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Author Topic: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) and the 4th & 9th Amendments  (Read 96590 times)
G M
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« Reply #750 on: May 13, 2013, 05:34:30 PM »

The IRS admits to ‘targeting’ conservative groups, but were they also ‘leaking’?
 
9:42 AM 05/13/2013
 

Matt K. Lewis
 
A little over a year ago, I reported that, ”It is likely that someone at the Internal Revenue Service illegally leaked confidential donor information showing a contribution from Mitt Romney’s political action committee to the National Organization for Marriage, says the group.”
 
Now — on the heels of news the IRS’s apology for having targeted conservative groups — NOM is renewing their demand that the Internal Revenue Service reveal the identity of the people responsible.
 
“There is little question that one or more employees at the IRS stole our confidential tax return and leaked it to our political enemies, in violation of federal law,” said NOM’s president Brian Brow, in a prepared statement. “The only questions are who did it, and whether there was any knowledge or coordination between people in the White House, the Obama reelection campaign and the Human Rights Campaign. We and the American people deserve answers.”
 
Recent reports indicate the IRS may have begun targeting conservative groups as early as 2010.
 
In a 2012 speech, Sen. Mitch McConnell noted, “The head of one national advocacy group has released documents which show that his group’s confidential IRS information found its way into the hands of a staunch critic on the Left who also happens to be a co-chairman of President Obama’s re-election committee. The only way this information could have been made public is if someone leaked it from inside the IRS.”
 
And so, the next question may be this: If the IRS was targeting conservative groups — as they now admit to doing — were they also leaking information?
 
UPDATE: In December of 2012, ProPublica wrote that they had obtained the application for recognition of tax-exempt status for Crossroads GPS, filed in September of 2010.
 
As the ProPublica story noted:
 
“‘As far as we know, the Crossroads application is still pending, in which case it seems that either you obtained whatever document you have illegally, or that it has been approved,’ Jonathan Collegio, the group’s spokesman, said in an email.
 
 
 
“The IRS sent Crossroads’ application to ProPublica in response to a public-records request. The document sent to ProPublica didn’t include an official IRS recognition letter, which is typically attached to applications of nonprofits that have been recognized. The IRS is only required to give out applications of groups recognized as tax-exempt.
 
 
 
“In an email Thursday, an IRS spokeswoman said the agency had no record of an approved application for Crossroads GPS, meaning that the group’s application was still in limbo.


Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2013/05/13/the-irs-admits-to-targeting-conservative-groups-but-were-they-also-leaking/
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G M
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« Reply #751 on: May 13, 2013, 05:54:26 PM »

http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2013/05/13/a-few-of-the-crazy-things-the-irs-asked-conservative-groups-to-divulge/

A Few of the Crazy Things the IRS Asked Conservative Groups to Divulge Add Up to a Pattern and Purpose





by
Bryan Preston

Mary Katherine Ham rounds up 10 of the crazy things that the IRS sought from conservative and Tea Party groups during its abusive phase. I’ll focus on a few of those.
 
1. The IRS wanted every bit of information that these organizations had on their members.

 




Much of that information would allow the IRS to identify individual members of the targeted groups. Not just staff and donors, but members.
 
2. The IRS wanted information on the groups’ past and present employees and their relationships, with a special focus on familial relationships.
 



3. Just in case Point 2 wasn’t clear enough, yes, family members must be included.
 



4. Everything you turn over to the IRS will go public.
 



The information that the IRS sought went well beyond what it could reasonably have been seeking in the name of determining whether the groups qualified for the tax exemption. It was seeking enough information to build out a full network of every one of the conservative groups and be able to database them and cross-link them with each other. That the information would have been public is a tell of one place it would have ended up: In the computers of the data-driven Obama campaign and its allies. Anyone else seeking it would probably have had a tougher time getting their hands on it, but the Obama campaign, the Media Matters crew, any Democrat opposition researcher — they would have gotten it.
 
Based on the Obama campaign’s love of all things data and its behavior toward Romney donors, it’s pretty clear that gathering the information through the IRS was not the end game, it was a stop on the way to an end: Public exposure, humiliation and attack against the individuals that the IRS had scooped up on these forms — donors, staff, members, and their families. Secondarily, anyone thinking about donating to or working with any of the targeted groups would have to think twice about the consequences that might follow their exercise of their free speech rights. There are a lot of people out there with messy divorces, bankruptcies and other skeletons in their closets. Just ask Jack Ryan how sensitive Obama and company are with unflattering private information.
 
It’s clear from the questions above that while the IRS may not have had an enemies list when its intrusive questioning regime began in 2010, it was building one, and a very large and sophisticate one at that.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #752 on: May 13, 2013, 06:21:00 PM »

That fleshes things out quite a bit GM.


Wonder why some of us are suspicious about Big Brother , , ,

http://reason.com/blog/2013/05/13/most-transparent-administration-in-histo
« Last Edit: May 13, 2013, 06:40:57 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
G M
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« Reply #753 on: May 13, 2013, 07:13:04 PM »


http://pjmedia.com/jchristianadams/2013/05/13/meet-the-irs-team-in-charge-of-exempt-organization-reviews/?singlepage=true

Meet the IRS Team in Charge of Exempt Organization Reviews

May 13th, 2013 - 3:00 pm





Their work is in the news, so let’s meet the leadership team at the Internal Revenue Service that was in charge of reviewing those Tea Party applications for 501 (c) status.

Lois Lerner is the director of Exempt Organizations.  All of the mischief which occurred at the IRS took place under her supervision.

 
 

Prior to joining the IRS, Lerner was a bureaucrat at the Federal Election Commission.  Beginning in 1981, she served as an assistant general counsel, and was appointed in 1986 to head the Enforcement Division. Prior to joining the FEC, she was a staff attorney in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice. She is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston and received her Juris Doctor from Western New England College of Law in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Nan Downing is the director of Examinations.  She helped implement a “Fast Track Settlement” process for 501(c) applicants.



It must not apply to any conservative or Tea Party groups because they have been waiting for determinations for years after multiple intrusive questions about volunteers and donors.

David Fish is the acting director of Exempt Organizations Rulings and Agreements at the IRS.



Fish helped implement electronic applications for exempt status.  The electronic applications apparently didn’t speed up the process for Tea Party groups who have been waiting years for determinations.

Melany Partner is the IRS director of Customer Education and Outreach for Exempt Organizations.



Her job is (presumably) to help applicants like the many dozens of Tea Party groups understand and navigate the IRS 501(c) application process. Obviously there’s some room for improvement, to say the least.

Also read: White House Counsel Knew in April of IRS’s Targeting of Conservatives
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #754 on: May 14, 2013, 12:04:30 AM »

Once again GM brings his strong google fu skills to finding for us particularly pertinent information.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #755 on: May 14, 2013, 08:52:42 AM »

The Obama administration has been lying about the scope of the IRS’s harassment of conservative-leaning non-profits. The Washington Post has obtained documents that show the anti-conservative effort was directed from Washington, D.C., and was not a rogue operation out of the agency’s Cincinnati office, as the administration has claimed.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obama-denounces-reported-irs-targeting-of-conservative-groups/2013/05/13/a0185644-bbdf-11e2-97d4-a479289a31f9_story.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2013/05/14/irs-released-confidential-info-on-conservative-groups-to-propublica/
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2013/05/irs-scandal-about-to-blow-wide-open.php

Does anyone know when Eric Holder gets out of jail from his Contempt of Congress citation?  Maybe he can get to the bottom of this - like he did with Fast and Furious.

I wanted this administration to fall based on failed economic policies, but their arrogance and duplicity was bound to catch up with them too.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #756 on: May 14, 2013, 04:59:59 PM »

TARGETED - President Obama said Monday that if any Internal Revenue Service staff targeted groups based on their political leanings, they would be held "fully accountable" for their actions, in remarks that came as both Republican and Democratic lawmakers continued to express anger over the revelations.
•   But President Obama also dismissed a reporter’s question about the IRS intimidating conservative groups during the election with a wave of his hand on Monday morning.
•   Internal Revenue Service officials in Washington and at least two other offices were involved in the targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, making clear that the effort reached well beyond the branch in Cincinnati that was initially blamed, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post.
•   The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee announced Monday that it will hold a hearing on the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups for tax exempt status. The hearing will take place Friday morning.
•   The Internal Revenue Service says acting IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller was first informed in May 2012 that tea party groups were inappropriately targeted for scrutiny. A month later he wrote a member of Congress to explain the process of reviewing applications for tax-exempt status without mentioning the controversy.
•   An attorney for a Tea Party group that believes the IRS targeted it for special scrutiny while applying for nonprofit status said an IRS analyst told him over a year ago that the agency had a “secret working group” devoted to investigating conservative organizations.
•   Attorney Dan Backer, whose client TheTeaParty.net has been trying to obtain tax-exempt status since 2010, said an IRS analyst mentioned the alleged working group during a phone conversation about one of Backer’s other client organizations.
•   While the Internal Revenue Service has apologized for targeting Tea Party groups, a number still have not received their tax-exempt status. Some have not even heard back from the IRS.
•   The following, based on questionnaires made public by Tea Party groups, are examples of the requests made by the IRS as part of the application for tax-exempt status.
o   Copies of current web pages, including blog posts and social networking site pages
o   Copies of all newsletters, bulletins and flyers
o   Names of donors and amounts they gave
o   Names of those who received donations and amounts received
o   Dates of community events including rallies
o   Contents of speeches delivered at sponsored events
o   Names of event organizers
o   Copies of documents that rate political candidates
o   Amount of money spent on publishing materials
o   Membership agreement and rules that govern members
o   Salary information
•   Despite the administrations’ claim to find the truth, many believe the White House was not an innocent bystander. Austan Goolsbee, who was Obama's chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, entered the fray at an August 27, 2010, press briefing where he let slip that he knew that Koch Industries had paid no income taxes.
•   Koch Industries is a privately held company and therefore their tax returns and tax payments are not normally publicly available.
•   The Obama administration then switched to a second line of defense: that Mr. Goolsbee simply misspoke, that he didn’t mean to say what he said, and that it was merely a coincidence that he had just happened to guess their tax information. But it was quite a lucky guess. The IRS’s Inspector General promised to look into whether Goolsbee had illegally gotten confidential tax information, but a report was never released.
•   Democratic Montana Senator Max Baucus is leading an investigation into why the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative nonprofit groups for extra scrutiny despite the fact that Baucus once wrote a letter urging the IRS to do exactly that.
•   According to figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, IRS employees donated over two-and-a-half times more to Barack Obama than to Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
•   The National Organization for Marriage is renewing their demand that the Internal Revenue Service reveal the identity of the people responsible illegally leaked confidential donor information showing a contribution from Mitt Romney’s political action committee to National Organization for Marriage.
•   U.S. Representative Mike Turner(R-OH) introduced a bill Monday that would make it a crime -- punishable by jail time -- for an IRS agent to target groups based on their political beliefs.
•   U.S. Senator Marco Rubio said Monday the head of the Internal Revenue Service should resign in the wake of reports that the agency has been targeting conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.
•   MSNBC host Joe Scarborough tore into the federal government over the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups.
•   In addition to calling the admitted actions “mind-boggling,” the personality highlighted the assertion that “this government is using the Internal Revenue Service to target people with whom they disagree.” Others, like co-host Willie Geist, jumped in say that the collective actions constitute ”tyranny.”
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #757 on: May 15, 2013, 12:11:27 PM »

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/05/14/Obama-campaign-co-chair-attacked-Romney-conservative-group-in-2012-with-leaked-IRS-scandal-documents
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #758 on: May 15, 2013, 07:15:00 PM »

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/05/15/exclusive-prominent-catholic-prof-claims-irs-audited-her-after-speaking-out-against-obama-and-demanded-to-know-who-was-paying-her/
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #759 on: May 29, 2013, 09:39:08 PM »

http://michellemalkin.com/2013/05/29/confirmed-polk-county-fl-schools-conducted-iris-scans-on-students-without-permission/
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #760 on: June 03, 2013, 01:59:37 PM »

http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org/2013/06/supreme-court-allows-police-to-take-dna-sample-without-warrant/
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #761 on: June 05, 2013, 03:41:16 PM »


Here is a true event that happened to a gentleman who trained
here in Weare NH for just a short time with me. He couldnt find work
here as a martial arts teacher so he moved out to Florida and this here
is from what had just happened only a few days ago. Read how stupid
_/some/_ cops really are. And this is why you all should learn your rights.
Peter

Score one for liberty!

