Samsung Warns Customers Not To Discuss Personal Information In Front Of Smart TVs

smart tv

Samsung has confirmed that its “smart TV” sets are listening to customers’ every word, and the company is warning customers not to speak about personal information while near the TV sets.

The company revealed that the voice activation feature on its smart TVs will capture all nearby conversations. The TV sets can share the information, including sensitive data, with Samsung as well as third-party services.  Continue reading

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

united-states-secrets

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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For the First Time in 14 Years, the NSA Can’t Get Your Phone Records. Or Can They?

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As reported over at Vice

As of midnight on Sunday, for the first time since 2001, the NSA lost its legal authority to collect Americans phone records in bulk.

The Senate let three provisions of the Patriot Act expire on Sunday, including the controversial Section 215, which allows the spy agency to collect all phone records from telephone companies every three months, a practice that was ruled illegal by a judge less than a month ago.

Two other provisions of the Patriot Act also expired. One of them allowed the government to obtain warrants from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to spy on suspected “lone wolf” terrorists; and the other, known as the “roving wiretap,” allowed investigators to obtain permission to spy on multiple phones owned by one suspect with just one application.

While this might seem like a victory for anti-surveillance advocates, the truth is that most of the Patriot Act stands, and even this victory is going to be a short-lived one.

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Creepy: New IBM program lets banks and retailers spy on your Social Media Activities[video]

IBM

While the fight for your privacy rages on Capitol Hill IBM just unleashed a powerful new spy tool into the public sector. http://youtu.be/hM28eK-Ynx4

IBM today announced 20 new industry-specific solutions with pre-built predictive analytics capabilities that will make it easier and faster for corporations to act.

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Half a billion SIM cards could be bugged or have information stolen from them because of ‘serious security flaws’

(Daily Mail UK) An eighth of all SIM cards used around the world could be at risk of fraud, theft, or being bugged, a German security expert has claimed.

Karsten Nohl, a cryptographer, discovered the serious security flaw that could let hackers send hidden text messages to affected handsets and infect them with a virus – regardless of what operating system the phone runs on. Continue reading

So, You Want to Hide from the NSA? Your Guide to the Nearly Impossible

Complaining about the government is a key part of being American, the first amendment to the Constitution. But it seems like a bit of a trickier proposition these days, with the government listening to everything you say online. In the interest of preserving your freedoms and bolstering our fair nation, here is the full articulation of the deeply paranoid and complex life you must live in order to assure that the government leaves you alone. <!–more–> 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

Top Counter-Terrorism Czar: Revealing NSA Spying Program DOESN’T Harm National Security

Terrorists Already Knew about the Programs … The Only People Who Were Kept In the Dark Were the American People

We noted yesterday that government officials aren’t trying to keep the spying programs secret to protect national security, but only to protect their own reputations.

We quoted the former head of the National Security Agency’s global digital data gathering program, who said:

The terrorists have already known that we’ve been doing this for years, so there’s no surprise there. They’re not going to change the way they operate just because it comes out in the U.S. press. I mean, the point is, they already knew it, and they were operating the way they would operate anyway. So, the point is that they’re—we’re not—the government here is not trying to protect it from the terrorists; it’s trying to protect it, that knowledge of that program, from the citizens of the United States.

This was just confirmed by the top counter-terrorism czar under Presidents Clinton and Bush – Richard Clarke – who writes:

The argument that this sweeping search must be kept secret from the terrorists is laughable. Terrorists already assume this sort of thing is being done. Only law-abiding American citizens were blissfully ignorant of what their government was doing.

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/06/top-counter-terrorism-czar-revealing-nsa-spying-program-doesnt-harm-national-security.html

IRS Buying Spying Equipment: Covert Cameras in Coffee Trays, Plants

IRS Purchasing Surveillance Equipment: Hidden Cameras in Coffee Trays, Plants

The IRS, currently in the midst of scandals involving the targeting of conservative groups and lavish taxpayer-funded conferences, is ordering surveillance equipment that includes hidden cameras in coffee trays, plants and clock radios.

The IRS wants to secure the surveillance equipment quickly – it posted a solicitation on June 6 and is looking to close the deal by Monday, June 10.  The agency already has a company lined up for the order but is not commenting on the details.

“The Internal Revenue Service intends to award a Purchase Order to an undisclosed Corporation,” reads the solicitation.

“The following descriptions are vague due to the use and nature of the items,” it says.

“If you feel that you can provide the following equipment, please respond to this email no later than 4 days after the solicitation date,” the IRS said.

Among the items the agency will purchase are four “Covert Coffee tray(s) with Camera concealment,” and four “Remote surveillance system(s)” with “Built-in DVD Burner and 2 Internal HDDs, cameras.”

The IRS also is buying four cameras to hide in plants: “(QTY 4) Plant Concealment Color 700 Lines Color IP Camera Concealment with Single Channel Network Server, supports dual video stream, Poe [Power over Ethernet], software included, case included, router included.”

Finishing out the order are four “Color IP Camera Concealment with single channel network server, supports dual video stream, poe, webviewer and cms software included, audio,” and two “Concealed clock radio.”

