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Posts Tagged ‘Privacy’

From Washington Technology

Law enforcement welds together intell networks

By Alice Lipowicz

03/14/08 — 01:38 PM

statueoflibertyspying01.jpgState and local law enforcement agencies are moving to strengthen their links with the National Counter Terrorism Center’s classified online information repository, government officials said yesterday.

The center’s secure national Online Secret Web site is now state, local and tribal partners’ primary access point for counterterrorism information, Michael Leiter, acting director of the center, testified to the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing and Terrorism.

“We have been told repeatedly by senior state, local and tribal officials that the information already contained on (Online Secret) meets the vast majority of their counterterrorism needs,” Leiter said.

To increase the usefulness of the Online Secret Web site, the Interagency Threat Assessment Coordination Group is helping to make the information easier to access and more relevant to state and local participants, he said. Also, federal partners including the FBI are posting more products on Online Secret, including daily, situational awareness and comprehensive reports.

The coordination group is preparing an outreach effort explaining to the state, local and tribal users what intelligence they can find on Online Secret and how to access it, Leiter said.

In addition, Leiter said, state and local partners are deploying additional information technology networks, which they refer to as pipes, to connect to the Online Secret network.

Online Secret “is only accessible if one has the right pipes,” Leiter said. “It is my understanding that such systems are being rapidly deployed.”

Two of those networks are the Homeland Security Secure Data Network (HSDN) and the FBI’s FBInet, said Charles Allen, undersecretary for intelligence at the Homeland Security Department.

DHS is helping intelligence fusion centers connect to Online Secret through the secure data network, Allen said.

“DHS is on track to deploy HSDN to 41 state and local fusion centers by the end of fiscal year 2008,” Allen said.

Strengthening information-sharing networks often offers opportunities for IT contractors. DHS, for example outsourced portions of the development, operation and security of its Homeland Security Information Network for sharing unclassified information with state, local and tribal partners.

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From ABC News/The Blotter

ACLU: 900,000 Names on U.S. Terror Watch Lists

February 27, 2008 12:40 PM

Justin Rood Reports:

The FBI now keeps a list of over 900,000 names belonging to known or suspected terrorists, the American Civil Liberties Union said today.

If that number is accurate, it would be an all-time high, exponentially more than the 100,000 names on the list several years ago.  But the number needs to be taken with a grain of salt: after all, the ACLU doesn’t keep the list, the FBI does, and the bureau doesn’t generally like to talk about it.  (Indeed, the FBI has not yet responded to a request for comment for this post.)

But if the ACLU’s figure isn’t accurate, it’s also unlikely to be off by that much.  Last September, the ACLU notes, the Department of Justice’s Inspector General reported the FBI watch list was at 700,000 names, and growing at 20,000 names per month.

The ACLU says they “extrapolated” from those figures to determine the list’s current size. ACLU’s Barry Steinhardt added that the group had spoken privately with people familiar with the watch list, who told them the 900,000 figure was not outlandish.

In the past, The FBI has told ABC News that the size of its watch list is classified. Despite that, both the bureau and the DoJ Inspector General have published the total figure in unclassified reports.

There’s no doubt the FBI’s list is growing: just last June, ABC News reported it was at 509,000 names, based on information in an unclassified FBI budget document.

But strangely, the list may be growing not because of swelling legions of foreign terrorists. Instead, it appears the FBI may be adding tens of thousands of names belonging to U.S. persons it suspects of being domestic terrorists — people who have no known ties to international terrorist organizations.

A separate entity, the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), keeps a list of all names believed to belong to terrorists linked to international terror groups.  That list, which was at 100,000 names in 2003, grew to 465,000 names by last June – but since then has grown only modestly, according to NCTC spokesman Carl Kropf.  Today, Kropf said that list stands at roughly 500,000 names. (Unlike the FBI, the NCTC does not maintain that the size of its watch list is classified information.)

The FBI takes that list and adds to it a new collection of names which belong to U.S. persons believed to be domestic terrorists: people who have links to terrorism but not to any international group.

Last June, the NCTC was responsible for putting 465,000 names on the watch list, and the FBI appeared to add an additional 44,000.  By September, extrapolating from the DoJ Inspector General’s report, the FBI’s contribution appears to have grown to somewhere north of 200,000 names.

Today – if the ACLU is to be believed – the FBI’s contribution may be as high as 417,000 names.  Which would raise a new question: Where are so many domestic terrorists coming from?  Or do they simply use more aliases than foreign terrorists?

Update: The FBI responded late Wednesday afternoon. Spokesman Chad Kolton did not dispute the ACLU’s figure, but noted that the watch list contains names, aliases and name variations for individuals. The number of people on the watch list, he said, was around 300,000, and only 5 percent are U.S. persons.  Kolton noted that the list is “regularly reviewed for accuracy.” Last year the bureau removed 100,000 records “related to people cleared of any nexus with terrorism,” Kolton said.

