Sen. Paul proposes bill protecting Americans from drone surveillance
By Pete Kasperowicz –
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Tuesday introduced the Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act, which would require the government to get a warrant before using aerial drones to surveil U.S. citizens.
More broadly, Paul’s bill is aimed at preventing “unwarranted governmental intrusion” through the use of drones, according to the lawmaker.
Drones have now become a common sight and thanks to sites like letsflywisely.com; now anyone can read complete reviews on DJI and quadcopter drones online to find and buy the best one which suits their need.
“Like other tools used to collect information in law enforcement, in order to use drones a warrant needs to be issued,” Paul said Tuesday. “Americans going about their everyday lives should not be treated like criminals or terrorists and have their rights infringed upon by military tactics.”
The bill, S. 3287, would require the government to obtain a warrant to use drones with the exception of patroling national borders, when drones are needed to prevent “imminent danger to life” or when there are risks of a terrorist attack.
The bill would also give Americans the ability to sue the government for violating the act. And, it would prohibit evidence collected with warrantless drone surveillance from being used as evidence in court.
While drone surveillance in the United States would undoubtedly prove controversial, the use of drones is currently a topic of international concern. Some Democrats have said the use of drones to disrupt terrorist networks is hurting America’s image overseas.
Additionally, the United Nations is considering an investigation into drone airstrikes inside Pakistan, which could focus on the rate of civilian casualties caused by these attacks.
Congress has ordered the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to move toward allowing drones to fly alongside commercial aircraft in U.S. airspace by 2015.
The FAA is planning a pilot program to test fly drones in six locations, but will not set the rules for what the unmanned aircraft can be used for.
Law enforcement agencies and state and local governments have expressed a strong interest in unmanned aircraft, and are being courted as potential customers by the booming drone industry.
There is opposition, however, from groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) that have raised concerns about the impact of the drones on privacy.
Law enforcement officials refuse to identify who installed ‘mystery’ cameras on utility poles throughout St. Lawrence County
By CRAIG FREILICH
Some area law enforcement officials apparently know who is installing the mysterious camera boxes on utility poles around St. Lawrence County, but they’re not saying who it is.
The boxes, with a window for cameras to peer out of, have popped up in Norwood, Raymondville, DeKalb Junction, Waddington, Massena and Canton, according to witnesses.
Law enforcement officials at local, state and federal agencies agree the boxes contain license plate readers that take snapshots, and are not video cameras that send live feeds. But none of them are willing to identify what agency the cameras belong to and who is operating them.
The cameras appear to be identical to license plate readers advertised on web sites as containing a visible light camera, infrared camera and an infrared light source. The cameras can read plates on passing vehicles, record the plate number, date, time and location, send it to a database for storage, and alert law enforcement if it detects a vehicle or driver being sought.
They are similar to vehicle-mounted units that St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin Wells says his department has been using for 10 years.
But about the pole-mounted cameras, Sheriff Wells says, “They are not mine.”
A spokesperson from National Grid, the major electric distributor in the region, said the company periodically agrees to requests from police agencies for placement of such devices on utility poles, but they are not permitted to reveal any details about whose cameras they are or where they might be.
National Grid’s Virginia Limmiatis, a senior media relations representative in Syracuse, said their policy “authorizes the user to plug into our system. Under the agreement they are required to install and maintain their own equipment.” The user will get a bill for a usage fee. But she couldn’t say whose cameras these are.
Meanwhile, a box Massena Electric employees found on one of their poles was turned over to the Massena Police Department. “We didn’t even know it was a camera,” said Superintendent Andrew McMahon. “We called the village police to pick it up.”
Massena Police Chief Timmy Currier said he returned it to the owner, but wouldn’t say how he knew who the owner was, nor would he say who he gave it to.
A Border Patrol operations officer in the sector station in Swanton, Vt., said he had no knowledge about the use of the cameras. He referred questions to an investigator apparently associated with Franklin County law enforcement, who said he knew about other cameras, but didn’t know about deployment of license plate readers, and wouldn’t discuss it further.
State Police Lt. Kevin Boyea of Troop B said he has no knowledge of the cameras, their origin or their purpose.
However, not all police agencies were aware of the boxes. After discussing it at a periodic meeting of police chiefs from around the county this morning, Wells said, “none of the local chiefs were ever contacted about the existence of these cameras.”
Several of the law enforcement representatives said use of cameras – license plate readers and surveillance cameras – is increasing, and while we might not be used to such scrutiny in the North Country, each cited reports about how people living in cities should expect to be on camera at any given moment.
“Any time you travel in an urban area, you will see lots of cameras,” said Sheriff Wells. Many, he said, are designed to record drivers who go through red lights, and there are many other uses. “They’re designed to assist police. They are a tool for investigators.”
