Big Brother News StoriesExcerpts of Key Big Brother News Stories in Major Media
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.
US and British intelligence agencies have successfully cracked much of the online encryption relied upon by hundreds of millions of people to protect the privacy of their personal data, online transactions and emails, according to top-secret documents revealed by former contractor Edward Snowden. The files show that the National Security Agency and its UK counterpart GCHQ have broadly compromised the guarantees that internet companies have given consumers to reassure them that their communications, online banking and medical records would be indecipherable to criminals or governments. The agencies, the documents reveal, have adopted a battery of methods in their systematic and ongoing assault on what they see as one of the biggest threats to their ability to access huge swathes of internet traffic – "the use of ubiquitous encryption across the internet". Those methods include covert measures to ensure NSA control over setting of international encryption standards, the use of supercomputers to break encryption with "brute force", and – the most closely guarded secret of all – collaboration with technology companies and internet service providers themselves. Through these covert partnerships, the agencies have inserted secret vulnerabilities – known as backdoors or trapdoors – into commercial encryption software. "Backdoors are fundamentally in conflict with good security," said Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist and senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union. "Backdoors expose all users of a backdoored system, not just intelligence agency targets, to heightened risk of data compromise."
The National Security Agency is winning its long-running secret war on encryption, using supercomputers, technical trickery, court orders and behind-the-scenes persuasion to undermine the major tools protecting the privacy of everyday communications in the Internet age, according to newly disclosed documents. The agency has circumvented or cracked much of the encryption, or digital scrambling, that guards global commerce and banking systems, protects sensitive data like trade secrets and medical records, and automatically secures the e-mails, Web searches, Internet chats and phone calls of Americans and others around the world, the documents show. Many users assume — or have been assured by Internet companies — that their data is safe from prying eyes, including those of the government, and the N.S.A. wants to keep it that way. The agency treats its recent successes in deciphering protected information as among its most closely guarded secrets, restricted to those cleared for a highly classified program code-named Bullrun, according to the documents, provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor. Beginning in 2000, as encryption tools were gradually blanketing the Web, the N.S.A. invested billions of dollars in a clandestine campaign to preserve its ability to eavesdrop. Having lost a public battle in the 1990s to insert its own “back door” in all encryption, it set out to accomplish the same goal by stealth. The agency ... deployed custom-built, superfast computers to break codes, and began collaborating with technology companies in the United States and abroad to build entry points into their products [called "backdoors"].
The National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008, according to an internal audit and other top-secret documents. Most of the infractions involve unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign intelligence targets in the United States, both of which are restricted by statute and executive order. They range from significant violations of law to typographical errors that resulted in unintended interception of U.S. e-mails and telephone calls. The documents, provided earlier this summer to The Washington Post by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, include a level of detail and analysis that is not routinely shared with Congress or the special court that oversees surveillance. In one of the documents, agency personnel are instructed to remove details and substitute more generic language in reports to the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. In one instance, the NSA decided that it need not report the unintended surveillance of Americans. The NSA audit obtained by The Post, dated May 2012, counted 2,776 incidents in the preceding 12 months of unauthorized collection, storage, access to or distribution of legally protected communications. Many involved failures of due diligence or violations of standard operating procedure. The most serious incidents included a violation of a court order and unauthorized use of data about more than 3,000 Americans and green-card holders.
Note: For more on the realities of intelligence agency operations, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
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.
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 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.
[Barrett] Brown is not a household name like Edward Snowden or Bradley Manning. But after helping expose a dirty tricks plot, he faces jail. Brown made a splash in February 2011 by helping to uncover "Team Themis", a project by intelligence contractors retained by Bank of America to demolish the hacker society known as Anonymous. The Team Themis story began in late 2010, when Julian Assange warned WikiLeaks would release documents outlining an "ecosystem of corruption [that] could take down a bank or two." Bank of America went into damage-control mode and, as the New York Times reported, assembled "a team of 15 to 20 top Bank of America officials … scouring thousands of documents in the event that they become public." Days later, Bank of America retained the well-connected law firm of Hunton & Williams [which] "proposed various schemes to attack" WikiLeaks. Its partners suggested creating false documents and fake personas to damage progressive organizations. The tech companies' emails – which Anonymous hacked and Barrett Brown helped publicize – listed planned tactics: "Feed[ing] the fuel between the feuding groups. Disinformation. Create messages around actions to sabotage or discredit the opposing organization. Submit fake documents and then call out the error." Brown [has] been cooling his heels in a jail outside Dallas ... awaiting two separate trials that could put him on ice for more than 100 years. In contrast to the FBI's aggressive pursuit of Brown, no probe of the Team Themis project was launched – despite a call from 17 US House representatives to investigate a possible conspiracy to violate federal laws.
