Friday, June 25, 2010

'Secret' law lets police arrest for failing to show ID near summit

c/o Vancouver Sun 

Video Link

TORONTO — The Ontario government secretly passed legislation giving police sweeping new powers for the duration of the G8 and G20 summits, enabling authorities to arrest anyone who refuses to furnish identification and submit to a search while within five metres of a designated security zone in downtown Toronto.

Critics reacted furiously to the new rules, which remained unpublicized until Thursday when a man, 32, was arrested in Toronto for refusing to show ID to police.

New Democrat MPP Peter Kormos said Friday the provincial Liberals created a "Kafka-esque" situation where people could be arrested for violating rules they didn't know existed.  :::MORE HERE:::

DIY Government: Keep Newborn DNA Away from the Government

Keep Newborn DNA Away from the Government c/o Patient Privacy Rights

Please take a moment to say NO to the federal government's plan to collect, control and own the DNA of every citizen, starting at birth. 

TODAY, June 25th, is the last day to comment on the federal government's plan to warehouse and use newborn citizen DNA without consent for government research, corporate research and other purposes.

Concerns about the government's proposal include:

  • Fails to recommend informed written consent requirements for the storage and use of newborn DNA for research and other purposes.
  • Asserts a public claim on the DNA of newborn citizens.
  • Claims that newborn blood is necessary for "population surveillance."
  • Disregards the 22 state genetic privacy laws and the 5 state genetic ownership laws.
  • Omits compelling statistics from the University of Michigan study that found the public appalled by unconsented government storage and research (p. 12).
  • Recommends parent education instead of informed parent consent requirements that would enforce such education.
  • Claims that state screening programs are charged with "stewardship" of newborn DNA samples-'ensuring appropriate use'-when they are actually charged with simply testing each newborn.
  • Fails to acknowledge the constitutional Fourth Amendment genetic privacy and property rights of individuals.
Please send a comment now. Share this with your friends, family, coworkers, and all you care about. We need to let these folks know what the American people want.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

NSTIC blueprint for online national ID profile goes live Friday

View Draft Strategy Here... "Identity Ecosystem" starts on pg. 12

BTC - It's called National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace or NSTIC.  It is a policy "blueprint" for the incorporation of a national online identity number.  NSTIC will be available for public evaluation Friday via  Public comments concerning the new centralized identity number will be taken for 3 weeks.  Interaction is expected to take place online using Open Government crowdsourcing tools from IdeaScale.

According to Electronic Frontier Foundation identity counsel, Lee Tien, concerning the number, "[It's] very much an issue in the US as part of the Cyber Security effort."

White House considerations of a comprehensive identity number system for internet users became more transparent in public discussions over Cyber Security with Civil Liberty and National Security staffer, Tim Edgar last week in San Jose, Calif during the CFP 2010 conference.

International concerns over right of dissent and current uses of a nationalized internet identity number were raised by the British Columbia Freedom of Information and Privacy Association and UK identity and privacy advocates, NO2ID.   Amid concerns were that integrating every users online data into one hub could destroy a persons identity if it were hacked, stolen or compromised in a way where identity was mistaken or misappropriated.   It was also communicated that a priority of newly elected coalition government was to repeal all current motions towards centralizing identity data and consolidating public records of the individual into one card.

The United Kingdom is not the only country in the world which could mandate an online identity number registry.  Egypt  is working to try a nationalized online payment system which requires a national identity number.

REDUX: Second life for news that matters

BTC - There really is no shortage of great information available on the net.  We get so much great content which used to get dumped into our Facebook feeds.  For now, we are using our twitter feed as our fast track to informing those who would best served by what should be regular decent briefing for readers.

The point of REDUX is to get a short list of relevant news which would ordinarily escape, but gets a second chance here on  Obviously we failed our own self-imposed editorial goal of posting 3 original pieces a day.  It doesn't mean we aren't watching the blogs to catch the news and brilliant editorials worth mentioning.   The sheer volume and scope can be overwhelming.  With REDUX it's possible to re-post direct links to the most relevant news of the day without drowning in the constant distractions of social network news trolling.

Here's the second life for news that matters:

Hackers aren't the only threat to privacy 

Websites arbit for ability to determine criminality via terms of service

DARPA taking heat for exaggerated "Cyber war" range

APD-TX training for forced blood withdrawls on mentally ill TDCJ inmates

Are Napolitano's Mass Spying Powers a Greater Threat to Civil Liberties than Bush?

Google Opt Out Feature Lets Users Protect Privacy By Moving To Remote Village

TSA reaches out to Identity Project 

FOIA UPDATE - EPIC forces disclosure of report on Obama Passport Breach 

Current List of Airports with Naked Body Scanners 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cyber Security, digital activism highlights Computers, Freedom & Privacy conference 2010

Computers Freedom & Privacy (CFP) Highlights VIDEO

The entirety of dialogue on the conference was successively tweeted, blogged and socially networked. The follow up was well documented online.  This unique live coverage provided an inside line for those unable to attend.

