Thursday, June 14, 2007


Several different articles got me thinking about this: Big brother IS watching you, but what are they actually seeing? How much of the data that is (illegally) collected is useful?

An internal FBI audit has found that the bureau potentially violated the law or agency rules more than 1,000 times while collecting data about domestic phone calls, e-mails and financial transactions in recent years, far more than was documented in a Justice Department report in March that ignited bipartisan congressional criticism.

The new audit covers just 10 percent of the bureau's national security investigations since 2002, and so the mistakes in the FBI's domestic surveillance efforts probably number several thousand, bureau officials said in interviews. The earlier report found 22 violations in a much smaller sampling.

The vast majority of the new violations were instances in which telephone companies and Internet providers gave agents phone and e-mail records the agents did not request and were not authorized to collect. The agents retained the information anyway in their files, which mostly concerned suspected terrorist or espionage activities.

I wonder how much was collected for political purposes, rather than security.

And the corporations are willing to break the law, too.

AT&T agreed to allow large portions of sealed documents that sit at the heart of an anti-spying case against the telecom giant which alleges the company illegally installed secret surveillance rooms in its internet facilities at the behest of the National Security Agency. The case brought by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in January 2006 relies on documents provided to the group by Mark Klein, a retired AT&T technician who took three documents home with him when he retired in 2004.

AT&T acceded to the disclosure only after the EFF threatened to ask a federal appeals court to unseal documents that had been published by Wired News and Frontline, which would have forced the company's lawyers into the embarrassing position of arguing that documents available on the internet for more than a year were secret, according to Cindy Cohn, the EFF's legal director.

But is there a point where the amount of information collected becomes overwhelming?

Half a Million Terrorists

Thank goodness our government is so committed to the "War on Terror" that they've managed to track all these evil people down and put them on a list!A terrorist watch list compiled by the FBI has apparently swelled to include more than half a million names. Privacy and civil liberties advocates say the list is growing uncontrollably, threatening its usefulness in the war on terror.The bureau says the number of names on its terrorist watch list is classified. A portion of the FBI's unclassified 2008 budget request posted to the Department of Justice Web site, however, refers to "the entire watch list of 509,000 names," which is utilized by its Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force.

The corporatocracy has been mining data for years, in an attempt to target marketing. They have access to every non-cash transaction we make.
The question becomes: How afraid should we be?
Added: Of course, based on the whole DOJ investigation, nobody will remember anything anyway.

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