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Current Topic: Surveillance

Stop The Spying
Topic: Surveillance 11:08 am EST, Jan 25, 2008

Don't just tell Congress to stop the spying -- show them.

Countless citizens have told Congress to reject telecom immunity, but the Senate is still threatening to pass a bill giving immunity to lawbreaking phone companies. It's time to get creative and move beyond words. Let's show our elected representatives who supports the rule of law -- ordinary Americans from across the country.

These photographs are fun but doesn't taking a picture of yourself alongside your political opinion violate the privacy these people are fighting for? Clearly, the ones in this flikr pool will be the first rounded up when the panic begins.

(For an interesting opposing view, see this.)

Stop The Spying

RE: Why does AT&T want to know what you're downloading? - By Tim Wu - Slate Magazine
Topic: Surveillance 3:38 pm EST, Jan 19, 2008

dc0de wrote:

The puzzle is how AT&T thinks that its proposal is anything other than corporate seppuku.

Scary article, really important stuff, but I LOVE the line above... :)

What if, instead of filtering out copyrighted material, they used an IPS to filter out exploits instead? Are the civil liberties issues the same when the same sort of filtering is done but in a way that helps, rather than hurts, the user whose traffic is subject to the filtering?

RE: Why does AT&T want to know what you're downloading? - By Tim Wu - Slate Magazine

Surveillance Doesn't Mean What You Think It Means | Threat Level from
Topic: Surveillance 12:51 pm EST, Dec 13, 2007

Now, under traditional FISA rules and the Restore Act, the NSA can listen in on phone calls of foreigners outside the country without a warrant. They can also wiretap internet fiber optic cables outside the United States without a warrant. They can bribe a foreign ISP to help them read foreigners' emails without a warrant. After much back and forth, Hoekstra's spokesman admitted as much.

So how could Hoekstra defend Klein's writing that the Restore Act "would require the surveillance of every foreign-terrorist target's call to be approved by the FISA Court."

Well, Hoekstra (and the National Review) didn't tell you that they weren't using the dictionary definition of surveillance. They aren't using the term as you and I and the rest of the country (excepting a handful of D.C. lawyers) understand it.

Instead, Hoekstra was using FISA's definition of surveillance, which, as one of the law's oddities, says that listening in on foreigners' phone calls from taps outside the country or wiretapping the internet in a foreign country isn't surveillance.

Surveillance Doesn't Mean What You Think It Means | Threat Level from

860,000 Name Long Terror Watch List Scrutinizes Americans Most on Threat Level
Topic: Surveillance 10:08 am EDT, Oct 25, 2007

The nation's centralized watch list has grown to include 755,000 names suspected of having terrorist ties, resulting in nearly 20,000 positive matches of persons against the list in 2006, according to a new report from Congress's investigative reporting arm. Since the list is now used in nearly all routine police stops and for domestic airline travel, Americans made up the bulk of those matches.

The numbers appear to be a bit fuzzy, but there is now a centralized federal list of people who are not suspected of a crime that is checked everytime you have an enounter with a police officer. The size of the list is rapidly growing as are the places it is used. Inevitably the sort of people who are placed on it will evolve as well.

(For those who don't get it, yes terrorism is a crime, but there is a significant difference between a most wanted list that looks for people who are suspected of having committed crimes in the past and a watch list that looks for people who are suspected of being capable of committing crimes in the future. What is required to establish such suspicion? Could it merely be adherence to a particular political view?)

860,000 Name Long Terror Watch List Scrutinizes Americans Most on Threat Level

Defense Lawyers Cringe at MediaDefender's Child-Porn Patrol Plans
Topic: Surveillance 11:55 am EDT, Sep 27, 2007

Although AG's offices obviously need to outsource software development, there are obvious problems with outsourcing the identification of criminals to an external service provider.

A private company that's under contract to collect information for law enforcement investigators has a financial incentive to produce results...

This is already a serious problem with prosecutors. In the hands of a private company the risk of abuse is even greater because the incentives are greater and many of the counter-incentives are removed.

"No software can determine whether a person (in a picture) is 17 or 18," Douglas says, so there are bound to be a lot of innocent IP addresses collected by MediaDefender and sent to the AG, before further investigation weeds out innocent suspects from actual lawbreakers.

Most people can't tell whether a person is 17 or 18 regardless of whether or not they are in a picture, which underlines the absurdity of sending people to prison for years and permanently tracking them as sex offenders in such cases.

San Francisco public defender Adachi says the relationship also conceivably gives MediaDefender the power to decide whom to collect evidence against and whom to let go.

"Say I ... find a web site that's run by my sister-in-law and decide that, 'Geez, I'm not going to turn that over,'" Adachi says. "There's no sworn duty by the private company (collecting evidence for law enforcement) to prosecute people in a fair, evenhanded manner."

Not that such a sworn duty stops AGs from doing exactly this all the time.

Defense Lawyers Cringe at MediaDefender's Child-Porn Patrol Plans

Tracking Cellphones
Topic: Surveillance 8:50 am EDT, Sep  6, 2007

Schools Chancellor Joel Klein yesterday fired a veteran worker whose movements were tracked for five months through the GPS device in his cellphone, leading to charges that he was repeatedly cutting out early.

Tracking Cellphones

Liberties Advocates Fear Abuse of Satellite Images - New York Times
Topic: Surveillance 9:04 am EDT, Aug 21, 2007

For years, a handful of civilian agencies have used limited images from the nation’s constellation of spy satellites to track hurricane damage, monitor climate change and create topographical maps. But a new plan to allow emergency response, border control and, eventually, law enforcement agencies greater access to sophisticated satellites and other sensors that monitor American territory has drawn sharp criticism from civil liberties advocates who say the government is overstepping the use of military technology for domestic surveillance.

There seems to be a conflict here even though nothing is going on yet. However, this discussion is inevitable. Why bother installing cameras on street corners when you already have them in space? Just think of it as a force multiplier. You don't have any right to privacy when you are outside! People COULD see you. Ergo it is OK if the government always sees you and keeps records of that indefinately. There is no difference!

Liberties Advocates Fear Abuse of Satellite Images - New York Times

Surveillance & Society Homepage
Topic: Surveillance 2:38 pm EDT, Aug 19, 2007

Surveillance & Society

the fully peer-reviewed transdisciplinary online surveillance studies journal.

Surveillance & Society Homepage Kerr vs. Lendermann
Topic: Surveillance 6:23 pm EDT, Aug 18, 2007

You will be very hard pressed to find a more informed discussion of the issues surrounding the recent FISA bill and the less recent Habeas issues than this video. Its about an hour and a half. I enjoyed it. Kerr vs. Lendermann

Threat Level - Wired Blogs: The NSA surveillance hearing
Topic: Surveillance 12:23 pm EDT, Aug 16, 2007

Bondy, for the government, gets the last word and neatly sums up the case for the three judges.

"It's entirely possible that everything they think they know is entirely false," he says.

If you trust us, you're stupid.

Threat Level - Wired Blogs: The NSA surveillance hearing

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