Archive for invasion of privacy

Cyber Hacked. Cyber Terrorized. Cyber Raped.


computer safety

Just over a week ago, I wrote a piece about internet safety and how you have to work to stay protected.  It was called, Why Porn Sites Are Safer Than Small Business Web Sites.

Now comes some shocking and very, very scary news. Private citizens, those with webcams, remote or built into their computers, tablets or smartphone devices are being hacked. Without the victim knowing, their camera's have been activated, their actions recorded. And in many cases, picking up innocent people in a totally nude state.

Then, these people are contacted and extorted or their pictures will be released across the Internet on social media sites. Sometimes using your personal accounts, meaning all of your friends and contacts will be shown these images.

The extortion being extracted isn't only money. In order to keep these private video/pictures off the Internet, the perpetrators in some cases are having their innocent victims perform perverse sex acts on camera for the pleasure of the extortionist.

Sound like it's science fiction or that it can't happen to you. YOU'RE WRONG.

Cassidy Wolf

Here's the story of the current 2013 Miss Teen USA, Cassidy Wolf.


About four months ago, Wolf said she received an anonymous e-mail from a stranger saying he was in possession of photos of her that were taken in her bedroom via the webcam on her computer after it was hacked. The person tried to extort her in return for ensuring the photos were not made public.

“I wasn’t aware that somebody was watching me (on my webcam),’’ she said. “The light (on the camera) didn't even go on, so I had no idea.”

Now it's  not just beauty queens and models who have been hacked. It's regular people like you and me. And we don't know it.

HUFFPO reports this:

Jared James Abrahams of Temecula surrendered to agents at the FBI office in Orange County to face a charge of extortion that could send him to federal prison for up to two years, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.

That sounds like a pretty light sentence, up to two years for what he did.

Abrahams, a college freshman majoring in computer science, allegedly would use the women's webcams to capture nude images, then send emails threatening to post them on their hacked social media accounts unless they either sent him nude photos, a nude video, or logged onto the Skype video chat service and follow his orders for five minutes.

According to the affidavit, the victims included several women from other countries.

One teenager in Ireland responded to the demands by writing: "Please remember I'm 17. Have a heart," according to the court record.

Abrahams allegedly responded: "I'll tell you this right now! I do NOT have a heart. However, I do stick to my deals. Also age doesn't mean a thing to me!!!"

The girl then allegedly stripped during a Skype session, according to the FBI affidavit. A woman in Canada also stripped, according to the document.

Cyber-crimes are here. They're now. And they could be happening to you and if you don't take precautions, you might not find out until it's too late.

If something like this happens to you, please call the authorities. Here's how to contact them.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C).


Private Social Website For Police Eyes Only



Did you ever wonder what cops talk about when they're just hanging out together. Though they're really not supposed to discuss ongoing investigations with outsiders, within their own ranks, they all do. And lots of what they have to say would probably cause them much embarrassment. When they talk about the unwarranted stops they made, laugh about the harassment they dished out just because they didn't like someone they stopped, or the weapon they planted to cover their asses. It' really would be quite interesting to be that fly on the wall to  hear what these upholders of justice and peace really think.

police website

Well, there's going to be a new forum called BlueLine. And it's not a bus or subway route. According to TPM:

The final stages are near completion for the launch of a law enforcement social media network designed exclusively for the men and women in blue.

Created by former high-profile New York City police commissioner and Los Angeles Police Chief Bill Bratton, BlueLine is being touted as a site where officers can share their expertise, insight and information securely through video, instant messaging, videoconferencing and screen share capabilities.

You can just imagine what will be traded back and forth there. More secrets of how to get away with abuses. More vids of police brutality and humiliation, all done for their compatriots across the country. "Look what me and my partner did..."

“Our focus is to have a walled community where you’re verified and authenticated, so you have a safe form of communication with law enforcement, analysts and administrators,” said David Riker, Bratton Technologies’ president.

