Confirmed: Windows 10 Cannot Be Stopped From Spying On Users And Will Be Mandatory From January 2016

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Windows 10 users are unable to stop the new operating system from spying on them, and even Microsoft is unable to prevent it from collecting some types of data. Microsoft has continued to insist that Windows 10 users enjoy full privacy and can always choose to turn of the data collection options in settings. But, for the first time, the Redmond-based software giant has admitted that the process of collecting core background data in Windows 10 cannot be stopped.  Continue reading

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10 Things The US Government Doesn’t Want You To Know

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When it comes to governance, especially in the case of a democratic government, the voters get to choose trusted leaders to deal with all the affairs involved in running the country. This means that the population entrusts the country to a few people, who are supposed to be accountable to them, responsible in all their actions, innovative in problem solving and selfless when it comes to executing their duties in office. During the campaign period, the leaders in question always promise the voters heaven on earth, only for them to get to office and fall short on all their promises. This is the situation in all parts of the world, and it begs the question “what changes in an individual when he or she ascends to power?”
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Here’s the 400 pages of the new “Net Neutrality” bill

 

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A couple of weeks ago, the FCC(Federal Communications Commission) voted to pass a new “Net Neutrality” bill. Don’t be fooled by “Net Neutrality”, because there really isn’t anything neutral about it.

Now, while everyone was distracted by trying to guess the color of a dress posted on social media, the federal government was again, overstepping its boundaries to enforce more rules and regulations. Nothing new, right? For something so important, and yes internet IS in fact important to have this day of age, most would think this would be a bill that would have to go through house and senate, then make its way on to the POTUS to sign into effect. Well you thought wrong. One has to think at this point, does it really matter? To me, no, it does not matter. Why? Because for a long time this administration has overstepped its boundaries. But it’s not just the Obama Administration, it’s a large number of congress and of course in my opinion, all of congress. The only difference that I could see at this point, is the fact it would have taken somewhat of a longer process to put this to a vote through. But, would it have? One does have to wonder why it was put through the FCC and not through congress and yes I have my suspicions, but that doesn’t matter at this point. Continue reading

If the Internet becomes a public utility, you’ll pay more. Here’s why.

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The Federal Communications Commission is in the middle of a high-stakes decision that could raise taxes for close to 90 percent of Americans. The commission is considering whether to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service and, in doing so, Washington would trigger new taxes and fees at the state and local level. Continue reading

Vulnerabilities in some Netgear router and NAS products open door to remote attacks

Netgear's N600 Wireless Dual-Band Gigabit RouterVulnerabilities in the management interfaces of some wireless router and network-attached storage products from Netgear expose the devices to remote attacks that could result in their complete compromise, researchers warn. Continue reading

Maine Enacts Pioneering Law Prohibiting Warrantless Cellphone Tracking

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On Tuesday, Maine became the second state in recent weeks to enact a law that will force authorities to get a judge to authorize a warrant before obtaining either historic or real-time location data about a person’s movements. Maine’s legislature voted to pass the tracking law after it sailed through both houses in the state in May. According to the ACLU of Maine, the legislature took the decisive step of overriding veto by Gov. Paul LePage, who had declined to sign off on the bill.* Continue reading

AT&T joins Verizon, Facebook in selling customer data

RT News

AFP Photo / Etienne FranchiAT&T has announced that it will begin selling customers’ smart phone data to the highest bidder, putting the telecommunications giant in line with Verizon, Facebook and other competitors that quietly use a consumer’s history for marketing purposes. Continue reading

NSA admits listening to U.S. phone calls without warrants

National Security Agency discloses in secret Capitol Hill briefing that thousands of analysts can listen to domestic phone calls. That authorization appears to extend to e-mail and text messages too.

NSA Director Keith Alexander says his agency's analysts, which until recently included Edward Snowden among their ranks, take protecting "civil liberties and privacy and the security of this nation to their heart every day."

NSA Director Keith Alexander says his agency’s analysts, which until recently included Edward Snowden among their ranks, take protecting “civil liberties and privacy and the security of this nation to their heart every day.” Continue reading

Porn Stars Are Enraged That They’re Being Denied Loans And Bank Accounts

Chanel Preston

Chanel Preston knows not everyone approves of her chosen profession.

That’s one of the risks that go with being one of the biggest stars in porn.

But she never thought it would affect her ability to open a bank account.

Preston recently opened a business account with City National Bank in Los Angeles.

When she went to deposit checks into the account days later, however, she was told it had been shut down, due to “compliance issues”.

She found the manager she had originally worked with and asked what had happened. The bank, she was told, was worried about the Webcam shows she had on her site and had revoked the account.

(City National declined to comment on Preston’s accusations and on whether it had any policy regarding accounts tied to the porn industry.)

Preston is hardly the only porn star who has had trouble with the banking industry. Several performers and porn insiders (who were afraid to go on the record due to possible repercussions from their banks) said they have been denied accounts from a variety of financial institutions.

“The people within my [local] bank have urged me to downplay the nature of my business because corporate frowns on it,” said one long-time industry veteran.

The issue seems to be reaching a boiling point, though. Earlier this week, Marc Greenberg, founder of the soft porn studio MRG Entertainment, filed suit against JPMorgan Chase in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging the bank violated fair lending laws and its own policy for refusing to underwrite a loan for “moral reasons”.

Greenberg says he was approached by a representative of the bank about refinancing an existing loan. But once he started the process, he says he saw repeated delays for four months. That’s when he said he reached out to a JPMorgan vice president for an explanation.

The vice president “was evasive in his response to plaintiff’s application status requests and finally informed plaintiff during a telephone conversation that plaintiff’s loan application was refused due to ‘moral reasons,’ because of JPMorgan’s disapproval of plaintiff’s former source of income and occupation as an owner of a television production company that produced television programs that dealt with the subject of human sexuality,” the complaint reads.

(MRG was sold to New Frontier Media in 2006 for $22 million.)

Greenberg’s attorneys claim they were told by the vice president that the application was denied because of the potential “reputational risk” to the firm.

The rejection, noted the suit, was confounding since Chase had long held the original deed of trust on the home, without any comment on Greenberg’s career.

“JPMorgan purports to be so ashamed of nudity and human sexuality that it cannot process a refinance of a home loan of plaintiff, secured by plaintiff’s house, because plaintiff’s source of income six years ago included production of television programs that contained nudity and human sexuality,” the suit reads.

JPMorgan Chase declined to comment on the accusations due to the pending litigation.

Preston noted she, too, has been denied a loan because of her profession—though at a different bank.

“[The loan officer] asked me ‘are you affiliated with the adult entertainment industry?’ When I said yes, she said ‘We will not give you a loan.’,” she said.

Whether the decision to deny Preston’s business account or Greenberg’s refinance application is discriminatory lending is a matter of debate—and, in Greenberg’s case, something the courts will have to decide.

David Barr, a spokesperson for the FDIC, however, said institutions are permitted to make their own calls on who they work with to a certain degree.

“The decision to open or maintain an account is up to the individual institution,” he said. “The rules are not prescriptive, which means that the bank must make its own assessment to determine the risks associated with an account and whether that account should be terminated or not opened in the first place.”

And it is not uncommon for many businesses to take a moral stand about who they do business with. Indeed, some investment firms make it a point to avoid getting involved with tobacco producers or gun manufacturers because of the social issues tied to those industries.

Porn stars and adult entertainment industry insiders do note that the troubles they’ve experienced are tied to business—not personal—accounts. That may be because personal accounts are opened under their real names, which typically don’t raise an eyebrow, while business is done under more well-known pseudonyms, which is when people take notice.

“It’s kind of obvious about what I do when a young girl goes into a Valley bank with a different female name than the one on [their] driver’s license,” said Preston.

But such friction between people involved in the adult entertainment industry and banking institutions are likely to become more common. With the advent of the Internet, the $14 billion adult entertainment industry is undergoing a transformation.

Film and video distribution is giving way to Internet sites and Web cams. As a result, barriers to entry in the industry are being lowered and more of the industry is being based out of homes and being run through small business arrangements and partnerships, necessitating banking services.

