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June 30 2012


The US is massively expanding surveillance of all Americans — taking fingerprints and iris scans on the slightest pretext, including people stopped for speeding.

The goal is clear: a system of total surveillance that would be great for repression of democracy.

Political Notes - Richard Stallman
Reposted byjotbebrightbytesofiascoloredgrayscale

February 21 2012

Joshua Lott for The New York Times

Taser's Axon Flex video camera mounted on a pair of sunglasses.

Joshua Lott for The New York Times

“When people know they are on camera, they act like better citizens,” said Hadi Partovi, an Internet entrepreneur who is on Taser’s board.


Taser is initially offering the first year of the service at no charge in the hopes of luring a lot of customers to the cloud. The new cameras sell for $1,000, including a battery that lasts 14 hours.

In an era of tight budgets, that might not be an easy sale. “This is at least a $1 billion opportunity,” said Mr. Partovi, who is better known for inventing, along with his twin, a social music sharing service called iLike, which was sold to MySpace in 2009 for about $20 million. “Once video is up in the cloud, why not photos? Why not all sorts of evidence? It will make it easier for different agencies to collaborate.”

Taser’s Latest Police Weapon - The Tiny Camera and the Cloud -
Reposted bygeek4lifeBandits

February 17 2012


Each and every one of us is living in a sci-fi novel, and this spills into real life into a million different ways ... like the way that Hollywood location scouts and real estate agents now routinely use unmanned drone aircraft. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have gone from military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan to simply becoming a routine movie industry tool. The FAA isn't too sure about how to deal with the drones of Hollywood.

And neither is the LAPD.

This past January, the Los Angeles Police Department issued a highly unusual warning against the use of drones by real estate agencies. The LAPD sent a letter to the California Association of Realtors, a trade group, warning that Realtors “who hire unmanned aircraft operators to take aerial photographs for marketing high-end properties” were in violation of FAA rules and local motion picture filming ordinances. Users were warned that the LAPD's Air Division intends to prosecute violators in the near future. However, the letter appears to be hot air: Unmanned aircraft flying at heights under 400 feet are currently unregulated by the FAA.

Unmanned Drones Go From Afghanistan To Hollywood | Fast Company

January 11 2012


Many drones, by virtue of their design, their size, and how high they can fly, can operate undetected in urban and rural environments, allowing the government to spy on Americans without their knowledge. And even if Americans knew they were being spied on, it’s unclear what laws would protect against this. (...)

The market for unmanned aircraft in the United States is expanding rapidly, and companies, public entities, and research institutions are developing newer, faster, stealthier, and more sophisticated drones every year. According to a July 15, 2010 FAA Fact Sheet (pdf), “[i]n the United States alone, approximately 50 companies, universities, and government organizations are developing and producing some 155 unmanned aircraft designs.” According to one market research firm, approximately 70% of global growth and market share of unmanned aircraft systems is in the United States (pdf). In 2010 alone, expenditures on unmanned aircraft “reached more than US $3 billion (pdf) and constituted a growth of more than 12%.” The market for these systems is only expected to increase: over the next 10 years the total expenditure for unmanned aircraft “is expected to surpass US $7 billion.” And some have forecast that by the year 2018 there will be “more than 15,000 [unmanned aircraft systems] in service in the U.S., with a total of almost 30,000 deployed worldwide.”

Are Drones Watching You? | Electronic Frontier Foundation

January 06 2012



If Twitter is not required by law to ban the accounts, then shutting down these groups' accounts--no matter how odious their speech--would be a level of censorship the social networking site has heretofore avoided, and with good reason: As Wired points out, "The loss of an official Twitter account would by no means silence terrorist groups. Instead, it would make them go through the inconvenience of relying on less centrally-accessible sock puppet accounts or fanboys to repost messages and links from other outlets."

