NEW YORK (AP) — A paid informant for the New York Police Department’s intelligence unit was under orders to “bait” Muslims into saying inflammatory things as he lived a double life, snapping pictures inside mosques and collecting the names of innocent people attending study groups on Islam, he told The Associated Press.
Shamiur Rahman, a 19-year-old American of Bangladeshi descent who has now denounced his work as an informant, said police told him to embrace a strategy called “create and capture.” He said it involved creating a conversation about jihad or terrorism, then capturing the response to send to the NYPD. For his work, he earned as much as $1,000 a month and goodwill from the police after a string of minor marijuana arrests.
“We need you to pretend to be one of them,” Rahman recalled the police telling him. “It’s street theater.”
from the oh-really-now? dept
By now you’ve probably seen the paraphrase of a Ben Franklin quote that those who give up liberty for security, deserve neither (he said similar things a few different ways, but the standard actual quote is: “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”) Whatever the actual quote is, there is quite a lot of truth to it. Giving up liberty for the sake of security rarely works out as planned. Either way, it appears that the editorial board of the Washington Post is either wholly unfamiliar with the quote, or believes it to be untrue. It has come out with an editorial arguing in favor of extending the FISA Amendments Act (and against an ACLU/EFF challenge to the law, to be heard today at the Supreme Court, even with the crazy weather) saying that it is perfectly fine to “give up liberty” for security:
Discomfort with the government’s capacity, technical or legal, to collect and retain massive amounts of personal information is understandable. But the 2008 FISA amendments sought a compromise between two essential goals: preserving American liberty and robustly defending Americans’ lives and property. We favored the law and believe that it should be extended.
That’s somewhat ridiculous. After all, as we’ve noted over and over again, almost no one seems to understand what’s actually in the FISA Amendments Act, in part because there’s a secret interpretation of it that only the government knows. This means that many, many people, including those in Congress, are clearly misrepresenting what’s in the law. The fact that the NSA refuses to say how often it has used this secret interpretation to spy on Americans should be a pretty big warning sign — especially as politicians who are either clueless or ignorant claim that it can’t be used to spy on Americans.
And really, this is the root of the “don’t give up liberty for security” quote. Once you do that, you’re cooked, because it’s a situation that only expands in one direction. Those who seek to hold back liberty will always make use of scare stories and FUD to seek to be able to spy further. You would think that the editorial board of the Washington Post, which has been covering this kind of mess for quite some time, would actually have some sort of ability to look back at history. Apparently its historical knowledge is close to nil.
This wouldn’t be the first time Sony has leaked important security keys, common to every PlayStation 3 console, however, this is the first time the console’s LV0 decryption keys have been let loose in the wild.
So what makes the LV0 keys so special? These are the core security keys of the console, used to decrypt new firmware updates. With these keys in-hand, makers of custom firmwares (CFW) can easily decrypt any future firmware updates released by Sony, remaining a step ahead of the update game; likewise, modifying firmwares and preventing them from talking back to Sony HQ also becomes a much easier task.
“Now we would like you to send us this file, delete it, tell us if you have given a copy of it to someone, give us the website from which you bought it including all transactions with it and the payment system and remove a couple of things from your blog. Oh and by the way, you are not allowed to disclose any part of this conversation; it is a secret that we are even having this conversation”.
Accused British hacker Gary McKinnon has won his 10-year battle to resist extradition to the U.S. on charges that he hacked Pentagon computers in the U.S.
U.K. Home Secretary Theresa May announced on Tuesday that her office would block the U.S. extradition request on human rights grounds, since McKinnon, 46, was at high risk of suicide were he to be sent to the U.S. to face trial.
“I have concluded that Mr. McKinnon’s extradition would give rise to such a high risk of him ending his life, that the decision to extradite would be incompatible with Mr. McKinnon’s human rights,” May said.
It marks the first time that the U.K. has blocked an extradition request since signing a treaty with the U.S. in 2003, according to the Guardian.
McKinnon, who was dubbed the “biggest military computer hack of all time” by U.S. authorities, has admitted to accessing U.S. government computers more than a decade ago, but claims he did so only to find proof of a military coverup regarding the existence of UFO’s.
McKinnon has been accused of hacking into more than 90 unclassified Pentagon and NASA systems in 2001 and 2002, causing some of them to crash. Authorities say his actions led to $900,000 in damages.
McKinnon allegedly left a message on one Army computer he breached in 2002, saying, “U.S. foreign policy is akin to government-sponsored terrorism these day…. It was not a mistake that there was a huge security stand down on September 11 last year…. I am SOLO. I will continue to disrupt at the highest levels.”
