Posts tagged twitter
Written by Amira Al Hussaini
Six Twitter users were sentenced to a year in prison each by a Bahrain court on May 15 for allegedly insulting King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on the micro-blogging site.
According to the government-run Bahrain News Agency, the “six suspects” where charged in five different cases “related to the misuse of freedom of expression and defaming His Majesty the King on Twitter.” It added that the six were “charged [with] misusing freedoms of expression and opinion publicly and remanded…in custody ahead of their trial.”
Next News Network covers various topics including the new “Riot” program that is designed to collect massive amounts of personal data from social networking sites, such as Twitter, Facebook and others. Also covered is the latest in drone and robotic technology.
UK officials plan to monitor Britons’ online activities by placing surveillance devices on the country’s telecom networks, a Parliamentary report says. The program would keep tabs on which websites were visited as well as who contacted whom.
On Tuesday the British Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee published the report outlining a massive, national surveillance program based in the country’s very electronic infrastructure. The report does not specify the number of so-called “probes” to be installed across Britain’s telecommunications networks, but says it would be part of a regime stockpiling information on nearly every move Britons make online.
“It’s been in the media and on the table of the government since last April and it’s been receiving quite a lot of attention, as you can imagine the people in Great Britain don’t like the thought of the government collecting all of their communications in this way. From their point of view, it goes against the very basis of the democratic institution that is our parliament in Britain,” deputy director of Big Brother Watch, Emma Carr, told RT.
The new program will go beyond just keeping tabs on the Brits. If anyone abroad communicates online with someone in the UK then it will allow surveillance of their personal information as well, stretching the program’s geographical reach.
The government says the installation of the probes will be critical in the online fight against terrorism and other crime, and that the content of emails or Skype calls would not necessarily be collected. Instead, they say, the program would keep track of so-called “outside the envelope” information – such as a message’s origin and recipient. An email’s contents would be accessible with a court order, though time and date of sending and receipt would be available with the authorization of a senior law enforcement or intelligence officer.
Which online services the probes would monitor were not identified in the report. However, Facebook, Twitter, Hotmail, and Google Chat are all widely used in the UK and are mentioned in other sections of the report.
However, people use encryption more and more during communicating with others on the web. It could significantly complicate the life of those, who will be trying to keep track of every word sent or received vie internet, believes Carr.
“One of the things, that came out of the evidence when was being gathered for this bill is that encryption is a very widely used tool by people who communicate via internet. And actually that’s going to make the kind of inspection of the communications that we have very difficult for the government and the internet service providers, who are going to be asked to gather all of this information,” she added.
The report said the surveillance regime would function on deep packet inspection, a monitoring method that lets an individual who intercepts data to search its contents. Though the project is still in draft form, the committee generally rejected critics’ claims that it would constitute an oppressive domestic spying program, saying that without such new security measures, rapidly developing technologies would soon “have a serious impact on the intelligence and security agencies.”
“Under current European data retention laws, deep packet inspection is not only legal, but also widely used by the private sector,” the report notes. “Whilst legislation is not a perfect solution,” it states elsewhere, “we believe it is the best available option.”
Likening the new surveillance program to an Orwellian vision of the future, investigative journalist Tony Gosling told RT that the UK should “protect the people from this Big Brother state” rather than shutting them in an “electronic cage.”
“There is great commercial pressure for this intrusion since much of this information can be sold quietly to rich corporations and commercial concerns. This is something the public cannot compete with, this lobbying power backed by commercial interests,” noted Gosling. He went on to say that this dark side to big business that “leads to a dictatorial fascist system similar to that in Nazi Germany.”
In the future, if the changes are implemented Gosling concluded that “people will think twice before emailing Orwellian Britain” and speculated that there could be a boost to the old-fashioned postal services.
The EU will spend more than $3 million on ‘troll monitors’ to trawl Eurosceptic debates on the internet ahead of European elections in June 2014, UK media reports. It comes amid fears that hostility against the EU is growing.
The new strategy will include “public opinion monitoring” to “identify at an early stage whether debates of a political nature among followers in social media and blogs have the potential to attract media and citizens’ interest,” according to internal documents reportedly discovered by the Telegraph.
Spending on “qualitative media analysis” will be increased by more than $2.6 million. Most of the money will be found in existing budgets, although an additional $1.2 million will be needed.
“Particular attention needs to be paid to the countries that have experienced a surge in Euroscepticism,” a confidential document said.
The monitors’ roles are clearly laid out in the documents. The controversial plan is designed to promote a stronger Europe, while engaging in conversation with those who hold an anti-EU sentiment.
