MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Privacy’

The Death of Privacy: Government Fearmongers to Read Your Mail — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on July 12, 2019

The policemen then informed the family that they were there over failure to pay the gas bill. Animal rights groups report that the shooting of pets by police has become routine in many jurisdictions because the officers claim that they feel threatened.

As usual, a disconnected and tone-deaf government’s perceived need “to keep you safe” will result in a loss of fundamental liberty that, once it is gone, will never be recovered.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/07/11/death-privacy-government-fearmongers-read-your-mail/

Philip Giraldi

 

It is discouraging to note just how the United States has been taking on the attributes of a police state since 9/11. Stories of police raids on people’s homes gone wrong are frequently in the news. In one recent incident, a heavily armed SWAT team was sent to a St. Louis county home. The armed officers entered the building without knocking, shot the family dog and forced the family members to kneel on the floor where they were able to watch their pet struggle and then die. The policemen then informed the family that they were there over failure to pay the gas bill. Animal rights groups report that the shooting of pets by police has become routine in many jurisdictions because the officers claim that they feel threatened.

Indeed, any encounter with any police at any level has now become dangerous. Once upon a time it was possible to argue with an officer over the justification for a traffic ticket, but that is no longer the case. You have to sit with your hands clearly visible on the steering wheel while answering “Yes sir!” to anything the cop says. There have been numerous incidents where the uncooperative driver is ordered to get out of the car and winds up being tasered or shot.

Courts consistently side with police officers and with the government when individual rights are violated while the Constitution of the United States itself has even been publicly described by the president as “archaic” and “a bad thing for the country.” The National Security Agency (NSA) routinely and illegally collects emails and phone calls made by citizens who have done nothing wrong and the government even denies to Americans the right to travel to countries that it disapproves of, most recently Cuba.

And traveling itself has become an unpleasant experience even before one sits down in the 17 inches of seat-space offered by major airlines, with the gropers of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) acting as judge, jury and executioner for travelers who have become confused by the constantly changing rules about what they can do and carry with them. The TSA is now routinely “examining” the phones and laptops of travelers and even downloading the information on them, all without a warrant or probable cause. And the TSA even has a “little list” that identifies travelers who are uncooperative and flags them for special harassment.

Congress is considering bills that will make criticism of Israel a crime, establishing a precedent that will end freedom of speech, and the impending prosecution and imprisonment of Julian Assange for espionage will be the death of a truly free press. Americans are no longer guaranteed a trial by jury and can be held indefinitely by military tribunals without charges. Under George W. Bush torture and rendition were institutionalized while Barack Obama initiated the practice of executing US citizens overseas by drone if they were deemed to be a “threat.” There was no legal process involved and “kill” lists were updated every Tuesday morning. And perhaps the greatest crimes of all, both Obama and George W. Bush did not hesitate to bomb foreigners, bring about regime change, and start wars illegally in Asia and Africa…

There is apparently little desire in Congress to take up the encryption issue, though the National Security Council, headed by John Bolton, clearly would like to empower government law enforcement and intelligence agencies by banning unbreakable encryption completely. It is, however, possibly something that can be achieved through an Executive Order from the president. If it comes about that way, FBI, CIA and NSA will be pleased and will have easy access to all one’s emails and phone calls. But the price to be paid is that once the security standards are lowered anyone else with minimal technical resources will be able to do the same, be they hackers or criminals. As usual, a disconnected and tone-deaf government’s perceived need “to keep you safe” will result in a loss of fundamental liberty that, once it is gone, will never be recovered.

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Digital privacy, Internet Surveillance and The PRISM ...

 

 

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The Govt. Wants to OUTLAW Encrypted Messaging – The Organic Prepper

Posted by M. C. on July 4, 2019

And…you know… maybe what you’re talking about is nobody else’s business…

https://www.theorganicprepper.com/outlaw-encrypted-messaging/

by Daisy Luther

If you ever use the encrypted messaging options on programs like iMessage, WhatsApp, Signal, Wickr, Telegram, or any other service, your time to discuss things privately over the phone may be running out. The US government doesn’t like for anything to get in the way of their ability to spy on investigate even the most mundane of conversations.