If this there ever was a site that by design was rife for promotion of abuse, this is it. After all, to enter you need to prove you're a cop. And you know that brotherhood and their reputation.

Over time some of the shared tidbits and confessions will undoubtedly be leaked. Till then, one can only wonder what Bratton had in mind. This guy bounced around from Boston to New York to Los Angeles. Though crime may have gone down, incidents of corruption and police abuse increased.

He's supposedly hard on "anti-social" behavior. So maybe this is a move to help other cops along -- or just make a few bucks. It is his company that's running this site.

Bratton said BlueLine was conceived earlier this year and created by his New York-based venture capitalist-backed startup, Bratton Technologies, after hearing for years that fellow officers didn’t have a safe network to share information with each other.

BlueLine is currently being beta-tested among 100 officers within the Los Angeles Police and L.A. County Sheriff’s departments and the University of Southern California’s campus police.

USC campus police are the ones who told a female student reporting a rape, "It wasn't rape because he (the accused) didn't orgasm." For the whole story, you can go to my TPC post: "She Wasn't Raped Because He Didn't Orgasm." Bratton and his group of investors found a great place to share stories and swap information. If corruption needed an HQ, it may have found it in the underbelly of BlueLine.

Conceptually, the idea of a website and forum to share their thoughts, experiences and provide self-help is good. It's just that once you shut the rest of the world out, you're appearance is like that of the NSA. Too many secrets being passed around. The police have enough temptation. Maybe they need to open up the site, so that we don't see a web of bad cops joining up with other bad cops to create havoc and revenge.

I hope I'm wrong. Only time will tell... or an informant who blows the lid off of what's really going on with the BlueLine social club. I'm just suspicious when upcoming group discussions may include: evidence suppression, weapon's planting, 101 bogus reasons to stop a vehicle, payoffs and bribes, police abuse, harassment, and drug theft from the evidence room.


21st century privacy: The NSA "keeps track of whether, how often and precisely when she called the abortion clinic."


what's the big deal

Today our own David Garber posted "AT&T Tapping Phones For DEA — Especially iPhones." It goes without saying, we're being watched, or as my Twitter buddy and frequent BLUNT video contributor @Francie57 tweeted:

An editorial in the Los Angeles Times reiterates arguments against the intrusive, warrantless monitoring of unsuspecting Americans. As I read the article, all I could think about was if well-meaning Obama supporters, those who trust him so much on this, will feel differently when a Republican again resides in the White House.

It's hard to fathom how so many on the left seem to be okay with snooping by a Democratic administration, or how a president is automatically trustworthy because of his/her party affiliation.

So that leads us right back to the inevitability of being stuck with a Republican president whom we don't trust. Then what? A public change of heart? An awakening? Regret? Will Americans who currently shrug off the current NSA activities because a Dem is in charge suddenly rethink living in the (Democratic) moment?

And to those who feel invulnerable, think about the unlucky ones who have been wrongly accused and/or convicted of crimes they didn't commit. That happens. A lot.

As for the unlikeliness of being targeted, as easy it is to dismiss the chances of that happening, it only takes being that one person that one time to fully grasp what a nightmare one's life can become.

Foresight is a good thing. (So is ample oversight, by the way.) Substitute the name "Bush" for "Obama" and see if that doesn't offer a disturbingly different perspective, perhaps a more objective one. What would another Bush administration do with the information the NSA collects?

As the ACLU's brief puts it: "Each time a resident of the United States makes a phone call, the [National Security Agency] records whom she called, when the call was placed and how long the conversation lasted. The NSA keeps track of when she called the doctor, and which doctor she called; which family members she called, and which she didn't; which pastor she called, and for how long she spoke to him. It keeps track of whether, how often and precisely when she called the abortion clinic, the support group for alcoholics, the psychiatrist, the ex-girlfriend, the criminal defense lawyer, the fortune teller, the suicide hot-line, the child services agency and the shelter for victims of domestic violence." [...]

