Create an Account
username: password:
  MemeStreams Logo

Spontaneous Sociability and The Enthymeme


Picture of Rattle
Rattle's Pics
My Blog
My Profile
My Audience
My Sources
Send Me a Message

sponsored links

Rattle's topics
   Sci-Fi/Fantasy Literature
  Tech Industry
  Telecom Industry
Health and Wellness
   Using MemeStreams
Current Events
  War on Terrorism
Local Information
  SF Bay Area
   SF Bay Area News
  Nano Tech
  International Relations
  Politics and Law
   Civil Liberties
    Internet Civil Liberties
   Intellectual Property
   Computer Security
   PC Hardware
   Computer Networking
   Software Development
    Open Source Development
    Perl Programming
    PHP Programming
   Web Design
  Military Technology
  High Tech Developments

support us

Get MemeStreams Stuff!

Current Topic: Surveillance

Xinhua - China has an open ID database.
Topic: Surveillance 4:20 pm EST, Feb 11, 2007

Con artists and swindlers in China who try to use fake ID will have a tougher time trying to pass themselves off as someone else now that the public has access to the Ministry of Public Security's population database.

Anyone can now send a text message or visit the country's population information center's website, to check if the name and the ID number of a person's identity card match. If they do match the ID cardholder's picture also appears, said the Ministry, adding that no other
information is available to ensure a citizen's privacy is protected.

This is a novel approach.

Xinhua - China has an open ID database.

Administration to let court monitor domestic spying -
Topic: Surveillance 8:38 pm EST, Jan 17, 2007

The Bush administration has agreed to allow a federal court that specializes in wiretap requests to oversee its non-warrant electronic surveillance program, the Justice Department said Wednesday.

In a letter to Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales wrote that a judge on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has agreed to authorize the program and preserve "the speed and agility necessary" to battle terrorism.

The Bush administration has asserted for more than a year that it had the authority to monitor U.S. residents' international communications without a judge's approval, as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act requires. But many lawmakers and legal observers have questioned that claim and argued that President Bush violated that 1978 law by authorizing the eavesdropping.

"It proves that this surveillance has always been possible under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and that there was never a good reason to evade the law," Reyes said in a written statement.

Well, it's about damn time.

"These orders allow us to do the same thing that we've been doing, but we will be operating under the orders we've obtained from a FISA judge," the official said.

The government will ask the court to approve surveillance requests for 90 days, after which it must seek renewed permission. Justice Department officials said the court issued more than one order governing the program, but they refused to provide details of the still-classified program.

Basically, what they are saying is that the whole time there was no reason to be operating the program outside of the long established legal framework designed to govern this type of monitoring, and that the whole time this was just an attempt to see if they could get away with skirting checks intended for this type of program.

Gonzales wrote that the effort to bring the program under the FISA court dates back two years. That assertion drew questions at the White House, where Snow tried to fend off suggestions that Wednesday's announcement was politically timed.

I call bullshit! Of course it was politically timed. This would not have happened if the Republicans didn't lose control of Congress.

Administration to let court monitor domestic spying -

McConnell connection to Poindexter/TIA/Booz Allen -
Topic: Surveillance 8:08 am EST, Jan  7, 2007

More searching around indicates there may be some credence to the Richard Sale post asserting that Negroponte was forced out of his role due to a spat over domestic spying. If that was the key issue at hand, McConnell seems like exactly the type of guy he would be replaced with.

Still, some of McConnell's longtime associations may cause him headaches during Senate confirmation hearings, especially with the Democrats taking over Congress. One such tie is with another former Navy admiral, John Poindexter, the Iran-contra figure who started the controversial "Total Information Awareness" program at the Pentagon in 2002. The international consultancy that McConnell has worked at for a decade as a senior vice president, Booz Allen Hamilton, won contracts worth $63 million on the TIA "data-mining" program, which was later cancelled after congressional Democrats raised questions about invasion of privacy. McConnell will be named by week's end to replace John Negroponte, who will move on to become Condoleezza Rice's deputy secretary of State, according to a White House official who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. While his role in the TIA program is unlikely to derail McConnell's nomination, spokespeople for some leading Democratic senators such as Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Ron Wyden of Oregon say it will be examined carefully.

