Archive for Big Brother

Big Brother ratcheting up the Surveillance

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on September 19, 2012 by saynsumthn

Brace yourselves for the next wave in the surveillance state’s steady incursions into our lives. It’s coming at us with a lethal one-two punch.

To start with, there’s the government’s integration of facial recognition software and other biometric markers into its identification data programs. The FBI’s Next Generation Identification (NGI) system is a $1 billion boondoggle that is aimed at dramatically expanding the government’s current ID database from a fingerprint system to a facial recognition system. NGI will use a variety of biometric data, cross-referenced against the nation’s growing network of surveillance cameras to not only track your every move but create a permanent “recognition” file on you within the government’s massive databases.

By the time it’s fully operational in 2014, NGI will serve as a vast data storehouse of “iris scans, photos searchable with face recognition technology, palm prints, and measures of gait and voice recordings alongside records of fingerprints, scars, and tattoos.” One component of NGI, the Universal Face Workstation, already contains some 13 million facial images, gleaned from “criminal mug shot photos” taken during the booking process. However, with major search engines having “accumulated face image databases that in their size dwarf the Earth’s population,” it’s only a matter of time before the government taps into the trove of images stored on social media and photo sharing websites such as Facebook.

Read rest here

Parents fear ‘Mark of the Beast’ Hand Scanners Place in Elementary School

Posted in Big Brother, Mark of the Beast, Palm Scanner with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2012 by saynsumthn

A Louisiana public school’s decision to purchase palm scanners to speed up lunch lines and payments has been met with religious opposition.

Mother Mamie Sonnier said that she will not allow her children to participate in the scanner payment program, alleging that the technology would imprint the mark of the beast, or 666, on their hands.

Moss Bluff Elementary School principal Charles Caldarera says the system will reduce errors and is optional, but that wasn’t enough of an argument for Mrs Sonnier, who has taken the program to be a sign of the apocalypse.

The elementary school sent out letters on Monday explaining the program and why it was being implemented.

With more than 1,000 students at the school, they hope that the palm vein scanners will streamline the lunch period and reduce costly payment errors.

It will also afford children more time to eat if they are spending less in line.

‘We are so large,’ said Principal Caldarera to KPLCTV.

‘With an elementary school, they all come through line, and most of them eat here. It would make us more efficient and more accurate.’

He continued:’We’ve had parents complain in the past, because they felt like their children weren’t eating, that we assigned them a charge for the day, and they might have been right.’

The Fujitsu Palm Vein Scanner identifies students using a near-infrared light to capture a person’s palm vein pattern, generating a unique biometric template to match against a database.

‘As a Christian, I’ve read the Bible, you know go to church and stuff,’ said Mrs Sonnier.

‘I know where it’s going to end up coming to, the Mark of the Beast. I’m not going to let my kids have that.’

Some Christians believe that the spread of the Mark of the Beast, or 666, will signify the end of days.

The mark is described in Revelations:

‘If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives his mark on the forehead or on their hand, they, too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath.’

The use of an international currency to transmit the Mark of the Beast is popularized by futurists and Seventh-day Adventists.

‘He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name,’ the bible reads.

Mrs Sonnier says that other parents have a similar concern.

Principal Caldarera was flabbergasted by the accusation.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2190622/Parents-concerned-cafeteria-palm-scanners-implant-Mark-Beast-childrens-hands.html#ixzz2480HhJJQ

Smart Phones with sensors that can detect your behvior? Can you say Big Brother is Watching?

Posted in Big Brother, Smart Phone Technology with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 29, 2012 by saynsumthn

As technology has advanced and smartphones have become ubiquitous, we’ve seen the rise of some very interesting applications. Many of these apps make our lives easier, help us make decisions, and even offer up some fun and games. At SXSW this year, we saw an especially big emergence of “social discovery” apps that essentially allow users to find friends, colleagues, and even new people that are nearby based on location and other criteria such as age, interests, gender, etc.

Although these types of apps have raised some mobile privacy concerns, more apps and platforms are already being developed that go beyond social discovery capabilities. And the truth is, they are quite fascinating developments.

Read rest here

Google’s censorship report reveals Government requests for user data information and content removal drastically increased

Posted in Big Brother, Google, Internet, Privacy with tags , , , , , , , on June 18, 2012 by saynsumthn

PC World titled their article: Google Reports ‘Alarming’ Rate of Government Censorship

About two years ago Google started posting data online in its Transparency Report. The data includes real-time traffic information, as well as requests from individuals, companies, or governments to surrender data, and requests to have sites or information removed from Google search or from YouTube.

According to CNN, Western governments, including the United States, appear to be stepping up efforts to censor Internet search results and YouTube videos, according to a “transparency report” released by Google.

“It’s alarming not only because free expression is at risk, but because some of these requests come from countries you might not suspect — Western democracies not typically associated with censorship,” Dorothy Chou, a senior policy analyst at Google, wrote in a blog post on Sunday night.

