"The G20 will announce tomorrow that they will become the new “permanent council” for international economic cooperation. Who the hell do they think they are? Who voted for this? Who gives them the authority to have this power over our wellbeing and our very lives?" -Cindy Sheehan
Friday, September 25, 2009
As part of its public education program, and throughout the reporting period:
The Chief Privacy Officer engaged in information exchanges with the privacy advocacy community to ensure they are well informed about DHS programs and projects that may pose particular privacy concerns. Upon her appointment, the Chief Privacy Officer began a series of introductory outreach meetings with advocacy groups to begin a relationship of open dialogue and to demonstrate that she is interested in hearing their concerns. In addition, the Chief Privacy Officer has begun holding quarterly open meetings with the privacy advocacy community. These meetings, called Privacy Information for Advocates meetings, are intended to brief the advocacy community on the work of the DHS Privacy Office and provide a forum for the privacy advocacy community to express feedback or concerns to the Chief Privacy Officer and the Department. The first meeting was held in June 2009, with future meetings scheduled in September and December 2009, and March 2010. Other outreach efforts included briefings on programs such as TSA’s Whole Body Imaging Program, NPPD’s Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI), and the REAL ID Program.
To supplement these face-to-face meetings, the DHS Privacy Office makes efforts to alert the privacy advocacy community by email when new reports or privacy documents of major importance are released. In addition, the Office periodically disseminates a newsletter, Privacy Matters, designed to highlight Office activities. The DHS Privacy Office views the privacy advocacy community as an important resource for policy development and invites them to bring their concerns and expertise to the attention of the Office.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
The 2nd Annual Report of the National DNA Database Ethics Group has been released. The report criticizes the government's response to the European Court of Human Rights ruling that keeping the DNA of people arrested but not charged was unlawful.
:::READ THE REPORT:::
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
UPDATE 9/24 11:00 AM CST : The bill, sponsored by a local Senator Richard Moore, is still in the House Ways & Means Committee in Massachussetts.
I'm beginning to get the impression that this is a
In a speech at the Brookings Institution, Julius Genachowski said the FCC must be a "smart cop on the beat” preserving Net Neutrality against increased efforts by providers to block services and applications over both wired and wireless connections.
Genachowski’s speech comes as a breath of fresh air in a Washington policy environment that has long stagnated under the influence of a powerful phone and cable lobby.
“If we wait too long to preserve a free and open Internet, it will be too late,” Genachowski said citing a number of recent examples where network providers have acted as gatekeepers:
We have witnessed certain broadband providers unilaterally block access to VoIP applications (phone calls delivered over data networks) and implement technical measures that degrade the performance of peer-to-peer software distributing lawful content. We have even seen at least one service provider deny users access to political content.
A Call for Wired and Wireless Neutrality
The agency has earlier noted concerns about the blocking of applications and services on new handheld Internet devices such as the iPhone. :::MORE HERE:::
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Dennis Blair, the U.S. director of national intelligence, cited the figure as part of a four-year strategic blueprint for the sprawling, 200,000-person intelligence community.
In an unclassified version of the blueprint released by Blair's office, intelligence agencies singled out as threats Iran's nuclear program, North Korea's "erratic behavior," and insurgencies fueled by militant groups, though Blair cited gains against al Qaeda.
Officials said the $75 billion total figure cited by Blair incorporated spending by the nation's 16 intelligence agencies, as well as the amounts spent by the Pentagon on military intelligence activities.
Blair, in a conference call with reporters, explained that his four-year strategy was not set up on the "traditional fault line ... between military intelligence and national intelligence."
State sovereignty resolutions were introduced in 37 states this year; seven passed. Although the resolutions are not legally binding, Tenth Amendment Center founder Michael Boldin said they “serve notice” that states will no longer automatically enforce federal mandates in areas they believe the central government has no constitutional authority.
Montana’s first-in-the-nation law reasserting state authority with the regulation of firearms manufactured and sold within state boundaries was soon followed by a similar law in Tennessee. Officials from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have already sent letters to gun dealers and federal permit holders in both states telling them to ignore the state law. A court battle is next.
