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Author Topic: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) and the 4th & 9th Amendments  (Read 94760 times)
G M
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« Reply #500 on: December 15, 2011, 01:19:27 AM »

Your use of cost is essentially an evasion and/or subterfuge from the core point:  Do we have a right to live free of continuous surveillance absent reasonable cause?

Surveillance by whom? Perhaps your life experience in coastal megacities has blinded you to a fact small town hicks like myself learned early on, namely "the are no secrets in a small town". Exactly what sort of privacy did one have in the colonial villages? Some police techniques date back to the "Shire Reeves" who would "canvass" the neighbors as part of an investigation, something still done to this day. Do your neighbors have a right to observe you?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #501 on: December 15, 2011, 02:06:29 AM »

Surveillance by the State is different than nosy neighbors or small town gossip both in sitio-- and in the fact that one can move elsewhere and start fresh.  Perhaps your life experience in a small town has blinded you to this  grin 

May I suggest reading George Orwell's "1984"?
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G M
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« Reply #502 on: December 15, 2011, 02:20:24 AM »

Ah, I've traveled far from my hayseed roots, even lived in Noo Yawk City for several months while working for Uncle Sugar.  wink

I've read Orwell, and I can see clear differences between America in 2011 and his dystopian vision. Do you?

I'd point out that picking up and moving elsewhere was pretty rare for most people in human history. Hell, even in NYC you have those that have never ventured into a different Borough. Your vision of privacy is based on a very small segment of history in a rapidly disappearing golden age.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #503 on: December 15, 2011, 02:35:59 AM »

"I'd point out that picking up and moving elsewhere was pretty rare for most people in human history , , , Your vision of privacy is based on a very small segment of history in a rapidly disappearing golden age."

This small segment of history started at Plymouth Rock.  From there it just kept on picking up and moving elsewhere pretty much non-stop.  Pretty exceptional some of us might say-- and along the way we have had to fight to keep it that way. Not for the first time freedom hangs in the balance and not for the first time will some of us step up for it.

I reject your call to defeatism.  I live it as I see it.  We all die.

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G M
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« Reply #504 on: December 15, 2011, 03:12:09 AM »

This small segment of history started at Plymouth Rock.

And most people clustered around those points and built up those cities rather than pushing out into the wilderness. Loading your wife, kids and all your worldly belongings into a wagon and heading into the wilderness resulted in tragic results more often than is commonly recognized.

I'm not a defeatist, just a realist. Technology is a double-edged sword and one cannot decry it's ills while embracing it's goods. Say one of your kids has gone missing on a camping trip in the Sierra Nevadas. Given the choice, you you want the local Sheriff's Dept to have a small UAV with FLIR capabilities or not?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #505 on: December 15, 2011, 11:52:26 AM »

Please note that we have always been in agreement that such devices can be used in the context of reasonable cause e.g. finding my son lost in the mountains so please cease with such irrelevancies.

The point I am making (and despite your high IQ you keep avoiding) is that due to technological advances and declining costs we are very much headed towards an Orwellian World where the State is putting in place a permanent surveillance grid where most of live with permanent records because it can.  Again I challenge you to answer this question:

"But lets put aside the issue of cost.  If massive all-pervasive surveillance could be afforded, would you be for or against it?  Under the logic you continuously give, the answer will be that you have no problem with it.  Your use of cost is essentially an evasion and/or subterfuge from the core point:  Do we have a right to live free of continuous surveillance absent reasonable cause?"

"Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them if we basely entail hereditary bondage on them." --Thomas Jefferson
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bigdog
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« Reply #506 on: December 16, 2011, 08:39:59 AM »

From GM: "Technology is a double-edged sword and one cannot decry it's ills while embracing it's goods. Say one of your kids has gone missing on a camping trip in the Sierra Nevadas. Given the choice, you you want the local Sheriff's Dept to have a small UAV with FLIR capabilities or not?"

I must confess to not understanding your point here, GM.  There is a major difference between use and misuse.  I appreciate trucks, for example, and decry their use in human trafficking.  I appreciate beer, and decry drunk driving (or other dangerous, derogatory behavior that often accompanies intoxication).  I appreciate guns, and decry their use school, workplace, domestic, terroristic shootings.  

I realize that I am jumping into an already established, ongoing debate.  If you prefer to not reply because of this, I understand.  
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G M
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« Reply #507 on: December 16, 2011, 12:51:18 PM »

From GM: "Technology is a double-edged sword and one cannot decry it's ills while embracing it's goods. Say one of your kids has gone missing on a camping trip in the Sierra Nevadas. Given the choice, you you want the local Sheriff's Dept to have a small UAV with FLIR capabilities or not?"

I must confess to not understanding your point here, GM.  There is a major difference between use and misuse.  I appreciate trucks, for example, and decry their use in human trafficking.  I appreciate beer, and decry drunk driving (or other dangerous, derogatory behavior that often accompanies intoxication).  I appreciate guns, and decry their use school, workplace, domestic, terroristic shootings.  

I realize that I am jumping into an already established, ongoing debate.  If you prefer to not reply because of this, I understand.  

I was addressing an ongoing theme/meme that has become quite common here and elsewhere, where every bit of technology adopted by law enforcement is perceived as some sort of harbinger of an orwellian dystopia.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #508 on: December 24, 2011, 11:28:54 AM »



http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-police-camera-20111224,0,6492627.story
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G M
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« Reply #509 on: December 24, 2011, 01:15:28 PM »


I am utterly unsurprised to read this.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #510 on: January 02, 2012, 07:41:37 AM »



 GPS Devices and the Fourth Amendment

Courts are increasingly beginning to grapple with whether such devices are intrusive enough to personal privacy to require a warrant to justify their placement on vehicles.

View at http://www.aele.org/law/2010-12MLJ101.html 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #511 on: January 24, 2012, 08:50:59 AM »

 cheesy

Gun Owners Scores a Victory for Individual Privacy in the Supreme Court


The Supreme Court yesterday unanimously sided with Gun Owners of
America in finding that the placement of a Global Positioning Device on
an automobile constitutes a "search" for purposes of the
Fourth Amendment.

The majority opinion in U.S. v. Jones was written by Justice Antonin
Scalia and follows GOA's reasoning to throw out the "reasonable
expectation of privacy" test which has been thought to be the
dominant Fourth Amendment standard in recent years.

The Obama Administration argued that because the police could
theoretically follow Antoine Jones' car, he had no "reasonable
expectation of privacy," and thus, placing a GPS device on his car
was justified.  GOA argued, however, that this constituted an
"unreasonable search and seizure" which violates the Fourth
Amendment of the Constitution.

This decision will have dramatic ramifications for gun owners.  Indeed,
the Court looked to the Founders' intentions with respect to the Fourth
Amendment, which, until the latter part of the 20th Century, was
understood to restrict the ability of police to "trespass"
upon the persons or property of Americans.

"This is no less than a fundamental transformation of American
jurisprudence concerning searches and seizures," according to
GOA's Executive Director Larry Pratt.  "And it is a transformation
which throws out fake modern jurisprudence and restores the Founders'
intent."

The "reasonable expectation of privacy" test flowed from a
Justice Harlan concurring opinion in Katz v. United States, 389 U.S.
347 (1967).  Gun Owners of America had argued that the Supreme Court
should jettison that decision by an activist court, and a majority of
the justices agreed.

"The 'expectation of privacy' test for searches and seizures arose
without support in the text or historical context of the Fourth
Amendment, and has proven wholly inadequate to protect the American
people from their government," argued GOA.

Four members of the court -- led by Samuel Alito, and joined by Ruth
Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan -- argued for the
continuation of the "reasonable expectation of privacy test,"
but concluded that planting a GPS device on a car for 28 days
constituted a Fourth Amendment "search" under that standard
as well.

The Obama administration, which had argued that planting a GPS device
on a car was not a "search" under the Harlan standard, was
unanimously repudiated by the High Court.  And the case is being cited
by the mainstream media as a defeat for Obama and his Justice
Department, which is led by Attorney General Eric Holder.

Said Pratt:  "This is yet another failure by Eric Holder, the most
corrupt and incompetent Attorney General in the history of the
Republic."

Gun Owners would like to thank its activists for their support.  Your
giving at http://gunowners.org/store/contribute helps GOA to assist in
future cases like this at the Supreme Court.
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JDN
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« Reply #512 on: January 24, 2012, 09:34:32 AM »

I applaud that "The Supreme Court yesterday finding that the placement of a Global Positioning Device on an automobile constitutes a "search" for purposes of the Fourth Amendment."