But any law enforcement agency that wants data stored by the cameras can have access to it if they need it and can show why. But they can’t tell us who they send their requests to.
McMahon, the superintendent at Massena Electric Department, said one of his crews found a box on one of their poles and took it down because “it was in the electric space,” the top tier of wires on the pole above the telephone and cable TV wires, and whoever put it there had taken a chance with electrocution. He said they had never received a request or been informed about its placement.
McMahon said whoever put it there might have thought the pole belonged to National Grid, and that it wouldn’t be the first time a mistake like that had happened. He said National Grid themselves had once replaced a damaged Massena Electric pole without knowing it.
10 Signs That The Highways Of America Are Being Transformed Into A High Tech Prison Grid
Once upon a time, the open highways of America were one of our greatest symbols of liberty and freedom. Anyone could hop in a car and set off for a new adventure at any time and even our music encouraged us to “get our kicks on route 66”. But today everything has changed. Now the highways of America are being steadily transformed into a high tech prison grid. All over the country, thousands upon thousands of surveillance cameras watch our highways and automated license plate readers are actually being used to track vehicle movements in some of our largest cities. Many state and local governments have come to view our highways as money machines and our control freak politicians have established a vast network of toll booths, red light cameras and speed traps to keep cash endlessly pouring in. If all of that wasn’t enough, TSA “VIPR teams” are now hitting the interstates and conducting thousands of “unannounced security screenings” each year. Driving on the highways of America used to be a great joy, but now “Big Brother” is rapidly sucking all of the fun out of it. Eventually, it may get to the point where Americans simply dread having to go out on the highway.
The following are 10 signs that the highways of America are being transformed into a high tech prison grid….
#1 Surveillance Cameras
All over the United States, a vast network of surveillance cameras is carefully watching our highways. The following is an excerpt from a recent article in the Baltimore Sun about this phenomenon….
The room is large and well lit, and it buzzes with activity even though its occupants remain seated.
The video screen at the front of the room is as wide as an IMAX, though not quite as tall. It consists of 64 smaller screens – 16 columns of four apiece – that monitor every inch of interstate between Great Wolf Lodge and the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. There is an emphasis on tunnels and bridges, and one corner screen is tuned in to a 24-hour weather report.
If you are driving on an highway in Hampton Roads, VDOT is watching you.
#2 Automated License Plate Readers
In a previous article, I detailed how automated license plate readers are being used to track the movements of every single vehicle that enters Washington D.C.
A recent Washington Post article explained that most people do not even know that they are there….
More than 250 cameras in the District and its suburbs scan license plates in real time, helping police pinpoint stolen cars and fleeing killers. But the program quietly has expanded beyond what anyone had imagined even a few years ago.
With virtually no public debate, police agencies have begun storing the information from the cameras, building databases that document the travels of millions of vehicles.
Nowhere is that more prevalent than in the District, which has more than one plate-reader per square mile, the highest concentration in the nation. Police in the Washington suburbs have dozens of them as well, and local agencies plan to add many more in coming months, creating a comprehensive dragnet that will include all the approaches into the District.
A lot of police cruisers are being outfitted with this technology around the nation as well.
So if you see a police car pull up behind you, there is a very good chance that a computer has already read your license plate and is giving the officer all of your information.
#3 Ridiculous Regulations
Some of the new “auto safety laws” going in around the nation are absolutely absurd.
For example, do you buckle up your pet when you go for a ride? Well, in New Jersey you can now be fined up to $1000 for not having your pet properly restrained while you are out driving.
#4 Outrageous Fines
In many areas of the country, unpaid traffic tickets can rapidly become a major financial burden.
For example, the new tolls on the 520 floating bridge in Seattle are absolutely killing some commuters…..
Registered vehicle owners who do not pay their toll within 80 days or more will be mailed a $40 civil penalty for each unpaid toll transaction in addition to a $5 reprocessing fee.
WSDOT confirmed some tolls plus penalty fees have added up to more than $1,000.
#5 Oppressive Toll Roads
Toll roads have become one of the favorite “revenue raising tools” for our politicians.
At this point the tolls on some roads have become so incredibly oppressive that many people simply cannot afford to drive on them anymore.
And for some reason the toll increases are coming especially fast and furious this year.
A recent USA Today article summarized some of the oppressive toll increases that we are seeing all over the nation….
•California and Washington authorized high-occcupancy toll (HOT) lanes, where tolls rise or fall depending on traffic flow. Texas enacted laws authorizing private toll roads and allowing regional authorities to collect tolls. Indiana removed a provision requiring legislative approval for toll roads.
•Some Maryland tolls will double this year as the state seeks money to rehabilitate aging roads, bridges and tunnels.