Read more: http://www.cnbc.com/id/100746445#ixzz2TeWLGRAr

The Facebook Home disaster

The Facebook Home disaster

The reviews are in: Facebook Home, Mark Zuckerberg’s grandiose stab at totally controlling our mobile experience, is an unmitigated disaster.

On Wednesday, AT&T announced that it was dropping the price of the HTC First smartphone, which comes with Facebook Home built in, from $99 to 99 cents. Think about that: a new smartphone, priced to jump off the shelves at Dollar General. It’s a great deal, but it is also hugely embarrassing for Zuckerberg.

A little over a month ago, I wrote that the only way I could see a Facebook phone making sensewas if Facebook planned to cut deals with the phone carriers to give the phone away for free. But such a strategy doesn’t seem to be what’s in play here. Best guess, no one wants to buy a Facebook phone.

For confirmation we need only look at the Google Play store, where the Facebook Home app, which can be installed on select Android phones, has now fallen to the No. 338 ranking in the category of free apps. That’s 200 spots lower than it ranked just two weeks ago.

Even worse: More than half of Facebook Home’s 15,000 user reviews give the app just one star. A typical review:

Uninstalled after 1 min
Just takes a nice phone and ruins the interface. Waste of time.

The numbers represent a remarkable rejection of an initiative that Facebook pushed with a high-profile national advertising campaign and a dog-and-pony rollout at its Menlo Park headquarters. Smartphone users are announcing, loud and clear, that they do not want Facebook in charge of their interface with the mobile universe.

 

 

http://www.salon.com/2013/05/09/the_facebook_home_disaster/

Police want ‘kill switch’ for smartphones

AFP Photo

An epidemic of cell phone swiping has prompted calls for a ‘kill switch’ that would render mobile devices inoperable if they end up in the wrong hands.

In San Francisco, California, half of the robberies reported in the last year involved the loss of a cell phone. George Gascon is the city’s district attorney and says things don’t have to stay that way.

“Unlike other types of crimes, this is a crime that could be easily fixed with a technological solution,” Gascon told the New York Times recently.

Apple’s iPhone and other smartphone models retail new in stores for hundreds of dollars apiece, and they are far from worthless on the black market. According to the Times, smartphones sold on the street in San Francisco can fetch upwards of $500, substantially less than a brand new iPhone 5 will set a customer back. But would that be any different if, say, stolen cell phones couldn’t be used again? Gascon and others think so and are calling on cell phone companies like Apple and others to implement a new technology that could remotely turn off a stolen phone for good.

We know that the technology can be developed to prevent this. This is more about social responsibility than economic gain,” he added to the Associated Press.

But that economic gain is indeed something that cell phone makers don’t want to miss out on. Last year almost 174 million new cellphones were sold in the United States, totaling roughly $69 billion in sales. In cities such as San Francisco or Washington, DC — where 40 percent of last year’s robberies involved cell phones — victims of mobilephone threat are stuck spending hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars a year on replacement phones. If swiped smartphones couldn’t be used, Gascon said the number of incidents would likely go down.

What I’m talking about is creating a kill switch so that when the phone gets reported stolen, it can be rendered inoperable in any configuration or carrier,” Gascon he told the newspaper.

Chuck Wexler is the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, and explained to the Times that the cell phone industry could have started taking these steps years ago.

If you look at auto theft, it has really plummeted in this country because technology has advanced so much and the manufacturers recognize the importance of it,” he said. “The cellphone industry has for the most part been in denial. For whatever reasons, it has been slow to move.”

It will likely take a whole lot more than asking politely to have Apple, Google and others change the way their phones work, though. Gascon met with Apple’s government liaison officer Michael Foulkes last year to discuss the ‘kill switch’ option and described the encounter to the Times as “disappointing.”

For me, a technical solution is probably better than just a criminal solution,” Gascon said. “We can always create more laws, but look at how long it already takes to prosecute somebody at the expense of the taxpayers?”

Washington, DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier emailed the Associated Press to say she advocates new federal laws that will require wireless service providers to participate in a national stolen phone database that, while in place today, doesn’t mandate that carrier subscribe to the system.

This is a voluntary agreement and the decision makers, heads of these (wireless) companies may transition over time and may not be in the same position five years from now.” she said. “Something needs to be put in place to protect consumers.”

http://rt.com/usa/kill-switch-cell-phone-892/

Obama administration bypasses CISPA by secretly allowing Internet surveillance

U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn (2nd R).(Reuters / Jim Young)

(RT) Scared that CISPA might pass? The federal government is already using a secretive cybersecurity program to monitor online traffic and enforce CISPA-like data sharing between Internet service providers and the Department of Defense.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center has obtained over 1,000 pages of documents pertaining to the United States government’s use of a cybersecurity program after filing a Freedom of Information Act request, and CNET reporter Declan McCullagh says those pages show how the Pentagon has secretly helped push for increased Internet surveillance.

“Senior Obama administration officials have secretly authorized the interception of communications carried on portions of networks operated by AT&T and other Internet service providers, a practice that might otherwise be illegal under federal wiretapping laws,” McCullagh writes.

That practice, McCullagh recalls, was first revealed when Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn disclosed the existence of the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) Cyber Pilot in June 2011. At the time, the Pentagon said the program would allow the government to help the defense industry safeguard the information on their computer systems by sharing classified threat information between the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security and the Internet service providers (ISP) that keep government contractors online.

“Our defense industrial base is critical to our military effectiveness. Their networks hold valuable information about our weapons systems and their capabilities,” Lynn said. “The theft of design data and engineering information from within these networks greatly undermines the technological edge we hold over potential adversaries.”

Just last week the US House of Representatives voted in favor of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA — a legislation that, if signed into law, would allow ISPs and private Internet companies across the country like Facebook and Google to share similar threat data with the federal government without being held liable for violating their customers’ privacy. As it turns out, however, the DIB Cyber Pilot has expanded exponentially in recent months, suggesting that a significant chunk of Internet traffic is already subjected to governmental monitoring.

In May 2012, less than a year after the pilot was first unveiled, the Defense Department announced the expansion of the DIB program. Then this past January, McCullagh says it was renamed the Enhanced Cybersecurity Services (ECS) and opened up to a larger number of companies — not just DoD contractors. An executive order signed by US President Barack Obama earlier this year will let all critical infrastructure companies sign-on to ECS starting this June, likely in turn bringing on board entities in energy, healthcare, communication and finance.

Although the 1,000-plus pages obtained in the FOIA request haven’t been posted in full on the Web just yet, a sampling of that trove published by EPIC on Wednesday begins to show just exactly how severe the Pentagon’s efforts to eavesdrop on Web traffic have been.

In one document, a December 2011 slide show on the legal policies and practices regarding the monitoring of Web traffic on DIB-linked systems, the Pentagon instructs the administrators of those third-party computer networks on how to implement the program and, as a result, erode their customers’ expectation of privacy.

In one slide, the Pentagon explains to ISPs and other system administrators how to be clear in letting their customers know that their traffic was being fed to the government. Key elements to keep in mind, wrote the Defense Department, was that DIB “expressly covers monitoring of data and communications in transit rather than just accessing data at rest.”

“[T]hat information transiting or stored on the system may be disclosed for any purpose, including to the government,” it continued. Companies participating in the pilot program were told to let users know that monitoring would exist “for any purpose,” and that users have no expectation of privacy regarding communications or data stored on the system.

According to the 2011 press release on the DIB Cyber Pilot, “the government will not monitor, intercept or store any private-sector communications through the program.” In a privacy impact assessment of the ECS program that was published in January by the DHS though, it’s revealed that not only is information monitored, but among the data collected by investigators could be personally identifiable information, including the header info from suspicious emails. That would mean the government sees and stores who you communicate with and what kind of subject lines are used during correspondence.

The DHS says that personally identifiable information could be retained if “analytically relevant to understanding the cyber threat” in question.