But I'm missing, not being an attorney, what does that have to do directly with gun owners anymore than anyone else?
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JDN
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« Reply #513 on: January 24, 2012, 03:24:03 PM »

An interesting question, is your encrypted laptop protected?

http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/24/tech/web/judge-defendant-decrypt-laptop/index.html?hpt=hp_bn6

http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/threatlevel/2012/01/decrypt.pdf

http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/threatlevel/2012/01/efffricosu.pdf
« Last Edit: January 24, 2012, 03:30:06 PM by JDN » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #514 on: January 25, 2012, 01:24:05 AM »

I get up in 5 hours and so don't have the time to read those with the care they merit in this moment, but I heard about this decision.  This issue seems worthy of our collective consideration.  Big Dog, care to frame the issues for us?
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bigdog
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« Reply #515 on: January 25, 2012, 06:50:45 AM »

Three preliminary things:
1.  This type of issue occurs increasingly, as technology increases.  The courts have decided wiretapping, cell phone, GPS (this week, of course).  Cases involving the TSA body scanners and other related devices will be taken to court in the future, I suspect.
2.  I have a bias toward civil liberties, so understand that as you read below.
3.  I have a busy morning, so this will be incomplete. 

One strategy issue: If I were her attorney, I wouldn't stop at the 5th Amendment self incrimination clause.  For example, the demand that Fricosu turn over an unencrypted computer, possibly, might be construed as an unreasonable search.  The FBI already literally had its hands on the device.  Its inability to decode it would seem to be an indictment on them. 

I like the EFF brief.  It recognizes the use of computers for a variety of jobs.  It notes the legitimate use of encryption, whether for business or for privacy concerns.

Moreover, the 5th protections begin immediately (see Miranda rights for evidence).  Speech, and as a likely extension written testimony (including the typing of a password) would seem to be a version of "witness." 

The long and short of it is that I find the EFF amicus brief to be compelling. 
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G M
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« Reply #516 on: January 25, 2012, 08:17:59 AM »

Limited time here as well.

I recall from a computer crime class that a judge can issue an order to unencrypt a computer using the same legal concept compelling a suspect to unlock a safe.
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JDN
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« Reply #517 on: January 25, 2012, 09:09:59 AM »

Limited time here as well.

I recall from a computer crime class that a judge can issue an order to unencrypt a computer using the same legal concept compelling a suspect to unlock a safe.


I'll let better legal minds here correct me, but it is my understanding that while police have the right to search a safe, they cannot compel a suspect to unlock a safe.  Obviously, they can break into it if the owner refuses.  In a similar
vein, CA Courts have ruled Police have the right to search a cell phone.  However, if you have it password locked, you have no obligation to give the password to them.  As one criminal attorney told me when we discussed this matter, "you are not obliged to do anything to make the officers' job easier". 
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bigdog
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« Reply #518 on: January 25, 2012, 11:54:13 AM »

The safe analogy is covered in the EFF amicus. 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #519 on: January 26, 2012, 02:42:51 PM »



http://www.theblaze.com/stories/real-news-from-the-blaze-breaks-down-how-googles-new-privacy-policy-breaches-your-privacy/
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #520 on: January 29, 2012, 06:00:33 AM »

This seems to me to raise the right questions:

EVERY day, those of us who live in the digital world give little bits of ourselves away. On Facebook and LinkedIn. To servers that store our e-mail, Google searches, online banking and shopping records. Does the fact that so many of us live our lives online mean we have given the government wide-open access to all that information?

The Supreme Court’s decision last week in United States v. Jones presents the disturbing possibility that the answer is yes. In Jones, the court held that long-term GPS surveillance of a suspect’s car violated the Fourth Amendment. The justices’ 9-to-0 decision to protect constitutional liberty from invasive police use of technology was celebrated across the ideological spectrum.

Perhaps too quickly. Jones, along with other recent decisions, may turn the Fourth Amendment into a ticking time bomb, set to self-destruct — and soon — in the face of rapidly emerging technology.

Dog sniffs. Heat sensors. Helicopter flyovers. Are these “searches” within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment? The court has struggled with these questions over the years.

Writing for the court in Jones, Justice Antonin Scalia looked to the 18th century for guidance. In his view, attaching the GPS was the sort of physical invasion of property the framers had in mind when they wrote the Bill of Rights.

Though Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. agreed that GPS tracking was a search, he ridiculed Justice Scalia for focusing on “conduct that might have provided grounds in 1791 for a suit for trespass to chattels.” For Justice Alito, the risk the GPS posed was loss of privacy, not property. Instead the question was whether long-term GPS tracking violated today’s “reasonable expectations of privacy,” not those of another era. As a matter of existing doctrine, he asked the right question, but when applied to the government, the standard he used could turn our lives into the proverbial open book, and soon.

Focusing on public expectations of privacy means that our rights change when technology does. As Justice Alito blithely said: “New technology may provide increased convenience or security at the expense of privacy, and many people may find the tradeoff worthwhile.”

But aren’t constitutional rights intended to protect our liberty even when the public accepts “increased convenience or security at the expense of privacy”? Fundamental rights remain fundamental in the face of time and new inventions.

Paradoxically, Justice Scalia’s approach will better protect privacy rights over the long term. (He didn’t deny the importance of today’s expectations; he simply stressed that at the very least, the Fourth Amendment protects rights we had when the framers drafted the Constitution.) Still, his approach is problematic. There isn’t always an available 18th-century analog for current government conduct, like GPS tracking. Justice Alito facetiously suggested that the only 18th-century analog would have been a constable hiding in the back of someone’s carriage. (When Justice Scalia agreed, Justice Alito wryly remarked that “this would have required either a gigantic coach, a very tiny constable, or both.”) And when 18th-century analogs run out, the court is left with its reasonable expectation test.

In a related case, Kyllo v. United States, even Justice Scalia held that police use of a thermal imager to detect marijuana “grow lamps” within a home was a search — but only so long as such technology was “not in general public use.” There’s that time bomb: expanding use of technology narrows rights.

Among the justices in the Jones case, only Sonia Sotomayor insisted that fundamental rights not be hostage to technological change. She called into question the court’s longstanding reliance on expectations of privacy, which she deemed “ill-suited to the digital age.” She suggested reconsidering the rule that the police can, without a warrant, get the vast amounts of information about ourselves that we give to third parties. To her, sharing our secrets — including e-mail and banking histories — with someone else does not necessarily mean the government gets access, too. It is too bad her separate opinion mustered no other votes.

Barry Friedman is a professor at the New York University School of Law and the author of “The Will of the People: How Public Opinion Has Influenced the Supreme Court and Shaped the Meaning of the Constitution.”

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G M
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« Reply #521 on: February 06, 2012, 05:55:10 PM »

http://howto.wired.com/wiki/Hide_From_Google

Hide From Google
From Wired How-To Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
 
To increase your online security, don't put all your cookies in one basket. Photo by Chris Wetherell/[1]/CC
"If you're not paying for something, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold." —blue_beetle, Metafilter discussion.

Google started off the new year by announcing that they will be changing their privacy policies so that they can create more detailed profiles of their users. Starting March 1st, 2012, Google will combine information from user’s Gmail, Google Search history, YouTube, and other services. Prior to this change, Google profiled their users, but restricted the profile data use to the service from which the data was collected.

Because we have come to rely on web services so much in our day-to-day activities, it simply isn't an option to stop using search, webmail, and social networking. But there are ways for heavy users to keep a low profile so that, should Google turn decidedly evil, you won't be completely at their mercy. If you are concerned about the amount of information that Google knows about you for whatever reason, here are some techniques you can use to guard your privacy online.

This how-to was written by Ari Douglas, an engineer-turned-lawyer, who spends his time contemplating the nexus between law, technology, and society.

Contents [hide]
1 Distributed computing
1.1 Mix and Match Services
1.2 Use a Proxy
1.3 Segment Your Email Traffic
1.4 Multi-Browser Surfing
2 Turning Off Google Web History
3 Special considerations for mobile phones
 
Distributed computingA powerful tool to help you regain some control over your online privacy is to spread your information over several services. Think of each piece of your personal information as a puzzle piece. If you use all of Google's products, they have the ability to complete the puzzle and see the full picture. They know what you do online (Google Search), who you correspond with (Google Voice, Gmail, Google Plus), where you go (Google Maps), and what you do (Google Calendar). With the privacy policy change, Google will be using data-mining algorithms to combine these sources of personal information to create detailed profiles of their users. By spreading your personal information over several services, you withhold puzzle pieces and ensure that no one company knows the full picture of your personal life while preserving the convenience of using those web-services.

