Category Archives: Corporate Lobby

‘Pesky Critters’ and the Oklahoma Drone Summit 2013

UAS summit

Kaye Beach

**Update June 11, 2013

“Most recently in March 2013 Oklahoma was host to a UAS Summit in Norman,
OK which provided a platform for the state to describe its plans and
objectives with respect to UAS. The Summit covered a diverse set of
subjects and topics including the use of UAS for agriculture, advanced
weather monitoring and research, along with law enforcement and military
applications of UAS technology” Link

March 26, 2012

The 2013 Oklahoma Unmanned Aerial Systems Summit was held today in Norman. http://www.uasoklahoma.com/agenda2.pdf

I would have loved to attended this event but the attendance conditions were quite intimidating even if I had of found out about it in time.  I did scout about for information on social media where often tech events are heavily covered, without much luck.  Monitoring twitter proved disappointing.  Strange since the Summit included a ‘social media’ meeting last night.  Actually, I found just one person that was attending the event that was using twitter.  Courtney E Howard, the Editor in Chief – Avionics Intelligence.  You can read her tweets on the event here

This tweet of Howard’s I thought was rather funny;

People do say things [about #UAVs] that are ridiculous & they say it loudly.–Professor of Political Science at University of Oklahoma (OU)

She is quoting one of the last panelists in the line up today who were covering Privacy and Social Implications of drones.  This panel was chaired by Prof. Stephan Henderson

I wonder what ridiculous things people say loudly about the drones?  One of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard about drones actually comes from one of today’s speakers at the Oklahoma Unmanned Aerial Systems Summit.  His name is Kirk Kloeppel and he was slated to speak on the Department of Homeland Security’s RAPS program that Oklahoma was chosen as the test site for back in June of 2012.  RAPS stands for Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety.

First reports from the RAPS trials being run in our state struck me as pretty ridiculous since the press release from the Governors office studiously avoided mention of the rather obvious role that the police would play in the DHS’s RAPS program.

Governor Mary Fallin Joins Department of Homeland Security, Oklahoma National Guard to Announce New Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program in Oklahoma

Gov. Fallin assures the public that ‘drones for use by the military or police investigations will not be tested at the Oklahoma site.’

Source: NewsOK, June 29, 2012, Oklahoma chosen as test site for drones http://newsok.com/oklahoma-chosen-as-test-site-for-drones/article/3688386

Here is an excerpt from a reporters observation of the very first trials of RAPS;

FORT SILL — The small, winged drone quietly soared overhead as SWAT team members closed in on a building at Fort Sill.

When a suspect sprinted from the structure, the drone banked through a cloudless afternoon sky in an effort to track the person.

A few miles away, two Lockheed Martin technicians sat in a converted bedroom of a ranch-style house using a laptop computer to control the drone’s movements. They followed the action on a video relay.

NewsOK, Dec. 31, 2012 Wary eyes shift to the skies as unmanned aircraft are tested in state

So the RAPS program itself might strike some as being at least mildly ridiculous but what Kirk Kloeppel is best know for, his ‘Pesky Critters’ would almost certainly strike most as utterly ridiculous.

robofly

Pesky Critters was written by Kloeppel in 2005.  Here is a brief excerpt from the paper;

“The hunter-killer pursues specific individuals and eliminates them. These devices have the unique deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) signature for individual leadership in their memory and examine the environment for a match. Once the proper candidate is isolated, the fly inserts a probe into the victim, injecting a toxic substance or altering the victim’s own genetic material with a virulent composition, causing quick incapacitation. The victim notices the “sting” from the robot but considers it a pest and thinks nothing of the consequences.

A day or two would pass before the targeted leader is not a further factor in the warfighting. These miniscule vehicles offer a unique, stealthy cap ability for a government. From the exterior, the robots appear to be common houseflies. They mimic the performance of the housefly in nearly every aspect except for the internal composition. Their innocuous existence offers implementers military advantages. While the development of a hunter-killer weapon may breach legal boundaries, its potential is illustrative of the possible alternative applications, many of which, such as the intelligence and surveillance approaches, are perfectly legal.

The above scenario may seem implausible—something dreamed within the mind of a science fiction writer—but the capabilities are closer to reality than one might imagine. The design, manufacture, and use of an unmanned aerial vehicle the size of a common housefly is feasible and worth exploring.”