Meanwhile, the lawmakers in Congress that overwhelmingly approved CISPA just last week could arguably use a refresher in what constitutes a cyber threat. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) told his colleagues on the Hill that “Recent events in Boston demonstrate that we have to come together as Republicans and Democrats to get this done,” and Rep. Dan Maffei (D-New York) made unfounded claims during Thursday’s debate that the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks is pursuing efforts to “hack into our nation’s power grid.”

Should CISPA be signed into law, telecommunication companies will be encouraged to share Internet data with the DHS and Department of Justice for so-called national security purposes. But even if the president pursues a veto as his advisers have suggested, McCullagh says few will be safe from this secretive cybersecurity operation already in place.

The tome of FOIA pages, McCullagh says, shows that the Justice Department has actively assisted telecoms as of late by letting them off the hook for Wiretap Act violations. Since the sharing of data between ISPs and the government under the DIB program and now ECS violates federal statute, the Justice Department has reportedly issued an undeterminable number of “2511 letters” to telecoms: essentially written approval to ignore provisions of the Wiretap Act in exchange for immunity.

“The Justice Department is helping private companies evade federal wiretap laws,” EPIC Executive Director Marc Rotenberg tells CNET. “Alarm bells should be going off.”

In an internal Justice Department email cited by McCullagh, Associate Deputy Attorney General James Baker is alleged to write that ISPs will likely request 2511 letters and the ECS-participating companies“would be required to change their banners to reference government monitoring.”

“These agencies are clearly seeking authority to receive a large amount of information, including personal information, from private Internet networks,” EPIC staff attorney Amie Stepanovich adds to CNET. “If this program was broadly deployed, it would raise serious questions about government cybersecurity practices.”

Department of Justice secretly gave Internet service providers immunity when conducting surveillance

Activist Post

According to documents obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), the Department of Justice secretly authorized the interception of electronic communications on certain parts of AT&T and other Internet service providers’ networks.

Previously, EPIC obtained documents on the National Security Agency’s Perfect Citizen program which involves monitoring private computer networks. This latest revelation deals with an entirely different program first called Defense Industrial Base Cyber Pilot, or DIB Cyber Pilot, though it is now operating as Enhanced Cybersecurity Services.

While this type of activity might be illegal under federal wiretapping legislation, the Obama administration gave the companies immunity when monitoring networks under a cybersecurity pilot program.

“The Justice Department is helping private companies evade federal wiretap laws,” said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of EPIC. “Alarm bells should be going off.”

The alarm bells should get louder when one realizes that while this collaboration between the Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the private sector began focusing only on defense contractors, the program was massively expanded.

Thanks to an executive order dated February 12, 2013 entitled, “Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity,” the program was widened significantly.

The order expanded it to cover other “critical infrastructure industries” which includes “systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination of those matters.”

Declan McCullagh, writing for CNET, points out that this includes “all critical infrastructure sectors including energy, healthcare, and finance starting June 12.”

The documents reveal that the National Security Agency (NSA) and Defense Department were directly involved in pushing for this secret legal authorization.

NSA director Keith Alexander participated in some of the discussions personally, according to the documents.

Attorneys from the Justice Department signed off on the immunity despite the Department of Justice’s and industry participants’ initial reservations, according to CNET.

The legal immunity was given to participating internet service providers in the form of “2511 letters,” as the participants in the confidential discussions refer to them.

A 2511 letter is named after the Wiretap Act, 18 USC 2511, which the participants will not be held to by the Department of Justice.

According to CNET, “the 2511 letters provided legal immunity to the providers by agreeing not to prosecute for criminal violations of the Wiretap Act. It’s not clear how many 2511 letters were issued by the Justice Department.”

DIB Cyber Pilot was first publicly disclosed in 2011 by then Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn but in 2012, the pilot program expanded into an ongoing program dubbed Joint Cybersecurity Services Pilot. As of January it was renamed yet again, this time to Enhanced Cybersecurity Services program.

The same model used under the DIB pilot will be used under the new program, which means that participating companies “would be required to change their banners to reference government monitoring.”

The DHS privacy office stated that users on participating company networks will see “an electronic login banner [stating] information and data on the network may be monitored or disclosed to third parties, and/or that the network users’ communications on the network are not private.”

It is not clear how the banner will be worded exactly, but a 2011 Department of Defense Office of General Counsel PowerPoint presentation obtained by EPIC reveals eight of the elements that should be part of the banner:

1. It expressly covers monitoring of data and communications in transit rather than just accessing data at rest.
2. It provides that information transiting or stored on the system may be disclosed for any purpose, including to the Government.
3. It states that monitoring will be for any purpose.
4. It states that monitoring may be done by the Company/Agency or any person or entity authorized by Company/Agency.
5. It explains to users that they have “no [reasonable] expectation of privacy” regarding communications or data transiting or stored on the system.
6. It clarifies that this consent covers personal use of the system (such as personal emails or websites, or use on breaks or after hours) as well as official or work-related use.
7. It is definitive about the fact of monitoring, rather than conditional or speculative.
8. It expressly obtains consent from the user and does not merely provide notification.

“EPIC staff attorney Amie Stepanovich says the banner the government proposed is so broad and vague that it would allow ISPs not only to monitor the content of all communication, including private correspondence, but also potentially hand over the monitoring activity itself to the government,” Threat Level reports.

Similarly troubling is that it would only be seen by employees of participating companies, meaning that outsiders who communicate with those employees would have no clue that their communication was under surveillance.

“One of the big issues is the very broad notice and consent that they’re requiring, which far outpaces the description of the program the we’ve been given so far of not only the extent of the DIB pilot program but also the extent of the program that expands this to all critical infrastructure,” Stepanovich said, according to Threat Level.

“The concern is that information and communications between employees will be sent to the government, and they’re preparing employees to consent to this,” she added.

Both the NSA and Justice Department declined to comment to CNET but Sy Lee, a DHS spokesman sent a statement to CNET saying:

DHS is committed to supporting the public’s privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties. Accordingly, the department has implemented strong privacy and civil rights and civil liberties standards into all its cybersecurity programs and initiatives from the outset, including the Enhanced Cybersecurity Services program. In order to protect privacy while safeguarding and securing cyberspace, DHS institutes layered privacy responsibilities throughout the department, embeds fair practice principles into cybersecurity programs and privacy compliance efforts, and fosters collaboration with cybersecurity partners.

However, even individuals in the Justice Department “expressed misgivings that the program would ‘run afoul of privacy laws forbidding government surveillance of private Internet traffic,’” according to EPIC.

Furthermore, the Department of Homeland Security has no problem lying to Congress about their privacy breaches. Why anyone should believe that they would be honest now isn’t quite clear.

While the NSA claims they “will not directly filter the traffic or receive the malicious code captured by Internet providers,” EPIC points out that it is unclear how they can detect malicious code and prevent its execution without actually “captur[ing]” it in violation of federal law.

Former Homeland Security official Paul Rosenzweig likened the NSA and Defense Department asking the Justice Department for 2511 letters to “the CIA asking the Justice Department for the so-called torture memos a decade ago,” according to CNET.

“If you think of it poorly, it’s a CYA function,” Rosenzweig said. “If you think well of it, it’s an effort to secure advance authorization for an action that may not be clearly legal.”

This perspective was reinforced by a Congressional Research Service report published last month.

The report states it is likely the case that the executive branch does not actually have the legal authority to authorize additional widespread monitoring of communications unless Congress rewrites the law to give that authority.

“Such an executive action would contravene current federal laws protecting electronic communications,” the non-partisan report states.

However, CISPA – which the House passed last week – would actually give formal authorization to the program without resorting to workarounds like 2511 letters.

Since CISPA simply overrides any and all privacy laws at the state and federal level, any program like this would be given the legal green light.

Even more troubling is that the internal documents show that in late 2011, NSA, DoD and DHS officials actively met with aides on the House Intelligence committee who actually drafted the legislation.

“The purpose of the meeting, one e-mail shows, was to brief committee aides on ‘cyber defense efforts,’” as CNET put it.

