Archive for the ‘federal government’ Category

Please check out this selection in the Ten years later: Surveillance in the Homeland series for Truthout

by Mr. Gary Reed


Two flags over Texas: defiant Gonzales flag of the Texas Revolution (1835) and defiant clipart of the War Against Federally Approved Molesters (2011) Credit: Gonzales flag is public domain; Anti-TSA art is freely distributed online

BTC -Here are the answers to this week’s Real ID quiz. 

Q. Why is Connecticut pursuing the Real ID program on driver’s licenses when more than 20 states are opting out ?

A2. State Officials Needn’t Heed Feds’ Threats

c/o InternetCaucusAC


The 7th annual State of the Net conference was held at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill on January 18-19, 2011. Attracting over 500 attendees annually, the State of the Net Conference provides unparalleled opportunities to network and engage on key policy issues. The State of the Net Conference is the largest information technology policy conference in the U.S. and the only one with over 50 percent Congressional staff and government policymakers in attendance. The State of the Net Conference is the only tech policy conference routinely recognized for its balanced blend of academics, consumer groups, industry and government. Over 50% of annual attendees government policy staff.

DOJ Reverses decision on nature based patents

“We acknowledge that this conclusion is contrary to the longstanding practice of the Patent and Trademark Office, as well as the practice of the National Institutes of Health and other government agencies that have in the past sought and obtained patents for isolated genomic DNA,” the brief said.


BTC  –  Few organizations have been ready to go out on a limb with analysis of the National Strategy for Trusted Identity in Cyberspace.   The Electronic Frontier Foundation, was one of the first digital watchdogs to start barking at the US government’s ambitious plans to import itself into the transactional living of a nation.

Real ID Online? New Federal Online Identity Plan Raises Privacy and Free Speech Concerns

c/o EFF legal counsel Lee Tien and Seth Schoen 


Why we can’t live without no-fly lists 

Government orders 7, 300 websites offline 

 BTC – It sounds like Nebraskans are wondering what’s happening with their licenses.

“Up to 5,000 Nebraskans have waited nearly 30 days for their driver’s licenses, permits and other documents after a problem at the place that prints them for the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles.

Nebraska licenses are printed near Atlanta by L-1 Identity Solutions, one of the half-dozen companies that provide security now required by the federal government.”


* Please see the conscientious comments placed about Nebraska by LossofPrivacy, a very cool blog which posts a lot of great news on surveillance.

BTC – What is a national identification number (NIN)?  Why would it be useful or what purpose would it serve? Who gets a number?  How would it affect public life?

Enumerated identity and its uses are typically to manage populaces en masse.

From Wikipedia:

A national identification number or National Identity Card number is used by the governments of many countries as a means of tracking their citizenspermanent residents, and temporary residents for the purposes of work, taxation, government benefitshealth care, and other governmentally-related functions. Sometimes, the number will appear on an identity card issued by a country.

The ways in which such a system is implemented is dependent on the country, but in most cases, a citizen is issued a number at birth or when they reach a legal age (typically the age of 18). Non-citizens are issued such numbers when they enter the country.

Many countries issued such numbers ostensibly for a singular purpose, but over time, they become a de facto national identification number. For example, the United States originally developed its Social Security Number system as a means of disbursing Social Security benefits. However, due to functionality creep, the number has become utilized for other purposes to the point where it is almost essential to have one in order to, among other things, open a bank account, obtain acredit card, or drive a car.  

As technology advances there are always more systems to categorize persons based on wants, needs, likes, and dislikes.  Information is useful for many objectives; but in the context of power it can be abused.  Information (or intelligence) abuses may range from common blackmail to surveillance abuse.  Information about an individual can be conveniently reduced to an enumerated identity. This gives data value and longevity because it may prove something about us. However, it may be private information or information we do not want known at large.

The White House is giving the American public roughly 3 weeks to examine the National Strategy for Trusted Identity in Cyberspace or NSTIC, an new system which would produce a number for every American online user.  The American public bears the burden of what happens to their identity property online.  For example, if you are checking on a malady from Bora Bora, Big Government Computers could feasibly track or capture that information and trace it back to you.  Why would they even care?

Well… it’s not personal at first.  As we have discovered over the last several years, providing surveillance technology services is an enormous corporate industry between the public and private sectors.   There is an economic incentive to track us. Businesses will pay for analysis of who you are and why you will or won’t buy their stuff.  Government intelligence agencies hire contractors who can get the same information for their purposes. Google has made a killing from selling search generated information which has the ability to identify any user straight down to their IP addresses.  

We have to be careful with programs like NSTIC.  Other programs like Real ID, the PASS Act and the proposed BELIEVE worker cards have been recognized as nefarious by the American public.  The notion of a deeper, more prolific, voluntary induction into a national identity system via the operability of a social network (akin to joining up with Facebook) might be uneasy prospect for citizens.  With current odds stacked up against privacy and civil liberty,  I can’t say with much confidence the US government is a friend worth adding to an individual social network.  
If Federal powers want to: table the more rediculous Executive Orders, stop using the NSA States Secrets line of rhetoric to hide all the dead bodies, dump the FISA warrantless wiretapping entitlements, remove the TSA naked body scanners from airports, repeal existing compromising national identity systems creeping up annually, stop suppressing journalists and arresting whistleblowers THEN citizens might naturally develop more confidence.  
This track record does not inspire trust in validating an ask for pervasive friendship from those who know better.
The point is to examine NSTIC with both eyes open for what it actually is, could be and may be in the future because it has possibilities with a price.  This may be your only chance to opt out of automatic subscription to an online service.  

Keep Newborn DNA Away from the Government c/o Patient Privacy Rights

Please take a moment to say NO to the federal government’s plan to collect, control and own the DNA of every citizen, starting at birth. 

TODAY, June 25th, is the last day to comment on the federal government’s plan to warehouse and use newborn citizen DNA without consent for government research, corporate research and other purposes.

Concerns about the government’s proposal include:

  • Fails to recommend informed written consent requirements for the storage and use of newborn DNA for research and other purposes.
  • Asserts a public claim on the DNA of newborn citizens.
  • Claims that newborn blood is necessary for “population surveillance.”
  • Disregards the 22 state genetic privacy laws and the 5 state genetic ownership laws.
  • Omits compelling statistics from the University of Michigan study that found the public appalled by unconsented government storage and research (p. 12).
  • Recommends parent education instead of informed parent consent requirements that would enforce such education.
  • Claims that state screening programs are charged with “stewardship” of newborn DNA samples-‘ensuring appropriate use’-when they are actually charged with simply testing each newborn.
  • Fails to acknowledge the constitutional Fourth Amendment genetic privacy and property rights of individuals.

Please send a comment now. Share this with your friends, family, coworkers, and all you care about. We need to let these folks know what the American people want.