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The NDAA police state
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2014 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like people have had up to 'er


1 ). More than 500 American citizens have died after being tased, a device considered “non-lethal.”
2 ). --->The yearly cost of the War on Drugs to the American taxpayer is about $40 billion. The estimated cost to end hunger worldwide is $30 billion yearly.
3 ). There are more than 80,000 military raids conducted by police every year in the United States.
4 ). There are roughly 2.3 million people locked up in the United States with another 5 million on probation or parole. The overwhelming majority are for non-violent crimes.
5 ). UNICOR, an establishment inside the US Federal Prison System uses its confined pool of labor to produce war goods for the US military.
6 ). In 36% of US SWAT raids, no contraband of any kind is found after the officers risk everyone’s life and engage in reckless actions that cost lives.
7 ). An average London resident is recorded over 300 times a day by Big Brother’s video surveillance apparatus.
8 ). The only nation to maintain a higher incarceration rate than the United States is Germany… under the Nazis.
9 ). 97% of reported police brutality victims are people of color.
10 ). Every 98 minutes, a cop kills a family pet. There have been no recorded officer deaths from a dog in last decade.

http://theantimedia.org/ten-facts-you-should-know-about-the-police-state/

--->
** The U.S. military budget is $756.4 billion for FY 2015. This includes:

::: $495.6 billion for the base budget of the Department of Defense (DoD).
::: $85.4 billion for Overseas Contingency Funds for the wind-down of the War in Afghanistan.
::: $175.4 billion for defense-related agencies and functions. This includes the Veterans Administration ($65.3 billion), the State Department ($42.6 billion), Homeland Security ($38.2 billion), FBI and Cybersecurity in the Department of Justice ($17.6 billion), and the National Nuclear Security Administration in the Department of Energy ($11.7 billion).


That makes military spending the second largest Federal government expenditure, after Social Security ($896 billion). But hey, military spending is dropping....

***

The Pirate Bay Torrent Site Taken Offline After Swedish Police Seize Servers

***

ISIS Claims They Smuggled A “Radioactive Device” Into Europe

I always wondered how SITE Intelligence Group always got the scoop on everybody? SITE is led by the Israeli Iraqi analyst Rita Katz. Super Rita.

BREAKING NEWS# WARNING A Radioactive Device has entered somewhere in Europe.pic.twitter.com/9GKHjz7ugs

— Muslim-Al-Britani (@TNTmuslim) December 6, 2014


Shocker - account deleted.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2014 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TN City Bans Negative Social Media Comments About City Government, Employees, Contractors
Barry Donegan | Dec 16, 2014 | B Swann


Quote:
At a December city commission meeting in South Pittsburg, TN, commissioners voted 4 to 1 to enact a policy forcing city contractors, employees, elected officials, and anyone doing business in any capacity with the city to sign an agreement stating that they will not make any negative comments on social media about the city or its employees, elected officials, and contractors.

Social media and mobile technology have empowered civic activism on levels before unseen. Matters that once went on behind closed doors now emerge in vivid detail on YouTube, and activists, alternative media journalists, and everyday people use sites like Facebook and Twitter to express themselves on issues that would have in the past been ignored by mainstream media outlets. However, the increased transparency and civic engagement come at a cost to elected officials and bureaucrats who prefer doing business in smoky backrooms without debate or public comment.

According to Chattanooga Times Free Press, city officials in South Pittsburg, TN have been overwhelmed by negative comments on social media and consequently enacted a new policy, passed in a 4-1 vote at a December city commission meeting, banning all elected officials, city employees, city contractors, and anyone else doing official business with the city from making any negative comments on their private social media accounts about anyone or anything with any connection to city government. The policy falls short of criminalizing negative comments by citizens not directly affiliated with the government, but does force elected officials, contractors, city employees, and anyone else doing business of any kind with the city to sign a contract which stipulates that they be punished in the event that they violate the rule. The rule specifically states that affected parties are banned from making negative social media comments about the city itself, its elected officials, and its associates, which would seemingly include private contractors.


More: The CIA Didn’t Just Torture, It Experimented on Human Beings

More: Medicine, Physicians and Torture

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 25, 2014 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Modesto Police Department Correspondence with Predictive Policing Company PredPol, Inc.
December 12, 2014 | Public Intelligence


Quote:
The following documents containing email correspondence between the Modesto Police Department and PredPol, Inc. were obtained by journalist Darwin BondGraham via the California Public Records Act. BondGraham’s Twitter account was suspended following a complaint issued by PredPol, Inc. after he posted images of a few pages from the documents. It is unclear what specific content was the reason for the complaint.

See: Modesto Police Department Correspondence with PredPol, Inc. PDF 6.2 MB

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Meet KeySweeper, the $10 USB charger that steals MS keyboard strokes
Dan Goodin | Jan 13 2015 | Ars Technica


Always-on sniffer remotely uploads all input typed into Microsoft Wireless keyboards.

Quote:
KeySweeper is the brainchild of Samy Kamkar, a hacker who has a track record of devising clever exploits that are off the beaten path. The namesake of the Samy worm that inadvertently knocked MySpace out of commission in 2005, Kamkar has concocted drones that seek out and hack other drones and devised exploits that use Google Streetview and Google Wi-Fi location data to stalk targets. His hacks underscore the darker side of the connected world that makes it possible for bad guys to monitor our most private communications and everyday comings and goings.

KeySweeper follows the same path. Unveiled on Monday, it provides the software and hardware specifications for building a highly stealthy sniffing device that plucks out every keystroke inputted to a Microsoft wireless keyboard. The device can either log the input on a chip for physical retrieval later, or it can use an optional GSM chip to transmit the keystrokes wirelessly to the attacker. For maximum efficiency, it can be programmed to send the operator SMS messages whenever certain keywords—think "bankofamerica.com," "confidential," or "password"—are entered. The entire sniffing device can be stashed inside an AC USB charger that powers the device. It recharges when plugged in and runs off of battery when not connected to a power source. To people being spied on, it looks like just another USB charger plugged into a wall socket.


More: Hacker fakes German minister's fingerprints using photos of her hands

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How the CIA made Google
Nafeez Ahmed | Medium.com


Inside the secret network behind mass surveillance, endless war, and Skynet

Quote:
INSURGE INTELLIGENCE, a new crowd-funded investigative journalism project, breaks the exclusive story of how the United States intelligence community funded, nurtured and incubated Google as part of a drive to dominate the world through control of information. Seed-funded by the NSA and CIA, Google was merely the first among a plethora of private sector start-ups co-opted by US intelligence to retain ‘information superiority.’

The origins of this ingenious strategy trace back to a secret Pentagon-sponsored group, that for the last two decades has functioned as a bridge between the US government and elites across the business, industry, finance, corporate, and media sectors. The group has allowed some of the most powerful special interests in corporate America to systematically circumvent democratic accountability and the rule of law to influence government policies, as well as public opinion in the US and around the world. The results have been catastrophic: NSA mass surveillance, a permanent state of global war, and a new initiative to transform the US military into Skynet.

