Prime Minister Stephen Harper unveiled his government’s new counter-terror bill with dire warnings about the threats facing Canada from radical, freedom-hating groups on the other side of the world.

“A great evil has been descending on our world,” he said in Richmond Hill on Friday.

And Harper introduced Bill C-51, a sweeping piece of legislation that covers everything from what you’re allowed to say and write to who can board a plane, what happens to your tax information and how long you can be detained without charge, he cited fatal attacks last fall in Ottawa and St. Jean Sur Richelieu.

But Harper isn’t sure how the new counter-terror measures could have prevented the shooting rampage that left one young father dead and bullet holes in the halls of Parliament: Michael Zehaf-Bibeau had a history of petty theft and substance abuse but wasn’t on police radar as a potential terrorist.

“Bad things will sometimes happen,” the Prime Minister said.

Highlights of the bill include:
- Government institutions such as the Canada Revenue Agency can share your personal information with security agencies if they think it would be “relevant” to security issues.
- You can go to jail for up to five years for “promoting” or “advocating” terrorism in general, whether you think it’ll actually result in terrorist activity or are just “reckless.”
- Security agencies can issue takedown orders for online content deemed “terrorist propaganda.”
- If police believe you could commit or be involved in terrorism they can detain you – with a judge’s approval – up to seven days without charge, up from the previous three.
- Canada’s spy agency CSIS can act to “disrupt” terrorist activity, not just provide information on it. But this, too, requires a judge’s approval.
- It’ll be easier to keep you off a plane if you’re on a no-fly list or the Minister thinks you should be.
- It’ll be tougher to get into the country, and get citizenship, if you’re believed to have terrorist ties.

[…]

In an email Friday evening, Justice Minister Peter Mackay’s spokesperson Clarissa Lamb said the “The Supreme Court has interpreted ‘promote’ to mean active support or instigation and is more than simple encouragement. It has interpreted ‘advocate’ to mean actively inducing or encouraging.”

Conceivably, if you’ve ever written a blog post railing against Canada’s actions in Iraq or Afghanistan; brought a Tamil Tigers flag to a protest; argued that Canada should restore humanitarian aid to Gazans through their Hamas government; called Israel an apartheid state; supported militant independence movements in Turkish Kurdistan or Spain’s Basque region; you may have done just that. […]

Research Reveals, Social Media Can Be Used To Uncover Your Mental Health

Research reveals that, when you “like” something on Facebook, you’ve potentially given enough information for a computer program to predict your drug habits, mental stability, relationship history…the list goes on and on.
http://bit.ly/1JYFLbZ

For $50, this tiny box will keep everything you do online anonymous

From National Security Agency spying to governments blocking portions of the Internet in times of unrest, recent controversies have demonstrated just how little freedom we actually have online

But what if there were a way to stay hidden 24/7 on the Internet, free from detection and censorship?

Meet this new Kickstarter project, anonabox | Follow micdotcom

The Federal Bureau of Investigation says it should not be required to get a warrant to erect fake cell phone towers, called “stingrays,” and use them to track cell phones’ locations and users while intercepting the contents of calls and texts.

In response, Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) have released a letter to the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security asking for information on “the policies in place to protect the privacy interests of those whose information might be collected using these devices.”

While nine states (Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Tennessee, Utah,Virginia, and Wisconsin) have laws on the books that require warrants for this sort of tracking, the Senators are unlikely to get much sympathy for their cause from the Obama administration, which has argued there is “no reasonable expectation of privacy” in cell phone use—Bonnie Kristian

I think she’s the sister that she told you about, and that’s the brother they said that she dates, and this is where they meet and you know….

Au’thubillah!

Hey you who loves talking about other brothers and sisters in Islam, please stop. Save your soul.
_____

We all know that Allah Azza Wa Jall prohibited spying on others, but how many of us have done such a thing? We may even have done it unknowingly, Astagfirullah.

What is it that we get from making stories and spying on other people? What is the good that it brings to us to know that the stories that we have discussed with our friends had cause so much grief and humiliation to a brother or a sister in Islam? 

