Privacy SOS

Week in Review: Up or Down on the Freedom Scale

It's another troubling week for freedom, y'all. Check the facts.

  • In a timely release, the website Public Intelligence has reproduced the military's guide to civil disturbances, a document well worth reading cover to cover. The document describes the kinds of civil disturbances the military can expect to be asked to repress, as well as the legal justifications for using military force against Americans. The legal justification bit is interesting, because declaring martial law in effect flips our legal system completely upside down. -100
  • The "Intelligence Support Systems" World Americas conference, a gathering of spies, law enforcement intelligence officers and corporate profiteers, went off this year without a hitch. A highlight from the conference this year? An Italian company which boasts a $750,000 program enabling the user to infect computers and smartphones with a trojan horse bug that can remotely control the device, essentially turning phones and computers into bugs without users' knowledge. The Guardian UK has a piece that is very well worth reading, describing this and other surveillance projects available to governments globally. -520
  • The Atlantic has a good run down of US-based technology and surveillance companies that are profiting off of Arab regimes. Why is this legal? -1,000
  • According to Marietje Schaake, a Dutch member of European Parliament, repressive use of such technologies is "rampant" — part of the reason she is trying to fight back. The interview here mostly discusses technology sales to Iran, but there's plenty of reason to believe that these technologies are also being inappropriately used against ordinary people in most Western countries. Good for her and for her colleagues to stand up and say no to these abusive practices. +200
  • Another person who fights back against government use of repressive surveillance technologies is Jacob Applebaum (@ioerror), an American citizen and digital democracy activist who is harassed by DHS every time he enters the country. He recently returned from a trip abroad, where he was a guest of the Swedish government, and was again detained by the American authorities. He wrote this of his trials, and the arbitrary, secretive "SSSS" system. -35
  • We've been hearing scattered reports — "chatter," as DHS would say — suggesting that DHS is increasingly showing up at the scenes of Occupy protests nationwide. We are curious about these developments, and wonder whether the hundreds of millions of dollars DHS funnels to local and state police departments every year for surveillance technology purchases in any way affects the chain of command at the local level. -50 (video below is flash. Sorry, iOS users!)

  • Hmmm. Why is an NYPD detective involved in the interrogation of a suspect in a foreign country? Why is the FBI involved in that investigation? -22

Total for the week thus far: -1,427. That's no good; freedom is still sad and abused, just like it was last week. How can we do better? Get involved. 

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