Archive for invasion of privacy – Page 2

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.