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Big Brother News Stories
Excerpts of Key Big Brother News Stories in Major Media


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


Note: This comprehensive list of big brother news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.


Control of Cybersecurity Becomes Divisive Issue
2009-04-17, New York Times
Posted: 2009-04-25 08:45:13
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/17/us/politics/17cyber.html?partner=rss&emc=rs...

The National Security Agency has been campaigning to lead the government’s rapidly growing cybersecurity programs, raising privacy and civil liberties concerns among some officials who fear that the move could give the spy agency too much control over government computer networks. The security agency’s interest in taking over the dominant role has met resistance, including the resignation of the Homeland Security Department official who was until last month in charge of coordinating cybersecurity efforts throughout the government. Rod Beckstrom, who resigned in March as director of the National Cyber Security Center at the Homeland Security Department, said ... that he feared that the N.S.A.’s push for a greater role in guarding the government’s computer systems could give it the power to collect and analyze every e-mail message, text message and Google search conducted by every employee in every federal agency. Mr. Beckstrom said he believed that an intelligence service that is supposed to focus on foreign targets should not be given so much control over the flow of information within the United States government. To detect threats against the computer infrastructure — including hackers, viruses and intrusions by foreign agents and terrorists — cybersecurity guardians must have virtually unlimited access to networks. Mr. Beckstrom argues that those responsibilities should be divided among agencies. “I have very serious concerns about the concentration of too much power in one agency,” he said. “Power over information is so important, and it is so difficult to monitor, that we need to have checks and balances.”

Note: For further disturbing reports from reliable sources on government efforts to establish total surveillance systems, click here.


Warning over 'surveillance state'
2009-02-06, BBC News
Posted: 2009-02-15 09:45:52
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/7872425.stm

Electronic surveillance and collection of personal data are "pervasive" in British society and threaten to undermine democracy, peers [in the House of Lords] have warned. CCTV cameras and the DNA database were two examples of threats to privacy, the Lords constitution committee said. It called for compensation for people subject to illegal surveillance. Civil liberties campaigners have warned about the risks of a "surveillance society" in which the state acquires ever-greater powers to track people's movements and retain personal data. In its report, the Lords constitution committee said growth in surveillance by both the state and the private sector risked threatening people's right to privacy, which it said was "an essential pre-requisite to the exercise of individual freedom". People were often unaware of the scale of personal information held and exchanged by public bodies, it said. "There can be no justification for this gradual but incessant creep towards every detail about us being recorded and pored over by the state," committee chairman and Tory peer Lord Goodlad said. "The huge rise in surveillance and data collection by the state and other organisations risks undermining the long-standing tradition of privacy and individual freedom which are vital for democracy," Lord Goodlad added. Human rights campaigners Liberty welcomed the report.

Note: For key reports from major media sources on growing threats to privacy from governments and corporations, click here.


Intelligence Agencies' Databases Set to Be Linked
2009-01-22, Wall Street Journal
Posted: 2009-02-06 09:13:56
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123258232280204323.html

U.S. spy agencies' sensitive data should soon be linked by Google-like search systems. Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell has launched a sweeping technology program to knit together the thousands of databases across all 16 spy agencies. After years of bureaucratic snafus, intelligence analysts will be able to search through secret intelligence files the same way they can search public data on the Internet. Linking up the 16 agencies is the challenge at the heart of the job of director of national intelligence, created after 9/11. The new information program also is designed to include Facebook-like social-networking programs and classified news feeds. It includes enhanced security measures to ensure that only appropriately cleared people can access the network. The price tag is expected to be in the billions of dollars. The impact for analysts, Mr. McConnell says, "will be staggering." Not only will analysts have vastly more data to examine, potentially inaccurate intelligence will stand out more clearly, he said. Today, an analyst's query might scan only 5% of the total intelligence data in the U.S. government, said a senior intelligence official. Even when analysts find documents, they sometimes can't read them without protracted negotiations to gain access. Under the new system, an analyst would likely search about 95% of the data, the official said.

