or Not Department' of the cunning Obama administration:  America's National Security Agency (NSA) retrieves and stockpiles millions of incoming and outgoing emails of government agencies and from the public at large — but not any coming in or going out from Hillary Clinton's private home email accounts! [...] During the Benghazi scandal, for which the Obama administration has yet to come clean, Clinton was the only one in the whole of America with guaranteed privacy from NSA.

NSA authorization to collect bulk phone data extended to June 1.  A U.S. secret court has extended until June 1 the controversial bulk collection of private phone records of Americans by the National Security Agency.  The government said it had asked for reauthorization of the program as reform legislation, called the USA Freedom Act, was stalled in Congress.  The bill would require telecommunications companies rather than the NSA to hold the bulk data, besides placing restrictions on the search terms used to retrieve the records.  An added urgency for Congress to act comes from the upcoming expiry on June 1 of the relevant part of the Patriot Act that provides the legal framework for the bulk data collections.

DHS Funds Installation of White Boxes That Can Track Population of Entire City.  Strange new off-white boxes popping up in downtown Seattle use wi-fi networks that can record the last 1,000 locations of a person using their cellphone's MAC address, but the Department of Homeland Security — which funded the network to the tune of $2.7 million dollars — has refused to address the nightmare privacy implications of a system that could lead to the permanent tracking of an entire city's population.

Hillary Clinton: people felt betrayed by NSA surveillance programmes.  Hillary Clinton has softened her criticism of Edward Snowden and said that people felt betrayed by the National Security Agency's mass surveillance programmes.  The former secretary of state dialled down her previous rhetoric about the whistleblower and hardened her tone towards the NSA while addressing a conference on women in Silicon Valley.  The presumptive Democratic frontrunner for the 2016 presidential race also endorsed the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) plan for net neutrality regulations, [...]

Hack gave U.S. and British spies access to billions of phones: Intercept.  U.S. and British spies hacked into the world's biggest maker of phone SIM cards, allowing them to potentially monitor the calls, texts and emails of billions of mobile users around the world, an investigative news website reported.

Lawmakers Move to Shield Americans' E-mails From Government Snooping.  Remember that e-mail you got from your significant other six months ago — the one you read, replied to, and deleted?  Probably not, but if it's still stored on a server somewhere, as it may well be, Uncle Sam thinks it's fair game for his agents' prying eyes — and they don't even need to get a warrant to sneak a peek.  Under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) of 1986, electronic communications left on remote servers — "in the cloud," in today's parlance — for more than 180 days are considered abandoned and therefore not protected by the Fourth Amendment's requirement that government agents obtain a warrant before searching and seizing them.

Is our Constitution just a worthless piece of paper?  Last week, we learned how deep the disrespect for the Constitution runs in the government and how tortured is the logic that underlies it.  In a little-noted speech at Washington and Lee Law School, Gen. Michael Hayden, the former director of both the CIA and the NSA, told us.  In a remarkable public confession, he revealed that somehow he received from some source he did not name the authority to reinterpret the Fourth Amendment's protection of privacy so as to obliterate it.  He argued that the line between privacy and unbridled government surveillance is a flexible and movable one, and that he — as the head of the NSA — could move it.  This is an astounding audacity by a former high-ranking government official who swore numerous times to uphold the Constitution.

Homeland Security to be put in charge of info sharing.  President Obama will announce a new executive order on the sharing of cybersecurity threats and information at Friday's [2/13/2015] cybersecurity summit at Stanford University, the White House said.  Most importantly to Silicon Valley, the president's proposal is expected to cement the role of the Department of Homeland Security, rather than the National Security Agency, as the government lead for information-sharing with the private sector.  "Hopefully the rules will prohibit the use of the information shared being used for surveillance," said Greg Nojime, a senior counsel with the Center for Democracy and Technology in Washington D.C.

ACLU Report: Feds Using Mobile License Plate Readers To Scan Gun Show Vehicles For Database.  According to emails obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union, federal authorities planned to monitor gun show parking lots with automatic license plate readers.  The insight comes from a damning report released by the ACLU this week on a secretive program by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to build a massive database of license plates['] images collected by automated license plate reader devices.

DEA and ATF cooperated to record gun show attendee license plates.  According to emails obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union, federal authorities planned to monitor gun show parking lots with automatic license plate readers.  The insight comes from a damning report released by the ACLU this week on a secretive program by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to build a massive database of license plates images collected by automated license plate reader devices.  As part of this investigation, emails released through the Freedom of Information Act detailed a planned cooperation between the DEA's National License Plate Recognition initiative and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to scan and record the plates and vehicle images of gun show attendees.

FOIA Documents Reveal Massive DEA Program to Record American's Whereabouts With License Plate Readers.  The DEA is currently operating a National License Plate Recognition initiative that connects DEA license plate readers with those of other law enforcement agencies around the country.  A Washington Post headline proclaimed in February 2014 that the Department of Homeland Security had cancelled its "national license-plate tracking plan," but all that was ended was one Immigrations and Customs Enforcement solicitation for proposals.  In fact, a government-run national license plate tracking program already exists, housed within the DEA.  (That's in addition to the corporate license plate tracking database run by Vigilant Solutions, holding billions of records about our movements.)  Since its inception in 2008, the DEA has provided limited information to the public on the program's goals, capabilities and policies.  Information has trickled out over the years, in testimony here or there.  But far too little is still known about this program.

U.S. Spies on Millions of Drivers.  The Justice Department has been building a national database to track in real time the movement of vehicles around the U.S., a secret domestic intelligence-gathering program that scans and stores hundreds of millions of records about motorists, according to current and former officials and government documents.  The primary goal of the license-plate tracking program, run by the Drug Enforcement Administration, is to seize cars, cash and other assets to combat drug trafficking, according to one government document.  But the database's use has expanded to hunt for vehicles associated with numerous other potential crimes, from kidnappings to killings to rape suspects, say people familiar with the matter.

As You Drive, So You Are Watched.  Simply put, I am quite happy to live in a world in which, in the course of acting locally and in response to a discrete threat, the state is able to thwart the plans of those who would harm the innocent people.  At the same time, I do not want to live in a world in which the state films everybody in public as a matter of unprovoked routine.  As so often, the key here is necessity.  Can the security forces intrude upon my liberties in a genuine emergency?  Absolutely.  Should they be watching or recording the movements of private citizens absent a specific, time-limited, and easily explicable reason to do so?  No, they should not.

DEA Has Abandoned Plans to Track Cars at Gun Shows.  The head of the Drug Enforcement Agency announced yesterday [1/28/2015] that the agency had abandoned plans to use surveillance cameras to photograph license plates appearing in the vicinity of gun shows. [...] Why would the government even think it should "keep track" of law-abiding citizens participating in a purely legal social activity?  Cameras are everywhere now, on police cruisers, utility polls, traffic lights and mounted in front of private businesses.  Does the government have the right to catalog and monitor innocent comings and goings?

Also posted under License plate readers.

High tech government spying vs. your Constitutional right to privacy.  We already knew that the NSA, our 60,000 domestic spies, has captured and retained the contents of nearly all emails, text messages, telephone calls, bank statements, utility bills and credit card bills of all Americans since 2009.  We already knew that Obama has used CIA drones to kill Americans overseas and claims that he somehow can do so legally and secretly notwithstanding the express prohibitions in the Constitution. [...] Prior to 2001, the DEA intimidated, coerced and bribed telecom providers into making their telephone lines available to its agents.  Since 2001, it has no doubt taken advantage of the provisions of the so called Patriot Act that permit federal agents to write their own search warrants to custodians of records, in direct contravention of the Constitution, which requires warrants from judges.

WikiLeaks demands answers after Google hands staff emails to US government.  Google took almost three years to disclose to the open information group WikiLeaks that it had handed over emails and other digital data belonging to three of its staffers to the US government, under a secret search warrant issued by a federal judge.  WikiLeaks has written to Google's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, to protest that the search giant only revealed the warrants last month, having been served them in March 2012.  In the letter, WikiLeaks says it is "astonished and disturbed" that Google waited more than two and a half years to notify its subscribers, potentially depriving them of their ability to protect their rights to "privacy, association and freedom from illegal searches".

Justice Department Reportedly Spies on Millions of Cars to Build National Database.  The U.S. Department of Justice secretly spies on millions of cars by gathering and storing information about motorists in order to build a national database to track movements, according to a new report in the Wall Street Journal.  The database was originally used by the Drug Enforcement Administration to hunt vehicles involved in drug crimes by tracking license plates, but according to the WSJ, the program expanded to hunt for criminals sought for crimes that were non-drug related.

CIA finds no wrongdoing in agency's search of computers used by Senate investigators.  An internal CIA panel concluded in a report released Wednesday [1/14/2015] that agency employees should not be punished for their roles in secretly searching computers used by Senate investigators, a move that was denounced by lawmakers last year as an assault on congressional oversight and a potential breach of the Constitution.  Rejecting the findings of previous inquiries into the matter, the CIA review group found that the agency employees' actions were "reasonable in light of their responsibilities to manage an unprecedented computer system" set up for Senate aides involved in a multiyear probe of the CIA's treatment of terrorism suspects.

NSA has VPNs in Vulcan death grip — no, really, that's what they call it.  The National Security Agency's Office of Target Pursuit (OTP) maintains a team of engineers dedicated to cracking the encrypted traffic of virtual private networks (VPNs) and has developed tools that could potentially uncloak the traffic in the majority of VPNs used to secure traffic passing over the Internet today, according to documents published this week by the German news magazine Der Speigel.  A slide deck from a presentation by a member of OTP's VPN Exploitation Team, dated September 13, 2010, details the process the NSA used at that time to attack VPNs — including tools with names drawn from Star Trek and other bits of popular culture.

No Warrant Needed to Track Cellphones in Public Places, FBI Says.  It is well known that law enforcement agencies sometimes use "stingrays" — devices that mimic cellphone towers — to collect everything from cell users' locations to their call logs.  But the details of such use, including when and how stingray technology is employed, remain shrouded in secrecy.  Now, two members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have reached out to Attorney General Eric Holder to question an FBI policy that makes major exceptions to requirements that search warrants be acquired before employing stingray technology.

FBI says search warrants not needed to use "stingrays" in public places.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation is taking the position that court warrants are not required when deploying cell-site simulators in public places. Nicknamed "stingrays," the devices are decoy cell towers that capture locations and identities of mobile phone users and can intercept calls and texts.  The FBI made its position known during private briefings with staff members of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).  In response, the two lawmakers wrote Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson, maintaining they were "concerned about whether the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have adequately considered the privacy interests" of Americans.

NSA phone searches increased by 50 percent in 2013, report finds.  The number of phone numbers searched under the National Security Agency's phone-data surveillance program increased by 50 percent last year, according to a report that otherwise provides scant new information on the numbers of Americans and foreigners subject to U.S. surveillance.  The report, by the Director of National Intelligence, focused on the mechanics of a network of surveillance programs that sweep up millions of American phone records and gain indirect access to 75 percent of the nation's telecom infrastructure to facilitate those searches.

Christmas Eve Document Dump Reveals NSA Wrongdoings.  While many Americans were sitting down for Christmas Eve meals and celebrations, the National Security Agency released redacted documents in which the agency admits to having "incorrectly acquired" surveillance data and violating the law over the past 12 years.  The documents, which detail many instances of wrongdoing from 2001 to 2013, were released following a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought forth by the American Civil Liberties Union.

NSA spy program targets mobile networks worldwide.  The NSA has conducted a covert campaign to intercept internal communications of operators and trade groups in order to infiltrate mobile networks worldwide, according to the latest revelations from documents supplied by Edward Snowden.

Verizon's New, Encrypted Calling App Plays Nice With the NSA.  Verizon is the latest big company to enter the post-Snowden market for secure communication, and it's doing so with an encryption standard that comes with a way for law enforcement to access ostensibly secure phone conversations.  Verizon Voice Cypher, the product introduced on Thursday with the encryption company Cellcrypt, offers business and government customers end-to-end encryption for voice calls on iOS, Android, or BlackBerry devices equipped with a special app.  The encryption software provides secure communications for people speaking on devices with the app, regardless of their wireless carrier, and it can also connect to an organization's secure phone system.

Operation AURORAGOLD: How the NSA Hacks Cellphone Networks Worldwide.  In March 2011, two weeks before the Western intervention in Libya, a secret message was delivered to the National Security Agency.  An intelligence unit within the U.S. military's Africa Command needed help to hack into Libya's cellphone networks and monitor text messages.  For the NSA, the task was easy.  The agency had already obtained technical information about the cellphone carriers' internal systems by spying on documents sent among company employees, and these details would provide the perfect blueprint to help the military break into the networks.

Why nanny statists hate the Fourth Amendment.  California Attorney General Kamala Harris weighed in on the wrong side in this year's unanimous Supreme Court decision that the Fourth Amendment prohibits warrantless searches of cell phones by police.  Nanny statist Ms. Harris more recently issued a regulation that allows her to unilaterally violate both the Fourth and First Amendments of some of her critics.  The nanny state is government with a big stick.  The "stick" is the threat of penalties such as fines, imprisonment, or for activities subject to license, the loss of the license.  With government doing so much harm these days, it is becoming clearer that nanny statists such as Kamala Harris are actually the biggest threat to the civil liberties of the greatest number of people of all races, creeds and conscience.

House Quietly Passes Monstrous, Privacy-Invading Intel Bill.  Privacy-crushing language was quietly incorporated into the intelligence authorization bill that passed the Senate on Tuesday and the House on Wednesday [12/10/2014].  Critics say the legislation "blesses the warrantless collection, dissemination and five-year retention of everyday Americans' phone and Internet communications."  A surprised Rep Justin Amash (R-MI) rallied to block the Intelligence Authorization Act at the last minute, saying it would give congressional backing to an antiquated decree that gives the president broad surveillance authority.  Amash described the measure on his Facebook page as "one of the most egregious sections of law I've encountered during my time as a representative" and warned the measure "grants the executive branch virtually unlimited access to the communications of every American."

NSA spy program targets mobile networks worldwide.  The NSA has conducted a covert campaign to intercept internal communications of operators and trade groups in order to infiltrate mobile networks worldwide, according to the latest revelations from documents supplied by Edward Snowden.  The U.S. National Security Agency ran two hitherto undisclosed operations, the Wireless Portfolio Management Office and the Target Technology Trends Center, operating under the aegis of a program called Auroragold, according to an article Saturday [12/6/2014] in The Intercept, which also published related documents.

