Looks like police in Chicago have a tricked out surveillance truck equipped with cell site simulators, a.k.a. Stingrays, that force nearby phones to send data to cops instead of to phone company cell towers. Did those cops get a warrant for that?

Your tax dollars at work: Spying on people just because they demand that the government’s agents stop killing black people.

UPDATE: Anonymous has released a video featuring what appear to be Chicago police radio transmissions revealing police wiretapping of organizers’ phones at the protests last night the day after Thanksgiving, perhaps using a stingray. The transmissions pointing to real-time wiretapping involve the local DHS-funded spy ‘fusion’ center.

Watch here

Police already abuse the immense power they have, but if everyone’s every action were being monitored, and everyone technically violates some obscure law at some time, then punishment becomes purely selective. Those in power will essentially have what they need to punish anyone they’d like, whenever they choose, as if there were no rules at all.

Even ignoring this obvious potential for new abuse, it’s also substantially closer to that dystopian reality of a world where law enforcement is 100% effective, eliminating the possibility to experience alternative ideas that might better suit us.
NSA warned to rein in surveillance as agency reveals even greater scope

The National Security Agency revealed to an angry congressional panel on Wednesday that its analysis of phone records and online behavior goes exponentially beyond what it had previously disclosed.

John C Inglis, the deputy director of the surveillance agency, told a member of the House judiciary committee that NSA analysts can perform “a second or third hop query” through its collections of telephone data and internet records in order to find connections to terrorist organizations.

“Hops” refers to a technical term indicating connections between people. A three-hop query means that the NSA can look at data not only from a suspected terrorist, but from everyone that suspect communicated with, and then from everyone those people communicated with, and then from everyone all of those people communicated with.

Well this just gets better by the day…
U.S. intelligence mining data from nine U.S. Internet companies in broad secret program | The Washington Post

Yesterday it was Verizon and cell phone records. Today:

The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time.

The highly classified program, code-named PRISM, has not been disclosed publicly before. Its establishment in 2007 and six years of exponential growth took place beneath the surface of a roiling debate over the boundaries of surveillance and privacy. Even late last year, when critics of the foreign intelligence statute argued for changes, the only members of Congress who know about PRISM were bound by oaths of office to hold their tongues.

An internal presentation on the Silicon Valley operation, intended for senior analysts in the NSA’s Signals Intelligence Directorate, described the new tool as the most prolific contributor to the President’s Daily Brief, which cited PRISM data in 1,477 articles last year. According to the briefing slides, obtained by The Washington Post, “NSA reporting increasingly relies on PRISM” as its leading source of raw material, accounting for nearly 1 in 7 intelligence reports.

That is a remarkable figure in an agency that measures annual intake in the trillions of communications. It is all the more striking because the NSA, whose lawful mission is foreign intelligence, is reaching deep inside the machinery of American companies that host hundreds of millions of American-held accounts on American soil.

The technology companies, which participate knowingly in PRISM operations, include most of the dominant global players of Silicon Valley. They are listed on a roster that bears their logos in order of entry into the program: “Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple.” PalTalk, although much smaller, has hosted significant traffic during the Arab Spring and in the ongoing Syrian civil war.

Dropbox , the cloud storage and synchronization service, is described as “coming soon.”

Government officials declined to comment for this story.

Read more


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 organised 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.”

America: Land of the Watched

Stories from 2013:

Virginia Cops Encouraging Citizens to Take Photos of Other Citizens Taking Photos and send it to them via their app

NSA and GCHQ collect gamers’ chats, recruit informants and deploy real-life agents into World of Warcraft and Second Life

FBI secretly activating laptop cameras and audio without users’ knowledge for surveillance

NSA planted malware spanning five continents and over 50,000 computer networks to steal information

The new U.S. spy rocket logo

Corporate espionage for over 350 of the largest corporations provided by the FBI, CIA, and DHS for pay

Seattle installs “mesh” network capable of tracking anyone within city limits with a wi-fi capable device

TSA has expanded its reach to train stations, subway stops, and other transportation-related hubs

NSA eavesdropped on the Vatican

NSA spied on 60.5 million phone calls in Spain

NSA monitored calls of at least 35 world leaders

During a single day last year, the NSA’s Special Source Operations branch collected 444,743 e-mail address books from Yahoo, 105,068 from Hotmail, 82,857 from Facebook, 33,697 from Gmail and 22,881 from unspecified other providers

Tracking and surveillance technology initially intended for “national security” increasingly being used for local law enforcement and petty crime

Virginia state police used license plate readers at political rallies and built huge database

Obamacare personal data can be used for law enforcement and audit activities

NSA uses metadata ‘to create sophisticated graphs’ of US citizens’ social connections

Filming the police is increasingly being treated as a crime and met with violence from law enforcement

Ag-gag laws continue to be passed to silence whistleblowers on corporate abuses of animal rights

 The government was involved in spreading false rumours about OWS, in some cases instigating violence among protester while undercover, and passing along collected surveillance to the financial industry

The New Hampshire Free State Project, a peaceful libertarian movement, was implicated by local law enforcement as a potential domestic terrorist threat