Tuesday's highlights were finding the fulcrum between the vast world of knowable information gleaned by information brokers and those who want more control over the information available about them in the digital world. How the individual could handle data brokerage firms, their form and function as private corporations when they collude with government agencies became the uncomfortable common thread and backdrop for many of the discussions during the week. Privacy standards in governance were also an issue as differing models for control were discussed in earnest when it comes to individual information. During the Privacy and Free Speech forums Yahoo! made an important comparison that Vietnam's government, while considered 3rd world, has considerably better standards for digital privacy than Western nations. Again, the money to be made from commercial data surveillance make privacy somewhat of a granular concern, especially when it comes to medical data.


On Wednesday Medical privacy and the centralization of healthcare records and information became one of the "iceberg" issues of the CFP conference. With medical users having so little control over an insurance mandate and consequently the flows of data about them, what are some of the methods currently available to stop unwanted or unncessary data collection and dissemination of health information? As it turns out, ways to opt out of health information mandates are still part of the discussion, some provisions of anonymity in healthcare could help and audits on information requests for medical information applied by conscientious healthcare watchdogs could help save us. We also uncovered the majority of both funding and demands for healthcare centralization were initiated by the stimulus spending legislations. National healthcare policy and the issue of privacy are not going away. You may see the discussion resume comprehensively in an attempt to mitigate some unintended consequences at SPIMACS [pronounced "spy max"] conference in October 2010.


Travel information and surveillance was not up for debate. International science and engineers explained to conference attendees how they will be surveilled; not whether or not they will choose to be surveilled. The government projects who purchase the road surveillance technologies were more or less resolved to inform us of what we were getting in exchange for our tax dollars. One take away from the resolution on driver surveillance is to find ways to travel which more or less subvert surveillance technologies before forms of resistance are legislated or regulated away. For instance, if you don't believe you should have a "black box" in your car and an internal GPS system you can buy an antique car or a model which pre-dates technologies automatically sold in cars. You can purchase license plate obfuscation sprays. Strangely enough neither air transit or public transit surveillance was addressed in the conference transportation engineering line up. This did not touch dome camera surveillance in bus, trains or airports. The panel seemed focused on dominating the automobile - which is the form of transportation least in reach of government regulation, ownership and operation.


Very good discussions took place about how citizens could respond to location surveillance and mobile phone and phone records tracking. This is one of the best reasons to attend CFP conferences. Discussions like these take place to empower citizens as consumers while maintaining a pragamatic and fair understanding of how their role fits into Big Brother's commercial or government grid.


The "100 hour candle" was lit over the course of the week for attendees to distill and refine terms of CFP's Social Networking Bill of Rights inspired by the Electronic Frontier Foundation's start. Read the finished product here. 

Activists and advocates discussed issues critical to coalition formations, wedge issues and controverted strategy to get citizens to stay engaged in the political process. Social networks like Facebook continue to be a boon to organizers, but at what price? Information conveyed via Facebook would be considered anything but private and easily infiltrated by domestic intelligence operatives, like the FBI. Retaining your impact as an activist has always revolved around using the right tools. When a social network is no longer a friend to privacy, some activists choose alternatives opting out of compromised networks. It calls for learning a lesson in not becoming overreliant on any one social network or technology.

 Once a network or group has been compromised, activists have to work very hard to both continue their work and strengthen their weaknesses. Activism panelists discussed privacy and civil liberty opportunities and advantages. One tactic was passing local ordinances and laws as a way to push back against large federal intrusions into private networks, both analog & digital.


Net Neutrality sessions established that the government has the capability but never settled the legal angle or established the notion that the government has the right to control the net.

The Cyber Security discussions had airs of being more of a Public Relations show. Crowds thinned at CFP and panel discussions adopted national-to-international dialogue on Friday. Amid Cyber Security panelist speakers was a civil liberties protection officer for National Intelligence. The existence of this office might be cause for pause but also lots of questions. Who knows what kind of hells would otherwise transpire if this officer was not there? How many times a day is that office railroaded and told why security must prevail over civil liberty? Conversely, the existence of such a bureaucracy may explain or even excuse why there is such a good reason why the US government overlooks the 4th Amendment when it comes to basic common privacy.

White House Staff was in attendance for several panels discussing both operability and privacy in context of national security policy. Computing patriarchs like Whit Diffey were also present to add balance to the intelligence and public affairs weights.

