Friday, February 19, 2010

TSA hand swabbs as price to fly

BTC - Welcome. The TSA is embarking on a body content capture of what's on your hands. The rest is up to you. If you don't care - they won't either. However, just remember you don't actually have to be a criminal anymore to be treated like one in America. The litmus test for any organic test that arbitrarily collects body samples in a body content capture campaign is a simple question: WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH THAT INFORMATION?

Wash your hands before you went to the airport? You may want to. This week, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is beginning new, extra security measures at our nation's airports: hand swabs.

Have you ever had a bag "randomly" selected for supplemental screening after pushing it through the X-ray? In addition to the manual search, agents often swipe your bag with a clean cloth and put the material into a shoebox-sized detector. They're checking for the residue of bomb-making material -- potentially undetectable by eye but sniffable by the robot.

That same residue will stick to your hands if you're not careful, which is what the TSA is hoping to identify in their random hand swabs. It's just speculation, but our guess is that the underwear bomber had traces of PETN on his hands, so the TSA now thinks that they can foil plots better by checking those members.

Provided, that is, that they swab the right person's hands. As with many of the TSA's initiatives, this new hand-swabbing effort is a random operation, so if the perpetrator gets lucky and doesn't get swabbed -- well, then the problem moves onward.

HOLLAND: PASS ID fails the 16-20 y.o. demo

c/o UK Morning Advertiser

The man heading the national ID card scheme PASS has criticised a new survey that claims just 4% of young people would use the scheme.

A poll of 1,200 16 to 20-year-olds also found 71% had never heard of PASS.

The survey was conducted by technology firm Clarity Commerce, which has been involved in CCTV-based systems for avoiding underage sales in Holland.

PASS chairman Robert Humphreys said: “This alarmist and illiterate announcement appears grossly to overstate the problems in order to advance the commercial interests of the company.

“The PASS system is relatively simple, low cost, effective and appropriate to the task it addresses. We have seen no robust evidence suggesting that more costly and complex intrusive measures are called for.”
Clarity Commerce said the survey shows ID schemes have “had their day”. “While the PASS scheme no doubt has its merits, results prove ID cards on their own just do not work.”

The poll says 45% admit to asking an older sibling or friend to buy them alcohol.
In addition, 78% of over-18s admit they’ve lent their IDs to children to get into a club and 27% to get into a pub.

One in five has lent their ID to under-18s to buy alcohol. The same proportion of under-18s has bought fake ID over the internet to buy alcohol.

Transparency challenges new DHS "Secure Communities" program

BTC- If they can challenge your citizenship, they can challenge your human rights as a U.S. citizen. If they can take away your rights, they can throw you in jail indefinitely without legal representation, counsel or due process or even deport you without contacting your family.

Think this scenario isn't real?

"This program is designed to fail because it relies on information from infamously inaccurate databases. We've already seen an increase in racial profiling, pre-textual arrests and mistaken identity of US citizens," she said, adding, "Combined with the lack of regulation and publicly available information on Secure Communities, ICE will be essentially immune to accountability or transparency. With a budget reaching the billions, taxpayers should be very concerned."
It could be you.

A little-known program run by the Department of Homeland Security is using inaccurate databases and functioning "as little more than a dragnet to funnel even more people into the already overburdened" detention and deportation system of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, according to three civil rights organizations that have filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

ICE claims that the program, called "Secure Communities," targets "dangerous criminal aliens."

The "Secure Communities" initiative furthers the ever-worsening trend of involving local and state law enforcement agencies in federal immigration enforcement. The three groups say that since the inception of the program, there has been a marked increase in racial profiling, excessive costs to state and local government and due-process violations.

The groups are the National Day Laborer Organization Network (NDLON), the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Immigration Justice Clinic of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. They filed their FOIA request in January.

Sunita Patel, a CCR staff attorney, told Truthout, "Our principal concern is that this is a very secretive program about which there is little public information. It is being implemented in communities, but the lack of transparency makes it impossible for community groups to determine whether abuses are being committed. We hope our FOIA suit will shed some light on the issue.