Stonewalled: A Conversation with Sharyl Attkisson.  What directly happened to [Sharyl Attkisson] regarding government surveillance could be a plot straight out of a Vince Flynn or John Grisham novel.  Unfortunately, the bad guys are not Islamic terrorists but those in government today.  Instead of using guns and bombs, they use intimidation and harassment.  Attkisson has been targeted by a government agency or official that infiltrated her computer and cell phone and placed classified information on it.  They are not listening to terrorists plotting to kill Americans, but are trying to find out what information this CBS reporter has that will be damaging to them.

This is what a police state looks like:
More Federal Agencies Are Using Undercover Operations.  The federal government has significantly expanded undercover operations in recent years, with officers from at least 40 agencies posing as business people, welfare recipients, political protesters and even doctors or ministers to ferret out wrongdoing, records and interviews show.  At the Supreme Court, small teams of undercover officers dress as students at large demonstrations outside the courthouse and join the protests to look for suspicious activity, according to officials familiar with the practice.  At the Internal Revenue Service, dozens of undercover agents chase suspected tax evaders worldwide, by posing as tax preparers, accountants drug dealers or yacht buyers and more, court records show.

IRS is monitoring comment threads on conservative blogs.  The Internal Revenue Service, which claims to be so understaffed that it can't bother to collect unpaid taxes, or search backup tapes for Lois Lerner's "missing" emails, apparently has plenty of time to read the comment threads on conservative blogs that have been critical of the agency (Hi there, IRS agents!).

Utah lawmaker concerned over NSA spying on American citizens proposes cutting off the water supply to agency facility.  A Utah lawmaker concerned about government spying on its citizens wants to cut the water supply to a National Security Agency data storage facility outside Salt Lake City.  Republican representative Marc Roberts told a legislative committee meeting that he was concerned about privacy and surveillance conducted by the centre, and a number of residents who spoke at the meeting agreed.

Senate kills NSA surveillance reform bill.  Senate lawmakers on Tuesday voted to block a bill that aimed to rein in federal surveillance of electronic communications, all but killing prospects for the legislation to become law this year.  The Senate voted 58-42 against moving forward on the USA Freedom Act, failing to garner the requisite votes despite an unusual coalition of Democrats and Republicans eager to end the government's bulk collection and retention of the public's phone records.

Senate fails to advance legislation on NSA reform.  The Senate failed Tuesday evening to advance legislation on bipartisan surveillance reform, dealing a significant setback to the Obama administration's plans to end the National Security Agency's mass collection of Americans' communications records.  Although advocates vowed to continue to press for curbs, prospects are uncertain, some officials said privately as a GOP-controlled Congress takes over in January and as public attitudes might begin to shift because of renewed fears of terrorism.

Operation Dirtbox.  The public reaction to Snowden and its political reflection were interesting for what they mean about America and what it portends.  Much of the public political conversation was immediately negative, with commentators, news readers, and professional politicians of both major parties attacking him as a traitor.  Democratic members of congress were no better than their Republican counterparts. Liberal luminaries such as Al Franken tried to pacify dissenters by saying that the NSA was only acting to protect us, and Hillary Clinton lectured the fugitive about 'coming back to face the music.'  President Obama was on television, uncharacteristically awkward in reassuring the country that the NSA "isn't listening to your phone calls," which he knew to be false.  Politicians are in some ways just like everyone else:  they are uncomfortable with anything which might inconvenience them or even cost them their jobs.

Operation Dirtbox.  On Friday [11/14/2014], the Denver Post and other papers ran the story that the Justice Department is directing a massive spy operation which can suck up close to every cell phone communication in America.  They've done this by installing fake communications towers on a fleet of Cessnas, beginning in 2007.  Devices known as 'dirtboxes,' from the initials DRT of the Boeing unit which produces them, mimic cell towers of large telecom firms and trick cellphones into reporting their unique registration information.  Investigators can harvest data from tens of thousands of calls in a single flight.  The planes are said to cover most of the country.  According to the Post article by Devlin Barrett, "people with knowledge of the program wouldn't discuss the frequency or duration of such flights, but said they take place on a regular basis."

Dirtbox Devices: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know.  Americans are outraged by news of "dirtbox devices."  Under this Justice Department program, planes are scanning the cell phones of ordinary Americans.  While this program is designed to capture fugitives and criminals, many Americans feel that these dirtbox devices are an invasion of privacy.  Here's what you need to know about the dirtbox device program.

'Dirtbox' planes masquerade as cell towers to collect smartphone data in sophisticated spying ops.  It's no secret anymore that governmental agencies in the U.S. and other countries have access to sophisticated tools that allow them to track and collect data from smartphones and other devices without users knowing anything is happening, and The Wall Street Journal has uncovered yet another such operation which uses a special "dirtbox" technology installed in special planes that can mimic cell phone towers and fool smartphones into believing they're connecting to a genuine carrier tower.

US government planes collecting phone data, report claims.  Devices that gather data from millions of mobile phones are being flown over the US by the government, according to the Wall Street Journal.  The "dirtbox" devices mimic mobile phone tower transmissions, and handsets transmit back their location and unique identity data, the report claims.  While they are used to track specific suspects, all mobile devices in the area will respond to the signal.  The US Justice Department refused to confirm or deny the report.

Americans' Cellphones Targeted in Secret U.S. Spy Program.  The Justice Department is scooping up data from thousands of mobile phones through devices deployed on airplanes that mimic cellphone towers, a high-tech hunt for criminal suspects that is snagging a large number of innocent Americans, according to people familiar with the operations.

Maybe Big Data should play smaller role in our politics.  In the run-up to the midterms, the Democrats sent out letters to presumed Democratic voters in an effort to shame them into voting. [...] "We will be reviewing voting records ... to determine whether you joined your neighbors who voted in 2014."  The letter ends with a creepy, if not outright threatening, warning:  "If you do not vote this year, we will be interested to hear why not."  Am I the only one [who] thinks it's bizarre that we spend so much time fretting over how much government agencies can know about us, but we don't seem to care a bit about how much the politicians who run those agencies know about us?

NSA surveillance limits: The focus turns to courts.  While Congress mulls how to curtail the NSA's collection of Americans' telephone records, impatient civil liberties groups are looking to legal challenges already underway in the courts to limit government surveillance powers.

Where Is the Investigation Into Financial Corruption at the NSA?  Earlier this year, when Keith Alexander resigned as head of the National Security Agency, he began trying to cash in on expertise he'd gained while in government, pitching himself as a security consultant who could protect Wall Street banks and other large corporations from cyber-attacks by hackers or foreign governments.  Early reports focused on the eye-popping price tag for his services:  He reportedly asked for $1 million a month, later decreasing his rate to $600,000. [...] What, exactly, was he selling?  The explanation Alexander offered in an interview with Foreign Policy only raised more questions.

How The NSA Has Turned Into A Giant Profit Center For Corrupt Insiders.  Last week, two very important stories came out; one from Reuters and the other from Buzzfeed.  They both zero in on how current NSA employees are using their expertise and connections to make big money in the private sector while still working at the NSA.

Google Chairman: 'We're Going to End Up Breaking the Internet'.  Google Chairman Eric Schmidt warned Wednesday that the Internet will soon undergo massive upheaval if governments refuse to alter the way they spy on other countries.  Speaking at an event in California hosted by Sen. Ron Wyden, Schmidt said the Internet will splinter into walled-off fragments unless digital surveillance practices of the National Security Agency and foreign intelligence agencies are reformed.

FBI Chief: Citizens Should Be 'Deeply Skeptical' of Government.  [James] Comey, 53, who became FBI chief in September 2013, cautioned that courts must grant law-enforcement agencies permission to telephones if the information is deemed to be critical to a criminal case or national security.  His comments come in light of numerous leaks since last year by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealing that agency's extensive telephone and Internet surveillance programs and cell phones introduced last month by Apple Inc. that were designed to avoid surveillance by law enforcement.

Child-porn conviction is tossed: Navy surveillance is blamed.  Navy criminal investigators repeatedly and routinely peeked into the computers of private citizens in Washington state and elsewhere, a violation of the law so "massive" and egregious that an appeals court says it has no choice but to throw out the evidence against an Algona man sentenced to 18 years in prison for distribution of child pornography.

NSA/GCHQ/CSEC Infecting Innocent Computers Worldwide.  HACIENDA is a GCHQ program to port-scan entire countries, looking for vulnerable computers to attack.  According to the GCHQ slide from 2009, they've completed port scans of 27 different countries and are prepared to do more.  The point of this is to create ORBs, or Operational Relay Boxes.  Basically, these are computers that sit between the attacker and the target, and are designed to obscure the true origins of an attack.

The NSA and GCHQ Campaign Against German Satellite Companies.  Treasure Map is a vast NSA campaign to map the global internet.  The program doesn't just seek to chart data flows in large traffic channels, such as telecommunications cables.  Rather, it seeks to identify and locate every single device that is connected to the internet somewhere in the world — every smartphone, tablet, and computer — "anywhere, all the time," according to NSA documents.

The Surveillance Engine: How the NSA Built Its Own Secret Google.  The National Security Agency is secretly providing data to nearly two dozen U.S. government agencies with a "Google-like" search engine built to share more than 850 billion records about phone calls, emails, cellphone locations, and internet chats, according to classified documents obtained by The Intercept.

Should Businesses Be Concerned about NSA Snooping?  After news hit the wires regarding the PRISM surveillance program, multiple companies spoke up, insisting that they refused to comply with NSA requests for customer data. [...] In a world that is run increasingly by data, how do everyday business owners face the idea that the government might request private consumer information?  Business leaders must come to terms with whether they'll comply and risk being exposed during whistleblowing operations, or refuse compliance protect consumer trust.

DEA paid Amtrak $854,460 for passenger lists it could have gotten for free.  The Drug Enforcement Administration paid an Amtrak secretary $854,460 over nearly 20 years to obtain confidential information about train passengers, which the DEA could have lawfully obtained for free through a law enforcement network, The Associated Press has learned.

Yahoo Is Making It Harder for the NSA to Read Your Emails.  Yahoo announced Thursday [8/7/2014] it will encrypt its email service by early next year, joining Google and Microsoft in an effort to create an email system that prevents government officials and hackers from reading users' messages.  It's a major step for Yahoo in the wake of the Edward Snowden leaks, and it reflects the commitment of the major technology companies to securing users' data.

Visit the Wrong Website, and the FBI Could End Up in Your Computer.  Security experts call it a "drive-by download": a hacker infiltrates a high-traffic website and then subverts it to deliver malware to every single visitor.  It's one of the most powerful tools in the black hat arsenal, capable of delivering thousands of fresh victims into a hackers' clutches within minutes.  Now the technique is being adopted by a different kind of a hacker — the kind with a badge.  For the last two years, the FBI has been quietly experimenting with drive-by hacks as a solution to one of law enforcement's knottiest Internet problems:  how to identify and prosecute users of criminal websites hiding behind the powerful Tor anonymity system.

CIA Director Brennan Should Resign.  CIA director John Brennan did the right thing Thursday in apologizing to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) for CIA monitoring of computers being used by the committee's staff for an investigation of the Bush-era enhanced-interrogation program.  Nevertheless, heads must roll at the CIA over this scandal, including Brennan's.  While what the CIA did was not illegal, its actions were the result of reckless decisions by agency officials in response to misconduct by SSCI staff members.  The CIA should have handled this matter by raising it quietly with SSCI chairwoman Dianne Feinstein.  The agency didn't need another scandal at a time when all U.S. intelligence agencies were under fire in the aftermath of the Snowden leaks.

Public servants acting as public masters.  "Nothing could be further from the truth.  I mean, we wouldn't do that."  That was CIA Director John Brennan's answer in March when Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., charged the CIA with breaking into computers used by Senate investigators looking into CIA misconduct.  It turns out that the CIA would do that — and, in fact, had done so.  Brennan's reassurances were false, and CIA spooks had been hacking into the committee investigators' computers looking for documents they thought the investigators shouldn't have, violating a promise not to.  So, first Brennan broke a promise.  Then, he either lied, or showed that he doesn't control his own agency, which in many ways would be worse.

Obama remains confident in CIA head John Brennan despite Senate spying.  President Obama remains confident in CIA Director John Brennan's leadership despite an independent investigation that concluded that the agency had overreached its authority by spying on Senate staffers.  White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the findings had not diminished Brennan's standing in the administration.  When asked whether it damaged his authority or credibility in any way, Earnest said:  "Absolutely not."

CIA confesses: Yeah, we hacked the Senate's computers.  In March, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) revealed that CIA Director John Brennan told her that the intelligence agency he leads had improperly accessed Senate computers and secretly removed classified documents while the agency's War on Terror interrogation tactics were under investigation.  Feinstein alleged that Brennan told her the CIA took that action because the agency believed the Senate might have accessed documents that they were not authorized to see.  In a statement, Brennan said the Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman had leveled "spurious allegations about CIA actions that were wholly unsupported by the facts."  While he confessed that the agency had made mistakes, the CIA director insisted that there was no merit to the charge that the agency had spied on members of Congress.

Despite Brennan's Lying and Usurpation of Law, President Obama Gives Strong Vote of Confidence In CIA Director John Brennan.  President Obama issued a strong defense of CIA Director John Brennan on Friday in the face of revelations that his agency spied on congressional staffers' computers.  "I have full confidence in John Brennan," Obama said in a White House press conference.

Why Obama Should Roll Heads at the CIA.  Heads should roll at the CIA, but not for the obvious reasons.  Let's review the cacophony of issues raised by the brutal post-911 interrogation program, including the CIA's lies, cover-ups, and a Constitution-bending spying operation against Senate staffers.

The government wants to wiretap online communications — or in some cases hack them.  In 1994, the government passed the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, which mandated that phone companies make their systems wiretap-ready.  Richard "Dickie" George, a former NSA technical director until he retired in September 2011, recalled how in the mid-1990s, "in the early days of CALEA," the NSA tested several commercial phone systems with intercept capabilities and "we found problems in every one."  Making the systems hack-proof, he said, "is really, really hard."

A Government Feared and Distrusted.  Deep in the desert of Utah is a government data center.  The center, comprised of long, low buildings spanning 1.5 million square feet, is filled with super-powered computers storing unbelievably massive amounts of information gathered secretly.  What information is being collected?  Information about you, Joe Average citizen.  Your phone calls and emails are being stored, all in the name of protecting our country from potential terrorists #8212; terrorists like you, even though your call or email is as banal as, "Honey I'll be home in 30 minutes."

Every iPad and iPhone on the planet has a secret back-door allowing unknown parties to take control.  I wonder who could be behind this?

