The Surveillance State Examined, Validated, Exposed

Under the law that created the CIA in 1947, there was a bright line barring the agency from spying on Americans… partly over concerns about civil liberties, privacy and political abuse.  After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, there was widespread support for stepped up security even if it meant stepping on jealously-guarded constitutional protections. Some worried: Would the government take its new powers too far? With recent disclosures, the answer may be — yes. Today’s cover story examines, “The Surveillance State.” Pete Hoekstra: They know who you’re talking to, they know your communications patterns. So whether you’re doing it through social media, or know through emails or through phone calls or these types of things, they know who you’re talking to. Sharyl: Former Congressman Pete Hoekstra is describing the extent of government surveillance. Pete Hoekstra: We use it to profile people who may be threats to the United […] Read More

If You Have Facebook Messenger, You Are Being Recorded Even When Not On The Phone

WDYTT| If you use Facebook Messenger, this is how you are being recorded even when not on the phone. My suggestion: If you have messenger on your phone delete it. Then re-download it and read the terms of agreement. This is sheer lunacy. Also for those who didn’t know this one, check out this video. This news is actually about 5-7 years old. Notice what the government has made cell phone makers do now? Notice you can’t take the battery out? Cellphone users who attempt to install the Facebook Messenger app are asked to agree to terms of service that allow the social networking giant to use the microphone on their device to record audio at any time without their permission. As the screenshot below illustrates (click to enlarge), users are made to accept an agreement that allows Facebook to “record audio with the microphone… at any time without […] Read More

Wait, Privacy Is Cool Again?

Oversharing is over, as signs indicate the “Age of Narcissism” is coming to a close. A widely circulated story about some nameless Austrian teenager’s lawsuit against her parents for posting 18 years’ worth of embarrassing photos on social media captured the attention of dozens of news outlets last month, because it told us what the young web editors on these papers want to hear — that the Age of Narcissism is coming to a close. “They knew no shame and no limits,” she reportedly told Austria’s Heute newspaper, or maybe it was Die ganze Woche magazine, accounts vary. But there’s no denying our teen’s outrage over her parents’ predilection for posting her images on Facebook.  “They didn’t care if I was sitting on the toilet or lying naked in the cot, every moment was photographed and made public.” I feel her pain. I didn’t see her photos, of course, despite the […] Read More

10 Ways You Are Being Watched, Monitored And Spied On

While the intent might be up for debate, the fact that our governments and businesses appear to be watching our every move isn’t. As technology increases, seemingly more and more rapidly, more data about us is stored and shared — and most of the time, we are unaware it is being collected or how it might be used. 1. INCREASING CCTV SURVEILLANCE In 2011, there was one CCTV camera for every 32 UK citizens. By 2016, this number had increased to one for every 11, making the United Kingdom the most spied upon country in the world. Not that the UK is alone in its surveillance of citizens. Almost all countries have security cameras in place. In 2013, the BBC ran a story about the increasing numbers of CCTV cameras being installed and put into operation across the United States, where they were being hailed as crucial in apprehending […] Read More

Pardon Edward Snowden, now

His whistleblowing was among the most important in US history. I would publicly acknowledge his heroism, as Barack Obama should, without delay On 6 June 2013, the Guardian broke the news National Security Agency (NSA) had ordered Verizon to provide it with the phone records of its customers. As the story developed it became clear that the two other major telephone networks as well as credit card companies were doing the same thing; and that the NSA and FBI were being provided with access to server systems operated by Google, Apple, Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft and Skype. On 11 June the Guardian reported the source as Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old who had been working at the NSA for four years. Snowden believed it was important for him to publicly acknowledge his role in order to provide a human face to the story. He knew he was putting his life at […] Read More

Orwellian: Feds Spend $500,000 to Tap “Extensive Tracking Infrastructure” to “Combat Online Trolling”

The National Science Foundation has issued two quarter-of-a-million-dollar grants for “Leveraging Personalized Internet Services to Combat Online Trolling”. The grant defines online trolling as, “scenarios in which various groups deploy tactics to influence public opinion on the Internet, by leaving biased, false, misleading, and inauthentic comments, and then artificially amplifying their ratings,” so you can immediately see where that’s a slippery slope to shutting down free speech and dissent because who decides what is “false, misleading, and inauthentic” online? The government’s researchers? Creepier, the grant admits that we are increasingly tracked as our privacy is increasingly going extinct on the internet, and it is this built-in “extensive tracking infrastructure” that will be tapped to combat trolling online: Users have often expressed concern about the lack of privacy and control over their personal data. Nonetheless, despite a substantial effort to expose and control this prevalent behavior, the reality is that users […] Read More

Yahoo! Just Exposed One Of The FBI’s Most Secretive Tricks To Unethically Obtaining Your Info