Note: With the wide focus on the privatized national security state by the leaks from Edward Snowden, there is renewed interest in Brown's plight and the campaign for justice in his case. For more on this and to support Barret Brown, click here. For more on intelligence agency corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
A bill that bans the wearing of masks during a riot or unlawful assembly and carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence ... became law today. The bill is meant to give police an added tool to prevent lawful protests from becoming violent riots, and that it will help police identify people who engage in vandalism or other illegal acts. The bill originally proposed a penalty of up to five years, but the House of Commons justice committee amended it and doubled the penalty to up to 10 years in prison for committing the offence. The bill didn't have unanimous support, and was opposed by some who are concerned about its effect on freedom of expression and privacy. Civil liberties advocates argued the measures could create a chilling effect on free speech and that peaceful protesters can unintentionally find themselves involved in an unlawful assembly. They also noted that there are legitimate reasons for wearing masks at protests; some may be worried about reprisals at work, for example, if sighted at a political protest. "Any law that infringes upon civil liberties needs to be held to a test of absolute necessity, and I don't think that test has been met in this instance," said Michael Byers, a political scientist at the University of British Columbia.
Note: Police seem to be specifically targeting the now popular Guy Falkes masks representing opposition to oppressive authority. For more on the erosion of civil liberties, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
[Here's a story] from Ellsberg's book Secrets. The setting is a meeting with Henry Kissinger in late 1968. In 1968 Ellsberg was a highly respected analyst ... who had worked for both the Pentagon and Rand, and Kissinger was just entering the government. Ellsberg told him, "Henry, there's something I would like to tell you. You've dealt a great deal with top secret information. But you're about to receive a whole slew of special clearances, maybe fifteen or twenty of them, that are higher than top secret. First, you'll be exhilarated by some of this new information. But second, ... you will feel like a fool for having studied, written, talked about these subjects, criticized and analyzed decisions made by presidents for years without having known of the existence of all this information. In particular, you'll feel foolish for having literally rubbed shoulders for over a decade with some officials and consultants who did have access to all this ... and you'll be stunned that they kept that secret from you so well. You will feel like a fool. Then, after you've ... become used to using what amounts to whole libraries of hidden information, ... you will forget there ever was a time when you didn't have it. You'll be aware only of the fact that you have it now and most others don't ... and that all those other people are fools. [In] a matter of two or three years — you'll eventually become aware of the limitations of this information. It's often inaccurate, and it can lead you astray. But that takes a while to learn. In the meantime ... you will deal with a person who doesn't have those clearances only from the point of view of what you want him to believe and what impression you want him to go away with. You'll have to lie carefully to him about what you know. In effect, you will have to manipulate him.
Note: Don't miss the entire fascinating, highly revealing article at the link above. To see this quote from Ellsberg's book on Google books, click here. For more on government secrets, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
The Rothschild and Rockefeller families have teamed up to buy assets from banks and other distressed sellers in a union between two of the best-known names in financial history. RIT Capital Partners, which is chaired by Lord Rothschild, has taken a 37pc stake in Rockefeller Financial Services, the family’s wealth advisory and asset management wing. It has snapped up the holding from French bank Société Générale for less than Ł100m. The transatlantic alliance cements a five-decade acquaintance between the now ennobled Jacob Rothschild, 76, and David Rockefeller, 96, the grandson of the ruthlessly acquisitive American oilman and philanthropist John D Rockefeller. The two patricians now plan to capitalise on their family names to buy other asset managers or their portfolios, using their networks of top-notch contacts to ensure they get a seat at the table for any deal. The Rockefeller group goes back to 1882, set up to invest the family money made by John D Rockefeller’s Standard Oil, the forerunner for today’s Exxon Corporation, which he built with a Darwinian aggression. “Do you know the only thing that gives me pleasure? It’s to see my dividends coming in,” he once said. The Rothschild banking dynasty has its roots in the 18th century when Mayer Amschel Rothschild set up a business in Frankfurt. That sprang to fame in 1815 when it bought government bonds in anticipation of Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo.
