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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: New England, The South, Midwest
Home country: USA
Current location: Chicago
Member since: Sat Mar 5, 2011, 12:32 PM
Number of posts: 17,312

About Me

Human. Being.

Journal Archives

Feb 4 Coronavirus Global Map

More EFF News: The Safeguarding Americans' Private Records Act Builds on Earlier Surveillance Reform

Last week, Sens. Ron Wyden (D–Oregon) and Steve Daines (R–Montana) along with Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D–California), Warren Davidson (R–Ohio), and Pramila Jayapal (D–Washington) introduced the Safeguarding Americans’ Private Records Act (SAPRA), H.R 5675.

This bipartisan legislation includes significant reforms to the government’s foreign intelligence surveillance authorities, including Section 215 of the Patriot Act.

Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act allows the government to obtain a secret court order requiring third parties, such as telephone providers, Internet providers, and financial institutions, to hand over business records or any other “tangible thing” deemed “relevant” to an international terrorism, counterespionage, or foreign intelligence investigation.

If Congress does not act, Section 215 is set to expire on March 15.

...This renewed bipartisan interest in FISA transparency and accountability—in combination with the March 15 sunset of Section 215—provides strong incentives for Congress to enact meaningful reform of an all-too secretive and invasive surveillance apparatus.

Congress passed the 2015 USA FREEDOM Act in direct response to revelations that the National Security Agency (NSA) had abused Section 215 to conduct a dragnet surveillance program that siphoned up the records of millions of American’s telephone calls. USA FREEDOM was intended to end bulk and indiscriminate collection using Section 215 ...

Here are some of the highlights:

Ending the Call Detail Records Program

SAPRA, however, would make the much-needed reform of entirely removing the CDR authority and clarifying that Section 215 cannot be used to collect any type of records on an ongoing basis...The bill also includes several amendments intended to prevent the government from using Section 215 for indiscriminate collection of other records.

More Transparency into Secret Court Opinions

this bill clarifies that all significant FISC opinions, no matter when they were written, must be declassified and released. It also requires that future opinions be released within six months of the date of decision.

previous requests under Section 215 included cell site location information, which can be used for invasive tracking of individuals’ movements. But the landmark 2018 Supreme Court decision in Carpenter v. United States clarified that individuals maintain a Fourth Amendment expectation of privacy in location data held by third parties, thus requiring a warrant for the government to collect it.

Expanding the Role of the FISC Amicus


The FBI in particular has refused to count the number of searches of Section 702 databases it conducts using Americans’ personal information, leading to a recent excoriation by the FISC. SAPRA requires that the transparency reports include the number of Americans whose records are collected under 215, as well as the number of US person searches the government does of data collected under Sections 215 and 702.

Notice and Disclosure of Surveillance to Criminal Defendants

SAPRA ... requires notification to defendants in cases involving information obtained through Section 215. Second, and more generally, it clarifies that notice to defendants is required whenever the government uses evidence that it would not have otherwise learned had it not used FISA...in the FISA context, despite the existence of a disclosure mechanism, it has been completely toothless; the history of the law, no defendant has ever successfully obtained disclosure of surveillance materials.

It’s important for Congress to take this opportunity to codify additional due process protections. It’s a miscarriage of justice if a person can be convicted on unlawfully acquired evidence, yet can’t challenge the legality of the surveillance in the first place. Attorneys for defendants in these cases need access to the surveillance materials—it’s a fundamental issue of due process...

SAPRA is a strong bill that includes many necessary reforms. We look forward to working with lawmakers to ensure that these and other provisions are enacted into law before March 15.



From Webster's dictionary:

Definition of agency

1a : the office or function of an agent

b : the relationship between a principal and that person's agent

2 : the capacity, condition, or state of acting or of exerting power : OPERATION

3 : a person or thing through which power is exerted or an end is achieved : INSTRUMENTALITY

From Obama's dictionary: Yes. We. Can.

We are Americans above all. We lead our leaders. They do not lead us except by our consent. If they do not have our consent, we lead.

We know our collective moral imperative. Our leaders never define that for us.

We are agents of our future.

If it ain't rainin', we ain't trainin'!

Warning from Electronic Frontier Foundation: the formation of a global surveillance police state.

Soon, U.K. police will be able to target people for investigation, and gather their data from U.S. companies, without a judge’s approval—and without ever providing notice to the targets.

The data collected by U.K. police will include the private information of Americans and non-Americans alike. While U.S. persons aren’t supposed to be targeted, this deal won’t stop American communications with a targeted person from being swept up while foreign police investigate.

This deal even allows, for the first time, a foreign government to perform a wiretap on a conversation involving a U.S. citizen or resident. These wiretaps won’t have the normal safeguards that a U.S. person would get if they were subject to a wiretap authorized by a U.S. court.