IRS Purchasing Surveillance Equipment: Hidden Cameras in Coffee Trays, Plants(AP Photo)

“Responses to this notice must be received by this office within 3 business days of the date of this synopsis by 2:00 P.M. EST, June 10, 2013,” the IRS said.  Interested vendors are to contact Ricardo Carter, a Contract Specialist at the IRS.

“If no compelling responses are received, award will be made to the original solicited corporation,” the IRS said.

The original solicitation was only available to private companies for bids for 19 business hours.

The notice was posted at 11:07 a.m. on June 6 and had a deadline of 2:00 p.m. on Monday. Taking a normal 9-to-5 work week, the solicitation was open for bids for six hours on Thursday, eight hours on Friday, and five hours on Monday, for a total of 19 hours.

The response date was changed on Monday, pushed back to 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 11.

The location listed for the solicitation is the IRS’s National Office of Procurement, in Oxon Hill, Md.

“The Procurement Office acquires the products and services required to support the IRS mission,” according to its website.

In recent weeks the IRS has been at the center of multiple scandals, admitting to targeting Tea Party groups and subjecting them to greater scrutiny when applying for non-profit status during the 2010 and 2012 elections.

A report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration revealed that groups with names like “patriot” in their titles were singled out, required to complete lengthy personal questionnaires (often multiple times) and having their nonprofit status delayed, sometimes for more than three years.

Last week a second Inspector General report detailed nearly $50 million in wasteful spending by the agency on conferences, in which employees stayed at luxurious Las Vegas hotels, paid a keynote speaker $17,000 to paint a picture of U2 singer Bono, and spent $50,000 on parody videos of “Star Trek.”

Requests for comment from the IRS and Mr. Carter were not returned before this story was posted.

CNSNews.com asked IRS spokesmen Dean Patterson and Anthony Burke to explain the reasoning behind the solicitation, where the surveillance equipment will be used, why the request was so urgent, and whether the request has anything to do with the recent scandals at the IRS.

 

 

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/irs-buying-spying-equipment-covert-cameras-coffee-trays-plants

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.”

The Textbooks Have Eyes: Now E-Books Can Track If You Do Your Homework

(theatlanticwire.com)Welcome to the future of education where your textbook—and therefore your teacher—knows exactly how much of your homework you did, how, and when. The idea is that this data will improve outcomes, helping teachers better understand their students habits. And with CourseSmart teachers can do just that, as The New York Times‘ David Streitfeld explains today. Through what is called “the engagement index” a professor can track the a student’s study habits, by looking at what pages of the book were opened, when, and how they took notes. “It’s Big Brother, sort of, but with a good intent,” says Tracy Hurley, the dean of Texas A&M’s school of business, which has started testing the technology along with eight other schools.

While helping professors understand why certain students are struggling is a good thing, as we’ve learned repeatedly, it’s difficult to predict how people will use data. Take this example of how the CourseSmart data lead to suspicion of a student who had good grades:

Adrian Guardia, a Texas A&M instructor in management, took notice the other day of a student who was apparently doing well. His quiz grades were solid, and so was what CourseSmart calls his “engagement index.” But Mr. Guardia also saw something else: that the student had opened his textbook only once.

Guardia told Streitfeld this was a cause for concern: “Are you really learning if you only open the book the night before the test? I knew I had to reach out to him to discuss his studying habits.” Of course, students, especially at or above college level, don’t all learn the exact same way. By the traditional outcome measurements (i.e. grades) and even the newfangled CourseSmart “engagement index” (an example of which you can see here), this student was doing fine, but the new granular data allowed a teacher to be skeptical about that student’s work.

The introduction of new subjective judgments already, understandably, has students worried. Hillary Torres with good grades, but “low engagement” scores, told Streitfeld: “If he looks and sees, ‘Hillary is not really reading as much as I thought,’ does that give him a negative image of me? His opinion really matters. Maybe I need to change my study habits.” But unless instructors want to change how they evaluate students, why should she change the methods that are working for her?

Even worse, another good student had to sit down with her professor to fit her study habits to some Silicon Valley company’s textbook. In the Times comments, Charlotte writes: “I never studied the way the program thought I should. I took notes on paper, read only what I thought was important, and used outside resources to study.” All of these would not be captured by the CourseSmart metrics. “By studying the way I thought was best for me I did well in the class, and finished with an A. I ended up with a very low engagement score which prompted my professor to set up multiple meetings with me over the semester about my supposedly poor study habits, and how he could help me. I didn’t need help. It was all a complete waste of time.”

These aren’t the best case scenarios of course. In an ideal world, the aggregate data would help textbook authors to create better learning materials and give educators insight into how much these very expensive supplemental materials are actually helping the learning experience. But since when has data ever been used just for good?

Who wants a smart meter to track’n’tax your car? Hello, Israel

(theregister.co.uk) Israel is drafting a tender for smart meters to be mandated in every vehicle in the country, tracking drivers to allow for differential taxation, but only once the privacy issues have been resolved.

The plan is to vary vehicle tax based on usage, so drivers who don’t drive during peak times, or stay out of city centres, get discounted road tax, but the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Transport are adamant that any solution will have to protect the privacy of drivers who might not want every journey recorded and logged forever.