I want to start off by saying that I have a lot of respect for police
officers and the work that they do. This entry is not intended to put
down police officers in general but rather explain a bad experience that
I had with one the day before yesterday.

I just drove to Florida from New Hampshire. I pretty much drove straight
through, stopping only occasionally for small naps. I set out to cross
the border before I took a nap and I was wrecked. Once I crossed the
border, it was like a huge wave of relief passed over my body. I had
finally made it. Even though I still have five hours of driving left, I
felt that I have met a goal. Right over the border, there was a rest
stop. It said that it was guarded, so I figured it would be safe to stop
there and sleep for a few hours before I continued on. I passed an
agricultural check point that said all commercial vehicles needed to stop.

As I pulled into the rest stop, blue lights flash behind me. I pull over
immediately (as you are supposed to do) and the police officer on a loud
speaker instructs be to pull all the way in which I did. Once I pulled
in, I did as I have always done when pulled over, I got my license and
registration ready. I turned my dome light on. I rolled down my window,
and I had my hands at ten and two. Of course, he decides to go to the
passenger side. So I crawl across the van and roll that window down.

He asks me why I did not stop at the checkpoint. I explained to him that
the sign said commercial vehicles only. He told me that vans (like mine)
are considered commercial vehicles and that it is a $151 fine for
passing it. I apologized and told him that I was quite tired and will
keep that in mind in the future. He told me to wait there while he ran
my license.

He came back asked me to step out of the car, which I did and walked
with him to the back of the van. He had called for back up. There were
three more cruisers there as well as the armed guard from the rest stop.
This is how the conversation went …

Officer: Why are you so nervous?

Me: I am not nervous, just tired.

Officer: Your eyes are red and you are shaking.

Me: Well yeah, I am really tired. I was pulling over to get some sleep
and you startled me with your lights.

Officer: No, you pulled over to get away from me.

Me: Honestly, I had no idea you were there until you turned the lights
on. I just want to rest for a bit.

Officer: You couldn't even maintain a speed.

Me: What does that mean?

Officer: You were slowing down.

Me: That is what I do when I get off an exit. What did you clock me at?

Officer: About 25 on the ramp.

Me: (I look over and gesture to the sign that says RAMP 25 MPH other
police officers chuckle). You got me officer. What is the fine in
Florida for obeying the speed limit?

Officer: You know that you illegally passed the checkpoint and that is
punishable by a $151 fine?

Me: That is what you told me and I explained to you that I did not
realize that my van that I use for personal and family use was
considered commercial.

Officer: We are going to search your van. Is that ok?

Me: Not it is not.

Officer: What do you have to hide?

Me: Nothing, which is why you are wasting your time with me and should
be out looking for criminals or doing something productive.

Officer: Let me explain something to you. I don't need a warrant or your
permission to search your van. You broke the law by passing the checkpoint …

Me: (interrupting) What is the fine for that (shoot a look at the other
officers)

Officer: $151 (other officers chuckle – initial officer getting irritated).

Me: Well if you don't need permission or a warrant then apparently you
are going going to search it anyway. I want it on the record and
documented that I protest this search and offer no consent.

Officer: Here is what I am going to do. I am going to call a judge and
get a warrant.

Me: Why would you do that? You said you don't need one.

Officer: Just to cover my butt.

Me: Why do you need to cover your butt if you can legally search my van?

Officer: This is going to go one of two ways. The easy way or the hard
way. Either you can let us search your van or I am going to wake up a
judge at 11 at night and get a warrant. Do you want me to have to wake
up a judge?

Me: Yes …

Officer: Why?

Me: Because I have rights. Basically what you are telling me is that I
have two options, you are going to search my van or you are going to
search my van. Show me a warrant. I want a copy in my hand.

Officer: If I have to get a warrant, I am going to keep you here all
night while I go through your stuff.

Me: It's not like you would search it faster if I gave permission.

Officer: If I have to get a warrant, you are going to have to unload
your van.

Me: Nope, IF you get a warrant, then you can unload my van. I am not
doing it.

Officer: Why?

Me: Because there are no cameras in my van and no way to document what
goes on in there while I am unloading. I am not going to get shot or
tazed in the back because you claim that I moved to quickly or picked up
a weapon that ended up being a dildo or something.

Officer: You have a dildo?

Me: Get a warrant and you can find out … you don't have any latex
allergies do you?

Officer: Do you have anything in the van?

Me: Yes …

Officer: No, I mean do you have anything illegal in the van?

Me: Oh … no.

Officer: No knives or firearms.

Me: Yes, both.

Officer: You said you didn't have anything in the van.

Me: I said I didn't have anything illegal in the van and they are not
illegal. The firearms are dismantled. The slides and the frames are in
different boxes and locked and the ammo is separate.

Officer: What kind of guns?

Me: Non of your business.

Officer: I need to check if they are loaded.

Me: Not without a warrant.

Officer: Carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle is against the law in
Florida.

Me: Not with a CCW which I have and will be happy to show you.

Officer: (noticing that my pocket was pulled out) What did you take out
of your pocket?

Me: My wallet.

Officer: Why would you take your wallet out of your pocket?

Me: To get to my license.

Officer: Why did you need that?

Me: To put it in your hand ...

Officer: This is your last chance before I call a judge.

Me: This is your last chance before I file harassment charges.

At this point he gets on his phone and I did what he should have been
doing the whole time – building rapport. I talked with the other
officers. I told them about my family and the job I was doing in Bonita
Springs. I asked them if they minded if I leaned up against van since I
was really tired. They said that was fine. I could hear the officer in
the background talking with someone explaining that I had boxes, bins
and sleeping bags in the van … and “a lot of weird stuff”. When he got
off the phone we continued ...

Officer: What is that inside your door? (I start to walk back to the
front of the van) What are you doing?

Me: You asked me what was inside my door and I don't know what you are
talking about so I was going to look. Do you want to walk back with me?

Officer: Yes, it looks like a leaf. (I open the driver's side door and
on the step up into the van is … a leaf …)

Me: Yup, officer, you got me. It is in fact a leaf. (He starts to look
under my seats and I shut the door. We return to the back of the van)
Did you get your warrant?

Officer: I am waiting for a call back. Where are your guns?

Me: In my guitar amp?

Officer: Your guns are in your guitar amp?

Me: Yes, after I took them apart and locked them up, I took my amp apart
and hid them inside.

Officer: Why would you do that?

Me: I did not want anybody to have access to them.

Officer: What about us?

Me: You are included in everybody.

He gets a call back and answers. I hear “Let him go” from the other side
of the phone. He excuses himself and gets in his car to argue with
whoever on the other side of the line. I continued to chat it up with
the other cops. When he returns.

Officer: My captain decided to let you off with a warning.

Me: Great, then good night. I am going to get some sleep.

Officer: So what are you on?

Me: What do you mean?

Officer: Alcohol, drugs?

Me: Nothing …

Officer: I am giving you a chance to be honest with me. I can't help you
if you don't tell me the truth.

Me: I don't need your help. (He give me an REM test)

Officer: Your eyes are all over the place and there are only two causes
for that.

Me: Do tell …

Officer: Either you are on some kind of substance or you are a diabetic
about to go into sugar shock.

Me: There is at least one other option.

Officer: What is that?

Me: That I am exhausted and highly caffeinated and need to sleep.

Officer: If you are really that tired, what are you doing on the road.

Me: I pulled in here to get off the road and you are stopping me from
sleeping. Do you realize that it is 11pm on Saturday. I left New
Hampshire at 5pm on Friday.

Officer: What does that mean?

Me: It means that unless I came from Maine, I came from as far away from
where we are now as you could possibly get and still be on the east
coast of this country. I have been driving for over 20 hours on about 4
hours of sleep.

Officer: What makes you an expert?

Me: Well, first off, I used to me a substance abuse recovery counselor.
You are welcome to call South Easter New Hampshire Services and ask
them. I know a bit about substances and how they work. Also my brother
has type 1 diabetes and I have seen him in a diabetic coma. If I were at
that point, REM would be the last of my worries.

Officer: Well there are other types of diabetes.

Me: I know, my grandfather has the other type.

Officer: Ok, well I am going to let you off with a warning but if you
are on ANYTHING at all, you need to stay here and sleep it off.

Me: First, I told you that I was going to stay here and sleep. Second,
you are just blowing smoke. If you thought I was actually on something,
then you would either not even give me the option of leaving or you are
the worst cop ever.

He then gives me my warning and thanks me for my cooperation. I was so
riled up … I couldn't sleep.

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bigdog
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« Reply #762 on: June 06, 2013, 05:44:26 AM »

2 unrelated, yet interconnected articles:

http://www.scotusblog.com/2013/06/panopticon-keep-your-eyes-on-the-word/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/verizon-providing-all-call-records-to-us-under-court-order/2013/06/05/98656606-ce47-11e2-8845-d970ccb04497_story.html... but remember, its all just speculation: http://www.lawfareblog.com/2013/06/the-verizonsection-215-order-and-the-clapper-mindset/
« Last Edit: June 06, 2013, 05:55:38 AM by bigdog » Logged
ccp
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« Reply #763 on: June 06, 2013, 10:07:10 AM »


These disclosures are not speculation.  We are already under some surveillance to at least some degree.   By government and private interests.   And in my case by criminals.   Sometimes the entities above overlap and are not separate.  The real world.   If any one thinks Google, MS etc are not keeping data and don't have access to much of what we do and who we are he/she is kidding themselves.

It won't be stopped.  Cannot be.  OTOH we don't want intrusion into our private worlds.  Yet it is happening all the time.  OTOH how in the world can law enforcement have ANY hope of combating this without access to the data.   The problem is what they do with it.    Agencies who are surveillancing for terrorist activity MUST out of any conceivable realm of logical probability come across criminal activity or communications that do not have anything to do with Jihad.  So should this be ignored?  It probably is.  The answer is not simple.

*****WND Exclusive: Now FBI wants back door to all software
LIFE WITH BIG BROTHER

Now FBI wants back door to all software

But leading security experts say strategy would help enemies
Published: 15 hours ago
author-imageBob Unruh   About   | Email  | Archive    

Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.

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The FBI is unhappy that there are communications technologies that it cannot intercept and wants to require that software makers and communications companies create a back door so they can listen in when they desire.

But a team of technology experts warns the move would hand over to the nation’s enemies abilities they are not capable of developing for themselves.


 



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The Washington Post reported the issue is being raised by the FBI because “there is currently no way to wiretap some of these communications methods easily, and companies effectively.”

The solution, according to the FBI, is to fine companies when they fail to comply with wiretap orders, essentially requiring all companies to build a back door for wiretap capabilities into all their communications links.

