More good stuff on surveillance – 7-23-13

(Cross-post from my other blog, Outrun Change.)

There are a lot of articles discussing the surveillance world we now live in. I would like to comment on many of them in a full post. Alas, time does not permit.

I will start putting up a list of good stuff that I’d like talk about but only have time to recommend with a quick comment. Hopefully this will be a frequent list of links.

Here’s my first list:

Foreign Policy – The CIA’s New Black Bag Is Digital – When the NSA can’t break into your computer, these guys break into your houseArticle claims the number of ‘black bag’ entries jobs by the CIA is at a post-Cold War high. The article asserts that agents can gain surreptitious entry and place their software on laptops, servers, fiber optic lines, or phone switching equipment.  Biggest news in the article, at least for me, is the long hostility between the NSA and CIA has been smoothed over.

AP – Driving somewhere? There’s a gov’t record of that – Article provides overview of how extensive the programs are for automated gathering of license plate date, including where and when the licenses were observed.

An ACLU study in Maryland indicated that 29 million plates were scanned from January through May of last year. Of those, there were about 60,000 suspicious hits. Of those, 97% were for a registration problem or breaking the emissions inspection rules. Of 29,000,000 scans, about 58,200 had a DMV compliance issue and 1,800 had something more serious than an expired tag or missing an inspection.

AP – Broad coalition sues feds to halt electronic surveillance by National Security Agency – Nineteen nonprofit agencies filed sued against the NSA over electronic surveillance. The goal, I think, is to move forward the idea that such surveillance is unconstitutional. The most interesting thing, to me at least, is the broad range of organizations involved. Here’s the members of the group that I can easily find:  Electronic Frontier Foundation, First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles, the Council on American Islamic Relations Foundation, Greenpeace, Human Rights Watch, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, The Calguns Foundation, California chapter of NORML. In terms of an average, that group is definitely left of center but it isn’t unanimously so.

Foreign Policy – 3 Degrees of Separation Is Enough to Have You Watched By the NSA – Testimony to Congress indicates the NSA is monitoring 117,000 “active surveillance targets.” And their contacts. Out to 3 “hops”. That means the targets, their contacts, their contacts’ contacts, and their contacts’ contacts’ contacts. That’s surveillance out to 3 degrees of separation.

One study found that each of us is linked to another random person on the planet by 4.7 degrees of separation. And another concluded that any person can find his or her way to a stranger in only three hops.

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