Fema Suddenly Wants Sensitive Docs (Already Public) Pulled for Nuke Drill (Which was Cancelled)

Reposted from Public Intelligence.

Public Intelligence has received a request from FEMA to remove a “For Official Use Only” document regarding the National Level Exercise 2010 (NLE 10), which was scheduled for this coming May. The exercise was to be based on National Planning Scenario 1 which simulates a nuclear detonation in a U.S. city. However, recent political pressure has led to the exercise being “scaled back” according to the Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor and a variety of other publications. At the behest of Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), the exercise’s Nevada events have reportedly been canceled and the FEMA website now shows no mention of NLE 10.

On top of this, the Obama administration has recently been emphasizing the threat of a domestic nuclear attack. President Obama’s remarks at the Nuclear Security Summit on April 13, 2010 emphasize that the threat of terrorists using nuclear weapons inside of major metropolitan cities is one of the “greatest threats” that the world faces...
NLE 10 concerned itself with exactly this scenario: the detonation of a nuclear device inside of a U.S. city. Las Vegas was to be the epicenter of this hypothetical attack and, if the exercise utilized the same circumstances as National Planning Scenario 1, it would have involved “hundreds of thousands” of casualties, more than 300,000 refugees and ultimately more than 1 million displaced persons.

The unpopularity of such a scenario, regardless of its security benefits, is obvious. What is strange is the attempt that is now being made by FEMA to eliminate references to the exercises and remove from circulation a document that has played an important role in drawing attention to the exercise. As the state of NLE 10 is unclear at the moment, it is difficult to say whether the request is truly motivated by security or whether there is a more dubious intention.

Awesome site -- keep up the Great Work, PI!

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Total Information Awareness: The Next Generation

Well well well.  Lookee here.

From a 2006 article by Shane Harris, National Journal, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2006 
...the Defense Department's Total Information Awareness program... developed technologies to predict terrorist attacks by mining government databases and the personal records of people in the United States ... The names of key projects were changed, apparently to conceal their identities, but their funding remained intact, often under the same contracts....
....Two of the most important components of the TIA program were moved to the Advanced Research and Development Activity, housed at NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Md., documents and sources confirm. One piece was the Information Awareness Prototype System, the core architecture that tied together numerous information extraction, analysis, and dissemination tools developed under TIA....
 Sources confirm that this new sponsor was ARDA. Along with the new sponsor came a new name. "We will be describing this new effort as 'Basketball,' " ...
Another key TIA project that moved to ARDA was Genoa II, which focused on building information technologies to help analysts and policy makers anticipate and pre-empt terrorist attacks. Genoa II was renamed Topsail when it moved to ARDA...
....As recently as October 2005, SAIC was awarded a $3.7 million contract under Topsail. According to a government-issued press release announcing the award, "The objective of Topsail is to develop decision-support aids for teams of intelligence analysts and policy personnel to assist in anticipating and pre-empting terrorist threats to U.S. interests." That language repeats almost verbatim the boilerplate descriptions of Genoa II contained in contract documents, Pentagon budget sheets, and speeches by the Genoa II program's former managers.... 

Is that "core architecture" in "the Information Awareness Prototype System" core as in main core?

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Library of Congress Now Has All Tweets Ever Tweeted

For all to search.  For all to mine. For all to see. For all time.

Twitter Donates Entire Tweet Archive

Twitter is donating its digital archive of public tweets to the Library of Congress. Twitter is a leading social networking service that enables users to send and receive tweets, which consist of web messages of up to 140 characters.
Twitter processes more than 50 million tweets per day from people around the world. The Library will receive all public tweets-which number in the billions-from the 2006 inception of the service to the present.
"The Twitter digital archive has extraordinary potential for research into our contemporary way of life," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "This information provides detailed evidence about how technology based social networks form and evolve over time. The collection also documents a remarkable range of social trends. Anyone who wants to understand how an ever-broadening public is using social media to engage in an ongoing debate regarding social and cultural issues will have need of this material."
Billington added: "The Library looks at this as an opportunity to add new kinds of information without subtracting from our responsibility to manage our overall collection. Working with the Twitter archive will also help the Library extend its capability to provide stewardship for very large sets of born-digital materials."
In making the donation, Greg Pass, Twitter's vice president of engineering, said: "We are pleased and proud to make this collection available for the benefit of the American people. I am very grateful that Dr. Billington and the Library recognize the value of this information. It is something new, but it tells an amazing story that needs to be remembered." Twitter's own take on the donation is posted on their blog http://blog.twitter.com/2010/04/tweet-preservation.html .

