Beware, Beware!

Did a radio show today essentially about the singularity and biometric identification regarding MorphoTrust and the Real ID comliant state issued identification. During that show, the host told me about a program that assigns a threat level to individuals that police are using before they pull someone over and such. Here is an article about it below….My thanks to the author! There’s a lot of homework here:

Cops scan social media to help assess your ‘threat rating’

By Brent Skorup
December 12, 2014

minority-report1

A national spotlight is now focused on aggressive law enforcement tactics and the justice system. Today’s professional police forces — where officers in even one-stoplight towns might have body armor and mine-resistant vehicles — already raise concerns.

Yet new data-mining technologies can now provide police with vast amounts of surveillance information and could radically increase police power. Policing can be increasingly targeted at specific people and neighborhoods — with potentially serious inequitable effects.

One speaker at a recent national law enforcement conference compared future police work to Minority Report, the Tom Cruise film set in 2054 Washington, where a “PreCrime” unit has been set up to stop murders before they happen.

While PreCrime remains science-fiction, many technology advances are already involved with predictive policing — identifying risks and threats with the help of online information, powerful computers and Big Data.

New World Systems, for example, now offers software that allows dispatchers to enter in a person’s name to see if they’ve had contact with the police before.  Provided crime data, PredPol claims on its website that  its software “forecasts highest risk times and places for future crimes.” These and other technologies are supplanting and enhancing traditional police work.

Public safety organizations, using federal funding, are set to begin building a $7-billion nationwide first-responder wireless network, called FirstNet. Money is now being set aside. With this network, information-sharing capabilities and federal-state coordination will likely grow substantially. Some uses of FirstNet will improve traditional services like 911 dispatches. Other law enforcement uses aren’t as pedestrian, however.

One such application is Beware, sold to police departments since 2012 by a private company, Intrado. This mobile application crawls over billions of records in commercial and public databases for law enforcement needs. The application “mines criminal records, Internet chatter and other data to churn out … profiles in real time,” according to one article in an Illinois newspaper.

Here’s how the company describes it on their website:

Accessed through any browser (fixed or mobile) on any Internet-enabled device including tablets, smartphones, laptop and desktop computers, Beware® from Intrado searches, sorts and scores billions of commercial records in a matter of seconds-alerting responders to potentially deadly and dangerous situations while en route to, or at the location of a call.

Crunching all the database information in a matter of seconds, the Beware algorithm then assigns a score and “threat rating” to a person — green, yellow or red. It sends that rating to a requesting officer.

For example, working off a home address, Beware can send an officer basic information about who lives there, their cell phone numbers, whether they have past convictions and the cars registered to the address. Police have had access to this information before, but Beware makes it available immediately.

Yet it does far more — scanning the residents’ online comments, social media and recent purchases for warning signs. Commercial, criminal and social media information, including, as Intrado vice president Steve Reed said in an interview with urgentcomm.com, “any comments that could be construed as offensive,” all contribute to the threat score.

There are many troubling aspects to these programs. There are, of course, obvious risks in outsourcing traditional police work — determining who is a threat — to a proprietary algorithm. Deeming someone a public threat is a serious designation, and applications like Beware may encourage shortcuts and snap decisions.

It is also disconcerting that police would access and evaluate someone’s online presence. What types of comments online will increase a threat score? Will race be apparent?

These questions are impossible to answer because Intrado merely provides the tool — leaving individual police departments to craft specific standards for what information is available and relevant in a threat score. Local departments can fine-tune their own data collection, but then threat thresholds could vary by locale, making oversight nearly impossible.

Tradition holds that justice should be blind, to promote fairness in treatment and avoid prejudgment. With such algorithms, however, police can have significant background information about nearly everyone they pull over or visit at home. Police are time-constrained, and vulnerable populations – such as minorities living in troubled neighborhoods and the poor — may receive more scrutiny.

No one wants the police to remain behind a thick veil of ignorance, but invasive tools like Beware — if left unchecked — may amplify the current unfairness in the system, including racial disparities in arrests and selective enforcement.

Intrado representatives defend Beware’s perceived intrusiveness, pointing out that credit agencies have similar types of information. This data-mining program, however, goes beyond financial records to include social media, purchases and online comments when assigning a rating.

And no system is foolproof. Congress, for example, recognizes the sensitivity of the information that lenders and employers have, because errors can cause serious financial harm. The Fair Credit Reporting Act therefore gives consumers the right to access their credit reports and make corrections.

The risks to life and property, however, are far higher and more unpredictable in the law enforcement context. Yet there is no mechanism for people to see their threat “ratings” — much less why the algorithm scored it. You have no ability to correct errors if, say, someone with the same name has a violent criminal record.

Another effect is that these technologies give law enforcement the ability to routinely monitor obedience to regulatory minutiae and lawmaker whims. Police officers now boast, for example, that the Beware system allows the routine code enforcement of a nanny state — such as identifying homeowners so overgrown trees on a property can be trimmed.

Beware can also encourage fishing expeditions and indiscriminate surveillance in the hopes of finding offenders. Police used Beware recently at a Phish concert in Colorado, for example, checking up on concertgoers based on car license plates.

Perhaps the most serious issue is that such systems may be used as pretext in unconstitutional investigations. John Shiffman and Kristina Cooke reported for Reuters last year that a secretive Drug Enforcement Administration unit regularly funnels information to other law enforcement agencies in order to launch criminal investigations. This information is frequently acquired via intelligence intercepts, wiretaps and informants. As the FirstNet national wireless network rolls out, federal-state coordination will likely increase opportunities for police to receive sensitive information from powerful federal agencies.

Data-mining gives police significantly more information to create reasonable suspicion for suspects that federal agencies flag. Officers could receive a search or arrest warrant with the help of information gleaned from Beware and other databases, like those tracking license plates. If an arrest follows, data-mining helps provide the police with the legal pretext to engage in these fishing expeditions. Defendants will likely have no opportunity to challenge the legality of the original surveillance that led to their arrest.

As predictive policing investment ramps up, and local police and federal agencies increasingly coordinate, more secrecy becomes more valuable. Local police and prosecutors often refuse to disclose how they gain information about defendants because federal agencies prohibit them from discussing these technologies. In Baltimore, for example, police recently dropped evidence against a defendant rather than reveal information about cellphone tracking that the FBI did not want disclosed in court.

