Friday, April 2, 2010

The criminal NSA eavesdropping program

c/o Glenn Greenwald,

"UPDATE: Dan Froomkin echoes, and elaborates on, several of the points here, in his Huffington Post piece entitled: "Ruling Against Bush Wiretaps Also Slaps Down Obama's Executive Overreach." He writes: "the ruling should serve as a wake-up call to those who thought that the days of executive overreach were behind us."

And Charlie Savage and Jim Risen have a new NYT article which, in the course of discussing whether the Obama DOJ will appeal this decision, examine the likely motives and goals of the Obama administration here, none of which reflect well on them at all."


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Waking Up Orwell: the lost & desert island episodes

BTC - Our weekly online radio digest, Waking Up Orwell (WUO) has overcome many mishaps to reach the remote location it is at today. What no one really realized was how many hits we were actually getting on podOmatic.

WUO success rates online via podomatic have completely dwarfed most of our previous online listenerships put together. We looked at lots of radio channels, but it seems that we have found our yodeling point on the mountain of listeners we get on podOmatic.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Inititative criminalizes non-criminal acts at random

"At it's core pre-emptive policing severely undercuts the basic notion that police are public servants sworn to protect and serve, rather than intelligence agents whose job is to feed daily observations into data streams winding their way into a nationwide matrix of Fusion Centers and federal agencies. The SAR Inititave casts a wide net of surveillance: it encourages local police, the public, and corporations and businesses to engage in vaguely-defined "pre-operational surveillance" and report actvities such as the practive of religion and spirituality, political protest, and community organizing will weaken civil liberties and erode community trust."
- Thomas Cincotta, Platform for Prejudice

BOSTON - An 82 page analysis of domestic intelligence policy released by Political Research Associates (PRA) Tuesday found local police are being used as domestic intelligence gatherers with little to no oversight in criminal intelligence distinctions. Amid the findings are rampant racial and political profiling and hystrionic calls for further surveillance protections where no criminal or terrorist acts occurred. Costs to implement digital surveillance based on these local police intelligence gatherings were deemed expensive and wasteful. The practices were overwhelmingly considered unconstitutional, against 4th Amendment protections.

The study, Platform for Prejudice, evaluated the police intelligence gathering practices in 12 cities for 2 years involving a decentralized network of 72 Fusion Centers. Tax funded Fusion Centers are present in local communities for the purposes of gathering criminal intelligence and terrorism prevention. Local police are deployed to gather federal intelligence to submit to an Information Sharing Environment (ISE) or a Fusion Center. It is then fed to a network to federal intelligence agencies, like the FBI. It may be furthered for international analysis at the National Counter Terrorism Center. Examples of suspected criminal activity worthy of creating a pre-criminal national intelligence profile included: photography, taking notes, sketching, public speaking on political issues and making diagrams in public settings. Once a profile is created local police may be dispatched to follow up on non-criminal activities for the purposes of surveillance. Non-criminal information submitted to an ISE is deemed "fact-based information" by local police hence alluding to potential criminality of any activity submitted.

Further into the report, traditional neighborhood crimes and traffic violations are filtered with a label of terrorism prevention in an "all crimes" watch policy. People become profiled for minor infractions, such as speeding tickets. Their information is then funnelled into a database treatment cycle for national terrorists.


The UK derived practice of pre-emptive policing creates a deluge of low quality information into our national terror watch networks. According to RAND Corp. local police are "simply collecting so much data of such low quality that they do not provide much [counter-terror] benefit". Non-criminal information bogs down networks with a low threshhold for reporting information. It becomes difficult to evaluate bonafide national terror threats according the the National Counter Terrorism Center.

According to officials who designed the SAR Initiative, pre-emptive policing is based on behaviors regardless of race, ethnicity, or political associations. Behaviors otherwise overlooked by police enforcement become what is called a "reasonable indication" of suspicious activity. The definition of "reasonable suspicion" became independent of actual crime and criminal predicates in the adoption of this initiative's use of "reasonable indication".

Privacy safeguards and legal limitations were overlooked in code 28 CFR 23, in accord with The Justice Systems Improvement Act of 1979. This code necessitates an actual crime as a predicate for reasonable suspicion and the creation of an intelligence record. This code is being challenged to downgrade current predicates for criminal intelligence, to simply "reasonable indication" of possible crime. Using "reasonable indication" officers can gather any data, at any time for intelligence purposes without probable cause.

The window stays open for this practice as long as ISE's Program Manager does not perpetuate any oversight of information submitted by State and Local agencies. Due to short cuts, negligence in sifting non-terror related reports and little feedback to local police departments submitting SARs, "reasonable indication" becomes standard operating procedure for public surveillance.