“The importance to us is pretty clear,” FBI general counsel Andrew Weissman said in the report. “We don’t have the ability to go to court and say, ‘We need a court order to effectuate the intercept.’”

But a report by the Center for Democracy & Technology warns of unintended consequences.

“Wiretap functionality allows covert access to communications that can be exploited not only by law enforcement, but by criminals, terrorists, and foreign military and intelligence agencies,” the report said. “Wiretap endpoints will be vulnerable to exploitation and difficult to secure.”

It cited a report called “CALEA II: Risks of Wiretap Modifications to Endpoints.”

The report came just as the U.S. government was caught accessing telephone records for the Associated Press and describing a prominent Fox News journalist as a potential criminal.

It was compiled by high-profile leaders in the field such as Matt Blaze from the University of Pennsylvania, Edward Felten of Princeton, Matthew D. Green of Johns Hopkins and J. Alex Halderman of the University of Michigan.

The report said there are some drawbacks to expanding wiretap design laws to Internet services.

“Mandating wiretap capabilities in endpoints poses serious security risks,” the report said. “Requiring software vendors to build intercept functionality into their products is unwise and will be ineffective, with the result being serious consequences for the economic well-being and national security of the United States.”

Just what kind of “serious consequences”?

“The FBI’s desire to expand CALEA mandates amounts to developing for our adversaries capabilities that they may not have the competence, access, or resources to develop on their own,” the report said.

CALEA is the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, which already requires some electronic surveillance possibilities. It’s the plan the FBI wants to expand to all digital forms of communication, including Skype and VoIP services.

The London Daily Mail recently reported that those technologies are hard to track because they convert analogue audio signals into digital data packets, which would have to be retrieved and reassembled.

The team of experts said that besides allowing criminals and terrorists into the networks, the strategy would require software companies to have employees do the wiretapping or give away their company secrets to law enforcement agencies.

“Finally, the wiretap capability that the FBI seeks will be ineffective because it is easily disabled and because knock-off products that lack the wiretap functionality can be readily downloaded from websites abroad. Because many of the tools that people use to communicate are built on open standards and open source software, it will be trivial to remove or disable wiretap functionality,” the report said.

According to the Post report, the draft proposal would let a court levy escalating fines against a company – fines that could double daily.

“This proposal is a non-starter that would drive innovators overseas and cost American jobs,” Greg Nojeim, a senior counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology, told the Post.

“They might as well call it the Cyber Insecurity and Anti-Employment Act.”*****

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« Reply #764 on: June 06, 2013, 08:01:28 PM »

ccp, the "speculation" quote is from a USSC decision not to allow a case to proceed. It is signed by all the conservative justices....

Did you read the short article linked? It is pretty interesting, and links to the opinion if you want to read it.
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« Reply #765 on: June 07, 2013, 10:51:50 PM »

***I realize that, for many, this order will seem either unsurprising, unalarming, or both. Such is the state of the world–and of the authorities under which the government operates on an increasingly routine basis. But contrast that mentality with the skepticism at the heart of Justice Alito’s opinion for the 5-4 Supreme Court majority in February’s Clapper v. Amnesty International decision, which, in rejecting standing to challenge (admittedly different) FISA-related authorities, dismissed the plaintiffs’ allegations that their communications might be intercepted as purely “speculative.”

Justice Alito’s specific analysis aside, it’s the mindset that I just don’t get. Reasonable people can certainly disagree about the normative desirability (and, I dare say, legality) of the degree of governmental surveillance that is now underway. But can reasonable people really continue to disagree that this is the world in which we’re living?***

Appearances can be deceiving.  One can speculate about a lot of things.  Perhaps the "mentality" of the Supremes to dismiss  *this* concern as merely speculative is telling at either their naivete or their wish to look at only hard evidence.  I don't know.

I am one of those who would find this unsurprising while many others don't care because they believe it doesn't adversely affect them.

WE now know various government agencies are collecting reams of data.   We still don't know how much or exactly what or what they are doing with it. 

We also know many upon many liberal advocates from all over are constantly visiting the WH.   We know nothing of what goes on there.  A naïve person (I was one) would have wondered how such a huge conspiracy (soft tyranny) take hold under the radar without people talking.

We have seen other examples of large conspiracies of silence.  Like  Serpico - essentially the entire NYC police force taking bribes or looking the other way.

Like performance enhancing drugs in professional and probably most big time college sports.  Lance Armstorng.  Alex Rodriguez.  Of course they are all doping.   Yet, we only get drips and drabs of the truth because those who are on the inside and know what is going on are keeping quiet.

Same in music industry.   I can way (without proof) that virtually all the lyrics and probably most of what we hear on radio, cable etc is all stolen.   Yet many many people are keeping this quiet or looking the other way.

Same in Wall street insider trading.   To think there *isn't* massive espionage going on would be crazy - not vice a versa.  Too much money involved. 

To think all these hundreds of liberal political activists who work for the government, the media, and private industries are visiting the WH and all this data is not being used against their political adversaries is naïve.  One may still call it speculative - but with much corroborative evidence can reasonable people agree something is rotten in Denmark (DC).

Like the author above I would not dismiss it.   Of course I am not a Supreme Court Justice - I am just another Joe.

 
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« Reply #766 on: June 13, 2013, 05:54:09 PM »

http://kieranhealy.org/blog/archives/2013/06/09/using-metadata-to-find-paul-revere/

READ it all.
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« Reply #767 on: June 15, 2013, 05:46:29 AM »


Here's a nice little loophole that lets government look at your private
emails .... and we're not just talking "metadata".

http://www.businessinsider.com/when-can-the-government-read-your-email-2013-6
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« Reply #768 on: June 15, 2013, 06:03:36 AM »

second entry  http://enews.earthlink.net/article/us?guid=20130615/e91544a8-e9bf-4bc9-9359-cc11897f968f
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« Reply #769 on: June 18, 2013, 10:11:43 AM »

http://www.mrconservative.com/2013/06/19304-oregon-turning-traffic-cameras-into-big-brother-surveillance-system/
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« Reply #770 on: June 18, 2013, 11:37:30 AM »



http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/13/us/police-agencies-are-assembling-records-of-dna.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20130613
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« Reply #771 on: June 18, 2013, 01:39:03 PM »


Is this somehow different than fingerprint databases ?
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« Reply #772 on: June 19, 2013, 03:56:50 PM »

Fair enough I suppose , , , but , , ,

http://pjmedia.com/rogerlsimon/2013/06/19/living-in-fear-welcome-to-fascist-america/?singlepage=true
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« Reply #773 on: June 19, 2013, 07:09:28 PM »

http://rt.com/news/search-duckduckgo-popularity-nsa-956/
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« Reply #774 on: June 20, 2013, 07:37:55 AM »

Hat tip to David Gordon:

 
The internet is spying on you
Every time you go online, sophisticated data miners are tracking your every move. What do they know about you?
How to fight back against data miners

How frequently am I followed online?

Constantly. Your computer leaves a unique digital trail every time you visit a website, post a comment on a blog, or add a photo to your Facebook wall. A growing number of companies follow that trail to assemble a profile of you and your affinities. These profiles can contain shocking levels of detail—including your age, income, shopping habits, health problems, sexual proclivities, and ZIP code—right down to the number of rooms in your house and the number of people in your family. Although trackers don’t identify their subjects by name, the data they compile is so extensive that “you can find out who an individual is without it,” says Maneesha Mithal of the Federal Trade Commission.

How does the technology work?

The moment you land on a website, it installs a unique electronic code on your hard drive. Owners of websites originally placed “cookies,” the simplest such codes, on computers for users’ convenience, in order to remember things like the contents of online shopping carts. But a cookie placed by one site can also serve as a tracking device that allows marketers to identify an individual computer and follow its path on every Web visit. It’s like a clerk who sells you a pair of jeans at one store, then trails you around the mall, recording every store you visit and every item of clothing you try on. “Beacons” are super-cookies that record even computer keystrokes and mouse movements, providing another layer of detail. “Flash cookies” are installed when a computer user activates Flash technology, such as a YouTube video, embedded on a site. They can also reinstall cookies that have been removed. Such “persistent cookies,” says Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, make it “virtually impossible for users to go online without being tracked and profiled.”

Who’s doing the spying?

Marketers, advertisers, and those whose businesses depend on them. Most websites install their own cookies and beacons, both to make site navigation easier and to gather user information. (Wikipedia is a rare exception.) But third parties—advertisers and the networks that place online ads, such as Google and iAds—frequently pay site hosts to install their own tracking technology. Beacons are even sometimes planted without the knowledge of the host site. Comcast, for example, installed Flash cookies on computers visiting its website after it accepted Clearspring Technologies’ free software for displaying slide shows. Visitors who clicked on a slide show at Comcast.com wound up loading Clearspring’s Flash cookies onto their hard drives, which Comcast said it had never authorized.

How is personal data used?

It’s collected and sold by companies like Clearspring. Such information can be sold in large chunks—for example, an advertiser might pay $1 for 1,000 profiles of movie lovers—or in customized segments. An apparel retailer might buy access to 18-year-old female fans of the Twilight movie series who reside in the Sunbelt. “We can segment it all the way down to one person,” says Eric Porres of Lotame, which sells these profiles. Advertisers use the profiles to deliver individualized ads that follow users to every site they visit. Julia Preston, a 32-year-old software designer from Austin, recently saw how this works firsthand when she started seeing lots of Web ads for fertility treatments. She had recently researched uterine disorders online. “It’s unnerving,” she says.

Is all this snooping legal?

So far, yes. While an e-commerce site can’t sell to third parties the credit card numbers it acquires in the course of its business, the legality of various tracking technologies—and the sale of the personal profiles that result—has never been tested in court. Privacy advocates say that’s not because there aren’t abundant abuses, but because the law hasn’t kept pace with advancing technology. “The relevant laws,” says Lauren Weinstein of People for Internet Responsibility, an advocacy group, “are generally so weak—if they exist at all—that it’s difficult to file complaints.”

Can you avoid revealing yourself online?

Aside from abandoning the Internet altogether, there’s virtually no way to evade prying eyes. Take the case of Ashley Hayes-Beaty, who learned just how exposed she was when The Wall Street Journal shared what it had learned about her from a data miner. Hayes-Beaty’s computer use identified her as a 26-year-old female Nashville resident who counts The Princess Bride and 50 First Dates among her favorite movies, regularly watches Sex and the City, keeps current on entertainment news, and enjoys taking pop-culture quizzes. That litany, which advertisers can buy for about one-tenth of a cent, constitutes what Hayes-Beaty calls an “eerily precise” consumer profile. “I like to think I have some mystery left to me,” says Hayes-Beaty, “but apparently not.”
 
There are ways to minimize your exposure to data miners. One of the most effective is to disrupt profile-building by clearing your computer browser’s cache and deleting all cookies at least once a week. In addition, turning on the “private browsing” feature included in most popular Web browsers will block tracking technologies from installing themselves on your machine. For fees ranging from $9.95 to $10,000, companies like ReputationDefender can remove your personal information from up to 90 percent of commercial websites. But it’s basically impossible to eradicate personal information, such as property records and police files, from government databases. “There’s really no solution now, except abstinence” from the Internet, says Lt. Col. Greg Conti, a computer science professor at West Point. “And if you choose not to use online tools, you’re really not a member of the 21st century.”
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« Reply #775 on: June 20, 2013, 08:02:27 AM »

That's why Google claiming to want to be more transparent about government requests for private data is a joke.

Google et al are just as much the problem.  To hear their PR people crying foul is ridiculous.  They do the same thing to us all time.   

Yes there is no way out. 

