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Privacy Media Articles
Excerpts of Key Privacy Media Articles in Major Media

Below are highly revealing excerpts of important privacy articles reported in the media suggesting a major cover-up. Links are provided to the full articles on major media websites. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These privacy articles are listed by article date. You can also explore the articles listed by order of importance or by date posted. By choosing to educate ourselves on these important issues and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.

Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.

Americans pay GCHQ Ł100m to spy for them, leaked papers claim
2013-08-01, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)

GCHQ has received at least Ł100 million from the US to help fund intelligence gathering, raising questions over American influence on the British agencies. The money was paid across a range of projects over three years and resulted in GCHQ spying on behalf of America, according to leaked documents. It also emerged that the intelligence agency wants the ability to “exploit any phone, anywhere, any time” and that some staff have raised concerns over the “morality and ethics” of their operational work. The payments from the US National Security Agency (NSA) are detailed in GCHQ’s annual “investment portfolios”, leaked by Mr Snowden to The Guardian. The NSA paid GCHQ Ł22.9 million in 2009, Ł39.9 million in 2010 and Ł34.7 million in 2011/12. The 2010 funding included ... Ł17.2 million for the agency’s “Mastering the Internet” project, which gathers “raw” information from the web to be analysed. In return, GCHQ has to have the American view in mind when prioritising work, the papers claim. One strategy briefing disclosed the pressure on GCHQ to meet NSA demands, saying: “GCHQ must pull its weight and be seen to pull its weight.” In another document, from 2010, GCHQ apparently acknowledged that the US had “raised a number of issues with regards to meeting NSA’s minimum expectations”.

Note: For more on government corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

XKeyscore: NSA tool collects 'nearly everything a user does on the internet'
2013-07-31, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)

A top secret National Security Agency program allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals, according to documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The NSA boasts in training materials that the program, called XKeyscore, is its "widest-reaching" system for developing intelligence from the internet. The files shed light on one of Snowden's most controversial statements, made in his first video interview published by the Guardian on June 10. "I, sitting at my desk," said Snowden, could "wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email". Training materials for XKeyscore detail how analysts can use it and other systems to mine enormous agency databases by filling in a simple on-screen form giving only a broad justification for the search. The request is not reviewed by a court or any NSA personnel before it is processed. One presentation claims the program covers "nearly everything a typical user does on the internet", including the content of emails, websites visited and searches, as well as their metadata. Analysts can also use XKeyscore and other NSA systems to obtain ongoing "real-time" interception of an individual's internet activity. XKeyscore provides the technological capability [to target] US persons for extensive electronic surveillance without a warrant provided that some identifying information, such as their email or IP address, is known to the analyst.

Note: For more on government privacy invasions, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

The Public-Private Surveillance Partnership
2013-07-31, Bloomberg News

Computers and networks inherently produce data, and our constant interactions with them allow corporations to collect an enormous amount of intensely personal data about us as we go about our daily lives. Sometimes we produce this data inadvertently simply by using our phones, credit cards, computers and other devices. Sometimes we give corporations this data directly on Google, Facebook, [or] Apple’s iCloud ... in exchange for whatever free or cheap service we receive from the Internet in return. The NSA is also in the business of spying on everyone, and it has realized it’s far easier to collect all the data from these corporations rather than from us directly. The result is a corporate-government surveillance partnership, one that allows both the government and corporations to get away with things they couldn’t otherwise. There are two types of laws in the U.S., each designed to constrain a different type of power: constitutional law, which places limitations on government, and regulatory law, which constrains corporations. Historically, these two areas have largely remained separate, but today each group has learned how to use the other’s laws to bypass their own restrictions. The government uses corporations to get around its limits, and corporations use the government to get around their limits. This partnership manifests itself in various ways. The government uses corporations to circumvent its prohibitions against eavesdropping domestically on its citizens. Corporations rely on the government to ensure that they have unfettered use of the data they collect.