Mix and Match Services
The task of segmenting your online activities amongst several sites may be painful if you're a creature of habit, but ultimately worth it for the peace of mind. For most people, this means making sure that your email and search engine are operated by different companies. Because it is a bigger hassle to change your email address, it is easier to change what search engine you use.

Google.com has long dominated the search engine category, but there's no such thing as a healthy monopoly. Recently, other companies have strengthened their offerings such that for common searches, you won't notice any difference in search result quality. Some alternative search engines are Ask.com, Bing.com, DuckDuckGo.com, and Yahoo.com. You can set any of these to your home page, and still return to Google for individual searches on the rare occasion that the alternative search engine does not return useful results.

Use a Proxy
Another method of search engine obfuscation is to use a service that proxies your requests to Google while removing your personal information. Scroogle.com does this, as does the Google-Sharing plugin for the FireFox web browser.

Segment Your Email Traffic
Another trick you can use is to set up single-purpose email addresses to segment your information. This means that you use your primary email address (that you have given out to people) only for email. Then you make new email accounts for other services. For example, you could make a new email account for your Picasa pictures, or Google Reader. This way, Google cannot correlate the contents of your email with the content of your pictures or what you like to read.

Multi-Browser Surfing
The final tool for information segmentation is to know that you can use multiple web browsers to keep your information separate. Whenever you are logged into a Google service, such as Gmail, all of your searches in that browser (even in other browser tabs) are logged and associated with your Google account (which you can view in the upper right hand corner of the Google search page to see what account you are logged in with.

You can use separate browsers to log into two separate Google accounts at once. Or you can have one browser logged in to Google and the other browser not logged in. For example, if you have any combination of FireFox, Opera, Chrome and Safari open, you can use each to login to a different account system to complete different tasks, ie: log into gmail in one browser, while doing your web-browsing and searching in a separate browser.

Turning Off Google Web HistoryGoogle Web History archives all of your Google Search activity. You can review the information at that link, see what information Google is using to customize your search results. Google allows you to "pause" and/or remove Web History. This prevents your search results from being reviewed through the Web History interface, and stops Google from using the information to customize your search results. However, Google retains your search history for use in profiling.

Special considerations for mobile phonesSmartphones provide some special challenges for segmenting your information. It is more difficult to log out of Google on a smartphone because Google Contacts and Gmail integrate closely with the functionality of the phone. Because you cannot log out, it is difficult to use Google services without Google associating the usage with your account. The solution is to use Google alternatives where possible. Using an alternative web browser, search engine, and map software will prevent Google from collecting additional information about you.

Depending on our phone, you may have the ability to use multiple Google accounts, and may be able to choose what information to sync with Google's services. For example, you could have your primary Google account on the phone, which you allow to sync email and contacts, but also have a Google account created for a specific service, which syncs only that service's information (ie: you could set up a Google account solely for using the Google Reader blog reader, and only sync the Google Reader information while turning off the syncing of all other account information).

Finally, most smartphones allow you to control location services. If you're concerned about privacy, keep it turned off while you are not using it. Not only does this protect your privacy, but it saves your battery life as well.


This page was last modified 22:30, 3 February 2012 by howto_admin.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #522 on: February 07, 2012, 10:07:15 AM »

Thank you for that GM.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #523 on: February 07, 2012, 12:19:32 PM »

Crafty regarding 'Hide from Google' article: "Thank you for that GM."

Ditto!  I have enjoyed the 'free' products from Google especially  web search and searchable email.  I try not to support the company because of differing politics but hey, free is free, and getting information and saving information is valuable to me.

Of course free is not free.  These large players like to get their subscriber base and traffic way up before filling it with ads or starting the fees.  A great and scary line from the article:

"If you're not paying for something, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold."

Unless you want a record of your life kept for sale at private companies, we should all be taking the steps suggested in the article at the very minimum and that will only limit their knowledge of you.

I have warned people about obvious privacy losses on Facebook and the less obvious ones like facial recognition searching.  It affects even people not on the network.  Google holds nearly all of my correspondence back to the first days of gmail.  If the State Dept can be hacked and Stratfor and everyone else, why not these sites.  They don't even need to be hacked; they already admit reading your mail, tracking where you go and selling you off as a product.
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G M
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« Reply #524 on: February 07, 2012, 04:45:05 PM »

I note that the social networking sites are like link analysis intelligence charts, the only difference with social networking is the subjects of the charting fill them out for you.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2012, 08:18:36 AM by G M » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #525 on: February 09, 2012, 03:34:26 PM »


http://www.theblaze.com/stories/will-the-eu-use-drones-to-spy-and-enforce-regulations-on-farms-sure-looks-like-it/
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bigdog
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« Reply #526 on: February 20, 2012, 04:14:13 AM »

Who or what knows you better than you know yourself?

http://techland.time.com/2012/02/17/how-target-knew-a-high-school-girl-was-pregnant-before-her-parents/
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #527 on: February 23, 2012, 03:35:13 PM »

OMG!!!  Good news!!!
====================
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203918304577239650306276074.html?mod=technology_newsreel
By GEOFFREY A. FOWLER
California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris reached an agreement with six of the largest companies in the mobile-device market that could change how app makers handle personal data and the way millions of people download apps.

Ms. Harris said Wednesday that Apple Inc., Google Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Research In Motion Ltd. agreed that California law requires apps to have privacy policies, and that they would begin asking app developers who collect personal information to include them.

Ms. Harris said, some 22 of the 30 most-downloaded mobile apps don't have privacy policies. "We have populations without knowledge of [mobile technology's] potential uses who are potentially vulnerable," she said; "We seek to give them tools to protect themselves."

While the agreement specifically applies to enforcement of a 2004 California law requiring privacy policies, it will benefit "users everywhere," she added. Previously, California law has been used to require privacy policies from websites, but it was unclear if it applied to apps.

California's deal with the companies stops short of saying that they will enforce privacy-policy requirements or kick apps that don't have a policy out of their stores. The state is responsible for enforcing the law, but the companies agreed they would help educate developers on their legal obligations.

Ms. Harris said that the companies were participating voluntarily in "good faith" with the effort, and that they planned to meet again in six months to see how the effort was progressing.

A Google spokesman declined to say how the company would enforce the rules on its Android-smartphone app store. In a statement, he said, "From the beginning, Android has had an industry-leading permissions system which informs consumers what data an app can access and requires user approval before installation. Coupled with the announced principles, which we expect to complete in the coming weeks, consumers will have even more ways to make informed decisions when it comes to their privacy."

A Research In Motion spokeswoman said: "We're looking forward to working with the attorney general of California and the application-developer community to further build out the necessary tools that will help facilitate the ability of our application developers to bring greater user awareness of their privacy policies and practices."

"Microsoft is committed to being a leader in consumer privacy across all of our products and services. We are pleased to endorse the statement of principles and to support the work of Attorney General Harris," said a Microsoft spokeswoman.

An Apple spokesman confirmed the company's participation in the agreement, but declined to comment further. An Amazon spokeswoman declined to comment. H-P didn't respond to requests for comment.

Most consumers don't read website privacy policies, which often contain vague legal language designed to be as broad as possible to shield companies, rather than to specify exactly what information is being collected.

In an interview, Ms. Harris said thatshe agreed most privacy policies are "absolutely beyond the understanding of the average person," but that the six companies agreed in principle that app privacy policies "are going to be more clear and understandable."She said simply requiring privacy policies would force app developers to think about what information they are requiring from consumers—and why. Moreover, she said, the policies would give her office the ability to prosecute app makers that took or used consumer information in ways that ran counter to them.

"It is important that it creates a hook for enforcement that did not exist before, which is the only hook that typically exists for privacy enforcement in this country," said Justin Brookman, the director of consumer privacy at the Center for Democracy & Technology in Washington.

A study of 101 popular apps that was part of The Wall Street Journal's "What They Know" series in late 2010 found that 56 of them transmitted the phone's unique device ID to other companies without users' awareness or consent. Forty-seven apps transmitted the phone's location in some way, while five sent age, gender and other personal details to outsiders.

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission published a working document that urged developers of mobile apps for children to provide more information on data collection and said it plans to review whether apps violate child privacy laws.

Separately on Wednesday, 36 attorneys general, including California's Ms. Harris, sent an open letter to Google protesting its new privacy policy, set to take effect in March. In the letter, they said the policy "appears to invade consumer privacy by automatically sharing personal information consumers input into one Google product with all Google products."

The letter asks for Google to respond by Feb. 29.