In its lawsuit, the ACLU argues that the NSA's collection of metadata is much more objectionable than the warrantless monitoring of phone calls upheld by the court in 1979. That's true.... [Justice] Sotomayor added: "I for one doubt that people would accept without complaint the warrantless disclosure to the government of a list of every website they had visited in the last week or month or year."


VIDEO: NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times per year. "That ain't no kind of checks and balances that I'm familiar with."


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chart NSA violations

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To those who don't think more oversight is in order, WaPo:

The National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008, according to an internal audit and other top-secret documents.

Most of the infractions involve unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign intelligence targets in the United States, both of which are restricted by statute and executive order. They range from significant violations of law to typographical errors that resulted in unintended interception of U.S. e-mails and telephone calls.

Alex Wagner:

While the documents do not reveal how many Americans were affected, they do appear to directly contradict what President Obama said just last week.

Michael Tomasky, these checks don't actually seem to be in place.

Michael Tomasky:

This is a really problematic story for the administration.

I think this is going to swing public opinion which so far has more or less held in the support of the view that we do need a balance and I do care about being protected and that some of this activity is perfectly fine as long as it keeps me safe.

I think we'll see public opinion start to switch a little bit.

It will be interesting to see what we hear on Capitol Hill about this. Are the Republicans -- is the right wing party in the United States really going to hold hearings and investigate the liberal administration over questions of surveillance and intelligence abuse? I suppose it's possible.

Karen Finney:

If there is that kind of an audit going on and the president doesn't know about it, and you're going to send him out in front of cameras to say something that contradicts that audit, that is a major problem. Not only for -- in terms of safeguards and transparency and security, that's a huge communication problem for the president.

So even Republicans aren't going to be able to ignore -- maybe that's the way they'll go after it and question the difference between the statements that have been made and what these documents are telling them. But I think you're going to see some strange bedfellows on this one, because how can you ignore that?


Now the Post reveals that the leader of the FISA court that is supposed to provide critical oversight of the government, that spying program, says its ability to do so is limited and that it must trust the government to report when it improperly spies on Americans.

That ain't no kind of checks and balances that I'm familiar with.


Do You Have AT&T? Then Read This


AT&T devices

Do you have AT&T?  Most iPhone and iPad devices are linked to it.  If you're one of them, you should be aware that AT&T is selling your information.  But you can change that.  Just opt out.

As of June 28, 2013 AT&T updated its privacy policy. It plans to start selling anonymous location data about its customers to marketers.

Here's the kind of information AT&T will be selling: your location based on WiFi networks you connect to, Web browsing data, and apps you use.  So if you're uncomfortable with that, how do you opt out?

Just log into your AT&T account on this site and change your settings to say you don't want your data used for external marketing and analytics reports.

Consider yourself warned... Control your privacy. Stop unwanted spying -- at least for now.


BuzzFlash: "Mainstream Corp. Media More Interested in Capturing Snowden Than Condemning Abuses He Exposed"


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H/t: @Knishette for video link

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Chris Hayes:

"I do feel conflicted..."

Me too. But not about outsourcing to private contractors.

Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin:

The basic premise is the same: Snowden is a traitor who has done the US grievous harm.

But what about what Snowden has revealed, along with former NSA and other intelligence agency whistleblowers, that basically every US citizen is a target or potential target for spying, without sufficient oversight of America's vast infrastructure of spying agencies?  Isn't this a fundamental constitutional issue?

If you look at the government DC "conventional wisdom" that Snowden gave the Guardian UK, through Glenn Greenwald, information that harmed the national security of the United States, what exactly is it that makes us more vulnerable that he revealed?

If you haven't seen "Zero Dark Thirty," rent it.  It's worth noting that what is detailed in the film about the CIA and NSA tracking down Osama bin Laden through his most trusted courier provides enormous information to "our enemies" about the operations and methods used to locate terrorists.  And the script, as we reported yesterday was written with the full cooperation of the CIA and its affiliated agencies, as well as the Pentagon.

