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Posts Tagged ‘DHS’

Michigan Governor Whitmer Goes Full Orwell, Demands Full Names, Phone Numbers For All Restaurant Customers

Posted by M. C. on November 4, 2020

I hope comrade Wolf doesn’t hear about this.

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/november/03/michigan-governor-whitmer-goes-full-orwell-demands-full-names-phone-numbers-for-all-restaurant-customers/?fbclid=IwAR0cS2cF5bxtBz5wTjsumIPEcU6DAb4BeVT2zktfFexSWkk6_krtqc6Cy28

Written by Tyler Durden Tuesday November 3, 2020
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Effective this week, diners in Michigan are now going to be required to produce their full name and contact information simply for wanting to eat out at a restaurant or bar.

Ironically, it’s likely more information than citizens are required to produce in order to vote. 

Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer has moved her state one step closer to a true Orwellian paradise, asking her citizens to surrender their privacy every time they want a cheeseburger and a coke at their local diner. Whitmer has already been struck down once by the Supreme Court over trying to unilaterally extend the state’s emergency declarations, The Western Journal noted. 

A new release from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said: “Like many other businesses in Michigan, bars and restaurants will also be required to take names and contact information to support effective contact tracing if necessary.”

But who can be worried about such mundane things as rights in the midst of an unstoppable pandemic that is slightly more deadly than the flu, right?

That was the Michigan DHS’s take. They said: “Michigan presently has 172 cases per million people and positivity of tests has increased from about 2 percent to 5.5 percent and both indicators have been increasing for over four weeks. Hospitalizations for COVID-19 have doubled over the last three weeks while the state death rate has increased for five consecutive weeks.”

The order also reduced the amount of people that can gather in the state for weddings and parties: “As part of the newly extended orders, MDHHS today reduces from 500 persons to 50 persons the maximum gathering size for indoor gatherings such as weddings, parties, and banquets which occur in nonresidential settings without fixed seating.”

It added: “For bars, restaurants, and social events outside private homes, indoor party sizes at a single table are now restricted to six people.”

Violating the order could result in a $1,000 fine, a misdemeanor, and potentially imprisonment, the DHS said: “Violations are punishable by a civil fine up to $1,000 and may also be treated as a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than six months or a fine of not more than $200, or both. In addition, failure to comply with orders may violate a business or professional’s licensure requirements or present a workplace safety violation.”

Unsurprisingly, Michigan businesses are not happy about the new order. 

Michigan Licensed Beverage Association Executive Director Scott Ellis concluded: “Again, what’s this data gathering if the data is not truthful, how do we know how good it is? Our front-line servers have already had trouble dealing with masks and mandates and mandating masks. We did de-escalation training and all kinds of other things to help with that and now we’re taking to the next level. We have to gather someone’s personal information?”

Reprinted with permission from ZeroHedge.

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How DHS and FBI officials spun a dubious Russian election threat days before voting | The Grayzone

Posted by M. C. on November 4, 2020

The new narrative was not consistent with information previously published by the the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security’s new Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), however. It was so incoherent, in fact, that it suggested a state of panic on the part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials worried about a possible transition to a Joe Biden administration.

https://thegrayzone.com/2020/11/02/how-panicked-dhs-and-fbi-officials-spun-a-dubious-russian-election-threat-days-before-voting/

Gareth Porter

A Department of Homeland Security election alert spawning new Russia fears was so incoherent and inconsistent with previous findings, it suggested a state of political panic inside the agency.

Just days before the 2020 election the bureaucratic forces behind the original claim of Russian hacking of state election-related websites in 2016 launched a new drive to spawn fears of Moscow-made political chaos in the wake of the voting.

The new narrative was not consistent with information previously published by the the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security’s new Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), however. It was so incoherent, in fact, that it suggested a state of panic on the part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials worried about a possible transition to a Joe Biden administration.

On October 20, Christopher Krebs, the head of CISA, issued a video statement expressing confidence that “it would be incredibly difficult for them to change the outcome of an election at the national level.”  Then he abruptly changed his tone, adding, “But that doesn’t mean various actors won’t try to introduce chaos in our elections and make sensational claims that overstate their capabilities. In fact, the days and weeks just before and after Election Day is the perfect time for our adversaries to launch efforts intended to undermine your confidence in the integrity of the electoral process.”

Krebs’ warning of a possible Russian announcement that hackers had succeeded in disrupting the result of the U.S. election was so removed from reality that it suggested internal panic DHS over the failure of Russian hackers to do anything that could be cited as interfering the election.

Two days after Krebs’ dubious warning, the FBI and the DHS’s new Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued an “alert” reporting that “a Russian state-sponsored APT [Advanced Persistent Threat] actor” known as “Berserk Bear” had “conducted a campaign against a wide variety of U.S. targets.”