Yet police might not acquire some of this equipment if the local community is made fully aware of its use. Consider, the city council of Bellingham, Wash., recently rejected a proposed purchase of Beware. The police department had applied for, and received, a one-time $25,000 federal grant to cover some of the $36,000 annual cost of Beware. At a mandatory hearing about the purchase, Bellingham citizens discovered how Beware worked and opposed the purchase because of both the cost and the privacy implications. The funds were subsequently redirected.

This rejection demonstrates that many modern policing techniques — and the accompanying secrecy — can antagonize the average citizen. The occasional appearance of sniper rifles and military vehicles only stokes that sentiment. Local police forces increasingly receive military surplus equipment and federal lucre from an alphabet soup of U.S. agencies and opportunistic contractors. Now police are using, typically without residents’ knowledge, powerful databases, along with cellphone and license-plate trackers.

Police need guidance about under which circumstances these sophisticated databases can be used. An inaccurate threat level for a residence, after all, can change how police approach a situation. Failure to update who lives at a particular residence, for example, could transform a green rating into a red rating — turning a midday knock on the front door into a nighttime SWAT raid.

 

PHOTO (TOP): Tom Cruise in Minority Report. Courtesy of  20th Century Fox

Remote Re-Posession

This is some pretty scary stuff here. Actually physically re-posessing a vehicle is an entirely different ball game. Guess I will never get a car loan. Read the article below:

Miss a Payment? Good Luck Moving That Car

 

The thermometer showed a 103.5-degree fever, and her 10-year-old’s asthma was flaring up. Mary Bolender, who lives in Las Vegas, needed to get her daughter to an emergency room, but her 2005 Chrysler van would not start.

The cause was not a mechanical problem — it was her lender.

Ms. Bolender was three days behind on her monthly car payment. Her lender, C.A.G. Acceptance of Mesa, Ariz., remotely activated a device in her car’s dashboard that prevented her car from starting. Before she could get back on the road, she had to pay more than $389, money she did not have that morning in March.

“I felt absolutely helpless,” said Ms. Bolender, a single mother who stopped working to care for her daughter. It was not the only time this happened: Her car was shut down that March, once in April and again in June.

This new technology is bringing auto loans — and Wall Street’s version of Big Brother — into the lives of people with credit scores battered by the financial downturn.

Auto loans to borrowers considered subprime, those with credit scores at or below 640, have spiked in the last five years. The jump has been driven in large part by the demand among investors for securities backed by the loans, which offer high returns at a time of low interest rates. Roughly 25 percent of all new auto loans made last year were subprime, and the volume of subprime auto loans reached more than $145 billion in the first three months of this year.

But before they can drive off the lot, many subprime borrowers like Ms. Bolender must have their car outfitted with a so-called starter interrupt device, which allows lenders to remotely disable the ignition. Using the GPS technology on the devices, the lenders can also track the cars’ location and movements.

The devices, which have been installed in about two million vehicles, are helping feed the subprime boom by enabling more high-risk borrowers to get loans. But there is a big catch. By simply clicking a mouse or tapping a smartphone, lenders retain the ultimate control. Borrowers must stay current with their payments, or lose access to their vehicle.

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Credit

“I have disabled a car while I was shopping at Walmart,” said Lionel M. Vead Jr., the head of collections at First Castle Federal Credit Union in Covington, La. Roughly 30 percent of customers with an auto loan at the credit union have starter interrupt devices.

Now used in about one-quarter of subprime auto loans nationwide, the devices are reshaping the dynamics of auto lending by making timely payments as vital to driving a car as gasoline.

Seizing on such technological advances, lenders are reachingdeeper and deeper into the ranks of Americans on the financial margins, with interest rates on some of the loans exceeding 29 percent. Concerns raised by regulators and some rating firms about loose lending standards have disturbing echoes of the subprime-mortgage crisis.

As the ignition devices proliferate, so have complaints from troubled borrowers, many of whom are finding that credit comes at a steep price to their privacy and, at times, their dignity, according to interviews with state and federal regulators, borrowers and consumer lawyers.

Some borrowers say their cars were disabled when they were only a few days behind on their payments, leaving them stranded in dangerous neighborhoods. Others said their cars were shut down while idling at stoplights. Some described how they could not take their children to school or to doctor’s appointments. One woman in Nevada said her car was shut down while she was driving on the freeway.

Beyond the ability to disable a vehicle, the devices have tracking capabilities that allow lenders and others to know the movements of borrowers, a major concern for privacy advocates. And the warnings the devices emit — beeps that become more persistent as the due date for the loan payment approaches — are seen by some borrowers as more degrading than helpful.

“No middle-class person would ever be hounded for being a day late,” said Robert Swearingen, a lawyer with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, in St. Louis. “But for poor people, there is a debt collector right there in the car with them.”

Lenders and manufacturers of the technology say borrowers consent to having these devices installed in their cars. And without them, they say, millions of Americans might not qualify for a car loan at all.

A Virtual Repo Man

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"I have disabled a car while I was shopping at Walmart," said Lionel M. Vead Jr., the head of collections at First Castle Credit Union in Covington, La., who said that starter interrupt devices and GPS tracking technology had made his job easier.
“I have disabled a car while I was shopping at Walmart,” said Lionel M. Vead Jr., the head of collections at First Castle Credit Union in Covington, La., who said that starter interrupt devices and GPS tracking technology had made his job easier.Credit Cheryl Gerber for The New York Times

From his office outside New Orleans, Mr. Vead can monitor the movements of about 880 subprime borrowers on a computerized map that shows the location of their cars with a red marker. Mr. Vead can spot drivers who have fallen behind on their payments and remotely disable their vehicles on his computer or mobile phone.

The devices are reshaping how people like Mr. Vead collect on debts. He can quickly locate the collateral without relying on a repo man to hunt down delinquent borrowers.

Gone are the days when Mr. Vead, a debt collector for nearly 20 years, had to hire someone to scour neighborhoods for cars belonging to delinquent borrowers. Sometimes locating one could take years. Now, within minutes of a car’s ignition being disabled, Mr. Vead said, the borrower calls him offering to pay.

“It gets their attention,” he said.

Mr. Vead, who has a coffee cup that reads “The GPS Man,” has been encouraging other credit unions to use the technology. And the devices — one version was first used to help pet owners keep track of their animals — are catching on with a range of subprime auto lenders, including companies backed by private equity firms and credit unions.