"This program is designed to fail because it relies on information from infamously inaccurate databases. We've already seen an increase in racial profiling, pre-textual arrests and mistaken identity of US citizens," she said, adding, "Combined with the lack of regulation and publicly available information on Secure Communities, ICE will be essentially immune to accountability or transparency. With a budget reaching the billions, taxpayers should be very concerned."

L-1 lands New Jersey identity contract for secured licenses

STAMFORD, Conn., Feb 18, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- L-1 Identity Solutions, Inc. (ID 8.65, +0.09, +1.05%) , a leading provider of identity solutions and services, was awarded a seven-year contract by the State of New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission to provide a secure driver's license solution. The first year of the contract will include the ramp up and implementation of the new system and the remaining six years will consist of card production and equipment and software maintenance.

New Jersey is changing its pre-existing workflow process for driver's license issuance to incorporate photo-first capabilities as part of the State's effort to curb identity-related fraud. In addition, the State is implementing a secure card production solution as part of its over-the-counter system that will exceed the recommended standards set by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, making the cards compliant with proposed standards set forth in the REAL ID Act. :::MORE HERE:::

Ex-NYC police boss gets 4 years in prison

c/o CLG >> AP

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Former New York City police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, who was hailed as a hero alongside former Mayor Rudy Giuliani after the Sept. 11 terror attacks and nearly became chief of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, was sentenced to four years behind bars Thursday for eight felonies.

Kerik admitted in November that he lied to the White House, filed false taxes and committed other crimes.

"The fact that Mr. Kerik would use that event (9/11) for personal gain and aggrandizement is a dark place in the soul for me," said federal Judge Stephen Robinson.
An apologetic Kerik said before the sentence was pronounced: "Allow me to return to my wife and two little girls as soon as possible."

Federal guidelines indicated Kerik's sentence should be between 27 and 33 months in prison. Robinson said he went beyond the guidelines because they could not account for certain factors.
Kerik was "the chief law enforcement law enforcement officer for the biggest and grandest city this nation has," Robinson said. The crimes were committed "in the process of attempting to become a cabinet level position in the government of the United States."

The prosecutor, Michael Bosworth, said the misdeeds were "driven by arrogance, personal greed and professional ambition."

Kerik will be allowed to surrender voluntarily on May 17; the prison has not been chosen yet.
Kerik, 54, has already been ordered to pay $188,000 in restitution and to pay past-due taxes and penalties on six years of tax returns.

"...I'd like to apologize to the American people for the mistakes I've made and for which I have just accepted responsibility," Kerik said outside the courthouse. "As history is written, I can only hope that I will be judged for 30 years of service I've given to the country and the city of New York."

"...Although this has been the most challenging period of my life ... it will not diminish my love and admiration for this country, which it has been one of my greatest privileges to serve."
Just before pleading guilty, Kerik spent three weeks in the Westchester County Jail for releasing secret pretrial information. While there, he was voluntarily admitted to the psychiatric ward for observation because of stress. Doctors concluded he did not need mental care.

After admitting his crimes, Kerik was freed pending sentencing. He had to post a $1.5 million bond, wear an electronic monitor and generally stay inside his home in Franklin Lakes, N.J.
In presentencing memos to the judge, the defense and prosecution painted sharply different portraits of Kerik.

The defense spoke of his bleak upbringing, his steely leadership after the terror attacks, his remorse and the debt he has incurred to defend himself. It supplied letters of support from his son, fellow police officers, a priest and a man who lost two sons on Sept. 11.
There was no letter from Giuliani.

The prosecution memo said Kerik had "shamelessly exploited" the terror attack, had shamed his gold shield and might flee if he weren't sent to prison right away. Kerik was Giuliani's police commissioner when New York City was attacked, and he was praised worldwide for his leadership. At Giuliani's urging, he was nominated to the top Homeland Security post in 2004. It was the peak of his fast-rising career — as corruption allegations began to mount.

Kerik said in court that while being vetted for that position, he falsely denied that he had any financial dealings with anyone doing business with New York City. He said he also lied when he claimed he had specifically refused payments that were offered.