Nearly 20 other states have similar legislation in the works, including directives to their governors to order National Guard troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Next year, Arizona will have a state constitutional amendment on the ballot that allows residents to opt out of any national health care program.
“The federal government doesn’t rule to limit its own power very often. I don’t think going to court and trying to litigate is the best way to put the federal government in a constitutional box,” Boldin said, pointing out that popular resistance to the hated Stamp Act led by Revolutionary War heroes Samuel Adams and Patrick Henry “effectively nullified the law.” The same thing happened with the Real ID Act, which many states refused to enforce. “The feds had to back off three times,” Boldin said.
State sovereignty supporters stand on solid historical ground. James Madison’s “Virginia Plan,” which would have given Congress veto power with state laws and allowed the federal judiciary to hear all disputes, was soundly defeated by the signers of the Constitution. A needed check on an overreaching federal government that grows bigger by the day, the reassertion of state sovereignty should be a welcome development to Americans concerned about losing their liberties — just like the Founders were.
The patents, held by VeriChip partner Receptors LLC, relate to biosensors that can detect the H1N1 and other viruses, and biological threats such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, VeriChip said in a statement.
The technology will combine with VeriChip's implantable radio frequency identification devices to develop virus triage detection systems.
The triage system will provide multiple levels of identification -- the first will identify the agent as virus or non-virus, the second level will classify the virus and alert the user to the presence of pandemic threat viruses and the third level will identify the precise pathogen, VeriChip said in a white paper published May 7, 2009.
Shares of VeriChip were up 186 percent at $3.28 Monday late afternoon trade on Nasdaq. They had touched a year high of $3.43 earlier in the session. (Reporting by Mansi Dutta in Bangalore; Editing by Mike Miller and Anil D'Silva)
On December 31, three provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act that broadly expanded government surveillance authority in the wake of 9/11 are set to expire.1 The Obama Administration made clear in a letter this week to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy that although the Justice Department supports reauthorization of those provisions, it is also open to discussing modifications to the law “to provide additional protection for the privacy of law abiding Americans.”
Today, Senators Russ Feingold and Dick Durbin — along with eight other Senators — have taken the Administration up on its offer by introducing the JUSTICE Act, which would rein in the worst excesses of PATRIOT and last year’s FISA Amendments Act (FAA). The announcement of the bill’s introduction, along with a fact sheet outlining the bill's details, is here; the text of the JUSTICE Act is here (the “JUSTICE”, if you’re wondering, stands for Judiciously Using Surveillance Tools In Counterterrorism Efforts”).
The JUSTICE Act would renew two of the three expiring PATRIOT provisions, PATRIOT sections206 (John Doe roving wiretaps) and 215 (FISA orders for any tangible thing), but would also add strong new checks and balances to those provisions and to the PATRIOT Act in general, especially those provisions dealing with the government’s authority to issue National SecurityLetters. If passed, the bill would also establish critically important protections for Americans against surveillance authorized under the FAA. Of particular importance to EFF's clients in theHepting v. AT&T case and to the preservation of the rule of law, JUSTICE would completely repeal the FAA provision intended to legally immunize telecoms like AT&T that illegally assisted in the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping program. Last summer when Congress passed the FAA, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid stated his intention to revisit that law as part of the PATRIOT renewal debate, and we're very glad that Senators Feingold and Durbin have kick-started that process.
We'll be blogging more about the JUSTICE Act and other PATRIOT-related proposals in anticipation of the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing next week on PATRIOT reauthorization, and we'll alert you when the time is ripe for you to contact Congress through our Action Centerand voice your support for PATRIOT reform. In the meantime, EFF applauds Senators Feingold and Durbin, as well as cosponsoring Senators Akaka, Bingaman, Menendez, Merkley, Sanders, Tester, Udall, and Wyden, for their continuing hard work to protect Americans' civil liberties. EFF would prefer that none of the expiring PATRIOT provisions be renewed, but if they are, they absolutely must be accompanied by meaningful new checks and balances like those introduced today. It's time that JUSTICE was restored.