Posts tagged EFF
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
If the growing use of governmental tip-toeing to wiretap phone lines and emails doesn’t seem serious, think again. So heightened lately are concerns over surveillance that two major organizations have published a primer on federal spy programs.
Both ProPublica and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have released thorough guides this week that explore what the US government can and can’t do in terms of tracking US citizens using an array of weirdly-worded wiretap laws currently on the books.
The EFF, a long-time opponent of the expanding evasive spy state, published on Thursday a collection of information they’re considering “Warrantless Surveillance 101: Introducing EFF’s New NSA Domestic Spying Guide.” Just two days earlier, the independent journalism project ProPublica released their own breakdown, “No Warrant, No Problem: How The Government Can Still Get Your Digital Data.”
Yet again, the Congress, courts, executive branch and the establishment media work together to protect the nation’s most powerful actors
So pervasive and reliable is the rule of elite immunity – even in the face of the most egregious crimes – that one finds extreme examples on a weekly basis. Six weeks ago, the Obama justice department forever precluded the possibility of criminal accountability for Bush torturers by refusing to bring charges in the only two remaining torture cases, ones involving the deaths of the detainee-victims by torture.
The Obama campaign is now running a new campaign ad against Mitt Romney that rails against a litany of Wall Street “criminals” and “gluttons of greed”, but as David Dayen astutely notes, those examples were all imprisoned during the Bush era because the Obama administration has prosecuted no significant Wall Street executives for the 2008 financial collapseand thus have none of their own examples to highlight:
“So the Obama campaign could not fill a list of three Wall Street criminals that the Obama Justice Department actually sent to jail. Heck, they couldn’t fill a list of one!
“This is despite Eric Holder telling students at Columbia University in February of this year that his Justice Department’s record of success on fighting financial fraud crimes ‘has been nothing less than historic.’ But not historic enough that his boss could point to, well, one Wall Street criminal behind bars as a result of DoJ’s actions.
That’s painfully telling. Nobody from Bank of America or Wells Fargo or Citigroup or JPMorgan Chase or Goldman Sachs or Bear Stearns or Morgan Stanley or Merrill Lynch or even Countrywide or Ameriquest was available to stand in as a ‘glutton of greed’ in this advertisement. Literally no major figure responsible for the financial crisis has gone to jail. So the campaign has to use two CEOs from a decade-old accounting scandal, and a garden-variety Ponzi schemer.”
And now, the US supreme court just consecrated one of the most corrupt acts of the US government over the past decade: its vesting of retroactive legal immunity in the nation’s telecom giants after they had been caught red-handed violating multiple US eavesdropping laws. Just as the Obama DOJ forever precluded any legal accountability for Bush-era torturers, the supreme court on Tuesday forever precluded any legal accountability for AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and other telecoms for their crucial participation in the illegal Bush NSA warrantless eavesdropping program (the Obama DOJ, needless to say, supported the position of the telecoms).
When the New York Times revealed on 16 December 2005 that the Bush administration was spying on the telephone calls and emails of American citizens without the warrants required by the criminal law, it exposed lawbreaking not only by government officials but also by the nation’s largest telecoms. Multiple laws were in place at the time imposing both criminal and civil liability on telecoms for enabling government spying on the communications of their customers without warrants or other legal authority, and that is exactly what these telecoms did. One former AT&T employee, Mark Klein, publicly described how AT&T had even built a separate room with no purpose but to permit the National Security Agency unfettered access to all of its customers’ communications.
In Texas, children attending school in the Northside Independent School District will be required to carry RFID chipped cards while on campus. The 6,000 student’s movements will be monitored by faculty, in a pilot program that hopes to expand to tracking all students in the 12 districts.
Principal Wendy Reyes of Jones Middle School, explains: “It’s going to give us the opportunity to track our students in the building. They may have been in the nurse’s office, or the counselor’s office, or vice principal’s office, but they were markedly absent from the classroom because they weren’t sitting in the class. It will help us have a more accurate account of our attendance.”
