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Hi-Jacking Your Privacy (Part 2)

CERDAFIED - This is Part 2 of my article on the loss of privacy in America. I will continue to reveal how pervasive this issue has become. You are experiencing the beginning stages of a real police state. In fact, you may find it quite difficult to find ways in which your privacy is still protected. Most of the privacy you have left requires you to act to prevent corporate or government groups from sharing or selling your private information.

Currently, if you browse items for purchase on the computer, you will be targeted for receiving more like items.  Advertisement is being customized to meet your interest, based on your browser history. These may seem innocuous at first, but like all good things, abuse of that information will follow.
Let’s look at more examples of your lost privacy and a long standing American legal right.

TSC Watch List
The TSA doesn't have a watch list, it is a customer of the Terrorist Screening Center, a component of the FBI. It is responsible for maintaining the consolidated terrorist watch list which uses two subsets of this list, the no-fly and selectee lists.

“The TSC has publicly stated that there are fewer than 400,000 individuals on the overall consolidated watch list, 95 percent of whom are not U.S. persons and the vast majority of whom are not even currently in the US” according to the Transportation Security Administration.

However, many believe the watch list number is greater than one million.

Whistleblower - Exposes Spying on Americans
In 2009, MSNBC - Keith Olberman revealed how the National Security Agency monitored all forms of communications around the clock and year long. Under the auspices of fighting terrorism, all your communication devices; faxes, computers, emails, and phone calls could be filtered, collected and stored. Who are the most common targets? US news organizations, reporters and journalists are.
For more information, click here.

Patriot Act Extension
In 2011, a Chicago Tribune article revealed the concerns of Democratic Senators, Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado, when it came to the Patriot Act's surveillance powers. "Today the American people do not know how their government interprets the language of the Patriot Act," Wyden said. "Someday they are going to find out, and a lot of them are going to be stunned. Some of them will undoubtedly ask their senators: Did you know what this law actually did? Why didn't you know? Wasn't it your job to know, before you voted on it?”

For more information, click here.

Manipulated Social Media
In one of the UK's leading newspapers, The Guardian, a 2011 article revealed how a California Corporation is developing new software for the US military that will manipulate social media through fake online personas. The United States Central Command (Centcom) oversees US armed operations in Central Asia and the Middle East. The use of this new software is another propaganda generating opportunity. It can influence internet conversations, create "sock puppets” or false personalities that smother dissent, trample on opposing opinions of online conversations and mislead the public. It can respond to blog posts and chat room posts in a coordinated effort.

For more information, click here.

TSA's Expands into Domestic Ground Transportation
New legislation - Mass Transit Intelligence Prioritization Act (H.R. 3140) was passed on May 30 by voice vote. Why voice vote? How else can they hide from the scrutiny of their constituents but to vote en masse verbally thereby avoiding a record of legislator’s votes? The bill reassigns numerous TSA officers to "jurisdictions with mass transit systems in order to enhance the security of such mass transit systems by assisting Federal, State, local, and tribal law enforcement authorities in identifying, investigating, and otherwise interdicting persons, weapons, and contraband that pose a threat to homeland security."

Are we heading toward a Soviet-style internal passport system, where individuals are harassed, tracked, and blocked from traveling? Will we require official permission to travel within our own country?

Some of these laws seem innocuous, guised as protecting society from terrorists, but when you look at the collective effect of government decision making since 9/11, you will find us heading toward a Nazi-like reign over Americans.

For more information, click here.

Drones Set Sights on US Skies
A recent New York Times article explored the new federal law that allowed unmanned drones be used for all sorts of commercial, local police and emergency services endeavors. The Federal Aviation Administration is now compelled to allow unmanned aerial vehicles in the skies. They can be piloted from an iPhone or computer.

The American Civil Liberties Union as well as other advocacy groups is calling for new privacy protections.  ACLU sees this as “routine aerial surveillance of American life.”

