Privacy SOS

Brennan hearing, drones in Oakland and Seattle, and more news you can use

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  • Above: Investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill joins DemocracyNow to discuss the John Brennan hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee last week. Scahill called the hearing "kabuki oversight," blasting the committee for failing to ask one single question about so-called "signature strikes," or the killing of US citizen child Abdulrahman al Aulaqi. Don't miss this analysis. 
  • The government doesn't want to talk about why it killed the child Aulaqi, but senior officials (including President Obama) have bragged publicly about bagging his father, the cleric Anwar al Aulaqi. The administration has repeatedly told the public that Anwar was a national security threat and a senior leader of al Qaeda. But Marcy Wheeler of points out that the kill list white paper reveals that the government thinks it can kill people who aren't senior leaders of anything, and who don't pose any imminent threat to the United States. Read: "They Knew the Evidence Against Anwar al Awlaki Was Weak When They Killed Him."
  • Meanwhile, the Onion appropriately satirized the public response to the white paper in a piece called: "American Citizens Split On DOJ Memo Authorizing Government To Kill Them"
  • Domestic drones: The Seattle Police Department announced last week that it would shutter its nascent drone program. Meanwhile, the Alameda county sheriff's office released its drone policy; it's worrisome to say the least. 
  • The Guardian's Ryan Gallagher exposes a Raytheon social media data mining platform for governments called "Riot." The technology is not the first of its kind, but this one appears to beat out its social media surveillance competition in scope, depth and breadth of analysis. Take a look at this video, wherein a Raytheon employee describes how a government agency could use the program to track a fictional person. (By the way, the video is a good reminder to turn off location services on your phone unless you really, really need them.) 
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