McKinnon was facing a sentence of between six months and six-and-a-half years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines, but in 2003, he rejected a plea offer that would have had him serving a prison sentence in the U.S. of just six to 12 months at a low-security facility, followed by a transfer back to the U.K. for a six-month parole.
He fought extradition in part by insisting that the U.S. planned to ship him off to Guantanamo Bay, and has spent a decade – nine years more than he would have spent in prison had he accepted the plea deal – keeping the case alive in the U.K. media.
McKinnon and his supporters argued that he should be tried in the U.K., since that was the location from which he allegedly committed his crimes.
McKinnon lost previous appeals in the High Court, the House of Lords and European Court of Human Rights. But two years ago a High Court judge ruled that McKinnon, who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome and depression, could be at risk of suicide if he were extradited to the U.S., which led the Home Office to conduct a psychiatric investigation. Psychiatric examiners concurred that McKinnon was at risk of suicide if extradited.
McKinnon’s case has shone a spotlight on the U.S.-U.K. extradition treaty, which U.K. critics say make it too easy for U.S. authorities to extradite U.K. citizens. May announced on Tuesday that she would introduce a so-called “forum bar” to determine if a British court should be given the power to bar prosecutions overseas if it believes the accused would get a more fair trial in the U.K.
Billings Police Chief Rich St. John, who said that Tuesday’s pre-dawn raid on the house was part of “an ongoing narcotics investigation” told the Missoulian that typically the grenades are not so close to people, let alone minors, when they go off.
“It was totally unforeseen, totally unplanned and extremely regrettable,” he said. “We certainly did not want a juvenile, or anyone else for that matter, to get injured.”
According to the Missoulian, the officer charged with deploying the grenade didn’t understand that there would be a delay before the device went off. Thinking it was a dud, he dropped it on the floor next to the sleeping girl while he went to get a second device. Seconds later, it exploded, terrifying both girls and sending one to the hospital burn unit.
The family protests that they were not only not harboring a drug operation, but were attempting to cooperate with the police.
“A simple knock on the door and I would’ve let them in,” said Fasching, who was home with her husband and two daughters at the time of the raid. ”They said their intel told them there was a meth lab at our house. If they would’ve checked, they would’ve known there’s not.”
Fasching said that her husband, who is disabled, was in the process of opening the front door for the officers when they knocked it down.
St. John insists that the department had done adequate research on the house and its inhabitants, but said, “The information that we had did not have any juveniles in the house and did not have any juveniles in the room. We generally do not introduce these disorienting devices when they’re present.”
“The warrant was based on some hard evidence and everything we knew at the time,” he said.
“It’s scary to know that something like this can happen in a free country. You’re not accused of any crime. You haven’t been contacted by anyone. No investigation has been done. No due process has taken place,” he said.
He got a hotel room at the Pearl Harbor naval base while he worked things out. Being on the list didn’t stop him from staying on a base that’s home to submarines, cruisers and destroyers.
He’s way, way too dangerous to be allowed in a plane. But a naval base? No problem!
An innocent blind man was shot in the back with a 50,000-volt Taser by police after they mistook his white stick for a samurai sword.
Colin Farmer, 61, was hit after reports of a man walking through Chorley, Lancashire, early on Friday evening, with a sword. He said he initially thought he was being attacked by hooligans when he was struck by the Taser.
The matter is being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) after Farmer made a complaint to the force.
Farmer, who used to run an architects’ practice, was on his way to meet friends at 5.45pm and was walking in Peter Street near a restaurant. “I was just walking along and I heard some men shouting really angrily and thought I’m going to get mugged. I didn’t know any police were here.
“The Taser hit me in the back and it started sending all these thousands of volts through me and I was terrified. I mean I had two strokes already caused by stress. I dropped the stick involuntarily and I collapsed on the floor face down.”
He added: “I was shaking and I thought ‘I’m going to have another stroke any second and this one is going to kill me. I’m being killed. I’m being killed’.”
Farmer, who has suffered two strokes, the most recent requiring two months in hospital in March, was fearful he would suffer another stroke.
“I walk at a snail’s pace. They could have walked past me, driven past me in a van or said ‘drop your weapon’.”
Lancashire Police apologised to Farmer for the “traumatic experience” but confirmed last night that the officer who fired the Taser has not been suspended and remains on duty.