A few highlights of the donated material include the first-ever tweet from Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey (http://twitter.com/jack/status/20 ), President Obama's tweet about winning the election (http://twitter.com/barackobama/status/992176676 ), and a set of two tweets from a photojournalist who was arrested in Egypt and then freed because of a series of events set into motion by his use of Twitter (http://twitter.com/jamesbuck/status/786571964   and http://twitter.com/jamesbuck/status/787167620  ).
The announcement came coincidentally on the same day the Library's own Twitter feed (@librarycongress) crossed 50,000 followers (April 14, 2010).

"I think Twitter will be one of the most informative resources available on modern day culture, including economic, social and political trends, as well as consumer behavior and social trends," said Margot Gerritsen, a professor with Stanford University's Department of Energy Resources Engineering and head of the Center of Excellence for Computational Approaches to Digital Stewardship, a partnership with the Library of Congress.
The archive follows in the Library's long tradition of gathering individuals' firsthand accounts of history, such as "man on the street" interviews after Pearl Harbor; the September 11, 2001, Documentary Project; the Veterans History Project (VHP); and StoryCorps. While the Twitter archive will not be posted online, the Library envisions posting selected content around topics or themes, similar to existing VHP presentations.
The Library has been collecting materials from the web since it began harvesting congressional and presidential campaign websites in 2000. Today the Library holds more than 167 terabytes of web-based information, including legal blogs, websites of candidates for national office and websites of Members of Congress. In addition, the Library leads the congressionally mandated National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program www.digitalpreservation.gov, which is pursuing a national strategy to collect, preserve and make available significant digital content, especially information that is created in digital form only, for current and future generations.
Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library's rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov and via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at myLOC.gov.

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Google Better Have A Really Good Excuse....

or, why I was crying all morning.
Google, baby, I love you.  Still, if – if all this is not true, if – if you can explain it, if –
Google, don't do this to me.

an Investigation over at Alternet
By  Christopher Ketcham  and Travis Kelly

From Google Search to Google Earth, every move you make can be tracked by some feature of Google -- and intelligence agencies are drooling over the data.

In June 2007, Privacy International, a U.K.-based privacy rights watch- dog, cited Google as the worst privacy offender ...below... Facebook and AOL. ...no other company was “coming close..."

Indeed, Google now controls an estimated 70 percent of the online search engine market, but its deep-drilling of user information — where we surf, whom we e-mail, what blogs we post, what pictures we share, what maps we look at, what news we read — extends far beyond the search feature to encompass the kind of “total information awareness” that privacy activists feared at the hands of the Bush Jr. administration’s much-maligned Total Information Awareness program.

Kevin Bankston, a privacy expert and attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation...: “In all of human history,” he says, “few if any single entities, other than the National Security Agency, have ever possessed such a hoard of sensitive data about so many people.” This is the sort of thing that should make the intelligence agencies, says Bankston, “drool with anticipation.” And drooling they are. Stephen Arnold, an IT expert who formerly worked at the defense and intelligence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. and who once consulted for Google, addressed this in a speech before a conference of current and former intelligence officials in Washington, D.C., in January 2006.

According to an audio recording in our possession, he reported Google was increasingly sought out by the U.S. intelligence services because click-stream data — and everything else Google archives — “is a tremendous opportunity for the intelligence community.” 


Among Google’s critics, [Robert David] Steele who, since leaving the CIA, has spent 20 years promoting the digital commons, is about as fierce as they come. “Google would have been an absolutely precious gift to humanity,” he says. “But Google is positioning itself to take over the digital commons. I personally have resolved that unless Google comes clean with the public, the company is now evil.” The question today is whether Google, in fact, will be forced to change its ways — and whether Congress and the intelligence agencies want it to.


At the extreme end of the spectrum, your every move can be tracked by some feature of Google....

