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?

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Your cellphone emits a signal that tags your location every minute of every day. Your Google search log records your private anxieties and interests. Your text messages and social media accounts capture every detail of your social life. Your store purchases produce records of your spending habits. Your photos are embedded with the date, time and location of the moment they were taken.

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

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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. 

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

The gist of my job involved setting prisoners up to make their phone calls with the outside world and then listening in on all the catty prison gossip. … The job was sold to me as a cushy gig. I was told I wouldn’t even go behind the gate or see prisoners. When I toured the facility, it looked sweet: I’d make more money than I’d ever made and I’d even have my own office — all for eavesdropping with occasional light data entry. Unfortunately, it turned out that everything I’d been told was a class Rumsfeld lie.

Only a few days passed before they asked me, “Would you mind going out to inmate dorms to answer questions about the phone system?” Now I had to go meet dangerous criminals face to face, sometimes after shooting down their requested phone contacts. “Oh hey, convicted criminal, I listen to everything you say — some of it possibly meant to be secret. Here’s my face, my name, and my place of employment. Oh, and here’s my card, too. I’ve included a list of my deepest fears and allergies on the back, just for funsies.”

6 Things You Learn Listening in on Every Prison Phone Call

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

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?”

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…

Canadian spies can access Indian status records under Bill C-51: Public Safety

RCMP investigators and Canadian spies would legally be able to access personal information found in Indian status records held by the federal Aboriginal Affairs department if the Harper government’s proposed anti-terror bill becomes law, according to Public Safety Canada.

A spokesperson for the federal Public Safety department confirmed Bill C-51’s changes to allow freer information sharing between federal departments and agencies on broadly defined national security grounds would include the personal information contained in the Indian status registry held by Aboriginal Affairs.

[…]

Aboriginal Affairs holds detailed personal information of everyone who is registered as a status Indian.

The Indian status record of an individual includes information on the names of any of their children, registration number and status, the names of any siblings, registration numbers and status and the names of their parents, registration numbers and status. The file also includes a family tree extending to their maternal and paternal grandparents.

The record also includes the name of their band, date of birth and when they activated their status. It includes information on whether they live on or off-reserve, marital status, marriage date, registration number of spouse, whether they are on a band list and category of status. Registration numbers include an individual’s order of birth.

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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/