The use of tolls on interstate highways also is spreading:
•Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican, just won approval from the Federal Highway Administration to add tolls on Interstate 95 in his state. The state estimates that tolls on the heavily traveled corridor could generate $250 million over the first five years for expanding, improving and maintaining the highway.
•New York and New Jersey recently announced that E-ZPass commuters will pay $1.50 more and cash customers $2 more to cross bridges and tunnels between the two states.
•Georgia just created toll lanes on Interstate 85 in suburban Atlanta.
The toll hikes are more than chump change: Cash tolls on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge jumped to $4 from $2.50, and to $12 from $8 on all the New York-New Jersey Hudson River crossings.
Toll roads are one of my pet peeves. Any time I see a toll booth it immediately puts me in a bad mood.
#6 Red Light Cameras
Red light cameras are another favorite “revenue raising tool” for the control freaks that run things.
Unfortunately, these cameras don’t always work right so a lot of innocent people end up getting ticketed.
But politicians love them because they can raise a lot of cash. The following is from a recent Business Insider article….
According to U.S. PIRG (Public Interest Research Group), nearly 700 U.S. cities and towns installed the cameras, which accounted for more than 90 percent of tickets issued for illegal right turns, or rolling stops.
In one New Jersey town, PIRG found 2,500 tickets were issued at one intersection within the first two months of installing a camera.
#7 Speed Traps
In the old days, speed traps were mostly about making the roads safer.
Today, they are mostly about raising money.
One police chief up in Michigan has even admitted that the nature of his job has fundamentally changed….
“When I first started in this job 30 years ago, police work was never about revenue enhancement, but if you’re a chief now, you have to look at whether your department produces revenues.”
Speed traps are becoming more common almost everywhere, but some areas of the country are worse than others.
A recent report from the National Motorists Association ranked how likely you are to get a speeding ticket in each of the 50 U.S. states….
After crunching the numbers, the NMA found that Nevada is the state most likely to issue you a traffic ticket, followed by Georgia and Alabama. In 2010 Florida took the top spot and Georgia and Nevada tied for second place.
The state where you’re least likely to get ticketed is Wyoming, followed closely by Montana. These two ranked at the bottom in 2010 as well.
#8 Government Spying
It has been revealed that the federal government has been secretly putting GPS tracking devices on thousands of vehicles in order to track the movements of people that they are interested in watching.
Most of the time the people involved have not even been charged with any crimes.
The following is a short excerpt from a recent Wired magazine article about this phenomenon….
The 25-year-old resident of San Jose, California, says he found the first one about three weeks ago on his Volvo SUV while visiting his mother in Modesto, about 80 miles northeast of San Jose. After contacting Wired and allowing a photographer to snap pictures of the device, it was swapped out and replaced with a second tracking device. A witness also reported seeing a strange man looking beneath the vehicle of the young man’s girlfriend while her car was parked at work, suggesting that a tracking device may have been retrieved from her car.
Then things got really weird when police showed up during a Wired interview with the man.
The young man, who asked to be identified only as Greg, is one among an increasing number of U.S. citizens who are finding themselves tracked with the high-tech devices.
The Justice Department has said that law enforcement agents employ GPS as a crime-fighting tool with “great frequency,” and GPS retailers have told Wired that they’ve sold thousands of the devices to the feds.
#9 Extraction Devices
If you get pulled over by police, you never know what to expect these days. Previously, I have written about how law enforcement authorities in some parts of the U.S. are using “extraction devices” to download data out of the cell phones of motorists that they pull over.
The following is how a recent article on CNET News described the capabilities of these “extraction devices”….
The devices, sold by a company called Cellebrite, can download text messages, photos, video, and even GPS data from most brands of cell phones. The handheld machines have various interfaces to work with different models and can even bypass security passwords and access some information.
#10 VIPR Teams
If all of the above was not bad enough, now we have to deal with TSA “VIPR teams” terrorizing us on the highways.
If you regularly travel across the country, there is a good chance that you have already encountered one of their “unannounced security screenings”.
The following is from a local news report down in Tennessee about how local authorities are working with VIPR teams to fight “terrorism” on the interstates….
You’re probably used to seeing TSA’s signature blue uniforms at the airport, but now agents are hitting the interstates to fight terrorism with Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR).
“Where is a terrorist more apt to be found? Not these days on an airplane more likely on the interstate,” said Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons.
Tuesday Tennessee was first to deploy VIPR simultaneously at five weigh stations and two bus stations across the state.
TSA VIPR teams now conduct approximately 8,000 “unannounced security screenings” at subway stations, bus terminals, seaports and highway rest stops each year.
Are you starting to see what I am talking about?
