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Security News and Issues

Each day owning a computer and maintaining it online becomes more of a challenge. Security is a major concern to computer users. SaferPC brings you Security News and Issues of interest to security conscious PC users.

     
 Title   Date   Author   Host 

A Guide to What We Now Know About the NSA's Dragnet Searches of Your Communications
aclu.org
by Brett Max Kaufman
August 10, 2013

Charlie Savage of The New York Times confirmed this week what we have been warning about for years, including to the Supreme Court last fall: The National Security Agency (NSA) is "searching the contents of vast amounts of Americans' e-mail and text communications into and out of the country, hunting for people who mention information about foreigners under surveillance . . . ." The rub: If you've sent an international email or text since 2008, chances are the government has looked inside of it. In other words, the same NSA surveillance dragnet that government officials have consistently dismissed as speculative and far-fetched is very, very real. The Times's front-page story raises questions akin to those advanced by a report in The Guardian last week revealing that under a program codenamed "XKeyScore," NSA analysts use dropdown menus and filters - just like the ones we all use every single day on the web - to gain instant access to "nearly everything a typical user does on the Internet." Essentially, XKeyScore is the NSA's very own, very powerful surveillance search engine.

You May Have 'Nothing to Hide' But You Still Have Something to Fear
aclu.org
by Alex Abdo
August 2, 2013

In the wake of recent news that the NSA is spying on Americans, I have been particularly struck by the argument that "if you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear."

At first blush, this argument might seem sound - after all, if the government is merely conducting anti-terrorism surveillance, non-terrorists shouldn't be affected, right? But if you look more closely, you'll see this idea is full of holes. The "nothing to hide" argument mistakenly suggests that privacy is something only criminals desire. In fact, we choose to do many things in private - sing in the shower, make love, confide in family and friends - even though they are not wrong or illegal. Who would not be embarrassed if all of their most intimate details were exposed?

First in the Nation: Montana Requires a Warrant for Location Tracking
aclu.org
by Allie Bohm
June 20, 2013

Montana just made history.

It recently enacted the first state law in the nation (sponsored by Rep. Daniel Zolnikov (R-Billings)) requiring law enforcement to obtain a probable-cause warrant before tracking an individual based on his or her cell phone location information, social networking check-ins, or via a GPS tracking device in a criminal investigation. (A few states do have laws pertaining only to GPS tracking.) The ACLU of Montana's public policy director, Niki Zupanic, confessed her surprise that Montana was the first state in the nation to pass broad location-tracking protections. Perhaps Montanans, known for their love of freedom and privacy, intuitively understand how sensitive location information can be and how much where you go can reveal about who you are.

If the Government Is Tracking Your Location or Reading Your Email, Would You Ever Know?
aclu.org
by Patrick C. Toomey
May 30, 2013

Court rulings unsealed last week in Washington show for the first time a behind-the-scenes legal battle over when the government should have to tell you that it's tracking your location and reading your email.

These documents-which came to light only as the public learned more about the government's controversial investigation of Fox News journalist James Rosen-reveal significant new details about the government's obligation to provide notice, after the fact, when it obtains geolocation data or obtains stored email messages. Indeed, the court orders bring to light a striking contrast: federal prosecutors in Washington routinely provide notice to individuals they track using cell-phone geolocation data, even if that notice is delayed, yet the government strenuously resists giving any notice to individuals when searching and reading their emails.

The Militarization of Policing in America
aclu.org
May 9, 2013

American neighborhoods are increasingly being policed by cops armed with the weapons and tactics of war.

Federal funding in the billions of dollars has allowed state and local police departments to gain access to weapons and tactics created for overseas combat theaters - and yet very little is known about exactly how many police departments have military weapons and training, how militarized the police have become, and how extensively federal money is incentivizing this trend. It's time to understand the true scope of the militarization of policing in America and the impact it is having in our neighborhoods. Since March 6th, ACLU affiliates in 25 states filed over 260 public records requests with law enforcement agencies and National Guard offices to determine the extent to which federal funding and support has fueled the militarization of state and local police departments.

Stop the Monsanto Protection Act!
action.fooddemocracynow.org
June 29, 2012

This week the House of Representatives will consider a provision to House Agricultural Appropriations Bill that will fundamentally undermine the concept of judicial review.

Hidden under the guise of a "Farmer Assurance Provision" (Section 733), the provision strips the rights of federal courts to halt the sale and planting of genetically engineered crops during the legal appeals process. In the past, legal advocates have successfully won in court the right to halt the sale and planting of unapproved GMO crops while the approval of those crops is under review by a federal judge. This dangerous new House provision, which were calling the Monsanto Protection Act, would strip judges of their constitutional mandate to protect consumer rights and the environment, while opening up a floodgate of planting of new untested genetically engineered crops, endangering farmers, consumers and the environment.

Calif. is first state to ban lead ammo for hunting
actionnewsnow.com
October 15, 2013

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law a bill that will make California the first state to ban lead bullets for all types of hunting.

The Democratic governor says in a signing message Friday that lead ammunition poses a threat to wildlife. He says the bill protects hunters by allowing the ban to be lifted if the federal government ever prohibits non-lead ammo.

Striking Back at Police State Amerika
activistpost.com
by Dave Hodges
July 21, 2013

Every day a granny is goosed by TSA, a federal SWAT team raids the wrong house, a citizen acquitted of a crime still has their property confiscated by authorities, even the dumbed down public is aware that their every communication is monitored by the NSA and Obama has set his administration up to violate every constitutional right of every citizen in America under the NDAA and Executive Order 13603. Anyone who possess an IQ above room temperature is aware that our federal government is totally out of control and is wreaking tyranny upon the American people. As a people, we have seemingly grown numb to the constitutional violations perpetrated by our government against the citizens of this country. However, the abuse of citizens does not begin and end with the federal government.

Amid Economic Collapse, South Carolina Approves Another $1M for Police State
activistpost.com
May 14, 2013

A little over a week ago, on May 7, 2013 and in the midst of a worldwide economic depression, Columbia, South Carolina City Council members met to discuss the funding of a million dollar project.

This even as the State government continued its regularly scheduled hysteria over budgets, spending, and deficits. So what was the project so vital to the people of Columbia to be pushed through by a 4-2 vote of the council during the midst of such trying economic times? Was it regarding the road systems? Was it the dismal state of Columbia schools? Was it tax relief for residents? Was it economic development? Water? Power? Sewage? Waste disposal? Actually, it was the purchase and installation of 800 new surveillance cameras all across the city of Columbia that prompted the Council to spend $1.22 million, much of which is scheduled to come from an "emergency reserve fund" that is actually part of next year's budget.

Activist Post: DHS Using Video Games to Recruit Top Students as Cyber Warriors
activistpost.com
March 27, 2013

In the last few years we have seen a major increase in so-called cyber security throughout the country. News that foreign hackers have attacked multiple US government agencies has been a drumbeat topic within the corporate-controlled media.

Now, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is seeking up to 600 new student hackers to combat what they claim is the increasing danger of cyber attacks on critical infrastructure throughout the country. Rather than the normal propaganda techniques used to lure young Americans into other branches of the government, Homeland Security is taking a different route which includes the use of sophisticated video games to essentially promote job opportunities within their agency to young impressionable high school students.

     

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