Note: For more on government and corporate privacy invasions, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Glenn Greenwald: Low-Level NSA Analysts Have ‘Powerful and Invasive’ Search Tool
2013-07-28, ABC News blog

Glenn Greenwald – the reporter who broke the story about the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs – claimed that those NSA programs allowed even low-level analysts to search the private emails and phone calls of Americans. “The NSA has trillions of telephone calls and emails in their databases that they’ve collected over the last several years,” Greenwald told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. “All an analyst has to do is enter an email address or an IP address, and [the program] searches that database and lets them listen to the calls or read the emails of everything that the NSA has stored, or look at the browsing histories or Google search terms that you’ve entered.” Greenwald explained that ... these programs still allow analysts to search through data with little court approval or supervision. Greenwald said "these systems allow analysts to listen to whatever emails they want, whatever telephone calls, browsing histories, Microsoft Word documents. And it’s all done with no need to go to a court, with no need to even get supervisor approval on the part of the analyst,” he added. Greenwald said the existence of these analyst search programs are in line with the claims of Edward Snowden, who first leaked details of the NSA’s surveillance programs last month. “It’s an incredibly powerful and invasive tool, exactly of the type that Mr. Snowden described,” Greenwald said. “NSA officials are going to be testifying before the Senate on Wednesday, and I defy them to deny that these programs work exactly as I just said,” Greenwald said.

Note: For more on government privacy invasions, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

America's real subversives: FBI spying then, NSA surveillance now
2013-07-25, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)

As the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington approaches ... where Martin Luther King Jr gave his famous "I have a dream" speech, it is important to recall the extent to which King was targeted by the government. The FBI operation against King is one of the most shameful episodes in the long history of our government's persecution of dissenters. In a heavily redacted, classified FBI memo dated 4 January 1956 – just a little more than a month after Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger – stated that an agent "had been assigned ... to find out all he could about Reverend Martin L King, colored minister in Montgomery and leader in the bus boycott … to uncover all the derogatory information he could about King." [FBI] director, J Edgar Hoover ... was deploying the vast resources he controlled against any and all perceived critics of the United States. The far-reaching clandestine surveillance, infiltration and disruption operation Hoover ran was dubbed "COINTELPRO", for counterintelligence program. The FBI's COINTELPRO activities ... were thoroughly investigated in 1975 by the Church Committee, [which] reported that the FBI "conducted a sophisticated vigilante operation aimed squarely at preventing the exercise of first amendment rights of speech and association." Among COINTELPRO's perverse activities was an FBI effort to threaten Martin Luther King Jr with exposure of an alleged extramarital affair, including the suggestion, made by the FBI to King, that he avoid embarrassment by killing himself. Deeply concerned about the crackdown on dissent happening under Obama, scholar Cornel West ... wondered if [King] "would not be invited to the very march in his name."

Note: This article fails to mention a key fact. At a 1999 court trial held in Memphis, the family of Rev. King accused elements of the U.S. government of complicity in King's death. After one month of hearings from 70 witnesses, a jury composed of six white and six black jurors took only one hour to find the U.S. government, the state of Tennessee, the city of Memphis, the Memphis police, and several individuals guilty of murdering King. Yet the mainstream media completely boycotted this trial. Thankfully, CBC (Canada's PBS) gave it some coverage. To see a six-minute CBC clip of this highly revealing trial, click here.

Democratic establishment unmasked: prime defenders of NSA bulk spying
2013-07-25, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)

When it comes to foreign policy, war, assassinations, drones, surveillance, secrecy, and civil liberties, President Obama's most stalwart, enthusiastic defenders are often found among the most radical precincts of the Republican Party. The extraordinary events that took place in the House of Representatives [on July 24] are perhaps the most vivid illustration yet of this dynamic. The House voted on an amendment sponsored by Justin Amash, the young Michigan lawyer elected in 2010 as a Tea Party candidate, and co-sponsored by John Conyers, the 24-term senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee. The amendment was simple. It would de-fund one single NSA program: the agency's bulk collection of the telephone records of all Americans. The amendment yesterday was defeated. A majority of House Democrats supported the Amash/Conyers amendment, while a majority of Republicans voted against it. As the New York Times put it in its account of yesterday's vote: "Conservative Republicans leery of what they see as Obama administration abuses of power teamed up with liberal Democrats long opposed to intrusive intelligence programs. The Obama administration made common cause with the House Republican leadership to try to block it." The fate of the amendment was sealed when the Obama White House ... announced its vehement opposition to it, and then sent NSA officials to the House to scare members that barring the NSA from collecting all phone records of all Americans would "Help The Terrorists."

