FBI And NSA Demands Passwords From Internet Service Providers — Big Brother Is Truly Out-of-Control — Time To Totally Repeal Patriot Act — Photos and Videos

Posted on July 25, 2013. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Communications, Constitution, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government spending, history, Illegal, Immigration, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Macroeconomics, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Press, Radio, Rants, Raves, Security, Tax Policy, Taxes, Video, War, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Feds tell Web firms to turn over user account passwords

Secret demands mark escalation in Internet surveillance by the federal government through gaining access to user passwords, which are typically stored in encrypted form.

The U.S. government has demanded that major Internet companies divulge users’ stored passwords, according to two industry sources familiar with these orders, which represent an escalation in surveillance techniques that has not previously been disclosed.

If the government is able to determine a person’s password, which is typically stored in encrypted form, the credential could be used to log in to an account to peruse confidential correspondence or even impersonate the user. Obtaining it also would aid in deciphering encrypted devices in situations where passwords are reused.

“I’ve certainly seen them ask for passwords,” said one Internet industry source who spoke on condition of anonymity. “We push back.”

A second person who has worked at a large Silicon Valley company confirmed that it received legal requests from the federal government for stored passwords. Companies “really heavily scrutinize” these requests, the person said. “There’s a lot of ‘over my dead body.'”

Some of the government orders demand not only a user’s password but also the encryption algorithm and the so-called salt, according to a person familiar with the requests. A salt is a random string of letters or numbers used to make it more difficult to reverse the encryption process and determine the original password. Other orders demand the secret question codes often associated with user accounts.

“This is one of those unanswered legal questions: Is there any circumstance under which they could get password information?” –Jennifer Granick, Stanford University

A Microsoft spokesperson would not say whether the company has received such requests from the government. But when asked whether Microsoft would divulge passwords, salts, or algorithms, the spokesperson replied: “No, we don’t, and we can’t see a circumstance in which we would provide it.”

Google also declined to disclose whether it had received requests for those types of data. But a spokesperson said the company has “never” turned over a user’s encrypted password, and that it has a legal team that frequently pushes back against requests that are fishing expeditions or are otherwise problematic. “We take the privacy and security of our users very seriously,” the spokesperson said.

Apple, Yahoo, Facebook, AOL, Verizon, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, and Comcast did not respond to queries about whether they have received requests for users’ passwords and how they would respond to them.

Richard Lovejoy, a director of the Opera Software subsidiary that operates FastMail, said he doesn’t recall receiving any such requests but that the company still has a relatively small number of users compared with its larger rivals. Because of that, he said, “we don’t get a high volume” of U.S. government demands.

The FBI declined to comment.

Some details remain unclear, including when the requests began and whether the government demands are always targeted at individuals or seek entire password database dumps. The Patriot Act has been used to demand entire database dumps of phone call logs, and critics have suggested its use is broader. “The authority of the government is essentially limitless” under that law, Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who serves on the Senate Intelligence committee, said at a Washington event this week.

Large Internet companies have resisted the government’s requests by arguing that “you don’t have the right to operate the account as a person,” according to a person familiar with the issue. “I don’t know what happens when the government goes to smaller providers and demands user passwords,” the person said.

An attorney who represents Internet companies said he has not fielded government password requests, but “we’ve certainly had reset requests — if you have the device in your possession, than a password reset is the easier way.”

Cracking the codes Even if the National Security Agency or the FBI successfully obtains an encrypted password, salt, and details about the algorithm used, unearthing a user’s original password is hardly guaranteed. The odds of success depend in large part on two factors: the type of algorithm and the complexity of the password.

Algorithms, known as hash functions, that are viewed as suitable for scrambling stored passwords are designed to be difficult to reverse. One popular hash function called MD5, for instance, transforms the phrase “National Security Agency” into this string of seemingly random characters: 84bd1c27b26f7be85b2742817bb8d43b. Computer scientists believe that, if a hash function is well-designed, the original phrase cannot be derived from the output.

But modern computers, especially ones equipped with high-performance video cards, can test passwords scrambled with MD5 and other well-known hash algorithms at the rate of billions a second. One system using 25 Radeon-powered GPUs that was demonstrated at a conference last December tested 348 billion hashes per second, meaning it would crack a 14-character Windows XP password in six minutes.

The best practice among Silicon Valley companies is to adopt far slower hash algorithms — designed to take a large fraction of a second to scramble a password — that have been intentionally crafted to make it more difficult and expensive for the NSA and other attackers to test every possible combination.

One popular algorithm, used by Twitter and LinkedIn, is called bcrypt. A 2009 paper (PDF) by computer scientist Colin Percival estimated that it would cost a mere $4 to crack, in an average of one year, an 8-character bcrypt password composed only of letters. To do it in an average of one day, the hardware cost would jump to approximately $1,500.

But if a password of the same length included numbers, asterisks, punctuation marks, and other special characters, the cost-per-year leaps to $130,000. Increasing the length to any 10 characters, Percival estimated in 2009, brings the estimated cracking cost to a staggering $1.2 billion.

As computers have become more powerful, the cost of cracking bcrypt passwords has decreased. “I’d say as a rough ballpark, the current cost would be around 1/20th of the numbers I have in my paper,” said Percival, who founded a company called Tarsnap Backup, which offers “online backups for the truly paranoid.” Percival added that a government agency would likely use ASICs — application-specific integrated circuits — for password cracking because it’s “the most cost-efficient — at large scale — approach.”

While developing Tarsnap, Percival devised an algorithm called scrypt, which he estimates can make the “cost of a hardware brute-force attack” against a hashed password as much as 4,000 times greater than bcrypt.

Bcrypt was introduced (PDF) at a 1999 Usenix conference by Niels Provos, currently a distinguished engineer in Google’s infrastructure group, and David Mazières, an associate professor of computer science at Stanford University.

With the computers available today, “bcrypt won’t pipeline very well in hardware,” Mazières said, so it would “still be very expensive to do widespread cracking.”

Even if “the NSA is asking for access to hashed bcrypt passwords,” Mazières said, “that doesn’t necessarily mean they are cracking them.” Easier approaches, he said, include an order to extract them from the server or network when the user logs in — which has been done before — or installing a keylogger at the client.

Questions of law Whether the National Security Agency or FBI has the legal authority to demand that an Internet company divulge a hashed password, salt, and algorithm remains murky.

“This is one of those unanswered legal questions: Is there any circumstance under which they could get password information?” said Jennifer Granick, director of civil liberties at Stanford University’s Center for Internet and Society. “I don’t know.”

Granick said she’s not aware of any precedent for an Internet company “to provide passwords, encrypted or otherwise, or password algorithms to the government — for the government to crack passwords and use them unsupervised.” If the password will be used to log in to the account, she said, that’s “prospective surveillance,” which would require a wiretap order or Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act order.

If the government can subsequently determine the password, “there’s a concern that the provider is enabling unauthorized access to the user’s account if they do that,” Granick said. That could, she said, raise legal issues under the Stored Communications Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

The Justice Department has argued in court proceedings before that it has broad legal authority to obtain passwords. In 2011, for instance, federal prosecutors sent a grand jury subpoena demanding the password that would unlock files encrypted with the TrueCrypt utility.

The Florida man who received the subpoena claimed the Fifth Amendment, which protects his right to avoid self-incrimination, allowed him to refuse the prosecutors’ demand. In February 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit agreed, saying that because prosecutors could bring a criminal prosecution against him based on the contents of the decrypted files, the man “could not be compelled to decrypt the drives.”

In January 2012, a federal district judge in Colorado reached the opposite conclusion, ruling that a criminal defendant could be compelled under the All Writs Act to type in the password that would unlock a Toshiba Satellite laptop.

Both of those cases, however, deal with criminal proceedings when the password holder is the target of an investigation — and don’t address when a hashed password is stored on the servers of a company that’s an innocent third party.

“If you can figure out someone’s password, you have the ability to reuse the account,” which raises significant privacy concerns, said Seth Schoen, a senior staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57595529-38/feds-tell-web-firms-to-turn-over-user-account-passwords/

Six Ways Congress May Reform NSA Snooping

A measure to end one NSA program was just defeated in the House by a surprisingly narrow margin. Here are other proposals on the table.

    by Kara Brandeisky

Although the House defeated a measure that would have defunded the bulk phone metadata collection program [1], the narrow 205-217 vote [2] showed that there is significant support in Congress to reform NSA surveillance programs. Here are six other legislative proposals on the table.

1) Raise the standard for what records are considered “relevant”

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has reportedly adopted a broad interpretation of the Patriot Act [3], ruling that all the records in a company’s database could be considered “relevant to an authorized investigation.” The leaked court order compelling a Verizon subsidiary to turn over all its phone records is just one example of how the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has interpreted the statute.

Both Rep. John Conyers [4], D-Mich., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. [5], have introduced bills requiring the government to show “specific and articulable facts” demonstrating how records are relevant.  Similarly, legislation introduced by Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., would require any applications to include an explanation [6] of how any records sought are relevant to an authorized investigation.

2) Require NSA analysts to obtain court approval before searching metadata

Once the NSA has phone records in its possession, Sen. Dianne Feinstein has explained that NSA analysts may query the data without individualized court approvals [7], as long as they have a “reasonable suspicion, based on specific facts [8]” that the data is related to a foreign terrorist organization.

A bill from Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., would require the government to petition the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court every time an analyst wants to search telephone metadata [9]. From there, a surveillance court judge would need to find “reasonable, articulable suspicion” that the search is “specifically relevant to an authorized investigation” before approving the application. The legislation would also require the FBI to report monthly to congressional intelligence committees all the searches the analysts made.

3) Declassify Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court opinions

Right now, court opinions authorizing the NSA surveillance programs remain secret. Advocacy groups have brought several Freedom of Information Act suits [10] seeking the release of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court documents, but the Justice Department continues to fight them.

Several bills would compel the secret court to release some opinions. The Ending Secret Law Act — both the House [11] and Senate [12] versions — would require the court to declassify all its opinions that include “significant construction or interpretation” of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Under current law, the court already submits these “significant” opinions to congressional intelligence committees, so the bill would just require the court to share those documents with the public.

The bills do include an exception if the attorney general decides that declassifying an opinion would threaten national security. In that case, the court would release an unclassified summary of the opinion, or — if even offering a summary of the opinion would pose a national security threat — at least give a report on the declassification process with an “estimate” of how many opinions must remain classified.

Keep in mind, before Edward Snowden’s disclosures, the Justice Department argued that all “significant legal interpretations” needed to remain classified [13] for national security reasons. Since the leaks, the government has said it’s now reviewing what, if any, documents can be declassified, but they said they need more time [14].

4) Change the way Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges are appointed

Current law does not give Congress any power to confirm Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges. Instead, the chief justice of the United States appoints the judges, who all already serve on the federal bench. The judges serve seven-year terms. Chief Justice John Roberts appointed all 11 judges [15] currently serving on the court – ten of whom were nominated [16] to federal courts by Republican presidents.

A bill introduced by Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., would give the president the power to appoint surveillance court judges [17] and give the Senate power to confirm. The president would also choose the presiding judge of the surveillance court, with Senate approval.

Alternatively, Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., has offered a bill [18] that would let the chief justice appoint three judges and let the House Speaker, the House minority leader, the Senate majority leader, and the Senate minority leader each appoint two judges.

5) Appoint a public advocate to argue before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

Currently, the government officials petitioning the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court do not face an adversarial process. Surveillance targets do not have representation before the court, and they are not notified if a court order is issued for their data.

In 33 years, the surveillance court only rejected 11 of an estimated 33,900 government requests [19], though it the government has also modified 40 of the 1,856 applications in 2012.

Two former Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges – Judge James Robertson [20] and Judge James Carr [21] – have argued that Congress should appoint a public advocate to counter the government’s arguments. Carr wrote in the New York Times, “During my six years on the court, there were several occasions when I and other judges faced issues none of us had encountered before. […]Having lawyers challenge novel legal assertions in these secret proceedings would result in better judicial outcomes.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., has promised to introduce a bill [22] that would provide a “special advocate” to argue on behalf of privacy rights and give “civil society organizations” a chance to respond before the surveillance court issues significant rulings.

The surveillance court can actually invite advocates to argue before the court, as the Supreme Court did when the Obama administration refused to defend the Defense of Marriage Act.

“There’s nothing in law that would prevent the FISA court from hiring an advocate as an additional advisor to the court, except the need to obtain security clearances for that advocate, which would have to be granted by the executive branch,” explained Steven Bradbury, who served as the head of the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice from 2005 to 2009.

Bradbury has argued that the surveillance court may not need a permanent public advocate because its legal advisers [23] already fulfill that role.

6) End phone metadata collection on constitutional grounds

The Justice Department has maintained that mass phone metadata collection is “fully consistent with the Fourth Amendment [24].” That reasoning is based on the 1979 Supreme Court decision Smith v. Maryland [25], where the Court found that the government does not need a warrant based on probable cause to collect phone records. The Court reasoned that whenever you dial a phone number, you voluntarily share that phone number with a telecom, and you can’t reasonably expect a right to privacy for information shared with third parties. As a result, the Court ruled that the collection of phone records is not a “search” and does not merit protection under the Fourth Amendment.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has introduced a bill [26] declaring that the Fourth Amendment “shall not be construed to allow any agency of the United States Government to search the phone records of Americans without a warrant based on probable cause” — effectively shutting down the NSA’s phone metadata collection program.

http://www.propublica.org/article/six-ways-congress-may-reform-nsa-snooping

The NSA’s New Spy Facilities are 7 Times Bigger Than the Pentagon

He works at one of the three-letter intelligence agencies and oversees construction of a $1.2 billion surveillance data center in Utah that is 15 times the size of MetLife Stadium, home to the New York Giants and Jets. Long Island native Harvey Davis, a top National Security Agency official, needs that commanding presence. His role is to supervise infrastructure construction worldwide for NSA, which is part of the Defense Department. That involves tending to logistics, military installations, as well as power, space and cooling for all NSA data centers.

In May, crews broke ground on a $792 million computing center at the agency’s headquarters near Baltimore that will complement the Utah site. Together the Utah center and Maryland’s 28-acre computer farm span 228 acres—more than seven times the size of the Pentagon.