...

The Shadow Network

For the last two decades, US foreign and intelligence strategies have resulted in a global ‘war on terror’ consisting of prolonged military invasions in the Muslim world and comprehensive surveillance of civilian populations. These strategies have been incubated, if not dictated, by a secret network inside and beyond the Pentagon.

Established under the Clinton administration, consolidated under Bush, and firmly entrenched under Obama, this bipartisan network of mostly neoconservative ideologues sealed its dominion inside the US Department of Defense (DoD) by the dawn of 2015, through the operation of an obscure corporate entity outside the Pentagon, but run by the Pentagon.

In 1999, the CIA created its own venture capital investment firm, In-Q-Tel, to fund promising start-ups that might create technologies useful for intelligence agencies. But the inspiration for In-Q-Tel came earlier, when the Pentagon set up its own private sector outfit.

Known as the ‘Highlands Forum,’ this private network has operated as a bridge between the Pentagon and powerful American elites outside the military since the mid-1990s. Despite changes in civilian administrations, the network around the Highlands Forum has become increasingly successful in dominating US defense policy.

Giant defense contractors like Booz Allen Hamilton and Science Applications International Corporation are sometimes referred to as the ‘shadow intelligence community’ due to the revolving doors between them and government, and their capacity to simultaneously influence and profit from defense policy. But while these contractors compete for power and money, they also collaborate where it counts. The Highlands Forum has for 20 years provided an off the record space for some of the most prominent members of the shadow intelligence community to convene with senior US government officials, alongside other leaders in relevant industries.

I first stumbled upon the existence of this network in November 2014, when I reported for VICE’s Motherboard that US defense secretary Chuck Hagel’s newly announced ‘Defense Innovation Initiative’ was really about building Skynet;— or something like it, essentially to dominate an emerging era of automated robotic warfare.

That story was based on a little-known Pentagon-funded ‘white paper’ published two months earlier by the National Defense University (NDU) in Washington DC, a leading US military-run institution that, among other things, generates research to develop US defense policy at the highest levels. The white paper clarified the thinking behind the new initiative, and the revolutionary scientific and technological developments it hoped to capitalize on.

...

The Pentagon’s Intellectual Capital Venture Firm

In the prologue to his 2007 book, A Crowd of One: The Future of Individual Identity, John Clippinger, an MIT scientist of the Media Lab Human Dynamics Group, described how he participated in a “Highlands Forum” gathering, an “invitation-only meeting funded by the Department of Defense and chaired by the assistant for networks and information integration.” This was a senior DoD post overseeing operations and policies for the Pentagon’s most powerful spy agencies including the NSA, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), among others. Starting from 2003, the position was transitioned into what is now the undersecretary of defense for intelligence. The Highlands Forum, Clippinger wrote, was founded by a retired US Navy captain named Dick O’Neill. Delegates include senior US military officials across numerous agencies and divisions — “captains, rear admirals, generals, colonels, majors and commanders” as well as “members of the DoD leadership.”

What at first appeared to be the Forum’s main website describes Highlands as “an informal cross-disciplinary network sponsored by Federal Government,” focusing on “information, science and technology.” Explanation is sparse, beyond a single ‘Department of Defense’ logo.

But Highlands also has another website describing itself as an “intellectual capital venture firm” with “extensive experience assisting corporations, organizations, and government leaders.” The firm provides a “wide range of services, including: strategic planning, scenario creation and gaming for expanding global markets,” as well as “working with clients to build strategies for execution.” ‘The Highlands Group Inc.,’ the website says, organizes a whole range of Forums on these issue.

For instance, in addition to the Highlands Forum, since 9/11 the Group runs the ‘Island Forum,’ an international event held in association with Singapore’s Ministry of Defense, which O’Neill oversees as “lead consultant.” The Singapore Ministry of Defense website describes the Island Forum as “patterned after the Highlands Forum organized for the US Department of Defense.” Documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden confirmed that Singapore played a key role in permitting the US and Australia to tap undersea cables to spy on Asian powers like Indonesia and Malaysia.

The Highlands Group website also reveals that Highlands is partnered with one of the most powerful defense contractors in the United States. Highlands is “supported by a network of companies and independent researchers,” including “our Highlands Forum partners for the past ten years at SAIC; and the vast Highlands network of participants in the Highlands Forum.”

SAIC stands for the US defense firm, Science Applications International Corporation, which changed its name to Leidos in 2013, operating SAIC as a subsidiary. SAIC/Leidos is among the top 10 largest defense contractors in the US, and works closely with the US intelligence community, especially the NSA. According to investigative journalist Tim Shorrock, the first to disclose the vast extent of the privatization of US intelligence with his seminal book Spies for Hire, SAIC has a “symbiotic relationship with the NSA: the agency is the company’s largest single customer and SAIC is the NSA’s largest contractor.”

The full name of Captain “Dick” O’Neill, the founding president of the Highlands Forum, is Richard Patrick O’Neill, who after his work in the Navy joined the DoD. He served his last post as deputy for strategy and policy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Defense for Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence, before setting up Highlands.

Related: Part Two


Related: Insurge Intelligence: Watchdog journalism for the global commons

I use Start Page. I am not sure how it relates to Google, but I find I get many more legit hits when I search for something. It is like the old Scroogle Scraper as far as record keeping, security etc...

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 7:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Canada Casts Global Surveillance Dragnet Over File Downloads
Ryan Gallagher and Glenn Greenwald | January 28, 2015 | The Intercept


All one has to do is create an email account, create a password, give it to the party or parties you are communicating with, write an email with your info, save it to Drafts, then anyone who signs in to the account can read it. The email is never sent. This op sounds like a blackmail data troll, marketing info troll, and copyright enforcement. How many dollars does this waste of time agency spend a year? Too much

Quote:
Canada’s leading surveillance agency is monitoring millions of Internet users’ file downloads in a dragnet search to identify extremists, according to top-secret documents.

The covert operation, revealed Wednesday by CBC News in collaboration with The Intercept, taps into Internet cables and analyzes records of up to 15 million downloads daily from popular websites commonly used to share videos, photographs, music, and other files. The revelations about the spying initiative, codenamed LEVITATION, are the first from the trove of files provided by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden to show that the Canadian government has launched its own globe-spanning Internet mass surveillance system. According to the documents, the LEVITATION program can monitor downloads in several countries across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and North America. It is led by the Communications Security Establishment, or CSE, Canada’s equivalent of the NSA. (The Canadian agency was formerly known as “CSEC” until a recent name change.) The latest disclosure sheds light on Canada’s broad existing surveillance capabilities at a time when the country’s government is pushing for a further expansion of security powers following attacks in Ottawa and Quebec last year.

