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End Time Bible Prophecy

California libs can’t stomach massive surveillance

City gathering ‘real-time’ data on citizen movements, actions

WND

City officials in Oakland, Calif., have decided to accept a $2 million grant from the Obama administration that would allow them to observe citizen movements and actions on a real-time basis all across the city.

The grant is to be used, following a vote by city council members Wednesday, for a “surveillance center.”

A report at OaklandLocal.com earlier this month described the proposal as a plan to create a “Domain Awareness Center” that would allow the government to watch and track data provided by license plate readers and video cameras.

The description of the plan said while it may “make privacy advocates cringe,” the strategy also includes the option of reaching out to other governmental entities to obtain additional information from surveillance cameras, including those at sports facilities that can be trained on spectators.

Renee Domingo, Oakland’s chief of emergency services, said at the time that, “If we needed ability into what was going on there, we could do so.”

The report explained that Ahsan Baig, the manager of Oakland’s information technology, reported to the Public Safety Committee the data obtained from plate readers, cameras and the like could be delivered to just about any computer the city specified, such as a laptop or an iPad.

The San Francisco Chronicle online version reported Wednesday that the council voted to accept the $2.2 million federal grant for the program.

And council members voted immediately to ban spray paint, hammers, slingshots, wrenches and other “potentially destructive items” from any protest or demonstration.

Councilman Noel Gallo said such “tools of violence and vandalism” should be banned so that damages would be minimized during events such as the recent protest against the acquittal of neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman.

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How Facebook Might Buy Your Location for $1 Billion

Photo: Michelle Ress/Flickr

SOURCE

Multiple reports have Facebook in talks to buy Waze, a mobile traffic map constantly updated by users, for roughly $1 billion. Why is Facebook so interested in a map?

It’s not. Facebook is almost certainly interested in the mutual self-tracking club behind the map rather than the map itself. The way Waze works, you see, is that everyone who downloads fresh traffic data is also contributing fresh traffic data; the app regularly and automatically uploads your physical locations which can be used to determine your speed. (Here’s a video about it.)

To Facebook, Waze must look like a fantastic engine to drive “check-ins,” where users freely share their physical location with the social network and with their friends. (Neither Facebook nor Waze are commenting on their alleged acquisition talks.) Trapped in the Waze app, location data is anonymous and thus difficult to sell to advertisers. If integrated with Facebook, however, the same location data becomes hugely valuable, since it would be tied to Facebook identities, including demographic and social information beloved by advertisers.

If Facebook can acquire Waze and get users to check in their whereabouts with it, it will be like opening the spigot on a new firehose of user activity and, more importantly, advertising dollars. It will also give Facebook a handy edge in its competition with Foursquare, a social network built entirely around check-ins

Location sharing would also bring huge value to Facebook if the data collected by the app could be converted to formal Facebook “check ins,” which can be used as an excuse to show coupons and other special offers from nearby businesses and which can be commented on by a user’s friends.

Until now, Facebook users haven’t had much motivation to use the social network’s check-in feature. Foursquare offers badges and discounts to people who check in. Facebook has no badges, and while it does provide for check-in-related discounts, its check-ins seem mainly used by users to provide information to their friends.

To provide stronger motivation for check-ins, Facebook is considering offering free Wi-Fi access at cafes and other locations, but so far has only run very limited experiments. The Waze app would be a much more elegant catalyst for check-ins. Instead offering the rough equivalent of a bribe from Facebook, Waze offers participation in a virtuous cycle among peers: if you let me track your car a little bit, I’ll let you track my car a little bit, and we’ll both get where we’re going faster.

If Facebook can use Waze to prove that there are good, selfish reasons for people to share their locations on the road, it will then be a short step for the company to posit that people should share their locations all of the time. Facebook could turn Waze into a sort of stalkery version of Siri, watching your daily movements and providing helpful reminders, like a nudge to leave the office in time for spin class, or an alert that if you don’t finish your morning coffee in the next three minutes, you’ll probably miss your train. That sounds creepy now, but you might change your mind the first time Stalker Siri keeps you from missing your flight.

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Big Brother Has A New Face, And It’s Your Boss

Big Brother

Paul Hsieh
forbes.com
April 25, 2013e

Recently, the CVS Caremark Corporation began requiring employees to disclose personal health information (including weight, blood pressure, and body fat levels) or else pay an annual $600 fine. Workers must make this information available to the company’s employee “Wellness Program” and sign a form stating that they’re doing so voluntarily.

CVS argues this will help workers “take more responsibility for improving their health.” At one level, this makes a certain sense. Because the company is paying for their employees’ health insurance, they naturally prefer healthier workers. But at a deeper level, CVS’ action demonstrates a growing problem with our current system of employer-provided health insurance. If our bosses must pay for our health care, they will inevitably seek greater control over our lifestyles.

Although most Americans take it for granted that they receive health insurance through the workplace, this is an artifact of federal tax rules from World War II. When the U.S. government imposed wartime wage controls, employers could no longer compete for workers by offering higher salaries. Instead, they competed by offering more generous fringe benefits such as health insurance. In 1943, the IRS ruled that employees did not have to pay tax on health benefits provided by employers; in 1954, the IRS made this permanent.

