Archive for the ‘Current Events’ Category

Fusion centers perpetuate racial profiling

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at 8:50 am by

racialprofilingApril 10 saw protests, teach-ins and light brigade actions across the country as part of the national day of action against fusion centers. The Day of Action sparked an internet dialogue about fusion centers that shone much needed light on the centers which can often slip under the radar of the communities they operate in.

Like most threats to civil liberties, fusion centers endanger the constitutional rights guaranteed to all people, however their effect is most pronounced in politically vulnerable communities. These are most often communities of color, those with political beliefs outside the mainstream, or both.

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If J. Edgar had biometrics: state repression isn’t new, but technology raises the stakes

Saturday, April 19, 2014 at 10:44 am by

Original commentary published on November 13, 2013 on PrivacySOS blog.

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Some of us are very worried. If you regularly read this blog, you are likely one of the worriers.

We worry because we are surveillance state watchers, because we are people concerned about the degree to which US culture has been warped by fear-driven narratives that cast Muslims as the enemy in a never-ending, borderless ‘war on terror’. We worry because we see state institutions, seemingly hell-bent on shredding the Bill of Rights, deploy that fear in the service of any number of anti-democratic horrors: extrajudicial assassination, indefinite detention, secret law, mass suspicionless surveillance, the militarization of the police.

An authoritarian impulse to control, monitor, and oppress appears to guide the hands of our most powerful agencies – those secretive, three letter organizations that suck up increasingly substantial quantities of our hard earned money, with little besides repression and misery to show for it.

Many of we worriers, myself included, regularly warn that if we don’t take drastic action to roll back the surveillance state, to end the wars on drugs and terror, we will become what our leaders claim they most despise. We warn that things are getting very bad, that if we don’t turn back and make significant adjustments, we are headed for a totalitarian or quasi-fascist, dystopian future. We shout that the surveillance state and its fear mongers will swallow what’s left of our open society.

In short, we speak as if this is a new set of problems. It isn’t.
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Secrecy and manipulation: On the FBI’s propaganda war and the shaping of public opinion

Friday, April 18, 2014 at 12:13 pm by

Original commentary from Privacy SOS blog published on Wednesday, April 16.

A4490-20Longtime FBI director J. Edgar Hoover was obsessed with the public’s perception of him and his enemies. As a result of this obsession, an agent could do no wrong greater than publicly embarrass the director or the bureau. Hoover knew that image and representation were more important than reality, so he worked hard to hide the truth from the public and his congressional purse-string-holders, and spin fabulous tales starring himself and his sharp-dressing agents as great American heroes.

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When the NSA & universities collaborate: a discussion with leading privacy experts at Johns Hopkins University

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at 10:17 am by

bca8e39ceOn Tuesday, April 15, BORDC executive director, Shahid Buttar, spoke on a panel with privacy experts, Christopher Soghoian, ACLU Technologist, Matt Green and Joel Andreas, Johns Hopkins University professors, to discuss ways the intelligence community has begun to co-opt our higher education system. Each year the NSA gives millions of dollars to universities around the country in the form of scholarships, research grants, training, technology, and promises of jobs to students. This degree of influence and the bias it creates is concerning, particularly in the way the issues of mass surveillance is addressed and responded to on these campuses. Below is video from the evening’s discussion.
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Missouri law embodies spirit of Fourth Amendment

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 10:46 am by

missouri-sealMissouri is laying out the law plain and simple: there will be no warrantless searches of electronic data and communications in their state. On April 3, the Missouri Senate passed legislation that would give electronic data and communications the same Fourth Amendment protections as “persons, houses, papers, or effects.”
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FBI plans to have 52 Million photos in its NGI face recognition database by next year

Monday, April 14, 2014 at 10:45 am by

Original commentary by Jennifer Lynch published April 14, 2014 on EFF Deeplinks Blog

FBI NGI Face Recognition IllustrationNew documents released by the FBI show that the Bureau is well on its way toward its goal of a fully operational face recognition database by this summer.

EFF received these records in response to our Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for information on Next Generation Identification (NGI)—the FBI’s massive biometric database that may hold records on as much as one third of the U.S. population. The facial recognition component of this database poses real threats to privacy for all Americans.
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NSI program makes mass suspicion, surveillance, and profiling national standards

Saturday, April 12, 2014 at 9:25 am by

blog_governmentsurveillanceAfter receiving a great deal of public criticism about the NSA, the Obama administration and federal agencies have been forced to reform their mass surveillance programs. But it seems the federal government is proving to be adaptable, finding other ways and means of collecting massive amounts of data on innocent, law-abiding Americans. The National Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative (NSI) is the new form of mass surveillance, and federal agencies as well as local law enforcement are partaking in it.
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Cities around the country say: fusion centers are wasteful, fraudulent, and ineffective

Friday, April 11, 2014 at 12:43 pm by

Screen Shot 2014-04-10 at 10.48.20 PMThursday, April 10, 2014 was a National Day of Action against Fusion Centers. Diverse, multiracial grassroots coalitions from around the country held rallies, press conferences, and creative actions to challenges civil liberties by fusion centers, which coordinate the surveillance activities of local police alongside federal agencies like the NSA and FBI. Fusion centers have operated at unknown cost, failed to meaningfully serve a public benefit, and drawn critics including Senators across the partisan spectrum, the ACLU, environmentalists, Muslim Americans, peace activists, and Ron Paul supporters.

Participating cities in yesterday’s action included: Boston, Charlotte, Dallas, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, and Washington DC. Below the jump are quotes from organizers, as well as photos and videos from several of the sites.

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April 5 day of action against deportation: 2 million, 2 many!

Thursday, April 10, 2014 at 2:06 pm by

Original commentary by Alok Bhatt published April 7, 2014 on the  Connecticut Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission blog.

IMG952671At around 3:00pm on the chilly afternoon of Saturday, April 5, members of Connecticut’s immigrant community, representing over ten cities across the state, converged on the Abraham A. Ribcoff Federal Building (Federal Building) in Downtown Hartford to rally against the nearly 2,000,000 deportations perpetrated under the Obama administration. The Federal Building houses Connecticut’s primary immigration court, from which many community and family members have been  banished from the United States, often for non-violent offenses. In Connecticut, approximately 35% of deportation proceedings initiate without any criminal conviction.
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We say #StopSpying on the National Day of Action Against Fusion Centers

Thursday, April 10, 2014 at 9:09 am by

dont-spy-on-meToday coalitions across the United State will rally, protest, and demonstrate against local fusion/spy centers to inform the public about the spy centers and police/state surveillance.  As Americans, we demand that Congress shut down fusion centers; end funding to these centers and release all Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs).
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