One would not want to be a target as I became for any reason by anyone with clout, money or connections.

Your life will be hell and nothing you can do about it.
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« Reply #776 on: June 20, 2013, 10:00:33 PM »

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/06/20/194505/government-could-use-metadata.html#.UcO_WZywUpl
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« Reply #777 on: June 21, 2013, 09:07:51 AM »

The implications of PRISM continue to grow.   shocked

http://redtape.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/06/20/19061109-lawyers-eye-nsa-data-as-treasure-trove-for-evidence-in-murder-divorce-cases?lite

=============================
http://redtape.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/06/18/19025074-dont-mess-with-texas-email-state-law-ends-some-warrantless-email-searches

Don't mess with Texas email: State law ends some warrantless email searches
By Bob Sullivan, Columnist, NBC News

Texas residents will have a little more protection from the prying eyes of local law enforcement than the rest of America starting in September. A law that takes effect in the fall ends warrantless email searches by state law enforcement officials, in a step that might have implications for email snooping laws around the country.

The new law cancels out a Texas provision that had allowed state, county, and local cops to access emails stored on third-party services like Gmail or Yahoo under certain circumstances without requiring a judge's finding of probable cause.

It was passed by the Texas statehouse long before the recent string of disclosures about the National Security Agency allegedly snooping on U.S citizens, but signed into law on Monday by Texas Gov. Rick Perry. The Texas law is very limited, however: Federal law enforcement officials can still access some Texas residents' third-party emails by issuing a simple subpoena to the companies where the information is stored.
Advertise | AdChoices

But the action in Texas, the first such anti-email-snooping legislation in the nation, might create momentum for a proposed update to similar provisions in federal law.

Privacy advocates cheered the measure.

"Given the central role that email plays today in business and personal communications, and given the reasonable expectation of privacy that Americans have when it comes to those emails, judicial review should be required before law enforcement obtains the content of any citizen’s email," said Rob Douglas, a former Washington D.C. prosecutor and privacy law expert. "The federal government – along with all other states – should follow Texas’ lead and require warrants before the police can seize the content of any email."

How both Texas law and federal law came to allow warrantless email searches is a tortured tale that has largely been ignored during the current NSA controversy. Much of the discussion in the wake of leaker Edward Snowden's disclosures has surrounded the distinction between access to information about communications — metadata — and the content of those communications — which generally require a wiretap order to obtain. (See previous story on the hazy distinction between listening and watching.)

There is another way that law enforcement can legally obtain the contents of communication, such as email, without a search warrant, however. It's permitted by the Stored Communications Act of 1986, which is part of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. This part of the law only makes sense to people who recall the days of computer time sharing, when users at terminals remotely connected to centralized computers on a temporary basis.

In general, federal law holds that citizens who give information to third parties surrender their expectation of privacy for that information. That means in some cases that while government officials can't demand that you or your email recipient reveal contents of private messages without a warrant, those officials can ask Gmail or Yahoo for that data.

The Stored Communications Act draws a distinction between "Remote Computing Services" and "Electronic Communications Services." Basically, when citizens are temporarily using a remote computer to deliver a message, that data is protected the same way the contents of a letter are protected while in transit at the post office. But when emails leave their data on the servers of these third parties, they are now considered an electronic communication service and fair game for subpoena-wielding law enforcement officials.

(For specifics, such as the 180-day distinction, click here.)

Most states — including Texas, until now — have copycat provisions which grant the same access to local law enforcement.

This made some sense in 1986 when no one dreamed of storing thousands of emails on remote servers. Today, that's common. And while efforts to change federal law have been sluggish, federal courts have already taken steps in that direction. In 2010, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in U.S. vs. Warshak that this part of the Stored Communications Act was unconstitutional. Other courts have upheld the Stored Communications Act, meaning there is a court split that has yet to be settled by the U.S. Supreme Court, so it's unclear if the law applies nationally.

Google, however, currently acts as if the Warshak decision is law of the land. It announced after the circuit court ruling that it would require search warrants before handing over Gmail account contents requested under the Stored Communications Act.

There is little argument that the law, and the entire Electronic Communications Privacy Act, requires updating. Several updates have been proposed, most recently ECPA 2013, sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah.

But until Congress acts on the legislation, and the president signs it, those concerned about the prying eyes of law enforcement might consider relocating to the Lone Star State.

Follow Bob Sullivan on Facebook or Twitter.
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« Reply #778 on: June 21, 2013, 11:08:59 AM »


WASHINGTON — When Max Kelly, the chief security officer for Facebook, left the social media company in 2010, he did not go to Google, Twitter or a similar Silicon Valley concern. Instead the man who was responsible for protecting the personal information of Facebook’s more than one billion users from outside attacks went to work for another giant institution that manages and analyzes large pools of data: the National Security Agency. Mr. Kelly’s move to the spy agency, which has not previously been reported, underscores the increasingly deep connections between Silicon Valley and the agency and the degree to which they are now in the same business. Both hunt for ways to collect, analyze and exploit large pools of data about millions of Americans.

The only difference is that the N.S.A. does it for intelligence, and Silicon Valley does it to make money.

The disclosure of the spy agency’s program called Prism, which is said to collect the e-mails and other Web activity of foreigners using major Internet companies like Google, Yahoo and Facebook, has prompted the companies to deny that the agency has direct access to their computers, even as they acknowledge complying with secret N.S.A. court orders for specific data.

Yet technology experts and former intelligence officials say the convergence between Silicon Valley and the N.S.A. and the rise of data mining — both as an industry and as a crucial intelligence tool — have created a more complex reality.

Silicon Valley has what the spy agency wants: vast amounts of private data and the most sophisticated software available to analyze it. The agency in turn is one of Silicon Valley’s largest customers for what is known as data analytics, one of the valley’s fastest-growing markets. To get their hands on the latest software technology to manipulate and take advantage of large volumes of data, United States intelligence agencies invest in Silicon Valley start-ups, award classified contracts and recruit technology experts like Mr. Kelly.

“We are all in these Big Data business models,” said Ray Wang, a technology analyst and chief executive of Constellation Research, based in San Francisco. “There are a lot of connections now because the data scientists and the folks who are building these systems have a lot of common interests.”

Although Silicon Valley has sold equipment to the N.S.A. and other intelligence agencies for a generation, the interests of the two began to converge in new ways in the last few years as advances in computer storage technology drastically reduced the costs of storing enormous amounts of data — at the same time that the value of the data for use in consumer marketing began to rise. “These worlds overlap,” said Philipp S. Krüger, chief executive of Explorist, an Internet start-up in New York.

The sums the N.S.A. spends in Silicon Valley are classified, as is the agency’s total budget, which independent analysts say is $8 billion to $10 billion a year.

Despite the companies’ assertions that they cooperate with the agency only when legally compelled, current and former industry officials say the companies sometimes secretly put together teams of in-house experts to find ways to cooperate more completely with the N.S.A. and to make their customers’ information more accessible to the agency. The companies do so, the officials say, because they want to control the process themselves. They are also under subtle but powerful pressure from the N.S.A. to make access easier.

Skype, the Internet-based calling service, began its own secret program, Project Chess, to explore the legal and technical issues in making Skype calls readily available to intelligence agencies and law enforcement officials, according to people briefed on the program who asked not to be named to avoid trouble with the intelligence agencies.

Project Chess, which has never been previously disclosed, was small, limited to fewer than a dozen people inside Skype, and was developed as the company had sometimes contentious talks with the government over legal issues, said one of the people briefed on the project. The project began about five years ago, before most of the company was sold by its parent, eBay, to outside investors in 2009. Microsoft acquired Skype in an $8.5 billion deal that was completed in October 2011.

A Skype executive denied last year in a blog post that recent changes in the way Skype operated were made at the behest of Microsoft to make snooping easier for law enforcement. It appears, however, that Skype figured out how to cooperate with the intelligence community before Microsoft took over the company, according to documents leaked by Edward J. Snowden, a former contractor for the N.S.A. One of the documents about the Prism program made public by Mr. Snowden says Skype joined Prism on Feb. 6, 2011.

Microsoft executives are no longer willing to affirm statements, made by Skype several years ago, that Skype calls could not be wiretapped. Frank X. Shaw, a Microsoft spokesman, declined to comment.

In its recruiting in Silicon Valley, the N.S.A. sends some of its most senior officials to lure the best of the best. No less than Gen. Keith B. Alexander, the agency’s director and the chief of the Pentagon’s Cyber Command, showed up at one of the world’s largest hacker conferences in Las Vegas last summer, looking stiff in an uncharacteristic T-shirt and jeans, to give the keynote speech. His main purpose at Defcon, the conference, was to recruit hackers for his spy agency.

N.S.A. badges are often seen on the lapels of officials at other technology and information security conferences. “They’re very open about their interest in recruiting from the hacker community,” said Jennifer Granick, the director of civil liberties at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society.
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« Reply #779 on: June 21, 2013, 12:52:12 PM »

God bless our FF and the wisdom of Federalism!

WSJ
Montana Requires Warrants for Cell Phone Tracking
By Joe Palazzolo


With little fanfare, Montana became the first state to require police to obtain a warrant before tracking the location of a suspect in a criminal investigation through his cell phone.

House Bill 603, sponsored by Rep. Daniel Zolnikov, a Republican, was signed into law on May 6. The American Civil Liberties Union hailed the new law in a blog post Friday as the first of its kind.

From the bill:

    Section 1. Location information privacy — civil penalty. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), a government entity may not obtain the location information of an electronic device without a search warrant issued by a duly authorized court.

    (2) A government entity may obtain location information of an electronic device under any of the following circumstances:

    (a) the device is reported stolen by the owner;

    (b) in order to respond to the user’s call for emergency services;

    (c) with the informed, affirmative consent of the owner or user of the electronic device; or

    (d) there exists a possible life-threatening situation.

    (3) Any evidence obtained in violation of this section is not admissible in a civil, criminal, or administrative
    proceeding and may not be used in an affidavit of probable cause in an effort to obtain a search warrant.

    (4) A violation of this section will result in a civil fine not to exceed $50.

It was Mr. Zolnikov’s first successful bill.

The 26-year-old legislator, who is serving his first term, also introduced a sweeping privacy bill that would have required companies to obtain consent to collect personal information, as well as consent to sell that information.

“‘Very overreaching,’ is how it was described,” Mr.  Zolnikov told Law Blog.

Mr. Zolnikov said he drew inspiration for the cell-phone location bill from similar legislation in Texas. Ultimately, the Texas legislature put off the issue until next session. A cell-phone location bill in Maine has passed both houses but hasn’t reached the governor’s desk yet, because of a last-minute fiscal note, according to the ACLU.
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« Reply #780 on: June 22, 2013, 08:44:46 PM »

But appeal challenges constitutionality of cops' fear of AK-47
Published: 39 mins ago Saturday June 22, 2013
Bob Unruh

A Texas citizen is asking a state appeals court to decide whether police are justified in launching a no-knock raid on a home they want to search simply because they believe there is a gun inside.

“Whatever the issue might be, whether it’s mass surveillance, no-knock raids, or the right to freely express one’s views about the government, we’ve moved into a new age in which the rights of the citizenry are being treated as a secondary concern by the White House, Congress, the courts and their vast holding of employees, including law enforcement officials,” said John W. Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute, which is defending John Gerard Quinn.

The controversy arose after police officers in Texas executed a no-knock raid on Quinn’s home, based on their belief there was an AK-47 rifle inside.

In its appeal to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the Rutherford Institute pointed out that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a no-knock entry is justified only with a specific warrant or if officers believe someone might be hurt or evidence might be lost.

