Surveillance State

The Most Important Interview You Can Watch This Month: Yale Historian Timothy Snyder On How The U.S. Can Avoid Sliding Into Authoritarianism

“Twentyith century authoritarians have learned the way to dismantle systems like ours is to go after one institution and then the next. Which means that we have to have an active relationship with both to history, so you can see how failure arises and learn from people who try to protect institutions, but also an active relationship to our institutions; that institutions are only as good as the people who attempt to serve them ” – Timothy Snyder Democracy Now! (5/30/17) Is the United States sliding toward tyranny? That is the question posed by Yale University history professor Timothy Snyder…

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Can Border Agents Search Your Electronic Devices? It’s Complicated

  By Esha Bandari & Nathan Freed Wessler ACLU (3/14/17) We’ve been getting a lot of questions about when border agents can legally conduct searches of travelers’ electronic devices at international airports and other ports of entry. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t simple. The government has long claimed that Fourth Amendment protections prohibiting warrantless searches don’t apply at the border. The ACLU takes issue with this position generally, especially when it comes to electronic devices like smartphones and laptops. Our smartphones store detailed accounts of our conversations, professional lives, whereabouts, and web-browsing habits. They paint a far more detailed picture of…


Surveillance State Update: FBI Face Recognition Technology Has ‘No Limits,’ Congressional Hearing Reveals

TheCommonerCall.org   By Nika Knight Common Dreams (3/27/17) If Congress doesn’t take legislative action, the FBI’s vast and growing facial recognition database could someday soon allow the government to track Americans’ “every move” in a breathtaking, nationwide violation of the Fourth Amendment. That was the takeaway of a scathing hearing in the Congressional Oversight Committee on the FBI’s use of facial recognition technology last week. In June, the FBI’s use of such technology was the subject of a damning report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which revealed that the agency’s use of the technology was much more far-reaching than…


The Multibillion-Dollar US Spy Agency You’ve Never Heard Of

  By James Bamford Foreign Policy (3/20/17) n a heavily protected military base some 15 miles south of Washington, D.C., sits the massive headquarters of a spy agency few know exists. Even Barack Obama, five months into his presidency, seemed not to have recognized its name. While shaking hands at a Five Guys hamburger restaurant in Washington in May 2009, he asked a customer seated at a table about his job. “What do you [do]?” the president inquired. “I work at NGA, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency,” the man answered. Obama appeared dumbfounded. “So, explain to me exactly what this National Geospatial…”…


‘A Fascist’s Dream’ – Artificial Intelligence Is Ripe For Abuse, Tech Executive Warns

TheCommonerCall.org   By Olivia Solon The Guardian (3/13/17) AUSTIN, TX – As artificial intelligence becomes more powerful, people need to make sure it’s not used by authoritarian regimes to centralize power and target certain populations, Microsoft Research’s Kate Crawford warned on Sunday. In her SXSW session, titled Dark Days: AI and the Rise of Fascism, Crawford, who studies the social impact of machine learning and large-scale data systems, explained ways that automated systems and their encoded biases can be misused, particularly when they fall into the wrong hands. “Just as we are seeing a step function increase in the spread…


Tell On Trump

One thing we know about Donald Trump is that there are a lot of things Donald Trump doesn’t want people to know about. If you’ve reached this page, you might have information about the conduct of Donald Trump or his administration that you’d like people to know about. Here’s how you can tell us. Who are we? The SPECIAL PROJECTS DESK OF GIZMODO MEDIA GROUP. We are an investigative team that reports stories about political, cultural, financial, and technological power for GIZMODO, FUSION, DEADSPIN, JEZEBEL, JALOPNIK, KOTAKU, and the other Gizmodo Media Group web sites. SecureDrop You may send us…