In a landmark ruling, the European Court of Human Rights has declared that bulk communications gathering by Britain’s GCHQ spy agency was illegal, proving whistleblower Edward Snowden right, and prompting more calls for the former NSA contractor to be pardoned.
The court noted that there were “fundamental deficiencies” in the GCHQ’s interception of communications, namely that no politician or independent body had authorised the data gathering, that search terms GCHQ used to trawl through the data had not been included in a warrant application, and that individual names, email addresses, and phone numbers had not been authorised to be used by the spooks.
Snowden revealed that the GCHQ was scouring all online and telephone data in the UK via a program code named ‘Tempora’.
Former editor of The Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, who had to destroy hard drives given to him by Snowden in 2013 before the government seized them, lauded the ruling:
Snowden responded, saying that he couldn’t have done what he did without journalists and human rights lawyers:
The ruling led to new calls for Snowden, still hiding out in Moscow, as well as Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, languishing in prison, to be given their lives back:
The GCHQ continues to spy on British citizens, as we reported last November it has been monitoring the movement of British people minute by minute to check if they are complying with government restrictions.
According to reports, the spy agency embedded a ‘cell’ within Number 10 Downing Street in order to provide Prime Minister Boris Johnson with real time information pertaining to the public’s movements.
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DHS Sought To Assign Social Credit Style “Risk Scores” To Social Media Users
Newly-obtained documents reveal.
In a sharp spotlight on the interplay between national security and individual privacy, newly disclosed documents have unveiled that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) entered into a contract with the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in 2018 to develop a project, dubbed “Night Fury,” designed to analyze and assign “risk scores” to social media accounts.
The Brennan Center for Justice procured these documents through a public records request, and Motherboard was the first to report on them. Project Night Fury aimed at utilizing automation to detect and evaluate social media accounts for connections to terrorism, illegal opioid distribution, but also disinformation campaigns.
The DHS document stated, “The Contractor shall develop these attributes to create a methodology for developing a ranking, or ‘Risk Score,’ associated with the identified accounts.”
Project Night Fury had also planned on incorporating involvement from Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to provide “cross-mission operational context,” according to one of the documents.
Experts had warned DHS about the inherent difficulties and biases involved in automated judgment for these matters, citing that characteristics like being “pro-terrorist” have no concrete definition.
Notably, DHS terminated Project Night Fury in 2019. However, it underscores the agency’s continued interest in social media as a resource for analysis. This comes in the wake of earlier reports of CBP utilizing an AI-powered tool, Babel X, for analyzing travelers’ social media at US borders.
While Night Fury’s focus was initially on “counter-terrorism, illegal opioid supply chain, transnational crime, and understanding/characterizing/identifying the spread of disinformation by foreign entities,” the documents indicate that UAB’s work was intended to “scale to other DHS domains” and “build next generation capabilities.”This post was originally published at Reclaim The Net
Like, Totally Orwellian: Nearly A Third Of GenZ Favors ‘Government Surveillance Cameras In Every Household’
Nearly one-third of Generation Z says they’d be just fine with government-installed surveillance cameras in every household under the guise of reducing domestic violence and other illegal activity.
“Would you favor or oppose the government installing surveillance cameras in every household to reduce domestic violence, abuse, and other illegal activity?” asks a new survey from the Cato Institute. Of the responses, 29% of those aged 18-29 said yes.
As the NY Post notes;
In 1791, the utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham proposed building a “panopticon” in which people’s behavior could be monitored at all times.
But Bentham’s panopticon was meant to be a prison. A sizable segment of Generation Z would like to call it home.
When it comes to other age brackets, 20% of millennials (between the ages of 30 and 44) also want everyone watched.
Then, wisdom appears to kick in – as just 6% of Americans aged 45 and older were OK with government surveillance in every home.
Broken down by politics, 19% of liberals and 18% of centrists agreed that our daily lives should be monitored by the government for our own safety, while 9 – 11% of those who identify as conservative, very conservative, or very liberal agreed in what appears to be a “horseshoe” issue that unites both ends of the political spectrum.
It’s the middle that has the ethic of old East German secret police — or the KGB.
Maybe that’s not surprising considering the way respectable liberal institutions now run themselves.
From Ivy League campuses to the publishing industry and the digital domains of Facebook, there is an Orwellian sense of perpetual emergency, an irrational fear that misinformation and hate speech will overwhelm society unless every utterance is subject to a censor’s scrutiny.
Even Orwell didn’t imagine Newspeak would require new pronouns. -NY Post
Broken down by race, 33% of black Americans said they’re fine with government in-home surveillance, as did 25% of hispanics, 11% of whites, and 9% of asians respectively.
The question was asked as part of the Cato Institute’s survey on American attitudes on the prospect of a ‘central bank digital currency.’ What’s interesting about that is that 53% of Americans who support a CBDC also support in-home surveillance cameras.
Notably, Americans who support a CBDC stood out in how they think about in‐home government surveillance cameras. A majority (53%) of Americans who support a CBDC support the government installing in‐home surveillance cameras to reduce abuse and other illegal activity. This suggests that some of the psychology behind support for a CBDC springs from an above average comfort level with trading some personal autonomy and privacy for societal order and security. -Cato Institute
What’s more, those who view the Federal Reserve favorably are more likely to support a CBDC (duh).
Sheep gonna sheep?This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
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