Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Surveillance’

The Patriot Act on steroids: D.C. Uniparty wants to use anti-TikTok legislation as Trojan horse for censorship and surveillance

Posted by M. C. on March 29, 2023

Beltway lawmakers are setting up a smokescreen to curtail rights.

Unfortunately, the ongoing TikTok hearings in D.C. have very little to do with protecting the rights of Americans from potential Chinese Communist Party data harvesting, and lots to do with protecting the Uniparty’s dominance over the communications and surveillance space.

Jordan Schachtel

TikTok is indeed a pestilence upon our society.

But there are right ways to go about minimizing this “digital opium” and its impact on our lives, and other means that will allow the American government to leverage the situation to further curtail our individual rights.

And unsurprisingly, the latter idea is making lawmakers in the beltway beyond giddy this week.

The Dossier is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

TikTok is indeed a pestilence upon our society.

But there are right ways to go about minimizing this “digital opium” and its impact on our lives, and other means that will allow the American government to leverage the situation to further curtail our individual rights.

And unsurprisingly, the latter idea is making lawmakers in the beltway beyond giddy this week.

The Dossier is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.Subscribe

The Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology (RESTRICT) Act (S.686), which was introduced in the Senate earlier this month, would do much more than just ban TikTok.

This bill is no mere “TikTok ban,” it is a mechanism for a massive, sweeping surveillance and censorship overhaul.  

The RESTRICT Act goes far, far beyond potentially banning TikTok. It gives the government virtual unchecked authority over the U.S. communications infrastructure. The incredibly broad language includes the ability to “enforce any mitigation measure to address any risk” to “national security” today and in any “potential future transaction.”

The Senate legislation currently has 19 cosponsors, all of whom are Uniparty members in good standing. It is fully “bipartisan,” consisting of 9 democrats and 10 republicans. 

Darin Feinstein @DarinFeinstein

TikTok is bad, but the Restrict Act could be worse “To authorize the Secretary of Commerce to review and prohibit certain TRANSACTIONS between persons in the USA and foreign adversaries, AND for other purposes(?)” Overly Broad Language = Future Abuse…

7:05 PM ∙ Mar 27, 2023


Timcast’s Ian Crossland fittingly described the legislation as The Patriot Act for technology.

Human Events @HumanEvents

On Timcast, @IanCrossland suggests the Restrict Act, which was introduced to ban TikTok, could set a dangerous precedent: “It gives you carte blanche to just start ending networks … this is like the Patriot Act for technology.”

See the rest here

Be seeing you

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Dailywire Article-DeSantis Unveils Plan To Battle Biden’s ‘Efforts To Inject A Centralized Bank Digital Currency’

Posted by M. C. on March 21, 2023

“A Central Bank Digital Currency is the cornerstone of a federal government that could track each and every transaction that happens in the world,” Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis said in the press release. “There would be no privacy, and if there is no privacy, there are no rights. In the same way Florida is fighting back against the IRS, we need to fight back against this program.

Fighting “free” money and “legal” surveillance will be tough.

I am sure PA gov Josh Shapiro will be the first to join DeSantis in this fight as individual liberty has been the first priority of PA governors of late…joke.

By  Ben Zeisloft

Photo: Executive Office of the Governor of Florida

Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) revealed a proposal on Monday meant to combat the possible implementation of a central bank digital currency by the Federal Reserve and the Biden administration.

Critics of a potential central bank digital currency note that the asset, which would be managed by the Federal Reserve and tethered to the value of the dollar, would create opportunities for government surveillance and control of private citizens. DeSantis proposed legislation that would ban the recognition of central bank digital currencies, whether from the federal government or an overseas central bank, as money under Florida’s Uniform Commercial Code.

“The Biden administration’s efforts to inject a Centralized Bank Digital Currency is about surveillance and control,” DeSantis said in a press release. “Today’s announcement will protect Florida consumers and businesses from the reckless adoption of a ‘centralized digital dollar’ which will stifle innovation and promote government-sanctioned surveillance. Florida will not side with economic central planners; we will not adopt policies that threaten personal economic freedom and security.”

Nations such as China, Australia, Japan, India, Russia, and South Korea are presently exploring central bank digital currencies, which have already been established in the Bahamas, Nigeria, and Jamaica, according to a report from the Atlantic Council.

