Tag Archives: NSA

Oklahoma Bill to Stop Unconstitutional NSA Actions!

SB 1252 nsa

Kaye Beach

Jan. 28, 2014

SB 1252 The Fourth Amendment Protection Act by Sen. Nathan Dahm has been assigned to the Rules Committee.  Read more about SB 1252 here and you can read the bill (SB 1252) here

The bill must receive a majority vote to pass and your support can make the difference.  Specific action items are provided below.

A nationwide coalition, Nullify NSA, has formed in an effort limit NSA surveillance abuses through state legislation.

Nullify NSA website http://nullifynsa.com/

Nullify NSA on Facebook

The most important part of SB 1252 would bring a halt to the practice of  NSA intelligence being used to investigate people on matters unrelated to national security and then cover up the source of the information as was revealed by Reuters a few months ago.

(Reuters) – A  secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation  to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.. . .documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin – not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from  prosecutors and judges.  Read more

That revelation was responsible for the outburst from one outraged Oklahoma Republican at a Town Hall meeting that went viral last August.

Apparently OK Congressman Lankford was less than fully informed about some of the NSA’s programs that were being reported on, along with documentation, by the news media.  His audience, however,  was informed and Rep. Lankford’s seeming denials of what was known produced some understandable consternation.

Shortly after being challenged about the NSA’s activities at the Town Hall meeting, Rep. Lankford issued this statement:

“As a Member of Congress, I expect to receive accurate and complete information from a federal agency when requested. It is absurd that the
intelligence community was not completely forthcoming in its answers about classified government programs misusing Americans’ private information.  An agency that cannot fully answer questions asked by a  co-equal branch of government can expect significant structural changes and stringent oversight in the future.”

SB 1252 would put a stop to the NSA secretively passing on information collected  about Oklahomans without a warrant.

With the Fourth Amendment Protection Act in place (SB 1252), defense attorneys will be able to challenge data gathered without a warrants and passed on to state or local law enforcement.  Such data would be excluded as evidence. Judges will be obligated to disallow data gathered without a warrant.

“We know the NSA is sharing unconstitutionally gathered information with state and local law enforcement agencies – and it has nothing to do with keeping us safe from terrorists. This should offend every American who cares about the Constitution,” Tenth Amendment Center communications director Mike Maharrey. “Oklahoma may not be able to stop the NSA from vacuuming up the data, but it can darn sure make it as useless as a three dollar bill to state and local cops.” Read more

Nullify NSA provides the following Oklahoma action items to support SB 1252 in Oklahoma:

Oklahoma Action Steps

On January 6, SB1252 was prefiled by Sen. Nathan Dahm. This bill would big steps forward to protect Oklahoma residents from unwarranted surveillance (learn about it here).

STATUS – SB1252 has been assigned to the Rules committee where it will need to pass by majority vote.

YOUR ACTION IS NEEDED NOW. It doesn’t matter where in Oklahoma you live, take these actions today.

1. Contact the Committee Chairman.  Be strong but respectful. Ask her to promptly move SB1252 forward to a hearing and vote in the committee. Ask her to vote YES on SB1252

AJ Griffin (405) 521-5628 griffin@oksenate.gov

2. Contact all the other members of the committee. Again, be strong but respectful. Ask them each for a YES vote on SB1849. If they say they’re opposed, ask them why. If they’re undecided or will not commit to a YES vote, let them know you will be following up in a few days after they have a chance to consider it.