The Google spokesman said its updated privacy policy will make its privacy practices "easier to understand" and reflects its desire to create a "seamless experience" for signed-in users. We've undertaken the most extensive notification effort in Google's history, and we're continuing to offer choice and control over how people use our services. Of course we are happy to discuss this approach with regulators globally.

—Jessica E. Vascellaro and Will Connors contributed to this article.
Write to Geoffrey A. Fowler at geoffrey.fowler@wsj.com



====================
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203918304577241502216430274.html?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTWhatsNewsCollection
By JENNIFER VALENTINO-DEVRIES
A group of Internet and advertising companies including Google Inc. said on Thursday that it will support a "do not track" setting in Web browsers—a turning point in online privacy but likely setting off a battle over what exactly the new policy will mean.

The Digital Advertising Alliance—which represents more than 400 companies—disclosed its support for "do not track" as part of a White House call for a "privacy bill of rights" that would give people greater control over their data.

The "privacy bill of rights" is "an important step toward fostering a culture of trust and respect of privacy," said Commerce Secretary John Bryson.

Amid the expressions of support for Internet users' privacy there was tension between consumer and industry groups, which will be jockeying to have any legislation or "do not track" efforts reflect their interests.

Yahoo said it is most interested in having the online advertising industry continue its efforts to police itself, rather than getting regulators involved. "It is also critical that self-regulatory structure play a large and growing role within these frameworks," Yahoo said. "Once again, industry's proactive efforts on privacy have raised the bar."

Other industry players said "do not track" controls should be more than a simple button and should tell consumers about the benefits of data collection. Users should be told that choosing "do not track" button can mean "some data may still be collected," the Digital Advertising Alliance said.

Consumer groups said they are concerned that Web companies will be able to dominate the discussions on privacy settings that are set to take place over the coming months. They worry that ad industry representatives will derail "do not track" efforts already under way at the World Wide Web consortium, which sets international standards for Web software.

"We should not allow 'do not track' to be hijacked by the data collection industry," said Jeff Chester of the Center for Digital Democracy. Mr. Chester said he is particularly worried that "do not track" will prevent the delivery of behaviorally targeted ads but continue to allow companies to collect data about users.

Some legislators said they would work to make sure the "privacy bill of rights" is enforceable. "Voluntary, self-regulatory efforts aren't a substitute for laws that keep consumers information safe from prying eyes," said U.S. Rep. Ed Markey (D., Mass.).

Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz said "do not track" initiatives are "still a work in progress" but that the FTC is committed to making sure the moves offer effective protections for consumers. "In America, personal privacy is a right," he said.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #528 on: March 02, 2012, 11:58:01 AM »

Sent to me by an occasionally reliable source:
==================


February 29, 2012 by Sam Rolley
 
Remember the controversy over the past couple of months surrounding the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) that was seemingly quelled by the protest of thousands of Internet users and the subsequent blackout of several major websites? Though the tweets, posts and online news stories regarding Internet freedom have waned greatly, the threat to freedom and any level of online privacy persists.
Perhaps it is a product of our always-on news cycle or our constant bombardment with entertainment distractions, but Americans as a whole have a very short attention span when it comes to fighting against threats to our liberty. When lawmakers such as Representative Lamar Smith (R-Texas) — author of SOPA — draft legislation that deliberately takes away Americans’ freedom and privacy, they do so with a plan.
Smith and his legislative cohorts knew very well that SOPA and PIPA, two bills that screamed censorship and the antithesis of American values, would make American Internet users and free-speech advocates uneasy; that’s why the Texas legislator drafted a backup bill. The bill’s alphabet-soup acronym is PCFIPA (H.R. 1981), which stands for something that all Americans would likely support “Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers.” By amending existing laws that give U.S. Marshals the power to issue subpoenas and pursue fugitives, the bill will give Federal authorities access to your every move when using the Internet or Internet-based device. That’s every email, click, text message, password, online financial transaction, etc.
Internet service providers (ISPs) already keep track of some information, but Smith’s bill requires the ISP to retain every move of every individual using the Internet for 18 months, according to IT World. This means that the Feds would have an ever-evolving pool of data pertaining to every Internet-using American to bait with the thousands of Federal laws and regulations on the books and fish until they find some semblance of criminal activity.
Smith — like any good bureaucrat — is using child pornography as a straw man to impose tyranny. By assuming that every American is a child pornographer, the bill compiles a list of every online action and makes every person guilty until proven innocent.
IT World says of the bill: “Since it is empowering U.S. Marshals to investigate people who have not yet been convicted, under PCFIPA, the only thing required to get a valid subpoena to examine all the online activity of 99.762 percent of the U.S. population, is an investigating officer willing to say the subpoena has something to do with investigation of online child porn.”
“The bill is mislabeled,” Representative John Conyers (D-MI) told CNET. “This is not protecting children from Internet pornography. It’s creating a database for everybody in this country for a lot of other purposes.”
SOPA, PIPA and PCFIPA are all pretty nasty attempts by the U.S. government to unleash its crushing regulatory power on the Internet, but there is another threat to internet freedom and privacy. Critics of the international Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) say the agreement has all of the markers of an evil plot in a movie based on a group of world leaders and corporate interests bent on eliminating communication among their proles to control all production, communication and information. ACTA is supposed to be an international agreement that protects copyright holders against piracy by establishing an international legal framework for targeting counterfeit goods, generic medicines and copyright infringement on the Internet. The law would use an international organization — such as the World Trade Organization, World Intellectual Property Organization or the United Nations — to carry out its task.
ACTA has not been widely discussed in U.S. media, likely because negotiations regarding the measure were held in secret. It was signed quietly by the United States in October 2011 without the approval of Congress, the Supreme Court or the American public. Tokyo, Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea also signed the treaty, while the European Union, Mexico and Switzerland plan to do so in the near future, according to International Business Times. When the measure is finalized, ACTA can be used to crack down on Internet activity worldwide by a coordinated authority that rests outside of any country.
Governments aren’t the only ones who want access to everything you do online. With the advent of a new Google privacy policy on March 1, information from almost all of your Google services — including Gmail, Picasa, YouTube and search — will be compiled and analyzed so that the company can learn more about you. Google collects and can integrate just about anything you’ve ever told the company: calendar appointments, location data, search preferences, contacts, personal habits based on Gmail chatter, device information and search queries among other things. There is no way to opt out of the company’s tracking aside from not using any of its products.
If you’re concerned about Internet freedom and privacy, don’t worry, President Barack Obama has your back — much like he did when it came to the indefinite detention provision in the National Defense Authorization Act. Last week, the Administration issued a “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights” and said that individuals should be allowed to opt out of corporate Internet tracking. No word yet on whether the White House will call for the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, CIA, U.S. Marshals or international spy agencies to allow Internet users to opt out of tracking by Big Brother anytime soon. Our guess is likely not.
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« Reply #529 on: March 14, 2012, 07:33:04 PM »

"If you are a citizen, and using force against a LEO, the odds of this turning out well for you is slim and none."

With this I completely agree.  And court decisions that gut the 4th amendment protections offered in the Bill of Rights, a series of amendments made becuase of the fear of an over reaching government, don't help this.  


An update on a heated discussion from nearly a year ago: http://www.informationliberation.com/?id=38839

"The text of SB 1 states that its legislative purpose "is to protect citizens from unlawful entry into their homes by law enforcement officers or persons pretending to be law enforcement officers. Both citizens and law enforcement officers benefit from clear guidance about the parameters of lawful home entry, which will reduce the potential for violence and respect the privacy and property of citizens."

To that end, the bill recognizes that an individual 'may use force … to prevent or terminate a law enforcement officer’s unlawful entry.'" ...

"SB1 is not an innovation; it simply restores an explicit understanding of Indiana’s "castle doctrine," which was subverted last year in the Indiana State Supreme Court’s Barnes v. State ruling. As a wire service report observed at the time, that ruling effectively nullified the core protections contained in the Fourth Amendment and the equivalent provision in the Indiana constitution, as well as protections and immunities recognized by "common law dating back to the English Magna Carta of 1215." The 3–2 decision last May 12 held that Indiana residents have no right to obstruct unlawful police incursions into their homes."


« Last Edit: March 14, 2012, 09:29:08 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
G M
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« Reply #530 on: March 14, 2012, 08:33:03 PM »

"You have men and women in your community who are willing to die for you, willing to die for your family," insisted Lawson, who – as a former police officer herself – spoke on behalf of 15,000 members of the police union. The only suitable way to display proper gratitude to the heroic paladins of public order, according to Lawson, is to protect their purported authority to invade your home and kill you with impunity – a privilege that would be undermined by SB 1.