McConnell was a key figure in making Booz Allen, along with Science Applications International Corp., the prime contractor on the project, according to officials in the intelligence community and at Booz Allen who would discuss contracts for data mining only on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject. "I think Poindexter probably respected Mike and probably entrusted the TIA program to him as a result," said a longtime associate of McConnell's who worked at NSA with him. Poindexter, who lives in Rockville, Md., did not answer phone calls. Booz Allen spokesman George Farrar said McConnell was not speaking to the media prior to his nomination. Farrar also had no comment on the TIA program.

McConnell connection to Poindexter/TIA/Booz Allen -

27B Stroke 6 | Pre-Crime Eye-in-the-Sky, Now Privatized
Topic: Surveillance 2:23 pm EST, Jan  2, 2007

Jackson, the capital of Mississippi, is now being patrolled by a surveillance helicopter complete with high-tech wizardry such as a zoom camera, insanely high-powered searchlight and an infrared camera, according to Jackson Free Press's Adam Lynch. But the real story isn't in Jackson's pretension to being a big city and wanting to use infrared cameras to illegally see into the homes of its citizens, its that the helicopter is mostly funded by private donations.

While spending $500,000 a year in operating costs on a crime-fighting helicopter might seem overkill for a city with fewer than 200,000 citizens, the city is actually paying very little -- most of the money is coming from private donors, including former Netscape CEO Jim Barksdale.

Even better, McCreery has volunteered that the helicopter will using its infrared camera to peer into houses, something that's been ruled unconstitutional for police officers.

Now the city has signed on to provide $25,000 in startup costs and ongoing operating expense contributions. This strikes me as a supremely odd arrangement. There's now a snooping helicopter that can zoom over and peer into Jacksonian's houses, but its not clear who runs or owns the company.


27B Stroke 6 | Pre-Crime Eye-in-the-Sky, Now Privatized

New Word.
Topic: Surveillance 1:50 pm EST, Nov 13, 2006

Spychotic (spy-kot-ik) : Characterized or afflicted with irrational, malicious, intrusive behavior.

See also : Homeland Security.

Please use as opportunity arises.

New Word.

Hewlett Review Is Said to Detail Deeper Spying - New York Times
Topic: Surveillance 4:10 am EDT, Sep 18, 2006

This article in the New York Times contains a fair amount of information not previously known about HP's surveillance activities against their board members. According this this article, the California AG said last week that they have enough evidence to indict people both inside and outside of the company. The House will be holding hearings this week related to this situation as well.

Those briefed on the internal review said that at various times, questions were raised about the legality of the methods used. They did not identify who raised the questions, when, or to whom they were addressed. But a crucial legal opinion, its origins previously undisclosed, was supplied by a Boston firm that shares an address and phone number with a detective firm on the case.

At least one reporter, Dawn Kawamoto of the online technology news service CNET, may have been followed as part of the 2006 investigation, said a person briefed on the investigation. Ms. Kawamoto was a co-author of an article on a senior management meeting in January.

The detectives also tried to plant software in the computer of an unspecified CNET reporter that would communicate back to the detectives, people briefed on the company review said. Ms. Kawamoto said in an interview this month that prosecutors had told her that such a ploy may have been used, but said she was not aware of any surveillance.

Representing themselves as an anonymous tipster, the detectives e-mailed a document to a CNET reporter, according to those briefed on the review. The e-mail was embedded with software that was supposed to trace who the document was forwarded to. The software did not work, however, and the reporter never wrote any story based on the bogus document.

On Saturday, the company identified one of two employees who it said had been a target of scrutiny in the internal operation. It said the private phone records of the employee, Michael Moeller, director of corporate media relations, were taken.

Within 60 days [of the second leak], the investigation into the leaks was up and running, according to those briefed on the company review. Responsibility for the investigation was delegated to the company’s global investigations unit, based in the Boston area. Those company officials turned the effort over to Security Outsourcing Solutions, a two-person agency that hires specialists for investigations.

That firm hired Action Research Group, an investigative firm in Melbourne, Fla. The actual work of obtaining the phone records was given to other subcontractors, one of which is said to have worked in or near Omaha. The methods were said to have included the use of subterfuge, a practice known as pretexting, in which investigators pose as those whose records they a... [ Read More (0.1k in body) ]

Hewlett Review Is Said to Detail Deeper Spying - New York Times

The Volokh Conspiracy - The Politics of Surveillance and the Specter NSA Bill:
Topic: Surveillance 11:57 pm EDT, Sep 15, 2006

On a scale of 1 to 10, in which 1 is the least important and least far-reaching and 10 is the most important and most far-reaching, the controversial parts of the Patriot Act renewal were about a 2. Nonetheless, the Bush Administration struggled for months to push through the legislation. Congress held hearings on almost every teeny tiny piece of text...