Police were trained to treat Keystone XL protesters as terrorists

Government documents reveal over 72 different qualities of Americans that implicate someone as a “potential terrorist”

No cell phone providers challenged government orders to turn over bulk cell phone records 

The government ruled that you have no right to privacy when it comes to your medical prescription use records

Congress attempted to redefine “journalism” and censor reporting 

Local cops watch your tweets in real time looking for specific words

The CFPB monitors 4 out of 5 credit card transactions, collecting data on 42 billion transactions made with 933 million credit cards used by American consumers in 2012

AT&T is paid to help DEA find drug users and turns over 26 years worth of records

NSA spying on UN headquarters

Facial scanning is beginning to be implemented in surveillance

Multiple companies forced to shut down over privacy concerns and a refusal to oblige with NSA requests

Glenn Greenwald’s partner detained and questioned for 9 hours by airport security

Apple patents let police turn off phones, cameras, wifi

Facebook shadow profiles exist for those who don’t use the service, store personal information

Federal government directed agents to cover up surveillance program used to investigate Americans

NSA “terrorism” spying capabilities used to target offenders in War on Drugs

The NSA is collecting the contents of every domestic communication in America

Government employees refuse to stop lying about the extent and existence of domestic spying

Radley Balko showcases the militarization of domestic police and SWAT raids in Warrior Cops

Cops can track cellphones without warrants, courts rule

100% of cars will have black boxes by 2014

Illegal domestic spying began before 9/11

Public schools replacing traditional IDs with iris scanners

'Boundless Informant’ collects 3 billion pieces of intelligence in just 30-day period and 10 billion pieces worldwide

The government can and has shutdown cellphone networks in times of “crisis”

Steve Wozniak: 'I felt about Edward Snowden the way I felt about Daniel Ellsberg'

The Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has backed NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and admitted he feels “a little bit guilty” that new technologies had introduced new ways for governments to monitor people.

“I felt about Edward Snowden the same way I felt about Daniel Ellsberg, who changed my life, who taught me a lot,” he said.

When Morgan suggested the government would not be able to keep such a close eye on citizens without the work of innovators like him, Wozniak acknowledged: “I actually feel a little guilty about that – but not totally. We created the computers to free the people up, give them instant communication anywhere in the world; any thought you had, you could share freely. That it was going to overcome a lot of the government restrictions.

"We didn’t realise that in the digital world there were a lot of ways to use the digital technology to control us, to snoop on us, to make things possible that weren’t. In the old days of mailing letters, you licked it, and when you got an envelope that was still sealed, nobody had seen it; you had private communication. Now they say, because it’s email, it cannot be private; anyone can listen.”

Asked about US surveillance programmes in an earlier interview with a Spanish technology news site, FayerWayer, Wozniak said: “All these things about the constitution, that made us so good as people – they are kind of nothing.

"They are all dissolved with the Patriot Act. There are all these laws that just say ‘we can secretly call anything terrorism and do anything we want, without the rights of courts to get in and say you are doing wrong things’. There’s not even a free open court any more. Read the constitution. I don’t know how this stuff happened. It’s so clear what the constitution says.”

He said he had been brought up to believe that “communist Russia was so bad because they followed their people, they snooped on them, they arrested them, they put them in secret prisons, they disappeared them – these kinds of things were part of Russia. We are getting more and more like that.”

Courtesy of Juan Cole @ Informed Comment.

My comment on site (awaiting moderation):

This is especially relevant in the wake of the discovery that the DEA was/is using NSA data in it’s war on drugs… which includes Americans on the ‘other side’.

Unfortunately the DEA seems to have a legitimate legal rationale to do so because a few years ago, with congressional authorization (and with media coverage at the time), drug gangs such as MS-13 were declared international terrorist organizations.

No one seems to notice the impingement on THEIR liberties when others (the war on drugs is a more correctly a ‘war on drug USERS’… victims) are persecuted.


Facebook Spying Tip for Law Enforcement

Not Only the Secret Services like NSA SCS; CIA OSC; FBI - are searching Facebook Profiles of the citizens. Also The Law Enforcement (incl. police) is using That Websites to Track and Monitor “suspicious” People.

Here is what they do.


It seems like everybody in Washington D.C. except Rand Paul knew about “VerizonGate”, which Congress says has been going on for over seven years.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) released an outraged statement in response to “new shocking revelation” of the “NSA extensive seizure and surveillance” of Americans’ Verizon phone records: “If the President and Congress would obey the Fourth Amendment we all swore to uphold, this new shocking revelation that the government is now spying on citizens’ phone data en masse would never have happened.”

Yes, it’s “shocking” to some, but not to anyone who actually works in DC, and certainly not to Congress, since Congress knew about it for the last seven years.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) said that they have been kept informed under the law and that the surveillance is legal. Chambliss added that the court order lasts three months and was a regular renewal of the legal authority, which has been going on for seven years.

h/t PoliticsUSA
ACLU Asking the Federal Government How It’s Using Drones Inside the U.S. | Free Future

Today the ACLU filed Freedom of Information Act requests seeking records related to the federal government’s domestic use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) – better known as drones – as well as plans for the future rollout of drones in the United States. Drone technology is largely a product of our war efforts abroad, but the federal government is repurposing these machines for surveillance purposes at home.

