April 18, 2012
By Madison Ruppert
“Corporations can’t be people. No person, in their right mind, would support this legislation.” –KTRN
It’s quite sad for me to say that over 3 million businesses in the United States represented by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, not to mention 800+ other major corporations (see below list), all have shown their support for the disturbing legislation known as CISPA, or the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act.
This long list includes corporations like Google, Facebook, AT&T, Verizon, Microsoft, IBM, Boeing, Intel, the Financial Services Roundtable, Lockheed Martin, Qualcomm, Northrop Grumman, VeriSign, Symantec, Oracle, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the Internet Security Alliance, the information Technology Industry Council, the Independent Telephone & Telecommunications Alliance, Cyber, the Space & Intelligence Association, CTIA – the Wireless Association, the Business Roundtable and more (all of which are listed below).
Please take a moment out of your day to either share this article or at least the list of corporations behind this legislation in order to help coordinate a boycott effort.
I believe it would also be beneficial to call them repeatedly (inundating their phone lines can be a major headache), shower them with emails, letters, etc. all in an attempt to get them to back away from CISPA.
Widespread protest efforts were quite successful in bringing down the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), but now we have to keep in mind that many of the corporations who were anti-SOPA are actually pro-CISPA.
This means that the public will have to be engaged to a much more significant degree in order to have an impact even remotely comparable to what we saw in opposition to SOPA and the Protect IP Act (PIPA).
Your Cell Phone Makes You A Prisoner Of A Digital World Where Virtually Anyone Can Hack You And Track You
April 9, 2012
By Michael Snyder
If you own a cell phone, you might as well kiss your privacy goodbye. Cell phone companies know more about us than most of us would ever dare to imagine. Your cell phone company is tracking everywhere that you go and it is making a record of everything that you do with your phone. Much worse, there is a good chance that your cell phone company has been selling this information to anyone that is willing to pay the price — including local law enforcement. In addition, it is an open secret that the federal government monitors and records all cell phone calls. The “private conversation” that you are having with a friend today will be kept in federal government databanks for many years to come.
The truth is that by using a cell phone, you willingly make yourself a prisoner of a digital world where every move that you make and every conversation that you have is permanently recorded. But it is not just cell phone companies and government agencies that you have to worry about. As you will see at the end of this article, it is incredibly easy for any would-be stalker to hack you and track your every movement using your cell phone. In fact, many spyware programs allow hackers to listen to you through your cell phone even when your cell phone is turned off. Sadly, most cell phone users have absolutely no idea about any of this stuff.
Your phone company knows where you live, what websites you visit, what apps you download, what videos you like to watch, and even where you are. Now, some have begun selling that valuable information to the highest bidder.
December 12, 2011
By Paul Joseph Watson
“It’s like ‘War of the Worlds’ all over again, but this time it’s much more serious. What was Verizon thinking?” -KTRN
An unannounced test of a soon to be mandatory emergency alert system caused panic in New Jersey today after Verizon customers received text messages warning them that a “civil emergency” was in progress and to “take shelter,” prompting alarmed citizens to flood 911 lines with anxious calls.
However, media reports concerning the alarm completely ignore the fact that Verizon was almost certainly running a test for the federal government’s soon to be mandatory PLAN alert program, which the company has signed up for.
“A mass text message warning New Jersey cell phone users of a “civil emergency” was sent out by Verizon Wireless earlier today,” reports the New Jersey Star-Ledger. Verizon Wireless later apologized to its customers for causing alarm.
The alert message included the text “U.S. Govern,” suggesting to customers the text had come from the federal government itself, which undoubtedly fueled the panic.
Residents in three different counties received the message, titled “Emergency alert seek shelter by 1:24 p.m,” which was not labeled as a test. Police departments and country authorities fielded four times the usual number of calls, many of them from distressed citizens who wanted to know whether a real emergency was in progress. “There is no reason to panic here,” said Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden. “It is a false text done maliciously today at 12:27 p.m.”
The Department of Homeland Security was also forced to put out a tweet confirming that there was no emergency after concerned citizens also turned to Twitter for advice, saying they were, “scared and didn’t know how to react.”
November 7, 2011
by Elinor Mills
A new report from Google shows a rise in government requests for user account data and content removal, including a request by one unnamed law enforcement agency to remove YouTube videos of police brutality–which the company refused.
The latest Google Transparency Report, released today, also shows historic traffic patterns on Google services via graphs with spikes and drops indicating outages that, in some cases, indicate attempts by governments to block access to Google or the Internet. For instance, all Google servers were inaccessible in Libya during the first six months of this year, as was YouTube in China.
But the truly interesting data are the statistics on requests made to the company by governments for either access to user data or to remove content.
Some countries had large amounts of user data requests. The United States leads that pack, with 5,950 such requests pertaining to more than 11,000 users or accounts, and to which Google complied 93 percent of the time. That’s up from about 4,600 requests in the second half of last year. Other countries seeking lots of user data were India (more than 1,700 requests involving more than 2,400 accounts), France, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Google says it complied most of the time in those cases, except in France.