Since “at least September,” according to the DHS alert, the DHS warning claimed that it had targeted “dozens” of “U.S. state, local, territorial and tribal government networks.”  It even claimed that the supposed Russian campaign had compromised the network infrastructure of several official organizations and “exfiltrated data from at least two victims servers”. At the same time, it acknowledged there was “no indication” that any government operations had been “intentionally disrupted.”

The report went on to suggest, “[T]here may be some risk to elections information housed on SLTT [state, local territorial and tribal] government networks.” And then it abruptly shifted tone and level of analysis to offer the speculation that the Russian government “may be seeking access to obtain future disruption options, to influence U.S. policies or actions”, or to “delegitimize” the “government entities”.

On October 28, Krebs elaborated on the latter theme in an interview with the PBS NewsHour.  Referring inaccurately to government warnings about “Russian interference, some of which targeted voter registration,” which the FBI-CISA alert had never mentioned, PBS interviewer William Brangham asked, “Do you worry at all that there might be infiltration that we are not aware of?”

Instead of correcting Brangham’s inaccurate suggestion, Krebs responded that “infiltration” into voter registration files was “certainly possible,” but that “[W]e have improved the ability to detect compromises or anomalous activity.”

Krebs then homed in on a scenario he obviously wanted the public to focus on: “[Y]ou might see various actors, foreign powers, claim that they were able to accomplish something, [that] they were able to hack a database or hack the vote count. And it’s simply not true.”

Although the October 22 alert did not assert any deliberate Russian government hack of election-related sites, Krebs sought to keep speculation about both Russian capabilities and intent alive.

The buried alert that undermined the frightening official assessment

Eleven daysbefore Krebs debuted his speculation about Russia claiming to have hacked U.S. elections, the FBI and CISA issued a separate alert that seriously undercut his questionable claims.

The earlier document was clearly referring to the very same efforts by hackers to break into various websites addressed in the October 22 alert.  It not only referred to the same state and local government networks and to the wider range of targets affected but also mentioned precisely the same technical vulnerabilities that were targeted in the series of hacks.

The alert further stated that, “[I]t does not appear these targets are being selected because of their proximity to elections information….” In other words, the two US agencies conceded they had no basis for attributing the hacks in question to any election interference plot.

The most striking difference between the two alerts, however, was that the October 9 alert did not refer to any “Russian state-sponsored APT actor” as the October 22 one did. Instead, it simply pointed to “APT actors” in the plural, indicating that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence indicating a single actor was at work, let alone one that was “Russian-state sponsored.” 

Contrary to the impression that U.S. officials may have conveyed in referencing an “Advance Persistent Threat,” or APT, it is now widely understood by cybersecurity specialists that this term no longer refers to a state-sponsored actor. That is because the sophisticated tools and techniques once associated with state-sponsored hacking have now become available to a much wider range of cyber actors. Indeed, the codes for such high-end tools have been identified in the Shadow Brokers and Vault 7 leaks, and the tools have been marketed widely at affordable prices on the dark web.

The October 9 alert firmly established the dearth of evidence on the part of CISA and FBI about a Russian state-sponsored hacking team planning elections-related operations in the U.S. The sudden pivot days later to an unqualified claim that a single state-sponsored APT had been responsible for the same very large range of operations should have been accompanied by claims of substantial new intelligence, or at least a reference to the evidence underlying the dramatic new reversal. But no such proof ever arrived.

Scott McConnell, the spokesman for CISA, promised the Grazyzone on October 29 that he would provide someone to answer questions about the October 22 alert by the close of business Friday. In the end, however, no one from CISA responded, and there was no answer on McConnell’s line.

The peculiar reversal by the DHS and CISA on the hacking claims raise questions about the institutional considerations taken by these agencies. Did indications that President Donald Trump’s campaign was faltering inform their decision to issue a more stridently anti-Russian assessment in hopes of surviving a political transition?

The US officials who drew up the initial pre-election alert seemed keenly aware that despite that drumbeat of over the past two years, no state-sponsored Russian hacking of election institutions was underway.  But as the Trump campaign sputtered, they had their own careers to consider. Days later, DHS and CISA declared the wily Russians guilty of yet another malign operations — one that would not require them to have slightest evidence to support, and that would be impossible for them to explain.

Gareth Porter

Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist who has covered national security policy since 2005 and was the recipient of Gellhorn Prize for Journalism in 2012.  His most recent book is The CIA Insider’s Guide to the Iran Crisis co-authored with John Kiriakou, just published in February.

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Trump’s DHS to label white supremacists as the “most persistent and lethal threat” to the US: report

Posted by M. C. on September 7, 2020

“Think about it dear reader. Is it white supremacists who have been looting and burning 400 American cities? Have you ever seen a white supremacist? Where are their organizations, their political representation, their media shills? Are CNN and the New York Times propagandists for them? You have seen them nowhere. They don’t exist.