Rob Johnson (405) 521-5592 johnsonr@oksenate.gov
Don Barrington 405.521.5563 barrington@oksenate.gov
Cliff Branan (405) 521-5543 branan@oksenate.gov
Kim David (405) 521-5590 david@oksenate.gov
Eddie Fields (405) 521-5581 efields@oksenate.gov
John Ford (405) 521-5634 fordj@oksenate.gov
Jim Hlligan 405.521.5572 halligan@oksenate.gov
Constance Johnson (405) 521-5531 johnsonc@oksenate.gov
Clark Jolley (405) 521-5622 jolley@oksenate.gov
Ron Justice (405) 521-5537 justice@oksenate.gov
Bryce Marlatt 405.521.5626 marlatt@oksenate.gov
Al McAffrey (405) 521-5610 mcaffrey@oksenate.gov
Jubar Shumate (405) 521-5598 shumate@oksenate.gov
Frank Simpson (405) 521-5607 simpson@oksenate.gov
John Sparks (405) 521-5553 sparks@oksenate.gov
Rob Standridge (405) 521-5535  standridge@oksenate.gov
Gary Stanislowski 405.521.5624 stanislawski@oksenate.gov
Charles Wyrick (405) 521-5561 wyrick@oksenate.gov

3. Call Back – any NO or UNDECIDED – in 3-4 days. Ask if they’ve had a chance to review the legislation and what their opposition might be. Comment below or contact us at info@offnow.org with any information you get.

4.  on Twitter?  Retweet

5. Write a letter to the editor. Look up your local newspaper and submit a letter to the editor voicing your support for SB1252. Following strong legal principles, it’s essential that Oklahoma no longer help the federal government spy on all of us. Passing SB1252 will make that happen.

http://offnow.org/oklahoma/

Tonight on Axxiom For Liberty Live! Privacy is the Antidote to Surveillance, Guests David Slane and Donovan Farrow

a4l 55
Kaye Beach
June 14, 2013
AxXiom For Liberty Live!  6-8 PM Central
Listen Live-LogosRadioNetwork.com  click ‘Listen’ then choose your Internet speed.  Logos Radio Network is a listener supported, free speech radio network and your contributions are vital but you do not have to be a subscriber in order to hear the show.

Privacy is the antidote to surveillance and if you think about it, the balance of power between citizens and their government  has a lot to do with what is seen and unseen.

The Balance of Power Privacy

We want a fig leaf on the government and a fur coat on us but right now, it is obviously the other way around.  Privacy is worth protecting and not because we are doing anything wrong (the vast majority of the many millions under suspicion surveillance are ordinary law abiding people!)  but because this dragnet that has been cast over us has, and will continue to upset the balance of power that keeps We The People free!

So this show will be focused on privacy issues not because we want to take a bubble bath but because the structure of a free society demands it.

David Slane, David Slane and Associates

Because of my privacy advocacy and Mr. Slanes legal expertise,  our paths have often intersected.  I am so glad to finally get the opportunity to  have a real conversation with him.

david slane

David Slane is an Oklahoma Criminal Defense Attorney and native Oklahoman recognized as an expert in the law.  He works as the Legal Analyst for several OKC TV Stations and often weighs in on matters regarding privacy and civil liberties.  Website for David Slane and Associates

For example, on May 17, Slane  publicly raises an important question regarding the mysterious fee increase for Oklahoma driver’s licenses  – are we funding further implementation of the Federal Real ID Act? (which is prohibited by Oklahoma law)  The Dept. of Public Safety was conveniently unable to respond to that question at the time of airing and to date, Oklahoman’s still don’t know exactly what it is the fee hike is paying for exactly.

Also; Fox 25 Covers Consumer Concerns About Driver’s License Scanning, April 7, 2012

And David Slane has also been called upon to address the drone versus privacy issue; Oklahoma Researchers Test Drones That Can Detect Guns, April 8, 2013

And on the topic of  Automatic License Plate Readers (one of my favorite technologies to despise!), David Slane says;

“I think it’s an invasion of your privacy,” said attorney David Slane. “You’re driving down the street and they’re reading your license plate. Each day we see a new thing happening involving our rights and if we don’t stop somewhere, there aren’t going to be any rights left.”
Read more: http://www.koco.com/news/oklahomanews/okc/Some-say-new-police-technology-is-invasion-of-privacy/-/11777584/15176922/-/cuif7w/-/index.html#ixzz2WE4y22ff

twitterbirdie.jpg

**Side note: If you follow David on Twitter you will get the benefit of being first in the know regarding many major Oklahoma news stories.  (I check his tweets often for that very reason)

Tonight,  we  will get David’s thoughts on the legalities of  biometric ID, drones and NSA spying. 

angry emoticaon

Government Spying – yes! We are MAD!