“Without a full solution to the privacy problem, we cannot even think about implementing the new tax method,” a source in the transportation department told local business site Globes. “We want a system which will not notify Big Brother about where a vehicle is located, but in which the device will make the calculations, and allow the car owner to delete data after use.”

It’s an alarmingly enlightened viewpoint, and not one that our Big-Data-Cloud-Analysis corporations would approve, but the rational approach doesn’t stop there – the idea isn’t just to tax users by the mile, as most systems would, but to reward them for reducing their existing mileage as demonstrated by the trial scheme which launched last month.

That scheme, called Going Green, will monitor 1,200 drivers over two years, and pay them up to 25 shekels (about a fiver) for every journey they don’t take. The first six months are used to work out “normal” driving, after which the volunteer can receive to a maximum of around a £1,000 over 18 months, calculated on the journeys they didn’t take, where they didn’t go, and the time at which they didn’t go there.

The formula is necessarily complicated, but laid out in full (in Hebrew) on the sign-up site. Globes reckons several hundred volunteers have already put their names down despite the privacy issues not yet being addressed, but the forthcoming tender will require a privacy-securing solution.

The UK system of recording every numberplate which enters the city centre is much easier and has the added benefit of feeding an enormous database of our movements, and as long as you’ve nothing to hide then presumably you have nothing to fear. We’re told this is the way a congestion charge is run, so it will be interesting to see if the Israelis can come up with a better solution, and if such a thing would ever be acceptable to our own government.

Communists Stand in Defiance of Bill of Rights

(fromthetrenchesworldreport.com) The communist insurgents within the United States continue their push to disarm we American nationals, even to the point of presenting poll numbers which have been proven to be false via their own previous admissions.  Captain Mark Kelly, the husband of ex-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was making the rounds over the weekend, spouting his sedition while trying to present himself as some kind of American hero.

Let’s look at this logically and ask the question. Does the government grant the people their rights?  Was the Bill of Rights written by the government to outline the privileges they were to bestow upon us, said privileges of course to be revoked, altered, or regulated at the government’s whim?

This is the position the government would like to establish.  It is however absolutely a fiction.  This government did not grant us our rights, as all power within this nation resides in the people.  We granted the government limited power, which they have distorted.  Our rights are inalienable, they cannot be removed as we are born with them and they stay with us until our deaths.

The 2nd Article to the Bill of Rights states in part: “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  This is an absolute statement and there is no way it can be misconstrued.

Infringe is defined as: “Act so as to limit or undermine; encroach on”, therefore any government action that alters, in the smallest degree, any American nationals right to arm, as he or she sees fit, is by definition an infringement and is not law, but rather an act of sedition.

The infringements that have been levied upon our Bill of Rights are too numerous to count.  These infringements have in fact brought us to the precipice of slavery.  The only thing standing in the way of a complete takeover of the people by the government is our possession of our firearms which have not yet been made a part of the infringements.

This is not just about our 2nd Article right.  This is about our freedom and liberty, et.al.  A person who is governed by another person is not free.  This is why our Republic emphasizes self governess of, by, and for the individual.

Mark Kelly spouted the lie that 92% of the American people support universalbackground checks, which can only be accomplished through universal registration.  Again, this is a lie, but even if it were not, it would not matter.  If 99.999% supported it, no one of us can alter the rights of another.

Our employees in the government are forbidden by law to advocate in any way to alter our Bill of Rights. The 1934 Gun Control Act was and is an infringement, and tell me how bold would these actors within this police state be in attacking our homes, if we still had our machine guns and hand grenades?  The 1968 Gun Control Act was and is an infringement, as the 2nd Article to the Bill of Rights does not say “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed except for those who are felons. “

These communists are parasites of the lowest degree and have sleazed their way into our lives in taking our kindness for weakness, said kindness fostered in reality via stupidity as the most feared threat to our safety is an armed government wielding tyranny over an unarmed population.

These present infringements have been put forth for no other reason than to segment another portion of our population to be without their inalienable rights.  And with the new mental health aspect, hell you do not even have to be accused of harming anyone.  Now, instead of being dispossessed of our rights via conviction, which again is unconstitutional, we are to be disarmed for what could happen: an ‘if’ or a ‘maybe’.

We must stand firm in our defiance of universal background check registration and let these communists know that not only are they going to cease and desist in their attempt at further infringement, but we demand that all past infringements be removed as a precursor to their trials for sedition.

God bless the Republic, death to the international corporate mafia, we shall prevail.

The Anger Phase Of Humanity Is Coming

Supreme Court Whores refuse to allow Americans the right to challenge FISA

 

(IntelHub) -The United States Supreme Court will not let Americans challenge a provision in a foreign intelligence law that lets the federal government secretly eavesdrop on the intimate communications of millions of Americans.

On Tuesday, the top justices in the US said the country’s highest court will not hear a case in which Amnesty International and a slew of co-plaintiffs have contested a provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, or FISA, that lets the National Security Agency silently monitor emails and phone calls.

Under the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA), the NSA is allowed to conduct electronic surveillance on any US citizen as long as they are suspected of conversing with any person located outside of the United States.

