Commentary on the economic , geopolitical and simply fascinating things going on. Served occasionally with a side of snark.
Saturday, May 10, 2014
Police State Updates - May 10 , 2014 ----- In a new policy directive from the Obama administrative, national security and other government officials will no longer be allowed to publicly discuss or even reference news reporting that is based on "unauthorized leaks." ......... The Justice Department is seeking a change in criminal rules that would make it easier for the FBI to obtain warrants to hack into suspects’ computers for evidence when the computer’s physical location is unknown — a problem that officials say is increasing as more and more crime is conducted online with tools to conceal identity ...... A bill to end the government’s bulk collection of telephone records got a unanimous go-ahead on Thursday from a second U.S. congressional committee, but the measure, according to some sources, could actually enhance U.S. surveillance capabilities ...... Is the government really more worried about Yellowstone exploding then they are letting on ? If not , what about the alleged deal floating out there concerning a " Day After Tomorrow scenarion " involving Australia and Brazil ) note South Africe allegedly turned down a US offer to facilitate US citizens exodus and shelter !!!!
Obama Directive Makes Mere Citing of Snowden Leaks
Once promising the most transparent administration in history, White House reins in free speech of employees
- Jon Queally, staff writer
Directive from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) makes mention of news reporting referencing unauthorized informatin, like that leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, a punishable offense. (Image credit: Laura Poitras)In a new policy directive from the Obama administrative, national security and other government officials will no longer be allowed to publicly discuss or even reference news reporting that is based on "unauthorized leaks."
President Obama once promised the American people that his administration would be the most transparent in history, but after years of fights with civil libertarians trying to obtain legal memos used to justify the president's overseas assassination program, an unprecedented pattern of prosecuting government whistleblowers, the targeting of journalists, and all the secrecy and obfuscation related to the NSA's mass surviellance programs made public by Edward Snowden, that claim is now met with near universal laughter, if not scorn, by critics.
A new pre-publication review policy for the Office of Director of National Intelligence says the agency’s current and former employees and contractors may not cite news reports based on leaks in their speeches, opinion articles, books, term papers or other unofficial writings.
Such officials “must not use sourcing that comes from known leaks, or unauthorized disclosures of sensitive information,” it says. “The use of such information in a publication can confirm the validity of an unauthorized disclosure and cause further harm to national security.”
Failure to comply “may result in the imposition of civil and administrative penalties, and may result in the loss of security clearances and accesses,” it says.
Timothy H. Edgar, a visiting professor at Brown University, told the Times the ODNI directive is overly restrictive because it goes beyond telling officials they cannot comment on or confirm the accuracy of unauthorized leaks—something he thinks makes sense and is already covered by statute—but it bizarrely asserts that these people cannot even acknowledge the existence of a story that may have appeared on the cover of a major newspaper.
“You’re basically saying people can’t talk about what everyone in the country is talking about,” Edgar said. “I think that is awkward and overly broad in terms of restricting speech.”
The new rule was first reported by journalist Steve Aftergood at the Secrecy News website on Thursday and relates to other rules that guide national security officials who are speak to the press or in public forums.
Referencing the Times reporting on the directive, the president's critics were focused on the continued hypocrisy between claims of transparency by the president and other high-level officials and the reality represented by the continued attempt to by the White House and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to control information:
The Justice Department is seeking a change in criminal rules that would make it easier for the FBI to obtain warrants to hack into suspects’ computers for evidence when the computer’s physical location is unknown — a problem that officials say is increasing as more and more crime is conducted online with tools to conceal identity.
But the proposal, which was posted for public comment on a U.S. court Web site Friday, is raising concerns among privacy advocates who see it as expanding the power of federal agents to insert malware on computers, which they say could weaken overall Internet security.
The proposed change would also make it easier for agents to use one warrant to obtain evidence on possibly hundreds or thousands of computers spread across the country when the machines have been secretly commandeered into “botnets” by criminals to conduct cyberattacks.
“Criminals are increasingly using sophisticated technologies that pose technical challenges to law enforcement, and remote searches of computers are often essential to the successful investigation of botnets and crimes involving Internet technologies,” said Mythili Raman, then-acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s criminal division, in a letter to a U.S. Courts advisory committee last year that previewed the proposal.