The deal also allows police in the U.S. to bypass U.K. sovereignty. U.S. law enforcement will be able to search and seize data on territory located in Britain and Northern Ireland, without following privacy rules in the U.K.

The US-UK agreement is the first negotiated under the Cloud Act—a federal law that allows foreign police to negotiate agreements to demand data stored in the United States and about U.S. persons. This troublesome U.S.-U.K. agreement will set a terrible precedent for similarly bad Cloud Act deals that could be struck with other nations.

The DOJ should work on speeding up existing methods of getting data across borders while maintaining judicial oversight. The U.S.-U.K. Cloud Act agreement is a bad deal for citizens of both countries, and Congress should stop it.


Other digital rights organizations support EFF's warning.


It's no secret many in the UK government want backdoored encryption. The UK wing of the Five Eyes surveillance conglomerate says the only thing that should be "absolute" is the government's access to communications.

The long-gestating "Snooper's Charter" frequently contained language mandating "lawful access," the government's preferred nomenclature for encryption backdoors. And officials have, at various times, made unsupported statements about how no one really needs encryption, so maybe companies should just stop offering it.

What the UK government has in the works now won't mandate backdoors, but it appears to be a way to get its foot in the (back)door with the assistance of the US government.

Congress, on behalf of The People's privacy and security, needs to stop this weaponization of surveillance upon Five Eyes populations. It's nothing but another bad faith pacification tool used against Western countries by leaders who want to preserve their power and control.

As I've said elsewhere, the alt-right moves to use any tools it can misuse to chill communications and even "thinking out loud" among Americans.

Tyranny maintains itself by controlling speech and thought -- excluding evidence, witnesses, CNN from a WH luncheon of TV networks, "criminally investigating" a political writer.

Rule #1 from Lessons On Tyranny: Do not obey in advance.

Please. Call at least one member of the House -- https://www.house.gov/representatives -- preferably a member of the House Intel Committee. Office: (202) 225-7690

While primary and media dramas unfold, heed a warning from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

We're learning these days that surveillance is what's done to us by those in and out of our country.

Security is one thing. Privacy is quite another.

Give corporations, or the state, access to your privacy in the name of security, and Americans might never know who perpetrates chaos and disquiet upon them. We've been learning that in elections. It's time we fight a constitutional infrastructure fight, too.

I highly recommend that DU read more from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who I've followed since their founding. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_Frontier_Foundation

Are they perfect? Who is? However, they've done great work and their mission is to keep our online user rights as free as possible.

To the point: EFF is campaigning for Congress to stop the Graham-Blumenthal Anti-Security Bill, called the EARN IT Act. Blumenthal just leaked it. https://www.eff.org/document/earn-it-act

... which grants sweeping powers to the Executive Branch. It opens the door for the government to require new measures to screen users’ speech and even backdoors to read your private communications—a stated goal of one of the bill’s authors.

Senators Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) have been quietly circulating a draft version of EARN IT. Congress must forcefully reject this dangerous bill before it is introduced.

Other digital rights groups are with them. https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20200131/11252343832/lindsey-grahams-sneak-attack-section-230-encryption-backdoor-to-backdoor.shtml

So is Stanford. https://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/blog/2020/01/earn-it-act-how-ban-end-end-encryption-without-actually-banning-it

There is nothing as seductively bi-partisan as surveillance, as I see it.

As I see it, the EARN IT Act is misguided at best, and totally evil in the hands of a DOJ Attorney General like Barr and his legal toadies.

The EARN IT Act is the stuff of totalitarian aspiration for Barr, justified by his Opus Dei fundamentalist christo-fascist outlook on how to make America "great" again; and of course, Trump, who would love those powers like he loves Kim Jong-Un.

They both do each other's bidding in anything having to do with the pacification of Americans.

The politics of inevitability must not rule us. To lose a bit of privacy is one thing; to lose both our privacy and security to this pack of jackals is another.

We The People need to stop fighting in packed courts AFTER stealth moves are made on us, and practice our agency, to keep working preventively to protect and defend our constitutional rights to "life, liberty, property" and PEACE. Just peace, not unjust peace.

So please. Let's do the Democratic thing of multi-tasking, and make our opinions known by phone to any and all Democratic and Republican House members.

Please. Call at least one House member. https://www.house.gov/representatives

Let's not do this.

"Shambles?" "Hands an Opening To Trump"? "A Complete Disaster"?

Come on, "liberal" media, get a fucking grip.

Has anyone in America ever heard of gaslighting??

Are media really going do that to Americans, or are they going to just try to do their f'n jobs.

OR could media be all nutty because networks didn't get their immediate answer -- oh noes, what will corporate sponsors say!

