Not content to let the feds have all the fun, local governments are increasing their surveillance of citizens.Details
So much for the idea of the federal government reforming itself.
During the so-called government shutdown, Politico reported that the NSA’s surveillance panel, supposedly established to remedy the agency’s illegal behavior, went on hiatus.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was slated to head up the panel. You might remember he infamously lied under oath about spying allegations. Now that the government is back open for business, it still remains uncertain when, or if, the panel will resume operations.
And even if it does convene, does anybody actually think Clapper and company will do anything to protect the people?Details
In the midst of the never-ending NSA spying revelations, it is easy to lose track of all of the unconstitutional acts committed by the so-called intelligence community – and the ways that NSA spying, and mentality behind it, permeates law enforcement at all levels.
One troubling aspect recently revealed is the fact that the feds give warrantless, illegally-collected information to local law-enforcement agencies for their investigations. This is done through something called “Special Operations Division,” and through Fusion Centers.
The Fusion Centers act as a conduit for Big Brother – they’re a place to simply receive data collected, with or without a warrant, by federal agencies like the NSA. That information is passed on to local law enforcement and often used in day-to-day criminal investigations.
Fusion Centers were set-up under the Bush Administration to “help keep America safe” after 9/11. The Patriot Act removed barriers that prevented the feds from sharing intelligence information with local law enforcement. This was meant to facilitate communication between agencies so decisions could be made quickly in order to “prevent another terrorist attack.” At least that’s how it was sold. Unfortunately, this practice has been abused and focused on the whole American population – not just terror suspects.
Given the penchant the feds have for using their power to harass political opponents, these spying programs have a pernicious chilling effect on the First Amendment of the Constitution..Details
For years, the National Security Agency (NSA), the major league of electronic monitoring and surveillance, has sponsored programs that try to turn high schools and colleges into their private farm system.
As the snoops explain on their website under a tab called“Opportunities for You”:
Today’s job marketplace is competitive. To get a step ahead you need to gain practical experience before you graduate. Come work with the top professionals in your field at NSA. Our internships, co-op program, scholarships, and work study programs will help you to develop and shape your career well before your studies are through.
Come on, kids. Learn how cool it is to violate the Fourth Amendment. Not only will you not be prosecuted, but you’ll be paid and get killer federal government health insurance benefits!
The NSA isn’t looking for dummies, though. They want public schools to funnel the best and brightest into the agency’s ranks.Again, from the website:
The National Security Agency’s (NSA) Gifted and Talented Program is only open to high school seniors. The program is designed for high school students who have demonstrated an aptitude for Engineering, Math and Science. This program provides a tremendous opportunity to gain valuable experience in the area of STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics].
Why waste those extraordinary talents on lawful, helpful, and noble pursuits when you can come spy on your fellow citizens? Heck, play your cards right and once you’re hired you can even use our substantial surveillance resources to keep an ear on that girl you’ve had your eye on.Details
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.]
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.Details
Testimony prepared for the City of Los Angeles Human Relations Commission in support of the work of the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition on 10-10-13Details
For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. – Jesus Christ
The U.S. Department of Justice denied a request by tech companies Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, and Linkedln to allow them to disclose more information about the frequency with which they are contacted by the U.S. government to give up user data under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. (More info here)
The DOJ claims that giving these companies the ability to tell the public more about requests from federal organizations like the NSA would pose a risk to national security.
So, letting Americans know about its own government spying on them would set us up for real trouble huh? How about the threat to national security posed by the government itself? Shouldn’t the Constitution and transparency be more important? After all, you are four times more likely to be killed by a lightning bolt than by a terror attack.
Patrick Henry understood that government must remain transparent.
“The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.”
Michael Boldin, founder and executive director of the Tenth Amendment Center, discusses the states’ rights approach to fighting NSA spying on Americans; the unlikely coalition that pushed through the NDAA-defying California Liberty Preservation Act (AB-351); and using anti-commandeering court precedents to withhold water and power from NSA data centers in Utah and Texas.Details
In a revelation that should be a surprise to nobody, The New York Times recently reported that the NSA conducted a secret program that collected the cell phone data of Americans in order to track their location.
This program ran from 2010 to 2011 and used data from cell towers to track the location of users’ cell phones, according to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Essentially, the NSA was using phone data to virtually follow people.
An official familiar with the test project said its purpose was to see how the locational data would flow into the N.S.A.’s systems. While real data was used, it was never drawn upon in any investigation, the official said. It was unclear how many Americans’ locational data was collected as part of the project, whether the agency has held on to that information or why the program did not go forward, according to the Times.
The program is now allegedly discontinued, but Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) does not feel that we know the whole truth about it.Details