During an interview with Government Executive in June, amid the uproar over leaked details of NSA’s domestic espionage activities, Davis describes the 200-acre Utah facility as very transparent: “Only brick and mortar.” A data center just provides energy and chills machines, he says.

About 6,500 contractors, along with more than 150 Army Corps of Engineers and NSA workers, including some with special needs, are assigned to the project. Davis perks up when he talks about the hundreds of individuals with disabilities he has steered into NSA.

But ask him why the facility is so big and what’s inside, and he is less forthcoming. “I think we’re crossing into content. It’s big because it’s required to be big,” says Davis, a 30-year veteran of the spy agency.

At NSA, secrecy is not exclusive to intelligence analysts. Every civil servant in the Installations and Logistics Directorate Davis leads has a security clearance. He earned his in the early 1980s, entering the agency with a master’s degree in business administration, experience managing inventory for a women’s apparel chain, and a yearning for a higher calling than retail.

For security reasons, some of the contractors erecting the data center don’t even know its purpose, other than the equipment needed—nothing about snooping. The 2010 public work solicitation called for a 65-megawatt center with a chiller plant, fire suppression systems, electrical generators and an uninterruptible power supply backup capacity.

Davis lets out that inside there will be supercomputers, or what NSA labels “high performance computers.” These need “different cooling and different power distributions as opposed to something you bought from Best Buy,” he says. The machines, along with whatever other technology is tucked in the facility, are slated to power on by Oct. 1.

Four years ago, the stated purpose of the megaplex near Salt Lake City was to amass foreign intelligence and warnings about hackers.  Officials described it as an extension of President George W. Bush’s 2008 Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative, a largely classified, cross-agency program to protect U.S. computer networks against adversaries. Today, it is evident the data plantation will not be linked to any one program. Instead, the systems inside will warehouse counterterrorism information collected in aggregate, including millions of Americans’ phone logs for five years and certain foreigners’ online messages, NSA officials confirm. Spies at other locations will decipher what’s accumulated to thwart terrorist attacks, cyber assaults, and weapons of mass destruction.

The Utah effort is the largest ongoing Defense construction project in the United States. Still, it is only three-quarters the size of the department’s largest in the world—the Medical Center Replacement Project at Rhine Ordnance Barracks, Germany.

Harvey Davis, Director of Logistics, NSA, at the agency’s Fort Meade construction site. Photo by Melissa Golden

His Posse

Davis is reluctant to discuss the ratio of contractors to civil service employees in Utah—a week after The Guardian and The Washington Post have reported an NSA contractor leaked Top Secret documents. Prosecutors are pursuing former Booz Allen Hamilton employee Edward Snowden for exposing files about PRISM, the agency’s foreign Internet surveillance program, and domestic call data-monitoring while he was administering NSA data systems in Hawaii.

Compared with the 6,500 contract employees, “there is a smaller number of people on my core project management team,” Davis says. An agency official in the room adds: “We can talk in total numbers here . . . We can’t get into how many are ours, how many are theirs.”

A few days after the interview, when asked why NSA’s reliance on contractors is hush-hush, agency officials released some figures.  Ten people are on Davis’ core team. About 150 employees from the Army Corps of Engineers, along with an undisclosed number of employees from the 1,000-member Installations and Logistics Directorate, are involved with the Utah project. NSA considers the total sum of agency personnel staffed to certain construction projects operational details and would not provide that statistic.  A small workforce of up to 200 government and contract employees—building engineers, systems administrators and maintenance workers—will stay permanently to keep the facility running.

Davis is more eager to discuss the quality than quantity of his employees. Roughly 10 years ago, while working as an NSA human resources director, he encountered an untapped talent pool that he now draws from regularly. “The disabled population is just so thankful to have a job. They would just come in here and you’d have to actually force them to go home,” Davis says. “I have engineers that are hard of hearing, and our workforce all took sign language so they could actually communicate with one another.”

Nobody waters down security clearance exercises to facilitate special needs applicants, he adds. “Somebody who was deaf, we would do polygraph in sign language,” Davis says. “What we look for is qualifications first. We have someone developing software—working on the computers—that is blind. There is really no limitation that we have found as long we can find the skill match.” At least a dozen engineers who have disabilities work in his directorate. Grounds maintenance and snow removal contractors in Utah will be hired through SourceAmerica (formerly NISH), a nonprofit organization that fits agency needs with the skills of job seekers with disabilities.

“He has integrated this into the fabric of the company,” says Joyce A. Bender, past chair of the board of the American Association of People with Disabilities, who met Davis when he decided NSA needed more diversity. “What makes this work at any company is a passionate leader, someone in leadership, whether it’s in the private sector or a federal agency,” says Bender, a Pittsburgh-based consultant who recruits people with disabilities for work in government and industry.

Her firm refers to NSA about 200 individuals annually for positions in finance, linguistics, math and other specialties. Since 2010, about 550 candidates have been hired. “If he says, ‘I’m going to do something,’ you can count on it that he is going to do it,” Bender says of Davis. “He doesn’t sugarcoat anything. He’s very direct and to the point.”

A Leak During Construction

No matter their background or how they came to NSA, civil servants and contract employees alike all serve in silence. “That’s really the culture of this agency, and we’re really not looking for big accolades,” Davis says. “What really makes the people satisfied here is that they did the job and they did it right and they’re doing things within the appropriate manner.” The mentality is that NSA operates in the dark for the safety of Americans. Some citizens, however, argue it should operate in the sunshine a little more for the safety of democracy.

The secrecy dispute is “a distraction and a weakness that has been presented by this guy,” Snowden, who should not have seen such sensitive information in the first place, says one former NSA official. “They’ve got to do some internal homework about how to keep that data separate,” the ex-official says, adding that technical controls are not very difficult to configure. “How the heck did this guy in Hawaii gain access to all that?”

Some human rights advocates are grateful for the exposure of the agency’s surveillance methods. “Communications about millions of innocent Americans are being stored for five years in a government database—whether or not there is any reason to search our call records, and I don’t think our Constitution allows that,” says Alex Abdo, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project.

Even some former Pentagon officials say citizens should know NSA’s intentions for the Utah data center. “When you have this much centralization of capabilities, which in government terms can translate into real power—that and resources—it’s important that the public be able to look at these things and figure out what they are doing,” says a cyber official who recently left Defense and now works as a private contractor. The official is not involved in the project and was not authorized to speak on behalf of the department.

A 2012 article in Wired reported that NSA needs the megaplex partially because the Pentagon wants to expand the military global communications network to manage yottabytes of data. “A yottabyte is a septillion bytes—so large that no one has yet coined a term for the next higher magnitude,” the article said. “Should the agency ever fill the Utah center with a yottabyte of information, it would be equal to about 500 quintillion (500,000,000,000,000,000,000) pages of text.” NSA officials told Government Executive, however, they do not discuss such operational details.

An Open House

The contents of the NSA computer fortress might be a mystery to the public, but Davis says his project has been open to congressional and industry scrutiny.

“The military construction process by design is a very, very transparent process. We work through the Corps of Engineers,” he says. “It’s a public discourse. When we give out our request for proposal, that’s through FedBizOpps.gov.” But on the website, many of the work descriptions for that project are locked behind a firewall. NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines says the documents are restricted because “they must be accounted for and are only for cleared defense contractors.”

Davis acknowledges the controversy over his project has taken an emotional toll. “We’ve been pressured to disclose what’s been going in the Utah Data Center for quite a while independent of the current events,” he says. “My workforce and the workforce that I work with here [in Utah] take our jobs and our responsibility very, very seriously, and for somebody to say that we’re doing something untoward is a pretty big hit on the morale here.”

No matter the outcome of the debate, the Utah computers are expected to go online within two months. This is where the MBA comes in. From choosing a site, to convincing Congress to agree with blueprints to surmounting a late-in-the-game budget chop, balancing the books is key. “Utah is a wonderful place with abundant and inexpensive power,” Davis says. “Plenty of sources of water for cooling.” NSA applied a mathematical model to select the location. The surrounding environment simplified construction. “Utah, because of the facility and the utilities, just came out far and ahead of everywhere else,” he says. “Lots of good roads. We could get the steel in. We could get the concrete in. We have lots of sand pits nearby,” he says. “We built our own cement slabs in that area. It’s pretty well offset from the road for the security that we need for the data center.”

The price tag for the project is in line with industry standards, according to NSA. “It’s actually relatively cheap and I came in under cost,” Davis says, referring to $100 million in savings gained partly by refusing to let contractors adjust the plan. Penny-pinching became mandatory when governmentwide spending cuts, known as sequestration, kicked in this year.

“One of the biggest cost drivers on a project this size is something called an engineering change proposal. They really number in the tens to hundreds in a project of this size,” but one could “count on a couple of hands the numbers of change orders that we allowed to happen,” he says. “We spent a lot of time honing the requirements tightly up front, making sure we knew what we were building, building it, and not going back and changing it later.” That’s the New York strong arm talking.

http://www.defenseone.com/technology/2013/07/nsas-big-dig/67406/

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Posted on June 12, 2013. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, College, Communications, Computers, Demographics, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, history, History of Economic Thought, Investments, IRS, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Macroeconomics, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Programming, Psychology, Raves, Strategy, Tax Policy, Taxes, Unemployment, Video, War, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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‘Big Brother’ is watching, in sophisticated digital ways

By Gitte Laasby

Town of Mukwonago voter Priscilla Trulen is used to ignoring political solicitations. For weeks, she’s been receiving three political robocalls per day related to the presidential election. On Thursday, she got seven.

But one call she got on Halloween still haunts her. It was a recorded message read by a presidential candidate trying to get her to vote.

“It was Mitt Romney saying, ‘I know you have an absentee ballot and I know you haven’t sent it in yet,’ ” Trulen said in an interview. “That just sent me over the line. Not only is it like Big Brother. It is Big Brother. It’s down to where they know I have a ballot and I haven’t sent it in! I thought when I requested the ballot that the only other entity that would know was the Mukwonago clerk.”

Trulen isn’t the only voter among Wisconsin’s much-courted electorate who is getting creeped out by the political campaigns’ unprecedented, uncanny ability to micro-target voters who are likely to vote for their candidate.

In Brown County, residents are unnerved about “voter report cards” from Moveon.org that show the recipients how their voting participation compares to those of their neighbors.

The solicitations give only a small glimpse into how much digital information the campaigns are able to access about voters.

For years, campaigns have requested the statewide voter registration list, which is subject to public information requests.

The database contains the names and addresses of active voters who are registered and able to vote, as well as inactive voters who are ineligible to vote because they have passed away, moved out of state or committed a felony, or people who need to re-register to be eligible, said Reid Magney, public information officer with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.

The list also contains information that the state does not release, for instance people’s birth dates, driver’s license numbers and phone numbers.

“It’s typical for both parties, or individual candidates, to be making public records requests from the clerks. And it’s perfectly legal,” Magney said. “This information is public so there’s transparency in our elections. . . . Except for how you vote, there really are no secrets.”

The state database also contains information on absentee voters. The state’s 1,851 municipalities are required to account for military and overseas absentee ballots both before and after the election, Magney said. Municipalities don’t have to report to the state whether regular absentee ballots such as Trulen’s have been returned until the election is over. However, some municipalities, including the Town of Mukwonago where Trulen lives, report to the state database as they go whether those ballots have been returned. Most likely, that’s how the Republican campaign found out Trulen received an absentee ballot.

“There’s nothing confidential as far as, ‘Did so and so vote?’ ” said Kathy Karalewitz, administrative clerk treasurer with the town. “As far as how they vote, yes.”

Requesters can also request information related to absentee ballots directly from the municipalities, although that’s more cumbersome and labor intensive.

The cost of the entire state database is $12,500. Four requesters have been willing to pay that since Sept. 1, Magney said: Catalist (a progressive voter database organization), the Democratic National Committee, and data analysis firm Aristotle – all based in Washington, D.C. The last requester was Colorado-based Magellan Strategies, a firm that specializes in “micro-targeting” for Republican parties and candidates.

Another 200 requests have been made since Sept. 1 for smaller portions of the database, Magney said.

Crunching the numbers

But what really enables the campaigns to “slice and dice” the electorate down to individual voters is that the voter list is correlated with a slew of other information designed to predict voting behavior and issues that the voter would care about.

In an interview with PBS that aired in October, Aristotle’s chief executive officer, John Phillips, said the company keeps up to 500 data points on each voter – from the type of clothes they buy, the music they listen to, magazines they read and car they own, to whether they are a NASCAR fan, a smoker or a pet owner, or have a gold credit card. Some of that information comes from commercial marketing firms, product registration cards or surveys. Other information is obtained through Facebook, door-to-door canvassing, petitions and computer cookies – small data codes that register which websites the user has visited.

Through data modeling, analyzers can categorize voters based on how they feel about specific issues, values or candidates. They then try to predict voting behavior and figure out which issue ads voters are most likely to be susceptible to – for instance ads on education, gun control or immigration.

One of the companies that requested the full Wisconsin voter database, Magellan Strategies, explains on its website that it conducts surveys on people’s opinions and merges that with their political, consumer and census demographics.

“By correlating respondents’ demographics to the demographics of the whole voting district, we can make predictions about the voting preferences of each voter in the district,” the site states.

The company also states why the strategy is so popular.

“Microtargeting enables campaigns to send targeted messages to voters who are very receptive to those messages,” the website states. “Microtargeting allows for the most cost effective voter targeting programs, for voter persuasion or get-out-the-vote.”

According to its website, Magellan has conducted microtargeting since 2008.

A little extra effort is required to determine party affiliation in Wisconsin which, contrary to other states such as California, does not register people to vote by party.

The last piece of the puzzle is the phone number, which is not available through the government, but easily found in a phone book or located in online databases, sometimes free of charge.

Nathan Conrad, a spokesman for the Republican Party of Wisconsin, did not respond to a request for comment on how the campaign obtained Trulen’s digits. Graeme Zielinski, a spokesman for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, did not respond for requests on how his party obtains phone numbers either.

As for Trulen, she just wishes she could find a way to make the calls stop.