Trump’s DHS to label white supremacists as the “most persistent and lethal threat” to the US: report

Genrick Yagoda says:

September 3, 2020 at 6:43 pm GMT

PCR is the single most important political voice in the Western World.

People should support his website. We need his voice.

 

You need my voice, and I need your support.  This is your website.  It is here as long as you support it.

 

Trump’s DHS to label white supremacists as the “most persistent and lethal threat” to the US: report

Paul Craig Roberts

https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/515244-dhs-to-label-white-supremacists-as-the-most-persistent-and-lethal

President Trump needs to get on this immediately.  If this report in The Hill is correct, the head of the US Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, is either anti-white, a moron, perhaps both, or simply unaware of what the DHS anti-white bureaucrats are up to.  While Antifa and Black Lives Matter burn and loot American cities, destroy property, attack and murder people in restaurants and on street corners, and declare their revolutionary intent, Trump’s Department of Homeland Security, reportedly, is declaring a hypothetical  group that is not involved in any violence to be a “lethal threat to the US.”  The mythical group is labeled “white supremacy,” and thus easily declared a “lethal threat” as the declaration of white threat is consistent with critical race theory used to brainwash students in American schools and universities and in mandatory sensitivity indoctrination for whites in state, local, and federal government and in corporations.

Keep in mind that The Hill is anti-Trump and Chad Wolf might not be aware of the draft reports of a “white supremacy threat to the US” that his agency is preparing —https://www.politico.com/news/2020/09/04/white-supremacists-terror-threat-dhs-409236

The question immediately arises: What good is Homeland Security when it focuses on mythical instead of real threats? Why should Americans, hard-pressed as they are, pay for worthless “homeland security?”

Is the Homeland Security bureaucracy’s real worry that  white Americans might organize to protect themselves against Antifa and Black Lives Matter?  Is the threat perceived by Homeland Security that white Americans will not permit themselves to be dispossessed?  Is Homeland Security setting the stage to use federal force to prevent white people from protecting their lives, families, and property?  That is what it sounds like.

Where does Trump get the people he appoints to office?  Here is Trump trying to demonstrate  the difference between himself and anti-white Kamala Harris when there seems to be no difference between Homeland Security under Chad Wolf and Kamala.  Trump’s own administration is so anti-white that Trump has had to issue an executive order to stop the use of anti-white indoctrination sessions in the Trump administration—https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2020/09/05/president-trump-orders-a-halt-to-the-anti-white-racial-discrimination-practiced-throughout-the-us-government/   As Trump is staffed up with Kamalas, what changes if she is elected?  Trump’s own Department of Homeland Security is doing exactly what  the anti-white racist Kamala would do.

White supremacists are like Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.  They are like Iranian nuclear weapons.  They are like Assad’s use of chemical weapons. They are like Russian invasion of Ukraine. They are like Russiagate. They are like Trump badmouthing American war dead.  They are an orchestrated fiction.

Think about it dear reader.  Is it white supremacists who have been looting and burning 400 American cities?  Have you ever seen a white supremacist?  Where are their organizations, their political representation, their media shills?  Are CNN and the New York Times propagandists for them?  You have seen them nowhere.  They don’t exist.

But here is Trump’s own Department of Homeland Security declaring a fiction to be the greatest lethal threat to the US.

If The Hill report is true, Chad Wolf should be immediately fired, or we might as well vote for Kamala.

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Spying on Journalists – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on August 6, 2020

For starters, it is far easier to spy unlawfully than it is to obtain a search warrant. As well, the feds have established a vast network of domestic spies — the 60,000-person strong National Security Agency. It captures all electronic data, voice and text, communicated within the United States — without warrants and with few complaints.

All this directly assaults the right to privacy, but the feds do it anyway. The spying is so normal that a deputy DHS secretary ordered it in Portland without seeking approval up his chain of command.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/08/andrew-p-napolitano/spying-on-journalists/

By

Last week, this column argued that the only constitutional role for armed federal forces in Portland, Oregon, was to assist U.S. marshals in protecting federal property and personnel there — in this case, the federal courthouse and those who come to it. The column also argued that under the U.S. Constitution, the feds have no lawful role in policing streets unless requested to do so by the governor or legislature of any state.

In Portland’s case, the governor of Oregon and the mayor of Portland both asked acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf to bring his forces home. He agreed to do so when Oregon’s governor offered to beef up security at the federal courthouse.

Yet, the federal forces were doing more than just protecting federal property. They were agitating the peaceful demonstrators in Portland’s streets by firing an internationally banned variant of tear gas repeatedly and indiscriminately into crowds for hours at a time every night. The feds were also spying on journalists who were in the crowds of protestors reporting on what they observed.

Here is the backstory.

The Supreme Court has held, for many generations, that the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects the “right to be let alone.” Today, we call this privacy.