Note: For key reports from reliable sources on the hidden realities of the War on Terror, click here.


Let's face it, soon Big Brother will have no trouble recognising you
2009-01-13, Times of London
Posted: 2009-01-24 10:01:14
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/articl...

This is the year when automated face-recognition finally goes mainstream, and it's about time we considered its social and political implications. Researchers are developing sharply accurate scanners that monitor faces in 3D and software that analyses skin texture to turn tiny wrinkles, blemishes and spots into a numerical formula. The strongest face-recognition algorithms are now considered more accurate than most humans - and already the Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers have held discussions about the possibility of linking such systems with automatic car-numberplate recognition and public-transport databases. Join everything together via the internet, and voilŕ - the nation's population, down to the individual Times reader, can be conveniently and automatically monitored in real time. So let's understand this: governments and police are planning to implement increasingly accurate surveillance technologies that are unnoticeable, cheap, pervasive, ubiquitous, and searchable in real time. And private businesses, from bars to workplaces, will also operate such systems, whose data trail may well be sold on or leaked to third parties - let's say, insurance companies that have an interest in knowing about your unhealthy lifestyle, or your ex-spouse who wants evidence that you can afford higher maintenance payments.

Note: For disturbing reports on threats to privacy from major media sources, click here.


Foundations are in place for martial law in the US
2002-07-21, Sydney Morning Herald
Posted: 2009-01-16 08:42:34
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/07/27/1027497418339.html

Recent pronouncements from the Bush Administration and national security initiatives put in place in the Reagan era could see internment camps and martial law in the United States. When president Ronald Reagan was considering invading Nicaragua he issued a series of executive orders that provided the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with broad powers in the event of a "crisis" such as "violent and widespread internal dissent or national opposition against a US military invasion abroad". On July 20 the Detroit Free Press ran a story entitled "Arabs in US could be held, official warns". The story referred to a member of the US Civil Rights Commission who foresaw the possibility of internment camps for Arab Americans. FEMA has practised for such an occasion. FEMA, whose main role is disaster response, is also responsible for handling US domestic unrest. From 1982-84 Colonel Oliver North assisted FEMA in drafting its civil defence preparations. They included executive orders providing for suspension of the constitution, the imposition of martial law, internment camps, and the turning over of government to the president and FEMA. A Miami Herald article on July 5, 1987, reported that the former FEMA director Louis Guiffrida's deputy, John Brinkerhoff, handled the martial law portion of the planning. Today Mr Brinkerhoff is with the highly influential Anser Institute for Homeland Security.

Note: Most of these provisions are still in place today. Isn't it time for a change?


Bailiffs get power to use force on debtors
2008-12-21, Times of London
Posted: 2009-01-02 09:16:08
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article5375668.ece

The [U.K.] government has been accused of trampling on individual liberties by proposing wide-ranging new powers for bailiffs to break into homes and to use “reasonable force” against householders who try to protect their valuables. Under the regulations, bailiffs for private firms would for the first time be given permission to restrain or pin down householders. They would also be able to force their way into homes to seize property to pay off debts, such as unpaid credit card bills and loans. “These laws strip away tried and tested protections that make a person’s home his castle, and which have stood for centuries,” said Paul Nicolson, chairman of the Zacchaeus 2000 Trust, a London-based welfare charity. “They could clearly lead to violent confrontations and undermine fundamental liberties.” Bailiffs have for hundreds of years been denied powers to break into homes for civil debt or to use force against debtors, except in self-defence. Ministers have now proposed bailiffs be given powers to physically remove debtors who try to defend their property, for example by draping themselves over a car or blocking the door of their home. Details of the new guidelines were obtained under freedom of information laws. Reasonable grounds for breaking down the door include the “movement of a curtain”, a radio being heard or a figure being spotted inside which “may be the offender”. In one case, an 89-year-old grandmother returned home to find a bailiff sitting in her chair having drawn up a list of her possessions. He was pursuing a parking fine owed by her son, who did not even live at the address.

Note: For many disturbing reports from reliable sources on threats to civil liberties, click here.