“It’s alarming to me,” she said. “It’s just not right. . . . It’s like you can feel the tentacles creeping into your house under your door.”

The calls to Trulen were likely part of the GOP’s effort to get out the vote in what the party considers one of its strongest counties. Waukesha County is traditionally a Republican stronghold, just as Milwaukee tends to go for Democrats.

The irony is that the robocallers apparently haven’t figured out Trulen is actually a minority in her county: She has been voting Democratic.

Big Brother

Political campaigns can obtain nearly unlimited information about people through commercially available databases. Here’s what information they can, and can’t, learn about you from public records related to voting:

Public (obtainable)

Your name, address, gender and race

Which elections you voted in, going back to 2000

Whether you have requested an absentee ballot and whether you have sent it in.

Private (redacted)

Whom you voted for

Your date of birth

Your Social Security number, and any part of it

Your driver’s license number

Your phone number (if officials remember to redact it before they release your registration to anyone who asks.)

Online

For more on the information that campaigns and others collect on you, watch this video from PBS.

http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/unprecedented-microtargeting-by-campaigns-creeps-out-voters-007f111-177062301.html

Microtargeting

Microtargeting is the use by political parties and election campaigns of direct marketing datamining techniques that involve predictive market segmentation (aka cluster analysis). It is used by United States Republican and Democratic political parties and candidates to track individual voters and identify potential supporters.

They then use various means of communication—direct mail, phone calls, home visits, television, radio, web advertising, email, text messaging, etc.–to communicate with voters, crafting messages to build support for fundraising, campaign events, volunteering, and eventually to turn them out to the polls on election day. Microtargeting’s tactics rely on transmitting a tailored message to a subgroup of the electorate on the basis of unique information about that subgroup.

History

Although some of the tactics of microtargeting had been used in California since 1992, it really started to be used nationally only in 2004.[1] In that year, Karl Rove, along with Blaise Hazelwood at the Republican National Committee, used it to reach voters in 18 states that George W. Bush’s reelection campaign was not able to reach by other means. The results were greater contacts with likely Bush voters. For example, in Iowa the campaign was able to reach 92% of eventual Bush voters (compared to 50% in 2000) and in Florida it was able to reach 84% (compared to 50% in 2000).[2] Much of this pioneering work was done by Alex Gage and his firm, TargetPoint Consulting.

Democrats did only limited microtargeting in 2004, with some crediting microtargeting for Kerry’s win in Iowa in 2004.[3] Some news accounts credited Republican superiority in that area for victories in that election cycle.[4] Democrats later developed microtargeting capabilities for the 2006 election cycle.[1][2] “It’s no secret that the other side [Republicans] figured this out a little sooner”, said Josh Syrjamaki, director of the Minnesota chapter of America Votes in October 2006. “They’ve had four to six years’ jump on us on this stuff…but we feel like we can start to catch up.”[5]

Method

Microtargeting is a modification of a practice used by commercial direct marketers. It would not be possible on a large scale without the development of large and sophisticated databases that contain data about as many voters as possible. The database essentially tracks voter habits in the same ways that companies like Visa track consumer spending habits. The Republican National Committee’s database is called Voter Vault. The Democratic National Committee effort is called VoteBuilder.[6] A parallel Democratic effort is being developed by Catalist, a $9 million initiative headed by Harold Ickes,[2] while the leading non-partisan database is offered by Aristotle.[7]

The databases contain specific information about a particular voter (party affiliation, frequency of voting, contributions, volunteerism, etc.) with other activities and habits available from commercial marketing vendors such as Acxiom, Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Americas, and InfoUSA. Such personal information is a “product” sold to interested companies. These data are particularly illuminating when portrayed through a Geographic Information System (GIS), where trends based on location can be mapped alongside dozens or hundreds of other variables. This geographic depiction also makes it ideal for volunteers to visit potential voters (armed with lists in hand, laid out in the shortest route – much like how FedEx and UPS pre-determine delivery routes).

These databases are then mined to identify issues important to each voter and whether that voter is more likely to identify with one party or another. Political information is obviously important here, but consumer preferences can play a role as well. Individual voters are then put into groups on the basis of sophisticated computer modeling. Such groups have names like “Downscale Union Independents”, “Tax and Terrorism Moderates,” and “Older Suburban Newshounds.”[2][5]

Once a multitude of voting groups is established according to these criteria and their minute political differences, then the tailored messages can be sent via the appropriate means. While political parties and candidates once prepared a single television advertisement for general broadcast nationwide, it is now not at all uncommon to have several dozen variations on the one message, each with a unique and tailored message for that small demographic sliver of the voting public. This is the same for radio advertisement, direct mail, email, as well as stump speeches and fundraising events.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Chad Vander Veen, Zeroing In, www.govtech.net, Jan 2, 2006, accessed November 1, 2006.
  2. ^ a b c d Yochi J. Dreazen, Democrats, Playing Catch-Up, Tap Database to Woo Potential Voters, The Wall Street Journal, October 31, 2006, A1.
  3. ^ Schaller, T: New Math: How a trio of savvy Kerry campaign workers used a fresh voter equation to win Iowa., web only. American Prospect, 2004.
  4. ^ Martin Kettle, “How Democrats missed the vote”, The Guardian, November 3, 2006 [1], accessed February 2, 2007
  5. ^ a b Dan Balz, Democrats Aim to Regain Edge In Getting Voters to the Polls, Washington Post, October 8, 2006, accessed November 7, 2006. [2]
  6. ^ Aaron Blake (August 15, 2007). “DNC holds national training as it rolls out new voter file”. The Hill.
  7. ^ James Verini (December 3, 2007). “Big Brother Inc.”. Vanity Fair.

External links

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microtargeting

Data mining

Data mining (the analysis step of the “Knowledge Discovery in Databases” process, or KDD),[1] an interdisciplinary subfield of computer science,[2][3][4] is the computational process of discovering patterns in large data sets involving methods at the intersection of artificial intelligence, machine learning, statistics, and database systems.[2] The overall goal of the data mining process is to extract information from a data set and transform it into an understandable structure for further use.[2] Aside from the raw analysis step, it involves database and data management aspects, data preprocessing, model and inference considerations, interestingness metrics, complexity considerations, post-processing of discovered structures, visualization, and online updating.[2]

The term is a buzzword,[5] and is frequently misused to mean any form of large-scale data or information processing (collection, extraction, warehousing, analysis, and statistics) but is also generalized to any kind of computer decision support system, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, and business intelligence. In the proper use of the word, the key term is discovery[citation needed], commonly defined as “detecting something new”. Even the popular book “Data mining: Practical machine learning tools and techniques with Java”[6] (which covers mostly machine learning material) was originally to be named just “Practical machine learning”, and the term “data mining” was only added for marketing reasons.[7] Often the more general terms “(large scale) data analysis“, or “analytics” – or when referring to actual methods, artificial intelligence and machine learning – are more appropriate.

The actual data mining task is the automatic or semi-automatic analysis of large quantities of data to extract previously unknown interesting patterns such as groups of data records (cluster analysis), unusual records (anomaly detection) and dependencies (association rule mining). This usually involves using database techniques such as spatial indices. These patterns can then be seen as a kind of summary of the input data, and may be used in further analysis or, for example, in machine learning and predictive analytics. For example, the data mining step might identify multiple groups in the data, which can then be used to obtain more accurate prediction results by a decision support system. Neither the data collection, data preparation, nor result interpretation and reporting are part of the data mining step, but do belong to the overall KDD process as additional steps.

The related terms data dredging, data fishing, and data snooping refer to the use of data mining methods to sample parts of a larger population data set that are (or may be) too small for reliable statistical inferences to be made about the validity of any patterns discovered. These methods can, however, be used in creating new hypotheses to test against the larger data populations.

Data mining uses information from past data to analyze the outcome of a particular problem or situation that may arise. Data mining works to analyze data stored in data warehouses that are used to store that data that is being analyzed. That particular data may come from all parts of business, from the production to the management. Managers also use data mining to decide upon marketing strategies for their product. They can use data to compare and contrast among competitors. Data mining interprets its data into real time analysis that can be used to increase sales, promote new product, or delete product that is not value-added to the company.

Etymology

In the 1960s, statisticians used terms like “Data Fishing” or “Data Dredging” to refer to what they considered the bad practice of analyzing data without an a-priori hypothesis. The term “Data Mining” appeared around 1990 in the database community. At the beginning of the century, there was a phrase “database mining”™, trademarked by HNC, a San Diego-based company (now merged into FICO), to pitch their Data Mining Workstation;[8] researchers consequently turned to “data mining”. Other terms used include Data Archaeology, Information Harvesting, Information Discovery, Knowledge Extraction, etc. Gregory Piatetsky-Shapiro coined the term “Knowledge Discovery in Databases” for the first workshop on the same topic (1989) and this term became more popular in AI and Machine Learning Community. However, the term data mining became more popular in the business and press communities.[9] Currently, Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery are used interchangeably.

Background

The manual extraction of patterns from data has occurred for centuries. Early methods of identifying patterns in data include Bayes’ theorem (1700s) and regression analysis (1800s). The proliferation, ubiquity and increasing power of computer technology has dramatically increased data collection, storage, and manipulation ability. As data sets have grown in size and complexity, direct “hands-on” data analysis has increasingly been augmented with indirect, automated data processing, aided by other discoveries in computer science, such as neural networks, cluster analysis, genetic algorithms (1950s), decision trees (1960s), and support vector machines (1990s). Data mining is the process of applying these methods with the intention of uncovering hidden patterns[10] in large data sets. It bridges the gap from applied statistics and artificial intelligence (which usually provide the mathematical background) to database management by exploiting the way data is stored and indexed in databases to execute the actual learning and discovery algorithms more efficiently, allowing such methods to be applied to ever larger data sets.

Research and evolution

The premier professional body in the field is the Association for Computing Machinery‘s (ACM) Special Interest Group (SIG) on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (SIGKDD). Since 1989 this ACM SIG has hosted an annual international conference and published its proceedings,[11] and since 1999 it has published a biannual academic journal titled “SIGKDD Explorations”.[12]

Computer science conferences on data mining include:

Data mining topics are also present on many data management/database conferences such as the ICDE Conference, SIGMOD Conference and International Conference on Very Large Data Bases

Process

The Knowledge Discovery in Databases (KDD) process is commonly defined with the stages:

(1) Selection
(2) Pre-processing
(3) Transformation
(4) Data Mining
(5) Interpretation/Evaluation.[1]

It exists, however, in many variations on this theme, such as the Cross Industry Standard Process for Data Mining (CRISP-DM) which defines six phases:

(1) Business Understanding
(2) Data Understanding
(3) Data Preparation
(4) Modeling
(5) Evaluation
(6) Deployment

or a simplified process such as (1) pre-processing, (2) data mining, and (3) results validation.

Polls conducted in 2002, 2004, and 2007 show that the CRISP-DM methodology is the leading methodology used by data miners.[13][14][15] The only other data mining standard named in these polls was SEMMA. However, 3-4 times as many people reported using CRISP-DM. Several teams of researchers have published reviews of data mining process models,[16][17] and Azevedo and Santos conducted a comparison of CRISP-DM and SEMMA in 2008.[18]

Pre-processing

Before data mining algorithms can be used, a target data set must be assembled. As data mining can only uncover patterns actually present in the data, the target data set must be large enough to contain these patterns while remaining concise enough to be mined within an acceptable time limit. A common source for data is a data mart or data warehouse. Pre-processing is essential to analyze the multivariate data sets before data mining. The target set is then cleaned. Data cleaning removes the observations containing noise and those with missing data.

Data mining

Data mining involves six common classes of tasks:[1]

  • Anomaly detection (Outlier/change/deviation detection) – The identification of unusual data records, that might be interesting or data errors that require further investigation.
  • Association rule learning (Dependency modeling) – Searches for relationships between variables. For example a supermarket might gather data on customer purchasing habits. Using association rule learning, the supermarket can determine which products are frequently bought together and use this information for marketing purposes. This is sometimes referred to as market basket analysis.
  • Clustering – is the task of discovering groups and structures in the data that are in some way or another “similar”, without using known structures in the data.
  • Classification – is the task of generalizing known structure to apply to new data. For example, an e-mail program might attempt to classify an e-mail as “legitimate” or as “spam”.
  • Regression – Attempts to find a function which models the data with the least error.
  • Summarization – providing a more compact representation of the data set, including visualization and report generation.
  • Sequential pattern mining – Sequential pattern mining finds sets of data items that occur together frequently in some sequences. Sequential pattern mining, which extracts frequent subsequences from a sequence database, has attracted a great deal of interest during the recent data mining research because it is the basis of many applications, such as: web user analysis, stock trend prediction, DNA sequence analysis, finding language or linguistic patterns from natural language texts, and using the history of symptoms to predict certain kind of disease.

Results validation

The final step of knowledge discovery from data is to verify that the patterns produced by the data mining algorithms occur in the wider data set. Not all patterns found by the data mining algorithms are necessarily valid. It is common for the data mining algorithms to find patterns in the training set which are not present in the general data set. This is called overfitting. To overcome this, the evaluation uses a test set of data on which the data mining algorithm was not trained. The learned patterns are applied to this test set and the resulting output is compared to the desired output. For example, a data mining algorithm trying to distinguish “spam” from “legitimate” emails would be trained on a training set of sample e-mails. Once trained, the learned patterns would be applied to the test set of e-mails on which it had not been trained. The accuracy of the patterns can then be measured from how many e-mails they correctly classify. A number of statistical methods may be used to evaluate the algorithm, such as ROC curves.

If the learned patterns do not meet the desired standards, then it is necessary to re-evaluate and change the pre-processing and data mining steps. If the learned patterns do meet the desired standards, then the final step is to interpret the learned patterns and turn them into knowledge.

Standards

There have been some efforts to define standards for the data mining process, for example the 1999 European Cross Industry Standard Process for Data Mining (CRISP-DM 1.0) and the 2004 Java Data Mining standard (JDM 1.0). Development on successors to these processes (CRISP-DM 2.0 and JDM 2.0) was active in 2006, but has stalled since. JDM 2.0 was withdrawn without reaching a final draft.

