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 »

anon

‘Anonymous’ Hacker Explains Why He Fled The US

Business Insider Mar. 2, 2012 By Michael Kelley Anonymous is front and center these days: the amorphous hacktivist group has been publishing internal data of U.S. banks while prominent members are prosecuted More »

Tag Archives: privacy

Everyone is fair game: Spy agency conducts surveillance on all US citizens

watching

RT
Dec. 13, 2012

The Obama administration overruled recommendations from within the US Department of Homeland Security and implemented new guidelines earlier this year that allow the government to gather and analyze intelligence on every single US citizen.

Since the spring, a little-know intelligence agency outside of Washington, DC has been able to circumvent the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution and conduct dragnet surveillance of the entire country, combing massive datasets using advanced algorithms to search and seize personal info on anyone this wish, reports the Wall Street Journal this week.

There’s no safeguard that says only Americans with criminal records are the ones included, and it’s not just suspected terrorists that are considered in the searches either. The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) has been provided with entire government databases and given nearly endless access to intelligence on everyone in the country, regardless of whether or not they’ve done anything that would have made them a person of interest. As long as data is “reasonably believed” to contain “terrorism information,” the agency can do as they wish.

Cops to Congress: We need logs of Americans’ text messages

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CNET
Dec. 3, 2012
By

AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and other wireless providers would be required to record and store information about Americans’ private text messages for at least two years, according to a proposal that police have submitted to the U.S. Congress.

CNET has learned a constellation of law enforcement groups has asked the U.S. Senate to require that wireless companies retain that information, warning that the lack of a current federal requirement “can hinder law enforcement investigations.”

They want an SMS retention requirement to be “considered” during congressional discussions over updating a 1986 privacy law for the cloud computing era — a move that could complicate debate over the measure and erode support for it among civil libertarians.

Australian surveillance ‘out of control’: 20% increase in 1 year

privacy-surveillance

RT
Dec. 3, 2012

Access to private data has increased by 20 per cent by Australia’s law enforcement and government agencies – and with no warrant. Australians are 26 times more prone to be placed under surveillance than people in other countries, local media report.

­In such a way, state structures accessed private information over 300,000 times last year – or 5,800 times every week, figures from the federal Attorney General’s Department showcase.

The data includes phone and internet account information, the details of out and inbound calls, telephone and internet access location data, as well as everything related to the Internet Protocol (IP) addresses visited, the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reports.

Internet Hangs in Balance as World Governments Meet in Secret

internet

Wired
Dec. 3, 2012
By David Kravets

There’s a lot of sky-is-falling doomsday predictions about the World Conference on International Telecommunications, which opens Monday in Dubai with some 190-plus nations discussing the global internet’s future.

That’s because much of the accompanying proposals from the global community have been kept under lock and key, although some of the positions of nations have been leaked and published online.

The idea behind the meetings is to update the International Telecommunications Regulations governed by the International Telecommunications Union, a United Nations agency known as the ITU, that is responsible for global communication technologies.

US Homeland Security sued for drone details

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AFP
Oct. 31, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO — The Electronic Frontier Foundation said Wednesday it has sued the US Department of Homeland Security to obtain details about Predator drones on loan to domestic police departments.

EFF Internet freedom and privacy champions contended that they filed suit in federal court in San Francisco because the DHS failed to respond to a Freedom of Information Act request for the information.

A DHS division uses unmanned drones in the United States to patrol borders but reports indicate that missions are being flown on behalf of local and federal law enforcement agencies, according to the EFF.

US Supreme Court lets wiretapping immunity stand

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AFP
Oct. 09, 2012

WASHINGTON — The US Supreme Court let stand Tuesday an immunity law on wiretapping viewed by government as a useful anti-terror tool but criticized by rights activists as a flagrant abuse of executive power.

The top US court declined to review a December 2011 appeals court decision that rejected a lawsuit against AT&T for helping the National Security Agency monitor its customers’ phone calls and Internet traffic.