New York City Mayor Hylan Foresees A Revolt
1922-12-10, New York Times
Posted: 2009-01-02 09:03:53
http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9F07EED6153AEF33A25753C1A96...

One of the most astounding facts about our American life is that the wealth and property of the country and the control of the machinery of government are in the hands of less than 2 per cent of the inhabitants. A small group of excessively wealthy individuals, members of the Republican and Democratic Parties alike, have, through the exercise of powerful, sinister and, too often, unlawful influence, usurped the government and seized public property on such a wholesale scale that they have become ... virtual dictators. A small group of international bankers and money lenders, public utility exploiters and tariff beneficiaries have actually dictated nominations for offices up to the Presidency. They have placed the slickest, cleverest, and most cunning manipulators in official positions, even in the minor posts, where they could be of service when called upon by the invisible power which, utterly devoid of all humanity, seeks but to wallow in riches. So absolute is the power of America's secret dynastic rulers that they have, without hindrance, written the very platforms and pledges of political parties, and because of substantial contributions to campaign chests they have arrogated to themselves the right to dictate the governmental policies of the administration elected to office regardless of party. Woe to the public officials who dare to resent their dictatorship! If there be such public officials who will not submit to their imperious dictation, then the flood-gates of lying press propaganda are released, sweeping the unhappy public servant to an earthly as well as political grave, or compelling him to compromise with his conscience and become their subservient tool to the end of his term.

Note: John F. Hylan was Mayor of New York City from 1918 to 1925. New York has long been the US banking and financial headquarters, with the mayor's office about a half-mile from the New York Stock Exchange. The rest of this important article can be accessed at this link as well as the one above. It is interesting to note that this article was published not long after the Federal Reserve was created, turning over huge amounts of control of the U.S. economy to the most powerful bankers in the country. For more on this, click here.


Where'd the Bailout Cash Go? It's a Secret
2008-12-22, CBS News/Associated Press
Posted: 2008-12-26 09:35:59
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/whered-the-bailout-cash-go-its-a-secret/

After receiving billions in aid from U.S. taxpayers, the nation's largest banks say they can't track exactly how they're spending it. Some won't even talk about it. "We're choosing not to disclose that," said Kevin Heine, spokesman for Bank of New York Mellon, which received about $3 billion. The Associated Press contacted 21 banks that received at least $1 billion in government money and asked four questions: How much has been spent? What was it spent on? How much is being held in savings, and what's the plan for the rest? None of the banks provided specific answers. Some banks said they simply didn't know where the money was going. There has been no accounting of how banks spend that money. The answers highlight the secrecy surrounding the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which earmarked $700 billion ... to help rescue the financial industry. Lawmakers summoned bank executives to Capitol Hill last month and implored them ... not to hoard it or spend it on corporate bonuses, junkets or to buy other banks. But there is no process in place to make sure that's happening and there are no consequences for banks that don't comply. Meanwhile, banks that are getting taxpayer bailouts awarded their top executives nearly $1.6 billion in salaries, bonuses, and other benefits last year. Congress attached nearly no strings to the $700 billion bailout in October. And the Treasury Department, which doles out the money, never asked banks how it would be spent. No bank provided even the most basic accounting for the federal money. Most banks wouldn't say why they were keeping the details secret.

Note: Explore key information that the bankers don't want you to know on the Federal Reserve, which is neither federal, nor a reserve. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the banking bailout from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources suggesting major corruption provided in our Banking Information Center.


U.S. May Ease Police Spy Rules
2008-08-16, Washington Post
Posted: 2008-08-23 08:12:19
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/15/AR20080815034...

