Posts tagged civil liberties
Is Gov’t Response to Terror, Terror? – Prof. Beau Grosscup (Video Interview)
Next News Network interviews Prof. Beau Grosscup regarding the governments response to terror threats and terror attacks.
Ron Paul Institute Launch (Full Video)
The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity is a project of Dr. Paul’s Foundation for Rational Economics and Education (F.R.E.E.), founded in the 1970s as an educational organization. The Institute continues and expands Dr. Paul’s lifetime of public advocacy for a peaceful foreign policy and the protection of civil liberties at home.
The Institute mobilizes colleagues and collaborators of Dr. Paul’s to participate in a broad coalition to educate and advocate for fundamental changes in our foreign and domestic policy.
A prosperous America is profoundly linked to a foreign policy rooted in peaceful relations and trade with all. With peace, comes real prosperity.
Ron Paul’s real legacy in his writing, teaching, and in politics is his success bringing people of very different backgrounds and perspectives together under the common cause of peace, individual liberties, and prosperity. His institute energetically continues this kind of “coalition-building” in all aspects of its work. The Institute board is itself one of the best examples of how broad a coalition can come together and work for the same shared goals and values.
By Laura Payton, CBC News
Justice Minister Rob Nicholson says controversial Bill C-30 won’t go ahead
Federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson says the controversial Bill C-30, known as the online surveillance or warrantless wiretapping bill, won’t go ahead due to opposition from the public.
The bill, which was known as the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act, was designed to help police combat child pornography. But civil liberties and privacy groups — even the federal privacy commissioner — said the bill violated the rights of Canadians.
Opponents lobbied strenuously against C-30, saying it was an overly broad, “Big Brother” piece of legislation that would strip all Canadians of the right to privacy.
The bill would have required internet service providers to maintain systems to allow police to intercept and track online communications without a warrant.
Canadians rallied against the bill after Public Safety Minister Vic Toews famously told an opposition MP that he could “either stand with us or with the child pornographers.” Those explosive comments outraged many Canadians and helped to galvanize the opposition to C-30.
“We will not be proceeding with Bill C-30 and any attempts that we will continue to have to modernize the Criminal Code will not contain the measures contained in C-30, including the warrantless mandatory disclosure of basic subscriber information or the requirement for telecommunications service providers to build intercept capability within their systems,” Nicholson said.
“We’ve listened to the concerns of Canadians who have been very clear on this and responding to that.”
OpenMedia, which waged a vigorous online campaign against C-30 through its stopspying.ca website, hailed the decision to kill the bill.
“It came as a quite a surprise,” said Lindsey Pinto of OpenMedia.ca.
“It looks like the government has finally heard the voices of Canadians who have been expressing themselves online in stating that C-30 is invasive, costly and poorly thought out,” she said.
Nicholson made the announcement after introducing a bill to update provisions that would allow for warrantless phone tapping in emergencies.
Canadian law allows police to wiretap without authorization from a court when there is the risk of imminent harm, such as a kidnapping or bomb threat, but the Supreme Court last year struck down the law and gave Parliament 12 months to rewrite another one.
The new bill, C-55, would give peace officers the right to secretly intercept private communications without a warrant in relatively rare, urgent situations. Someone whose communications had been intercepted in situations of imminent harm would have to be notified by police within 90 days.
With files from The Canadian Press
Republished with permission
By Madison Ruppert
Editor of End the Lie
The new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) drone authorization list obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit reveals more than 20 additional public entities allowed to fly drones over the United States.
This news comes as Charlottesville, Virginia passes a resolution banning drones, the entire state of Virginia might pass a drone moratorium, a Justice Department white paper was leaked outlining the supposed legal justification for the drone assassination program, the Obama administration is reportedly going to release legal memos to intelligence committees and the location of a CIA drone base in Saudi Arabia was revealed after two large media outlets withheld it at the government’s request.
This brings the total to 81 public entities authorized by the FAA to fly drones as of October 2012, according to the list obtained by the EFF. Keep in mind, documents obtained by the EFF reveal that drones are already flying over the United States.
Furthermore, we now know the military is operating drones domestically and sharing data with law enforcement, at least one National Guard unit uses drones, the Department of Homeland Security has embraced small spy drones and colleges and universities are offering more drone piloting programs to keep up with this drone boom.
End the Lie contacted the EFF’s media liaison by phone, confirming that this list is not merely applicants but indeed entities that have been authorized to fly drones over America.
