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Posts Tagged ‘Surveillance

Comprehensive Immigration Reform: the danger of E-Verify

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May 16, 2013   BORDC   Everify

Over the next several weeks, the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider Comprehensive Immigration Reform (S744), which would include a mandatory E-Verify system.  E-Verify is an internet-based program accessed by employers when processing new hires.  It compares information from an Employee’s Eligibility Verification Form I-9 to data from U.S. government records.  The potential for E-Verify to become compulsory is quite controversial for several reasons – namely its disregard for personal privacy, the unnecessary obstacles it imposes to employment, and the fundamental change that it would signify in the relationship between U.S. government and U.S. citizen.

While allegedly created to target undocumented individuals, E-Verify would negatively affect documented U.S. citizens as well.  Every job applicant would have to face an E-Verify background check, and unless the system is 100% accurate 100% of the time, these background checks will become a nightmare.  Chris Calabrese, Senior Legislative Counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union explains:

When you make a giant list of everybody who’s able to work in the United States, that list has to be completely accurate, because if there are mistakes in it, the result is those mistakes – those mistaken people can’t work.

These citizens will be required to petition the government to correct the mistake, creating a bureaucratic nightmare that will likely stall their job hunting process by weeks (if not longer).  Calabrese calls this the “prove yourself to work” system that will hurt ordinary citizens.  This signifies a fundamental shift in relationship between government and populace – no longer are we innocent until proven guilty. We are now guilty until proven worthy of a job.  Gone will be the days of applying for a job, waiting on a quick background check, and becoming employed – now all citizens will have to wait for I-9s to be verified against a massive list of personal information housed by the government.

Beyond undue obstacles to employment lies an even more frightening truth about E-Verify: the invasion of privacy.  Shahid Buttar wrote in a previous article that Comprehensive Immigration Reform would likely become a Trojan Horse for larger government surveillance, and E-Verify is just one manifestation of that government surveillance.  Involving the government in something as routine as application for employment unnecessarily involves political bureaucracy in one’s personal life.  More disconcerting, though, is the fact that so much personal information would be available from a single database – a dream for identity thieves.

E-Verify is but one example of how the new programs proposed in Comprehensive Immigration Reform would affect all U.S. citizens, not merely a small percentage of undocumented individuals.  Like Next Generation Initiative (NGI), which would track individuals from city to city, scan not just fingerprints but irises and scars to help track and identify individuals, E-Verify signifies a broadening state of surveillance.  In an article about NGI’s expansion of biometric databases, Alternet wrote, “Advancements in the collection of biometric data are double-edged: there’s the treat of a massive government surveillance infrastructure working too well – e.g., surveillance state – and there are concerns about its weaknesses, especially in keeping data secure.”  The same can be said for E-Verify; it would likely be the gateway to a growing surveillance state, and the information stored within E-Verify would be susceptible to hacking.   While this country is in dire need of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, we must be wary of “enforcement-first” immigration policies like NGI and E-Verify, which will only infringe on the rights of American citizens.

Truth Decay: reality vs. perception management

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First, define it.  (Tough one, huh?)  In an era of plausible deniability, drone over-kill and high-tech surveillance it is perfectly reasonable to suspect both events and motives. I expected this article might be another to put tin foil hats on the usual suspects but it has a little different approach, and it’s worth reading.

What was ‘reality’ when people were encouraged to “Remember the Maine!”? We still don’t know for sure. But with the sophisticated and highly paid perception management industry busy twisting facts into talking points, we need to keep our critical thinking caps on 24/7. It’s too easy to obscure a nasty black-op with a “conspiracy theory” label.



By Greg Guma      May 25, 2011          AlterNet   

Truth Decay: Conspiracy Theories and Hoaxes Are Blurring Reality

How about some accountability for the false prophets, gross opportunists, and irresponsible rumor-mongers who threaten society with truth decay?

After his End Times prediction failed last week millionaire radio prophet Harold Camping eventually came up with an excuse.  During his show “Open Forum” in Oakland on May 23, he explained that the world will still end in October. It’s a process and we’re just getting started. That’s a relief. At first I thought millions of people had just wasted days of time and energy fussing over some hairbrained idea.

There are so many theories out there. Obama is a secret Muslim – millions of people believe that, secular humanists want to repress religion, and liberals are plotting to confiscate people’s guns and push a “gay agenda.” At the opposite end of the political spectrum, there’s the assertion that 9/11 was an inside job and all that this entails. No offense meant. I’ve been called a “conspiracy nut” myself, specifically for saying that we should know more about the attack on the Twin Towers. Still, a modern-day Reichstag fire at multiple locations does qualify as a radical conclusion.

I usually resist the urge to challenge the controversial theories of fellow travelers, at least in mixed company. The other night, for example, during a discussion about Al-Qaeda after Osama, a speaker casually asserted that President Roosevelt knew about the attack on Pearl Harbor in advance and let it happen. No one said a word. I considered questioning the notion but let it pass.

Anything’s possible, right? Why be rude? But some theories and predictions are too important. They are widely accepted as indisputable and part of an overall world view, usually linked with an anti-establishment ideology. They have practical consequences for social action, can spark deep divisions, and influence how people see and treat others. In some groups, if you question the conclusions of a prevailing theory you’re either a dupe or a collaborator.

Deep skepticism is often at the root, a good thing in general. After all, so much of what we once believed has turned out to be a lie, or at least a very selective version of reality. But still, shouldn’t there be standards? Also, why do some theories get all the attention while others, perhaps more credible ones, get buried? And can’t we at least call people to account when their claims repeatedly lead down false trails?