Ryan Gillis, a director in the DHS Office of Legislative Affairs also sent an e-mail to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat and chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, discussing the pilot program during the same period.

It is hardly surprising that at least one of the same companies getting immunity under the 2511 letters has expressed support for CISPA, since both give network providers immunity from prosecution.

AT&T and CenturyLink are the only two providers publicly announcing their participation in the program thus far.

However, an unnamed government official cited by CNET said that other unnamed companies have signed a memorandum of agreement with DHS to join the program and are undergoing security certification.

“These agencies are clearly seeking authority to receive a large amount of information, including personal information, from private Internet networks,” Stepanovich said to CNET. “If this program was broadly deployed, it would raise serious questions about government cybersecurity practices.”

Rosenzweig points out that the expansion into the many sectors outlined in the executive order above could potentially even include the monitoring of meat packing plants.

Indeed, the language is broad enough to include just about anything at this point.

Is It Journalism, or Just a Repackaged Press Release? Here’s a Tool to Help You Find Out

Today the Sunlight Foundation unveils Churnalism, which will compare any text online to a corpus of corporate, government, and other promotional content.

 

We live in an age of information, it is said again and again. But that doesn’t mean we live in an age of good information, as last week seemed intent on bearing out. In fact, quite the opposite. Countless times each day, we have to weigh the credibility of a piece of information, and decide whether to put our faith in it.

It’s not really feasible for each of us to track each piece of information to its source (nor would it be efficient), so, instead, we use clues — who wrote this, where is this published, does this square with other information we know. But the trouble is that these clues aren’t perfect indicators, at least in part because even credible publications and professional journalists sometimes regurgitate information without giving it a careful vetting, a process often referred to as churnalism (just as gross as it sounds).

Today, the Sunlight Foundation has unveiled a tool that will help us all with this work. “The tool is, essentially, an open-source plagiarism detection engine,” web developer Kaitlin Devine explained to me. It will scan any text (a news article, e.g.) and compare it with a corpus of press releases and Wikipedia entries. If it finds similar language, you’ll get a notification of a detected “churn” and you’ll be able to take a look at the two sources side by side. You can also use it to check Wikipedia entries for information that may have come from corporate press releases. The tool is based on a similar project released in the United Kingdom two years ago, which the Sunlight Foundation supported with a grant to make it open source. Churnalism will be available both on the website and as a browser extension. Its database of press releases includes those from EurekaAlert! in addition to PR Newswire, PR News Web, Fortune 500 companies, and government sources.

One byproduct of this method is that Churnalism will find text that has been quoted from speeches. Although such quotations are not examples of churnalism per se, Devine says that that information will be helpful to readers too, showing them the context a quote appeared in, and giving them the chance to think about why a reporter selected a particular passage from all of the others.

In general, according to Devine, “science press releases seem to get more plagiarized than others.” For example, the Sunlight Foundation points to a CBS News article from last fall which shares several phrases — typically information-laced descriptions such as the list “found in hard plastics, linings of canned food, dental sealants” — with a press release from EurekaAlert!, as the Churnalism tool’s results show. Devine speculates that science journalism may run into this problem more frequently because “the language around the findings in those is so specific that it becomes very hard to reinterpret it.”

Eventually, Devine says, she’d like to be able to build on the underlying technology so that researchers can track not just similarities between news articles, but also in legislation, seeing, for example, how wording in state legislation may wind up in Congress. Down the road they might add an email address where people can forward press releases to be added to the corpus, something they hope would help catch some of the corporate PR from smaller companies not already included.

The quote-unquote marketplace of ideas is not a level one — not before the Internet and not since — but seeing the contours of it is remarkably tough. Where does a phrase or an argument come from? What nodes promoted it? With the Sunlight Foundation’s Churnalism tool we’ll be able to see that path a bit, and hopefully that knowledge will make us just a pinch more savvy as we proceed through the daily game of who, and what, to trust.

 

 

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/04/is-it-journalism-or-just-a-repackaged-press-release-heres-a-tool-to-help-you-find-out/275206/

Live tweeting false flags are bad – Online Police Scanner Audio and Social Media Under Scrutiny

Tweeting police scanner news “risky:” police

The bombings in Boston are shining a light on how amateur news hounds with the right social media tools can put the public and law enforcement officers in danger.

In the aftermath of the bombings, roughly 120,000 people turned to police scanner applications for the inside scoop on breaking news as it happened. However, many of those people also posted what they heard on social media sites like Twitter, Reddit and Facebook — and often, it was wrong.

 

Boston entered a lockdown state Friday and rumours about unexploded bombs circulated on social media. Boston entered a lockdown state Friday and rumours about unexploded bombs circulated on social media. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

“It’s not just the traditional newscasts, where the TV station produces the news and people watch it at home,” says Patrick Feng, a University of Calgary media professior. “You have people who can really contribute to the story and that also leads to this issue of a lack of gatekeepers.”

With the demand for immediate information in emergencies, police scanners and social media filled a gap and can provide a way for people to feel more informed.

At the same time, it can also lead to social media users endangering officers and bystanders by sharing unverified information.

Dozens of apps available

It’s not only large scale emergencies that see people listening in to scanners.

With dozens of scanner apps from around the world listed in the iTunes store, news consumers can listen in on police activity around the world at any time.

more

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/story/2013/04/21/calgary-social-media-police-scanner-emergencies.html

Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s Uncle: Mentors ‘radicalized’ older Boston bombing suspect – were “puppets and executors” of a scheme designed by others.

House “wouldn’t even allow debate” on CISPA amendment requiring warrant before database search

 

Madison Ruppert
Activist Post

The U.S. House of Representatives passed CISPA todaywith the majority of the major problems intact. When Rep. Alan Grayson proposed an amendment that would require the National Security Agency, FBI, Department of Homeland Security and others to obtain a warrant before searching a database, it was shot down without debate.

Grayson, a Florida Democrat, proposed a simple amendment only a sentence long that would require “a warrant obtained in accordance with the fourth amendment to the Constitution of the United States” when a government agency sought to search a database of private information obtained from e-mail and internet service providers for evidence of criminal activity.

Grayson complained earlier today on Twitter saying, “The Rules Committee wouldn’t even allow debate on requiring a warrant before a search.”

As CNET points out, “That’s a reference to a vote this week by the House Rules committee that rejected a series of privacy-protective amendments, meaning they could not be proposed and debated during today’s floor proceedings.”

Without that amendment, a wide range of agencies within the federal government can be searched without a warrant so long as it is supposedly related to any crime related to protecting someone from “serious bodily harm.”

While some of the crimes are quite serious, like child pornography, kidnapping and “serious threats to the physical safety of minors,” the database can also be searched for “cybersecurity purposes” and for the “investigation and prosecution of cybersecurity crimes.” Obviously that leaves a lot of leeway.
According to Rep. Jared Polis, a Colorado Democrat and former Internet entrepreneur, the “serious bodily harm” is dangerous because it is ambiguous enough to allow federal agencies to “go on fishing expeditions for electronic evidence,” according to CNET.

“The government could use this information to investigate gun shows” and even football games, simply because there is a threat of serious bodily harm if an accident were to occur, Polis said.

“What do these things even have to do with cybersecurity? … From football to gun show organizing, you’re really far afield,” he said.

To make matters even worse, there is nothing under CISPA requiring the anonymization of records as incredibly sensitive and personal as health records or banking information before they are shared and searched by the government according to ZDNet.

Another amendment similarly shot down was proposed by Rep. Justin Amash, a Michigan Republican. This would have ensured the privacy policies and terms of use of companies remained both valid and legally enforceable in the future.

As CNET rightly notes, one of the most controversial aspects of CISPA is that it “overrules all existing federal and state laws by saying ‘notwithstanding any other provision of law,’ including privacy policies and wiretap laws, companies may share cybersecurity-related information ‘with any other entity, including the federal government.’”

While CISPA would not require companies to share the information, it is hard to think of a large corporation these days that wouldn’t play ball if pressured by the federal government.

The problems with CISPA are so glaring that 34 advocacy groupsas diverse as the American Library Association, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union, Reporters Without Borders and many more, wrote a letter in opposition to the legislation.

“CISPA’s information sharing regime allows the transfer of vast amounts of data, including sensitive information like Internet records or the content of emails to any agency in the government including military and intelligence agencies like the National Security Agency or the Department of Defense Cyber Command,” the groups pointed out in their letter.

The ACLU opposes the bill because, “there’s a disconnect here between what they say is going to happen and what the legislation says,” thanks to the amendments that were blocked, according to legislative counsel Michelle Richardson.

Unfortunately, this time around CISPA is not receiving the widespread opposition legislation like the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) received, which eventually led to SOPA’s failure.

CNET chalks this up to the lack of alliances between ordinary Internet users, civil liberties groups and technology companies this time around.

While no broad-based coalition exists fighting CISPA, massive corporations have gathered together to support it.

“Companies including AT&T, Comcast, EMC, IBM, Intel, McAfee, Oracle, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon have instead signed on as CISPA supporters,” Declan McCullagh writes.

Some, including Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, are calling on Internet companies to take a stand in opposing CISPA.

In the below video, Ohanian calls on Google, Facebook and Twitter to stand up for the privacy rights of the American people:

There is still time to fight CISPA in the Senate.

“We’re committed to taking this fight to the Senate and fighting to ensure no law which would be so detrimental to online privacy is passed on our watch,” said Rainey Reitman, EFF Activism Director.

Contacting your senators is incredibly easy. If you care about the principles of the Constitution and your privacy, you will be doing yourself and others a favor by taking a few moments to contact your senators to instruct them to uphold their oath of office by defending the Constitution and the rights of the American people.

Did I forget anything or miss any errors? Would you like to make me aware of a story or subject to cover? Or perhaps you want to bring your writing to a wider audience? Feel free to contact me atadmin@EndtheLie.com with your concerns, tips, questions, original writings, insults or just about anything that may strike your fancy.

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This article first appeared at End the Lie.

Madison Ruppert is the Editor and Owner-Operator of the alternative news and analysis database End The Lie and has no affiliation with any NGO, political party, economic school, or other organization/cause. He is available for podcast and radio interviews. Madison also now has his own radio show on UCYTV Monday nights 7 PM – 9 PM PT/10 PM – 12 AM ET. Show page link here: http://UCY.TV/EndtheLie. If you have questions, comments, or corrections feel free to contact him at admin@EndtheLie.com

Amended CISPA moves to House after closed-door vote

CISPA

 

Members of the House Intelligence Committee accepted amendments to the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act Wednesday, voting to include the new provisions by an 18-2 margin after a closed door meeting.

Members of the House Intelligence Committee accepted amendments to the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act Wednesday, voting to include the new provisions by an 18-2 margin after a closed door meeting. It puts the bill back on the table for consideration after failing last year.

The proposed CISPA legislation has been criticized by the American Civil Liberties Union, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and major Internet companies including Reddit andCraigslist, who say the bill all but eliminates privacy online. Facebook withdrew its support for the bill in March, joining 30,000 other websites in their opposition.

CISPA critics have decried the language in the bill, which grants private companies and the federal government unprecedented power to share an individual’s personal information for purported national security reasons. The House Intelligence Committee has repeatedly warned of the risk presented by potential cyber-attacks, threats that some experts say are unfounded.

CISPA is expected to be reintroduced to Congress as soon as next week after failing to gain enough momentum to summon a vote last year. US President Barack Obama has stated in the past that he would veto CISPA because of security concerns.

Evidently attempting to address those misgivings, the House Intelligence Committee’s closed-door session was expected to introduce amendments that would give privacy advocates and civil liberties officers more oversight on how personal information isshared and used.

Including language to deny companies legal immunity if they use cyber-threat disclosures to hack other companies and dropping language that allows the government to use cyber-threat information for national-security purposes were also reportedly on the docket, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

We have seen the language of these amendments – and what we’ve been hearing is that they still don’t tackle the core concerns including tailoring so that information that’sshared by private industry can’t be used for purposes other than cyber-security,” said Mark Jaycox, an analyst for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Before the secret meeting Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California) said he planned to propose an amendment that would require companies to at least attempt to remove personally identifiable information from data before sharing it with the federal government.

I think the other amendments are definitely a step in the right direction, but we still need the private sector to take efforts on its own to remove personally identifiable information,” Schiff told The Hill. “I still believe that the House, Senate and White House can come to a common agreement on these outstanding issues. It just shouldn’t be that difficult.”

I think we can maintain the proper balance of protecting the country from cyber-attacks and also ensuring the privacy rights of the American people are respected.”

Top bitcoin exchange freezes, arbitrarily shuts down, proving you will not be able to get out of bitcoin when you want to

It is now abundantly obvious that bitcoin has become an insidious “trap” that’s taking money from suckers who are deluded into believing the “bitcoin cult.” The top bitcoin exchange, MTGox, now openly admits that its trade engine crashed during the yesterday’s panic selloff, preventing people from being able to get out of the bitcoin market.

Today, MT.Gox now says, “Trading is halted until 2013-04-12 02:00am UTC to allow the market to cooldown following the drop in price,” meaning that the #1 bitcoin exchange has arbitrarily decided to stop processing orders just because it wants to!

It’s a bitcoin bank holiday! Don’t you just love holidays?

All this means three very concerning things:

#1) The bitcoin infrastructure cannot handle a selloff. Once the rush for the exits gains momentum, you will not be able to get out. Only those who sell early will be able to exit the market.

#2) The bitcoin infrastructure is subject to the whims of just one person running MTGox who can arbitrarily decide to shut it down whenever he thinks the market needs a “cooling period.” This is nearly equivalent to a financial dictatorship where one person calls the shots.

#3) Every piece of bad news will be “spun” by exchanges like MTGox into good-sounding news. As bitcoin was crashing yesterday by 60% in value in mere hours, MTGox announced it was a “victim of our own success!” So while bitcoin holders watched $1 billion in market valuation evaporate, MTGox called it a success. Gee, then what would you call it when bitcoin loses 99%? A “raging” success?

Keep in mind that MTGox makes money off bitcoin transactions, meaning the organization has every reason to spin bad news (just like Wall Street) and keep the market “churning” so that more transactions are taking place. Listening to bitcoin advice from people who are making money off bitcoin transactions is a lot like listening to Obama promise you how he’ll protect your liberty.

You are a fool if you believe anything now coming out of the “bitcoin cult.”

Check out this volatility. The time period for this chart is just 24 hours during which prices were swinging wildly:

Conclusion: Bitcoin is a failed currency experiment; not ready for prime time

Bitcoin is now officially a failed experiment. Thanks to the out-of-control hyping and “get rich” propaganda coming from its promoters, bitcoin has become nothing more than a pyramid scheme to take people’s money by suckering them into a currency scam that has no use in the real world. The wild market volatility of bitcoin now proves that merchants will not embrace this currency. There’s too much risk.

And that means bitcoins have little use in the real world, which also means that people are buying bitcoins for the sole purpose of selling bitcoins later — i.e. they are speculators playing the bitcoin casino. At this point, bitcoins might as well be widgets… or tulips.

Many bitcoin speculators are too young to have lived through the exact same mania with the dot com bubble, but believe me, it’s a nearly-identical repeat. …Millions of people all thinking they’re going to get rich without effort, suckering each other into a total delusion, displaying cult-like behaviors and irrational justifications while losing their shirts.

Ever pyramid bubble is wonderful as long as it keeps going up. Everybody thinks they’re rich, and the whole thing works great until it doesn’t. Once the delusion is shattered, everybody loses and the pyramid scheme collapses while the cult members stare in disbelief, unable to cash out because it’s already too late.

If you own bitcoins, SELL NOW while you still can

Get out of bitcoins. If you bought low, sell now while there are still suckers out there who think bitcoins will make them rich. If you bought high, sell now before it drops even further.

Oh, wait, I forgot: You can’t sell now, probably, because the #1 bitcoin exchange decided to close its doors. It’s the “bitcoin bank holiday!”