In the last half of 2011, U.S. agencies asked Google to remove 6,192 individual pieces of content from its search results, blog posts or archives of online videos, according to the report. That’s up 718% compared with the 757 such items that U.S. agencies asked Google to remove in the six months prior.

In the last half of 2011, Google received 6,321 requests for user data from government agencies in the United States and complied at least in part with 93% of them, according to data released in the report.

Those requests for information about Google users come as part of criminal investigations, Google says, and are not unique to the company.

Google complied more frequently with U.S.-based requests for information about users than with requests from other countries, according to the report.

The number of user data requests Google received from the United States was up 6% over the previous six-month period and 37% compared with the last half of 2010.

See Goggle’s Transparency Report here

Judge Napolitano on Big Brother’s UnConstitutional Drones spying on US Citizens

Posted in Big Brother, Drones with tags , , , on May 23, 2012 by saynsumthn

FBI wants backdoor wiretapping access to internet and your facebook accounts

Posted in Big Brother, FBI, Police State, Privacy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2012 by saynsumthn

As technologies have advanced, they have dramatically changed the way that we live and interact. We, as consumers, have become accustomed to the convenience, capabilities, and even the entertainment that they provide. But, should these same advantages be applied to other areas such as law enforcement?

This topic has recently come up for debate after the FBI indicated that it is contemplating legislation that would require Internet firms to build backdoors into their services for government surveillance. The bureau is hoping to amend the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) in order to require companies such as Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook to comply with federal wiretapping orders if the need arises.

CALEA, in its current form, applies to telecommunications companies. It was amended in 2004 to also include broadband networks, but if the FBI’s effort works, it could also force Web companies to alter their code to ensure surveillance capabilities.

“Basically, the FBI wants to amend CALEA to keep up with the changes in technology that have taken place over the last 18 years since CALEA became law,” Michael Donahue, partner at Marashlian & Donahue, LLC, tells WebProNews.

In the past, the FBI has worked to develop independent solutions for these types of companies, explained Donahue. However, due to budget cuts, the funding for them no longer exists.

These recent developments are part of the bureau’s mission to resolve, what it calls, its “Going Dark” problem. According to information released by the FBI, “Going Dark” refers to “law enforcement’s limited capability to comprehensively and lawfully collect data and information, conduct electronic surveillance and analyze the raw data due to the rapid evolution of telecommunications and data collection technology and services.”

Research shows that the “Going Dark” problem dates back several years. Under this initiative, Donahue told us that the FBI is trying to achieve the following actions:
•To commit the FCC to regulate technical standards for solutions
•To require the FCC to approve a standard in order for it to be considered a safe harbor
•To eliminate or modify the current exemption in CALEA for private networks (i.e., Universities, Colleges, etc.)
•To eliminate or modify the current exemption for information services
•To provide stronger enforcement of existing requirements that providers that enable encryption are also able to decrypt the information for law enforcement
•To require providers to certify their CALEA compliance annually

Read Rest Here

Is Big Brother spying on the Occupy Movement?

Posted in Big Brother, Occupy Wall Street with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2012 by saynsumthn

Remember the Occupy Movement? Since last November, when the NYPD closed the Zuccotti Park encampment in downtown Manhattan –the Movement’s birthplace and symbolic nexus—Occupy’s relevance has seriously dwindled, at least as measured by coverage in the mainstream media. We’re told that this erosion is due to Occupy’s own shortcomings—an inevitable outcome of its disjointed message and decentralized leadership.

According to Business Insider: While that may be the media’s take, the U.S. Government seems to have a different view.

If recent documents obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) are any indication, the Occupy Movement continues to be monitored and curtailed in a nationwide, federally-orchestrated campaign, spearheaded by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

In response to repeated Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by the Fund, made on behalf of filmmaker Michael Moore and the National Lawyers Guild, the DHS released a revealing set of documents in April. But the latest batch, made public on May 3rd, exposes the scale of the government’s “attention” to Occupy as never before.

The documents, many of which are partially blacked-out emails, demonstrate a surprising degree of coordination between the DHS’s National Operations Center (NOC) and local authorities in the monitoring of the Occupy movement. Cities implicated in this wide-scale snooping operation include New York, Oakland, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Denver, Boston, Portland, Detroit, El Paso, Houston, Dallas, Seattle, San Diego, and Los Angeles.

Interest in the Occupy protesters was not limited to DHS and local law enforcement authorities. The most recently released correspondence contains Occupy-related missives between the DHS and agencies at all levels of government, including the Mayor of Portland, regional NOC “fusion centers,” the General Services Administration (GSA), the Pentagon’s USNORTHCOM (Northern Command), and the White House. Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the PCJF, contends that the variety and reach of the organizations involved point to the existence of a larger, more pervasive domestic surveillance network than previously suspected.