For exchanging the extracted models – in particular for use in predictive analytics – the key standard is the Predictive Model Markup Language (PMML), which is an XML-based language developed by the Data Mining Group (DMG) and supported as exchange format by many data mining applications. As the name suggests, it only covers prediction models, a particular data mining task of high importance to business applications. However, extensions to cover (for example) subspace clustering have been proposed independently of the DMG.[19]

Notable uses

See also category: Applied data mining

Games

Since the early 1960s, with the availability of oracles for certain combinatorial games, also called tablebases (e.g. for 3×3-chess) with any beginning configuration, small-board dots-and-boxes, small-board-hex, and certain endgames in chess, dots-and-boxes, and hex; a new area for data mining has been opened. This is the extraction of human-usable strategies from these oracles. Current pattern recognition approaches do not seem to fully acquire the high level of abstraction required to be applied successfully. Instead, extensive experimentation with the tablebases – combined with an intensive study of tablebase-answers to well designed problems, and with knowledge of prior art (i.e. pre-tablebase knowledge) – is used to yield insightful patterns. Berlekamp (in dots-and-boxes, etc.) and John Nunn (in chess endgames) are notable examples of researchers doing this work, though they were not – and are not – involved in tablebase generation.

Business

Data mining is the analysis of historical business activities, stored as static data in data warehouse databases, to reveal hidden patterns and trends. Data mining software uses advanced pattern recognition algorithms to sift through large amounts of data to assist in discovering previously unknown strategic business information. Examples of what businesses use data mining for include performing market analysis to identify new product bundles, finding the root cause of manufacturing problems, to prevent customer attrition and acquire new customers, cross-sell to existing customers, and profile customers with more accuracy.[20] In today’s world raw data is being collected by companies at an exploding rate. For example, Walmart processes over 20 million point-of-sale transactions every day. This information is stored in a centralized database, but would be useless without some type of data mining software to analyse it. If Walmart analyzed their point-of-sale data with data mining techniques they would be able to determine sales trends, develop marketing campaigns, and more accurately predict customer loyalty.[21] Every time we use our credit card, a store loyalty card, or fill out a warranty card data is being collected about our purchasing behavior. Many people find the amount of information stored about us from companies, such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon, disturbing and are concerned about privacy. Although there is the potential for our personal data to be used in harmful, or unwanted, ways it is also being used to make our lives better. For example, Ford and Audi hope to one day collect information about customer driving patterns so they can recommend safer routes and warn drivers about dangerous road conditions.[22]

Data mining in customer relationship management applications can contribute significantly to the bottom line.[citation needed] Rather than randomly contacting a prospect or customer through a call center or sending mail, a company can concentrate its efforts on prospects that are predicted to have a high likelihood of responding to an offer. More sophisticated methods may be used to optimize resources across campaigns so that one may predict to which channel and to which offer an individual is most likely to respond (across all potential offers). Additionally, sophisticated applications could be used to automate mailing. Once the results from data mining (potential prospect/customer and channel/offer) are determined, this “sophisticated application” can either automatically send an e-mail or a regular mail. Finally, in cases where many people will take an action without an offer, “uplift modeling” can be used to determine which people have the greatest increase in response if given an offer. Uplift modeling thereby enables marketers to focus mailings and offers on persuadable people, and not to send offers to people who will buy the product without an offer. Data clustering can also be used to automatically discover the segments or groups within a customer data set.

Businesses employing data mining may see a return on investment, but also they recognize that the number of predictive models can quickly become very large. Rather than using one model to predict how many customers will churn, a business could build a separate model for each region and customer type. Then, instead of sending an offer to all people that are likely to churn, it may only want to send offers to loyal customers. Finally, the business may want to determine which customers are going to be profitable over a certain window in time, and only send the offers to those that are likely to be profitable. In order to maintain this quantity of models, they need to manage model versions and move on to automated data mining.

Data mining can also be helpful to human resources (HR) departments in identifying the characteristics of their most successful employees. Information obtained – such as universities attended by highly successful employees – can help HR focus recruiting efforts accordingly. Additionally, Strategic Enterprise Management applications help a company translate corporate-level goals, such as profit and margin share targets, into operational decisions, such as production plans and workforce levels.[23]

Another example of data mining, often called the market basket analysis, relates to its use in retail sales. If a clothing store records the purchases of customers, a data mining system could identify those customers who favor silk shirts over cotton ones. Although some explanations of relationships may be difficult, taking advantage of it is easier. The example deals with association rules within transaction-based data. Not all data are transaction based and logical, or inexact rules may also be present within a database.

Market basket analysis has also been used to identify the purchase patterns of the Alpha Consumer. Alpha Consumers are people that play a key role in connecting with the concept behind a product, then adopting that product, and finally validating it for the rest of society. Analyzing the data collected on this type of user has allowed companies to predict future buying trends and forecast supply demands.[citation needed]

Data mining is a highly effective tool in the catalog marketing industry.[citation needed] Catalogers have a rich database of history of their customer transactions for millions of customers dating back a number of years. Data mining tools can identify patterns among customers and help identify the most likely customers to respond to upcoming mailing campaigns.

Data mining for business applications is a component that needs to be integrated into a complex modeling and decision making process. Reactive business intelligence (RBI) advocates a “holistic” approach that integrates data mining, modeling, and interactive visualization into an end-to-end discovery and continuous innovation process powered by human and automated learning.[24]

In the area of decision making, the RBI approach has been used to mine knowledge that is progressively acquired from the decision maker, and then self-tune the decision method accordingly.[25]

An example of data mining related to an integrated-circuit (IC) production line is described in the paper “Mining IC Test Data to Optimize VLSI Testing.”[26] In this paper, the application of data mining and decision analysis to the problem of die-level functional testing is described. Experiments mentioned demonstrate the ability to apply a system of mining historical die-test data to create a probabilistic model of patterns of die failure. These patterns are then utilized to decide, in real time, which die to test next and when to stop testing. This system has been shown, based on experiments with historical test data, to have the potential to improve profits on mature IC products.

Science and engineering

In recent years, data mining has been used widely in the areas of science and engineering, such as bioinformatics, genetics, medicine, education and electrical power engineering.

In the study of human genetics, sequence mining helps address the important goal of understanding the mapping relationship between the inter-individual variations in human DNA sequence and the variability in disease susceptibility. In simple terms, it aims to find out how the changes in an individual’s DNA sequence affects the risks of developing common diseases such as cancer, which is of great importance to improving methods of diagnosing, preventing, and treating these diseases. The data mining method that is used to perform this task is known as multifactor dimensionality reduction.[27]

In the area of electrical power engineering, data mining methods have been widely used for condition monitoring of high voltage electrical equipment. The purpose of condition monitoring is to obtain valuable information on, for example, the status of the insulation (or other important safety-related parameters). Data clustering techniques – such as the self-organizing map (SOM), have been applied to vibration monitoring and analysis of transformer on-load tap-changers (OLTCS). Using vibration monitoring, it can be observed that each tap change operation generates a signal that contains information about the condition of the tap changer contacts and the drive mechanisms. Obviously, different tap positions will generate different signals. However, there was considerable variability amongst normal condition signals for exactly the same tap position. SOM has been applied to detect abnormal conditions and to hypothesize about the nature of the abnormalities.[28]

Data mining methods have also been applied to dissolved gas analysis (DGA) in power transformers. DGA, as a diagnostics for power transformers, has been available for many years. Methods such as SOM has been applied to analyze generated data and to determine trends which are not obvious to the standard DGA ratio methods (such as Duval Triangle).[28]

Another example of data mining in science and engineering is found in educational research, where data mining has been used to study the factors leading students to choose to engage in behaviors which reduce their learning,[29] and to understand factors influencing university student retention.[30] A similar example of social application of data mining is its use in expertise finding systems, whereby descriptors of human expertise are extracted, normalized, and classified so as to facilitate the finding of experts, particularly in scientific and technical fields. In this way, data mining can facilitate institutional memory.

Other examples of application of data mining methods are biomedical data facilitated by domain ontologies,[31] mining clinical trial data,[32] and traffic analysis using SOM.[33]

In adverse drug reaction surveillance, the Uppsala Monitoring Centre has, since 1998, used data mining methods to routinely screen for reporting patterns indicative of emerging drug safety issues in the WHO global database of 4.6 million suspected adverse drug reaction incidents.[34] Recently, similar methodology has been developed to mine large collections of electronic health records for temporal patterns associating drug prescriptions to medical diagnoses.[35]

Data mining has been applied software artifacts within the realm of software engineering: Mining Software Repositories.

Human rights

Data mining of government records – particularly records of the justice system (i.e. courts, prisons) – enables the discovery of systemic human rights violations in connection to generation and publication of invalid or fraudulent legal records by various government agencies.[36][37]

Medical data mining

In 2011, the case of Sorrell v. IMS Health, Inc., decided by the Supreme Court of the United States, ruled that pharmacies may share information with outside companies. This practice was authorized under the 1st Amendment of the Constitution, protecting the “freedom of speech.”[38]

Spatial data mining

Spatial data mining is the application of data mining methods to spatial data. The end objective of spatial data mining is to find patterns in data with respect to geography. So far, data mining and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have existed as two separate technologies, each with its own methods, traditions, and approaches to visualization and data analysis. Particularly, most contemporary GIS have only very basic spatial analysis functionality. The immense explosion in geographically referenced data occasioned by developments in IT, digital mapping, remote sensing, and the global diffusion of GIS emphasizes the importance of developing data-driven inductive approaches to geographical analysis and modeling.

Data mining offers great potential benefits for GIS-based applied decision-making. Recently, the task of integrating these two technologies has become of critical importance, especially as various public and private sector organizations possessing huge databases with thematic and geographically referenced data begin to realize the huge potential of the information contained therein. Among those organizations are:

  • offices requiring analysis or dissemination of geo-referenced statistical data
  • public health services searching for explanations of disease clustering
  • environmental agencies assessing the impact of changing land-use patterns on climate change
  • geo-marketing companies doing customer segmentation based on spatial location.

Challenges in Spatial mining: Geospatial data repositories tend to be very large. Moreover, existing GIS datasets are often splintered into feature and attribute components that are conventionally archived in hybrid data management systems. Algorithmic requirements differ substantially for relational (attribute) data management and for topological (feature) data management.[39] Related to this is the range and diversity of geographic data formats, which present unique challenges. The digital geographic data revolution is creating new types of data formats beyond the traditional “vector” and “raster” formats. Geographic data repositories increasingly include ill-structured data, such as imagery and geo-referenced multi-media.[40]

There are several critical research challenges in geographic knowledge discovery and data mining. Miller and Han[41] offer the following list of emerging research topics in the field:

  • Developing and supporting geographic data warehouses (GDW’s): Spatial properties are often reduced to simple aspatial attributes in mainstream data warehouses. Creating an integrated GDW requires solving issues of spatial and temporal data interoperability – including differences in semantics, referencing systems, geometry, accuracy, and position.
  • Better spatio-temporal representations in geographic knowledge discovery: Current geographic knowledge discovery (GKD) methods generally use very simple representations of geographic objects and spatial relationships. Geographic data mining methods should recognize more complex geographic objects (i.e. lines and polygons) and relationships (i.e. non-Euclidean distances, direction, connectivity, and interaction through attributed geographic space such as terrain). Furthermore, the time dimension needs to be more fully integrated into these geographic representations and relationships.
  • Geographic knowledge discovery using diverse data types: GKD methods should be developed that can handle diverse data types beyond the traditional raster and vector models, including imagery and geo-referenced multimedia, as well as dynamic data types (video streams, animation).

Sensor data mining

Wireless sensor networks can be used for facilitating the collection of data for spatial data mining for a variety of applications such as air pollution monitoring.[42] A characteristic of such networks is that nearby sensor nodes monitoring an environmental feature typically register similar values. This kind of data redundancy due to the spatial correlation between sensor observations inspires the techniques for in-network data aggregation and mining. By measuring the spatial correlation between data sampled by different sensors, a wide class of specialized algorithms can be developed to develop more efficient spatial data mining algorithms.[43]

Visual data mining

In the process of turning from analogical into digital, large data sets have been generated, collected, and stored discovering statistical patterns, trends and information which is hidden in data, in order to build predictive patterns. Studies suggest visual data mining is faster and much more intuitive than is traditional data mining.[44][45][46] See also Computer Vision.

Music data mining

Data mining techniques, and in particular co-occurrence analysis, has been used to discover relevant similarities among music corpora (radio lists, CD databases) for the purpose of classifying music into genres in a more objective manner.[47]

Surveillance

Data mining has been used to stop terrorist programs under the U.S. government, including the Total Information Awareness (TIA) program, Secure Flight (formerly known as Computer-Assisted Passenger Prescreening System (CAPPS II)), Analysis, Dissemination, Visualization, Insight, Semantic Enhancement (ADVISE),[48] and the Multi-state Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange (MATRIX).[49] These programs have been discontinued due to controversy over whether they violate the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution, although many programs that were formed under them continue to be funded by different organizations or under different names.[50]

In the context of combating terrorism, two particularly plausible methods of data mining are “pattern mining” and “subject-based data mining”.

Pattern mining

“Pattern mining” is a data mining method that involves finding existing patterns in data. In this context patterns often means association rules. The original motivation for searching association rules came from the desire to analyze supermarket transaction data, that is, to examine customer behavior in terms of the purchased products. For example, an association rule “beer ⇒ potato chips (80%)” states that four out of five customers that bought beer also bought potato chips.

In the context of pattern mining as a tool to identify terrorist activity, the National Research Council provides the following definition: “Pattern-based data mining looks for patterns (including anomalous data patterns) that might be associated with terrorist activity — these patterns might be regarded as small signals in a large ocean of noise.”[51][52][53] Pattern Mining includes new areas such a Music Information Retrieval (MIR) where patterns seen both in the temporal and non temporal domains are imported to classical knowledge discovery search methods.