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This article was posted: Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 12:52 pm

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NSA data center front and center in debate over liberty, security and privacy

Twenty-five miles due south of Salt Lake City, a massive construction project is nearing completion.  The heavily secured site belongs to the National Security Agency.“The spy center” — that’s what some of the locals like Jasmine Widmer, who works at Bluffdale’s sandwich shop, told our Fox News team as part of an eight month investigation into data collection and privacy rights that will be broadcast Sunday at 9 p.m. ET called “Fox News News Reporting: Your Secrets Out.”

The NSA says the Utah Data Center is a facility for the intelligence community that will have a major focus on cyber security. The agency will neither confirm nor deny specifics. Some published reports suggest it could hold 5 zettabytes of data. (Just one zettabyte is the equivalent of about 62 billion stacked iPhones 5’s– that stretches past the moon.

One man we hoped would answer our questions, the current director of the NSA General Keith Alexander, declined Fox News’s requests to sit down for an interview, so we stopped by the offices of a Washington think tank, where Alexander was speaking at a cyber security event last year.

Asked if the Utah Data Center would hold the data of American citizens,  Alexander said, “No…we don’t hold data on U.S. citizens,” adding that the NSA staff “take protecting your civil liberties and privacy as the most important thing that they do, and securing this nation.”

But critics, including former NSA employees, say the data center is front and center in the debate over liberty, security and privacy.

“[It] raises the most serious questions about the vast amount of data that could be kept in one place for many, many different sources,”  Thomas Drake told Fox News.

Drake — who worked at the NSA from Aug. 2001 to Aug. 2008 and was unsuccessfully prosecuted on espionage charges — says Americans should be concerned about letting the government go too far in the name of security.

“It’s in secret so you don’t really know,” Drake explained. “It’s benign, right. If I haven’t — and if I haven’t done anything wrong it doesn’t matter. The only way you can have perfect security is have a perfect surveillance state. That’s George Orwell. That’s 1984. That’s what that would look like.”

Fellow NSA whistleblower Bill Binney, who worked at the NSA for nearly four decades, says it’s about the possibility that the government’s stunning new capacity to collect, store and analyze data could be abused.

“It’s really a– turnkey situation, where it could be turned quickly and become a totalitarian state pretty quickly,” he said. “The capacities to do that is being set up. Now it’s a question of if we get the wrong person in office, or if certain people set up their network internally in government, they could make that happen quickly.”

According to NSA’s chief compliance officer John Delong, whose job is to make sure the laws and policies designed to protect the privacy of U.S. persons is being enforced, part of the frustration is that the rules are specific and secret.

“I think that’s sort of the collision, is you have classified rules,” DeLong explained during an hour long meeting with Fox News at the NSA. “You now have a somewhat more public data center,”

“These aren’t just, like, general policy pronouncements of ‘You shall protect privacy.'” he said.

DeLong added that another misconception is that there is only internal oversight, when he says there is “a tremendous amount of external oversight” from the Justice Department, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and others.

In an email, Vanee’ Vines, a public information officer for the NSA, said that the Utah Data Center will be “a state-of-the-art facility designed to support the Intelligence Community’s efforts to further strengthen and protect the nation. NSA is the executive agent for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and will be the lead agency at the center.”

Because the Utah Data Center is a “secure facility” and you cannot go inside without the needed security clearances, Fox News rented a helicopter and took to the skies, where the depth and breadth of the Utah Center were stunning.

The aerial video footage is exclusive to the Fox News investigation and posted here.  Two weeks after our filming, the helicopter pilot reported to our Fox News team that he had been visited by the FBI on a “national security matter.”

The pilot said, according to the FBI agents, that the NSA had taken photos of the helicopter once it made several flyovers.  These photos allowed the NSA to identify the make and manufacturer of the helicopter in California who, in turn, told the NSA who operates it in the Salt Lake City area.

The FBI wanted to know if we had the proper air space clearances to flyover the site, which the Fox News team did.   Satisfied that the pilot was not flying “terrorists” over the site, the questioning concluded.  While the pilot passed along the Fox News contact information, there was no further inquiries.

Binney said the helicopter incident “showed the capability of the U.S. government to use information to trace people, their relationship to others and to raise suspicions about their activities and intentions.”

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CIA : “I’M WATCHING YOU”

CIA’s Gus Hunt On Big Data: We ‘Try To Collect Everything And Hang Onto It Forever’

NEW YORK — The CIA’s chief technology officer outlined the agency’s endless appetite for data in a far-ranging speech on Wednesday.

Speaking before a crowd of tech geeks at GigaOM’s Structure:Data conference in New York City, CTO Ira “Gus” Hunt said that the world is increasingly awash in information from text messages, tweets, and videos — and that the agency wants all of it.

“The value of any piece of information is only known when you can connect it with something else that arrives at a future point in time,” Hunt said. “Since you can’t connect dots you don’t have, it drives us into a mode of, we fundamentally try to collect everything and hang onto it forever.”