According to the ACLU, law enforcement are encouraged by federal agencies to actively disregard 28 CFR 23 and expand the quest for non-criminal information to include public and private sector data. The focus and objective for certain law enforcement agents may be to gather data considered unclassified. For example: biometric data eyes, fingerprints, face scans, and body identifiers are considered largely unclassified.


SAR's use a myriad of sources other than law enforcement officers: corporations, private security firms, anonymous neighborhood watch groups. Infraguard, a private surveillance firm, was contracted by federal intelligence agencies after the federal TIPS program was eliminated due to public scorn. InfraGuard takes up where TIPS left off recruiting utility workers, civil servants and corporate cogs to solicit private information as private criminal intelligence investigators.

The report indicates that up to 23,000 private representatives work with InfraGuard providing information about potentially anyone. The potential for intelligence abuse is astronomical, as InfraGuard users claim they can dispatch FBI operatives in a vindictive manner on political and economic enemies.

iWatch, previously reported on Waking Up Orwell as "iSnitch", is a model of a neighborhood watch program used to produce SARS in Los Angeles. [You can see how well that went.]


You may want to look into for resources and information about how to get organized and involved in, literally, watching and reporting against those who unconstitutionally watch and report on you. One strategic way is to enlist FOIA or open records requests to your local criminal justice departments to find out what kind of information is being gathered on your neighborhoods and submitted to Fusion Centers. Through a casual online web search you can ususally find out if a Fusion Center is near you.

The information being arbitrarily collected can be held for up to 10 years.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Camera Fraud: "Audit the cameras"

Private foreign company monitoring photo radar of Arizonans.

BIMA: biometric policy coming to an agency near you

c/o Freedom's Phoenix>> Secrecy News

As of last week, there is now a U.S. Government national security agency called the Biometrics Identity Management Agency (BIMA). It supersedes a Biometrics Task Force that was established in 2000.

Though nominally a component of the Army, the biometrics agency has Defense Department-wide responsibilities.

“The Biometrics Identity Management Agency leads Department of Defense activities to prioritize, integrate, and synchronize biometrics technologies and capabilities and to manage the Department of Defense’s authoritative biometrics database to support the National Security Strategy,” according to a March 23 Order (pdf) issued by Army Secretary John M. McHugh that redesignated the previous Biometrics Task Force as the BIMA.

Biometrics is generally defined as “a measurable biological (anatomical and physiological) [or] behavioral characteristic that can be used for automated recognition.”

“Biometric data [are] normally unclassified,” according to a 2008 DoD directive (pdf). “However, elements of the contextual data, information associated with biometric collection, and/or associated intelligence analysis may be classified.”

“Biometrics-enabled Intelligence [refers to] intelligence information associated with and or derived from biometrics data that matches a specific person or unknown identity to a place, activity, device, component, or weapon that supports terrorist / insurgent network and related pattern analysis, facilitates high value individual targeting, reveals movement patterns, and confirms claimed identity.”

“Biometrics is an important enabler that shall be fully integrated into the conduct of DoD activities to support the full range of military operations,” the 2008 directive stated.

“Every day thousands of [biometric] records are collected and sent to the Department of Defense (DOD) Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) to store and compare against existing records,” a 2009 DoD report (pdf) said. “The technology is improving such that a submission from theater [e.g., in Afghanistan] can be searched in the DOD ABIS and a response sent back to theater in less than two minutes.”

“Realtime positive identification of persons of interest enables Coalition forces to target, track, and prosecute known or potential adversaries,” the DoD report said.

Monday, March 29, 2010

NSI: New suspicious activity reporting affects anyone, doing anything, at any time

"The Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative (NSI) is a collaborative effort among Federal and State, local, and tribal (SLT) government agencies with Counterterrorism (CT) responsibilities. Developed pursuant to Presidential direction, it establishes a nationwide capability to gather, document, process, analyze, and share information about suspicious
incidents to enable rapid identification and mitigation of potential terrorist threats.1 The resulting NSI business process (often referred to as the NSI cycle) was described by the Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment (PM-ISE) in a Concept of Operations for the NSI published in December 2008 and in a revised functional standard in May 2009."

BTC- Get your sick-bags ready. This new initiative has the capacity to comprehensively suggest the individual can be criminalized for non-criminal acts if a law enforcement agent is called in.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Data Bill and a Transparency Caucus

A Data Bill and a Transparency ... - GovTrack Insider

The second big change this month is the formation of a House transparency caucus, as NextGov is reporting. The formation of a bipartisan caucus signals the commitment of these congress­men to the issue. Though we will have to wait and see if the caucus ever meets and recommends any changes.

Again, if any of these are your congress man/woman, you might consider giving them some support.