Subject-based data mining

“Subject-based data mining” is a data mining method involving the search for associations between individuals in data. In the context of combating terrorism, the National Research Council provides the following definition: “Subject-based data mining uses an initiating individual or other datum that is considered, based on other information, to be of high interest, and the goal is to determine what other persons or financial transactions or movements, etc., are related to that initiating datum.”[52]

Knowledge grid

Knowledge discovery “On the Grid” generally refers to conducting knowledge discovery in an open environment using grid computing concepts, allowing users to integrate data from various online data sources, as well make use of remote resources, for executing their data mining tasks. The earliest example was the Discovery Net,[54][55] developed at Imperial College London, which won the “Most Innovative Data-Intensive Application Award” at the ACM SC02 (Supercomputing 2002) conference and exhibition, based on a demonstration of a fully interactive distributed knowledge discovery application for a bioinformatics application. Other examples include work conducted by researchers at the University of Calabria, who developed a Knowledge Grid architecture for distributed knowledge discovery, based on grid computing.[56][57]

Reliability / Validity

Data mining can be misused, and can also unintentionally produce results which appear significant but which do not actually predict future behavior and cannot be reproduced on a new sample of data. See Data snooping, Data dredging.

Privacy concerns and ethics

Some people believe that data mining itself is ethically neutral.[58] While the term “data mining” has no ethical implications, it is often associated with the mining of information in relation to peoples’ behavior (ethical and otherwise). To be precise, data mining is a statistical method that is applied to a set of information (i.e. a data set). Associating these data sets with people is an extreme narrowing of the types of data that are available. Examples could range from a set of crash test data for passenger vehicles, to the performance of a group of stocks. These types of data sets make up a great proportion of the information available to be acted on by data mining methods, and rarely have ethical concerns associated with them. However, the ways in which data mining can be used can in some cases and contexts raise questions regarding privacy, legality, and ethics.[59] In particular, data mining government or commercial data sets for national security or law enforcement purposes, such as in the Total Information Awareness Program or in ADVISE, has raised privacy concerns.[60][61]

Data mining requires data preparation which can uncover information or patterns which may compromise confidentiality and privacy obligations. A common way for this to occur is through data aggregation. Data aggregation involves combining data together (possibly from various sources) in a way that facilitates analysis (but that also might make identification of private, individual-level data deducible or otherwise apparent).[62] This is not data mining per se, but a result of the preparation of data before – and for the purposes of – the analysis. The threat to an individual’s privacy comes into play when the data, once compiled, cause the data miner, or anyone who has access to the newly compiled data set, to be able to identify specific individuals, especially when the data were originally anonymous.

It is recommended that an individual is made aware of the following before data are collected:[62]

  • the purpose of the data collection and any (known) data mining projects
  • how the data will be used
  • who will be able to mine the data and use the data and their derivatives
  • the status of security surrounding access to the data
  • how collected data can be updated.

In America, privacy concerns have been addressed to some extent by the US Congress via the passage of regulatory controls such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The HIPAA requires individuals to give their “informed consent” regarding information they provide and its intended present and future uses. According to an article in Biotech Business Week’, “‘[i]n practice, HIPAA may not offer any greater protection than the longstanding regulations in the research arena,’ says the AAHC. More importantly, the rule’s goal of protection through informed consent is undermined by the complexity of consent forms that are required of patients and participants, which approach a level of incomprehensibility to average individuals.”[63] This underscores the necessity for data anonymity in data aggregation and mining practices.

Data may also be modified so as to become anonymous, so that individuals may not readily be identified.[62] However, even “de-identified”/”anonymized” data sets can potentially contain enough information to allow identification of individuals, as occurred when journalists were able to find several individuals based on a set of search histories that were inadvertently released by AOL.[64]

Software

Free open-source data mining software and applications

  • Carrot2: Text and search results clustering framework.
  • Chemicalize.org: A chemical structure miner and web search engine.
  • ELKI: A university research project with advanced cluster analysis and outlier detection methods written in the Java language.
  • GATE: a natural language processing and language engineering tool.
  • SCaViS: Java cross-platform data analysis framework developed at Argonne National Laboratory.
  • KNIME: The Konstanz Information Miner, a user friendly and comprehensive data analytics framework.
  • ML-Flex: A software package that enables users to integrate with third-party machine-learning packages written in any programming language, execute classification analyses in parallel across multiple computing nodes, and produce HTML reports of classification results.
  • NLTK (Natural Language Toolkit): A suite of libraries and programs for symbolic and statistical natural language processing (NLP) for the Python language.
  • SenticNet API: A semantic and affective resource for opinion mining and sentiment analysis.
  • Orange: A component-based data mining and machine learning software suite written in the Python language.
  • R: A programming language and software environment for statistical computing, data mining, and graphics. It is part of the GNU project.
  • RapidMiner: An environment for machine learning and data mining experiments.
  • UIMA: The UIMA (Unstructured Information Management Architecture) is a component framework for analyzing unstructured content such as text, audio and video – originally developed by IBM.
  • Weka: A suite of machine learning software applications written in the Java programming language.

Commercial data-mining software and applications

Marketplace surveys

Several researchers and organizations have conducted reviews of data mining tools and surveys of data miners. These identify some of the strengths and weaknesses of the software packages. They also provide an overview of the behaviors, preferences and views of data miners. Some of these reports include:

 

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Posted on June 11, 2013. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Computers, Constitution, Crime, Economics, Employment, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, history, Investments, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Press, Programming, Psychology, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Security, Tax Policy, Technology, Terrorism, Unemployment, Video, War | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

~United States Constitution, Amendment IV

“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”

“Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know what no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.”

“Big Brother is Watching You.”

~George Orwell’s 1984

POWER IS NOT A MEANS, IT IS AN END

obama-ingsoc

org_chart_s4

nsa_unchained

prism-slide-4

new prism slide

google-nsa-grid

enemy_of_the_state

z ATT-Global-Network-Operations-Center-Video-Walls-Data-Monitoring-Header

montesquieu

Maxine Waters Confirms Big Brother Database 2013 Foretells NSA Phone & Internet Spying

Glenn Beck:Govt Storing Citizen Cellphone& Internet Activity

Digital Blackwater: How the NSA Gives Private Contractors Control of the Surveillance State

Glenn Greenwald on How NSA Leaker Edward Snowden Helped Expose a “Massive Surveillance Apparatus”

“A Massive Surveillance State”: Glenn Greenwald Exposes Covert NSA Program Collecting Calls, Emails

He told you so: Bill Binney talks NSA leaks

What You Should Know About The New NSA Utah Data Center

Is Edward Snowden a Hero? A Debate With Journalist Chris Hedges & Law Scholar Geoffrey Stone

Spying On Americans By NSA Prism Collection Details – Rand Paul On Hannity

NSA is Spying on EVERYTHING you do. Phone calls and internet activity is being stored and monitored.

PRISM: Why the NSA is Mining Internet Data

Total Surveillance : N.S.A. data mining all computers, phone calls, internet, emails

CNET Update – Uproar over PRISM government surveillance

NSA Caught Spying on Americans’ Internet Use

Columnist exposes Obama surveillance

Meet Edward Snowden: NSA PRISM Whistleblower

Sky News interview w/ Julian Assange and JP Barlow RE: Prism and Edward Snowden

Complete News – Snowden leaks show NSA ‘routinely lies’ to Congress

Judge Napolitano On NSA Spying: Most Extraordinarily Broad Search Warrant Ever Issued In US History

Rand Paul Discusses The NSA’s Violation Of The Bill Of Rights On Yahoo News (6-6-13)

Rand Paul On NSA Spying: ‘I’m Going To Challenge This At The Supreme Court’ –

Ron Paul: NSA Seizing Phone Records Symptom of Failure of The State

NSA Constitutional Violations? – Judge Andrew Napolitano – Geraldo

Clever Denials Surrounding the NSA PRISM Piracy Scandal

Peter Eckersley from the Electronic Frontier Foundation stopped by to explain why Silicon Vally’s top tech companies are dancing around PRISM allegations. Interview recorded Friday June 7, 2013

NSA Surveillance – Does Obama Have ANY Credibility Left?

“In his remarks today defending the NSA programs gathering telephone records and mining Internet companies, Obama sounded a familiar refrain, saying he welcomes the “debate” over the proper balance between civil liberties and national security.”*

Obama gave a speech in defense of recently uncovered secret programs to wiretap and data-mine U.S. citizens almost indiscriminately, and Congress agrees. Do you believe his remarks that we NEED these programs? Would Obama agree with himself campaigning about his stance on civil rights? Cenk Uygur, Ben Mankiewicz, and John Iadarola discuss.

*Read more form Washington Post:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/p…

“Obama Is BIG BROTHER And He’s A LIAR!”

How PRISM Easily Gives Your Private Data Over to Big Brother

The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.

The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called Prism, which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says.”*

We’ve been assured by the president that the NSA’s PRISM program won’t affect “ordinary” U.S. citizens, but what is the criteria for deciding who gets their data mined and monitored? Cenk Uygur, Ben Mankiewicz, and John Iadarola (Host, TYT University) discuss the egregious reach of the Obama administration’s secret mass surveillance program.

*Read more from The Guardian:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/…

Fourth Amendment Has been Suspended

The federal government is launching an expansive program dubbed “Perfect Citizen” to detect cyber assaults on private companies and government agencies running such critical infrastructure as the electricity grid and nuclear-power plants, according to people familiar with the program.The surveillance by the National Security Agency, the government’s chief eavesdropping agency, would rely on a set of sensors deployed in computer networks for critical infrastructure that would be triggered by unusual activity suggesting an impending cyber attack, though it wouldn’t persistently monitor the whole system, these people said.

Defense contractor Raytheon Corp. recently won a classified contract for the initial phase of the surveillance effort valued at up to $100 million, said a person familiar with the project.

An NSA spokeswoman said the agency had no information to provide on the program. A Raytheon spokesman declined to comment.

Some industry and government officials familiar with the program see Perfect Citizen as an intrusion by the NSA into domestic affairs, while others say it is an important program to combat an emerging security threat that only the NSA is equipped to provide.

“The overall purpose of the [program] is our Government…feel[s] that they need to insure the Public Sector is doing all they can to secure Infrastructure critical to our National Security,” said one internal Raytheon email, the text of which was seen by The Wall Street Journal. “Perfect Citizen is Big Brother.”

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“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. …”

The Declaration of Independence

http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html

Background Articles and Videos

Domestic Spying, Mainstream Source – NSA, Internet Spying, AT&T

Domestic Spying, Mainstream Source – NSA Copying Entire Internet

Glenn Becks “SURVEILLANCE STATE”

Barack Obama’s Surveillance Society

GLENN BECK ‘They Are Liars’

Glenn Greenwald: Challenging the US Surveillance State

2012.05.01 – GBTV – The Glenn Beck Radio Program – NSA Warning

Project Vigilant: Shadowy Spy Group Building Dossiers On Internet Users For Feds – Alex Jones Tv 3/3

Total Information Awareness – Social Networking Sites (mirror)

The Information Awareness Office (IAO) was established by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in January 2002 to bring together several DARPA projects focused on applying surveillance and information technology to track and monitor terrorists and other asymmetric threats to national security, by achieving Total Information Awareness (TIA). This would be achieved by creating enormous computer databases to gather and store the personal information of everyone in the United States, including personal e-mails, social networks, credit card records, phone calls, medical records, and numerous other sources including, without any requirement for a search warrant.[1] This information would then be analyzed to look for suspicious activities, connections between individuals, and “threats”.[2] Additionally, the program included funding for biometric surveillance technologies that could identify and track individuals using surveillance cameras, and other methods.[2]
Following public criticism that the development and deployment of these technologies could potentially lead to a mass surveillance system, the IAO was defunded by Congress in 2003. However, several IAO projects continued to be funded, and merely run under different names.

ThinThread

ThinThread is the name of a project that the United States National Security Agency (NSA) pursued during the 1990s, according to a May 17, 2006 article in The Baltimore Sun.[1] The program involved wiretapping and sophisticated analysis of the resulting data, but according to the article, the program was discontinued after the September 11, 2001 attacks due to the changes in priorities and the consolidation of U.S. intelligence authority. The “change in priority” consisted of the decision made by the director of NSA General Michael V. Hayden to go with a concept called Trailblazer, despite the fact that ThinThread was a working prototype that protected the privacy of U.S. citizens.

ThinThread was dismissed and replaced by the Trailblazer Project, which lacked the privacy protections.[2] A consortium led by Science Applications International Corporation was awarded a $280 million contract to develop Trailblazer in 2002.[3]

Whistleblowing

Redacted version of the DoD Inspector General audit, obtained through FOIA[4][5]

A group of former NSA workers — Kirk Wiebe, William Binney, Ed Loomis, and Thomas A. Drake, along with House Intelligence Committee staffer Diane Roark (an expert on the NSA budget[6]) — believed the operational prototype system called ThinThread was a better solution than Trailblazer, which was just a concept on paper at the time. They complained to the DoD Inspector General office in 2002 about mismanagement and the waste of taxpayer money at the NSA surrounding the Trailblazer program. In 2007 the FBI raided the homes of these people, an evolution of President Bush’s crackdown on whistleblowers and “leaks” after the New York Times disclosed a separate program (see NSA warrantless surveillance controversy). In 2010, one of the people who had helped the IG in the ensuing investigation, NSA official Thomas Andrews Drake, was charged with espionage,[6][7] part of the Obama administration’s crackdown on whistleblowers and “leaks”.[7][8][9] The original charges against him were later dropped and he pled to a misdemeanor.

The result of the DoD IG complaint was a 2004 audit report that was released under FOIA in 2011.[5] Although highly redacted, the report contained significant criticisms of Trailblazer, and included some relatively minor criticisms of ThinThread, for example, citing a low “quality of service and support” from the ThinThread program team, a lack of documentation, a lack of a configuration management system, and a lack of a trouble ticket system. However, “The findings that led to the recommendations would not have prevented the successful deployment of THINTHREAD … the recommendations were made to improve the operational efficiency of THINTHREAD after it was deployed …”[10]

Technical details

The program would have used a technique of encrypting sensitive privacy information in order to comply with legal concerns, and would have automatically identified potential threats. The sources of the data for this program would have included “massive phone and e-mail data,” but the extent of this information is not clear. Only once a threat was discovered, would the data be decrypted for analysis by agents.[11]

ThinThread would have bundled together four cutting-edge surveillance tools.:[citation needed]

  • Used more sophisticated methods of sorting through massive phone and e-mail data to identify suspect communications.
  • Identified U.S. phone numbers and other communications data and encrypted them to ensure caller privacy.
  • Employed an automated auditing system to monitor how analysts handled the information, in order to prevent misuse and improve efficiency.
  • Analyzed the data to identify relationships between callers and chronicle their contacts. Only when evidence of a potential threat had been developed would analysts be able to request decryption of the records.