“Here, the police based their no-knock entry solely upon their suspicion that the occupants of the residence may have been in possession of a rifle,” the appeal explains. “That the suspected possession of weapons was the only ‘justification’ for use of a no-knock entry in this case is undisputed.”

The petition asks that the court establish that an individual’s exercise of his Second Amendment right to possess a firearm in his residence does not deprive him of his Fourth Amendment protection against “no-knock” searches.

Quinn’s home had been “stormed by a SWAT team that failed to knock and announce its entry in keeping with police protocol for non-violent situations,” Rutherford said.
“Although the SWAT team had been granted a search warrant on the basis of leads provided by informants that Quinn’s son may have been involved in drug activity, the warrant did not authorize police to enter the residence without knocking and announcing their entry.”

The SWAT team forcibly broke into Quinn’s home after he had gone to bed and proceeded to carry out a search of the premises. The raid resulted in police finding less than one gram of cocaine, which Quinn was charged with possessing.

The appeal also raises other constitutional issues, including a defective answer from a judge to the jury deliberating the case and the inappropriate use of evidence that should have been suppressed.

But on the issue of the gun in the home, the brief argues that the Supreme Court never has held that suspected possession of firearms is sufficient cause, without more, to justify a no-knock entry.

The brief also criticizes earlier court comments about the AK-47.

“The [court] seems to think than an ‘AK-47′ rifle is some sort of ‘exceptionally’ dangerous weapon. Actually, despite the faux mystique surrounding that particular type of rifle fostered by popular media, the AK-47 is not uniquely dangerous,” a footnote in the brief explains. “It is the most-used rifle in the world because there are 100 million of them, it is cheap to make and easy to repair, and because it can be chambered for a wide variety of calibers.

“When chambered for .223 caliber … it is no more dangerous than any other .223 caliber rifle such as the AR-15 – the most widely used hunting rifle in the U.S. today,” the footnote says.

“As a gun collector who prudently kept his legally owned collection safely secured in gun vaults, it was altogether possible that Mr. Quinn could have had a large number of guns in his home and no ammunition. The point here is not to argue that ‘possession’ of guns does not roughly or usually equate to possession of ‘working’ guns. The point is: an AK-47 is no more powerful – and is indeed less powerful – than many common hunting rifles.

“The police, being weapons experts, obviously knew this – but testified about the ‘dangerous’ nature of this particular gun because they knew the jury would have heard of it in the media and would know about its mystique as the weapon of choice for terrorists around the world. Clever, but misleading.”

http://www.wnd.com/2013/06/gun-owner-targeted-with-no-knock-raid/#Dj6hGxeuySTD8xGD.99
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« Reply #781 on: June 26, 2013, 09:52:34 AM »

http://vimeo.com/67763977
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« Reply #782 on: June 27, 2013, 03:16:47 PM »

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/06/26/drone-falls-dangerously-out-of-sky-local-news-station-reveals-what-it-had-been-filming/
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« Reply #783 on: July 01, 2013, 09:58:02 AM »

http://www.buzzfeed.com/ellievhall/dutch-artists-celebrate-george-orwells-birthday-by-adorning
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« Reply #784 on: July 02, 2013, 07:23:37 AM »

http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2013/07/01/military-turns-to-blimp-in-box-for-surveillance/
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« Reply #785 on: July 02, 2013, 04:20:45 PM »

http://savingtherepublic.com/blog/2013/06/neil-cavuto-goes-nuclear-on-liberal-mouthpiece-julian-epstein-cuts-his-mic-drop-the-liberal-thing-focus-on-the-reality-thing/
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #786 on: July 03, 2013, 06:10:06 PM »


By RON NIXON
Published: July 3, 2013 376 Comments

WASHINGTON — Leslie James Pickering noticed something odd in his mail last September: A handwritten card, apparently delivered by mistake, with instructions for postal workers to pay special attention to the letters and packages sent to his home.


“Show all mail to supv” — supervisor — “for copying prior to going out on the street,” read the card. It included Mr. Pickering’s name, address and the type of mail that needed to be monitored. The word “confidential” was highlighted in green.

“It was a bit of a shock to see it,” said Mr. Pickering, who owns a small bookstore in Buffalo. More than a decade ago, he was a spokesman for the Earth Liberation Front, a radical environmental group labeled eco-terrorists by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Postal officials subsequently confirmed they were indeed tracking Mr. Pickering’s mail but told him nothing else.

As the world focuses on the high-tech spying of the National Security Agency, the misplaced card offers a rare glimpse inside the seemingly low-tech but prevalent snooping of the United States Postal Service.

Mr. Pickering was targeted by a longtime surveillance system called mail covers, but that is only a forerunner of a vastly more expansive effort, the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program, in which Postal Service computers photograph the exterior of every piece of paper mail that is processed in the United States — about 160 billion pieces last year. It is not known how long the government saves the images.

Together, the two programs show that snail mail is subject to the same kind of scrutiny that the National Security Agency has given to telephone calls and e-mail.

The mail covers program, used to monitor Mr. Pickering, is more than a century old but is still considered a powerful tool. At the request of law enforcement officials, postal workers record information from the outside of letters and parcels before they are delivered. (Actually opening the mail requires a warrant.) The information is sent to whatever law enforcement agency asked for it. Tens of thousands of pieces of mail each year undergo this scrutiny.

The Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program was created after the anthrax attacks in late 2001 that killed five people, including two postal workers. Highly secret, it seeped into public view last month when the F.B.I. cited it in its investigation of ricin-laced letters sent to President Obama and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. It enables the Postal Service to retroactively track mail correspondence at the request of law enforcement. No one disputes that it is sweeping.

“In the past, mail covers were used when you had a reason to suspect someone of a crime,” said Mark D. Rasch, who started a computer crimes unit in the criminal division’s fraud section of the Justice Department and worked on several fraud cases using mail covers. “Now it seems to be ‘Let’s record everyone’s mail so in the future we might go back and see who you were communicating with.’ Essentially you’ve added mail covers on millions of Americans.”

Bruce Schneier, a computer security expert and an author, said whether it was a postal worker taking down information or a computer taking images, the program was still an invasion of privacy.

“Basically they are doing the same thing as the other programs, collecting the information on the outside of your mail, the metadata, if you will, of names, addresses, return addresses and postmark locations, which gives the government a pretty good map of your contacts, even if they aren’t reading the contents,” he said.

But law enforcement officials said mail covers and the automatic mail tracking program are invaluable, even in an era of smartphones and e-mail.

In a criminal complaint filed June 7 in Federal District Court in Eastern Texas, the F.B.I. said a postal investigator tracing the ricin letters was able to narrow the search to Shannon Guess Richardson, an actress in New Boston, Tex., by examining information from the front and back images of 60 pieces of mail scanned immediately before and after the tainted letters sent to Mr. Obama and Mr. Bloomberg showing return addresses near her home. Ms. Richardson had originally accused her husband of mailing the letters, but investigators determined that he was at work during the time they were mailed.

In 2007, the F.B.I., the Internal Revenue Service and the local police in Charlotte, N.C., used information gleaned from the mail cover program to arrest Sallie Wamsley-Saxon and her husband, Donald, charging both with running a prostitution ring that took in $3 million over six years. Prosecutors said it was one of the largest and most successful such operations in the country. Investigators also used mail covers to help track banking activity and other businesses the couple operated under different names.

Other agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services, have used mail covers to track drug smugglers and Medicare fraud.

“It’s a treasure trove of information,” said James J. Wedick, a former F.B.I. agent who spent 34 years at the agency and who said he used mail covers in a number of investigations, including one that led to the prosecution of several elected officials in California on corruption charges. “Looking at just the outside of letters and other mail, I can see who you bank with, who you communicate with — all kinds of useful information that gives investigators leads that they can then follow up on with a subpoena.”

But, he said: “It can be easily abused because it’s so easy to use and you don’t have to go through a judge to get the information. You just fill out a form.”

For mail cover requests, law enforcement agencies simply submit a letter to the Postal Service, which can grant or deny a request without judicial review. Law enforcement officials say the Postal Service rarely denies a request. In other government surveillance programs, such as wiretaps, a federal judge must sign off on the requests.

The mail cover surveillance requests are granted for about 30 days, and can be extended for up to 120 days. There are two kinds of mail covers: those related to criminal activity and those requested to protect national security. The criminal activity requests average 15,000 to 20,000 per year, said law enforcement officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are prohibited by law from discussing the requests. The number of requests for antiterrorism mail covers has not been made public.

Law enforcement officials need warrants to open the mail, although President George W. Bush asserted in a signing statement in 2007 that the federal government had the authority to open mail without warrants in emergencies or foreign intelligence cases.

Court challenges to mail covers have generally failed because judges have ruled that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy for information contained on the outside of a letter. Officials in both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations, in fact, have used the mail-cover court rulings to justify the N.S.A.’s surveillance programs, saying the electronic monitoring amounts to the same thing as a mail cover. Congress briefly conducted hearings on mail cover programs in 1976, but has not revisited the issue.

The program has led to sporadic reports of abuse. In May 2012, Mary Rose Wilcox, a Maricopa County supervisor, was awarded nearly $1 million by a federal judge after winning a lawsuit against Sheriff Joe Arpaio, known for his immigration raids in Arizona, who, among other things, obtained mail covers from the Postal Service to track her mail. The judge called the investigation into Ms. Wilcox politically motivated because she had been a frequent critic of Mr. Arpaio, objecting to what she considered the targeting of Hispanics in his immigration sweeps. The case is being appealed.

In the mid-1970s the Church Committee, a Senate panel that documented C.I.A. abuses, faulted a program created in the 1950s in New York that used mail covers to trace and sometimes open mail going to the Soviet Union from the United States.

A suit brought in 1973 by a high school student in New Jersey, whose letter to the Socialist Workers Party was traced by the F.B.I. as part of an investigation into the group, led to a rebuke from a federal judge.

Postal officials refused to discuss either mail covers or the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program.

Mr. Pickering says he suspects that the F.B.I. requested the mail cover to monitor his mail because a former associate said the bureau had called with questions about him. Last month, he filed a lawsuit against the Postal Service, the F.B.I. and other agencies, saying they were improperly withholding information.

A spokeswoman for the F.B.I. in Buffalo declined to comment.

Mr. Pickering said that although he was arrested two dozen times for acts of civil disobedience and convicted of a handful of misdemeanors, he was never involved in the arson attacks the Earth Liberation Front carried out. He said he became tired of focusing only on environmental activism and moved back to Buffalo to finish college, open his bookstore, Burning Books, and start a family.

“I’m no terrorist,” he said. “I’m an activist.”

