Sunday, June 1, 2014

Is privacy an endangered citizen right ? June 1 , 2014 ........Privacy rights clearly are valued far below copyrights.....Facecrook: NSA storing your facial web images, millions intercepted daily ........NEW FEDERAL DATABASE WILL TRACK AMERICANS’ CREDIT RATINGS, OTHER FINANCIAL INFORMATION........... Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde arrested in Sweden ( after two years on the lam for alleged copyright violations )


Privacy discussed by architects of modern surveillance state
Will Bildeberg End Privacy As We Know It?
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The presence of several key figures at the 2014 Bildeberg Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark indicates that the future of privacy worldwide is in dire straights.
According to the Bildeberg Group’s official press release, members discussed several key topics this weekend while also asking the question, “Does privacy exist?” Given the fact that the architects of the modern surveillance state were among the attendees, the real question is, will Bildeberg end privacy as we know it?
Keith Alexander – Former Director of the National Security AgencyKAlexander2
Keith Alexander, know for his motto “Collect it All,” is arguably the most brazen director to reside over the NSA. Overseeing some of the agency’s most controversial domestic spying programs, Alexander’s total disregard for the Fourth Amendment has been bemoaned by countless people within the intelligence community.
“Alexander tended to be a bit of a cowboy: ‘Let’s not worry about the law. Let’s just figure out how to get the job done,’” a former intelligence official told Foreign Policy in 2013.
Despite his clear disregard for Constitutional law, Alexander repeatedly lied to media when confronted about his tenure with the agency. When asked if he had witnessed any illegal acts during an April interview with the Daily Show, Alexander strangely denied seeing any wrongdoing while admitting that multiple NSA employees had been engaged in unlawful activity.
“In my time, no. Not that I know of. You know, one of the most impressive things that I’ve seen in my career was people who made a mistake, that could be a huge mistake, stepping up to say ‘I made a mistake,’” Alexander said. “And in every case, to my knowledge, everyone but 12 individuals stepped forward at the time they made those mistakes.”
In fact, top-secret documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the agency had “broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008.”
Under the watch of Alexander, the agency also began using new collection methods in secret for months until the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ruled them unconstitutional. Alexanders attendance at the Bildeberg Conference reveals that the group is clearly more interested in protecting their own privacy than that of the American people.
David Petraeus – Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
David Petraeus, pictured above jogging outside this year’s conference, has publicly rejoiced over the increase in household devices that connect to the internet, noting that the rise of the “Internet of Things” has allowed the CIA to spy in ways once thought unimaginable.
During a speech at a 2012 summit for In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital firm, Petraeus enthusiastically remarked on the ability to spy on targets through different home appliances.
“Transformational is an overused word, but I do believe it properly applies to these technologies, particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft,” Petraeus said. “Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters — all connected to the next-generation internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing.”
With the emergence of “smart meters,” which tie into the larger smart grid, all internet-connected appliances can be monitored remotely. In a 2012 study, researchers in Germany analyzed several smart meters and found that the devices transmitted unencrypted data, giving researchers incredibly detailed data which even included what was being watched on TV. Such information will undoubtedly be siphoned into the servers of intelligence agencies, allowing them to map every aspect of an individual’s or family’s life.
With dishwashersrefrigerators and ovens now being released with built-in WiFi, the ability of the intelligence communtity to surveil or hack any private home is quickly approaching. Infowars detailed the attendance of Petraeus at the 2013 Bildeberg Conference in Watford, United Kingdom as well, where the group discussed, “How big data is changing almost everything.”
Eric Schmidt – Google CEO
Google CEO Eric Schmidt, pictured above eating lunch outside this year’s meeting, is a frequent attendee of Bildeberg. Schmidt has regularly commented on his belief that privacy is an archaic concept, proving that Bildeberg’s concern over privacy has to do with the fact that it hasn’t been completely eviscerated yet.
“We don’t need you to type at all. We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less know what you’re thinking about,” Schmidt said in 2010. “We know everything you’re doing and the government can track you. We will know your position down to the foot and down to the inch over time.”
Google’s near information monopoly has allowed the corporation to vastly expand it’s anti-privacy viewpoint into multiple aspects of everyday life. Just last January, a whistleblower revealed that Google’s Chrome browser was able to record conversations without the user’s knowledge. The whistleblower went public after Google ignored the “bug” for more than four months.
Google’s engineering director announced last year that the company hoped to convince people to putmicrophones in their ceilings to allow easier access to the Google search engine. Similar to the Chrome browser, the microphones would undoubtedly record on a continual basis, allowing the data to be handed over to different intelligence agencies who have a classified relationship with the company.
Google’s disdain for privacy is not only apparent in light of the company’s participation in the PRISM program, but also in their email policy. Last August, Google’s 425 million Gmail users learned that their emails were anything but private when a consumer watchdog revealed that the company was scanning every email in order to target ads toward users.
Schmidt has also called for a Chinese-style internet ID system that would all governments to bring internet surveillance to a whole new level.
““We need a [verified] name service for people,” Schmidt said. “Governments will demand it.”
Sources revealed to Infowars last year that Google has begun a literal merger with the Bildeberg group, solidifying the companies role as the most powerful private surveillance apparatus.
The Future of Privvacy
Speaking exclusively with Infowars, NSA whistleblower Kirk Wiebe, who helped expose the agency’s unconstitutional Trailblazer program, detailed the current and fragile state of privacy.
“Privacy is under attack from all directions. From the perspective of the little guy (average person), it us under attack by a rogue NSA, by foreign powers (especially Russia and China), by business (profiling habits), by FBI, DEA, hackers – the list goes on,” Wiebe said. “[The NSA] has operated outside the Constitution for some 60% of the time it has existed. And with it, the Fourth Amendment is being shredded. NSA says it’s legal, yet no one asked the Supreme Court if those ‘laws’ are Constitutional and no one asked “the People.”
“At the same time, we have a Congress charged to do oversight, but does not do it and does not want to do it. In other words, Congress is abrogating its responsibilities. The U.S. Government is also after everyone’s health and financial data. There really is nothing left that is private.”
Fortunately, according to certain NSA leaks, properly implemented encryption is one of the few tools that can safeguard information. If Bildeberg’s technocratic members have their way, privacy will be a thing of the past.

