New Jersey Muslims take NYPD to court for monitoring their activities

Muslims in New Jersey are set to go to court over the ruling that New York City police are legally allowed to carry out surveillance of their activities.

The case is spearheaded by two civil rights groups: Muslim Advocates and the Center for Constitutional Rights, and involves the NYPD monitoring the Muslim residents at businesses, mosques, restaurants, schools and universities since 2002.

"The city’s surveillance program is explicitly based upon, and accordingly perpetuates, a malignant stereotype: that Muslims are a danger to society," lawyers for the civil rights groups wrote in their appeal brief.

Good news! The US government decided today that because I did such a good job investigating the cyber-industrial complex, they’re now going to send me to investigate the prison-industrial complex.

-Journalist and activist Barrett Brown in his public statement 

The news: In Texas yesterday, Brown was sentenced to 63 months in prison and more than $890,000 in restitution for his proximity to sources in the hacker group Anonymous and for linking to leaked Stratfor documents. Often called the “spokesman” for Anonymous against his wishes, Brown has been detained since his arrest in 2012, and since then has taken a plea deal to reduce his sentence from the decades of charges the prosecution was seeking. Journalists and activists alike agree this is just part of the slippery slope as classified government documents are leaked by hackers and journalists do their job investigating said leaks. As Kevin Gallagher (from the Free Barrett Brown Campaign) told The Guardian, “Any journalist that uses hackers as sources is extremely chilled by this.”

Like the tenacious dissident he is, Brown is now publishing a column from prison

From the rest of Brown’s statement

For the next 35 months, I’ll be provided with free food, clothes, and housing as I seek to expose wrongdoing by Bureau of Prisons officials and staff and otherwise report on news and culture in the world’s greatest prison system. I want to thank the Department of Justice for having put so much time and energy into advocating on my behalf; rather than holding a grudge against me for the two years of work I put into in bringing attention to a DOJ-linked campaign to harass and discredit journalists like Glenn Greenwald, the agency instead labored tirelessly to ensure that I received this very prestigious assignment. — Wish me luck!”

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

Surveillance is not just about who the state is watching, but about multiple circuits of collective surveillance: it’s not just about the act of seeing or noticing or screening (bodies/identities), but also about acts of collecting, curating, and tabulating data and affect. Surveillance doesn’t just modulate between inner/outer or public/private, but rather upholds the fantasy that these discrete realms exist, while working quite insidiously through networks of gaze, data, and more. Even with forms of direct policing such as Stop and Frisk, the temporality of surveilling is not just reactive, but also preemptive and increasingly, predictive.
—  “Regimes of Surveillance,” Jasbir Puar
U.S Government Spying on Millions of Cars in ‘Real-Time’

January 29th, 2015

The United States government is tracking the movement of vehicles around the country in a clandestine intelligence-gathering programme that has been condemned as a further official exercise to build a database on people’s lives.

The Drug Enforcement Administration was monitoring license plates on a “massive” scale, giving rise to “major civil liberties concerns”, the American Civil Liberties Union said on Monday night, citing DEA documents obtained under freedom of information.

This story highlights yet another way government security agencies are seeking to quietly amplify their powers using new technologies,” Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst with ACLU, told the Guardian.

The advocacy group said the DEA records it obtained from the justice department were heavily redacted and incomplete.

If license plate readers continued to proliferate without restriction and the DEA held license plate reader data for extended periods the agency would soon possess a detailed and invasive depiction of people’s lives, the ACLU said, especially if combined with other surveillance data such as bulk phone records or information gleaned by the US Marshals Service using aircraft that mimic cellphone towers.

Data-mining the information, an unproven law enforcement technique that the DEA has begun to use here, only exacerbates these concerns, potentially tagging people as criminals without due process,” the ACLU warned.

The Wall Street Journal, citing official documents and anonymous officials, reported that the programme built a national database to track vehicles in real time and stored hundreds of millions of records about motorists.

