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America Is Being Systematically Transformed Into A Totalitarian Society

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August 08, 2018, 02:38:10 am suzytr says: Hello, any good churches in the Sacto, CA area, also looking in Reno NV, thanks in advance and God Bless you Smiley
January 29, 2018, 01:21:57 am Christian40 says: It will be interesting to see what happens this year Israel being 70 years as a modern nation may 14 2018
October 17, 2017, 01:25:20 am Christian40 says: It is good to type Mark is here again!  Smiley
October 16, 2017, 03:28:18 am Christian40 says: anyone else thinking that time is accelerating now? it seems im doing days in shorter time now is time being affected in some way?
September 24, 2017, 10:45:16 pm Psalm 51:17 says: The specific rule pertaining to the national anthem is found on pages A62-63 of the league rulebook. It states: “The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem. “During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition. It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses.”
September 20, 2017, 04:32:32 am Christian40 says: "The most popular Hepatitis B vaccine is nothing short of a witch’s brew including aluminum, formaldehyde, yeast, amino acids, and soy. Aluminum is a known neurotoxin that destroys cellular metabolism and function. Hundreds of studies link to the ravaging effects of aluminum. The other proteins and formaldehyde serve to activate the immune system and open up the blood-brain barrier. This is NOT a good thing."
http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-08-11-new-fda-approved-hepatitis-b-vaccine-found-to-increase-heart-attack-risk-by-700.html
September 19, 2017, 03:59:21 am Christian40 says: bbc international did a video about there street preaching they are good witnesses
September 14, 2017, 08:06:04 am Psalm 51:17 says: bro Mark Hunter on YT has some good, edifying stuff too.
September 14, 2017, 04:31:26 am Christian40 says: i have thought that i'm reaping from past sins then my life has been impacted in ways from having non believers in my ancestry.
September 11, 2017, 06:59:33 am Psalm 51:17 says: The law of reaping and sowing. It's amazing how God's mercy and longsuffering has hovered over America so long. (ie, the infrastructure is very bad here b/c for many years, they were grossly underspent on. 1st Tim 6:10, the god of materialism has its roots firmly in the West) And remember once upon a time ago when shacking up b/w straight couples drew shock awe?

Exodus 20:5  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
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« Reply #180 on: September 23, 2014, 10:11:46 pm »

http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/local-news/fort-carson-locked-down-after-shooting
Fort Carson locked down after shooting incident
Army: No one hit or injured

9/23/14

FORT CARSON, Colo. - Initial reports of an "active shooter" at Fort Carson raised concern at the Army post Monday night.

"There were reports of shots fired near the northwest perimeter of the installation at approximately 7:50 p.m. Monday.  This is not an active shooter event. There are no reported injuries," Fort Carson said in a statement.

The post was on lockdown for two hours while the investigation progressed.

"Military police with the Directorate of Emergency Services are actively investigating the situation.  For the safety and security of the installation, there is an increased security presence," the statement said.

Traffic was backed up outside the post, because of the lockdown.
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« Reply #181 on: October 21, 2014, 09:22:29 pm »

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/30/nsa-windows_n_4520514.html
12/30/13
NSA Uses Windows Error Messages To Spy On People

Usually an annoying popup brushed aside with a click, error messages on Microsoft's Windows operating system may also serve as a way for the National Security Agency to spy on you.

When a Windows program seizes up, someone using a PC can choose to send an error report to Microsoft for review. But Windows owners may inadvertently be sending those error reports to the NSA too, according to a report on Sunday by German magazine Der Spiegel detailing the work of the Tailored Access Operations division of the NSA, which is considered the agency's top hacking unit. The revelations come from the latest document leaks of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

An NSA presentation obtained by Der Spiegel noted that the crash reports are a "neat way" to gain "passive access" to a machine. The team can use the NSA's massively powerful sleuthing software to cherry-pick error reports from the global stream of Internet traffic. Only data sent from a computer can be collected this way, but it can give the NSA something crucial for further hacking: the vulnerabilities of a target's computer.

One internal graphic suggests NSA agents mocked how easy the Windows error messages made their jobs:



Like other tech companies, Microsoft has been in a tough position since Snowden's leaks began. A report from The Guardian in July found that the company may have handed the NSA access to the customers' encrypted messages and data. In recent months, Microsoft has attempted to assuage fears of government surveillance by fighting against any attempt by U.S. intelligence agencies to seize its foreign customers' data under American surveillance laws.

"Microsoft does not provide any government with direct or unfettered access to our customer's data," a Microsoft representative said in response to the latest allegations. "We would have significant concerns if the allegations about government actions are true."
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« Reply #182 on: October 28, 2014, 06:31:51 pm »

http://news.yahoo.com/homeland-security-secretary-johnson-announces-tighter-security-at-federal-buildings-220330339.html
Homeland Security Secretary Johnson announces tighter security at federal buildings
The news comes one week before the midterm elections, amid threats from Islamic State terrorists

10/28/14

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced on Tuesday that the government is stepping up security at federal buildings in Washington, D.C., and nationwide, citing enhanced risks of “small-scale attacks by a lone offender.”

“The reasons for this action are self-evident: the continued public calls by terrorist organizations for attacks on the homeland and elsewhere, including against law enforcement and other government officials, and the acts of violence targeted at government personnel and installations in Canada and elsewhere recently,” Johnson said in a recent statement. The secretary appeared to be referring to the fatal shooting at the Canadian Parliament building.

Johnson also urged state and local governments “to be equally vigilant, particularly in guarding against potential small-scale attacks by a lone offender or a small group of individuals.”

The secretary did not spell out what form the increased security would take, and emphasized that it “will vary and shift from location to location.” He did not explicitly cite the rise of the so-called Islamic State. Law enforcement officials have regularly expressed concern that the extremist group could inspire “lone wolf” solo terrorist attacks in the United States, or that Americans who joined the extremist group could travel back to the United States and bring the war home.

The new security measures have no expiration date, a DHS official told Yahoo News. A congressional aide briefed on the measures said it was his understanding that they would last beyond the elections and that the Federal Protective Service would be stepping up its visible presence at key facilities nationwide.

“We are taking this action as a precautionary step, to safeguard U.S. government personnel and facilities, and the visitors to those facilities,” Johnson said in a written statement. “Given world events, prudence dictates a heightened vigilance.”
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« Reply #183 on: November 01, 2014, 04:35:06 am »

Court Rules Police Can Force Users to Unlock iPhones With Fingerprints, But Not Passcodes

A Circuit Court judge in Virginia has ruled that fingerprints are not protected by the Fifth Amendment, a decision that has clear privacy implications for fingerprint-protected devices like newer iPhones and iPads.

According to Judge Steven C. Fucci, while a criminal defendant can't be compelled to hand over a passcode to police officers for the purpose of unlocking a cellular device, law enforcement officials can compel a defendant to give up a fingerprint.

The Fifth Amendment states that "no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself," which protects memorized information like passwords and passcodes, but it does not extend to fingerprints in the eyes of the law, as speculated by Wired last year.

    Judge Steven C. Frucci ruled this week that giving police a fingerprint is akin to providing a DNA or handwriting sample or an actual key, which the law permits. A pass code, though, requires the defendant to divulge knowledge, which the law protects against, according to Frucci's written opinion.

The ruling stemmed from a case involving David Baust, who was accused of strangling his girlfriend. Prosecutors believed Baust may have stored video of the attack on his phone, and requested that the judge force him to unlock it. If protected by a passcode, Baust will not be required to unlock his phone under the Fifth Amendment, but if protected with a fingerprint, he could potentially be forced to unlock the device.

If Baust's phone is an iPhone that's equipped with Touch ID, it's very likely that it will be passcode locked at this point and thus protected by law. Touch ID requires a passcode after 48 hours of disuse, a restart, or three failed fingerprint entry attempts, and the device has probably been in police custody for quite some time. It is unclear if the judge's ruling will have an impact on future cases involving cellular devices protected with fingerprint sensors, as it could be overturned by an appeal or a higher court.

http://www.macrumors.com/2014/10/31/fingerprints-not-protected-by-fifth-amendment/
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« Reply #184 on: November 10, 2014, 08:06:22 am »

Obama orders 'mental-health' testing for schoolkids
Quietly unleashes cache of federal dollars under auspices of 'gun violence'


Using “gun violence” as its cover, the Obama administration has quietly unleashed a cache of federal dollars that will be used for testing students for signs of mental health issues in K-12 schools.

Critics say personal information scooped up in the screenings will be logged into databases that will follow the child throughout his or her academic career and beyond.

Public schools, which have increasingly taken on aspects of psychiatric clinics in recent years, will get infused with more than $150 million in federal grants to further this agenda under the auspices of Obama’s 2013 executive action titled “Now is the Time to Do Something About Gun Violence.”

Obama took the action following the Sandy Hook, Connecticut, school shooting, putting Vice President Joe Biden in charge of a task force on “gun violence.”

These are the goals that came out of Biden’s task force:

    • Strengthen the background check system for gun sales
    • Require background checks for all gun sales
    • Pass a new, stronger ban on assault weapons
    • Limit ammunition magazines to 10 rounds
    • Finish the job of getting armor-piercing bullets off the streets
    • Give law enforcement additional tools to prevent and prosecute gun crime
    • End the freeze on gun violence research
    • Make our schools safer with new resource officers and counselors, better emergency response plans and more nurturing school climates
    • Ensure quality coverage of mental health treatment, particularly for young people.

The last two measures are where the mental health screenings for students come into play.

On Sept. 22, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced $99 million in new federal grants to school districts for mental health services. The money will be used “to train new mental health providers, help teachers and others recognize mental health issues in youth and connect them to help and increase access to mental health services for young people.”

On Sept. 23, the U.S. Department of Education announced another $70 million in “School Climate Transformation grants.” More than half of the money “will be used to develop, enhance, or expand systems of support for implementing evidence-based, multi-tiered behavioral frameworks for improving behavioral outcomes and learning conditions.”

The goals of such measures include “connecting[ing] children, youths, and families to appropriate services and supports,” and increasing “measures of and the ability to respond to mental health issues among school-aged youth.”

Both HHS and DOE cited Obama’s “Now is the Time” declaration as the basis for the new programs.

“The administration is committed to increasing access to mental health services to protect the health of children and communities,” Burwell said.

Of the DOE’s $70 million package, $13 million is allocated to aiding school districts in creating “high-quality school emergency plans.” Another $14 million goes toward “Project Prevent grants” for violence-plagued schools to “be used for school-based counseling services, or referrals to community-based counseling services for assistance in coping with trauma or anxiety.”

Such designs hint at broader motives and agendas, reports Professor James F. Tracy in an article for Global Research:

    1) the federal government’s continued aggressive transformation of the healthcare system; and 2) psychiatry and drug manufacturers’ shared mission to persuade an increasing segment of the national and global population that it has one or more undiagnosed mental or emotional “disorders” that require analysis and treatment.

    Introducing psychiatric explanations and methodologies into school environments guarantees a growing customer base for the psychiatric profession and pharmaceutical industry. Alongside government’s increasing control of healthcare, the technocratic surveillance and management of everyday thought and behavior is likewise emerging as part of what is deceptively termed ‘wellness.’

    In reality such efforts ensure an ever-expanding bureaucracy, handsomely line the pockets of a select few, and further normalize a culture of learned helplessness and control within an environment that already privileges conformity as a matter of routine.

A very dangerous trend

Jane Robbins, senior fellow at the American Principles Project in Washington, D.C., said the federal government’s interest in testing students, not only for academic knowledge but for psychological and behavioral traits, has been a problem for some time.

“Never let a good crisis (a school shooting) go to waste, right?” Robbins told WND via email. “This appears to be part of the broader goal of focusing education less on academic knowledge and more on students’ feelings, mindsets, attitudes, etc. — so-called social and emotional learning (SEL).”

She said Education Secretary Arne Duncan is a “huge proponent of having schools and teachers focus on these kinds of things, which they are not trained for and which are only tangentially related to academic achievement.”