Read 34 more pages of ridiculousness here

Or check out some more recent work by Colonel Kirk Kloeppel;

Air Force scientists are looking for robotic bombs that look — and act — like swarms of bugs and birds. In a recent presentation, Colonel Kirk Kloeppel, head of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s munitions directorate, announced the Lab’s interest in “bio-inspired munitions.”

These, “small, autonomous” machines would “provide close-in [surveillance] information, in addition to killing intended targets,” the Colonel noted.  And they’d not only take out foes in urban canyons – the self-guided munitions would “operat[e] within buildings,” too.

Jan. 1, 2008 Wired, Air Force: Bug-Like Robo-Bombs for Indoor Ops

Or this Kloeppel presentation from 2009

Here is the most ridiculous thing of all about the drone explosion that has been actively courted and developed by Gov. Fallin with our tax dollars; not one thing has been done to protect the Fourth Amendment rights of the people she was elected to serve.

In fact, it was the direct intervention of Gov. Fallin and Stephen McKeever, her Secretary of Science and Technology, that killed the fairly narrowly tailored legislation that would have simply prohibited the police from doing targeted surveillance of individuals and equipping them with weapons.

This is what I call ridiculous!

Mary Fallin puts an end to Oklahoma’s drone privacy bill

Drones, Phones and RFID; PRIVACY Unites Left and Right in Oklahoma

ok dragonfly

Kaye Beach

Jan. 10, 2013

Despite the uncomfortable level of political division among Americans, there are still issues that bring us together.

This legislative session the left and right are pulling together for privacy.  I couldn’t be more excited about this development becuase when the battle between our right to privacy and big corporation’s desire to make money intersect, our numbers are everything.

On Sat. Feb. 23rd at the Oklahoma State Capitol, we will have an opportunity to assemble and to demonstrate those numbers and make it very clear to our elected representatives that Oklahomans expect their privacy rights to be respected!

Speakers:

Amie Stepanovich, EPIC, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, on drones and privacy

Ryan Kiesel, Director, OK ACLU

Amanda Teegarden, Exec. Director od OK-SAFE  – Oklahomans for Sovereignty and Free Enterprise will be our Master of Ceremonies-

IDP13 OKC flyer

Here is a copy of this flyer for you to download and share!

International Day For Privacy Oklahoma City

If you would like to connect with others online who are excited about and are attending this event, check out Oklahomans For Fourth Amendment Rights at State Capitol on Facebook.

KFOR reports Feb. 5th, 2013:

Unlikely groups join forces to support privacy bills

The Oklahoma Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union along with Rep. Paul Wesselhoft held a joint press conference at the State Capitol Tuesday to explain the three bills aimed at protecting the privacy rights of Oklahomans.

House Bill 1559: The first bill would prohibit the Department of Public Safety from installing RFID radio frequency identification in a driver’s license.

House Bill 1557: Another bill would require law enforcement, absent an emergency, to first obtain a warrant before they access the geo-location data stored by a cell phone.

House Bill 1556: Finally, the third bill would limit the ability of law enforcement to use drones for surveillance without a warrant. 

Read more from KFOR

http://kfor.com/2013/02/05/unlikely-groups-join-forces-to-support-privacy-bills/

1/3 Oklahoma’s Budget Dedicated to Corporate Incentive Payouts

The New Economy-How do we like it so far?

The New Economy-How do we like it so far?

Kaye Beach

Dec. 3, 2012

Welcome to the New Economy!

The New York Times spent 10 months investigating business incentives awarded by hundreds of cities, counties and states. Since there is no nationwide accounting of these incentives, The Times put together a database and found that local governments give up:

  • $80.3 billion in incentives each year
  • 1,874 No. of program

Check out the interactive map that shows spending incentive spending state by state here

Oklahoma

Oklahoma spends at least $2.19 billion per year on incentive programs, according to the most recent data available. That is roughly:

  • $584 per capita
  • 37¢ per dollar of state budget

Read more about Oklahoma

Here is the NYT accompanying news report;

Tax Incentives to Companies Bleeding Towns Dry, With Few Results

Sunday, 02 December 2012 09:51 By Louise Story, The New York Times News Service | Report

In the end, the money that towns across America gave General Motors did not matter.

When the automaker released a list of factories it was closing during bankruptcy three years ago, communities that had considered themselves G.M.’s business partners were among the targets.