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As the list of potential terrorists increases, and now includes gamers and bloggers, the US Government is hot on the trail of phone tapping at any cost.

As we have been learning, one never knows what 15 year old Tommy, a gamer, may tell his 16 year old blogging buddy Sean on the phone that could help the CIA and FBI in diverting a potential terrorist plot.

Today the National Intelligence group is in a tizzy since the Protect America Act expired. Oh my! US spies don’t know how to conduct their jobs within legal bounds and are concerned that they may be losing valuable information gained by illegal means if the Protect America Act, with additional protection clauses, isn’t set back in place again soon.

Concerned over the lapse of the Protect America Act, Atty. Gen. Michael B. Mukasey and Director of National Intelligence J. Michael McConnell, throwing a temper tantrum in a letter to Congress, stated that the United States “is now more vulnerable to terrorist attack and other foreign threats.”

Mukasey further indicated that because the Protect America Act had lapsed valuable information was being lost.

Once again government officials were raising and throwing down the “war on terror” flag to strike fear into the hearts and minds of US citizens.

However, all is not lost!

According to National Intelligence, telecommunications companies agreed to continue to illegally wiretap and spy on US citizens without the Protect America Act.

Whew! Bet you were worried about that one!

One upstanding telecommunications company is refusing to cooperate (name not released) with the illegal action and they are denounced as potential hold-ups to providing information on new suspected terrorists.

Civil rights and privacy advocates are outraged at the continued abuses of wiretapping. “In an attempt to get sweeping powers to wiretap without warrants, Republicans are playing politics with domestic surveillance legislation,” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the Washington legislative office of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Check out article at Los Angeles Times.

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Let’s see if I can think of all the areas but I’m sure I’ll miss something…

The Department of Homeland Security (the biggest misnomer there ever was) has U.S. citizens covered with:

  • closed circuit cameras installed at every corner,
  • turning satellites on the people,
  • people taking pictures of your front door,
  • people watching you as you walk around airports,
  • your neighbors spying on you,
  • wanting to biochip the hell out of you,
  • wanting your DNA and body fluids too,
  • accessing all your medical and dental records at any time for any reason,
  • carrying real weapons and tasers to kill and/or incapacitate you when you don’t respond the way that they desire you to respond,
  • and uprooting people from their homes to take their property in the name of the ‘war on terror,’ and ‘homeland security’.

Well, guess what!? Now they have LEXID! This is like a sci-fi novel or movie gone bad!!!

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LEXID is being touted as a Neighborhood Network Watch group’s best friend! The article is written to appeal to any dingleberry dumb enough to fall for it using such lame and seemingly innocuous introductions to LEXID like,

“Take the lobster. Here you have a crustacean with an amazingly miniscule brain, yet this creature is able to “see” through walls of dense water obscured by silt and sand…[…] This is some eye-opening stuff.”

The real intent is revealed in the last lines of the article in which the device is to “see directly through buildings and into businesses, people’s homes, and coverings that may conceal wireless routers as well as to allow a more precise locational awareness.” Talk about setting the real predators loose! Whoa boy!

So, if you think that you can escape from the camera, the satellite, your neighbor, the taser or the bullet, think again! LEXID WILL find you!

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map.jpgThe United States is now a code black country – no/to little statutory protection, no/to little privacy enforcement and an enforcer of identity cards, biometrics and heavy visual surveillance – according to Privacy International‘s recently released report. We ARE the police country that everyone feared would come about soon.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

  • No right to privacy in constitution, though search and seizure protections exist in 4th Amendment; case law on government searches has considered new technology
  • No comprehensive privacy law, many sectoral laws; though tort of privacy
  • FTC continues to give inadequate attention to privacy issues, though issued self-regulating privacy guidelines on advertising in 2007
  • State-level data breach legislation has proven to be useful in identifying faults in security
  • REAL-ID and biometric identification programs continue to spread without adequate oversight, research, and funding structures
  • Extensive data-sharing programs across federal government and with private sector
  • Spreading use of CCTV
  • Congress approved presidential program of spying on foreign communications over U.S. networks, e.g. Gmail, Hotmail, etc.; and now considering immunity for telephone companies, while government claims secrecy, thus barring any legal action
  • No data retention law as yet, but equally no data protection law
  • World leading in border surveillance, mandating trans-border data flows
  • Weak protections of financial and medical privacy; plans spread for ‘rings of steel’ around cities to monitor movements of individuals
  • Democratic safeguards tend to be strong but new Congress and political dynamics show that immigration and terrorism continue to leave politicians scared and without principle
  • Lack of action on data breach legislation on the federal level while REAL-ID is still compelled upon states has shown that states can make informed decisions
  • Recent news regarding FBI biometric database raises particular concerns as this could lead to the largest database of biometrics around the world that is not protected by strong privacy law

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