Plaintiffs argue that the law allows the executive branch to conduct “warrantless and suspicionless domestic surveillance” without fear of review by the courts and at the sole discretion of the attorney general.

But President Barack Obama’s administration has argued to keep the immunity law in place, saying it would imperil national security to end such cooperation between the intelligence agencies and telecom companies.

As Occupy anniversary nears, Twitter gives up info on protester

Twitter

Los Angeles Times
Sept. 15, 2012
By Paloma Esquivel

In a case that civil liberty and Internet privacy advocates have been watching closely, Twitter on Friday handed over information about an Occupy Wall Street protester to a New York criminal court. The potential impact remains, as yet, unclear.

The New York district attorney’s office had subpoenaed more than three months worth of tweets from the Twitter account of Occupy Wall Street protester Malcolm Harris. The office also wanted account information. The tweets are no longer publicly available, so there was no way to retrieve them without the inside help.

Earlier this summer, the judge in the case ordered the company to turn over the records.

The company finally complied, turning over the messages and information this week, just days before the movement marks its one-year anniversary. Whether the Occupy protests will have any lasting impact, as some have begun to question, the Twitter case suggests that the movement’s ripple effect is continuing.

Twitter must produce Occupy protester’s tweets or face contempt

Blue-Bird-in-Jail

Reuters
Sept. 11, 2012
By Joseph Ax

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Twitter must hand over the tweets of an Occupy Wall Street protester to Manhattan prosecutors by Friday or face civil contempt and a hefty fine, a New York City judge said on Tuesday.

Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Matthew Sciarrino told a lawyer for Twitter that the San Francisco-based social media company had had 73 days to comply with his June 30 ruling ordering it to produce nearly three months’ worth of tweets from Malcolm Harris. The Occupy member was arrested during a mass march across the Brooklyn Bridge last October.

“You have until Friday to cure any potential contempt,” Sciarrino told Terryl Brown, the lawyer representing Twitter. If the company does not comply by then, he said, he would consider Twitter’s earning statements for the last two quarters in determining the appropriate fine.

Exclusive: Lawsuit says phone companies gouged FBI on wiretaps

wiretapping

Gigaom
Sept. 11, 2012
By Jeff John Roberts

A former New York prosecutor, John Prather, claims AT&T, Verizon, Qwest and Sprint regularly charged law enforcement agencies 10 times what they should have for routine wiretaps. He’s now suing on behalf of the FBI and state and city police departments to recover many millions of dollars for overcharging that allegedly took place for almost 20 years.

The case provides a window on the evolving world of wiretaps during an era of increasing surveillance. But the case is complicated because Prather stands to get a big chunk of money if the case succeeds and, as the phone companies argue, he may not be a real whistle-blower in the first place.

Hackers Get Personal Info On 12-Million Apple Users… From An FBI Laptop

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Techdirt
Sept. 4, 2012
By Mike Masnick

Much of the debate over cybersecurity legislation like CISPA and the Cybersecurity Act focused on getting more private companies to “share data” with federal government agencies, including the FBI and the NSA. As we’ve pointed out time and time again, beyond the basic privacy rules that the bills tended to bulldoze through, any time you increase the sharing of private data, you’re only making it that much easier for hackers to access that info because you’re putting it in more places — some of which will almost definitely be insecure. In other words, even though these bills were ostensibly about “protecting” from hack attacks, by increasing the sharing of data, they’d almost certainly open up new attack opportunities and make it easier for hackers to get info.

While neither bill passed (yet), the latest example of what happens when you have widespread data sharing comes from some Antisec hackers, who claim that — in response to a presentation from the NSA’s General Keith Alexander — they wanted to probe the security of various government agencies, including the FBI. End result? They claim to have hacked into the laptop of FBI agent Christopher Stangl, who has appeared in recruitment videos for the FBI looking to hire “cyber security experts.”

The hackers claim that on his laptop, they found a csv file with: