NSA Spying … And Doing Stuff They Are Forbidden BY Congress To Do

September 30, 2013

As if they care what Congress says … NSA Gathers Data on Social Connections of Americans…

And if you can, I guess they will ….UPDATE: Analysts spied on love interests…

Greenwald to release new revelations…

Forbidden by law from doing, in an Obama world, so what …. ‘Assassination program’…

Race to Create Offshore Havens for Data Privacy…

Lots of good stuff there, hope you aren’t a target.

NSA: The Spys R Us

September 29, 2013

Keep dogging boys … You have struck a vein: EFF racks up another courtroom victory over the NSA: damning docs to follow.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation continues to rack up victories in its Jewel v NSA suit, through which it has been suing the US spy agency over illegal mass-surveillance for nearly a decade (three successive administrations have stalled the suit by invoking official secrecy, a deadlock that was broken thanks to the leaks released by the whistleblower Edward Snowden).

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EFF Weighs In On NSA Sacndal

August 19, 2013

Yep it sure does … EFF: Leaks Prove NSA Has No Meaningful Oversight

So what is Congress going to do about it? Nothing??? Out of control agency that allegedly you oversee.

Justice Department Fights Release of Secret Court Opinion Finding Unconstitutional Surveillance

June 7, 2013

In the midst of revelations that the government has conducted extensive top-secret surveillance operations to collect domestic phone records and internet communications, the Justice Department was due to file a court motion Friday in its effort to keep secret an 86-page court opinion that determined that the government had violated the spirit of federal surveillance laws and engaged in unconstitutional spying.

Read more at motherjones.com …

“Government lawyers are trying to keep buried a classified court finding that a domestic spying program went too far.”

Even more so Mother Jones is reporting this!!!

Texas Bringing Freedom to Your Email

May 31, 2013

The state of Texas is becoming the standard for freedom in America. Already attracting thousands of new employers for its pro-business stance and hundreds of thousands of new residents for its pro-individual policies, now the Lone Star State wants to revolutionize online freedom.

The state legislature has sent a bill to Governor Rick Perry that would close a troubling loophole that allows the government to access your personal emails. Provided that Perry doesn’t veto the law, the legislation would only apply to state and local law enforcement. Nevertheless, it sends a powerful message to the federal government not to mess with Texas or its email.

The loophole was inadvertently created by the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). Back then, the vast majority of email was downloaded to one’s personal computer. Any messages not downloaded after 180 days were considered abandoned and open to government searches without a warrant.

But today, most of our email sits in “the cloud.” All those messages new and old reside somewhere on an online server — heck, I have email I saved a decade ago. Although the ECPA was created to protect online privacy, it is now being used to destroy it.

Google recently revealed that the federal government made nearly 8,500 requests for user data in the last half of 2012. This is up 136 percent from the last half of 2009 when the company started tracking this data. In the vast majority of these cases, the requests are made using ECPA subpoenas, which do not need a court order.

Ever skeptical of privacy and freedom, the feds also have dug through Twitter accounts. Of the 815 requests for Twitter user info in the past six months, 81 percent of these “unreasonable searches and seizures” were conducted without a warrant.

The Texas bill is similar to reforms that have circulated in the U.S. Senate. By letting it become law, Austin will throw the gauntlet to Washington to clean up the obsolete provisions of the ECPA. Federal reforms have gone through the Senate Judiciary Committee and await a floor vote.

Hanni Fakhoury of the Electronic Frontier Foundation applauds Texas’ move. “It’s significant proof that privacy reform is not only needed but also politically feasible with broad bipartisan support,” he said. “Hopefully that will impact federal ECPA reform efforts by getting people on both of sides of the political aisle to work together to make meaningful electronic privacy reform a reality.”

Fakhoury also encouraged other states to join in. “The more states that pass similar legislation, the more pressure it will put on Congress to keep up with the changing legal landscape,” he said.

National Security Letters ruled unconstitutional — FBI spying tools violate First Amendment, judicial powers

March 18, 2013

That provision also violated the Constitution because it blocks meaningful judicial review.

Illston ordered the FBI to cease issuing the letters, but put her order on hold for 90 days so the U.S. Department of Justice can appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Pretty much standard operating proceedure when national security is the issue.

The FBI made 16,511 national security letter requests for information regarding 7,201 people in 2011, the latest data available. The FBI uses the letters to collect unlimited kinds of sensitive, private information like financial and phone records.

With the NSL law struck down, however, the full picture of how the FBI has wielded its unprecedented surveillance power in recent years may soon be revealed – provided, that is, if Judge Illston’s ruling is upheld.

That’s still a big “if”. Citing “significant constitutional and national security issues,” the judge has stayed her own ruling for 90 days or until the government appeals, whichever comes sooner.

Google had disclosed recently, the number of NSLs the federal government had issued.

FoxNews reported … Saturday:

A federal judge has struck down a set of laws allowing the FBI to issue so-called national security letters to banks, phone companies and other businesses demanding customer information.

U.S. District Judge Susan Illston said the laws violate the First Amendment and the separation of powers principles and ordered the government to stop issuing the secretive letters or enforcing their gag orders, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The FBI almost always bars recipients of the letters from disclosing to anyone — including customers — that they have even received the demands, Illston said in the ruling released Friday.

The government has failed to show that the letters and the blanket non-disclosure policy “serve the compelling need of national security,” and the gag order creates “too large a danger that speech is being unnecessarily restricted,” the San Francisco-based Illston wrote.

A Department of Justice spokesman told the Journal the department was “reviewing the order.”

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And Now For A Message From the EFF

July 20, 2012

Because they can, they will. Remember Bush and the noise generated over his spy’s peeking at your library card. Ah the good old days, long since passed.

Americans may not realize it, but many are in a face recognition database now …

The EFF writes:

Staff Attorney Jennifer Lynch testified that although “many Americans may not realize it, they are already in a face recognition database.” The Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law held a hearing about facial recognition in regards to privacy and civil liberties. Between Facebook scanning 300 million photos a day and the FBI’s nationwide face search, real-time face recognition is coming and we desperately need privacy protections in place.

This creates threats to free association and free expression not evident in other biometrics,’ testified EFF Staff Attorney Jennifer Lynch. There are 32 states that use some form of facial recognition for DMV photos. Every day, Facebook happily slurps up and automatically scans with facial recognition software about 300 million photos that users upload to the social networking giant. [Full]

We’re the United States, not some Euro country that’s lived under dictators for much their history.  We shouldn’t have to change how we live; we do have to change who runs things—one way or another.

Does anyone see more than a little irony in this today?

Vote Different

Yes I know it’s and oldie, but still relevant.

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