The right of the people to be secure in their persons,
houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and
seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon
probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly
describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be
Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Under EU law, personal data can be collected only
under strict conditions and for a legitimate purpose...
In the US, there is no all-encompassing law regulating the collection
and processing of personal data. Instead, data protection is regulated
by many state and federal laws.
In terms of statutory protections and privacy enforcement, the US is the worst ranking country in the democratic world. Privacy International
"No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference
with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon
his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of
the law against such interference or attacks." Article
12: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
"If we do nothing, we sort of sleepwalk into a total
surveillance state where we have both a super-state that has unlimited
capacity to apply force with an unlimited ability to know (about the
people it is targeting) - and that's a very dangerous combination.
That's the dark future. The fact that they know everything about us and
we know nothing about them - because they are secret, they are
privileged, and they are a separate class...the elite class, the
political class, the resource class - we don't know where they live, we
don't know what they do, we don't know who their friends are. They have
the ability to know all that about us. This is the direction of the
future, but I think there are changing possibilities in this...." Edward Snowden
"The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around
on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left,
such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no
place to hide."--Frank Church
Technology has beeen a liberating force in our lives.
It allows us to create and share the experiences that make us human,
effortlelessly. But in secret,
our very own government - one bound by the Constitution and its Bill of
Rights - has reverse-engineered
something beautiful into a tool of mass surveillance and oppression.
The government right now can easily monitor whom you call, whom you
with, what you read, what you buy, and where you go online, and
offline, and they
do it to all of us, all the time." Edward Snowden
...the wave of new technologies could usher in a lifestyle
inimical to most Americans.
"It is beginning to call into question morality and ethics,
challenge our value system, dredging up Orwellian possibilities... . We
are being confronted by technical innovations based on
nanotechnologies, very advanced computational capabilities, the
amassing of data. We are being, I would say, challenged and threatened
in some cases, in the context of American civil rights and American
civil liberties. . . . So much information is available now in the
digital realm, and we don’t even know what exists out there on each of
us. We aren’t in control of it, we aren't in command of it. It is
highly mobile, it is manipulatable, it is configurable across the
digital realm in ways that most people just don’t comprehend.”
technologies, says Hughes, if not carefully managed and monitored,
could imperil the very rights he has spent a lifetime defending. He
worries that Americans do not fully appreciate the stakes. He supports
a program of communication intercepts only if based on probable cause
and direct links with terrorists, but he is vehemently opposed to broad
domestic surveillance and monitoring of America’s telephone and
Internet traffic." from Nation of Secrets: Ted Gup.
"...the government has the capability to activate cell
phones and laptops remotely as eavesdropping devices.
Powering off the phone or laptop does not defeat the capability: only
removing the battery does." Glenn Greenwald: No Place to Hide
“Our Government is the potent, the omnipresent
teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its
example. Crime is contagious. If the Government becomes a lawbreaker,
it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto
himself; it invites anarchy. To declare that in the administration of
the criminal law the end justifies the means—to declare that the
Government may commit crimes in order to secure the conviction of a
private criminal—would bring terrible retribution. Against that
pernicious doctrine this Court should resolutely set its face.”
D. Brandeis (on wiretapping)
Executive branch authorities can access
congressional communications in almost undetectable ways without a
warrant, just as they can retrieve
emails and phone calls made by other citizens. Elected representatives
risk disgrace or worse because many can be accused of fund-raising
violations or sexual misconduct. Dossiers and blackmail did not go out
of fashion with J. Edgar Hoover's death. Hoover's success merely
showcased the effectiveness of the tool." Presidential Puppetry: Andrew
The GOP has no intention of supporting consumer privacy. Compared to the Europeans
we have no privacy rights at all.
Republicans just sold out the right to control our own data to powerful broadband providers.
Privacy is the underlying concern of
the Bill of Rights. It's rapid
erosion limits all of our freedoms including free speech, free press,
free association, democracy,
and even personal security. The computer
has become part of all of our everyday transactions and unregulated,
closed software gathers as much data as possible, stores it in almost
unlimited databases where it profits either a small group of oligarchs,
potentially dangerous bureaucrats, or both. History richly illustrates
that such data WILL be abused.
Although the full extent is not widely recognized, secret
government has implemented universal surveillance in the U.S. and extended it to
much of the rest of the world. It is chilling for journalism, invasive
for citizens, devastating for U.S. multinationals, ripe for misuse, and
will balkanize the internet. Many heads of state are incensed about it,
and they are taking steps to stop it...at least for themselves. It can
have a strong negative effect on US technology.