In truth, he said, he had accepted renovations of his Bronx apartment from a company seeking city work.

Those apartment renovations were the focus of the original corruption charge, which alleged that Kerik accepted the renovations in exchange for vouching for the company. Kerik did not admit that.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Schools performing surveillance on students at home

c/o Boing Boing

According to the filings in Blake J Robbins v Lower Merion School District (PA) et al, the laptops issued to high-school students in the well-heeled Philly suburb have webcams that can be covertly activated by the schools' administrators, who have used this facility to spy on students and even their families. The issue came to light when the Robbins's child was disciplined for "improper behavior in his home" and the Vice Principal used a photo taken by the webcam as evidence. The suit is a class action, brought on behalf of all students issued with these machines.

If true, these allegations are about as creepy as they come. I don't know about you, but I often have the laptop in the room while I'm getting dressed, having private discussions with my family, and so on. The idea that a school district would not only spy on its students' clickstreams and emails (bad enough), but also use these machines as AV bugs is purely horrifying.

Schools are in an absolute panic about kids divulging too much online, worried about pedos and marketers and embarrassing photos that will haunt you when you run for office or apply for a job in 10 years. They tell kids to treat their personal details as though they were precious.

But when schools take that personal information, indiscriminately invading privacy (and, of course, punishing students who use proxies and other privacy tools to avoid official surveillance), they send a much more powerful message: your privacy is worthless and you shouldn't try to protect it.

Robbins v. Lower Merion School District (PDF) (Thanks, Roland!)

(Image: IMG_6395, a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike image from bionicteaching's photostream)

Nullification defined and the Real ID Act

c/o Orwell's Dreams

Proponents of the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution have been starting to rise up en masse to remind the national government of its proper constitutional role under the principles of federalism. This loose network of activists, widely referred to as the state sovereignty movement or Tenth Amendment movement, were given the derisive nickname “tenthers” by detractors, but in a witty reversal, they gladly adopted the label. The Tenth Amendment Center, the major hub online for state sovereignty activism, has even renamed its blog, “the tenther grapevine.”

Typically, the response by some of the biggest names in the news media has been to actively disparage anyone who strictly adheres to the original understanding of the U.S. Constitution. David Shuster of MSNBC proclaimed that most “people in their right-thinking mind know that the Tenth Amendment is a bunch of baloney.”

The Chief Illustration of Nullification in Action

The REAL ID Act: REAL ID was passed by a Republican Congress and signed into law by then-President George W. Bush in 2005, and the resistance to it illustrates a likely scenario for state nullification. More than two dozen states have passed laws or resolutions denouncing the act or refusing to comply with it. Have the feds responded by sending in federal agents with their guns blazing? Absolutely not! Instead, the feds were all too quick to chicken out and postpone enactment of the law.

Michael Boldin, founder of the influential Tenth Amendment Center, writes, “Another indicator of victory for state-level nullification — the 2005 Real ID act was originally to be implemented in early 2008, and today, it’s still in limbo. Going on 2 years later, with more than two dozen states passing laws and resolutions denouncing or flat-out refusing to comply — and D.C. has no choice but to continue backing off…. Why? With such massive resistance among the states, the Feds just have no way to enforce it.”

REAL ID seems to have just been the start. As the nullification cat is out of the bag, states all across the nation are attempting to nullify federal laws covering such disparate topics as healthcare and firearms.

SC lawmakers bash Congress to gain voter favor

COLUMBIA, S.C. — With tax collections tanking and jobless rates at record highs, state legislators hundreds of miles from Washington have found an easy way to appeal to conservative voters: Bash the federal government.

Lawmakers in 44 states have introduced measures warning Congress not to trample states' rights and dozens of other resolutions opposing the government on issues including gun control and health care.

Their efforts play to people angry with the status quo. A recent Pew Research Center poll found high anti-incumbent sentiment among voters ahead of the November congressional elections.

"The closer you are to elections, you see legislators with more backbone," said Michael Boldin of the California-based Tenth Amendment Center, a nonpartisan think tank named for the constitutional amendment that specifies any power not granted to the federal government is reserved for the states. "I'm sure there's a lot of grandstanding."