Jennifer Grannick of EFF threw salt on the Cyber Security notions of America being "at war" or "losing the Cyber Security war" by defining a few simple terms in accordance with process. First - there is no "Cyber war" . Second, there are simply cyber attacks and basic computer security: encryption, best practices, audits, forensic diagnostics, and definition as needed to be applied to computer crime laws. If so - the current 70 point plan is inadequately shored up. As with any proper endeavor with the right equipment and policies vigilance could be achieveable.

One special take away moment was Christina Zaba of NO2ID speaking up after hearing that the US may be entertaining an internet identity number for all online users. NO2ID established existing dissent against this type of system based on its use in the United Kingdom. Zaba added that the main priority of the coalition government was to repeal the national identity systems set in motion under Gordon Brown.

It hearkens to Monday's news of Senator Joe Lieberman telling everyone to "relax" while the Senate greenlights the delegation of a wartime "kill switch" to the Executive Branch. It may be worth noting, the United States is technically at war right now with both drugs and terror. The track record for private intrusions and abuses of power based on Executive Order has been consistently bad.

Given the federal government's current tendencies to power-snatch whatever is whatever public domain, wanted or not, low voter confidences and past tendencies for electronic voting machines to be hacked - I don't think digital voting has a snowball's chance in Yuma midsummer to make it without paper analog technology to crutch the processes.


CFP is a very valuable conference for the comprehensive lens on digital privacy to be explored and to be responded to by government, private business, privacy advocates and the public. Who knew Microsoft would make an effort after receiving the '04 Big Brother award to come around to digital privacy?

This conference has unlimited potential to create contact between worlds which are usually alienated from one another to share their perspectives and stories.

Watch out... CFP 2011 is headed for Washington D.C. Privacy may be the next wave of public policy to flood the furnishings.

Kill Switch Engage? Not on your life....

The icing on the cake is the “kill switch” provision in this bill, which says that Internet firms, including search engines, broadband providers, and software companies listed by the feds “shall immediately comply with any emergency measure or action developed” by the Department of Homeland Security – includng a presidential order to shut down Internet connections. Failure to comply would result in a hefty fine: presumably the company would be commandeered by the government and forced  to obey.

KILL THE KILL SWITCH by Justin Raimonodo for

Who else but Joe Lieberman would introduce a bill to give the President the power to shut down the Internet with the flick of a switch? I’m afraid of the answer to that question, and you should be, too. However, it’s hardly surprising America’s premier authoritarian warmonger – author of a bill that would strip American citizenship from anyone even vaguely suspected of “terrorism” – would come up with a scheme like this.

If the “Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act” passes – and isn’t that a name that embraces practically every collectivist bromide extant? – the Department of Homeland  Security would establish a “cyber-terrorism” sub-bureaucracy, the Office of Cyberspace Policy (OCP), and the National Center for Cybersecurity and Communication (NCCC), with the former lording it over the Internet – a Cyber-Czar – and the latter unleashed to spy on and otherwise guard the “cybersecurity” Senators Lieberman and his two co-sponsors aver is imminently threatened.

This bill is the culmination of years of yelping  about the likelihood of a “cyber-9/11,” a devastating attack on the national infrastructure via the Internet. If such an event is so likely, then why hasn’t it happened already? Because the likelihood of it ever happening is nearly nil.

In short, this is a completely phony and for all intents and purposes nonexistent “threat” that has been invented by those most likely to profit – financially and politically – from this kind of hype: the “cybersecurity” industry, which has been thriving (mostly off of government contracts, naturally) since 9/11, and neoconservative authoritarians of a Liebermanesque frame of mind. In their 2003 opus, An End to Evil, neocons Richard Perle and David Frum argue that what’s needed is a “domestic intelligence agency” to spy on Americans, and the Internet plays a major role in their scenario: Perle and Frum advocate establishing anOrwellian government database and comprehensive electronic surveillance system that not only keeps constant track of the whereabouts of everyone in the country, but also stores a dossier, complete with their religious and political affiliations – surely a job for the OCP/NCCC. After all, if we’re going to track the “cyber-terrorists,” we have to know who and where they are. Lieberman’s Cyber-Czar, and his minions, would put flesh on the bones of this nightmare, and make the neocon dream of a police state an emerging reality.

The icing on the cake is the “kill switch” provision in this bill, which says that Internet firms, including search engines, broadband providers, and software companies listed by the feds “shall immediately comply with any emergency measure or action developed” by the Department of Homeland Security – includng a presidential order to shut down Internet connections. Failure to comply would result in a hefty fine: presumably the company would be commandeered by the government and forced  to obey.

Andrew Sullivan, relying on dubious sources, pooh-poohs the threat to civil liberties, but his record on this subject isn’t very good: he refers us over to the neoconnish Volokh Conspiracy web site, where we’re told it’s all a bunch of nonsense, no need to worry, move along nothing to see here – but this argument falsely avers that search engines aren’t included in the bill. They are: the bill gives broad powers to the new cyber-bureaucracy and the President over any company that “relies on” the Internet, the telephone system or any other component of the US “information infrastructure” What this means is that any web site, any search engine, or anythingto do with the Internet could be subjected to a government  takeover: the entire US-based Internet could be shut down, including news aggregators like, if they were deemed a “threat” to “cybersecurity,” whatever the heck that means.