“It’s a very dangerous trend,” Robbins said.

The problem is even more concerning in light of recent attempts to create state databases of student information, which will eventually be linked together as part of the DOE’s plans for a nationwide database.

Rhode Island is linking DNA collection on newborns to its education database, meaning each child will be tracked from birth to college graduation and beyond.

What’s more concerning to some privacy rights advocates is that the state is taking the DNA collections from babies without parental consent.

In most states, parents may request a screening exemption, but only for religious reasons. In Nebraska and West Virginia, parents may not refuse screening.

$50 million from feds for DNA grabs

So far, Rhode Island appears to be the only state connecting a child’s DNA to his state education record, Robbins said. But in return for federal funds, a number of states plan to link children’s health data with their student records, she noted.

In 2011, Rhode Island received a $50 million Race to the Top Early Learning grant from the U.S. departments of Education, and Health and Human Services.

In their grant application, the Rhode Island Department of Education said it would link the state’s newborn DNA database, KIDSNET, to the state’s K-12 school database.

Anita Hoge, an education consultant and expert on student assessments, says the move to incorporate federally funded mental health screening into local schools is disconcerting.

“This is much worse than most people believe,” Hoge said in an email. “First of all, schools will apply for partial hospitalization licenses so they can bill Medicaid for wrap-around mental health services. Then outside people have access to the students. But, it is going to start at birth with the DNA collection too. So, there are lists of what is considered an ‘at risk’ child. And it will conform to the subjective observations of both teachers and professional psychologists and psychiatrists.”

Hoge said similar measures were proposed during the Clinton administration when the merits of “Hillarycare” – Clinton’s version of national healthcare – were being debated.

George W. Bush named his mental health screening initiative The Freedom Initiative, which WND reported on in 2004.

Marti Oakley, a radio host and author of the blog the “PPJ Gazette,” took up the issue of school mental-health screenings in July when she issued this scathing report:

    The active attack on public education through the Common Core curriculum has now taken one giant step forward as Minnesota and other states passed aggressive mental health laws directed at our children. Several additional public schools in the state will now have [mental health] clinics on site as the programs become established; clinics that will be used to aggressively label the greatest number of children possible as having one or more mental disorders. Tied to these bills are massive government subsidies and other targeted funding.

    In other words, our children will be traded for dollars regardless of the lifelong damage that will be the result from the assessment of fictional mental disorders; an assessment which will follow them for the rest of their lives whether real or just imagined by a mental health provider. Many will become dependent on the highly addictive psychotropic drugs known as neuroleptics and will suffer from a myriad of adverse side effects.

Minnesota was one of the first states to jump headlong into the psychological training and testing of kids.

“Under five-year grant contracts with the department, 36 mental health organizations will provide school-linked mental health services to approximately 35,000 students in more than 800 schools across 257 school districts and 82 counties by 2018,” according to a release by the Minnesota Department of Human Services. “More than half of those students will receive mental health services for the first time.”

Oakley asks: “Why does that statement make me cringe? Maybe it’s the unfettered access to more than 35,000 students and the ensuing data mining that will also be relentlessly conducted and stored in permanent lifetime files for easy access by insurance companies, federal and state agencies and eventual employers.”

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/11/schools-to-mine-kids-for-mental-health-issues-with-feds-money/#hTtELJReFlCzbwlb.99
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« Reply #185 on: November 10, 2014, 06:36:14 pm »

Quote
2) psychiatry and drug manufacturers’ shared mission to persuade an increasing segment of the national and global population that it has one or more undiagnosed mental or emotional “disorders” that require analysis and treatment.

And Rick Warren is pushing the same agenda in the "church" - albeit doing so by smearing his son's name(who committed suicide last year).

This also is a United Nations agenda, FYI.
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« Reply #186 on: November 15, 2014, 12:24:22 pm »

More Federal Agencies Are Using Undercover Operations

The federal government has significantly expanded undercover operations in recent years, with officers from at least 40 agencies posing as business people, welfare recipients, political protesters and even doctors or ministers to ferret out wrongdoing, records and interviews show.

At the Supreme Court, small teams of undercover officers dress as students at large demonstrations outside the courthouse and join the protests to look for suspicious activity, according to officials familiar with the practice.

At the Internal Revenue Service, dozens of undercover agents chase suspected tax evaders worldwide, by posing as tax preparers or accountants or drug dealers or yacht buyers, court records show.

At the Agriculture Department, more than 100 undercover agents pose as food stamp recipients at thousands of neighborhood stores to spot suspicious vendors and fraud, officials said.

Undercover work, inherently invasive and sometimes dangerous, was once largely the domain of the F.B.I. and a few other law enforcement agencies at the federal level. But outside public view, changes in policies and tactics over the last decade have resulted in undercover teams run by agencies in virtually every corner of the federal government, according to officials, former agents and documents.

Some agency officials say such operations give them a powerful new tool to gather evidence in ways that standard law enforcement methods do not offer, leading to more prosecutions. But the broadened scope of undercover work, which can target specific individuals or categories of possible suspects, also raises concerns about civil liberties abuses and entrapment of unwitting targets. It has also resulted in hidden problems, with money gone missing, investigations compromised and agents sometimes left largely on their own for months or even years.

“Done right, undercover work can be a very effective law enforcement method, but it carries serious risks and should only be undertaken with proper training, supervision and oversight,” said Michael German, a former F.B.I. undercover agent who is a fellow at New York University’s law school. “Ultimately it is government deceitfulness and participation in criminal activity, which is only justifiable when it is used to resolve the most serious crimes.”

Some of the expanded undercover operations have resulted from heightened concern about domestic terrorism since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

But many operations are not linked to terrorism. Instead, they reflect a more aggressive approach to growing criminal activities like identity theft, online solicitation and human trafficking, or a push from Congress to crack down on more traditional crimes.

At convenience stores, for example, undercover agents, sometimes using actual minors as decoys, look for illegal alcohol and cigarette sales, records show. At the Education Department, undercover agents of the Office of Inspector General infiltrate federally funded education programs looking for financial fraud. Medicare investigators sometimes pose as patients to gather evidence against health care providers. Officers at the Small Business Administration, NASA and the Smithsonian do undercover work as well, records show.
Continue reading the main story

Part of the appeal of undercover operations, some officials say, is that they can be an efficient way to make a case.

“We’re getting the information directly from the bad guys — what more could you want?” said Thomas Hunker, a former police chief in Bal Harbour, Fla., whose department worked with federal customs and drug agents on hundreds of undercover money-laundering investigations in recent years.

Mr. Hunker said sending federal and local agents undercover to meet with suspected money launderers “is a more direct approach than getting a tip and going out and doing all the legwork and going into a court mode.”

“We don’t have to go back and interview witnesses and do search warrants and surveillance and all that,” he added.

But the undercover work also led federal auditors to criticize his department for loose record-keeping and financial lapses, and Mr. Hunker was fired last year amid concerns about the operations.

‘A Critical Tool’

Most undercover investigations never become public, but when they do, they can prove controversial. This month, James B. Comey, the director of the F.B.I., was forced to defend the bureau’s tactics after it was disclosed that an agent had posed as an Associated Press reporter in 2007 in trying to identify the source of bomb threats at a Lacey, Wash., high school. Responding to criticism from news media advocates, Mr. Comey wrote in a letter to The New York Times that “every undercover operation involves ‘deception,’ which has long been a critical tool in fighting crime.”

Just weeks before, the Drug Enforcement Administration stoked controversy after disclosures that an undercover agent had created a fake Facebook page from the photos of a young woman in Watertown, N.Y. — without her knowledge — to lure drug suspects.

And in what became a major political scandal for the Obama administration, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed guns to slip into Mexico in 2011 in an undercover operation known as Fast and Furious.

In response to that episode, the Justice Department issued new guidelines to prosecutors last year designed to tighten oversight of undercover operations and other “sensitive” investigative techniques, officials said. Before prosecutors approve such tactics, the previously undisclosed guidelines require that they consider whether an operation identifies a “clearly defined” objective, whether it is truly necessary, whether it targets “significant criminal actors or entities,” and other factors, the officials said.

Peter Carr, a department spokesman, said that undercover operations are necessary in investigating crime but that agents and prosecutors must follow safeguards. “We encourage these operations even though they may involve some degree of risk,” he said.

Those guidelines apply only to the law enforcement agencies overseen by the Justice Department. Within the Treasury Department, undercover agents at the I.R.S., for example, appear to have far more latitude than do those at many other agencies. I.R.S. rules say that, with prior approval, “an undercover employee or cooperating private individual may pose as an attorney, physician, clergyman or member of the news media.”
Continue reading the main story

An I.R.S. spokesman acknowledged that undercover investigators are allowed to pose in such roles with approval from senior officials. But the agency said in a statement that senior officials “are not aware of any investigations where special agents have ever posed as attorneys, physicians, members of the clergy or members of the press specifically to gain information from a privileged relationship.”

The agency declined to say whether I.R.S. undercover agents have posed in these roles in an effort to get information that was not considered “privileged,” meaning the type of confidential information someone shares with a lawyer or doctor.

José Marrero, a former I.R.S. supervisor in Miami, said he knew of situations in which tax investigators needed to assume the identity of doctors to gain the trust of a medical professional and develop evidence that is tightly held.

“It’s very rare that you do that, but it does happen,” Mr. Marrero, who has a consulting firm in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and continues to work with federal agents on undercover investigations, said in an interview. “These are very sensitive jobs, and they’re scrutinized more closely than others.”

Oversight, though, can be minimal. A special committee meant to oversee undercover investigations at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, for instance, did not meet in nearly seven years, according to the Justice Department’s inspector general. That inquiry found that more than $127 million worth of cigarettes purchased by the bureau disappeared in a series of undercover investigations that were aimed at tracing the black-market smuggling of cigarettes.

In one investigation, the bureau paid an undercover informant from the tobacco industry nearly $5 million in “business expenses” for his help in the case. (The agency gained new authority in 2004 allowing it to take money seized in undercover investigations and “churn” it back into future operations, a source of millions in revenue.)

Financial oversight was found lacking in the I.R.S.’s undercover operations as well. Detailed reviews of the money spent in some of its undercover operations took as long as four and a half years to complete, according to a 2012 review by the Treasury Department’s inspector general.

Wires Crossed

Across the federal government, undercover work has become common enough that undercover agents sometimes find themselves investigating a supposed criminal who turns out to be someone from a different agency, law enforcement officials said. In a few situations, agents have even drawn their weapons on each other before realizing that both worked for the federal government.

“There are all sorts of stories about undercover operations gone bad,” Jeff Silk, a longtime undercover agent and supervisor at the Drug Enforcement Administration, said in an interview. “People are always tripping and falling over each other’s cases.”

Mr. Silk, who retired this year, cited a case that he supervised in which the D.E.A. was wiretapping suspects in a drug ring in Atlanta, only to discover that undercover agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement were trying to infiltrate the same ring. The F.B.I. and the New York Police Department were involved in the case as well.
Continue reading the main story

To avoid such problems, officials said, they have tightened “deconfliction” policies, which are designed to alert agencies about one another’s undercover operations. But problems have persisted, the officials said.

It is impossible to tell how effective the government’s operations are or evaluate whether the benefits outweigh the costs, since little information about them is publicly disclosed. Most federal agencies declined to discuss the number of undercover agents they employed or the types of investigations they handled. The numbers are considered confidential and are not listed in public budget documents, and even Justice Department officials say they are uncertain how many agents work undercover.

But current and former law enforcement officials said the number of federal agents doing such work appeared to total well into the thousands, with many agencies beefing up their ranks in recent years, or starting new undercover units. An intelligence official at the Department of Homeland Security, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss classified matters, said the agency alone spent $100 million annually on its undercover operations. With large numbers of undercover agents at the F.B.I. and elsewhere, the costs could reach hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

In a sampling of such workers, an analysis of publicly available résumés showed that since 2001 more than 1,100 current or former federal employees across 40 agencies listed undercover work inside the United States as part of their duties. More than half of all the work they described is in pursuit of the illicit drug trade. Money laundering, gangs and organized crime investigations make up the second-largest group of operations.