No states are likely to secede from the union, but they could derail or delay federal legislation the way they have by balking at a national identification program billed as a way to fight terrorism and identity theft. Most states still aren't complying with the Real ID law passed in 2005.

In conservative South Carolina, Republican House Majority Leader Kenny Bingham said his caucus made standing up to the federal government a top priority this year.

"I hear it at church, at the barber shop: 'You guys need to stand up.' The issue of federal intrusion is a John Doe issue," he said. "This is a yes-point for us. They're mad. They're upset. They expect us to respond."

That response included passing a resolution to assert the state's rights under several constitutional amendments. It says South Carolina's attorney general will sue if Congress passes mandates the state deems unconstitutional, and that no state agency will follow them while a decision is pending.

"To say public reaction and being vocal doesn't have any influence is ludicrous," Bingham said. "That's how you enact change in a civilized society." :::MORE HERE:::

Read more at the Washington Examiner:

Utah House votes to not comply with Real ID Act

Associated Press - February 18, 2010 7:45 PM ET

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - State agencies would be forbidden from complying any further with the federal Real ID Act under a measure the Utah House has approved.

The move could mean that the state's residents won't be able to board airplanes or enter federal buildings in the future.

The Real ID Act was launched after the 2001 terror attacks to make driver's licenses more secure, so that eventually all driver's licenses would have several layers of security features to prevent forgery.

Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, an Orem Republican, contends those security features could eventually lead to the government tracking its citizens.

House Bill 234 was approved 68-3 on Thursday. It now advances to the Senate.

Real ID in Nevada proposes radical changes to identity

c/o Las Vegas Review Journal ROAD WARRIOR

Ready or not, Real IDs eventually will replace all drivers licenses

As we have mentioned previously, the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles will be introducing the new Advanced Secure Issuance cards throughout the Las Vegas Valley later this month.

Real IDs will be available at the DMV office on West Flamingo Road beginning Monday, followed by the North Las Vegas office on Donovan Way on Feb. 23, the Henderson office on American Pacific Drive on Feb. 24, the North Las Vegas facility on Decatur Boulevard on Feb. 25 and the East Sahara Avenue office on Feb. 26.

Below, I have tried to address questions raised by readers and concerns aired by folks in Northern Nevada, where the DMV began issuing the cards earlier this month.

Our old driver's licenses were just fine. Why are they pushing these new Advanced Secure Issuance IDs on us?

In 2005, the 9/11 Commission recommended that states improve the security of their driver's licenses and identification cards to prevent identity theft and thwart terrorism. This is a voluntary program, but 45 states, including Nevada, have chosen to endorse it. Because of the new card's security features, it will be far more difficult for criminals to obtain counterfeit driver's licenses.

What exactly are these security features?

Actually, there are 15 security features on the card, but only a few of them will be made public: the background on the card, the gold star on the upper right corner, the micro-laser cut of the shape of the state, the bar code and the overprint of some of the text. These make it extremely difficult to counterfeit and show that the applicant has provided all of the proper documents and that the Department of Homeland Security has approved the issuance of the card for federal use, such as boarding an aircraft or entering a federal building where identification is required.

OK, when do I need to get one of these Real IDs?

This program will be phased in over the next seven years. If you were born before Dec. 1, 1964, the standard license in your wallet will be good until December 2017. If your birthday is after Dec. 1, 1964, you have until December 2014. Depending on where your birthday falls, your standard driver's license will be accepted to board airplanes and access federal buildings until the 2014 or 2017 deadline.

I don't want one of these funky licenses. Do I have to get one?

After 2014, the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles will cease issuing the standard license, so, yes, eventually you will need one.

What do I need to bring to the DMV when I apply for this secure issuance card?

You will need two documents to prove your identity and two to prove your residency, the most notable change in requirements.

For identification purposes, you may bring a U.S. passport or a certified birth certificate and your Social Security card.

This is where it gets sticky: If you're married or have changed your name, you need to bring the documentation, such as a marriage certificate or adoption papers, to show this change.