For years, mayors and governors anxious about local jobs had agreed to G.M.’s demands for cash rewards, free buildings, worker training and lucrative tax breaks. As late as 2007, the company was telling local officials that these sorts of incentives would “further G.M.’s strong relationship” with them and be a “win/win situation,” according to town council notes from one Michigan community.

Yet at least 50 properties on the 2009 liquidation list were in towns and states that had awarded incentives, adding up to billions in taxpayer dollars, according to data compiled by The New York Times.

Some officials, desperate to keep G.M., offered more. Ohio was proposing a $56 million deal to save its Moraine plant, and Wisconsin, fighting for its Janesville factory, offered $153 million.

But their overtures were to no avail. G.M. walked away and, thanks to a federal bailout, is once again profitable. The towns have not been so fortunate, having spent scarce funds in exchange for thousands of jobs that no longer exist.

One township, Ypsilanti, Mich., is suing over the automaker’s departure. “You can’t just make these promises and throw them around like they’re spare change in the drawer,” said Doug Winters, the township’s attorney.

Yet across the country, companies have been doing just that. And the giveaways are adding up to a gigantic bill for taxpayers.

A Times investigation has examined and tallied thousands of local incentives granted nationwide and has found that states, counties and cities are giving up more than $80 billion each year to companies. The beneficiaries come from virtually every corner of the corporate world, encompassing oil and coal conglomerates, technology and entertainment companies, banks and big-box retail chains.

The cost of the awards is certainly far higher. A full accounting, The Times discovered, is not possible because the incentives are granted by thousands of government agencies and officials, and many do not know the value of all their awards. Nor do they know if the money was worth it because they rarely track how many jobs are created. Even where officials do track incentives, they acknowledge that it is impossible to know whether the jobs would have been created without the aid.

“How can you even talk about rationalizing what you’re doing when you don’t even know what you’re doing?” said Timothy J. Bartik, a senior economist at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in Kalamazoo, Mich.

The Times analyzed more than 150,000 awards and created a searchable database of incentive spending. The survey was supplemented by interviews with more than 100 officials in government and business organizations as well as corporate executives and consultants.

A portrait arises of mayors and governors who are desperate to create jobs, outmatched by multinational corporations and short on tools to fact-check what companies tell them. Many of the officials said they feared that companies would move jobs overseas if they did not get subsidies in the United States.

Over the years, corporations have increasingly exploited that fear, creating a high-stakes bazaar where they pit local officials against one another to get the most lucrative packages. States compete with other states, cities compete with surrounding suburbs, and even small towns have entered the race with the goal of defeating their neighbors.

While some jobs have certainly migrated overseas, many companies receiving incentives were not considering leaving the country, according to interviews and incentive data.

Read more

Drone Industry Bucks for Drone Caucus Members Including 3 Oklahoma Congressmen

Kaye Beach

July 11, 2012

(OK Rep. Frank Lucas is in OK D-3 not D-1 as originally shown.  Apologies for the error)

As you are probably aware, Oklahoma has been chosen as a site to test and fly drones for the Homeland Security Department’s program for Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety (RAPS).  Of course there has been a lot of work done behind the scenes to get the drones moving in US airspace.  This has been an uphill battle waged for years by industry lobbyists and other drone aficionados. Last February Americans found out that it was ‘all systems go’ and we are now cringing at the thought of  some 30,000 drones being unleashed over our heads.

The information below reveals some of the money behind congressional drone industry advocacy but you should also know that the industry practically wrote the groundbreaking drone unleashing legislation as well.

– Page 6: The drone lobbyists take full credit for authoring the expansion of domestic drone use codified in the FAA authorization bill passed last week, noting “the only changes made to the UAS section of the House FAA bill were made at the request of AUVSI. Our suggestions were often taken word-for-word.”

Source-Drone trade group presentation document exclusively reported by Republic Report on Feb. 15, 2012

On a side note, one of the reasons I am fighting so hard against the collection of our biometric information is that no matter which type of surveillance tech really gets your dander up, whether it be CCTV, RFID, drones or simply the garden variety type of data mining and surveillance – biometrics enables these already too-close-for-comfort surveillance technologies to become unbearably personal and dangerously specific.  Biometrics is the glue by which all the other forms of technological scrutiny are married to our very selves.  My attorneys and I agree that our bodies are protected under our state Constitution and by state statute – the Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act.  The lawsuit filed on my behalf addresses among other things the mandated collection of citizen’s biometrics when obtaining a state driver’s license.

