Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Privacy

Patriot Act’s Illegal Section 215 due to Expire June 1

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, February 18, 2015:

The seal of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Section 215 of the Patriot Act is set to expire June 1, and each side in the upcoming battle to renew, reform, or let expire this unconstitutional abridgement of freedoms is rolling out its arguments.

Section 215 is often referred to as the Patriot Act’s “library records” provision because it allows the FBI to order a library or any other source to produce, without a warrant showing probable cause (as required under the Fourth Amendment), all “tangible things” belonging to its target of interest including “books, records, papers, documents, and other items.” That includes books borrowed and websites visited by the target while at the library. Niceties demanded by the Fourth Amendment are ignored in Section 215 as long as the FBI “specifies” that its order is “for an authorized investigation … to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.”

One of those favoring renewal of Section 215 is Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee:

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Dollree Mapp, Defendant in Landmark Fourth Amendment Case, Dead at 91

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, December 10, 2014: 

3,927 days Earl Warren from 1943 to 1953

Chief Justice Earl Warren

When Dollree Mapp answered the door on May 23, 1957, she had no idea of the impact her next move would have on jurisprudence in the United States. 

At her door were three local police officers who were searching for a suspect in a bombing, and they asked permission to enter her home, having been given information that he might be hiding there. She asked them if they had a search warrant. When they said no, she refused entry. 

Two officers left, leaving one behind to maintain surveillance. Three hours later the two officers returned, along with several others who demanded entry into her home. At that point, according to Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark, writing for the majority in Mapp v. Ohio, 

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The Privacy Pendulum is Swinging back Towards Freedom

With Apple’s announcement of its new iPhone 6 10 days ago also came the announcement of an upgrade of its operating software – the iOS 8 – that now makes it impossible for law enforcement to break the code and retrieve the phone’s private information, even if it has a search warrant. On its website, Apple said:

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Leahy Offers Weak Bill to Curb NSA Eavesdropping on Americans

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, July 30, 2014:

English: Official photo of Senator Patrick Lea...

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

On Tuesday, Senator Patrick Leahy (shown, D-Vt.), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced his version of the USA Freedom Act intended to strengthen a similar bill passed by the House last May. It’s scarcely an improvement and likely won’t be taken up before November, if at all in this congress.

But Leahy was optimistic nonetheless, saying that his bill, if enacted, “would represent the most significant reform of government surveillance authorities since … the USA Patriot Act 13 years ago.” That was easy for this hard-left Democrat to say, as there has been no reform of the unconstitutional Patriot Act since it was passed. In fact, without revelations provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden, even these modest “reforms” would never have been presented. Without Snowden, the NSA would have continued collecting every last piece of communications data it could and storing it for future reference at one or more of its vast collection facilities around the country. Since the bill was presented so late in this Congress, it is virtually certain no action will be taken on it.

The House bill that was passed back in May was so full of loopholes and modifications by last minute amendments as to make the effort essentially ludicrous. Although offered jointly in October 2013 by Leahy and his House counterpart, Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin (the author of the Patriot Act), only the House bill ever saw the light of day. At the time, Sensenbrenner expressed great hopes for his bill:

Following 9/11, the USA Patriot Act … has helped keep Americans safe by ensuring information is shared among those responsible for defending our country and by enhancing the tools the intelligence community needs to identify and track terrorists.

But somewhere along the way, the balance between security and privacy was lost…. Washington must regain Americans’ trust in their government. The USA Freedom Act [I am offering] is an essential first step.

That first step was more like a stumble. Under the bill, according to The Guardian, “the government will still be able to collect phone data on Americans, pending a judge’s individualized order based on ‘reasonable articulable suspicion’ — the standard preferred by the NSA (National Security Agency) — of wrongdoing.” This is a far cry from the “probable cause” requirement demanded in the Fourth Amendment, but that’s only the beginning.

The bill purports to modify Section 715 of the Patriot Act while saying nothing about Section 702, which allows worldwide surveillance by the NSA. The bill allows for the continuous collection of Americans’ telephone records, according to the Open Technology Institute. Most grievously, the bill extended the Patriot Act until December of 2017.

Once the House passed its USA Freedom Act, 303 to 121, those opposed, including Republicans Darrell Issa, Ted Poe, and Raul Labrador and Democrat Zoe Lofgren expressed their disappointment with it. Said Lofgren, “[This] bill will actually not end bulk collection, regrettably.” It shifts collection responsibilities from the NSA to the telephone companies to which the NSA has virtually unlimited access, so it’s a cosmetic change only. The bill requires the NSA to get permission from the FISA Court, but FISA is not known for having a high regard for the freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights.

When Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) saw what the House had wrought, he said he was “gravely concerned that the changes that have been made to the House version of this bill have watered it down so far that it fails to protect Americans from suspicionless mass surveillance.”