Significant growth in undercover work involves online activity, with agents taking to the Internet, posing as teenage girls to catch predators or intercepting emails and other messages, the documents noted. The F.B.I., Department of Homeland Security and Pentagon all have training programs for online undercover operations.

Defendants who are prosecuted in undercover investigations often raise a defense of “entrapment,” asserting that agents essentially lured them into a criminal act, whether it is buying drugs from an undercover agent or providing fraudulent government services.

But the entrapment defense rarely succeeds in court.

In terrorism cases — the area in which the F.B.I. has used undercover stings most aggressively — prosecutors have a perfect record in defeating claims of entrapment. “I challenge you to find one of those cases in which the defendant has been acquitted asserting that defense,” Robert S. Mueller III, a former F.B.I. director, said at an appearance this year.

The Times analysis showed that the military and its investigative agencies have almost as many undercover agents working inside the United States as does the F.B.I. While most of them are involved in internal policing of service members and defense contractors, a growing number are focused, in part, on the general public as part of joint federal task forces that combine military, intelligence and law enforcement specialists.
Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story
Continue reading the main story

At the Supreme Court, all of the court’s more than 150 police officers are trained in undercover tactics, according to a federal law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity because it involved internal security measures. At large protests over issues like abortion, small teams of undercover officers mill about — usually behind the crowd — to look for potential disturbances.

The agents, often youthful looking, will typically “dress down” and wear backpacks to blend inconspicuously into the crowd, the official said.

At one recent protest, an undercover agent — rather than a uniformed officer — went into the center of a crowd of protesters to check out a report of a suspicious bag before determining there was no threat, the official said. The use of undercover officers is seen as a more effective way of monitoring large crowds.

A Supreme Court spokesman, citing a policy of not discussing security practices, declined to talk about the use of undercover officers. Mr. German, the former F.B.I. undercover agent, said he was troubled to learn that the Supreme Court routinely used undercover officers to pose as demonstrators and monitor large protests.

“There is a danger to democracy,” he said, “in having police infiltrate protests when there isn’t a reasonable basis to suspect criminality.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/16/us/more-federal-agencies-are-using-undercover-operations.html?_r=0
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« Reply #187 on: November 15, 2014, 01:19:44 pm »

The U.S. is putting fake cell towers in planes to spy on people



The U.S. Department of Justice is putting devices that emulate cellphone towers in Cessna aircraft and flying them around the country to track the locations of cell phones, a practice that targets criminal suspects but may also affect thousands of U.S. citizens, according to a news report Thursday.

The program is run by the Department of Justice’s U.S. Marshals Service and has been in operation since at least 2007, according to the report in the Wall Street Journal, which cited two unnamed sources. The aircraft are flown out of at least five metropolitan-area airports and can cover most of the U.S. population, it said.

Cell phones are programmed to connect to whichever nearby cell tower has the strongest signal. The fake cell towers trick phones into thinking they have the strongest signal, then read the devices’ unique registration numbers when they connect, the Journal report says.

The goal is to locate cell phones linked to people under investigation for crimes like selling drugs, but in the process the program collects data about people not suspected of any crime, the report says. The fake cell towers determine which phones belong to criminal suspects and “let go” of those that aren’t.

The Journal quoted a representative of the American Civil Liberties Union who called it an inexcusable “dragnet surveillance program.”

A DOJ official wouldn’t confirm or deny the program but said Justice Department agencies “comply with federal law, including by seeking court approval,” the Journal said.

A side effect is that the towers can sometimes cause cell phone calls to be dropped. “Authorities have tried to minimize the potential for harm, including modifying the software to ensure the fake tower doesnt interrupt anyone calling 911 for emergency help,” one source told the Journal.

There have been several reports in the last few months about phony cell phone towers being detected around the U.S. It’s not clear whether the fake cell towers used by the DOJ, dubbed “dirtboxes” by law enforcement officials, are the ones that have been detected.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2848072/us-putting-fake-cell-towers-in-planes-to-spy-on-people-report-says.html#tk.nl_today
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« Reply #188 on: November 16, 2014, 08:30:28 pm »

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/16/dea-nfl-prescription-drugs-check_n_6168268.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592
11/16/14
DEA Agents Surprise NFL Teams With Drug Checks After Sunday Games

Federal drug enforcement agents showed up unannounced Sunday to check at least three visiting NFL teams' medical staffs as part of an investigation into former players' claims that teams mishandled prescription drugs.

There were no arrests, Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman Rusty Payne said Sunday. The San Francisco 49ers' staff was checked at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, after they played the New York Giants. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' staff was checked at Baltimore-Washington International airport after playing the Redskins. The Seattle Seahawks, who played at Kansas City, confirmed via the team's Twitter account that they were spot-checked as well.

The operation was still ongoing, and other teams may be checked later Sunday, Payne said.

"DEA agents are currently interviewing NFL team doctors in several locations as part of an ongoing investigation into potential violations of the (Controlled Substances Act)," Payne said.

The spot checks were done by investigators from the federal DEA. They did not target specific teams, but were done to measure whether visiting NFL clubs were generally in compliance with federal law. Agents requested documentation from visiting teams' medical staffs for any controlled substances in their possession, and for proof that doctors could practice medicine in the home team's state.

"Our teams cooperated with the DEA today and we have no information to indicate that irregularities were found," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email.

The nationwide probe is being directed by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York — where the NFL is headquartered — but involves several U.S. attorney's offices.

The investigation was sparked by a lawsuit filed in May on behalf of former NFL players going back to 1968. The number of plaintiffs has grown to more than 1,200, including dozens who played as recently as 2012. Any violations of federal drug laws from 2009 forward could also become the subject of a criminal investigation because they would not be subject to the five-year statute of limitations.

"This is an unprecedented raid on a professional sports league," said Steve Silverman, one of the attorneys for the former players. "I trust the evidence reviewed and validated leading up to this action was substantial and compelling."

Federal prosecutors have conducted interviews in at least three cities over the past three weeks, spending two days in Los Angeles in late October meeting with a half-dozen former players — including at least two who were named plaintiffs in the painkillers lawsuit, according to multiple people with direct knowledge of the meetings who spoke on the condition of anonymity because prosecutors told them not to comment on the meetings.

The lawsuit alleges the NFL and its teams, physicians and trainers acted without regard for players' health, withholding information about injuries while at the same time handing out prescription painkillers such as Vicodin and Percocet, and anti-inflammatories such as Toradol, to mask pain and minimize lost playing time. The players contend some teams filled out prescriptions in players' names without their knowledge or consent, then dispensed those drugs — according to one plaintiff's lawyer — "like candy at Halloween," along with combining them in "cocktails."

Several former players interviewed by The Associated Press described the line of teammates waiting to get injections on game day often spilling out from the training room. Others recounted flights home from games where trainers walked down the aisle and players held up a number of fingers to indicate how many pills they wanted.

The controlled substance act says only doctors and nurse practitioners can dispense prescription drugs, and only in states where they are licensed. The act also lays out stringent requirements for acquiring, labeling, storing and transporting drugs. Trainers who are not licensed would be in violation of the law simply by carrying a controlled substance.

The former players have reported a range of debilitating effects, from chronic muscle and bone ailments to permanent nerve and organ damage to addiction. They contend those health problems came from drug use, but many of the conditions haven't been definitively linked to painkillers.

The lawsuit is currently being heard in the northern district of California, where presiding judge William Alsup said he wants to hear the NFL Players Association's position on the case before deciding on the league's motion to dismiss. The NFL maintained that it's not responsible for the medical decisions of its 32 teams. League attorneys also argued the issue should be addressed by the union, which negotiated a collective bargaining agreement that covers player health.

The DEA investigation comes during a turbulent time for the NFL.

The league is still weathering criticism over its treatment of several players accused of domestic violence and just wrapped up an arbitration hearing involving Ravens running back Ray Rice, who is contesting the length of his suspension. The league has hired former FBI director Robert Mueller III to investigate its handling of the Rice case.

The NFL is also trying to finalize a $765 million class-action settlement reached in August 2013 over complaints by thousands of former players that the NFL concealed the risk of concussions.
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« Reply #189 on: November 18, 2014, 08:50:54 pm »

https://www.yahoo.com/tech/s/gop-senators-oppose-nsa-phone-211308259.html
11/18/14
Senate blocks NSA phone records measure

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Tuesday blocked a bill to end bulk collection of American phone records by the National Security Agency, dealing a blow to President Barack Obama's primary proposal to rein in domestic surveillance.

The 58-42 vote was two short of the 60 needed to proceed with debate. Voting was largely along party lines, with most Democrats supporting the bill and most Republicans voting against it. The Republican-controlled House had previously passed its own NSA bill.

**And they say this past midterm elections "fixed" things?

The legislation would have ended the NSA's collection of domestic calling records, instead requiring the agency to obtain a court order each time it wanted to analyze the records in terrorism cases, and query records held by the telephone companies. In many cases the companies store the records for 18 months.

The revelation that the spying agency had been collecting and storing domestic phone records since shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was among the most significant by Edward Snowden, a former agency network administrator who turned over secret NSA documents to journalists. The agency collects only so-called metadata — numbers called, not names — and not the content of conversations. But the specter of the intelligence agency holding domestic calling records was deeply disquieting to many Americans.

The bill had drawn support from technology companies and civil liberties activists. Its failure means there has been little in the way of policy changes as a result of Snowden's disclosures.

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« Reply #190 on: December 08, 2014, 07:50:41 am »

Michigan House Approves Religious Freedom Restoration Act Despite Opposition

The Michigan House of Representatives has approved a state version of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) despite opposition from those who claim that the bill will give license to people of faith to “discriminate.”

HB 5958 cleared the House Judiciary Committee 7-4 on Thursday, and then moved on to the full House, where it also passed 59-50. It now moves to the Senate for consideration, and if passed, will then be sent to the desk of Gov. Rick Snyder (R).

The bill essentially mirrors the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was signed into law in 1993 by then-President Bill Clinton, However, as the law only applies on a federal level, the U.S. Supreme Court has urged states to enact their own RFRA to protect citizens.

“The free exercise of religion is an inherent, fundamental, and unalienable right secured by Article 1 of the state Constitution of 1963 and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution,” the proposed statute reads.

It then uses federal legal standards to mandate that laws cannot be used to substantially burden the religious beliefs of inhabitants, unless the law serves a compelling government interest and is only uses the least restrictive means to further that specific interest. The proposal also allows those who believe that a law violates their religious liberty to bring a legal challenge against it, such as did companies like Hobby Lobby.

“I support individual liberty and I support religious freedom,” House Speaker Jase Bolger (R) declared Thursday to the Judiciary Committee. “I have been horrified as some have claimed that a person’s faith should only be practiced while hiding in their home or in their church.”

But Bolger has faced opposition from those who state that the bill promotes discrimination. Democratic members who spoke against the RFRA specifically cited their disagreement with allowing businesses to decline homosexuals should their request violate the conscience of the owner, or allowing pharmacies to refuse to dispense abortifacients due to their religious beliefs.

“This bill moves us in a new and uncharted direction. It requires me and others to practice the faith of our employers, grocers and pharmacists,” Rep. Vicki Barnett (D-Farmington Hills) told those gathered. “I should not be forced to follow the religion of my pharmacist.”

But Bolger said that the bill is not new at all, since it is only modeled after federal law to also ensure protections on a state level.

“Do you think that Bill Clinton and Ted Kennedy were extremists?” he told MSNBC. “We modeled [this bill] directly after what they did. I’m baffled to hear that what we’re doing is out of line.”

“I am asking you today to give Michigan’s law abiding citizens the same protections as Michigan’s incarcerated felons have,” Bolger also declared prior to the vote Thursday.

A number of states have likewise passed RFRA bills in recent years, including in Mississippi and Ohio.