Note: Why is that these two hugely wealthy families get so little press coverage? Could it be that their wealth and influence exerts control over the major media? For more on secret societies which command huge hidden power, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
The Rothschild dynasty is to merge its British and French banking operations to secure long-term control of the business and to boost the firm's financial strength ahead of the introduction of tougher capital requirements for banks. The 200-year-old banks will be reunited under a single shareholding that will bring together the fortunes of the French and English sides of the renowned family as they attempt to safeguard the business against the effects of new regulation and the fallout from the global financial crisis. Paris Orleans, the Rothschild Group's Paris-based holding company, will convert into a French limited partnership, securing the families' control of the bank against potential takeovers. The new partnership will then buy out minority investors in NM Rothschild & Sons, the UK business, as well as outstanding minority interests in the French operations. Paris Orleans has a market value of more than €500m (Ł415m) and is about 30pc owned by outside investors. The Rothschild Group employs 3,000 people in 42 countries and is one of the world's leading independent investment banks, advising some of the largest international companies on capital raisings and mergers and acquisitions. The bank also remains a player in the private equity industry and operates several merchant banking operations that invest directly in business across Europe and the rest of the world.
Note: Why is that these two hugely wealthy families get so little press coverage? Could it be that their wealth and influence exerts control over the major media? For more on secret societies which command huge hidden power, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
For seven generations, one European family has dominated an incredible part of all that money can buy. From its London and Paris banks, the family's millions have been sent forth to ... business enterprises on six continents. Some of its stately dwellings are the kind of mansions that mere San Simeons hoped to imitate. This ancient and unusual banking dynasty shields itself from the curious eye of the public, but the map and history of Europe have been changed by its action and etched with its name: the House of Rothschild. Seldom unimaginative in the use of their money, Rothschild gold has powered the ambitions of prime ministers, princes and popes. It has financed wars and reparations treaties, changed the course of politics and bailed out armies and nations. The Rothschilds strung railroads across the Continent, gained control of the Suez Canal [and] carved diamond mines in the African veld. The British Rothschilds [are still] the world's most important bullion dealers. No modern family ... has been so important for so long in European business. Newer dynasties such as the Rockefellers and the Fords have made more millions, but ... ledgers cannot reflect the Rothschild lands, their possessions and influence accumulated over the generations, their priceless collections of art. Today, the legend is very much alive—and being added to. The Rothschilds are striking out in many new directions behind a silver curtain of discretion. Rather than run companies by themselves, the Rothschilds often prefer to start or join syndicates, placing their men on boards to exert maximum influence with minimum investment risk. [They rely on] a far spreading network of agents, who seldom even admit that they are employed by the Rothschilds.
Note: To read the full, fascinating article, click here. The major media have very rarely exposed the power and wealth of the Rothschilds as in this article. Note that the article was written less than a month after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Could it be because of some anger at the elite who killed Kennedy that this highly revealing article was actually published? For more on secret societies which command huge hidden power, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Lawyers and intelligence experts with direct knowledge of two intercepted terrorist plots that the Obama administration says confirm the value of the NSA's vast data-mining activities have questioned whether the surveillance sweeps played a significant role, if any, in foiling the attacks. The defence of the controversial data collection operations ... has been led by Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee, and her equivalent in the House, Mike Rogers. The two politicians have attempted to justify the NSA's use of vast data sweeps such as Prism and Boundless Informant by pointing to the arrests and convictions of would-be New York subway bomber Najibullah Zazi in 2009 and David Headley, who is serving a 35-year prison sentence for his role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. But court documents lodged in the US and UK, as well as interviews with involved parties, suggest that data-mining through Prism and other NSA programmes played a relatively minor role in the interception of the two plots. Conventional surveillance techniques, in both cases including old-fashioned tip-offs from intelligence services in Britain, appear to have initiated the investigations. The Headley case is a peculiar choice for the administration to highlight as an example of the virtues of data-mining. The fact that the Mumbai attacks occurred, with such devastating effect, in itself suggests that the NSA's secret programmes were limited in their value as he was captured only after the event. Headley ... had been an informant working for the Drug Enforcement Administration perhaps as recently as 2005. There are suggestions that he might have then worked in some capacity for the FBI or CIA.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the realities of intelligence agency activity, click here.