Skeptics of central bank digital currencies have noted the many instances in which the financial system has been leveraged by public and private actors to oppose certain political perspectives, including those often held by conservatives. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked emergency powers last year to freeze the personal and corporate bank accounts of people involved with demonstrations against vaccine mandates, while PayPal announced that the firm would withdraw funds from accounts deemed to be promoting racism or misinformation, a policy that the company later claimed was published by mistake.

Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) recently vetoed legislation that would have classified a potential central bank digital currency as money in South Dakota’s Uniform Commercial Code. DeSantis called on other states to adopt similar prohibitions on the digital assets.

See the rest here

Be seeing you

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Flashback 2017: Security or Surveillance? … Edward Snowden on The Ron Paul Liberty Report

Posted by M. C. on December 30, 2022

The Ron Paul Liberty Report…-edward-snowden-on-the-ron-paul-.html

Be seeing you

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Republicans Demand Answers from FBI on Surveillance of 3.3 Million Americans

Posted by M. C. on June 6, 2022

Conservatives have long decried the partisan weaponization of federal law enforcement.

It is more like Conservates

By Calvin Freiburger
Lifesite News

House Republicans are seeking answers from FBI director Christopher Wray as to why the federal law enforcement agency spied on more than 3.3 million Americans without a warrant from December 2020 through November 2021.

The May 25 letter, from House Judiciary Committee ranking member Jim Jordan and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence ranking member Michael Turner, cites the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s (ODNI’s) April 2022 Annual Statistical Transparency Report for the startling conclusion that “from December 2020 through November 2021 the FBI conducted over 3.3 million U.S. person queries against its Section 702 holdings.”

Section 702, the letter explains, is a provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that allows the Attorney General and Director of National Intelligence to “jointly authorize the targeting of (i) non-U.S. persons (ii) who are reasonably believed to be outside of the United States (iii) to acquire foreign intelligence information.”

While FISA ostensibly requires “targeting, minimization, and querying procedures that meet the requirements of Section 702 and are consistent with the Fourth Amendment,” the letter argues that questions about the reliability of the system are raised by the “dramatic” rise in such queries in 2021 per the ODNI report, “at least four occasions” in which “the FBI failed to obtain an order from the FISC [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court] before accessing the contents of Section 702-acquired information,” and 40 queries for investigations “unrelated to foreign surveillance,” including “healthcare fraud, transnational organized crime, violent gangs, domestic terrorism involving racially motivated violent extremists, as well as investigations relating to public corruption and bribery.”

Read the Whole Article

Be seeing you

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Boiling the Frog – Doug Casey’s International Man

Posted by M. C. on January 19, 2022

by Jeff Thomas

boiling the frog

“There was, of course, no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, The Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate, they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live – did live, from habit that became instinct – in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every move was scrutinized.”

The above quote is from “1984,” by George Orwell. The now-famous date that Orwell chose was actually of no real significance. He simply reversed the last two digits of the year in which he wrote the book, 1948. Orwell concerned himself less with timeline than with concept. And that concept has been chillingly accurate in its foresight.

The quote above should ring alarm bells in today’s world, particularly for those who live in the US, as the US government leads the world in the development of surveillance of its people.

Today, the US government is in the process of completing a massive electronic surveillance network that encompasses all telephone calls, all computer-driven communication, and all banking transactions. Quite a tribute to Orwell’s Big Brother.

We have in the past predicted that the surveillance net will eventually expand to include all monetary transactions by US residents (possibly through the replacement of the paper dollar by an electronic money system), allowing the US government to ultimately have knowledge of every aspect of the economic activities of US residents and, therefore, control over those activities.

The excuse given for such surveillance has been “to protect America from terrorism.” This notion is a wonderful invention, as terrorism can be imagined to be small or large and can occur at anytime, anywhere in the country. Further, if there are no actual occurrences, the government can create false flag incidents as easily and as often as they are needed.

The bogeyman of “terrorism” is particularly useful, as terrorism is faceless. No invasion is necessary. A terrorist can be anyoneeven your next door neighbour and, indeed, the government computers are programmed to pay especially close heed to specific words and phrases, such as “freedom” or “patriotism.” Should your next door neighbour use such words in his emails, he is more likely to be flagged.

The degree of surveillance that Orwell described in 1984 has not yet been reached, but it is not far off. Most importantly, though, the most essential aspect of its implementation has already been overcomethe aspect of popular acceptance. The American people, in the main, have successfully been sold the concept that it is necessary in order to keep Americans “safe from terrorism.”

With this green light, the US government is moving rapidly toward the completion of the implementation of full surveillance.