“[The Declaration of Independence] talks about how our right as human beings are not given to us by government, nor the Constitution, but by God,” declared Ohio Rep. Bill Patmon (D) earlier this year. “Protect what God has given you; that is the whole idea.”

http://christiannews.net/2014/12/07/michigan-house-approves-religious-freedom-restoration-act-despite-opposition/
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« Reply #191 on: December 11, 2014, 06:43:32 pm »

Congress Passes Bill Which Grants “Unlimited Access to Communications of Every American”
Amash labels legislation "most egregious I've encountered"


According to Congressman Justin Amash, Congress just passed a bill which grants the government and law enforcement “unlimited access to the communications of every American”.

When the Michigan lawmaker discovered that the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2015 had been amended with a provision that authorizes “the acquisition, retention, and dissemination” of all communications data from U.S. citizens, he desperately attempted to organize a roll call vote on the bill.

However, the legislation was passed yesterday 325-100 via a voice vote, a green light for what Amash describes as “one of the most egregious sections of law I’ve encountered during my time as a representative”.

The bill allows the private communications of Americans to be scooped up without a court order and then transferred to law enforcement for criminal investigations.

The legislation effectively codifies and legalizes mass warrantless NSA surveillance on the American people, with barely a whimper of debate.

Read the full text of Congressman Amash’s letter below, which was sent out before the bill was passed.

*********************

Dear Colleague:

The intelligence reauthorization bill, which the House will vote on today, contains a troubling new provision that for the first time statutorily authorizes spying on U.S. citizens without legal process.

Last night, the Senate passed an amended version of the intelligence reauthorization bill with a new Sec. 309—one the House never has considered. Sec. 309 authorizes “the acquisition, retention, and dissemination” of nonpublic communications, including those to and from U.S. persons. The section contemplates that those private communications of Americans, obtained without a court order, may be transferred to domestic law enforcement for criminal investigations.

To be clear, Sec. 309 provides the first statutory authority for the acquisition, retention, and dissemination of U.S. persons’ private communications obtained without legal process such as a court order or a subpoena. The administration currently may conduct such surveillance under a claim of executive authority, such as E.O. 12333. However, Congress never has approved of using executive authority in that way to capture and use Americans’ private telephone records, electronic communications, or cloud data.

Supporters of Sec. 309 claim that the provision actually reins in the executive branch’s power to retain Americans’ private communications. It is true that Sec. 309 includes exceedingly weak limits on the executive’s retention of Americans’ communications. With many exceptions, the provision requires the executive to dispose of Americans’ communications within five years of acquiring them—although, as HPSCI admits, the executive branch already follows procedures along these lines.

In exchange for the data retention requirements that the executive already follows, Sec. 309 provides a novel statutory basis for the executive branch’s capture and use of Americans’ private communications. The Senate inserted the provision into the intelligence reauthorization bill late last night. That is no way for Congress to address the sensitive, private information of our constituents—especially when we are asked to expand our government’s surveillance powers.

I urge you to join me in voting “no” on H.R. 4681, the intelligence reauthorization bill, when it comes before the House today.

/s/

Justin Amash
Member of Congress

http://www.infowars.com/congress-passes-bill-which-grants-unlimited-access-to-communications-of-every-american/
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« Reply #192 on: December 15, 2014, 10:44:24 am »

Prof: ‘Elf on the Shelf’ conditions kids to accept surveillance state



Could there be something more sinister behind the little elf sitting on the shelf who returns to the North Pole each night?

Yes, says Laura Pinto, a digital technology professor at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.

She recently published a paper titled “Who’s the Boss” on the doll, saying the idea of it reporting back to Santa each night on the child’s behavior “sets up children for dangerous, uncritical acceptance of power structures,” according to insideHalton.com.

From her paper:

When children enter the play world of The Elf on the Shelf, they accept a series of practices and rules associated with the larger story. This, of course, is not unique to The Elf on the Shelf. Many children’s games, including board games and video games, require children to participate while following a prescribed set of rules. The difference, however, is that in other games, the child role-plays a character, or the child imagines herself within a play-world of the game, but the role play does not enter the child’s real world as part of the game. As well, in most games, the time of play is delineated (while the game goes on), and the play to which the rules apply typically does not overlap with the child’s real world.

“You’re teaching (kids) a bigger lesson, which is that it’s OK for other people to spy on you and you’re not entitled to privacy,” she tells the Toronto Star.

She calls the elf “an external form of non-familial surveillance,” and says it’s potentially conditioning children to accept the state acting that way, too.

“If you grow up thinking it’s cool for the elves to watch me and report back to Santa, well, then it’s cool for the NSA to watch me and report back to the government,” according to Pinto.

Others concur with Pinto’s theory.

“It’s a little creepy, this idea that this elf is watching you all the time,” Emma Waverman, a blogger with Today’s Parent, tells the paper. She also doesn’t like that the story uses a threat – “nice” and “naughty” lists – to produce good behavior.

“It makes the motivation to behave something that’s external,” she says. “If I’m not around or if the elf is not around, do they act crazy?”

“Children potentially cater to The Elf on the Shelf as the ‘other,’ rather than engaging in and honing understandings of social relationships with peers, parents, teachers and ‘real life’ others,” Pinto writes.

“It’s worth noting that Pinto doesn’t object to the Elf on the Shelf’s Jewish counterpart, the Mensch on a Bench, which she characterized as ‘benign.’ Unlike the elf, the mensch doesn’t report to anyone at night but stays put, watching over the Hanukkah menorah,” the paper reports.

 According to the paper, 6 million “Elf on the Shelf” dolls and books have been sold in the last 8 years.

http://eagnews.org/prof-elf-on-the-shelf-conditions-kids-to-accept-surveillance-state/
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« Reply #193 on: January 02, 2015, 10:28:34 am »

Supreme Court: Cops can pull you over even if you haven’t broken a law

In a ruling handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court, the nation’s top court found that a police officer who mistakenly interprets a law and pulls someone over hasn’t violated their Fourth Amendment rights.

The case pertained to a traffic stop initiated on Nicholas Heien in North Carolina, on account of a broken tail light. The stop and search of the vehicle, conducted by the officer after the initial citation, yielded a good amount of ****. Heien was charged with drug trafficking.

The problem? According to North Carolina traffic law, only one tail light needs to be functional. That means the initial stop, justified on these grounds, would have been illegal — and so would the seizure of the **** found in Heien’s car.

Heien filed a lawsuit to suppress the evidence of **** possession based on this fact, according to the Supreme Court ruling, and was eventually vindicated by the state Court of Appeals. But that was overturned by the North Carolina State Supreme Court and brought to the nation’s highest court on appeal.

The final ruling examined whether the misunderstanding of the law would be considered “reasonable” for an officer to make.

The majority opinion issued Dec. 15 and written by Chief Justice John Roberts found that police officers only need to “reasonably believe” something is against the law to pull someone over. Effectively, this means cops can pull you over even if you haven’t broken a law.

“I understand the idea that when, you know, 99 people out of a hundred think you have to have two brake lights, like you do everywhere else in the country, that it’s reasonable for the police officer to think that,” said Roberts during oral arguments, siding with the police.

“The government’s basic argument is that it was reasonable to pull over the driver based on the law as it was believed to be at the time; the officers who made the stop weren’t acting culpably or wrongly based on the situation they confronted,” wrote Orin Kerr, professor of law at the George Washington University Law School.

Critics of the case point to a certain amount of double standard when it comes to knowing the law for citizens and police officers.

“The result is a system in which “ignorance of the law is no excuse” for citizens facing conviction, but police can use their own ignorance about the law to their advantage,” notes the legal brief on the case by a coalition of civil rights organizations, including American Civil Liberties Union and Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.

The brief filed with the Supreme Court argues the decision made by the North Carolina State Supreme Court was “inconsistent with the logic that applies to factual mistakes committed by law enforcement and erodes civil liberties, all while undermining police authority and safety.”

“Citizens are presumed to know and understand the laws in every jurisdiction in which they drive,” notes the brief. “Thus, the North Carolina Supreme Court’s rule exempts police officers from the ambit of the presumption exactly when it is most likely to vindicate constitutional protections.”

So while police officers are sworn to uphold, execute and enforce the law, that doesn’t mean they need to understand it completely to carry out traffic stops and eventual arrests on citizens.

http://watchdog.org/188650/cops/
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« Reply #194 on: January 20, 2015, 06:46:42 pm »

http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/2015/January20/205.html
1/20/15
Big Brother Moves Into The Passenger Seat

January 20, 2015 | WASHINGTON EXAMINER
     
In 2008, the Washington legislature passed a law mandating a 50 percent reduction in per capita driving by 2050. California and Oregon laws or regulations have similar but somewhat less draconian targets.

The Obama administration wants to mandate that all new cars come equipped with vehicle-to-infrastructure communications, so the car can send signals to and receive messages from street lights and other infrastructure.

Now the California Air Resources Board is considering regulations requiring that all cars monitor their owners’ driving habits, including but not limited to how many miles they drive, how much fuel they use, and how much pollution or greenhouse gases they emit.

Put these all together and you have a system in which the government will not only know where your vehicle is at all times, but can turn off your vehicle if it decides you are driving too much or driving in a way that emits too many grams of carbon dioxide or is otherwise offensive to some bureaucratic imperative.

I sometimes think privacy advocates are a paranoid bunch, seeing men in black around every corner and surveillance helicopters or drones in the air at all times. On the other hand, if a technology is available — such as the ability to record cell phone calls — the government has proven it will use it
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« Reply #195 on: February 11, 2015, 10:50:03 am »

Obama to seek permission for World War on ISIS

Obama, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize only months after he was inaugurated but quickly became a war president, responsible for nearly 75 percent of U.S. troop deaths in Afghanistan, now is preparing to formally ask Congress to take the fight against ISIS worldwide.   

http://www.wnd.com/2015/02/obama-seeks-permission-to-go-global-against-isis/


Obama: 'We have to twist arms when countries don't do what we need them to'

In a broad-ranging interview with Vox, which Obama himself described as a venue "for the brainiac-nerd types," the US president both denied the efficacy of a purely “realist” foreign policy but also arguing that at times the US, which has a defense budget that exceeds the next 10 countries combined, needed to rely on its military muscle and other levers of power.   

http://rt.com/news/231279-obama-foreign-policy-power/

Orwell 1984

“The war, therefore if we judge it by the standards of previous wars, is merely an imposture. It is like the battles between certain ruminant animals whose horns are incapable of hurting one another. But though it is unreal it is not meaningless. It eats up the surplus of consumable goods, and it helps to preserve the special mental atmosphere that the hierarchical society needs. War, it will be seen, is now a purely internal affair. In the past, the ruling groups of all countries, although they might recognize their common interest and therefore limit the destructiveness of war, did fight against one another, and the victor always plundered the vanquished. In our own day they are not fighting against one another at all. The war is waged by each ruling group against its own subjects, and the object of the war is not to make or prevent conquests of territory, but to keep the structure of society intact. The very word "war," therefore, has become misleading. It would probably be accurate to say that by becoming continuous war has ceased to exist. The peculiar pressure that is exerted on human beings between the Neolithic Age and the early twentieth century has disappeared and has been replaced by something quite different. The effect would be much the same if the three superstates, instead of fighting one another, should agree to live in perpetual peace, each inviolate within its own boundaries. For in that case each would still be a self-contained universe, freed forever from the sobering influence of external danger. A peace that was truly permanent would be the same as a permanent war. This--although the vast majority of Party members understand it only in a shallower sense--is the inner meaning of the Party slogan: WAR IS PEACE.”


Time to end the authorization for endless war

even as the president and Congress consider authorizing force against Islamic State, they should also work to sunset the outdated — and open-ended — Authorization for the Use of Military Force passed in 2001. This dangerous law could be used by a future president to wage costly, unauthorized wars with little congressional oversight.   

http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2015/02/10/time-to-end-the-authorization-for-endless-war/
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« Reply #196 on: February 16, 2015, 08:40:58 am »

Mom: Letting Kids Roam Now a Crime
"Not everyone is comfortable with the idea of young children being outside without adult supervision."




