4th amendment

Whistleblower: NSA collects AUDIO from 80% of phone calls

According to NSA whistleblower William Binney, we have a lot more to worry about than the NSA’s collection of metadata.  

from Business Insider:

William Binney is one of the highest-level whistleblowers to ever emerge from the NSA. He was a leading code-breaker against the Soviet Union during the Cold War but resigned soon after September 11, disgusted by Washington’s move towards mass surveillance.
On 5 July he spoke at a conference in London organized by the Centre for Investigative Journalism and revealed the extent of the surveillance programs unleashed by the Bush and Obama administrations.

“At least 80% of fibre-optic cables globally go via the US”, Binney said. “This is no accident and allows the US to view all communication coming in. At least 80% of all audio calls, not just metadata, are recorded and stored in the US. The NSA lies about what it stores.”

The NSA will soon be able to collect 966 exabytes a year, the total of internet traffic annually. Former Google head Eric Schmidt once argued that the entire amount of knowledge from the beginning of humankind until 2003 amount to only five exabytes.

Binney, who featured in a 2012 short film by Oscar-nominated US film-maker Laura Poitras, described a future where surveillance is ubiquitous and government intrusion unlimited.

“The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control”, Binney said, “but I’m a little optimistic with some recent Supreme Court decisions, such as law enforcement mostly now needing a warrant before searching a smartphone.”

read the rest

It’s time for a special investigation to be launched into the NSA.  No more secrets.  The American people have a right to know what their government is doing with their phone calls.

VIDEO: Rand Paul leads bold crusade against NSA spying in EPIC Senate speech

This is as good as it gets, ladies and gentlemen.  This is not a speech from just another politician running for higher office.  This is a potent, pointed, heart-felt “give me liberty!” from a man who is sick and tired of seeing the Constitution shredded by his own government. 

here’s the video:

To Senator Paul we say, “Bravo!”  Thank you for your tireless efforts to protect the American people from a tyrannical Federal government.

Value your privacy? A groundbreaking anti-spying bill has been signed into law in New Hampshire!

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan has signed into law a bill that not only bans state and local law enforcement from searching an electronic device without a warrant, but also prohibits a small but important category of what the NSA has been doing with the warrantless data it collects.

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The violent video of Sandra Bland’s arrest is like a 21st century Rorschach test for detecting racists

Remember that time Reese Witherspoon’s husband got arrested for drunk driving, and she interfered with the arrest and (gasp) talked back to a cop who had no idea who she was? And remember how the police got mad, pointed a taser at her head and threatened to light her up, physically assaulted her even after she was handcuffed, and then slammed her head into the ground and put their knees on her back, all because she was being “too mouthy” and not obeying them?

Me neither…funny how the police managed to treat an “uncooperative” white woman with dignity and respect, and not brutalize her even though she was being “combative” and interfering in an arrest, and even “talking back” after the police repeatedly and politely told her to stay away. 

“Talking back” is not against the law; in fact, it’s a constitutionally protected right - remember these things called the 1st and 4th Amendments?

When dozens of armed white people can publicly point loaded weapons at law enforcement officers to defend some racist hick like Cliven Bundy, and no one gets so much as a ticket, I don’t want to hear jack shit about Sandra Bland’s “bad attitude”…not from the “don’t tread on me” Tea Baggers, and certainly not from the so-called “civil libertarians” crowd that rides so damn hard for Ed Snowden. 

Speaking of which, isn’t it odd how neither party - Libertarians nor the Tea Party - is officially making a big fuss or complaining about Sandra Bland’s civil liberties being violated. edit: I don’t want to leave out the “liberals” who celebrate the Stonewall Riots, but wagged their fingers at Baltimore and Ferguson protesters. Hmm… It’s almost like there’s two Americas with two completely different sets of rules and double standards, depending on your race. 

Ignoring the human condition

The idea that we can legislate to prevent evil, social ills, and a medley of other human conditions has become so pervasive I think it can best be described as a cancer. Whether it is inoperable or not has yet to be determined.

What I love about our founders and the constitutional republican democracy they gave us is that they accommodated many ugly truths of the human condition. From self evident truths and constraints on government to us at our ugliest, power hungry, blood thirsty, and dictatorial. We have a sublime document, a truly magnificent work of the human mind that distinguishes between personal liberties, self evident truths, State power, and Federal power.

Alas, the bill of rights. Beautiful ideas protecting individuals from other individuals, the tyranny of the majority, and State and Federal powers. While probably as close to a perfect system of government as yet attempted, we have failed at many a turn miserably.

You would think that this high error of failure would compel us to slow down, study more, think more, and reason more. Not the case unfortunately. We move with vigor and fortitude to yet again remove the rights of citizens with no due process.

We think this is about the 2nd amendment, and it is to a certain extent. However in our haste to feel as if we have accomplished something and ease our mental anguish, we toss out the baby with the bath water.

Consider for a moment what you are proposing to do. You seek to remove a constitutional right from citizens who have committed no crimes and aren’t even charged with a crime. 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th amendments in the bill of rights. No warrants, no judicial due process, no trial, no jury of peers. Guilty by the legislature and perhaps by the executive if signed (I’m certain he will).

Even more vile and immoral, if that’s possible, is the attack on the mentally ill. The vast majority of whom have never and will never commit a violent crime. We attack the weakest and least able to defend themselves with an assault on their rights with a database to register them like they are criminals and sex offenders and remove their 2nd amendment right while trampling on their 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th amendment rights for good measure.

I understand the strong desire to protect children. Any crime can seemingly be made worse against a child. Consider that the child may one day have a need for the bill of rights. Perhaps one day you will too. Consider that we are more likely to make good decisions if we slow down, study, debate, and reflect on all of the implications of a piece of legislation. Consider the likelihood of solving one of the worlds oldest problems, murder, in a few weeks by a congress that has failed an approval test against cockroaches in the latest polls. Consider whether it is wise to implement pre-crime and completely junk judicial due process as part of any solution.

We are often preached to about the cost of liberty, usually in a very macabre manner, yet it does have the ring of truth. Liberty isn’t free and comes with great responsibility. Perhaps we should exercise some.

Let me list the bill of rights here to give you a chance to refresh your memory, admire them again, or read them for the first time.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.[60]

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

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.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

  • Ninth Amendment – Protection of rights not specifically enumerated in the Constitution.

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

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Intellectual Property is a Myth

PRISM: The NSA program that taps into internet giants’ databases to mine user data

They quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type,” said the whistleblower, described as a career intelligence officer, in a truly harrowing quote.

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.

Although the presentation claims the program is run with the assistance of the companies, all those who responded to a Guardian request for comment on Thursday denied knowledge of any such program.

[…]

The program facilitates extensive, in-depth surveillance on live communications and stored information. The law allows for the targeting of any customers of participating firms who live outside the US, or those Americans whose communications include people outside the US.

It also opens the possibility of communications made entirely within the US being collected without warrants.

Disclosure of the PRISM program follows a leak to the Guardian on Wednesday of a top-secret court order compelling telecoms provider Verizon to turn over the telephone records of millions of US customers.

The participation of the internet companies in PRISM will add to the debate, ignited by the Verizon revelation, about the scale of surveillance by the intelligence services. Unlike the collection of those call records, this surveillance can include the content of communications and not just the metadata.