That provision was scheduled to expire at the end of 2012, but Congress voted to re-up the bill and it was put back on the books for another five years.

Along with human rights workers and journalists, Amnesty International first challenged the FAA on the day it went into effect, arguing that the powers provided to the NSA under the FISA amendments likely puts the plaintiffs and perhaps millions of other Americans at risk of surveillance.

Now years later, though, they are finally being told that they cannot challenge the law that, while meant to collect foreign intelligence, puts every person in the country at risk of being watched.

“Under the FAA, the government can target anyone — human rights researchers, academics, attorneys, political activists, journalists — simply because they are foreigners outside the United States, and in the course of its surveillance it can collect Americans’ communications with those individuals,” the American Civil Liberties Union wrote on behalf of the plaintiffs in a legal brief filed last year with the court.

Amnesty, et al have been pursuing an injunction against the NSA in their lawsuit, which names former NSA-Chief James Clapper is a co-defendant. Because the plaintiffs cannot prove that they’ve actually been targeted under the FAA, however, the case is been stalled endlessly.

 

In last year’s filing, the ACLU acknowledged that an appeals court panel agreed in 2011 that “plaintiffs have good reason to believe that their communications, in particular, will fall within the scope of the broad surveillance that they can assume the government will conduct,” and the full body of US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit later refused the government’s attempts to have them reconsider.

“But instead of allowing the case to be heard on the merits, the Obama administration asked the Supreme Court to review the case,” the ACLU’s Ateqah Khaki, wrote. “Our brief urges the Court to affirm the appeals court’s decision.”

On Tuesday, however, the Supreme Court dismissed the claims that the plaintiffs were being watched under the FAA. Amnesty and others had argued that the presumed surveillance they were subjected to has caused them to go out of their way to maintain working relationships with clients, forcing them to travel abroad to communicate without the fear of being monitored.

In the suit, the plaintiffs have said that because they communicate “with people the Government ‘believes or believed to be associated with terrorist organizations,’ ‘people located in geographic areas that are a special focus’ of the Government’s counterterrorism or diplomatic efforts, and activists who oppose governments that are supported by the United States Government,” they’ve undertaken “costly and burdensome measures” to protect the confidentiality of sensitive communications.

“This theory of future injury is too speculative,” Justice Samuel Alito said in announcing the 5-4 decision, calling it “hypothetical future harm.”

“In sum, respondents’ speculative chain of possibilities does not establish that injury based on potential future surveillance,” the court ruled. “[R]espondents’ self-inflicted injuries are not fairly traceable to the Government’s purported activities under [the FAA] and their subjective fear of surveillance does not give rise to standing.”

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas joined Alito in the ruling. Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan all dissented.

U.N. Drone Investigator: If Facts Lead to U.S. War Crimes, So Be It

 Ben Emmerson wants to be clear: He’s not out to ban flying killer robots used by the CIA or the U.S. military. But the 49-year-old British lawyer is about to become the bane of the drones’ existence, thanks to the United Nations inquiry he launched last week into their deadly operations.

(Wired.com) Emerson, the United Nations’ special rapporteur for human rights and counterterrorism, will spend the next five months doing something the Obama administration has thoroughly resisted: unearthing the dirty secrets of a global counterterrorism campaign that largely relies on rapidly proliferating drone technology. Announced on Thursday in London, it’s the first international inquiry into the drone program, and one that carries the imprimatur of the world body. By the next session of the United Nations in the fall, Emmerson hopes to provide the General Assembly with an report on 25 drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Palestine where civilian deaths are credibly alleged.

That carries the possibility of a reckoning with the human damage left by drones, the first such witnessing by the international community. Accountability, Emmerson tells Danger Room in a Monday phone interview, “is the central purpose of the report.” He’s not shying away from the possibility of digging up evidence of “war crimes,” should the facts point in that direction. But despite the Obama administration’s secrecy about the drone strikes to date, he’s optimistic that the world’s foremost users of lethal drone tech will cooperate with him.

In conversation, Emmerson, who’s served as special rapporteur since 2011, doesn’t sound like a drone opponent or a drone skeptic. He sounds more like a drone realist. “Let’s face it, they’re here to stay,” he says, shortly after pausing to charge his cellphone during a trip to New York to prep for his inquiry. “This technology, as I say, is a reality. It is cheap, both in economic terms and in the risk to the lives of the service personnel who are from the sending state.

“And for that reason there are real concerns that because it is so cheap, it can be used with a degree of frequency that other, more risk-based forms of engagement like fixed-wing manned aircraft or helicopters are not,” Emmerson says. “And the result is there’s a perception of the frequency and intensity with which this technology is used is exponentially different, and as a result, there is necessarily a correspondingly greater risk of civilian casualties.”

Maine Lawmakers And ACLU take on police state and surveilance

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(CAV News) – The ACLU and lawmakers in Maine are proposing privacy protection measures as a priority this week.

State Senator John Patrick (D)  is proposing a bill that would require the police to obtain a warrant before using domestic UAV’s or drones to spy on people.

