House Moves Ahead With CISPA, Despite Criticism Of The “Cybersecurity” Bill

us capitol building SC 300x199 House Moves Ahead With CISPA, Despite Criticism Of The Cybersecurity Bill

House Republicans are pushing ahead with legislation to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure and corporations from electronic attacks despite Obama administration objections that the legislation fails to protect Americans’ civil liberties.

The House begins work Thursday on the bill designed to address the cybersecurity threat by getting the private sector and government to share information to thwart attacks from foreign governments, terrorists and cybercriminals. Although the information sharing is voluntary, civil liberty groups fear the measure could lead to government spying on Americans.

The administration objections run deeper.

“The sharing of information must be conducted in a manner that preserves Americans’ privacy, data confidentiality and civil liberties and recognizes the civilian nature of cyberspace,” the administration said in a statement Wednesday. “Cybersecurity and privacy are not mutually exclusive.”

The administration also complained that the bill’s liability protection for companies that share information is too broad and argued that the Homeland Security Department should have a primary role in domestic cybersecurity. In its current form, the administration said, the president’s advisers would recommend a veto.

Read More at OfficialWire. By Donna Cassata.

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Obama’s NSA Close To Knowing All About Us?

NSA logo SC Obamas NSA Close to Knowing All About Us?

Not long before Dick Armey – a conservative Republican constitutionalist – retired as House majority leader, he gave a speech expressing his worry about the government’s increasing blanket surveillance over We the People. He practically begged President George W. Bush to “use these tools we have given you to make us safe in such a manner that’ll preserve our freedom” (my book, “The War on the Bill of Rights and the Gathering Resistance,” Seven Stories Press, 2003).

Bush’s response, alas, was to listen more and more to Vice President Dick Cheney.

And now for the first time in American history, according to the Government Accountability Project’s Jesselyn Radack, Attorney General Eric Holder has officially and publicly declared “new guidelines that permit the federal counterterrorism investigators to collect, search and store data about Americans who are not suspected of terrorism, or anything …

“According to the Justice Department, law enforcement and other national security agencies can copy entire databases and sift through the data for suspicious patterns to stop potential terrorist threats” (“Govt. Keeping Data on Americans With No Connection to Terrorism,”, March 23).

Where in the Constitution do “suspicious patterns” – otherwise undefined and outside the jurisdiction of our courts – allow the government to put large and growing numbers of us into databases for future tracking?

Read More at WND.

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The NSA’s New Capabilities Are A Threat To Our Freedoms

nsa aerial SC 300x240 The NSA’s new capabilities are a threat to our freedoms

James Bamford, whose track record on all things associated with the National Security Council (NSA) is excellent, has a chilling article in Wired about the NSA’s newest facilities and capabilities. They are jaw-dropping. In effect, he is telling us that once the new Utah facility is operational, everything that an American citizen does that involves electronic communication will be captured by NSA—emails, purchases, cell phone calls, text messages. Everything. Bamford doesn’t say it, but I assume that NSA can also do what hackers can do: Get access to the entire contents of disk drives.

Contemplating this capability, we are beyond having to ask whether NSA will watch over the most private affairs of American citizens. That’s already happening, under guidelines that the government assures us limits surveillance to those citizens who pose a threat. The only question is how fast the definition of “threat” will expand from people who pose a clear and present danger of mounting a terrorist attack to people who pose whatever kind of threat is dear to the heart of the administration in power.

Read More at The American. By Charles Murray.

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Obama Wants You (and Your Kids) to Serve the State

Jeffrey Folks,

As negotiations on trimming the national deficit dragged on this spring and summer, it should have been easy to come up with plenty of programs to cut. One candidate would be the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the umbrella organization that sponsors AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Learn and Serve America, the Social Innovation Fund, and other community service programs. So far, however, thanks in part to vigorous lobbying on the part of its staff, liberal supporters, and alumni, the Corporation has escaped the axe.