The Justice Department has proposed a new domestic spying measure that would make it easier for state and local police to collect intelligence about Americans, share the sensitive data with federal agencies and retain it for at least 10 years. Law enforcement agencies would be allowed to target groups as well as individuals, and to launch a criminal intelligence investigation based on the suspicion that a target is engaged in terrorism or providing material support to terrorists. They also could share results with a constellation of federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and others in many cases. Michael German, policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, said the proposed rule may [permit] police to collect intelligence even when no underlying crime is suspected. German, an FBI agent for 16 years, said easing established limits on intelligence-gathering would lead to abuses against peaceful political dissenters. He pointed to reports in the past six years that undercover New York police officers infiltrated protest groups before the 2004 Republican National Convention; that California state agents eavesdropped on peace, animal rights and labor activists; and that Denver police spied on Amnesty International and others before being discovered. "If police officers no longer see themselves as engaged in protecting their communities from criminals and instead as domestic intelligence agents working on behalf of the CIA, they will be encouraged to collect more information," German said. "It turns police officers into spies on behalf of the federal government."

Note: For many disturbing reports on increasing threats to civil liberties from reliable sources, click here.


Police Turn to Secret Weapon: GPS Device
2008-08-13, Washington Post
Posted: 2008-08-23 07:58:53
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/12/AR20080812032...

Across the country, police are using GPS devices to snare [criminal suspects], often without a warrant or court order. Privacy advocates said tracking suspects electronically constitutes illegal search and seizure, violating Fourth Amendment rights of protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, and is another step toward George Orwell's Big Brother society. With the ... ever-declining cost of the technology, many analysts believe that police will increasingly rely on GPS ... and that the public will hear little about it. "I've seen them in cases from New York City to small towns -- whoever can afford to get the equipment and plant it on a car," said John Wesley Hall, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. "And of course, it's easy to do. You can sneak up on a car and plant it at any time." Details on how police use GPS usually become public when the use of the device is challenged in court. Leibig said GPS should be held to a different standard because it provides greater detail. "While it may be true that police can conduct surveillance of people on a public street without violating their rights, tracking a person everywhere they go and keeping a computer record of it for days and days without that person knowing is a completely different type of intrusion," he said. Barry Steinhardt, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's technology and liberty program, considers GPS monitoring, along with license plate readers, toll transponders and video cameras with face-recognition technology, part of the same trend toward "an always-on, surveillance society."

Note: For lots more on threats to privacy from major media sources, click here.


Travelers' Laptops May Be Detained At Border: No Suspicion Required
2008-08-01, Washington Post
Posted: 2008-08-08 08:04:18
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/01/AR20080801030...

Federal agents may take a traveler's laptop computer or other electronic device to an off-site location for an unspecified period of time without any suspicion of wrongdoing, as part of border search policies the Department of Homeland Security recently disclosed. Also, officials may share copies of the laptop's contents with other agencies and private entities for language translation, data decryption or other reasons, according to the policies, dated July 16 and issued by two DHS agencies, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. "The policies . . . are truly alarming," said Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), who is probing the government's border search practices. He said he intends to introduce legislation soon that would require reasonable suspicion for border searches, as well as prohibit profiling on race, religion or national origin. DHS officials said the newly disclosed policies ... apply to anyone entering the country, including U.S. citizens. Civil liberties and business travel groups have pressed the government to disclose its procedures as an increasing number of international travelers have reported that their laptops, cellphones and other digital devices had been taken -- for months, in at least one case -- and their contents examined. The policies cover "any device capable of storing information in digital or analog form," including hard drives, flash drives, cellphones, iPods, pagers, beepers, and video and audio tapes. They also cover "all papers and other written documentation," including books, pamphlets and "written materials commonly referred to as 'pocket trash' or 'pocket litter.' "

Note: For many reports from reliable, verifiable sources on threats to privacy, click here.


Civil liberties group criticizes new FBI authority
2008-07-02, Boston Globe/Associated Press
Posted: 2008-07-10 11:00:18
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2008/07/02/civil_libert...