All of this “security” is becoming extremely oppressive.
We don’t need “Big Brother” constantly watching us, tracking us and fining us on our highways.
So do you have any examples of how the highways of America are being transformed into a high tech prison grid to add to the list above?
Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below….
Sir Tim Berners-Lee said that it was moves by governments to control or spy on the internet that ‘keep him up most at night’.
The government’s controversial plans to allow intelligence agencies to monitor the internet use and digital communications of every person in the UK suffered a fresh blow on Tuesday when the inventor of the world wide web warned that the measures were dangerous and should be dropped.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who serves as an adviser to the government on how to make public data more accessible, says the extension of the state’s surveillance powers would be a “destruction of human rights” and would make a huge amount of highly intimate information vulnerable to theft or release by corrupt officials. In an interview with the Guardian, Berners-Lee said: “The amount of control you have over somebody if you can monitor internet activity is amazing.
“You get to know every detail, you get to know, in a way, more intimate details about their life than any person that they talk to because often people will confide in the internet as they find their way through medical websites … or as an adolescent finds their way through a website about homosexuality, wondering what they are and whether they should talk to people about it.”
The British computer engineer, who devised the system that allows the creation of websites and links, said that of all the recent developments on the internet, it was moves by governments to control or spy on the internet that “keep me up most at night”.
The government ran into a storm of criticism earlier this month when it emerged that it was planning to allow GCHQ to monitor all communication on social media, Skype calls and email communication as well as logging every site visited by internet users in Britain.
Berners-Lee said: “The idea that we should routinely record information about people is obviously very dangerous. It means that there will be information around which could be stolen, which can be acquired through corrupt officials or corrupt operators, and [could be] used, for example, to blackmail people in the government or people in the military. We open ourselves out, if we store this information, to it being abused.”
He said that if the government believed it was essential to collect this kind of sensitive data about individuals, it would have to establish a “very strong independent body” which would be able to investigate every use of the surveillance powers to establish whether the target did pose a threat, and whether the intrusion had produced valuable evidence.
But he said that since the coalition had not spelled out an oversight regime, or how the data could be safely stored, “the most important thing to do is to stop the bill as it is at the moment”.
The intervention of the highly respected internet pioneer creates a headache for Theresa May, the home secretary, who has said she plans to press on with introducing the new measures after the Queen’s speech next month, despite concerns raised by senior Liberal Democrats. It will add to the woes of ministers mired in damaging battles over unpopular policy proposals on several fronts.
Berners-Lee was speaking to the Guardian as part of a week-long series on the battle for control of the internet, examining how states, companies and technological developments are challenging the principles of openness and universal access on which the net was built.
Berners-Lee has been an outspoken defender of the “open internet”, warning in 2010 that web freedom was under threat from the rise of social network “silos” such as Facebook, “closed world” apps such as those released by Apple, and governments’ attempts to monitor people’s online behaviour.
He said he remained concerned about the creation of “strong monopolies” but believed it was unlikely that internet giants such as Facebook and Google would enjoy their dominance indefinitely. “The battle lines are being drawn and things are in a huge state of flux, so it’s very difficult to tell, when you look at the world now, what it’s going to look like in a few months’ time.”
He said that throughout the history of the internet, people had been concerned about the emergence of apparently dominant giants, but they were vulnerable to smaller companies that could innovate more effectively.
In a coded reference to predictions that Facebook could in soon become, in effect, for most people, the internet, he recalled a “wise” colleague who pointed out more than 20 years ago: “It’s amazing how quickly people on the internet can pick something up, but it’s also amazing how quickly they can drop it.”
Acknowledging growing concerns about online privacy, he said computer users received significant benefits from the vast amount of data that big web companies accumulate about them, but that increasingly they would seek to apply limits to how the data could be used, as well as demanding access to the data themselves.
Although Google now allows users to obtain all the data it holds about them and Facebook provides a similar, slower service, individual users were not yet being allowed to exploit all the information relating to them to make their lives easier. Armed with the information that social networks and other web giants hold about us, he said, computers will be able to “help me run my life, to guess what I need next, to guess what I should read in the morning, because it will know not only what’s happening out there but also what I’ve read already, and also what my mood is, and who I’m meeting later on”.
Berners-Lee said big web companies would come under more pressure to make personal data more available, and that users might insist that the information was not held by the companies themselves. “Perhaps what you’d want in the future is to have an established cloud infrastructure management and to say to somebody like … Google: ‘Look, don’t store it on your site, store it here. I will control who gets access to it.’ That would turn the tables and leave me in control of the data.”