U.S. Government Calls to Censor Twitter Threaten Free Speech | Electronic Frontier Foundation

January 03 2012


December 25 2011


And that’s really what this boils down to: a war on privacy. A potential terrorist, argue the US security agencies, is much easier to track if he uses a credit card. Credit card use provides Big Brother instant access to the buyer's contact information, purchase history – and, if need be, the ability to cut off his financial supply in an instant. (...) 

Don’t want to live on credit? Potential terrorist. Nervous? Potential terrorist. Don’t want to be disturbed? Potential terrorist.

Cash is trash: Big American Brother gives hints on how to spot citizen terrorists — RT

December 19 2011


December 01 2011


November 17 2011


"Petitioners knew or should have known that their IP information was subject to examination by Twitter, so they had a lessened expectation of privacy in that information, particularly in light of their apparent consent to the Twitter terms of service and privacy policy," wrote the judge in his decision.

Basically, what this decision says is that US authorities can require account information on any users of US-based online social networks, irrespective of their location and citizenship. This brings forth very serious concerns related to online privacy.

US court allows access to world-wide Twitter accounts data | EDRI
Reposted byeat-slowwonkobrightbyte

November 16 2011


September 15 2011


ACLU: Lots of Americans who aren't doing anything wrong have reason to worry about FBI surveillance and fishing expeditions. (...) but it is ironic that an activity in a campaign for privacy rights is done in a way that requires people to use Facebook. I hope you won't let this stop you from unfriending Facebook ASAP.

2011: July - October Political Notes - Richard Stallman

September 06 2011

(US embassy cable - 07MONTERREY947NEW MEDIA IN MEXICO: A RISING FORCE ( ...)Our research and observations indicate that Mexico occupies the middle tier in terms of level of use of information technology. (...) In this environment, we can only expect that internet journalism will also continue to grow. As that happens, our public diplomacy efforts here will have to include an ever greater emphasis on engaging and monitoring the new media.
US embassy cable - 07MONTERREY947

September 02 2011


August 15 2011


The National Security Agency is hiring about 1,500 people in the fiscal year which ends Sept. 30 and another 1,500 next year, most of them cyber experts. With a workforce of just over 30,000, the Fort Meade, Maryland-based NSA dwarfs other intelligence agencies, including the CIA. (...)  But at Defcon, the NSA and other "Feds" will be competing with corporations looking for hacking talent too.  (...) Jeff Moss, a hacker known as Dark Tangent (...) founded Defcon and the companion Black Hat conference for security professionals and is now a member of the Department of Homeland Security's Advisory Council, which advises the government on cyber security.

U.S. government hankers for hackers | Reuters

August 14 2011

The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) asked wireless providers to halt service in four stations in San Francisco to prevent protestors from communicating with each other. The action came after BART notified riders that there might be demonstrations in the city.(...) Activists had planned to protest the fatal shooting of Charles Blair Hill, who BART police said went after them with a knife before an officer shot him on July 3
Cell Phone Censorship in San Francisco?

June 28 2011

For at least two years, the U.S. has been conducting a secretive and immensely sophisticated campaign of mass surveillance and data mining against the Arab world, allowing the intelligence community to monitor the habits, conversations, and activity of millions of individuals at once. And with an upgrade scheduled for later this year, the top contender to win the federal contract and thus take over the program is a team of about a dozen companies which were brought together in large part by Aaron Barr - the same disgraced CEO who resigned from his own firm earlier this year after he was discovered to have planned a full-scale information war against political activists at the behest of corporate clients.
Romas/COIN - Echelon 2

April 28 2011


May 25 2010

'No Latinos, No Tacos' Flashes On HACKED Road

As NBC Miami reports, techies in South Florida hacked into a password-protected highway sign and altered the text to display a controversial message calling attention to immigration issues.

NBC Miami writes,

A highway sign flashing "NO LATINOS NO TACOS" greeted drivers on the Palmetto Expressway in Northwest Miami-Dade, after hackers managed to alter it early Tuesday morning.
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