The actual numbers are likely larger than what is reported because Google is prohibited by law from revealing information on requests from intelligence agencies such as the National Security Agency or FBI, notes online privacy advocate Chris Soghoian, who released a report on law enforcement surveillance earlier this year.
“Google doesn’t say how many of the thousands of requests they get a year are compelled (via a formal legal process) and how many are emergency requests,” which they aren’t obligated to comply with, he said. “This is where Google could truly demonstrate its commitment to privacy…We know that Verizon gets 90,000 requests a year, and 25,000 are emergency requests for which there is no court order. It’s likely Google is getting a similar percentage.”
But Soghoian commended Google on providing the figures on the numbers of accounts that officials are seeking information from in addition to the number of requests. “This is a useful data point because one request could be for 50 accounts,” he said. “It’s great that Google is providing this.”
Also of note in the report were the attempts by governments to get Google to remove content, from YouTube videos to blogs to ads. Google said it received 29 percent more requests for user data from government sources in the U.S. during the first half of this year than during the previous six months, and 70 percent more requests to remove content in that period. The report called out the request to remove YouTube videos of police brutality and separate requests from an unnamed different law enforcement agency to remove allegedly defamatory videos, but it said those requests were denied.
In the United States, Google said it received 92 requests to cumulatively remove 757 items, and complied fully or partially in 63 percent of the cases. That compared to 54 requests in the second half of last year. There were 24 court orders related to Web searches, and 26 police or executive requests related to YouTube.
October 11, 2011
By: Bruce Watson
Few people would willingly carry around a device that tracks their movements, records their conversations, and keeps tabs on all the people they talk to. But, according to documents recently released by the American Civil Liberties Union, cell phone companies are doing all of that — and may be passing the information on to law enforcement agencies.
“Retention Periods of Major Cellular Service Providers,” an August 2010 document produced by the Department of Justice, outlines the types of information collected by various cell phone companies, as well as the amount of time that they retain it. On some levels, this is reassuring: Verizon (VZ) is the only company that holds on to text message content, and they erase it after 3-5 days. However, text message details — the information about who you text with — is retained for a minimum of a year, with some companies keeping it for up to seven years. In other words, that little back-and-forth you had with Bernie Madoff back in 2007 will be on the books until 2014.
Who Did You Call?
But what about your phone calls? While the content of your calls — the things that you say — is not recorded, all of the major carriers hold onto the information about the people you talked to for at least a year, with some retaining it for as long as seven years. And your phone bill, which can be used to check some of your calls, is kept by most companies for at least three years.
Your cell phone can also be used to track you: information about the cell towers used by your phone — which law enforcement agencies can use to reconstruct your movements — is held for at least a year, with some providers retaining it indefinitely. On the bright side, a federal judge recently ruled that these cell phone records are private, and can’t be released without a warrant, which means that the g-men won’t be able to check your whereabouts unless they can demonstrate that your records are “material to an ongoing criminal investigation.”
There is other good news: pictures are only retained by two providers — Verizon and T-Mobile — and then, only at the cell phone user’s discretion. In other words, if you are worried that those pictures you took last week may send the wrong message to the police, now might be a good time to erase them. As for information about the sites you have accessed from your smart phone, that is only retained for between 60 days and one year.
But most companies hold on to phone bills for at least three years, and these, too, could be used to reconstruct some of your calling habits. In this regard, T-Mobile is the most privacy-aware company: it doesn’t retain records at all. Sprint (S) and AT&T (T) both keep records for up to seven years.
Who Keeps Your Secrets?
If you’re concerned about privacy, the best cellular provider is either Verizon or T-Mobile. Verizon holds on to most records for just a year, and retains your phone bill for a maximum of five years. T-Mobile, on the other hand, doesn’t hold onto IP information, bill copies, or text message content, and retains cell tower info for a comparatively short six months to one year. On the opposite end of the spectrum, AT&T is a treasure trove of information: it keeps details about your phone calls and texts for a minimum of five years, and has retained all of its cell tower information since July 2008.
In a broader context, the issue of electronic privacy is currently on center stage. As Wired recently noted, the DOJ document may shed some new light on Senator Patrick Leahy’s (D-Vermont) efforts to amend the Stored Communications Act. Currently, the government does not need to show probable cause to access e-mails or electronic information that has been stored on a server for more than six months.
But even Leahy’s proposal would not limit government access to cell phone records. In other words, if you need to have a conversation that you’d prefer the FBI not know about, you might want to stick to pay phones!
September 2nd, 2011
The Wall Street Journal
By: Luca Di Leo and Jeff Bater
The U.S. economy failed to add jobs for the first time in almost a year, raising the odds of a return to recession and putting more pressure on President Barack Obama and the Federal Reserve to revive a moribund labor market.
Nonfarm payrolls were unchanged last month—the worst result since a small decline in September 2010—as the government sector continued to shed jobs, the Labor Department said Friday. The private sector added only 17,000 jobs.
About 45,000 telecom jobs were off company payrolls because of a strike at Verizon Communications Inc., contributing to the worst private-sector performance since February 2010. But payrolls were weak even without the one-off Verizon impact.