He was worried by the rise of so-called “native apps” such as those produced for the iPhone and iPad, because they were not searchable. “Every time somebody puts a magazine on a phone now and doesn’t put it on to a web app [a form of open software], we lose a whole lot of information to the general public discourse – I can’t link to it, so I can’t tweet it, I can’t discuss it, I can’t like it, I can’t hate it.”
But he said the rapid improvement of web apps, and their ability to offer functionality and slickness previously only available from Apple or Android apps, would return more information to the open internet.
In a clear dig at Apple’s highly restrictive ecosystem, he said: “I should be able to pick which applications I use for managing my life, I should be able to pick which content I look at, and I should be able to pick which device I use, which company I use for supplying my internet, and I’d like those to be independent choices.”
Berners-Lee, who is speaking at the World Wide Web Conference in Lyon on Wednesday, also warned people against assuming that major websites and social networks would be around for ever. “I think we need to be more conscious that places that seem very secure may in the future disappear. The long-time persistence of all this data … is an issue for all of us if we think that maybe our grandchildren, depending on which website we use, may or may not be able to see our photos.”
EFF recently received documents from the FBI that reveal details about the depth of the agency’s electronic surveillance capabilities and call into question the FBI’s controversial effort to push Congress to expand the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) for greater access to communications data. The documents we received were sent to us in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request we filed back in 2007 after Wired reported on evidence that the FBI was able to use “secret spyware” to track the source of e-mailed bomb threats against a Washington state high school. The documents discuss a tool called a “web bug” or a “Computer and Internet Protocol Address Verifier” (CIPAV),1 which seems to have been in use since at least 2001.2
What is CIPAV and How Does It Work?
The documents discuss technology that, when installed on a target’s computer, allows the FBI to collect the following information:
Media Access Control (MAC) address
“Browser environment variables”
Open communication ports
List of the programs running
Operating system type, version, and serial number
Browser type and version
The URL that the target computer was previously connected to
Registered computer name
Registered company name
Currently logged in user name
Other information that would assist with “identifying computer users, computer software installed, [and] computer hardware installed”3
It’s not clear from the documents how the FBI deploys the spyware, though Wired has reported that, in the Washington state case, the FBI may have sent a URL via MySpace’s internal messaging, pointing to code that would install the spyware by exploiting a vulnerability in the user’s browser. Although the documents discuss some problems with installing the tool in some cases, other documents note that the agency’s Crypto Unit only needs 24-48 hours to prepare deployment.4 And once the tool is deployed, “it stay[s] persistent on the compromised computer and . . . every time the computer connects to the Internet, [FBI] will capture the information associated with the PRTT [Pen Register/Trap & Trace Order].5
Where Has CIPAV Been Used and What Legal Process Does the FBI Rely On to Use It?
It is clear from the documents we received that the FBI—and likely other federal agencies—have used this tool a lot. According the documents, the FBI has used CIPAV in cases across the country—from Denver, El Paso, and Honolulu in 2005; to Philadelphia, California, and Houston in 2006; to Cincinnati and Miami in 2007. In fact, one stack of documents we received consists entirely of requests from FBI offices around the country to the agency’s Cryptologic and Electronic Analysis Unit (“CEAU”) for help installing the device.6
The FBI has been using the tool in domestic criminal investigations as well as in FISA cases,7 and the FISA Court appears to have questioned the propriety of the tool.8 Other agencies, and even other countries have shown interest in the tool, indicating its effectiveness. Emails from 2006 discuss interest from the Air Force,9 the Naval Criminal Investigative Service10 and the Joint Task Force-Global Network Operations,11 while another email from 2007 discusses interest from the German government.12
The FBI’s Crypto Unit appears to have viewed the CIPAV as a proprietary tool. In one email, an agent grumbled, “we are seeing indications that [CIPAV] is being used needlessly by some agencies, unnecessarily raising difficult legal questions (and a risk of suppression without any countervailing benefit).”13 In another email, an agent stated, “[I] am weary [sic] to just hand over our tools to another Gov’t agency without any oversight or protection for our tool/technique.”14 And a third email noted, “[w]e never discuss how we collect the [data CIPAV can collect] in the warrants/affidavits or with case agents. AUSAs, squad supervisors, outside agencies, etc.”15
It appears from the documents that the FBI wasn’t sure what legal process to seek to authorize use of the spyware device. Some emails discuss trying to use a “trespasser exception” to get around a warrant,16 while others discuss telling the AUSA (government attorney) to cite to the “All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651(a).”17 And one email suggests some agents thought the tool required no legal process at all. In that email, the FBI employee notes he considers the tool to be “consensual monitoring without need for process; in my mind, no different than sitting in a chat room and tracking participants’ on/off times; or for that matter sitting on P2P networks and finding out who is offering KP.”18
Eventually, the FBI seems to have sought a legal opinion on the proper use of the tool, both from the Office of General Counsel and from the National Security Law Branch,19 and ultimately, the agency seems to have settled on a “two-step request” process for CIPAV deployments — a search warrant to authorize intrusion into the computer, and then a subsequent Pen/Trap order to authorize the surveillance done by the spyware.