Those who wrote the Constitution were acutely aware of the proclivities of government to monitor the communications and behavior of folks it hates and fears. King George III sent British troops and government agents into the homes of colonists under various pretexts, the most notorious of which was to examine letters, papers and pamphlets to ascertain if the king’s tax on them had been paid.

This Stamp Act tax cost more to enforce than it generated in revenue. Was the king dumb or dumb like a fox? Probably the latter; the true purpose of the tax was not to raise money but to remind the colonists that the king could cross the thresholds of their homes — a right he did not have in Great Britain — through the use of his soldiers and agents. And, while inside the home, his agents could discover who was agitating for secession.

With memories of these royal abuses fresh in their minds, the members of the first Congress — led by James Madison — approved and passed the Fourth Amendment. The states ratified it as part of the Bill of Rights. Madison also drafted the Ninth Amendment, which reflects the existence in all people of natural human rights — knowable by the exercise of reason and insulated from government intrusion. Among those rights is privacy.

May the government lawfully invade the right to privacy? Under the Fourth Amendment, it may do so only pursuant to search warrants issued by a judge, and the judge may only issue a search warrant after taking testimony under oath demonstrating that it is more likely than not that the place to be searched will yield evidence of criminal behavior. Plus, the warrant must specify the place to be searched or the person or thing to be seized.

The language and requirements in the Fourth Amendment are the most specific in the Constitution. Madison insisted upon this so it would be both an obstacle to the new American government doing to its citizens what the king and his agents had done to the colonists, and an inducement to the government to focus law enforcement on probable causes of crime rather than spying on political enemies.

Now, back to the feds in Portland.

We know from their admissions that the feds compiled dossiers on numerous journalists covering their activities in Portland. We also know that some data in those dossiers came from public sources and some did not. The governmental acquisition of data from nonpublic, nongovernment sources without search warrants constitutes spying.

The government spies routinely on Americans today — so much so that the revelation of it ceases to shock.

Why would the feds do this?

For starters, it is far easier to spy unlawfully than it is to obtain a search warrant. As well, the feds have established a vast network of domestic spies — the 60,000-person strong National Security Agency. It captures all electronic data, voice and text, communicated within the United States — without warrants and with few complaints.

All this directly assaults the right to privacy, but the feds do it anyway. The spying is so normal that a deputy DHS secretary ordered it in Portland without seeking approval up his chain of command.

The government also spies to intimidate — and this brings us back to Portland. When the government discovers personal information that it has no right to acquire without a warrant — information devoid of criminal evidence, information that the Fourth Amendment bars the government from obtaining without a warrant — and then tells you it has this information, it chills your freedom.

Chilling can make you pause before exposing or criticizing the government. The Supreme Court has characterized this as a violation of both the Fourth Amendment and the freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment.

To Wolf’s credit, he either fired or transferred (it is unclear which) the deputy secretary who ordered DHS agents to spy on journalists in Portland. Yet, when ordered, they readily complied with the order. That’s how commonplace federal spying has become — and how easy.

The folks who did this should all lose their jobs. Why? Because it is unlawful to obey an unlawful order.

Or have our constitutional rights been so emasculated that the government doesn’t know the difference?

Andrew P. Napolitano [send him mail], a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel. Judge Napolitano has written nine books on the U.S. Constitution. The most recent is Suicide Pact: The Radical Expansion of Presidential Powers and the Lethal Threat to American Liberty. To find out more about Judge Napolitano and to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit creators.com.

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ICE arrests 90 more foreign students at fake university created by DHS in Michigan

Posted by M. C. on November 29, 2019

Fake criminals, fake crimes all to make fake law enforcement look like they are doing something. And making a few bucks off the victims.

Gives them something to do when they are not trying to depose a sitting US president.

https://amp.usatoday.com/amp/4317788002

Niraj Warikoo

DETROIT – About 90 additional foreign students at a fake university in metro Detroit created by the Department of Homeland Security have been arrested in recent months.

A total of about 250 students have now been arrested since January on immigration violations by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as part of a sting operation by federal agents who enticed foreign-born students, mostly from India, to attend the school that marketed itself as offering graduate programs in technology and computer studies, according to ICE officials.

Many of those arrested have been deported, while others are contesting their removals. One has been allowed to stay after being granted lawful permanent resident status by an immigration judge.

The students had arrived legally in the U.S. on student visas, but since the University of Farmington was later revealed to be a creation of federal agents, they lost their immigration status after it was shut down in January. The school was staffed with undercover agents posing as university officials. 

Out of the approximately 250 students arrested on administrative charges, “nearly 80% were granted voluntary departure and departed the United States,” the Detroit office of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations told the Free Press in a statement Tuesday.

Of the remaining 20%, about half have received a final order of removal; some were ordered removed by an immigration judge, and others “were given an expedited removal by U.S. Customs and Border Protection,” HSI Detroit said.