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Using his computer or cellphone, Mr. Vead can monitor the movements of about 880 subprime borrowers, and if they are late in making a payment, he can disable their vehicles.
Using his computer or cellphone, Mr. Vead can monitor the movements of about 880 subprime borrowers, and if they are late in making a payment, he can disable their vehicles.Credit Cheryl Gerber for The New York Times

Mr. Vead says that first, he tries reaching a delinquent borrower on the phone or in person. Then, only after at least 30 days of missed payments, he typically shuts down cars when they are parked at the borrower’s house or workplace. If there is an emergency, he says, he will turn a car back on.

None of the borrowers or consumer lawyers interviewed by The New York Times raised concerns about the way Mr. Vead’s credit union uses the devices. But other lenders, they said, were not as considerate, marooning drivers in far-flung places and often giving no advance notice of a shut-off. Lenders say that they exercise caution when disabling vehicles and that the devices enable them to extend more credit.

Without the use of such devices, said John Pena, general manager of C.A.G. Acceptance, “we would be unable to extend loans because of the high-risk nature of the loans.”

The growth in the subprime market has been good for the devices’ manufacturers. At Lender Systems of Temecula, Calif., which sells a range of starter interrupt devices, revenue has more than doubled so far this year, buoyed by an influx of new credit union customers, said David Sailors, the company’s executive vice president.

Mr. Sailors noted that GPS tracking on his company’s devices could be turned on only when borrowers were in default — a policy, he said, that has cost it business.

The devices, manufacturers say, are selling well because they are proving effective in coaxing payments from even the most troubled borrowers.

A leading device maker, PassTime of Littleton, Colo., says its technology has reduced late payments to roughly 7 percent from nearly 29 percent. Spireon, which offers a GPS device called the Talon, has a tool on its website where lenders can calculate their return on capital.

Fears of Surveillance

Credit

While the devices make life easier for lenders, their ability to track drivers’ movements has struck a nerve with a number of borrowers and some government authorities, who say they are a particularly troubling example of personal-data gathering and surveillance.

At its extreme, consumer lawyers say, such surveillance can compromise borrowers’ safety. In Austin, Tex., a large subprime lender used a device to track down and repossess the car of a woman who had fled to a shelter to escape her abusive husband, said her lawyer, Amy Clark Kleinpeter.

The move to the shelter violated a clause in her auto loan contract that restricted her from driving outside a four-county radius, and that prompted the lender to send a tow truck to take back the vehicle. If the lender could so easily locate the client, Ms. Kleinpeter said, what was stopping her husband?

“She was terrified her husband would be able to find out where she was from the tow truck company,” said Ms. Kleinpeter, a consumer lawyer in Austin, who said a growing number of her clients had the devices installed in their cars.

Lenders and manufacturers emphasize that they have strict guidelines in place to protect drivers’ information. The GPS devices, they say, are predominantly intended to help lenders and car dealerships locate a car if they need to repossess it, not to put borrowers under surveillance.

Spireon says it can help lenders identify signs of trouble by analyzing data on a borrower’s behavior. Lenders using Spireon’s software can create “geo-fences” that alert them if borrowers are no longer traveling to their regular place of employment — a development that could affect a person’s ability to repay the loan.

A Spireon spokeswoman said the company takes privacy seriously and works to ensure that it complies with all state regulations.

Corinne Kirkendall, vice president for compliance and public relations for PassTime, which has sold 1.5 million devices worldwide, says the company also calls lenders “if we see an excessive use” of the tracking device.

Even though the device made her squeamish, Michelle Fahy of Jacksonville, Fla., agreed to have one installed in her 2001 Dodge Ram because she needed the pickup truck for her job delivering pizza.

Shortly after picking up her four children from school one afternoon in January, Ms. Fahy, 42, said she pulled into a gas station to fill up. But when she tried to restart the truck, she was not able to do so.

Then she looked at her cellphone and noticed a string of missed calls from her lender. She called back and asked, “Did you just shut down my truck?” and the response was “Yes, I did.”

To get her truck restarted, Ms. Fahy had to agree to pay the $255.99 she owed. As she pleaded for more time, her children grew confused and worried. “They were in panic mode,” she said. Finally, she said she would pay, and within minutes she was able to start her engine.

Borrowers are typically provided with codes that are supposed to restart the vehicle for 24 hours in case of an emergency. But some drivers say the codes fail. Others say they are given only one code a month, even though their cars are shut down more often.

Some drivers take matters into their own hands. Homemade videos on the Internet teach borrowers how to disable their devices, and Spireon has started selling lenders a fake GPS device called the Decoy, which is meant to trick borrowers into thinking they have removed the actual tracking system, which is installed along with the Decoy.

Oscar Fabela Jr., who said his 2007 Dodge Magnum was routinely shut down even when he was current on his $362 monthly car payment, discovered a way to circumvent the system.

That trick came in handy when he returned from seeing a movie with a date, only to find his car would not start and the payment reminder was screaming like a burglar alarm.

“It sounded like I was breaking into my own car,” said Mr. Fabela, 26, who works at a phone company in San Antonio.

While his date turned the ignition switch, Mr. Fabela used a screwdriver to rig the starter, allowing him to bypass the starter interruption device.

Mr. Fabela’s car eventually started, but it was their only date.

“It didn’t end well,” he said.

Government Scrutiny

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"I felt like even though I made my payments and was never late under my contract, these people could do whatever they wanted," said T. Candice Smith, who testified before the Nevada Legislature that her car, which had a starter interrupt device installed, was shut down while she was driving on a Las Vegas freeway, nearly causing her to crash.
“I felt like even though I made my payments and was never late under my contract, these people could do whatever they wanted,” said T. Candice Smith, who testified before the Nevada Legislature that her car, which had a starter interrupt device installed, was shut down while she was driving on a Las Vegas freeway, nearly causing her to crash.Credit John Gurzinski for The New York Times

Across the country, state and federal authorities are grappling with how to regulate the new technology.

Consumer lawyers, including dozens whose clients’ cars have been shut down, argue that the devices amount to “electronic repossession” and their use should be governed by state laws, which outline how much time borrowers have before their cars can be seized.

State laws governing repossession typically prevent lenders from seizing cars until the borrowers are in default, which often means that they have not made their payments for at least 30 days.

The devices, lawyers for borrowers argue, violate those laws because they may effectively repossess the car only days after a missed payment. Payment records show that Ms. Bolender, the Las Vegas mother with the sick daughter, was not in default in any of the four instances her ignition was disabled this year.

PassTime and the other manufacturers say they ensure that their devices comply with state laws. C.A.G. declined to comment on Ms. Bolender’s experiences.