A Maryland mother and father who allowed their children to walk home one mile by themselves from a nearby park received a visit from Child Protective Services who threatened to take them away.

In an opinion piece at The Washington Post, Danielle Meitiv recalled the January event:

    One recent Saturday afternoon, six police officers and five patrol cars came to my home in Silver Spring. They demanded identification from my husband and entered our home despite not having a warrant to do so.

    A few hours later, a Montgomery County Child Protective Services (CPS) social worker coerced my husband into signing a “temporary safety plan” for our children by threatening to take the children “right now” — a threat she backed up with a call to the police. In the weeks that followed, another worker from the agency appeared at our door with the police and insisted that he did not need a warrant to enter our home. He also interviewed our children at school without our knowledge or permission.

"When did Americans decide that allowing our kids to be out of sight was a crime?" Meitiv asked. This mother of two, one 10 and one six, admits that she is not always comfortable with them being alone outside without adult supervision. However, they believe in giving their children "an opportunity to learn to make their way in the world independently" -- a life lesson in preparation for adulthood, they reasoned.

Meitiv said the entire event has shaken up their otherwise peaceful family. Now, her kids are more fearful and worried about something happening. Meitiv said when police officers questioned her son, they suggested he tell his parents he is afraid of bad guys grabbing him if he walks alone. Meitiv said, "This is how adults teach children to be afraid even when they are not in danger."

Like similar cases, Meitiv complained that the police officers went beyond a reasonable level of concern:

   
  • nce it was determined that involved parents had already judged their children to be safe, the authorities didn’t move along. Instead they turned to heavyhanded legal and bureaucratic remedies that did far more harm than good. 

Meitiv doesn't discount the necessity for an entity like CPS to protect children who truly need their service, but said "the pendulum has swung too far." She is calling for the streets and parks to be taken back for the children.

Meitiv writes:

    We need to refuse to allow ourselves to be ruled by fear or allow our government to overrule decisions that parents make about what is best for their children. Overpolicing parents in this way does not make children safer; it disrupts families and makes our kids fearful, anxious and unhealthy.

    And whether through the legislatures or the courts, neglect laws need to be redefined to safeguard parents’ discretion to make reasonable risk-management judgments for their children, including the decision to allow them the freedom and independence that was the norm a generation ago and is still essential to their development and well-being.


http://www.truthrevolt.org/news/mom-letting-kids-roam-now-crime
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« Reply #197 on: February 19, 2015, 04:22:13 pm »

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/14/business/obama-urges-tech-companies-to-cooperate-on-internet-security.html?_r=1
2/13/15
Obama Calls for New Cooperation to Wrangle the ‘Wild West’ Internet

PALO ALTO, Calif. — Declaring that the Internet has become the “Wild Wild West” with consumers and industries as top targets, President Obama on Friday called for a new era of cooperation between the government and the private sector to defeat a range of fast-evolving online threats.

Mr. Obama signed an executive order urging companies to join information-sharing hubs to exchange data on online threats — and, in some cases, to receive classified information from the government. But the order stopped short of exempting the companies from liability if the data they collected and shared led to legal action.

Only legislation, which Mr. Obama has tried and failed to get through Congress for three years, can exempt the companies from such liability. Many companies outside the financial industry have been reluctant to share data without such a law in place.

Mr. Obama deliberately chose Stanford University as the site of the first summit meeting on online security and consumer protection, saying that it was where much of the Internet was born and is also where the innovations to secure it must be developed.

“The very technologies that can empower us to do great good can also be used to undermine us and do great harm,” Mr. Obama said.

Mr. Obama also made clear that his six years of presidency had given him new appreciation of how the government will be called upon to protect citizens against the most severe attacks, and once again accused North Korea of hacking into Sony Pictures. “The cyberworld is the Wild Wild West — to some degree we’re asked to be the sheriff,” he said. “When something like Sony happens, people want to know what the government can do about this.”

Mr. Obama arrived in the heart of Silicon Valley at a time of great tension with companies here, including Apple and Google, both represented at the event. Apple’s chief executive, Timothy D. Cook, was seated to Mr. Obama’s left Friday afternoon at a closed-door lunch meeting with senior executives, only months after coming into direct conflict with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and intelligence agencies over the full encryption of its mobile devices.

Mr. Obama’s intelligence and law enforcement aides would like to preserve access to all digital communication with a court order. The companies say that would create a breach that China and Russia, among others, would exploit.

Mr. Cook, who was invited to the meeting to discuss Apple’s new payment system, Apple Pay, used the occasion to urge government and technology leaders to do everything they can to protect users’ rights to privacy and security.

“People have entrusted us with their most personal and precious information,” Mr. Cook said. “We owe them nothing less than the best protections that we can possibly provide.”

Failing to do so, Mr. Cook said, would “risk our way of life.”

The private sector has largely been reluctant to share information about threats with the government, arguing that it would create onerous regulations and potentially compromise proprietary and customer data.

Joseph M. Demarest Jr., assistant director of the F.B.I.’s cyberdivision, said in an interview that given the sophistication of the hackers American companies are up against, information-sharing had proved critical to tracing attacks back to hackers and ridding them from systems.

“We’re fighting Ph.D.s on the other side of the world,” Mr. Demarest said. “Not only the F.B.I., but our colleagues from the intelligence community, can enable and assist not only with attribution but with kicking actors out and keeping them out.”


After the Sony attacks late last year, Mr. Demarest said the F.B.I.’s presence at Sony’s headquarters was crucial in helping the government trace the attacks back to North Korea.

“Companies are realizing there is a benefit to keeping us involved,” he said.


But businesses reeling from the fallout of the revelations about online surveillance from the former government contractor Edward J. Snowden worry about the impression such sharing would create among customers. Foreign governments are worried that such arrangements will compromise their data.

Privacy activists say the approach is misguided. “Key to security is to minimize data collection and adopt robust security measures,” said Marc Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “If they can’t protect it, they shouldn’t collect it.”

But few of those tensions were on display on Friday, as Mr. Obama, government officials and a carefully curated list of executives from the technology, banking, energy and health care sectors took the stage to speak for the need for greater public-private partnership in combating online threats.

“This work cannot be adversarial; we have enough adversaries out there,” Anthony Earley Jr., the chairman and chief executive of Pacific Gas & Electric, said on stage Friday.

Many companies point out that they already share information with others in their industries through industry-specific instruments, notably the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center, a group that shares threats with members of the banking industry.

And companies have been particularly reluctant, after the Snowden revelations, to do anything to aggravate concerns abroad that they are sharing data on foreigners with intelligence agencies.

To assuage those concerns, Bernard Tyson, the chairman of Kaiser Permanente, tried to distinguish the kinds of data his corporation would share with the government.

“I am not talking about sharing the actual content that I am here to protect,” Mr. Tyson said. “It is sharing what I am learning about people trying to get at that content. It’s important for me to say that because that is the sensitivity I hear every day.”

Not mentioned at the event was the issue that has most roiled companies in Silicon Valley. Disclosures by Mr. Snowden showed that intelligence agencies were surreptitiously siphoning off customer data from companies like Google and Yahoo as it flowed internally between their data centers.

That information created an atmosphere of distrust that executives say will make information-sharing much more difficult.

“The tricky thing with information-sharing is that it is about trust,” Eric Grosse, Google’s vice president of security, said in an interview earlier this week. “Information-sharing becomes pretty hard to do once trust is lost.”
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« Reply #198 on: February 24, 2015, 08:05:22 pm »

https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/data-collection-at-schools-is-big-brother-111889795072.html
2/23/15
Data Collection at Schools: Is Big Brother Watching Your Kids?

Most people need at least a shred of privacy in their lives — and are even more fiercely protective of it when it comes to their kids. It’s why an increasing number of moms and dads are feeling betrayed by their children’s schools, who often collect and use sensitive data on students like a valuable form of currency.

"It’s crazy. It’s creepy. Why are they collecting all this data on our children, and what are they doing with it?" says Colorado mother of three Traci Burnett in speaking with the Gazette, a Colorado news outlet, for a story this week about kids and privacy in that state. But many parents across the country believe that schools gather too much personal information about their children and families — typically in the name of bettering student achievement — and now national legislators are considering various new laws on data privacy.

According to EPIC’s student privacy project director Khaliah Barnes, who wrote on the topic for the New York Times in December, “The collection of student data is out of control. No longer do schools simply record attendance and grades. Now every test score and every interaction with a digital learning tool is recorded. Data gathering includes health, fitness and sleeping habits, sexual activity, prescription drug use, alcohol use and disciplinary matters. Students’ attitudes, sociability and even ‘enthusiasm’ are quantified, analyzed, recorded and dropped into giant data systems.” The rampant data collection, she added, “is not only destroying student privacy, it also threatens students’ intellectual freedom. When schools record and analyze students’ every move and recorded thought, they chill expression and speech, stifling innovation and creativity.” Some cafeteria software, according to Marketplace, tracks eligibility for free and reduced-price lunches, including sensitive financial data about a student’s family such as weekly income and alimony payments.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a non-partisan research organization, reports that students’ personal information is often collected through in-school surveys, sometimes for commercial use. Congress most recently addressed such surveys in the No Child Left Behind Act, providing parents and students the right to be notified of, and consent to, the collection of student information, though it allows for many exceptions.

And while federal laws protect children’s privacy, most have loopholes. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), for example, doesn’t cover online educational data or third-party vendors, and is up for Congressional revision. A hearing in Washington earlier this month addressed how emerging technology affects student privacy, and what additional protections are needed. “Think George Orwell and take it to the nth degree,” explained Fordham University Professor Joel Reidenberg, when asked what information would be available in one findable place on any particular preschool through college student. 

The concerns have prompted President Obama to propose the Student Digital Privacy Act, to ensure that data collected in the educational context is used only for educational purposes. The bill would prevent companies from selling student data to third parties for purposes unrelated to the educational mission, and from engaging in targeted advertising to students based on data collected in school – though it would still allow for research initiatives to improve student learning outcomes, as well as efforts by companies to improve their learning technology products.

“The Education Department and the Federal Trade Commission could and should do more to protect student privacy,” wrote EPIC president Marc Rotenberg in a statement submitted to the recent Congressional hearing. “But because they have not, meaningful legislation will provide a private right of action for students and their parents against private companies that unlawfully disclose student information.” Recently, as just one example, the statement explained, EPIC filed an extensive complaint with the FTC concerning the business practices of Scholarships.com. “The company encouraged students to divulge sensitive medical, sexual, and religious information to obtain financial aid information,” Rotenberg explained. “The company claimed that it used this information to locate scholarships and financial aid. Scholarships.com, however, transferred the data to a business affiliate that in turn sold the data for general marketing purposes.”

Jules Polonetskys, the executive director of the Future of Privacy Forum, wrote in the New York Times that he believes transparency is key. Most important, to build trust in the new technology, parents need to be kept in the know. The paramount concern of schools and tech and data companies should be making sure parents and students understand why and how technology and data are being used to advance learning, how the information collected is protected in the process and what the schools are doing to safeguard protected information.”

It’s an idea that Colorado mom, Traci Burnett, can get behind. “I think people have forgotten these are my kids, not the school’s,” she told the Gazette. “When you start linking all this data — my kid’s biometrics, with an address, a juvenile record, voter registration, you get a profile, and there’s so much wrong with that. The danger is that the information doesn’t need to be in the hands of the state or federal government. It reminds me of China — we’re going to flow you to the correct job so you can be productive in our society.”
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« Reply #199 on: February 27, 2015, 09:52:44 am »

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/fcc-adopts-net-neutrality-rules-to-ban-internet-discrimination-163703235.html
FCC adopts Net neutrality rules to ban Internet discrimination
2/27/15

Federal regulators moved forward on Thursday with a Net neutrality plan to protect openness on the Internet by treating the online world more like heavily regulated telecommunications markets.