Assistant Senate Republican Leader, Roger Katz, is proposing two bills. 1: Police will have to get probable cause warrants before accessing text messaging content 2. A warrant would be required before police can use geo-tracking to find people through their cellphones.

A more detailed proposal and drafts will be presented this Thursday at a news conference.

                        From the Kennebec Journal:

“The people of Maine care deeply about their privacy, but outdated laws and a lack of protections make us all vulnerable to intrusion into our most sensitive information,” said Shenna Bellows, the Maine group’s executive director. “Maine needs stronger privacy laws that shield us from overreaching surveillance by the government and corporations, and ensure that the most personal details of our private lives stay private.” The ACLU stated.

As the federal government pushes more programs infringing on individual privacy rights and grants to local police departments to try out domestic drones, these measures should be welcomed by civil libertarians.

                        More from Kennebec Journal:

“I wanted to get ahead of the curve as far as the use of drones,” said Patrick. “Realistically, I think drones should be prohibited from indiscriminate mass surveillance. I don’t think drones should replace police officers on the ground.”

By: Derek Wood

Source: Kennebec Journal

Illusion of Choice By George Carlin, Ron Paul, and Judge Napolitano

Now The FBI Has A Corporate Anti-Fraud Program That Scans Emails For 3,000 Suspicious Phrases

 

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

fbi agents puerto rico

 

(Business Insider) -Given how notorious Wall Streeters are for writing embarrassing e-mails that are later used against them in court (see: Libor scandal), they should really take note of this news. 

The FBI has developed new software that scans e-mails for buzz words and phrases that indicate the sender (and receiver) or said mail are up to no good, the FT reports. There are over 3,000 words and phrases that would raise a red flag in the program.

Accounting firm Ernst and Young found out about this program after looking through evidence from corporate investigations in conjunction with the FBI.

From the FT:

“The language, which is a mix of accounting phrases, personal motivations and attempts to conceal, are very revealing,” said Rashmi Joshi, Ernst & Young’s director of fraud investigation and disputes services.

He said that the monitoring of email traffic played almost no role in the compliance efforts of companies looking for possible problems. “While most organisations only focus on the numbers when investigating discrepancies, what we are seeing are ways of analyzing words – emails, SMS or instant messaging – to identify and isolate wrongdoing.”

Linguistic analysis software, which initially protects employee anonymity, can flag uncharacteristic changes in tone and language in electronic conversations and can also be tailored for particular types of employees, especially traders.

So phrases like, “nobody will find out,” “call my mobile“,” and “don’t leave a trail” could now get you noticed.

You’ve been warned.

Activist Podcaster Traces Troll’s IP Address Back to The House Of Representatives

Internet

 

(IntelHub) -On their podcast “Freedom Feens” Michael Dean and Neema Vedadi often joke about how the government is probably trolling and monitoring their website.

While this is probably true for anyone who is speaking out these days, it seems that Michael Dean was actually able to notice something very interesting on his network, after a troll posing as John Boener made a derogatory comment on their website.

At first he thought it was listener going along with one of the gags on the show, until he traced the IP address back to a government office, the house of representatives in fact.

The following post was made to the Freedom Feens blog, complete with pictures:

Today while going through the litany of e-mails, tweets, etc. that had arrived while I slept off the last bit of my flu, I saw an odd comment waiting for approval on the Freedom Feens Podcast site, on the latest episode, “The Flu Has a Higher Approval Rating Than Congress.” The comment claimed to be from “J. Boehner” with the e-mail: nobody@congress.gov.

The comment was “Our approval rating is because of shows like yours that poison the mind of the people.”

I approved it.

I was (and am) sure it wasn’t actually from House Speaker John Boehner, figured it was just one of the Feens fans playing off our ongoing “Central Scrutinizer” joke theme. Then I noticed the i.p. block was listed as (IP: 143.231.249.137 , housegate12.house.gov):

reps

I did a quick i.p. search and determined that it did in fact come from an actual i.p. address allocated exclusively to the US House of Representatives and their staff:

ipLocation

I did a Google search on the i.p. address and it lead to this talk page on Wikipedia. It’s the talk page for an article called “Congressional computers continue to be used to vandalize Wikipedia.” Here’s an excerpt:

“Wikinews contributors have discovered that members of the United States Congress or members of their staff have recently been making questionable edits to Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia anyone can edit. This continues the trend identified by four exclusive Wikinews reports over a four-year period exposing questionable and fraudulent edits made beginning in 2005 by Congress members or staff.

Beginning in 2006, Wikinews reported that members of Congress or their staff were vandalizing Wikipedia by removing critical information in various articles, or adding false or offensive information. These edits were and continue to be done using computers owned or operated by the United States government….”

I like the fact that someone working in the US House of Representatives actually found The Feens and complained. Maybe they listened. I’d love to have been a fly on the wall for that.

I find it interesting that they don’t use a proxy to do this, it’s as if they WANT people to know they’re being Internet trolls. I do know that in the private sector you’d get fired for pretending to be your boss’ boss’ boss’ boss and posting crap in his name on the Internet. But I guess this is “good enough for government work.” Nice to see my tax dollars being spent so well. No wonder Congress is seriously considering the Simpsons solution ofprinting a trillion-dollar coin to “help the debt.”