How can one sleep when he or she knows how much damage he or she had done to the reputation of not only his or her friend but for the reputation that Islam has?

Didn’t you know that when someone knows that you are Muslim and you love talking other people, do you think they will say something about you only? No, they will talk about your religion, Islam is placed in a hot seat and people are just waiting for every mistake so they could justify their thoughts about Islam.

And you know what, with every spying and talking and backbiting you do with your friend, wallahi, you are giving them the free ticket to abuse your religion. 

Will take that responsibility? Will you able to do so?
_____

I want us to reflect from two stories that happened during the time of the Sahabah Radiyallahu Anhu, and it goes on the story of how it was forbidden for Muslims to spy or talk ill about each other.

Once, a man came to Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud and told him: “Walid Ibn Uqbah’s beard was dripping wine. [in some narration it was said that his beard was soaked with wine.]

Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud then told him:

"The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalaam forbade us from spying, if he reveals it, we will certainly deal with him." 

[And we learnt from the story of Walid that this was indeed a false accusation that people told about him]

Another one was of the case of Abdur Rahman Ibn ‘Awf with ‘Umar Ibn Al Khattab.

They were patrolling Madinah one night and they reached a house where they found a closed door and loud voices inside [disturbing noise];

Umar said: Do you know whose house is this?

Abdur Rahman answered by saying: No.

'Umar then said: This is the house of Rubi’ah Ibn Umayah Ibn Khalaf, and they are now drinking. What do you think we should do?

Abdur Rahman said: I think we have violated Allah’s prohibition. Allah prohibited us from spying, we are now spying.

'Umar then immediately took the advice of Abdur Rahman and they left. 
_____

Look at how the Sahabah were so keen about this spying, the caliph ‘Umar even with his status took the advice of Abdur Rahman because he knew that what he had done was wrong, indeed he was a caliph who took the advices of people and listened to them.

How many of us, when someone tells us, hey do not say that you do not know her or him, would arrogantly defend ourselves and further justify the ill thought by saying more words?

By Allah Azza Wa Jall, if we were this keen on observing our faults, our flaws there would be such a drastic change that will happen, but we are not most of us fail even to accept that we are wrong, but we are so good at pin pointing flaws of other people?

Why? That’s a question that lingers unanswered for so long now.
_____

And we pray that Allah Azza Wa Jall gives us the tawfiq to concentrate on correcting ourselves and not on others. Amin

Zohayma
_____

Stories were taken from:

• Al Mustadrak, Al Hakim, Kitab al Hudud, vo. 4, p. 377-382
• Al Kaba’r, The Chief Sins, Ad Dhahabi

10

Here are the 13 creepiest privacy violations from the NSA’s Christmas eve report 

With millions of Americans preoccupied by travel and holiday gatherings, the National Security Agency on Wednesday quietly revealed a series of long-classified internal reports detailing thousands of embarrassing and unlawful violations by its own employees. 

By releasing the documents on Christmas Eve, when so many people are away from their computers and TVs, the NSA was doing its best to hide its crimes in plain sight.

Note: It is illegal for the government to monitor or record data from citizens, lawful permanent residents or certain protected groups, like U.S.-based corporations, without a court order. 

Where there is good journalism, there will be scoops

As of 12:45 pm today, Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux published a new in-depth piece at The Intercept called "Watch Commander: Barack Obama’s Secret Terrorist-Tracking System, by the Numbers" examining the government’s Terrorist Screening Database, as discovered in classified documents the news outlet obtained. The article breaks down the system piece by piece, with startling observations from classified documents.

The second-highest concentration of people designated as “known or suspected terrorists” by the government is in Dearborn, Mich.—a city of 96,000 that has the largest percentage of Arab-American residents in the country.

Even if you don’t live in Dearborn, you should be concerned. 

…officials don’t need “concrete facts” or “irrefutable evidence” to secretly place someone on the list—only a vague and elastic standard of “reasonable suspicion.

