“On any given day, the average American going about his daily business will be monitored, surveilled, spied on and tracked in more than 20 different ways, by both government and corporate eyes and ears.
A byproduct of this new age in which we live, whether you’re walking through a store, driving your car, checking email, or talking to friends and family on the phone, you can be sure that some government agency, whether the NSA or some other entity, is listening in and tracking your behavior. As I point out in my new book, A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, this doesn’t even begin to touch on the corporate trackers that monitor your purchases, web browsing, Facebook posts and other activities taking place in the cyber sphere.
The revelations by Edward Snowden only scrape the surface in revealing the lengths to which government agencies and their corporate allies will go to conduct mass surveillance on all communications and transactions within the United States.”
Via Alt Market
“Give them an inch and they will take a mile. That is how power-hungry tyrants interpret any law.
The PATRIOT Act and the FISA court led to the blanket wiretapping of every American citizen and a PRISM lens into all Internet activity for the NSA.
Now we are supposed to trust this Peeping Tom government by giving them more authority for “cybersecurity” with the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA)?
As George W. Bush once eloquently said with his patented deer-in-the-headlights conviction “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me, you can’t get fooled again, see.”
Oh, I bet the American people will get fooled again. But it’s not their fault. When authority figures tell bald-faced lies to the public, most people instinctively want to believe them because the majority of people are honest and perceive others to be honest.
Obama won the presidency promising to overturn Bush’s draconian destruction of civil liberties in the name of fighting terror. The majority of Americans took Obama at his word and gave him the benefit of the doubt. Until now.”
Via Activist Post
“Analysts at the National Security Agency can now secretly access real-time user data provided by as many as 50 American companies, ranging from credit rating agencies to internet service providers, two government officials familiar with the arrangements said.
Several of the companies have provided records continuously since 2006, while others have given the agency sporadic access, these officials said. These officials disclosed the number of participating companies in order to provide context for a series of disclosures about the NSA’s domestic collection policies. The officials, contacted independently, repeatedly said that “domestic collection” does not mean that the target is based in the U.S. or is a U.S. citizen; rather, it refers only to the origin of the data.
The Wall Street Journal reported today that U.S. credit card companies had also provided customer information. The officials would not disclose the names of the companies because, they said, doing so would provide U.S. enemies with a list of companies to avoid. They declined to confirm the list of participants in an internet monitoring program revealed by the Washington Post and the Guardian, but both confirmed that the program existed.”
Via The Week
Clapper acknowledged the risks inherent in publicly discussing details about the phone records program but said he wanted to correct the “misleading impression” created by the article that disclosed its existence. “I believe it is important for the American people to understand the limits of this targeted counterterrorism program and the principles that govern its use.”
The NSA collects the phone data in broad swaths, Clapper said, because collecting it a narrow fashion would make it harder to identify terrorism-related communications. He said the information collected lets the government, over time, make connections about terrorist activities. He said the program doesn’t let the U.S. listen to people’s calls, but only includes information like call length and telephone numbers dialed.
The court also prohibits the government from indiscriminately rummaging through the phone data, which he said can only be queried when there are specific facts to back up a reasonable suspicion of an association with a foreign terrorist group.
“Convenience is utterly immaterial.
The 4th Amendment protects from seizure without a warrant describing particularly what is being seized and the probable cause upon which the seizure is taking place.
It is immaterial whether or not the seized data is then sifted through, that is, searched, with or without said authorization of the court.
The seizure en-masse of data pertaining to the actions of persons not suspected of terrorism or other lawful reasons for the government to acquire and use said data is flatly unlawful as it violates The Constitution, irrespective of what pretense Mr. Douchenozzle Clapper may wish to try to arrogate to himself.
Likewise, the seizure of data from internet portals and providers, irrespective of how it is done, is unlawful if it takes place in the United States and is not supported by legal process permitted under the 4th Amendment.
Whether the data is at the time or subsequently searched is again immaterial.”
Via Market Ticker
“Even more, just within the last few weeks we’ve seen the Justice Department confiscating news reporter phone records… the IRS caught bullying political opposition groups… and now this.