[Daniel] Ellsberg is one of the most outspoken critics of the Obama administration’s prosecution of leakers. Under President Obama’s tenure, the government has prosecuted six individuals for releasing classified information to media organizations. Ellsberg is particularly fierce in his support of Bradley Manning, a young soldier who released a large amount of classified information to WikiLeaks. Manning was arrested in 2010, and his military court-martial began this week. Ellsberg considers Manning a hero, and he argues that there is little difference between what Manning did in 2010 and what Ellsberg did four decades earlier. [Q.}: In a 1973 interview, you said that a “secondary objective” of releasing the Pentagon Papers was “the hope of changing the tolerance of Executive secrecy that had grown up over the last quarter of a century both in Congress and the courts and in the public at large.” How has that “tolerance of secrecy” changed over the last four decades? DE: There’s been very great tolerance that if the magic words “national security,” or the new words “homeland security” are invoked, Congress has given the president virtually a free hand in deciding what information they will know as well as the public. I wouldn’t count on the current court with its current makeup making the same ruling with the Pentagon Papers as they did 40 years ago. I’m sure that President Obama would have sought a life sentence in my case. Various things that were counted as unconstitutional then have been put in the president’s hands now. He’s become an elected monarch. Nixon’s slogan, “when the president does it, it’s not illegal,” is pretty much endorsed now.
Note: To see key quotes showing the amazing courage and dedication of Snowden, click here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the realities of intelligence agency activity, click here.
Long before Edward Snowden walked out of the NSA with his trove of documents, whistleblowers there had been trying for years to bring attention to the massive turn toward domestic spying that the agency was making. Last year in my Wired cover story on the enormous new NSA data center in Utah, Bill Binney, the man who largely designed the agency’s worldwide eavesdropping system, warned of the secret, nationwide surveillance. He told how the NSA had gained access to billions of billing records not only from AT&T but also from Verizon. I also wrote about Adrienne J. Kinne, an NSA intercept operator who attempted to blow the whistle on the NSA’s illegal eavesdropping on Americans following the 9/11 attacks. She [attempted and failed] to end the illegal activity with appeals all the way up the chain of command to Major General Keith Alexander. The deception by General Alexander is especially troubling. In my new cover story for Wired’s July issue ...I show how he has become the most powerful intelligence chief in the nation’s history. Never before has anyone in America’s intelligence sphere come close to his degree of power, the number of people under his command, the expanse of his rule, the length of his reign, or the depth of his secrecy. A four-star Army general, his authority extends across three domains: He is director of the world’s largest intelligence service, the National Security Agency; chief of the Central Security Service; and commander of the U.S. Cyber Command. As such, he has his own secret military, presiding over the Navy’s 10th Fleet, the 24th Air Force, and the Second Army.
Note: James Bamford, the author of this article, was the ABC producer responsible for breaking the story on Operation Northwoods, which proved a level of deception almost beyond belief at the very highest levels of the Pentagon. For more on this, click here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the realities of intelligence agency activity, click here.
The Guardian [has] released a classified court order requiring Verizon to turn over records of all domestic phone calls to the National Security Agency. The revelation has led to a renewed debate over the legality and policy merits of indiscriminate government surveillance of Americans. The court order, issued by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court, only sought metadata — a fancy word for information like what numbers you called, what time you made the calls, and how long the calls were. The order does not seek the audio of calls. Of course, it’s possible the NSA has other programs collecting the contents of calls. In 2006 a whistleblower reported the existence of a secret, NSA-controlled room in an AT&T switching facility in San Francisco. So it’s possible the NSA is using rooms like that to listen to everyone’s phone calls. But all we know for sure is that the NSA has been requesting information about our phone calls. We only have proof of spying on Verizon customers, but it’s hard to imagine the NSA limiting its surveillance program to one company. There are probably similar orders in effect for AT&T and CenturyLink, the other major telephone companies. The order includes hints that the NSA is also collecting information from cellular customers. In addition to phone numbers and call times, the order seeks information about the specific cell phone tower the customer used to connect to the network during each call. Cellphones make calls using the closest tower. So if the NSA knows you made a call using a specific tower, they can safely assume you were near that tower at the time of the call.
Note: For graphs and lots more on the Prism program, see the Guardian article at this link. Technically, U.S. officials are not allowed to mine personal data from U.S. citizens. Yet if U.K. authorities mine data on U.S. citizens, they can share it freely with officials in the U.S. and vice versa. There is evidence that this happens quite frequently, thus circumventing privacy protections. For an excellent article which goes deep into this issue, click here.