And that emoticon guy doesn’t really do our outrage justice.

It’s really more like this!

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As you can imagine, Howard and I have plenty to say about the recent revelations that the NSA is indeed indescrimaely collecting personal data on millions of Americans.  Yes – We are frustrated and angry!  This is a good thing.  The worst thing would be to feel overwhelmed, intimidated and to fall silent because that is exactly the effect that  government surveillance is intended produce.  We have to push back now while we still can and we need to be empowered to protect our personal information.

While there is no 100% method to protecting your data, there are some simple changes of habit we can adopt and many tools available that can diminish our vulnerability to government spies and data hoarders.

Donovan Farrow, Alias Forensics

We are excited to introduce Donovan Farrow.  Donovan  has expertise in the ways of the internet and the secret travels of data, to give us just some of the most basic and essential tips to protect our privacy.

alias forensics logo

Donovan is the founder and owner of Alias Forensics which is a digital forensic company located in Oklahoma City.  Donovan is a computer forensic examiner.   That means is plain language, he’s the computer whisperer.  Donovan can take digital data that would be gobbledy-gook to most of us and translate these data for us.  Donovan often takes his knowledge to the courts where he is called upon to ensure the digital data that is being presented  in court was collected with integrity and  that it is factually correct. He is an interpreter.

I have heard horror stories about people sent up the river for an illegal image or information on their computer that they had no knowledge of.  Donovan can find out where the offending information actually came from and how it got there in the first place so the innocent might have a fighting chance. This is probably a shameful oversimplification but hopefully you get the picture.

Be sure to note the call in number below because you will want to take advantage of the opportunity to ask our two expert guests some questions!

After tonight’s show, AxXiom For Liberty, will be taking a two moth hiatus –But when we come back we will be giving some real attention to practical solutions to bolster our opacity and increase government and corporate transparency.

Your questions or comments are always welcome!
CALL IN LINE 512-646-1984
Miss a show?  Get the Podcast!  Archives here
Other ways to listen;
Listen to Logos Radio Network on SHOUTcast
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State of Surveillance Annual Edition -Tonight on AxXiom For Liberty Live!

 a4l 55

AxXiom For Liberty Live!  6-8 PM Central

Listen Live-LogosRadioNetwork.com  click ‘Listen’ then choose your Internet speed.  Logos Radio Network is a listener supported, free speech radio network and your contributions are vital but you do not have to be a subscriber in order to hear the show.

Kaye Beach

Jan. 4, 2013

For the last three years that Howard and I have been doing the show together, we have devoted an entire show to rounding up the stand out developments in surveillance policies and technologies aimed at the people of the USA.  Unfortunately, there is never a shortage of material.

We will cover a lot of ground tonight.  But don’t worry if you miss a link or something because after the show concludes I will post my entire set of notes right here. (as promised, here are the notes from the show.  A4L 3 Annual Surveillance Edition 2013 If I missed anything, let me know!)

Everyone seems rather dispirited right now and the last thing we want to do is  to mire you in hopelessness. More than just a litany of the years worst surveillance stories, we want to provide some context and we want to talk about resistance and hope.  We also want to hear from you!

CALL IN LINE 512-646-1984

Miss a show?  Get the Podcast!  Archives here

Other ways to listen;

Listen to Logos Radio Network on SHOUTcast

iTunes-AxXiom For Liberty and other great Logos Radio Network shows can be accessed by iPhone and iPad on iTunes!  Just search iTunes for “AxXiom For Liberty” or “Logos Radio Network”

NSA Whistleblower Tells How We All Are Being Spied On

Kaye Beach

August 23, 2012

Entered without comment.