Some of the newly approved agencies include the State Department, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and several sheriff’s departments including Canyon County Sheriff’s Office (Idaho), Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office (Northwest Oregon), Grand Forks Sheriff’s Department (North Dakota) and King County Sheriff’s Office (covering Seattle, Washington).
Another interesting new addition highlighted by the EFF is the Barona Band of Mission Indians Risk Management Office (near San Diego, California).
Interestingly, Ohio had several new entities approved, including the Medina County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio Department of Transportation, Sinclair Community College and Lorain County Community College.
The concerns raised by this new list are legion. One of the most significant concerns is the privacy and civil liberties implications of domestic drone use, especially given the advances in drone technology.
Among the most worrisome advances are: the capability of potentially constant surveillance thanks to solar power and laser-based charging methods, drone-based facial recognition technology, automated tracking systems, a drone-based camera capable of capturing 36 square miles of imagery at once, ultra-stealthy drones and even fully automated weapons systems.
The EFF also points out, “Even the smallest drones can carry a host of surveillance equipment, from video cameras and thermal imaging to GPS tracking and cellphone eavesdropping tools. They can also be equipped with advanced forms of radar detection, license plate cameras, and facial recognition.”
The EFF hopes that the release of the new list will “spur more people to ask their local law enforcement agencies about their drone programs.”
Thanks to a partnership with MuckRock, it’s even easier to request this information from your local agencies.
The EFF is encouraging people to “ask hard questions of government officials about who is funding drone development in their communities and what policies the government will demand agencies follow if they fly drones.”
“We need greater transparency and citizen push-back to protect Americans from privacy-invasive domestic drone use,” the EFF concludes.
About Madison Ruppert
Madison Ruppert is a Los Angeles-based independent journalist and researcher as well as the founder, owner, administrator and editor of EndtheLie.com. He has no affiliations with any government agencies, political parties, non-governmental organizations, or economic schools. He is available for freelance writing assignments and appearances or interviews in any format. He can be reached by emailing Admin@EndtheLie.com
By Madison Ruppert
Editor of End the Lie
According to reports, all personal information stored on major cloud computing services can be spied on by US agencies without users’ knowledge or even a search warrant.
This is all reportedly being done under the recently reauthorized Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and has led British Members of Parliament to call on the British government to not only end the use of cloud computing but also stop sharing intelligence services with the U.S, according to the Independent.
It’s worth pointing out that the US government has admitted breaching the Fourth Amendment under FISA while maintaining an absurd level of secrecy around the Act. Given the massive expansion of the Pentagon’s cyberwarfare forces and the exponential rise in surveillance overall, people around the world have a quite legitimate reason to be concerned.
As New Zealand’s IOL points out, under FISA “all documents uploaded on to cloud systems based in the US or falling under Washington’s jurisdiction can be accessed and analyzed without a warrant by American security agencies.”
Apparently, US agencies have been able to access private data stored on the cloud since 2008 while no one had any clue it was going on.
“What this legislation means is that the US has been able to mine any foreign data in US Clouds since 2008, and nobody noticed,” said Caspar Bowden, chief privacy adviser to Microsoft Europe for nine years until 2011.
According to IOL, US agencies like the National Security Agency (NSA), the FBI and the CIA can all access information that potentially concerns American foreign policy for reasons which are purely political.
There is apparently no need for suspicion that national security issues are at stake which would mean that religious organizations, political campaigns and even journalists could have their data monitored by the US government.
Bowden, now working as an independent advocate for privacy rights, co-authored a report for the European Parliament which warns of the threat posed by FISA.
In the report, Bowden also criticized the UK Information Commissioner’s Office for giving the control over to the US government.
Perhaps even more concerning for the British, four of the suppliers of the UK Government’s G-Cloud system are indeed located in the US and thus under American control thanks to FISA, raising “questions over the security of information is being stored overseas,” as the Independent puts it.
“The Americans have got to remember who their allies are and who their enemies are,” said Tory MP David Davis.
“There are people like us who they rely on to provide them with listening stations, like Menwith Hill for example,” Davis said, referring to a Royal Air Force base which aids the US intelligence community by intercepting communications.
“Do they really want Parliament to start asking Government to limit what Menwith Hill can do? There are all sorts of possibilities if they carry on with this,” Davis said.
Davis further warned that there is “a whole cascade of constitutional and privacy concerns for ordinary British people.”
However, the UK government seems totally onboard as the entity responsible for policing the UK’s data protection laws “effectively ruled that companies were right to pass information over to foreign government requests as the disclosure was made ‘in accordance with a legal requirement,’ such as FISA,” according to IOL.