Hey, great news source. I'd admit that it's still less biased than the MSM though....
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« Reply #531 on: March 14, 2012, 09:00:32 PM »

The source doesn't matter much, GM.  The fact that the state legislature is considering overturning the bill is the issue.  

But, if you prefer, here is the legislative history: http://e-lobbyist.com/gaits/IN/SB0001

Here is a story noting the involvement of Indiana GOP and the NRA: http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/03/02/indiana-house-approves-bill-that-allows-homeowners-to-kill-police-officers/

Here is the bill information itself, from the Indiana legislture's website: http://www.in.gov/apps/lsa/session/billwatch/billinfo?year=2012&session=1&request=getBill&doctype=SB&docno=0001
« Last Edit: March 14, 2012, 10:02:18 PM by bigdog » Logged
G M
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« Reply #532 on: March 14, 2012, 09:10:12 PM »

Hey, if the state doesn't want law enforcement officers to make entry into a residence without a warrant, fine.

You'll find most cops can do as little as the public wants them to do. The public lives with the end result. If that means patrol officers sit outside a home while a victim screams for help while an officer types up a search warrant affidavit and drives to a judge's home to have it signed. Fine. Perhaps it's now a murder case rather than a misd. dv case by the time there is a valid warrant. I guess the public understands that there will be a cost involved.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #533 on: March 14, 2012, 09:31:59 PM »

Great citations BD.  I love having this level of specificity contributed to conversations.  It would help in finding it down the road if you were to use the Subject line to describe the post with some sort of specificity that would aid future Search commands.
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« Reply #534 on: March 16, 2012, 09:00:25 AM »

Pravda on the Hudson tries staining Romney with Bain Capital blind trust investments.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/16/world/asia/bain-capital-tied-to-surveillance-push-in-china.html?src=un&feedurl=http%3A%2F%2Fjson8.nytimes.com%2Fpages%2Fpolitics%2Findex.jsonp

I would submit the real story here is that this surveillance is exactly the sort of thing a totalitarian state would do.  It is a major part of the reason Buzwardo, others here, and I oppose this while our GM stays within a feedback loop that, while logical in and of itself, is oblvious to this fundamental reality.

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« Reply #535 on: March 16, 2012, 09:16:11 AM »

Pravda on the Hudson tries staining Romney with Bain Capital blind trust investments.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/16/world/asia/bain-capital-tied-to-surveillance-push-in-china.html?src=un&feedurl=http%3A%2F%2Fjson8.nytimes.com%2Fpages%2Fpolitics%2Findex.jsonp

I would submit the real story here is that this surveillance is exactly the sort of thing a totalitarian state would do.  It is a major part of the reason Buzwardo, others here, and I oppose this while our GM stays within a feedback loop that, while logical in and of itself, is oblvious to this fundamental reality.



Uh yeah, there was no surveillance or oppression in China until they got ahold of cameras.   rolleyes

Know what the Chinese Ministry of State Security used before computers? Typewriters! Know who else had typewriters? The nazis! Typewriters obviously lead to totalitarian oppression.
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« Reply #536 on: March 16, 2012, 09:25:17 AM »

That's very funny!

It is also cognitively dissonant coming from a man so thoroughly well-informed about the horrors of our current President and the coalition of forces that has coalesced around him seeking to take down America as we know it.
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« Reply #537 on: March 16, 2012, 12:42:08 PM »

So I guess we should focus on intent rather than technology?
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« Reply #538 on: March 16, 2012, 01:34:00 PM »

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/16/us/spring-break-gets-tamer-as-world-watches-online.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

KEY WEST, Fla. — Ah, Spring Break, with its copious debauchery, its spontaneous bouts of breast-baring, Jager bombing and après-binge vomit.


In this era of “Jersey Shore” antics and “Girls Gone Wild,” where bikini tops vanish like unattended wallets, it would seem natural to assume that this generation of college student has outdone the spring break hordes of decades past on the carousal meter.

But today’s spring breakers — at least some of them — say they have been tamed, in part, not by parents or colleges or the fed-up cities they invade, but by the hand-held gizmos they hold dearest and the fear of being betrayed by an unsavory, unsanctioned photo or video popping up on Facebook or YouTube.

Heartbreak! cry
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #539 on: March 16, 2012, 04:03:30 PM »

"So I guess we should focus on intent rather than technology?"

Actually , , , NO.

See, in the American Creed concept of government, there is a Constitution which limits the power of the State to certain narrowly defined powers.  Also, in the American Creed concept there is a partial listing of rights of the people.  Amongst these is the right to own and bear arms precisely so that the people can protect themselves from the tryanny of an overbearing State.  Allowing the State to have the ability to track everything you do and say outside of your home is a SERIOUSLY DANGEROUS shift in the balance of power between the people and the State.  With this power, the State can, and sooner or later will, destroy Freedom.
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G M
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« Reply #540 on: March 16, 2012, 04:22:01 PM »

"So I guess we should focus on intent rather than technology?"

Actually , , , NO.

See, in the American Creed concept of government, there is a Constitution which limits the power of the State to certain narrowly defined powers.  Also, in the American Creed concept there is a partial listing of rights of the people.  Amongst these is the right to own and bear arms precisely so that the people can protect themselves from the tryanny of an overbearing State.  Allowing the State to have the ability to track everything you do and say outside of your home is a SERIOUSLY DANGEROUS shift in the balance of power between the people and the State.  With this power, the State can, and sooner or later will, destroy Freedom.

Luckily, the state has nothing approaching this ability in the US.
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« Reply #541 on: March 16, 2012, 06:26:02 PM »

The more the State can monitor everything we do and say (with your unvarying support btw) the less true your statement.
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G M
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« Reply #542 on: March 16, 2012, 06:44:38 PM »

The more the State can monitor everything we do and say (with your unvarying support btw) the less true your statement.

Can in theory or actuality? What is your policy solution?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #543 on: March 16, 2012, 07:10:53 PM »

If it can, it will.  Power corrupts.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Solution?  Don't put the network up.
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G M
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« Reply #544 on: March 16, 2012, 07:15:33 PM »

If it can, it will.  Power corrupts.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Solution?  Don't put the network up.

What network? Will you join CAIR in condemning the NYPD's intelligence unit as well? I'm pretty sure they'd say the same thing on how state power threatens individual freedoms.
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« Reply #545 on: March 16, 2012, 07:24:20 PM »

http://www.cair.com/ArticleDetails.aspx?ArticleID=26935&&name=n&&currPage=1&&Active=1

NYPD Kept Secret Files on Muslim-Owned Businesses
Posted 3/9/2012 12:45:00 PM



(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/9/12) -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today again called on the Obama administration to address new revelations that the New York Police Department (NYPD) kept secret files on businesses solely because they were owned by Muslims.
CAIR urged the president to speak out against the NYPD's blatant use of religious profiling.

According to the latest revelations by The Associated Press (AP):

"The New York Police Department kept secret files on businesses owned by second- and third-generation Americans specifically because they were Muslims, according to newly obtained documents that spell out in the clearest terms yet that police were monitoring people based on religion. ...

"Police photographed businesses and eavesdropped at lunch counters and inside grocery stores and pastry shops. The resulting document listed no threat. And though most people of Syrian heritage living in the area were Jewish, Jews were excluded from the monitoring. ...

"Similarly, police excluded the city's sizable Coptic Christian population when photographing, monitoring and eavesdropping on Egyptian businesses in 2007, according to the police files."

New NYPD Docs: 'Focus' Scrutiny on Muslim Americans
NYPD Documents Describe 'Focus' on Muslim Americans
NYPD Says Newark Brass Cooperated on Muslims
NJ Mosque Delays FBI Visit Meant to Repair Trust


"It is indisputable that the NYPD is engaged in a widespread campaign of religious profiling targeting the American Muslim community," wrote CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad in a letter to President Obama. "Only direct White House and Justice Department intervention will provide some measure of protection for the constitutional rights of American Muslims."

CAIR recently called on the Obama administration to investigate the reported use of White House funds for the New York Police Department's (NYPD) controversial campaign of spying on Muslims without warrants or evidence of wrongdoing.

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
 
 
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« Reply #546 on: March 27, 2012, 05:50:40 AM »


By JULIA ANGWIN
Frustrated by a flood of privacy violations, the Federal Trade Commission on Monday issued a strong call for commercial-data collectors to adopt better privacy practices and called for Congress to pass comprehensive privacy legislation.
In a starkly-written 73-page report on privacy in the digital age, the agency called on U.S. commercial data collectors to implement a "Do Not Track" button in Web browsers by the end of the year or to face legislation from Congress forcing the issue.

