Is there a drone in your neighbourhood?

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Rise of spy planes exposed after FAA is forced to reveal 63 launch sites across U.S.

Exposed: Location of sites where licences have been granted for the use of drones within the U.S. There are 63 active sites based in 20 states. Red flags show active sites and blue show those locations where licences have expired since 2006. click on the image to enlarge

Unmanned spy planes are being launched from locations in 20 states and owners include the military and universities

Julian Gavaghan
The Daily Mail [UK]
24 April 2012
There are at least 63 active drone sites around the U.S, federal authorities have been forced to reveal following a landmark Freedom of Information lawsuit.The unmanned planes – some of which may have been designed to kill terror suspects – are being launched from locations in 20 states.Most of the active drones are deployed from military installations, enforcement agencies and border patrol teams, according to the Federal Aviation Authority.

But, astonishingly, 19 universities and colleges are also registered as owners of what are officially known as unmanned aerial vehicles.

It is thought that many of institutions, which include Cornell, the University of Colorado, Georgia Tech, and Eastern Gateway Community College, are developing drone technology…

Unusual: The University of Connecticut – one of 19 educational institutions to own spy planes – is the drone site closest to New York City. The North East is the region with the highest concentration. click on the image to enlarge

The article continues, with additional maps and the list of registered owners of drones, at The Daily Mail.

Michigan: Police Search Cell Phones During Traffic Stops

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What the heck is going on in our country? Don’t people understand we have a Constitution and in this case a 4th amendment? Come on guys study the Constitution, we still have one. I’ll bet you this is a federally funded project.

ACLU seeks information on Michigan program that allows cops to download information from smart phones belonging to stopped motorists.

The Michigan State Police have a high-tech mobile forensics device that can be used to extract information from cell phones belonging to motorists stopped for minor traffic violations. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan last Wednesday demanded that state officials stop stonewalling freedom of information requests for information on the program.

ACLU learned that the police had acquired the cell phone scanning devices and in August 2008 filed an official request for records on the program, including logs of how the devices were used. The state police responded by saying they would provide the information only in return for a payment of $544,680. The ACLU found the charge outrageous.

“Law enforcement officers are known, on occasion, to encourage citizens to cooperate if they have nothing to hide,” ACLU staff attorney Mark P. Fancher wrote. “No less should be expected of law enforcement, and the Michigan State Police should be willing to assuage concerns that these powerful extraction devices are being used illegally by honoring our requests for cooperation and disclosure.

A US Department of Justice test of the CelleBrite UFED used by Michigan police found the device could grab all of the photos and video off of an iPhone within one-and-a-half minutes. The device works with 3000 different phone models and can even defeat password protections.

“Complete extraction of existing, hidden, and deleted phone data, including call history, text messages, contacts, images, and geotags,” a CelleBrite brochure explains regarding the device’s capabilities. “The Physical Analyzer allows visualization of both existing and deleted locations on Google Earth. In addition, location information from GPS devices and image geotags can be mapped on Google Maps.”

The ACLU is concerned that these powerful capabilities are being quietly used to bypass Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches.(Of course it is bypassing the 4th amendment and it unconstitutional)

“With certain exceptions that do not apply here, a search cannot occur without a warrant in which a judicial officer determines that there is probable cause to believe that the search will yield evidence of criminal activity,” Fancher wrote. “A device that allows immediate, surreptitious intrusion into private data creates enormous risks that troopers will ignore these requirements to the detriment of the constitutional rights of persons whose cell phones are searched.” – Source

Investment Watchdog

Big Sis “Need to Know” Documents in FOIA

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Political control of public documents?


Investigations Find ‘Unprecedented’ Political Review of FOIA Requests by Homeland Security Department
Friday, April 01, 2011
By Fred Lucas

darrell issaRep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.)

Washington (CNSNews.com) – A political review of open records requests smacks of “Nixonian” tactics by the Department of Homeland Security, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said Thursday.

Two investigations found that Freedom of Information Act requests sent to the DHS were reviewed by Obama administration political appointees.

“Through the course of an eight-month investigation, the committee has learned that political staff under the DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano have corrupted the agency’s FOIA compliance procedures, exerted unlawful political pressure, on FOIA compliance officers, and undermined the federal government’s accountability to the American people,” Issa said.

“These events have nurtured a fragile – and at times hostile – work environment that does not serve to fulfill the department’s primary mission to secure the nation from the many threats we face,” he added.

The department’s Office of Inspector General found that many records requests were filtered through Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s office.

ICE Withholds Illegal Immigration Enforcement Data

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More lack of transparency from the most promised Transparent Administration ever……Barack Husein Obama.

ICE Withholds Enforcement Data

Despite President Obama’s promise to create an unprecedented level of openness in government, the Homeland Security agency responsible for enforcing immigration laws is illegally withholding crucial data about its enforcement performance, according to a reputable independent research center that monitors the federal government.