These documents show not only intense government monitoring and coordination in response to the Occupy Movement, but reveal a glimpse into the interior of a vast, tentacled, national intelligence and domestic spying network that the U.S. government operates against its own people. These heavily redacted documents don’t tell the full story. They are likely only a subset of responsive materials and the PCJF continues to fight for a complete release. They scratch the surface of a mass intelligence network including Fusion Centers, saturated with ‘anti-terrorism’ funding, that mobilizes thousands of local and federal officers and agents to investigate and monitor the social justice movement.

As alarmist as Verheyden-Hilliard’s charge may sound, especially given the limited, bowdlerized nature of the source material, the texts made available contain disturbing evidence of insistent federal surveillance. In particular, the role of the “Fusion Centers,” a series of 72 federally-funded information hubs run by the NOC, raises questions about the government’s expansive definition of “Homeland Security.”

Created in the wake of 9/11, the Fusion Centers were founded to expedite the sharing of information among state and local law enforcement and the federal government, to monitor localized terrorist threats, and to sidestep the regulations and legislation preventing the CIA and the military from carrying out domestic surveillance (namely, the CIA ban on domestic spying and the Posse Comitatus Act).

Is nonviolent, albeit obstructive, citizen dissent truly an issue of national security? The DHS, for its part, is aware of the contentiousness of civilian monitoring. That’s why, in a White House-approved statement to CBS News included in the dossier, DHS Press Secretary Matthew Chandler asserts that

Any decisions on how to handle specifics (sic) situations are dealt with by local authorities in that location. . . DHS is not actively coordinating with local law enforcement agencies and/or city governments concerning the evictions of Occupy encampments writ large.

However, as a reading of the documents unmistakably demonstrates, this expedient PR nugget is far from the truth. In example after example, from its seeking of “public health and safety” grounds from the City of Portland for Occupy’s ejection from Terry Schrunk Plaza, to its facilitation of information sharing between the police departments of Chicago and Boston (following a 1500-person Occupy protest in Chicago), the DHS’s active ”coordinating” with local authorities is readily apparent. Other communiqués are even more explicit in revealing a national focus, such as the DHS’s preemptive coordination with the Pentagon about a port closure in Oakland, and its collection of identity and contact information of Occupy protesters arrested at a Bank of America in Dallas.

Those Pesky Amendments

The right to public assembly is a central component of the First Amendment. The Fourth Amendment is supposed to protect Americans from warrantless searches—with the definition of “search” expanded in 1967 to include electronic surveillance, following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Katz v. United States. Assuming the Occupy protesters refrain from violence—and the vast majority do, in accord with a stated tenet of the Occupy movement—the movement’s existence is constitutionally protected, or should be.

The DHS’s monitoring, documenting, and undermining of protesters may in fact violate the First Amendment. In a recent piece for Dissent Magazine, sociologist James B. Rule explains the fundamental importance of a movement like Occupy in the American political landscape.

This surveillance campaign against Occupy is bad news for American democracy. Occupy represents an authentic, utterly home-grown, grassroots movement. Taken as a whole, it is neither terrorist nor conspiratorial. Indeed, it is hard to think of another movement so cumbersomely public in its deliberations and processes. Occupy is noisy, disorderly, insubordinate, and often inconvenient for all concerned—statements that could equally well apply to democracy in general. But it should never be targeted as a threat to the well-being of the country—quite the contrary.

Accordingly, Rule calls for the White House to rein in the ever-expanding surveillance activity of the DHS—which he contends is motivated by its own funding interests, and which prioritizes security at the expense of civil liberties.

The resource-rich Department of Homeland Security and its allies no doubt see in the rise of the movement another opportunity to justify their own claims for public legitimacy. We can be sure that many in these agencies view any noisy dissent as tantamount to a threat to national security.

Nobody who cares about democracy wants to live in a world where simply engaging in vociferous protest qualifies any citizen to have his or her identity and life details archived by state security agencies. Specific, overt threats of civil disobedience or other law-breaking should be dealt with on a piecemeal basis—not by attempting to monitor everyone who might be moved to such actions, all the time. Meanwhile, the White House should issue clear directives that identification and tracking of lawful protesters will play no further role in any government response to this populist moment.

Optimistic as it may be, Rule’s appeal to the White House is a problematic one, given the ubiquitous influence of the DHS revealed by these documents. If the White House-approved press release is any indication, the Oval Office, while not directly authorizing the DHS’s initiatives, is certainly turning a blind eye to the Department’s focus on the Occupy movement as a potential terrorist threat. Federal surveillance of citizens in the Bush years, most visible in NSA warrantless wiretapping controversy, has apparently not ceased with Obama’s inauguration.

Which raises the question: Does Obama, as he claims, “stand with the 99 percent,” or with those who cannot stand them?

Read more: http://whowhatwhy.com/2012/05/21/i-spy-an-occupy-obamas-dhs-surveils-legit-protesters/#ixzz1vXowBuZf