What Does This Mean for the FBI’s Push for New Back Doors into Our Internet Communications?
Over the past few months, we’ve heard a lot from the FBI about its need to expand the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), a law that that requires all telecommunications and broadband providers to be technically capable of complying with an intercept order. Federal law enforcement officials have argued that under current regulations they can’t get the information they need and want to expand CALEA to apply to communications systems like Gmail, Skype, and Facebook. However, these documents show the FBI already has numerous tools available to surveil suspects directly, rather than through each of their communications service providers. One heavily redacted email notes that the FBI has other tools that “provide the functionality of the CIPAV [text redacted] as well as provide other useful info that could help further the case.”21 Another email notes that CIPAVs are used in conjunction with email intercepts, perhaps using similar spyware-type tools.22 If the FBI already has endpoint surveillance-based tools for internet wiretapping, it casts serious doubt on law enforcement’s claims of “going dark.”
A device that remains “persistent” on a “compromised computer” is certainly concerning. However, if the FBI obtains a probable cause-based court order before installing tools like CIPAV, complies with the minimization requirements in federal wiretapping law by limiting the time and scope of surveillance, and removes the device once surveillance concludes, the use of these types of targeted tools for Internet surveillance would be a much more narrowly tailored solution to the FBI’s purported problems than the proposal to undermine every Internet user’s privacy and security by expanding CALEA. We will continue to report on both the FBI’s use of endpoint surveillance tools and on the agency’s push to expand CALEA as more documents come in.
Click here to access full pdf versions of the documents we received or see below for the pages referenced in this post.
32 Signs That The Entire World Is Being Transformed Into A Futuristic Big Brother Prison Grid
Do you want your children and grandchildren to live in a futuristic “big brother” control grid where everything they do is watched, recorded, tracked and tightly controlled? Well, that is exactly where things are headed. We witnessed some really bad totalitarian regimes during the 20th century, but what is coming is going to be far more restrictive than any of the despots of the past ever dreamed was possible. Today, nearly every government on earth is tightening their grip on their citizens. Paranoia has become standard operating procedure all over the planet and nobody is to be trusted. Global politicians will give speeches about liberty and freedom even as they undermine them at every turn. There are very, very few nations on the planet where liberty and freedom are increasing. Instead, almost everywhere you turn the “control grid” is getting tighter. Governments don’t want us gathering together and interacting with one another. Instead, they want us to work our tails off to support the system, they want us enslaved financially and constantly drowning in debt, and they want us addicted to television and other forms of entertainment. They want us as numb and docile as possible. Meanwhile, all over the globe they continue to construct a futuristic “big brother” control grid that will ensure that they will always be able to control us.
Sadly, this is not the plot to some post-apocalyptic science fiction movie.
This is really happening.
When you read the list below, each of the 32 signs may not seem to be all that significant individually. However, when they are all taken together, they paint a truly frightening picture….
#1 The days of the free and open Internet are slowly coming to an end. Many nations around the world have implemented strict Internet censorship and many other nations are moving in that direction. With each passing year the level of freedom on the Internet diminishes.
Regulation of the Internet has even become a primary topic of discussion at G-8 meetings. According to The New York Times, French President Nicolas Sarkozy is leading the charge for a more “civilized Internet”….
Leaders of the Group of 8 industrialized countries are set to issue a provocative call for stronger Internet regulation, a cause championed by the host of the meeting, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, but fiercely opposed by some Internet companies and free-speech groups.
Why are free speech groups strongly opposing what Sarkozy is trying to do?
It is because western governments want to kill liberty and freedom on the Internet just like China is doing. The Internet has been a great tool for waking people up and distributing information, and the control freaks that want to run all of our lives do not like that one bit.
#2 Internet censorship in China, the largest nation on earth, is absolutely brutal. The Chinese government blocks any websites that talk about such topics as the Dalai Lama, the 1989 crackdown on Tiananmen Square protesters and Falun Gong.
Even web searches for the English word “freedom” are blocked.
#3 Starting next year, all new cellphones will be required to contain a chip that will allow the president to broadcast “emergency alerts” to the cellphones whenever the president wants. Cellphone users will not be allowed to opt out of the presidential messages.
The following is how a CBS news report describes the new system….
A new national alert system is set to begin in New York City that will alert the public to emergencies via cell phones.
It’s called the Personal Localized Alert Network or PLAN. Presidential and local emergency messages as well as Amber Alerts would appear on cell phones equipped with special chips and software.