If you've been married multiple times, you need to document each name change.

To prove residency, the DMV will accept a utility bill, mortgage statement, phone bill or rental agreement.

Other forms of accepted identification can be found on the DMV's Web site at

Will my military identification card work as a form of ID?

No. And this is where this seems strange: The DMV will not accept a military card because it can't electronically verify Department of Defense documents, but the airlines will continue to accept the card as a form of identification to board an airplane.

I no longer drive but still travel. Do I need to get one of these new ID's?

If you do not have a passport and wish to use a Nevada license, yes. You will need to get one before December 2014.

What if I have a teenager who has none of the residency documents required?

There is a declaration form that can be downloaded from the DMV Web site and notarized.

Is there some sort of radio frequency and identification chip embedded in the card?

No. The bar code only allows a law enforcement officer to check your information more efficiently and make sure it matches that listed on the front of the card.

I heard that these cards are the first step in creating a national data base for driver's license information. Is that true?

No. The information is used only by the state where the cards are issued.

ROAD WORK AHEAD ■ The intersection of Tee Pee Lane and Grand Teton Drive is expected to be closed for the next two weeks as gas lines are installed.

■ Ackerman Avenue will be closed between Durango Drive and El Capitan Way until Monday as the storm drain is repaired.

■ Main Street between Las Vegas Boulevard and Owens Avenue in North Las Vegas will be closed until the end of the month.

■ Watch for lane restrictions on Durango Drive between Cheyenne Avenue and Alexander Road as the city repairs the asphalt. The restrictions will be in effect on weekdays for the next five months. Lane restrictions will also be in place on Alexander between Cimarron Road and U.S. Highway 95.

■ Lane restrictions are in place on Village Center Circle, on Hills Center Drive between Village Center and Lake Mead Boulevard, and on Town Center Drive between Village Center and Summerlin Parkway.

■ Expect lane closures and shifting on Craig Road for the next seven weeks as North Las Vegas starts converting the Craig Ranch Golf Course into a regional park.

■ Work continues on Neon Boneyard Park. During construction hours, which are between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., expect road closures on parts of McWilliams Avenue, Ninth Street and Encanto Drive.

■ Construction continues on Flamingo Road between Interstate 15 and Audrie Street. Flamingo is reduced to one lane at the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard.

Las Vegas Review-Journal

If you have a question, tip or tirade, call Adrienne Packer at (702) 387-2904, or send an e-mail to Include your phone number.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

DIGEST: Valentines Day SCAMERA Protests

BTC - Coaltioned protests occurred nationally to recuse local and national governments for playing a role in objectifying citizens with "soft surveillance" or "corporate voyeurism". This is the term to describe indirect surveillance of persons doing what they do as a byproduct of having a camera on site for other reasons (i.e. to control people who run red lights or to watch for afterhours intruders with intent to steal or malign property).

Camera Fraud, Liberty Restoration Project and others worked together to form a more prolific dissent over the use and abuse of surveillance today.

News Digest Updates on the protests below:

Date: Sunday, February 14, Noon
Location: American Traffic Solutions HQ in Ahwatukee
9801 S 51st Phoenix, AZ 85044

Date: Sunday, February 14th, Noon to 3 pm CT
Location: Intersection of Addison & Western

Date: Sunday, February 14, Noon
Location: S Broad St & S Penn Square

Date: Sunday, February 14th, Noon to 3 pm CT
Location: Intersection of Clayton and Hanley Road

Date: Sunday, February 14, Noon - 3pm
Location: 39th and Southwest Trafficway

Date: Sunday, February 14, Noon
Location: Intersection Broadway and Providence Road

Date: Sunday, February 14, Noon
Location: Intersection of Glenstone and Sunshine

Date: Sunday, February 14, Noon
Location: Intersection of Derrene and Abercorn

Date: Sunday, February 14th, Noon
Location: TBA

Date: Sunday, February 14, 2pm
Location: TBA

Date: Sunday, February 14, Noon
Location: Santa Monica Boulevard and La Brea Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90069