CNN's Out Front with Erin Burnett [has been] focused on the possible involvement in the Boston Marathon attack of Katherine Russell, the 24-year-old American widow of the deceased suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Anonymous government officials are claiming that they are now focused on telephone calls between Russell and Tsarnaev that took place both before and after the attack to determine if she had prior knowledge of the plot or participated in any way. Burnett interviewed Tim Clemente, a former FBI counterterrorism agent, about whether the FBI would be able to discover the contents of past telephone conversations between the two. He quite clearly insisted that they could: BURNETT: There's no way they actually can find out what happened, right, unless she tells them? CLEMENTE: No, there is a way. We certainly have ways in national security investigations to find out exactly what was said in that conversation. We certainly can find that out. BURNETT: So they can actually get that? People are saying, look, that is incredible. CLEMENTE: No, welcome to America. All of that stuff is being captured as we speak whether we know it or like it or not. On Thursday night, Clemente again appeared on CNN. He reiterated what he said the night before but added expressly that "all digital communications in the past" are recorded and stored. All digital communications - meaning telephone calls, emails, online chats and the like - are automatically recorded and stored and accessible to the government after the fact. To describe that is to define what a ubiquitous, limitless Surveillance State is.
Note: All of our communications have been monitored by government computers for years. BBC News reported in this this 1999 article about the Echelon network which monitors all communications globally. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government and corporate threats to privacy, click here.
The Denver Post, on February 15th, ran an Associated Press article entitled "Homeland Security aims to buy 1.6b rounds of ammo". It confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security has issued an open purchase order for 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition. Some of this purchase order is for hollow-point rounds, forbidden by international law for use in war, along with a frightening amount specialized for snipers. Also reported elsewhere, at the height of the Iraq War the Army was expending less than 6 million rounds a month. Therefore 1.6 billion rounds would be enough to sustain a hot war for 20+ years. DHS now is [also] showing off its acquisition of heavily armored personnel carriers, repatriated from the Iraqi and Afghani theaters of operation. The Department of Homeland Security is apparently taking delivery (apparently through the Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico VA, via the manufacturer – Navistar Defense LLC) of an undetermined number of [recently retrofitted] ‘Mine Resistant Protected’ MaxxPro MRAP vehicles for service on the streets of the United States.” Why would they need such over-the-top vehicles on U.S. streets to withstand IEDs, mine blasts, and 50 caliber hits to bullet-proof glass? In a war zone… yes, definitely. [But] on the streets of America?
Note: For a U.S. Army field manual titled "Internment and Resettlement Operations" (FM 3-39.40) describing how large numbers of American citizens could be sent to internment camps if involved in "terrorist" activities, click here. The introduction to this document states, "Commanders will use technology and conduct police intelligence operations to influence and control populations, evacuate detainees and, conclusively, transition rehabilitative and reconciliation operations to other functional agencies." For a disturbing report on the massive expansion of drones over US skies, click here.
The Obama administration is drawing up plans to give all U.S. spy agencies full access to a massive database that contains financial data on American citizens and others who bank in the country, according to a Treasury Department document. The proposed plan represents a major step by U.S. intelligence agencies to spot and track down [targeted persons] by bringing together financial databanks, criminal records and military intelligence. Financial institutions that operate in the United States are required by law to file reports of "suspicious customer activity," such as large money transfers or unusually structured bank accounts, to Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). The Federal Bureau of Investigation already has full access to the database. However, intelligence agencies, such as the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, currently have to make case-by-case requests for information to FinCEN. The Treasury plan would give spy agencies the ability to analyze more raw financial data than they have ever had before. Financial institutions file more than 15 million "suspicious activity reports" every year, according to Treasury. Banks, for instance, are required to report all personal cash transactions exceeding $10,000.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the games intelligence agencies play, click here.
Raytheon, a Massachusetts defense contractor, has built tracking software that pulls information from social networks, according to a video obtained by the Guardian newspaper in London. "[Raytheon] has acknowledged the technology was shared with U.S. government and industry as part of a joint research and development effort, in 2010, to help build a national security system capable of analyzing 'trillions of entities' from cyberspace." Using public data from Facebook, Twitter, Gowalla and Foursquare, the software - called RIOT, or Rapid Information Overlay Technology - apparently gathers uploaded information and forms a profile of a person's every move that was registered with one of the websites. The video obtained by the newspaper starts with a demonstration by Raytheon's "principal investigator," Brian Urch, showing how easy it is to track an employee named Nick - a real person - based on all the places he has checked in using his smartphone. "When people take pictures and post them on the Internet using their smartphones, the phone will actually embed the latitude and longitude in the header data - so we're going to take advantage of that," Urch says. "So now we know where Nick's gone ... and now we'll predict where he'll be in the future." Urch goes on to analyze - using graphs and calendars - where Nick likes to spend his personal time and make predictions about his behavior. "If you ever wanted to get a hold of his laptop, you might want to visit the gym at 6 a.m. on Monday," Urch says with alarming casualness.
Note: To read the full Guardian article, click here.
Important Note: 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.