Instead of seeing privacy as a right, they see it as suspicious. Your devices are already being searched at quadruple the previous rate in airports. And the attack on free speech is now going as far as our private messages to our friends and family.

Because the only reason we’d want privacy is that we’re criminals

This was the topic of a National Security meeting last week.

The encryption challenge, which the government calls “going dark,” was the focus of a National Security Council meeting Wednesday morning that included the No. 2 officials from several key agencies, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Senior officials debated whether to ask Congress to effectively outlaw end-to-end encryption, which scrambles data so that only its sender and recipient can read it, these people told POLITICO. Tech companies like Apple, Google and Facebook have increasingly built end-to-end encryption into their products and software in recent years — billing it as a privacy and security feature but frustrating authorities investigating terrorism, drug trafficking and child pornography. (source)

So, which government agencies are hot to make encrypted messages illegal?

The DOJ and the FBI argue that catching criminals and terrorists should be the top priority, even if watered-down encryption creates hacking risks. The Commerce and State Departments disagree, pointing to the economic, security and diplomatic consequences of mandating encryption “backdoors.”

DHS is internally divided. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency knows the importance of encrypting sensitive data, especially in critical infrastructure operations, but ICE and the Secret Service regularly run into encryption roadblocks during their investigations. (source)

It looks like the simpler answer is the few who understand there are reasonable, non-criminal uses.

There are plenty of legitimate reasons we might want to encrypt our conversations.

Of course, we know there are dozens of reasons we might want to use the encryption function on our favorite messaging apps. For example, when I was recently traveling in Europe, I needed to give my daughter credit card information to pay a bill for me. I used the encryption function on Telegram to send it because who wants that out there floating around?

Indeed, there are many legitimate reasons to use end-to-end encryption.

A ban on end-to-end-encryption would make it easier for law enforcement and intelligence agents to access suspects’ data. But such a measure would also make it easier for hackers and spies to steal Americans’ private data, by creating loopholes in encryption that are designed for the government but accessible to anyone who reverse-engineers them. Watering down encryption would also endanger people who rely on scrambled communications to hide from stalkers and abusive ex-spouses. (source)

And…you know… maybe what you’re talking about is nobody else’s business… Read the rest of this entry »

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Uncle Sam’s Latest Plan to Spy on Air Travelers | The Nestmann Group

Posted by M. C. on May 29, 2019

These days, you can wind up on a watchlist for merely complaining to a TSA agent. Getting on a watchlist doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to board your flight, but it will result in delays at the airport.

https://www.nestmann.com/uncle-sams-latest-plan-to-spy-on-air-travelers

By Mark Nestmann

When you arrive at the airport to board a flight, do you have any legitimate “expectation of privacy?” Uncle Sam and the Orwellian Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) would like you to think you don’t.

I beg to differ.

It’s not enough to be poked, prodded, and groped by bored TSA agents as we pass through airport checkpoints. The agency is now telling us – falsely – that we need TSA-compliant identification documents to board our flights.

To make sure those documents properly identify us, the TSA is rolling out face recognition systems at major airports. The goal is to use biometric technology to identify 100% of passengers boarding international flights by 2021.

The airlines are only too happy to cooperate. Delta, JetBlue, British Airways, Lufthansa, and American Airlines are integrating face recognition into their check-in process. Naturally, it’s pitched as a matter of “security” along with “passenger convenience.” In some cases, you needn’t even show your passport or boarding pass to board your flight. You just stare into a camera.

This practice became much better known a couple months ago when a JetBlue passenger who went through this process tweeted: Did I consent to this?

The inconvenience and privacy invasion we suffer when we fly might be more palatable if there were any evidence that it’s effective. But there isn’t any. In 2015, the TSA sent undercover agents to dozens of America’s largest airports to test security protocols. Shockingly, the agents were able to smuggle explosives or weapons through security checkpoints 95% of the time. The TSA failed in 67 out of 70 tests.