Note: For more on government privacy invasions, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

A Black Box for Car Crashes
2013-07-22, New York Times

[There is] a growing debate over a little-known but increasingly important piece of equipment buried deep inside a car: the event data recorder, more commonly known as the black box. About 96 percent of all new vehicles sold in the United States have the boxes, and in September 2014, if the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has its way, all will have them. Data stored in the devices is increasingly being used to identify safety problems in cars and as evidence in traffic accidents and criminal cases. And the trove of data inside the boxes has raised privacy concerns, including questions about who owns the information, and what it can be used for, even as critics have raised questions about its reliability. To consumer advocates, the data is only the latest example of governments and companies having too much access to private information. Once gathered, they say, the data can be used against car owners, to find fault in accidents or in criminal investigations. “These cars are equipped with computers that collect massive amounts of data,” said Khaliah Barnes of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a Washington-based consumer group. “Without protections, it can lead to all kinds of abuse.” In [14] states, lawyers may subpoena the data for criminal investigations and civil lawsuits, making the information accessible to third parties, including law enforcement or insurance companies that could cancel a driver’s policy or raise a driver’s premium based on the recorder’s data.

Note: For more on government and corporate privacy invasions, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

ACLU warns of mass tracking through license plate scanners
2013-07-18, CBS News

The American Civil Liberties Union is warning that law enforcement officials are using license plate scanners to amass massive and unregulated databases that can be used to track law-abiding citizens as their go about their daily lives. In a new report, "You Are Being Tracked: How License Plate Readers Are Being Used to Record Americans' Movements," the ACLU discusses the data culled from license plate scanners - cameras mounted on patrol cars, overpasses and elsewhere to record your license plate number and location at a given time. There are tens of thousands such cameras now in operation, according to the group, with the data in some cases being stored indefinitely. The ACLU report is the result of an analysis of 26,000 pages of documents from police departments around the country, obtained through nearly 600 [FOIA] requests. It finds that while some jurisdictions keep the information gleaned from the scanners for a short time ... many hold onto the data for years. The organization complains that there are "virtually no rules in place" to keep officials from tracking "everybody all the time." The ACLU also warns that the data is being fed into larger databases, with the private National Vehicle Location Service now holding more than 800 million license plate records. The group's database is used by more than 2,200 law enforcement customers. The [ACLU] report warns that the data can be used in an official capacity to spy on protesters or target communities based on their religious beliefs, or unofficially by a police officer who wants to keep an eye on a romantic rival.

Note: For more on privacy, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Apple, Google, Facebook and others urge government surveillance disclosure
2013-07-18, NBC News/Reuters

Dozens of companies, non-profits and trade organizations including Apple, Google, and Facebook sent a letter [on July 18] pushing the Obama administration and Congress for more disclosures on the government's national security-related requests for user data. Together with LinkedIn, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Twitter and many others, the companies asked for more transparency of secret data gathering in the letter. Tech companies have been scrambling to assert their independence after documents leaked last month by former U.S. security contractor Edward Snowden suggested they had given the government direct access to their computers as part of the NSA's secret surveillance program called Prism. The classified nature of the data gathering has barred the participating companies from disclosing even their involvement, let alone the content of the requests. Some companies, including Facebook and Apple, in June struck an agreement with the government to release some information about the number of surveillance requests they receive. But they were limited to disclosing aggregate government requests for data without showing the split between surveillance and criminal requests, and only for a six-month period.

Note: For more on government and corporate privacy invasions, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

The latest effort to distract attention from the NSA revelations is more absurd than most
2013-07-13, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)

This Reuters article ... purports to summarize an interview I gave to the daily newspaper La Nacion of Argentina. Like everything in the matter of these NSA leaks, this interview is being wildly distorted to attract attention away from the revelations themselves. I made three points in this La Nacion interview, all of which are true: 1) The oft-repeated claim that Snowden's intent is to harm the US is completely negated by the reality that he has all sorts of documents that could quickly and seriously harm the US if disclosed, yet he has published none of those. When he gave us the documents he provided, he repeatedly insisted that we exercise rigorous journalistic judgment in deciding which documents should be published in the public interest and which ones should be concealed on the ground that the harm of publication outweighs the public value. 2) The US government has acted with wild irrationality. The current criticism of Snowden is that he's in Russia. But the reason he's in Russia isn't that he chose to be there. It's because the US blocked him from leaving: first by revoking his passport (with no due process or trial), then by pressuring its allies to deny airspace rights to any plane they thought might be carrying him to asylum (even one carrying the democratically elected president of a sovereign state), then by bullying small countries out of letting him land for re-fueling. 3) I said that [forcing his plane down] would be completely counter-productive given that ... such an attack could easily result in far more disclosures than allowing us as journalists to vet and responsibly report them, as we've [been] doing.

