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2010 October 25 | Activist News
Disobey

The Road to World War 3

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Edward Snowden

Open Letter To Obama

July 26, 2013 President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20500 Re: Civil Disobedience, Edward J. Snowden, and the Constitution Dear Mr. President: You are acutely aware More »

greed3

U.S. Companies Pay Just One-Third Of The Legal Tax Rate: GAO Study

Huffington Post July 1, 2013 By Mark Gongloff Big, profitable U.S. companies paid an average federal tax rate of less than 13 percent in 2010, according to a new study — or More »

jeff olsen

Man Tried for Chalk Drawings Found Not Guilty

NBC San Diego July 1, 2013 By Christina London The man accused of vandalism for drawing with chalk outside banks has been found not guilty on all charges. A jury returned its More »

freedom-of-the-press

The Bigger Story Behind the AP Spying Scandal

Washington’s Blog/Global Research May 20, 2012 By George Washington Attack on the Press You know that the Department of Justice tapped scores of phone lines at the Associated Press. You might have More »

Daily Archives: October 25, 2010

Google says its cars grabbed emails and passwords

Reuters
October 25, 2010
By Alexei Oreskovic

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Google Inc admitted for the first time its “Street View” cars around the world accidentally collected more personal data than previously disclosed — including complete emails and passwords — potentially breathing new life into probes in various countries.

The disclosure comes just days after Canada’s privacy watchdog said Google had collected complete emails and accused Google of violating the rights of thousands of Canadians.

“If in fact laws were broken…then there’s some serious question of culpability and Google may need to face significant fines,” said Marc Rotenberg, the executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a Washington DC-based privacy advocacy group.

Regulators in France, Germany and Spain, among others, have opened investigations into the matter.

A coalition of more than 30 state attorneys general in the United States also have launched a joint probe.
It remains unclear how many people may have been affected by the privacy breach.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who is leading the multi-state investigation, said in a statement on Friday that Google’s disclosure about the types of data it collected “validates and heightens our significant concerns,” and noted that the investigation is continuing.
 
Google’s Street View cars, which are well known for crisscrossing the globe and taking panoramic pictures of the city’s streets, accidentally collected data from unsecured wireless networks used by residents in more than 30 countries, Google disclosed in May.

At the time, Google said the information was typically limited to “fragments” of unencrypted data because the cars were always moving and because the cars’ wireless equipment automatically changed channels about five times a second.

A Google spokesperson said the company had not examined the roughly 600 GB of data captured by the cars in any detail to avoid violating privacy.

The latest disclosure comes from information from regulators in various countries, who have examined the data collected by Google.

“It’s clear from those inspections that while most of the data is fragmentary, in some instances entire emails and URLs were captured, as well as passwords,” Google Vice President of Engineering and Research Alan Eustace said in a post on Google’s blog on Friday.

Google also said in the blog post that it hoped to delete the data as soon as possible.

Google had deleted the data in countries where regulators had given it permission to do so, a spokeswoman said. Investigations in six countries including New Zealand and the Netherlands, were closed, the spokeswoman said. There were investigations ongoing in other countries, but Google could not delete the data until the investigations were closed.

TOUGHER PRIVACY PROTECTION

Google appointed Alma Whitten as director of privacy for engineering and product management as part of a campaign to bolster its privacy protections, including adding new internal procedures requiring engineering product managers to maintain a privacy design document that records how user data is handled.

Full Article Here – http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20101025/tc_nm/us_google

U.N. official calls for study of ethics, legality of unmanned weapons

Reuters
October 24, 2010
By Patrick Worsnip

UNITED NATIONS – A United Nations investigator called on the world body Friday to set up a panel to study the ethics and legality of unmanned military weapons – an apparent reference to U.S. drones that have targeted suspected Islamist militants.

In a report to the U.N. General Assembly human rights committee, Christof Heyns said such systems raised “serious concerns that have been almost entirely unexamined by human rights or humanitarian actors.”

“The international community urgently needs to address the legal, political, ethical and moral implications of the development of lethal robotic technologies,” said Heyns, the U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions.

It was the second time this year that a U.N. official has brought up the issue. In June, Heyns’s predecessor, Philip Alston, called for a halt to CIA-directed drone strikes on al-Qaeda and Taliban suspects in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Alston said that killings ordered far from the battlefield could lead to a “PlayStation” mentality. The CIA contested his findings, saying – without confirming it carried out the strikes – that its operations “unfold within a framework of law and close government oversight.”

Heyns, a South African law professor, said Friday that there was a need to discuss responsibility for civilian casualties, how to ensure that the use of robots complied with humanitarian law, and standards for developing the technology involved.