IN SOVIET AMERIKA, REPRESENTATIVES CONTACT YOU!

I actually used to write to my representatives in Congress. Never got anything more than a form letter back. I’m glad that Neema and I have progressed to the point with our media creation that someone in Congress’ staff now takes time out of his busy day to personally insult us and try to “defend their brand” on the Feens podcast blog.

Mission Accomplished.

–Michael W. Dean, Freedom Feen.

The Feens have a good sense of humor and were able make light of this situation, but this encounter reveals a deeper trend where the political class is attacking the alternative media because it loosens their grip on the minds of the slaves.

You can check out the Freedom Feens site here, and check out their movie “Guns and Weed” an entertaining documentary which shows, in no uncertain terms, why Freedom of Ingestion and the Right to Keep and Bear Arms are equally indisputable civil rights, and why the War on Drugs and the War on Guns are both entirely immoral.

Panasonic’s New TV Uses Facial Recognition To Identify You

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(NYTimes) – Panasonic’s new product introductions at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas touch on what is becoming a common theme —–making your TV do the work of finding shows you want to watch.

The company announced a feature called “My Home Screen” that will show a viewer customized suggestions of TV shows, streaming shows and Internet content, all on one screen. The idea is to put all of the content in one place so a viewer does not have to search separately for TV shows and video on demand, for instance. Each family member can have a personalized screen, and will not have to sign in — the higher-end Panasonic TVs will have a built-in camera that will use face recognition to determine whose preferences to display.

 

Panasonic is not the only company taking this approach. Samsung is introducing a similar home page that also incorporates social networks.

The Panasonics will also have a simplified way of sharing content from mobile phones and tablets, which can be sent to the screen with a swipe. On the TV screen the images can be edited with a special pen, so you could touch up the colors and write a message, then save the changes on the mobile device the images came from.

The TVs are getting other computerlike features as well, including apps that will allow people to search and make purchases from the Home Shopping Network from the TV, and closer integration of YouTube.

Also on the way is a voice recognition program that will let you speak commands into your remote rather than tapping buttons.

In all, Panasonic will introduce 32 TVs, including 16 plasma and 16 LCD models.

In addition to new Blu-ray players, kitchen appliances, cameras, headphones, and phone and tablet audio docks, Panasonic will introduce two streaming video players, which will work much like a Roku, but use Panasonic-style menus and features.

Rapid DNA: Coming Soon to a Police Department or Immigration Office Near You

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(EFF) – In the amount of time it takes to get lunch, the government can now collect your DNA and extract a profile that identifies you and your family members.

Rapid DNA Analyzers—machines with the ability to process DNA in 90 minutes or less—are an operational reality and are being marketed to the federal government and state and local law enforcement agencies around the country. These machines, each about the size of a laser printer, are designed to be used in the field by non-scientists, and—if you believe the hype from manufacturers like IntegenX and NetBio—will soon “revolutionize the use of DNA by making it a routine identification and investigational tool.”

From documents we received recently from US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and DHS’s Science & Technology division, we’ve learned that the two agencies are working with outside venders NetBio, Lockheed Martin and IntegenX and have “earmarked substantial funds” to develop a Rapid DNA analyzer that can verify familial relationships for refugee and asylum applications.

In the refugee context—where people are often stranded in camps far from their homes with little access to the documentation needed to prove they should be granted asylum in the US—DNA identification could be useful for both the federal government and the asylum seeker.

However, DNA samples contain such sensitive, private and personal information that their indefinite storage and unlimited sharing create privacy risks far worse than other types of data. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) stated in a 2008 Note titled DNA Testing to Establish Family Relationships in the Refugee Context that DNA testing “can have serious implications for the right to privacy and family unity” and should be used only as a “last resort.” The UNHCR also stated that, if DNA is collected, it “should not be used for any other purpose (for instance medical tests or criminal investigations) than the verification of family relationships” and that DNA associated with the test “should normally be destroyed once a decision has been made.”

It seems USCIS is not heeding the UNHCR’s recommendations; the documents show that USCIS wants to use Rapid DNA analysis for much broader purposes than just verifying refugee applications. The agency notes that DNA should be collected from all immigration applicants—possibly even infants—and then stored in the FBI’s criminal DNA database. The agency also supports sharing immigrant DNA with “local, state, tribal, international, and other federal partners” including the Department of Defense and Interpol on the off-chance the refugee or asylum seeker could be a criminal or terrorist or could commit a crime or act of terrorism in the future. This flow chart shows USCIS’s ideal DNA collection and sharing process.

USCIS is not alone in wanting to get the most out of DNA collection. Another document we received shows that the intelligence community and the military are interested in DNA analysis to reveal ethnicity, health status, age, and other factors. And while Rapid DNA analyzers are not currently set up to extract enough data to reveal this information, IntegenX representatives at the Biometrics Consortium Conference this past September said that setting up the machines to extract additional loci would not be difficult.