The argument being made for Oklahoma’s active courting of this industry, of course, is an economic one which sure makes it tough to argue against, but I will predict that in the end it will not be everyday Oklahomans who will reap the benefits of this projected economic boon and they certainly won’t end up any more free with the evil mites buzzing overhead.

Now, have you ever  heard of the ‘Drone Caucus”?

As reported by KPBS on July 5, 2013;

SAN DIEGO — You’ve probably heard of the Congressional Black Caucus, or perhaps the Progressive Caucus. But what about the drone caucus? Officially, it’s the Unmanned Systems Caucus.

Primarily, the caucus advocates for drones — those pilot-less planes infamous for their role targeting insurgents in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They’re used as a spy tool in Iran, a drug-fighting tool in Mexico and an anti-smuggling tool along the U.S.-Mexico border.

. . .It’s definitely a powerful caucus,” said Alex Bronstein-Moffly, an analyst with First Street Research Group, a D.C.-based company that analyzes lobbying data.

. . .Many of the drone caucus members are well supported by the industry they endorse. According to Bronstein-Moffly’s data, the 58 drone caucus members received a total of $2.3 million in contributions from political action committees affiliated with drone manufacturers since 2011.

Read more The Drone Makers And Their Friends In Washington

The report details donations from the top five drone industry donors to just the border state members of the drone caucus but didn’t elaborate on donations received by other members of the drone caucus so I took a look at our Oklahoma Congressional Representatives who are acting as drone advocates as members of the Unmanned Systems Caucus.

Top five drone donors to the drone caucus

  1. Lockheed Martin
  2. Boeing
  3. Northrop Grumman Corp.
  4. General Atomics
  5. General Dynamics

Tom Cole  OK-4

Campaign Donations from top five drone donors 2011-12

Boeing 8,500

Lockheed Martin 6,500

General Atomics 2,000

**Raytheon 4,500 (Raytheon is also a big player in the drone industry)

**BAE Systems 3,500 (BAE Systems is also a big player in the drone industry)

**Honeywell 3,000 (Honeywell is also a big player in the drone industry)

**Mantech 3,000 (Mantech is another drone industry player)

**Alliant TechSystems (ATK)   1,500  (ATK is another drone industry player)

http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/contrib.php?cid=N00025726&cycle=2012&type=I&newMem=N&recs=100

Dan Boren OK-2

Campaign Donations from top five drone donors 2011-12

Northrop Gumman 2,000

**Raytheon 3,500 (Raytheon is also a big player in the drone industry)

**Honeywell 3,000 (Honeywell is also a big player in the drone industry)

**Textron Inc. 2,000 (Textron Inc. is another drone industry player)

http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/contrib.php?cid=N00026481&cycle=2012&type=I&newMem=N&recs=100

Frank Lucas OK-3

Campaign Donations from top five drone donors 2011-12

Lockheed Martin 4,000

http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/contrib.php?cid=N00005559&cycle=2012&type=I&newMem=N&recs=100

This is just the merest scratching of the surface-there is probably much more money and perks being doled out.  Stay tuned.

Oklahoma is an official DHS test site for drone technology

Kaye Beach

July 10, 2012

From Government Security News

Tue, 2012-07-10 10:11 AM

The state of Oklahoma was selected in late June to be the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s test site for the department’s Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety (RAPS) Program.

The program will research and test Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SUAS), focusing on possible applications for first responders, including search and rescue scenarios, response to radiological and chemical incidents and fire response and mapping.

Research facilities and air space around Ft. Sill, near Lawton, will be key to the program said Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin on June 29.

Read more

Want to know a lot more about the drone industry in Oklahoma?

Click the pic-about 40 pages of  hair raising economic development in the great state of Oklahoma.

“Pettigrew was pitching the deal’ says former InsureNet lobbyist

Kaye Beach

April 19, 2012

In a new article published this week by the Claremore Daily Progress, Chad ALexander, former InsureNet Lobbyist comes forward with more information about District 2 congressional candidate, Wayne Pettigrew’s activities with the infamous “spy cam” insurance verification company, Insurenet.

Pettigrew acted as a lobbyist from 2009 to the middle of the 2010 Oklahoma Legislative Session, according to Alexander.