Note: The above article was written by brave journalist Glenn Greenwald, who broke the Snowden story. For more on the NSA surveillance scandal, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

What the Government Pays to Snoop on You
2013-07-10, CNBC/Associated Press

In the era of intense government surveillance and secret court orders, a murky multimillion-dollar market has emerged. Paid for by U.S. tax dollars, but with little public scrutiny, surveillance fees charged in secret by technology and phone companies can vary wildly. AT&T, for example, imposes a $325 "activation fee" for each wiretap and $10 a day to maintain it. Smaller carriers Cricket and U.S. Cellular charge only about $250 per wiretap. But snoop on a Verizon customer? That costs the government $775 for the first month and $500 each month after that. Regardless of price, the surveillance business is growing. The U.S. government long has enjoyed access to phone networks and high-speed Internet traffic under the U.S. Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act to catch suspected criminals and terrorists. More recently, the FBI has pushed technology companies like Google and Skype to guarantee access to real-time communications on their services. As the number of law enforcement requests for data grew and carriers upgraded their technology, the cost of accommodating government surveillance requests increased. AT&T, for example, said it devotes roughly 100 employees to review each request and hand over data. Likewise, Verizon said its team of 70 employees works around the clock, seven days a week to handle the quarter-million requests it gets each year.

Note: For more on government and corporate attacks on privacy, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

The journalistic practices of the Washington Post and Walter Pincus
2013-07-10, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)

On [July 10] the Washington Post published an article by its long-time reporter Walter Pincus. The article concocted a frenzied and inane conspiracy theory: that it was WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, working in secret with myself [Glenn Greenwald] and Laura Poitras, who masterminded the Snowden leaks ahead of time and directed Snowden's behavior. To peddle this tale, Pincus, in lieu of any evidence, spouted all sorts of accusatory innuendo masquerading as questions ... and invoked classic guilt-by association techniques. See the email I sent Pincus for the conclusive evidence of those factual falsehoods and the other distortions peddled by the Post. Apparently, the Washington Post has decided to weigh in on the ongoing debate over "what is journalism?" with this answer: you fill up articles on topics ... with nothing but idle speculation, rank innuendo, and evidence-free accusations, all under the guise of "just asking questions". You then strongly imply that other journalists who have actually broken a big story are involved in a rampant criminal conspiracy. What was far worse was that Pincus' wild conspiracy theorizing was accomplished only by asserting blatant, easily demonstrated falsehoods. The Post allowed the falsehoods to stand uncorrected all day. More than 8 hours after I first publicized his errors - Pincus emailed me back ... and vowed that a correction would be published. 36 hours after the Post published these falsehoods, 24 hours after I publicized them, and 15 hours after the author of this article acknowledged one of those errors and vowed a correction, the Post article still sits on the internet: uncorrected.

Note: For more on mass media corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

In Secret, Court Vastly Broadens Powers of N.S.A.
2013-07-07, New York Times

In more than a dozen classified rulings, the nation’s surveillance court has created a secret body of law giving the National Security Agency the power to amass vast collections of data on Americans. The rulings, some nearly 100 pages long, reveal that the court has taken on a much more expansive role by regularly assessing broad constitutional questions and establishing important judicial precedents, with almost no public scrutiny. The 11-member Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, known as the FISA court, was once mostly focused on approving case-by-case wiretapping orders. But since major changes in legislation and greater judicial oversight of intelligence operations were instituted six years ago, it has quietly become almost a parallel Supreme Court, serving as the ultimate arbiter on surveillance issues and delivering opinions that will most likely shape intelligence practices for years to come. In one of the court’s most important decisions, the judges have expanded the use in terrorism cases of a legal principle known as the “special needs” doctrine and carved out an exception to the Fourth Amendment’s requirement of a warrant for searches and seizures. Unlike the Supreme Court, the FISA court hears from only one side in the case — the government — and its findings are almost never made public.