Some federal agencies interested in Rapid DNA may not be able to implement it widescale for some time. Currently USCIS “does not have the authority to require DNA testing, even when fraud is highly suspected.” For that to happen, the agency would have to update 8 C.F.R. 204.2(d)(vi),1 which it has discussed doing but hasn’t yet done. And although the FBI is also very interested in Rapid DNA analyzers, legal rules prevent the Bureau from using the machines to process any DNA that wil go into its CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) database.

This hasn’t stopped Rapid DNA manufacturers from aggressively marketing their products to state and local law enforcement agencies across the country. IntegenX and Lockhead Martin are both pushing local governments (pdf p.3) to create their own local DNA databases (p. 17, pdf here) instead of relying on CODIS. This has pluses and minuses—it means some chunk of the DNA collected by state or local cops may not end up in the FBI’s massive DNA database and become subject to repeated nationwide searching. However, it also means that cops may not follow the stringent DNA handling procedures currently required by the FBI2 and that, without oversight, collection procedures could become based on little or no real suspicion of criminal activity.

Whether the technology itself is accurate and appropriate to use for immigration populations may also be an issue. According to the documents, scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology are uncertain whether the “Likelihood Ratios”3 currently used by accredited labs would be applicable “to an immigration population, since the largest reference groups, whose characteristics feed into the calculations of the ratios, are American Caucasians and Hispanics.” DHS’s own Science & Technology Division noted at a January 4, 2011 Working Group meeting that it was concerned “that prototype equipment may not provide totally reliable results.” Science & Technology staff stated they could not “yet predict how accurate the non-match findings will be, since the error rate for the machines remains unknown.” This means that people could be excluded from refugee programs just because the machine determined—inaccurately—that their DNA did not match their family member’s DNA.

DHS and USCIS acknowledge that “DNA collection may create controversy.” One USCIS employee advocated for “DHS, with the help of expert public relation professionals,” to “launch a social conditioning campaign” to “dispel the myths and promote the benefits of DNA technology.” Another document feared that “If DHS fails to provide an adequate response to [inquiries about its Rapid DNA Test Program] quickly, civil rights/civil liberties organizations may attempt to shut down the test program.”

However, the real issues with expanded DNA collection—and the issues these documents don’t answer—are whether DNA collection is really necessary to solve the challenges inherent in proving refugee entitlement to benefits; what standards and laws will govern expanded federal, state and local DNA collection and subsequent searches; how DNA will be collected, stored and secured; who will have access to it after it’s collected; and what processes are in place to destroy the DNA sample and delete data from whatever database it’s stored in after it’s served the limited purpose for which it was originally collected. Without answers to these questions, no amount of “social conditioning” can convince those concerned about privacy and civil liberties that expanded DNA collection is a good idea.

US using spy agencies of other countries against Pakistan: Asif

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(PakiTribune) – Defence Secretary Lt General (r) Asif Yaseen Malik on Friday said that the US is using the spy agencies of other countries against Pakistan.

Speaking to a select group of journalists at the Defence Ministry, the defence secretary said Pakistan had complete information about the CIA agents working in the country. He said Pakistan has been informed by the US regarding presence of the CIA agents.

He added that no country was allowed to work undercover in the country. “The CIA also uses the agencies of other countries.” He said the US and Britain are against the nuclear assets of Pakistan, adding that America is using agencies of other countries against the country.

General Asif said there is no formal agreement between CIA and the ISI for secret operation. He said 95 percent of the defence policy is made by the three defence services on the basis of mutual consultation. He added that negotiations were going on for the replacement of spy aircraft that were damaged in attacks on Mehran and Kamra bases.

Malik noted that after the case of Raymond Davis, the question of US agents was talk of the town in Pakistan and public wanted to know about it. The defence secretary said that compared to the past, the US tone with Pakistan has changed due to some dynamics. Pakistan developed ties with US on mutual interest basis, he said, adding that the country renewed its ties with the US after it restored NATO supplies suspended in November last year when NATO airstrike in Salala caused deaths of Pakistani soldiers.

Malik noted that the Pakistani and US officials have on several occasions said that irritants in the ties between the two countries have been minimised and they are developing on a positive trajectory. In response to a question, he said that the Defence Ministry had not received any order from the Law Ministry on former army chief Gen (r) Aslam Baig and former ISI DG Lt Gen (r) Asad Durrani in the Asghar Khan case.

Nevertheless, he said no objection could be raised if the civilian government takes action against them. The secretary clarified that there is no political cell in the ISI. To a question on operation in the North Waziristan, Malik said that Pakistan has the capacity to launch an operation in the area but doing so without sealing the Afghan border is not fruitful.

On the condition of the Pakistan International Airlines, he said that new airplanes were provided to the PIA and the government released 4-8 million dollars to it. Since September PIA has been earning profit and losses have been controlled, he further said. The debt against PIA was Rs 42 billion in 2008 but has now risen to Rs 152 billion, he said. “Government is working on a policy to get the PIA out of loss,” he said.

Google starts watching what you do off the Internet too

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(RT) – The most powerful company on the Internet just got a whole lot creepier: a new service from Google merges offline consumer info with online intelligence, allowing advertisers to target users based on what they do at the keyboard and at the mall.