Facecrook: NSA storing your facial web images, millions intercepted daily

Published time: June 01, 2014 09:45
Reuters / Mario Anzuoni
Reuters / Mario Anzuoni
The National Security Agency is collecting millions of images of people through its international surveillance network to be implemented in a number of other facial recognition programs, according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden.
Thanks to rapid advances being made in the field of facial recognition technology, the NSA is much better equipped to “exploit the flood of images included in emails, text messages, social media, video conferences and other communications,” according to an article in the New York Times, co-written by Laura Poitras, who, together with Glen Greenwald, are the only two journalists to have received the leaked NSA documents.

The NSA has the capacity to intercept “millions of images per day,” as well as some 55,000“facial recognition quality images.” This latest milestone in US intelligence gathering, which goes a long way to putting the final touches on the much-feared Orwellian nightmare, gives the US spy agency “tremendous untapped potential,” according to the 2011 documents.

“It’s not just the traditional communications we’re after: It’s taking a full-arsenal approach that digitally exploits the clues a target leaves behind in their regular activities on the net to compile biographic and biometric information” that can help “implement precision targeting,” noted a document dated 2010.
AFP Photo / Angela Weiss
AFP Photo / Angela Weiss

Such comments are bound to spark fears that the harvesting of facial images, much like the collection of oral and written communications, will snag innocent Americans in the vast intelligence net.

The latest revelations to be gleaned from Snowden’s stash of top-secret documents prove the NSA is not just interested in collecting the meta-data from global communications, but also the images that put a face on potential terrorists and other would-be adversaries of the American government.

The NSA is unique in its ability to match images with huge troves of private communications.

“We would not be doing our job if we didn’t seek ways to continuously improve the precision of signals intelligence activities — aiming to counteract the efforts of valid foreign intelligence targets to disguise themselves or conceal plans to harm the United States and its allies,” said Vanee M. Vines, the agency spokeswoman.

ID databases out of the game?

Since most people have a number of photographs taken of themselves for identification purposes, the question arises as to how much reach the NSA has in acquiring peoples’ facial images.

According to Vines, the NSA does not access driver’s licenses or passport photos of Americans, but refused to say whether the agency had access to the State Department’s photo archive of foreign visa applicants. She also declined to say whether the spy agency collected photographs of Americans from social media sources, like Facebook and Instagram, which would not be a difficult task considering that millions of people willingly post ‘selfies’ to the web.

Moreover, the report claimed that one of the agency’s most intense efforts to acquire facial images is through a program dubbed Wellspring, which “strips out images from emails and other communications, and displays those that might contain passport images.”
AFP Photo / Chris Hondros
AFP Photo / Chris Hondros

Because images are considered a form of communicational content, the NSA is required to get court approval for collecting facial images of Americans, just as it is required to read emails or listen in on phone conversations, an NSA spokeswoman was quoted in the Times article as saying.

However, exceptions may be made in the event “an American might be emailing or texting an image to someone targeted by the agency overseas,” it said.

Human rights and civil liberty groups are expressing concern that the power of the technology, in the hands of government and corporate officials, could have a disastrous impact on privacy.

“Facial recognition can be very invasive,” Alessandro Acquisti, a researcher on facial recognition technology at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, told the paper. “There are still technical limitations on it, but the computational power keeps growing, and the databases keep growing, and the algorithms keep improving.”

Harvesting on video conferences

The NSA facial recognition program made tremendous headway in 2010 when it successfully matched images from two separate databases, one in the NSA database code-named Pinwale, and another in the government’s primary terrorist watch database, known as Tide, the NSA files revealed.

That technical breakthrough led to an “explosion of analytical uses” for the agency.

The NSA has since brought on board “identity intelligence” analysts whose job it is to match the facial images with other records about individuals to build broad portfolios of intelligence targets.