#4 The U.K. has more surveillance cameras per citizen than anywhere else in the world. In fact, according to one estimate, there are 4.8 million video cameras constantly watching every move citizens make.
#5 A “certified TSA official” was brought in to oversee student searches at the Santa Fe High School prom last weekend.
Will this kind of thing soon be happening at every high school in America?
#6 The U.S. Department of Agriculture is spending huge amounts of money to install surveillance cameras in the cafeterias of public schools so that government control freaks can closely monitor what our children are eating.
The following is how a recent article posted on Infowars.com describes this new program….
Billed as part of an effort to reduce obesity and improve eating habits, small cameras are programmed to take snapshots of lunch trays before and after each student eats. Each child is uniquely identifiable via a barcode attached to the tray. The amount of calories and nutrients that each child has consumed is then calculated via a database containing 7,500 different varieties of food.
#7 The EU is spending hundreds of millions of euros on propaganda campaigns in an attempt to convince the citizens of Europe that the EU is good for them.
#8 Today, FBI surveillance teams regularly employ warrantless GPS tracking to monitor the movements of peaceful activists – even if they are not suspected of ever committing a crime. The Obama administration is fighting in court to keep this practice legal.
#9 According to FBI Director Robert Mueller, “homegrown terrorists” represent as big a threat to American national security as al-Qaeda does.
#10 Federal VIPR teams are establishing a series of “internal checkpoints” all across the United States. The following is how a recent article by Paul Joseph Watson described these VIPR team activities….
The TSA has announced its intention to expand the VIPR program to include roadside inspections of commercial vehicles, setting up a network of internal checkpoints and rolling out security procedures already active in airports, bus terminals and subway stations to roads and highways across the United States.
By the way, who in the world decided that it would be a good idea to call them “VIPR teams”?
What is next? Are we going to find out that the TSA has hired Cobra Commander and Destro as consultants?
#11 Thousands of “dysfunctional” families in the U.K. are being subjected to intensive 24-hour surveillance to make sure that their children attend school, go to bed on time and eat proper meals.
#12 U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer says that Amtrak should have a “no ride list” similar to the “no fly list” used at U.S. airports.
Before you can get on an airplane today, your name is checked to make sure that it is not on any international watch lists.
So what do you have to do to get on an international watch list?
Nobody really knows.
What is next?
A “no breathe list”?
#13 U.K. authorities are now admitting that every phone call, text message, email and website visit made by private citizens will be stored for one year and will be available for monitoring by government agencies.
#14 The amount of cell phone surveillance that goes on is absolutely staggering. For example, one German politician named Malte Spitz recently went to court to force Deutsche Telekom to reveal how often his cell phone was being tracked. What he found out was absolutely amazing. It turns out that in just one 6 month period, Deutsche Telekom recorded the longitude and latitude coordinates of his cell phone 35,000 times.
#15 DARPA has now developed new video surveillance technology that many are warning will bring about the end of public anonymity. The following is how the ExtremeTech blog is describing this new technology….
To be in public is to be on camera, but most video footage is discarded, as only so much can be sorted and analyzed — until now. DARPA has created a technology that can index and analyze video in real-time, marking the end of anonymity in public places.
#16 In the U.K., it is now illegal to photograph the police for any reason whatsoever.
#17 Police in the U.K. have purchased software that will enable them to easily follow the “digital footprints” of virtually anyone. The following is how one recent news report in the U.K. described this new software….
The Metropolitan Police has bought Geotime, a security programme used by the U.S. military which tracks suspects’ movements and communications and displays them on a three-dimensional graphic.
The software aggregates information gathered from social networking sites, GPS devices like the iPhone, mobile phones, financial transactions and IP network logs to build a detailed picture of an individual’s movements.
#18 In Tacoma, Washington a seventh grade student was recently questioned by the Secret Service about a message that he posted on his Facebook page.
Be very careful about what you put up on Facebook or Twitter. The entire world can see it.
#19 According to the ACLU, state police in Michigan are using “extraction devices” to download data from the cellphones of motorists that they pull over. This is taking place even if those pulled over are not accused of doing anything wrong.
The following is how an article on CNET News describes the capabilities of these “extraction devices”….
The devices, sold by a company called Cellebrite, can download text messages, photos, video, and even GPS data from most brands of cell phones. The handheld machines have various interfaces to work with different models and can even bypass security passwords and access some information.
#20 Last year, one shocking poll found that 51 percent of Americans agree with this statement: “It is necessary to give up some civil liberties in order to make the country safe from terrorism.”
#21 The MPAA and RIAA have submitted their master plan for enforcing copyright rights to the new Office of Intellectual Property Enforcement and it includes installing spyware on everyone’s computers that would detect and delete any infringing materials.
