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Rule 41 changes pass – long live legalized electronic eavesdropping of all Americans!

The new Rule 41 dictate is going to be law and it's a doozy, both mind-boggling (for its stupidity) and stomach-churning (for its stupidity) at the same time. Effectively, what the law does is allow any judge, anywhere (including Podunk, Texas), to grant a warrant for electronic surveillance of any US citizen. If you thought the NSA spying fiasco was bad – you ain't seen nothing yet.
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How to tell if you’re on a government watchlist (and how to get on and off the wild ride)

People often wonder if their names have somehow made it to the “the list”, that watchlist of US citizens whom the government suspects may be up to something. I would venture to say, the best way to know if you’re on the watchlist would be to recognize how often you find yourself forced into unique situations that fall far beyond the norm.
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More Snowden leaks – now we find NSA is scraping data from mobile games

The Guardian and New York Times revealed today that the National Security Agency and its UK counterpart, GCHQ, have been working to take advantage of “leaky” smartphone apps, such as the popular Angry Birds game (which according to the report, was used as a “case study” in smartphone surveillance). According to top-secret documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden, the apps transmit users’ private data across the Internet which the NSA took steps to “piggyback on” to collect for its own purposes.
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Microsoft leads charge to curtail government surveillance of citizen’s Internet activity

Microsoft is leading the charge in calling for governments around the world to use secret surveillance of Internet users only in accordance with specific, define legal processes. Microsoft, who counts amongst its allies AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Yahoo, referred specifically to allegations against the United States that were revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
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Snowden leaks prompt talk of constraint on NSA practices – Traitor? He’s a National Hero!

Spy? Traitor? How about "National Hero". The United States wants to label Edward Snowden a “spy” and “traitor” for revealing NSA practices to the American public. The leaks from Edward Snowden regarding the unscrupulous data collection practices of the National Security Agency prompted a US scramble to plug the leak and stem the tide of information that the Guardian was making publicly available. As a result of Snowden’s bold disclosures (and the Guardian who bravely published them), the White House announced a series of proposed reforms meant to increase the transparency of, and the constraints on, the NSA.
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Can we deduce how NSA’s electronic surveillance programs work? Yes, and here’s how it’s done.

Access to complete phone records of all Americans is only the tip of the iceberg. Details from whistleblower Edward Snowden recently revealed that a top-secret NSA program named “XKeyscore” allows National Security Agency analysts to search (with no prior authorization) through vast databases containing content of emails, online chats, social networking sessions, web content searches, websites visited of millions of Americans – everything that a person does over the Internet. The revelation comes via a secret XKeyscore training document that found its way into the public realm. From the document, we can deduce a bit about how XKeyscore works and the technology behind it.
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NSA to Congress: “But we want ALL the data. Any other way is just TOO hard.”

The Wall Street Journal has revealed that a “select few lawmakers” have received a heads up from the NSA regarding their controversial sweeping telephone-surveillance program whereby the major phone companies provide the NSA with the phone records of *all* of their customers. In response to White House and Congress demands that the NSA change the program to one that conducts a selective search against telephone company records, the NSA has told the technologically-literate Congress, “Sorry, no can do. It’s just tooooo hard.”

Americans outraged at Verizon court order providing phone records for all customers

Americans are expressing outrage at the revelation that from April to July of this year, the White House used Section 215 of the Patriot Act to obtain a secret court order for all phone records (records that show originating and terminating phone numbers, their location, time and duration but not "substantive content of any communication") from Verizon Business Network Service. Even before this week's Verizon controversy, privacy advocates had long criticized Section 215 as vastly expanding the FBI's power to spy on Americans.
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Amidst America’s “fiscal cliff” focus, US Senators voted to renew FISA allowing continuation of warrantless wiretaps

US Senators voted this morning to renew FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act), a controversial act that allows warrantless wiretaps. The current authorization was set to expire on January 1, 2013. The re-authorization extends the bill through 2013 and for four more years beyond that. Three amendments were proposed and shot down yesterday allowing the bill to be renewed without any changes. The current “fiscal cliff” problem may have redirected attention away from the bill.

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