The title “United We Serve” is, of course, a take on the popular phrase, “united we stand, divided we fall.” It is a sentiment that can be traced back centuries but that has resurfaced among those on the left. The song “United We Stand” was recorded by the aptly named musical group The Brotherhood of Man in 1970. The same sentiment appears in a host of pop songs, including “Hey You” by Pink Floyd. While “United We Stand” can be understood to mean many things, it has recently taken on powerful suggestions of egalitarianism and universalism — purposes that would seem identical to those of CNCS.

Egalitarianism and universalism are evident in United We Serve’s “My American Story” public service announcements. Featuring Bon Jovi, Usher, and President Obama himself, these radio and television ads call on “all Americans” to get involved in community activism. As a matter of fact, they are practically insulting to anyone who might demur from mentoring disadvantaged children and adults, teaching the disadvantaged how to read, helping to feed the hungry, conducting a home energy audit, planting community gardens, and celebrating the 25th anniversary of Martin Luther King Day by performing community service. As one of the ads has it, you can hardly claim to be living unless you are out there making a difference in your community.

As a fitting tribute to the anniversary of MLK Day, United We Serve suggests that every American perform at least 25 “actions” of community service during 2011. None of those suggested “actions” seem to involve regular employment, at least employment in the private sector. Indeed, those Americans who “just” go to work every day, support their families, obey the law, and mind their own business are portrayed more or less as hopeless deadbeats who should be ashamed of themselves. What are they doing working for businesses that actually produce something of value when they might join the ranks of community servants engaged in organizing, as the Corporation puts it, to “meet growing social needs.”

The propagandistic quality of United We Serve should be obvious. CNCS is not simply encouraging Americans to be more charitable in the way they have always been: by giving generously to their churches and synagogues, for instance. Indeed, there is not a word about charitable religious activity on the Corporation’s website. United We Stand is promoting purely secular forms of community service, and only those forms of service that can be controlled and channeled by….

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The New TSA: Your Facial Expression Could Get You Cavity-Searched

Justin Raimondo,

So, you’re sick and tired of being hassled by Transportation “Security” Administration (TSA) thugs, who fondle your “junk” and force 95-year-old grandmothers to take off their adult diapers?

Well, that’s tough – because it’s about to get worse.

Since 2006, the TSA has been developing a $1 billion program called “Screening Passengers by Observation Techniques” [.pdf] (SPOT) whose proponents – notably, one Rafi Ron, an Israeli airline security “expert” – claim it enables screeners to detect dangerous passengers via nonverbal signals, including facial expressions. The program is undergoing a test run, which began Tuesday at Boston’s Logan airport. So before you wrinkle your nose at that Epsilon-Minus Semi Moron rifling through your suitcase, please be aware that the “micro-expressions” you exhibit can and will be held against you.

As the TSA gropers assaulted Americans at airports, the outraged response of the public was taken up by some conservatives, who promptly declared that we need to organize our air safety campaign along Israeli lines – and now they’ve gotten their wish. Which just goes to underscore the old aphorism about being careful what you wish for.

Because what the Israelis do is pry and probe into every aspect of every airline passengers’ life: questions about their politics as well as their itinerary, about personal issues – you name it. Indeed, every passenger aboard the El Al state-owned Israeli airline is subjected to an extensive interrogation, but it’s hard to see how the relatively small-scale Israeli operation is going to be implemented in the US, which deals with multi-millions of airline passengers every day. The Boston Herald, however, gives us apreview:

Under the SPOT program, as passengers hand over their boarding passes and identification, specially trained agents will ask three to four questions — from ‘Where have you been?” to “Do you have a business card?” and “Where are you traveling?” — while looking for “micro expressions,” such as lack of eye contact, that might hint at nefarious intent.

“Suspicious individuals will be pulled aside for more questioning, full-body scans and pat-downs. If the encounter escalates, agents will call in state police.

If you fail to look that plug-ugly TSA moron in the face, and meet his beady-eyed gazehead on, you can look forward to a full-scale assault, which – don’t forget – could “escalate” if you bat an eyelid, in which case the Fullerton Police Department will be called in to do to you what they did to Kelly Thomas.

Oh, but don’t worry, folks….

Read more.