Unlike the EU, the US does not protect consumers rights to
privacy. Instead, whoever collects data (by whatever means, whether rewards-cards, credit
card records, set-top box activity, license plate readers, stingray, or
for other techniques), owns the data and
may use it or sell it. To appreciate the extent of these
techniques, watch very carefully this Jacob Appelbaum
Free software is open source,
auditable, and, as a result, more secure.
The good news is that encryption works. The Tor project attempts to provide
privacy, and there is a hardware solution in development called the Freedom Box which
incorporates the best privacy enhancing software available.
To begin to trust anything connected to the internet: open
source, auditable software and
hardware should be all that is in use. Find a trustworthy VPN.
Tails is a live operating
system, that you can start on almost any
computer from a DVD, USB stick, or SD card. It aims at
preserving your privacy and anonymity, and helps you to: use the
Internet anonymously and circumvent censorship; all connections to the Internet are forced
to go through the Tor network; leave no trace on the computer you are using unless you ask it
explicitly; use state-of-the-art cryptographic tools to encrypt your
files, emails and instant messaging. Learn more about Tails.
The more people encrypt, the better off we will be. If only a few people do it, they will
be the subject of intense scrutiny.
Secret government and large corporations will fight to make
encryption illegal because they don't want any consumer privacy protection. We need to demand transparency in both.
CRS Report to Congress: Fusion Centers: Issues and Options for Congress. The
Congressional Research Service (CRS) issued a report to Congress on the
deployment of over 40 Fusion Centers throughout the nation. Fusion
Centers are the most recent effort by the federal government to
establish an operational domestic surveillance program. The CRS report
states that officials justifying the development of fusion centers use
a number of presumptions, and that the goals of the centers seem to be
unfocused with wide-ranging explanations on what they are intended to
accomplish. The report outlined threats to civil liberties and privacy
posed by the deployment of Fusion Centers, which have no laws governing
them. (July 10, 2007)
WASHINGTON/NEW YORK, June 1 (Reuters) - The Federal Bureau of
Investigation wants U.S. Internet providers to retain Web address
records for up to two years to aid investigations into terrorism and
pornography, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday. The
request came during a May 26 meeting between U.S. Attorney General
Alberto Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller with top executives at
companies like Google Inc. , Microsoft Corp. and Time Warner
If you are not paying close attention, you may not realize
that banks are now agents used to watch your financial
Real ID Act
ID Act of 2005 would turn our state driver’s licenses into a
genuine national identity card and impose numerous new burdens on
taxpayers, citizens, immigrants, and state governments – while doing
nothing to protect against terrorism. As a result, it is stirring
intense opposition from many groups across the political spectrum. Real Nightmare.org provides
information about opposing Real ID. no2id.net
RF-ID Giants Merge 09 Aug 2007 Applied
Digital Solutions, a leading provider of identification and
security technology, and Digital
Angel Corporation, which develops RF-ID for people and animals,
today announced that they have entered into a merger
agreement. Under the agreement, Applied Digital and Digital Angel will
create the world’s leading provider of identification, location and
wellness [?] monitoring systems for people and animals.
US doles out millions for street cameras --Local
efforts raise privacy alarms 12 Aug 2007 The Department of Homeland
Security is funneling millions of dollars to local governments
nationwide for purchasing high-tech video camera networks, accelerating
the rise of a "surveillance society" in which the sense of freedom that
stems from being anonymous in public will be lost, privacy rights
advocates warn. DHS will not say how much of its taxpayer-funded grants
have gone to cameras.
LAX computer failure keeps thousands of fliers
detained 13 Aug 2007 Weary international passengers were stuck
at Los Angeles International Airport for hours, unable to set foot in
the United States after a computer failure prevented customs from
screening arrivals. Over 20,000 international passengers, Americans and
foreigners, sat in four airport terminals and in 60 planes starting
about 2 p.m. Saturday, when the computer system broke down, said Los
Angeles World Airports spokesman Paul Haney.
KNBC Report: LAX Computer Glitch Recurs Early
Monday 13 Aug 2007 The Customs and Border Protection computer
glitch that stranded more than 20,000 inbound international travelers
at Los Angeles International Airport over the weekend recurred
overnight, affecting about 1,700 inbound international passengers
between 11:50 p.m. Sunday and 1:15 a.m. Monday, KNBC reported. The
computer system helps officials identify people who have been placed on
a no-fly list and who are denied entry into the United States as
Court Says Travelers Can't Avoid Airport Searches
By David Kravets 10 Aug 2007 U.S. airline passengers near the security
checkpoint can be searched any time and no longer can refuse consent by
leaving the airport, the nation's largest federal appeals court ruled
Friday... Citing threats of terrorism, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals ruled passengers give up all rights to be free of
warrantless searches once a "passenger places hand luggage on a
conveyor belt for inspection" or "passes though a magnetometer."