Pettigrew somehow still maintains that he was not a lobbyist for InsureNet despite his activities which can only be described as lobbying.

It started with the Governor’s office. They were getting the green light to move forward,” Alexander said.

As the reporter explained in the  first article, Lobbyist or not? Wayne Pettigrew’s InsureNet connection under scrutiny,

According to Oklahoma laws pertaining to lobbying, one can serve as a lobbyist by representing the interests of a client before government officials or enable such work as a “lobbyist principle,” that is a person who “employs or retains another person for financial or other compensation to conduct lobbying activities on behalf of the lobbyist principle.”

Pettigrew did both and admits that he was to receive a percentage amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars, upon securing a contract with a state to use the InsureNet insurance verification system.

Incidentally, this is a system that would have had ALPR license tag scanning camera to capture every driver’s license plate along with the date, location and time when it was captured, to verify insurance status.  Pattigrew also maintains that this system in no way, would have been an invasion of privacy.

Mr. Alexander correctly sums up Pettigrew’s activities in this way;

Part of the problem with Pettigrew’s activities according to Alexander is that in Oklahoma lobbyists are not allowed to operate on a pay for play basis.

“The fact is that in Oklahoma you can not have a contingency based contract,” Alexander said, “Just because he did not get paid does not mean he was not attempting to get the system passed.”

Just because Pettigrew did not make a contract does not mean he was not breaking the rules for attempting to do so, according to Alexander.

But according to the article;

Pettigrew continues to maintain that his role was “that of a business consultant promoting a service that he believed was beneficial to the state of Oklahoma and other states and that the program provided greater privacy protections than the system in place currently.”

“This service was competitively bid by the state of Oklahoma and the company that I promoted was not chosen,” Pettigrew said.

However, the fact that InsureNet, the company that Pettigrew was “promoting” never secured a contract for it’s ‘spy cam’ based service didn’t stop him from testifying before Pennsylvania House members on March 2, 2010 that Oklahoma (and two other states) were “currently in the implementation process” (see the Pennsylvania House of Representatives transcript pg 30)

What does “currently implementing” mean to you?

I referred to Mr. Pettigrew in a recent post as being “truthy”  I think that I was being much too generous.

What do you think?

 

Read the entire article by Salesha Wilken,  Pettigrew disputes lobbyist claims

 

Moo-Shine!

Kaye Beach
March 31, 2012
Many people of sound mind and sound body, I might add, swear by the health benefits of  cow juice in the raw.   The government says it is not good for us and wants to protect us from our selves.
I have, and I will wager you have too,  experienced the benefits of non conventional remedies when modern medicine has failed me too many times to feel comfortable in letting the  government be the final arbiters on what is and is not healthy for me.
Access to raw milk is under fire across the nation and the product is being unfairly demonized as unsafe.
This is a use it or lose it proposition for us.  Whether we choose to partake of raw milk or not, we should  vigorously defend our right to nourish our bodies as we see fit.
____________________________________________________________

Oklahoma Raw Milk Laws

In Oklahoma the retail sale of raw milk is not permitted.

The Oklahoma Milk and Milk Product s Act regulates the sale of Grade A milk and milk products.

As currently written the Oklahoma Milk and Milk Products Act O.S. 2011, Section 7-414, which relates to milk producers, exempts “incidental sales” of raw milk directly to consumers if sold at the farm where the milk is produced.  Such incidental sales of raw milk to consumers do not require a permit.

OK. Stat. T. 2 § 7-406 (Only Grade A pasteurized Milk and Grade A Raw Milk may be sold to final consumer, but only Grade A pasteurized milk may be sold through restaurants, grocery stores, etc.), OK Stat. T.2 § 7-414 (laws do not apply to incidental sales of raw milk direct to consumer from farm (including up to 100 gallons of raw goat milk/month); OK ADC 35:37-13-1 through 6

TITLE 2 AGRICULTURE
CHAPTER 1 AGRICULTURAL CODE
ARTICLE 7. MILK AND DAIRY PRODUCTS AND MILK PRODUCTS PLANTS
D. OKLAHOMA MILK AND MILK PRODUCTS ACT

§ 2-7-406. Sale of Grade A milk and milk products.