 

Op-Docs

The Program

By LAURA POITRAS
Published: August 22, 2012

It took me a few days to work up the nerve to phone William Binney. As someone already a “target” of the United States government, I found it difficult not to worry about the chain of unintended consequences I might unleash by calling Mr. Binney, a 32-year veteran of the National Security Agency turned whistle-blower. He picked up. I nervously explained I was a documentary filmmaker and wanted to speak to him. To my surprise he replied: “I’m tired of my government harassing me and violating the Constitution. Yes, I’ll talk to you.”

Read more and watch the interview with William Binney

Incoming! Cyber IN-Security Sham Bill

Kaye Beach

April  10, 2012

From ABC News published April 10, 2012;

Cybersecurity: Protecting Against Internet Attacks Threatens Civil Liberties

Congress is set to act on cybersecurity legislation that has been making its way through committees in both chambers for several years. The House is set to vote on these bills during the week of April 23, dubbed “Cybersecurity Week.” The Senate will take action soon after.

. . .The House is expected to kick off Cybersecurity week by taking up HR 3523, a bill sponsored by Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.).

. . .The House Intelligence Committee approved the bill in a secret session held one day after the bill was introduced and without a single public hearing on the legislation

. . .For civil libertarians, the most important part of all the cyber bills is buried in the language describing “enhanced information sharing” of cybersecurity threats between private companies and the government. To date, shortcomings in current law and excessive government secrecy have stymied appropriate sharing of carefully defined threat information among industry players and between industry and the government. But in the Rogers bill, information sharing provisions allow for “too much information” sharing, threatening to transform needed reform into a shadow surveillance network.

Here’s how. The Rogers bill creates a sweeping “cybersecurity exception” to every single federal and state law, including key privacy laws—the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Wiretap Act, the Privacy Act—allowing private companies holding our private communications to share them with each, with the National Security Agency (NSA), and with other intelligence and defense agencies, and all other agencies of the federal government.

. . .Rogers makes no effort to list the specific categories of cyber threat indicators that may be shared, instead offering a very broad, almost unlimited definition of the information that can be shared with government agencies. It allows companies to share any information “pertaining to the protection of” a system or network. Since any digital communication may contain an attack and since ISPs and other communications providers routinely scan all their traffic to protect their networks, this appears to allow all of that traffic to be shared with the government.

Read More

The Stellar Wind is Blowing

Kaye Beach

March 18, 2012

 

Wired just published a whopper of an article by James Bamford on his favorite topic-the NSA.

 

Clencher quote;

The former NSA official held his thumb and forefinger close together: “We are that far from a turnkey totalitarian state.”

We are in so much trouble people.

The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)

 

Under construction by contractors with top-secret clearances, the blandly named Utah Data Center is being built for the National Security Agency. A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks.

The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013. Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.” It is, in some measure, the realization of the “total information awareness” program created during the first term of the Bush administration—an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans’ privacy.

But “this is more than just a data center,” says one senior intelligence official who until recently was involved with the program. The mammoth Bluffdale center will have another important and far more secret role that until now has gone unrevealed. It is also critical, he says, for breaking codes. And code-breaking is crucial, because much of the data that the center will handle—financial information, stock transactions, business deals, foreign military and diplomatic secrets, legal documents, confidential personal communications—will be heavily encrypted.

According to another top official also involved with the program, the NSA made an enormous breakthrough several years ago in its ability to cryptanalyze, or break, unfathomably complex encryption systems employed by not only governments around the world but also many average computer users in the US. The upshot, according to this official: “Everybody’s a target; everybody with communication is a target.

. . .

For the first time, a former NSA official has gone on the record to describe the program, codenamed Stellar Wind, in detail. William Binney was a senior NSA crypto-mathematician largely responsible for automating the agency’s worldwide eavesdropping network. A tall man with strands of black hair across the front of his scalp and dark, determined eyes behind thick-rimmed glasses, the 68-year-old spent nearly four decades breaking codes and finding new ways to channel billions of private phone calls and email messages from around the world into the NSA’s bulging databases. As chief and one of the two cofounders of the agency’s Signals Intelligence Automation Research Center, Binney and his team designed much of the infrastructure that’s still likely used to intercept international and foreign communications.