Intelligence experts describe as rigorous testing of ThinThread in 1998, the project succeeded at each task with high marks. For example, its ability to sort through massive amounts of data to find threat-related communications far surpassed the existing system. It also was able to rapidly separate and encrypt U.S.-related communications to ensure privacy.[1]

The Pentagon report concluded that ThinThread’s ability to sort through data in 2001 was far superior to that of another NSA system in place in 2004, and that the program should be launched and enhanced. ThinThread was designed to address two key challenges: One, the NSA had more information than it could digest, and, two, increasingly its targets were in contact with people in the United States whose calls the agency was prohibited from monitoring.[citation needed]

Trailblazer Project had more political support internally because it was initiated by Michael Hayden when he first arrived at the NSA.[citation needed]

NSA’s existing system for data-sorting has produced a database clogged with corrupted and useless information. The mass collection of relatively unsorted data, combined with system flaws erroneously flag people as suspect, has produced numerous false leads, draining analyst resources. NSA leads have resulted in numerous dead ends.[citation needed]

NSA dropped the component that monitored for abuse of records. It not only tracked the use of the database, but hunted for the most effective analysis techniques, and some analysts thought it would be used to judge their performance. Within the NSA, the primary advocate for the ThinThread program was Richard Taylor. Taylor has retired from the NSA. The strength of ThinThread’s approach is that by encrypting information on Americans, it is legal regardless of whether the country is at war.[citation needed]

ThinThread “was designed very carefully from a legal point of view, so that even in non-wartime, you could have done it legitimately.”[12]

End of the project

The project was ended after successful testing by General Michael Hayden, and while the privacy elements were not retained, the analysis technology is reported to be the underlying basis of current NSA analysis techniques.

“They basically just disabled the [privacy] safeguards.”[11] [That quote does not appear in the link]

Some anonymous NSA officials told Hosenball of Newsweek that the ThinThread program, like Trailblazer, was a “wasteful failure”.[6]

Drake was interviewed on The Daily Show on August 6, 2012 about his charges and the program with his lawyer.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ThinThread

Trailblazer

Trailblazer was a United States National Security Agency (NSA) program intended to develop a capability to analyze data carried on communications networks like the Internet. It was intended to track entities using communication methods such as cell phones and e-mail.[1][2] It ran over budget, failed to accomplish critical goals, and was cancelled.

NSA whistleblowers J. Kirk Wiebe, William Binney, Ed Loomis, and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence staffer Diane Roark complained to the Department of Defense’s Inspector General (IG) about waste, fraud, and abuse in the program, and the fact that a successful operating prototype existed, but was ignored when the Trailblazer program was launched. The complaint was accepted by the IG and an investigation began that lasted until mid-2005 when the final results were issued. The results were largely hidden, as the report given to the public was heavily (90%) redacted, while the original report was heavily classified, thus restricting the ability of most people to see it.

The people who filed the IG complaint were later raided by armed Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents. While the Government threatened to prosecute all who signed the IG report, it ultimately chose to pursue an NSA Senior Executive — Thomas Andrews Drake — who helped with the report internally to NSA and who had spoken with a reporter about the project. Drake was later charged under the Espionage Act of 1917. His defenders claimed this was retaliation.[3][4] The charges against him were later dropped, and he agreed to plead guilty to having committed a misdemeanor under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, something that Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project (which helped represent him) called an “act of civil disobedience“.[5]

Background

Trailblazer was chosen over a similar program named ThinThread, a less costly project which had been designed with built-in privacy protections for United States citizens.[4][3] Trailblazer was later linked to the NSA electronic surveillance program and the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy.[3]

In 2002 a consortium led by Science Applications International Corporation was chosen by the NSA to produce a technology demonstration platform in a contract worth $280 million. Project participants included Boeing, Computer Sciences Corporation, and Booz Allen Hamilton. The project was overseen by NSA Deputy Director William B. Black, Jr., an NSA worker who had gone to SAIC, and then been re-hired back to NSA by NSA director Michael Hayden in 2000.[6][7][8] SAIC had also hired a former NSA director to its management; Bobby Inman.[9] SAIC also participated in the concept definition phase of Trailblazer.[10][11]

Redacted version of the DoD Inspector General audit, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by the Project on Government Oversight and others. [12][5]

The NSA Inspector General issued a report on Trailblazer that “discussed improperly based contract cost increases, non-conformance in the management of the Statement of Work, and excessive labor rates for contractor personnel.” [13]

In 2004 the DoD IG report criticized the program (see the Whistleblowing section below). It said that the “NSA ‘disregarded solutions to urgent national security needs'” and “that TRAILBLAZER was poorly executed and overly expensive …” Several contractors for the project were worried about cooperating with DoD’s audit for fear of “management reprisal.”[5] The Director of NSA “nonconcurred” with several statements in the IG audit, and the report contains a discussion of those disagreements.[14]

In 2005, NSA director Michael Hayden told a Senate hearing that the Trailblazer program was several hundred million dollars over budget and years behind schedule.[15] In 2006 the program was shut down,[3] after having cost billions of US Dollars.[16] Several anonymous NSA sources told Hosenball of Newsweek later on that the project was a “wasteful failure”.[17]

The new project replacing Trailblazer is called Turbulence.[3]

Whistleblowing

According to a 2011 New Yorker article, in the early days of the project several NSA employees met with Diane S Roark, an NSA budget expert on the House Intelligence Committee. They aired their grievances about Trailblazer. In response, NSA director Michael Hayden sent out a memo saying that “individuals, in a session with our congressional overseers, took a position in direct opposition to one that we had corporately decided to follow … Actions contrary to our decisions will have a serious adverse effect on our efforts to transform N.S.A., and I cannot tolerate them.”[3]

In September 2002, several people filed a complaint with the Department of Defense IG’s office regarding problems with Trailblazer: they included Roark (aforementioned), ex-NSA senior analysts Bill Binney, Kirk Wiebe, and Senior Computer Systems Analyst Ed Loomis, who had quit the agency over concerns about its mismanagement of acquisition and allegedly illegal domestic spying.[3][18][19] A major source for the report was NSA senior officer Thomas Andrews Drake. Drake had been complaining to his superiors for some time about problems at the agency, and about the superiority of ThinThread over Trailblazer, for example, at protecting privacy.[19] Drake gave info to DoD during its investigation of the matter.[19] Roark also went to her boss at the House committee, Porter Goss, about problems, but was rebuffed.[20] She also attempted to contact William Renquist, the Supreme Court Chief Justice at the time.[19]

Drake’s own boss, Maureen Baginski, the third-highest officer at NSA, quit partly over concerns about the legality of its behavior.[3]

In 2003, the NSA IG (not the DoD IG)[19] had declared Trailblazer an expensive failure.[21] It had cost more than $1 billion.[8][22][23]

In 2005, the DoD IG produced a report on the result of its investigation of the complaint of Roark and the others in 2002. This report was not released to the public, but it has been described as very negative.[18] Mayer writes that it hastened the closure of Trailblazer, which was at the time in trouble from congress for being over budget.[3]

In November 2005, Drake contacted Siobhan Gorman, a reporter of The Baltimore Sun.[24][17][25] Gorman wrote several articles about problems at the NSA, including articles on Trailblazer. This series got her an award from the Society of Professional Journalists.[17]

In 2005, President George W. Bush ordered the FBI to find whoever had disclosed information about the NSA electronic surveillance program and its disclosure in the New York Times. Eventually, this investigation led to the people who had filed the 2002 DoD IG request, even though they had nothing to do with the New York Times disclosure. In 2007, the houses of Roark, Binney, and Wiebe were raided by armed FBI agents. According to Mayer, Binney claims the FBI pointed guns at his head and that of his wife. Wiebe said it reminded him of the Soviet Union.[3][18] None of these people were ever charged with any crime. Four months later, Drake was raided in November 2007 and his computers and documents were confiscated.

In 2010 Drake was indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice on charges of obstructing justice, providing false information, and violating the Espionage Act of 1917,[17][26][27] part of President Barack Obama‘s crackdown on whistleblowers and “leakers”.[24][17][28][18] The government tried to get Roark to testify to a conspiracy, and made similar requests to Drake, offering him a plea bargain. They both refused.[3]

In June 2011, the ten original charges against Drake were dropped, instead he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.[5]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trailblazer_Project

ECHELON

ECHELON is a name used in global media and in popular culture to describe a signals intelligence (SIGINT) collection and analysis network operated on behalf of the five signatory states to the UKUSA Security Agreement[1] (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, referred to by a number of abbreviations, including AUSCANNZUKUS[1] and Five Eyes).[2][3] It has also been described as the only software system which controls the download and dissemination of the intercept of commercial satellite trunk communications.[4]

ECHELON, according to information in the European Parliament document, “On the existence of a global system for the interception of private and commercial communications (ECHELON interception system)” was created to monitor the military and diplomatic communications of the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies during the Cold War in the early 1960s.[5]

The system has been reported in a number of public sources.[6] Its capabilities and political implications were investigated by a committee of the European Parliament during 2000 and 2001 with a report published in 2001,[5] and by author James Bamford in his books on the National Security Agency of the United States.[4] The European Parliament stated in its report that the term ECHELON is used in a number of contexts, but that the evidence presented indicates that it was the name for a signals intelligence collection system. The report concludes that, on the basis of information presented, ECHELON was capable of interception and content inspection of telephone calls, fax, e-mail and other data traffic globally through the interception of communication bearers including satellite transmission, public switched telephone networks (which once carried most Internet traffic) and microwave links.[5]

Bamford describes the system as the software controlling the collection and distribution of civilian telecommunications traffic conveyed using communication satellites, with the collection being undertaken by ground stations located in the footprint of the downlink leg.

Organization

UKUSA Community
Map of UKUSA Community countries with Ireland

Australia
Canada
New Zealand
United Kingdom
United States of America

The UKUSA intelligence community was assessed by the European Parliament (EP) in 2000 to include the signals intelligence agencies of each of the member states:

The EP report concluded that it seemed likely that ECHELON is a method of sorting captured signal traffic, rather than a comprehensive analysis tool.[5]

Capabilities

The ability to intercept communications depends on the medium used, be it radio, satellite, microwave, cellular or fiber-optic.[5] During World War II and through the 1950s, high frequency (“short wave”) radio was widely used for military and diplomatic communication,[7] and could be intercepted at great distances.[5] The rise of geostationary communications satellites in the 1960s presented new possibilities for intercepting international communications. The report to the European Parliament of 2001 states: “If UKUSA states operate listening stations in the relevant regions of the earth, in principle they can intercept all telephone, fax and data traffic transmitted via such satellites.”[5]

The role of satellites in point-to-point voice and data communications has largely been supplanted by fiber optics; in 2006, 99% of the world’s long-distance voice and data traffic was carried over optical-fiber.[8] The proportion of international communications accounted for by satellite links is said to have decreased substantially over the past few years[when?] in Central Europe to an amount between 0.4% and 5%.[5] Even in less-developed parts of the world, communications satellites are used largely for point-to-multipoint applications, such as video.[9] Thus, the majority of communications can no longer be intercepted by earth stations; they can only be collected by tapping cables and intercepting line-of-sight microwave signals, which is possible only to a limited extent.[5]

One method of interception is to place equipment at locations where fiber optic communications are switched. For the Internet, much of the switching occurs at relatively few sites. There have been reports of one such intercept site, Room 641A, in the United States. In the past[when?] much Internet traffic was routed through the U.S. and the UK, but this has changed; for example, in 2000, 95% of intra-German Internet communications was routed via the DE-CIX Internet exchange point in Frankfurt.[5] A comprehensive worldwide surveillance network is possible only if clandestine intercept sites are installed in the territory of friendly nations, and/or if local authorities cooperate. The report to the European Parliament points out that interception of private communications by foreign intelligence services is not necessarily limited to the U.S. or British foreign intelligence services.[5]

Most reports on ECHELON focus on satellite interception; testimony before the European Parliament indicated that separate but similar UK-US systems are in place to monitor communication through undersea cables, microwave transmissions and other lines.[10]

Controversy

Intelligence monitoring of citizens, and their communications, in the area covered by the AUSCANNZUKUS security agreement has caused concern. British journalist Duncan Campbell and New Zealand journalist Nicky Hager asserted in the 1990s that the United States was exploiting ECHELON traffic for industrial espionage, rather than military and diplomatic purposes.[10] Examples alleged by the journalists include the gear-less wind turbine technology designed by the German firm Enercon[5][11] and the speech technology developed by the Belgian firm Lernout & Hauspie.[12] An article in the US newspaper Baltimore Sun reported in 1995 that European aerospace company Airbus lost a $6 billion contract with Saudi Arabia in 1994 after the US National Security Agency reported that Airbus officials had been bribing Saudi officials to secure the contract.[13][14]

In 2001, the Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception System recommended to the European Parliament that citizens of member states routinely use cryptography in their communications to protect their privacy, because economic espionage with ECHELON has been conducted by the US intelligence agencies.[5]

Bamford provides an alternative view, highlighting that legislation prohibits the use of intercepted communications for commercial purposes, although he does not elaborate on how intercepted communications are used as part of an all-source intelligence process.

Hardware

According to its website, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) is “a high technology organization … on the frontiers of communications and data processing”. In 1999 the Australian Senate Joint Standing Committee on Treaties was told by Professor Desmond Ball that the Pine Gap facility was used as a ground station for a satellite-based interception network. The satellites were said to be large radio dishes between 20 and 100 meters in diameter in geostationary orbits.[citation needed] The original purpose of the network was to monitor the telemetry from 1970s Soviet weapons, air defence radar, communications satellites and ground based microwave communications.[15]

Name

The European Parliament’s Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception System stated: “It seems likely, in view of the evidence and the consistent pattern of statements from a very wide range of individuals and organisations, including American sources, that its name is in fact ECHELON, although this is a relatively minor detail.”[5] The U.S. intelligence community uses many code names (see, for example, CIA cryptonym).

