Privacy

Bill Gates Sides with FBI Against Apple and It Is No Surprise

Bill Gates

If anyone was really surprised at the fact that Bill Gates broke ranks with Silicon Valley on the Apple v. FBI issue, they obviously have not been paying attention. As TechCrunch reported, he is blithely claiming that the FBI is just being absolutely truthful, and that there is no way that they have a desire or intention of using whatever mechanism Apple might come up with to fulfill their request ever again.

No, that doesn’t change the fact that Tim Cook was telling the truth about his products. There would be no way to make a backdoor into an iPhone or anything else a “one-time use” fix. Gates knows this, and is lying if he claims otherwise.

Of course, if this had anything to do with Microsoft at all, it’s safe to assume that Gates would be singing a totally different tune. No, it doesn’t matter how much he clarifies his statement on Apple. The bottom line remains the bottom line, and his comments need to be seen as a back-handed attempt to level the playing field when it comes to security in tech.

Protect Our Online Privacy: LEADs Act 2015

cloudcomputing

With each passing second of the clock, your ability to protect your privacy on the Internet diminishes unless Congress acts on a critical piece of legislation titled the “Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Abroad” Act. Known as the LEADs Act, the bill is a response to the Obama Administration’s attempt to grab data from any cloud computing systems - located anywhere in the world.

Unless Congress acts to fight back against yet another imperialist power grab, this action by Obama’s Department of Justice (DoJ) will create a slippery slope where your private data will become subject to the prying eyes of any foreign government - and there will be nothing you can do to stop it.

The issue stems from a criminal investigation by the US government into the actions of an Irish citizen who stored computer information on a cloud-based storage system housed by an Irish company on the Emerald Isle. The company, however, was a subsidiary of Microsoft. “Microsoft is an American company”, is the thin excuse DOJ is clinging to as it attempts to force Microsoft to seize the information. DoJ slapped Microsoft with a questionable warrant which in an effort to protect the privacy of their users, Microsoft has chosen to defy.

11th Circuit: The Location of Your Cell Phone Isn’t Private

location

You know how Google, Apple, and Microsoft store your phone’s location history to help with searches and app interactivity? Well, a federal appeals court just ruled that none of that information is actually yours and you have no expectation of privacy from it, so courts don’t need a warrant to get it.

“Cell tower location records do not contain private communications of the subscriber,” the court said in its ruling. “This type of non-content evidence, lawfully created by a third-party telephone company . . . does not belong to Davis, even if it concerns him. . . . Davis has no subjective or objective reasonable expectation of privacy in [the phone company’s] business records showing the cell tower locations that wirelessly connected his calls at or near the time of six of the seven robberies.”

This is an obscene and invidious ruling that has enormous implications for yes, your actual privacy. If the cell tower location data that shows where your phone is can from now on be acquired without a warrant, then your physical location is always within reach of government agents.

Nevermind that your phone has layers and layers of privacy settings that keep your GPS and other location data off the grid. Triangulating cell tower data can be just as useful and is now more accessible to the government than it is to you.

As an example of the lengths Google’s Android Lollipop system goes to allow you to protect your location data, the following are screenshots from my phone.

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Hillary’s Debutante Coming Out Party; Or, Here’s the Deal with the Private Email Server

hillary

While the media waited with bated breath for Hillary Clinton to come to the podium, it was reported that Jen Psaki at the State Department was letting everyone know that State was going to make the emails related to Benghazi available online. Interesting time for State to break that news, and that still doesn’t address the fact that Clinton has released to State only what she felt necessary to release, as a private server allows one to do.

But that’s the sideshow. The main show happened when Clinton stepped to the microphone and said, “There have been questions about my emails.”

“I opted for convenience to use personal email account, which was allowed, because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device,” she said during a press conference after her speech at the United Nations Tuesday. “Looking back, it would’ve been better if I had simply used a second email.”

Clinton turned over 55,000 pages of correspondence to the State Department to evaluate, which department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Tuesday would be released on a public website after a review, which could take months.

The former secretary of state defended her process in choosing emails, telling reporters that she and her staff “err[ed] on the side of providing anything that could be possibly viewed as work-related.”

Hillary Clinton’s email could be far worse for national security than Edward Snowden’s leaks were alleged to have been

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In the months following the Edward Snowden disclosures of NSA surveillance procedures, hysterical establishment hawks chose to warn of the potential damage to national security from the leaks, instead of condemning the blatantly unconstitutional violations of American citizens’ privacy. Even former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claimed Snowden had helped terrorists by releasing that information. As it turns out, the private email servers she was keeping for State Department communications may have been even worse.

Not only were her unarchived communications in violation of 20-year old federal records regulations, they were also terribly, horrifically unsecure.

The government typically uses military-grade certificates and encryption schemes for its internal communications that designed with spying from foreign intelligence agencies in mind. But the ClintonEmail.com setup? “If you’re buying jam online,” says Hansen, “you’re fine.” But for anything beyond consumer-grade browsing, it’s a shoddy arrangement.

More evidence that we must be vigilant: Barack Obama begs cops to stop reminding Americans they’re under constant surveillance

We have all heard of the now infamous technology known as “stingrays,” which law enforcement uses to track cell phones.

The military and local law enforcement agencies have been making use of this technology for years. The devices are used by law enforcement to trick cell phones into giving in details on its identification and location. This process takes place once the tool used by the authorities mimics a cell phone tower. The target then receives electronic signals that transform the phone into a tracking instrument.