Then you have the book written by a member of the SEALs team that killed Osama bin Laden.  Was that soldier in any way threatened with prosecution?

But the mere notion, whatever Snowden's motivations, that revealing a spying apparatus that is the intelligence gathering version of a permanent war on the privacy of Americans and citizens abroad is worthy of debate apparently has escaped the attention of the Washington Post. [...]

[W]ho can possibly think that it won't be long, if is not currently happening, that other nations (think of China's advance computer hacking and encryption capabilities) will be ferreting out the NSA's "secret" information on Americans and others? [...]

How long does one think any of this massive database of information and phone recordings are going to remain secret with widely dispersed access...? I read the other day -- whether 100 percent accurate or not it indicates the enormity of the challenge of keeping widespread secrets secret -- that more than a million government employees and private consultants have high-level security clearance.

Please read the entire post here.


Your ever-vigilant friends at the NSA: "What could be more democratic than spying on everybody?"



Source: ACLU

Today’s guest post by the one, the only, Will Durst:


Dear US Citizen.

Please accept our most egregiously sincere apologies for the difficulties and inconveniences the secret monitoring of your phone records and email and GPS units and foreign travel and bank accounts and yes, even your snail mail has evidently caused.

We here at the NSA strive for the perfection of our services, which depend on the chronic obliviousness of you, our valued customers. Unfortunately, due to one disgruntled deadbeat (who escaped to China to avoid government persecution- which is like joining the Army because you’re tired of people telling you what to do) you now know of our continuing efforts to keep you safe. That was never our intention.

When you are even tangentially aware of the absurd lengths the National Security Agency will go to keep you and your loved ones out of harm’s way, our mission has failed. If you knew half the crap we have to slog through here, your hair would curl, but that’s another story altogether.

Yes, we’re pretty much keeping tabs on everything everyone says and does, all the time, which we understand upsets a few of you. Folks. Don’t worry. Nobody’s actually listening to any of this stuff. We’re just used to collecting it. If it makes you feel any better, think of this whole enterprise as an exceedingly long, government- subsidized episode of “Hoarders.” You can trust us.

And seriously, anybody who didn’t suspect this kind of snooping was going on is not to be trusted with knives in the kitchen without a fencing mask. Privacy is soooo 20th Century. You share the regularity of your bowel movements on Facebook, but we check around to find out who’s making coded phone calls to al Qaeda and suddenly everybody’s nose is out of joint? You kidding me?

Unfortunately, one of our representatives testified in front of Congress, “no, we aren’t collecting data on Americans,” when what he meant to say is, “yes, we ARE collecting data on Americans.” James Clapper simply gave the “least untruthful answer possible.” Then again, Congress knows that getting a straight answer from us is harder than bending a wire coat hanger into a number representing pi to the sixth digit with your teeth. All for your protection.

See, the problem is, nobody knows who the enemy is anymore. Narrowing suspicion is much too time consuming. Lot easier to wiretap the entire nation than try to pick out the one or two most devious of you. Besides, what could be more democratic than spying on everybody?

We call the process data mining. And you, the soft quarry, are producing up to a billion records a day. Which is real similar to pulverizing Everest, then sifting through the rubble for a blue pebble. It ain’t easy people. Lot of haystacks, not so many needles.

To ensure this glitch never occurs again, we are rectifying the glitcher in order to return our service to the high-level quality that you, the citizens of America, have come to expect. For the inconvenience we have caused, each household in America will receive 3 free months of HBO.

If you have any questions or comments regarding this matter, please contact your Congressperson. Thanks for your understanding, and please, don’t bother looking for us. You can be sure, we’ll be looking after you.

Your ever- vigilant friends at the NSA.

PS. Don’t forget to “like us” on Facebook.

Recipient of 7 consecutive nominations for Stand Up of the Year, Will Durst’s new one- man show “BoomerAging: From LSD to OMG” is presented every Tuesday, at the Marsh, San Francisco. Go to… for info. Or