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Questions Raised About U.S. Firm’s Role in Egypt Internet Crackdown

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Date: January 28, 2011
Contact: Jenn Ettinger, 202-265-1490 x 35

WASHINGTON — A U.S. company appears to have sold Egypt technology to monitor Internet and mobile phone traffic that is possibly being used by the ruling regime to crack down on communications as protests erupt throughout the country. Boeing-owned, California-based company Narus sold Telecom Egypt, the state-run Internet service provider, “real-time traffic intelligence” equipment, more commonly known as Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology. DPI is content-filtering technology that allows network managers to inspect, track and target content from Internet users and mobile phones as it passes through routers on the Web.

The company is also known for creating “NarusInsight,” a supercomputer system allegedly used by the National Security Agency and other entities to perform mass surveillance and monitoring of public and corporate Internet communications in real time.

Narus Vice President of Marketing Steve Bannerman said to Wired in 2006: “Anything that comes through (an Internet protocol network), we can record. We can reconstruct all of their e-mails along with attachments, see what web pages they clicked on, we can reconstruct their [Voice Over Internet Protocol] calls.”

Free Press Campaign Director Timothy Karr made the following statement:

“What we are seeing in Egypt is a frightening example of how the power of technology can be abused. Commercial operators trafficking in Deep Packet Inspection technology to violate Internet users’ privacy is bad enough; in government hands, that same invasion of privacy can quickly lead to stark human rights violations.

“Companies that profit from sales of this technology need to be held to a higher standard. The same technology U.S. and European companies want to use to monitor and monetize their customers’ online activities is being used by regimes in Iran, China, Burma and others for far more suspicious, and possibly brutal, purposes.

“The harm to democracy and the power to control the Internet are so disturbing that the threshold for the global trafficking in DPI must be set very high. That’s why, before DPI becomes more widely used around the world and at home, Congress must establish legitimate standards for preventing the use of such control and surveillance technologies as means to violate human rights.”

For more information, read Karr’s story at the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/timothy-karr/one-us-corporations-role-_b_815281.html

Judge refers to Orwell in GPS case

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BORDC January 2, 2011  by David Wilson

A superior court judge in Delaware has struck down evidence that was obtained via warrantless GPS tracking. In her ruling, Judge Jan R. Jurden stated,

(A)n Orwellian state is now technologically feasible…without adequate judicial preservation of privacy, there is nothing to protect our citizens from being tracked 24/7…

Police had stated that they had the defendant under surveillance for 20 days. He was arrested after being observed in what appeared to be a “cash-for-drugs exchange.”

Judge Jurden’s reasoning was,

…the same legal principle that allows officers to tail a suspect in traffic, without a warrant, doesn’t apply to GPS because the devices reveal far more about a person under surveillance than physical surveillance could—and more than police need.

“Prolonged GPS surveillance provides more information than one reasonably expects to ‘expose to the public,’” she wrote. “The whole of one’s movement over a prolonged period of time tells a vastly different story than movement over a day as may be completed by manned surveillance.”.

While “the ruling falls in line with judicial opinions in New York, Massachusetts and elsewhere,” the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals “issued a ruling last August effectively allowing the use of GPS tracking without a warrant.” The police agencies within the Court’s jurisdiction are allowed to use the GPS devices without a warrant.

Judge Jurden’s ruling is expected to be appealed.

Written by laudyms

January 3, 2011 at 10:58 am

Northern Arizona University to Monitor Students with Chipped ID cards

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The larger issue being overlooked is the growing use of tracking devices in the U.S., and how willing most people are to be tagged and set loose in the “wild” where their movements and spending habits are monitored, recorded and filed away for someone’s future use.

Ann Bibby Care2.com May 5, 2010

Northern Arizona State will soon track class attendance via an RFID (radio frequency identification) chip in student ID cards. The system, which is similar to one used at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, will use sensors to detect students as they enter classrooms. The data collected will be recorded and shared with professors.

Predictably, students are unhappy and, with equal predictability, have taken their discontent to Facebook via the protest group although some of the more energetic have started petitions against the proposed practice.

University officials say their aim is only to increase student attendance and improve performance though, with enough sensors, they could easily track students’ whereabouts on campus at all times. Students counter, correctly, that they are adults and whether they attend class regularly, on time or pass at all is not the university’s business.

The larger issue being overlooked is the growing use of tracking devices in the U.S., and how willing most people are to be tagged and set loose in the “wild” where their movements and spending habits are monitored, recorded and filed away for someone’s future use.

Since 2006 U.S. passports have been issued with 64-kilobyte RFID chips that carry the name, date and place of birth, nationality, and gender as well as a digitized photo of the person.

Credit card companies are slowly replacing existing cards with RFID chipped cards that also contain confidential information about the customer, and the states have been under intense pressure from the Federal government to comply with the REAL ID act, which make national ID cards out of drivers’ licenses.

Privacy advocates point out that RFID technology, despite encryption, still leaves people’s information vulnerable to anyone with a bit of technical know-how and a scanner, and chipping is fast becoming a go-to “safety” method of choice that has left the general population grumbling.

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Nat’l ID card + microchip required by Immigration Bill

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The NYT reported yesterday (3/18/10) that senators Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, and Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina have introduced:

“..a proposal to overhaul the immigration system, which would require illegal immigrants to admit they broke the law before they could gain legal status and require all workers in the United States to carry a biometric identity card to prove that they are eligible to work…..

The plan calls for a big increase in immigration agents patrolling workplaces, and would require all workers, including legal immigrants and American citizens, to present a tamper-proof Social Security card when they apply for jobs. Biometric identity information would be stored on the card and not in any government database, according to an explanatory document from the senators.”

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