Stingrays are reportedly used by law enforcement when officers are not willing to contact the phone companies during an investigation. They ignore a few steps of the operation, ignore any need for warrants, which they have already ruled unnecessary when using stingrays, and focus on obtaining information on a potential suspect by going straight for the target’s phone.

Some of the most recent coverage the use of these technologies has obtained was linked to the special motion filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. ACLU filed the motion in the Florida state court to obtain access to information on why law enforcement was using this technology, but federal authorities were having none of it.

According to Wired, U.S. Marshals grabbed the files before ACLU even had the chance to review any documents.

Whether this technology is widely and consistently used by law enforcement across the country or not, privacy proponents are not ignoring its capacity. Now, however, new revelations seem to indicate the real scope of the matter.

Obama’s economy: 63 percent of Millennials say the American Dream is impossible to achieve

For many immigrants, the American Dream has always meant living on your means and searching for your own happiness in an unrestrained fashion, like Americans always have been able to do.

While many often agree with that definition, they have started letting skepticism and pessimism bias get the best of them.

Can you blame them?

More than 480,000 people under the age of 25 left the workforce in April while Democrats celebrate the drop in the country’s unemployment rates. About 40 percent of college graduates are unable to find work and at least 29 percent of Millennials choose to stay home and live with their parents.

According to a poll carried out by CNN and ORC International, not even American exceptionalism is engaging citizens lately.

The results show that Americans are having a hard time agreeing that the American Dream is a possibility, whether they agree with the definition provided in this article or not.

A shocking 63 percent of Millennials, young adults between the ages of 18 and 34, say that the American Dream has become impossible to achieve.

Some experts believe that the pessimism is the result of the harsh financial reality of many low- and middle-income Americans. Also, according to the poll, nearly two-thirds of Americans believe that the next generation will not grow up to be better off than their parents.

The grim outlook could simply mean that this generation is more realistic about their country’s economic reality, but it could also be a reflection of their ultimate disappointment in this administration.

President Obama made it to the White House with the help of Millennials who were simply tired of having their lives being held hostage by big government policies, but Obama is managing to disappoint everyone.

Supreme Court Rejects NSA Phone Spying Case

After U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon’s preliminary injunction was issued back in December, which kept the NSA from gathering metadata pertaining to certain Verizon customers who took part in a lawsuit filed by conservative legal activist Larry Klayman, the Supreme Court decided to refrain from reviewing the case.

According to Judge Leon’s ruling, the Justice Department didn’t produce enough evidence to make him believe that the massive surveillance program was justified, which led to his decision to call the NSA’s surveillance programs unconstitutional.

The decision was announced Monday.

Per the rules of the court, at least four of the nine justices must agree on taking up the cause for a full review before it’s accepted, but since the process failed to grant the case a go, the constitutionality of the National Security Agency’s surveillance program remains unchecked by the Supreme Court.

The debate over President Barack Obama’s proposal to change how data gathered by private companies will be stored has also sparked this administration’s harshest critics, especially when it comes to the unconstitutional surveillance programs carried out by the NSA.

Snowden raised concerns with supervisors before going to the press

It’s still hard for some of us to grasp the motives behind Edward Snowden’s decision to go straight to the press.

Some question why government officials were never warned that pressing concerns related to the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs had to be addressed , and some even question the goals behind the final disclosure of the confidential programs to the press.

While all questions are valid and should be addressed timely, recent reports show that Snowden’s recent testimony to the European Parliament assured the public that his concerns had been discussed with at least 10 officials before he decided to go to the press. According to the report, Snowden would have a hard time pursuing any further whistleblowing mainly because of his status as a contractor.

According to the testimony, the decision to go to the press to leak confidential documents only came to Snowden after he exhausted all other formal avenues.

When asked about the circumstances, Snowden replied that he “had reported these clearly problematic programs to more than ten distinct officials, none of whom took any action to address them.” Edward Snowden’s status as an employee of a private company hired by the U.S. government makes it impossible for the contractor to be protected by whistleblower laws, which are only valid to U.S. government direct employees.

Snowden claimed that because he encountered these legal issues, he feared he “would not have been protected from retaliation and legal sanction for revealing classified information about lawbreaking in accordance with the recommended process.”

Collection of Phone Records Expansion: Unintended Consequence of NSA Lawsuits

The government may have to expand its surveillance programs following news concerning several lawsuits filed against the NSA. Why? Because the NSA will have to avoid destructing phone records in order to preserve evidence requested by a number of lawyers involved in NSA-related lawsuits.

The unexpected change in plans would force the NSA to keep all phone records it collects, which would mean that the agency would have to expand its programs and database in order to respond to requirements put forward for litigation purposes.

ACLU’s lawyer Patrick Toomey, who’s involved in the lawsuit against the government’s unconstitutional surveillance programs, says that the lawsuit was filed precisely to ensure that the telephone data collection programs are not expanded, but ended for good. According to the lawyer, the government never discussed the possibility of an expansion of the data collection program just to respond to litigation requirements.

It would be especially difficult for anybody to consider the government would use this excuse to expand the program when President Barack Obama just ordered senior officials to leave the data collection to the phone companies that log the calls. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court will have to give the heads up on expending the data collection program, which would not be a problem for the government.


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