A. Only Grade A pasteurized milk and milk products or Grade A raw milk shall be sold to the final consumer; provided, however:

1. Only Grade A pasteurized milk shall be sold through restaurants, soda fountains, grocery stores, or similar establishments, including school lunch rooms

§ 2-7-414. Construction of Act.

A. The provisions of the Oklahoma Milk and Milk Products Act shall not be construed to:

1. Include incidental sales of raw milk directly to consumers at the farm where the milk is produced;

Currently, raw milk is permitted to be sold at farmers markets through cow share lease agreements. Often lease holders pick up their milk at farmers markets.

  • Oklahoma Herd Share Laws/Title 4

How Cow or Goat-Share Programs Work

The consumer purchases a share in a milk cow, goat or dairy herd. The farmer and the consumer enter into a contract whereby the farmer feeds and boards the animal and provides the labor to milk the animal and store the consumer’s milk. Such contracts are legal and valid, as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America. The consumer does not buy milk from the farmer. Rather, they pay the farmer for the service of keeping the cow or goat and his labor for milking and processing the milk into value added products such as butter, cream, cheese, etc. However, they may directly purchase other products from the farm, such as eggs, vegetables and meat.

Cow and goat-share programs protect the farmer from liability since the animal belongs to the consumer and the consumer is drinking the milk from their own animal.

http://www.farmtoconsumer.org/cow-shares.html

__________________________________________________

Mar. 16th, 201

RALEIGH — Picture a peaceful, Amish farmer, selling one of nature’s super foods — fresh, raw milk. Eager customers came from afar, even across state lines, to savor the taste and access a nutritious product. Who could oppose such harmonious commerce on Rainbow Acres Farm?

Government officials and their enforcers, that’s who. This Pennsylvania farmer has been the subject of a yearlong sting operation, which included stealth purchases and a 5 a.m. surprise inspection. In February, a federal judge imposed a permanent injunction that prohibited him from selling his milk across state lines. Given the strain of the confrontation, he has decided to call it quits entirely.

Could it get any worse? Actually, North Carolina has a far more draconian law, the topic of a House Committee hearing last week. In this state, raw milk cannot be sold for legal human consumption, period. Individuals are not even allowed to co-own a cow to gain access.

To defend this violation of freedom of choice, proponents claim to be protecting others from the purported dangers of raw milk. But this claim is laughable, since evidence to the contrary has been mounting for decades.

In fact, a myriad of developed nations allow raw milk sales without problems: Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Italy; the list goes on. Some of these nations are hardly known for their respect for liberty, and yet in this regard people living there are freer than North Carolinians.

Even Great Britain, that nation Americans fought against for independence, has legal, retail sales of raw milk. Supply in Europe is now so widespread — just part of everyday life — that many nations have vending machines with raw milk in supermarkets and shopping malls, and on street corners.

Back in the United States, a recent federal report (PDF) from the Centers for Disease Control did not find a single death from the product in a 14-year research period, while in 2007 alone, three individuals died on account of pasteurized milk. That is despite raw milk’s availability for legal, retail sale in nine states, including South Carolina; more than 9 million Americans consume it. The CDC acknowledged that pasteurization kills beneficial nutrients in milk, and they found state prohibition of raw milk gave no statistically significant advantage in terms of food-borne illness.

Read more

Trial of ex-Okla. senator, 2 co-defendants starts

Kaye Beach

Conspiracy, extortion and mail fraud and bribery.  Oh my!

Feb. 12, 2012

Trial of ex-Okla. senator, 2 co-defendants starts

Published Feb 11, 2012

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The former leader of the Oklahoma Senate is scheduled go on trial Monday on federal charges that he accepted more than $400,000 in illegal payments from three companies that sought his influence.

Former Sen. Mike Morgan, D-Stillwater, was one of the most powerful people in state government while he served as president pro tem or co-president pro tem of the Senate from March 2005 until he left office in November 2008.

Beginning Monday, federal prosecutors will air allegations before a 12-member jury that Morgan conspired with a lobbyist and an attorney to use his leadership role to steer bills on behalf of two of the companies he allegedly received payments from.

Morgan, 56, lobbyist William Skeith, 53, of Edmond, and attorney N. Martin Stringer, 71, of Oklahoma City, are charged with conspiracy, extortion and mail fraud. Morgan also faces a bribery charge.

They have all pleaded not guilty.

