You say Police State, I say potato. Either way let's discuss surveillance and government overreach.

This has probably been asked, but considering the police state is rising in Mexico too, what's the argument against "Well, I want politicians to record and hold their debates and meetings in public, live-streamed to the voting citizens" or something like that? Like, sure check me out government, but anytime I want I can check the webcam for your office or whatever.

I would actually oppose that Mex. I totally see where you are coming from but I don't think two wrongs...
also in order to do their job I think politicians do need the freedom of closed door meetings where they can brain storm or discuss possible horse trading without every word being quotable.
As far as their official acts everything already is recorded except classified stuff (or when someone otherwise goes into secret session) AFAIK. And that isn't real common (again AFAIK).

I would really rather have the government back off on monitoring ME.

I do however think it should be expressly legal to video and audio tape any law enforcement officer who is on duty or acting in an official capacity with or without their knowledge, that all officers should be required to carry audio video monitoring devices, that the results of an interrogation should not be legally admirable unless the entire interrogation start to finish on video and audio is provided to the defense and that here in the states it is far pas time that we passed a constitutional amendment clearing up what exactly we mean by a search especially with respect to digital information.

This is not the only example of talking points for Thanksgiving being sent around by large organisations.

Not content with having entire PR departments etc. you now have to deal with corporate proselytising over the dinner table.

If anyone attempted that during a festive meal with me I would ask them to leave. Now. And no you won't be invited back.

It's worse than those stealth invitations you get from Amway suckers.

The intel organizations do that on a regular basis, whenever some topic involving them hits the press. My company also does it in the same circumstances, telling us what we can and can't talk about if we have insider knowledge of something.

It's more a case of "If someone seems to know a code word or a program name, don't assume they are cleared, they may just read the papers." People get careless and assume that if someone mentions Striped Zebra and it's problems with propulsion systems, that they can talk about the full Notional Zoo program with that person. Keeps them from inadvertently giving up Hungry Hippo or Brachiating Chicken (shudder...).

Robear wrote:

Brachiating Chicken

Thanks for the nightmares!

As a bit of comic relief, here's something that falls into the "Technically harmless but still, WTF?" category.

NORAD adds a multi-jet fighter escort to its super-popular (used by 22 million people last year) "santa tracker".

Santa needs a US fighter jet escort? There are definitely some "think of the children" people lasering in on this. I dunno how much I care, but it does seem…weird.

Proposed The Onion headline for Dec. 26th: "Tensions mount as US faces charges that it invaded the airspace of every sovereign nation on earth"

Jonman wrote:

Robear wrote:

Brachiating Chicken

Thanks for the nightmares!

Raaawwwwkkkk! Ba-rawwwwkkkkk! flapflapflap

This is exactly the opposite of what we need.

Fearing Government Surveillance, US Journalists Are Self-Censoring

Suzanne Nossel, writing for CNN, reports that 'a survey of American writers done in October revealed that nearly one in four has self-censored for fear of government surveillance. They fessed up to curbing their research, not accepting certain assignments, even not discussing certain topics on the phone or via e-mail for fear of being targeted. The subjects they are avoiding are no surprise — mostly matters to do with the Middle East, the military and terrorism.' Yet ordinary Americans, for the most part, seem not to care: 'Surveillance so intrusive it is putting certain subjects out of bounds would seem like cause for alarm in a country that prides itself as the world's most free. Americans have long protested the persecution and constraints on journalists and writers living under repressive regimes abroad, yet many seem ready to accept these new encroachments on their freedom at home.

New docs from Snowden leak out by WaPo today: NSA collecting data from "at least hundreds of millions" of cell phones and other devices, at home and abroad.

With The Guardian's recent revelation that only 1% of Snowden docs have been leaked so far, should we be taking bets on what we think the government isn't doing? Probably a smaller pool than what they are doing, at this point.

Malor wrote:

Ok, so, it's happening, exactly as I said it would:

Top-Secret Document Reveals NSA Spied On Porn Habits As Part Of Plan To Discredit 'Radicalizers'

WASHINGTON -- The National Security Agency has been gathering records of online sexual activity and evidence of visits to pornographic websites as part of a proposed plan to harm the reputations of those whom the agency believes are radicalizing others through incendiary speeches, according to a top-secret NSA document. The document, provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, identifies six targets, all Muslims, as “exemplars” of how “personal vulnerabilities” can be learned through electronic surveillance, and then exploited to undermine a target's credibility, reputation and authority.

No future Martin Luther King Juniors will be allowed in this country. If you threaten the status quo, they will use their archives of everything you've done to destroy you.

If you think they're not going to use this on politicians, especially the ones that vote on the NSA's budget, you're hopelessly naive.

These people are literally taking over the country. They directly and knowingly lie to secret courts, to public courts, and to Congress.... they can't be overseen, because they work in secret, lie about what they're doing, and then use the results of their secret spying as blackmail.

Democracy cannot survive in this climate. Only a sham democracy can exist.

The hero America deserves is not ashamed of the horse porn.

The first rule of porn club is do not tell the NSA about porn club?

Too late

Minarchist wrote:

As a bit of comic relief, here's something that falls into the "Technically harmless but still, WTF?" category.

NORAD adds a multi-jet fighter escort to its super-popular (used by 22 million people last year) "santa tracker".