After a two-year-study, the Federal Trade Commission today called for Congress to pass legislation to protect privacy in the digital era. Julia Angwin reports on digits. Photo: Getty Images.

"Simply put, your computer is your property.No one has the right to put anything on [your computer] that you don't want," said Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the FTC, at a news conference Monday.

The agency also for the first time turned its attention to offline data brokers—which buy and sell names, addresses and other personal information—calling on them to create a centralized website providing consumers with better access to their data. The agency also wants legislation requiring data brokers to give consumers the right to see and make corrections to their information.

Linda Woolley, executive vice president of the Direct Marketing Association, which represents data brokers, said the group opposes giving consumers access to marketing information because it would be expensive, difficult to keep secure and the type of data used by marketers doesn't harm consumers.

•   Store data securely, limit collection and retention, and promote data accuracy
•   Include a 'Do Not Track' mechanism in Web browsers by the end of the year
•   Provide consumers access to data collected about them by data brokers that buy and sell names, addresses and other personal information

"We are very wary about taking the information out of the information economy," Ms. Woolley said.

The FTC doesn't have the authority to write new rules for privacy. Instead, it hopes its report will spur the industry to agree to abide by its voluntary guidelines.  The FTC can then use its authority to prosecute "deceptive" behavior if companies that agree to the guidelines don't live up to their promises.

Last month, the FTC notched a win for its guideline approach when the online-advertising industry voluntarily agreed to one of the main privacy recommendations: the development of a "Do Not Track" mechanism that would let users limit Web tracking using a single setting in Web browsing software.

Previously, the industry had urged consumers to individually "opt out" of more than a hundred different companies that track Web browsing behavior.

However, the agreement—which was announced at the White House last month— has been mired in debate about what "Do Not Track" means. The online-ad industry has agreed to what amounts to a "Do Not Target" definition, which would still allow data to be collected for purposes such as market research and product development. Privacy advocates are pushing for it to mean that data won't be collected. An international standards body is working to develop a consensus agreement on the definition of Do Not Track by June.

The Digital Advertising Association, which represents more than 400 companies, said it is pushing ahead to implement its definition of Do Not Track. "We're not at the finish line, but we're pretty close," said the trade group's counsel Stuart P. Ingis.

FTC Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch dissented from the vote approving the report, in part because he said "it is not clear that all the interested players in the Do Not Track arena" will be able to agree on a definition.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303404704577305473061190762.html?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTWhatsNewsCollection
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« Reply #547 on: March 31, 2012, 09:17:03 AM »

http://www.cultofmac.com/157641/this-creepy-app-isnt-just-stalking-women-without-their-knowledge-its-a-wake-up-call-about-facebook-privacy/

This Creepy App Isn’t Just Stalking Women Without Their Knowledge, It’s A Wake-Up Call About Facebook Privacy [Update]
95Share26KJohn Brownlee (3:20 pm PDT, Mar 30)


This app is meant to all be in good fun, but it's potentially a weapon in the hands of stalkers.

“Boy, you sure have a lot of apps on your phone.”

“Well, it’s my job.”

“What’s your favorite?”

“Oh, I couldn’t choose. But hey, want to see one to set your skin crawling?”

It was the flush end of a pleasurably hot day — 85 degrees in March — and we were all sipping bitter cocktails out in my friend’s backyard, which was both his smoking room, beer garden, viticetum, opossum parlor and barbecue pit. I was enjoying the warm dusk with a group of six of my best friends, all of whom seemed interested, except for my girlfriend… who immediately grimaced.

“Girls Around Me? Again?” she scolded. “Don’t show them that.”

She turned to our friends, apologetically.

“He’s become obsessed with this app. It’s creepy.”

I sputtered, I nevered, and I denied it, but it was true. I had become obsessed with Girls Around Me, an app that perfectly distills many of the most worrying issues related to social networking, privacy and the rise of the smartphone into a perfect case study that anyone can understand.

It’s an app that can be interpreted many ways. It is as innocent as it is insidious; it is just as likely to be reacted to with laughter as it is with tears; it is as much of a novelty as it has the potential to be used a tool for rapists and stalkers.

And more than anything, it’s a wake-up call about privacy.


The only way to really explain Girls Around Me to people is to load it up and show them how it works, so I did. I placed my iPhone on the table in front of everyone, and opened the app.

The splash screen elicited laughter all around. It’s such a bitmap paean to the tackiest and most self-parodying of baller “culture”; it might as well be an app Tom Haverford slapped together in Parks And Recreation. But it does, at a glance, sum up what Girls Around Me is all about: a radar overlaid on top of a Google Map, out of which throbs numerous holographic women posing like pole dancers in a perpetual state of undress.

“Okay, so here’s the way the app works,” I explained to my friends.

Girls Around Me is a standard geolocation based maps app, similar to any other app that attempts to alert you to things of interest in your immediate vicinity: whether it be parties, clubs, deals, or what have you. When you load it up, the first thing Girls Around Me does is figure out where you are and load up a Google Map centered around your location. The rest of the interface is very simple: in the top left corner, there’s a button that looks like a radar display, at the right corner, there’s a fuel meter (used to fund the app’s freemium model), and on the bottom left is a button that allows you to specify between whether you’re interested in women, men or both.

It’s when you push the radar button that Girls Around Me does what it says on the tin. I pressed the button for my friends. Immediately, Girls Around Me went into radar mode, and after just a few seconds, the map around us was filled with pictures of girls who were in the neighborhood. Since I was showing off the app on a Saturday night, there were dozens of girls out on the town in our local area.


Girls Around Me's splash screen (left) and geo-maps interface (right). Lots of girls around the MFA.

“Wait… what? Are these girls prostitutes?” one of my friends asked, which given the Matrix-like silhouettes posing on the splash screen was a pretty good question.

“Oh, no,” I replied. “These are just regular girls. See this girl? Her name’s Zoe. She lives on the same street as me and Brittany. She works at a coffee shop, and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t moonlight picking up tricks.”

“How does it know where these girls are? Do you know all these girls? Is it plucking data from your address book or something?” another friend asked.

“Not at all. These are all girls with publicly visible Facebook profiles who have checked into these locations recently using Foursquare. Girls Around Me then shows you a map where all the girls in your area trackable by Foursquare area. If there’s more than one girl at a location, you see the number of girls there in a red bubble. Click on that, and you can see pictures of all the girls who are at that location at any given time. The pictures you are seeing are their social network profile pictures.”

“Okay, so they know that their data can be used like this for anyone to see? They’re okay with it? ”

“Probably not, actually. The settings determining how visible your Facebook and Foursquare data is are complicated, and tend to be meaningless to people who don’t really understand issues about privacy,” I explained. “Most privacy settings on social networks default to share everything with everyone, and since most people never change those… well, they end up getting sucked up into apps like this.”

“But they know they’ve checked in, right?”

“Again, not necessarily. Foursquare lets you check other people into a location. If you get checked into Foursquare by a friend without your knowledge and have a publicly visible Facebook profile, you could end up in here.” (Update: Apparently, I wasn’t correct about this. Foursquare does NOT allow you to check other people in with you without their knowledge; I was confusing Foursquare for Facebook, which does offer this functionality. Thanks for the correction, unknown8bit! – JRB)

One of my less computer-affable friends actually went pale, and kept on shooting her boyfriend looks for assurance. A Linux aficionado who was the only person in our group without a Facebook account (and one of the few people I’d ever met who actually endorsed Diaspora), the look he returned was one of comical smugness.

“But wait! It gets worse!” I said, ramping things up.

“So let’s say I’m a bro, looking to go out for a night on the town and pick someone up. Let’s say I’m going to the Independent around the corner, and checking it out ahead of time, I really like the look of this girl Zoe — she looks like a girl I might want to try to get with tonight — so I tap her picture for more information, see what I can find out about here.”

I tapped on Zoe. Girls Around Me quickly loaded up a fullscreen render of her Facebook profile picture. The app then told me where Zoe had last been seen (The Independent) and when (15 minutes ago). A big green button at the bottom reading “Photos & Messaging” just begged to be tapped, and when I did, I was whisked away to Zoe’s Facebook profile.

“Okay, so here’s Zoe. Most of her information is visible, so I now know her full name. I can see at a glance that she’s single, that she is 24, that she went to Stoneham High School and Bunker Hill Community College, that she likes to travel, that her favorite book is Gone With The Wind and her favorite musician is Tori Amos, and that she’s a liberal. I can see the names of her family and friends. I can see her birthday.”

