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Decius
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"I don't think the report is true, but these crises work for those who want to make fights between people." Kulam Dastagir, 28, a bird seller in Afghanistan

N.S.A. Plan to Log Calls Is Renewed by Court - NYTimes.com
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:06 pm EDT, Oct 19, 2013

In the six-page opinion, which was signed on Oct. 11, Judge Mary A. McLaughlin said she was personally approving for the first time the extension of the call log metadata program, which must be approved every 90 days.

Mary McLaughlin's decision briefly addresses both the definition of "relevance" and whether the program violates the Fourth Amendment, but she doesn't address the First Amendment, Freedom of Association concerns.

N.S.A. Plan to Log Calls Is Renewed by Court - NYTimes.com


Dick Cheney feared assassination by cardio device hack, had docs turn defibrillator's wireless off - Boing Boing
Topic: Miscellaneous 6:37 pm EDT, Oct 19, 2013

Former vice president Dick Cheney asked his doctors to disable the wireless feature of his implanted heart defibrillator device because he feared that terrorists might try to assassinate him by hacking the device.

Dick Cheney feared assassination by cardio device hack, had docs turn defibrillator's wireless off - Boing Boing


Visual Investigations of Botnet Command and Control Behavior
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:47 am EDT, Oct 15, 2013

The data available from Lancope’s malware research suggests that 85% to 95% of malware samples use TCP port 80 to communicate with their command and control servers. The alternate ports chosen by the remaining samples are worth investigating to determine if there are patterns of port selection behavior that can be useful for detection. In order to learn more about that subject we took a look at the command and control behaviors of a collection of nearly two million unique botnet malware samples that were active between 2010 and 2012. These samples reached out to nearly 150,000 different command and control servers on over 100,000 different TCP and UDP ports. This data set is complex and heterogeneous, and thus it is difficult to analyze. However, when the data is represented visually, patterns emerge that lead to interesting insights.

Visual Investigations of Botnet Command and Control Behavior


Whats really going on with the Government Shutdown
Topic: Miscellaneous 6:34 pm EDT, Oct  7, 2013

This is whats really going on, as succinctly as possible:

“Obamacare continues to be our No. 1 fundraising tool,” said Andrea Bozek, communications director for the NRCC. “We have broken records in our online fundraising and engagement in the last few weeks. Thirteen months is a long time in American politics, and it’s going to seem even longer for House Democrats who will be spending that time defending Obamacare’s broken promises.”

Basically, a lot of money is pouring in to Republicans from constituents who are hearing Obamacare and are seeing a fight against Obama, who is the epitome of evil. The NRCC is pulling on the slot machine arm and money keeps pouring out. They will keep pulling on the slot machine all the way till the deadline, because money will keep pouring out, and there is no reason to stop collecting it.

They figure in 13 months no one will remember this Government shutdown. If there is some sort of permanent economic consequence, people might remember that in 13 months, so its likely that they have the presence of mind to give in right before the last moment so that doesn't happen. But there is no way that they are going to do so beforehand because the controversy is causing gold to literally rain from the sky, and they don't have to give any of these donations back once they capitulate.

Republicans will continue to attempt to associate any Healthcare related problem or annoyance with Obama and the Democrats. Any hiccup or issue at all with the implementation of this system will be responded to with the refrain: "Oh, if only it wasn't for Obamacare!" This is simply because it is strategic to do so. People are more likely to notice minor things that are annoying to them whereas they aren't keeping track of who does and does not have access to healthcare unless they are a member of the minority of people who does not have access now.

This will continue unless one of two things happens:

1. People remember these shenanigans at the polls, and the consequences cost the Republicans in a way that is more important than the funds they are raising.

2. Obamacare gets implemented, people become accustomed to it, they decide its no big deal and stop giving the Republicans money whenever they bitch about it. (See Medicare.)

Whats really going on with the Government Shutdown


Shutdown could diminish GOP hopes of winning Senate - The Washington Post
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:04 am EDT, Oct  4, 2013

The political fallout from the partial government shutdown does not appear likely to affect the House Republicans who instigated it, given that so many of them come from deeply conservative districts where their constituents cheered the confrontation with President Obama.

But others in the GOP are worried.

Party veterans say they are increasingly concerned that a prolonged standoff in Washington could damage their prospects for winning back the Senate in 2014.

Shutdown could diminish GOP hopes of winning Senate - The Washington Post


EFF's Cheat Sheet to Congress' NSA Spying Bills | Electronic Frontier Foundation
Topic: Miscellaneous 5:39 am EDT, Oct  4, 2013

The NSA meta-data program has two chances to survive.

One chance is if the Supreme Court declares that the program meets the definition of "relevant" in response to EPIC's writ of mandamus request. If they do so, it will be by a tight margin, and narrowly tailored to fit the circumstances.

Another chance is if Congress authorizes the program explicitly, which is what Feinstein's bill would do. An explicit Congressional authorization would make the mandamus issue moot. I'm sure the Supremes would appreciate that.

There are three ways that the program could be killed off.

One is if it is declared unconstitutional, which the ACLU suit argues.

