Govt obtains wide AP phone records in probe
“The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative’s top executive called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news.
The records obtained by the Justice Department listed incoming and outgoing calls, and the duration of each call, for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and the main number for AP reporters in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP.
In all, the government seized those records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012. The exact number of journalists who used the phone lines during that period is unknown but more than 100 journalists work in the offices whose phone records were targeted on a wide array of stories about government and other matters.”
“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
“What do speed traps, parking tickets, toll roads, speed cameras and red light cameras all have in common? They are all major revenue sources for state and local governments. All over America today there are state and local governments that are drowning in debt. Many have chosen to use “traffic enforcement” as a way to raise desperately needed revenue. According to the National Motorist Association, issuing speeding tickets raises somewhere between 4.5 billion and 6 billion dollars in the United States each year. And the average price of a speeding ticket just keeps going up. Today, the national average is about $150, but in many jurisdictions it is far higher. For example, more than 16 million traffic tickets are issued in the state of California each year, and the average fine is approximately $250. If you are wealthy that may not be much of a problem, but if you are a family that is barely scraping by every month that can be a major financial setback. Meanwhile, America’s roads are also being systematically transformed into a surveillance grid. The number of cameras watching our roads is absolutely exploding, and automated license plate readers are capturing hundreds of millions of data points on all of us. As you drive down the highway, a police vehicle coming up behind you can instantly read your license plate and pull up a whole host of information about you. This happened to me a few years ago. I had pulled on to a very crowded highway in Virginia and within less than a minute a cop car had scanned me and was pulling me over because one of my stickers had expired. But these automated license plate readers are being used for far more than just traffic enforcement now. For example, officials in Washington D.C. are now using automated license plate readers to track the movements of every single vehicle that enters the city. They know when you enter Washington, and they know when you leave. So where is all of this headed? Do we really want to live in a “Big Brother” society where the government constantly tracks all of our movements?”
“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
“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.””