Full Article Here – http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/24/AR2010102400035.html

Baghdad to investigate role of Blackwater in deaths

The Independent
October 25, 2010
By Peter Cockburn

The Iraqi government says that it will investigate whether employees of the Blackwater security company were involved in hitherto undisclosed killings that emerged from the Wikileaks documents.
In addition to a notorious case in Baghdad in 2007, when Blackwater guards killed 17 and wounded 18 civilians, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism says that it has discovered a further 14 cases when Blackwater personnel allegedly opened fire on civilians. The information comes from the war logs made public by Wikileaks and allegedly shows that a further 10 civilians were killed and seven wounded by Blackwater, a US-based private security company now known as Xe. In one third of cases, the Blackwater guards were protecting US diplomats under a $465m (£300m) contract when they opened fire.

The war logs reveal repeated cases when they shot at civilian vehicles that came close to their convoys, on one occasion even shooting dead the driver of an ambulance who had attended the scene of a bomb attack.

Sunni politicians in Baghdad say that the US military reports confirm and give credibility to their claims over the years that members of their community were being tortured by Shia-dominated security forces.
Iraq Body Count says that the 400,000 Wikileak war logs show that an additional 15,000 Iraqi civilians had been killed in addition to the 107,000 in the group’s database, which was built up from published sources. 
From the start of the war in 2003, the US military claimed that it did not have statistics on how many Iraqi civilians were being killed or injured. The aim of this was apparently to try to undermine protests against civilian loss of life as had happened in Vietnam.

No discipline for NOLA cop in 15 shooting incidents, 50 complaints

ProPublica/New Orleans Times Picayune
October 24, 2010

The disciplinary file on the New Orleans Police Department’s Dwayne Scheuermann is inches thick — as thick as any on the police force.

The lieutenant has weathered more than 50 separate complaints, ranging from accusations of brutality, to rape, to improper searches and seizures. But none of the allegations has ever stuck, although two complaints are still pending. Every time, Scheuermann was cleared and sent back onto the streets.

He has also fired his gun in at least 15 different incidents, wounding at least four people. Experts on police practices say the number is unusual — most officers never fire their weapons.

Scheuermann’s history of complaints would seem to make him an obvious candidate for the NOPD’s early-warning system, which aims to highlight and rehabilitate possible problem police officers.

Yet, according to the city attorney’s office, Scheuermann was never “flagged” for entrance into the monitoring program. The NOPD, meanwhile, said all of its early-warning system files were lost in Katrina and that it does not know if Scheuermann was involved in the program.

Amid the complaints, Scheuermann received plenty of commendations. The awards depict Scheuermann as a top cop, a relentless workhorse whose arrest numbers are unparalleled and leader who has patrolled the most dangerous corridors of the city over a 23-year career. He was a hero in the eyes of many of his peers.

In the NOPD yearbook is a photo of a smiling Scheuermann shaking the hand of former President Bill Clinton, who bestowed a national award on him for “outstanding productivity throughout his career.”

Today, Scheuermann, 49, is preparing to stand trial on some of the most disturbing charges ever filed against a New Orleans police officer. Federal prosecutors accuse Scheuermann and a colleague of setting fire to a car containing the body of Henry Glover, who had by shot by a different police officer during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Scheuermann declined to be interviewed for this story because of the pending charges against him.

Full Article Here – http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/10/discipline-nola-cop-15-shootings/

Baghdad to investigate role of Blackwater in deaths

The Independent
October 25, 2010

Wikileaks: UN calls for US to investigate torture claims revealed in leaked reports

Telegraph
October 23, 2010
By Ben Leach

The United Nations has called for the US to investigate whether its officials knew about alleged torture and other ill-treatment of detainees held by Iraqi security forces. 

Manfred Nowak, the UN’s special rapporteur on torture, told the BBC the US President Barack Obama had an “obligation” to carry out an independent and objective investigation.
“There is an obligation to investigate whenever there are credible allegations torture has happened – and these allegations are more than credible – and then it is up to the courts,” he said.

“It is then up to the courts on the one hand to bring the perpetrators to justice and also on the other hand to provide the victims with adequate reparation for the harm they have suffered.”

It follows the release of almost 400,000 secret US military logs, by the Wikileaks website, which suggest US commanders ignored evidence of torture by the Iraqi authorities.

The classified documents, which comprise the largest leak in US history, also suggest:

* Iraqi forces systematically beat and tortured prisoners, including women and children.

* A US gunship crew killed two insurgents on the ground even though the pilots had reported that the men were trying to surrender.

* The US kept records of civilian deaths, despite previously denying it. The death toll was put at 109,000, including more than 15,000 deaths that were previously unrecorded.

* Two Iraqis complained of being abused by British troops in June 2008 but no formal investigation was carried out.
* Hundreds of civilians, including women and children, were killed at US military checkpoints after the invasion in 2003.

* British soldiers repeatedly came under attack from US forces in a series of ‘friendly fire’ incidents.

* Iran supplied chemical weapons to Iraqi militias for attacks against civilians and US targets.
The US has criticised the release of the documents by the whistle-blowing website.

Full Article Here – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/8082544/Wikileaks-UN-calls-for-US-to-investigate-torture-claims-revealed-in-leaked-reports.html