“Parliament’s institutional communicators must have the ability to monitor public conversation and sentiment on the ground and in real time, to understand ‘trending topics’ and have the capacity to react quickly, in a targeted and relevant manner, to join in and influence the conversation, for example, by providing facts and figures to deconstructing myths.”
“In order to reverse the perception that ‘Europe is the problem’, we need to communicate that the answer to existing challenges… is ‘more Europe’ – not ‘less Europe’.”
But the EU is facing an uphill battle, as it seeks to change the minds of those who associate the bloc with economic crisis and high rates of unemployment.
“It is evident that the EU’s image is suffering,” the document said.
The information has been met with disapproval by many, who say the strategy is a waste of time.
“Spending over a million pounds ($1.5 million) for EU public servants to become Twitter trolls in office hours is wasteful and truly ridiculous,” UK Independent Party Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall told the Telegraph.
Training for the so-called “Twitter trolls” is set to take place later this month.
The news comes as Eurosceptic moods continue to gain momentum in the union.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to renegotiate the terms of Britain’s EU membership.
Without reform, “Europe will fail and Britain will drift to the exit,” the leader said in a January speech.
Cameron has been dubbed a “trendsetter” by Conservative MP David Campbell Bannerman, who believes many other countries are seeking more flexibility within the EU.
But it’s not just governments looking for a bit more leeway when it comes to EU membership – individual workers in crisis-hit countries are unhappy with the bloc’s leadership and austerity measures, too.
Last Wednesday, anti-austerity protesters in Athens broke into a government building and threatened the labor minister. Riot police then responded with tear gas, batons, and pepper spray.
Even German citizens have expressed interest in leaving the EU – despite German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ongoing support of EU policy.
Last September, a poll conducted by the Bertelsmann Foundation showed that 49 per cent of Germans believed things would be improved by leaving the European Union.
And the Germans aren’t alone – 34 per cent of French citizens also said they would be better off without the EU.
Posted on http://www.freedomsphoenix.com
(H/T Donna Hancock)
In July of this year it became apparent through a flood of mainstream media reports that the National Security Agency (NSA) was “desperate to hire new hacking talent to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure” yet the NSA is notorious for its surveillance programs on American digital activity.
David Petraeus, former director of the CIA, said at a summit for In-Q-Tel, that he was speculating on the “internet of things” and that “‘Transformational’ is an overused word, but I do believe it properly applies to these technologies . . . particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft.”
Petraeus is seeking to better the CIA’s ability to create online identities for undercover spies. Currently, each internet user has a digital footprint that can trace the movements online to the person on the other end of the screen. Petraeus wants to utilize technology that will essentially erase a digital footprint; erasing all traces of anyone at the whim of the CIA.
In a possible preparation for the ability of the CIA to spy on American citizens with their household items, the NSA’s Utah Data Center is located in the Utah desert in the foot hills of the Wasatch mountain range. This is the centerpiece of the Global Information Grid; a military project that collects yottabytes of data. They are listening to every conversation, reading every post, intercepting every text message under the false flag of terrorism.
The facility has the technological ability to record and analyze every communication in the world. From emails to phone calls to text messages to chats; nothing is private anymore..
The defense bill that lets the government indefinitely detain any US citizen without charge or trial wasn’t mentioned once during the three presidential debates, but that didn’t stop activists from sounding off: #StopNDAA went worldwide Monday night.
A campaign aimed at drawing awareness to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 and a draconian provision that provides the government the power to lock-up any person on mere suspicion of terrorist ties succeeded during Monday’s third and final presidential debate. “#StopNDAA” was among the most popular hashtags included in messages sent over Twitter Monday night, at one point entering the list of top worldwide trends.
The action was coordinated thanks in part to a grassroots campaign orchestrated by Revolution Truth and Demand Progress, among others, advertised through StopNDAA.org and endorsed by thousands of activists across the globe.
“Both parties are colluding in denying you your First and Fifth amendment rights under the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, and both candidates refuse to discuss this bipartisan assault on civil liberties,” a message posted on the Stop NDAA website reads.
Elsewhere on the site, examples of sample tweets were included alongside information about the annual Pentagon spending blueprint that was drafted last year to include a provision, Section 1021, that affirms that the president can use military force to imprison any person considered to have “substantially supported” a terrorist group engaged in hostilities against the US or its allies. Under the law, though, the commander-in-chief can also lock-up any individual until a vaguely defined “end of hostilities” without ever being required to try them in a court of law.
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.