State regulators are also examining whether a defective device could endanger the borrowers or other drivers on the road, according to people with knowledge of the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Last year, Nevada’s Legislature heard testimony from T. Candice Smith, 31, who said she thought she was going to die when her car suddenly shut down, sending her careening across a three-lane Las Vegas highway.

“It was horrifying,” she recalled.

Ms. Smith said that her lender, C.A.G. Acceptance, had remotely activated her ignition interruption device.

“It’s a safety hazard for the driver and for all others on the road,” said her lawyer, Sophia A. Medina, with the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada.

Mr. Pena of C.A.G. Acceptance said, “It is impossible to cause a vehicle to shut off while it is operating,” He added, “We take extra precautions to try and work with and be professional with our customers.” While PassTime, the device’s maker, declined to comment on Ms. Smith’s case, the company emphasized that its products were designed to prevent a car from starting, not to shut it down while it was in operation.

“PassTime has no recognition of our devices shutting off a customer while driving,” Ms. Kirkendall of PassTime said.

In her testimony, Ms. Smith, who reached a confidential settlement with C.A.G., said the device made her feel helpless.

“I felt like even though I made my payments and was never late under my contract, these people could do whatever they wanted,” she testified, “and there was nothing I could do to stop them.”

DRIVEN INTO DEBT Articles in this series are examining the boom in subprime auto loans.

 

Cyber Tyrants Playbook: NSA and GCHQ

This is incredibly documented. It is also incredibly long. It behooves all of us to be cognizant of the “intelligence” communities actions. Please be aware that these are your tax dollars at work. Busy disrupting, defaming and destroying people’s lives and credibility if they step outside of the ideological box desired.

On more than one occasion I have seen discussion forums taken down by trolls. Some of them may have been victims to the playbook set forth in the article below. Some of them may have been taken down by the propensity of people sitting in the security of their own home being vicious, nasty and vulgar safely ensconced in their online anonymity.

Personally, I view the internet as the equivalent of the information Colt 45. The ability to research and access information at rapid rates and to disseminate that information to whomever bothers to read it is the best tool for freedom and creativity that human has ever known. Of course you have to vet your sources and check on veracity. Rumors and falsehoods abound, but so does truth…if you care to find it. Also, I’ve known for more than a decade that government trolls the internet seeking whom they may devour. The fact that it is clearly and definitely documented by this Snowden release is just a bonus. It simply elevates the knowledge level, and lets people know what the governments are using legitimate and illegitimate taxation to achieve.

I notice that the two major entities in information and public perception control are not mentioned in the release. Look up Tavistock and the Aspen Institute. Doubtless, many are involved (in Aspen particularly) that have no idea of the group’s origins and reason for existence.

Due to the large amount of slides in this, I only included a few. Please do visit the site linked in the article title below…Read some comments, too!
How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations
By Glenn Greenwald Feb 2014, 6:25 PM EDT 1,156


A page from a GCHQ top secret document prepared by its secretive JTRIG unit
One of the many pressing stories that remains to be told from the Snowden archive is how western intelligence agencies are attempting to manipulate and control online discourse with extreme tactics of deception and reputation-destruction. It’s time to tell a chunk of that story, complete with the relevant documents.

Over the last several weeks, I worked with NBC News to publish a series of articles about “dirty trick” tactics used by GCHQ’s previously secret unit, JTRIG (Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group). These were based on four classified GCHQ documents presented to the NSA and the other three partners in the English-speaking “Five Eyes” alliance. Today, we at the Intercept are publishing another new JTRIG document, in full, entitled “The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations.”

By publishing these stories one by one, our NBC reporting highlighted some of the key, discrete revelations: the monitoring of YouTube and Blogger, the targeting of Anonymous with the very same DDoS attacks they accuse “hacktivists” of using, the use of “honey traps” (luring people into compromising situations using sex) and destructive viruses. But, here, I want to focus and elaborate on the overarching point revealed by all of these documents: namely, that these agencies are attempting to control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse, and in doing so, are compromising the integrity of the internet itself.

Among the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG are two tactics: (1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and (2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable. To see how extremist these programs are, just consider the tactics they boast of using to achieve those ends: “false flag operations” (posting material to the internet and falsely attributing it to someone else), fake victim blog posts (pretending to be a victim of the individual whose reputation they want to destroy), and posting “negative information” on various forums. Here is one illustrative list of tactics from the latest GCHQ document we’re publishing today:

 

Other tactics aimed at individuals are listed here, under the revealing title “discredit a target”:

 

Then there are the tactics used to destroy companies the agency targets:

 

GCHQ describes the purpose of JTRIG in starkly clear terms: “using online techniques to make something happen in the real or cyber world,” including “information ops (influence or disruption).”

 

Critically, the “targets” for this deceit and reputation-destruction extend far beyond the customary roster of normal spycraft: hostile nations and their leaders, military agencies, and intelligence services. In fact, the discussion of many of these techniques occurs in the context of using them in lieu of “traditional law enforcement” against people suspected (but not charged or convicted) of ordinary crimes or, more broadly still, “hacktivism”, meaning those who use online protest activity for political ends.

The title page of one of these documents reflects the agency’s own awareness that it is “pushing the boundaries” by using “cyber offensive” techniques against people who have nothing to do with terrorism or national security threats, and indeed, centrally involves law enforcement agents who investigate ordinary crimes:

No matter your views on Anonymous, “hacktivists” or garden-variety criminals, it is not difficult to see how dangerous it is to have secret government agencies being able to target any individuals they want – who have never been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crimes – with these sorts of online, deception-based tactics of reputation destruction and disruption. There is a strong argument to make, as Jay Leiderman demonstrated in the Guardian in the context of the Paypal 14 hacktivist persecution, that the “denial of service” tactics used by hacktivists result in (at most) trivial damage (far less than the cyber-warfare tactics favored by the US and UK) and are far more akin to the type of political protest protected by the First Amendment.

The broader point is that, far beyond hacktivists, these surveillance agencies have vested themselves with the power to deliberately ruin people’s reputations and disrupt their online political activity even though they’ve been charged with no crimes, and even though their actions have no conceivable connection to terrorism or even national security threats. As Anonymous expert Gabriella Coleman of McGill University told me, “targeting Anonymous and hacktivists amounts to targeting citizens for expressing their political beliefs, resulting in the stifling of legitimate dissent.” Pointing to this study she published, Professor Coleman vehemently contested the assertion that “there is anything terrorist/violent in their actions.”

Government plans to monitor and influence internet communications, and covertly infiltrate online communities in order to sow dissension and disseminate false information, have long been the source of speculation. Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein, a close Obama adviser and the White House’s former head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, wrote a controversial paper in 2008 proposing that the US government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-”independent” advocates to “cognitively infiltrate” online groups and websites, as well as other activist groups.