If you use Google toolbar, the company can watch the amount of time you surf a website — the three minutes or three hours you spend on every page of that website. With Google’s acquisition of YouTube in 2006, viewing habits can be tracked. Google’s FriendConnect and Orkut archive your social networks. Google News, Books, Feedburner or Blogger log your reading habits. The writing you produce is stored on Google Docs, and your purchase habits and credit card numbers are captured by Google Checkout.

Also gathered are voiceprint and call habits, through Google Voice; travel interests, patterns and place associations, through Google Maps, Google Earth and Google StreetView; medical conditions, medical history and prescription drug use, through Google Health; photos of friends and family, through Google’s Picassa images; and general activities, through Google Calendar.

Then, there’s Google Desktop, which, at one point, offered what appeared to be an innocuous feature called “Search Across Computers.” This allowed Google to scan your computer to archive copies of text documents. In other words, just about everything on your PC — love letters, tax returns, business records, bad poetry — was duplicated on a remote Google server. (This function was discontinued on all platforms in January of this year.)...

....When you do a search, “cookies” installed on your computer record your IP address (a series of unique numbers that may be used to identify your computer), so Google can, in many contexts, identify a user. And it can do so with any of its applications.

...Gears Geolocation API, that... “can determine your location using nearby cell-towers or GPS for your mobile device or your computer’s IP address for your laptop.” 

...Google co-founder Sergey Brin and his biotech specialist wife, Anne Wojcicki, according to The Economist, have “brainstormed” with at least one prominent human genome researcher and approach genetics as a “database and computing problem.” This would tie in nicely with Google Health, launched in 2008 to take advantage of the growing trend of storing health records online, for easier access among diverse health care providers. Google has invested $3.9 million in Wojcicki’s biotech firm, 23andMe, whose “mission is to be the world’s trusted source of personal genetic information,” and which offers a basket of genetic tests to allow its customers to uncover ancestry, disease risks, and drug responses....

...Google has teamed up with marketing giant WPP to fund $4.6 million ... including one grant in the emerging field of “neuromarketing”: tracking everything from online navigation behavior to biofeedback metrics like heart rate, eye movement and brain wave activity in response to advertising stimuli. ...From Google’s standpoint, marketing — not surveillance — is the purpose..., as advertising generates most of Google’s $23 billion in annual revenue...: more personal information gathered on consumers means more effectively targeted ads, thus higher ad rates and profits. (Gmail users often note how advertising, directly related to the subject matter of recently sent mails or searches, pops up on their browsers.)


Google has developed into a soft- ware provider rivaling Microsoft, with this major distinction: almost all Google software is server-side, residing on massive Google computer banks, not your local PC, which means they own the content, not you. This is the paradigm shift of “cloud computing,”...


But one of the big problems with the cloud, and the danger it presents, is that the Fourth Amendment’s protections against search and seizure do not apply. The caveats are buried deep in the text that users usually skip over, and click “I agree,” to install a new application. But the consequences are huge, says Bankston. “When private data is held by a third party like Google, the Supreme Court has ruled that you ‘assume the risk’ of disclosure of that data.” When you store e-mail at Gmail — or, similarly, in the cloud at Yahoo or Hotmail — “you lose your constitutional protections immediately.”

To search and seize the information on your desktop, a law enforcement or intelligence agency requires a warrant or grand jury subpoena, after demonstrating probable cause before a judge or magistrate; or an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (authorized by FISA); or a National Security Letter issued by the FBI, Department of Defense or CIA. But to obtain that same information stored on Google’s servers, there is a shortcut: Google, like a telecom provider, may supply the information voluntarily as long as the government can argue the information is needed as part of an “emergency.”


...In other words, the determinant of your privacy is what Google and the government decide behind closed doors.... Google’s links with the intelligence agency may stretch back to 2004. In 1999, the CIA founded an IT venture capital firm called In-Q-Tel to research and invest in new digital technologies focused on intelligence gathering. An In-Q-Tel-funded company, Keyhole, Inc., developed the satellite mapping technology that would be acquired in 2004 to become Google Earth. In-Q-Tel’s former director of technology assessment, Rob Painter, joined Google as a senior manager of Google Federal, his focus the “evangelizing and implementing [of ] Google Enterprise solutions for a host of users across the Intelligence and Defense Communities.”