By Claire Bernish For the first time since the implementation of the USA Freedom Act, Yahoo! published three National Security Letters — perhaps the most secretive and contentious method the FBI has for obtaining information on individuals — after the lifting of repressive and equally-contentious gag orders. Mainstays of the USA PATRIOT Act, National Security Letters (NSLs) generally request customer data information from businesses such as banks, internet service providers, travel agencies, and phone and telecommunications companies — without a warrant required. Worse, NSLs include onerous, mandatory orders prohibiting their recipients from disclosing to anyone — including coworkers, friends, and family — that they even received the letter. “Yahoo has always maintained a strong commitment to protecting our users’ safety, security and privacy,” the company said in an announcement of the disclosure. “The release of these documents and information regarding NSLs today is consistent with our commitment to share […] Read More

13 Things the Government is Trying to Keep Secret from You — Big Brother 2.0

“We believe most Americans would be stunned to learn the details of how these secret court opinions have interpreted… the Patriot Act. As we see it, there is now a significant gap between what most Americans think the law allows and what the government secretly claims the law allows.  “This is a problem, because it is impossible to have an informed public debate about what the law should say when the public doesn’t know what its government thinks the law says.”  – US Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall by Bill Quigley The President, the Head of the National Security Agency, the Department of Justice, the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, and the Judiciary, are intentionally keeping massive amounts of information about surveillance of US and other people secret from voters. Additionally, some are, to say it politely, not being factually accurate in what they are telling the public. […] Read More

The UN/ATF Are Installing Spy Boxes Above Your House

What is in the box? If you see one of these on your property hovering on a utility pole, you are not alone. This is going on all across America. by Dave Hodges Soon, as part of the Safe Cities Network (SCN), these invasive surveillance devices will  be everywhere courtesy of America’s acquiescence to United Nations authority as carried out by the ATF. Attorney General Loretta Lynch stated that: “The Strong Cities Network will serve as a vital tool to strengthen capacity-building and improve collaboration,” Lynch proclaimed for the United Nations SCN launch. “As we continue to counter a range of domestic and global terror threats, this innovative platform will enable cities to learn from one another, to develop best practices and to build social cohesion and community resilience here at home and around the world.” This quote by Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, is a thinly veiled announcement that […] Read More

‘Zero Knowledge’ Systems Not Hostile to Data Privacy, says Snowden

21st Century Wire says… It’s been almost two years since the cloud storage provider Dropbox appointed former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to its board. A move Edward Snowden, at the time, called “hostile” for data privacy. Snowden’s comments on the matter first appeared in a video interview conducted by the Guardian, and were published in a July 17, 2014 article: “Dropbox is a targeted you know wannabe PRISM partner,” he told the Guardian.“They just put … Condoleezza Rice on their board… who is probably the most anti-privacy official you can imagine. She’s one of the ones who oversaw Stellar Wind and thought it was a great idea. So they’re very hostile to privacy.”   PRISM: The NSA’s data collection surveillance program that every citizen should know about. PRISM and Stellar Wind were both approved and implemented during President George W. Bush’s administration.  (Image: (c) Adam Hart-Davis) Dropbox and other popular cloud […] Read More

How Big Tech Convinced Us to Become Our Own Informants

In exchange for the digital goods we crave, we willingly give Google, Facebook and others access to our entire private lives. In 1992, two years after East and West Germany reunited, the new government made an unprecedented gesture in response to demands from the people: It released the archives of East Germany’s former security administration, the dreaded Stasi. Probing the vast files, German artist Simon Menner compiled a collection of the Stasi’s photographs which he published in 2013, affording a voyeuristic glance at the former voyeurs. Or as the artist puts it, giving us a look at what Big Brother “gets to see when he’s watching us.” Some of the photos are frankly hilarious. We’re privy to a seminar on disguises—basically, pics of men with dad bods wearing fake mustaches. The agents of the notorious surveillance state look oddly harmless with their double chins and 1980s turtlenecks. Other images are […] Read More

Warrant now required for federal ‘Stingray’ surveillance use – DoJ

US Department of Justice agents now have to acquire a search warrant before utilizing a cell-site simulator, the department said, though the new policy allows for exceptions. The devices, known as ‘Stingrays,’ trick phones into connecting to them. The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Thursday that while the department’s agents have followed “appropriate legal authorizations” for cell-site simulators in the past, effective immediately, federal agencies must now get a search warrant supported by probable cause before using a cell-site simulator. The Harris Corporation’s ‘Stingray’ is the most well-known brand of the controversial spying technology, used by the FBI, the Secret Service, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and many state and local police agencies. By impersonating cell towers, the suitcase-sized devices force phones in the area to broadcast information that can be used to identify and locate users. The devices are able to indiscriminately collect and intercept data from hundreds […] Read More

FBI Admits to Spying on Burning Man Festival

While the annual art festival known as ‘Burning Man’ may sound like an innocent gathering of free-spirited hippies and ravers, in reality, you might be surprised to find that it has a dark underbelly that threatens the security of the United States of America. That is, if the FBI is to be believed anyway, because apparently Burning Man poses a big enough threat to be spied on by the government. Recent documents attained by a FOIA request reveal that since at least 2010, the FBI has been keeping tabs on the festival, while maintaining documents on the revelers to ‘aid in the prevention of terrorist activities and intelligence collection’. Also, their involvement is apparently ‘even more critical in the light of the ongoing war on terrorism and the potential for additional acts of terrorism being committed in the United States.’   So far the FBI has found that the […] Read More