Sunstein also proposed sending covert agents into “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups” which spread what he views as false and damaging “conspiracy theories” about the government. Ironically, the very same Sunstein was recently named by Obama to serve as a member of the NSA review panel created by the White House, one that – while disputing key NSA claims – proceeded to propose many cosmetic reforms to the agency’s powers (most of which were ignored by the President who appointed them).

But these GCHQ documents are the first to prove that a major western government is using some of the most controversial techniques to disseminate deception online and harm the reputations of targets. Under the tactics they use, the state is deliberately spreading lies on the internet about whichever individuals it targets, including the use of what GCHQ itself calls “false flag operations” and emails to people’s families and friends. Who would possibly trust a government to exercise these powers at all, let alone do so in secret, with virtually no oversight, and outside of any cognizable legal framework?

Then there is the use of psychology and other social sciences to not only understand, but shape and control, how online activism and discourse unfolds. Today’s newly published document touts the work of GCHQ’s “Human Science Operations Cell,” devoted to “online human intelligence” and “strategic influence and disruption”:

 

 

Under the title “Online Covert Action”, the document details a variety of means to engage in “influence and info ops” as well as “disruption and computer net attack,” while dissecting how human beings can be manipulated using “leaders,” “trust,” “obedience” and “compliance”:

 

 

 

 
The documents lay out theories of how humans interact with one another, particularly online, and then attempt to identify ways to influence the outcomes – or “game” it:

 

 
We submitted numerous questions to GCHQ, including: (1) Does GCHQ in fact engage in “false flag operations” where material is posted to the Internet and falsely attributed to someone else?; (2) Does GCHQ engage in efforts to influence or manipulate political discourse online?; and (3) Does GCHQ’s mandate include targeting common criminals (such as boiler room operators), or only foreign threats?

As usual, they ignored those questions and opted instead to send their vague and nonresponsive boilerplate: “It is a longstanding policy that we do not comment on intelligence matters. Furthermore, all of GCHQ’s work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that our activities are authorised, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight, including from the Secretary of State, the Interception and Intelligence Services Commissioners and the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee. All our operational processes rigorously support this position.”

These agencies’ refusal to “comment on intelligence matters” – meaning: talk at all about anything and everything they do – is precisely why whistleblowing is so urgent, the journalism that supports it so clearly in the public interest, and the increasingly unhinged attacks by these agencies so easy to understand. Claims that government agencies are infiltrating online communities and engaging in “false flag operations” to discredit targets are often dismissed as conspiracy theories, but these documents leave no doubt they are doing precisely that.

Whatever else is true, no government should be able to engage in these tactics: what justification is there for having government agencies target people – who have been charged with no crime – for reputation-destruction, infiltrate online political communities, and develop techniques for manipulating online discourse? But to allow those actions with no public knowledge or accountability is particularly unjustifiable.

Documents referenced in this article:

The Art of Deception: Training for a New Generation of Online Covert Operations

Turn Off the NSA Data Center’s Water

Utah legislator introduces bill to cut off NSA’s water supply

Can Utah shut down the new NSA data center by turning off the water? A new bill introduced by state rep. Marc Roberts seeks to do just that.

Based on model legislation drafted by a transpartisan coalition organized by the Tenth Amendment Center (TAC) and the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC) called the OffNow Coalition, the Utah 4th Amendment Protection Act would prohibit state material support, participation, or assistance to any federal agency that collects electronic data or metadata without a search warrant “that particularly describes the person, place and thing to be searched or seized.”

This puts contracts that provide the 1.7 million gallons of water a day necessary to cool the NSA computers at its Bluffdale facility in the crosshairs.

“Without question, the mass surveillance and data collection by the Utah Data Center is a delicate and important matter,” Roberts said. “But for me, the language of the Fourth Amendment is clear.  It simply protects us against unreasonable and unwarranted searches or seizures of our persons, private residencies and property, documents and information and personal and private belongings.  This legislation preserves those rights to the people.”

Bluffdale, a political subdivision of Utah, provided the NSA with a sweetheart water deal. The bill would begin the process of ending that deal, potentially crippling the NSA’s ability to keep the facility functional.

“No water equals no NSA data center,” TAC executive director Michael Boldin said.

He called the potential impact of this legislation significant, especially compared to what Congress has done to deal with the agency.

“In 1975, Sen. Frank Church warned that the power of the NSA could enable ‘total tyranny.’ He recommended that Congress should limit the agency’s power. Almost four decades later, we’re still waiting. Congress is not going to stop the NSA. The people and their states have to,” Boldin said. “Turn it off.”

BORDC executive director Shahid Buttar echoed Boldin’s enthusiasm for state action.

“At stake is nothing less than our nation’s triumph in the Cold War. The NSA’s decade of warrantless surveillance en masse assaults not only the rights of hundreds of millions of law-abiding Americans, and our democracy as a whole, but resembles Soviet-style spying — on meth, empowered and amplified by the past generation’s remarkable advances in computing technology,” he said. “Utah residents have a chance to take matters into their own hands, defending democracy by shutting off state resources consumed by the Bluffdale data center in its assault on We the People, our fundamental rights, and the Constitution that enshrined them.”

Notable anti-establishment figures such as Naomi Wolf and Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg advise the BORDC.

Utah doesn’t stand alone. Earlier this week, a group of Maryland legislators introduced a similar bill, targeting water and other resources to NSA headquarters. Lawmakers in more than 10 other states, including California, Vermont and Alaska, have also introduced the legislation. A bill in Tennessee addresses material support and resources to the NSA’s encryption-breaking facility at Oak Ridge.

Boldin said other states need to join the push, even those without NSA facilities. He called it essential.

“If enough states do this in the coming years, the NSA won’t have a place in the country where their spy centers are welcome,” he said.

Other provisions of the Fourth Amendment Protection Act would also have an impact. The bill would make data collected by the NSA and shared with state and local law enforcement in Utah inadmissible in court, unless a specific warrant is issued.

TAC national communications director Mike Maharrey said that this provision might prove as important as cutting off the water, because it erases a practical effect of NSA spying.

“We know the NSA shares data with state and local law enforcement. We know from a Reuters report that most of this shared data has absolutely nothing to do with national security issues,” he said. “This data sharing shoves a dagger into the heart of the Fourth Amendment. This bill would stop that from happening immediately.”