In turn, Google has sold versions of its technology, especially Google Earth, to many U.S. agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the state of Alabama, and Washington, D.C. For the CIA, Google provided servers to support Intellipedia, a Wikipedia-like intranet for sharing intelligence. For the NSA, it supplied four “search appliances” and a maintenance contract, according to a FOIA investigation by the San Francisco Chronicle in 2008....

According to Christopher Soghoian, a former CNet blogger and a doctoral candidate studying privacy and computing at the University of Indiana who has researched Google, the intelligence services would be particularly interested in Google’s “backdoor” programs for surveillance. Soghoian notes that Google applications launch without telling users that the processing and data storage is conducted on remote servers, as long as an Internet connection is maintained — easy enough, given the ubiquity of wireless broadband. Even with no connection, software such as Google’s Gears enable “offline” access to the cloud, running applications and storing data on a PC (again, no cost, no fuss) until a connection is re-established and the new data can be uploaded to Google. 


“The government gets somebody on the other end of the line who’s from the intelligence or law enforcement community,” says Soghoian, “who knows how they work, and maybe is sympathetic to their cause. Google doesn’t put former ACLU lawyers in charge of its compliance team.” 


Google also works with some of the top players in the surveillance industry, notably Lockheed Martin and SRA International. SRA is listed as a Google “enterprise partner” — more than a hundred such partners are listed on the Google website.

Both companies, Lockheed and SRA, have engineered and sold data-mining software to the intelligence agencies. SRA’s NetOwl program, for example, has been described by a blogger at Pennsylvania State University, who watched the application in action at a corporate recruiter forum, as “searching all kinds of documents using Google for a certain person.” ...

Former CIA officer Robert Steele says that the CIA’s Office of Research and Development had, at one point, provided funding for Google. According to its literature, ORD has a charter to push beyond the state of the art, developing and applying technologies and equipment more advanced than anything commercially available, including communications, sensors, semi-conductors, high-speed computing, artificial intelligence, image recognition and database management....

Then, there are the intelligence officials allegedly working at Google’s Mountain View headquarters. When tech guru Stephen Arnold first revealed this information in the 2006 OSS conference. Anthony Kimery, a veteran intelligence reporter at Homeland Security Today, followed up with a report alleging a “secret relationship” between Google and U.S. intelligence. Google was “cooperat[ing] with U.S. intelligence agencies to provide national and homeland security-related user information from its vast databases,” with the intelligence agencies “working to ‘leverage Google’s [user] data monitoring’ capability as part of an effort to glean from this data information of ‘national security intelligence interest’ in the war on terror.” In other words, Google’s databases — or, some targeted portion — may have been dumped straight into the maw of U.S. intelligence agencies.

Like the giants of the surveillance-industrial complex, Google has backed its federal sales force in Reston, Virginia, with a D.C. lobbying operation — spending $2.9 million on lobbying in 2009 — to make sure that privacy is not a priority in the Obama administration. It also works with several industry-supported interest groups: the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the Technology Policy Institute, and the Progress & Freedom Foundation, whose mission statement espouses “an appreciation for the positive impacts of technology with a classically conservative view of the proper role of government... Those opportunities can only be realized if governments resist the temptation to regulate, tax and control.” All these groups are funded by Google, along with a who’s-who of communications behemoths. Their mission: subvert any congressional legislation extending Fourth Amendment-style prohibitions to the data-mining private sector. Their argument, per the Technology Policy Institute: “More privacy ... would mean less information, less valuable advertising, and thus fewer resources available for producing new low-priced services” — in other words, privacy is a threat to the economy. 


...Senate Bill 773, grant[s] the executive branch authority to disconnect and assume some measure of control over private networks in a declared “cybersecurity emergency.”

That could be a quarantine operation to isolate and defeat a viral attack. It could also be an excuse for censorship of certain sites — or, for the cybersecurity agencies to data-mine where they have been hitherto forbidden. Google could be declared “critical infrastructure” in such an emergency, and its management temporarily assumed by federally certified “cybersecurity professionals,” as defined in S.773. It’s not wholly unfeasible that Google’s massive and much coveted behavioral profiles could then be fed into the NSA’s computers. And even without S.773, a long accumulation of executive orders over three decades has likely laid the groundwork for executive authority to take over critical communications networks in a “national emergency.”
But long before such an emergency comes to pass, if ever, the government and the regiments of data-mining companies it contracts with are seeing eye to eye. The commercial surveillance complex and the security surveillance complex have many common interests and methods: the ad gurus’ neuromarketing research complemented by the intel agencies’ longstanding research into mind control, from the CIA’s MK-ULTRA to the NSA’s current “cognitive neuroscience research”; the profiling of political behavior for campaign advertising complemented by the DHS’s elastic definitions of dissidents and “potential terrorists.”