See the rest here

Be seeing you

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Military Origins of Facebook

Posted by M. C. on October 25, 2021

Facebook’s growing role in the ever-expanding surveillance and “pre-crime” apparatus of the national security state demands new scrutiny of the company’s origins and its products as they relate to a former, controversial DARPA-run surveillance program that was essentially analogous to what is currently the world’s largest social network.

In light of this, it was no exaggeration when New York Times columnist William Safire remarked that, with TIA, “Poindexter is now realizing his twenty-year dream: getting the ‘data-mining’ power to snoop on every public and private act of every American.”

by Whitney Webb

In mid-February, Daniel Baker, a US veteran described by the media as “anti-Trump, anti-government, anti-white supremacists, and anti-police,” was charged by a Florida grand jury with two counts of “transmitting a communication in interstate commerce containing a threat to kidnap or injure.”

The communication in question had been posted by Baker on Facebook, where he had created an event page to organize an armed counter-rally to one planned by Donald Trump supporters at the Florida capital of Tallahassee on January 6. “If you are afraid to die fighting the enemy, then stay in bed and live. Call all of your friends and Rise Up!,” Baker had written on his Facebook event page.

Baker’s case is notable as it is one of the first “precrime” arrests based entirely on social media posts—the logical conclusion of the Trump administration’s, and now Biden administration’s, push to normalize arresting individuals for online posts to prevent violent acts before they can happen. From the increasing sophistication of US intelligence/military contractor Palantir’s predictive policing programs to the formal announcement of the Justice Department’s Disruption and Early Engagement Program in 2019 to Biden’s first budget, which contains $111 million for pursuing and managing “increasing domestic terrorism caseloads,” the steady advance toward a precrime-centered “war on domestic terror” has been notable under every post-9/11 presidential administration.

This new so-called war on domestic terror has actually resulted in many of these types of posts on Facebook. And, while Facebook has long sought to portray itself as a “town square” that allows people from across the world to connect, a deeper look into its apparently military origins and continual military connections reveals that the world’s largest social network was always intended to act as a surveillance tool to identify and target domestic dissent.

Part 1 of this two-part series on Facebook and the US national-security state explores the social media network’s origins and the timing and nature of its rise as it relates to a controversial military program that was shut down the same day that Facebook launched. The program, known as LifeLog, was one of several controversial post-9/11 surveillance programs pursued by the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) that threatened to destroy privacy and civil liberties in the United States while also seeking to harvest data for producing “humanized” artificial intelligence (AI). 

As this report will show, Facebook is not the only Silicon Valley giant whose origins coincide closely with this same series of DARPA initiatives and whose current activities are providing both the engine and the fuel for a hi-tech war on domestic dissent.

DARPA’s Data Mining for “National Security” and to “Humanize” AI

In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, DARPA, in close collaboration with the US intelligence community (specifically the CIA), began developing a “precrime” approach to combatting terrorism known as Total Information Awareness or TIA. The purpose of TIA was to develop an “all-seeing” military-surveillance apparatus. The official logic behind TIA was that invasive surveillance of the entire US population was necessary to prevent terrorist attacks, bioterrorism events, and even naturally occurring disease outbreaks. 

The architect of TIA, and the man who led it during its relatively brief existence, was John Poindexter, best known for being Ronald Reagan’s National Security Advisor during the Iran-Contra affair and for being convicted of five felonies in relation to that scandal.

See the rest here

Be seeing you

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

US, British Surveillance Planes Circle Kaliningrad – News From

Posted by M. C. on October 5, 2021

Apparently Kaliningrad is a US security threat.

by Jason Ditz

Spying activity is often driving tensions between NATO and Russia. This is the case in the Baltic right now, where US and British surveillance planes are very visibly active around the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.

The surveillance is being conducted by RC-135W, planes that conduct electronic surveillance, surveying the electromagnetic spectrum in the area to gather intelligence.

Kaliningrad was historically Ostpreußen, a part of Germany, and before that Prussia. The Soviet Union took the land in 1946 after WW2. The exclave loomed large around the start of WW2, as the lack of a land connection between Ostpreußen and the rest of Germany was the source of a lot of tension with Poland. Germans were expelled by the Soviets, and Soviet citizens were moved in in the late 1940s.

During the Cold War, Kaliningrad was physically connected to the rest of the Soviet Union through the Baltic States, but with them now independent and in NATO, the exclave is unconnected, and often a target of NATO exercises.