Just six months ago, another Homeland Security agency— U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services—tried blocking the disclosure of information by charging the same group (Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse—TRAC) a ghastly $111,930 to obtain a description of files stored on a database. When news spread of the outrageous demand, the agency admitted it acted inappropriately and subsequently provided the records.

This week TRAC is accusing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of serious legal and procedural violations for failing to disclose performance data on how the agency is enforcing immigration laws. In doing so, ICE is violating long standing provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) as well as its own administrative rules and policies set by the Department of Justice.http://trac.syr.edu/foia/ice/20101004/

Seeking to determine if the federal government is fulfilling its responsibility, TRAC requested the records to reveal what ICE is doing and not doing to enforce the nation’s immigration laws. Specifically the public records request asked for the agency’s anonymous alien-by-alien statistical data about the arrests, detentions, charges and removal activities.

Among the anonymous statistical data that ICE previously released but now said were “unavailable” were the city or state where the alien’s apprehension took place, the facility where the alien is currently being detained, the nature of the formal removal charges, the details of any criminal charges and the alien’s marital status.

Judicial Watch

“Liar, liar, pants on fire” — Feds keep x-ray images & Deploy Mobil Units

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Well I’ve been meaning to post this for some time now and an email from a friend and Porch reader reminded me of it again. So this time I’m posting it while it’s on my mind. We keep hearing these ‘full body scanners’ that are now at the airports and federal buildings are harmless and the images can’t be saved. Well guess what…..that was a lie. Now we have recently also found out that images taken at a U.S. courthouse in  Florida have been saved….35,000 of them. ….Sometimes celebrities are asked to autograph printed out images of themselves.

“Liar, liar, pants on fire” — Feds keep x-ray images

Ever since the federal government began deploying the new-fangled, full-body x-ray machines at airports and federal buildings to make us “safer,” Uncle Sam has been assuring us that the images of essentially naked bodies that the controversial machines take would not be recorded or stored.  Well, surprise — it now turns out the government has been lying. The full-body x-ray machines not only do record the images they take of law-abiding citizens (and others) but also store the images.

As a result of efforts by private organizations — most notably the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) — to uncover the truth about the government’s use of these privacy-invasive devices, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), its parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the U.S. Marshals Service, have been forced to admit publicly that the machines in fact do exactly what the feds had assured us they would not do.

Even in the face of these recent revelations, the TSA continues to “assure” the public that despite the machines’ now-admitted ability to record and store image, the agency “turns off” this capability when it installs the machines.  If anyone out there (other than government employees) believes this, please raise your hands.  I didn’t think so.

Small wonder that the public’s trust in government (as measured, for example, in a recent survey by the non-partisan Ponemon Institute) is at an all-time low.

Barr Code

Full-Body Scan Technology Deployed In Street-Roving Vans

By ANDY GREENBERG

As the privacy controversy around full-body security scans begins to simmer, it’s worth noting that courthouses and airport security checkpoints aren’t the only places where backscatter x-ray vision is being deployed. The same technology, capable of seeing through clothes and walls, has also been rolling out on U.S. streets.

It would also seem to make the vans mobile versions of the same scanning technique that’s riled privacy advocates as it’s been deployed in airports around the country. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) is currently suing the DHS to stop airport deployments of the backscatter scanners, which can reveal detailed images of human bodies. (Just how much detail became clear last May, when TSA employee Rolando Negrin was charged with assaulting a coworker who made jokes about the size of Negrin’s genitalia after Negrin received a full-body scan.)

“It’s no surprise that governments and vendors are very enthusiastic about [the vans],” says Marc Rotenberg, executive director of EPIC. “But from a privacy perspective, it’s one of the most intrusive technologies conceivable.”

Though Reiss admits that the systems “to a large degree will penetrate clothing,” he points to the lack of features in images of humans like the one shown at right, far less detail than is obtained from the airport scans. “From a privacy standpoint, I’m hard-pressed to see what the concern or objection could be,” he says. But EPIC’s Rotenberg says that the scans, like those in the airport, potentially violate the fourth amendment. “Without a warrant, the government doesn’t have a right to peer beneath your clothes without probable cause, he says. Even airport scans are typically used only as a secondary security measure, he points out. “If the scans can only be used in exceptional cases in airports, the idea that they can be used routinely on city streets is a very hard argument to make.”

The TSA’s official policy dictates that full-body scans must be viewed in a separate room from any guards dealing directly with subjects of the scans, and that the scanners won’t save any images. (We now know this is a lie…they do and are saving images.) Just what sort of safeguards might be in place for AS&E’s scanning vans isn’t clear, given that the company won’t reveal just which law enforcement agencies, organizations within the DHS, or foreign governments have purchased the equipment. Reiss says AS&E has customers on “all continents except Antarctica.”

Reiss adds that the vans do have the capability of storing images. “Sometimes customers need to save images for evidentiary reasons,” he says. “We do what our customers need.”

blogs.Forbes.com

Why Does Interpol Need Immunity from American Law?