He explains that the agency could have installed its tapping gear at the nation’s cable landing stations—the more than two dozen sites on the periphery of the US where fiber-optic cables come ashore. If it had taken that route, the NSA would have been able to limit its eavesdropping to just international communications, which at the time was all that was allowed under US law. Instead it chose to put the wiretapping rooms at key junction points throughout the country—large, windowless buildings known as switches—thus gaining access to not just international communications but also to most of the domestic traffic flowing through the US. The network of intercept stations goes far beyond the single room in an AT&T building in San Francisco exposed by a whistle-blower in 2006. “I think there’s 10 to 20 of them,” Binney says. “That’s not just San Francisco; they have them in the middle of the country and also on the East Coast.”

Read on

Big Brother is ALL Business

Is Lockheed Martin Shadowing You?

William D. Hartung

How a Giant Weapons Maker Became the New Big Brother

Have you noticed that Lockheed Martin, the giant weapons corporation, is shadowing you?  No?  Then you haven’t been paying much attention.  Let me put it this way: If you have a life, Lockheed Martin is likely a part of it.

True, Lockheed Martin doesn’t actually run the U.S. government, but sometimes it seems as if it might as well.  After all, it received $36 billion in government contracts in 2008 alone, more than any company in history.  It now does work for more than two dozen government agencies from the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy to the Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency.  It’s involved in surveillance and information processing for the CIA, the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Pentagon, the Census Bureau, and the Postal Service.

. . .A For-Profit Government-in-the-Making

If you want to feel a tad more intimidated, consider Lockheed Martin’s sheer size for a moment. After all, the company receives one of every 14 dollars doled out by the Pentagon. In fact, its government contracts, thought about another way, amount to a “Lockheed Martin tax” of $260 per taxpaying household in the United States, and no weapons contractor has more power or money to wield to defend its turf. It spent $12 million on congressional lobbying and campaign contributions in 2009 alone.

Not surprisingly, it’s the top contributor to the incoming House Armed Services Committee chairman, Republican Howard P. “Buck” McKeon of California, giving more than $50,000 in the most recent election cycle. It also tops the list of donors to Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI), the powerful chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and the self-described “#1 earmarks guy in the U.S. Congress.”

Add to all that its 140,000 employees and its claim to have facilities in 46 states, and the scale of its clout starts to become clearer.  While the bulk of its influence-peddling activities may be perfectly legal, the company also has quite a track record when it comes to law-breaking: it ranks number one on the “contractor misconduct” database maintained by the Project on Government Oversight, a Washington-DC-based watchdog group.

Read More

 

Dec 9, 2010

Lockheed Martin Gives Gift of Support to International Association of Chiefs of Police Foundation

“Lockheed Martin has been a driving force on our board and a leader in our fundraising efforts,” said Chief Michael Carroll, Chief of the West Goshen Township, Pennsylvania Police Department and Chairman of the IACP Foundation. “Their tremendous philanthropic dedication to Foundation programs and initiatives is an outstanding example of truly committed corporate citizenship”

Hera’s an oldie but a goodie!

2008

Lockheed wins $1 billion FBI biometric contract

FBI awards Lockheed Martin a 10-year contract to design, develop, test, and deploy a next-generation biometrics-based identification system

Creating The “Domestic Surveillance State”

Creating the “Domestic Surveillance State” by Alfred W. McCoy

In his approach to National Security Agency surveillance, as well as CIA renditions, drone assassinations, and military detention, President Obama has to a surprising extent embraced the expanded executive powers championed by his conservative predecessor, George W. Bush. This bipartisan affirmation of the imperial executive could “reverberate for generations,” warns Jack Balkin, a specialist on First Amendment freedoms at Yale Law School. And consider these but some of the early fruits from the hybrid seeds that the Global War on Terror has planted on American soil. Yet surprisingly few Americans seem aware of the toll that this already endless war has taken on our civil liberties.
Don’t be too surprised, then, when, in the midst of some future crisis, advanced surveillance methods and other techniques developed in our recent counterinsurgency wars migrate from Baghdad, Falluja, and Kandahar to your hometown or urban neighborhood. And don’t ever claim that nobody told you this could happen — at least not if you care to read on.