Ron Deibert, director of University of Toronto-based Internet security think tank Citizen Lab, said LEVITATION illustrates the “giant X-ray machine over all our digital lives.” “Every single thing that you do – in this case uploading/downloading files to these sites – that act is being archived, collected and analyzed,” Deibert said, after reviewing documents about the online spying operation for CBC News. David Christopher, a spokesman for Vancouver-based open Internet advocacy group OpenMedia.ca, said the surveillance showed “robust action” was needed to rein in the Canadian agency’s operations. “These revelations make clear that CSE engages in large-scale warrantless surveillance of our private online activities, despite repeated government assurances to the contrary,” Christopher told The Intercept.

The ostensible aim of the surveillance is to sift through vast amounts of data to identify people uploading or downloading content that could be connected to terrorism – such as bomb-making guides and hostage videos. In the process, however, CSE combs through huge volumes of data showing uploads and downloads initiated by Internet users not suspected of any wrongdoing.

In a top-secret PowerPoint presentation, dated from mid-2012, an analyst from the agency jokes about how, while hunting for extremists, the LEVITATION system gets clogged with information on innocuous downloads of the musical TV series Glee. CSE finds some 350 “interesting” downloads each month, the presentation notes, a number that amounts to less than 0.0001 per cent of the total collected data.

The agency stores details about downloads and uploads to and from 102 different popular file-sharing websites, according to the 2012 document, which describes the collected records as “free file upload,” or FFU, “events.” Only three of the websites are named: RapidShare, SendSpace, and the now defunct MegaUpload. SendSpace said in a statement that “no organization has the ability/permission to trawl/search Sendspace for data,” adding that its policy is not to disclose user identities unless legally compelled. Representatives from RapidShare and MegaUpload had not responded to a request for comment at time of publication.

LEVITATION does not rely on cooperation from any of the file-sharing companies. A separate secret CSE operation codenamed ATOMIC BANJO obtains the data directly from internet cables that it has tapped into, and the agency then sifts out the unique IP address of each computer that downloaded files from the targeted websites.

The IP addresses are valuable pieces of information to CSE’s analysts, helping to identify people whose downloads have been flagged as suspicious. The analysts use the IP addresses as a kind of search term, entering them into other surveillance databases that they have access to, such as the vast repositories of intercepted Internet data shared with the Canadian agency by the NSA and its British counterpart Government Communications Headquarters. If successful, the searches will return a list of results showing other websites visited by the people downloading the files – in some cases revealing associations with Facebook or Google accounts. In turn, these accounts may reveal the names and the locations of individual downloaders, opening the door for further surveillance of their activities.

Since the secret 2012 presentation about LEVITATION was authored, both RapidShare and SendSpace have toughened security by encrypting users’ connections to their websites, which may have thwarted CSE’s ability to target them for surveillance. But many other popular file-sharing sites have still not adopted encryption, meaning they remain vulnerable to the snooping. As of mid-2012, CSE was maintaining a list of 2,200 particular download links that it regarded as connected to suspicious “documents of interest.” Anyone clicking on those links could have found themselves subject to extra scrutiny from the spies.

While LEVITATION is purportedly identifying potential terror threats, Canadian legal experts consulted by CBC News were concerned by the broad scope of the operation.

“The specific uses that they talk about in this [counter-terrorism] context may not be the problem, but it’s what else they can do,” said Tamir Israel, a lawyer with the University of Ottawa’s Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic. Picking which downloads to monitor is essentially “completely at the discretion of CSE,” Israel added. The file-sharing surveillance also raises questions about the number of Canadians whose downloading habits could have been swept up as part of LEVITATION’s dragnet. By law, CSE isn’t allowed to target Canadians. In the LEVITATION presentation, however, two Canadian IP addresses that trace back to a web server in Montreal appear on a list of suspicious downloads found across the world. The same list includes downloads that CSE monitored in closely allied countries, including the United Kingdom, United States, Spain, Brazil, Germany and Portugal.

It is unclear from the document whether LEVITATION has ever prevented any terrorist attacks. The agency cites only two successes of the program in the 2012 presentation: the discovery of a hostage video through a previously unknown target, and an uploaded document that contained the hostage strategy of a terrorist organization. The hostage in the discovered video was ultimately killed, according to public reports.

A CSE spokesman told The Intercept and CBC News in a statement: “CSE is legally authorized to collect and analyze metadata, including from parts of the Internet routinely used by terrorists. Some of CSE`s metadata analysis activities are designed to identify foreign terrorists who use the Internet to conduct activities that threaten the security of Canada and Canadian citizens. “CSE does not direct its activities at Canadians or anyone in Canada, and, in accordance with our legislation, has a range of measures in place to protect the privacy of Canadians incidentally encountered in the course of these foreign intelligence operations.” The spokesman declined to comment on whether LEVITATION remained active, and would not provide examples of useful intelligence gleaned from the spying, or explain how long data swept up under the operation is retained.

Discussion of “operations, methods or capabilities,” the spokesman said, would breach the Security of Information Act, a Canadian law designed to protect state secrets.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In a remarkably Orwellian admission, Samsung warns owners of its so-called Smart TVs not to talk in front of the TVs, because they are listening to what you say. What other devices are listening to us at home?


Samsung Global Privacy Policy - SmartTV Supplement

Samsung’s SmartTV service offers a set of features that provide enhanced video content, customised TV, movie, and other content recommendations, connections to social networking services, and the ability to control and interact with your SmartTV with gestures and voice commands. We collect, use, share, and store information through your SmartTV in the ways described in the Samsung Privacy Policy. This Supplement provides additional details about the privacy practices of some SmartTV features.

Quote:
Recommendations and Customised Content

Device Information
The SmartTV is designed to enable you to easily find and access video programming and other content. For example, you may access information about live television programs distributed to you by your cable or satellite operator and on-demand video content offerings distributed by third-party content providers through searchable guides displayed on your SmartTV.

In the case of live television programs, we determine what content is available to you based in part on your post code. In addition, the SmartTV helps make the searchable guides and other SmartTV content more relevant to you by highlighting programming and content that is likely to interest you, such as episodes of programs that you may have missed and new programs, applications and other content that we believe you will find of interest. We base these recommendations on:

    -- Information about content that you have watched, purchased, downloaded, or streamed through Samsung applications on your SmartTV or other devices
    -- Information about applications you have accessed through the SmartTV panels
    -- Information about your clicks on the “Like,” “Dislike,” “Watch Now,” and other buttons on your SmartTV
    -- The query terms you enter into SmartTV search features, including when you search for particular video content
    -- Other SmartTV usage and device information, including, but not limited to, IP address, information stored in cookies and similar technologies, information that identifies your hardware or software configuration, browser information, and the page(s) you request.


In addition, if you enable the collection of information about video streams viewed on your SmartTV, we may collect that information and additional information about the network, channels, and programs that you view through the SmartTV. We will use such information to improve the recommendations that we deliver to you on the SmartTV.

Please visit the “settings” menu of your SmartTV for choices that may be available to you if you do not wish to continue to receive personalised recommendations on your SmartTV. If you disable personalised recommendations, then the information and content displayed on your SmartTV may not be as relevant to you. Samsung may still collect information about your usage of the SmartTV for the purposes described in this Samsung Privacy Policy.