Not surprisingly, the White House endorsed the watered-down version of the bill:

The Administration strongly supports … the USA Freedom Act…. The Administration applauds and appreciates the strong bipartisan effort that led to the formulation of this bill, which heeds the President’s call on this important issue.

The bill ensures our intelligence and law enforcement professionals have the authorities they need to protect the Nation, while further ensuring that individuals’ privacy is appropriately protected.

Especially grievous is the power that continues to be granted to the so-called FISA “court.” This is the secret court that first came to light when Edward Snowden in 2013 leaked a top-secret order issued by the court requiring a subsidiary of Verizon to provide a daily, on-going feed of all call detail records — including those for domestic calls — to the NSA. As Jennifer Granick, director of civil liberties at Stanford Law School, explained,

The Administration and the intelligence community believe they can do whatever they want, regardless of the laws Congress passes, so long as they can convince one of the judges appointed to the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to agree. This isn’t the rule of law. This is a coup d’etat.

Leahy’s bill allegedly will tighten up the House bill somewhat, creating a “special advocate” for liberty at the FISA courts, and limiting the NSA from vacuuming up data from an entire zip code or all the records from a communications service provider. It also declassifies some of those FISA court orders which have remained sealed and protected from public view. In its tentative support for Leahy’s new offering, Nadia Kayyall of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), said,

The legislation may not completely end suspicionless surveillance … it allows the NSA to get a second set of records (a second “hop”) with an undefined “direct connection” to the first specific selection term.

Because the “direct connection” standard is vague, the government may seek to construe that phrase to mean less than reasonable suspicion.

Translation: The NSA, under Leahy’s new stronger, tighter, more restrictive language, may continue to do whatever it pleases in collecting and storing for later use all private communications from Americans.

Leahy’s bill will probably never see the light of day in this congress and will have to be reintroduced in the next session if anything is to be done to rein in the NSA’s collection of data. In the meantime, the NSA’s vacuuming of innocent Americans’ private communication continues unabated.

 

 

Glenn Greenwald Catches Establishment Flak for His Book “No Place to Hide”

 

Headquarters of the NSA at Fort Meade, Marylan...

Headquarters of the NSA at Fort Meade, Maryland. Español: Instalaciones generales de la NSA en Fort Meade, Maryland. Русский: Штаб-квартира АНБ, Форт-Мид, Мэриленд, США (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, May 28, 2014:

 

Back in 1975, when Idaho Senator Frank Church was running the U.S. Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence Activities (better known as the Church Committee), he warned:

The United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables [it] to monitor the messages that go through the air….

That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left. Such is their capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter.

There would be no place to hide.

When Glenn Greenwald was looking for a title for his book, what better choice than that?

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Review of “No Place to Hide” by Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald, the facilitator in bringing to light Edward Snowden’s staggering revelations over the NSA’s surveillance of Americans, titled his book from a comment made by Senator Frank Church back in 1975. As head of the U.S. Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence Activities, Church said:

The United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables [them] to monitor the messages that go through the air…

That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left. Such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter.

There would be no place to hide.

Greenwald opens his book as if it were a John Grisham thriller,

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Supreme Court to hear Critical Fourth Amendment Appeals Tomorrow

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(Photo credit: Effnheimr)

David Leon Riley was driving through a residential area of San Diego in August of 2009 when he was stopped for having expired license tags on his car. A so-called routine search of his car turned up a couple of handguns whereupon he was arrested. The police took his smartphone and examined it down at the station house, discovering emails, text messages and videos implicating him in a gang-war drive-by shooting two weeks earlier. He was charged with and convicted of shooting at an occupied vehicle, attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon along with other gang-related crimes and sentenced to 15 years in jail.

Riley’s attorneys tried to have the evidence from his smartphone suppressed claiming that the police didn’t secure a search warrant first, without success. But

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The Left Attacks Pulitzer for its Public Service Award to Washington Post

snowden_nyc26_june_DSC_0046

This article was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, April 16, 2014:

Instead of supporting the Pulitzer Prize Committee’s decision to give its coveted Public Service award to the Washington Post for publishing Edward Snowden’s revelations over NSA’s spying on innocent Americans, the Left (i.e., those supporting the surveillance state) has instead rather come unglued over the matter. Rep. Peter King, the noisy center-left RINO from New York, was first out of the box:

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Pulitzer Prize Award Over NSA Revelations Generates Vitriolic Criticism

The Pulitzer Prize gold medal award 한국어: 퓰리처상 ...

The Pulitzer Prize gold medal award (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Washington Post’s Executive Editor Martin Baron anticipated that there would be strong criticism voiced when those opposed to Edward Snowden’s revelations learned of the Pulitzer Prize Committee’s decision to award its prestigious Public Service award to his paper. He may not have estimated the degree and extent and especially the vitriol of that criticism.