Think of our counterinsurgency wars abroad as so many living laboratories for the undermining of a democratic society at home, a process historians of such American wars can tell you has been going on for a long, long time. Counterintelligence innovations like centralized data, covert penetration, and disinformation developed during the Army’s first protracted pacification campaigning a foreign land — the Philippines from 1898 to 1913 — were repatriated to the United States during World War I, becoming the blueprint for an invasive internal security apparatus that persisted for the next half century.

Almost 90 years later, George W. Bush’s Global War on Terror plunged the U.S. military into four simultaneous counterinsurgency campaigns, large and small — in Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and (once again) the Philippines — transforming a vast swath of the planet into an ad hoc “counterterrorism” laboratory. The result? Cutting-edge high-tech security and counter terror techniques that are now slowly migrating homeward.

As the War on Terror enters its ninth year to become one of America’s longest overseas conflicts, the time has come to ask an uncomfortable question: What impact have the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — and the atmosphere they created domestically — had on the quality of our democracy?

Every American knows that we are supposedly fighting elsewhere to defend democracy here at home. Yet the crusade for democracy abroad, largely unsuccessful in its own right, has proven remarkably effective in building a technological template that could be just a few tweaks away from creating a domestic surveillance state — with omnipresent cameras, deep data-mining, nano-second biometric identification, and drone aircraft patrolling “the homeland.”

Read more

Even if its name is increasingly anathema in Washington, the ongoing Global War on Terror has helped bring about a massive expansion of domestic surveillance by the FBI and the National Security Agency (NSA) whose combined data-mining systems have already swept up several billion private documents from U.S. citizens into classified data banks. Abroad, after years of failing counterinsurgency efforts in the Middle East, the Pentagon began applying biometrics — the science of identification via facial shape, fingerprints, and retinal or iris patterns — to the pacification of Iraqi cities, as well as the use of electronic intercepts for instant intelligence and the split-second application of satellite imagery to aid an assassination campaign by drone aircraft that reaches from Africa to South Asia.

In the panicky aftermath of some future terrorist attack, Washington could quickly fuse existing foreign and domestic surveillance techniques, as well as others now being developed on distant battlefields, to create an instant digital surveillance state.

Project Vigilant and the government/corporate destruction of privacy

By Glenn Greenwald

    Forbes‘ technology writer Andy Greenberg reports that at the Defcon Security Conference yesterday, an individual named Chet Uber appeared with revelations about the case of accused WikiLeaks leaker Bradley Manning and government informant Adrian Lamo.  These revelations are both remarkable in their own right and, more important, highlight some extremely significant, under-examined developments unrelated to that case.  This is a somewhat complex story and it raises even more complex issues, but it is extremely worthwhile to examine.

    Uber is the Executive Director of a highly secretive group called Project Vigilant, which, as Greenberg writes, “monitors the traffic of 12 regional Internet service providers” and “hands much of that information to federal agencies.” More on that in a minute.  Uber revealed yesterday that Lamo, the hacker who turned in Manning to the federal government for allegedly confessing to being the WikiLeaks leaker, was a “volunteer analyst” for Project Vigilant; that it was Uber who directed Lamo to federal authorities to inform on Manning by using his contacts to put Lamo in touch with the “highest level people in the government” at “three letter agencies”; and, according to a Wired report this morning, it was Uber who strongly pressured Lamo to inform by telling him (falsely) that he’d likely be arrested if he failed to turn over to federal agents everything he received from Manning.

