Loss of Privacy

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

Browsing Posts tagged surveillance society


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As usual, the media has decided that, instead of looking at the problems of the NSA spying on it own citizens and the entire scandal surrounding it, it has taken to attacks on Edward Snowden, the whistleblower behind the leaks. The Guardian article presented the facts and didn’t speculate on Snowden or his character because it isn’t a necessary part of the story. Other media outlets, however, are ignoring the massive violations to the constitution that the NSA has committed and decided to participate in ad hominem attacks.

The New York Times is calling Snowden “a relatively low-level employee of a giant government contractor, Booz Allen Hamilton”

The article goes on to disparage Snowden further.

“In past years, someone like Snowden may not have had access to briefings detailing these collection programs,” said Cedric Leighton, a former deputy director of the National Security Agency, “but now with the push from a ‘need to know’ to a ‘need to share’ philosophy, it’s far more likely for an I.T. contractor like him to gain access to such documents.”

According to the Washington Post, “he was capable of melodrama,” which undermines the seriousness of what Snowden is trying to relay and inform the public about.

Thanks to Politico, we now know that Snowden had a cluttered garage and didn’t seem like a nice neighbor because he never stopped to chat. They also try to spin the fact that he was only in the military for 5 months and didn’t complete any training. That’s a bit hard to do when you have two broken legs.

CNN has described him in this way:

Edward Snowden, the man behind one of the biggest leaks in the history of U.S. intelligence, is a former technical assistant for the CIA who is now holed up in a Hong Kong hotel, in danger of running out of money and hoping to find asylum somewhere in the world.

It makes it seem as Snowden is some seedy character on the run from the CIA. CNN has also focusing on whether or not what Snowden was criminal, ignoring what the CIA has been doing years. This afternoon, CNN was asking these questions.

Most leakers seem to be millennials, is this something about how they think differently? They seem to think of themselves as world citizens and govts dont [sic] like that. They see themselves as world citizens, not national citizens and that makes them harder to control (I’m paraphrasing, but that’s basically it).

So, it’s the millennial fault that this is all happening. It’s not the government who is evil here.

It’s unnerving that Americans, including politicians, are angry at Snowden, yet, even with PRISM and all the tools, legal and illegal, at their disposal, the NSA didn’t have a clue about the Boston Bombers. They are probably the dumbest terrorists ever to set foot on American soil, yet all the metadata in the world didn’t provide any clues to the NSA of what was about to happen. However, we’re mad that someone informed the public about such a system and everyone is calling for his head on a platter. They want Edward Snowden extradited and prosecuted for exposing government corruption. It’s even sadder that what the NSA did is, technically, legal right now, yet Americans want the head of Snowden and not the NSA. Hopefully, the Icelandic government can give him asylum.

Watch The Guardian’s interview with Edward Snowden via Democracy Now.

You can also watch the followup interview with Glenn Greenwald, which discusses Edward Snowden, PRISM, and the NSA spying.

Daniel Ellsberg, Woodward and Bernstein, Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden. We need these whistle blowers. How many more like them will come forward and how much more will the American public put up with?

If you want to take action to fight and change things to force the government to change, go to the EFF’s Take Action page. You can also sign the We the People petition to pardon Edward Snowden. You can also call your Representatives and Senators.

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Kentucky Senator Rand Paul took to Fox News Sunday to declare his legal opposition to the NSA’s surveillance programs. “I’m going to be seeing if I can challenge this at the Supreme Court level,” Paul said.

“I’m going to be asking all the internet providers and all of the phone companies: ask your customers to join me in a class action lawsuit,” Paul told host Chris Wallace. “If we get ten million Americans saying we don’t want our phone records looked at, then maybe someone will wake up and something will change in Washington.”

Watch the full interview

Fourth Amendment Restoration Act of 2013.

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From NBC News:

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There are already government closed-circuit TV systems in cities like Boston, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., a member of both the House Homeland Security and Intelligence committees, said the nation needs even more video cameras in public places.

“They’re a great law enforcement method and device,” the congressman told NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell the day after the bombing. “It keeps us ahead of the terrorists who are constantly trying to kill us.”

Except these great law enforcement methods and devices didn’t keep anyone ahead of terrorists last week in Boston.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told the Washington Post Friday that the Boston bombings are “Exhibit A of why the homeland is the battlefield,” and that it would have been “nice to have a drone up there” to help track the suspects, brothers Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

How can you track suspects with a drone when 1) you didn’t even know they were suspects or what they were up to and 2) didn’t actually find them with drones, they came out and found the police. No amount of cameras is going to prevent crime from occurring. It didn’t during the London riots of 2011 nor did it stop the 7/7 bombings and it’s not going to help in preventing a terrorist attack anywhere in the United States.

CCTV undermines everyone’s privacy, while diverting resources from approaches that have a much higher impact on reducing crime and improving public safety, or is used by lazy officials as a way to placate the public who want something done to make their neighborhood safer.

Sadly, after the events of Boston, Americans will likely surrender more freedoms so that they can “feel” a little bit safer instead of investing money in more officers that can actually help prevent crime.

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With camera technology increasing while prices decrease, the use of surveillance cameras seems ubiquitous in larger cities like Boston and New York City. With the large amount of people in Boston for the marathon taking photos, law enforcement were able to use private and public photos to find the bombers and piece together what happened. While this is a great thing, there are still many questions that need to be asked about the dangers of all the time surveillance.

privacy advocates remain concerned about pervasive, and potentially invasive, surveillance technology.

Government use of surveillance technology has expanded considerably in the past decade, amid advances in computing as well as government spending on homeland security. Such technology includes a high density of cameras in some urban centers, traffic cameras along highways, and well as the use of advanced technology such as facial recognition in airports.

Some privacy advocates said the ability of investigators to track the suspects within a matter of days demonstrates that more invasive surveillance isn’t needed. “It’s one thing to have private closed-circuit cameras and look at feeds after the fact,” said Alan Butler, a lawyer with the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “It’s very different if you’re talking about systems of cameras identifying and tracking people over time, all the time. Especially if you couple that with facial recognition and license-plate readers and databases.”


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