At this point you will hopefully realize that you traded dollars for a virtual currency that can be wildly manipulated, crashed, frozen and halted without your knowledge or input. If you bought in at anything over $20, you probably got suckered.

So my advice is to eat the losses, learn your expensive lesson, wise up and stop being such a fool in the future. Sell your bitcoins and focus on something more worthwhile.

The bitcoin cult is now the Jim Jones of currency, and everybody is drinking the kool-aid. It’s only a matter of time before they start dropping dead.

“It’s a holiday! A holiday!” – Gerald Celente, singing about the looming bank holidays that await depositors across the EU.

http://www.naturalnews.com/039880_bitcoin_bubble_panic_selling_accounts_frozen.html#ixzz2QBVdkNGk

BitCoin Down 50% In Massive Sell Off: Over $1 Billion Vaporized In a Few Hours

Just a few months ago the total net worth of all Bitcoins, a popular encrypted digital currency, was worth about $140 million. The non-tangible exchange mechanism is used by people all over the world to purchase everything from traditional goods and services, to illicit trade that may include drugs and stolen credit card numbers. The coins became a go-to digital store of wealth around the world after the meltdown of the Cypriot financial system, and was pushed as a ‘safe’ way to preserve wealth out of view prying government eyes. All of the excitement surrounding Bitcoin has driven the price of a single unit to in excess of $250, giving the total Bitcoins in global circulation a market capitalization of over $2.5 Billion in just a few months time.

Earlier this morning, Mike Adams of Natural News penned a warning to investors and those seeking privacy and wealth protection by utilizing the digitally encrypted BitCoin currency unit:

Bitcoin has become a casino. It is almost a perfect reflection of the tulip bulb mania of 1637 in these two ways: 1) Most people buying bitcoins have no use for bitcoins (just like tulip bulbs), and 2) The rapid increase in bitcoin valuations cannot be substantiated in any way that reflects reality.

In other words, there is no fundamental reason why bitcoins should be 2000% more valuable today than four months ago. Nothing has changed other than the craze / mania of people buying in.

When bitcoins were in the sub-$20 range, I was not concerned about any of this. I actually encouraged people to buy bitcoins and support the bitcoin movement. But alarm bells went off in my mind when it skyrocketed past $150 and headed to $200+ virtually overnight. These are not the signs of rational markets. These are warning signs of bad things yet to occur. (Via Infowars)

A few hours after Adams’ dire warning was posted, the crash he warned about has become a reality.

This morning, without warning, and moments after Bitcoin achieved its all time highs, the currency collapsed over 50%, essentially vaporizing upwards of one billion dollars in value.

This is what panic selling looks like – in real time:

Bitcoin-Collapse(Chart Courtesy Bitcoinbullbear.com)

And given that there are no protective mechanisms for the alternative free market Bitcoin trade, the crash may not yet be over.

Will it stage an amazing recovery? Alas, for this particular bubble, there are no NYSE circuit breakers nor is there a Federal Reserve-mandated “plunge protection team.” And why should there be? The central banks hate all currency alternatives. Firehats: on, especially since the volume is still relatively lite. (Zero Hedge)

The momentum for Bitcoin has now turned to the downside, much like it did in previous crashes where the currency achieved new highs, and was promptly sold off by those who bought into the bubble early at rock-bottom prices.

While BitCoin may be a preferred method of keeping payments for services and products private through its crypto-mechanisms, it is still a non-tangible asset and it require brokers and the internet to function properly.

Touted as a safe haven store of wealth and a “gold standard of the internet age” by Forbes, tens of thousands of investors bought into the hype.

Today they are paying the price.

During times of financial and economic stability BitCoin may function just fine as a suitable mechanism of exchange. But these are not ordinary times. Interesting, yes. Stable, no. And thus, exchanging one’s assets and turning them into digital Bitcoins may not be the best choice of asset protection during periods of financial, economic and political turmoil and uncertainty.

Only physical assets – the kind we can hold in our hand – can truly be called safe havens.

Food in your pantry that you can consume at anytime.

Skills and labor you can barter for other goods.

Precious metals, which have stood the test of time over thousands of years.

Land on which you can produce food and alternative power.

These are the assets that provide a realistic level of safety and security.

These are money when the system crashes and confidence in the paper ponzi schemes around the world is lost.

Bitcoin is fine for certain types of transactions. But having funds in Bitcoin is, obviously, no different than a deposit account at a bank which can go under or a stock marketprone to manipulation.

Get physical. It’s the only way to ensure your assets will really be there when you need them.

 

 

http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/bitcrash-down-50-in-massive-sell-off-over-1-billion-vaporized-in-a-few-hours_04102013

The Internet ‘Narcissism Epidemic’

3381938345_4f28ed6a7f_z570.jpg

(The Atlantic) We are in the midst of a “narcissism epidemic,” concluded psychologists Jean M. Twnege and W. Keith Campbell in their 2009 book. One study they describe showed that among a group of 37,000 college students, narcissistic personality traits rose just as quickly as obesity from the 1980s to the present. Fortunately for narcissists, the continued explosion of social networking has provided them with productivity tools to continually expand their reach — the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Foursquare, and occasionally Google Plus.

Those who had high scores on grandiose exhibitionism tended to amass more friends on Facebook.

Evidence for the rise in narcissism continues to come up in research and news. A study by psychologist Dr. Nathan DeWall and his team found “a statistically significant trend toward narcissism and hostility in popular music” since the 1980s. Shawn Bergman, an assistant professor of organizational psychology at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina notes that “narcissism levels among millennials are higher than previous generations.”

Researchers at Western Illinois University measured two socially disruptive aspects of narcissistic personalities — grandiose exhibitionism and entitlement/exploitativeness. Those who had high scores on grandiose exhibitionism tended to amass more friends on Facebook. Buffardi and Campbell found a high correlation between Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) scores and Facebook activity. Researchers were able to identify those with high NPI scores by studying their Facebook pages.

Elias Aboujaoude, a professor of psychiatry at Stanford, notes that our ability tailor the Internet experience to our every need is making us more narcissistic. He observes, “This shift from e- to i- in prefixing Internet URLs and naming electronic gadgets and apps parallels the rise of the self-absorbed online Narcissus.” He goes on to state that, “As we get accustomed to having even our most minor needs … accommodated to this degree, we are growing more needy and more entitled. In other words, more narcissistic.”

In virtual space many of the physical interactions that restrain behavior vanish. Delusions of grandeur, narcissism, viciousness, impulsivity, and infantile behavior for some individuals rise to the surface. Aboujaoude, in his book Virtually Youobserves, “the traits we take on online can become incorporated in our offline personalities.” Just as members of a mob get swept along by others’ emotions, the same thing can happen to us when we get swept up in a virtual Internet mob.

Normalcy is a benchmark any narcissist should aspire to achieve.

Beyond the basic social media platforms that narcissists use to display themselves, there is a small but growing support industry they can turn to for help and advice. Article abound providing advice on how to build fan bases on Facebook and get books reviewed on Amazon. Services allow the purchase of page views, Youtube plays, and fake social media followers of all kinds.

We suspect part of the rise in narcissism is being driven by Internet tools. What is clear is that social media platforms are frequently used by those with narcissistic tendencies to feed their egos. These same applications are used by millions of others to build their businesses, coordinate events, and maintain close ties with friends and families.

Unfortunately, narcissists are setting many of the benchmarks for everyday users. Everyday users get caught up in popularity contests and experience anxieties; some report becoming depressed because they are being out-Twittered and are lacking in thumbs ups.

Social media are an important part of the lives of hundreds of millions of users around the world. If you are one of them, maintaining perspective is important. Do not let narcissists set your standards. You may be lagging far behind in the social media rat race because your NPI (Narcissistic Personality Inventory) score is not high enough. The reason you may not have thousands of followers on Twitter and friends on Facebook is because you are normal. Normalcy is a benchmark any narcissist should aspire to achieve.