What would have likely been a routine flight out of a Florida airport this weekend ended with a woman being sent to the emergency room after TSA agents insisted on groping a traumatized rape victim in a security pat-down that put her in the hospital.
Pythias Brown, a former Transportation Security Administration officer at Newark Liberty International Airport, spent four years stealing everything he could from luggage and security checkpoints, including clothing, laptops, cameras, Nintendo Wiis, video games and cash.
Speaking publicly for the first time after being released after three years in prison, Brown told ABC News that he used the X-ray scanners to locate the most valuable items to snatch.
A former screener with the TSA has pleaded guilty to charges relating to the theft of $520 during a routine security check last year, a move he says was motivated by his desire to punish a particular passenger.
TSA agent Andy Ramirez is seen at a security checkpoint at Orlando International Airport on August 10, 2012. (ABC News)
In the latest apparent case of what have been hundreds of thefts by TSA officers of passenger belongings, an iPad left behind at a security checkpoint in the Orlando airport was tracked as it moved 30 miles to the home of the TSA officer last seen handling it.
Confronted two weeks later by ABC News, the TSA officer, Andy Ramirez, at first denied having the missing iPad, but ultimately turned it over after blaming his wife for taking it from the airport.
The iPad was one of ten purposely left behind at TSA checkpoints at major airports with a history of theft by government screeners, as part of an ABC News investigation into the TSA’s ongoing problem with theft from passengers.
The full video report will be seen today on “Good Morning America,” “ABC World News with Diane Sawyer” and “Nightline.”
There’s a good reason that ‘telling tales’ is looked down on – and a good reason why it’s generally only been oppressive regimes (both real and fictional) that have encouraged people to report on their neighbours – from the worst of the Roman Emperors such as Tiberius and Caligula to the KGB, the Stasi and so forth. It’s creepy – and it helps build at atmosphere of distrust, breaking down the very things that make social networks good. The social relationships that are the heart of Facebook are meant to do ‘good’ things – not be a route by which bad things are spread.
Taking it a step further, look at the nature of the questionnaire. You’re being asked to report on a ‘friend’. If you say ‘I don’t want to answer’ that will be recorded – that’s the whole nature of Facebook – and it’s not hard to see that there could be a list of ‘people who don’t want to answer about their friends’. Indeed, under the terms of the Snoopers Charter, it wouldn’t just be Facebook who could access this kind of information: the authorities could potentially set up a filter to gather data on people who don’t confirm the names of their friends. It could be viewed as suspicious if you don’t answer – or even suspicious if you are friends with people who don’t answer. Again, this is the nature of Facebook’s social data – and how it could be misused.
Just a few weeks ago, an FBI task force raided a home* in Portland, Oregon very early in the morning. They broke down the front door with a battering ram and threw in a stun grenade, which is non-lethal but produces a very loud and disorienting noise and a blinding bright light. The team locked down the building and secured the sleepy, compliant occupants. The operation was one of several which also occurred in Olympia, WA and Seattle, WA, involving some 60-80 officers.
Just who were these dangerous criminals, these domestic terrorists whose threat level is so high that an FBI team with stun grenades, battering rams, and assault rifles needed to burst into their homes in the wee hours of the morning?
Reportedly, the FBI search warrant was for black clothing, paint, sticks, computers and cell phones, and ‘anarchist materials or literature.’ According to an FBI Domestic Terrorism guide published bygreenisthenewred.com, “anarchists are criminals seeking an ideology to justify their actions,” and are “not dedicated to a particular issue.” Common meeting places are “college campuses, underground clubs, coffee houses/ internet cafes.” The implication is that owning “anarchist” literature is enough to indicate to the FBI that one is a criminal – even if that person happens to be a student studying political thought. Or maybe particularly if you are a student – the FBI document states that anarchists are “educated persons of various backgrounds, often students.”
Halliburton Co. (HAL) crew members who lost a radioactive rod used in drilling wells in West Texas weren’t guilty of criminal conduct, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said as a hunt for the tool entered a fourth day.
FBI officials working with the Texas Department of Transportation questioned three employees who were unable to locate the device this week after it went missing on a 130-mile (209-kilometer) route from Pecos to Odessa, according to a Nuclear Regulatory Commission incident report today.
“The FBI would only say that they believed there was no criminal activity involved with the missing” tool, Halliburton told state officials according to the NRC report. A well near Pecos, where the device was last used, has been searched three times, it said.