Santa needs a US fighter jet escort? There are definitely some "think of the children" people lasering in on this. I dunno how much I care, but it does seem…weird.

Proposed The Onion headline for Dec. 26th: "Tensions mount as US faces charges that it invaded the airspace of every sovereign nation on earth"

Eh, this thing is a non-issue. The videos leading up to Track Santa have always had this. There is a little bit where the Fighter jets pull up alongside him for a couple seconds, then he accelerates because Santa (obviously) flies way faster than the jets so he leaves them behind. As far as I know there are no plans to have the actual "Track Santa" thing have Jets next to him. In fact, if there is a model of Santa this year in Track Santa it will be the first year, usually there is just a little face.

Couldn't they just make an animatronic Santa, sleigh and reindeer at this point and mount them on a drone? Naughty kids get a Hellfire missile.

Parents already tell their kids in Yemen and Pakistan to behave or they will get droned.

Edwin wrote:

Parents already tell their kids in Yemen and Pakistan to behave or they will get droned.


It's funny because we're committing war crimes

When I misbehaved my mom told us (only a few times) that Godzilla would come and eat us. I never appreciated until just now how nice it was of Japan to not actually send giant, invincible monsters to kill semi-random people in real life.


Rolling Stones profiles on Greenwald and Snowden.

At least they are self-aware/have a sense of humor?


Cthulhu as branding: Yesterday, the U.S. US National Reconnaissance Office launched a classified satellite called NROL-39, destined to carry out surveillance and security work in orbit. The official patch, patch and logo, above, paints a pretty vivid picture of its mission. [NASA Spaceflight; Quartz]

Military mission and unit patches run the gamut from boring to weird. This is just another one.

Kinda funny thing about that:


Also, saw this retweeted this morning.

Obama is a Communist. Checkmate.


Ellen Nakashima reports at the Washington Post that morale has taken a hit at the National Security Agency in the wake of controversy over the agency's surveillance activities and officials are dismayed that President Obama has not visited the agency to show his support. 'It is not clear whether or when Obama might travel the 23 miles up the Baltimore-Washington Parkway to visit Fort Meade, the NSA's headquarters in Maryland,' writes Nakashima, 'but agency employees are privately voicing frustration at what they perceive as White House ambivalence amid the pounding the agency has taken from critics.' Though Obama has asserted that the NSA's collection of virtually all Americans' phone records is lawful and has saved lives, the administration has not endorsed legislation that would codify it. And his recent statements suggest Obama thinks some of the NSA's activities should be constrained. 'The agency, from top to bottom, leadership to rank and file, feels that it is had no support from the White House even though it's been carrying out publicly approved intelligence missions,' says Joel Brenner, NSA inspector general from 2002 to 2006. 'They feel they've been hung out to dry, and they're right.' Former officials note how President George W. Bush paid a visit to the NSA in January 2006, in the wake of revelations by the New York Times that the agency engaged in a counterterrorism program of warrantless surveillance on U.S. soil beginning after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. 'Bush came out and spoke to the workforce, and the effect on morale was tremendous,' Brenner said. 'There's been nothing like that from this White House.' Morale is 'bad overall' says another former NSA official. 'It's become very public and very personal. Literally, neighbors are asking people, 'Why are you spying on Grandma?

We're spying on Grandma because it's legal and it saves lives. Also, we have SIGINT that shows that Grandma was discussing the Bill of Rights during several phone calls in 2007, which means she is likely to have terrorist symapthies.

Indiana State Police tracking cellphones — but won’t say how or why :

This year, the Indiana State Police paid $373,995 for a device that law enforcement personnel have described as a powerful tool in the fight against crime and terrorism.

It could allow investigators in a surveillance vehicle to park in a crowded area and track the movements of anyone nearby with a cellphone and capture the numbers of people’s incoming and outgoing calls and text messages.

All of which concerns civil liberties and open-government groups.

They worry that the technology could be used to violate innocent Hoosiers’ constitutionally protected rights to privacy if proper checks and balances aren’t in place.

But officials at Indiana’s largest police agency aren’t saying what they do with the technology; they’re mum on whose data they’ve collected so far; and they’re not talking about what steps they take to safeguard the data.

Citing concerns that releasing any information would endanger public safety by hindering the agency’s ability to fight crime and combat terrorism, they won’t even say whether they ask a judge for a search warrant before they turn the equipment on.

On a national level, police officials at other agencies say that such secrecy is essential to thwart terror attacks and fight crime. Some said the devices are used in extraordinary circumstances, and only to hunt for a single phone at a time, not to collect data from thousands of callers.

But a joint investigation of the Indianapolis Star and USA Today found instances in which police in some cities across the U.S. used cellphone snooping techniques in less urgent and more questionable ways.

Yeah, terrorists are a big problem in Indiana. Or the rest of the U.S. for that matter...

This lack of transparency and accountability would make any Philippine politician feel right at home.

Oh, NSA morale is poor? Where's the article on citizen morale?

They even watch you when you're out slaying dragons (or doing whatever it is that people do in Second Life).

The agencies, the documents show, have built mass-collection capabilities against the Xbox Live console network, which has more than 48 million players. Real-life agents have been deployed into virtual realms, from those Orc hordes in World of Warcraft to the human avatars of Second Life. There were attempts, too, to recruit potential informants from the games' tech-friendly users.