Your Face Has an FBI File

The FBI never realized its dream of a universal fingerprint database of every US citizen. But everything new is old again and the agency, if it has its way, might soon realize its dream of a universal database, no fingerprints required.

The FBI isn't taking any chances, operating on two fronts simultaneously. First it wants to collect iris scans from everyone charged with a crime. The hardware, software and the resulting database will be handled by a private contractor. That means a private company with no oversight will control a massive database of biometric data. What could possibly go wrong?

If you were falsely charged or if you are exonerated of any crime too bad, your data stays in the Matrix.

Bad as that sounds the FBI's facial recognition project is much worse. It plans to partner with states, who will share photographic and biometric data with the agency. Your face will now have a file.

Where Have You Been? Ask Your Phone

Do you want to know how easy it is track your technology dependent ass, anywhere, at any time?

Backdoor GPS Tracking

The Bay Area Transportation authority wants to study a plan to require all drivers to install GPS trackers in their cars so they can be taxed by how many miles they drive. Requiring drivers to install a tracking device seems like a bad idea, illegal even. Didn't the Supreme Court just rule that law enforcement needs a warrant to do that?

NSA's Laughable Limited Hangout

Stop the presses. The DNI has (finally) come clean that NSA illegally spied on US citizens without a warrant. But only once. Honestly.

Coming Soon - DHS Scanners Can Tell What You Had for Breakfast from 50 Meters

This is it. Only a publicly administered federal enema is more intrusive than the new surveillance laser DHS officials are drooling over. Funding helpfully provided by you, the American taxpayer and main target of this supersecret surveillance scanner, via CIA front company In-Q-Tel.

Finally, a Media Outlet Admits Warrantless Spying Illegal

Our long search for journalists who will call blatantly false claims made by elite politicians and government officials what they are, false, is over. For now. A recent Guardian story contains this paragraph, that should be pasted up on cork boards in every US newsroom,

The [US] government continues to maintain that the 'state secrets' privilege should prevent the courts from even the basic determination of whether the NSA's [dragnet warrantless wiretapping programs] are legal or constitutional. This position isn't correct legally, since, in 1978, Congress created the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance law specifically requiring the courts to determine the legality of electronic surveillance.

You see, it isn't that hard. One arms oneself with facts, and when faced with someone who would contradict those facts for political, personal, or ideological purposes, one wields those facts, sword and shield both.

DHS Taps New License Plate Database, But Don't Worry, It's Just for Fugitives

A California company was awarded a DHS sole source contract to maintain a license plate database containing over 680 million items. But DHS says (and we always believe them) that this massive amount of data is only to be used to catch fugitives and illegals. Personally we're suspicious of any private company with access to that much sensitive data, not to mention one hosting a website that looks like a bad porno portal from the 1990s.

Your Cellphone Data is Their Cellphone Data

Law enforcement requests for your cellphone data have increased by a factor of a shitload (noun, unit of measurement, used to express corruption of government, local, state and federal). Keep in mind that sometimes a warrant is issued for your data, but many times law enforcement simply says please. As they can charge for the service and are legally protected, Verizon, Sprint and AT&T hand it over, succumbing to this overwhelming and heavy-handed government solicitation. Since cellphone providers were granted retroactive immunity for spying on you during the depressing Bush years (in a bill Obama vowed to vote against, only to vote for, a precursor of his future actions), there's no downside for the companies, who processed at least 1.3 million requests in 2011.

Has any of this surveillance firepower been used to bring down financial criminals, corrupt politicians, rogue intelligence officers?

FISA Court Rubberstamps Government Surveillance Applications

The secretive FISA court charged with rubberstamping evaluating government requests for extra-constitutional spying has been busier than ever. In 2011, it presided over 1745 requests from the US government to conduct electronic surveillance and physical searches solely for intelligence purposes. It denied a sum total of zero of these requests.

Inspector General for Intel Community a Kafka Fan

A letter from the Inspector General for the Intelligence Community has emerged illustrating the twisted logic of government secrecy protocols. Two US Senators wrote a letter to NSA requesting the number of US citizens targeted for surveillance by the spy agency. The response was this letter, stating that providing an estimate was "beyond the capacity" of NSA, and "dedicating additional resources [to the task] would likely impede the NSA's mission."

As for the IG's first claim, NSA (among other agencies) has for years been hoovering up all domestic communications, a fact known throughout the Bush years. That an agency with the resources to collect, sift, store and analyze so much data cannot do elementary addition is ridiculous on its face. That it would impede NSA's mission is probably true, if the real number of NSA surveillance targets ever became known, the shit might just hit the fan.

Obama DoJ - We Don't Need No Stinking Warrant

First, Obama's DoJ got crushed by SCOTUS over warrantless GPS tracking. Not a single justice bought DoJ's argument. Recently, amnesiac Justice lawyers built on that failure arguing that tracking someone via cell phone signal, without a warrant, is just fine by them. One wonders why they'd bother when for a few hundred bucks, every telecom company in the country will gladly sell you out to the feds. Taxpayer money is flowing to your telephone provider for your private information - no warrant needed.

SF Joins Surveillance State, Media Applauds

San Franciscans are paying to have a computer ascertain whether they are just having a bad day (cheating spouse, hemorrhoids, late for work, need coffee?) or have evil intentions. Two reports on the company that developed the software read as little more than fanboy propaganda.

There isn't one word in either story critiquing whether this system, paid for by taxpayers, is a good idea, whether it violates privacy and the constitution, or even if it actually works. The Daily Mail webstory begins with this lede, "A new generation of computerised 'Big Brother’ cameras are able to spot if you are a terrorist or a criminal - before you even commit a crime."

Here's the press release story at Fast Company.

Mind your face.

The Unblinking Eye at the NSA

This story is from way back in March, but it is too important. In years to come, think of this data center and the infrastructure and political ideology necessary to implement and maintain it as evidence that we had plenty of warning of what's coming.