Nearly 40 years ago, the FBI was roundly criticized for investigating Americans without evidence [that] they had broken any laws. Now, critics fear the FBI may be gearing up to do it again. Tentative Justice Department guidelines, to be released later this summer, would let agents investigate people whose backgrounds -- and potentially their race or ethnicity -- match the traits of terrorists. Such profiling ... echoes the FBI's now-defunct COINTELPRO, an operation under Director J. Edgar Hoover in the 1950s and 1960s to monitor and disrupt groups with communist and socialist ties. Before it was shut down in 1971, the domestic spying operation -- formally known as Counterintelligence Programs -- had expanded to include civil rights groups, anti-war activists, ... state legislators and journalists. Among the FBI's targets were Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and John Lennon, along with members of black [political] groups ... and student protesters. The new proposal to allow investigations of Americans with no evidence of wrongdoing is "COINTELPRO for the 21st century," said Barry Steinhardt of the American Civil Liberties Union. "But this is much more insidious because it could involve more people. In the days of COINTELPRO, they were watching only a few people. Now they could be watching everyone."

Note: For many disturbing reports on threats to civil liberties, click here.


Microchips Everywhere: a Future Vision
2008-01-29, Seattle Times/Associated Press
Posted: 2008-07-03 10:37:34
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2004151388_apchippin...

Here's a vision of the not-so-distant future: Microchips with antennas will be embedded in virtually everything you buy, wear, drive and read, allowing retailers and law enforcement to track consumer items -- and, by extension, consumers -- wherever they go, from a distance. A seamless, global network of electronic "sniffers" will scan radio tags in myriad public settings, identifying people and their tastes instantly so that customized ads, "live spam," may be beamed at them. In "Smart Homes," sensors built into walls, floors and appliances will inventory possessions, record eating habits, monitor medicine cabinets -- all the while, silently reporting data to marketers eager for a peek into the occupants' private lives. Science fiction? In truth, much of the radio frequency identification [RFID] technology that enables objects and people to be tagged and tracked wirelessly already exists -- and new and potentially intrusive uses of it are being patented, perfected and deployed. Some of the world's largest corporations are vested in the success of RFID technology, which couples highly miniaturized computers with radio antennas to broadcast information about sales and buyers to company databases. Already, microchips are turning up in some computer printers, car keys and tires, on shampoo bottles and department store clothing tags. They're also in library books and "contactless" payment cards. With tags in so many objects, relaying information to databases that can be linked to credit and bank cards, almost no aspect of life may soon be safe from the prying eyes of corporations and governments, says Mark Rasch, former head of the computer-crime unit of the U.S. Justice Department.

Note: For lots more on microchip implants, click here.


The Business of Intelligence Gathering
2008-06-15, New York Times
Posted: 2008-06-18 11:01:37
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/15/business/15shelf.html?partner=rssuserland&e...

America is ruled by an “intelligence-industrial complex” whose allegiance is not to the taxpaying public but to a cabal of private-sector contractors. That is the central thesis of Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing by Tim Shorrock, ... an investigative journalist. His book [provides a] disturbing overview of the intelligence community, also known as “the I.C.” Mr. Shorrock says our government is outsourcing 70 percent of its intelligence budget, or more than $42 billion a year, to a “secret army” of corporate vendors. Because of accelerated privatization efforts after 9/11, these companies are participating in covert operations and intelligence-gathering activities that were considered “inherently governmental” functions reserved for agencies like the Central Intelligence Agency, he says. Some of the book’s most intriguing assertions concern the permeating influence of the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton. In 2006, Mr. Shorrock reports, Booz Allen amassed $3.7 billion in revenue, much of which came from classified government contracts exempt from public oversight. Among its more than 18,000 employees are R. James Woolsey, the former C.I.A. director, and Joan Dempsey, a former longtime United States intelligence official who declared in a 2004 speech, “I like to refer to Booz Allen as the shadow I.C.” The “revolving door” between Booz Allen and the I.C. is personified by Mike McConnell, who joined the firm after serving as head of the National Security Agency under President Bill Clinton, only to return as director of national intelligence under President Bush.

Note: For revealing reports on government corruption from reliable sources, click here.


Online warfare research outlined
2008-05-15, Washington Times
Posted: 2008-05-22 13:49:42
http://washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080515/FOREIGN/586297...