New rules from the Federal Communications Commission adopted on a 3-2 vote will prohibit Internet service providers like Comcast (CMCSA) and Verizon Communications (VZ) from discriminating against any web site or online service. That means sites like Netflix (NFLX) or Google’s (GOOGL) YouTube won’t have to pay extra fees or face sluggish connections with their users. And new sites and services will be able to reach everyone on the Internet on the same terms as the big players.

Courts have struck down earlier Net neutrality efforts, saying the FCC lacked authority to impose such rules. So this time around, the FCC chose to categorize high-speed Internet service as a telecommunications service. Consumers have long been guaranteed the right to call any phone number they desire and phone companies have to treat all calls equally.

The agency heard from Chad Dickerson, CEO of the crafts sales web site Etsy, before the vote.

“Without strong rules to prevent discrimination online, the innovation economy would suffer,” Dickerson said. “We charge only 20 cents to list an item on Etsy, and take only 3.5% of every transaction. We couldn't afford to pay for priority access to consumers, yet we know delays of milliseconds have a direct and long term impact on revenue.”

Cable and telecom companies say congestion is due to the Internet companies sending more data. Higher fees are needed to cover the cost of building more capacity, they say.

Many companies that do business online had feared that Internet service providers would be able to squeeze them for increasingly higher fees to reach consumers. Netflix last year agreed to pay Comcast for faster access after its subscribers experienced slow downs. The problem arises because consumers can’t easily switch Internet service providers – most have only one choice – if they become dissatisfied.

The new rules, which will apply to both wired and wireless Internet connections, include several major restrictions on Internet service providers. They may not slow down or block access to legal content, applications or services. They also may not create "fast lanes," speeding up some traffic in return for additional fees.

"We are here to ensure that there is only one Internet, where applications, new products, ideas and points of view have an equal chance of being seen and heard," Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said. "We are here because we want to enable those with deep pockets as well as those with empty pockets the same opportunities to succeed."

The FCC would not regulate the price of Internet services under the new rules and would not impose any new taxes or government-mandated fees. Nonetheless, opponents said they feared price regulations and new taxes would come eventually, further discouraging investment.

Two Republican commissioners, along with cable and telephone companies, blasted the new rules, warning that they might curb their investment in expanding Internet service and lead to higher prices for consumers. Internet service shouldn’t be regulated under 1930s era telephone rules, they argued.

"The Internet has become a powerful force for freedom, here and around the world," Ajit Pai, one of the two dissenters, said. "So it is sad to witness this morning the FCC’s unprecedented attempts to replace that freedom with government control. It shouldn't be this way."

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler had been pursuing a more modest Net neutrality plan last year until President Obama came out in favor of the broader, telephone-based approach. Millions of consumers buffeted the FCC with comments in favor of strong Net neutrality rules after comedian John Oliver offered a lengthy rant explaining the issue on his HBO television show.

Wheeler had telegraphed Thursday's vote weeks in advance and the impact on the share prices of cable and telecommunications stocks was minor. Shares of Comcast slipped 1.2%, Time Warner cable (TWC) dropped 1.9% and Charter Communications (CHTR) lost 1% in afternoon trading after the vote. Verizon gained 0.4% and AT&T (T) rose 0.9%.
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« Reply #200 on: March 17, 2015, 08:27:30 am »

EPA to Watch You in the Shower - at Hotels!
Big Brother wants in on intimate time


The Environmental Protection Agency wants to use wireless technology to monitor you in the shower when you travel.

The agency has awarded a $15,000 grant to three researchers at the University of Tulsa to "develop a novel low cost wireless device for monitoring water use from hotel guest room showers."

The researchers say that most hotel guests do not monitor their water usage and therefore "millions of gallons of potable water are wasted every year." So obviously the solution is an app.

"This device will be designed to fit most new and existing hotel shower fixtures and will wirelessly transmit hotel guest water usage data to a central hotel accounting system," reads the proposal.

"The proposed wireless device will have three main components: a flow meter, an embedded system and software, and a resource accounting system. This technology will provide hotel guests with the ability to monitor their daily water online or using a smartphone app, and will assist hotel guest in modifying their behavior to help conserve water."

Tyler W. Johannes, an associate professor at the University of Tulsa and one of the three partners trying to develop the app, told the Washington Free Beacon that the goal is to get all of us to cut our showers short by one minute.

    Johannes and his team assumed the average hotel shower lasts 8.2 minutes, using 17.2 gallons of water per guest per shower.

    “Initially our device/app seeks to get hotel guests to reduce their water use by 10 percent or to reduce their showers by about one minute,” he said.

The team hopes to see their device and app adopted by major hotel chains.


http://www.truthrevolt.org/news/epa-watch-you-shower-hotels
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« Reply #201 on: April 04, 2015, 06:30:46 am »

What Would Happen If Martial Law Was Declared In America?

In recent weeks, there has been a lot of concern that an upcoming eight week military exercise on U.S. soil known as “Jade Helm” is actually a dress rehearsal for the imposition of martial law in this country.  One of the reasons for the high level of concern is that we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of “urban warfare exercises” conducted by the U.S. military in major U.S. cities over the past decade – including exercises where “dissidents” are hunted down, arrested and hauled away.  As our world becomes increasingly unstable, and as our society rapidly decays from within, many believe that it is only a matter of time before the executive branch will have sufficient excuse to use the extensive martial law powers that it has been accumulating since 9/11.  When that day arrives, what will our nation look like?  What would actually happen if martial law was declared in America?

Well, the first thing that you need to know is that the U.S. Constitution would be “suspended”.

In other words, you would suddenly have no rights at all.

There would be no freedom of speech, no freedom of the press, no freedom of assembly and you could be arrested at any time for any reason whatsoever.

For the duration of the “emergency”, the military would be in control.  There would be troops in the streets, a curfew would almost certainly be imposed, and armed checkpoints would be set up.

If the “emergency” lasted long enough, we would probably see authorities go house to house confiscating firearms, ammunition and food supplies.

And perhaps most troubling of all, “dissidents” and “subversives” would likely be rounded up and imprisoned.

Perhaps you don’t think that this could ever happen in the United States in 2015.

Well, we do know that this is precisely what the FBI had a plan to do in the 1950s.  The following is an excerpt from a recent RT article…

    Documents show the FBI created a “Plan C” during the Cold War, which could have been triggered in the event the US underwent a nuclear attack. It included putting the nation under martial law, rounding up “subversives,” and interning enemy diplomats.

    The documents, acquired by transparency journalism organization MuckRock, detail the FBI plan created in 1956, which was shared with several top officials from every governmental department. The FBI also distributed papers regarding the plan to its field offices. The plan would have gone into effect “after a war has begun in which the US is involved or may become involved and prior to an actual attack on the US itself,” according to the documents.

    Under Plan C, martial law would be declared and the FBI would enact its ‘Emergency Detention Program,’ which entailed apprehending individuals whose affiliations with subversive organizations “are so pronounced that their continued liberty in the event of a national emergency would present a serious threat to the internal security of the country.” The document shows that as of April 1956, almost 13,000 people “were scheduled for apprehension in an emergency.”

Very sobering.

And we do know that the federal government had a list of at least 8 million names of people that were considered to be “threats to national security” back in the 1980s.  This list was known as Main Core, and it is not known whether this list still exists today.

I have a feeling that it does, and that it is probably much larger than it was back then.

We also know that government documents produced during the Obama administration openly discuss rounding up “dissidents” and taking them to internment camps.  Just consider the following example from Infowars…

    A leaked 2012 US Army Military Police training manual, entitled “Civil Disturbance Operations,” described how soldiers would be ordered to confiscate firearms and kill American “dissidents.” The manual also revealed that prisoners would be detained in temporary internment camps and “re-educated” to gain a new appreciation of “U.S. policies,” in accordance with U.S. Army FM 3-19.40 Internment/Resettlement Operations.

So who would those “dissidents” be exactly?

In “72 Types Of Americans That Are Considered ‘Potential Terrorists’ In Official Government Documents“, I detailed how official U.S. government documents specifically identify those that believe in “conspiracy theories” as possible threats.  Others that the government is concerned about include those opposed to abortion, globalism, communism, illegal immigration, the United Nations and “the New World Order”.

I wish that none of this was true.  Go check out the article for yourself.

Another very disturbing government document talks about the need for the U.S. Army to prepare to battle political dissidents in “megacities” and to neutralize groups “who can influence the lives of the population while undermining the authority of the state”.  Here is more from Infowars…

    The U.S. Army is preparing to fight political dissidents who challenge the power of the state as “megacities” become the battleground of the future, according to a new report in the Army Times.

    The article details how the Army’s Capabilities Integration Center (ARCIC) worked with US Army Special Operations Command, the chief of staff’s Strategic Studies Group and the UK’s Ministry of Defence earlier this year to wargame the future of armed combat, which will revolve around the neutralization of groups “who can influence the lives of the population while undermining the authority of the state,” a chillingly vague description which could easily be applied to political dissidents.

    The plan foresees an unprecedented realignment of U.S. military strategy focused around putting “boots on the ground” in megacities to deal with “politically dispossessed” populations while relying on “more lethal and more autonomous” methods.

Very alarming stuff.

And if we did see martial law declared nationwide, it is likely that all elections would be suspended indefinitely.

That could also potentially include the 2016 presidential election.

Is it possible that Barack Obama could use his emergency powers to stay in the White House beyond his second term?  There are some out there that believe that this could actually happen under the right circumstances.  For example, check out what Dr. Ben Carson said during an appearance on the Alan Colmes radio show…

    COLMES: What do you mean though when you say there may not be an election in 2016?

    DR. BEN CARSON: There may be so much anarchy going on.

    COLMES: Anarchy? So you really think we risk risking an anarchic America to the point where elections might be put on hold, or some kind of emergency is declared with such anarchy that there wouldn’t be a Presidential election in a couple of years?

    DR. BEN CARSON: I don’t want to find out. I really don’t want to find out, I don’t want to continue down this pathway that we’re going down.

And the groundwork has certainly been laid for such a scenario.

During his time in the White House, Barack Obama has signed a series of executive orders that give him and his minions an extraordinary amount of power in the event of a major national emergency.

For example, read the following excerpt from an executive order that Obama signed in March 2012…

    Sec. 201.  Priorities and Allocations Authorities.  (a)  The authority of the President conferred by section 101 of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2071, to require acceptance and priority performance of contracts or orders (other than contracts of employment) to promote the national defense over performance of any other contracts or orders, and to allocate materials, services, and facilities as deemed necessary or appropriate to promote the national defense, is delegated to the following agency heads:

    (1)  the Secretary of Agriculture with respect to food resources, food resource facilities, livestock resources, veterinary resources, plant health resources, and the domestic distribution of farm equipment and commercial fertilizer;

    (2)  the Secretary of Energy with respect to all forms of energy;

    (3)  the Secretary of Health and Human Services with respect to health resources;

    (4)  the Secretary of Transportation with respect to all forms of civil transportation;

    (5)  the Secretary of Defense with respect to water resources; and

    (6)  the Secretary of Commerce with respect to all other materials, services, and facilities, including construction materials.

That sounds like it covers just about everything.

Basically, during a time of martial law all of the things that you take for granted today would be out the window.

You would have no rights, and the federal government would be able to do just about anything that it wanted to do.

If that sounds really bad to you, then maybe now you are starting to understand why so many people get upset when they see preparations being made for the eventual imposition of martial law in this country.

http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/what-would-happen-if-martial-law-was-declared-in-america
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« Reply #202 on: April 08, 2015, 03:16:07 pm »

http://news.yahoo.com/u-tracked-phone-calls-two-decades-anti-drug-224814247.html
4/8/15
U.S. tracked phone calls for two decades in anti-drug program: USA Today

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government started keeping secret records of international phone calls made by Americans in 1992 in a program intended to combat drug trafficking, USA Today reported on Tuesday, citing current and former intelligence and law enforcement officials.

The program, run by the Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration, was halted by Attorney General Eric Holder in 2013 amid the fallout from revelations by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden about NSA data collection, the paper reported.