Note: For more on government secrecy, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

U.S. Postal Service Logging All Mail for Law Enforcement
2013-07-04, New York Times

Leslie James Pickering noticed something odd in his mail last September: a handwritten card, apparently delivered by mistake, with instructions for postal workers to pay special attention to the letters and packages sent to his home. “Show all mail to supv” — supervisor — “for copying prior to going out on the street,” read the card. It included Mr. Pickering’s name, address and the type of mail that needed to be monitored. The word “confidential” was highlighted in green. “It was a bit of a shock to see it,” said Mr. Pickering, who with his wife owns a small bookstore in Buffalo. More than a decade ago, he was a spokesman for the Earth Liberation Front, a radical environmental group labeled eco-terrorists by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. As the world focuses on the high-tech spying of the National Security Agency, the misplaced card offers a rare glimpse inside the seemingly low-tech but prevalent snooping of the United States Postal Service. Mr. Pickering was targeted by a longtime surveillance system called mail covers, a forerunner of a vastly more expansive effort, the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program, in which Postal Service computers photograph the exterior of every piece of paper mail that is processed in the United States — about 160 billion pieces last year. It is not known how long the government saves the images. The Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program was created after the anthrax attacks in late 2001. It enables the Postal Service to retrace the path of mail at the request of law enforcement. No one disputes that it is sweeping.

Note: The exposure by whistleblower Edward Snowden of the NSA's massive domestic and global spying operations seems to have triggered a series of other revelations about surveillance of the US population, like this report on the US Postal Service's photographing all mail. Hardly a week goes by without another major revelation, such as a new digital photo-ID database utilized by the FBI and police forces, and the development by US police of a national DNA database on all "potential suspects". Since very few US citizens are terrorists, what is the real purpose behind this total surveillance?

How cash rules surveillance policy
2013-07-04, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)

Have you noticed anything missing in the political discourse about the National Security Administration's unprecedented mass surveillance? There's at least been some conversation about the intelligence community's potential criminality and constitutional violations. But there have only been veiled references to how cash undoubtedly tilts the debate against those who challenge the national security state. Those indirect references have come in stories about Booz Allen Hamilton, the security contractor that employed Edward Snowden. CNN/Money notes that 99 percent of the firm's multibillion-dollar annual revenues now come from the federal government. Those revenues are part of a larger and growing economic sector within the military-industrial complex - a sector that, according to author Tim Shorrock, is "a $56 billion-a-year industry." Yet few in the Washington press corps mention that politicians' attacks on surveillance critics may have nothing to do with principle and everything to do with shilling for campaign donors. For a taste of what that kind of institutionalized corruption looks like, peruse the Influence Explorer site to see how much Booz Allen Hamilton and its parent company, the Carlyle Group, spend. As you'll see, from Barack Obama to John McCain, many of the politicians publicly defending the surveillance state have taken huge sums of money from the firms. Simply put, there are corporate forces with a vested financial interest in making sure the debate over security is tilted toward the surveillance state and against critics of that surveillance state.

Note: Tim Shorrock, quoted above, is the author of Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing.

GCHQ taps fibre-optic cables for secret access to world's communications
2013-06-21, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)

Britain's spy agency GCHQ has secretly gained access to the network of cables which carry the world's phone calls and internet traffic and has started to process vast streams of sensitive personal information which it is sharing with its American partner, the National Security Agency (NSA). The sheer scale of the agency's ambition is reflected in the titles of its two principal components: Mastering the Internet and Global Telecoms Exploitation, aimed at scooping up as much online and telephone traffic as possible. This is all being carried out without any form of public acknowledgement or debate. One key innovation has been GCHQ's ability to tap into and store huge volumes of data drawn from fibre-optic cables for up to 30 days so that it can be sifted and analysed. GCHQ and the NSA are consequently able to access and process vast quantities of communications between entirely innocent people, as well as targeted suspects. This includes recordings of phone calls, the content of email messages, entries on Facebook and the history of any internet user's access to websites – all of which is deemed legal, even though the warrant system was supposed to limit interception to a specified range of targets. The existence of the programme has been disclosed in documents shown to the Guardian by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Britain's technical capacity to tap into the cables that carry the world's communications ... has made GCHQ an intelligence superpower. A total of 850,000 NSA employees and US private contractors with top secret clearance had access to GCHQ databases.