Meet Executive Order 12333: The Reagan rule that lets the NSA spy on Americans.  Even after all the reforms President Obama has announced, some intelligence practices remain so secret, even from members of Congress, that there is no opportunity for our democracy to change them.  Public debate about the bulk collection of U.S. citizens' data by the NSA has focused largely on Section 215 of the Patriot Act, through which the government obtains court orders to compel American telecommunications companies to turn over phone data.  But Section 215 is a small part of the picture and does not include the universe of collection and storage of communications by U.S. persons authorized under Executive Order 12333.

In NSA-intercepted data, those not targeted far outnumber the foreigners who are.  Ordinary Internet users, American and non-American alike, far outnumber legally targeted foreigners in the communications intercepted by the National Security Agency from U.S. digital networks, according to a four-month investigation by The Washington Post.  Nine of 10 account holders found in a large cache of intercepted conversations, which former NSA contractor Edward Snowden provided in full to The Post, were not the intended surveillance targets but were caught in a net the agency had cast for somebody else.

Most online accounts investigated by NSA belong to ordinary Internet users, report claims.  Conversations intercepted by the National Security Agency are far more likely to have taken place between ordinary Internet users than legally targeted terror suspects, according to a published report.  The Washington Post reported late Saturday [7/5/2014] that while some intercepted messages were a source of valuable intelligence, many more missives contained nothing more than intensely personal details of people's lives, including more than 5,000 private photos.  In most cases, the information was retained despite being marked as useless by NSA analysts.

Senator: FISA snares American communications.  The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which began operating just last year, said the intelligence the government collects under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is valuable in the fight against terrorism and, at its root, the government uses it properly to go after foreign nationals outside the U.S.  But at the edges, the program is scooping up data about Americans, the board said in a nearly 200-page report that recommended some changes to get a handle on how often the program strays across constitutional boundaries.

NSA Internet spying program an 'effective tool,' bipartisan privacy board says.  Under a provision of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act known as Section 702, the NSA uses court orders and taps on fiberoptic lines to target the data of foreigners living abroad when their emails, web chats, text messages and other communications traverse U.S. telecommunications systems.

The Editor says...
Nobody objects, as far as I know, to the feds listening to phone calls in other countries, or setting up wiretaps in the Middle East.  The problem here is that wiretaps in this country can easily be used against Americans.  And really, how many other countries make their telephone and internet connections through the United States?

Cellphone operator reveals scale of gov't snooping.  Government snooping into phone networks is extensive worldwide, one of the world's largest cellphone companies revealed Friday [6/6/2014], saying that several countries demand direct access to its networks without warrant or prior notice.  The detailed report from Vodafone, which covers the 29 countries in which it operates in Europe, Africa and Asia, provides the most comprehensive look to date at how governments monitor mobile phone communications.  It amounts to a call for a debate on the issue as businesses increasingly worry about being seen as worthy of trust.

British Spy Agencies Are Said to Assert Power to Intercept Web Traffic.  In a broad legal rationale for collecting information from Internet use by its citizens, the British government has reportedly asserted the right to intercept communications that go through services like Facebook, Google and Twitter that are based in the United States or other foreign nations, even if they are between people in Britain.

5 Obama Officials Who Lied, Then Lied About Lying.  Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.  Clapper testified before Congress in 2012 that the NSA was not collecting "any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans."  Clapper later said he had misspoken, after information from Edward Snowden proved that he had been lying.

Judge Orders NSA To Stop Destroying Evidence — For The Third Time.  U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White's ruling came at the request of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is in the midst of a case challenging NSA's ability to surveil foreign citizen's U.S.-based email and social media accounts.  According to the EFF, the signals intelligence agency and the Department of Justice were knowingly destroying key evidence in the case by purposefully misinterpreting earlier preservation orders by multiple courts, multiple times.

Internet Giants Erect Barriers to Spy Agencies.  Just down the road from Google's main campus here, engineers for the company are accelerating what has become the newest arms race in modern technology:  They are making it far more difficult — and far more expensive — for the National Security Agency and the intelligence arms of other governments around the world to pierce their systems.  As fast as it can, Google is sealing up cracks in its systems that Edward J. Snowden revealed the N.S.A. had brilliantly exploited.

Cellphone operator reveals scale of gov't snooping.  Government snooping into phone networks is extensive worldwide, one of the world's largest cellphone companies revealed Friday [6/6/2014], saying that several countries demand direct access to its networks without warrant or prior notice.

How the NSA's Secret Elite Hacking Unit Works.  Snowden documents leaked to Der Spiegel in December 2013 describe a different type of NSA program from the sort that is usually publicized.  Rather than revealing software developed by the agency in order to access computers, these revelations describe a secret elite hacking unit, dubbed Tailored Access Operations, or TAO.

How the NSA Can Get Onto Your Computer.  Many of the NSA's programs revealed in the Snowden leaks describe the agency's ability to target specific pieces of software.  But as The New York Times and others reported earlier this year, there is a suite of programs, codenamed QUANTUM, which allows the NSA access to a much wider variety of computers.

Your Selfie Is A Mugshot For The NSA.  The selfie phenomenon is undoubtedly making the NSA's job easier by producing a mountain of tagged online data to feed its facial recognition algorithms.  A report in The New York Times, based on documents from 2011 obtained by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, reveals that the US security agency's reliance on facial recognition technology has grown significantly under the Obama administration — coinciding with a rise in popularity of taking and tagging self portraits on online social networks.  The newspaper reports that the agency has turned to new software to process the flood of images being included in digital communication including social media, email, messaging, videoconferencing and other types of online comms.

NSA is 'creating huge facial recognition database by taking millions of images off the internet'.  The NSA is building a comprehensive facial recognition database through the intercepting of millions of photographs posted online everyday, according to a report from the New York Times published Saturday [5/31/2014].  According to the report, which cites top-secret documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the NSA intercepts 'millions of images per day', which translates into approximately 55,000 'facial recognition quality images.'  According to a 2011 document cited in the report, this is regarded by the agency as 'tremendous untapped potential'.

New federal database will track Americans' credit ratings, other financial information.  As many as 227 million Americans may be compelled to disclose intimate details of their families and financial lives — including their Social Security numbers — in a new national database being assembled by two federal agencies.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau posted an April 16 Federal Register notice of an expansion of their joint National Mortgage Database Program to include personally identifiable information that reveals actual users, a reversal of previously stated policy.  FHFA will manage the database and share it with CFPB.  A CFPB internal planning document for 2013-17 describes the bureau as monitoring 95 percent of all mortgage transactions.

"Original" NSA Whistleblower Says Home Raid Was Retribution.  "We were a clear demonstration that official channels didn't work," said William Binney, one of a trio of National Security Agency employees who tired to "blow the whistle" on the NSA's domestic surveillance activities more than a decade before Edward Snowden delivered classified documents from the agency's files to The Guardian.  Binney, now retired, resigned from the NSA in 2001.  A year later he and two of his former colleagues asked Congress and the Department of Defense for an investigation of the agency for wasting money and violating privacy rights with a massive data collection program called "Trailblazer," the successor to an earlier program dubbed "Stellar Wind."  Binney believes that's the reason why the FBI five years later staged an armed raid of his home.

Afghan anger at US monitoring 'nearly all' phone calls.  Afghanistan on Sunday expressed anger at the United States for allegedly monitoring almost all the country's telephone conversations after revelations by the Wikileaks website.  Wikileaks editor Julian Assange said on Friday that Afghanistan was one of at least two countries where the US National Security Agency "has been recording and storing nearly all the domestic (and international) phone calls".

Glenn Greenwald to publish list of U.S. citizens that NSA spied on.  Glenn Greenwald, one of the reporters who chronicled the document dump by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden via the U.K. press, now said he's set to publish his most dramatic piece yet:  The names of those in the United States targeted by the NSA.  "One of the big questions when is comes to domestic spying is, 'Who have been the NSA's specific targets?'  Are they political critics and dissidents and activists?  Are they genuinely people we'd regard as terrorists?  What are the metrics and calculations that go into choosing those targets and what is done with the surveillance that is conducted?  Those are the kinds of questions that I want to still answer," Mr. Greenwald told The Sunday Times of London.

Guilty until proven innocent in the age of ubiquitous electronic surveillance.  Upon taking office, President Obama issued a memorandum on the subject of transparency:  "My Administration," he said, "is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government.  We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration.  Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government."  Apparently, though, in spite of this stated goal, the Obama administration has been doing quite the opposite.  Instead of sharing information openly with the American people, they've been collecting information, in secret, about the American people, building the largest domestic spying infrastructure known to man.

This is slightly off-topic — I hope.
Facebook App Soon to Record All Sounds Entering User Smartphones.  A recent "improvement" to the Facebook mobile app is being praised by tech bloggers, but it seems the bigger, more sinister side of the upgrade is being ignored.  In the "coming weeks," the social media behemoth will roll out a service that, according to an announcement on its blog, will give users: ["]the option to use your phone's microphone to identify what song is playing or what show or movie is on TV.["]

Bill ending NSA bulk data collection clears U.S. House.  The measure, which passed 303-121, would end the National Security Agency's practice of gathering in bulk information on calls made by millions of Americans and storing them for at least five years.  It would instead leave such records in the custody of telephone companies and they could search those databases at the NSA's request.

The NSA records EVERY cell phone call in the Bahamas.  The NSA is listening in on every cell phone call made within or to the Bahamas, according to revelations contained with the documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden.  As part of a program codenamed SOMALGET, the National Security Agency is recording millions of communications in the nation of 370,000 and they're even able to replay a given conversation for a month after it happens.

Cisco CEO asks Obama to curtail surveillance, according to reports.  Cisco chief executive John Chambers has sent a letter to President Obama calling for rules ensuring that both the needs of national security and his IT firm's product integrity are met, according to reports.  The Financial Times and Re/code are reporting that Chambers sent a letter dated May 15 to Obama, warning that confidence in an open Internet is being "eroded by revelations of governments' surveillance" and asking him to create new standards of conduct about how the government collects data.  Ars Technica reported last week that a document included in National Security Agency files released with Glenn Greenwald's new book "No Place to Hide" describes how the NSA intercepts servers and networking gear and covertly installs firmware on them before they are shipped out. There is a photo purporting to show NSA employees opening Cisco boxes.

Internet Subversion.  In addition to turning the Internet into a worldwide surveillance platform, the NSA has surreptitiously weakened the products, protocols, and standards we all use to protect ourselves.  By doing so, it has destroyed the trust that underlies the Internet.  We need that trust back.

NSA Metadata Snooping Challenged.  Metadata is transmission and billing information about whom you called, from what phone number, when, and for how long.  This can include your location, because billing records note which cell tower your mobile phone is connecting through.  George Orwell's book 1984 was meant as a warning.  But it is shocking how many people view 1984 as a "how to" manual or blueprint for expanding their power and influence over the country.  The book projects into the future how society has been heading towards a totalitarian society governed by pervasive government surveillance.

Attkisson to Beck: I was warned that I was 'probably being monitored'.  In an interview today [4/30/2014] with Glenn Beck, former CBS News investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson again addressed the issue of her compromised computers, saying she was "outraged" that someone would attempt to hack them.  She also noted that she'd been warned that she was "probably being monitored" and that this particular tip came before the revelations from National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden and the news that the Associated Press's phone records had been seized.

A Phone Company Fought the NSA — And the NSA Won.  An unnamed phone company recently resisted a National Security Agency demand for access to its subscribers' data, according to court documents declassified Friday [4/25/2014].  But on March 20, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court rejected the company's motion and ordered it to continue turning the records over to the NSA.  The government redacted the name of the company and other information from the documents.  It was apparently the first time any phone company tried to fight the NSA's controversial mass-surveillance program.  A federal judge wrote last year that no phone company had resisted the program, which the NSA claims is authorized under Section 215 of the Patriot Act.

Shocking details of rampant racism, sexism prompt Rep. Sean Duffy to ask if it's time for CFPB's Richard Cordray to resign.  Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray's agency has been slammed in recent months for refusing to divulge to Congress details of its lavish spending on a new headquarters.  The CFPB has also been exposed by the Washington Examiner for running an NSA-like surveillance program that compromises the privacy of hundreds of millions of Americans' most intimate financial dealings.  Cordray's agency has even been taken to court by the Examiner in conjunction with the nonprofit group Judicial Watch for chronically refusing to make public even the most basic details of its spending of tax dollars.

Clapper: Yeah, we've checked out Americans' e-mail content, phone calls without warrants.  In a letter to NSA-skeptic Sen. Ron Wyden this week, DNI head James Clapper seems to confirm searches of the content of American citizens' communication the administration had previously suggested was off-limits.

U.S. confirms warrantless searches of Americans.  The Obama administration has conducted warrantless searches of Americans' communications as part of the National Security Agency's surveillance operations that target foreigners located outside of the U.S., the administration's top intelligence official confirmed in a letter to Congress disclosed Tuesday [4/1/2014].

Obama's NSA overhaul may require phone carriers to store more data.  President Barack Obama's plan for overhauling the National Security Agency's phone surveillance program could force carriers to collect and store customer data that they are not now legally obliged to keep, according to U.S. officials.

NSA still wants to collect records without probable cause.  Except for the definition and mechanism of proving treason, no area of the Constitution addressing the rights of all persons when the government is pursuing them is more specific than the Fourth Amendment.  The linchpin of that specificity is the requirement that the government demonstrate probable cause to a judge as a precondition to the judge issuing a search warrant.  The other specific requirement is identity:  The government must identify whose property it wishes to search or whose behavior it wishes to monitor, because the Fourth Amendment requires that all warrants specifically describe the place to be searched or the person or thing to be seized. [...] The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court has been issuing general warrants to the National Security Agency (NSA) since 1978, but it was not until last June that we learned that these general warrants have been executed upon the telephone calls, text messages, emails, bank records, utility bills and credit card bills of all persons in America since 2009.

The Surveillance State Is Well Protected and Winning.  The New York Times reported today [3/25/2014] that the White House will ask Congress to end the National Security Agency's open-ended collection of data about Americans' calling habits.  Under the proposal, the bulk records would stay in the hands of phone companies, which would not be required to retain the data for any longer than they normally would.  The NSA could seize specific records only with a judge's permission.

Navy database tracks civilians' parking tickets, fender-benders, raising fears of domestic spying.  A parking ticket, traffic citation or involvement in a minor fender-bender are enough to get a person's name and other personal information logged into a massive, obscure federal database run by the U.S. military. [...] LinX is a national information-sharing hub for federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.  It is run by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, raising concerns among some military law experts that putting such detailed data about ordinary citizens in the hands of military officials crosses the line that generally prohibits the armed forces from conducting civilian law enforcement operations.

Gates Foundation Lobbies For Feds To Collect Data On College Graduates Lives.  A study released by the Gates Foundation is promoting a system that would track the careers of college graduates long after they receive their degrees, attacking the National Association for Independent Colleges and Universities for promoting laws that prevent up-close surveillance of students by the government.

Rand Paul gets standing ovation at Berkeley: 'Your right to privacy is under assault'.  Delivering a rare speech for a Republican at this bastion of liberalism, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul on Wednesday was given multiple standing ovations by the left-wing audience after railing against government surveillance and warning the students:  "Your right to privacy is under assault."  "I am here to tell you that if you own a cell phone, you're under surveillance," he told the crowd. Paul's address at the Berkeley Forum on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley focused on the National Security Agency's collection of telephone metadata and the debate over privacy.

NSA surveillance program reaches 'into the past' to retrieve, replay phone calls.  The National Security Agency has built a surveillance system capable of recording "100 percent" of a foreign country's telephone calls, enabling the agency to rewind and review conversations as long as a month after they take place, according to people with direct knowledge of the effort and documents supplied by former contractor Edward Snowden.  A senior manager for the program compares it to a time machine — one that can replay the voices from any call without requiring that a person be identified in advance for surveillance.  The voice interception program, called MYSTIC, began in 2009.

NRA: Federal surveillance policies could lead to gun registry.  The National Rifle Association has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a case in federal court in New York challenging the federal government's data surveillance techniques, arguing the data collection violates the First Amendment and could undermine federal privacy laws that prohibit the formation of a registry of firearms or gun owners.

Lies, Spies, Leaks and DiFi.  These days it's a commonplace to diagnose a clash between two parts of our government and conclude that both are wrong.  The case at bar this week is the uncharacteristically rancorous fight between the CIA and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Cal).

Privacy advocates call Feinstein's rant on CIA spying hypocritical.  Those who have long complained that neither Congress nor the intelligence community have done enough to safeguard the rights of private citizens find it ironic that, for months, the spy agency and the Intelligence Committee charged with its oversight have waged a behind-the-scenes battle accusing each other of improper snooping.  The Justice Department is weighing whether to investigate CIA claims that Intelligence Committee staffers accessed material they shouldn't have seen while reviewing millions of documents at a Virginia facility.  Those same advocates find the complaints of Feinstein, who has been one of the intelligence community's staunchest supporters, as especially disingenuous.

Sen. Feinstein's Awakening.  Here again is the problem of surveillance professionals operating within a highly technologized surveillance state:  If they can do it they will do it.  If they are able to take an action they will sooner or later take it, whether or not it's a good thing, even whether or not it is legal.  Defenders of the surveillance state as it is currently organized and constituted blithely argue that laws, rules, traditions and long-held assumptions will control or put a damper on the actions of those with the power to invade the privacy of groups or individuals.  They are very trusting people!  But they are wrong.

Issa Rips CIA Over Feinstein Spying Allegations: 'Treason'.  House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa said he is incensed about allegations the CIA spied on the Senate Intelligence Committee, calling it "treason."  "I think Senator Feinstein is as outraged as anyone and I share her outrage.  I think the violation of the Constitutional separation of powers should be an offense of the highest level — virtually treason," Issa told Breitbart News on Tuesday [3/11/2014].  "Spying on the executive branch — spying on Congress or violating the separation of powers as to the Supreme Court or as to Congress is effectively treason.

New study shows NSA phone metadata can reveal everything about your life.  New research published by Stanford Univeristy Wednesday reveal phone and Internet metadata collected by the NSA can expose far more information about an individual than the agency admits, including, "medical conditions, financial and legal connections, and even whether they own a gun."  Two of the school's computer science graduate students were able to uncover the sensitive personal details of individuals from phone data details, like the numbers of callers and recipients, the location of callers, phone serial numbers and the length of conversations — all of which are data the signals intelligence agency collects in bulk both domestically and internationally.  Of the 33,688 unique numbers called by the study's 546 study volunteers, students were able to positively identify a specific individual in 18 percent of those calls.

'Heads Should Roll!': Lawmakers Irate Over Alleged CIA Spying.  Tempers are flaring in Washington as one branch of government appears irate with another.  Amidst allegations that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been spying on Congressional staffers, a spat between the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch appears to be brewing.  California Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein is leading the charge as she ranted on Tuesday [3/11/2014] about the 2010 removal of documents from secure machines used by Senate Intelligence Committee staff.

CIA says it doesn't spy on the Senate.  The most serious fight between the Central Intelligence Agency and Congress to erupt during the Obama administration went very public on Tuesday as the Senate's top overseer of the CIA accused the agency of blocking an investigation into interrogation practices and possibly violating the Constitution.  In an extraordinary speech on the Senate floor, Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said CIA personnel illicitly snooped on Senate staffers by examining computers they used as part of a long-running review of the agency's treatment of terrorism suspects under President George W. Bush.

Feinstein publicly accuses CIA of spying on Senate computers.  Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, escalated a behind-the-scenes dispute with the CIA by publicly accusing the spy agency of secretly searching a Senate computer system, an act she said undermines congressional intelligence oversight and may have violated the law.

Senator: CIA improperly searched computer network.  The head of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Tuesday the CIA improperly searched a stand-alone computer network established for Congress in its investigation of allegations of CIA abuse in a Bush-era detention and interrogation program and the agency's own inspector general has referred the matter to the Justice Department for possible legal action.

Destructive Missions, Partially Accomplished.  First, there are the ongoing revelations about the government's accumulation of digital mountains of personal information on citizens' daily lives.  If there's a positive result from this, it would be that many Americans have become a bit more careful about their data trail.  But the good news ends there.  Our emails, Facebook posts, text messages and other communications are subject to easy scrutiny by government minders and anyone else to whom those apparatchiks might feel like conveying information.  The chilling effect on everyday speech, expression and interactions is a statist's dream come true.  Just wait until they integrate the Obamacare and Common Core data.

White House co-hosts MIT workshop as part of project on 'collecting, analyzing, and using' big data.  The Obama White House is co-hosting a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) workshop on "big data" as part of an administration effort to analyze how to collect and use complex data for public policy.  It comes as little surprise that the White House is analyzing "big data" collection considering the effectiveness of the 2012 Obama campaign's personality-tracking voter targeting database created through its "Project Dreamcatcher."  The information from that database is now held by Obama's nonprofit advocacy group Organizing for Action.

Judge Rules NYPD Spying on Muslims Didn't Hurt While It Was Secret.  A federal judge in Newark has tossed a lawsuit brought by eight Muslims who claimed the NYPD's post-9/11 surveillance of their mosques, schools, and other community locations violated their civil rights.  Instead, U.S. District Judge William Martini ruled that there was no harm done until the Associated Press reported on the program (earning itself a Pulitzer Prize along the way).  "The Associated Press covertly obtained the materials and published them without authorization," he wrote.

DHS cancels national license plate tracking plan.  Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Wednesday [2/19/2014] ordered the cancellation of a plan by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to develop a national license-plate tracking system after privacy advocates raised concern about the initiative.  The order came just days after ICE solicited proposals from companies to compile a database of license-plate information from commercial and law enforcement tag readers.  Officials said the database was intended to help apprehend fugitive illegal immigrants, but the plan raised concerns that the movements of ordinary citizens under no criminal suspicion could be scrutinized.

The Editor says...
The system is only there to catch illegal immigrants!  How could you possibly object to that?  Think ahead:  Suppose the system works perfectly and every illegal immigrant is captured and deported (Ha!).  Their surveillance system will still be in place, and the bureaucrats will need to think of something to do with it — probably hunting for "deadbeat dads," and people with outstanding warrants.

HHS Seeking Access to 'Full Twitter Historical Data'.  The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is seeking a "social media analytic tool" that will give the government access to "full Twitter historical data," according to a solicitation released on Tuesday [2/18/2014].  The agency is seeking feedback for a "possible future acquisition to provide near real time social media analysis."  HHS said it wants to use the tool for "ongoing monitoring" of public health issues.  HHS provides a long list of requirements, including "access to real-time social media posts," and "access to full Twitter firehose."

DNI: Phone surveillance would not have been 'shocking' if the NSA had come clean with the public soon after 9/11.  The White House's director of national intelligence admitted on Monday [2/17/2014] that the National Security Agency and other federal government departments should have been transparent with the American people when it first began collecting a broad swath of phone records.  James Clapper mused openly about how the PRISM program, authorized by Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, was received by global media and the American public, conceding that the scandalous outcome would likely have been different if the government had been less secretive.

At Newark Airport, the Lights Are On, and They're Watching You.  Visitors to Terminal B at Newark Liberty International Airport may notice the bright, clean lighting that now blankets the cavernous interior, courtesy of 171 recently installed LED fixtures.  But they probably will not realize that the light fixtures are the backbone of a system that is watching them.  Using an array of sensors and eight video cameras around the terminal, the light fixtures are part of a new wireless network that collects and feeds data into software that can spot long lines, recognize license plates and even identify suspicious activity, sending alerts to the appropriate staff.

DHS Building National License Plate Reader Database.  The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is seeking to build a national license plate reader database, according to a recent job posting for government contractors.  The posting, first reported by Ars Technica, seeks a contractor to build a national license plate recognition database for DHS and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.  Automated license plate recognition (ALPR) technology uses cameras to identify cars, alert police departments if they match a license plate on a "hot list," and track their movements.

The Editor says...
This sounds like a cover story planted in the malleable news media, to announce the formation of something that already exists.  I would be very surprised if such a system hasn't been in place for several years already.

Spy Chief: We Should've Told You We Track Your Calls.  Even the head of the U.S. intelligence community now believes that its collection and storage of millions of call records was kept too secret for too long.  The American public and most members of Congress were kept in the dark for years about a secret U.S. program to collect and store such records of American citizens on a massive scale.  The government's legal interpretation of section 215 of the Patriot Act that granted the authority for this dragnet collection was itself a state secret.

NSA spying undermines separation of powers.  [M]ost Americans figure, probably rightly, that the NSA isn't likely to be interested in their stuff.  (Anyone who hacks my e-mail is automatically punished, by having to read it.)  There is, however, a class of people who can't take that disinterest for granted:  members of Congress and the judiciary.  What they have to say is likely to be pretty interesting to anyone with a political ax to grind.  And the ability of the executive branch to snoop on the phone calls of people in the other branches isn't just a threat to privacy, but a threat to the separation of powers and the Constitution.

'Rand Paul v. Barack Obama' lawsuit hits federal court with 350,000 plaintiffs.  Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is making good on his promise to sue the Obama administration over what he calls 'precisely the kind of overreach we fought a revolution over.'  His targets are the National Security Agency, the FBI and other federal government offices that snoop on private communications at home and abroad.

Rand Paul Suing President Obama.  Rand Paul's political action committee just announced that the Kentucky senator is suing President Obama. [...] "I am filing a lawsuit against President Barack Obama because he has publicly refused to stop a clear and continuing violation of the 4th Amendment," Paul said in a statement.  "The Bill of Rights protects all citizens from general warrants.  I expect this case to go all the way to the Supreme Court and I predict the American people will win."

Secret court approves phone surveillance changes.  National intelligence chief James R. Clapper said Thursday [2/6/2014] that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court had approved two limits on how the government can use huge volumes of data it collects about Americans' phone use.  The new restrictions were among reforms promised last month by President Barack Obama to the controversial anti-terror surveillance program of the National Security Agency.

The Editor says...
How can any of us verify what the secret court really said?  And why is there a secret court in an ostensibly free country?

NSA Defender Explains How Even Though NSA Spies On Americans, It's OK To Say They Don't.  Benjamin Wittes of the Brooking Institution has become the go-to non-government NSA apologist.  One of his most recent articles is a true work of rhetorical artistry, in which he tries to explain why saying "the NSA doesn't spy on Americans" is acceptable shorthand for the fact that the NSA spies on pretty much every American.  It's a master class in political doubletalk.  First, it's the law's fault.  The law, you see, is too complicated for mere mortals not working for the NSA to understand, so that makes it okay to lie.

Federal consumer bureau data-mining hundreds of millions of consumer credit card accounts, mortgages.  Officials at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are conducting a massive, NSA-esque data-mining project collecting account information on an estimated 991 million American credit card accounts.  It was also learned at a Congressional hearing Tuesday [1/28/2014] that CFPB officials are working with the Federal Housing Finance Agency on a second data-mining effort, this one focused on the 53 million residential mortgages taken out by Americans since 1998.

Obama Team Stonewalls Democrat on Spying Questions.  Ron Wyden wanted direct answers on government spying programs during Wednesday's Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.  He didn't get many.  Director of Intelligence James Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan, and FBI Director James Comey largely avoided giving details on the agencies' spying activities, instead promising to provide more information as soon as possible.  In several cases, Wyden gave deadlines for them to answer his questions.  Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, is a vocal critic of the National Security Agency's program of gathering the phone data of millions of Americans.

US privacy watchdog advises NSA spying is 'illegal'.  The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board advised by a 3-2 majority that the programme should end.  In a major speech last week, President Barack Obama said he was ordering curbs on the use of such mass data.  But he said the US must continue collecting data to prevent attacks.

Independent review board says NSA phone data program is illegal and should end.  An independent executive branch board has concluded that the National Security Agency's long-running program to collect billions of Americans' phone records is illegal and should end.  In a strongly worded report to be issued Thursday [1/23/2014], the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) said that the statute upon which the program was based, Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, "does not provide an adequate basis to support this program."

White House Rejects Gov't Report that NSA Bulk Data Grab Is Illegal and Useless.  The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) has released a scathing report listing off the various ways that the National Security Administration's meta data sweeps are illegal. [...] The board also rejected the notion that the NSA's data mining program is somehow "necessary" to fix the supposed intelligence gap that occurred from a failure to detect Al Qaeda in the U.S. prior to 9/11 — something that has been claimed many times to necessitate the program [...]

Four Questionable Claims Obama Has Made on NSA Surveillance.  [#1] There have been no abuses. [...] At press conferences in June, August and December, Obama made assurances that two types of bulk surveillance had not been misused.  In fact, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has reprimanded the NSA for abuses both in warrantless surveillance targeting people abroad, and in bulk domestic phone records collection.  In 2011, the FISA Court found that for three years, the NSA had been collecting tens of thousands of domestic emails and other communications in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

What would Patrick Henry do with the NSA?  In his speech of Friday last, President Obama laid out some nifty new review processes to see to it that the NSA behaves — our "reviewers" will now have "reviewers."  And therein lies the problem: government cannot be the judge of the extent of its own powers, that is what has led to this moment.