    So, while Lamo has repeatedly denied (including in his interview with me) that he ever worked with federal authorities, it turns out that he was a “volunteer analyst” for an entity which collects private Internet data in order to process it and turn it over to the Federal Government.  That makes the whole Manning case all the more strange:  Manning not only abruptly contacted a disreputable hacker out of the blue and confessed to major crimes over the Interent, but the hacker he arbitrarily chose just happened to be an “analyst” for a group that monitors on a massive scale the private Internet activities of American citizens in order to inform on them to U.S. law enforcement agencies (on a side note, if you want to judge what Adrian Lamo is, watch him in this amazing BBC interview; I’ve never seen someone behave quite like him on television before).

    In terms of what they mean for the Manning case, those revelations require a lot more analysis, but I want to focus on the much more important aspect of these revelations:  namely, what Project Vigilant does as well as the booming private domestic espionage industry of which they are a part.  There’s very little public information about this organization, but what they essentially are is some sort of vigilante group that collects vast amount of private data about the Internet activities of millions of citizens, processes that data into usable form, and then literally turns it over to the U.S. Government, claiming its motive is to help the Government detect Terrorists and other criminals.  From the Forbes report:

    According to Uber, one of Project Vigilant’s manifold methods for gathering intelligence includes collecting information from a dozen regional U.S. Internet service providers (ISPs). Uber declined to name those ISPs, but said that because the companies included a provision allowing them to share users’ Internet activities with third parties in their end user license agreements (EULAs), Vigilant was able to legally gather data from those Internet carriers and use it to craft reports for federal agencies. A Vigilant press release says that the organization tracks more than 250 million IP addresses a day and can “develop portfolios on any name, screen name or IP address.”

    They’re tracking 250 million IP addresses a day, compiling dossiers, and then turning them over to federal agencies — with the ability to link that information to “any name.”  As this June, 2010 article from the Examiner — one of the very few ever written about the group — put it:

    Project Vigilant has been operating in near total secrecy for over a decade, monitoring potential domestic terrorist activity and tracking various criminal activities on the Web. In a series of exclusive interviews with some of the group’s leaders, it’s clear that the people doing this work are among the most sophisticated and experienced experts in today’s rapidly moving world of Internet security.

    In case you doubt the seriousness of this group, consider the list of its officials, which includes Mark Rasch, who headed the DOJ’s Internet Crime Unit for 9 years; Kevin Manson, a retired Homeland Security official; George Johnson, who “develop[ed] secure tools for the exchange of sensitive information between federal agencies” for the Pentagon; Ira Winkler, a former NSA official; and Suzanne Gorman, former security chief of the New York Stock Exchange.  These are people with extensive, sophisticated expertise in compiling highly invasive data about individuals’ Internet activities, and more so — given their background — how to package it in a way that can be used by federal agencies.

    * * * * *

    Project Vigilant is but one manifestation of a booming and unaccountable industry:  groups which collect vast amounts of highly informative data about American citizens — particularly their Internet activities — and then sell it or otherwise furnish it to the U.S. Government.  A separate Examiner article described how Project Vigilant is funded by BBHC Global, a highly secretive “information security firm” — see if you can find any information about it — whose Managing Director, Steven Ruhe, drapes himself in the same creepy, vigilante-patriot language as the group which he funds:

    In the fight against terror, the U.S needs all the help it can get, even if that assistance comes from unpaid volunteers.  For the past 14 years, a significant volunteer group of U.S. citizens has been operating in near total secrecy to monitor and report illegal or potentially harmful activity on the Web.

    Flying “under the radar” and carefully discouraging any press coverage that focused on the group, Project Vigilant has quietly operated in the eddies and whirlpools of Internet research, feeding tips and warnings to federal, state and military agencies. The group claims over 500 current members, although their names and identities are still mostly secret.  Their members comprise some of the most knowledgeable experts in the field of information security today and include current employees of the U.S. government, law enforcement and the military. . . .

    The group’s collaboration with the U.S. Government is handled through another highly secure web portal which supports protected email, chat and other features.