Mr. Pickering has written books sympathetic to the liberation front, but he said his political views and past association should not make him the target of a federal investigation. “I’m just a guy who runs a bookstore and has a wife and a kid,” he said.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: July 3, 2013

An earlier version of this article misstated the Justice Department position once held by Mark Rasch. He started a computer crimes unit in the criminal division’s fraud section, but he was not the head of its computer crimes unit, which was created after his departure.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #787 on: July 03, 2013, 06:22:03 PM »

second post

A friend writes:

"In New York and Baltimore, police cameras scan public areas twenty-four hours a day. Huge commercial databases track you finances and sell that information to anyone willing to pay. Host sites on the World Wide Web record every page you view, and “smart” toll roads know where you drive. Every day, new technology nibbles at our privacy.Does that make you nervous? David Brin is worried, but not just about privacy. He fears that society will overreact to these technologies by restricting the flow of information, frantically enforcing a reign of secrecy. Such measures, he warns, won’t really preserve our privacy. Governments, the wealthy, criminals, and the techno-elite will still find ways to watch us. But we’ll have fewer ways to watch them. We’ll lose the key to a free society: accountability.The Transparent Society is a call for “reciprocal transparency.” If police cameras watch us, shouldn’t we be able to watch police stations? If credit bureaus sell our data, shouldn't we know who buys it? Rather than cling to an illusion of anonymity-a historical anomaly, given our origins in close-knit villages-we should focus on guarding the most important forms of privacy and preserving mutual accountability. The biggest threat to our freedom, Brin warns, is that surveillance technology will be used by too few people, now by too many.A society of glass houses may seem too fragile. Fearing technology-aided crime, governments seek to restrict online anonymity; fearing technology-aided tyranny, citizens call for encrypting all data. Brins shows how, contrary to both approaches, windows offer us much better protection than walls; after all, the strongest deterrent against snooping has always been the fear of being spotted. Furthermore, Brin argues, Western culture now encourages eccentricity-we’re programmed to rebel! That gives our society a natural protection against error and wrong-doing, like a body’s immune system. But “social T-cells” need openness to spot trouble and get the word out. The Transparent Society is full of such provocative and far-reaching analysis.The inescapable rush of technology is forcing us to make new choices about how we want to live. This daring book reminds us that an open society is more robust and flexible than one where secrecy reigns. In an era of gnat-sized cameras, universal databases, and clothes-penetrating radar, it will be more vital than ever for us to be able to watch the watchers. With reciprocal transparency we can detect dangers early and expose wrong-doers. We can gauge the credibility of pundits and politicians. We can share technological advances and news. But all of these benefits depend on the free, two-way flow of information."

http://www.amazon.com/Transparent-Society-Technology-Between-Privacy/dp/0738201448/
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G M
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« Reply #788 on: July 03, 2013, 06:45:50 PM »

I tend to agree.

second post

A friend writes:

"In New York and Baltimore, police cameras scan public areas twenty-four hours a day. Huge commercial databases track you finances and sell that information to anyone willing to pay. Host sites on the World Wide Web record every page you view, and “smart” toll roads know where you drive. Every day, new technology nibbles at our privacy.Does that make you nervous? David Brin is worried, but not just about privacy. He fears that society will overreact to these technologies by restricting the flow of information, frantically enforcing a reign of secrecy. Such measures, he warns, won’t really preserve our privacy. Governments, the wealthy, criminals, and the techno-elite will still find ways to watch us. But we’ll have fewer ways to watch them. We’ll lose the key to a free society: accountability.The Transparent Society is a call for “reciprocal transparency.” If police cameras watch us, shouldn’t we be able to watch police stations? If credit bureaus sell our data, shouldn't we know who buys it? Rather than cling to an illusion of anonymity-a historical anomaly, given our origins in close-knit villages-we should focus on guarding the most important forms of privacy and preserving mutual accountability. The biggest threat to our freedom, Brin warns, is that surveillance technology will be used by too few people, now by too many.A society of glass houses may seem too fragile. Fearing technology-aided crime, governments seek to restrict online anonymity; fearing technology-aided tyranny, citizens call for encrypting all data. Brins shows how, contrary to both approaches, windows offer us much better protection than walls; after all, the strongest deterrent against snooping has always been the fear of being spotted. Furthermore, Brin argues, Western culture now encourages eccentricity-we’re programmed to rebel! That gives our society a natural protection against error and wrong-doing, like a body’s immune system. But “social T-cells” need openness to spot trouble and get the word out. The Transparent Society is full of such provocative and far-reaching analysis.The inescapable rush of technology is forcing us to make new choices about how we want to live. This daring book reminds us that an open society is more robust and flexible than one where secrecy reigns. In an era of gnat-sized cameras, universal databases, and clothes-penetrating radar, it will be more vital than ever for us to be able to watch the watchers. With reciprocal transparency we can detect dangers early and expose wrong-doers. We can gauge the credibility of pundits and politicians. We can share technological advances and news. But all of these benefits depend on the free, two-way flow of information."

http://www.amazon.com/Transparent-Society-Technology-Between-Privacy/dp/0738201448/

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ccp
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« Reply #789 on: July 03, 2013, 08:46:24 PM »

The concept of double transparency is interesting.  It is kind of a mea culpa to the inevitable I guess.  A kind of mutually assured destruction for everyone. 

The only way double transparency could work in a fair and equitable world is to have cameras and audio cover every single inch of the planet and allow everyone access to all of it.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #790 on: July 03, 2013, 09:00:47 PM »

It is an intriguing notion and that is why I posted it, but I am not persuaded (yet?)

Ultimately doesn't there need to be an ability to have a revolution for freedom to be enforceable?

Is that ability present in the presence of an omnipresent omnipotent state?  Even if we know everything about it?
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« Reply #791 on: July 04, 2013, 09:03:44 AM »

U.S. Border Agency Allows Others to Use Its Drones
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol

Customs and Border Protection Agency said data collected by drones could be shared with other government agencies.
By SOMINI SENGUPTA
Published: July 3, 2013

As Congress considers a new immigration law that would expand the fleet of unmanned drones along the border, the agency in charge of border protection is increasingly offering the military-grade drones it already owns to domestic law enforcement agencies and has considered equipping them with “nonlethal weapons,” according to documents recently made public.

The documents, which include flight logs over the last three years, were unearthed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation through a Freedom of Information lawsuit.

Agencies that have used the 10 Predator drones owned by the Customs and Border Protection Agency have deployed them to investigate fishing violations, search for missing persons and inspect levees along the Mississippi River, among other things.

Three years ago, the drones were used by other agencies 30 times; in 2012, that jumped to 250 times. How the agency stores and shares that data with other government agencies remains unclear.

Additionally, the agency, in a 2010 report to Congress included in the documents, raised the possibility of eventually equipping its drones with “nonlethal weapons” to “immobilize” people and vehicles trying to cross the border illegally. In a statement on Wednesday, the agency said it had “no plans to arm its unmanned aircraft systems with nonlethal weapons or weapons of any kind.”

It said the drones supported the agency’s border security mission and provided “an important surveillance and reconnaissance capability for interdiction agents on the ground and on the waterways.”

The drones, the agency said, “were designed with the ability to add new surveillance capabilities, accommodate technological developments, and ensure that our systems are equipped with the most advanced resources available.”

The specter of drones in American skies has been contentious, far more so than other common surveillance tools. Proponents of drones, including the military contractors who build many of them, say they can be useful for a variety of purposes, like monitoring crops and finding missing children, and a handful of police agencies have already bought small, lightweight unmanned vehicles that can fly for short bursts of time.

Skeptics say the use of drones raises the prospect of ubiquitous monitoring, especially by law enforcement, and several states have already proposed measures to restrict their use by police.

“What concerns me is the lack of clear, transparent rules for domestic drone use,” said Representative Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat from Northern California, who recently introduced legislation to limit their use in domestic airspace. She said she was concerned about “the government’s increased interest in using drones for domestic surveillance and security, including the potential use of force. But the law today has weak requirements for individual privacy protection, transparency of drone use, and limitations on arming drones with weapons.”

Ms. Lofgren was co-sponsor of a bill in the House earlier this year that would among other things prohibit the use of firearms on drones in domestic airspace, though, not necessarily other weapons like tear gas or pellets.

The agency has used Predator drones, the same vehicles used overseas by the United States military, since 2005. Built by General Atomics, the drones weigh about 10,500 pounds and can fly for 20 hours nonstop. They are based in Arizona, Florida, North Dakota and Texas.

“C.B.P. needs to assure the public that it will not equip its Predators with any weapons — lethal or otherwise,” Jennifer Lynch wrote for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, based in San Francisco, in a blog post on Wednesday about the documents. “Without first addressing these issues, the agency — and Congress — should halt the expansion of C.B.P.’s Predator drone program.”

The flight logs provided by the agency show that it has become increasingly generous with its unmanned aerial vehicles. They have been used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the North Dakota Army National Guard, Texas Department of Public Safety and the United States Forest Service, among others.

The use of drones by the F.B.I. came to light only two weeks ago, when its director, Robert S. Mueller III, in response to a question, told the Senate Judiciary Committee that unmanned aerial vehicles were “very seldom used” by his agents. He went on to say the agency was developing guidelines on their appropriate use. An earlier information request filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation suggested that the F.B.I. had at least three drones in its possession as of 2011, when that request was filed.

The border agency said that when conducting joint operations with state, local and other federal agencies, its own privacy policies governed the use of data collected by the drones and “the live feed from any aircraft is encrypted and only accessible to those with specific clearance.”

An audit by the Department of Homeland Security last year criticized the border agency for failing to put in place enough resources to maintain its drones and coordinate their deployment. At the time, the agency recommended holding off on any further acquisitions.

Nonetheless, the border agency now stands to increase its fleet. The Senate immigration bill, passed last week, authorizes the agency to buy four additional drones, along with new radar equipment.

Other documents obtained earlier this year by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, based in Washington, had found that cameras attached to the Predators could distinguish between a human figure and a beast, but did not use facial recognition technology.

Privacy advocates worry about the prospect of law enforcement officials using drones to patrol particular areas for long stretches of time or to follow particular individuals without a warrant.

“The danger comes from dragnet surveillance,” is how Ryan Calo, a law professor at the University of Washington, described it. He called himself mostly a champion of drone technology, but with safeguards to protect privacy.

“By dragnet I mean indiscriminate,” he said, “not in a particular situation, but just to buzz around looking for suspicious activity, which is exactly what they do on border.”
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #792 on: July 04, 2013, 12:09:25 PM »

http://www.cpflorida.com/2013/06/17/videotaping-police-what-are-your-rights/
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« Reply #793 on: July 04, 2013, 08:14:24 PM »


If you are a safe distance away and not interfering with law enforcement actions, then taking video is a constitutional protected activity, IMHO.
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« Reply #794 on: July 04, 2013, 08:53:34 PM »

Exactly so!

It is both discouraging and indicative of certain mindset that there are a number of departments that have been arresting and prosecuting citizens for this.
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« Reply #795 on: July 05, 2013, 09:47:58 AM »

Want to Defend Your Privacy?
By Doug Hornig

Happy Independence Day to our American readers, wherever they might be.

While you're enjoying friends, family, and that charbroiled steak, perhaps this is also a good time to take stock of your own state of independence. To ponder your privacy, or lack thereof, and what you might do about it.

For the record, the word "privacy" doesn't appear in the Declaration of Independence, nor anywhere in the Constitution. It's difficult at this late date to divine whether the authors of those documents had any real notion of the term or thought it worth protecting. Nevertheless, we can draw some inferences from what they did write.

The Fourth Amendment declares that "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue but on probable cause." The Fifth Amendment adds that no person "shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law."

An overarching right to be left alone certainly seems implied.

But what about personal electronic communications—a concept that could hardly have existed in the 18th century. Should they also be secure? That's the question before us as a society. It's been a big one for a long time now, even though it only makes the front pages when an Edward Snowden type appears.

Snowden might be the current flavor of the day, but many of his revelations are little more than yesterday's news. For example, investigative reporter Kurt Eichenwald, in his book 500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars, revealed how the NSA's questionable mass surveillance program—what he calls "the most dramatic expansion of NSA's power and authority in the agency's 49-year history"—was devised just days after 9/11, as an end run around the traditional requirements of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

Formerly, FISA demanded that an individual warrant be obtained if the government wanted to monitor Americans communicating overseas. But the Baby Bush administration unilaterally swept that aside. The new presidential directive granted the NSA the power to gather unlimited numbers of emails and phone calls into a database for analysis, all without the approval of Congress or any court. (Not to put everything on Dubya—Obama has essentially doubled down on this encroachment.)