Procurement documents released by the U.S. Air Force give a rare glimpse into Pentagon plans for developing an offensive cyber-war capacity that can infiltrate, steal data from and, if necessary, take down enemy information-technology networks. The Broad Area Announcement, posted ... by the Air Force Research Laboratory's Information Directorate, outlines a two-year, $11 million effort to develop capabilities to "access ... any remotely located open or closed computer information systems," lurk on them "completely undetected," "stealthily exfiltrate information" from them and ultimately "be able to affect computer information systems through Deceive, Deny, Disrupt, Degrade, Destroy (D5) effects." "Of interest," the announcement says, "are any and all techniques to enable user and/or root-level access to both fixed [and] mobile computing platforms ... [and] methodologies to enable access to any and all operating systems, patch levels, applications and hardware." The announcement is the latest stage in the Air Force's effort to develop a cyber-war capability and establish itself as the service that delivers U.S. military power in cyberspace. Last year, the Air Force announced it was setting up a Cyberspace Command ... and was developing military doctrine for the prosecution of cyber-war operations. The developments highlight the murky legal territory on which the cyber-wars of the future will be fought. More important, because of the difficulties in identifying attackers and immediately quantifying damage from a cyber-attack, it can be hard to determine when such attacks constitute an act of war as opposed to crime or even vandalism.


Administration Set to Use New Spy Program in U.S.
2008-04-12, Washington Post
Posted: 2008-04-17 08:10:08
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/11/AR20080411036...

The Bush administration said yesterday that it plans to start using the nation's most advanced spy technology for domestic purposes soon, rebuffing challenges by House Democrats over the idea's legal authority. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said his department will activate his department's new domestic satellite surveillance office in stages, starting as soon as possible. Sophisticated overhead sensor data will be used for law enforcement once privacy and civil rights concerns are resolved, he said. His statements marked a fresh determination to operate the department's new National Applications Office. But Congress delayed launch of the new office last October. Critics cited its potential to expand the role of military assets in domestic law enforcement, to turn new or as-yet-undeveloped technologies against Americans without adequate public debate, and to divert the existing civilian and scientific focus of some satellite work to security uses. Democrats say Chertoff has not spelled out what federal laws govern the NAO, whose funding and size are classified. Congress barred Homeland Security from funding the office until its investigators could review the office's operating procedures and safeguards. The department submitted answers on Thursday, but some lawmakers promptly said the response was inadequate. [Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee] said, "We still don't know whether the NAO will pass constitutional muster since no legal framework has been provided."

Note: For many more revealing stories on threats to civil liberties, click here.


Google has lots to do with intelligence
2008-03-30, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2008-04-17 07:57:15
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/03/29/BUQLUAP8L.DTL

When the nation's intelligence agencies wanted a computer network to better share information ... they turned to a big name in the technology industry to supply some of the equipment: Google Inc. The Mountain View company sold the agencies servers for searching documents. Many of the contracts are for search appliances - servers for storing and searching internal documents. Agencies can use the devices to create their own mini-Googles on intranets made up entirely of government data. Additionally, Google has had success licensing a souped-up version of its aerial mapping service, Google Earth. Spy agencies are using Google equipment as the backbone of Intellipedia, a network aimed at helping agents share intelligence. [The system] is maintained by the director of national intelligence and is accessible only to the CIA, FBI, National Security Agency and an alphabet soup of other intelligence agencies and offices. Google supplies the computer servers that support the network, as well as the search software that allows users to sift through messages and data. Because of the complexities of doing business with the government, Google uses resellers to process orders on its behalf. Google takes care of the sales, marketing and management of the accounts. Google is one of many technology vendors vying for government contracts. On occasion, Google is the target of conspiracy theories from bloggers who say it is working with spy agencies more closely than simply selling search equipment.


National Dragnet Is a Click Away
2008-03-06, Washington Post
Posted: 2008-03-11 08:44:31
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/05/AR20080305036...