    Project Vigilant is funded by BBHC Global, an information security firm based in the Midwest, and private donations. Uber’s boss is Steven Ruhe, the Managing Member of BBHC Global. “I’ve always been a small town guy with big dreams,” said Ruhe who was born and raised in Nebraska and sells Amway products on the side. “This work is for a really good cause.”

    Project Vigilant is organized and run on a structure not unlike that of the military. Uber himself will serve only two more years in his “tour of duty” as the Project’s Director and then another member will take his place.

    “This is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life,” said Uber. “I’m helping keep our country safer.”

    Uber told Computer World that he decided to divulge his group’s role in directing Lamo to turn into an informant because he thought that Lamo’s patriotic act was being unfairly disparaged.

    What’s really going on here is that the ability to construct dossiers on citizens’ Internet activities has increased dramatically over the last several years, as increasing parts of citizens’ private lives take place online.  Put another way — and this isn’t news — online privacy has all but evaporated.  Virtually every step anyone takes online — from the websites they visit to the transactions they engage in — are not only now stored and tracked by multiple companies, but are then compiled and made available to a wide variety of groups.  As a Wall St. Journal article from this weekend documents, the original impetus for this comprehensive tracking was a commercial one:  the more websites and advertisers know about you, the more they can make use of that knowledge, from auctioning you to various advertisers, selling the data about you, and catering messages and ads to your profile.  As the ACLU’s long-time privacy expert Chris Calabrese told me this morning, “virtually every step you take online is now tracked by numerous mechanisms and instantly processed.”

    But it’s the re-packaging and transfer of this data to the U.S. Government — combined with the ability to link it not only to your online identity (IP address), but also your offline identity (name) — that has made this industry particularly pernicious.  There are serious obstacles that impede the Government’s ability to create these electronic dossiers themselves.  It requires both huge resources and expertise.  Various statutes enacted in the mid-1970s — such as the Privacy Act of 1974 — impose transparency requirements and other forms of accountability on programs whereby the Government collects data on citizens.  And the fact that much of the data about you ends up in the hands of private corporations can create further obstacles, because the tools which the Government has to compel private companies to turn over this information is limited (the fact that the FBI is sometimes unable to obtain your “transactional” Internet data without a court order — i.e., whom you email, who emails you, what Google searches you enter, and what websites you visit –is what has caused the Obama administration to demand that Congress amend the Patriot Act to vest them with the power to obtain all of that with no judicial supervision).

    But the emergence of a private market that sells this data to the Government (or, in the case of Project Vigilance, is funded in order to hand it over voluntarily) has eliminated those obstacles.  As a result, the Government is able to circumvent the legal and logistical restrictions on maintaining vast dossiers on citizens, and is doing exactly that.  While advertisers really only care about your online profile (IP address) in order to assess what you do and who you are, the Government wants your online activities linked to your actual name and other identifying information.  As Calabrese put it:  “it’s becoming incredibly easy for these companies to link your IP information to who you really are, by, for example, tracing it to your Facebook page or other footprints you leave with your identifying information.”  As but one example, The Washington Post recently began automatically linking any visitors — without their knowledge or consent — to their logged-in Facebook page.  The information turned over to the Government is now easily linkable — and usually linked — to the citizens’ actual identity.

    An incredibly prescient 2004 Report from the ACLU documented the flourishing problem back then.  This was its title:

    Read More

    http://www.salon.com/news/wikileaks/?story=/opinion/greenwald/2010/08/02/privacy

    Former Official Indicted for Mishandling Classified Info

    Thomas A. Drake, a former National Security Agency official, was indicted yesterday after allegedly having disclosed classified information to a reporter for a national newspaper “who wrote newspaper articles about the NSA and its intelligence activities in 2006 and 2007.”  The reporter and the newspaper were not named.

    Mr. Drake allegedly provided classified documents to the reporter and assisted him or her with researching stories about the NSA that were published between February 27, 2006 and November 28, 2007.  “Defendant DRAKE served as a source for many of these newspaper articles, including articles that contained SIGINT information,” the April 14 indictment (pdf) stated.

    Read More

    http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/2010/04/drake_indict.html