The legislation rests on a well-established legal principle known as the anti-commandeering doctrine. Simply put, the federal government cannot “commandeer” or coerce states into implementing or enforcing federal acts or regulations – constitutional or not. The anti-commandeering doctrine rests primarily on four Supreme Court cases dating back to 1842. The 1997 case, Printz v. US, serves as the modern cornerstone. The majority opinion deemed commandeering “incompatible with our constitutional system.”

“The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program. It matters not whether policy making is involved, and no case by case weighing of the burdens or benefits is necessary; such commands are fundamentally incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty.”

Boldin emphasized this is just the beginning.

“It took the people of Illinois ten years to legalize marijuana for medical use,” he said. “This isn’t going to be easy, and we’re not stopping until we win. The NSA has a choice; follow the constitution or get the hell out.”

TAKE ACTION

In Utah, SUPPORT THIS BILL HERE: http://offnow.org/utah

All other states, take action here: http://offnow.org/state

National….No, International ID—What is “the mark”?

In Missouri we passed a law “prohibiting” Real ID. It didn’t have any enforcement clause in it, so when the State broke the law, there was a lot of theater and a sacrificial lamb resignation and General Assembly hearings. Then the lawmakers changed the law and actually allow for it via digital photographs. I don’t think they meant to do that, but that is what they did. You can have a driver or non-driver ID without a digital photo on it, but the DOR requires that the issuing bureau take a digital photo and upload it into the database. So there is no religious or moral objection allowed.

All these ID’s are being sent to a company called Morpho Trust which then sends it on to its owner, Saffron, over in Europe. Saffron then contracts with the World Bank and the IMF to share all of this biometric identification, and voila! You can’t travel without it, and soon, you won’t be able to buy or sell without it. (Think BitCoin is great?…consider it a bit more, please.)

Let’s see….you can’t get a job without it, you can’t get a bank account without it, you can’t travel without it; it IS the MEASURE of a man, which is the number, and hey, the average Christian believes that you will have to literally bow down and worship a statue in order to take the “mark of the beast”. Nevermind that “worship” is co-equal to “obey”. Read Romans 13 in context and with the rest of scripture in mind. If the common teaching on that chapter is applied, everything government does is ok including killing innocents as in the Holocaust.

Listen, I don’t preach much, but I am telling you today, we all serve someone. The issue at its core is that we are looking for someone to provide for our needs. Our choice is in whom that provider is. In the Hebrew, 1666 is equal to aleph vav vav vav. 666 is vav vav vav. Aleph is Father/Provider/Strength. Vav is Man/Hook/Nail. Think about it, please. The measure of a man, that ties you to a provider….And you don’t have a choice on the face of it. If you don’t drive, don’t work, don’t have a bank account, it is very difficult to live and pay bills.

Ha Satan does not come out in the open and say, “Hey, worship/obey me!” he works through deception and he hides so that he can not be found out.

Please listen to the show I am posting below. Think deeply about this issue. Check scripture, and even if you aren’t a believer, think about the privacy and control implications of this Real ID program.

Here’s the copy of the radio show coming up. Please listen:

If America implemented a National Identification and the mainstream media didn’t cover it, would it still matter? What if we told you that’s already happening?

For the first time in the nation’s history, a National ID law will take effect this year, and it will have a major impact on your life.

That’s the subject of this week’s edition of Off The Grid Radio, in which Jim Harper of the Cato Institute tells us everything we need to know about the law – what it means, why we should be concerned, and how it could be used and abused in the future. Eventually, you won’t be able to fly without one.

The ID is being rolled out through a law known as the Real ID Act, and it is turning ordinary driver’s licenses into National IDs that are unlike anything we’ve seen.

That picture you get at the DMV? It’s now being stored in a database that is accessed by the federal government, and in an instant it can be matched to, say, a picture of you taken at a toll booth or in a post office. In some states, you can’t even smile for a picture – because doing so would confuse the computer.

Sadly, this isn’t fiction.

Harper tells us:

  • How the government can track you using a National ID.
  • How other countries have abused National IDs
  • Why the Founders would have opposed a National ID.
  • How the law’s text allows the DHS secretary to require IDs for entry pretty much anywhere.

If you care about freedom and privacy, you don’t want to miss this week’s episode!

Click here to listen to this week’s interview.  

Want to share Off the Grid Radio with your friends and family? Each week’s episode is now on CD! Go to your favorite episode and order your copy today.

 

Another Problem with Massive Amounts of Government Data

While I want to make clear that I do not like CAFO’s, I also want to make it even more clear that I do not at all appreciate terrorism, theft, destruction of property and harassment. Also, as some of you have heard me speak about, I have been involved in attempting to get information on Morningland Dairy from my own state’s agency for over four months. None of that information could possibly be deemed to be used to terrorize anyone with. Simple transparency in governmental actions is the desire behind the request for my FOIA on Morningland….More about that tomorrow.

What I want to share with you is the result of the EPA showing exceptional and dangerous favoritism to animal rights activists. Please read this article and share it with anyone you think may have an interest in protecting privacy.

January 14, 2014 6:30 PM

The EPA’s Privacy Problem
Farmers and ranchers sue after the EPA releases confidential information to environmental groups.

Text

The fire at San Joaquin Valley’s Harris Farms burst out suddenly and rapidly, consuming 14 trailer trucks in the dawn of January 8, 2012. Wreaking more than $2 million in damage, it constituted one of the biggest acts of agro-terrorism in American history.

An anonymous news release issued by the Animal Liberation Front, a radical animal-rights group, explained that unnamed activists had placed containers of kerosene and digital timers beneath the trucks, linking them with kerosene-soaked rope to carry the fire down the row, “a tactic adapted from Home Alone 2.” The statement concludes threateningly: “until next time.” The perpetrators remain uncaught.

Two years later, farmers and ranchers in 29 states worry they’ll be similarly attacked; last year, the Environmental Protection Agency released to environmental groups extensive personal information about 80,000 to 100,000 agricultural operations.

The data released included names of owners, addresses, global-positioning-system coordinates, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and, in some instances, notes on medical conditions and inheritances. Though environmental groups had requested information about “concentrated animal feeding operations” — “CAFOs” in the bureaucratic lingo, and “feedlots” in the vernacular — some of the information released clumped in data about crop farms, too.

Farm groups say the EPA violated farmers’ and ranchers’ privacy, increasing their risk of agro-terrorism as well as harassment or litigation from animal-rights and environmental activists. The EPA has admitted to having improperly released farmers’ data on two occasions, and has twice attempted to claw back those records.