The full depth of the image-collection program is daunting in that it has developed sophisticated methods of integrating facial recognition programs with numerous other databases.
Reuters / Nacho Doce
Reuters / Nacho Doce

“It intercepts video teleconferences to obtain facial imagery, gathers airline passenger data and collects photographs from national identity card databases created by foreign countries, the documents show,” the files revealed.

They also show that the NSA was attempting to infiltrate such databases in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Aside from its own programs, the NSA partially relies on commercially available facial recognition technology, including from PittPatt, a company owned by Google, the leaked files show.

Geo-positioning does matter

But the power of facial recognition technology apparently goes beyond the collection of faces, and includes geographic points photographed from satellites.

One leaked file shows photographs of several men standing near a waterfront dock in 2011. Through the use of the recognition technology, the NSA was able to match their surroundings to a satellite image of the same dock taken about the same time.

The document said the photograph showed a militant training facility in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, US law remains surprisingly flimsy in terms of the protections it offers Americans when it comes to their images.

“Unfortunately, our privacy laws provide no express protections for facial recognition data,” said Senator Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, in a letter in December to the head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

News of the NSA’s ‘facial-mining’ techniques echo earlier leaked information, reported in February, that Britain's spy agency GCHQ, in direct cooperation with the NSA, intercepted and stored the webcam images of millions of internet users not suspected of terrorism or other criminal behavior.

GCHQ records between 2008 and 2010 reveal a surveillance program, codenamed Optic Nerve, harvested still images of Yahoo webcam chats and stored them on databases, the Guardian reported.

“In one six-month period in 2008 alone, the agency collected webcam imagery – including substantial quantities of sexually explicit communications – from more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts globally,” the paper reported.


Critics question the need for such a “vast database” for simple reporting purposes
New federal database will track Americans' credit ratings, other financial information
Image Credits: Public domain
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As many as 227 million Americans may be compelled to disclose intimate details of their families and financial lives — including their Social Security numbers — in a new national database being assembled by two federal agencies.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau posted an April 16 Federal Register notice of an expansion of their joint National Mortgage Database Program to include personally identifiable information that reveals actual users, a reversal of previously stated policy.
FHFA will manage the database and share it with CFPB. A CFPB internal planning document for 2013-17 describes the bureau as monitoring 95 percent of all mortgage transactions.


Cops want to tap into private surveillance systems
Penn. Police Want to Increase City-Wide Surveillance
Image Credits: torkildr / Flickr
by STACY LANGE | WNEP MAY 31, 2014
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Authorities in Scranton are looking to increase surveillance all over the city. Not by adding more cameras, but by adding more eyes looking at the cameras already in place.
Scranton City Council announced this week that it is applying for a grant that would create community-wide surveillance for Scranton Police.
But the grant money wouldn’t pay for any cameras. It would pay for software that would allow Scranton Police to tap into private surveillance systems.

Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde arrested in Sweden

Published time: June 01, 2014 04:30
One of the co-founders of the file-sharing website, The Pirate Bay, Peter Sunde (AFP Photo)
One of the co-founders of the file-sharing website, The Pirate Bay, Peter Sunde (AFP Photo)
The co-founder of the file-sharing website Pirate Bay was arrested in southern Sweden after being on the run for nearly two years. Peter Sunde was facing an outstanding sentence of eight months in prison and a large fine for copyright violations.
Sunde was one of the four co-founders of the website and has been wanted by Interpol since being sentenced in 2012.
"We have been looking for him since 2012," Reuters quoted spokeswoman at the Swedish National Police Board Carolina Ekeus as saying. "He was given eight months in jail so he has to serve his sentence."
The arrest was made on Saturday in the southern Swedish county of Skane. No further details were provided.
Originally, the authorities sentenced all four individuals connected to Pirate Bay to a year in prison and a 32 million crowns ($4.8 million) fine. But, following an appeal in 2010 the sentences were reduced by different amounts and the fine was increased to 46 million Swedish crowns ($6.9 million).
There are reports that Sunde could have been living in Germany for the past couple of years, according to Swedish media.
Сo-founder of The Pirate Bay filesharing website, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg (AFP Photo/Bertil Ericson)
Сo-founder of The Pirate Bay filesharing website, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg (AFP Photo/Bertil Ericson)

In September 2012, another co-founder of Pirate Bay, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, alias Anakata, was arrested in Cambodia. Anakata was also wanted by Sweden on copyright infringement charges after failing to report for a yearlong prison sentence.
Authorities arrested Anakata in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in an apartment above The Cadillac Bar and Grill, a popular expat hangout. The Swedish government issued an international arrest warrant for him in January, after he failed to appear for the start of his jail term.
Warg was extradited to Denmark in November 2013, on a different matter and charged with infiltrating the Danish social security database, driver’s license database, and the shared IT system used in the Schengen zone. He is now being held in solitary confinement, and could be sentenced to a maximum of 6 years in prison if found guilty.
The Pirate Bay was founded in 2003. Hailed by some as one of the world’s largest free file-sharing websites, and condemned by entertainment industry giants as the largest facilitator of illegal downloading, The Pirate Bay has become a focal point for the heated controversy surrounding peer-to-peer file sharing.
Although the site has been shut down on several occasions, it has continued to pop up time and again around the world changing its domain to avoid shutdown.