Dr. W. Keith Campbell joined Authentic Enlightenment for an interview about the rise of narcissism plaguing our planet. The interview can be found HERE

Obama – Executive order on Cyber “Security” due to hacks. Yet, No proof of hacks. There goes our 1st amendment!

(www.sherriequestioningall.blogspot.com) Well is it any wonder they want to wipe out every single Bill of Rights we have?  We have had only 2 left, the 2nd amendment (they are working on) and the 1st amendment (up to a point).

Obama is set to sign an Executive order on Wednesday for Cyber Security, due to all the hackings going on.

I have a question for everyone?  Have you ever seen any of the “top secret” documents from hackings?  We heard about the Pentagon hacking last week.  Yet I never saw anything from it.  We heard about the Bush email hacks the other day.  The only thing released was a portrait that Bush Jr. painted of himself.  So, in other words…. we are suppose to just take their word for it all.  Just like all the other events.  If they say it “it must be true.”  Jeez… have they ever lied to us before?  The government and media wouldn’t do that now…. would they?

Oh.. how convenient for the government that Aaron Swartz committed suicide a couple of weeks ago, considering he is the one who was instrumental in stopping any other cyber security (control) of the internet.

With the “control” of the internet, we will not actually have our 1st amendment left.  They will begin taking down the sites they do not want.   They will stop the flow of information of truth and questioning their actions.

Don’t think that won’t happen?  When the government takes control of anything…. has any good ever come from it?

We don’t know what is going to be in that Executive order, but I guess we will find out after it is signed.  OH… who was that person in 2008 who spoke about transparency and all bills/orders being on the net 2 days before being voted or signed off on?   Oh… yeah that Nobel Peace Prize winner who has murdered more innocent people with drones and begun more wars than any other President before him.

Portion from article:

The White House is poised to release a cybersecurity executive order on Wednesday, two people familiar with the matter told The Hill.
The highly anticipated directive from President Obama is expected to be released at a briefing Wednesday morning at the U.S. Department of Commerce, where senior administration officials will provide an update about cybersecurity policy.
The White House began crafting the executive order after Congress failed to pass cybersecurity legislation last year. Officials said the threat facing the United States was too great for the administration to ignore.

 

FBI is increasing pressure on suspects in Stuxnet inquiry

(Washington Post) Federal investigators looking into disclosures of classified information about a cyberoperation that targeted Iran’s nuclear program have increased pressure on current and former senior government officials suspected of involvement, according to people familiar with the investigation.

The inquiry, which was started by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. last June, is examining leaks about a computer virus developed jointly by the United States and Israel that damaged nuclear centrifuges at Iran’s primary uranium enrichment plant. The U.S. code name for the operation was Olympic Games, but the wider world knew the mysterious computer worm as Stuxnet.

Prosecutors are pursuing “everybody — at pretty high levels, too,” said one person familiar with the investigation. “There are many people who’ve been contacted from different agencies.”

The FBI and prosecutors have interviewed several current and former senior government officials in connection with the disclosures, sometimes confronting them with evidence of contact with journalists, according to people familiar with the probe. Investigators, they said, have conducted extensive analysis of the e-mail accounts and phone records of current and former government officials in a search for links to journalists.

The people familiar with the investigation would speak only on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. The Justice Department declined to comment.

The Obama administration has prosecuted six officials for disclosing classified information, more than all previous administrations combined. But the Stuxnet investigation is arguably the highest-profile probe yet, and it could implicate senior-level officials. Knowledge of the virus was likely to have been highly compartmentalized and limited to a small set of Americans and Israelis.

The proliferation of e-mail and the advent of sophisticated software capable of sifting through huge volumes of it have significantly improved the ability of the FBI to find evidence. A trail of e-mail has eased the FBI’s search for a number of suspects recently, including John Kiriakou, the former CIA officer who was sentenced Friday to 30 months in prison for disclosing to a journalist the identity of a CIA officer who had spent 20 years under cover.

Late last year, retired Gen. David H. Petraeus resigned as CIA director after the FBI discovered e-mails in one of his private accounts showing that he had an extramarital affair with his biographer.

Holder appointed Rod J. Rosenstein, the U.S. attorney for Maryland, to lead the Stuxnet inquiry after a New York Times article about President Obama ordering cyberattacks against Iran using a computer virus developed in conjunction with Israel. Other publications, including The Washington Post, followed with similar reports about Stuxnet and a related virus called Flame.

At the same time, Holder named Ronald C. Machen Jr., the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, to head a criminal investigation into leaks concerning thedisruption of a bomb plot by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Holder’s action followed complaints from members of Congress, including the heads of the intelligence

Machen is examining a leak to the Associated Press that a double agent inside al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen allowed the United States and Saudi Arabia to disrupt the plot to bomb an airliner using explosives and a detonation system that could evade airport security checks.

“People are feeling less open to talking to reporters given this uptick,” said a person with knowledge of Machen’s inquiry. “There is a definite chilling effect in government due to these investigations.”

Since the probes were announced, there has been little publicity about the ongoing inquiries.

The Justice Department declined to provide statistics on how many leak investigations were launched during Obama’s first term. Between 2005 and 2009, according to an April 2010 Justice Department letter that was sent to a Senate committee, intelligence agencies notified the department 183 times about leaks. The FBI opened 26 investigations and identified 14 suspects.

Lisa Monaco, the head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division who was named Friday as the president’s new counterterrorism adviser, told the Senate in 2011 that there has been “a stepped-up effort, and indeed a priority placed on the prosecution of leak matters.” Monaco said that leaks “do tremendous damage” and that unauthorized disclosures should be “prosecuted and pursued, either by criminal means or the use of administrative sanctions.”

Former prosecutors said these investigations typically begin by compiling a list of people with access to the classified information. When government officials attend classified briefings or examine classified documents in secure facilities, they must sign a log, and these records can provide an initial road map for investigators.

Former prosecutors said investigators run sophisticated software to identify names, key words and phrases embedded in e-mails and other communications, including text messages, which could lead them to suspects.

The FBI also looks at officials’ phone records — who called whom, when, for how long. Once they have evidence of contact between officials and a particular journalist, investigators can seek a warrant to examine private e-mail accounts and phone records, including text messages, former prosecutors said.

Prosecutors and the FBI can examine government e-mail accounts and government-issued devices, including cellphones, without a warrant. They can also look at private e-mail accounts without a warrant if those accounts were accessed on government computers.

The investigation of Kiriakou grew out of an inquiry by the Justice Department into how high-value detainees at Guantanamo Bay came to have photographs of some intelligence officials in their cells. E-mails eventually led the FBI to exchanges between Kiriakou and a journalist that revealed the name of a covert officer. That name was passed to an investigator working for the American Civil Liberties Union and finally made its way into a classified filing by the ACLU.

In the case of Petraeus, the FBI started with five threatening, anonymous e-mails sent to a Florida woman. After several weeks of following the trail, the bureau found itself confronting explicit exchanges between Petraeus and his mistress. They also found what have been described as flirtatious e-mails between Gen. John Allen and the Florida woman. Petraeus was not charged with a crime, and Allen was cleared of wrongdoing last week.

Jobless to be remotely monitored by Government

The Government will be able to remotely monitor computers used by the unemployed to see how many jobs they search for each day under a

(telegraph.co.uk) From the beginning of next year, the unemployed will have to look for work through the Coalition’s new Universal Jobmatch website or potentially risk losing their benefits.

The website will scan the CVs of benefit claimants and automatically match them up with job openings that suit their skills.

It will also allow employers to search for new workers among the unemployed and send messages inviting them to interviews.

However, the activities of benefit claimants can also be tracked using devices known as “cookies”, so their Job Centre advisers can know how many searches they have been doing, suggest potential jobs and see whether they are turning down viable opportunities.

Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, said the scheme would “revolutionise” the process of looking for work.

The tracking element of the programme will not be compulsory as monitoring people’s behaviour online without their consent would not be allowed under EU law.

But job advisers are able to impose sanctions such as compulsory work placements or ultimately losing benefits if they feel the unemployed are not searching hard enough.

