“According to the New York Times, President Obama is “on the verge of backing” a proposal by the FBI to introduce legislation dramatically expanding the reach of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, or CALEA. CALEA forces telephone companies to provide backdoors to the government so that it can spy on users after obtaining court approval, and was expanded in 2006 to reach Internet technologies like VoIP.
The new proposal reportedly allows the FBI to listen in on any conversation online, regardless of the technology used, by mandating engineers build “backdoors” into communications software. We urge EFF supporters to tell the administration now to stop this proposal, provisionally called CALEA II.
The rumored proposal is a tremendous blow to security and privacy and is based on the FBI’s complaint that it is “Going Dark,” or unable to listen in on Internet users’ communications. But the FBI has offered few concrete examples and no significant numbers of situations where it has been stymied by communications technology like encryption. To the contrary, with the growth of digital communications, the FBI has an unprecedented level of access to our communications and personal data; access which it regularly uses. In an age where the government claims to want to beef up Internet security, any backdoors into our communications makes our infrastructure weaker.”
Via Activist Post
“Despite the fact that the FBI was accused of hiding information from judges when obtaining authorization for use of the secretive “Stingray” cell phone tracking device, a judge has ruled that the use of the device by federal agents was lawful.
This case could quite unfortunately have wide-ranging effects on how the government conducts the type of dragnet surveillance enabled by the Stingray device.
Interestingly, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) also recently received a new batch of documents from the FBI about the Stingray.
On Wednesday, Judge David Campbell dismissed the motion to suppress the information gathered through the Stingray device in the case of Daniel Rigmaiden.”
Via Activist Post
“It’s been more than a decade in the making, but now Harvard University researchers have developed a tiny flying drone that is barely larger than a quarter.
Robotics researchers at the Ivy League school have achieved a first, reports Forbes: the creation of robotic insects that are capable of flight. A paper detailing their work was recently published in the journal Science. Here’s an abstract of the research:
Flies are among the most agile flying creatures on Earth. To mimic this aerial prowess in a similarly sized robot requires tiny, high-efficiency mechanical components that pose miniaturization challenges governed by force-scaling laws, suggesting unconventional solutions for propulsion, actuation, and manufacturing. To this end, we developed high-power-density piezoelectric flight muscles and a manufacturing methodology capable of rapidly prototyping articulated, flexure-based sub-millimeter mechanisms.
We built an 80-milligram, insect-scale, flapping-wing robot modeled loosely on the morphology of flies. Using a modular approach to flight control that relies on limited information about the robot’s dynamics, we demonstrated tethered but unconstrained stable hovering and basic controlled flight maneuvers. The result validates a sufficient suite of innovations for achieving artificial, insect-like flight.”
Via Natural News
Police raid innocent family because of indoor garden, spied on their purchases and dug through trash
“A former FBI counterterrorism agent has hinted at a vast and intrusive surveillance network used by the U.S. government to monitor its own citizens.
Tim Clemente admitted as much when he appeared on CNN Wednesday night.
Discussing the Boston Marathon attack and past telephone conversations of Katherine Russell and her now deceased husband, suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Clemente said that those conversations would be available to investigators. “
Via The Daily Mail
“The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) is seeking to create a massive online database that can pull up an individual’s personal information, connections, and associates. Currently called “Investigative System,” the ATF is asking private companies to provide bids to build it.
The system is described as a “massive online data repository system that contains a wide variety of data sources both historically and current that can be utilized in support of investigations and backgrounds.”
According to the ATF’s official web site, the system will be utilized by staff “to provide rapid searches on various entities for example; names, telephone numbers, utility data and reverse phone look-ups, as a means to assist with investigations, and background research on people, assets and businesses.””