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Posts Tagged ‘government’

The Government Now Admits There’s an ‘Area 51′

August 16, 2013 Comments off

theatlanticwire.com

pbump@theatlantic.com.

National Security Archive / AP

Newly declassified documents, obtained by George Washington University’s National Security Archive, appear to for the first time acknowledge the existence of Area 51. Hundreds of pages describe the genesis of the Nevada site that was home to the government’s spy plane program for decades. The documents do not, however, mention aliens.

The project started humbly. In the pre-drone era about a decade after the end of World War II, President Eisenhower signed off on a project aimed at building a high-altitude, long-range, manned aircraft that could photograph remote targets. Working together, the Air Force and Lockheed developed a craft that could hold the high-resolution cameras required for the images, a craft that became the U-2. Why “U-2″?

They decided that they could not call the Read more…

Pentagon Now Sees Big Data As “National Security Threat”

August 13, 2013 Comments off

The data divers at the Defense Department know better than most how to how to track down someone just by looking at his phone records. Now they want to know if America’s enemies could cause a fiscal meltdown or a massive cyber attack by combing through Netflix queues, Uber accounts, and Twitter feeds.

The doomsday thinkers over at DARPA are looking for researchers to “investigate the national security threat posed by public data available either for purchase or through open sources.” The question is, could a determined data-miner use only publicly available information–culled from Web pages and social media or from a consumer data broker–to cause “nation-state type effects.” Forget identify theft. DARPA appears to be talking about Read more…

U.S. government spending on big data to grow exponentially

August 10, 2013 Comments off

biometricupdate.com

 

 

August 9, 2013 -

 

Biometrics Research Group, Inc. has observed that national security and military applications are driving a large proportion of “Big Data” research spending.

 

Big Data is a term used to describe large and complex data sets that can provide insightful conclusions when analyzed and visualized in a meaningful way. Conventional database tools do not have capabilities to manage large volumes of unstructured data.  The U.S. Government is therefore investing in programs to develop new tools and technologies to manage highly complex data.  The basic components of Big Data include hardware, software, services and storage.

 

Biometrics Research Group estimates that federal agencies spent approximately US$5 billion on Big Data resources in the 2012 fiscal year. We estimate that annual spending will grow to Read more…

ECONOMIC ALERT: Federal government twice as bankrupt as Detroit

August 9, 2013 Comments off

endtimeheadlines

Detroit

Detroit declared bankruptcy a few days ago.

I’ve written for years about how Detroit should serve as a stark warning to Americans who believe in liberal social policies, like highly progressive taxes and expensive social safety nets.

These socialist programs don’t cure income inequality. They merely destroy wealth by reducing incentives for building businesses and encouraging dependency. That’s why societies with lots of government spending typically have few civil institutions and a small middle class.

Here’s the message our politicians on both sides of the aisle seem to miss: Fifty years ago, Detroit was one of the largest and wealthiest cities in the world. Nearly 2 million people lived there, and it enjoyed the highest per-capita income in the United States.

Then, in 1960, everything changed.

Liberal Democrats came to power (and have held power since). Their ideas about using the government to build Read more…

Categories: GOVERNMENT Tags: , ,

Is the U.S. Exaggerating the Terror Threat to Embassies to Silence Critics of NSA Domestic Surveillance?

August 6, 2013 Comments off

alternet.org

Is the U.S. Exaggerating the Terror Threat to Embassies to Silence Critics of NSA Domestic Surveillance?

Greenwald also discusses Reuters’ report on the Drug Enforcement Agency spying on Americans.

The Obama administration has announced it will keep 19 diplomatic posts in North Africa and the Middle East closed for up to a week, due to fears of a possible militant threat. On Sunday, Senator Saxby Chambliss, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the decision to close the embassies was based on information collected by the National Security Agency. “If we did not have these programs, we simply would not be able to listen in on the bad guys,” Chambliss said, in a direct reference to increasing debate over widespread spying of all Americans revealed by Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian. “Nobody has ever questioned or disputed that the U.S. government, like all governments around the world, ought to be eavesdropping and monitoring the conversations of people who pose an actual threat to the United States in terms of plotting terrorist attacks,” Greenwald says. Pointing to the recent revelations by leaker Edward Snowden that he has reported on, Greenwald explains, “Here we are in the midst of one of the most intense debates and Read more…

Categories: GOVERNMENT Tags: , ,

U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans

August 6, 2013 Comments off

chicagotribune.com

A slide from a presentation about a secretive information-sharing program run by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Special Operations Division (SOD)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.

Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin – not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.

The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to “recreate” the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant’s Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don’t know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of Read more…

Categories: Privacy Tags: , , ,

FBI pressures Internet providers to install surveillance software

August 5, 2013 Comments off

cnet.com

CNET has learned the FBI has developed custom “port reader” software to intercept Internet metadata in real time. And, in some cases, it wants to force Internet providers to use the software.

FBI headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C.FBI headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C.

(Credit: Getty Images)

The U.S. government is quietly pressuring telecommunications providers to install eavesdropping technology deep inside companies’ internal networks to facilitate surveillance efforts.

FBI officials have been sparring with carriers, a process that has on occasion included threats of contempt of court, in a bid to deploy government-provided software capable of intercepting and analyzing entire communications streams. The FBI’s legal position during these discussions is that the software’s real-time interception of metadata is authorized under the Patriot Act.

Attempts by the FBI to install what it internally refers to as “port reader” software, which have not been previously disclosed, were Read more…

XKeyscore: The NSA program that collects ‘nearly everything’ that you do on the internet

August 2, 2013 1 comment

extremetech.com

Where is NSA's XKeyscore located?If you were shocked by the NSA’s Prism program, hold onto your hat: The NSA also operates another system, called XKeyscore, which gives the US intelligence community (and probably most of the US’s Western allies) full access to your email, IMs, browsing history, and social media activity. To view almost everything that you do online, an NSA analyst simply has to enter your email or IP address into XKeyscore. No formal authorization or warrant is required; the analyst just has to type in a “justification” and press Enter. To provide such functionality, the NSA collects, in its own words, “nearly everything a typical user does on the internet.” Perhaps most importantly, though, it appears that HTTPS and SSL might not protect your communications from Read more…

Why Is Obama’s Growing DHS Army Buying Armored Vehicles?

March 7, 2013 Comments off

investors.com

Security: In addition to stockpiling over a billion bullets and thousands of semiautomatic weapons the feds would deny U.S. citizens, the vehicle of choice for fighting the counterinsurgency war in Iraq is appearing on U.S. streets.

The sequestration question du jour is why the Department of Homeland Security, busy releasing hundreds, if not thousands, of deportable and detained illegal aliens due to budget constraints, is buying several thousand Mine Resistant Armored Protection (MRAP) vehicles?

And just who are they intended to be used against?

This acquisition comes on top of the recent news of the stockpiling by DHS of more than 1.6 billion (with a ‘b’) bullets of various calibers, enough by one calculation to fight the equivalent of a 24-year Iraq War, and the ordering of some 7,000 5.56x45mm NATO “personal defense weapons” (PDW) — also known as “assault weapons” when owned by civilians.

Additionally, DHS is asking for 30 round Read more…

Next Up for Big Brother: Recording and Transcribing Public Conversations

March 6, 2013 1 comment

allgov.com

Matt Lease, a computer scientist at the University of Texas, is working on ways to literally record all human conversations no matter where they take place. But his research is being funded by the Department of Defense, raising the question of how such a technology might be used in the hands of the government.

 

Lease’s plan is to utilize crowdsourcing, voice recognition software and everyday devices like smartphones to gather human speech, whether in a business meeting or on the street, and store it somewhere so people could access what they said anytime.

 

He told Wired’s Danger Room that he saw the work as both a “need and opportunity to really make conversational speech more accessible, more part of our permanent record instead of being so ephemeral, and really trying to imagine what this world would look like if we really could capture all these conversations and make use of them effectively going forward.”

 

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) liked Lease’s idea so much it gave him a $300,000 grant to support his efforts.

 

If successful, this new system could raise “some thorny legal and social questions about privacy,” wrote Robert Beckhusen at Wired.

 

One example cited by Lease involves “respecting the privacy rights of multiple people involved,” and how to gain permission of everyone talking before capturing and storing a conversation. In the hands of spy agencies, this is not expected to be an issue.

-Noel Brinkerhoff

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