Google is now anonymizing IP addresses from search logs after nine months, down from its previous eighteen-month retention policy.... This is in contrast to Microsoft, which after six months throws out the search query data altogether. “Remember that totally anonymized search queries can be linked together to build an identity,” says Bankston. “Why does Google need to store our data perpetually? They’re very vague about it.”

Indeed, Google could, without violating the law, reveal a lot more about how it cooperates with the intelligence agencies — how many requests for information it receives, from what government entities, how many it complies with. “They could talk about all this, but they don’t,” says Bankston. “Google may not care a lot about your privacy, but they care a whole helluva lot about your perception of your privacy. To remind people of the risk of government access to your data is anathema.”

Christopher Ketcham has written for Vanity Fair, Harper’s, The Nation, Mother Jones, and many other publications. Travis Kelly is a writer, cartoonist, and web designer in Moab, UT.

Google, don't do this to me.  Rated below FACEBOOK!!! How  could you?
...*sobbing* ... I loved you...  Please prove to me you aren't evil – please –

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WARNING: 3D Viewing Harmful To Your Health

"...possibly," add those with money invested in the technology.  Uh-huh.

This warning might just be a stroke of luck for the human race....

reposted; by Sean Poulter, Daily Mail.co.uk.

The world's biggest electronics company has issued an extraordinary health warning about the dangers of watching 3D television.

Pregnant women, the elderly, children and those suffering from serious medical conditions are among a wide range of people said to be at risk.

The alert extends to those who have been sleep deprived or drinking. It highlights alarming side effects such as confusion, nausea, convulsions, altered vision, light-headedness, dizziness, and involuntary movements such as eye or muscle twitching and cramps.

Samsung says there are also concerns that those with epilepsy could be at risk of fits - as they are from strobe lighting and photographers' flashes on normal television.

Watching 3D on TV, which involves wearing special glasses like those used for 3D movies, bombards the eyes and brain with a succession of flashing images that appear for a fraction of a second.

It is a new way of seeing things and so puts unusual strain on the body.

The warning has been posted on a Samsung website and appears designed to protect the manufacturer from any legal claims for compensation if people fall ill.

However, the language could seriously damage the launch of 3D, which is being pushed heavily by manufacturers and broadcasters as a breakthrough.

One internet blogger wrote: 'I'm happy . . . this will kill 3D-TV.' However, one cynic responded saying: 'I wonder if I should put a patch on one eye so I don't see anything 3D.'
Enlarge 3d

Samsung's 3D sets are going into stores in the next few days with a starting price around £1,300, while Sony's TVs will go on sale in June.

Other manufacturers say they have studied the health effects of 3D viewing and have decided it is safe to go ahead.

Sky is currently promoting its 3D coverage of premier league football in pubs. The technology is being driven by a raft of 3D blockbuster films such as Avatar and Alice in Wonderland.

Samsung, based in South Korea, has been the biggest-selling technology brand in the world since 2005.

A spokesman said the warning had been issued because 'watching 3D-TV is an entirely new experience-for people' and there are concerns that it is so exciting and immersible.

Feeling dizzy after watching the set, for instance, would be particularly harmful if it happened to pregnant women or the elderly.

One part of the warning reads: 'Viewing in 3D may cause disorientation for some viewers. Accordingly, DO NOT place your TV television near open stairwells, cables, balconies, or other objects that can be tripped over, run into, knocked down, broken or fallen over.'

Another part says: 'Viewing 3D television may also cause motion sickness, perceptual after effects, disorientation, eye strain and decreased postural stability.'

And it advises those with epilepsy, or a family history of epilepsy and strokes, to take medical advice before watching....

And the Daily Mail adds this creative and helpful info-graphic:

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