A new 'crypto-war' breaks out, as citizens and criminals learn to hide from government.  [Scroll down]  Smari McCarthy — whose eclectic activities include working with Julian Assange in the early days of Wikileaks and keeping the internet going in remote parts of Afghanistan — is part of a small group of developers building a free, user-friendly email service that has PGP encryption built in by default.  I interviewed McCarthy recently for my forthcoming book.  He calculated that it currently costs 13 cents per day to spy on every internet user in the world.  His plan is to push that to $10,000 by getting more people to use PGP. "

Rand Paul Mocks Obama's NSA Speech: 'If You Like Your Privacy, You Can Keep it'.  Sen. Rand Paul responded today [1/17/2014] to Obama's NSA speech in which Obama announced plans to reform the National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance program, which has been unconstitutionally spying on Americans, in direct violation of the Fourth Amendment.  Senator Paul, in a statement reiterated that he will continue to fight for his Fourth Amendment Restoration Act as well as his lawsuit against the Obama NSA.

Data Spying in the States: Public Safety or Invasion of Privacy?  Last month, USA Today reported that at least 125 police agencies in 33 states have used a variety of spy-worthy tactics and technologies to obtain information about thousands of cell phones and their users.  The newspaper's investigation found that one in four law enforcement agencies use a tactic known as a "tower dump" to get the identity, activity and location information of any cell phone that connects with a particular cell tower in a specific timespan.  Additionally, 25 law enforcement agencies used federal grants to purchase a piece of equipment developed for military and intelligence gathering purposes known as a "Stingray," which mimics a cell tower, allows police to track the movements of a specific cell phone and captures data from a cell phone, such as the phone numbers dialed and text messages received.

NSA can't say if it collected data on lawmakers, officials.  The National Security Agency said it is lawfully unable to search its database to determine if it has swept up phone records from members of Congress or other elected officials.  NSA Director Keith Alexander said, however, nothing the agency does can be fairly described as "spying on Members of Congress" or U.S. politicians, according to a letter dated Jan. 10.

The Editor says...
If the NSA "is lawfully unable to search its database," then why does the database exist?

NSA collects millions of text messages daily in 'untargeted' global sweep.  The National Security Agency has collected almost 200 million text messages a day from across the globe, using them to extract data including location, contact networks and credit card details, according to top-secret documents.

Obama Picks Soros Crony to Lead NSA Probe.  When President Obama needs help, he can always turn to one of the Soros inner circle.  In a speech on Jan. 17, Obama announced that his new Presidential Counsel John Podesta will lead a "comprehensive review of Big Data and privacy," following the NSA privacy scandal that has dogged his administration.  What he didn't mention was that Podesta is the founder of the liberal Center for American Progress.  CAP has gotten $7.3 million from liberal billionaire George Soros since 2000 and was one of the keystone liberal think tanks founded after the Democrats lost the 2004 election.

Apple, Cisco, Dell unhappy over alleged NSA back doors in their gear.  Germany's Der Spiegel reports that the NSA has compromised a wide range of hardware for years to enable its spying.

The Real Purpose of Oakland's Surveillance Center.  City leaders have argued that Oakland needs a massive surveillance system to combat violent crime, but internal documents reveal that city staffers are also focused on tracking political protesters.

Cruz: Why didn't NSA spying stop Boston and Ft. Hood terror attacks?  In Tuesday's "Hearing on the Report of the President's Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies" Texas Senator Ted Cruz grilled Obama NSA witnesses as to the effectiveness of the massive spying operation, which failed to stop the tragic terrorist attacks at both Fort Hood and the bombings in Boston.  Richard A. Clarke, Michael J. Morell, Professor Geoffrey R. Stone, Cass R. Sunstein and Professor Peter Swire were asked by Cruz if government surveillance programs have focused too much on gathering information on law-abiding citizens and too little on the actual "bad guys."

Obama's NSA Speech: More mush from the proto-tyrant.  Obama is behaving like a tyrant, but doing it sneakily, with the connivance of a mainstream media that refuses to present to their audience the alarming stories of what is really going on.  The low information majority is blissfully unaware that the organs of state power are being mobilized to suppress Obama's political opponents.  In this context, the NSA domestic spying apparatus is and remains a grave threat.

N.S.A. Devises Radio Pathway Into Computers.  The National Security Agency has implanted software in nearly 100,000 computers around the world that allows the United States to conduct surveillance on those machines and can also create a digital highway for launching cyberattacks.  While most of the software is inserted by gaining access to computer networks, the N.S.A. has increasingly made use of a secret technology that enables it to enter and alter data in computers even if they are not connected to the Internet, according to N.S.A. documents, computer experts and American officials.

NSA has hacked into 100,000 computers around the world some of which are not connected to the internet.  The National Security Agency has implanted software in nearly 100,000 computers around the world — but not in the United States — that allows the U.S. to conduct surveillance on those machines, The New York Times reported Tuesday [1/14/2014].  The Times cited NSA documents, computer experts and U.S. officials in its report about the use of secret technology using radio waves to gain access to computers that other countries have tried to protect from spying or cyberattacks.

The Editor says...
That sounds like the kind of leakage that Tempest was supposed to prevent.

The NSA Even Spies on Congress.  Last week, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., wrote to Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Administration (NSA), and asked plainly whether the NSA has been or is now spying on members of Congress or other public officials.  The senator's letter was no doubt prompted by the revelations of Edward Snowden to the effect that the federal government's lust for personal private data about all Americans and many foreigners knows no bounds, and its respect for the constitutionally protected and statutorily enforced right to privacy is nonexistent.

The Danger of NSA Spying on Members of Congress.  An executive-branch agency has been empowered to store revealing information about the communications of everyone in the legislature.

NSA statement does not deny 'spying' on members of Congress.  The National Security Agency on Saturday released a statement in answer to questions from a senator about whether it "has spied, or is ... currently spying, on members of Congress or other American elected officials", in which it did not deny collecting communications from legislators of the US Congress to whom it says it is accountable.

Rand Paul to Lead Class-Action Lawsuit Against Obama over NSA Spying.  Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is leading a class-action lawsuit with hundreds of thousands of Americans against President Barack Obama's National Security Agency (NSA) over its spying on the American people, Breitbart News has learned.

White House appeals ruling on constitutionality of NSA program.  The Justice Department asked a U.S. appeals court Friday [1/3/2014] to toss out a judge's ruling the National Security Agency surveillance is likely unconstitutional.

Secret spy court says NSA can keep collecting every American's phone records.  A secretive U.S. spy court has ruled again that the National Security Agency can keep collecting every American's telephone records every day, in the midst of conflicting decisions in two other federal courts about whether the surveillance program is constitutional.

This is how the NSA gets unrestricted access to your iPhone.  The National Security Agency has already demonstrated that it is willing to go to great lengths to swipe information from unsuspecting targets, from bulk-tapping phone records to more absurd stuff like monitoring potential threats in World of Warcraft.  The latest revelations, however, paint an increasingly troubling portrait of the NSA's surveillance capabilities, particularly if you're an iPhone owner.  Back in September, German newsmagazine Der Spiegel reported that the NSA had gained access to BlackBerrys, Androids, and iPhones.  And now we have a better idea of how backdoor access is unlocked.

Apple denies knowledge of NSA's 'complete' access to iPhone.  Apple on Tuesday [12/31/2013] vehemently denied suggestions from a security analyst that the company may have helped the NSA to develop backdoor access to the iPhone.  The statement came from security research Jacob Appelbaum, who revealed the existence of a secret program code-named DROPOUTJEEP by which the National Security Agency (NSA) appears to have nearly total access to the Apple iPhone.

The NSA Intercepts Laptops Purchased Online to Install Malware.  According to a new report from Der Spiegel on the National Security Agency's top team of hackers, the agency intercept electronics purchased online before delivery to install malware and other spying tools.

NSA's elite hacking unit intercepted computers ordered online and installed Spyware.  NSA spies have intercepted computer deliveries, exploited hardware vulnerabilities, and even hijacked Microsoft's internal reporting system all in the name of stealing data from some of their toughest targets.  These latest revelations to emerge about the undercover work of the National Security Agency focus on the work carried out by an elite team of hackers known as Tailored Access Operations (TAO).

NY judge rules NSA phone surveillance is legal.  A federal judge on Friday [12/27/2013] found that the National Security Agency's bulk collection of millions of Americans' telephone records is legal and a valuable part of the nation's arsenal to counter the threat of terrorism.

The Black Chamber.  Terrorism has made it necessary to the surveil persons communicating with, or commingled with US persons.  Hampering intelligence is not so nearly as important as ensuring pre-crime never becomes crime.  [Cass] Sunstein's recommendations have charted out a process that will cost billions yet do nothing to improve the situation for US persons, though they will be a tremendous boon to foreign agents.  The main structural problems that need to be fixed are the incentive structure among US intelligence agencies.  What really matters is the commingling to the intelligence function with the criminal system.  Intelligence should be permitted relatively unfettered access if the criminal justice system is not its de facto handmaiden.

Into Year 6, Obama admits he's clueless.  [Scroll down]  And that ever-lowering standard seems to apply to everything, including the U.S. government spying on Americans.  Asked about how he can justify a program that a federal judge said "had failed to cite a single instance in which analysis of the NSA's bulk metadata actually stopped an imminent attack," he countered:  "There have not been actual instances where it's been alleged that the NSA in some ways acted inappropriately in the use of this data."  Well, perfect.  No one has yet proven the clandestine program that no one knew about has trampled on Americans' constitutional rights.  Good enough!

The Air of Unreality in NSA Reform.  Grope through the Styrofoam pellets of rhetoric that surround the 46 recommendations in the report issued last week by the president's Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, and you will discover that the authors "have not uncovered any official efforts to suppress dissent or any intent to intrude into people's private lives without legal justification."  The panel's investigation of the National Security Agency found — as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court found before them — that the occasional unintentional violations of guidelines were stopped once they were detected.

Susan Rice Defends James Clapper And The Indefensible.  The diplomat who blamed four American deaths in Benghazi on a video claims the denials by the director of national intelligence of blanket surveillance of Americans were inadvertent false representations.

Obama can't point to a single time the NSA call records program prevented a terrorist attack.  National Security Agency defenders, including President Obama, continue to cite the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001 when defending the program that scoops up domestic call records in bulk.  But asked specifically, on Friday [12/20/2013], if he could identify a time when that program stopped a similar attack, President Obama couldn't.  That's because the program hasn't prevented a second 9/11.

Susan Rice: NSA Officials Didn't Lie, They 'Inadvertently Made False Representations'.  National Security Advisor Susan Rice appeared on Sunday night's 60 Minutes with Lesley Stahl, and one of the issues she addressed was the continued fallout from the Edward Snowden NSA leaks.  Rice argued that NSA officials didn't lie about intel dragnets, they just "inadvertently made false representations."  This statement comes as House Republicans are demanding a criminal probe for Director of National Intelligence James Clapper for his flat-out denial in March, three months before the Snowden leaks began, that the NSA collects data on hundreds of millions of Americans (a denial that Clapper later categorized as the "least untruthful" answer he could have provided).

When '60 Minutes' Checks Its Journalistic Skepticism at the Door.  [V]iewers expect the show to bring its A game, and deserve it, when it takes on a huge issue like the N.S.A., to serve as a stand-in for the American people and ask the uncomfortable questions.

White House Tries to Prevent Judge From Ruling on Surveillance Efforts.  The Obama administration moved late Friday [12/20/2013] to prevent a federal judge in California from ruling on the constitutionality of warrantless surveillance programs authorized during the Bush administration, telling a court that recent disclosures about National Security Agency spying were not enough to undermine its claim that litigating the case would jeopardize state secrets.

Feds declassify Bush-era surveillance docs.  Federal intelligence officials are declassifying eight documents about the origins of controversial surveillance systems created under former President George W. Bush.  The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) announced on Saturday [12/21/2013] that it had declassified the court documents dating from 2007 to this year, which the federal government had used to justify keeping the surveillance program secret.

Mr. Obama's Disappointing Response.  By the time President Obama gave his news conference on Friday, there was really only one course to take on surveillance policy from an ethical, moral, constitutional and even political point of view.  And that was to embrace the recommendations of his handpicked panel on government spying — and bills pending in Congress — to end the obvious excesses.  He could have started by suspending the constitutionally questionable (and evidently pointless) collection of data on every phone call and email that Americans make.  He did not do any of that.

No greater act of loyalty to the Constitution.  Some government officials have taken cover in the 1979 Supreme Court decision Smith v. Maryland, which held that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in non-content information held by a third party.  Yet others contend that current technology can use phone data to reveal everything about a person's life — from religious activities to personal health information.  This being so, is it possible that the Supreme Court could overturn precedent?

How much did NSA pay to put backdoors in RSA crypto? Try $10m — report.  The mystery of why RSA would use a flawed, NSA-championed algorithm as the default random number generator for several of its encryption products appears to be solved, and the answer is utterly banal, if true:  the NSA paid it to.  Reuters reports that RSA received $10m from the NSA in exchange for making the agency-backed Dual Elliptic Curve Deterministic Random Bit Generator (Dual EC DRBG) its preferred random number algorithm, according to newly disclosed documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Officials' defenses of NSA phone program may be unraveling.  From the moment the government's massive database of citizens' call records was exposed this year, U.S. officials have clung to two main lines of defense:  The secret surveillance program was constitutional and critical to keeping the nation safe.  But six months into the controversy triggered by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the viability of those claims is no longer clear.  In a three-day span, those rationales were upended by a federal judge who declared that the program was probably unconstitutional and the release of a report by a White House panel utterly unconvinced that stockpiling such data had played any meaningful role in preventing terrorist attacks.

Obama's own review of the NSA is a victory for libertarians — and maybe terrorists.  Try as it might, the White House just cannot put the Edward Snowden story to rest:  the leaks keep on dribbling out and this week the US District Court in Washington ruled that the bulk collection of phone records is "Orwellian" and likely to be unconstitutional.  That (slightly histrionic) opinion will certainly be subject to appeal and review — ultimately by the Supreme Court — but whatever the eventual result, it means that the White House no longer has any hope of parking this story, as it might have hoped when it first broke.

Judge smacks Obama secrecy in unique FOIA case.  In a Freedom of Information Act victory, a federal judge has slapped the Obama administration for its secretive ways and ordered officials to turn over a bland-sounding foreign policy document.  Chastising what she called "the government's unwarranted expansion of the presidential communications privilege at the expense of the public's interest in disclosure," U.S. District Judge Ellen Seal Huvelle ruled the Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development is not exempt from FOIA.

NSA shouldn't keep phone database, review board recommends.  A panel appointed by President Obama to review the government's surveillance activities has recommended significant new limits on the nation's intelligence apparatus that include ending the National Security Agency's collection of virtually all Americans' phone records.  It urged that phone companies or a private third party maintain the data instead, with access granted only by a court order.