From a strategic perspective Kaliningrad is used to monitor NATO operations, and Russia often threatens to deploy arms, including nuclear weapons, in Kaliningrad to counter US deployments in central Europe.

Very active surveillance, like the kind the US and Britain are conducting, would be considered a provocation if Russia was doing it, and probably will be considered provocation by Russia since it’s being done to them.

NATO is almost always needling Russia in the region, building up ever-growing numbers of troops in the Baltic states and  conducting growing military exercises, centered around engagements against Russia in general and Kaliningrad in particular.

Be seeing you

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Inside Biden’s new “domestic terrorism” strategy – OffGuardian

Posted by M. C. on July 3, 2021

Translation: DHS is working with social media monopolies to censor certain people, and paying them to pass citizens’ private information to the government and/or intelligence agencies.

Kit Knightly

Following the (completely contrived) Capitol Hill “riot” on January 6th, Joe Biden made it clear – or rather, the people that control Joe Biden made it clear – “domestic terrorism” was going to be a defining issue of his presidency.

Indeed, in an act of startling prescience, the incoming administration had been talking about a new “Domestic Terrorism Bill” for well over three months before the “riot” happened. The media had been calling for one for at least six. Major universities were writing papers about it.

It’s funny how often that happens, isn’t it?

I wrote at the time that the Capitol Hill “riot” could prove to be America’s Reichstag Fire – a fake attack, blamed on an invisible enemy and used to rush through restrictive legislation and emergency powers. A 9/11 sequel, extending the Patriot Act franchise.

Now, just a few short months later, the Biden White House has released their National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism. Let’s take a look inside it, shall we?

So, what is “domestic terrorism”?

The first thing to say about the “strategy”…is that it’s not really a strategy. It’s more of a mission statement or even a press release. It hits talking points, but not real policies. Its watchword is “vague” – in both definition of the problem and proposed solutions (with a couple of noteworthy exceptions, but we’ll get to that.)

For starters – who or what IS a “domestic terrorist”?

Well, their answer to that is, essentially, potentially anybody. They’re not identifying any particular ideology or cause or group – but rather EVERY ideology cause or group. I wrote, back in January, that any definition would be kept intentionally loose, and the strategy does not disappoint.

The cause of “domestic terrorism” can be racism, religious intolerance, environmental protest, anti-government feeling, animal rights, anti-abortion campaigners, “perceived government overeach”, “incel ideology”, “anti-corporate globalization feeling” or a mixture of any of the above.

“Domestic terrorists” may espouse violence or they may not espouse violence. They may work in groups, or be loners, or be loose associations with no organizational structure. They can be left wing or right wing, religious or secular.

They can be anybody who thinks anything.

There is a lot of entirely intentional vagueness here. Again and again, we are told that “the domestic terrorism threat is complex, multifaceted, and evolving”. They are keeping their options open.

Don’t expect ANY specifics on who is a “domestic terrorist” until AFTER any legislation is passed. That way, the great American public can insert their own personal bugbear into the ellipsis (and then be taken completely by surprise when it turns out the new laws apply to everyone).

That said, there have been some clues as to the kind of person that might be the target of any new anti-terror legislation.

In the Washington Post, in February this year, California State Senator Richard Pam wrote:

Anti-vaccine extremism is akin to domestic terrorism

He wasn’t alone, on this side of the Atlantic the head of the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism unit “called for action against coronavirus anti-vaxxers”.

Even this document makes insinuations on that front.

In a startling contradiction, after spending five or six pages talking up the “complex” and “unpredictable” nature of “domestic terrorism”, they then make an incredibly specific prediction about a future “domestic terrorist attack”:

Taken from the “Assessment of the Domestic Violent Extremism Threat” (p. 10):

Newer sociopolitical developments–such as narratives of fraud in the recent general election, the emboldening impact of the violent breach of the U.S. Capitol, conditions related to the COVID–19 pandemic, and conspiracy theories promoting violence–will almost certainly spur some DVEs to try to engage in violence this year.

Apparently, the official position of the FBI, CIA, NSA and DHS is that domestic terrorism is a vast cloud of mystery, swirling with unknown and conflicting motivations….but they definitely know when the next attack will happen, and why it will take place..

So what’s to blame?

See the rest here

Be seeing you

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Overlapping Infrastructure of Urban Surveillance, and How to Fix It – Activist Post

Posted by M. C. on June 26, 2021

How do we stop the United States government from tapping into the internet’s main arteries? Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act allows for the collection and use of digital communications of people abroad, but often scoops up communications of U.S. persons when they talk to friends or family in other countries. EFF continues to fight Section 702 in the court in hopes of securing communications that travel through these essential cables.