“Every time we make a bridge of trust, or commit an indiscretion, using a social network or webmail, think how a foreign country could use that information for its own purposes to influence policy and politics,” Bowden said. “Drafts of documents prepared online, who is in contact with each other, all of this can be captured and analyzed using data-mining algorithms much more advanced than those offered by public search engines.”
Bowden said in his report that the threat of “heavy-caliber mass-surveillance fire-power aimed at the cloud” is actually more significant than the threat posed by cybercrime.
“What’s different about this is that it’s a power in the US authorities to insist on real-time collection of information by any data processer within US jurisdiction,” said Gordon Nardell QC, a British barrister specializing in data protection.
“The US authorities basically grab everything that is going in and out,” Nardell said.
Dutch Member of European Parliament Sophie in’t Veld, vice chair of the European Parliament’s civil liberties committee urged the European authorities to act swiftly.
“Let’s turn this around and imagine this is not the United States having unlimited access to our data but the government of Mr. Putin or the Chinese government – would we still wonder if it’s an urgent issue? Nobody would ask that question,” she said.
“I have a particular concern about UK government data,” said Liberal Democrat MP Julian Huppert. “If the Government starts to do more work on a cloud system – which is being looked at for obvious reasons – have we had assurance that the US government would not access such data as foreign intelligence information, and whether there would there have to be unambiguous consent of UK citizens?”
“If the US will not give a clear assurance about government data then we will have to stop using the Cloud, as we cannot allow that to happen,” Huppert said.
“A lot of people wouldn’t realize where data is stored, and hence wouldn’t expect to be subject to US law,” Huppert continued. “The Government has a specific responsibility for personal data, and sensitive data can be stored offshore.”
“There is a very sensible increase in the government use of cloud computing, there are excellent reasons for cloud services, however there are concerns around security and this highlights one of them,” Huppert said, according to the Independent.
“US surveillance ambitions know no bounds,” said Isabella Sankey, director of Policy for Liberty.
Published on Jan 26, 2013 by Eduardo89rp
Ron Paul giving the Carl Davis Distinguished Lecture on “The Libertarian Future”
Common sense commentary about the war on the American people. ”We’re just asking politicians to live up to their oath.”
F2C2012: Aaron Swartz keynote – “How we stopped SOPA”
Published on May 22, 2012
Aaron Swartz keynote – “How we stopped SOPA” at F2C:Freedom to Connect 2012, Washington DC on May 21 2012.
The co-founder of social news website Reddit committed suicide in New York City on Friday. Aaron Swartz was facing a controversial trial over the alleged violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. He faced decades in prison and a $1 million fine.
“The tragic and heartbreaking information you received is, regrettably, true,” Swartz’ attorney, Elliot R. Peters, said in an email to The Tech.
The 26-year-old was the co-founder of Reddit and executive director of Demand Progress, a website that focuses on policy changes for civil liberties, civil rights, and government reform in the US.
Swartz was also a renowned programmer. By the age of 13, he created his first web application which was essentially the same idea as Wikipedia, according to his website.
In 2011, Swartz was charged with allegedly stealing more than four million academic journals from JSTOR, an archive of scientific journals and academic papers, via an open connection at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
He faced 13 felony charges, including breaching site terms and intending to share downloaded files through peer-to-peer networks, computer fraud, wire fraud, obtaining information from a protected computer, and criminal forfeiture. He was also accused of evading MIT’s attempts to kick his laptop off the network while downloading millions of documents from JSTOR.
Many say the lawsuit is unfounded because MIT allows guests access to JSTOR – and Swartz, who was undertaking a fellowship at Harvard’s Safra Center for Ethics at the time of downloading, was a guest.
The case has also been deemed highly controversial because it wasn’t JSTOR – the alleged victim in the case – which referred Swartz to the federal government, according to the company’s vice president of Marketing and Communications, Heidi McGregor. She says JSTOR was content once it reclaimed the works from Swartz.
“We stopped this downloading activity, and the individual responsible, Mr. Swartz, was identified. We secured from Mr. Swartz the content that was taken, and received confirmation that the content was not and would not be used, copied, transferred, or distributed,” the company said in its statement on the prosecution.
The statement went on to say that the investigation was directed by the United States Attorney’s Office.
And while the US government was threatening Swartz with decades in prison and a hefty fine, some say the move was entirely unfounded.
“This makes no sense. It’s like trying to put someone in jail for allegedly checking too many books out of the library,” Demand Progress Executive Director David Segar said in a statement, as quoted by Wired magazine.
“It’s even more strange because the alleged victim has settled any claims against Aaron, explained they’ve suffered no loss or damage, and asked the government not to prosecute,” Segal said.