NSA Stores All Collectable Browsing Data For 365 Days

The Guardian recently released information indicating that the  NSA stores vast amounts of our personal data in a repository codenamed, “Marina” and has the ability to look back over all our data for a year.

The Obama administration has repeatedly stated they are only keeping the data of people who they are intentionally targeting, but internal documents still reveal they are storing vast amounts of data.

The data that they are collecting can vary to include a user’s browser history, email, contact lists and possibly even account passwords. According to Guardian reporter James Ball:

“The Marina metadata application tracks a user’s browser experience, gathers contact information/content and develops summaries of target,” the analysts’ guide explains. “This tool offers the ability to export the data in a variety of formats, as well as create various charts to assist in pattern-of-life development.”

The guide goes on to explain Marina’s unique capability: “Of the more distinguishing features, Marina has the ability to look back on the last 365 days’ worth of DNI metadata seen by the Sigint collection system, regardless whether or not it was tasked for collection.” [Emphasis in original.]

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Update: New TAC commenting via Google+

Just a minor website update – for our internal comments system. If you have a Google+ account, you can now log in and comment with it, as you can already with Facebook, Twitter and WordPress.com accounts. It’s a nice expansion, as G+ is going to be integrated with YouTube comments soon and should be expanding…

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Efforts to Legalize Hemp In Kentucky Bring Together Activists, Lawmakers and Business Leaders

Mention hemp and it will likely evoke images of long-haired hippies in sandals banging drums and burning incense. But more likely than not, you will find today’s major players in the full-court press to legalize industrial hemp wearing suits and ties, not tie-dye T-shirts.

In fact, the coalition driving the hemp movement in Kentucky features prominent business leaders, farmers and political figures, including state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer.

Comer began pushing for legalization within a month of taking office in 2011. His efforts paid off when the Kentucky legislature passed SB50 last March. The law legalizes industrial hemp farming in the Bluegrass State, but the federal government must first lift its ban before farmers can begin planting the crop.

“I have long believed that industrial hemp had great potential as a profitable crop for Kentucky farmers. Hemp is used to produce paper, clothing, cosmetics, construction materials, automobile parts, foods, and thousands of other products. We know that hemp grows well in Kentucky and elsewhere in the U.S.,” Comer said. “Kentucky was the leading hemp-producing state in the mid-19th century, and we ramped production up to record levels for the war effort in the 1940s. We should be growing hemp, and making hemp products in Kentucky and the United States. I will do everything in my power to make hemp legalization a reality.”

In fact, a recent Department of Justice memo declaring it will not challenge marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado could pave the way for hemp production in Kentucky, although Attorney General Jack Conway disagrees with that assessment.

A February 1938 article in Popular Mechanics dubbed industrial hemp the “New Billion-Dollar Crop. “ After years of declining production, the magazine predicted a renaissance with the invention of a machine that removed the fiber-bearing cortex from the stalk, opening the door for low cost production of products ranging from rope to paper.

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Government shutdown and debt ceiling FAQ

by Jon Roland, Constitution Society

There have been a number of Frequently Asked Questions pages posted on the Net concerning the government “shutdown” and debt ceiling, which provide commonly conceived “answers”, but it seems fitting to provide some more constitutionally enlightened answers to some of those questions:

  1. If there is no congressional appropriation, how can the government keep spending money on “essential” operations? Constitutionally, it can’t. There is no constitutional exception for “essential” operations. If government complied with the Constitution, it would have to shut down all spending and proceed entirely using unpaid volunteers, as it did in the beginning.
  2. How can some spending be outside the appropriation process? Constitutionally it can’t. It is done on the rationalization that the Constitution does not explicitly forbid setting up “independent” agencies that may be “self-funded” from their own taxes or fees, or forbid multi-year appropriations for other than the Army, but the Constitution doesn’t authorize those things, either, and one cannot logically infer a power from the omission of a prohibition on its exercise. The design established by the Constitution requires all revenues go into the Treasury, and all disbursements to be made under appropriations that may not extend beyond the terms of Congress, which are two year periods.
  3. Why can’t government workers volunteer? Constitutionally, there is no authority to stop them from doing so, although there is a 19th century criminal statute that forbids it. The statute could constitutionally forbid volunteers to use government-owned assets, but the only authority to forbid voluntary action would be to fire them, and they could then volunteer as non-employees using their own resources. Of course, if government prosecutors are “furloughed” there would be no one to enforce the statute. Somehow, one suspects it is a dead letter.
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#NullifyNSA Campaign is Now Underway

#NullifyNSAWelcome to #NullifyNSA – the movement dedicated to restoring the 4th amendment and bringing an end to the destruction of your privacy rights!

We are a grassroots organization working to turn off the NSA’s illegal spying program once and for all.

Because of the vast nature of the Orwellian snooping machine, it takes a tremendous amount of resources to maintain it. Aside from destroying our environment by depleting our precious natural resources, this also leaves Big Brother vulnerable to decentralized political resistance.

The feds cannot force state and local governments to do their bidding. This notion is so uncontroversial that the Supreme Court has even agreed multiple times. This gives us an opportunity to hit Big Brother through legislation at the state and local levels. By stopping local and state governments from aiding and abetting the NSA’s unconstitutional behavior, we can make it impossible – or at the very least far more difficult – for them to spy on us.

In the case of the Utah data center, it is bigger than several Pentagons. Thus, it takes an astounding 1.7 million gallons of water per day to maintain the facility. Most of that water comes from a political subdivision of the state of Utah. That means we can cut the NSA off. Many other NSA centers have similar agreements with local and state governments. They can be cut off as well.

And that’s not all we are up to.

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