Read more

When the Cops are Worried About Your Privacy-You Should Worry Too!

Kaye Beach

Dec 5. 2011

I imagine somebody is making a mountain of money off of this deal.  It will be ordinary travelers along with the cops on the beat that will end up paying the interest on this foolish plan.

In today’s world, your information is VALUABLE and your rights are CHEAP.

GATSO USA Forms Unique, Strategic Partnership with Nlets

Earlier this month, GATSO USA was approved as a strategic partner by the Board of Directors of the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (Nlets).  Nlets is the nation’s premier interstate network for the exchange of critical law enforcement, criminal justice, and public safety-related information. Supporting every agency at the state, local and federal level. . .

The approval of GATSO is an exciting first for the photo-enforcement industry.

Nlets will be hosting GATSO’s back office and server operations within the Nlets infrastructure. GATSO will have access to registered owner information for all 50 states plus additional provinces in Canada. The strategic relationship has been described as a “win-win” for both organizations.

. . .From GATSO’s perspective, hosting the system with Nlets will provide a ruggedized, robust connection to comprehensive registered owner information.

. . .Nlets was created over 40 years ago by the principal law enforcement agencies of the States. Today, it serves law enforcement agencies in all of the United States and territories, all Federal agencies with a justice component, selected international agencies, as well as a variety of strategic partners — all cooperatively exchanging data. (Emphasis mine) The types of data exchanged vary from motor vehicle and drivers’ data, to Canadian and Interpol databases, state criminal history records, and driver license and corrections images.

Read More

Here are some of NLETS’ “strategic partners”

REDFLEX (Red Light (S)camera company)

OnStar (your on board eavesdropping and tracking device)

BioKey (biometric company)

and an old Oklahoma favorite,  InsureNet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following is from the ‘Nowhere to Hide’ Blog (A site that says it is ‘ for cops by cops’)The writer reviews a few basic facts of the situation and asks some obvious questions that really illuminate this liberty and privacy travesty that is happening right under our noses.

“Should we be worried” he asks.  Worried?!  Worried is an understatement.

As the author notes, this endeavor involves;

. . . innovative use of technolgy for law enforcement, a psuedo-government agency (Nlets), two foreign-owned private companies, and LOTS of PII sharing.- some might even say it had all the makings of a Will Smith movie “

Security, Privacy, and Innovative Law Enforcement Information Sharing: Covering the bases

Excepts from NowheretoHide.org, published Feb 6, 2011;

The main points I took away from this press release were:

  1. Nlets is going to host the back-end server technology that GATSO needs to look up vehicle registration information of red-light runners;
  2. Gatso is going to have access to vehicle registration information for all vehicles/owners in ALL 50 states in the U.S. and (some) provinces in Canada; and
  3. And, because it’s behind Nlets firewalls, security is not an issue.

. . .After I read the press release, I thought that it would be a good case-study for the topic of this blog – it involved innovative use of technolgy for law enforcement, a psuedo-government agency (Nlets), two foreign-owned private companies, and LOTS of PII sharing – some might even say it had all the makings of a Will Smith movie.

To help set the stage, here are a few facts I found online:

  • Gatso-USA is a foreign company, registered in New York State, operating out of Delaware; its parent company is a Dutch company, GATSOmeter BVGatso.
  • Gatso does not appear to vet all of the red-light/speed violations itself; it uses another company – Redflex Traffic Systems to help with that (Redflex is not mentioned in the press release).
  • Redflex seems to be a U.S. company, but it has a (foreign) parent company based in South Melbourne, Australia.
  • Finally, there are no-sworn officers involved in violation processing. Red-light/speed enforcement cameras are not operated by law enforcement agencies; they outsource that to Gatso, who installs and operates the systems for local jurisdictions (with Redflex) for free, (Gatso/Redflex is given a piece of the fine for each violation).

BUT what is new here is that a sort-of-government agency (Nlets), has now provided two civilian companies (with foreign connections) access to Personally Identifiable Information (PII) (vehicle registrations) for the entire U.S. and parts of Canada…should we be worried?