Said Baron:

Disclosing the massive expansion of the NSA’s surveillance network absolutely was a public service. In constructing a surveillance system of breathtaking scope and intrusiveness, our government also sharply eroded individual privacy. All of this was done in secret, without public debate…

[Without Edward Snowden’s disclosures] we never would have known how far this country had

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Judge Throws out Muslim Lawsuit Against NYPD over Surveillance Program

A New Jersey district judge threw out the complaint by some Muslims in New Jersey that the surveillance program operated by the New York City police department since 9/11 was illegal and had been causing them pain, suffering, and economic loss. In a bizarre ruling the judge concluded that

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ICE Solicits then Withdraws Bid for National car tag Database

The pushback from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency’s request for bids to build a national database of all license plate data now being collected elsewhere across the country was immediate, and for the moment at least, effective: within a week the agency withdrew its request.

ICE said such a national data base would just make its job of tracking illegal immigrants easier, that it

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Judge Rules Against the DEA in Prescription Drug Privacy Lawsuit

The favorable ruling sought by the ACLU in Oregon in turning back the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) that its “administrative subpoenas” overruled Oregon’s privacy guarantees was satisfying but is likely to be challenged. Said ACLU attorney Freed Wessler:

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Obama’s trust and approval ratings drop to the lowest level since his inauguration

Tuesday’s polling results from the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute reflect America’s increasing unhappiness with Obamacare: its rollout, the president’s dissembling, the delays at ObamaCare.gov, and so on. And that unhappiness is consistent across all voters of all ages, including

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Federal Court Rules that the Bitcoin is Money

When the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged that Trendon Shavers, the founder of Bitcoin Savings and Trust (BTCST) was running a Ponzi scheme, Shavers challenged the agency by claiming that bitcoins didn’t fall under their definition of securities and so therefore he and his company were exempt from SEC rules. Federal Judge Amos Mazzant ruled otherwise, which was bad news for Shavers but good news for

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Senator Wyden warns against the Surveillance State

In a remarkable speech to the left-wing progressive Center for American Progress on Tuesday, hard-core liberal Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden (Freedom Index Rating of 17) tore into the surveillance state, exposing its capabilities, its secret rules, its secret court and its failed efforts to protect itself from exposure.  He also noted the barest beginnings of a congressional effort to

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New Revelations about NSA Spying Abroad Enrage European Officials

Saturday’s revelations by the German newspaper Der Spiegel that the US placed bugs in European Union officials’ offices in New York and Washington and hacked into EU headquarters in Brussels have ignited a firestorm of indignation among German and European officials. Coming on the heels of the FISA court’s ruling in April that Verizon must turn over telephone records to the National Security Agency and Edward Snowden’s exposure in June of PRISM that has been vacuuming up American citizens’ internet communications for years, expressions of outrage were heard from German and European Union politicians.

Martin Schulz, head of the European Parliament, said:

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2nd Generation Quantum Computer System to “Improve” Machine Learning

Two unheralded announcements in May about the collaboration of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Google, and a private, non-profit group, the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) marked an impressive, and potentially threatening, milestone in “machine learning” – teaching computers how to

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Staying private in a public world

The new rule is: once you express a thought, it’s public. So far, NSA isn’t able to monitor our thinking, but the moment we express ourselves, someone’s watching and taking notes.

So what is to be done? I’ve been waiting for someone to come up with some answers, and I’ve found him:

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Privacy and the changing perception of government

This article in the Washington Post perfectly misses, perhaps deliberately, the key issue concerning privacy and the role of government. See if you can pick up on it.

Daniel Solove is the author, and has all the liberal credentials to promote the establishment line: JD from Yale Law School, is an “expert” on privacy with many books on the matter (some of them best sellers), and has been quoted in such mouthpieces as the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and NPR. Not a single citation for anything remotely right of center: Washington Times, National Review, American Spectator, etc. So we now where he is coming from.

His thesis: intrusion into our private affairs is concerning, but not too much. He frames his conversation around “myth-busting”, which is a

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Many Positives Coming from the Unfolding NSA Leaker Story

This article was first posted at  the McAlvany Intelligence Adviser:

 

Hardly a sentient soul on planet Earth doesn’t know who Edward Snowden is, but few of them know of the ramifications and positives that are already coming as a result of his leak about NSA spying on Americans’ emails, voicemails, and IMs.

Because of his top-secret clearance across a broad spectrum of surveillance programs developed by the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency, Snowden had a rare opportunity to view the threats to privacy these agencies and their enablers have created. So he decided to do something about it:

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.
Copyright © 2018 Bob Adelmann