The remaining 10% “have either filed for some sort of relief or are contesting their removals with Executive Office for Immigration Review,” HSI Detroit said.

ICE said in March that 161 students had been arrested, a number that has now grown to about 250.

Meanwhile, seven of the eight recruiters who were criminally charged with trying to recruit students have pleaded guilty and been sentenced in Detroit. The remaining defendant  will be sentenced in January.

Attorneys for the students arrested said that they were unfairly trapped by the U.S. government since the Department of Homeland Security had said on its website that the university was legitimate. An accreditation agency that was working with the U.S. on its sting operation also listed the university as legitimate.

More: Emails show how fake university in metro Detroit lured students

More: Attorney: Fake Farmington university sting by ICE was entrapment

Fake university believed to have collected millions of dollars

There were more than 600 students enrolled at the university, which was created a few years ago by federal law enforcement officials with ICE. Records filed with the state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs show that the University of Farmington was incorporated in January 2016.

Many of the students had enrolled with the university through a program known as Curricular Practical Training, which allows students to work in the U.S through a F-1 visa program for foreign students. Some had transferred to the University of Farmington from other schools that had lost accreditation, which means they would no longer be allowed to remain in the U.S….

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Surprise! FBI Says Criminals With 'Russian Links' Tried to ...

 

 

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DHS’s Terrifying New Database, HART – The Organic Prepper

Posted by M. C. on October 7, 2019

Incidentally, the cloud hosting for HART is being done by none other than Amazon – you know, the ones with surveillance devices like the Ring doorbell and the Alexa home assistant and the Nest home security system. Does anyone see a pattern here?

https://www.theorganicprepper.com/database-dhs-hart/

by Daisy Luther

These days, you can’t really go anywhere without encountering cameras.  Going into a store? Chances are there are security cameras. Getting money at an ATM? More cameras. Driving through the streets of a city? More cameras still. Your neighbors may have those doorbells from Amazon that are surveilling the entire neighborhood.

And many of these cameras are tied into facial recognition databases, or the footage can be quite easily compared there if “authorities” are looking for somebody.

But as it turns out, it isn’t just facial recognition we have to worry about.

DHS has a new recognition system called HART.

Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology system is the alarming new identity system being put in place by the Department of Homeland Security.

DHS is retiring its old system that was based on facial recognition. It’s being replaced with HART, a cloud-based system that holds information about the identities of hundreds of millions of people.

The new cloud-based platform, called the Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology System, or HART, is expected to bring more processing power, new analytics capabilities and increased accuracy to the department’s biometrics operations. It will also allow the agency to look beyond the three types of biometric data it uses today—face, iris and fingerprint—to identify people through a variety of other characteristics, like palm prints, scars, tattoos, physical markings and even their voices. (source)

Incidentally, the cloud hosting for HART is being done by none other than Amazon – you know, the ones with surveillance devices like the Ring doorbell and the Alexa home assistant and the Nest home security system. Does anyone see a pattern here?

Also note that Amazon Web Services also hosts data for the CIA, the DoD, and NASA.

More about HART

As HART becomes more established, that old saying “you can run but you can’t hide” is going to seem ever more true. The DHS is delighted at how much further the new system can take them into surveilling Americans.

And by freeing the agency from the limitations of its legacy system, HART could also let officials grow the network of external partners with whom they share biometric data and analytics capabilities, according to Patrick Nemeth, director of identity operations within Homeland Security’s Office of Biometric Identity Management.

“When we get to HART, we will be better, faster, stronger,” Nemeth said in an interview with Nextgov. “We’ll be relieved of a lot of the capacity issues that we have now … and then going forward from there we’ll be able to add [capabilities].” (source)

The DHS wants to break free of the limitations of the old system with their new and “improved” system. HART will use multiple pieces of biometric data to increase identification accuracy.

Today, when an official runs a person’s face, fingerprint or iris scans through IDENT’s massive database, the system doesn’t return a single result. Rather, it assembles a list of dozens of potential candidates with different levels of confidence, which a human analyst must then look through to make a final match. The system can only handle one modality at a time, so if agent is hypothetically trying to identify someone using two different datapoints, they need to assess two lists of candidates to find a single match. This isn’t a problem if the system identifies the same person as the most likely match for both fingerprint and face, for example, but because biometric identification is still an imperfect science, the results are rarely so clear cut.

However, the HART platform can include multiple datapoints in a single query, meaning it will rank potential matches based on all the information that’s available. That will not only make it easier for agents to analyze potential matches, but it will also help the agency overcome data quality issues that often plague biometric scans, Nemeth said. If the face image is pristine but the fingerprint is fuzzy, for example, the system will give the higher-quality datapoint more weight.