A National Guard unit based in Austin sent a three-person team with detection gear yesterday to assist local officials, said Amy Cook, a spokeswoman for the Guard. The Texas Department of State Health Services said yesterday it requested help to find the radioactive item, which can pose a health risk if touched or held for several days.
Halliburton lost the unit on Sept. 11, according to an NRC report. Pickup trucks with detection gear retraced the route of a vehicle that carried the device before it was lost. The trucks drove at 10 miles an hour between Pecos and Odessa without finding the unit, the report said.
A woman who claims the Transportation Security Administration detained her from her flight because the agent didn’t like her attitude has posted a video of the confrontation on YouTube.
A man and his wife were treated as potential terrorists and kicked off a Delta Airlines flight over a satirical T-shirt because it made passengers and employees feel “very uncomfortable”.
An 87-year-old Denver man was formally charged with multiple marijuana-related felonies on Friday: possession with intent to distribute-more than 100 pounds, cultivation-more than 30 plants, and possession of marijuana-more than twelve ounces.
The Denver District Attorney’s Office says that Edward Bogunovich was growing more than 400 marijuana plants in the backyard of his west Denver home. The number of plants exceeds that which “he was allowed for medical cultivation,” according to a Denver DA’s Office press release.
According to Article 18, Section 14 of the Colorado Constitution, a medical marijuana patient “may engage in the medical use of marijuana, with no more marijuana than is medically necessary to address a debilitating medical condition.” Further, section 14 states that a patient’s medical use of marijuana is lawful as long as the patient has “no more than two ounces of a usable form of marijuana” and “no more than six marijuana plants, with three or fewer being mature, flowering plants that are producing a useable form of marijuana.”
Bogunovich is also accused of possessing tools and material indicative of “distribution beyond personal and provider use,” the Denver DA’s Office says.
Bogunovich has been released from the Denver Detention Center on a $10,000 bond.
The New York Times has published a great interview with Michael H. Osterreicher, the general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association and the editor of the organization’s advocacy blog. In it, NYT Lens Blog co-editor James Estrin asks Osterreicher about photographers’ rights and the trend of people being stopped while shooting public locations.
Here’s an interesting quote by Osterreicher, responding to Estrin’s observation that it seems like photography is becoming a crime:
Since 9/11, there’s been an incredible number of incidents where photographers are being interfered with and arrested for doing nothing other than taking pictures or recording video in public places.
It’s not just news photographers who should be concerned with this. I think every citizen should be concerned. Tourists taking pictures are being told by police, security guards and sometimes other citizens, “Sorry, you can’t take a picture here.” When asked why, they say, “Well, don’t you remember 9/11?”
I remember it quite well, but what does that have do to with taking a picture in public? It seems like the war on terrorism has somehow morphed into an assault on photography.
If you think about it, cracking down on public photography to stop terrorists from stealthily snapping photos is along the lines of cracking down on public drawing to stop terrorists from stealthily creating sketches.
That might sound ridiculous, but when there’s an “everything for the sake of terrorism prevention” attitude invading a culture, ridiculous ideas start making sense.
We touched on this topic earlier this month after sharing a troubling government sponsored video linking photography and terrorism. Here’s a great article that we linked to then that sheds more like on this topic.
The rest of the NYT interview is definitely worth a read, as many of the common questions people have about photography in public are addressed and answered.
Criminalizing Photography [NYT Lens Blog]
A software engineer in my Facebook community wrote recently about his outrage that when he visited Disneyland, and went on a ride, the theme park offered him the photo of himself and his girlfriend to buy – with his credit card information already linked to it. He noted that he had never entered his name or information into anything at the theme park, or indicated that he wanted a photo, or alerted the humans at the ride to who he and his girlfriend were – so, he said, based on his professional experience, the system had to be using facial recognition technology. He had never signed an agreement allowing them to do so, and he declared that this use was illegal. He also claimed that Disney had recently shared data from facial-recognition technology with the United States military.
Yes, I know: it sounds like a paranoid rant.
Except that it turned out to be true. News21, supported by the Carnegie and Knight foundations, reports that Disney sites are indeed controlled by face-recognition technology, that the military is interested in the technology, and that the face-recognition contractor, Identix, has contracts with the US government – for technology that identifies individuals in a crowd.
The evidence points to a UPS mix-up. The outside of the box had two address labels on it – and Horvitz’s address was on top.
“There’s a UPS label on the outside of the box that matched my information, and had the tracking number,” Horvitz said. “But underneath my label — the plastic bag with my label on it — there was a UPS label affixed to the box with other information on it.