Former NSA employee Margaret Newsham claims that she worked on the configuration and installation of software that makes up the ECHELON system while employed at Lockheed Martin, for whom she worked from 1974 to 1984 in Sunnyvale, California, US, and in Menwith Hill, England, UK.[16] At that time, according to Newsham, the code name ECHELON was NSA’s term for the computer network itself. Lockheed called it P415. The software programs were called SILKWORTH and SIRE. A satellite named VORTEX intercepted communications. An image available on the internet of a fragment apparently torn from a job description shows Echelon listed along with several other code names.[17]

Ground stations

The 2001 European Parliamentary (EP) report[5] lists several ground stations as possibly belonging to, or participating in, the ECHELON network. These include:

Likely satellite intercept stations

The following stations are listed in the EP report (p. 54 ff) as likely to have, or to have had, a role in intercepting transmissions from telecommunications satellites:

Other potentially related stations

The following stations are listed in the EP report (p. 57 ff) as ones whose roles “cannot be clearly established”:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECHELON

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United Nations and International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Plans To Takeover The Internet at World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT)? or Google FUD?–Videos

Posted on December 2, 2012. Filed under: Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Culture, Economics, Education, Entertainment, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Games, government spending, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Movies, People, Philosophy, Politics, Regulations, Taxes, Technology, Video, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

itu

wcitWCIT-Leaks

Anonymous   WORLD ANONYMOUS NOW

Greetings citizens of the world, the following is a very special message for all of humanity. Too long have we lived in fear, fear of greed, fear of corruption, fear of failure, fear that everything we’ve known turned out to be wrong.

No longer will we live in fear! It ends here and now, with you and me! We are brothers and sisters of humanity, the time has come for us to unite! We must forge a new beginning of peace and love, we must be the good we want to see in the world.

Humanity is still young, and for the first time ever in human history we have a real chance at true peace as a species. The internet has united us more than ever before, its time we use this gift to promote the unity of us all. Its time we stand up as a planet and declare we will no longer take part in a system based on fear, greed, corruption, and war.

Lets put everything into perspective for those of you that need more convincing, the United Sates alone has spent trillions of dollars on wars. War has claimed the lives of over 264 million people throughout the course of known human history, many of whom where civilians. Human progress has been halted by senseless wars.

While we fight amongst ourselves on Earth there’s an entire universe passing us by. There are an estimated 160 billion planets in our galaxy alone, many of which could potentially be home to carbon-based life as we know it. Stars go supernova, entire solar systems get destroyed, even whole galaxies collide while we argue and fight over small and pointless issues. We should be happy we have a planet to live on, not fighting over who owns the planet. In truth no individual or even an entire species owns it, because in truth all life on Earth owns this planet.

Someday soon humanity will venture to the stars, will we go into the unknown divided and fighting? Or will we say as one voice, as one species, “We the People of Earth, united as one, declare from this day fourth that no force, however big or small, shall ever divide the spirit of humanity again. United in our cause for peace, knowledge, and progress, we go forward into the unknown as brothers and sisters, as a species no longer divided by war, greed, corruption, and fear.”

The choice is yours to make, you are Anonymous, you are the future of Earth. You can either continue the wars and division of humanity, or you can try something new. You can give peace a chance, you can help secure a beautiful world of peace, knowledge, and progress for all generations to come.

You are Anonymous,
You are part of Humanity,
You should Forgive,
yet You should never Forget,
It’s time to Expect Yourself…Lets unite under WORLD ANONYMOUS NOW.

With your help, may one day the innocent never suffer and the brave never die, for on that day we’ll truly be free. United as one, divided by zero.

anonymous ITU and WCIT 3-15 december

New Trend: Governing the Internet 

TAKE ACTION for a FREE and OPEN INTERNET, Threat Wire Ep. 002

This week on Threat Wire, Darren and Shannon discuss the issues with the ITU and keeping the internet free and open for the world.

For a list of stories and links visit: http://hak5.org/threatwire/0002

U.S. Resists U.N.-controlled Internet 

The UN have apparently released details that they will to add certain levels of control on the internet, which would for one thing cause traffic from abroad to larger international websites based in the US (such as facebook or Google) to have to pay a tax,.

“”Proposals for the new ITU treaty run to more than 200 pages. One idea is to apply the ITU’s long-distance telephone rules to the Internet by creating a ‘sender-party-pays’ rule. International phone calls include a fee from the originating country to the local phone company at the receiving end. Under a sender-pays approach, U.S.-based websites would pay a local network for each visitor from overseas, effectively taxing firms such as Google and Facebook. ”

ALERT – United Nations To Seize Control Of Internet ?!?

The U.N. Threat To Internet Freedom
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204792404577229074023195322.html

United Nation Planning to Control The Internet – Alex Jones Tv

United Nations Seeks to Control the Internet – Thoughts & Opinions

Does the ITU threaten freedom of speech on the Internet? – Truthloader

Assange s prophecy  Govnts plan Internet takeover

Richard Hill at the EIF debate on WCIT and ITRs

The 193 member countries of the ITU will meet in Dubai 3-14 December at World Conference on International Telecommunication 2012 to revise the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs), a 1988 treaty-level document establishing policies governing international telecommunications services between countries. While some Member States of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), as well as a few independent groups, are advocating for expanded intergovernmental powers over the Internet with respect to the Internet as well as wireless, IP-based, and next generation networks; other countries believe that the WCIT should adopt only minor changes to the ITRs as necessary to modernize the existing provisions of the treaty, and that new provisions and authorities are unnecessary.

Europe’s role and view will be crucial in the debate and to its outcome. In the dinner debate organised by the European Internet Foundation, representatives from the European Commission, European Industry and Civil society had been invited to exchange views on issues at stake and present their positions.

Perspectives from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) were  presented by Richard Hill, Counsellor at the ITU

Vint Cerf on the ITU

Vint Cerf, Google’s Chief Internet Evangelist, shares a message with participants at the Big Tent Dublin on the importance of free expression. Vint also expresses his concerns about potential threats to an Open Internet in Internet governance reform at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) conference in Dubai in December 2012.

YOUR INTERNET IS IN DANGER!!! 

Your internet is fine. I lied. But Google lied first, so I think it’s justified.

Links!
Google’s “Take Action”: https://www.google.com/intl/en/takeaction/
The International Telecommunications Union: http://www.itu.int/

International Telecommunication Regulations (doc): http://www.itu.int/ITU-T/itr/files/ITR-e.doc
Document leaks: http://wcitleaks.org/

Alex Jones Exposes Google’s Plan to Dominate the Internet 

Goodlatte speaks in opposition to UN control of the Internet 

ITU TELECOM WORLD 2012 – Highlights Video

Highlights video of ITU TELECOM WORLD 2012, Dubai, UAE.

ITU Telecom World 2012, 14-18 October 2012, Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC).

Five days of pivotal discussion and debate on some of the hottest topics facing the ICT industry.

The world is changing faster than ever before in human history, thanks largely to the explosive growth of the ICT sector. New technologies, new industry players and new global trends is at the heart of debates in Dubai.

Hundreds of industry leaders came together with government ministers, regulators and manufacturers for five days of critical debate to shape the policies, regulations and competitive strategies of future communications.

ITU INTERVIEW @ WCIT-12: Paul Budde, Independent Analyst, BuddeComm

Interview with Paul Budde, Independent Analyst, BuddeComm at WCIT 2012
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 3-14 December 2012.

The World Conference on International Telecommunications will review the current International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs), which serve as the binding global treaty designed to facilitate international interconnection and interoperability of information and communication services, as well as ensuring their efficiency and widespread public usefulness and availability.

ITU Secretary – General Video Message: Dr Hamadoun I.Touré, S-G, ITU on WCIT – 12 

ITU Secretary General Video Message: Dr Hamadoun I.Touré, Secretary-General, International Telecommunications Union, speaking about the World Conference on International Telecommunications 2012(WCIT -12).

ITU will convene the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from 3-14 December 2012. This landmark conference will review the current International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs), which serve as the binding global treaty designed to facilitate international interconnection and interoperability of information and communication services, as well as ensuring their efficiency and widespread public usefulness and availability.

FRANCE 24 Tech 24:      Who rules the Web? : ITU vs. ICANN

Internet at Liberty 2012: Plenary II –  Riz Khan, Gary Fowlie, Ben Wagner

Possible Internet Take Over By The ITU (UN) [HD]

 Spread the word, share & take action! :

*Sign-on Letter Opposing ITU Authority Over the Internet :

{https://www.cdt.org/letter/sign-letter-opposing-itu-authority-over-internet}

*ITU Advocacy Tools:

[Internet advocates all over the world are organizing around the upcoming ITU conference. On this page, we’ve collected a set of tools and resources to help interested groups and citizens get involved.]

{https://www.cdt.org/content/itu-tools-advocates}

*ITU Commentary by Global Experts:

{https://www.cdt.org/content/itu-commentary-global-experts}

*CDT Analyses of Key ITU Proposals:

{https://www.cdt.org/content/cdt-analyses-key-itu-proposals}

*ONLINE PETITION: Protect Global Internet Freedom (Organizations:924 – Countries Represented: 161) :

{http://www.protectinternetfreedom.net/}

Internet should stay free and open

Ivailo Kalfin (MEP, BG) argues in the European parliament that Internet should stay free and open, ahead of the WCIT meeting in Dubai in December. Internet is a very strong tool these days and there are many that would like to control it and the people, using it. For example by changing its business model and making it more expensive and less accessible. Some governments are even suggesting creating a “national internet”, which is an oxymoron, something that is against the nature of Internet itself, says Kalfin

Operation WCIT – Keep OUR internet Free

We love the internet.
And we’re guessing you do too. Think about all the awesome things it gives us: A vast communication network; innovative businesses; a platform to freely speak or challenge powerful governments; and hundreds and hundreds of hours of cat videos.

All this great stuff is available because the internet was designed in an open and inclusive way, with a multitude of voices being able to get a say on how it’s governed.
But the internet is in danger.

There’s a meeting between the world’s governments in a just a few weeks, and it could very well decide the future of the internet through a binding international treaty. It’s called the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), and it’s being organized by a government-controlled UN agency called the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

If some proposals at WCIT are approved, decisions about the internet would be made by a top-down, old-school government-centric agency behind closed doors. Some proposals allow for internet access to be cut off more easily, threaten privacy, legitimizes monitoring and blocking of online traffic. Others seek to impose new fees for accessing content, not to mention slowing down connection speeds. Used as a pretext to internet pornography among other things as an excuse to censor sensitive material pages (note that there are too many cases of child pornography that are ignored by the police) In addition to paying for internet service, you’d also have to pay for visiting certain sites, such as YouTube. Your communications would be constantly monitored and archived, meaning the end of Internet privacy. This could potentially lead to individuals becoming victims of blackmail by malicious people who control the monitoring. The Internet is home to many organized social movements which fight for human rights worldwide. If we allow this, we will not be able to use the Internet to organize the defense of our rights…

If the delicate balance of the internet is upset, it could have grave consequences for businesses and human rights.
This must be stopped.

Only governments get a vote at WCIT, so we need people from all around the world to demand that our leaders keep the internet open.
Watch the video, and take action above to tell your governments to oppose handing over key decisions about the internet to the ITU. Let’s use the internet’s global reach to save it.

Watch the video here https://www.whatistheitu.org/?ref=an

Leaked documents here http://www.wcitleaks.org/

WebChat: http://webchat.voxanon.org/?channels=opwcit

We are the internet
We are anonymous
We are here to help you with your revolution

Background Articles and Videos

World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12)

“…ITU will convene the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from 3-14 December 2012. This landmark conference will review the current International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs), which serve as the binding global treaty designed to facilitate international interconnection and interoperability of information and communication services, as well as ensuring their efficiency and widespread public usefulness and availability.

The treaty sets out general principles for assuring the free flow of information around the world, promoting affordable and equitable access for all and laying the foundation for ongoing innovation and market growth. The ITRs were last negotiated in Melbourne, Australia in 1988, and there is broad consensus that the text now needs to be updated to reflect the dramatically different information and communication technology (ICT) landscape of the 21st century.
The conference will consider a review (see PP-06 Resolution 146) of the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs), which define the general principles for the provision and operation of international telecommunications. …”

HISTORY OF ITU: “The International Telecommunication Union” – 1966 United Nations Film (Part 1)

HISTORY OF ITU: “The International Telecommunication Union” – 1966 United Nations Film (Part 2)

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NSA–Now Spying on Americans: Big Brother Government Spying On Americans–Progressives Minding Your Business Without Warrants–Remotely Piloted Aircraft a.k.a.Drones–Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)–Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISA)–Videos

Posted on June 8, 2012. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, College, Communications, Economics, Education, Employment, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, history, Investments, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Regulations, Resources, Taxes, Unemployment, Unions, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Mind blowing speech by Robert Welch in 1958 predicting Insiders plans to destroy America 

NSA Building Colossal New Data Center: Spying on Americans 

‘NSA are spying on the United States’

James Bamford: Inside the NSA’s Largest  Secret Domestic Spy Center 

Drones In America

Drones To Fly Over Midwestern Farms

Judge Napolitano Discusses Drones And Big Brother 

Judge Napolitano : 30,000 Drones In U.S. Skies to spy on you violates Constitution (May 14, 2012)

30,000 ARMED DRONES to be used Against Americans

Phantom Eye: Pentagon builds gigantic mega-drone

Attack of the Drones – USA 

The Drone War Coming to a Town Near You?

The Stream:      The future of drone technology

The Slow Decline of Liberty – The Plain Truth – Judge Napolitano – Freedom Watch

Total surveillance: Thousands of secret court orders allow government to spy on Americans

SOPA, CISPA, FISA

FISA: US under total surveillance

Is The Government Spying On You? FISA Continues 

Obama administration pushes to renew FISA

NSA under fire: Supreme Court to review Legality of Warrantless Wiretapping/Spying of U.S. Citizens

Big Brother spying on your car 

FBI Caught Spying on Student with GPS Tracking Device

Anonymous Big Brother’s All Seeing Eye For Your Safety

SOPA changes name to CISPA

CISPA going international?

