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Archive for December 19th, 2013|Daily archive page

DC Metro Police TrapWire Documents

In Archive, Big Brother, FOIA, Surveillance, Technology, TrapWire on December 19, 2013 at 11:55 PM

TrapWire

via Jason LeopoldExclusive: How DC Police Use Citizens as Spies

2,100+ pages of TrapWire documents from the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department

TrapWire is a Virginia-based spy outfit founded by several former CIA employees a decade ago developed, it says, surveillance software that can root out terrorist attacks while they are in the planning stage.

The company, formerly known as Abraxas Corp., markets its technology to local law enforcement, federal agencies and private corporations. TrapWire has been installed in 65 locations around the United States, according to the company’s website, including Washington, D.C., where it is being used by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

But TrapWire has become a lightning rod for civil libertarian groups and other critics who see its technology — and law enforcement’s hunger for it — as a symptom of a creeping surveillance state in the age of the so-called war on terrorism.

TrapWire Talking Points for WikiLeaks Stratfor Leak

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TrapWire Site Shutdown Due to Anonymous Attack

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DC MPD Interest in East Orange, NJ PD Surveillance Tech Related: The Surveillance City of Camden, New Jersey

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Related Links:

Blue Cabinet/TRAPWIRE

Facial Recognition & GPS Tracking: TrapWire Company Conducting Even More Surveillance

Report of the Detainee Inquiry: UK Inappropriately Involved in Rendition, Aware of US Torture

In Archive, UK on December 19, 2013 at 2:27 PM

12/19/2013

DetaineeInquiry:

Today the Government has published a report submitted to the Prime Minister by Sir Peter Gibson and Dame Janet Paraskeva, the Panel of the Detainee Inquiry, on the Inquiry’s work.

The Inquiry examined some 20,000 documents and as a result has raised a number of robust questions for a future Inquiry to investigate further and a number of areas where the Government can act now. The vast majority of the documents the Inquiry examined were highly classified.

The Inquiry covered four separate themes: interrogation and treatment issues, rendition, training and guidance as well as policy and communications. Its work revealed 27 separate issues the Inquiry would like to have investigated further and which might be followed up by a future Inquiry.

In summary the report says:

Interrogation and Treatment Issues

  • Documents indicate that in some instances UK intelligence officers were aware of inappropriate interrogation techniques and mistreatment or allegations of mistreatment of some detainees by liaison partners from other countries.

Rendition

  • Documents indicate that Government or its Agencies may have become inappropriately involved in some cases of rendition.

Training and Guidance

  • No reason to doubt that instruction to personnel was that detainees must be treated humanely and consistently with UK’s international legal obligations. But officers on the ground needed clear guidance on when and with whom to raise concerns.

Policy and Communications

  • Documents raise the question whether the Agencies could have identified possible patterns of detainee mistreatment more quickly and whether or not sufficient information was given to the ISC to enable it to perform its duties.

US Senate Commerce Cmte Review of Data Broker Industry: Collection, Use, and Sale of Consumer Data for Marketing Purposes

In Archive, Big Data, Surveillance on December 19, 2013 at 1:40 PM

Vodpod videos no longer available.

12/18/2013

US Senate Commerce Committee opened an inquiry last October to shine a light on how the data broker industry operates, with a specific focus on nine representative companies that sell consumer data for marketing purposes. The Committee’s inquiry sought answers to four basic questions:

  • What data about consumers does the data broker industry collect?
  • How specific is this data?
  • How does the data broker industry obtain consumer data?
  • Who buys this data and how is it used?

In response to the Committee’s inquiries, the companies queried provided documents and narrative explanations. While some of the companies have been completely responsive to this inquiry, several major data brokers to date have remained intent on keeping key aspects of their operations secret from both the Committee and the general public.

Based on review of the company responses and other publicly available information, this Committee Majority staff report finds:

(1) Data brokers collect a huge volume of detailed information on hundreds of millions of consumers. Information data brokers collect includes consumers’ personal characteristics and preferences as well as health and financial information. Beyond publicly available information such as home addresses and phone numbers, data brokers maintain data as specific as whether consumers view a high volume of YouTube videos, the type of car they drive, ailments they may have such as depression or diabetes, whether they are a hunter, what types of pets they have; or whether they have purchased a particular shampoo product in the last six months;

(2) Data brokers sell products that identify financially vulnerable consumers. Some of the respondent companies compile and sell consumer profiles that define consumers in categories or “score” them, without consumer permission or knowledge of the underlying data. A number of these products focus on consumers’ financial vulnerability, carrying titles such as “Rural and Barely Making It,” “Ethnic Second-City Strugglers,” “Retiring on Empty: Singles,” “Tough Start: Young Single Parents,” and “Credit Crunched: City Families.” One company reviewed sells a marketing tool that helps to “identify and more effectively market to under-banked consumers” that the company describes as individuals including “widows” and “consumers with transitory lifestyles, such as military personnel” who annually spend millions on payday loans and other “non-traditional” financial products. The names, descriptions and characterizations in such products likely appeal to companies that sell high-cost loans and other financially risky products to populations more likely to need quick cash, and the sale and use of these consumer profiles merits close review;