“All of that is visible on Facebook?” one of the other girls in our group asked.

“More, depending on how your privacy settings are configured! For example, I can also look at Zoe’s pictures.”

I tapped on the photo album, and a collection of hundreds of publicly visible photos loaded up. I quickly browsed them.

“Okay, so it looks like Zoe is my kind of girl. From her photo albums, I can see that she likes to party, and given the number of guys she takes photos with at bars and clubs at night, I can deduce that she’s frisky when she’s drunk, and her favorite drink is a frosty margarita. She appears to have recently been in Rome. Also, since her photo album contains pictures she took at the beach, I now know what Zoe looks like in a bikini… which, as it happens, is pretty damn good.”

My girlfriend scowled at me. I assured her Zoe in a bikini was no comparison, and moved on.

“So now I know everything to know about Zoe. I know where she is. I know what she looks like, both clothed and mostly disrobed. I know her full name, her parents’ full names, her brother’s full name. I know what she likes to drink. I know where she went to school. I know what she likes and dislikes. All I need to do now is go down to the Independent, ask her if she remembers me from Stoneham High, ask her how her brother Mike is doing, buy her a frosty margarita, and start waxing eloquently about that beautiful summer I spent in Roma.”


The Girls of Girls Around Me. It's doubtful any of these girls even know they are being tracked. Their names and locations have been obscured for privacy reasons.

Throughout this demonstration, my group of friends had been split pretty evenly along gender lines in their reactions. Across the board, the men either looked amused or (in the case of my beardo Diaspora friend) philosophically pleased with themselves about their existing opinions about social networking. The women, on the other hand, looked sick and horrified.

It was at this point, though, that the tendrils of the girls’ unease — their deeply empathic sense of someone being unsafe — seemed to creep through the entire group.

“And if that doesn’t work on Zoe,” I concluded, consulting the app one last time. “There are — let’s see — nine other girls at the Independent tonight.”

Often times, a writer uses tricks and exaggerations to convey to a reader the spirit — if not the precise truth — of what occurred. I just want to make clear that when I say that one of my friends was actually on the verge of tears, you understand that this is not such a trick. She was horrified to the point of crying.

“How can Apple let people download an app like this?” she asked. “And have you written about this?”

In answer to the first question, I replied that as sleazy as this app seemed, Girls Around Me wasn’t actually doing anything wrong. Sure, on the surface, it looks like a hook-up app like Grindr for potential stalkers and date rapists, but all that Girls Around Me is really doing is using public APIs from Google Maps, Facebook and Foursquare and mashing them all up together, so you could see who had checked-in at locations in your area, and learn more about them. Moreover, the girls (and men!) shown in Girls Around Me all had the power to opt out of this information being visible to strangers, but whether out of ignorance, apathy or laziness, they had all neglected to do so. This was all public information. Nothing Girls Around Me does violates any of Apple’s policies.

In fact, Girls Around Me wasn’t even the real problem.

“It’s not, really, that we’re all horrified by what this app does, is it?” I asked, finishing my drink. “It’s that we’re all horrified by how exposed these girls are, and how exposed services like Facebook and Foursquare let them be without their knowledge.”

But I didn’t have an easy answer ready for my friend’s last question. I’d been playing with the app for almost two months. Why hadn’t I written about it? None of the answers made me look good.

Part of it was because, like many tech professionals, I had taken for granted that people understood that their Facebook profiles and Foursquare data were publicly visible unless they explicitly said otherwise… and like my beardo Diaspora friend, I secretly believed that people who were exposed this way on the Internet without their knowledge were foolish.

That made Girls Around Me a funny curio, a titillating novelty app, the kind of thing you pulled out with your buddies at the bar to laugh about… and maybe secretly wish had been around when you were younger and single and trying to pull some action. And if I’d written a post about it a month ago, it would have probably been from that angle. The headline might well have been: “No More Sausage Fests With Girls Around Me [Humor]”

It was in just this spirit that I’d shown off the app to my friends in the first place. It was getting late, we were all drunk or on the verge of getting there, and it had been a perfect day. It would have been so nice to finish things with a laugh. But now, as six intelligent, sophisticated friends from a variety of backgrounds surrounded me — some looking sick, some looking angry, and some with genuine fear in their faces — I didn’t think Girls Around Me was so funny. It had cast a pall across a beautiful day, and it had made people I loved feel scared… not just for the people they loved, but for complete strangers.

So I’m writing about it now. Not because Girls Around Me is an evil app that should be pulled from the iOS App Store, or because the company that makes it — Moscow-based i-Free — is filled with villains. I still don’t believe that there’s anything wrong with what this app is doing, and the guys at i-Free are super nice, and certainly don’t mean for this app to be anything beyond a diversion. So, the reason I’m writing about Girls Around Me is because I finally know what to say about it, and what it means in the greater picture.

Girls Around Me isn’t an app you should use to pick up girls, or guys for that matter. This is an app you should download to teach the people you care about that privacy issues are real, that social networks like Facebook and Foursquare expose you and the ones you love, and that if you do not know exactly how much you are sharing, you are as easily preyed upon as if you were naked. I can think of no better way to get a person to realize that they should understand their Facebook privacy settings then pulling out this app.

That’s why I hope you’ll go download Girls Around Me on your iPhone or iPad. It’s free to download. Show it to someone. Give them the same demo I gave to my friends. Then, when they ask how it’s done and how they can prevent an app like Girls Around Me from tracking them, educate them about privacy.

Here’s a good place to start.

Update: In response to this story, Foursquare has killed Girls Around Me’s API access to their data, effectively knocking the app out of commission. For more details and a statement from Foursquare, read here.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #548 on: April 01, 2012, 06:26:28 AM »