Voice Recognition
You can control your SmartTV, and use many of its features, with voice commands.

If you enable Voice Recognition, you can interact with your Smart TV using your voice. To provide you the Voice Recognition feature, some voice commands may be transmitted (along with information about your device, including device identifiers) to a third-party service that converts speech to text or to the extent necessary to provide the Voice Recognition features to you. In addition, Samsung may collect and your device may capture voice commands and associated texts so that we can provide you with Voice Recognition features and evaluate and improve the features. Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition.

If you do not enable Voice Recognition, you will not be able to use interactive voice recognition features, although you may be able to control your TV using certain predefined voice commands. While Samsung will not collect your spoken word, Samsung may still collect associated texts and other usage data so that we can evaluate the performance of the feature and improve it.

You may disable Voice Recognition data collection at any time by visiting the “settings” menu. However, this may prevent you from using all of the Voice Recognition features.


***

Senate Report Slams Automakers for Leaving Cars Vulnerable to Hackers
Andy Greenberg | 02.09.15 | Wired


What did you think would happen when you were given the mandate in 2004 that all cars sold in America 2005 and later had to have an always on cell phone connection straight to the ECU?

Quote:
Here are a few of the report’s findings:

    :: “Nearly 100%” of vehicles on the market today include some sort of wireless connection that could potentially be used to gain access to sensitive systems or compromise privacy, including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and cellular signals.
    :: Seven of the companies said they used third-party testing to check their vehicles’ security. Five said they don’t, and four ignored the question.
    :: When asked if their vehicles monitored the CAN bus—the network of digitally-controlled components in the car—for malicious activity, half of the 16 automakers failed to respond to the question, many claiming that the answer was “confidential.” Of the eight car makers that did respond, two admitted they didn’t currently have any CAN bus monitoring features, but planned to add them. Only two automakers said they had measures to safely slow down or stop a car that had become the victim of a hacker intrusion.
    :: An “overwhelming majority” of modern car makers collect and store driving history information such as the car’s physical location, and about half of the companies said they transmit that data to a third party’s server. When asked about the security of that transmitted data, six of the companies made ambiguous references to encryption, IT security practices, and protecting personally identifiable information. The rest didn’t answer.


Gives the term "the ol' Boston brakes" a whole new meaning and breathes new life into the devious act. The “Boston Brakes” technique involves planting remote control devices in the victim’s car (the car companies have been very generous and have already planted the devices during manufacturing) so the assassins can cause it to crash. After the accident the controls are removed by stealth, leaving no trace (hardware was mandated, and hacker slips into the Ether).

Man then we will be hearing about Extremist Jihadi's hacking and controlling rush hour traffic. From SITE Intel group of course. Reds under the bed, reds under the bed.....good gawd.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe Snowden didn't give up enough to the public? A useful messenger? Maybe these Police State laws being passed don't mean a thing electronically speaking (if you use any electronic device connected to a network). Sounds like this stuff is activated at point of manufacture. Security researchers at Kaspersky Lab have discovered apparently state-created spyware buried in the firmware of hard drives on the machines of major corporations, including Samsung and Western Digital, Seagate, and Toshiba. Code-names embedded in malware programming sequences analyzed by Kaspersky strongly resemble those used by known NSA programs.

View: Equation group: questions and answers (pdf)

Equation Group: The Crown Creator of Cyber-Espionage
Virus News | 16 Feb 2015 | Kaspersky


Quote:
For several years, Kaspersky Lab’s Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT) has been closely monitoring more than 60 advanced threat actors responsible for cyber-attacks worldwide. The team has seen nearly everything, with attacks becoming increasingly complex as more nation-states got involved and tried to arm themselves with the most advanced tools. However, only now Kaspersky Lab’s experts can confirm they have discovered a threat actor that surpasses anything known in terms of complexity and sophistication of techniques, and that has been active for almost two decades – The Equation Group.

According to Kaspersky Lab researchers the group is unique almost in every aspect of their activities: they use tools that are very complicated and expensive to develop, in order to infect victims, retrieve data and hide activity in an outstandingly professional way, and utilize classic spying techniques to deliver malicious payloads to the victims.

To infect their victims, the group uses a powerful arsenal of “implants” (Trojans) including the following that have been named by Kaspersky Lab: EquationLaser, EquationDrug, DoubleFantasy, TripleFantasy, Fanny and GrayFish. Without a doubt there will be other “implants” in existence.



WHAT MAKES THE EQUATION GROUP UNIQUE?

Ultimate persistence and invisibility
GReAT has been able to recover two modules which allow reprogramming of the hard drive firmware of more than a dozen of the popular HDD brands. This is perhaps the most powerful tool in the Equation group’s arsenal and the first known malware capable of infecting the hard drives.

By reprogramming the hard drive firmware (i.e. rewriting the hard drive’s operating system), the group achieves two purposes:

1). An extreme level of persistence that helps to survive disk formatting and OS reinstallation. If the malware gets into the firmware, it is available to “resurrect” itself forever. It may prevent the deletion of a certain disk sector or substitute it with a malicious one during system boot. “Another dangerous thing is that once the hard drive gets infected with this malicious payload, it is impossible to scan its firmware. To put it simply: for most hard drives there are functions to write into the hardware firmware area, but there are no functions to read it back. It means that we are practically blind, and cannot detect hard drives that have been infected by this malware” – warns Costin Raiu, Director of the Global Research and Analysis Team at Kaspersky Lab.

2).The ability to create an invisible, persistent area hidden inside the hard drive. It is used to save exfiltrated information which can be later retrieved by the attackers. Also, in some cases it may help the group to crack the encryption: “Taking into account the fact that their GrayFish implant is active from the very boot of the system, they have the ability to capture the encryption password and save it into this hidden area,” explains Costin Raiu.

Ability to retrieve data from isolated networks
The Fanny worm stands out from all the attacks performed by the Equation group. Its main purpose was to map air-gapped networks, in other words – to understand the topology of a network that cannot be reached, and to execute commands to those isolated systems. For this, it used a unique USB-based command and control mechanism which allowed the attackers to pass data back and forth from air-gapped networks.

In particular, an infected USB stick with a hidden storage area was used to collect basic system information from a computer not connected to the Internet and to send it to the C&C when the USB stick was plugged into a computer infected by Fanny and having an Internet connection. If the attackers wanted to run commands on the air-gapped networks, they could save these commands in the hidden area of the USB stick. When the stick was plugged into the air-gapped computer, Fanny recognized the commands and executed them.

Classic spying methods to deliver malware
The attackers used universal methods to infect targets: not only through the web, but also in the physical world. For that they used an interdiction technique – intercepting physical goods and replacing them with Trojanized versions. One such example involved targeting participants at a scientific conference in Houston: upon returning home, some of the participants received a copy of the conference materials on a CD-ROM which was then used to install the group’s DoubleFantasy implant into the target’s machine. The exact method by which these CDs were interdicted is unknown.