The DEA program was the government's first known effort to gather data on Americans in bulk, sweeping up records of telephone calls made by millions of U.S. citizens regardless of whether they were suspected of a crime, USA Today said.

The program amassed logs of virtually all telephone calls made from the United States to as many as 116 countries linked to drug trafficking.

Federal investigators used the call records to track drug cartels' distribution networks in the United States, allowing agents to detect previously unknown trafficking rings and money handlers, the paper said.

The program did not intercept the content of calls but it did record the phone numbers and when they were dialed.

When the data collection began, agents sought to limit its use mainly to drug investigations and turned away requests for access from the FBI and the NSA, the paper reported.

Agents allowed searches of the data in terrorism cases, including the bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people in 1995, helping to rule out theories linking the attack to foreign terrorists, the paper reported. They allowed even broader use after Sept. 11, 2001, it said.

Justice Department spokesman Patrick Rodenbush told USA Today the DEA "is no longer collecting bulk telephony metadata from U.S. service providers."

Instead, the DEA assembles a list of the telephone numbers it suspects may be tied to drug trafficking and sends electronic subpoenas to telephone companies seeking logs of international telephone calls linked to those numbers, the paper said.
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« Reply #203 on: April 08, 2015, 03:43:24 pm »

Al Sharpton Calls for Federal Police Laws After South Carolina Killing

Rev. Al Sharpton called for national policing legislation akin to the Civil Rights Act this morning at the kickoff his National Action Network’s annual convention, just after the arrest of a white South Carolina police officer for murder in the shooting of an unarmed black man.

“There must be national policy and national law on policing,” Mr. Sharpton said. “We can’t go from state to state, we’ve got to have national law to protect people against these continued questions.”

Mr. Sharpton’s comments, coming on the heels of multiple instances of police killings of unarmed men of color around the country, were met with applause from the crowd—and from the dais, which was packed with elected officials including Mayor Bill de Blasio, Congressman Charles Rangel, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, city Comptroller Scott Stringer and state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli

The convention kickoff, which featured a ribbon cutting with the lawmakers, came just hours after it was announced last night that North Charleston, S.C., police officer Michael T. Slager would be charged with murder in the death of Walter Scott—who can be seen in a widely publicized video running away from Mr. Slager, while the officer shoots into the man’s back repeatedly. The video offers a markedly different story than the one Mr. Slager first offered up: that Scott had stolen his taser and left him in fear for his life.

Mr. Sharpton praised the city’s mayor and police chief for bringing the charges, but said the nation couldn’t rely on the judgement of local officials.

“We commend them, but we cannot have a justice system that hopes we have a mayor in the right city or a police chief,” he said. “We have to have one policy that is national.”

Mr. Sharpton later noted that the comparatively small town’s officials had been braver than police leaders in bigger cities. He has been vocal about his belief that New York City police Daniel Pantaleo should have been charged with a crime in the death of an unarmed black Staten Island man, Eric Garner. A grand jury declined to indict Mr. Pantaleo, spurring protests throughout the city.

That death, too, was captured in a widely published video. And though the footage did not lead to any charges, Mr. Sharpton said today the national legislation should focus on “cameras” as well as “accountability.”

He compared the fight for police reform to the civil rights struggle, noting that activists did not try to fix discrimination in individual states or cities.

“They fought for a national Civil Rights Act, a national Voting Rights Act. It’s time for this country to have national policing,” Mr. Sharpton said.

After the ribbon cutting, Mr. de Blasio—whose first year in office was dominated by an effort to reform police-community relations after Garner’s death and a subsequent City Hall feud with police union leadership—said he agreed some kind of national standard should be set.

“It’s a broad point he’s making, and I think he way he made the analogy to the Voting Rights Act is the right one. We’ve got to figure out how to create the right relationship between police and community,” Mr. de Blasio told reporters. “The vast majority of police do their job well and want to work more closely with the community. Obviously community residents want to work more closely with the police. But we have to create more of a national standard that says we all have to be on the same page.”

The relationship between Mr. de Blasio and Mr. Sharpton was fodder for his woes with police unions last year: they took umbrage when Mr. Sharpton was seated next to the mayor and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton at a City Hall round table, and dismissed Mr. Sharpton as divisive. A poll later showed voters didn’t like the approaches of either Mr. Sharpton or the union leaders and rank-and-file officers who later turned their backs on Mr. de Blasio at the funeral for two slain officers.

Today, Mr. Sharpton offered a full-throated defense his relationship with the mayor, saying it was based not on political power but on a long history of working together, citing Mr. de Blasio’s support on issues like wage increases and the silent march against stop, question and frisk before his election.

“He marched with us when other candidates wouldn’t. So don’t begrudge us for knowing somebody that we always knew, and that was there in the trenches with us,” Mr. Sharpton said, saying he had never asked for favors or back room deals—only access and policy changes. “There’s nothing in the back room we want. We want everything out front.”

Read more at http://observer.com/2015/04/al-sharpton-calls-for-fedeal-police-laws-after-south-carolina-killing/#ixzz3Wkj2twEq

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« Reply #204 on: April 08, 2015, 04:34:31 pm »

Louisiana Makes It Illegal To Use Cash To Buy Used Goods

Louisiana businesses are suddenly discovering a new law that flew under the radar during the last legislative session:

    Cold hard cash. It’s good everywhere you go, right? You can use it to pay for anything.

    But that’s not the case here in Louisiana now. It’s a law that was passed during this year’s busy legislative session.

    House bill 195 basically says those who buy and sell second hand goods cannot use cash to make those transactions, and it flew so far under the radar most businesses don’t even know about it.

    “We’re gonna lose a lot of business,” says Danny Guidry, who owns the Pioneer Trading Post in Lafayette. He deals in buying and selling unique second hand items.

    “We don’t want this cash transaction to be taken away from us. It’s an everyday transaction,” Guidry explains.

    Guidry says, “I think everyone in this business once they find out about it. They’re will definitely be a lot of uproar.”

    The law states those who buy or sell second hand goods are prohibited from using cash. State representative Rickey Hardy co-authored the bill.

    Hardy says, “they give a check or a cashiers money order, or electronic one of those three mechanisms is used.”

    Hardy says the bill is targeted at criminals who steal anything from copper to televisions, and sell them for a quick buck. Having a paper trail will make it easier for law enforcement.

    “It’s a mechanism to be used so the police department has something to go on and have a lead,” explains Hardy.

    Guidry feels his store shouldn’t have to change it’s ways of doing business, because he may possibly buy or sell stolen goods. Something he says has happened once in his eight years.

    “We are being targeted for something we shouldn’t be.”

    Besides non-profit resellers like Goodwill, and garage sales, the language of the bill encompasses stores like the Pioneer Trading Post and flea markets.

    Lawyer Thad Ackel Jr. feels the passage of this bill begins a slippery slope for economic freedom in the state.

    “The government is placing a significant restriction on individuals transacting in their own private property,” says Ackel.

To say the least.

As Thad Ackel, who is quoted in the linked report, notes, this law goes far beyond even the extraordinary step of banning cash transactions:.

    The law goes further to require secondhand dealers to turn over a valuable business asset, namely, their business’ proprietary client information. For every transaction a secondhand dealer must obtain the seller’s personal information such as their name, address, driver’s license number and the license plate number of the vehicle in which the goods were delivered. They must also make a detailed description of the item(s) purchased and submit this with the personal identification information of every transaction to the local policing authorities through electronic daily reports. If a seller cannot or refuses to produce to the secondhand dealer any of the required forms of identification, the secondhand dealer is prohibited from completing the transaction.

    This legislation amounts to a public taking of private property without compensation. Regardless of whether or not the transaction information is connected with, or law enforcement is investigating a crime, individuals and businesses are forced to report routine business activity to the police. Can law enforcement not accomplish its goal of identifying potential thieves and locating stolen items in a far less intrusive manner? And of course, there are already laws that prohibit stealing, buying or selling stolen goods, laws that require businesses to account for transactions and laws that penalize individuals and businesses that transact in stolen property. Why does the Louisiana State Legislature need to enact more laws infringing on personal privacy, liberties and freedom?

The standard justification for a law such as this is easy to understand. Second hand stores and pawnbrokers if only because both have long been a source for people in possession of stolen good to fence their ill-gotten wares. However, the law itself actually exempts pawnbrokers from the no-cash part of the law even though it’s fairly clearly that pawn shops are notorious as the destination for stolen goods. If the law was really aimed at preventing stolen goods from being sold in this manner, why ban pawnbrokers? Even if you accepted the justifications on their face, though, his law goes way too far, especially in the banning of cash transactions. The purpose of the bill could be met simply be requiring some form of Identification be taken when a transaction is made, and that records of the same be maintained. Banning the use of legal tender completely is way over the top.

Additionally, while I haven’t researched the issue, I’m not even sure that the state has the authority to say that Federal Reserve Notes, which Congress has made legal tender for all transactions, cannot be used in a transaction.  I would think that there’s a case to be made here that Louisiana has violated the Supremacy Clause of the Constitutional by saying that U.S. currency cannot be used for a certain class of transactions. Certainly, if this is allowed to stand, then the effect would be that any state could say that cash cannot be used for any number of transaction in the name of “fighting crime,” “public safety,” or whatever other excuse an inventive legislator can come up with.

It’s easy to understand why Louisiana would want to ban cash transactions. Absent some other form of record keeping, cash brings a kind of anonymity that paying with credit cards, debit cards, or checks cannot offer. If I’ve got a hundred bucks in my wallet, I can spend it anywhere I want without any concern that someone, somewhere is tracking me. You can’t say the same thing with any other form of payment. There’s something to be said for the ability to conduct your business without worrying about whether or not what you buy and where you buy is being monitored, either by a private entity or the government. In Louisiana, though, you can’t do that anymore, at least not if you want to buy used goods.

http://govtslaves.info/louisiana-makes-it-illegal-to-use-cash-to-buy-used-goods/
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« Reply #205 on: April 17, 2015, 05:24:58 am »

Judge opens door for cops to storm your home
Rules 3rd Amendment doesn't apply to law enforcement


The Third Amendment, which guards against the quartering of soldiers in citizens’ homes – and which came into being because of the abuse of British troops against American patriots – has just been dinged by a judge who ruled the provision doesn’t apply to police.

In essence, that means police on official business could claim the legal right to bust into a private citizen’s home and occupy it.

The determination from federal district court Judge Andrew Gordon was rendered when he dismissed a Third Amendment claim from a Henderson, Nevada, family who suffered that very fate.

“Police State USA: How Orwell’s Nightmare Is Becoming Our Reality” chronicles how America has arrived at the point of being a de facto police state, and what led to an out-of-control government that increasingly ignores the Constitution. Order today!

Anthony Mitchell and his parents Michael and Linda Mitchell sued the City of Henderson and several police agents in federal court for a July 2011 incident they described in court papers.

Volokh reported: “On the morning of July 10, 2011, officers from the Henderson Police Department responded to a domestic violence call at a neighbor’s residence. … [Police] told [Mitchell] police needed to occupy his home in order to gain a ‘tactical advantage’ against the occupant of the neighboring house. Anthony Mitchell told the officer that he did not want to become involved and that he did not want police to enter his residence.”

Police went to the Mitchell family house anyway, and “banged forcefully on the door and loudly commanded Anthony Mitchell to open the door to his residence,” his complaint read.

Mitchell then reportedly contacted his mother to let her know what was going on – and police “smashed open” his door with a metal ram, court documents indicated.

From there, the situation grew even more chaotic. Mitchell wrote in court papers police pepperballed him and his dog, gave him conflicting orders and ultimately arrested him. He was released the next day from jail.

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But Mitchell and his parents turned around and sued, alleging their Third and Fourth Amendment rights had been violated – the Third, because the police were acting like members of the military. The case was closely watched by legal minds, given the unusual nature of the Third Amendment alleged violation.

But Gordon dismissed that claim in a court action that fell largely under the nation’s radar.