HEALTHCARE: Outsourcing your public health records to India

Anticipating these opportunities it appears some Indian IT companies had started gearing up even while the Bill was being debated. For instance Wipro Technologies, another major Indian IT company, claims that besides EHR, it has already started working on related IT applications to provide remote managed services, interoperability testing, digitization of medical records, and integration of EHR and public health records.
c/o International Beat, Indrajit Basu

The passage of Obama's healthcare reforms Bill, which aims to ensure millions -- 32 million according to Congressional Budget Office estimate -- uninsured Americans get medical coverage may be US's most sweeping health-care legislation in four decades. But while it rewrites the rules governing the world's largest medical industry, America's healthcare sector predicts that it will have to struggle to overhaul its IT systems in order to be ready for the ensuing healthcare reforms.

What's more; while US's healthcare IT is gearing up for a long-drawn mission to tackle extensive and expensive solutions, the Indian IT sector is looking forward to a multibillion-dollar opportunity from the legislation, which is "historic" according to many.

The bill that expands coverage to Americans who were so far been unable to afford medical insurance, is expected to bring in major changes in the medical insurance sector forcing them to overhaul their systems.

The sector would have to throw money, people and technology in order to prepare for the changes, say sources. "Consequently, a huge opportunity has opened up for the Indian IT outsourcing sector that already plays a significant role providing IT services to the US healthcare industry," says a spokesperson of Infosys Technologies, the Nasdaq-listed Indian IT company, which is one of the largest IT outsourcing service provider.

India's money-spinning IT outsourcing sector that earns close to $40 billion a year in providing IT outsourcing service to the US, reckons that Obama's plan would need at least $20 billion to be spent of healthcare IT alone. Most of this money is expected to be spent of creating Electronic Health Records (EHRs) for all Americans by 2014.

Traditionally the American healthcare IT has been relatively slow in adopting technology, which has often come as a problem in upgrading its healthcare systems. But the new Bill would require a lot of automation in the healthcare system which means that the sector would have to integrate systems and create cutting edge technology-driven healthcare applications.

It would also require solutions to assist the US healthcare industry to prevent leakages and reduce costs and waste.

"That means trickling down of opportunities to Indian IT companies in the form of long-term partnerships with the US healthcare industry," said another industry source.

Anticipating these opportunities it appears some Indian IT companies had started gearing up even while the Bill was being debated. For instance Wipro Technologies, another major Indian IT company, claims that besides EHR, it has already started working on related IT applications to provide remote managed services, interoperability testing, digitization of medical records, and integration of EHR and public health records.

Besides, a significant amount of business is anticipated from enrollments, claims processing and providing customer services with technology and tools.

The Bill is indeed set to change the face of healthcare delivery in the US. Besides focusing on extending healthcare to American citizens, it also aims at streamlining the entire administrative system to drastically cut the nation's healthcare cost.

Thus, services such as finance and accounting, research and analytics will be high in demand as well since these too help in reducing cost and increase efficiency, say experts.

Why if WikiLeaks loses their rights, so do we.

WikiLeaks is under attack by several governments, including our own, for releasing public interest information embarrassing to our National Security State. It's people are followed and believe their lives are in danger, its web site has been hacked, and WikiLeaks is being threatened, with the official newspaper of the empire, the New York Times, telling us "To the list of the enemies threatening the security of the United States, the Pentagon has added - Liberty Underground

News c/o Liberty Underground

Whistleblower Web site WikiLeaks is planning to release a video that reveals what it's calling a Pentagon 'cover-up' of an incident in which numerous civilians and journalists were murdered in an airstrike, according to a recent media advisory.The video will be released on April 5 at theNational Press Club, the group said," begins a piece at Raw Story this morning.

WikiLeaks calls itself "The People's Intelligence Agency," putting out information citizens need to know to make democracy work, information hidden from them by their governments.

WikiLeaks is under attack by several governments, including our own, for releasing public interest information embarrassing to our National Security State. It's people are followed and believe their lives are in danger, its web site has been hacked, and WikiLeaks is being threatened, with the official newspaper of the empire, the New York Times, telling us "To the list of the enemies threatening the security of the United States, the Pentagon has added"

c/o, Glenn Greenwald

A newly leaked CIA report prepared earlier this month (.pdf) analyzes how the U.S. Government can best manipulate public opinion in Germany and France -- in order to ensure that those countries continue to fight in Afghanistan. The Report celebrates the fact that the governments of those two nations continue to fight the war in defiance of overwhelming public opinion which opposes it -- so much for all the recent veneration of "consent of the governed" -- and it notes that this is possible due to lack of interest among their citizenry: "Public Apathy Enables Leaders to Ignore Voters," proclaims the title of one section.

But the Report also cites the "fall of the Dutch Government over its troop commitment to Afghanistan" and worries that -- particularly if the "bloody summer in Afghanistan" that many predict takes place -- what happened to the Dutch will spread as a result of the "fragility of European support" for the war. As the truly creepy Report title puts it, the CIA's concern is: "Why Counting on Apathy May Not Be Enough" ::: View Complete Article Here:::