It should be as plain as day at this point. Yet some people still have a hard time understanding that they’re living under an oppressive, destructive, unaccountable government.
Most other cultures get it. If you go to Argentina, Vietnam, Italy, or China, people there have absolutely no trust or confidence in their governments.
It’s something that’s ‘almost’ uniquely American – a lifetime of steady, bombastic propaganda that inculcates a deep belief that our system is the ‘best’.
And, even in the face of such overwhelming evidence, it’s still hard for people to break from this programming and acknowledge that their government is just as corrupt as Mexico’s… albeit slightly more sophisticated.
The politicians running the nation are sociopathic criminals, plain and simple. If you or I were to tap people’s phones or hack their Facebook accounts, or use our authority to bully opposition groups, we would be tossed in the slammer in no time… and branded by the media as moral delinquents.”
Via Zero Hedge
“Every single day, the U.S. government gathers and stores more than a billion phone calls, emails, text messages, photographs and Internet searches. Just about every form of electronic communication that you can possibly imagine is being harvested. In fact, it has been reported that NSA personnel gather 2.1 million gigabytes of data every hour. This is being done even though it is a blatant violation of the U.S. Constitution. Sadly, most Americans do not even know what the Fourth Amendment actually says. For those that do not know, the Fourth Amendment says the following: “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 upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” Unfortunately, our leaders have totally abandoned the Constitution. They seem to believe that they have the right to look through our electronic communications any time they want and that we should not complain about it. As you will see below, workers at the NSA have even eavesdropped on very intimate conversations between soldiers serving in Iraq and their female loved ones back home. What kind of sick person would do such a thing? Sadly, the truth is that we have allowed ourselves to become a “Big Brother society”, and we are an utter disgrace to the millions of brave men and women who have died to defend our freedoms.”
“The journalist who took part in breaking two attention-grabbing stories on government surveillance charged that the United States is interested in destroying privacy all over the world.
“There is a massive apparatus within the United States government that with complete secrecy has been building this enormous structure that has only one goal,” Greenwald said on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Live” on Thursday.
“And that is to destroy privacy and anonymity not just in the United States but around the world.”
Greenwald’s subsequent comments came just hours after The Guardian and The Washington Post both broke another bombshell report detailing a program dubbed as “PRISM.” According to the reports, the program involves the National Security Agency and FBI tapping into the servers of nine leading Internet companies to extract information. “
Via Business Insider
“The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.
The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called PRISM, which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says.
The Guardian has verified the authenticity of the document, a 41-slide PowerPoint presentation – classified as top secret with no distribution to foreign allies – which was apparently used to train intelligence operatives on the capabilities of the program. The document claims “collection directly from the servers” of major US service providers.”
“A new wiretap bill backed by the FBI has many Internet companies concerned that this new proposed legislation will open the floodgates to all Internet communication. The new motion will expand wiretapping designs significantly and includes the ability for law enforcement to gain access to emails and features like video chats.”
Via Activist Post
“The United States and ten governments from around the Pacific are meeting yet again to hash out the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) on May 15-24 in Lima, Peru. The TPP is one of the worst global threats to the Internet since ACTA. Since the negotiations have been secretive from the beginning, we mainly know what’s in the current version of this trade agreement because of a leaked draft [PDF] from February 2011. Based upon that text, some other leaked notes, and the undemocratic nature of the entire process, we have every reason to be alarmed about the copyright enforcement provisions contained in this multinational trade deal.
The TPP is likely to export some of the worst features of U.S. copyright law to Pacific Rim countries: a broad ban on breaking digital locks on devices and creative works (even for legal purposes), a minimum copyright term of the lifetime of the creator plus seventy years (the current international norm is the lifetime plus fifty years), privatization of enforcement for copyright infringement, ruinous statutory damages with no proof of actual harm, and government seizures of computers and equipment involved in alleged infringement. Moreover, the TPP is worst than U.S. copyright rules: it does not export the many balances and exceptions that favor the public interest and act as safety valves in limiting rightsholders’ protection. Adding insult to injury, the TPP’s temporary copies provision will likely create chilling effects on how people and companies behave online and their basic ability to use and create on the Web.”
Via Activist Post