Without much fanfare, Google announced news this week of a new advertising project, Conversions API, that will let businesses build all-encompassing user profiles based off of not just what users search for on the Web, but what they purchase outside of the home.

In a blog post this week on Google’s DoubleClick Search site, the Silicon Valley giant says that targeting consumers based off online information only allows advertisers to learn so much. “Conversions,” tech-speak for the digital metric made by every action a user makes online, are incomplete until coupled with real life data, Google says.

“We understand that online advertising also fuels offline conversions,” the blog post reads. Thus, Google says, “To capture these lost conversions and bring offline into your online world, we’re announcing the open beta of our Conversions API for uploading offline conversion automatically.”

The blog goes on to explain that in-store transactions, call-tracking and other online activities can be inputted into Google to be combined with other information “to optimize your campaigns based on even more of your business data.”

Google is all but certain to ensure that all user data collected off- and online will be cloaked through safeguards that will allow for complete and total anonymity for customers. When on-the-Web interactions start mirroring real life activity, though, even a certain degree of privacy doesn’t make Conversions API any less creepy. As Jim Edwards writes for Business Insider, “If you bought a T shirt at The Gap in the mall with your credit card, you could start seeing a lot more Gap ads online later, suggesting jeans that go with that shirt.”

Of course, there is always the possibility that all of this information can be unencrypted and, in some cases, obtained by third-parties that you might not want prying into your personal business. Edwards notes in his report that Google does not explicitly note that intelligence used in Conversions API will be anonymized, but the blowback from not doing as much would sure be enough to start a colossal uproar. Meanwhile, however, all of the information being collected by Google — estimated to be on millions of servers around the globe — is being handed over to more than just advertising companies. Last month Google reported that the US government requested personal information from roughly 8,000 individual users during just the first few months of 2012.

“This is the sixth time we’ve released this data, and one trend has become clear: Government surveillance is on the rise,” Google admitted with their report.

Important: Senate Wants To Sneak Warrantless Spying Bill Extension Into Law Without Debate; Let’s Call Them and Tell Them No

(EFF) – The Senate is about to vote on an extension of the controversial FISA Amendments Act—the unconstitutional law that allows the NSA to warrantless spy on Americans speaking to people abroad. Yet you wouldn’t know it by watching CSPAN because the Senate isn’t debating it.

When Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act in 2008, despite deep privacy concerns by Americans across the political spectrum, they included an expiration date of December 31, 2012 to ensure that the law would get a thorough review. Yet Senate leaders have so far refused to schedule any time on the Senate floor for debate or consideration of vital privacy-protecting amendments. Worse, they won’t even tell the American public when they’re going to vote on it. It’s possible they may vote on this bill—with no privacy protective changes—without any debate at all, and we won’t know until it is happening.

Contact your Senators today to tell them how important this is.

The FISA Amendments Act continues to be controversial; key portions of it were challenged in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court this term. In brief, the law allows the government to get secret FISA court orders—orders that do not require probable cause like regular warrants—for any emails or phone calls going to and from overseas. The communications only have to deal with “foreign intelligence information,” a broad term that can mean virtually anything. And one secret FISA order can be issued against groups or categories of people—potentially affecting hundreds of thousands of Americans at once.

Senate leaders, Democrat Harry Reid and Republican Mitch McConnell, owe the American public a debate about this law—including how many Americans have been scooped up in it, how many times it has been used in non-terrorism investigations and how much it has cost the American taxpayers.

Today, a host of civil liberties groups, including EFF, ACLU, Demand Progress, and Free Press, are urging concerned individuals to contact the Senate and make their voice heard. Tell the Senate you want a debate on how to fix the warrantless spying bill known as the FISA Amendments Act or that it should be voted down entirely.

Here’s how you can help:

Tweet

Senate communications staffers often see tweets throughout the day—unlike emails (which may not be reported for a day or more) or phone calls (which are tallied at the end of the day). So if you are on Twitter, please tweet at Senators McConnell and Reid:

Hey @McConnellPress and @SenatorReid: Don’t ram through a 5-year extension on FISA Amendments Act. https://eff.org/r.2asn

Phone calls

Our friends at Free Press and the Bill of Rights Defense Committee are urging folks to call the Senate and voice concerns. Please use Free Press’ call-in tool. You can also call Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid at (202) 224-3542 and Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at (202) 224-2541.

Send emails

Use EFF’s action center to email your Senators and tell them to demand a debate or vote no on warrantless domestic spying.

There are many common sense amendments that could provide oversight and transparency to the bill. The amendments have a good chance of passing if they are allowed to come up for a vote.

As with SOPA and CISPA, these Senators need to listen to their constituents, so let’s show them we all oppose domestic warrantless spying, no matter which party we’re in.

Attack of the Drones

by Scott Creighton

You gotta watch this. Drone pilots in New Mexico training by locking on civilian cars driving down the road in New Mexico. They wear flight suits in their trailers while “flying” the drones so they “feel” more like pilots. They black out their names during the press call so people can’t look them up and send them hate mail I guess. And we now train more of these guys than we do actual pilots cus its cheaper and the drones can fly around in the air over occupied areas much longer than fighter jets, thus constantly terrifying the indigenous people of the area.