Several thousand law enforcement agencies are creating the foundation of a domestic intelligence system through computer networks that analyze vast amounts of police information. As federal authorities struggled to meet information-sharing mandates after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, police agencies from Alaska and California to the Washington region poured millions of ... records into shared digital repositories called data warehouses, giving investigators and analysts new power to discern links among people, patterns of behavior and other hidden clues. Those network efforts will begin expanding further this month, as some local and state agencies connect to a fledgling Justice Department system called the National Data Exchange, or N-DEx. The expanding police systems illustrate the prominent roles that private companies play in homeland security and counterterrorism efforts. They also underscore how the use of new data -- and data surveillance -- is evolving faster than the public's understanding or the laws intended to check government power and protect civil liberties. Three decades ago, Congress imposed limits on domestic intelligence activity after revelations that the FBI, Army, local police and others had misused their authority for years to build troves of personal dossiers and monitor political activists and other law-abiding Americans. Since those reforms, police and federal authorities have observed a wall between law enforcement information-gathering, relating to crimes and prosecutions, and more open-ended intelligence that relates to national security and [politics]. That wall is fast eroding following the passage of laws expanding surveillance authorities, the push for information-sharing networks, and the expectation that local and state police will play larger roles.

Note: For many revealing reports from reliable sources of serious threats to civil liberties, click here.


Spies' Battleground Turns Virtual
2008-02-06, Washington Post
Posted: 2008-02-17 12:17:30
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/05/AR20080205031...

U.S. intelligence officials are [now claiming] that popular Internet services that enable computer users to adopt cartoon-like personas in three-dimensional online spaces also are creating security vulnerabilities by opening novel ways ... to move money, organize and conduct corporate espionage. Over the last few years, "virtual worlds" such as Second Life and other role-playing games have become home to millions of computer-generated personas known as avatars. By directing their avatars, people can take on alternate personalities, socialize, explore and earn and spend money across uncharted online landscapes. Nascent economies have sprung to life in these 3-D worlds, complete with currency, banks and shopping malls. Corporations and government agencies have opened animated virtual offices, and a growing number of organizations hold meetings where avatars gather and converse in newly minted conference centers. Intelligence officials ... say they're convinced that the qualities that many computer users find so attractive about virtual worlds -- including anonymity, global access and the expanded ability to make financial transfers outside normal channels -- have turned them into seedbeds for transnational threats. The government's growing concern seems likely to make virtual worlds the next battlefield in the struggle over the proper limits on the government's quest to [expand] data collection and analysis and the surveillance of commercial computer systems. Virtual worlds could also become an actual battlefield. The intelligence community has begun contemplating how to use Second Life and other such communities as platforms for cyber weapons.


Rule by fear or rule by law?
2008-02-04, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2008-02-10 12:36:09
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/02/04/ED5OUPQJ7.DTL

Since 9/11, and seemingly without the notice of most Americans, the federal government has assumed the authority to institute martial law, arrest a wide swath of dissidents (citizen and noncitizen alike), and detain people without legal or constitutional recourse in the event of "an emergency influx of immigrants in the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs." Beginning in 1999, the government has entered into a series of single-bid contracts with Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) to build detention camps at undisclosed locations within the United States. The government has also contracted with several companies to build thousands of railcars, some reportedly equipped with shackles, ostensibly to transport detainees. According to diplomat and author Peter Dale Scott, the KBR contract is part of a Homeland Security plan titled ENDGAME, which sets as its goal the removal of "all removable aliens" and "potential terrorists." What kind of "new programs" require the construction and refurbishment of detention facilities in nearly every state of the union with the capacity to house perhaps millions of people? The 2007 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) ... gives the executive the power to invoke martial law. The Military Commissions Act of 2006 ... allows for the indefinite imprisonment of anyone who ... speaks out against the government's policies. The law calls for secret trials for citizens and noncitizens alike. What could the government be contemplating that leads it to make contingency plans to detain without recourse millions of its own citizens?

Note: This important warning from former U.S. Congressman Dan Hamburg and Lewis Seiler should be read in its entirety. For more chilling reports on serious threats to our civil liberties, click here.


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