Hunt’s comments come two days after Federal Computer Week reported that the CIA has committed to a massive, $600 million, 10-year deal with Amazon for cloud computing services. The agency has not commented on that report, but Hunt’s speech, which included multiple references to cloud computing, indicates that it does indeed have interest in storage and analysis capabilities on a massive scale.

The CIA is keenly interested in capabilities for so-called “big data” — the increasingly massive data sets created by digital technology. The agency even has a page on its website pitching big data jobs to prospective employees.

Hunt acknowleded that at some scale, data storage becomes impractical, adding that he meant “forever being in quotes” when he said the agency wants to keep data “forever.” But he also indicated that he was interested in computing capabilities like 1 petabyte of RAM, a massive capacity for on-the-fly calculations that has heretofore been seen only in computers that simulate nuclear explosions.

He referenced the failure to “connect the dots” in the case of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the “underwear bomber” who was able to board a plan with an explosive device despite repeated warnings of his intentions. In that case, a White House review found that the CIA had all of the data it needed to identify the would-be bomber, but still failed to stop him. Nevertheless, the agency does not seem to have curbed its ambitions for an endless amount of data.


A slide from Hunt’s presentation.

“It is really very nearly within our grasp to be able to compute on all human generated information,” Hunt said. After that mark is reached, Hunt said, the agency would also like to be able to save and analyze all of the digital breadcrumbs people don’t even know they are creating.

“You’re already a walking sensor platform,” he said, nothing that mobiles, smartphones and iPads come with cameras, accelerometers, light detectors and geolocation capabilities.

“You are aware of the fact that somebody can know where you are at all times, because you carry a mobile device, even if that mobile device is turned off,” he said. “You know this, I hope? Yes? Well, you should.”

Hunt also spoke of mobile apps that will be able to control pacemakers — even involuntarily — and joked about a “dystopian” future where self-driving cars force people to go to the grocery store to pick up milk for their spouses.

Hunt’s speech barely touched on privacy concerns. But he did acknowledge that they exist.

“Technology in this world is moving faster than government or law can keep up,” he said. “It’s moving faster I would argue than you can keep up: You should be asking the question of what are your rights and who owns your data.”

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BIG BROTHER TO MONITOR ‘SOVEREIGN CITIZENS’

New task force to target ‘anti-government extremists’

130212fbisurveillance

SOURCE

With almost no media coverage, the White House last week announced its new Interagency Working Group to Counter Online Radicalization to Violence that will target not only Islamic terrorists but so-called violent “sovereign citizens.”

The FBI defines “sovereign citizens” as “anti-government extremists who believe that even though they physically reside in this country, they are separate or ‘sovereign’ from the United States.”

The law enforcement agency noted such citizens believe they don’t have to answer to any government authority, including courts, taxing entities, motor vehicle departments or police.

The FBI warned that sovereign citizens commit murder and physical assault; threaten judges, law enforcement professionals and government personnel; impersonate police officers and diplomats; and engineer various white-collar scams, including mortgage fraud and so-called “redemption” schemes.

The new online working group will be chaired by the national security staff at the White House with input from specialists in countering what the Obama administration calls violent extremism.

Also included in the group, according to a White House release, will be “Internet safety experts, and civil liberties and privacy practitioners from across the United States Government.”

The new group says its initial focus will be on raising awareness about the threat and “providing communities with practical information and tools for staying safe online.”

The working group says it will coordinate with the technology industry to “consider policies, technologies, and tools that can help counter violent extremism online” while being careful not to interfere with “lawful Internet use or the privacy and civil liberties of individual users.”

Today, Obama is reportedly poised to issue an executive order aimed at thwarting cyber attacks against critical infrastructure.

The Hill reported the executive order would establish a voluntary program in which companies operating critical infrastructure would elect to meet cybersecurity best practices and standards crafted, in part, by the government.

Because of the troubling ideology of some Obama officials, the question arises as to exactly which citizens are considered threats by the government.

WND broke the story about a lengthy academic paper by President Obama’s so-called regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein, suggesting the government should “infiltrate” social network websites, chat rooms and message boards. Sunstein stepped down last year.

Such “cognitive infiltration,” Sunstein argued, should be used to enforce a U.S. government ban on “conspiracy theorizing.” Among the beliefs Sunstein classified as a “conspiracy theory” is that global-warming advocacy is a fraud.

Last year, Reuters revealed that a government document indicates the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s command center routinely monitors dozens of popular websites, including Facebook, Twitter, Hulu, WikiLeaks and news sites such as the Huffington Post and Drudge Report.

Reuters reported that a “privacy compliance review” issued by DHS in November 2012 confirms that since at least June 2010, the department’s national operations center has been operating a “Social Networking/Media Capability” which involves regular monitoring of “publicly available online forums, blogs, public websites and message boards.”

The government document states that such monitoring is meant to “collect information used in providing situational awareness and establishing a common operating picture” to help manage national or international emergency events.

Last year, Attorney General Eric Holder signed new guidelines that relaxed restrictions on how counterterrorism analysts may retrieve, store and search information about Americans gathered by government agencies for purposes other than national security threats.

The new guidelines allow the government’s National Counterterrorism Center to keep Internet data collected on private citizens for up to five years instead of 18 months.

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