Two years later, screeners again failed to detect 95% of explosives and drugs in an undercover test at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Indeed, evidence suggests that the TSA has never intercepted anyone intending to hijack a plane at an airport checkpoint.

This is the system you finance with $7 billion of your tax dollars each year. It’s worse than you ever imagined. It is, in the words of security expert Bruce Schneier, “security theater” at its finest…

For domestic flights, no law or regulation prohibits you from traveling anonymously. When privacy activists filed a Freedom of Information request for the TSA’s records of travelers who show up at an airport checkpoint without ID, they learned that more than 98% of them were able to board their flights. That means the TSA is lying when it posts signs like this one warning passengers that if they want to board a flight after October 1, 2020, using a driver’s license as identification, it must be compliant with the Real ID Act

You can get on a plane without ID only if you print your boarding pass at home and proceed directly to the gate without checked luggage. Once you’re at the gate on a domestic flight, you won’t need to show ID to board the plane – just your boarding pass. If you have checked luggage, though, it’s unlikely that a ticket agent will accept it without ID…

These days, you can wind up on a watchlist for merely complaining to a TSA agent. Getting on a watchlist doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to board your flight, but it will result in delays at the airport…

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snowdenquote-e1464476361819.png (670×335)

Posted by M. C. on May 17, 2019

https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/gender/files/2016/05/snowdenquote-e1464476361819.png

https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/gender/files/2016/05/snowdenquote-e1464476361819.png

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Facebook’s Hire of Patriot Act Co-Author Raises Questions on Company’s Commitment to Privacy

Posted by M. C. on April 26, 2019

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/04/24/facebooks-hire-patriot-act-co-author-raises-questions-companys-commitment-privacy

Facebook’s Hire of Patriot Act Co-Author Raises Questions on Company’s Commitment to Privacy

“What could go wrong?”

Sometimes I feel like, somebody's watching me.

Sometimes I feel like, somebody’s watching me. (Image: Flickr)

Social media giant Facebook made a major hire Monday, bringing on lawyer Jennifer Newstead as the company’s general counsel—a move that generated criticism due to Newstead’s work two decades ago drafting the Patriot Act.

The company announced the hire by citing Newstead’s extensive work in government. Most recently, Newstead acted as the legal adviser for the State Department.

During her time in the Bush administration, Newstead was known for being the “day to day manager of the Patriot Act in Congress,” according to torture memo author John Yoo.

“Jennifer is a seasoned leader whose global perspective and experience will help us fulfill our mission,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said in a statement.

Newstead referred to Facebook’s role in the public discourse in a statement released by the company.

“Facebook’s products play an important role in societies around the world,” said Newstead. “I am looking forward to working with the team and outside experts and regulators on a range of legal issues as we seek to uphold our responsibilities and shared values.”

Newstead’s history in government, though, triggered criticism of Facebook for putting her in a position of power—especially in light of recent comments from the company’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg that emphasized a more secure and private experience for users.

The Observer, in a report on the hire, took a skeptical view of Newstead’s past as far as it related to tech.

Ironically, the newly minted Facebook chief lawyer has made a career out of helping the government gain access to private citizens’ data in the name of security. Perhaps the most notable of Newstead’s work is helping draft and present Congress with the Patriot Act, a post-9/11 bill that helped the Bush administration utilize Americans’ phone and internet records.

Thus, as technologist Ashkan Soltani pointed out to Politico, the hire of Newstead is incompatible with the company’s public pivot to privacy.

“It’s almost as if we’re living in some bizarro world where the company does exactly the opposite of what Zuckerberg states publicly,” said Soltani.

Fight For the Future deputy director Evan Greer mused about how Newstead’s hiring fits into an ostensibly different privacy culture at Facebook.

“I can’t help but wonder how all the ‘privacy advocates’ that Facebook has been hiring lately are going to feel about working with a LITERAL AUTHOR OF THE PATRIOT ACT as their general counsel,” Greer tweeted.