According to information from the documents, during the Obama administration, there are more people in the TIDE (Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment) than ever before (an even bigger system with an even lower bar for making the list), there are 47,000 people on the government’s “No Fly” list, as well as a disproportionate about of suspects on the watchlist based on their assumed terrorist group affiliation (see above pie chart). Which is skewed, because the estimated size of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, for example, is significantly smaller than the amount of people on the AQI watchlist:

If this information doesn’t make you want to put on a tinfoil hat and anti-surveillance coat and go off the grid for a while, on top of all of that, the story itself was scooped by a government agency and handed to the AP. The AP story in question, written by Eileen Sullivan, came out just minutes before the Intercept piece. 

From HuffPo:

The government, it turned out, had “spoiled the scoop,” an informally forbidden practice in the world of journalism. To spoil a scoop, the subject of a story, when asked for comment, tips off a different, typically friendlier outlet in the hopes of diminishing the attention the first outlet would have received. Tuesday’s AP story was much friendlier to the government’s position, explaining the surge of individuals added to the watch list as an ongoing response to a foiled terror plot.

As Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project, told The Intercept, 

We’re getting into Minority Report territory when being friends with the wrong person can mean the government puts you in a database and adds DMV photos, iris scans, and face recognition technology to track you secretly and without your knowledge.

TLDNR; We’re probably all on a secret watchlist. And as soon as we find out we are, the government will know we know

-Mariana

Images: Chart via The Intercept ”Who’s on the watchlist?” that breaks down the list by affiliated terrorist group, and screenshot from Ryan Devereaux’s Twitter.

The Justice Department has been using planes to listen to your phone calls 

Another day, another surveillance scandal for the U.S. government.

On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal published a disturbing exposé on a secret Justice Department spying program that uses a fleet of airplanes to intercept phone calls and scoop up mobile data from thousands of cellphones at a time. According to the Journal, the U.S. Marshals Service program started around 2007 and runs out of at least five metropolitan airports and covers most of the U.S. population.

This the first we’re hearing of an airborne operation

Orwell-inspired clothing stops phones being hacked

Edward Snowden’s revelations that US government has used web and mobile data to spy on its own citizens has rightly caused concern among the public, leading to comparisons with George Orwell’s dystopian Big Brother society. But how can they ensure they’re not being tracked? We recently wrote about ICLOAK a plug-and-play USB stick that enables web users to browse with privacy on any device. Now focusing on mobile devices, UK-based clothing brand The Affair has developed a new fashion range that features technology called UnPocket, which stops any wireless signals from mobile phones, credit cards and chipped passports READ MORE…

The American Civil Liberties Union obtained a series of internal papers from intelligence agencies including the NSA and Defense Intelligence Agency detailing how integral Reagan’s 1981 order is to the NSA’s current surveillance program. The order broadly allows the government to collect data from any company that is believed to have ties to foreign organizations. It also complicates the path forward for intelligence reforms in Congress.

Previous reports acknowledge the order’s use as a foundation for some of the NSA’s surveillance programs such as gaining backdoor access to tech companies’ data centers. But the new documents, which were released as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit the ACLU and other civil liberties advocates filed just before Edward Snowden’s leaks to the media, show Executive Order 12333 is the “primary source” authority when it comes to the NSA’s foreign spy programs.

Wasn’t Reagan the president that said “Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives?”

5

Philadelphia: Rally to protest NYPD spying on Muslim communities as federal court case opens, January 13, 2015.

Photos by Joe Piette

"After waiting for over 2 years, the federal case against the NYPD spying of Muslim communities in NJ, Hassan vs. City of New York, is finally being heard on Tuesday, Jan 13th at the US Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, which will impact the entire American Muslim community for generations to come. 

"This is an opportunity for the Muslim community to make a resounding statement, with plaintiffs represented from multiple communities, that we stand together as Shia and Sunni Muslims against the sectarian narrative meant to divide us and with all communities of color that have been the victims of police brutality for decades, most recently highlighted by the #Justice4All movement.

"You can learn more about the case at: http://www.muslimadvocates.org/endspying/