INFAMOUS FRIENDS: STUXNET AND FLAME

There are solid links indicating that the Equation group has interacted with other powerful groups, such as the Stuxnet and Flame operators – generally from a position of superiority. The Equation group had access to zero-days before they were used by Stuxnet and Flame, and at some point they shared exploits with others.


For example, in 2008 Fanny used two zero-days which were introduced into Stuxnet in June 2009 and March 2010. One of those zero-days in Stuxnet was actually a Flame module that exploits the same vulnerability and which was taken straight from the Flame platform and built into Stuxnet.

POWERFUL AND GEOGRAPHICALLY DISTRIBUTED INFRASTRUCTURE

The Equation group uses a vast C&C infrastructure that includes more than 300 domains and more than 100 servers. The servers are hosted in multiple countries, including the US, UK, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Panama, Costa Rica, Malaysia, Colombia and Czech Republic. Kaspersky Lab is currently sinkholing a couple dozen of the 300 C&C servers.

THOUSANDS OF HIGH-PROFILE VICTIMS GLOBALLY
Since 2001, the Equation group has been busy infecting thousands, or perhaps even tens of thousands of victims in more than 30 countries worldwide, covering the following sectors: Government and diplomatic institutions, Telecommunications, Aerospace, Energy, Nuclear research, Oil and Gas, Military, Nanotechnology, Islamic activists and scholars, Mass media, Transportation, Financial institutions and companies developing encryption technologies.

DETECTION

Kaspersky Lab observed seven exploits used by the Equation group in their malware. At least four of these were used as zero-days. In addition to this, the use of unknown exploits was observed, possibly zero-day, against Firefox 17, as used in the Tor browser.

During the infection stage, the group has the ability to use ten exploits in a chain. However Kaspersky Lab's experts observed that no more than three are used: if the first one is not successful, they try with another one, and then with the third one. If all three exploits fail, they don't infect the system.

Kaspersky Lab products detected a number of attempts to attack its users. Many of these attacks were not successful due to Automatic Exploit Prevention technology which generically detects and blocks exploitation of unknown vulnerabilities. The Fanny worm, presumably compiled in July 2008, was first detected and blacklisted by our automatic systems in December 2008.

To learn more about the Equation Group, please read the blog post available at Securelist.com.


Related: Report points to global spyware operation by US or by some other government(s)

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The CIA and Art

Quote:
Well, you simply underestimate Intelligence once again, both its size and its reach. It is indeed everywhere, and there are not just tens of thousands of these people, there are millions. I showed in a recent paper that there were at least six million of them in the US alone, and that number may be a low estimate. Since there is no real Intelligence work to be done domestically—in the sense of anti - Terrorism or things like that—most of these people are involved in the magnificent con one way or the other. Everyone in the media is part of it, and all of Hollywood, and everyone in publishing, and a large part of academia. Like Hollywood, the universities have been completely taken over, and they are all but run by these shadowy government agencies. The college Presidents and Deans come right out of Intelligence—they are actually appointed by the agencies directly, with Boards of Regents just being a smokescreen. Just study the bios of these college Presidents: like the people we outed above, their stories are full of red flags.

-- Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.

-- An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.

-- In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings - about 17 million square feet of space.


That sounds frightening enough, but the numbers have been massaged. They are hiding the whole truth by telling a partial truth. The article is about domestic intelligence, so these numbers don't include American citizens working for intelligence, but who are living abroad. Since the CIA is not supposed to be active domestically (which is a joke), we may assume that a large percentage of their agents and workers are not included in these numbers. We have no hard numbers to work from here, but if we assume that only 2/3rds of all those in intelligence are included in these published domestic numbers, then we have to start by taking the number 854,000 one-third higher. Which takes us to the number 1,281,000. Next, we have to notice that they are only telling us those in intelligence who have topsecret security clearances. But only a fraction of workers in intelligence have top-secret security clearances. Security is divided into controlled, confidential, secret, top-secret, and compartmented. Even Wikipedia admits, “There are far fewer individuals with TS clearances than Secret clearances.” Since most work falls into the lower categories, top-secret clearances may be issued to only 1/5th of all workers. Which brings our number up to 6,140,000.

How big is that number? Well, it means that about 1 in 25 of those employed the US is working for intelligence.(*Out of a current workforce of 156 million) So even in a small town of 5,000, you are surrounded by about one hundred spooks. In a city of a million—like Austin, San Francisco, or Indianapolis—you are surrounded by 20,000 spooks. And in someplace like Los Angeles, you can expect to be surrounded by over 150,000.(**You will say that is twice too much, but because of Hollywood and other big institutions in LA, the percentage is about doubled. The same can be said of New York and Chicago, which are spook central. Only DC has a higher percentage of intelligence workers than these big cities.)

Or we can look at it another way. If you look up the largest employers in the world, you will find the US Department of Defense at the top, with 3.2 million workers, including active military and reserves. That is almost a million more than the Chinese military, which should surprise you given that the US has a population about ¼ that of China.(†And, although the US has a quarter the population of China, it outspends China on defense 10 to 1. No one is attacking China, are they?)

But you now see that US intelligence, which doesn't make the list because it is secret, is almost twice as large as the entire Department of Defense. The DoD is 3.2 million, and we just calculated Intelligence at 6.1 million.

It is against the law for government employees to out agents, or for agents to out each other. It is not against the law for citizens to resist propaganda, or to tell agents to leave them alone. These intelligence agents aren't even supposed to be active in the US. Most of these domestic spying and propaganda programs aren't legal to begin with, so exposing them can't be illegal. The Washington Post pretends in its article that there is nothing we can do to counter the rise of the intelligence state, but there is actually a lot we can do. We can start by exposing the illegal programs and outing the illegal agents. We can tell them we can see right through them and suggest they go peddle their mind games in Russia or somewhere. Protecting your own mind from pernicious outside influence should never be illegal, and the moment you become convinced it is, is the moment you have lost your mind.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CIA and Gestapo tactics
aaroncynic | Feb 27, 2015 | The Chicagoist


Stories Continue To Emerge From Chicago Police Department 'Black Site'

Quote:

Image credit: Google Maps screengrab

Despite vague and predictable non-answers from Chicago Police officials and lackluster “reporting” from the majority of local sources, more disturbing revelations from the CPD's facility on Homan Avenue have emerged.

On Wednesday, CPD responded to a Guardian expose detailing CIA style interrogation tactics at the building on the 3300 block of West Fillmore Street with a typical “nothing to see here” attitude, calling NATO demonstrator Brian Church's allegations of torture and abuse “false,” and blaming the death of another detainee, John Hubbard, on an accidental heroin overdose.

New stories of abuse and interrogation tactics reminiscent of now freed police torturer Jon Burge however, continue to make national headlines. Kory Wright, a now 29 year old man living in Bronzeville, told The Intercept's Juan Carlson of his 2006 experience with several others at the Homan facility:

For six hours, a sweaty Wright sat zip-tied to a bench with no access to a restroom, a telephone or water. “They strapped me — like across, kind of — to a bench, and my hands were strapped on both sides of me,” he says. “I can’t even scratch my face.” When Wright first arrived at Homan, he was left alone for a while in the hot room. Wright asked the police if he could call his mother, but instead, various police officers came “in and out. They were badgering me with questions. ‘Tell me about this murder!’” one officer shouted. Wright provided his interrogator with false information and names, with the hope of making it stop. He told me he was “trying to get out of the situation and give them something they wanted.”

Wright was picked up in an undercover drug bust, along with two other relatives and a friend, Deandre Hutcherson. Hutcherson told The Intercept that while shackled to a bench, an officer hit him “two or three times” before kicking him in the groin. He said he was released without charges after faking an asthma attack.

Meanwhile, another NATO demonstrator swept up in the Bridgeport raid just prior to the demonstrations, detailed her experiences to Spencer Ackerman at the Guardian, who published the original expose. Vic Suter, who was arrested alongside Brian Church, was held for 18 hours in the facility before she was allowed to contact an attorney. The officer driving Suter to the warehouse told her she would “get a tour of hell in Homan.” After being shackled to a bench, police interrogated her for some 18 hours before sending her to an actual precinct, booking her and allowing her to call her mother. She was released without charges after spending a night in a holding cell.

“Not being able to communicate outwardly by making a phone call or talking to a lawyer, and not being booked in so that someone can find you, you’re a hostage,” Suter told Ackerman. “It’s kidnapping.”

Several local politicians expressed shock and surprise at the revelations about the warehouse on Homan, wondering how such a thing could exist for years right under their noses. Raw Story reports Congressman Danny Davis, who represents the neighborhood where the facility is located, said he was “terribly saddened” by the story and expressed support for an investigation by the Department of Justice. Cook County commissioner Richard Boykin, who also called for a DOJ investigation, said:

“I hadn’t heard of the sort of CIA or Gestapo tactics that were mentioned in the Guardian article until it was brought to my attention.”

The real shock and surprise here should come at the collective shrug from both local politicians and media. In the fallout of the NATO demonstrations, Firedoglake published an account from an activist scooped up in the same Bridgeport raid Church and Suter were. The account, published under a pseudonym, tells a similar story of being shackled to a bench, taunted and abused by police and being denied access to legal council and bathroom facilities.

Though some local politicians say this might be the first time they've heard of such tactics being used at the facility, it's hardly surprising these things are taking place. Jerry Boyle, a lawyer and member of the Chicago chapter of the National Lawyer's Guild, said that the site, and practice of disappearing arrestees, is an all too common practice. “Lawyers have known for awhile that Homan is a black hole,” said Boyle. “When you can't find your client and all else fails, you try that. If you get lucky, they might acknowledge they have your client.”

Boyle said roughly ten years ago, a family member of a client called him to report an arrest. “I tried the usual things, asked where he was arrested, where the alleged offense occurred. They didn't know. I called central booking - they're usually the last to know - so I started calling over to Homan.” Boyle said that after several rounds of calls to inside sources he learned his client was at the warehouse, but when he went to it, he was denied entry or access to his client.

The problem with the Homan site, as well as many other instances of police abuse, is that there's little or no accountability when nothing goes to court. Whether or not the rights of an arrestee were violated plays out in the legal system, and if nothing goes to court or gets reported, little happens. “There is no punishment available for a violation of an arrestee's constitutional rights unless they (the police) fess up to the fact,” said Boyle. “Homan square is the blackest of the black holes.”

While the majority of local media have been busy either reprinting non-answers from police officials or shamefully belittling and even outright mocking the victims who've come forward, we shouldn't forget or shrug our shoulders at these stories. The fact that they're “nothing new,” should be the kind of thing media and politicians feel both shock and outrage about, rather than shaking our heads and doing nothing. According to the Chicago Reporter, the City paid out $54.2 million last year alone in settlements stemming from police misconduct, which doesn't even include fees paid to its own lawyers. If anything, that alone shows this is the sort of thing that's far from isolated and far from over.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember looking at Joe Vialls articles (later realising he/she was a disinfo participant)...then thinking is ol' Joe; Sorcha Faal?

We know the shill sites more and more everyday as we peel away the layers of the onion. Like a sculpture stripping away the unessential elements to reveal the truth.

The server that "Sorcha Faal" is using is located at: 12001 Sunrise Valley Drive Suite 350, Reston. VA. The location of the CIA is at: 12020 Sunset Hills Rd, Reston, VA 20190

These two locations are very close together. We can conclude that "Sorcha Faal" is most likely a CIA dis-information site. If you search on "Sorcha Faal", you'll find that there are those who agree with this conclusion. I don't believe that it can be relied on at all.

So by association:

http://www.whatdoesitmean.com/

Is a site to avoid.

***

Also, Hillary C having her own server yada yada is a non issue. Not sure why this is news worthy? Perhaps to give Jeb a leg up.

Isn't it time to get some new blood in these high offices....instead of these mafiosi. It is obvious to me Democracy is a joke...in the US and Canada...mandatory voting (a ruse to distract attention from lower and lower turnouts - pretty soon it will be down to 10-20% - time to wake up people, this is system is not working) or any voting is a waste of your time.

***

More: Are Your Devices Hardwired For Betrayal?

More: Jade Helm Martial Law WW3 Prep Document (pdf)

More: Senate Intelligence Committee Advances Terrible "̶C̶y̶b̶e̶r̶s̶e̶c̶u̶r̶i̶t̶y̶"̶ ̶B̶i̶l̶l̶ Surveillance Bill in Secret Session

More: France intends to prohibit the dissemination of "conspiracy theories" on the Internet

More: The Sting: How the FBI Created a Terrorist


The FBI isn't nabbing would-be terrorists so much as setting up mentally ill or economically desperate
people to commit crimes they could never have accomplished on their own.


More: Bill C-51 Preventative arrest? Secret police? Rights lawyers break down anti-terrorism law

Quote:
The Bad
Whatever our general views on preventive detention, we are concerned whether seven days of detention will equate to seven days of protracted and aggressive interrogation. Abusive interrogation is one of the hallmarks of the post-9/11 world. And we must be vigilant to ensure that it does not come to Canada by way of Bill C-51.

One should not assume the state will visit abuse on detainees. Nor do we assume that the courts would be inattentive to this matter. Canadians would be naive, however, to assume that some investigators will not take advantage of a week-long detention period to browbeat a suspect. Safeguards should be added to this legislation, including limitations on the total number of hours a person may be interrogated (as well as the circumstances of the interrogation).

Nor should one assume that the “right person” always will be detained: There will be false positives, innocent people wrongly placed into custody. This is especially so in a system that allows the state to detain so easily, combined with cases where the boundaries of a suspected cell or group are unclear. Many Canadians may be vulnerable to detention based merely on the fact that their name appears on a terror suspect’s cell phone call list.

We also are concerned by the bill’s new information-sharing regime, which dramatically loosens the strictures on how the government internally shares data, and introduces a dangerously broad category of “activities that undermine the security of Canada,” which can include much illegal protest. This will be of special concern to anyone who has studied the infamous Maher Arar case.


The Ugly
Bill C-51’s prohibitions on speech that promotes or glorifies terrorism would provide sweeping powers to police and prosecutors—more vast than the government has acknowledged so far. Thankfully, courts may ultimately restrain that scope, either because judges interpret the provisions narrowly, or because (as seems likely) they consider the provisions to infringe on Charter rights to free speech.

In the meantime, the speech provisions of Bill C-51 will cast a chill on any opinion touching upon the issue of terrorism—including opinions that are politically extreme and irresponsible, but that are far removed from actual or threatened terroristic violence. Those opinions will not disappear, of course. They will persist in secret, renewed by a sense of grievance. The more attentive holders of these views will go silent, especially on social media. This important open-source form of intelligence—on, particularly, al Qaeda- or ISIS-inspired radicalization—may degrade. And our most promising response to violent extremism—community-based programs such as the RCMP’s new counter-extremism initiative—may prove less successful, since they rely on open and candid communication with those who harbour radical views.

The bill’s authors don’t seem to appreciate the extent to which speech already is criminalized under existing terror laws. One person was successfully prosecuted in 2010 for outright terrorist propaganda. And last month’s arrests of three men in Ottawa, under provisions of the 2001 anti-terror law brought into effect in the months after 9/11, reaffirms that conduct that amounts, in a large degree, to speech can be prosecuted under existing legislation. We are hard pressed to see any virtue in going one step further, and prosecuting the more general, abstract form of expressed pro-terrorist sentiment that the language of Bill C-51 would cover.

The law will also allow the state to censor the internet and seize “terrorist propaganda” tied to this new, broad offence. We are not opposed to judicial orders to delete material from the Internet that incites terrorism, and as such is already criminal. But we do have concerns about the breadth of “terrorist propaganda” and what it will mean for expression of unpopular (and even popular) ideas, only distantly linked to possible violence. We have even more concerns that customs and border control will be allowed to enforce this new provision in deciding what material enters the country.

But it is the proposed changes to Canadian Security Intelligence Service that are the most radical feature of the bill. CSIS was designed with a broad mandate but limited powers. Until now, it has been an intelligence service—which is to say that it collects and analyses information, and supplies threat assessments to the government. When it was created in 1984, parliament approved CSIS’s mandate as one that excluded “kinetic” powers—including the power to arrest or otherwise do things to people in the physical world (except when necessary, for example, to install a wiretap or listening device).

That will change under Bill C-51—although some of CSIS’s new “kinetic” powers will be mild or innocuous. CSIS, for instance, will become able to intervene by talking to parents of a radicalized youth. CSIS also will become able to meddle with property in order, for example, to swap out an explosive chemical for an inert one.

But why must it be CSIS that performs such actions and not, as has been the case in the past, law enforcement including the RCMP? And how will CSIS’s involvement affect the government’s ability to transfer secret intelligence into evidence that can be used in court?

Another problem is that the proposed bill does little to limit CSIS’s kinetic powers to the sort of benign activities described above. All we get in Bill C-51, in this regard, is the stipulation that CSIS agents will commit no bodily harm, no obstruction of justice, and no violation of sexual integrity.

These three items are a cut-and-paste job from Criminal Code provisions that authorize the police to, in limited circumstances, violate the law if officers abide by such stated conditions. But the analogy is imperfect. When the RCMP breaks the law in the course of a police investigation designed, ideally, to result in criminal charges, that behaviour will be tested in open court. When the system works as intended, everything comes to light, and police misconduct scuttles prosecutions.

CSIS, however, faces no such prospect. Its activities come to light only when something goes seriously wrong, or when its investigations morph into criminal processes led by the RCMP.

Bill C-51 does superimpose a special warrant system on CSIS’s new kinetic powers: Where those activities would violate either a law or the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a Federal Court judge must bless them in advance. But that, too, is problematic.

The obvious thinking is that such a system simply builds on the conventional role of judges in issuing search warrants. However, here again, the analogy is approximate. In the world of search and seizure, judicial warrants are designed to prevent—not authorize—Charter violations. That is because the Charter privacy protection is qualified: the Charter protects against “unreasonable” searches and seizures, and any search under a warrant is prima facie proper. “Unreasonable,” in this context, typically means without warrant.

But other Charter rights—including those endangered by CSIS’s broadened powers—are dramatically different. For instance, there is no concept of “reasonable” cruel and unusual punishment under the Charter: it is an absolute right. To imagine that a court can pre-authorize a violation of this right—as C-51 apparently would allow the court to do—is to fundamentally misunderstand the way our constitution works.

Here we get to a major conceptual problem with C-51: Section 1 of the Charter allows rights to be invaded where such invasion is “reasonable” in a free and democratic society, but only when “prescribed by law”—which usually means specified by statute—on top of being justified by a rigorous legal test. A judge who is presented with a warrant application from CSIS is in no position to invent a new exception to a Charter right. Which is to say: Nothing in our constitutional tradition suggests that a judge is competent, by warrant, to “prescribe by law” a Section 1 Charter exception on an ad hoc basis.

This aspect of our critique may sound obscure. But the ramifications are enormous. Bill C-51, if passed, would allow Federal Court judges to limit all sorts of Charter rights, including the right of Canadian citizens to return to Canada. What’s worse, there is no guarantee that such judicial decisions will be made public, given the need for secrecy in terror cases.

Moreover, there would be no democratic discussion. The British Parliament is having a debate over the validity of exclusion orders that keep citizens who have joined ISIS from coming back home. We are not having such a debate, because our parliament is being asked to sign a blank cheque for Charter violations under C-51’s new CSIS warrant scheme.

We could be wrong in our appraisal of how courts will construe these powers. But we won’t know for certain, because any deliberation on this question will be conducted in a warrant proceeding. In other words, all these weighty legal deliberations will be done in secret, with only the judge and the government side represented. The person affected by the illegal activity will not be there, nor likely will ever know what government agency visited the misfortune upon them.

They cannot defend their rights. No civil rights group will be able to weigh in on their behalf. The overall results, we fear, will be an opaque parliamentary debate on the merits of this law followed by a one-sided legal discussion about its application.

At best (the bill does not guarantee this, but we expect courts may do this on their own initiative), the public interest will be defended by a “special advocate.” This is a representative who must try to balance such advocacy work with his or her private legal practice. He or she will be paid a fraction of his or her regular billing rate, will be sworn to secrecy, and made unable to consult often with other special advocates—while, most likely, fighting tooth and nail to ensure that the government is candid. There is no equality of arms in such proceedings.

Shelves already groan with review body reports and Federal Court decisions complaining that CSIS has distressingly, regularly failed to meet its duty of candour in closed-door proceedings. It is difficult to know whether these reports are the tip of the iceberg—a failure to be candid is hard to detect.

The ultimate court decision in such cases generally will not be made public, typically because of concerns that disclosure would reveal and affect adversely ongoing intelligence operations. And there will be no one in a natural position to appeal the decisions. We risk the creation of what is in effect an entirely secret, Kafkaesque body of jurisprudence concerning when CSIS can act beyond the law.

Our expectation is that the Federal Court will do its best to push out redacted versions of its cases, but it will be inventing the process as it goes. Appeals, if any, will depend on ad hoc arrangements, and presumably also require an earnest special advocate with the time and inclination to press matters and involve themselves in endless novel legal disputes (including the question over whether they can actually receive remuneration for bringing an appeal in these matters).

What might all these new powers (court-approved or not) mean for criminal investigations, if CSIS’s new kinetic powers muddy the waters of everyday police work? Will there be viable prosecutions rendered non-viable because CSIS’s undercover activities end up being intertwined in the defendant’s allegedly criminal conduct? We would be shocked if these questions are not deeply preoccupying the RCMP—bearing in mind the historically difficult relationship between CSIS and the RCMP.

With the exception of police bonds and preventive arrests, the government’s legislation package may, in some ways, actually make things ore difficult for the Mounties and prosecutors. Good defence lawyers will demand full disclosure of CSIS disruption and law-breaking activities, making open-court terrorism trials—long and complex to begin with—even more difficult. The Supreme Court already has reminded trial judges that they must permanently halt terrorism trials if they have a doubt that a fair trial is possible.

The Truly Ugly
We have nothing but respect for those who work with the Security Intelligence Review Committee, the independent, external review body that reports to parliament on CSIS operations. But SIRC is an underfunded, understaffed review body. Its statutory powers have not kept pace with the expanded power and mandate of the security services it reviews.

In 2006, the Arar Commission underscored the urgent necessity of new legislative tools allowing SIRC to coordinate with other review bodies. But even now, the review bodies are “stovepiped” by agency. Informal efforts to coordinate are rebuffed by the government. As we understand it, the government even has suggested that coordination would violate Canada’s criminal laws governing secrecy.

SIRC needs more money, more people, and a more credible process of appointing committee members. It also requires a renewed government mandate, recrafted to reflect the emerging reality recognized years ago by the Arar Commission.

Not everything in Bill C-51 is objectionable. Some provisions might even be welcome. But without a redoubled investment in our tattered accountability system, the overall package is an ugly one to anyone concerned about civil liberties, and should also provoke deep unease for those looking for a workable, rational approach to security.
Source: http://thewalrus.ca/bill-c-51-the-good-the-bad-and-the-truly-ugly/

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 3:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just in case you were wondering who's putting up all these crazy posts;

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-03-23/propagandists-use-automated-software-spread-disinformation

Quote:
Propagandists Use Automated Software to Spread Disinformation


Rampant Disinformation

NATO has announced that it is launching an “information war” against Russia.

The UK publicly announced a battalion of keyboard warriors to spread disinformation.

It’s well-documented that the West has long used false propaganda to sway public opinion.

Western military and intelligence services manipulate social media to counter criticism of Western policies.

Such manipulation includes flooding social media with comments supporting the government and large corporations, using armies of sock puppets, i.e. fake social media identities. See this, this, this, this and this.

In 2013, the American Congress repealed the formal ban against the deployment of propaganda against U.S. citizens living on American soil. So there’s even less to constrain propaganda than before.

Information warfare for propaganda purposes also includes:

The Pentagon, Federal Reserve and other government entities using software to track discussion of political issues … to try to nip dissent in the bud before it goes viral

“Controlling, infiltrating, manipulating and warping” online discourse

Use of artificial intelligence programs to try to predict how people will react to propaganda

Automated Propaganda

Some of the propaganda is spread by software programs.

We pointed out 6 years ago that people were writing scripts to censor hard-hitting information from social media.

One of America’s top cyber-propagandists – former high-level military information officer Joel Harding – wrote in December:

I was in a discussion today about information being used in social media as a possible weapon. The people I was talking with have a tool which scrapes social media sites, gauges their sentiment and gives the user the opportunity to automatically generate a persuasive response. Their tool is called a “Social Networking Influence Engine”.

***

The implications seem to be profound for the information environment.

***
The people who own this tool are in the civilian world and don’t even remotely touch the defense sector, so getting approval from the US Department of State might not even occur to them.

How Can This Real?

Gizmodo reported in 2010:

Software developer Nigel Leck got tired rehashing the same 140-character arguments against climate change deniers, so he programmed a bot that does the work for him. With citations!


Leck’s bot, @AI_AGW, doesn’t just respond to arguments directed at Leck himself, it goes out and picks fights. Every five minutes it trawls Twitter for terms and phrases that commonly crop up in Tweets that refute human-caused climate change. It then searches its database of hundreds to find a counter-argument best suited for that tweet—usually a quick statement and a link to a scientific source.


As can be the case with these sorts of things, many of the deniers don’t know they’ve been targeted by a robot and engage AI_AGW in debate. The bot will continue to fire back canned responses that best fit the interlocutor’s line of debate—Leck says this goes on for days, in some cases—and the bot’s been outfitted with a number of responses on the topic of religion, where the arguments unsurprisingly often end up.

Technology has come a long way in the past 5 years. So if a lone programmer could do this 5 years ago, imagine what he could do now.

And the big players have a lot more resources at their disposal than a lone climate activist/software developer does. For example, a government expert told the Washington Post that the government “quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type” (and see this). So if the lone programmer is doing it, it's not unreasonable to assume that the big boys are widely doing it.
How Does It Work?

How does this work?

We have no inside knowledge, but we can imagine some possibilities:

Any article that includes the words “Russia” or “Ukraine” automatically triggers comments accusing Russia of seeking to form a new empire, Putin of being the new Hitler, and the Russians invading and being responsible for all of the violence Ukraine

Any article including the words “NSA”, “spying” or “mass surveillance” automatically triggers comments saying that the government is just trying keep us safe, and anyone who questions their actions is a tinfoil hat wearing conspiracy theorist who lives in his mom’s basement

Any article mentioning the phrases”Federal Reserve” or “quantitative easing” automatically launches comments saying that the Fed is doing the best it can under difficult circumstances, and that the economy would be much worse without QE

So that moron who keeps spewing garbage - and doesn't seem like he's even listening to your responses - may actually be a bot.
How Effective Are Automated Comments?

Unfortunately, this is more effective than you might assume …

Specifically, scientists have shown that name-calling and swearing breaks down people’s ability to think rationally … and intentionally sowing discord and posting junk comments to push down insightful comments are common propaganda techniques.

Indeed, an automated program need not even be that sophisticated … it can copy a couple of words from the main post or a comment, and then spew back one or more radioactive labels such as “terrorist”, “commie”, “Russia-lover”, “wimp”, “fascist”, “loser”, “traitor”, “conspiratard”, etc.

Given that Harding and his compadres consider anyone who questions any U.S. policies as an enemy of the state – as does the Obama administration (and see this) – many honest, patriotic writers and commenters may be targeted for automated propaganda comments.

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