The governments of the United States and the United Kingdom are permitting the sale of state of the art surveillance equipment to some of the world’s most notorious regimes. Concerned citizens in both nations worry that these devices will be employed by the buyers to monitor activists and those who dare speak out against governmental oppression.
Law enforcement agencies around the nation are increasingly turning to tracking cell phones in surveillance operations, and, according to a recent report by the ACLU, they are doing so largely without the benefit of a warrant. According to the secular legal group, many of the more than 200 police departments that responded to the ACLU survey on their use of such tracking said that their officers do not bother with a warrant to access such investigative resources.
If you are stopped for speeding or arrested for an unpaid fine, you may be subjected to a strip search and thorough inspection of even the most private body parts, the U.S. Supreme Court said Monday in another controversial 5-4 decision. Justice Anthony Kennedy sided with the court's conservative bloc and wrote the opinion of the court in Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of County of Burlington, the case of Albert Florence, a New Jersey man apprehended in a motor vehicle stop and arrested for an allegedly unpaid fine. In fact, Florence had already paid the fine, but the bench warrant for his arrest had, "for some unexplained reason," not been removed from the statewide computer database at the time of the arrest, Kennedy said.
A new service offered by Google is raising some eyebrows, as users now have access to monthly reports that reveal all their online activities using Google products (Gmail, YouTube, Google+ social network, online search, etc.). Called "Account Activity," the new feature will allow users to "step back and take stock of what you’re doing online," Google product manager Andreas Tuerk noted in a blog post. "Knowing more about your account activity also can help you take steps to protect your Google Account."
Maybe now we know the true purpose for that giant domestic spy complex being built by the NSA in Utah. Attorney General Eric Holder approved a new list of guidelines for how long agencies of the federal government tasked with combatting “terrorism” may retain data gathered about American citizens. Basically, this information may be saved even if it contains no connection to criminal activity whatsoever.
Mitt Romney’s China investment controversy is far from over. A March 15 story in the New York Times concerning Romney’s family trust investments in a Chinese company that manufactures surveillance cameras used by the Communist Party-ruled police-state apparatus continues to cause waves and draw attention to U.S. policies vis-à-vis the People's Republic of China (PRC) that are immoral, as well as being harmful to our economy and harmful to the human rights of the Chinese people.
Founder Julian Assange of the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks plans to run for a seat in the Australian Senate while under house arrest in the United Kingdom, according to an announcement made by his organization over the weekend. The next election is expected sometime late in 2013 at the earliest.
The lead story in Wired magazine for April exposed the Stellar Wind program for its intended purpose: to spy on every jot and tittle of every American citizen’s life all the way down to his “pocket litter:” parking-lot stubs, receipts from McDonalds, tickets from his haircut at Cost Cutters, as well as all the way up to the content of his every e-mail, every Google search, every telephone or cellphone conversation.
In the little town of Bluffdale, Utah, between the Wasatch Range and the Oquirrh Mountains, the National Security Agency (NSA) is building what will be the nation's largest spy center, reports Wired, a print magazine and online publication reporting on technological developments and their effects, including electronic privacy. Dubbed the Utah Data Center, the project is already employing thousands of hardhat workers in its construction and will soon have some 10,000 construction workers building a data center that will be more than five times the size of the nation's capitol, Wired reports.
The good news is that in the near future governments, including our own, may no longer be planting bugs or tapping phones to spy on people. The bad news is they won't have to. New surveillance technology has been developed that will enable the CIA and other agencies to keep its eyes and ears on what people are watching and listening to by a series of connected gadgets activated when a movie is downloaded or a Web radio station is turned on.