By Matthew Guariglia

Between the increasing capabilities of local and state police, the creep of federal law enforcement into domestic policing, the use of aerial surveillance such as spy planes and drones, and mounting cooperation between private technology companies and the government, it can be hard to understand and visualize what all this overlapping surveillance can mean for your daily life. We often think of these problems as siloed issues. Local police deploy automated license plate readers or acoustic gunshot detection. Federal authorities monitor you when you travel internationally.

But if you could take a cross-section of the average city block, you would see the ways that the built environment of surveillance—its physical presence in, over, and under our cities—makes this an entwined problem that must be combated through entwined solutions.

Thus, we decided to create a graphic to show how—from overhead to underground—these technologies and legal authorities overlap, how they disproportionately impact the lives of marginalized communities, and the tools we have at our disposal to halt or mitigate their harms.

A cityscape showing 13 types of common surveillance

Going from Top to Bottom:

1. Satellite Surveillance:

Satellite photography has been a reality since the 1950s, and at any given moment there are over 5,000 satellites in orbit over the Earth—some of which have advanced photographic capabilities. While many are intended for scientific purposes, some satellites are used for reconnaissance by intelligence agencies and militaries. There are certainly some satellites that may identify a building or a car from its roof, but it’s unlikely that we could ever reach the point where pictures taken from a satellite would be clear enough or could even be the correct angle to run through face recognition technology or through an automated license plate reader.

Satellites can also enable surveillance by allowing governments to intercept or listen in on data transmitted internationally.

2. Internet Traffic Surveillance

Government surveillance of internet traffic can happen in many ways. Through programs like PRISM and XKEYSCORE, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) can monitor emails as they move across the internet, browser and search history, and even keystrokes as they happen in real time. Much of this information can come directly from the internet and telecommunications companies that consumers use, through agreements between these companies and government agencies (like the one the NSA shares with AT&T) or through warrants or orders granted by a judge, including those that preside over the Foriegn Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).

Internet surveillance isn’t just the domain of the NSA and international intelligence organizations; local law enforcement are just as likely to approach big companies in an attempt to get information about how some people use the internet. In one 2020 case, police sent a search warrant to Google to see who had searched the address of an arson victim to try to identify a suspect. Using the IP addresses Google furnished of users who conducted that search, police identified a suspect and arrested him for the arson.

See the rest here

Be seeing you

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Security Experts “Raise Red Flags” On Dubai Airport’s New Iris Scan Technology | ZeroHedge

Posted by M. C. on March 13, 2021

Do we have the same but just haven’t been told?

Tyler Durden's Photoby Tyler Durden

Travelers at Dubai International Airport are now greeted by iris-scanners that are connected with the country’s facial recognition database, according to the Associated Press (AP). 

Under the guise of the virus pandemic, United Arab Emirates (UAE) launched the contactless technology that helps stem the virus spread. Even though the new system allows quick trips through security checkpoints, there are mounting concerns about mass surveillance in the federation of seven sheikhdoms. 

According to the AP, UAE ranks the highest globally on a per capita basis of surveillance camera concentration. Many of the cameras are tethered to artificial intelligence systems that make it possible for the government to track anyone, anywhere. 

On Sunday, the first travelers used the new iris scanner after checking in – it allowed them to “breeze through passport control within seconds,” said AP. 

Dubai airport is promising to have passengers pass through immigration in less than 10 seconds, by using facial recognition technology — Reuters (@Reuters) March 8, 2021

“The future is coming,” said Major Gen. Obaid Mehayer Bin Suroor, deputy director of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs. “Now, all the procedures have become ‘smart,’ around five to six seconds.”

Bin Suroor said Dubai’s immigration office “completely protects” the private data so that “no third party can see it.” But with limited information on the new biometric technology, there’s no telling who could misuse the data. 

“Any surveillance technology raises red flags, regardless of what kind of country it’s in,” said Jonathan Frankle, a doctoral student in artificial intelligence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.” But in a democratic country, if the surveillance technology is used transparently, at least there’s an opportunity to have a public conversation about it.”

Along with facial recognition, airports such as Dubai’s could soon request COVID passports from travelers. 

COVID passports were widely discussed for near-term rollouts by the International Air Transport Association. 

UAE appears to be implementing a system, sort of like China’s, to track its entire population in real-time. 

Be seeing you

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »