First up, from Vocativ, no comment needed:
“Game of Thrones” Author George Martin: Dragons Could Destroy ISIS
- He means nuclear weapons, but to Martin they’re the same thing
From the Japan Times, Bushian justification:
Bush-era memos show president had authority to wiretap Americans at all times
The U.S. Justice Department has released two memos detailing the Bush administration’s legal justification for monitoring the phone calls and email messages of Americans without a warrant.
The documents, released late Friday, relate to a secret program dubbed Stellar Wind that began after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. It allowed the National Security Agency to obtain communications data within the United States when at least one party was a suspected al-Qaida or al-Qaida affiliate member, and at least one party in the communication was located overseas.
“Even in peacetime, absent congressional action, the president has inherent constitutional authority . . . to order warrantless foreign intelligence surveillance,” then-assistant Attorney General Jack Goldsmith said in a heavily redacted 108-page memo dated May 6, 2004.
Cryptome has posted the documents here [PDF]:
From Ars Technica, outsourcing at its worst:
When NSA and FBI call for surveillance takeout, these companies deliver
- “Trusted third party companies” serve up ISPs’ subeona’d and FISA warrant data.
Not every Internet provider can handle the demands of a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant or law enforcement subpoena for data. For those companies, Zack Whittaker reports on ZDNet, the answer is to turn to a shadowy class of companies known as “trusted third parties” to do the black bag work of complying with the demands of the feds.
Under the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), phone companies and Internet providers can charge back the government for their efforts in responding to warrants. AT&T charges the CIA more than $10 million per year for access to its phone call metadata. But smaller ISPs who aren’t frequently hit with warrants can’t afford to keep the infrastructure or manpower on-hand to respond to requests—so they sign up with a “trusted third party” capable of doing the work as an insurance policy against such requests.
Companies such as Neustar, Yaana Technologies, and Subsentio contract with smaller providers and reap the profits from charging federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies for the data. Neustar and Yaana are also essentially private intelligence companies, providing large-scale data capture and analytics (though probably not on the scale of NSA’s Xkeyscore.) Neustar is also in the phone number portability business, and owns a number of the new top level domains approved by ICANN.
Al Jazeera America sees a profit:
Immigration seen as bonanza for slumping global defense industry
- Technologies built for wars abroad are repurposed along the US-Mexico boundary and other international frontiers
A desolate patch of terrain in southern Arizona — crossed mostly by coyotes, jackrabbits and Border Patrol agents — is one of the planned sites for a 120-foot-tall lattice-steel tower. Located two miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, the tower will be outfitted with sensors to allow Customs and Border Patrol to detect and record the movement of migrants and smugglers up to 7.5 miles away.
The simple structure will contain advanced technology that has been already used halfway across the globe in Israel, where its makers, Israeli defense company Elbit Systems Ltd., have deployed their border security products for more than a decade.
The towers being erected in Arizona shed light on the fierce and ongoing debate over U.S. border strategy where they symbolize efforts to adopt a more militaristic policy. At the same time the presence of a foreign company at the heart of such a project also highlights a booming niche in the global defense industry: one where hefty profits can be made by fortifying international frontiers.
From Boing Boing, a major source of domestic insecurity:
NYPD arrest human rights lawyer waiting outside restaurant while kids used bathroom
Chaumtoli Huq, former general counsel for NYC Public Advocate Tish James, attended a rally in Times Square with her family, and afterwards, waited on the sidewalk outside of a Ruby Tuesday restaurant while her husband took their children (10 and 6) to the bathroom.
NYPD Officer Ryan Lathrop and another cop told Huq that she had to move along. She stated that she had the right to stand on the sidewalk and asked what the problem was. She was then spun around, roughly pinned against the wall and cuffed, and then taken away without being allowed to tell her family what had happened to her.
When Huq’s husband figured out — eventually — what had happened and went to the precinct house, the officers on duty questioned him as to why he had a different surname to his wife. One then told Huq that “In America wives take the names of their husbands.”
Here’s hoping, via PandoDaily:
New York, Washington DC, and other cities hope body cameras will keep police officers honest
Members of several New York Police Department precincts in each of the city’s five boroughs and a public housing area will soon be outfitted with body cameras, the police commissioner announced Thursday, to see if the devices can improve relations between police and the public.
If ever there were relations that need to be improved, it’s between police officers and the people they’re supposed to serve. The NYPD itself has been caught up in scandal after scandal, whether it was the racial profiling encouraged by stop-and-frisk laws or the murder of an unarmed black man who repeatedly told officers that he couldn’t breathe before he was killed during an arrest.
The NYPD isn’t the only police department that needs to learn how to better serve the public. Perhaps the most prominent example of the strained relationship between officers and civilians comes courtesy of Ferguson, the St. Louis suburb where a police officer killed unarmed Michael Brown in August, prompting numerous protests and drawing attention to the militarization of police.
And it’s not just U.S. police who are jumping on the militarization bandwagon. From China’s CCTV America:
Militarization of Mexico’s police forces
The Mexican government is conducting a new experiment with a military unit that will be used as a police force, despite the fact that this has been shown to lead to more violence. Laura Carlsen answers questions about all sides of this issue from Mexico City.
From Ars Technica, Goggle this!:
Google silent on support for group opposing net neutrality and muni broadband
- Nonprofit that Google is part of also supports Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger
Common Cause and more than 50 other advocacy groups this week called on Google to end its affiliation with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group that has pushed state laws limiting the rights of cities and towns to create community-owned broadband networks. ALEC also opposes network neutrality rules that Google used to be a staunch supporter of and last month urged the FCC to quickly approve Comcast’s purchase of Time Warner Cable without imposing any regulatory conditions on the merger.
In a letter to Google’s top executives, Common Cause et al wrote that “Over the last year, hundreds of thousands of Americans have signed petitions asking Google to end its ALEC membership because of their concerns about the harmful role ALEC has played in our democratic process… The public knows that the ALEC operation—which brings state legislators and corporate lobbyists behind closed doors to discuss proposed legislation and share lavish dinners—threatens our democracy. The public is asking Google to stop participating in this scheme.”
Common Cause also complained about ALEC’s nonprofit status to the IRS in 2012, saying the group “massively underreports” lobbying it does on behalf of corporate members.
And then there’s this from MIT Technology Review, donning our own personal lie detectors for Big Brother?:
Google Glass Can Now Track Your Stress Level
- A new way to track heart and breathing data, demonstrated with Google Glass, could heighten interest in wearable sensors
Besides projecting directions and e-mails in front of your face, Google Glass can also measure biological signs like heart and breathing rates, according to new research. The work suggests a new way for wearable devices to track a person’s stress level and provide instant fitness feedback.
Researchers from MIT’s Media Lab and the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Interactive Computing say that they can accurately ferret out this data by monitoring a Glass wearer’s head movements with the gyroscope, accelerometer, and camera built into Google Glass. A paper on the research will be presented at the MobiHealth conference in Athens, Greece, in November.
The project, called BioGlass, could lead to biometric-tracking apps for Google Glass. Looking beyond the controversial head-worn computer, researchers hope their work leads to less obtrusive sensors for self-monitoring via wearable devices.
From Nextgov, a cloudy security horizon:
Senator Demands Answers About iCloud Security Measures
A top Senate Democrat is demanding more information from Apple after hackers obtained nude photos of several celebrities.
In a statement, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller said he wants the company to brief his staff on the “security protocols in place for its cloud databases.”
“Apple is expected to introduce a new version of its iPhone that will enable, if not encourage, users to store more information with its cloud services, and I want to learn whether these focused, targeted attacks are symptomatic of wider, systemic vulnerabilities,” the West Virginia Democrat said.
Apple is expected to unveil the new iPhone 6 next week.
Nextgov again,, with more security overcast:
How Do Agencies Feel About iCloud?
Cracking open iCloud accounts — though the exact nature of the hack is still unknown — has proven to be not impossible, as evidenced by the explicit images of Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence now floating around the Internet.
Some agencies, such as the General Services Administration, remotely ban iCloud use on personal — commonly called Bring-Your-Own-Device — phones. GSA relies on a “mobile device management” system that links with each iPhone to deactivate the service.
NASA is in the process of installing mobile management software that would do the same for its employees, Alexander said.
She added, “We are always concerned with the protection of government information, whether via iCloud or other storage sites, and stress that importance through ongoing IT security awareness training, continuous monitoring and other assessments.”
The London Daily Mail drones on:
Attack of the drones: Hollywood celebrities are besieged by paparazzi spies in the sky. Worried? You should be… because they’ll soon be a regular fixture over YOUR home
- Camera-wielding aircraft terrorise celebrities by flying over their homes
- Stars fear photographers could use devices to track and follow them
- Divorce lawyers hope to use devices to keep tabs on cheating spouses
- American legislators are scrambling to extend privacy to include drones
- Controlled from miles away, many fear pilots will be impossible to track down
From the New Zealand Herald, another kind of online security threat?:
NZ pupils struggling to speak
- Use of gadgets and parents too busy to talk suspected of hindering children’s language development
Fewer children starting school can speak in sentences, prompting an investigation by education chiefs.
Primary schools around the country have noted a decline in the spoken-language abilities of new entrants and the Ministry of Education will look into the reports.
School leaders and a specialist in linguistics suspect the problem could be caused by factors including children using gadgets too often and parents not talking to them enough.
The ability of youngsters to express themselves in the classroom is essential to their cognitive development and future learning.
From the Guardian, signing up for the Internot [apologies to Ignacio Chapela]:
Vermont cafe finds a ban on laptops and tablets earns better business
- Owners of the August First bakery shut down their Wi-Fi as behemoths like Starbucks take a mixed line on wireless devices
While being glued to a mobile device has become a dangerously common part of 2014 life, a couple in Vermont has reaped financial rewards by rejecting 21st-century technology at their bakery, August First.
Wife-and-husband team Jodi Whalen and Phil Merrick banned laptops and tablets from their Burlington-based bakery earlier this year, after determining that laptop patrons spent much more time, and much less money, at the eatery than the average customer.
The pair decided to do away with tech as they faced more and more customers glued to their screens. Whalen said when they envisioned creating August First, they didn’t plan on it being a place where people settled for hours to do work.
After the jump, on to the Game of Zones, including a Russian move on the oil-rich Arctic, where both East and West are staking claims, more tension in the Koreas, a little Russo/Sino angst, a Chinese spooky mystery, Japanese diplomacy hits the road, and Tokyo aims for a security council, with a little Bengali help, with an agenda in hand. . . Continue reading