Justice Department officials stress that the proposal would not authorize any searches or efforts to gain remote access that are not already permitted by law. What they’d like to do is update the rules governing physical search warrants to accommodate the digital age, officials said. Currently, judges may issue a search warrant in most cases only if the property to be examined is located in their district.
That complicates investigators' efforts when suspects have routed their activities through multiple servers to hide their locations and identities, officials say. They point to an online financial fraud case last year in southern Texas where a judge denied a warrant to prosecutors who wanted to use remote access tools to, among other things, locate a suspect’s computer.
“Since the current location of the target computer is unknown, it necessarily follows that the current location of the information on the target computer is also unknown,” wrote Magistrate Judge Stephen W. Smith. “This means that the government’s application cannot satisfy the territorial” requirement, which governs search warrants.
A rule change, Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said, would reassure judges such as Smith that such searches are proper. It would allow them to issue warrants to use software to gain access to computers outside their district where the hacker’s identity and location have been “concealed through technological means.”
It would also allow a single warrant to be issued in hacking cases involving computers “located in five or more districts,” which typically involve botnets, according to the proposed rule.
But civil liberties advocates fear that the proposal, if adopted, would gradually lead to more invasive searches of property.
“The underlying current behind all of this is they’re basically talking about allowing police to break into people’s computers,” said Hanni Fakhoury, staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “That gives me pause.”
At issue is a question more fundamental than whether a judge has jurisdiction to issue a warrant, said Nathan Freed Wessler, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union. “The overarching concern is that it’s unclear whether it is ever allowable under the Fourth Amendment to conduct these kinds of searches, sending out zero-day vulnerabilities over the Internet and weakening Internet security for everybody,” he said, referring to a type of computer software flaw that can be exploited to gain access to someone’s computer.
Wessler said that if investigators do not know where a computer is, it would be difficult for them to assure a judge that they are targeting the right computer. In a 2012 Colorado case, agents made an error in the e-mail address they were targeting, which could have resulted in the hacking software being sent to an innocent person, he said. He added that remote searches can end up revealing highly private information, beyond what investigators describe.
Another reason why Smith rejected the warrant application was what he described as the “extremely intrusive” nature of the FBI’s proposed search, which included activating a computer’s built-in camera.
But Carr said, under the proposal, “warrants such as these would not permit seizure and review of the owner’s personal files or similar activities.”
Michael Vatis, a partner at Steptoe & Johnson and a former head of the FBI’s computer crime program, said that sometimes the only way to determine the location of criminals, who may themselves be spreading destructive malware, is “to use software that goes across the Internet to reach the originating computer. There’s no reason to prohibit that.”
He said the government should be careful to limit the effects of its actions so they do not cause harm to innocent people’s computers. “But as a general matter, I don’t see anything wrong” with law enforcement agents using remote access tools in investigations.
In the case of botnets, officials said, investigations often require law enforcement to act in many jurisdictions all at once. “A large botnet investigation is likely to require action in all 94 districts, but coordinating 94 simultaneous warrants in the 94 districts would be impossible as a practical matter,” Raman wrote.
The proposal does not alter requirements that the prosecutor show probable cause of a crime to obtain a warrant and that the items to be searched and seized be described with “particularity,” officials said.
Former magistrate judge Brian Owsley, who has written critically about the government’s expanding use of surveillance tools, gave qualified support to the proposal. “I tend to agree with it as long as the government has exhausted all other options and considers people’s privacy,” said Owsley, who served until last May in the southern district of Texas. “I think this is a relatively extreme measure for law enforcement. It shouldn’t be the first option that pops into their head.”
The proposal must still go through several layers of court and congressional review.
Senator John McCain told a radio show recently that Americans should “accept” the notion that their private conversations are being recorded by the government, even in the privacy of their own homes.
McCain was asked by host Dan Patrick what his thoughts were on the Donald Sterling controversy, in particular the concept of private conversations being recorded and then released publicly. Sterling’s controversial remarks became public after his girlfriend V. Stiviano taped hundreds of hours of private discussions between the two.
“What about taping somebody in his own home, using that…..” asked Patrick.