The American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Pork Producers Council are now suing the EPA to prevent it from releasing even more information. Though it hasn’t been much covered, the case has significant implications regarding privacy. It also raises questions about whether the EPA acted politically, cooperating with environmental groups to help them achieve long-term regulatory goals.

“This is really important to farmers and ranchers because this is not just a place of business — this is where they live, this is where their children play,” says Danielle Quist, senior counsel for public policy at the American Farm Bureau Federation. “We are not opposed to transparency in agriculture. In fact we are a huge supporter of transparency. But that’s not what we’re talking about with this lawsuit. All citizens in this country deserve the protection of their private home information. Our farmers and ranchers deserve that same protection.”

Agro-terrorism is a primary concern, say agricultural groups, but there are others: Because the information released is so comprehensive, some worry that it may be used by activist trespassers or scoured over by class-action litigators who could profit from suing feedlots for any shortcomings.

Ashley McDonald, environmental counsel for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, tells National Review Online that “we’ve actually heard from folks that, yes, there has been some suspicious activity that they think might be tied to [the EPA] release.” And Grace Boatright, legislative director for the National Grange, says it has been “pretty disconcerting for families to have their private information accessed by groups that have made it pretty clear they don’t agree with all their current business practices.”

Yet environmental groups say the data collected and released by the EPA is standard for other industries and that farmers and ranchers shouldn’t be treated exceptionally.

“Sometimes the owner or the operator of the facility lives at the facility, so I think that’s given rise to some questions about personal privacy,” says Eve C. Gartner, staff attorney at Earthjustice’s Northeast office. “But it does seem to me like a very difficult question: If someone chooses to locate their home at an industrial facility, does that automatically mean that everything about that facility becomes private?”

Animal-rights activists claim the feedlots systemically abuse animals. PETA, for instance, cites everything from manure smells that cause cows “chronic respiratory problems, making breathing painful” to “a highly unnatural diet” that causes “chronic digestive pain — imagine your worst case of gastritis that never goes away.”

Environmental groups say feedlots increase emissions, cause pollution, and contaminate drinking water. Jon Devine, the senior attorney at the water program of the Natural Resources Defense Council, recently wrote that such operations “generate nasty waste” because “animal manure contains bacteria, viruses and other pathogens, as well as organic compounds, heavy metals, antibiotics, pesticides, and hormones.”

Farm groups dispute these claims, questioning the environmental effect and highlighting improved humane practices with respect to feedlot animals.

Regardless, environmental and animal-rights groups have long sought more federal control of CAFOs, pushing for two specific policy goals: requiring the government to collect extensive data about feedlots, and requiring feedlots to be regulated and permitted under the Clean Water Act.

In the last decade, the EPA has mounted a largely unsuccessful effort to increase permitting requirements for feedlots. But environmental groups were able to work out a settlement with the agency in 2010, compelling it to begin collecting CAFO data.

Supreme Court Will Examine Cell Phone Searches

Being treated as though we are property is becoming increasingly offensive. I wonder what the “Supremes” will decide. In my estimation, we have been legally (not lawfully, nor correctly) turned into subjects without our knowledge or consent. Perhaps the more clear way of encapsulating it is to say that the entire US has become a debtor’s prison without literal walls. Anyway, whether we have the slightest reasonable expectation of privacy is to be determined by the appointees. We wait with bated breath….

U.S. Supreme Court to weigh cell phone searches by police

 

News microphones wait to capture reactions from U.S. Supreme Court rulings outside the court building in Washington, June 25, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

News microphones wait to capture reactions from U.S. Supreme Court rulings outside the court building in Washington, June 25, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

Related Topics

(Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Friday to decide whether police can search an arrested criminal suspect’s cell phone without a warrant in two cases that showcase how the courts are wrestling to keep up with rapid technological advances.

Taking up cases from California and Massachusetts arising from criminal prosecutions that used evidence obtained without a warrant, the high court will wade into how to apply older court precedent, which allows police to search items carried by a defendant at the time of arrest, to cell phones.

Cell phones have evolved from devices used exclusively to make calls into gadgets that now contain a bounty of personal information about the owner.

The legal question before the justices is whether a search for such information after a defendant is arrested violates the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which bans unreasonable searches. The outcome would determine whether prosecutors in such circumstances could submit evidence gleaned from cell phones in court.

Digital rights activists have sounded the alarm about the amount of personal data the government can now easily access, not just in the criminal context, but also in relation to national security surveillance programs.

President Barack Obama on Friday announced plans to rein in the vast collection of Americans’ phone data in a series of limited reforms prompted by disclosures by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden about the sweep of U.S. eavesdropping activities.

Stanford Law School professor Jeffrey Fisher, who represents one of the defendants, said in court papers that it was important for the high court to decide the issue.

“In light of the frequency with which people are arrested with cell phones and the judiciary’s confusion over whether the police may search the digital contents of those phones, this court’s intervention is critical,” Fisher said.

According to a 2013 report by the Pew Research Center, 91 percent of adult Americans have a cell phone, more than a half of which are smartphones that can connect to the Internet and contain personal data from social media websites and other sources.

Under court precedent, police are permitted to search at the time of an arrest without a warrant, primarily to ensure the defendant is not armed and to secure evidence that could otherwise be destroyed. In the past, it has applied to such items as wallets, calendars, address books and diaries.

In the case involving Fisher’s client, David Riley was convicted of three charges relating to an August 2009 incident in San Diego in which shots were fired at an occupied vehicle.

Prosecutors linked him to the crime in part due to a photograph on his smartphone that showed him posing in front of a car similar to one seen at the crime scene. The photograph was shown to the jury at trial, as were videos that showed Riley making gang-related comments.

Police searched the phone after pulling over Riley’s car for having expired tags 20 days after the shooting. Riley sought the high court’s review after his convictions were upheld by a state appeals court in California.

MASSACHUSETTS CASE

In the other case, the federal government appealed after an appeals court threw out two of three drugs and firearms counts on which Brima Wurie had been convicted by a jury in Massachusetts.

The Boston-based 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in a May 2013 ruling that police could not search Wurie’s phone without a warrant after the September 2007 arrest for suspected drug dealing.

One major difference between the cases is that Wurie’s phone, unlike Riley’s, is not a smartphone. Officers used the phone only to search the phone log. They were able to find a phone number that took them to Wurie’s house in Boston, where drugs, a gun and cash were found.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital civil rights group based in San Francisco, urged the court to hear the case in a friend-of-the-court brief.