Moving the surveillance totally onshore was a breeze from there. Connections between a suspect email address abroad and anyone else—accounts that either sent or received messages, whether in the United States or not—would be subject to examination. At that point, a more detailed list could be constructed, ensnaring any email addresses contacted by the suspect, and then any addresses contacted by those addresses, and so on without end.

More specifics came from whistleblower William Binney, a 30-year veteran of the NSA. Binney, who resigned from the agency in 2012 because of the dubious nature of its activities, volunteered the first public description of NSA's massive domestic spying program, called Stellar Wind, which intercepts domestic communications without protections for US citizens. Binney revealed that NSA has been given access to telecommunications companies' domestic and international billing records, and that since 9/11 the agency has intercepted between 15 and 20 trillion communications. He further disclosed that Stellar Wind was filed under the patriotic-sounding "Terrorist Surveillance Program" in order to give cover to its Constitutionally questionable nature.

We also can't pretend to be shocked just because we now know PRISM's name. The government has long employed techniques which they hide behind euphemisms like "full pipe monitoring," "sentiment analysis," and "association mapping." These involve concurrent surveillance of both email and social media, in order to build a detailed map of how evolving movements are organized. Political protests receive extremely close scrutiny, with information about them shared among federal, state, and local law enforcement officials. This is what happened with the "Occupy" demonstrations, where everything participants did was watched, every communication was recorded, and all of it was filed away for future reference. Everyone involved is now the subject of a government dossier.

Even if you're not part of a political movement, heaven help you if get caught up in some vast fishing expedition that hooks everyone who has ever visited some "suspicious" website, or even merely typed in some alarm-bell keywords.

Nor has the value of this kind of information gathering been lost on politicians. In fact, the presidential race of 2012 will likely go down as the first one in history—and it won't be the last—that was decided by who had the better Internet sniffers. Both the Romney and Obama campaigns continuously stalked voters across the Web, by installing cookies on their computers and observing the websites they visited as a means of nailing down their personal views. CampaignGrid, a Republican-affiliated firm, and Precision Network, working for the Democrats, jointly collected data on 150 million American Internet users. That's a full 80% of the entire registered voting population, for those keeping score.

Cellphones are another rich source of user data, especially when it comes to apps. If you download one, you grant to the vendor the right to gather all sorts of personal information. But then, you knew that when you read the "Permissions" document—you did read it, right?—so at least you know you can opt out.

Forget about turning off your phone's location-tracking feature (which a mere 19% of us do, Pew says). Regardless of whether it's on or off, your wireless carrier knows (and keeps a record of) where your phone is at all times it's connected to the cell network. Carriers can be forced to surrender the information to law enforcement, not to mention that they've been rather less than forthcoming about what else they may be doing with this data.

Anyone who thinks the government's ultimate goal is not to intercept and archive our every digital message, oral or written—or that it doesn't have that capability—needs to be aware of what's happening in Bluffdale, Utah, AKA the middle of nowhere. There, NSA contractors (and only those with top secret clearances) are putting the finishing touches on a staggeringly huge decryption and data storage center. James Bamford, the country's leading civilian authority on the NSA, wrote inWired of the facility's purpose, which is no less than: "to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world's communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks."

Bluffdale will cost upwards of $2 billion and occupy a million square feet of space. Included will be four 25,000-square-foot halls filled with state-of-the-art supercomputers. The ultimate goal, Bamford says, is to construct a "worldwide communications network, known as the Global Information Grid, to handle yottabytes of data." (A yottabyte is a septillion, or 1024 bytes—it's so gigantic that no one has yet coined a colloquial term for the next higher order of magnitude.)

To gather up those yottabytes, the NSA has dotted the country with a network of buildings set up at key Internet junction points. According to William Binney, the wiretaps in these secret locations are powered by highly sophisticated software that conducts "deep packet inspection," which is the ability closely to examine traffic even as it streams through the Internet's backbone cables at 10 gigbytes per second.

Fortunately, the situation is impossible but not hopeless—because whenever technology gets too intrusive, the free market nearly always reacts with some kind of solution. And that's the case here. As the surveillers extended their reach, enterprising liberty lovers immediately began developing countermeasures.

Keep in mind, however, that the technologies outlined below can only lessen your shadow so much, catching a little less attention from the all-seeing eye of Sauron. No one solution provides perfect privacy, and when push comes to shove and a government official shows up with a warrant in hand, he or she will inevitably get access to anything needed.

The first area to consider addressing is the digital trail you leave when researching any topic that might be of concern to someone's prying eyes (or, for that matter, doing anything at all on the Internet which you don't want analyzed, packaged, and sold).

One option for dealing with this concern is Tor, which is free and open source. According to its website, the service was "originally developed … for the primary purpose of protecting government communications. Today, it is used every day for a wide variety of purposes by normal people, the military, journalists, law enforcement officers, activists, and many others."

Tor tackles the problem of traffic analysis head on:

"How does traffic analysis work? Internet data packets have two parts: a data payload and a header used for routing. The data payload is whatever is being sent, whether that's an email message, a web page, or an audio file. Even if you encrypt the data payload of your communications, traffic analysis still reveals a great deal about what you're doing and, possibly, what you're saying. That's because it focuses on the header, which discloses source, destination, size, timing, and so on…

"Some attackers spy on multiple parts of the Internet and use sophisticated statistical techniques to track the communications patterns of many different organizations and individuals. Encryption does not help against these attackers, since it only hides the content of Internet traffic, not the headers."

To combat this, Tor has created a distributed network of users called a VPN (virtual private network). All data packets on that network "take a random pathway through several relays that cover your tracks so no observer at any single point can tell where the data came from or where it's going."

One of the beauties of Tor is that it's packaged all up in single download. Just install the Tor browser—a privacy-tuned clone of the popular open-source Firefox browser—and it automatically manages all the networking for you. Surf in relative privacy with just a few clicks.

For more advanced users, there are options to route all kinds of activities through the network other than web browsing, such as Skype calls and file sharing.

Tor also offers Orbot, an Android application that allows mobile phone users to access the Web, instant messaging, and email without being monitored or blocked by a mobile ISP. It won't get you around those pesky data limits, but it will certainly reduce the amount of data your ISP can provide about you. If you find yourself in a region where access to certain services is restricted, it will open those options back up to you.

Cryptohippie is another site that utilizes the privacy capabilities of a VPN. According to the company, its subscription-based Road Warrior product "creates a strongly encrypted connection from your computer to the Cryptohippie anonymity network. From there, your traffic passes through at least two national jurisdictions, loses all association with your identifiers and emerges from our network at a distant location. But, even with all of this going on, you can surf, check your email, use Skype, and everything else exactly as you have been. Unless you reveal it yourself, no one can see who you are or what your data may be."

The service is well aware of the ever-present possibility of government interference with its operations. Thus Cryptohippie is truly international. Its only US presence is to authenticate connections to its servers in other countries. None of its servers are in the States.

(Of course, if you use Tor or Cryptohippie to log in to secured sites like Amazon or eBay, your activities at that end will still be logged to a database and associated with you, so don't delude yourself that such tools make you invisible. All they can do is keep your activity limited to the two parties involved—you and the computer or person on the other end—and keep outsiders from knowing that the conversation is taking place.)

These are highly sophisticated products. Perhaps you don't think you need that level of protection, but would just like to keep your browsing habits private. All of the major browsers, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Google Chrome, have a "clear browsing history" button. They also have "enable private browsing" functions that you can activate.

How much value these options actually have is questionable, but in any event they're not going to stop Google from archiving your searches, if that's the engine you use. (And who doesn't?) So if you don't want that, you can use a different search service, like DuckDuckGo, whose strict non-tracking policy is entertainingly presented in graphic form. Try it out in comparison to Google, and you'll find that the results are reasonably similar (although it seems odd at first not to have that strip of ads running down the right side of the screen). DuckDuckGo reports that it has seen a big increase in users since Snowden came forward.

Another area to consider addressing is your email. If you'd rather not have your email subject to daily inspection for "watchwords" our guardians consider inflammatory, one option is to use a foreign provider that will be less inclined to comply when Washington comes knocking with a "request" for user data. There are countless providers to choose from, including:
•   Swissmail.org, which is obviously domiciled in Switzerland;
•   Neomailbox.com, located in the Netherlands;
•   CounterMail.com in Sweden;
•   TrilightZone.org in the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Hong Kong, and Malaysia; and
•   Anonymousspeech.com, which boasts over 600,000 subscribers and is unusual in that it has no central location. "Our servers," the company says, "are constantly moving in different countries (Malaysia, Japan, Panama, etc.) and are always outside the US and Europe."
Whichever provider you choose, just be sure they offer at least an SSL connection to its services at all times. That will stop someone from downloading your email right off the wire. Features like encrypted storage and domicile in a state known for protecting privacy are also nice features.

The latest entrant in the privacy space is Silent Circle, a company whose story is worth detailing, because it has placed itself squarely in the forefront of the clash between alleged governmental need-to-know and personal privacy rights.

Silent Circle's CEO is Mike Janke, a former Navy SEAL commando and international security contractor who has gathered around him a megastar cast of techies, including most prominently, the legendary Phil Zimmermann, godfather of private data encryption and creator of the original PGP, which remains the world's most-utilized security system. Also on board are Jon Callas, the man behind Apple's whole-disk encryption, which is used to secure hard drives in Macs across the world; and Vincent Moscaritolo, a top cryptographic engineer who previously worked on PGP and for Apple.

The team hit the ground running last October with the introduction of its first product, an easy-to-use, surveillance-resistant communications platform that could be employed on an iPhone or iPad to encrypt mobile communications—text messages plus voice and video calls.

In order to avoid potential sanctions from Uncle Sam, Silent Circle was incorporated offshore, with an initial network build-out in Canada; it has plans to expand to Switzerland and Hong Kong.

Silent Circle immediately attracted attention from news organizations, nine of which signed on to protect their journalists' and sources' safety in delicate situations. A major multinational corporation ordered some 18,000 subscriptions for its staff. Intelligence and law enforcement agencies in nine countries have expressed interest in using the company to protect the communications of their own employees.

As Ryan Gallagher wrote in Slate:

"The technology uses a sophisticated peer-to-peer encryption technique that allows users to send encrypted files of up to 60 megabytes through a 'Silent Text' app. The sender of the file can set it on a timer so that it will automatically 'burn'—deleting it from both devices after a set period of, say, seven minutes. Until now, sending encrypted documents has been frustratingly difficult for anyone who isn't a sophisticated technology user, requiring knowledge of how to use and install various kinds of specialist software. What Silent Circle has done is to remove these hurdles, essentially democratizing encryption. It's a game-changer that will almost certainly make life easier and safer for journalists, dissidents, diplomats, and companies trying to evade state surveillance or corporate espionage."

The burn feature is extraordinarily valuable. It can mean the difference between life and death for someone who uses a phone to film an atrocity in a danger zone and transmits it to a safe remote location. Seven minutes later, it disappears from the source, even if the phone is seized and its contents examined.

Additionally, Silent Circle "doesn't retain metadata (such as times and dates calls are made using Silent Circle), and IP server logs showing who is visiting the Silent Circle website are currently held for only seven days. The same privacy-by-design approach will be adopted to protect the security of users' encrypted files. When a user sends a picture or document, it will be encrypted, digitally 'shredded' into thousands of pieces, and temporarily stored in a 'Secure Cloud Broker' until it is transmitted to the recipient. Silent Circle ... has no way of accessing the encrypted files because the 'key' to open them is held on the users' devices and then deleted after it has been used to open the files."