“[The police] were kind of confused at first,” Horvitz said. “They spent some time inspecting the gun, asking some questions about how I made the Amazon purchase…. They confirmed that it was a weapon that you can’t own in the district. They said by law that you can’t return this; we have to confiscate it and handle it for you.”
Horvitz just wants his TV.
“I wanted something that would be good as a computer monitor, that would be good for movies, too,” he said.
Some great material for a next Onion episode.
A St. Paul, Minnesota family claims in a lawsuit that police officers who conducted a wrong-door raid on their home shot their dog, and then forced their three handcuffed children to sit near the dead pet while officers ransacked the home. The lawsuit, which names Ramsey County, the Dakota County Drug Task Force, and the DEA, and asks for $30 million in civil rights violations and punitive damages after a wrong-door raid, also claims that the officers kicked the children and deprived one of them of her diabetes medication.
The suit also alleges that one of the lead officers with the task force “provided false information” in order to get a warrant to raid the Franco family’s home. (That information being the Franco family’s address, and not that of their supposedly criminal neighbor Rafael Ybarra.)
And boy, did Ybarra miss out on a horrific raid. Courthouse News reports:
But on the night of July 13, 2010, the task force broke down the Francos’ doors, “negligently raided the home of plaintiffs, by raiding the wrong home and physically brutalizing all the above-named occupants of said house,” the complaint states.
Even after learning that they were in the wrong house, the complaint states, the drug busters stayed in the Francos’ home and kept searching it.
They “handcuffed all of the inhabitants of the plaintiffs’ home except plaintiff Analese Franco who was forced, virtually naked, from her bed onto the floor at gunpoint by officers of the St. Paul Police Department SWAT team and officers of the St. Paul Police Department.”
The complaint states: “Upon forcibly breaching the plaintiffs’ home, defendants terrorized the plaintiffs at gun and rifle point.
“Each plaintiff was forced to the floor at gun and rifle point and handcuffed behind their backs.
“Defendants shot and killed the family dog and forced the handcuffed children to sit next to the carcass of their dead pet and bloody pet for more than an hour while defendants continued to search the plaintiffs’ home.”
One child “was kicked in the side, handcuffed and searched at gunpoint,” the family says.
Another child, a girl, “a diabetic, was handcuffed at gunpoint and prevented by officer from obtaining and taking her medication, thus induced a diabetic episode as a result of low-blood sugar levels.”
A stranded jet-skier seeking help effortlessly overcame the Port Authority’s $100 million, supposedly state-of-the-art security system at JFK Airport — walking undetected across two runways and into a terminal, The Post has learned.
Motion sensors and closed-circuit cameras of the Perimeter Intrusion Detection System, or PIDS, were no match for Daniel Casillo, 31, of Howard Beach, who easily breached the system meant to safeguard against terrorists.
The $100 million spent on security isn’t exactly for security.
It is for the people who provide the security.
Dripping wet and in a bright-yellow life jacket, Casillo climbed the perimeter fence, which is eight feet high, and walked across that runway and intersecting Runway 31L — and made it all the way to Terminal 3 without anyone noticing.
Casillo was finally apprehended when he approached a Delta Airlines worker near Gate10. He was charged with criminal trespass.
It’s clear English is my second language. I wasn’t aware that “trespass” meant “embarrassing the people in charge”
At a meeting last month with T.S.A. officials, officers at Logan provided written complaints about profiling from 32 officers, some of whom wrote anonymously. Officers said managers’ demands for high numbers of stops, searches and criminal referrals had led co-workers to target minorities in the belief that those stops were more likely to yield drugs, outstanding arrest warrants or immigration problems.
The practice has become so prevalent, some officers said, that Massachusetts State Police officials have asked why minority members appear to make up an overwhelming number of the cases that the airport refers to them.
“The behavior detection program is no longer a behavior-based program, but it is a racial profiling program,” one officer wrote in an anonymous complaint obtained by The Times.
“According to this article printed in tagesspiegel.de, not having a Facebook account could be the first sign that you are a mass murderer.(German) As examples they use Norwegian shooter Anders Breivik, who used MySpace instead of Facebook and the newer Aurora shooter who used adultfriendfinder instead of Facebook. They already consider those with Facebook accounts, who lack friends to be suspicious, but now they are suggesting that anyone who abstains from Facebook altogether may be even more suspicious.”>
Covered by ABC News earlier today, a United Airlines flight headed to Geneva, Switzerland from Newark, New Jersey had to make an emergency landing in Boston last night after flight attendants discovered a suspicious digital camera.