NSA Lawsuit Attorney: Ignore White House Panel.  The five-member panel released a 303-page report Dec. 18 containing 46 recommended changes to intelligence practices.  "It's a ruse," Klayman tells U.S. News.  "This is an age-old government practice:  When caught with their hand in the cookie jar, they come up with a 'solution.'"  The practice is somewhat similar to advocating a law outlawing murder after killing someone, he says.

White House task force recommends curbs to NSA surveillance.  America's spy chiefs should hand control of the country's sweeping telephone data record collection to private telecommunications companies, according to a task force set up by President Barack Obama to review the controversial surveillance programme.  The panel of five experts also recommended that future eavesdropping of foreign leaders should only be approved by a president, not intelligence officials, if "rigorous" tests were passed.

Merkel compared NSA to Stasi in heated encounter with Obama.  In an angry exchange with Barack Obama, Angela Merkel has compared the snooping practices of the US with those of the Stasi, the ubiquitous and all-powerful secret police of the communist dictatorship in East Germany, where she grew up.  The German chancellor also told the US president that America's National Security Agency cannot be trusted because of the volume of material it had allowed to leak to the whistleblower Edward Snowden, according to the New York Times.

A Powerful Rebuke of Mass Surveillance.  For the first time since the revelation of the National Security Agency's vast dragnet of all Americans' telephone records, a federal court has ruled that such surveillance is "significantly likely" to be unconstitutional.  In a scathing 68-page opinion peppered with exclamations of incredulity, United States District Judge Richard Leon, of the Federal District Court of the District of Columbia, found that the seven-year-old phone-data collection program — which was established under the Patriot Act and has been repeatedly reauthorized by a secret intelligence court — "almost certainly" violates the Fourth Amendment's prohibition against unreasonable searches.

Why Did 60 Minutes Let the Head of the NSA Fool Its Audience?  [Scroll down]  This is a classic technically-accurate-but-wildly-misleading NSA answer.  As best as I can understand the thought process behind Alexander's evasions, it's something like this:  No, the NSA isn't "tunneling" or "going into a facility."  It is copying data flows as they pass between facilities.  No, the NSA isn't "targeting Google" or Yahoo "as an entity."  Its "targets" — per the highly particular NSA meaning of that word — are users who communicate via Google and Yahoo.

Judge: NSA phone program likely unconstitutional.  A federal judge ruled Monday that the National Security Agency program which collects information on nearly all telephone calls made to, from or within the United States is likely unconstitutional.  U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon found that the program appears to violate the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches and seizures.  He also said the Justice Department had failed to demonstrate that collecting the information had helped to head off terrorist attacks.

Court Finds Administration Trampled Fourth Amendment.  A federal court condemns the government's "collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen."  This time it's the Fourth Amendment the president is violating.

Larry Klayman crows on NSA win: 'We hit the mother lode'.  [Larry] Klayman, the conservative legal activist well-known in Washington political circles a decade ago for his no-holds-barred court battles against the Clinton administration, was thrust back into the spotlight Monday after he obtained the first major ruling from a federal judge that the National Security Agency's surveillance program was constitutionally flawed.

Rand Paul Plots NSA Class-Action Lawsuit Options.  After months of consideration, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is moving closer to filing a lawsuit in federal court against National Security Agency surveillance programs.  A senior Paul staffer says U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon's Monday [12/16/2013] decision that NSA opponents have standing to sue over the bulk collection of phone records makes Paul "much more likely" to file his own lawsuit.

U.S. Judge Slams Surveillance of Phones.  A federal judge ruled that the National Security Agency's collection of phone records "almost certainly" violates the U.S. Constitution, setting up a larger legal battle over long-secret counterterrorism programs.  U.S. District Judge Richard Leon's sharply worded opinion Monday labeled as "almost Orwellian" the NSA's bulk phone-surveillance program, one of several shots the judge took at the spying and its legal justifications.

The Judge and the NSA.  Federal Judge Richard Leon has become a sudden political celebrity after his remarkable opinion holding that antiterror surveillance is unconstitutional and, even more remarkably, enjoining the entire program.  If only his legal reasoning were as compelling as his new repute.

NSA Ruling Marks Larry Klayman's Biggest Legal Success.  Deciding on a lawsuit brought by Mr. Klayman, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon ruled that the NSA program "almost certainly" violated constitutional protections against unreasonable searches, setting the stage for a higher-court fight over the issue and giving new momentum to efforts in Congress to rein in such surveillance.

Second Federal Judge 'Skeptical' About Legal Case for NSA Phone-Record Collection.  Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union appeared in U.S. District Court Friday [12/13/2013] to argue for a preliminary injunction that would halt the National Security Agency's collection of all Americans' phone records.  Judge William Pauley did not set a time frame for when he might announce his decision — but as he reviews the case, NSA opponents may have cause for optimism.  ACLU legal fellow Brett Max Kaufman, one of the attorneys in court for the hearing, said Pauley seemed skeptical of the government's reliance on the Supreme Court's 1979 Smith v. Maryland decision.

Disarming Surveillance.  [Scroll down]  One of the worst proposals would effectively cripple the NSA's ability to collect, store and analyze telephony records, or the time, duration and originating and terminating numbers for phone calls.  This program was authorized by Section 215 of the Patriot Act and collects a vast amount of information, even if the database is only searched narrowly on the basis of specific facts as approved by judges on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISC.  The minimization procedures are strict enough that the NSA only used the 215 program to make 300 queries in 2012.

The Editor says...
As I've said many times, I don't care if the federal government reads emails to and from Islamic terrorists anywhere in the world.  The objection that we sensible people have to the NSA's technique is that they scoop up all the metadata in the country in order to sift through it looking for "terrorists" — a term with a flexible definition:  Today that term refers to Islamic towel-heads with pressure cookers and dynamite, and tomorrow it could include well-armed patriots who just want to overthrow a tyrant and get out from under tyranny.

'NSA uses Google cookies to track targets,' reveals latest Snowden leak.  The National Security Agency has been accused of using Google cookies to pinpoint targets the government wants to hack.  In a NSA presentation slide released by Edward Snowden and seen by the Washington Post, the agency appeared to be using internet tracking techniques usually used by advertisers.

By cracking cellphone code, NSA has capacity for decoding private conversations.  The cellphone encryption technology used most widely across the world can be easily defeated by the National Security Agency, an internal document shows, giving the agency the means to decode most of the billions of calls and texts that travel over public airwaves every day.  While the military and law enforcement agencies long have been able to hack into individual cellphones, the NSA's capability appears to be far more sweeping because of the agency's global signals collection operation.

The Editor says...
They aren't "the public airwaves" any more.  The FCC sells RF bandwidth to cell phone companies.

Spooks off the Leash.  Apparently having decided to embark upon a course of self-parody, the National Reconnaissance Office [...] sent out a press release sharing the logo for its new spy-satellite program, NROL-39.  The image is that of an evil-looking giant octopus with its tentacles encircling the entire planet over the motto:  Nothing Is beyond Our Reach.

Cellphone data spying: It's not just the NSA.  Local police are increasingly able to scoop up large amounts of cellphone data using new technologies, including cell tower dumps and secret mobile devices known as Stingrays.

Tech companies call for an end to NSA online snooping.  Eight U.S. technology firms called for an end to online mass snooping by U.S. intelligence agencies Monday [12/9/2013] as new revelations emerged that the National Security Agency has even monitored Americans playing online computer games like "World of Warcraft."  Citing concerns about civil liberties, top executives from AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo said in an open letter to President Obama and Congress that the bulk collection of online communications by intelligence agencies should cease.

What has a shadowy US government spy agency just shot into space?  Despite ongoing anger about how the U.S. government is snooping on people around the world, one agency is still keen to boast about its spying — with a creepy cartoon octopus and an alarming logo.  A top-secret rocket carrying spy satellites for the National Reconnaissance Office launched from the central California coast late on Thursday [12/5/2013], and it had a large badge emblazoned on the side[.]  The new logo features a huge and sinister octopus, with just one angry eye visible, as it wraps its tentacles round the globe.  Written underneath is:  'Nothing Is Beyond Our Reach.'

Patriot Act author: Obama's intel czar should be prosecuted.  Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr., the original author of the Patriot Act, says Director of National Intelligence James Clapper should be prosecuted for lying to Congress.  "Lying to Congress is a federal offense, and Clapper ought to be fired and prosecuted for it," the Wisconsin Republican said in an interview with The Hill.

NSA 'tracks mobile phones around the world'.  America's National Security Agency is tracking mobile phones around the world, according to the latest leaks from whistleblower Edward Snowden.  Almost five billion records a day are being gathered which allow intelligence officials to track individuals and map their relationships in ways previously unimaginable, the classified documents suggest.  The records and interviews with US officials, seen by the Washington Post, are said to show that the information feeds into a vast database which stores information on hundreds of millions of devices, providing agents with a mass surveillance tool.

Administration to review facial recognition technology.  The Obama administration on Tuesday said it plans to review the privacy implications of facial recognition technology.  Lawmakers and privacy advocates have expressed fears that tech companies and government agencies are using facial recognition technologies to track people, often without their knowledge.  The Commerce Department said it recognizes those concerns and will work with tech groups, privacy advocates and online advertising trade associations to identify them.

NSA tracking cellphone locations worldwide, Snowden documents show.  The National Security Agency is gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world, according to top-secret documents and interviews with U.S. intelligence officials, enabling the agency to track the movements of individuals — and map their relationships — in ways that would have been previously unimaginable.  The records feed a vast database that stores information about the locations of at least hundreds of millions of devices, according to the officials and the documents, which were provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.  New projects created to analyze that data have provided the intelligence community with what amounts to a mass surveillance tool.

'Thousands of NSA Analysts Can Listen to Domestic Phone Calls,' Read Emails, Texts, IMs.  The NSA claims "it does not need court authorization to listen to domestic phone calls."  The Fourth Amendment begs to differ.

With Tens of Millions of Phone Records Grabbed — It's the Government, Stupid.  The National Security Administration (NSA) has been forcing Verizon to turn over phone record data on millions of Americans.  Will the federal government use this unbelievably massive data grab against the American people they are supposed to serve — but instead increasingly lord over?

Latest Big Government Data Grab: Justice Sues to Get It Without Warrant.  Do You Want the Government Buying Your Data From Corporations?  Our government collects a lot of information about us.  Tax records, legal records, license records, records of government services received — it's all in databases that are increasingly linked and correlated.  Still, there's a lot of personal information the government can't collect.  Either they're prohibited by law from asking without probable cause and a judicial order, or they simply have no cost-effective way to collect it.  But the government has figured out how to get around the laws, and collect personal data that has been historically denied to them:  ask corporate America for it.

Google's Faux Outrage over NSA Spying.  Google Inc. clearly does not have the coercive sovereign power that the NSA has.  However, the evidence shows that it has a similar spying habits, legal positions, and attitudes; and that it also has had a decade-long record of cooperation with U.S. intelligence services.

N.S.A. May Have Hit Internet Companies at a Weak Spot.  The recent revelation that the National Security Agency was able to eavesdrop on the communications of Google and Yahoo users without breaking into either company's data centers sounded like something pulled from a Robert Ludlum spy thriller.  How on earth, the companies asked, did the N.S.A. get their data without their knowing about it?  The most likely answer is a modern spin on a century-old eavesdropping tradition.

Official releasing what appears to be original court file authorizing NSA to conduct sweeps.  The director of national intelligence on Monday night released what appeared to be the original court document authorizing the National Security Agency to conduct sweeping collections of Americans' communications records for counterterrorism purposes. [...] The documents also describe the NSA's failure to abide by court-imposed rules to protect Americans' privacy, and show that the agency was more interested in collecting cell site location data than it had previously acknowledged.

Americans' personal data shared with CIA, IRS, others in security probe.  U.S. agencies collected and shared the personal information of thousands of Americans in an attempt to root out untrustworthy federal workers that ended up scrutinizing people who had no direct ties to the U.S. government and simply had purchased certain books.  Federal officials gathered the information from the customer records of two men who were under criminal investigation for purportedly teaching people how to pass lie detector tests.  The officials then distributed a list of 4,904 people — along with many of their Social Security numbers, addresses and professions — to nearly 30 federal agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service, the CIA, the National Security Agency and the Food and Drug Administration.

C.I.A. Is Said to Pay AT&T for Call Data.  The C.I.A. is paying AT&T more than $10 million a year to assist with overseas counterterrorism investigations by exploiting the company's vast database of phone records, which includes Americans' international calls, according to government officials.  The cooperation is conducted under a voluntary contract, not under subpoenas or court orders compelling the company to participate, according to the officials.

The Hemisphere Project.  [Scroll down]  Smaller government agencies got into the spy game as well.  The New York Times reported recently that for at least six years, law enforcement officials had been working on a counter-narcotics program called the Hemisphere Project, a partnership between federal and local drug officials and AT&T, which gives the government routine access to an enormous database containing the records of decades of Americans' phone calls — the scale and longevity of which is unequalled, even by the NSA's collection.  The program apparently began in 2007 and has been carried out in great secrecy.  While the NSA stores the data for nearly all calls in the United States for five years, AT&T supplies law enforcement with phone data from as far back as 1987.  Approximately four billion call records are added to the database every day.  And unlike the NSA data, the Hemisphere data includes information on the locations of callers.

Obama's 1984.  [Edward] Snowden was charged by federal prosecutors for violating the Espionage Act of 1917, while Obama went on national television to claim that "we don't have a domestic spying program" and "there is no spying on Americans."  However, the many thousands of documents that Snowden leaked revealed a complex web of spy programs which intercepted Internet and telephone conversations from over a billion users in dozens of countries.  The intrusive secret data-mining didn't end there.  A top-secret communications surveillance program called PRISM enabled the U.S. intelligence community to access the servers of nine Internet behemoths such as Google, Yahoo, YouTube, Skype and Facebook for a wide range of digital data.  That NSA service grew exponentially under Obama at the same time he was trumpeting the end of Bush's War on Terror.

How the Government Spied on Me.  More recent revelations of National Security Agency spying suggest that the government's invasion of citizens' privacy is increasingly common.  Millions of innocent Americans should be very concerned about Washington's massive surveillance apparatus, which seems to know no bounds.

Government 'Mining' Social Media for Information on Health Behavior.  The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is "mining" Facebook and Twitter to improve its social media footprint and to assess how Tweets can be used as "change-agents" for health behaviors.  The NLM, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), will have software installed on government computers that will store data from social media as part of a $30,000 project announced last week.

