Legislation

In it decision in the case of the United States v. Oliva, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the federal government may remotely convert cellphones into roving bugs.

Judge Stephen W. Smith has criticized the law permitting the process of obtaining an electronic surveillance warrant to be kept secret.

The Pentagon wants bright college kids to help them design and perfect software that will allow government agents to quickly single out individuals from still photos and video footage of crowd scenes. As with most government projects, this particular operation has been given an innocuous and meaningless name: Innovation House Study.

 "If you're concerned about it, maybe there's a reason we should be flying over you, right?" That’s the callous response of one drone trade group representative when asked his opinion of those who worry about the increasing use of the unmanned aerial vehicles and the corresponding decrease in privacy and civil liberties.

The Justice Department is suing a telecommunications company for challenging a request from the Federal Bureau of Investigation for customer information — despite the fact that the law authorizing the request explicitly permits such challenges.

 Have you ever heard of a tech company called Neustar? Probably not, and that’s just the way the government wants to keep it. Neustar is a relatively new company that is playing a large, albeit secret, role in the expansion of the surveillance state. According to published reports, Neustar handles the law enforcement surveillance and user data requests for over 400 telecommunications companies. To accommodate their clients’ demands, Neustar maintains a database containing information on every cell phone in the United States — including yours.

What could bring together the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and one of Virginia’s most conservative state representatives? The specter of drones filling the skies of the United States. In a joint statement released July 17 by Virginia Delegate Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) and the Virginia Chapter of the ACLU, the seemingly disparate pair announced plans to work to fight the unregulated use of drones by law enforcement in the Old Dominion.

A drone being used by the United States Special Forces has the potential to remain airborne indefinitely if engineers can get the science right. Using lasers beamed from the ground to the unmanned aerial vehicle, the military could send a continuous source of power to the drone allowing it to fly without landing for refueling.

 Genia Photonics, a surrogate of the CIA, has announced its greatly enhanced surveillance capabilities to monitor innocent civilians without their knowledge or permission. The latest piece of terrifying technology, the Picosecond Programmable Laser scanner from Genia Photonics, will reportedly be able to identify gunpowder residue on an individual’s shoes, and what he had for breakfast along with his adrenaline levels.

The Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) against the Federal Aviation Administration regarding the licensing of domestic drones has finally produced documents detailing the use of drones in the United States.

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