massive surveillance

anonymous asked:

Germany's court just passed massive surveillance laws. It's a massive cut in our human rights, and goes heavily against our laws. No one really seems to know what to do and they're using it because "Terrorism" and "Hatecrimes".

Thanks, I forgot to write about it. Here’s what I gather:

‘Staattrojaner’ or ‘states Trojan [horse]’ was until now only permitted to prevent terrorist attacks, but has been expanded to grant police the right to hack into personal devices, as well as secretly install spywarefor around 70 crimes, some minor, many not related to terrorism or serious threats.

Two kinds of Trojans are to be used. One gives complete access to all data on the entire device (when one considers that your phone/pc is often linked to clouds, websites or other devices, this realistically means EVERYTHING) and the other type allows for the eavesdropping on communications.

This law was apparently deliberately hid from the public, added to other laws that aren’t really related to make them pass less noticed.

The German constitutional court opposes this as.. well.. unconstitutional, as they deem it should only be allowed when involving crimes that represent a specific and serious danger.

@rtrixie @sciencefitness and other Germans, opinions?


FRONTLINE: With or Without the Patriot Act, Here’s How the NSA Can Still Spy on Americans

While it may only be temporary, the National Security Agency on Monday lost its authority to collect Americans’ phone records in bulk after the Senate failed to extend provisions of the Patriot Act authorizing the controversial domestic surveillance program.

But these Patriot Act provisions represent just one component of the NSA surveillance capabilities exposed in 2013 by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Under an entirely separate law, the 2008 FISA Amendments Act, the government still has the authority to access the communications of users of popular Internet sites such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo. Section 702 of the law, which does not expire until 2017, gives the government the ability to collect the content of an Internet user’s actual communications — not just metadata.

An even older and more obscure Reagan-era law, Executive Order No. 12333, provides U.S. intelligence with nearly identical surveillance capabilities to intercept overseas communications.

Also unaffected by the sunset of Section 215 is the use of National Security Letters, which since 9/11 have helped to dramatically expand the government’s ability to collect information about Americans directly from phone companies and Internet providers. Any FBI office can issue one, without a court’s review and with a gag order. In the past 10 years, more than 300,000 National Security Letters have been issued, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and until 2013, no major Internet or phone company is known to have questioned the constitutionality of one.

To learn more, check out recent FRONTLINE doc United States of Secrets

The two-part documentary follows how the U.S. government came to monitor and collect the communications of millions of people around the world — and here at home — and the lengths to which officials tried hide the massive surveillance from the public.

anonymous asked:

Y r u so obsessed with Rand Paul

We are a collective of South Asians in the U.S. invested in unpacking the legacy of 9/11 in our communities. We are committed to drawing connections between Islamophobia, caste-based oppression, privilege and complicity, xenophobia and profiling, and anti-Blackness in ourselves, our communities, and the imperial U.S.

We invite you to join us, and sign on to this statement below.


As white supremacist structures of hierarchy continue to conflate markers of race and religion, South Asians in the U.S. are often racialized as Muslim or seen as “terrorist threats.” As people often racialized as Muslim, whether we identify or not, we understand that our own profiling, criminalization, detention and deportation is intimately tied to the struggle for Black Lives Matter in this country.

Earlier this year, we watched in horror as Sureshbhai Patel, an Indian grandfather in Madison, Alabama, was paralyzed by a police officer for walking around his son’s neighborhood. He was mistaken for Black, recognized as a South Asian immigrant, and deemed disposable. Our communities face colonization in the U.S., living in a colonial police state that sometimes grants the wealthy amongst us privilege while brutally policing working-class brown bodies. Our communities face imperialism abroad, where Black and brown bodies are deemed “collateral damage,” from Palestine, to Pakistan, to Syria. Historically marginalized caste communities experience the majority of this violence, whether in the U.S., in South Asia, or elsewhere in the diaspora.

We understand that police terror, colonialism, and imperialism are all intricately connected to anti-Blackness. The U.S. was built on the ideology that Black bodies were less than human, disposable, and deserving of violence. The South Asian experience and Hindu fundamentalist imposition of caste has constructed similar power dynamics, that continue to reverberate through our communities in the United States and abroad. We must struggle with the fact that we have benefited off of and been complicit in this stolen labor and harm, not just in the past but also presently, within and outside of our own diaspora. We stand with the Black Lives Matter movement, knowing that Black power is inextricably tied to our own liberation as well.


As South Asians committed to justice, we recognize that Muslims bear the brunt of pre- and post-9/11 Islamophobia, a system of  state-sanctioned violence that targets Muslim communities at home and abroad. Muslim communities have been victims of state-sanctioned violence in the United States since the early African Muslims were kidnapped and brought as slaves into colonized lands, for the purposes of building America’s wealth and empire. Prior to 9/11, Muslim Americans were targeted and surveilled for participating in the Black Liberation Movement and the Palestinian Liberation movements through programs such as COINTELPRO. We also recognize that Black Muslims have experienced the brunt of state violence through Jim Crow, mass incarceration, police brutality, and structural anti-black racism.