US House passes CISPA

Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act

CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, is picking up sponsors and it looks like the legislation will make it to the House floor for a vote next week. CISPA emerged from the House Intelligence Committee with an overwhelming vote of 17-1.
The bill, authored by Rep. Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican, is supported by Google, the technology company in bed with the CIA and responsible for building the Great Firewall of China. Google is not alone in supporting CISPA. Corporate sponsors include Facebook, Microsoft, Intel, IBM, Verizon, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others, according to the House’s Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, long a champion of rights online, has signed on to two coalition letters urging legislators to drop their support for HR 3523. The coalition behind the privacy letter includes dozens of groups, including the ACLU, the American Library Association, the American Policy Center, the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, and many others, according to the EFF website.
The letter warns: CISPA creates an exception to all privacy laws to permit companies to share our information with each other and with the government in the name of cybersecurity…. CISPA’s ‘information sharing’ regime allows the transfer of vast amounts of data, including sensitive information like internet use history or the content of emails, to any agency in the government including military and intelligence agencies like the National Security Agency or the Department of Defense Cyber Command. Once in government hands, this information can be used for any non-regulatory purpose so long as one significant purpose is for cybersecurity or to protect national security

Cyber Intelligence Sharing Protection Act – CISPA –  More Insights, pls see video responses

SOPA changes name to CISPA 

CISPA: Another Fascist Takeover of the Internet. EMERGENCY ALERT! 

Anonymous – CISPA Worse than SOPA

Ubiquitous Computing: Big Brother’s All-Seeing Eye – Part 1

Ubiquitous Computing: Big Brother’s All-Seeing Eye – Part 2

Words to Avoid Online Unless You Want Government Snooping

Revealed: Hundreds of words to avoid using online if you don’t want the government spying on you (and they include ‘pork’, ‘cloud’ and ‘Mexico’)

  • Department of Homeland Security forced to release list following freedom of information request
  • Agency insists it only looks for evidence of genuine threats to the U.S. and not for signs of general dissent

By Daniel Miller

“…The Department of Homeland Security has been forced to release a list of keywords and phrases it uses to monitor social networking sites and online media for signs of terrorist or other threats against the U.S.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2150281/REVEALED-Hundreds-words-avoid-using-online-dont-want-government-spying-you.html#ixzz1xDZrBiPm

NAPOLITANO: Big Brother’s all-seeing eye

Use of military surveillance drones overhead would be un-American

“…For the past few weeks, I have been writing in this column about the government’s use of drones and challenging their constitutionality on Fox News Channel, where I work. I once asked on air what Thomas Jefferson would have done if – had they existed at the time – King George III had sent drones to peer inside the bedroom windows of Monticello. I suspect Jefferson and his household would have trained their muskets on the drones and taken them down. I offer this historical anachronism as a hypothetical only, not as someone who is urging the use of violence against the government.

Nevertheless, what Jeffersonians are among us today? When drones take pictures of us on our private property and in our homes and the government uses the photos as it wishes, what will we do about it? Jefferson understood that when the government assaults our privacy and dignity, it is the moral equivalent of violence against us. Folks who hear about this, who either laugh or groan, cannot find it humorous or boring that their every move will be monitored and photographed by the government.

Don’t believe me that this is coming? The photos that the drones will take may be retained and used or even distributed to others in the government so long as the “recipient is reasonably perceived to have a specific, lawful governmental function” in requiring them. And for the first time since the Civil War, the federal government will deploy military personnel insidetheUnitedStates and publicly acknowledge that it is deploying them “to collect information about U.S. persons.” …”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1UhF0apVhg

George Carlin – The Owners of This Country

Lying Politicians  And Words

Background Articles and Videos

Is the NSA reading your e-mail?

Spying on the Home Front 

Judge Napolitano ‘If Cops Don’t Have A Warrant Don’t Open The Door’

Obama’s secret drone war explained by Reuters’ David Rohde – Fast

Judge Napolitano – Obama Makes Free Speech A Felony!!!  BILL H.R. 347

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No Place To Hide–Big Brother Is Watching Everything!–Videos

Posted on June 17, 2011. Filed under: Blogroll, Business, Communications, Computers, Crime, Demographics, Diasters, Economics, Federal Government, Taxes, Technology, Video, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , |

 How is Big Brother watching you???

 

Big Brother Is Watching Everything 1/3

 

Big Brother Is Watching Everything 2/3

 

Big Brother Is Watching Everything 3/3

 

US electronic passport

 

Electronic Chip in the New U.S. Passport!!

 

US confirms (RFID) high-tech driver’s licences

 

LOU DOBBS TONIGHT 02.26.07 REAL ID Resistance

 

Master Plan – About the power of Google (ORIGINAL)

google IS big brother – part 1/2

 

google IS big brother – part 2/2

 

Facebook Killed the Private Life

What Facebook Is For

 

 

The Truth about Facebook!

 

Red Squad Back? Big Brother cameras zoom in on Chicago

 

Someone’s Watching part 1

 

Someone’s Watching part 2

 

No Place To Hide part 1

 

No Place To Hide part 2

 

 

No Place To Hide part 3

 

Big Brother Is Reading Your Email

 

Rockefeller Interview & Real ID/RFID Conspiracy

 

The Chip, 911 and The New World Order

 

Google turns to NSA after China Cyber Attack

 

Hackers Breach U.S. Defense Contractors Security Networks

“1984” SUMMARY/OVERVIEW — George Orwell’s “1984” … from 60second Recap®

 

Background Articles and Videos

 

NSA allies with Internet carriers to thwart cyber attacks against defense firms

By ,

“…The National Security Agency is working with Internet service providers to deploy a new generation of tools to scan e-mail and other digital traffic with the goal of thwarting cyberattacks against defense firms by foreign adversaries, senior defense and industry officials say.

The novel program, which began last month on a voluntary, trial basis, relies on sophisticated NSA data sets to identify malicious programs slipped into the vast stream of Internet data flowing to the nation’s largest defense firms. Such attacks, including one last month against Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin, are nearly constant as rival nations and terrorist groups seek access to U.S. military secrets.

“We hope the . . . cyber pilot can be the beginning of something bigger,” Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III said at a global security conference in Paris on Thursday. “It could serve as a model that can be transported to other critical infrastructure sectors, under the leadership of the Department of Homeland Security.”

The prospect of a role for the NSA, the nation’s largest spy agency and a part of the Defense Department, in helping Internet service providers filter domestic Web traffic already had sparked concerns among privacy activists. Lynn’s suggestion that the program might be extended beyond the work of defense contractors threatened to raise the stakes. …”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/major-internet-service-providers-cooperating-with-nsa-on-monitoring-traffic/2011/06/07/AG2dukXH_story.html

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Hacker Obama (HO): We Are From The Federal Government and We Are Here To Help You–Don’t You Believe Him!–Cash For Clunkers or Invasion of Privacy???

Posted on July 31, 2009. Filed under: Blogroll, Economics, Education, Employment, government spending, Investments, Law, liberty, Life, Links, People, Philosophy, Politics, Quotations, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Video | Tags: , , , , , , |

UPDATED

Glenn Beck – The Government Removes Disclaimer,But Not The Law

 

Glenn Beck: Obama’s Giant Computer Worm Will Take Over The World!

 

Glenn Beck: The Man Who Conned America is Now The Biggest Hacker in The World—Barack Obama

 

Here you can go directly to the login page, which will load instantly and avoid the delays loading the page normally:

 

https://supplierpayments.esc.gov/OA_HTML/RF.jsp?function_id=28716&resp_id=-1&resp_appl_id=-1&security_group_id=0&lang_code=US&params=P0zQILIBWeGCk9LqBNM1oA

 

This application provides access to the DoT CARS system. When logged on to the CARS system, your computer is considered a Federal computer system and is the property of the United States Government. It is for authorized use only. Users (authorized or unauthorized) have no explicit or implicit expectation of privacy.

 

Any or all uses of this system and all files on this system may be intercepted, monitored, recorded, copied, audited, inspected, and disclosed to authorized CARS, DoT, and law enforcement personnel, as well as authorized officials of other agencies, both domestic and foreign. By using this system, the user consents to such interception, monitoring, recording, copying, auditing, inspection, and disclosure at the discretion CARS or the DoT personnel.

Unauthorized or improper use of this system may result in administrative disciplinary action and civil and criminal penalties.

Unauthorized attempts to defeat or circumvent security features, to use the system for other than intended purposes, to deny service to authorized users, to access, obtain, alter, damage, or destroy information, or otherwise to interfere with the system or its operation are prohibited. Evidence of such acts may be disclosed to law enforcement authorities and result in criminal prosecution under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 (Public Law 99-474) and the National Information Infrastructure Protection Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-294), (18 U.S.C. 1030), or other applicable criminal laws.

 

Peter Schiff Cash For Clunkers

 

Glenn Beck – 7/31/2009: Washington figures out people like handouts

 

First Person: ‘Cash for Clunkers’ a Forms Wreck

 

**Breaking** Cash for Clunkers Con = Car Dealers Stealing Millions in Bailouts?

 

Cash for Clunkers

Cash for “Clunkers”…

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1949: Big Brother–2009: Big Barack–Room 101–Newspeak–Redux Nineteen Eighty-Four!

Posted on March 27, 2009. Filed under: Art, Philosophy, Politics, Uncategorized, Video, War | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

“I worked out an anarchistic theory that all government is evil, that the punishment always does more harm than the crime and the people can be trusted to behave decently if you will only let them alone.'”

~George Orwell

 

 

George Orwell 1984 P1

 

Barack Obama speech – Election Night – Times Square NY 

 

Room 101

“You asked me once, what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world.”

~O’Brien

 

 

Background Articles and Videos

 

 

George Orwell

“Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950),[1] better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English author. His work is marked by a profound consciousness of social injustice, an intense opposition to totalitarianism, and a passion for clarity in language.

Considered “perhaps the 20th century’s best chronicler of English culture”,[2] he wrote works in many different genres including novels, essays, polemic journalism, literary reviews, and poetry. His most famous works are the satirical novel Animal Farm (1945) and the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). …”

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Orwell

 

Nineteen Eighty-Four

Nineteen Eighty-Four is a classic dystopian novel by English author George Orwell. Published in 1949, it is set in the eponymous year and focuses on a repressive, totalitarian regime. The story follows the life of one seemingly insignificant man, Winston Smith, a civil servant assigned the task of perpetuating the regime’s propaganda by falsifying records and political literature. Smith grows disillusioned with his meagre existence and so begins a rebellion against the system that leads to his arrest and torture.

The novel has become famous for its portrayal of pervasive government surveillance and control, and government’s increasing encroachment on the rights of the individual. Since its publication, many of its terms and concepts, such as “Big Brother,” “doublethink” and “Newspeak” have entered the popular vernacular. The word “Orwellian” itself has come to refer to anything reminiscent of the book’s fictional regime. …”

“…The Thought Police later capture Winston and Julia in their sanctuary bedroom and they are separately interrogated at the Ministry of Love, where the regime’s opponents are tortured and killed, but sometimes released (to be executed at a later date). Charrington, the shop keeper who rented them the room reveals himself an officer of the Thought Police. After a prolonged regimen of systematic beatings by prison guards and psychologically draining interrogations by Party loyalists, Winston is subjected to electroshock torture by O’Brien, who tells Winston it will “cure” him of his “insanity”, which O’Brien claims undeniably manifests itself in the form of Winston’s hatred for the Party. During a long and complex dialogue, O’Brien reveals, in what is the most important line in the book, that the motivation of the Inner Party is not to achieve a future paradise but to retain power, which has become an end in itself. He outlines a terrifying vision of how they will change society and people in order to achieve this, including the abolition of the family, the orgasm, and the sex instinct, with the ultimate goal of eliminating anything that may come between one’s love of Big Brother and Ingsoc. It will be a society that grows more, not less merciless as it refines itself, and a society without art, literature, or science, so that there are no distractions from their devotion to the Party, or any unorthodox thought, which is also meant to be achieved through the eventual eradication of Modern English, or “Oldspeak”. During a session, O’Brien explains that the purpose of the ordeal at the Ministry of Love is to alter Winston’s way of thinking, not to extract a confession, and that once Winston unquestioningly accepts reality as the Party describes it, he will be executed. …”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Eighty-Four

Room 101

Room 101 is a place introduced in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. It is a torture chamber in the Ministry of Love in which the Party attempts to subject a prisoner to his or her own worst nightmare, fear or phobia.

 

You asked me once, what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world.
 
— O’Brien

Such is the purported omniscience of the state in the society of Nineteen Eighty-Four that even a citizen’s nightmares are known to the Party. The nightmare—and therefore the threatened punishment—of the protagonist Winston Smith is to be attacked by rats. Smith saves himself by begging the authorities to let his lover, Julia, have her face gnawed out by the ferocious rodents instead. The torture—and what Winston does to escape it—breaks his last promise to himself and to Julia: never to betray her emotionally. The book suggests that Julia is likewise subjected to her own worst fear, and when she and Winston later meet in a park, he notices a scar on her forehead. The original intent of threatening Winston with the rats was not necessarily to go through with the act, but to force him into betraying the only person he loved and therefore break his spirit.

Orwell named Room 101 after a conference room at BBC Broadcasting House where he used to sit through tedious meetings.[1] …”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Room_101

 

1984 ~~ Part : 01 of 12

 

 

1984 ~~ Part : 02 of 12

 

 

1984 ~~ Part : 03 of 12

 

1984 ~~ Part : 04 of 12

 

george orwell 1984 P5

 

 

george orwell 1984 P6

 

 

george orwell 1984 P7

 

 

george orwell 1984 P8  

 

george orwell 1984 P9

 

1984 ~~ Part : 07 of 12

 

1984 ~~ Part : 8 of 12

 

 

1984 ~~ Part : 9 of 12

 

1984 ~~ Part : 10 of 12

 

1984 ~~ Part : 11 of 12

 

1984 ~~ Part : 12 of 12

 

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