The Silent Suite, a subscription to which costs US $20/month, covers the communications spectrum with four features:

Silent Phone works on iPhone, iPad, Android, Galaxy, and Nexus, and provides encrypted, P2P, HD mobile voice and video over 3G, 4G, Edge, and WiFi, "with almost no latency" and no possibility of anyone (including the company) listening or wiretapping. The cryptographic keys involved are destroyed at the end of the call.

Silent Text allows the user to send P2P encrypted material—business documents (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Pages, Keynote, PDFs, CAD drawings, etc.), any file, any movie, any picture, map locations, URLs, calendar invites—and then delete them with its "Burn Notice" feature.

Silent Eyes allows for encrypted HD video and voice transmission using a laptop or desktop device. It's compatible with all Windows operating systems.

Silent Mail encrypts email with PGP Universal. It will run on smartphones, tablets, and computers using existing mail programs such as Outlook and Mac Mail. Absolute privacy is ensured with a silentmail.com email address and 1 Gb of encrypted storage.

This is not intended as an endorsement of Silent Circle, although we heartily approve of what the company is trying to do, and the other above references by no means represent an exhaustive guide to securing your communications. But they will point you in the right direction and perhaps spur you to action. A basic search will turn up dozens more options. Carefully study what each offers, read reviews from sources you trust, determine the service best suited to your particular needs, then just sign up.

However, we all have to accept the cold, hard fact of the matter, which is that this cat-and-mouse game is likely to be with us for a very long time. Those who believe they have the right to spy on us will develop ever more sophisticated ways of doing it. Those who believe we have a Constitutional right to privacy will fight tooth and nail to protect it.

It's possible that the one side eventually will develop an unstoppable offense or that the other will come up with a defense that can't be breached. But that's not the way to bet.

In the end, technology is completely neutral. It will evolve with no regard to how it is used. Expect those cats and mice to continue chasing each other, around and around and around. And make do with the best that is available to you at any given time.
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bigdog
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« Reply #796 on: July 05, 2013, 06:57:10 PM »

http://reason.com/blog/2013/07/05/nevada-family-says-police-occupation-vio

From the article:

You don't often hear about lawsuits based on the Third Amendment, the one that says "no soldier shall in time of peace be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war but in a manner to be prescribed by law." That usually overlooked provision is cited in a federal lawsuit recently filed by Anthony Mitchell and his parents, Michael and Linda Mitchell—an oddity for which we can thank the Henderson, Nevada, police department.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #797 on: July 05, 2013, 08:33:02 PM »

Far out.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #798 on: July 08, 2013, 09:56:13 AM »



Secret Court's Redefinition of 'Relevant' Empowered Vast NSA Data-Gathering
By JENNIFER VALENTINO-DEVRIES and SIOBHAN GORMAN
WSJ

The National Security Agency's ability to gather phone data on millions of Americans hinges on a secret court ruling that redefined a single word: "relevant."

The National Security Agency’s ability to gather phone data on millions of Americans hinges on the secret redefinition of the word “relevant.” Jen Valentino-DeVries reports. Photo: Getty Images.

This change—which specifically enabled the surveillance recently revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden—was made by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a group of judges responsible for making decisions about government surveillance in national-security cases. In classified orders starting in the mid-2000s, the court accepted that "relevant" could be broadened to permit an entire database of records on millions of people, in contrast to a more conservative interpretation widely applied in criminal cases, in which only some of those records would likely be allowed, according to people familiar with the ruling.

The 'relevant' language was added to the Patriot Act when it came up for reauthorization; it was signed by President Bush in 2006.
Related Articles

In interviews with The Wall Street Journal, current and former administration and congressional officials are shedding new light on the history of the NSA program and the secret legal theory underpinning it. The court's interpretation of the word enabled the government, under the Patriot Act, to collect the phone records of the majority of Americans, including phone numbers people dialed and where they were calling from, as part of a continuing investigation into international terrorism.

"Relevant" has long been a broad standard, but the way the court is interpreting it, to mean, in effect, "everything," is new, says Mark Eckenwiler, a senior counsel at Perkins Coie LLP who, until December, was the Justice Department's primary authority on federal criminal surveillance law.

"I think it's a stretch" of previous federal legal interpretations, says Mr. Eckenwiler, who hasn't seen the secret ruling. If a federal attorney "served a grand-jury subpoena for such a broad class of records in a criminal investigation, he or she would be laughed out of court."

Two senators on the Intelligence Committee, Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) and Mark Udall (D., Colo.), have argued repeatedly that there was a "secret interpretation" of the Patriot Act. The senators' offices tell the Journal that this new interpretation of the word "relevant" is what they meant. An official at FISC, the secret court, declined to comment. The NSA referred questions to the Justice Department, saying this provision of the Patriot Act addressed FBI authorities. The Justice Department didn't comment.

U.S. surveillance programs are under fresh scrutiny after Mr. Snowden, the former NSA contractor, among other things revealed a secret order from the surveillance court directing Verizon Business Services Inc. to turn over "comprehensive communications routing information" to the NSA. Mr. Snowden also revealed a classified draft of a 2009 NSA Inspector General report that provides further details on the phone program and a related one that gathered Internet data. Other large phone companies, including AT&T Inc. T -0.57% and Sprint Nextel Corp., S -2.65% receive similar orders every three months, former officials say.

Under the Patriot Act, the Federal Bureau of Investigation can require businesses to hand over "tangible things," including "records," as long as the FBI shows it is reasonable to believe the things are "relevant to an authorized investigation" into international terrorism or foreign intelligence activities.

The history of the word "relevant" is key to understanding that passage. The Supreme Court in 1991 said things are "relevant" if there is a "reasonable possibility" that they will produce information related to the subject of the investigation. In criminal cases, courts previously have found that very large sets of information didn't meet the relevance standard because significant portions—innocent people's information—wouldn't be pertinent.

But the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, FISC, has developed separate precedents, centered on the idea that investigations to prevent national-security threats are different from ordinary criminal cases. The court's rulings on such matters are classified and almost impossible to challenge because of the secret nature of the proceedings. According to the court, the special nature of national-security and terrorism-prevention cases means "relevant" can have a broader meaning for those investigations, say people familiar with the rulings.

The use of computers to look for links in massive data sets also means information previously not considered relevant could today, in fact, be important in some broad investigations, says Paul Rosenzweig, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy in the Department of Homeland Security in the administration of President George W. Bush.  "Large databases are effective" for this type of analysis "only to the extent they are actually comprehensive," says Mr. Rosenzweig, founder of homeland-security consultant Red Branch Consulting PLLC.

This explanation echoes recent statements by the Obama administration. "More narrow collection would limit our ability to screen for and identify terrorism-related communications," said James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, in a statement June 6.

People familiar with the system that uses phone records in investigations say that the court's novel legal theories allow the system to include bulk phone records, as long as there are privacy safeguards to limit searches. NSA analysts may query the database only "when there is a reasonable suspicion, based on specific facts, that the particular basis for the query is associated with a foreign terrorist organization," according to Mr. Clapper.

The NSA database includes data about people's phone calls—numbers dialed, how long a call lasted—but not the actual conversations. According to Supreme Court rulings, a phone call's content is covered by the Constitution's Fourth Amendment, which restricts unreasonable searches, but the other types of data aren't.

The idea that large databases of American activity were needed to prevent terrorism gained steam following the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Soon after, the Bush administration began several expanded surveillance efforts.

Amid controversy over the programs starting in 2004, the administration agreed to move domestic Internet data collection under the authority of FISC orders, according to the Inspector General's report revealed by Mr. Snowden. (That Internet data collection program ended in 2011, the NSA has said.) By 2006, the administration looked to move the phone-records program under the court as well, according to the report.

Sen. Ron Wyden has said there was a 'secret interpretation' of the Patriot Act.

In 2005 and early 2006, some lawmakers tried to tighten the Patriot Act when it came up for reauthorization. At that time, the part of the law being used to get phone records required investigators simply to state that records were sought for an authorized investigation into terrorism or foreign intelligence—a lower standard than "relevant." Congress added the word "relevant" to the law, but senators who wanted even stricter standards—which would have ended the ability to collect bulk phone records—failed.

Former Sen. Jon Kyl spoke on the floor of the Senate in favor of the "relevance" standard. "We all know the term 'relevance.' It is a term that every court uses," he said in 2006. "The relevance standard is exactly the standard employed for the issuance of discovery orders in civil litigation, grand jury subpoenas in a criminal investigation," he said.

But a few people cautioned that "relevant" could be defined to the point of irrelevance. "Relevance is a very broad standard that could arguably justify the collection of all kinds of information about law-abiding Americans," former Sen. Russ Feingold said on the Senate floor in February 2006. He argued for stricter wording, and failed.

President Bush signed the Patriot Act reauthorization in March 2006. And the NSA and Justice Department set about persuading the secret court, FISC, that the law allowed them to obtain bulk phone records.

The Bush administration didn't see the argument as a difficult one to make. According to the draft Inspector General's report revealed by Mr. Snowden, the administration had won court approval of the Internet data program two years before, something that made it easier to answer the court's questions. Of the requirement to show "relevance," a former official familiar with the discussions at the time says: "Usually, it's a pretty generous standard."

The court did limit the number of people who could access the data, and it required "more stringent oversight" by the Justice Department, according to the Inspector General's report. But in May 2006, the secret court agreed that, even with the addition of the word "relevant," bulk phone records could also be collected under the law.

The legal interpretations required to make this change were "aggressive," says Timothy Edgar, a former top privacy lawyer at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Security Council in the Bush and Obama administrations. Still, considering that the program previously had less congressional or court oversight, many lawmakers saw this as a step forward, he says.

"It wasn't seen that we're pushing the boundaries of surveillance law here," Mr. Edgar says. "It was the very opposite. You're starting from a huge amount of unilateral surveillance and putting it on a much sounder legal basis."

Some lawmakers now disagree. "The government must request specific records relevant to its investigation," Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R., Wis.), one of the authors of the Patriot Act, says. "To argue otherwise renders the provision meaningless," he says. "It's like scooping up the entire ocean to guarantee you catch a fish."

Given the traditional legal definition of relevant, Mr. Edgar says, it is "a fair point" to say that someone reading the law might believe it refers to "individualized requests" or "requests in small batches, rather than in bulk database form." From that standpoint, he says, the reinterpretation of relevant amounts to "secret law."

Still, he says, Congress repeatedly had the option to prohibit in legislation the bulk collection of records, and it didn't. Defenders of using the Patriot Act this way make similar arguments. In a statement last month, the chair and ranking minority member on the Senate Intelligence Committee said that both the House and Senate Intelligence and Judiciary committees have "been briefed extensively" on this.

Mr. Edgar added, however, that Congress couldn't fully debate the issue because the program wasn't public.

Write to Jennifer Valentino-DeVries at Jennifer.Valentino-DeVries@wsj.com and Siobhan Gorman at siobhan.gorman@wsj.com
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G M
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« Reply #799 on: July 08, 2013, 04:21:44 PM »

http://reason.com/blog/2013/07/05/nevada-family-says-police-occupation-vio

From the article:

You don't often hear about lawsuits based on the Third Amendment, the one that says "no soldier shall in time of peace be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war but in a manner to be prescribed by law." That usually overlooked provision is cited in a federal lawsuit recently filed by Anthony Mitchell and his parents, Michael and Linda Mitchell—an oddity for which we can thank the Henderson, Nevada, police department.

I doubt the 3rd. applies here, but there are state and federal laws that apply if the claims made are indeed accurate.
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