He wrote, the Washington Post reported: “Various officers … entered into and occupied Linda’s and Michael’s home for an unspecified amount of time (seemingly nine hours), but certainly for less than 24 hours. The relevant questions are thus whether municipal police should be considered soldiers, and whether the time they spent in the house could be considered quartering. To both questions, the answer must be no. I hold that a municipal police officer is not a soldier for purposes of the Third Amendment.”

As Ilya Somin, professor of law at George Mason University, opined, however: The judge’s dismissal should be regarded with wary eyes.

One “complicating factor,” he said, in the Washington Post, “is the increasing militarization of police forces in many parts of the country, which has resulted in cops using weapons and tactics normally associated with military forces. If a state or local government decides to quarter a SWAT team in a private home, it is not clear whether that is meaningfully different from placing a National Guard unit there.”

WND reported there are some 17,000 police departments nationwide equipped with $4.2 billion worth of equipment ranging from Blackhawk helicopters and battering rams to explosives, body armor and night vision.

Military assault rifles, grenade launchers and 14-ton Mine-Resistance Ambush-Protected vehicles built for taking down terrorist enclaves are becoming part of the toolbox of local police departments under the federal 1033 program that supplies “surplus” military weapons to local officers, departments and agencies on request and without charge.

WND recently reported the American Civil Liberties Union was critical of the 1033 program, and a growing number of cities and counties are now returning the war weapons.

“Whenever this kind of armament is brought into a community, it should only be done with the knowledge and consent of the citizenry,” John Whitehead, a constitutional attorney based in Charlottesville, Virginia, said in a statement released to WND.

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2015/04/cops-can-storm-homes-court-suggests/#mGd7e7rmo6Be8AfO.99
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« Reply #206 on: April 18, 2015, 06:54:13 am »

‘Intelligent’ Streetlights to ‘Watch’ Florida Residents
"Data-collecting" LED streetlights part of General Electric's "Intelligent City Initiative"


The Jacksonville, Florida, city government is preparing to install more than 50 “intelligent” streetlights under a new General Electric pilot program.

In accordance with the “GE Intelligent City Initiate,” the “data-collecting” LED streetlights will be placed throughout the city’s downtown and surrounding areas.

According to a Thursday morning presentation by GE, the lights will be “interconnected with one another and will collect real-time data,” as reported by the Jacksonville Business Journal.

“GE’s intelligent LEDs are a gateway to city-changing technology, with sensors, controls, wireless transmitters and microprocessors built within the LED system,” GE states.

Once collected, GE’s “Predix software” will analyze the data in real-time, providing the city with an array of information.

“Predix, GE’s software platform for the Industrial Internet, collects and analyzes data from these components, delivering optimized tools that respond to city challenges,” GE says.

Although the city will have access to the data, City Spokesman David DeCamp admits that GE will own all information collected.

“Data will be hosted on GE Lighting’s network, city and JEA may request data and use it internally,” Decamp told the Journal. “Data may be shared with third parties only with written consent of GE Lighting.”

GE on the other hand asserted that the city had final say on the specifics of data collection and sharing.

So far the city has mostly focused on the streetlights’ ability to give drivers “real time information on locations of available parking spaces,” making little note of the troubling surveillance capabilities of such technologies.

In 2013 the Las Vegas Public Works Department began testing a similar streetlight system which included audio and video recording applications. The manufacturer, “Illuminating Concepts,” stoked controversy in 2011 when it was discovered that their lights included “Homeland Security” features.

At the time, the company’s website highlighted its hi-tech features including “voice stress analyzers” that would “assist DHS in protecting its citizens and natural resources.”

“If the city installed street lights with surveillance abilities… you would never know,” a Homeland Security employee told reporters at the time.

According to GE, San Diego, California, will also participate in the pilot program.

http://www.infowars.com/intelligent-streetlights-to-watch-florida-residents/
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« Reply #207 on: April 26, 2015, 05:50:23 am »

US unveils 6-year-old report on NSA surveillance

With debate gearing up over the coming expiration of the Patriot Act surveillance law, the Obama administration on Saturday unveiled a 6-year-old report examining the once-secret program to collect information on Americans' calls and emails.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence publicly released the redacted report following a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the New York Times. The basics of the National Security Agency program had already been declassified, but the lengthy report includes some new details about the secrecy surrounding it.

President George W. Bush authorized the "President's Surveillance Program" in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The review was completed in July 2009 by inspectors general from the Justice Department, Pentagon, CIA, NSA and Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

They found that while many senior intelligence officials believe the program filled a gap by increasing access to international communications, others including FBI agents, CIA analysts and managers "had difficulty evaluating the precise contribution of the PSP to counterterrorism efforts because it was most often viewed as one source among many available analytic and intelligence-gathering tools in these efforts."

Critics of the phone records program, which allows the NSA to hunt for communications between terrorists abroad and U.S. residents, argue it has not proven to be an effective counterterrorism tool. They also say an intelligence agency has no business possessing the deeply personal records of Americans. Many favor a system under which the NSA can obtain court orders to query records held by the phone companies.

The Patriot Act expires on June 1, and Senate Republicans have introduced a bill that would allow continued collection of call records of nearly every American. The legislation would reauthorize sections of the Patriot Act, including the provision under which the NSA requires phone companies to turn over the "to and from" records of most domestic landline calls.

After the program was disclosed in 2013 by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, President Barack Obama and many lawmakers called for legislation to end that collection, but a bill to do so failed last year. Proponents had hoped that the expiration of the Patriot Act provisions on June 1 would force consideration of such a measure.

A bipartisan group of House members has been working on such legislation, dubbed the USA Freedom Act. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Friday that Obama is pleased the efforts are restarting in the House.

"Hopefully, the next place where Democrats and Republicans will turn their attention and try to work together is on this issue of putting in place important reforms to the Patriot Act," Earnest said.

If no legislation is passed, the Patriot Act provisions would expire. That would affect not only the NSA surveillance but other programs used by the FBI to investigate domestic crimes, which puts considerable pressure on lawmakers to pass some sort of extension.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_NSA_SURVEILLANCE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2015-04-25-13-38-12
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« Reply #208 on: May 07, 2015, 11:55:04 am »

Top federal court rules against NSA's phone records program

A federal court has decided that the National Security Agency’s bulk, warrantless collection of millions of Americans’ phone records is illegal.

The sweeping decision from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday represents a major court victory for opponents of the NSA and comes just as Congress begins a fight over whether to renew the underlying law used to justify the program. 

That program “exceeds the scope of what Congress has authorized,” Judge Gerard Lynch wrote on behalf of the three-judge panel.

The law “cannot be interpreted in a way that defies any meaningful limit,” he added.

Additionally, the government’s rationale behind the program represents “a monumental shift in our approach to combating terrorism,” which was not grounded in a clear explanation of the law.

The Second Circuit’s decision provides the most significant legal blow to the NSA operations to date and comes more than a year after a lower court called the program “almost-Orwellian” and likely unconstitutional. The appeals court did not examine the constitutionality of the surveillance program in its ruling on Thursday.

The Second Circuit is just one of the three appeals courts examining challenges to the NSA’s phone records program, which may ultimately land at the Supreme Court.

Section 215 of the Patriot Act authorizes the government to collect “any tangible things” that the government proves are “relevant to” an investigation into suspected terrorists.

With the blessing of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court — the secretive federal court overseeing government intelligence operations — the government has interpreted that mandate to allow it to collect massive amounts of records containing “metadata” about people’s phone calls, including the numbers involved in the call and when it occurred.

While seemingly benign, metadata can reveal “civil, political, or religious affiliations,” Lynch wrote, as well as personal behavior and “intimate relationships.”

But that reading, the court ruled, is far beyond what Congress ever intended.

“If the government is correct, it could use § 215 to collect and store in bulk any other existing metadata available anywhere in the private sector, including metadata associated with financial records, medical records, and electronic communications (including e‐mail and social media information) relating to all Americans,” Lynch wrote.

“Such expansive development of government repositories of formerly private records would be an unprecedented contraction of the privacy expectations of all Americans.”

Congress last reviewed the law in 2011, but even then, many lawmakers were not aware of the details of the NSA’s bulk collection practices.

Because most of the details were kept classified, “Congress cannot reasonably be said to have ratified a program of which many members of Congress – and all members of the public – were not aware,” Lynch wrote.

That all changed two years ago, however, following revelations from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that detailed the expansive nature of the NSA’s surveillance.

In the wake of those leaks, lawmakers, including Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), the original author of the Patriot Act, have made clear they never meant to authorize the NSA’s bulk phone collection program.

With President Obama's backing, they have attempted to rein in the agency by pushing legislation that would end its current collection practices and force it to request from private companies only a narrow set of phone records involved in a case. The debate is simmering in Congress, ahead of Section 215’s scheduled expiration at the end of the month.

National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said the White House is “in the process of evaluating the decision handed down this morning,” but urged Congress to move forward with reform.

“Without commenting on the ruling today, the President has been clear that he believes we should end the Section 215 bulk telephony metadata program as it currently exists by creating an alternative mechanism to preserve the program’s essential capabilities without the government holding the bulk data,” he said. “We continue to work closely with members of Congress from both parties to do just that, and we have been encouraged by good progress on bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would implement these important reforms.”

That debate might be more important than ever now, since the full details of the NSA phone program have been made public.

If Congress chooses to reauthorize the existing law without change — as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and others want to do — it would likely be seen as a blessing to the current NSA program, the appeals court indicated.

“If Congress chooses to authorize such a far‐reaching and unprecedented program, it has every opportunity to do so, and to do so unambiguously,” Lynch wrote. “Until such time as it does so, however, we decline to deviate from widely accepted interpretations of well‐established legal standards.”

Following the ruling, Attorney General Loretta Lynch told lawmakers on a Senate Appropriations subcommittee Thursday that the program has been a “vital tool in our national security arsenal.”

Loretta Lynch said she is “not aware” of any privacy violations that have occurred since President Obama instituted new reforms to the program.

Asked whether the Justice Department plans to appeal the ruling, the attorney general said, “We are reviewing that decision.”

At the same time, she explained that because of time issues surrounding the expiration of the program, the Justice Department is working with Congress to find a way to reauthorize it while protecting privacy and maintaining its efficacy.

http://thehill.com/policy/technology/241305-top-court-rules-against-nsa-program
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« Reply #209 on: May 11, 2015, 11:31:36 am »

Federal Courts Green Light Police Access to Cellphone Tower Records without a Warrant

 A federal appeals court has ruled that law enforcement agencies may access tracking information on cell phones without a warrant.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled (pdf) Tuesday that police were justified in asking a mobile phone provider to hand over the records of Quartavious Davis, who was convicted of committing seven armed robberies in South Florida in 2010. As part of the evidence used against Davis, prosecutors presented data showing that Davis’ phone was using cell towers near sites of robberies.

In a 9-2 vote, the court said that mobile phone users should have no expectation of privacy. “Cell users know that they must transmit signals to cell towers within range, that the cell tower functions as the equipment that connects the calls, that users when making or receiving calls are necessarily conveying or exposing to their service provider their general location within that cell tower’s range, and that cell phone companies make records of cell-tower usage,” Judge Frank Hull wrote. The ruling closely followed the reasoning in a 2013 decision from the Fifth Circuit.

The ruling overturned a previous decision (pdf) last June by a three-judge panel of the court that said a warrant was necessary. Tuesday’s ruling was from the entire 11th Circuit.

Davis’ attorney, David O. Markus called the decision “breathtaking.” He said the ruling could open the door to law enforcement being able to access Facebook posts, online purchase information and data in “cloud” storage without a warrant, according to The Associated Press.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had filed a brief in support of requiring a warrant for such a search. “The majority opinion fails to appreciate the necessity of protecting our privacy in the digital age,” Nathan Freed Wessler, staff attorney at the Speech, Privacy and Technology Project of the ACLU, told the AP.

http://www.allgov.com/news/top-stories/federal-courts-green-light-police-access-to-cellphone-tower-records-without-a-warrant-150510?news=856446
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