Mr Duncan Smith said: “If you choose not to take a job that matches you, then the adviser will look at your reasons, and if the adviser thinks ‘actually, these are pretty specious reasons’, he may call you in and say ‘I think you really need to be applying for these jobs’.”

He said the website will mean Job Centre advisers are able to target their help at jobseekers with problems, while letting capable candidates get on with their searches.

“For the very small percentage that have a real problem – maybe they have absolutely no skills – we want them in front of the adviser,” he said.

“And if they’re just not playing ball, they will be in front of the adviser. These are little trip wires, if we think they’re not applying for it. There are lots of things the adviser can do.”

The Work and Pensions Secretary said jobseekers can be hauled in every day if advisers “think they’re not up to the activity” they are meant to be doing.

“We have some interesting programmes like mandatory work activity if the [advisers] think they’re having trouble getting out of bed, if they’re not playing the game.”

Around 690,000 people have signed up to it so far, with more than half giving their Government job adviser access to their profile and activities.

The website has already signed up 370,000 employers and jobseekers are conducting about five million searches a day.

Mr Duncan Smith also confirmed his department is looking at introducing a ‘welfare card’, instead of some benefits, for drug addicts. This could only be used to purchase certain items, such as food and other essentials, stopping them from spending their benefits on drugs.

“I’ve been looking at this process to figure out whether it’s feasible, how would it work, how does it match with legal obligations, so we’ve already been examining this,” he told the BBC’s World at One. “There’s nothing at the moment on plans, but I genuinely think there are some areas where we might want to think about.

“You know, somebody who has a history of real drug addiction, giving people cash sometimes can actually lead to further problems.”

Biometrics, Immigration and How the US and Canada Collect Data on Citizens

Activist Post

The Immigration Sharing Treaty, an integral part of thePerimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness Action Plan (PSECAP), was signed by the US and Canada last week. David Jacobson, US Ambassador to Canada said:

This important agreement is the culmination of ten years of effort to advance the security of the United States and Canada, and to ensure the integrity of our immigration and visa systems. It reflects the commitment of President Obama and Prime Minister Harper to the Beyond the Border process, which will enhance North American security while facilitating the efficient movement of safe goods and well-intentioned travelers.

In 2011, Obama and Stephen Harper, Canadian Prime Minister, signed the PSECAP that allowed for the sharing of information on both Canadian and American citizens for the sake of immigration, improve border efficiency, border security and provide a network database to identify foreign national as well as stop illegals from crossing the border.

This includes biometric technologies to be used beginning in 2014.

Biometric border crossing cards (BCCs) have been used to identify Mexican citizens making short visits since 1997 with the approval of the Congress and in conjunction with the US State Department who employed DynCorp who is now owned by CSC.

Advancements in BBCs have led to laser visas which are “machine-readable, credit-card-sized documents with digitally encoded biometric data, including the bearer’s photograph and fingerprint.”
Those in the program were fingerprinted and photographed with their information entered into biometric databases with electronic verification of authenticity. Files were reviewed by the State Department. Once approved, the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued the individuals new laser visas.

Biometric technologies are defensible by the US government in use at border crossings as a quick and easy way to be identified. However, the price for entering into the US is now paid in private information about each individual who sets foot in the country. This gives the US the ability to know vast amounts of data about each person such as accurately distinguishing their characteristics:

  • Height
  • Weight
  • Gender
  • Nationality
  • Fingerprint
  • Disability

The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), an agreed upon technology to be used under the PSECAP, was outlined in the Beyond the Border Declaration (BBD)which articulates the relationship between the US and Canada to address threats to their nations through secure borders as well as immigration, goods and services that travel through the two countries.

ESTA, an extension of the DHS through US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) oversees all applications for international travelers who enter the US. Their approval of passage is the deciding factor for entrance into America.

Stated in the BBD was the relationship between the US and Canada, “the purpose of interweaving the two nations to increase the resiliency of our networks, enhance public-private partnerships, and build a culture of shared responsibility,” according to Janet Napolitano, Secretary of DHS.

In November, both the US and Canadian governments revealed that they will combine efforts against cyber-attacks with the creation of an action plan between the DHS and Public Safety Canada (PSC) to improve digital infrastructure.

In Washington, DC and Ottawa, Canada there will be a collaboration of cyber security operation centers as well as shared information and the establishment of guidelines on private sector corporations. Added to this endeavor is the governmental alliance on propaganda methods to convince the citizens of both nations that cyber security must become an over-reaching control by the two governments.

Apple has filed a patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office for facial recognition systems that “analyzes the characteristics of an image’s subject and uses this data to create a ‘faceprint,’ to match with other photos to establish a person’s identity.”

According to the patent description:

In order to automatically recognise a person’s face that is detected in a digital image, facial detection/recognition software generates a set of features or a feature vector (referred to as a ‘faceprint’) that indicate characteristics of the person’s face. The generate faceprint is then compared to other faceprints to determine whether the generated faceprint matches (or is similar enough to) one or more of the other faceprints. If so, then the facial detection/recognition software determines that the person corresponding to the generated faceprint is likely to be the same person that corresponds to the ‘matched’ faceprints(s).

The federal government has released on a website, the information about their use of biometric technologies that they want the general public to know.
As far back as 2008, former President George W. Bush signed the National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD)-59 / Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) – 24, “Biometrics for Identification and Screening to Enhance National Security”. This NSPD explained the “framework to ensure Federal departments and agencies use compatible methods and procedures in the collection, storage, use, analysis, and sharing of biometric and associated biographic and contextual information of individuals in a lawful and appropriate manner, while respecting privacy and other legal rights under United States law.”

Ambassador says US “cannot sign the ITU regulations in their current form”

(Arstechnica) -The United States announced on a conference call with reporters on Thursday that it would not be supporting regulations approved at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) WCIT-12 conference in Dubai. The assembled delegates will meet for the formal signing ceremony to close out the conference on Friday.

“The United States has announced today that it cannot sign the ITU regulations in their current form,” Ambassador Terry Kramer said (Kramer leads the American delegation at the conference).

He spoke just after an Internet resolution as part of the final draft had been approved by a majority of attending nations, some of whom seemed confused about whether they were actually voting on the draft proposal.

“The US delegation was apparently angered by developments in the early hours of Wednesday morning, when Russia and its allies succeeded in winning, by a mere show of hands, approval of a resolution that mentions the Internet,” The New York Times wrote. “The show of hands followed an attempt by [Mohamed Nasser al-Ghanim, director general of the Telecommunication Regulation Authority of the United Arab Emirates] to gauge, as he put it, ‘the temperature of the room.’”

The ambassador also said that so far, a number of other nations would either not be signing or have “significant reservations” and are consulting their governments overnight in Dubai. Those countries include the United Kingdom, Costa Rica, Denmark, Egypt, Sweden, the Netherlands, Kenya, the Czech Republic, Canada, New Zealand, and Poland—but the group may turn out to be larger.

“The United States has consistently believed and continues to believe that the ITR should be a high-level document and that the scope of the treaty does not extend to Internet governance or content,” Kramer added. “Other administrations have made it clear that they believe the treaty should be extended to include those issues, and so we cannot be part of that consensus.”

The final text of the International Telecommunications Regulations treaty that was approved has not yet been made public. It’s obvious there is a staunch divide between Washington and a number of its allies, vis-à-vis other countries who are in favor of more national control of the Internet (most notably Russia, China, and their allies).

“It is clear that the world community is at a crossroad in its collective view of the Internet and of the most optimal environment flourishing of the Internet in this century,” he added. “No single organization or government can or should attempt to control the Internet or dictate its future development.”

On the conference call, Ars was able to ask why such international affirmation was even needed, when China, Iran, Syria and others routinely unilaterally impose restrictions on their domestic Internet.

“Countries have national sovereignty rights—they can do what they want,” Kramer said. “What we don’t want over time is a set of global agreements that people can point to and say: ‘Listen, you know, this treaty gave us the right to impose these terms on global operators of some sort.’ We don’t think that this will happen per se, it’s not legally binding, but you don’t want something to happen where people can think it is a binding term in a global environment.”