We sent the FOIA requests to five federal agencies:

Federal Aviation Administration: Following the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, the FAA has been tasked with developing a plan for incorporating drones into the national airspace by 2015, and authorizing private and public entities to utilize drones. We’d like to see the FAA’s records on drone flights as well as any policies they’ve been developing.
Department of Justice: DOJ oversees several agencies that we know are using drones in the U.S., including the FBI and DEA. We’d like to know how each agency is using their own drones, drones that they’re borrowing, and drones that they’re lending.
Department of Homeland Security: DHS also oversees several drone-totin’ departments, including U.S. Customs and Border Protection. We’d like to know how DHS is using, and sharing, its drones.
General Services Administration: According to a recent GAO report, “Federal agencies that own or lease UAS report their UAS inventory, cost and utilization data to GSA.” We’ve asked them to share this information.
U.S. Air Force: In a recent document implementing new policy, the Air Force listed several permissible domestic drone uses, including responding to natural disasters, counterintelligence, vulnerability assessments, training, and testing. We’d like to find out how they’ve been using drones for these purposes, or any others.

The ACLU wants to know how the government is using, acquiring, paying for, and sharing drones. We’ve asked the following questions to the government:

♦ How are drones being funded and purchased?
♦ What are the technical capabilities of drones that are being flown in the U.S.?
♦ What type of surveillance data is being captured, and how long is it being stored?
♦ Who can access drones and the data they capture?
♦ What other policies or procedures currently govern the domestic use of drones?

Though the full extent of government ownership of drones remains unclear, one example of government drone use involves U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which is using drones to patrol both our northern and southern borders. The U.S. Border Patrol owns nine drones and is awaiting the delivery of its tenth. Additionally, the Department of Justice is rumored to have four drones of its own that it loans out to police departments.

The ACLU released a report on domestic drones in December 2011, urging that rules be put in place to safeguard Americans’ privacy. The report recommends limits on when drones can be deployed and for what purposes, and calls for restrictions on retention of and access to data collected by drones employed for any purpose. Today’s FOIA requests seek to determine how extensively the government has heeded this advice. [++]

5 Reasons Why This Week Was Historic for Ending America’s War on Drugs and Cruel Incarceration Policies | AlterNet

3. DEA’s Shady Business Revealed

The Internet and Capitol Hill have been abuzz about the recent revelation earlier this month about the US Drug Enforcement Administration’s special intelligence project that has riled privacy advocates. According to a series of Reuters investigative reports, the DEA has been sending information gathered via “intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records” to local law enforcement authorities across the US to help launch criminal investigations of Americans. 

The unit responsible for this practice is the DEA’s Special Operations Division, (SOD). Documents reviewed by Reuters detail the SOD’s practices, much of which is classified. Based on their intelligence, the SOD sends a tip to local law enforcement to, for example, look for a certain vehicle at a certain time and location, and to find an excuse to stop the vehicle. After an arrest is made, authorities are instructed to pretend that their investigation began with the traffic stop, not the SOD tip. This process is referred to as “parallel construction,” according to the DEA documents. These law enforcement agents are directed to conceal the SOD’s involvement from investigative reports, affidavits, discussions with prosecutors and courtroom testimony—withholding this information from not just defense lawyers, but prosecutors and judges as well. 

These cases rarely involve national security issues, but rather common criminals, primarily drug dealers. Critics say this tactic violates a defendant’s constitutional right to a fair trial and that the SOD has gone too far. “It is one thing to create special rules for national security,” Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor who served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011, told Reuters. “It sounds like they are phonying up investigations.” Former federal prosecutor Henry Hockeimer Jr. told Reuters, “These are drug crimes, not national security cases. If you don’t draw the line here, where do you draw it?”

full article


Newly leaked source code has revealed just what the NSA considers justification for storing your web browsing data indefinitely — and it probably didn’t come from Edward Snowden.

Lena Kampf, Jacob Appelbaum and John Goetz (who are all associated with the Tor Project) wrote on the German site Tagessschau that they have seen the “deep packet inspection” rules used in the NSA’s XKeyScore program to determine which targets are worthy of deep surveillance. The rules are much broader than the NSA would like you to believe; for example, the NSA targets anyone who searches for information online about Tails or Tor. Anyone using Tor is also flagged for long-term surveillance. People deemed worthy of such intensive surveillance never have their data removed from NSA servers.


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Perhaps the scariest is the technology carried by a Reaper drone the Air Force is flying near Lincoln, Nevada and in areas of California and Utah. This drone uses ‘Gorgon Stare’ technology, which Wikipedia defines as 'a spherical array of nine cameras attached to an aerial drone … capable of capturing motion imagery of an entire city.’ This imagery 'can then be analyzed by humans or an artificial intelligence, such as the Mind’s Eye project’ being developed by DARPA. If true, this technology takes surveillance to a whole new level.