For more information, click here.

Bush Claimed the Right to Open Mail
In 2007, Washington Post shared how "The President asserted his new authority when he signed a postal reform bill into law on Dec. 20. Bush then issued a 'signing statement' that declared his right to open people's mail under emergency conditions.”

We are left to wonder, what constitutes an emergency? Who are the targets? How long can we operate in this constitutional crisis mode?

"That claim is contrary to existing law and contradicted the bill he had just signed, say experts who have reviewed it.” The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act explicitly reinforced protections of first-class mail from searches without a court's approval and warrant.

For more information, click here.


Ohio Company Implants Electronic Tags in Workers
MSNBC/Financial Times reported in 2006 how an Ohio company had embedded silicon chips in two of its employees. The private video surveillance company said it was testing the RFID technology.  This is expected to be a big growth industry, going beyond implanting our pets, packages, documentations,

"There's nothing pulsing or sending out a signal," said Mr. Darks, who has had a chip in his own arm.

"It's not a GPS chip. My wife can't tell where I am." It’s not his wife he has to worry about, its big brother. Any implanted device could be used to track the "wearer" without their knowledge.

For more information, click here.

FBI Database Of Biometrics

A Washington Post article from December of 2007 revealed how one billion dollars was spent to build the world's largest computer database of peoples' physical characteristics by the FBI. Law enforcement authorities, even from around the world, will be able to rely on iris patterns, face-shape data, scars and unique styles of the way people walk and talk to identify them. Increasing the use of biometrics for identification is raising questions about the ability of Americans to avoid unwanted scrutiny and loss of privacy.

The West Virginia University Center for Identification Technology Research is working on capturing images of people's irises at distances of 15 feet, and of faces from as far away as 200 yards.

For more information, click here.

NY City Police Spied on Activists before the GOP Convention
A New York Times writer exposed how teams of undercover New York City police officers conducted covert observations of people who planned to protest at the 2004 Republican National Convention. They traveled to cities across our country, as well as Canada and Europe too.

Officers posed as sympathizers or fellow activists, they made friends, dined together, exchanged e-mails and then the officers would file daily reports with the department’s Intelligence Division for over a year. The groups they chronicled had no intention of breaking the law, only to use the opportunity to voice opposition to government policy.

Members of street theater companies, church groups and antiwar organizations in New York, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montreal, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Washington, D.C were under surveillance.

For more information, click here.

Electronic Border Control

The San Francisco Chronicle shared some eye opening news in a 2009 article. A long standing policy prohibited custom agents from reading a travelers' personal documents unless they reasonably suspicious of illegal activity. The Bush administration changed the rules. Now, agents may "review and analyze" the contents of electronic devices, including laptops, cell phones and Blackberrys even though there are no grounds for suspicion. Agents may also make copies of the devices content or hard drive, share them with other government agencies, citing national security.

For more information, click here.

Boston Launches Flu Shot Tracking

A Boston Globe article from November of 2008 delivered some disturbing news on immunization trials. Using new technology, the Boston Public Health Commission will track recipients of the flu shot by an ID bracelet with a barcode.  Each bracelet has a unique identifier code and provides Information about the vaccine and recipient that will be entered into a handheld device.

Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy at the University of Minnesota said, "I wish more cities were doing this kind of thing."

For more information, click here,
If you think we are being treated no better than cattle on a farm, you may be on to something. At the very least, we have entered into the Orwellian twilight zone on a one way trip.  

So little attention is paid to the real threats of the world, (like Fukishima, our banking systems, and corporate eco-criminals), and way to much time spent eavesdropping on those of us trying to save the world from like decisions, policies, or practices.

(Lisa Cerda is a contributor to CityWatch, a community activist, Chair of Tarzana Residents Against Poorly Planned Development, and former Tarzana Neighborhood Council board member.) –cw

Vol 10 Issue 66
Pub: Aug 17, 2012