Loss of Privacy

Keeping you informed on recent losses to privacy and civil rights worldwide.

Browsing Posts tagged civil liberties

From Democracy Now:

The American Civil Liberties Union has obtained documents revealing that the FBI and IRS may be reading emails and other electronic communications of U.S. citizens without obtaining a warrant. This comes just as reports have emerged that the Obama administration is considering approving an overhaul of government surveillance of the Internet. The New York Times reported the new rules would make it easier to wiretap users of web services such as instant messaging. “The FBI wants to be able to intercept every kind of possible communication,” says attorney Ben Wizner, director of the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. “The FBI basically wants to require all of these companies to rewrite their code in order to enable more government surveillance. … And in order to accomplish that, they would make the whole Internet less secure.”

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It appears as if the government is determined to make Americans comfortable and familiar with the military working on US soil. Recently, there have been several cases of this happening, with the military stating that they are happy to help out and will be ready to help at political events this fall..

Under the guise of helping children and the elderly, the Nation Guard is performing health checks across the state of West Virginia.

The National Guard is checking to make sure everyone is doing well. Since we’re currently in a state of emergency,  the National Guard is all across the state doing anything and everything to get things back in order. On Monday afternoon,  some members were doing personal health checks in southern Harrison County.

The Marine Corps, meanwhile, has just created a new law enforcement battalion. These battalions consist of military police who are trained to investigate many different street crimes.

it hopes can quickly deploy worldwide to help investigate crimes from terrorism to drug trafficking and train fledgling security forces in allied nations.

The Corps activated three such battalions last month. Each is made up of roughly 500 military police officers and dozens of dogs. The Marine Corps has had police battalions off and on since World War II but they were primarily focused on providing security, such as accompanying fuel convoys or guarding generals on visits to dangerous areas

Marines have been increasingly taking on the role of a street cop along with their combat duties over the past decade in Iraq and Afghanistan, where they have been in charge of training both countries’ security forces. Those skills now can be used as a permanent part of the Marine Corps,

The war on terror has also taught troops the importance of learning how to gather intelligence, secure evidence and assist local authorities in building cases to take down criminal networks. Troops have gotten better at combing raid sites for clues to help them track insurgents.

The battalions will be capable of helping control civil disturbances, handling detainees, carrying out forensic work, and using biometrics to identify suspects. Durham said they could assist local authorities in allied countries in securing crime scenes and building cases so criminals end up behind bars and not back out on the streets because of mistakes.

While some think this is okay for the military to become street police in other countries, nearly every military technology and advancement has, eventually, come back to the streets of America and used on its own citizens.

Defense analyst Loren Thompson said the battalions make sense given the nature of today’s global threats, which include powerful drug cartels and other criminal gangs that often mix with religious and political extremists, who use the profits to buy their weaponry.

“This is a smart idea because the biggest single problem the Marines have in dealing with low-intensity types of threats is that they basically are trained to kill people,” he said. “It’s good for the Marines to have skills that allow them to contain threats without creating casualties.”

This is why you separate the police and the military. The military’s purpose is to kill and conquer. The police are there to deal with the criminality of some citizens. It is not the job of the military to be in foreign countries acting as the world’s police. This is not what the military should be.

Last month, the Army trained military personnel how to drive tanks on the streets and highways of St. Louis.

The military is increasingly encroaching on the sovereignty of the streets of America and most Americans do not even know about it. Some think it’s a good thing. With more and more local police departments being given grants to purchase surplus military equipment, Americans are right to worry about the possibility of martial law, or worse.

April 2012, there were reports of the military training in Crookston, MN.

April 20, 2012 Fort Carson, Colorado held joint anti-terror drills with Russian soldiers.

January 23, 2012, LAPD announced that they would be conducting drills with the military.

July 25, 2011, Boston PD announced joint military drills with the Army.

April 20, 2011, Miami announced military helicopter exercises. Residents still freaked out.

Don’t be alarmed folks. They’re only here for training. They’d never use this training against their own civilians. Certainly, they wouldn’t violate the Posse Comitatus Act.

Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

Except they would, they have, and they continue to do so.

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The Oxford City Council has proposed that CCTV be mandatory for all taxis and that every conversion be recorded. This is, presumably, for everyone’s safety.

Such a blanket scheme would seem to breach the Information Commissioner’s code of practice on the issue. It says recording conversations is unlikely to be justified and that sound on CCTV should usually be turned off. It refers to recording in a cab occurring only if a panic button is pressed.

Yet Oxford City Council does not believe it is flouting this code, saying the risk of intrusion is acceptable compared to public safety.

Recording conversations would be justified if assaults, sex attacks or fraud was constantly being committed in our taxis.

The council would like all taxis to be fitted with CCTV by April 2015.

The necessary equipment must be installed by taxi drivers licensed for the first time by 6 April 2012. A panic button must also be fitted.

Cabs already registered will have until April 2015 to get the kit fitted, the council said.

The council said the cameras would run continuously, but only view footage relating to police matters would be reviewed.

Big Brother Watch said it was “a total disregard for civil liberties”.

She said police would only locate footage, stored on a CCTV hard drive for 28 days, if it was needed for a police investigation.

She added: “The risk of intrusion into private conversations has to be balanced against the interests of public safety, both of passengers and drivers.”

While this is presented as a means to provide public safety, the rules are too vague at this point. We do not know when the cameras will be turned on and off, who will be in charge of the storage or who will take complaints from customers. This is before anyone looks at the civil liberties issues concerning CCTV in taxis. There are far too many questions that need to be answered before a scheme such as this is even implemented. Until all concerns are addressed, it’d be best to just sit and say nothing in a taxi, lest any conversation be misinterpreted or used against you later.

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