Schools being the intended beta-test ground for social conditioning, is using RFID chips to track students as cattle is monitored on a ranch; impeding on their privacy and dignity.
RFID technology is furthered by corporations like Proteus Biomedical that have developed the microchip that is activated by human stomach acids, embeds into the lining of the stomach and remotely sends information collected through sensors about the environment. These transmission can be syphoned to the internet, a doctor’s office via computer or any intercepting entity.
Called “smart pills”, the bio-tech corporations Novartis are creating microchipping that will assist in organ transplants and anti-rejection drugs as well as using human clinical trials to test safety measures. How will the pharmaceutical corporations explain away the fact that electronic capacitors are toxic to the human body and swallowing them on a regular basis will cause serious complications?
Continuous data broadcasting impedes on privacy which could be used for nefarious use. Being a human reception tower to be interceded by anyone with a WiFi connection or “pharmecurticals microchipping scanners”.
Homeland Security boss Janet Napolitano told a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on Wednesday that a blatantly unconstitutional Obama administration executive order is “still being drafted in the inter-agency process” and “is close to completion depending on a few issues that need to be resolved at the highest levels.”
The latest Obama EO – he has issued 135 thus far – is a response to the failure of a cybersecurity bill to pass in the Senate. The Lieberman-Collins Cyber-security bill failed 52-46. Following the vote, Obama’s press secretary, Jay Carney, said “the President is determined to do absolutely everything we can to better protect our nation against today’s cyber threats and we will do that” despite the will of the American people.
So-called cybersecurity is a crucial element of the surveillance state. “Cyber will overtake terrorism as the persistent, gnawing, constantly-at-us kind of threat and danger,” said Ashton Carter, deputy secretary of Defense, at a conference held in San Francisco in February.
To say that the FBI had its work cut out for it after 9/11 is an understatement. As part of its anti-terrorism efforts, the agency cozied up to telecom companies, like Verizon and AT&T. The relationship was so tight that some telecom employees actually had offices at the FBI.
By Eva Galperin
In recent years, online tracking companies have begun to monitor our clicks, searches and reading habits as we move around the Internet. If you are concerned about pervasive online web tracking by behavioral advertisers, then you may want to enable Do Not Track on your web browser.
Do Not Track is unique in that it combines both technology (a signal transmitted from a user) as well as a policy framework for how companies that receive the signal should respond. As more and more websites respect the Do Not Track signal from your browser, it becomes a more effective tool for protecting your privacy.
EFF is working with privacy advocates and industry representatives through the W3C Tracking Protection Working Group to define standards for how websites that receive the Do Not Track signal ought to response in order to best respect consumer’s choices.
The following tutorial walks you through the enabling Do Not Track in the four most popular browsers: Safari, Internet Explorer 9, Firefox, and Chrome.
By Alex Wilhelm
CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, has just passed the House by a vote of 248 to 168. The vote was largely along partisan lines, with some leaking.
The bill attracted several amendements along the way to passage today, including measures from Rogers concerning the Freedom of Information Act, and the Quayle amendment that dictated information collected could only be used in a set number of circumstances.
However, the bill’s future is murky. It has to get past the Senate, in some form, and then through the desk of the President, who yesterday floated a veto threat of the Act, signaling unhappiness with its potential lack of privacy controls.
Many have found the bill to be troublesome, given that, in their estimation, its language was too broad to be safe. Also that the government could use the mandates and powers contained therein in ways that would be antithetical to privacy, and even in the cause of cyber security, could be too intrusive. TNW joined in their discontent.
We will be covering the bill’s next steps extremely closely. For more, check all of TNW’s CISPA coverage.
For a quick look at the Senate’s version of CISPA, check this article from the EFF. There are two ‘competing’ bills being considered in the Senate that could be reconciled with CISPA. Between the two bills, here’s one o the critical differences, if you want the short version:
[T]he language varies from bill to bill, but for the most part, the strongest restriction on the countermeasures is that there be a “defensive intent” (language that appears in both the Lieberman and McCain bills). The Lieberman bill mentions “modify[ing] or block[ing] data packets,” while the McCain bill is more vague.