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Here’s a disturbing and puzzling thing done just a week before Christmas by Obama, In my opinion this is just another attempt to bypass the Constitution as he did with the czars and most recently with the EPA and CO2 to make points in Copenhagen. This most recent thing with INTERPOL could be laying ground work for the ICC (International Criminal Court)  again without the Constitutional requirement of Senate ratification of a treaty. This is a good article by Andy McCarthy.

Why Does Interpol Need Immunity from American Law?

You just can’t make up how brazen this crowd is. One week ago, President Obama quietly signed an executive order that makes an international police force immune from the restraints of American law.

Interpol is the shorthand for the International Criminal Police Organization. It was established in 1923 and operates in about 188 countries. By executive order 12425, issued in 1983, President Reagan recognized Interpol as an international organization and gave it some of the privileges and immunities customarily extended to foreign diplomats. Interpol, however, is also an active law-enforcement agency, so critical privileges and immunities (set forth in Section 2(c) of the International Organizations Immunities Act) were withheld. Specifically, Interpol’s property and assets remained subject to search and seizure, and its archived records remained subject to public scrutiny under provisions like the Freedom of Information Act. Being constrained by the Fourth Amendment, FOIA, and other limitations of the Constitution and federal law that protect the liberty and privacy of Americans is what prevents law-enforcement and its controlling government authority from becoming tyrannical.

On Wednesday, however, for no apparent reason, President Obama issued an executive order removing the Reagan limitations. That is, Interpol’s property and assets are no longer subject to search and confiscation, and its archives are now considered inviolable. This international police force (whose U.S. headquarters is in the Justice Department in Washington) will be unrestrained by the U.S. Constitution and American law while it operates in the United States and affects both Americans and American interests outside the United States.

Interpol works closely with international tribunals (such as the International Criminal Court — which the United States has refused to join because of its sovereignty surrendering provisions, though top Obama officials want us in it). It also works closely with foreign courts and law-enforcement authorities (such as those in Europe that are investigating former Bush administration officials for purported war crimes — i.e., for actions taken in America’s defense).

Why would we elevate an international police force above American law? (I personally don’t think Obama or any president has that Constitutional authority~to elevate anything above the Constitution) Why would we immunize an international police force from the limitations that constrain the FBI and other American law-enforcement agencies? Why is it suddenly necessary to have, within the Justice Department, a repository for stashing government files which, therefore, will be beyond the ability of Congress, American law-enforcement, the media, and the American people to scrutinize?

Steve Schippert has more at ThreatsWatch, here.

corner.National Review.com

Lawyer files lawsuit against Obama administration for health deal records

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With all the “Let’s Make a Deal” stuff going on nothing surprises me~not even the law being broken.

Lawyer files lawsuit against Obama administration for health deal records

By Jordan Fabian – 12/21/09 02:47 PM ET

Conservative attorney Larry Klayman filed a lawsuit against the White House Monday demanding that it release information on healthcare meetings with lobbyists.

The lawsuit, filed in federal district court, charges the Obama administration violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act and the Freedom of Information Act by not providing relevant information about closed-door meetings on healthcare policy.

Klayman’s suit refers to reports of meetings between administration officials on the “Health Reform De Facto Advisory Committee” and lobbyists representing the pharmaceutical industry, Planned Parenthood, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, AARP and others.

Klayman said the advisory committee has been tasked to design a policy that “is intended, at its endpoint, to socialize the American health care system.”

The suit demands that the White House release the minutes and final results of the meetings as well as the names and addresses of all people involved.

Should the White House not comply, “Public confidence in the integrity of the presidency and the executive branch as a whole has been and will be harmed” because of the “appearance that the president and the Obama administration as a whole are under the influence of” those groups listed in the suit, Klayman wrote in the criminal complaint.

The White House has not yet responded to a request for comment.

The lawsuit was filed just hours after the Senate vote to advance its version of healthcare reform legislation.

The administration’s meetings with various interest groups have raised questions among conservatives and liberals regarding their influence on the outcome of the legislation.

Most recently, some observers questioned if the White House’s agreement with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America on prescription drug costs helped sour senators on an amendment to the Senate bill allowing the “reimportation” of cheaper prescription drugs into the U.S. The amendment failed to pass last week. .

“Because time is short, we have to get this information out before the [conclusion of the healthcare votes],” Klayman told The Hill. “There’s going to be a lot of wheeling and dealing before the month ends.”

In the lawsuit, Klayman alleges that he was “illegally detained” by Secret Service agents at the front gate of the White House after he hand-delivered a letter to agents addressed to President Barack Obama requesting that the administration reply to his information requests.

Klayman says that agents “berated, harassed and threatened” him for his “public advocacy.”

He says that the agents eventually delivered the letter to Obama but that his request for information “was later denied in its entirety.”

The Hill.com

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