Police routinely using phone tracking
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/01/us/police-tracking-of-cellphones-raises-privacy-fears.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120401
WASHINGTON — Law enforcement tracking of cellphones, once the province mainly of federal agents, has become a powerful and widely used surveillance tool for local police officials, with hundreds of departments, large and small, often using it aggressively with little or no court oversight, documents show.
The practice has become big business for cellphone companies, too, with a handful of carriers marketing a catalog of “surveillance fees” to police departments to determine a suspect’s location, trace phone calls and texts or provide other services. Some departments log dozens of traces a month for both emergencies and routine investigations.
With cellphones ubiquitous, the police call phone tracing a valuable weapon in emergencies like child abductions and suicide calls and investigations in drug cases and murders. One police training manual describes cellphones as “the virtual biographer of our daily activities,” providing a hunting ground for learning contacts and travels.
But civil liberties advocates say the wider use of cell tracking raises legal and constitutional questions, particularly when the police act without judicial orders. While many departments require warrants to use phone tracking in nonemergencies, others claim broad discretion to get the records on their own, according to 5,500 pages of internal records obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union from 205 police departments nationwide.
The internal documents, which were provided to The New York Times, open a window into a cloak-and-dagger practice that police officials are wary about discussing publicly. While cell tracking by local police departments has received some limited public attention in the last few years, the A.C.L.U. documents show that the practice is in much wider use — with far looser safeguards — than officials have previously acknowledged.
The issue has taken on new legal urgency in light of a Supreme Court ruling in January finding that a Global Positioning System tracking device placed on a drug suspect’s car violated his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches. While the ruling did not directly involve cellphones — many of which also include GPS locators — it raised questions about the standards for cellphone tracking, lawyers say.
The police records show many departments struggling to understand and abide by the legal complexities of cellphone tracking, even as they work to exploit the technology.
In cities in Nevada, North Carolina and other states, police departments have gotten wireless carriers to track cellphone signals back to cell towers as part of nonemergency investigations to identify all the callers using a particular tower, records show.
In California, state prosecutors advised local police departments on ways to get carriers to “clone” a phone and download text messages while it is turned off.
In Ogden, Utah, when the Sheriff’s Department wants information on a cellphone, it leaves it up to the carrier to determine what the sheriff must provide. “Some companies ask that when we have time to do so, we obtain court approval for the tracking request,” the Sheriff’s Department said in a written response to the A.C.L.U.
And in Arizona, even small police departments found cell surveillance so valuable that they acquired their own tracking equipment to avoid the time and expense of having the phone companies carry out the operations for them. The police in the town of Gilbert, for one, spent $244,000 on such equipment. 
Cell carriers, staffed with special law enforcement liaison teams, charge police departments from a few hundred dollars for locating a phone to more than $2,200 for a full-scale wiretap of a suspect, records show.
Most of the police departments cited in the records did not return calls seeking comment. But other law enforcement officials said the legal questions were outweighed by real-life benefits.
The police in Grand Rapids, Mich., for instance, used a cell locator in February to find a stabbing victim who was in a basement hiding from his attacker.
“It’s pretty valuable, simply because there are so many people who have cellphones,” said Roxann Ryan, a criminal analyst with Iowa’s state intelligence branch. “We find people,” she said, “and it saves lives.”
Page 2 of 2)
Many departments try to keep cell tracking secret, the documents show, because of possible backlash from the public and legal problems. Although there is no evidence that the police have listened to phone calls without warrants, some defense lawyers have challenged other kinds of evidence gained through warrantless cell tracking.
“Do not mention to the public or the media the use of cellphone technology or equipment used to locate the targeted subject,” the Iowa City Police Department warned officers in one training manual. It should also be kept out of police reports, it advised.
In Nevada, a training manual warned officers that using cell tracing to locate someone without a warrant “IS ONLY AUTHORIZED FOR LIFE-THREATENING EMERGENCIES!!” The practice, it said, had been “misused” in some standard investigations to collect information the police did not have the authority to collect.
“Some cell carriers have been complying with such requests, but they cannot be expected to continue to do so as it is outside the scope of the law,” the advisory said. “Continued misuse by law enforcement agencies will undoubtedly backfire.”
Another training manual prepared by California prosecutors in 2010 advises police officials on “how to get the good stuff” using cell technology.
The presentation said that since the Supreme Court first ruled on wiretapping law in 1928 in a Prohibition-era case involving a bootlegger, “subtler and more far-reaching means of invading privacy have become available to the government.”
Technological breakthroughs, it continued, have made it possible for the government “to obtain disclosure in court of what is whispered in the closet.”
In interviews, lawyers and law enforcement officials agreed that there was uncertainty over what information the police are entitled to get legally from cell companies, what standards of evidence they must meet and when courts must get involved.
A number of judges have come to conflicting decisions in balancing cellphone users’ constitutional privacy rights with law enforcement’s need for information.
In a 2010 ruling, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, in Philadelphia, said a judge could require the authorities to obtain a warrant based on probable cause before demanding cellphone records or location information from a provider. (A similar case from Texas is pending in the Fifth Circuit.)
“It’s terribly confusing, and it’s understandable, when even the federal courts can’t agree,” said Michael Sussman, a Washington lawyer who represents cell carriers. The carriers “push back a lot” when the police urgently seek out cell locations or other information in what are purported to be life-or-death situations, he said. “Not every emergency is really an emergency.”
Congress and about a dozen states are considering legislative proposals to tighten restrictions on the use of cell tracking.
While cell tracing allows the police to get records and locations of users, the A.C.L.U. documents give no indication that departments have conducted actual wiretapping operations — listening to phone calls — without court warrants required under federal law.
Much of the debate over phone surveillance in recent years has focused on the federal government and counterterrorism operations, particularly a once-secret program authorized by President George W. Bush after the Sept. 11 attacks. It allowed the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on phone calls of terrorism suspects and monitor huge amounts of phone and e-mail traffic without court-approved intelligence warrants.
Clashes over the program’s legality led Congress to broaden the government’s eavesdropping powers in 2008. As part of the law, the Bush administration insisted that phone companies helping in the program be given immunity against lawsuits.
Since then, the wide use of cell surveillance has seeped down to even small, rural police departments in investigations unrelated to national security.
“It’s become run of the mill,” said Catherine Crump, an A.C.L.U. lawyer who coordinated the group’s gathering of police records. “And the advances in technology are rapidly outpacing the state of the law.”
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #549 on: April 22, 2012, 03:09:30 PM »

This appeared in my email box.  Anyone know anything about this?



Campaign for Liberty

Dear Marc F.,

This coming week, Congress is set to take up another so-called
"cybersecurity" bill, H.R. 3523, the "Cyber Intelligence Sharing
and Protection Act of 2011" (CISPA).

And this time, many of those who joined us to stop SOPA and PIPA
are supporting this legislation.

So only the immediate action of you and your fellow C4L members
can help protect our privacy from the government's ever-expanding
reach.

After our victory over SOPA/PIPA, I wrote to you in late February
about the need to stay vigilant against Congress' attempts to
assert more control over the Internet.

Well, since then, Republicans and Democrats have introduced at
least four major "cybersecurity" bills.

Expanding government power is always bipartisan.

CISPA, sponsored by Rep. Mike Rogers (MI-8), is promoted as a
harmless bill that will enable voluntary "information sharing"
between private corporations and government agencies in the name
of "cybersecurity."

Unfortunately, it would allow the transfer of vast amounts of
data, including information like your Internet browsing history
or email content, to any agency in the federal government,
including non-civilian agencies such as the National Security
Agency or the Department of Defense Cyber Command.

One major problem with these alleged "cybersecurity" bills is
their overly broad focus on what information private companies
are encouraged to share with federal agencies.

CISPA currently contains no incentive for private companies like
Facebook or Google to remove personally identifiable information
from data they share.

In addition, the way this legislation is drafted, it currently
overrides privacy presumptions found in the Electronic
Communications Privacy Act, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance
Act, and the Communications Act regarding the privacy of an
individual's online communications and related records.

Essentially, CISPA would deem all existing privacy laws null and
void for "cybersecurity" purposes.

Once the government has this information, there are no meaningful
restrictions on its use, as its only qualifier is that it must be
related to "cybersecurity" or to protect "national security."

As C4L members know too well, "national security" has become a
catch-all excuse for government powergrabs since 9/11.

Finally, while the bill includes a requirement for the Director
of National Intelligence's Inspector General to issue annual
reports on how the government is using the information shared
under the bill, such reports would only be provided to
congressional intelligence committees.

These reports would not constitute meaningful restrictions or do
anything to dissuade the misuse of personal information shared
under CISPA.

As I hinted at earlier, unlike the January 18 "Internet blackout"
over SOPA and PIPA, this time Internet giants like Facebook and
Twitter are openly supporting CISPA, along with powerful special
interest groups like the US Chamber of Commerce.

In other words, don't expect the cavalry to back us up on this
one.

And House Leadership is currently engaged in a full-court press
effort to get your representative to support H.R. 3523.

Sources on the Hill have informed us of "members only" meetings,
where representatives are being encouraged to vote for CISPA as a
"national security" issue addressing a "credible" "cybersecurity
threat."

I'm sure it's only a coincidence that this briefing comes
conveniently just ahead of when the establishment wants to ram
something through.

In the face of such longshot odds, without your immediate action,
I can't promise that we have even the slightest chance of beating
back this egregious invasion of your privacy.

But, I've seen the power the liberty movement can have when it
speaks out with a unified voice.

And you better believe members of Congress have taken notice,
too.

That's why I hope you'll contact Congress right away.

Click here to find your representative's information.

http://paracom.paramountcommunication.com/ct/8464985:11795247599:m:3:329792902:A6B5B827F80146C5D11AF0037FE3D605:r

And after you've contacted Congress, please forward this email to
at least five friends or family members encouraging them to do
the same.

Finally, your chip-in contribution of at least $10 or $25 will
help Campaign for Liberty mobilize as many Americans as possible
to take action on critical issues like CISPA and other so-called
"cybersecurity" bills that would strip more privacy away from
Americans.

http://paracom.paramountcommunication.com/ct/8464986:11795247599:m:3:329792902:A6B5B827F80146C5D11AF0037FE3D605:r

This fight won't have the glamour or media attention that SOPA
and PIPA received, so please take action immediately and show
Congress the liberty movement is serious about defending our
constitutionally protected rights no matter the odds.

In Liberty,

Campaign for Liberty

Matt Hawes
Vice President


P.S. Internet giants like Facebook and Twitter are openly
supporting H.R. 3523, the "Cyber Intelligence Sharing and
Protection Act of 2011" (CISPA) - the latest plan from Congress
to further infringe on Americans' privacy.

It's up to the liberty movement to take action and stop CISPA in
its tracks! Please contact your representative immediately and
demand a "NO" vote on H.R. 3523 and any similar legislation!

http://paracom.paramountcommunication.com/ct/8464985:11795247599:m:3:329792902:A6B5B827F80146C5D11AF0037FE3D605:r

After you've taken action, please chip in at least $10 or $25 to
help Campaign for Liberty fight this - and any other - outrageous
invasion of our privacy.

http://paracom.paramountcommunication.com/ct/8464986:11795247599:m:3:329792902:A6B5B827F80146C5D11AF0037FE3D605:r



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You were added to the system February 21, 2012. For more information
click here.
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