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(3) Data broker products provide information about consumer offline behavior to tailor online outreach by marketers. While historically, marketers used consumer data to locate consumers to send catalogs and other marketing promotions through the mail, or contact via telephone, increasingly the information data brokers sell marketers about consumers is provided digitally. Data brokers provide customers digital products that target online outreach to a consumer based on the dossier of offline data collected about the consumer;

(4) Data brokers operate behind a veil of secrecy. Data brokers typically amass data without direct interaction with consumers, and a number of the queried brokers perpetuate this secrecy by contractually limiting customers from disclosing their data sources. Three of the largest companies – Acxiom, Experian, and Epsilon – to date have been similarly secretive with the Committee with respect to their practices, refusing to identify the specific sources of their data or the customers who purchase it. Further, the respondent companies’ voluntary policies vary widely regarding consumer access and correction rights regarding their own data – from virtually no rights to the more fulsome policy reflected in the new access and correction database developed by Acxiom.

Related Link: StopDataMining.me: Master List of Data Broker Opt-Out Links

China Moon Rover Promo Image Shows Mushroom Cloud Over Eastern Europe

In Archive, China, EU, Space on December 19, 2013 at 10:18 AM

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12/19/2013

RT:

A simple background image has retrospectively stolen the limelight at China’s exhibit for its recently deployed Yutu moon rover: It appeared to show an enormous mushroom cloud hovering over Eastern Europe, indicating a continent under nuclear attack.

The picture is described as having “a bit of paint here, a bit of stock there, a bit of manipulation here,” by its maker, James Oliver, aka ‘n4u2k’. China appears to have utilized the image of the earth seen from space as a backdrop at an industry fair in Shanghai earlier this month which promoted the rover’s expedition.

The gold-covered, moon-roving Yutu (‘Jade Rabbit’) craft was displayed at the fair by the country’s National Space Administration against the backdrop to apparently create the impression of the rover already being stationed on the earth’s satellite.

However, after close inspection, it has since prompted the realization that while the rover is safely space borne, thousands of people on the ground are being blasted into oblivion.

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“The Anarchist Cookbook” Author Calls for Its Removal from Print (Read It Here)

In Archive, Censorship on December 19, 2013 at 9:39 AM

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12/17/2013

NBC News:

In rare interviews with NBC News, the publisher and the author of “The Anarchist Cookbook” are trading blows about the book’s future.

“’The Anarchist Cookbook’ should go quietly and immediately out of print,” says William Powell, who wrote the book as a stern 19-year-old, an opponent of the Vietnam War who felt violence was justified if it could prevent even greater violence in the process. He has since renounced that position, but never so forcefully, telling NBC in an email that “it is no longer responsible or defensible to keep it in print.”

Published in 1971, the book has sold more than two million copies and influenced hundreds of malcontents, mischief makers, and killers. Police have linked it to the Croatian radicals who bombed Grand Central Terminal and hijacked a TWA flight in 1976; the Puerto Rican separatists who bombed FBI headquarters in 1981; Thomas Spinks, who led a group that bombed 10 abortion clinics in the 1980s; Timothy McVeigh, who bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995; the Columbine High School shooters of 1999; and the 2005 London public transport bombers.

Just in the last two years, law enforcement has tied the volume to Arizona shooter Jared Loughner, the Boston Marathon bombers, and at least a half dozen alleged terrorists and school shooters, including Karl Pierson, the student who opened fire last week inside a Colorado high school, leaving one girl in a coma before taking his own life.

“You know, we don’t ban books in America,” says Billy Blann, who bought the rights to the “Cookbook” in 2002, just as digital sales took off. Blann is the founder of Delta Press, “the world’s most outrageous catalog,” as he calls it, and the purveyor of guides on “Justifiable Homicide,” “The Poor Man’s Nuclear Bomb,” and “The Butane Lighter Hand Grenade.”

Of hundreds of titles offering frank tips on bombs, bullets and blades, however, “The Anarchist Cookbook” remains his most-asked-for volume, he says.

Web searches for the “Cookbook” have grown “more than 5,000 percent” in the last decade, according to an estimate by Google Trends. At the same time sales of the book have surged past the Penguin and Signet editions of Moby Dick, according to Amazon rankings, and Blann has no plans to pull back now.

When told of this latest school shooting, he goes silent a moment on the phone. “I feel bad about that,” he says at last. “But there’s victims of almost anything and everything, and I just don’t think we need to start banning books in America.”

Neither Amazon or Barnes & Noble responded to NBC’s requests for comment. Both companies show the “Cookbook” in stock and ready to ship in time for Christmas. Both will even gift-wrap it, and ship some of Blann’s other titles — including primers on how to garrote, stab, and burn — in the same bundle for free.

Legally, this is all protected, says Christina Wells, a First Amendment scholar at the University of Missouri Law School. As public expression, a book can only be prohibited or punished if it “is likely to incite imminent lawless action,” according to a 1969 Supreme Court ruling.

It’s hard to prove that an act was aided or abetted by a given book, or that the influence was imminent, so there’s never been a successful lawsuit against “The Anarchist Cookbook”—or any how-to guide to violence for that matter. Corporate booksellers have escaped legal action as well. “Their First Amendment defense is pretty strong,” says Wells.

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