“I think it’s another opportunity for the court to decide how changes in technology implicate the Fourth Amendment,” one of the group’s lawyers, Hanni Fakhoury, said in an interview.

Fakhoury, a former federal public defender, said that searches of cell phones upon arrest are routine in the vast majority of jurisdictions nationwide.

The U.S. Justice Department defended the practice in its brief urging the court to hear the Wurie case. Government lawyers say searching a cell phone is no different than searching other items commonly found on a person at the time of arrest.

A prohibition against the searches would be particularly troublesome to prosecutors because of “the ubiquity of cell phone use by drug traffickers and other serious offenders,” the government lawyers said.

The court will hear oral arguments in April and issue rulings by the end of June. The cases are Riley v. California, 13-132 and U.S. v. Wurie, 13-212.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham and James Dalgleish)

Obama Administration: “Heads I win, tails you lose”

Headquarters of the National Security Agency

The Department of Justice regards American citizens as “nothing more than rabble,” charges the attorney who won a legal challenge to the National Security Agency’s spy-on-Americans program called PRISM.

The DOJ moved Wednesday to block the plaintiffs in the case brought by attorney Larry Klayman, founder of FreedomWatch, against the NSA’s telephone call-tracking program.

In its motion filed with U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, who earlier issued an injunction against the spy program and called it “Orwellian,” the government is asking that the judge halt any further proceedings while an appeals court examines the ruling that said the government was violating the Constitution.

Klayman said the move wasn’t exactly a surprise in light of the government’s spying on Americans and its reluctance to provide information about the programs.

“This is a further attempt to keep information about the biggest violation of the Constitution in American history from the American people. It’s an outrage,” he said.

He said the Obama administration has the perspective of “heads I win, tails you lose,” and its attitude is: “We control all the information and the American people be damned. They don’t have rights.”

Klayman said he already had requested a status conference on the case, asking the court how to proceed with discovery in preparation for trial.

The government move reveals its true attitude, he said.

“It’s important for the American people to see how the government treats them and views them. We’re nothing more than rabble,” he said.

Politico reported on the government’s motion, which argued: “Further litigation of plaintiffs’ challenges to the conduct of these programs could well risk or require disclosure of highly sensitive information about the intelligence sources and methods involved – information that the government determined was not appropriate for declassification when it publicly disclosed certain facts about these programs.”

The information actually was disclosed when former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked details of the program.

The DOJ argued that if the litigation proceeds, “it will ultimately become necessary to conclusively determine, as a factual matter, whether plaintiffs have established their standing to challenge NSA’s alleged interception of the content of their communications, and collection of metadata about those communications.”

“Further litigation of this issue could risk or require disclosure of classified national security information, such as whether plaintiffs were the targets of or subject to NSA intelligence-gathering activities, confirmation or denial of the identities of the telecommunications service providers from which NSA has obtained information about individuals’ communications, and other classified information.”

But that’s exactly the point of his lawsuits, Klayman says: to find out the details of the programs and whether the government, in its alleged pursuit of information about terror activities, has been violating the constitutional assurances of Americans’ privacy.

The government is alarmed at that aim.

“Plaintiffs have indicated in their pleadings (and during argument on their motions for preliminary injunctions) that they intend to pursue discovery to obtain ‘full disclosure and a complete accounting’ of what the government defendants (and other defendants in these cases ‘have done [or been] allowed to do’ in connection with the challenged NSA intelligence programs; ‘identification of any and all ‘targets’ subject to defendants’ surveillance’ and production of ‘all other relevant reports, risk assessments, memoranda, and other documents,’” the government said.

But the Obama administration said it had to keep all that information secret or risk “exceptionally grave damage to national security.”

DOJ lawyers said they would oppose allowing Klayman or anyone else “access to classified information.”

The DOJ is asking Leon to halt proceeding while there are appeals of his ruling that the government likely is violating Fourth Amendment.

The government apparently doesn’t want to release any information, even if that’s the case.

“Even if the mere collection of information about plaintiffs’ communications constitutes a Fourth Amendment search … conclusively resolving the reasonableness of that search ultimately could risk or require disclosure of exceptionally sensitive and classified intelligence information regarding the nature and scope of the international terrorist threat to the United States, and the role that the NSA’s intelligence-gathering activities have played in meeting that threat,” government attorneys warn.

Josh Gerstein at Politico noted: “Klayman’s past litigation has been known for being as impactful and sometimes more impactful in the discovery phase, where lawyers demand documents and conduct depositions, as in its ultimate outcome. So, the government’s desire to head that process off for now, and perhaps entirely, is understandable.”

WND reported just days ago that several states are working on plans to resist the NSA operations, strategizing on ways to make the information unusable even if the NSA collects it.

According to the Tenth Amendment Center, lawmakers in Missouri are proposing to amend their state constitution. Their plan would add “and electronic communications and data” to the provision that provides privacy and security for residents.

If changed by voters, it would read: “That the people shall be secure in their persons, papers, homes [and], effects, and electronic communications and data, from unreasonable searches and seizures; and no warrant to search any place, or seize any person or thing, or access electronic data or communication, shall issue without describing the place to be searched, or the person or thing to be seized, or the data or communication to be accessed, as nearly as may be; nor without probable cause, supported by written oath or affirmation.”

The Joint Resolution, pending before the state Senate, proposes allowing Missouri voters to decide next November whether or not to amend their constitution.

According to the Tenth Amendment Center, federal judges and lawyers may squabble over the constitutionality of the NSA data-gathering, but lawmakers could make it impossible for any information obtained to be used in those states.

In Kansas, Rep. Brett Hildabrand, R-Shawnee, prefiled a bill that would “ban all state agencies and local governments in the state from possessing data ‘held by a third-party in a system of record’ and would prohibit any such information from being ‘subject to discovery, subpoena or other means of legal compulsion for its release to any person or entity or be admissible in evidence in any judicial or administrative proceeding.’”

The access the data, under the bill, government would be required to obtain “express informed consent” or a warrant.

In Kansas, it’s called the Fourth Amendment Protection Act.

“I want to make sure that electronic privacy in Kansas is protected in the same way that physical letters in the mail are protected from random government searches,” Hildabrand told the center. “Each day, we hear a new revelation about how the NSA is violating our personal privacy. My bill will ensure the state of Kansas doesn’t utilize this illegally obtained data.”
Read more at http://mobile.wnd.com/2014/01/obama-moves-to-block-nsa-slayers-lawsuit/#Ru2FgeMfYVWafTbI.99

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