A verified correct result, backed by paper counts from the precincts, will be accurate.

The world won't end because we need to wait.

And it might as well be Iowa as any other state.

"End-user" problems. Big deal. Like it didn't happen in FL in 2000.

But media might just lose their fucking minds. Telling us all to lose ours ... oh noes!

Don't believe the hype about a "messed up system."

"End user" problems build end user awareness.

What Awaits A New Democratic President

"Democrats are bracing for the possibility that if President Donald Trump loses the 2020 election, he and his aides will bungle a smooth handover of power — and maybe even try to outright sabotage the transition.

"At least one outside group that works with the 2020 Democratic campaigns has quietly launched a transition-related effort designed to offer an early look at the landscape that awaits them if they oust Trump.

"And one leading Democratic presidential candidate, Elizabeth Warren, just days ago unveiled a plan that, among other things, describes how she would move quickly to staff the government if she wins the White House.

"In the plan, Warren voices the fears of many Democrats. “This will be no ordinary transition between administrations,” she states. “Unlike previous transitions, we will not be able to assume good faith cooperation on the part of the outgoing administration.”

"Every transition is tricky given the thousands of positions that need to be filled and the array of policy priorities a new team wants to pursue.

"But several Democrats attached to different 2020 campaigns mentioned very specific concerns about what a Trump departure could mean. All spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, and because no campaign wants to be seen as assuming that Trump will lose.

"The Democrats said they worry that Trump’s political appointees won’t meet with the incoming team, that there will be little, if any, paperwork left behind to guide them, and that what documents are shared will not be trustworthy.

"Some fear that Trump aides will destroy paper trails related to controversial issues, not to mention quietly push through last-minute initiatives that could constrict the next administration’s ability to tackle hot button issues such as immigration or relations with Iran.

"Some Democrats fear they will have to devote precious time in the early weeks of a new administration piecing together what happened under Trump on a range of areas.

"And that’s all if Trump accepts the election results and agrees to leave.

“This could be the most hostile, least professional transition in American history,” a former senior official in the Barack Obama administration said. “And the new administration will have to spend the early period — when it should be hitting the ground running — unearthing buried bodies.”

"One center-left organization, National Security Action, is already coordinating more than a dozen working groups focusing on specific areas — such as climate change, China, and defense policy — with the goal of producing transition-related information for the eventual Democratic nominee.
"The organization, which is led by former top officials in the Obama administration, declined to give many details about the initiative. ...

... what the nominee can hope to get from the working groups is a layout of what awaits them: for instance, compilations of various regulations rolled back under Trump; paths to recommitting to international pacts that Trump has abandoned; and what options — executive order? legislation? nothing? — a new president has to overturn other Trump moves.

"The initiative is called “FP21” — as in “foreign policy in 2021.” Each working group is led by a “true expert,” a representative of National Security Action said. The idea is to be “nominee-agnostic" — offering something useful to whoever winds up challenging Trump during the general election......"


Stand Up and "Do The Wrong Thing" -- Exposing, Not Normalizing, 45 in All His Ugly Lawlessness

Democrats can do a lot worse than exposing Trump's dirt in 2020.

We have First Amendment rights to stigmatize, then neutralize this mafia racketeer in a suit.
Bring out all his secret, NDA Ugly.

A taste of Trump's own medicine is not at all unthinkable for the SOTU.

Remember This Day

51 enablers of tyranny.
51 dead souls.
51 ghosts of American history.

Remember this day.

WE are America.
WE are not dead.
We are The People.
We are not leaving.
WE are the American Underground.

On Tyranny -- Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century

(by Timothy Snyder, 2017, pocket- sized, double spaced, 126 pp)

History does not repeat. But it does instruct. History can familiarize and it can warn...

We might be tempted to think that our democratic heritage automatically protects us from such threats. This is a misguided reflex.

In fact, the precedent set by the the Founders demands that we examine history to understand the deep sources of tyranny, and to consider the proper responses to it.

Americans today are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yeidl to fascism, Nazism, or communism in the twentieth century.

Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so.

This book presents twenty lessons from the twentieth century, adapted to the circumstances of today.

Chapter Titles:

1. Do not obey in advance.
2. Defend institutions.
3. Beware the one-party state.
4. Take responsibility for the face of the world.
5. Remember professional ethics.

6. Be wary of paramilitaries.
7. Be reflective if you must be armed.
8. Stand out.
9. Be kind to our language.
10.Believe in truth.

11. Investigate.
12. Make eye contact and small talk.
13. Practice corporeal politics.
14. Establish a private life.
15. Contribute to good causes.

16. Learn from peers in other countries.
17. Listen for dangerous words.
18. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives.
19. Be a patriot.
20. Be as courageous as you can.

In the future we might literally be the Democratic Underground.

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