Rep. Joe Wilson Vindicated.  [A]s we look back on 5 years of Barack Obama, we see that Obama and his Administration do lie.  And they lie a lot. [...] The President and the National Director of Intelligence reassured the American people time and time again that the phone calls and emails of Americans were not being monitored and recorded as part of our intelligence programs.  We know that to be false and, further, we now know that our electronic spying is international in scope and technologically sophisticated.

Thousands march on Capitol Hill to protest NSA monitoring .  Protesters marched Saturday in Washington, D.C., to protest government surveillance programs revealed this year by Edward Snowden on the 12th anniversary of the law that made them legal.  Carrying signs reading:  'Stop Mass Spying,' 'Thank you, Edward Snowden' and 'Unplug Big Brother,' people gathered at the foot of the Capitol to demonstrate against the online surveillance by the National Security Agency.

NSA spied on 124.8 billion phone calls in just one month: watchdog.  The National Security Agency monitored nearly 125 billion phone calls in just one month, according to a number of new reports.  And while the majority of calls reportedly originated in the Middle East, an estimated 3 billion of the calls originated in the U.S.

Stop Watching You? Why?  Congress should indeed provide transparency, accountability and reform of the NSA's mass domestic surveillance that collects and stores the phone records and Internet activity of people in the United States.  There is no reason for the NSA to be conducting surveillance on such a massive basis; it is a symptom of the pervasive refusal to face the reality and magnitude of the jihad threat.  Because the NSA cannot admit that there is a particular threat coming from people who would be likely to frequent mosques and Islamic centers, it has to conduct surveillance on virtually everyone.

State Department Will Not Answer If The NSA Spied On Obama.  Following yesterday's [10/23/2013] allegation that the NSA had been spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, State Department Deputy Press Secretary Marie Harf was asked if the NSA had tapped President Obama's phone.  Harf seemed to find the question rather amusing, but was unable to give the reporter a definitive yes or no answer on the matter.

Reining in the snoops.  The Obama administration is doing all it can, short of dispatching a squad of park rangers to barricade the justices' parking spaces, to prevent the Supreme Court from reviewing the National Security Agency's domestic spying enterprise.  The administration's lawyers insist that lower courts can deal with the spy program, since the issue is too new to bother the high court with it.  This is an argument too clever by half, since the administration further argues that lower courts have no jurisdiction in the first place.  At issue is the government collusion with telephone companies in gathering the "metadata" for every telephone call placed in the United States.

Your life, under constant surveillance.  Historically, surveillance was difficult and expensive.  Over the decades, as technology advanced, surveillance became easier and easier.  Today, we find ourselves in a world of ubiquitous surveillance, where everything is collected, saved, searched, correlated and analyzed. [...] The result of all this is we're now living in a world where both corporations and governments have us all under pretty much constant surveillance.

Why the NSA's Defense of Mass Data Collection Makes No Sense.  The U.S. intelligence community claims it's not spying on citizens until someone actually looks at the data it collects.  That argument is deeply flawed.

Turns out, the NSA is also collecting all your Contacts, IM lists and group-chat pals.  Last June when Edward Snowden had just begun releasing his IED's, Intelligence Exposing Devices, Americans were shocked to learn that Obama's National Security Agency was collecting the telephone numbers of pretty much every single call made by any American.  Of course, being Americans and federal employees with top secret clearances, it would never occur to anyone to abuse that authority, except for the guys who tracked their exes and new loves.  But that's an exception, you understand.  Then we learn that the NSA is also collecting pretty much every single email sent by pretty much any American.  All in the interests of triangulating terrorists and any domestic connections, you understand.

I'm From the Government and I'm Here to Spy on You.  The big portals showing the masses what the government is really up to all came last April, and until Obama's gone from the White House, civilian life will never be the same.  It was last April when a judge in Texas denied a request by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for what he described as a warrant to remotely "hack a computer suspected of criminal use", raising questions about the legal requirement for the government to use computer hacking techniques in investigations.  (Wall Street Journal, April 23, 2013).  "By "surreptitiously installing software" — a technique typically associated with computer hackers — investigators are able to infiltrate computers and gather extensive information, according to a document in the case.

NSA collects millions of e-mail address books globally.  The National Security Agency is harvesting hundreds of millions of contact lists from personal e-mail and instant messaging accounts around the world, many of them belonging to Americans, according to senior intelligence officials and top-secret documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.  The collection program, which has not been disclosed before, intercepts e-mail address books and "buddy lists" from instant messaging services as they move across global data links.

NSA Collects Online Address Books and Buddy Lists.  Senior intelligence officers and leaked documents from National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden reveal that the NSA is amassing millions of contacts via online address books and instant-messaging buddy lists.  The program, under NSA's Special Source Operations branch, collects more than 250 million contacts in its database per year.  A single day's data found that the agency accumulated 444,743 email address books from Yahoo, 105,068 from Hotmail, 82,857 from Facebook, 33,697 from Gmail and 22,881 from miscellaneous providers, the Washington Post reports.

Growing Backlash to Government Surveillance.  From Silicon Valley to the South Pacific, counterattacks to revelations of widespread National Security Agency surveillance are taking shape, from a surge of new encrypted email programs to technology that sprinkles the Internet with red flag terms to confuse would-be snoops.

Obamacare Marketplace: Personal Data Can Be Used For 'Law Enforcement and Audit Activities'.  Maryland's Health Connection, the state's Obamacare marketplace, has been plagued by delays in the first days of open enrollment.  If users are able to endure long page-loading delays, they are presented with the website's privacy policy, a ubiquitous fine-print feature on websites that often go unread.  Nevertheless, users are asked to check off a box that they agree to the terms.

Congress now is expected to revise NSA, FISA court operations.  Twenty-two standalone bills have surfaced on Capitol Hill since Snowden's leaks in June, ranging from minor changes to massive policy overhauls for the NSA and its metadata collection programs.  The sheer number signals a collective agreement from lawmakers that some kind of legislative response is needed to curb growing public concern over the nation's intelligence practices.

NSA director admits to misleading public on terror plots.  In so many words, NSA director Keith Alexander admitted Wednesday [10/2/2013] that the Obama administration had issued misleading information about terror plots and their foiling to bolster support for the government's vast surveillance apparatus.  During Wednesday's [10/2/2013] hearing, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy pushed Alexander to admit that plot numbers had been fudged in a revealing interchange: [...]

Secret NSA documents show campaign against Tor encrypted network.  On Nov. 1, 2007, the National Security Agency hosted a talk by Roger Dingledine, principal designer of one of the world's leading Internet privacy tools. [...] According to a top-secret NSA summary of the meeting, Dingledine told the assembled NSA staff that his service, called Tor, offered anonymity to people who needed it badly — to keep business secrets, protect their identities from oppressive political regimes or conduct research without revealing themselves.  In the minds of NSA officials, Tor was offering protection to terrorists and other intelligence targets.

NSA using Firefox flaw to snoop on Tor users.  An NSA presentation released by Edward Snowden contains mixed news for Tor users.  The anonymizing service itself appears to have foxed US and UK government snoops, but instead they are using a zero-day flaw in the Firefox browser bundled with Tor to track users.  "These documents give Tor a huge pat on the back," security guru Bruce Schneier told The Register.  "If I was a Tor developer, I'd be really smiling after reading this stuff."

NSA and GCHQ target Tor network that protects anonymity of web users.  Top-secret NSA documents, disclosed by whistleblower Edward Snowden, reveal that the agency's current successes against Tor rely on identifying users and then attacking vulnerable software on their computers.  One technique developed by the agency targeted the Firefox web browser used with Tor, giving the agency full control over targets' computers, including access to files, all keystrokes and all online activity.

NSA director admits agency trawls Twitter and Facebook.  The director of the National Security Agency admitted today [10/2/2013] that the agency collects data from social networks and other private databases to hunt terror suspects but is not using the information to build dossiers, or personal files, on Americans.  NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander testified during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday that not all social network searches are authorized by a secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court, but the agency's actions are proper and audited internally.

The NSA has been creating maps of American citizens' social networks.  The NSA has been graphing American's social networks and plotting them as they do organized crime since at least 2010, according to the latest published Edward Snowden leak.  The highly secretive intelligence agency has been mapping out American citizens' social connections — identifying associates, determining locations, and logging who they talk to — by taking advantage of loosened rules previously meant to restrict surveillance actions.

N.S.A. Gathers Data on Social Connections of U.S. Citizens.  Since 2010, the National Security Agency has been exploiting its huge collections of data to create sophisticated graphs of some Americans' social connections that can identify their associates, their locations at certain times, their traveling companions and other personal information, according to newly disclosed documents and interviews with officials.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., asked if NSA ever collected or planned to collect cellphone data.
Official sidesteps questions on NSA and cellphones.  The head of the National Security Agency sidestepped questions Thursday [9/26/2013] from a senator about whether the NSA has ever used Americans cellphone signals to collect information on their whereabouts that would allow tracking of the movements of individual callers.

Declassified documents show NSA listened in on MLK, Muhammad Ali and Art Buchwald.  Amid raging anti-Vietnam War protests that bedeviled two presidential administrations, snoops at the National Security Agency tapped the overseas communications of war critics including Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammad Ali, Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho), and even Washington Post humor columnist Art Buchwald, according to newly declassified NSA documents released Wednesday [9/25/2013].

The Many Ways the Government Is Spying On Us.  For example, the government is photographing the outside information on every piece of snail mail.  The government is spying on you through your phone ... and may even remotely turn on your camera and microphone when your phone is off.  As one example, the NSA has inserted its code into Android's operating system ... bugging three-quarters of the world's smartphones.  Google — or the NSA — can remotely turn on your phone's camera and recorder at any time.

Why NSA Surveillance Will Never Foil Mass Murders.  In July, NSA director Keith Alexander claimed that the wholesale surveillance of American electronic communications had "disrupted" 54 terrorist plots.  Later, in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Alexander's deputy, John Inglis, admitted that in reality only one such "plot" was thwarted thanks to the bulk collection of phone records.  Given their pathological habit of lying — even under oath — it is impossible to know how many, if any, planned attacks on the United States have been avoided.

NSA disguised itself as Google to spy, say reports.  If a recently leaked document is any indication, the US National Security Agency — or its UK counterpart — appears to have put on a Google suit to gather intelligence.

Independent Review of NSA Surveillance Not Exactly 'Independent'.  A panel of so-called independent experts appointed by President Obama to review the federal government's surveillance programs "has effectively been operating as an arm of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees the NSA and all other U.S. spy efforts," according to a report from the Associated Press.

The Man In Charge Of The NSA Modeled His Office After The Bridge Of The Starship Enterprise.  These are the voyages of the NSA, as it enters every computer and pries whatever data can be stolen and recorded in perpetuity.  Its ongoing mission:  to explore the internet and all TCP/IP packets, to seek out new emails, phone records, backdoors, webcams and bank accounts, to boldly go where no man with or without a search warrant has gone before.

Close ties between White House, NSA spying review.  [W]ith just weeks remaining before its first deadline to report back to the White House, the review panel has effectively been operating as an arm of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees the NSA and all other U.S. spy efforts.

NSA Spying Is Lawless and Destructive.  Not to worry, the government's apologists offered, this is only telephone macro-metadata, meaning information about who spoke to whom, when they talked and for how long, and where they were when they talked, but not what they actually said to each other.  When Gen. Keith Alexander, the head of the NSA, stated under oath at a House hearing that his spies lack the authority to capture content, he avoided addressing whether they have the ability to do so, because he knows they do.

Four Washington Scandals That Still Matter Despite the Distractions.  [E]ver since the first Edward Snowden disclosures back in May, Obama has been on the defensive on the issue of domestic surveillance.  Often, the president's statements have turned out to be untrue or deceptive when new revelations come out.  And four months after the first ones, they continue, with effects both domestically and abroad.  In July, the House voted on an effort to defund the NSA's illegal domestic activities, the Amash Amendment.  It failed by a remarkably small margin of seven votes.

Justice Dept. watchdog never probed judges' NSA concerns.  The Justice Department's internal ethics watchdog says it never investigated repeated complaints by federal judges that the government had misled them about the NSA's secret surveillance of Americans' phone calls and Internet communications.  Two judges on the court that oversees the spying programs separately rebuked federal officials in top-secret court orders for misrepresenting how the NSA was harvesting and analyzing communication records.

Phone companies remain silent over legality of NSA data collection.  America's top telecommunications companies are refusing to say whether they accept that the bulk collection of their customers' phone records by the National Security Agency is lawful.  The phone companies are continuing to guard their silence over the controversial gathering of metadata by the NSA, despite the increasingly open approach by those at the center of the bulk surveillance programme.  On Tuesday [9/17/2013] the secretive foreign intelligence surveillance (Fisa) court declassified its legal reasoning for approving the NSA telephone metadata program periodically over the past six years.

IRS spied on tea party after granting tax-exempt status.  Republicans investigating the IRS targeting scandal said Wednesday [9/18/2013] that the agency continued to conduct secret surveillance on tea party groups even after approving them for tax-exempt status.  Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel said he shut down the monitoring program after he found out about it, and said he has halted all audits of tax-exempt organizations based on political activity as he tries to get a handle on the embattled agency.

The Editor says...
Foot-dragging and extra scrutiny for one group, while giving another group speedy service and sure approval, is one thing.  Spying on people is an entirely different matter.  It's bad enough that the IRS is being used as a weapon for political purposes, but now it appears it is just another domestic surveillance agency — motivated by left-wing politics, and lacking the usual "national security" candy coating.

Is there a con man in the Oval Office?  The media headlines should be about the NSA scandal aimed at violating the civil rights and invading the privacy of every American citizen.  But with Syria hogging the media spotlight, we have all forgotten that Obama listens to every phone call, watches every email.  Big Brother rules our lives.  Obama has turned out to be worse than Bush when it comes to civil liberties, but with Syria in the headlines, we don't hear a word about the NSA scandal anymore.

NSA Needs To Give Its Rank-and-File New Talking Points Defending Surveillance.  It would appear that the NSA's latest PR trick is to get out beyond the top brass — James Clapper, Keith Alexander, Michael Hayden and Robert Litt haven't exactly been doing the NSA any favors on the PR front lately — and get some commentary from "the rank and file."  ZDNet apparently agreed to publish a piece from NSA mathemetician/cryptanalyst Roger Barkan in which he defends the NSA using a bunch of already debunked talking points.

Senators Wyden & Udall Ask...
If The NSA Is So Confused About Its Own Capabilities, Why Do We Trust Them With All That Data?  As you may remember, one of the points made by the NSA in its defense was that its surveillance systems were so complex that no one person actually understood them all.  That leads to a rather obvious question... If the NSA can't even keep track of how its systems work, how can we trust them to know that the system isn't being abused (or that it's accurately doing what the NSA claims)[?]