Writer Jonah Blank put the hire in perspective, implying that Newstead’s addition to the Facebook team was not the best move.

“How has #Facebook responded to charges that it violates its users’ privacy, fuels ethnic/racial/religious tension, and may have helped #Russia interfere with the 2016 US election?” asked Blank.

“By hiring Trump appointee as its general counsel.”

“What could go wrong?” producer Evan Shapiro asked sarcastically.

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The US Government Will Be Scanning Your Face At 20 Top Airports, Documents Show

Posted by M. C. on March 11, 2019

In the US, there are no laws governing the use of facial recognition. Courts have not ruled on whether it constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment. There are no checks, no balances. Yet government agencies are working quickly to roll it out in every major airport in the country.

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/daveyalba/these-documents-reveal-the-governments-detailed-plan-for

In March 2017, President Trump issued an executive order expediting the deployment of biometric verification of the identities of all travelers crossing US borders. That mandate stipulates facial recognition identification for “100 percent of all international passengers,” including American citizens, in the top 20 US airports by 2021. Now, the United States Department of Homeland Security is rushing to get those systems up and running at airports across the country. But it’s doing so in the absence of proper vetting, regulatory safeguards, and what some privacy advocates argue is in defiance of the law.

According to 346 pages of documents obtained by the nonprofit research organization Electronic Privacy Information Center — shared exclusively with BuzzFeed News and made public on Monday as part of Sunshine Week — US Customs and Border Protection is scrambling to implement this “biometric entry-exit system,” with the goal of using facial recognition technology on travelers aboard 16,300 flights per week — or more than 100 million passengers traveling on international flights out of the United States — in as little as two years, to meet Trump’s accelerated timeline for a biometric system that had initially been signed into law by the Obama administration. This, despite questionable biometric confirmation rates and few, if any, legal guardrails.

These same documents state — explicitly — that there were no limits on how partnering airlines can use this facial recognition data. CBP did not answer specific questions about whether there are any guidelines for how other technology companies involved in processing the data can potentially also use it… Read the rest of this entry »

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Facebook eyes user banking data

Posted by M. C. on August 6, 2018

…doesn’t “use purchase data from banks or credit card companies for ads.”

Well, maybe not now, maybe, but this indicates effort in that direction.

And you continue to spew your personal private information over Facebook because…? You are making it too easy for Mark Soros Zuckerberg.

https://www.axios.com/facebook-bank-data-privacy-1533569061-7fb8bc34-7351-4f3e-a2a2-2f9af61c8930.html

Facebook has had conversations with large American banks about getting access to their customers’ data for new features, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: Facebook’s recent privacy controversies may collide with its attempts to keep users engaged, and the Journal reported that one of the banks had exited conversations with the company over privacy questions. A Facebook spokesperson told the newspaper that it doesn’t “use purchase data from banks or credit card companies for ads.”

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Yah, MORE! That’s what I want, MORE!

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Cashless Society Alert: Visa Will Be Giving Up To $500,000 To Restaurants That Go ‘100% Cashless’

Posted by M. C. on July 20, 2017

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/cashless-society-alert-visa-will-be-giving-up-to-500000-to-restaurants-that-go-100-cashless

And going cashless would also potentially allow government authorities to act as “gatekeepers” for the system.  In other words, the government could require all of us to meet certain conditions before we were allowed to participate in the cashless system, and if we refused to meet those conditions we would be unable to buy, sell, open a bank account, get a job or do much of anything else in society. Read the rest of this entry »

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We Won’t Tell Anyone. Cross Black Our Media Heart.

Posted by M. C. on April 15, 2017

Roku TVs to Listen in on Programs and Suggest New Content:

http://news.valubit.com/roku-tvs-to-listen-in-on-programs-and-suggest-new-content/

Question: Is there anyone that doesn’t snoop what we do? 

Answer: No

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Here’s How Google Tracks You (And What You Can Do About It) | Zero Hedge

Posted by M. C. on January 20, 2017

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-01-18/heres-how-google-tracks-you-and-what-you-can-do-about-it

Getting Googled.

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