“It’s the world we’re living in, you don’t like it, but everything I say I expect to be recorded,” McCain responded.“It’s just the way we live, Dan. It’s something you’ve got to accept. I don’t particularly like it, but it is what it is,” added the Senator, making reference to a recent poll which revealed that 53% of Americans believed their telephone conversations were being listened to.
McCain went on to remark that young people were naive about government surveillance of private communications because the country had forgotten the lessons of 9/11.
“We’re all grown people and we have to realize we live in the 21st century,” added McCain.
Though McCain denied that the NSA was listening to every telephone conversation in America, as former NSA employee turned whistleblower William Binney has emphasized on multiple occasions, the space required to store mere metadata and not actual content of conversations is minimal.
The reason the NSA is building huge data centers which cover 1.5 million square feet, like the facility in Bluffdale, Utah, is because the agency is storing actual content of phone calls, online chats and conversations.
If Americans were aware of the level to which their supposedly private conversations were being monitored, they may be a lot less willing to “accept” such an intrusion, despite McCain’s attempt to couch the debate in the fatalistic notion that mass government surveillance is an inescapable inevitability.
Patricia Zengerle and Mark Hosenball Reuters May 9, 2014
A bill to end the government’s bulk collection of telephone records got a unanimous go-ahead on Thursday from a second U.S. congressional committee, but the measure, according to some sources, could actually enhance U.S. surveillance capabilities.
Advancing the first legislative effort at surveillance reform since former contractor Edward Snowden disclosed the program a year ago, the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee unanimously approved by voice vote the “USA Freedom Act.”
The measure would end the National Security Agency’s practice of gathering information on calls made by millions of Americans and storing them for at least five years. It would instead leave such records in the custody of telephone companies.
If the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts then millions of U.S. citizens could end up in Brazil, Australia, or Argentina.
That’s according to the South African news website Praag, which said that the African National Congress was offered $10 billion a year for 10 years if it would build temporary housing for Americans in case of an eruption.
The potential eruption of the supervolcano, one of the biggest in the world, has been a hot topic ever since videos of animals allegedly fleeing the area before an earthquake were posted online. Although the veracity of the claims haven’t been backed up, dozens of bloggers and others have been trying to figure out what, if anything, is going on.
One of the latest theories is that the U.S. Geological Service and its partners, which keep an eye on the caldera, are hiding data from the public.
The Praag article says that the South African government fears that placing so many Americans in South Africa could dramatically change the country.
“South Africa will not be part of the plan, because there is a risk that millions of white Americans could be sent to South Africa in an emergency situation and that this would pose a risk to black national culture identity,” Dr. Siph Matwetwe, spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs, is quoted as saying.
“We have our own challenges, even if there is enough housing and infrastructure available, it will destabilize the country and may even bring back apartheid.”
The gigantic volcano in Yellowstone has erupted three times over the last two million years, covering a huge area of surrounding land. Maps from educational institutions and government officials project that up to 17 states could be fully or partially impacted if the volcano erupted again. The far south of Canada could also get hit, as well as the far north of Mexico.
Scientists aren’t sure when it will erupt next, although many have sought to assure the public that it probably won’t for a while. In reality, the volcano could erupt at any time, though officials would in theory be able to detect an impending eruption and alert Americans to the threat.
and a goggle translate of Praag article ..... FWIW
ANC says no to R1000 billion in fear for too many whites'
The Yellowstone caldera under Yellowstone National Park.The hot springs in the area due to the huge live volcano beneath the surface
The ANC government has received a request from the U.S. was rejected to be part of a U.S. disaster management plan which South Africa $ 10 billion a year (about R100 billion) for ten years would receive.According to the plan would be temporary housing for millions of Americans in South Africa built if the Yellowstone super volcano in the country sooner or later would come to a head.
Countries that the U.S. will participate noodlenigingsplan, Brazil, Argentina and Australia.A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs, Dr.Sipho Matwetwe, South Africa will not take "part of the plan because there is a risk that millions of white Americans in an emergency situation to the country can be sent and we can national culture and identity threat".
U.S. scientists for years like the super volcano under Yellowstone National Park in the USA cap.A Super Volcano is one hundred times as powerful as a regular volcano and can not just let millions of people die, but an entire civilization blot.If Yellowstone would erupt, the whole North America and destroy the earth may have a few years in a "volcanic winter" immersed.