FISA Court Pretends Every Member Of Congress Was Told Details Of Bulk Surveillance, Even Though They Weren't.  Part of the FISC's explanation is that Congress explicitly approved this type of activity.  The FISC notes that Congress reauthorized this program in 2011, even knowing specifically that it was used to justify bulk metadata collection on all phone calls.  The FISC points out that while national security programs may have details kept secret from Congress, that wasn't the case here.

The NSA Is Also Grabbing Millions Of Credit Card Records.  In addition to everything else it's collecting, the NSA also has millions of international credit card transactions stashed away in its databases, according to documents viewed by Spiegel.

NSA Spies on International Payments.  The United States' NSA intelligence agency is interested in international payments processed by companies including Visa, SPIEGEL has learned.  It has even set up its own financial database to track money flows through a "tailored access operations" division.

MN State Rep Joins 17 Others In Suing State For Illegally Accessing Drivers License Data.  You know you've gone too far in abusing access to the public's data when you've got a local politician doing something more than yelling about it on the campaign trail.  Earlier this year, a report by state auditors discovered that more than half of Minnesota's 11,000 law enforcement agents had misused the Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) database.

Freedom of the Press is now an Entitlement?  Diane Feinstein and a few other well meaning Senators are in the process of defining who qualifies for 1st Amendment rights, or privileges as she put it, as the Senate Judiciary Committee attempts to iron out a "shield law for reporters or journalists" from having to divulge their sources.  This rush for an immediate fix regarding the press has nothing to do with a recent scandal in which the NSA ran rough shod over individual rights or private records and which the Justice Department claimed to have no knowledge; no there's no connection, move along.

E-ZPasses Get Read All Over New York — Not Just At Toll Booths.  After spotting a police car with two huge boxes on its trunk — that turned out to be license-plate-reading cameras — a man in New Jersey became obsessed with the loss of privacy for vehicles on American roads.  The man, who goes by the Internet handle "Puking Monkey," did an analysis of the many ways his car could be tracked and stumbled upon something rather interesting:  his E-ZPass, which he obtained for the purpose of paying tolls, was being used to track his car in unexpected places, far away from any toll booths.

How NSA's cyber sabotage puts us all at risk.  [J]ust last week, the New York Times, Guardian and ProPublica revealed that the National Security Agency has leveraged its "cooperative relationships with specific industry partners" to insert vulnerabilities into Internet security products.

You Are Being Tracked: How License Plate Readers Are Being Used to Record Americans' Movements.  A little noticed surveillance technology, designed to track the movements of every passing driver, is fast proliferating on America's streets.  Automatic license plate readers, mounted on police cars or on objects like road signs and bridges, use small, high-speed cameras to photograph thousands of plates per minute.  The information captured by the readers — including the license plate number, and the date, time, and location of every scan — is being collected and sometimes pooled into regional sharing systems.

NSA Leak Leaves Crypto-Math Intact but Highlights Known Workarounds.  When a New York Times report appeared Thursday [9/5/2013] saying the National Security Agency had "circumvented or cracked much of the encryption" protecting online transactions, computer security professionals braced for news of breakthroughs undermining the fundamentals of their field.  However, cryptography experts tell MIT Technology Review that a close reading of last week's report suggests the NSA has not broken the underlying mathematical operations that are used to cloak online banking or e-mail.

Texas law gets tough on public, private drone use.  More than 40 state legislatures have debated the increasing presence of unmanned aircraft in civilian airspace, with most of the proposals focused on protecting people from overly intrusive surveillance by law enforcement.

More about cops and drones.

NSA surveillance program almost shut down by judge in 2009.  A federal judge who oversaw a secret U.S. spy court almost shut down the government's domestic surveillance program designed to fight terrorism after he "lost confidence" in officials' ability to operate it, documents released Tuesday show.  U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton issued a blistering opinion in March 2009 after discovering government officials had been accessing domestic phone records for nearly three years without "reasonable, articulate suspicion" that they were connected to terrorism.

Declassified court documents highlight NSA violations.  The National Security Agency for almost three years searched a massive database of Americans' phone call records attempting to identify potential terrorists in violation of court-approved privacy rules, and the problem went unfixed because no one at the agency had a full technical understanding of how its system worked, according to new documents and senior government officials.  Moreover, it was Justice Department officials who discovered the problem and reported it to the court that oversees surveillance programs, the documents show, undermining assertions by the NSA that self-reporting is part of its culture.

Five Revelations From New NSA Documents.  Ever since Edward Snowden hit the front pages in early June with his leaks to the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper and other media outlets, it's been known that the National Security Agency had a huge surveillance program collecting data about nearly every American's phone calls.  And officials have conceded that the operation of that program wasn't always perfect.  Documents released Tuesday [9/10/2013] fill in some of the blanks.

The NSA Machine: Too Big for Anyone to Understand.  The National Security Agency set it in motion in 2006 and the vast network of supercomputers, switches and wiretaps began gathering Americans' phone and Internet records by the millions, looking for signs of terrorism.  But every day, NSA analysts snooped on more American phone records than they were allowed to.

Johns Hopkins University Falls Victim to the NSA Chilling Effect.  What does a DIY t-shirt with a dumb joke on it have in common with a thoughtful article written by a noted researcher at Johns Hopkins University?  Both were pulled offline out of fear that they crossed the government's hazy lines demarcating acceptable behavior.  The researcher's name is Matthew Green. [...] The news outlet asked Green to speculate on how and if the NSA might be able to decrypt network data.  The ensuing reports, Green writes, indicate that "the worst possible hypothetical I discussed appear to be true."

A Few Thoughts on Cryptographic Engineering.  If you haven't read the ProPublica/NYT or Guardian stories, you probably should.  The TL;DR is that the NSA has been doing some very bad things.  At a combined cost of $250 million per year, they include:
  1.  Tampering with national standards (NIST is specifically mentioned) to promote weak, or otherwise vulnerable cryptography.
  2.  Influencing standards committees to weaken protocols.
  3.  Working with hardware and software vendors to weaken encryption and random number generators.
  4.  Attacking the encryption used by 'the next generation of 4G phones'.
  5.  Obtaining cleartext access to 'a major internet peer-to-peer voice and text communications system' (Skype?)
  6.  Identifying and cracking vulnerable keys.
  7.  Establishing a Human Intelligence division to infiltrate the global telecommunications industry.
  8.  And worst of all (to me):  somehow decrypting SSL connections.

The NSA Is Breaking Most Encryption on the Internet.  The new Snowden revelations are explosive.  Basically, the NSA is able to decrypt most of the Internet.  They're doing it primarily by cheating, not by mathematics. [...] Remember this:  The math is good, but math has no agency.  Code has agency, and the code has been subverted.

iSpy: How the NSA Accesses Smartphone Data.  The US intelligence agency NSA has been taking advantage of the smartphone boom.  It has developed the ability to hack into iPhones, android devices and even the BlackBerry, previously believed to be particularly secure.

Internet experts want security revamp after NSA revelations.  Internet security experts are calling for a campaign to rewrite Web security in the wake of disclosures that the U.S. National Security Agency has developed the capability to break encryption protecting millions of sites.

Obama administration had restrictions on NSA reversed in 2011.  The Obama administration secretly won permission from a surveillance court in 2011 to reverse restrictions on the National Security Agency's use of intercepted phone calls and e-mails, permitting the agency to search deliberately for Americans' communications in its massive databases, according to interviews with government officials and recently declassified material.

Surveillance and Arrogance.  President Obama has said that he welcomes a debate over the proper place of surveillance in a digital society.  Perhaps such a debate would be fruitful and informative, and both sides would contribute toward some kind of mutually acceptable compromise.  The president has also claimed, essentially, that the government should be able to decide unilaterally what information is available to facilitate that debate.  When someone like Edward Snowden makes information available independently, the administration has argued, we are all less safe.  Those two arguments seem contradictory, since for a debate to be meaningful, everyone needs to be able to adduce evidence.

Patriot Act author says NSA's bulk data collection is "unbounded in its scope".  In one of the most prominent legal challenges to government intelligence gathering since the Edward Snowden disclosures, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit against four top Obama Administration officials.  The case, known as ACLU v. Clapper, asks a federal judge to declare the entire metadata sharing program unlawful, halt it, and purge all related records.

US won't let Microsoft, Google reveal more data on FISA orders.  Microsoft and Google have not been able to convince the Department of Justice (DOJ) to let the tech companies reveal how many Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) orders they must comply with.

Is the collection of metadata really as harmless as Big Brother claims?
In ACLU lawsuit, scientist demolishes NSA's "It's just metadata" excuse.  Unlike the actual contents of calls and e-mails, the metadata about those calls often can't be hidden.  And it can be incredibly revealing — sometimes moreso than the actual content.  Knowing who you're calling reveals information that isn't supposed to be public.  Inspectors general at nearly every federal agency, including the NSA, "have hotlines through which misconduct, waste, and fraud can be reported."  Hotlines exist for people who suffer from addictions to alcohol, drugs, or gambling; for victims of rape and domestic violence; and for people considering suicide.  Text messages can measure donations to churches, to Planned Parenthood, or to a particular political candidate.  [Professor Edward] Felten points out what should be obvious to those arguing "it's just metadata" — the mostimportant piece of information in these situations is the recipient of the call.

Google argues for right to continue scanning Gmail.  Google's attorneys say their long-running practice of electronically scanning the contents of people's Gmail accounts to help sell ads is legal, and have asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit that seeks to stop the practice.

NSA and GCHQ unlock privacy and security on the internet.  The agencies, the documents reveal, have adopted a battery of methods in their systematic and ongoing assault on what they see as one of the biggest threats to their ability to access huge swathes of internet traffic — "the use of ubiquitous encryption across the internet".  Those methods include covert measures to ensure NSA control over setting of international encryption standards, the use of supercomputers to break encryption with "brute force", and — the most closely guarded secret of all — collaboration with technology companies and internet service providers themselves.  Through these covert partnerships, the agencies have inserted secret vulnerabilities — known as backdoors or trapdoors — into commercial encryption software.

N.S.A. Foils Much Internet Encryption.  The agency has circumvented or cracked much of the encryption, or digital scrambling, that guards global commerce and banking systems, protects sensitive data like trade secrets and medical records, and automatically secures the e-mails, Web searches, Internet chats and phone calls of Americans and others around the world, the documents show.  Many users assume — or have been assured by Internet companies — that their data is safe from prying eyes, including those of the government, and the N.S.A. wants to keep it that way.  The agency treats its recent successes in deciphering protected information as among its most closely guarded secrets, [...]

The Editor says...
You might as well concede and stipulate that the NSA can crack your encrypted email messages, unless you are using an encryption scheme of your own design — and even then, in almost every case, because your computer is no match for theirs.  In order to exchange encrypted email with someone else, you must use a well-known off-the-shelf method of encryption like PGP.  (Otherwise you would have to distribute your proprietary home-brewed encryption system to all your correspondents.)  Eventually, the government will crack your password, if they think it's worth the trouble to discover the contents of your messages, so the encryption only delays the inevitable.  If that delay amounts to several years, it might be long enough to justify the use of encryption.

The only thing that would keep the government from reading everybody's email would be the universal encryption of all email messages, no matter how routine, and an option in every email program (application) to send out encrypted dummy messages (containing strings of random numbers and letters), to some dead-end destination, every day.  Even that wouldn't last long, because encryption would then be outlawed, and the most stubborn and persistent users of encrypted email would get a visit from the local SWAT team, a show trial, and a prison sentence.

NRA Signs On to ACLU Lawsuit, Claims NSA Starting 'National Gun Registry'.  The National Rifle Association (NRA) joined the American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) lawsuit against the National Security Agency (NSA) Wednesday, claiming the federal agency's "database of phone numbers amounts to 'a national gun registry.'"  According to The Hill, the NSA "acknowledged that it collects records on virtually all U.S. phone calls."  The NRA and ACLU see tyranny in this.

Fears of gun registry prompt NRA to back lawsuit against surveillance.  The National Rifle Association said on Wednesday [9/4/2013] it supports a lawsuit brought by civil rights groups to strike down the U.S. government's broad telephone surveillance program, citing potential violations of gun owners' privacy rights.

Obama defends NSA's surveillance.  President Obama on Wednesday defended the National Security Agency's surveillance at home, responding to a question from a reporter in Sweden, where the public has voiced concerns about the program.  "I can give assurances to the publics in Europe and around the world that we're not going around snooping at people's e-mails or listening to their phone calls," he said at a press conference in Stockholm.

The Editor says...
That would be easier to believe if Mr. Obama had a reputation as an honest man, which he does not.  And once again, there is no way to verify such a statement because it involves a secret(ive) government agency. You and I would never get inside the NSA building (maybe not even the parking lot), and probing for evidence to support Mr. Obama's rash pronouncement would lead to nothing but trouble.

Judge undoes key ruling on expanded surveillance.  A federal judge in a Chicago terrorism case has undone a key ruling where she found the government need not divulge whether its investigation relied on expanded phone and Internet surveillance programs — opening the sensitive issue back up to debate.

Drug Agents Use Vast Phone Trove, Eclipsing N.S.A.'s.  For at least six years, law enforcement officials working on a counternarcotics program have had routine access, using subpoenas, to an enormous AT&T database that contains the records of decades of Americans' phone calls — parallel to but covering a far longer time than the National Security Agency's hotly disputed collection of phone call logs. [...] Hemisphere covers every call that passes through an AT&T switch — not just those made by AT&T customers — and includes calls dating back 26 years, according to Hemisphere training slides bearing the logo of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.  Hacked off at the South Carolina Department of Revenue?  You should be.  The DOR's stunning incompetence allowed our financial records — and Social Security numbers — to be stolen in the murky cyber realm last year.  Creeped out by the National Security Agency?  You should be.  The NSA's "counter-terror" pretense grabs huge volumes of personal email and phone records.  What's worse?  The clueless DOR's failure to protect tax data or the overzealous NSA's mission to invade privacy?

Clapper to Publish Numbers of Secret Spying Orders.  The nation's top intelligence official said Thursday [8/29/2013] that he'll now release figures every year on how many new top secret court orders and national security letters are issued and how many people are targeted because of them.

The Editor says...
Who is going to verify General Clapper's figures?

The Staggering Power of NSA Systems Administrators.  If NBC's reporting is accurate, Alexander's assurance that "we can audit the actions of our people 100 percent, and we do that," is a lie.  To be more precise:  We've long known that the NSA doesn't audit all its employees 100 per