Note: For solid evidence spy agencies targeted even top politicians, click here. For more on intelligence agency corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Bush-Era NSA Whistleblower Makes Most Explosive Allegations Yet About Extent of Gov’t Surveillance — and You Won’t Believe Who He Says They Spied On
2013-06-20, The Blaze

Russ Tice, a former intelligence analyst and Bush-era NSA whistleblower, claimed Wednesday that the intelligence community has ordered surveillance on a wide range of groups and individuals, including high-ranking military officials, lawmakers and diplomats. “They went after – and I know this because I had my hands literally on the paperwork for these sort of things – they went after high-ranking military officers. They went after members of Congress, both Senate and the House, especially on the intelligence committees and on the armed services committees," [said] Tice. “But they went after other ones, too. They went after lawyers and law firms. They went after judges. One of the judges is now sitting on the Supreme Court. Two are former FISA court judges. They went after State Department officials. They went after people in the executive service that were part of the White House.” Then Tice dropped the bombshell about Obama. "In summer of 2004, one of the papers that I held in my hand was to wiretap a bunch of numbers associated with a 40-something-year-old wannabe senator for Illinois ... that’s the president of the United States now.” FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds and Tice agreed that such wide-ranging surveillance of officials could provide the intelligence agencies with unthinkable power to blackmail their opponents. “I was worried that the intelligence community now has sway over what is going on,” Tice said. Tice first blew the whistle on ... domestic spying across multiple agencies in 2005.

Note: Listen to Tice's shocking revelations in this interview. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and throughout intelligence agencies.

FBI uses drones for surveillance in U.S
2013-06-20, CNN

FBI Director Robert Mueller acknowledged [to the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 19 that] the law enforcement agency uses drone aircraft in the United States for surveillance. He did not say how many unmanned surveillance vehicles (UAVs) the FBI has or how often they have been used. But a law enforcement official told CNN the FBI has used them a little more than a dozen times but did not say when that started. The official said drones are useful in hostage and barricade situations because they operate more quietly and are less visible than traditional aircraft such as helicopters. Bureau spokesman Paul Bresson said their use allows "us to learn critical information that otherwise would be difficult to obtain without introducing serious risk to law enforcement personnel." Bresson said the aircraft can only be used to perform surveillance on stationary subjects and the FBI must first get approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly in a "very confined geographic area." Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein expressed concern over drone use domestically. "I think the greatest threat to the privacy of Americans is the drone and the use of the drone, and the very few regulations that are on it today and the booming industry of commercial drones," the California Democrat said. The FAA forecasts some 10,000 civilian drones will be in use in the United States within five years, including those for law enforcement and commercial purposes.

Note: For more on domestic US drone surveillance, click here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the hidden realities of intelligence agencies, click here.

Tech firms push back on digital spying
2013-06-18, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)

Edward Snowden, the whistle-blower shining spotlights on federal surveillance practices, made a rhetorical - and volatile - point during an online question-and-answer session Monday. "If Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Apple refused to provide this cooperation with the intelligence community, what do you think the government would do? Shut them down?" he asked. Snowden's point implies that tech companies should push back on all government requests for data on their users. Prosecuting these much-used companies for noncompliance would only shed light on the extent of the programs they aimed to keep secret in the first place. Whether a tech company dares go that far remains to be seen. But in the past week a number of household names in Silicon Valley have at least started demanding more freedom to disclose what the government wants to know about their users. As the tech companies associated with Snowden's leaked materials scramble to comply with government requests, they're also scrambling to save face with customers. It's still not clear what exact technical mechanism the government used to acquire information about users of Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Apple, among others. But it is clear that some Internet users have come to view these tech giants as proxy spies as a result of their assumed compliance. The companies say they would like nothing better than to clear their names, but they simply aren't allowed to release details about government requests.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government assaults on privacy, click here.

Google challenges U.S. gag order, citing First Amendment
2013-06-18, Washington Post

Google asked the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on [June 18] to ease long-standing gag orders over data requests the court makes, arguing that the company has a constitutional right to speak about information it is forced to give the government. The legal filing, which invokes the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech, is the latest move by the California-based tech giant to protect its reputation in the aftermath of news reports about broad National Security Agency surveillance of Internet traffic. Revelations about the program, called PRISM, have opened fissures between U.S. officials and the involved companies, which have scrambled to reassure their users without violating strict rules against disclosing information that the government has classified as top secret. A high-profile legal showdown might help Google’s efforts to portray itself as aggressively resisting government surveillance, and a victory could bolster the company’s campaign to portray government surveillance requests as targeted narrowly and affecting only a small number of users. [The] unusual legal move came after days of intense talks between federal officials and several of the technology companies, including Google, over what details can be released. It also comes as the firms increasingly show signs of wanting to outdo each other in demonstrating their commitment to protecting user privacy. Facebook, Microsoft and Yahoo in recent days have won federal government permission to include requests from the court as part of the overall number of data requests they receive from federal, state and local officials.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government assaults on privacy, click here.

Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.