“We’re very hopeful that it will provide better identification surety than we can provide with any single modality today,” Nemeth said. And palm prints, scars, tattoos and other modalities are added in the years ahead, the system will be able to integrate those into its matching process. (source)

HART will also use DNA.

Remember a while back when we reported that DNA sites were teaming up with facial recognition software? Well, HART will take that unholy alliance even further.

The phase-two solicitation also lists DNA-matching as a potential application of the HART system. While the department doesn’t currently analyze DNA, officials on Wednesday announced they would start adding DNA collected from hundreds of thousands of detained migrants to the FBI’s criminal database. During the interview, Nemeth said the agency is still working through the legal implications of storing and sharing such sensitive data. It’s also unclear whether DNA information would be housed in the HART system or a separate database, he said. (source)

Nifty.

The DHS is operating without any type of regulation.

Currently, there’s no regulation or oversight of government agencies collecting and using this kind of data. Civil liberty activists and some lawmakers are alarmed by this, citing concerns about privacy and discrimination. This hasn’t slowed down the DHS one iota, however.

Critics have taken particular issue with the government’s tangled web of information sharing agreements, which allow data to spread far beyond the borders of the agency that collected it. The Homeland Security Department currently shares its biometric data and capabilities with numerous groups, including but not limited to the Justice, Defense and State departments.

In the years ahead, HART promises to strengthen those partnerships and allow others to flourish, according to Nemeth. While today the department limits other agencies’ access to IDENT to ensure they don’t consume too much of its limited computing power, HART will do away with those constraints. (source)

Mana Azarmi, the policy counsel for the Freedom, Security and Technology Project at the Center for Democracy and Technology is one of those people voicing concern.

A person might give information to a single agency thinking it would be used for one specific purpose, but depending on how that information is shared, they could potentially find themselves subjected to unforeseen negative consequences, Azarmi said in a conversation with Nextgov.

“The government gets a lot of leeway to share information,” she said. “In this age of incredible data collection, I think we need to rethink some of the rules that are in place and some of the practices that we’ve allowed to flourish post-9/11. We may have overcorrected.” (source)

You think?

Many people voluntarily provide biometric data.

Many folks provide biometric data without giving it a second thought. They cheerfully swab a cheek and send it into sites like Ancestry.com, providing not only their DNA, but matches to many relatives who never gave permission for their DNA to be in a database.

Then there are cell phones. If you have a newer phone, it’s entirely possible that it has asked you to set up fingerprint login, facial recognition, and even voice recognition. It isn’t a stretch of the imagination to believe that those samples are shared with folks beyond the device in your hand. Add to this that your device is tracking you every place you go through a wide variety of seemingly innocuous apps, and you start to get the picture.

You can’t opt-out.

Back in 2013, I wrote an article called The Great American Dragnet.  At that time, facial recognition was something that sounded like science fiction or some kind of joke. Our drivers’ licenses were the first foray into creating a database but even in 2013, it far exceeded that.

Another, even larger, database exists. The US State Department has a database with 230 million searchable images.  Anyone with a passport or an immigration visa may find themselves an unwilling participant in this database.   Here’s the breakdown of who has a photo database:

  • The State Department has about 15 million photos of passport or visa holders
  • The FBI has about15 million photos of people who have been arrested or convicted of crimes
  • The Department of Defense has about 6 million photos, mainly of Iraqis and Afghans
  • Various police agencies and states have at least 210 million driver’s license photos

This invasion of privacy is just another facet of the surveillance state, and should be no surprise considering the information Edward Snowden just shared about the over-reaching tentacles of the NSA into all of our communications. We are filing our identities with the government and they can identify us at will, without any requirement for probable cause. (source)

Some people don’t even seem to mind that their identities have been tagged and filed by the US government. And even those of us who do mind have no option. If you wish to drive a car or travel outside of the country or have any kind of government ID, like it or not, you’re in the database. Six years ago, I wrote:

The authorities that use this technology claim that the purpose of it is to make us safer, by helping to prevent identity fraud and to identify criminals.  However, what freedom are we giving up for this “safety” cloaked in benevolence? We are giving up the freedom of having the most elemental form of privacy – that of being able to go about our daily business without being watched and identified.  And once you’re identified, this connects to all sorts of other personal information that has been compiled: your address, your driving and criminal records, and potentially, whatever else that has been neatly filed away at your friendly neighborhood fusion center.

Think about it:  You’re walking the dog and you fail to scoop the poop – if there’s a surveillance camera in the area, it would be a simple matter, given the technology, for you to be identified. If you are attending a protest that might be considered “anti-government”, don’t expect to be anonymous.  A photo of the crowd could easily result in the identification of most of the participants.

Are you purchasing ammo, preparedness items, or books about a controversial topic?  Paying cash won’t buy you much in the way of privacy – your purchase will most likely be captured on the CCTV camera at the checkout stand, making you easily identifiable to anyone who might wish to track these kinds of things.  What if a person with access to this technology uses it for personal, less than ethical reasons, like stalking an attractive women he saw on the street?  The potential for abuse is mind-boggling.

If you can’t leave your house without being identified, do you have any real freedom left, or are you just a resident in a very large cage? (source)

When I wrote that, it still seemed far-fetched but remotely possible, even to me. This was before we were really aware of anything like the social credit program in China or how crazy the censorship was going to become or how social media would change the very fabric of our society.

Now, it’s here and it looks like there’s no stopping it.

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9/11 Senate Hearing: No Mention of Radical Islam, Climate Change Is Major Threat

Posted by M. C. on September 10, 2019

The PC UK ignored things also…and for a long time.

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/09/09/9-11-senate-hearing-no-radical-islam-threat-is-climate-change/#

by Robert Kraychik

No mention of radical Islam was made by any senators during Monday’s Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing — uniquely held at the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum in New York City, NY — days before the 18th anniversary of the Islamic terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Post-9/11 domestic instances of Islamic terrorism were also ignored, including but not limited to the attacks in Chattanooga, Fort Hood, Orlando, and San Bernardino. The only references to ideological dimensions of Islamic terrorism were made by former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, who referred to “jihadi terrorists” in three instances.

Chertoff was joined by Janet Napolitano and Jeh Johnson, two former directors of the Department of Homeland Security in testifying before the committee, professedly on matters of national security.

“Climate change poses an existential threat” to America and Earth, declared Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. He linked “climate change” to 9/11 in his opening remarks, calling on DHS to prioritize halting the ostensible phenomenon:…

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Now It’s Official: US Visa Can Be Denied If You (Or Even Your Friends) Are Critical of American Policies — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on September 6, 2019

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/09/05/now-official-us-visa-denied-if-you-or-your-friends-critical-american-policies/

Philip Giraldi

 

There have been several interesting developments in the United States government’s war on free speech and privacy. First of all, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP), which is responsible for actual entry of travelers into the country, has now declared that it can legally access phones and computers at ports of entry to determine if there is any subversive content which might impact on national security. “Subversive content” is, of course, subjective, but those seeking entry can be turned back based on how a border control agent perceives what he is perusing on electronic media.

Unfortunately, the intrusive nature of the procedure is completely legal, particularly as it applies to foreign visitors, and is not likely to be overturned in court in spite of the Fourth Amendment’s constitutional guarantee that individuals should “…be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” Someone at a port of entry is not legally inside the United States until he or she has been officially admitted. And if that someone is a foreigner, he or she has no right by virtue of citizenship even to enter the country until entry has been permitted by an authorized US Customs and Border Protection official. And that official can demand to see anything that might contribute to the decision whether or not to let the person enter.

And there’s more to it than just that. Following the Israeli model for blocking entry of anyone who can even be broadly construed as supporting a boycott, the United States now also believes it should deny admittance to anyone who is critical of US government policy, which is a reversal of previous policy that considered political opinions to be off-limits for visa denial. DHS, acting in response to pressure from the White House, now believes it can adequately determine hostile intent from the totality of what appears on one’s phone or laptop, even if the material in question was clearly not put on the device by the owner. In other words, if a traveler has an email sent to him or her by someone else that complains about behavior by the United States government, he or she is responsible for that content.

One interesting aspect of the new policy is that it undercuts the traditional authority of US Embassies and Consulates overseas to issue visas to foreigners. The State Department visa process is rigorous and can include employment and real property verification, criminal record checks, social media reviews and Google-type searches. If there is any doubt about the visa applicant, entry into the US is denied. With the new DHS measures in place, this thoroughly vetted system is now sometimes being overruled by a subjective judgment made by someone who is not necessarily familiar with the traveler’s country or even regarding the threat level that being a citizen of that country actually represents…

Ajjawi was questioned by one immigration officer who asked him repeatedly about his religion before requiring him to turn over his laptop and cell phone. Some hours later, the questioning continued about Ajjawi’s friends and associates, particularly those on social media. At no point was Ajjawi accused of having himself written anything that was critical of the United States and the interrogation rather centered on the views expressed by his friends.

The decision to ban Ajjawi produced such an uproar worldwide that it was reversed a week later, apparently as a result of extreme pressure exerted by Harvard University. Nevertheless, the decisions to deny entry are often arbitrary or even based on bad information, but the traveler normally has no practical recourse to reverse the process….

It is believed that many of the arbitrary “enforcements” by the CBP are carried out by the little-known Tactical Response Team (TRT) that targets certain travelers that fit a profile. DHS officials confirmed in September 2017 that 1,400 visa holders had been denied entry due to TRT follow-up inspections. And there are also reports of harassment of American citizens by possible TRT officials. A friend of mine was returning from Portugal to a New York Area airport when he was literally pulled from the queue as he was departing the plane. A Customs agent at the jetway was repeatedly calling out his birth date and then also added his name. He was removed from the line and taken to an interrogation room where he was asked to identify himself and then queried regarding his pilot’s license. He was then allowed to proceed with no other questions, suggesting that it was all harassment of a citizen base on profiling pure and simple…

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What DHS does during Steady State | Homeland Security

DHS – A typical government cluster

 

 

 

 

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DHS plan for face scanning at airports sparks alarm

Posted by M. C. on April 24, 2019

Like telecommunication, the plan is to have a dossier on everyone.

Of course it will be always accurate, always private, never any mistakes. You can bet your life on that.

https://thehill.com/policy/technology/440323-dhs-plan-for-face-scanning-at-airports-sparks-alarm

Lawmakers and civil liberties advocates are calling on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to halt plans to begin using facial recognition technology on nearly all departing air passengers within the next four years.

The agency’s plan has reignited the fight over the sensitive technology. Critics say facial recognition technology is not ready for large-scale deployment and that DHS has failed to establish specific rules to prevent abuses and policies for handling the collected data.

“The Department of Homeland Security is plowing ahead with its program to scan travelers’ faces, and it’s doing so in absence of adequate safeguards against privacy invasions, data breaches, and racial bias,” Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said in a statement to The Hill. “Homeland Security should change course and stop its deployment of facial recognition technology until it meets that standard.”

Markey and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) have raised these concerns with DHS over the past year, releasing statements and sending letters to the agency urging it to halt the program until it puts specific safeguards in place. So far, according to Markey’s office, the department has ignored their warnings.

DHS has been implementing its “biometric exit” program, which photographs some visitors when they are departing the U.S., for years, expanding to 15 major airports with plans to reach five more. President Trump in 2017 signed an executive order speeding up the rollout of the face-scanning technology, and Congress in 2016 authorized up to $1 billion over the next 10 years to implement the program.

The stated purpose of the program is to identify non-U.S. citizens who have overstayed their visas, but it captures the faces of U.S. citizens as well. The agency says it has successfully identified 7,000 people at major U.S. airports who have overstayed their visas.

The DHS report published last week, which was provided to the House and Senate judiciary committees, is the latest sign that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) — DHS’s largest federal law enforcement agency — is fast-tracking the implementation of the program at the country’s largest airports.

That has privacy advocates in an uproar…

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DHS wants to ramp up use of facial recognition at airports from just 15 to almost all in 4 years | Daily Mail Online

Posted by M. C. on April 20, 2019

According to the DHS, the technology is not only scalable, but also extremely accurate.

That makes me feel better. From ACLU about Amazon’s scanning technology misidentifying members of congress.From ACLU about Amazon’s scanning technology misidentifying members of congress.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-6937737/DHS-wants-ramp-use-facial-recognition-airports-just-15-4-years.html

By James Pero For Dailymail.com

 

  • Facial recognition software could soon be standard in airports across the U.S.
  • The tool would be used to track people coming in and out of the country
  • Photos of passengers would be run against a database of visas and passports 
  • DHS’ interest in facial recognition comes amidst rising human rights concern

Despite concerns over facial recognition’s impact on civil liberties, public agencies have continued to apply the tool liberally across the U.S. with one of the biggest deployments coming to an airport near you.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that it plans to expand its application of facial recognition to 97 percent of all passengers departing the U.S. by 2023, according to the Verge.

By comparison, facial recognition technology is deployed in just 15 airports, according to figures recorded at the end of 2018.

In what is being referred to as ‘biometric exit,’ the agency plans to use facial recognition to more thoroughly track passengers entering and leaving the country.

The system functions by taking a picture of passengers before they depart and then cross-referencing the image with a database containing photos of passports and visas.

According to the DHS, the technology is not only scalable, but also extremely accurate.

In its current iteration, a summary states that the technology has scanned more than 2 million passengers with a near-perfect match rate of 98 percent.

In its limited deployment, the DHS says that it has helped to identify 7,000 passenger overstays since being introduced in 2017 as well as six passengers attempting to use identification not belonging to them…

Among the most unlikely voices of caution against the widespread deployment of facial recognition has been Microsoft — one of the biggest and most sophisticated purveyors of facial recognition software.

This month the company announced that it denied lending its software to an unnamed California law enforcement agency who planned to use the tool to scan the faces of people the agency pulled over, so that it could be checked against a database.

The reason behind the decision, according to Microsoft President, Brad Smith, is that the company felt the software — artificial intelligence systems that use machine learning to improve its capabilities — would disproportionately affect people of color and women…

One of the most vocal critics, the ACLU, has argued that scanning someone’s face skirts laws involving probable cause and could be used for mass government surveillance…

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TSA

Your Alternative to Facial Recognition

 

 

 

 

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