In effect, although the reach of our Cyber-Czar is not global – yet – the feds could electronically isolate the US from the rest of the world, erecting the cybernetic equivalent of the Great Wall of China in order to keep out the Bad Guys. Speaking of China, that country’s policies were an inspiration to Lieberman, according to the Senator’s recent remarks on CNN:

“Right now China, the government, can disconnect parts of its Internet in case of war and we need to have that here too.”

It’s Liebermanism with Chinese characteristics, our own version of the Great Cultural Revolution: if anything serves as a model for the ideal neocon state, it’s the Beijing regime. Too bad the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist), which used to have the China franchise in the US, is defunct: I hear Joe is looking for a party that will take him.

While this odious bill is gaining traction, it may be a bit too extreme for the public to swallow, and so we have a two-pronged approach: the “soft” version is being peddled by the Federal Trade Commission, which is seeking to establish bureaucratic hegemony over Internet regulation. Frustrated by its inability to force “Network Neutrality” down our throats, Obama’s FCC chairman Genachowski, in league with Democratic appointees to the commission, has launched a campaign to extend its control over cyberspace – this in spite of federal laws which supposedly ensure that the Internet shall be “unfettered by state or federal regulation.”

This is the “progressive” face of Liebermanism, which holds that the federal government has the right to tell broadband companies which applications they must allow (or disallow) on their networks, all in the name of the egalitarian-sounding “net neutrality.” But of course if private companies and individuals cannot determine what goes on in their own networks, then the government’s role becomes decisive, as the FCC tries to do an end run around the courts. The CNS News site puts it thus:
“The FCC is now trying to reclassify the Internet to broaden its authority over the Web. Currently, the FCC only has ‘ancillary’ authority, meaning it can regulate Internet access only in the process of regulating another service that it has direct authority over, such as television or cable.

“The 3-2 party-line vote on Thursday at the FCC began the formal process of reclassifying the Internet as a telecommunications service instead of an information service – its current classification. This is necessary because, as an information service, the government has little power to regulate Internet networks. As a telecommunications service, such as a telephone network, the Internet would fall under a much broader regulatory scope – giving the government the power to enforce universal service requirements, making them pay into a federal universal service fund used to provide communications services to poor areas.”

The FCC bureaucrats aver that they have three choices: take charge of the Internet entirely, as if it were the old monopoly telephone system, which it quite obviouslyisn’t (indeed, it’s quite the opposite of that archaic structurally centralized relic): do nothing (not a chance), or choose a “third way,” in Senor Genachowski’s phrase, in which the FCC would indeed extend its regulatory sway over the Internet, but in a promise of “forbearance,” a pledge to not exercise its authority – unless, of course, it’s a “national emergency.”

When, I ask you, has government ever exercised “forbearance” when it came to exercising and extending its power? One doesn’t quite know whether to laugh or cry.

This brazen power grab would give the feds the means to enforce certain terms of service (in the name of “consumer’s rights), extort cash from Internet companies – and subject them to “emergency” regulations that would give the Feds the power to shut down web sites, shut down search engines, and give the Joe Liebermans of this world all the power they need to make the Internet “safe,” i.e. free of “terrorism.”

How “progressive” can you get?

The Internet has been a painful thorn in the side of the political Establishment, destroying the hold of their useful idiots in the “mainstream media” over the flow of information, and giving dissidents a voice – and they’ve been seeking ways to rein it in, “for the public good,” ever since. We’ve heard for years how sinister the Internet is, and how we need to be “saved” from the “dangers” that lurk in cyberspace. The only danger, however, is to the power elite and its information monopoly, which has now been broken beyond repair: the authoritarians in our midst, and I don’t just mean Sen. Lieberman, are desperate to get this cyber-monkey off their backs, and that’s what’s behind the legislative  assault coming from all sides of the political spectrum.

Lieberman, Cass Sunstein, and Mr. Genachowski are hoping that the American people are dozing off, unaware of the danger to their liberties: they want to regulate the Internet to death, and hope that no one notices. Don’t be caught sleeping: wake up and contact your congressional representatives. Tell them that we don’t need to be more like China – and that if Senator Lieberman wants to emigrate, you’d be glad to help him out with a one-way ticket. With his distinctly un-American views, he’d do much better as a delegate to China’s rubber-stamp National Congress of People’s Deputies, rather than a member of the Congress of the United States – and that goes for his co-sponsors, Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Tom Carper (D-Delaware), too.

Put them on a slow boat to China, and good riddance to them all!