Since 9/11, the War on Terror has institutionalized violence that mainly targets Muslim communities and views Muslims as suspicious, perpetual foreigners and threats. This visceral form of state-sanctioned violence has destroyed the lives of millions of Muslims globally.

According to Physicians for Social Responsibility (PRS), approximately 1.2 million-2 million Muslims have been killed as a result of the War on Terror since 9/11. The estimate for Muslims killed since the nineties due to US intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq, and other countries is estimated to have resulted in the deaths of 4 million Muslims.

Since “Muslim” has been racialized as South Asian, Arab, Sikh, Black, immigrant, and is used as a dehumanizing term, our subset of communities are constantly grappling with the fear of hate crimes and marginalization. Profiling programs such as “special registration”, preemptive prosecutions, the use of entrapments, targeted killings, torture, drones, suspension of basic due process rights, deportations, and the massive surveillance of Muslim community spaces is an attempt to punish Muslims for being Muslim.

Today, we remember all of the families who have been torn asunder by the “war on terror” and the rush to criminalize and conflate race and religion. We remember that this anti-Muslim violence continues into the present day. This past year, three students at UNC-Chapel Hill were gunned down execution style because of their religion. We  want to remember the victims of Oak Creek, and brother Inderjit Singh Mukker, a 53 year old Sikh American resident who was violently beaten by someone who screamed anti-Muslim slurs at him, called him a terrorist, and told him to leave the country. We also want to remember the name of Usaama Rahim, who was killed at a bus stop in Boston by the joint terrorism task force and never received his due process. We also want to think of all the family members whose loved ones are suffering in solitary confinement or Communication Management Units (CMU) in federal prisons from confessions takes through torture and entrapment.

We remember too that the U.S. surveillance machine was perfected on the backs of the Black Freedom Struggle, with operations like COINTELPRO designed to find and eliminate “threats” to the state. We also remember that intersectionality means that certain subsets of Muslim communities experience state violence on multiple fronts.  On the anniversary of this day, that intensified the policing and fear-mongering in our South Asian communities, we come together to stand in solidarity with Muslim communities and affirm #Justice4Muslims. We also affirm  Black Lives Matter as the liberation of non-Black South Asians is tied to the liberation of Black people globally. We also affirm that our liberation is tied to the liberation of all oppressed communities of color globally who are suffering as a result of US-sponsored state violence.


We also recognize the immense privilege that we receive, as participants – willing or unwilling – in the ideology of the model minority. We commit ourselves to challenging complacency and rewriting our own racialized narratives.

We acknowledge our complicity in settler colonial violence, as inhabitants of this very land. We commit ourselves to fighting for our own liberation, and for the liberation of all oppressed peoples. This means that we proudly declare that #BlackLivesMatter. We commit to undoing anti-Blackness at home, working against Islamophobia, and challenging our identity within the model minority myth.


Sasha W., National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), Queer South Asian National Network (QSANN)

Darakshan Raja, Muslim American Women’s Policy Forum

S.D. Shah

Divya Sundar

Lakshmi Sundaresan

Radha Modi, Phd Candidate, UPenn, Philadelphia

Virali, Bay Area Solidarity Summer (BASS)

Part of challenging anti-Blackness in ourselves and our communities is crafting a new narrative of what it means to be South Asian in the U.S. If you (as an individual) and/or your organization also commit yourselves to these lenses, please sign on below or email They will update the list below throughout the day.
Five things you need to know about President Obama's NSA reforms

1) Obama has declared that U.S. spy agencies will no longer hold Americans’ phone records. As a result, the surveillance program that became the biggest Edward Snowden-related controversy will come to an end, at least as it is constructed now. This major shift will take months if not more to accomplish. In the meantime, President Obama is imposing new limits on the government’s ability to access such data.

1) Obama has declared that U.S. spy agencies will no longer hold Americans’ phone records. As a result, the surveillance program that became the biggest Edward Snowden-related controversy will come to an end, at least as it is constructed now. This major shift will take months if not more to accomplish. In the meantime, President Obama is imposing new limits on the government’s ability to access such data.

2) Even so, Obama wants to ensure that the government can still access call records when it needs to. How is not yet clear. The White House cited options including requiring phone companies to hold onto their customers’ phone call records and grant government access under court order, or the creation of a new entity to serve as guardian of a massive call-records database.

3) Obama has ordered significant new restrictions on spying on close U.S. allies. Heads of states that are friendly with the United States will now be off-limits for electronic surveillance. White House officials said they already stopped collection on  “dozens” of such targets. Still, there are loopholes. Obama isn’t making clear who qualifies as a close ally, and the restrictions don’t apply to foreign leaders’ aides.

4) Obama is calling for the creation of a new panel to serve as public advocates in cases handled by a special surveillance court. Members of the panel would be cleared to appear before a court that has approved massive surveillance programs entirely in secret, with no input from the public or those who would be surveillance targets. Creating the new panel would require action by Congress.

5) Obama is also promising new privacy protections for foreigners, aiming to assure citizens of countries in Europe and elsewhere that they won’t be swept up in U.S. surveillance unless there is a compelling national security purpose for the United States. The new rules are to be developed in the coming months.

anonymous asked:

Ok but really what has Rand Paul done to prove he would be a good president

You have to know I expected this.