#22 The U.K.’s new Internet law includes a “three strikes” rule that allows your entire family to be cut off from the Internet if anyone who lives in your house is accused of copyright infringement – without proof or evidence or trial.
#23 Would you like to have your face scanned and your ID recorded every time you attend a public event? Don’t laugh. The San Francisco Entertainment Commission is actually proposing a new rule which “would require all venues with an occupancy of over 100 people to record the faces of all patrons and employees and scan their ID’s for storage in a database which they must hand over to law enforcement on request.”
#24 Today, the U.S. government and governments all over the industrialized world have become so obsessed with reducing carbon emissions that now they even tell us what kinds of light bulbs we are allowed to buy.
#25 The Obama administration is developing a universal “Internet ID” program that would watch, track, monitor and potentially control your activity on the Internet. These “trusted identities” are being touted as a way to increase safety and security on the Internet and as a way to eliminate the need for dozens of different usernames and passwords.
#26 As I have written about previously, the “Internet kill switch” is rapidly becoming one of the favorite new tools of tyrannical governments all over the globe….
Once upon a time, the Internet was a bastion of liberty and freedom, but now nation after nation is cracking down on it. In fact, legislation has been introduced once again in Congress that would give the president of the United States an “Internet kill switch” that he would be able to use in the event of war or emergency. Of course there would be a whole lot of wiggle room in determining what actually constitutes a true “emergency”. The members of Congress that are pushing this “Internet kill switch” bill want the U.S. to become more like China in this regard.
#27 A shocking document released by Wikileaks proves that high level U.S. government officials have been pushing for North American integration. According to the document, some of the goals of this integration would be to turn North America into an economic zone similar to the EU, to have one common currency for the entire continent and to have one common “security perimeter” for the entire continent.
Let us hope that a plan like this never comes to pass.
#28 One of the most liberty-killing pieces of legislation in recent years was the Patriot Act. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Republicans and the vast majority of Democrats will never vote against the renewal of the Patriot Act because they don’t want to look “soft” on terrorism.
About the only U.S. Senator to stand up against the Patriot Act is Rand Paul. He is doing all he can to fight a one man battle against the Patriot Act but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is doing his best to extend the Patriot Act without any debate taking place.
Top Democrats are attempting to claim that even debating the renewal of Patriot Act provisions would “endanger” national security.
Of course most Republicans are not going to stand in the way because they absolutely love the Patriot Act.
If you still believe that the Patriot Act is a good idea, you should watch this video, and you should read this recent article.
#29 If you display the wrong political message on your car, you may find law enforcement officials cracking down on you.
A 73-year-old Virginia resident was recently kicked out of a national park for displaying a sticker promoting “Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty” on his car.
The following is an excerpt from a recent Rutherford Institute report about this incident….
The Rutherford Institute has come to the defense of a 73-year-old Virginia resident who was allegedly ordered by a park ranger to remove his car from a national military park in South Carolina because of political messages attached to his vehicle. Jack Faw, whose ancestors fought in the historic battle memorialized at Kings Mountain National Military Park, contacted The Rutherford Institute after being told by a park ranger that the decal promoting a political organization associated with Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), which was displayed on the back window of Faw’s car, was not allowed in the park.
#30 Brutal crowd control techniques are not just for major events anymore. Recently, riot police in Illinois used tear gas, LRAD sound weapons and crowd suppression tactics against a bunch of college students that were just blowing off some steam at a year-end block party at Western Illinois University.
#31 The U.S. government is gathering more information on all of us than ever before. According to a recent article in the Baltimore Sun, every six hours the volume of information that the NSA gathers is equivalent to the entire Library of Congress.
Nobody is anonymous anymore. The truth is that the U.S. government, governments across the globe and major international corporations have more information about you than you probably ever dared to imagine.
#32 If you think things are bad now, just wait until you see what global authorities have planned for the future.
Are you ready to live in a “Planned-opolis”? Are you ready to use a “calorie card” and to have what you eat determined by a “global food council”?
The following video was originally produced by the Forum for the Future, a major NGO funded by big corporations such as Time Warner and Royal Dutch Shell. In this video, the Forum for the Future presents their chilling version of the future….
If you don’t want to live in a “Planned-opolis” where everything you do is constantly watched, tracked and controlled by a horde of bureaucrats then you better say something now.
The entire globe is moving in the direction of totalitarianism. Our world is literally becoming a prison grid. Of course those in power say that we need more regulation and more control “for the good of humanity”, but that has never worked out too well in the past, now has it?
If you don’t like the direction this world is headed then now is the time to stand up and let your voice be heard. If you wait until they are ripping the last shreds of liberty and freedom away from you it will be too late.
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