One is if EPIC's writ of mandamus is granted, and Congress doesn't act.

The third is if Congress acts to end the program. The linked post at EFF summarizes a bunch of bills in Congress that seek to do that.

The veil of secrecy around the government's illegal and unconstitutional use of both Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act and Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) is being lifted. As a result, Congress has seen a flurry of legislation to try and fix the problems; however, as we've been saying since June there are far more questions than answers about the spying. And Congress must create a special investigative committee to find out the answers. Right now, the current investigations are unable to provide the American public with the information it needs.

For now, here's a quick summary of the bills in Congress drafted after the June leaks that have a chance to go forward. They try to fix Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, curtail the secret law being created by the surveillance court overseeing the spying (The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISA Court), and change how the FISA Court operates. Unfortunately, there is no bill in Congress with prospects of moving forward that tackles Section 702 of FISA—the section used for PRISM.

My calls:
Supremes could go either way on the writ of Mandamus but Congress will pass Feinstein's bill by a narrow margin after Leahy makes it look like a fight and Feinstein begrudgingly accepts "concessions" that involve "reporting" and "transparency" but nothing material.

The ACLU's 4th amendment arguments will not be accepted - the courts will not overturn the third party principle. However, the ACLU's 1st amendment arguments are the stickler. If correctly considered, I think its hard to say that a meta-data program like this does not impact the freedom of association.

EFF's Cheat Sheet to Congress' NSA Spying Bills | Electronic Frontier Foundation


How The NSA Helps JSOC - Business Insider
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:44 am EDT, Oct  3, 2013

"You go in and you get some intelligence ... and [Special Ops forces] kill 27, 30, 40 people, whatever, and they capture seven or eight," U.S. Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson (Ret.), who served as Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff (2002-05), told Scahill. "Then you find out that the intelligence was bad and you killed a bunch of innocent people and you have a bunch of innocent people on your hands, so you stuff 'em in Guantanamo. No one ever knows anything about that."

How The NSA Helps JSOC - Business Insider


Ex-NSA chief jokes about putting Edward Snowden on kill list - The Hill's Hillicon Valley
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:25 am EDT, Oct  3, 2013

"I must admit, in my darker moment over the past several months, I'd also thought of nominating Mr. Snowden, but it was for a different list," Hayden said during a panel discussion on cybersecurity hosted by The Washington Post. 

The audience laughed, and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee who was also on the panel, responded, "I can help you with that." 

Ex-NSA chief jokes about putting Edward Snowden on kill list - The Hill's Hillicon Valley


Seymour Hersh on Obama, NSA and the 'pathetic' American media | Media | theguardian.com
Topic: Miscellaneous 4:33 am EDT, Sep 29, 2013

The Obama administration lies systematically, he claims, yet none of the leviathans of American media, the TV networks or big print titles, challenge him.

"It's pathetic, they are more than obsequious, they are afraid to pick on this guy [Obama]," he declares in an interview with the Guardian.

Seymour Hersh on Obama, NSA and the 'pathetic' American media | Media | theguardian.com


The Importance of Voting
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:06 am EDT, Sep 22, 2013

Every year I give late night remarks at Phreaknic in Nashville, TN, usually about politics and civil liberties. As this convention is also a party, the tradition has evolved into a "drunken rant" in which I'm expected to be intoxicated and people actually bring alcohol for me to drink while I'm speaking. While it makes for good fun, by the end of the talk I'm usually not so good at answering questions that people have. Thinking back on last nights remarks, there are a couple of questions that I think I could have responded to more clearly.

First, Hardwarez asked me why I didn't vote for Romney. I prattled off something about "47%" but it wasn't a good answer to his question.

By 2012 it was clear that Obama hadn't done much to support civil liberties while in office, in spite of all of the statements that he had made over the years to the contrary. He did visibly order the military to stop torturing detainees. Furthermore, based on the information that was available at the time of the election, I thought that Obama had at least not continued to engage in the same sins that the Bush administration had engaged in. This wasn't enough to make me a big Obama fan, but on the balance he appeared to be a better friend to civil liberties that Romney.

Romney has called for suspicionless surveillance of muslims, on account of their religion, as well as foreign exchange students. He explicitly endorsed illegal wiretapping by the Bush Administration. His campaign privately planned to reverse the one useful thing that Obama had accomplished - they planned to rescind the prohibition on torture. Furthermore, they also announced that they would increase enforcement of obscenity laws.

As someone who is concerned about civil liberties, Romney's campaign was not attractive.

Now, in light of what Edward Snowden has revealed, it is clear that my reasons for support Obama in 2012 have largely been invalidated. Obama has actually committed at least two of the three civil liberties sins that I accused Bush of committing in the blog post that I wrote prior to the 2012 election. He has engaged in illegal surveillance and promoted expansive interpretations of the PATRIOT Act that stretch it to the breaking point. Whats worse, he did these things in spite of having campaigned on the idea that he was a friend of civil liberties. At least with Romney, you knew what you were going to get.

While there are some Republicans who support... [ Read More (0.2k in body) ]


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