Compare that to the developing politics surrounding the Specter NSA bill, which was voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. On the same scale of 1 to 10, in which 1 is the least important and 10 is the most important, the Specter bill is somewhere around an 8. The Specter bill would reorient the basic role of the legislative branch in national security surveillance. In terms of importance, its provisions dwarf the provisions in the Patriot Act renewal by orders of magnitude.

The Volokh Conspiracy - The Politics of Surveillance and the Specter NSA Bill:

Phone-Records Scandal at HP - Newsweek Business
Topic: Surveillance 5:27 pm EDT, Sep  6, 2006

The confrontation at Hewlett-Packard started innocently enough. Last January, the online technology site CNET published an article about the long-term strategy at HP, the company ranked No. 11 in the Fortune 500. While the piece was upbeat, it quoted an anonymous HP source and contained information that only could have come from a director. HP’s chairwoman, Patricia Dunn, told another director she wanted to know who it was; she was fed up with ongoing leaks to the media going back to CEO Carly Fiorina’s tumultuous tenure that ended in early 2005. According to an internal HP e-mail, Dunn then took the extraordinary step of authorizing a team of independent electronic-security experts to spy on the January 2006 communications of the other 10 directors—not the records of calls (or e-mails) from HP itself, but the records of phone calls made from personal accounts. That meant calls from the directors’ home and their private cell phones.

Any time a director resigns from a U.S. public corporation, federal law requires the company to disclose it to the SEC in what’s called an 8-K filing. If the director resigned for reasons related to a “disagreement” with the company about “operations, policies or practices,” that, too, is now required. HP reported Perkins’s resignation to the SEC four days after it happened—back in May—but gave no reason for the resignation, instead including only a press release thanking Perkins for his years of service. Perkins has twice challenged that omission in e-mails to the HP board and, he says, he received no response from HP.

This security team pretexted all the directors' home and cellular phone records. Perkins, who was not the leak, rightly freaked out about this methodology and resigned from the HP BoD. It is possible that HP could wind up in trouble with the SEC, FTC, and the local Attorney General.

Update: Catonic points out that Groklaw has chimed in.

Phone-Records Scandal at HP - Newsweek Business

Experts Fault Reasoning in Surveillance Decision - New York Times
Topic: Surveillance 6:21 pm EDT, Aug 19, 2006

Even legal experts who agreed with a federal judge’s conclusion on Thursday that a National Security Agency surveillance program is unlawful were distancing themselves from the decision’s reasoning and rhetoric yesterday.

They said the opinion overlooked important precedents, failed to engage the government’s major arguments, used circular reasoning, substituted passion for analysis and did not even offer the best reasons for its own conclusions.

Experts Fault Reasoning in Surveillance Decision - New York Times

Federal Judge Orders End to Warrantless Wiretapping - New York Times
Topic: Surveillance 8:24 pm EDT, Aug 17, 2006

“Consequently, the court finds defendants’ arguments that they cannot defend this case without the use of classified information to be disingenuous and without merit,” she wrote.

NYT article linked for brevity. Full decision here.

The decision basically follows the contours of the open letter to Congress from prominent legal scholars from February.

Some favorite quotes:

All of the above Congressional concessions to Executive need and to the exigencies of our present situation as a people, however, have been futile. The wiretapping program here in litigation has undisputedly been continued for at least five years, it has undisputedly been implemented without regard to FISA and of course the more stringent standards of Title III, and obviously in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

The President of the United States is himself created by that same Constitution.

Basically she is saying that FISA balances Article II and Amendment 4, and the President's argument that Article II makes FISA unconstitutional, or, at least, ignorable, disregards Amendment 4, and thus is obviously incorrect.

I also like this:

As Justice Warren wrote in U.S. v. Robel, 389 U.S. 258 (1967):

Implicit in the term ‘national defense’ is the notion of defending
those values and ideas which set this Nation apart. . . . It would
indeed be ironic if, in the name of national defense, we would
sanction the subversion of . . . those liberties . . . which makes the defense of the Nation worthwhile. Id. at 264.

Perhaps this point of view is now considered "liberal." Conservatives tend to define the republic in personal identity terms rather then in terms of the system it implements.

Federal Judge Orders End to Warrantless Wiretapping - New York Times

(Last) Newer << 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 >> Older (First)
Powered By Industrial Memetics