Here are nine questions I would ask:

  1. Personnel Security: Will Nlets have a documented process to vet the U.S. and overseas Gatso and Redflex staff who will have access to this information through direct or VPN access to Nlets systems?
  2. Data Security: Will Gatso or Redflex maintain working/test copies of any of the registration information outside of the Nlets firewall? If so, are there documented ways to make sure this information is protected outside the firewall?
  3. Data Access: Will Gatso/Redflex have access to the entire registration record? or, will access be limited to certain fields?
  4. Code Security: Will any of the code development or code maintenance be done overseas in the Netherlands or Australia? If so, will all developers be vetted?
  5. Network Security: Will overseas developers/site suport staff have access to the data behind Nlets firewalls? What extra precautions will be taken to protect Nltes systems/networks from abuse/attack?
  6. Code Security: Will Nlets conduct any security testing on code loaded on the servers behind their firewalls?
  7. Stakeholder Support: Have all 50 U.S. states, and provinces in Canada, been made aware of this new information sharing relationship? Do they understand all of the nuances of the relationship? And, are they satisfied that their constituents personal information will be protected?
  8. Audit/Logging: Will all queries to vehicle registration information logged? Is someone checking the logs? How will Nlets know if abuses of authorized access are taking place?
  9. Public Acceptance: How do states inform their constituents that their personal vehicle registration information is being made available to foreign owned company? Will they care?

How these questions are answered will determine whether or not we should worry…

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Enhanced Driver’s Licenses-RFID Great Tool for People Tracking AND Thieves

Kaye Beach

Nov. 8, 2011

RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification, often it is referred to as “Auto ID”  That is because whenever it is comes into range of a RFID reader, it automatically coughs up its unique identification number and sometimes more.  RFID is a tracking device.  That is what it is used for. Tracking  inventory, livestock or anything that anyone wants to keep tabs on, this is what RFID does so well.  Despite all of the denials and even ridicule leveled at those who point out the great privacy and security weaknesses of this technology, the truth remains; RFID should never be coersively used on human beings.   Not on (or in) their person, clothing, library books, vehicles or any other items that they have associated with them.

The information in the following article and video is not new-anyone who has looked into the matter at all knows that the RFID chips can be read from afar, what is exciting about it is that the issue still raises concerns and that the media finds it interesting enough too cover.

There was a lot of attention paid to marketing this technology years ago.  The brilliant minds of marketers and public relations gurus studied the attitudes of people from various countries very carefully before prescribing a tailor made strategy to the Auto ID industry designed to gain the acceptance of these populations.  For the United States that advice was to make us feel that pervasive use of these tracking devices in our everyday live was inevitable.  That is how you get Americans to accept it, according to the masterminds of Fleishman-Hillard (slide 17)

Of course it is not inevitable.  Americans  need only to wave their tiny freedom loving fists and say “Back off”!

Former Oklahoma State Senator Kenneth Corn authored an Enhanced Driver’s License bill back in 2009 (it didn’t go anywhere) and the last two sessions in a row we have seen a widely popular anti- RFID bill killed for no other reason than the wishes of industry profiteers or on the ill-temperd whims of legislative committee heads.

This would be a  good article to share with your legislator.

Hopefully they will not be insulting like former Sen Tom Adelson who likening those with privacy concerns about RFID to people who wear tin foil hats.  I don’t know about you but I can tolerate a legislator with a prickly personality but the ones that are arrogant and too lazy to read a page for themselves just wear me out!

Enhanced Driver’s Licenses can be Scanned by up to 30 Feet

HotBedInfo, 11/08/2011

An episode on Global TV aired Sunday, January 25, 2011 about the dangers of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips found in Enhanced Driver’s Licenses, Passports, and Credit Cards.  The episode showed how anyone can put together simple electronics found online for a few dollars to grab your detailed information from as far as 30 feet away!

What is an enhanced driver’s license?

They are dual-purpose documents designed for the user’s convenience. In addition to serving as a typical driver’s license or ID card, they may be used to re-enter the U.S. at its land or sea ports when returning from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the Caribbean. This flexibility speeds your passage back across the border. They verify your identity and citizenship – no other proof is needed. Enhanced driver’s licenses and ID cards are among the federally approved border-crossing documents when entering the U.S. required under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

Enhanced Driver’s License ID Theft
These new Driver’s Licenses contain an RFID chip to allow speedy processing at border crossings.  Provinces of BC, Manitoba, and Ontario implemented them although they are not mandatory at this time.

A person could be sitting in a food court happily scanning away!  Granted that was 30 feet of open space but in a food court even within 10 feet, hundreds of people could be scanned.

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