Any more questions?

something i’m struggling with is: the guy who won the electoral college is about to inherit a massive state surveillance apparatus. and he holds grudges. and he deals in revenge. and his advisers are talking about restarting HUAC. and that makes all of those powerful images of protesters potentially dangerous for people who are identifiable. 

but if we don’t post those pictures, and the media jumps into his pocket all over again (because the ruin of the country will be great for ratings) and stops covering protests, it will appear as if no one is protesting. 

I Voted

I voted, even though I’m not in a swing state.

I voted, even though I’m just one person out of millions.

I voted, even though some of my votes involved tough compromises that I didn’t want to make.

When I was 19, I thought my vote didn’t matter. I knew more about math back then than I knew about politics. I voted then out of a sense of obligation but without any hope that my choices would have an impact.

Several years later, I watched 500 votes in Florida decide the 2000 presidential election, which resulted in 2 wars, a massive increase in the surveillance state, the worst recession in decades, a rollback of rights I had gained in the 90s, a massive increase in the wealth gap, 4 trillion dollars of debt, and a decrease in federal funding for projects like the one my mom works at (proactive health care for babies and their moms who are in poverty). Those choices did lasting, permanent harm to my country and to the people around me, as well as to people in distant countries who I will never meet. Harm that 8 years of a more liberal president have not managed to fully address, and that can never be erased.

I voted, because I know that someone else will decide not to vote.

I voted, because I saw what happened in 2000 and 2010.

I voted, because I saw what happened with Brexit.

There is no strategy here. There is no way in which not voting, or casting a protest vote, or spoiling a ballot has any positive impact on the world. Those choices may feel validating and righteous in the face of an imperfect political system, but those are just one person’s feelings. If everyone voting in 2000 had known what would happen in Afghanistan and Iraq, the votes likely would have gone very differently, because they would have had to take into account the feelings of all the people who were harmed by that.

We can’t see the future. All we can do is look at our options and our past to predict what the likely outcome in the future is. Here are some issues dear to me that are likely to be addressed by our next president and congress:

  • Appointment of Supreme Court justices, who will decide on cases like equal bathroom access and accurate gender on ID cards for Trans people, reproductive rights for women, whether or not SuperPACs can continue to exist, and whether voter ID laws and other restrictions are fair or are targeting people of color.
  • The Dakota Access Pipeline and general respect for treaty rights.
  • How to address the increasing violence in the Middle East.
  • What to do about Putin’s aggression in the Ukraine, Syria, and elsewhere.
  • Climate change and energy initiatives.
  • Health care costs and access.
  • College costs and debt.
  • Our campus assault epidemic, as well as that of our military branches.
  • Minimum wage increases and fair, progressive taxing.
  • Retraining police and building community connections and trust to address the appalling police murders of black and/or mentally ill people.
  • Mental health care expansion and improvement.
  • ADA compliance, especially in schools and workplaces.
  • Public school funding and support for students who are struggling.
  • Election reform.

And many more. You can probably think of some issues that are dear to you. While I know a president can’t control all of that alone, I can say that a president wields a great deal of influence through their nominations and cabinet choices. It’s far better that you have a president and congress in your corner and willing to work toward a deal that gets some of the things you need or want than to have one that would shut down the government rather than work toward a livable compromise.

You know that time John Lewis staged a sit-in in the House and refused to move? He didn’t do that to shut down the government. He did that to force Paul Ryan to allow the House to vote on a bill that Paul Ryan was blocking so his colleagues could avoid losing face either to the public or the NRA. John Lewis sat down and refused to move until he got a vote. You don’t even have to do that. If you’re a citizen and 18 and registered, you already have a vote.

I voted. Will you?

President Obama’s NSA reforms show both promise and peril
President Obama just announced big changes to America’s massive government surveillance programs, promising to add new safeguards to protect Americans’ privacy and place new restrictions on how the NSA can use the information it collects on ordinary citizens. We’ve graded the big changes below, comparing them to the reforms that were recommended by an independent review panel last year. All in all, the proposed changes mainly concern the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records, not its spying on internet communications. Even accounting for that limitation, they seem good on paper — and far better than many privacy advocates feared — but we’re still waiting to see how they will be enacted.


Edward Snowden may be in Russia for a little while longer.

The former NSA contractor, who leaked 1.7 million top-secret documents that exposed the agency’s massive surveillance tactics, petitioned Russia for an extension on his asylum, according to his lawyer Anatoly Kucherena.

“The procedure is very simple if a citizen of any country would like to stay and live in Russia. In this case we are talking about Snowden, so we have fulfilled the procedure to receive temporary asylum,” Kucherena said on Wednesday, according to Russian state media.

Snowden fled to Russia in June 2013 shortly after he came forward as the source of Glenn Greenwald’s explosive report about an NSA program called PRISM. He remained in Moscow’s airport for weeks as he applied for asylum in more than 20 other countries. While Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia had expressed willingness to accept him, the United States pressured countries to deny him refuge.

Russia officially granted him asylum for one year on Aug. 1, 2013. It is set to expire in a few weeks.