Related: The Government Is Collecting Your Selfies For Their Facial Recognition Database



Surveillance tech art project by Francesco Tacchini seeks nearby smartphones and pushes an NSA email to it - video embedded below:

SPOOK-I is a hypothetical but operative US National Security Agency inspired machine. It mimics two surveillance techniques available to the NSA Tailored Access Operations unit, in order to expose the technology employed by the control society. The work attempts to investigate the power structures and procedures of State surveillance by directly experiencing them.

The machine is a wireless jammer and sniffer. It effectively pushes an * email to devices nearby, after having jammed their WiFi signal (on the 2.4 Ghz frequency) and exposed their names on the wall, on a projected interface that also features a live spectrogram of the wireless network being targeted.

More Here

WikiLeaks demands answers after Google hands staff emails to US government

  • Search giant gave FBI emails and digital data belonging to three staffers
  • WikiLeaks told last month of warrants which were served in March 2012

Google took almost three years to disclose to the open information group WikiLeaks that it had handed over emails and other digital data belonging to three of its staffers to the US government, under a secret search warrant issued by a federal judge.

WikiLeaks has written to Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, to protest that the search giant only revealed the warrants last month, having been served them in March 2012. In the letter, WikiLeaks says it is “astonished and disturbed” that Google waited more than two and a half years to notify its subscribers, potentially depriving them of their ability to protect their rights to “privacy, association and freedom from illegal searches”.

The letter, written by WikiLeaks’ New York-based lawyer, Michael Ratner of the Center For Constitutional Rights, asks Google to list all the materials it provided to the FBI. Ratner also asks whether the California-based company did anything to challenge the warrants and whether it has received any further data demands it has yet to divulge.

Google revealed to WikiLeaks on Christmas Eve – a traditionally quiet news period – that it had responded to a Justice Department order to hand over a catch-all dragnet of digital data including all emails and IP addresses relating to the three staffers. The subjects of the warrants were the investigations editor of WikiLeaks, the British citizen Sarah Harrison; the spokesperson for the organisation, Kristinn Hrafnsson; and Joseph Farrell, one of its senior editors.

When it notified the WikiLeaks employees last month, Google said it had been unable to say anything about the warrants earlier as a gag order had been imposed. Google said the non-disclosure orders had subsequently been lifted, though it did not specify when.

Harrison, who also heads the Courage Foundation, told the Guardian she was distressed by the thought of government officials gaining access to her private emails. “Knowing that the FBI read the words I wrote to console my mother over a death in the family makes me feel sick,” she said.

She accused Google of helping the US government conceal “the invasion of privacy into a British journalist’s personal email address. Neither Google nor the US government are living up to their own laws or rhetoric in privacy or press protections”.

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Geographic Spread of Influenza as Assessed by State and Territorial Epidemiologists

The influenza activity reported by state and territorial epidemiologists indicates geographic spread of influenza viruses, but does not measure the severity of influenza activity.

During week 51, the following influenza activity was reported:

  • Widespread influenza activity was reported by 36 states (Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming).
  • Regional influenza activity was reported by Guam, Puerto Rico and 10 states (Alabama, Arizona, Idaho, Maine, Nevada, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, and West Virginia).
  • Local influenza activity was reported by the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and two states (Alaska and Oregon).
  • Sporadic influenza activity was reported by two states (California and Hawaii).

(From CDC)

I hope this is increasingly apparent now after Snowden’s revelations, that we are facing a new Western religion. And that new Western religion is the national security state. It’s hurtling towards a dystopia. It is dragging many of us along with it - not combatants but all of those who use the internet are sucked up into this system.
—  Julian Assange


Surveillance Installation by Syver Lauritzsen and Anders Dannevig features encrypted screens which reveal webcam feeds with a handheld device - video embedded below:

Hundreds of unprotected webcams. Live. Uncensored. In your hands.

Omina Vigil deals with the inherent voyeurism of our modern society. With the advent of social media, we have become information junkies and thrive on looking into the trivial matters of others, much to our own dismay.

The installation features hundreds of live webcameras that have been left unprotected by their owners, intentionally or not. This raises questions about privacy issues and internet security and forces spectators to face their inner voyeur.

More Here