In the brave new world of cloud computing, where data is stored off-site in massive server farms instead of on a user's local hard drive, privacy and security are paramount in the consumer's mind. Unfortunately for privacy advocates, their concerns are essentially moot thanks to the U.S.A. Patriot Act, which a key Microsoft official said recently permits the U.S. to spy on data stored within cloud servers across the European Union. The revelation of transcontinental spying, which has long been suspected, came from Gordon Frazer, Microsoft U.K.'s managing director, speaking at an announcement event for the company's new suite of office software. Frazer's admission was caught by ZDNet reporter Zack Whittaker, who's long covered data security issues as they relate to the Patriot Act.
Tag Archives | PATRIOT Act
Is President Obama getting away with some of the same offenses that led to Nixon’s resignation? Daniel Ellsberg thinks so. The Raw Story reports:
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Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg said Tuesday that disgraced former Republican President Richard M. Nixon would “admire [President Barack] Obama’s boldness” in trying to stifle whistleblowers.
“Richard Nixon, if he were alive today, might take bittersweet satisfaction to know that he was not the last smart president to prolong unjustifiably a senseless, unwinnable war, at great cost in human life,” Ellsberg told CNN. “And his aide Henry Kissinger was not the last American official to win an undeserved Nobel Peace Prize.”
“He would probably also feel vindicated (and envious) that ALL the crimes he committed against me — which forced his resignation facing impeachment — are now legal,” he continued.
“That includes burglarizing my former psychoanalyst’s office (for material to blackmail me into silence), warrantless wiretapping, using the CIA against an American citizen in the US, and authorizing a White House hit squad to ‘incapacitate me totally’ (on the steps of the Capitol on May 3, 1971)… But under George W.
Did you lose yourself? Did they get to you? If so, then how? You represented some good principles when you ran for president, and you said a lot of good things.
It’s not that you lied, but it’s like you made promises that you couldn’t keep. I don’t blame you, it’s a structural and systemic problem, it’s not your fault. But, will you be coming back to the side of the citizenry anytime soon? Will you leave the side of multinational corporations and the big bankers and the military industrial complex? Or is is possible that you were never with us in the first place? Sometimes you make me more sad and angry than George W. Bush did when he was president (at least you didn’t steal the elections!).
Regardless, enjoy the G-8. If you get a chance, please tell those protesters I say hi.… Read the rest
Spencer Ackerman reports on Senator Ron Wyden’s claim that there’s a secret Patriot Act, for Wired:
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You think you understand how the Patriot Act allows the government to spy on its citizens. Sen. Ron Wyden says it’s worse than you know.
Congress is set to reauthorize three controversial provisions of the surveillance law as early as Thursday. Wyden (D-Oregon) says that powers they grant the government on their face, the government applies a far broader legal interpretation — an interpretation that the government has conveniently classified, so it cannot be publicly assessed or challenged. But one prominent Patriot-watcher asserts that the secret interpretation empowers the government to deploy ”dragnets” for massive amounts of information on private citizens; the government portrays its data-collection efforts much differently.
“We’re getting to a gap between what the public thinks the law says and what the American government secretly thinks the law says,” Wyden told Danger Room in an interview in his Senate office.
disinformation editor’s note: The intent of this article is NOT to imply Osama Bin Laden is a fictional character. Please read the article in full and note it was written nearly ten years ago.
On September 19th, 2001, just one week after the 9/11 tragedies, Frothsburg State University economics professor William L. Anderson wrote a piece entitled, “Osama and Goldstein”. He spoke of a parallel between Osama Bin Laden and Emmanuel Goldstein, the contrived enemy of the state in George Orwell’s 1984. Over the past decade Bin Laden has become the face of terror throughout the western world and the focus of its people’s fear, anger, and hatred. Now that he is dead (read “dead” if you prefer), I believe it would be appropriate to revisit this article from William L. Anderson on LewRockwell.com:
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In George Orwell’s classic 1984, the government of Oceania — Big Brother — tells the people that they have a common enemy — Goldstein.
“Lawmakers will soon start debating” … yeah right, it seems like the PATRIOT Act is a permanent reality. I’d like to know more about the scope of this “lone wolf” provision. Via the Washington Post:
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President Barack Obama has signed a three-month extension of key surveillance provisions of the Patriot Act.
The law extends two areas of the 2001 act. One provision allows law enforcement officials to set roving wiretaps to monitor multiple communication devices. The other allows them to ask a special court for access to business and library records that could be relevant to a terrorist threat.
A third provision gives the FBI court-approved rights for surveillance of non-American “lone wolf” suspects — those not known to be tied to specific terrorist groups.
Obama signed the three-month extension of the provisions Friday. They were to expire Monday.
Lawmakers will soon start debating a multiple-year extension of the provisions, which have drawn fire from defenders of privacy rights.
Check out these two news reports. Hypocrisy, politics, or both?
Simmi Aujla reports in the Politico:
Top House Democrats pounced on Republicans’ mishandling of a routine vote Tuesday evening, which caused a bill to extend provisions of the Patriot Act go down in defeat.
The Democrats said Wednesday morning that the failed vote is a sign that Republican leaders aren’t prepared to handle the practical difficulties of governing.
“I don’t think they’ve found their center yet,” Democratic Caucus conference chair Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) said. “It seems they’re coming apart at the seams.”
Rank-and-file Republicans threw off Republican leaders’ plans for the measure, which was expected to pass easily, when a large enough number bucked their party and voted no. The measure fell short of the two-thirds vote it needed by 13 votes.
But Greg Sargent reports in the Washington Post:
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Yesterday, a vote on reauthorizing three expiring provisions of the Patriot Act failed after most Democrats and a few Republicans voted against it.
Via Media Roots:
In George Orwell’s 1984, Britain is depicted as a totalitarian police state that is ruled by the Party, or Big Brother — an enigmatic, ubiquitous elite that controls society through heavy surveillance, nationalist propaganda and historical revisionism.
The concept seems like a far-fetched portrayal of a Democratic nation’s demise into totalitarianism, but in America’s “post 9/11” climate of fear, the United States government has been building a comprehensive grid of surveillance and control that bears frightening similarities to Orwell’s fictional narrative.
The glaring difference between the two is that Orwell’s dystopian society is overtly totalitarian. America, conversely, operates under a “soft fascism” – an insidious, systematic method of preventative action and corporate top-down control over society’s media, economy and politics – while maintaining the necessary illusion of personal choice and freedom. A populous with little to no concept of their subjugation makes them the perfect subjects to rule.… Read the rest