Data for the previous two months were revised down by a total 58,000 to show payroll increases of 85,000 jobs in July and only 20,000 in June, the government report showed.
The unemployment rate, which is obtained from a separate household survey, was unchanged at 9.1% last month. About 14 million Americans who would like to work can’t get a job.
And the average private-sector workweek fell to 34.2 hours from 34.3 hours, a sign of a greater slowdown in activity than economists had expected.
The results were worse than expected, and stocks fell on the news. Treasury prices rose, pushing yields down. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast payrolls would rise by 80,000 last month, with the unemployment rate unchanged.
Citing the nation’s wobbly recovery, Mr. Obama on Friday asked the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw a proposed regulation for ozone air-quality standards. Republicans and industry groups have attacked the air-quality rule for months, saying it could cost tens of billions of dollars a year or more and kill thousands of jobs.
Mr. Obama is due to unveil new measures Thursday aimed at resuscitating the jobs market, but budget constraints and sharp divisions between Democrats and Republicans make it unlikely Congress will pass a substantive package. The Federal Reserve may therefore end up taking new steps to try to spur growth. The economy slowed sharply in the first half, heightening concerns it could fall back into recession only two years after the end of the severe downturn of 2008 and 2009.
The jobs report is worrying because it is in line with the weak trend seen in recent months, but it doesn’t spell recession yet, the commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics said in an interview Friday.
Keith Hall said that, while the zero payroll figure for last month “is a little bit shocking,” the more concerning aspect is that job gains have only averaged 40,000 over the past four months. Monthly employment gains of at least 130,000 are likely needed just to keep the unemployment rate steady, he warned.
In Friday’s report, several major industries showed weakness beyond the 48,000 employment decline in the information industry, which includes telecom jobs.
Manufacturing, a big creator of jobs for most of the recovery, saw employment decline by 3,000 in August. The battered construction sector showed 5,000 job losses last month. The housing sector remains a big drag on the economy. The retail sector lost nearly 8,000 jobs.
Meanwhile, government employment continued to fall—by 17,000—for the 10th month in a row. Government jobs are expected to continue struggling as administrations try to cut the huge budget gaps accumulated to fight the recession.
Facing re-election in just over a year, Mr. Obama is next week expected to call for more investments in the country’s creaking infrastructure and a possible extension to the 2011 payroll-tax credit to boost consumer spending. But Republican opposition to more spending makes the president’s job harder. The White House Thursday downgraded its outlook for the economy, saying unemployment could still be at 9% in 2012.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke a week ago said the nation’s challenges—including long-term unemployment and weakness in housing—are largely beyond the central bank’s control, indicating it is mainly up to Mr. Obama and Congress to fix the economy. Even so, the Fed is likely to step in if it feels the economy is at risk because of government paralysis. Some officials signaled readiness to enact a third round of the Fed’s controversial asset purchases at their latest meeting Aug. 9.
With fiscal policy options “locked up as we roll into an election year, Ben Bernanke will come under tremendous pressure to act,” said Jason Schenker, president of forecasting company Prestige economics.
The jobs report Friday showed 42.9% of unemployed Americans, or six million people, were out of work for more than six months. The longer someone is without a job, the harder it is to find work.
Yet the fact that a large number of Americans have been out of work for several months means that more expansive monetary policy won’t be as effective in helping the labor market, three economists argue in a new paper from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
“After a long period of unemployment, affected workers may become effectively unemployable,” says the paper, by Andreas Hornstein, Thomas A. Lubik and Jessie Romero. “This suggests that the natural rate of unemployment may have increased.”
Some said the news wasn’t altogether unexpected. “In summary, this report is not good news, but it is not inconsistent with other recent indicators,” said Chad Moutray, chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers, in a statement. He said the jobs report would “embolden those who argue for new initiatives to stimulate economic growth.”
Today, Kevin gives you a lesson on how to negotiate and what to do when given an opportunity of a lifetime! Plus, get the natural cures for depression and the three ways a person becomes financially free. Which route will you take?
Create A Cash Cow
Healthy Hair Dye
Get Rid Of Emotion Pain
Protection From Toxins
Omega-3 Fish Oil
FDA Admits Heartburn Drugs Cause Brittle Bones
Animals With Antennae Are Vanishing In Epidemic Amounts
The Truth About High Fructose Corn Syrup
College Kids Are Depressed
Number One Killer In America Is Heart Disease
Depression Is Fastest Growing Disease
Take Trudeau on the Go! Click here to download this show to your iPod, mp3 player, or PC through iTunes!
Today, Kevin finally reveals exactly how he developed his wealth and where he has invested that wealth to create even more!
Change Your Life
You Can Win Too!
Create A Cash Cow
FDA Admits Heartburn Drugs Cause Brittle Bones
Animals With Antennae Are Vanishing In Epidemic Amounts
The Truth About High Fructose Corn Syrup
Take Trudeau on the Go! Click here to download this show to your iPod, mp3 player, or PC through iTunes!
December 21st, 2010
The Wall Street Journal
By: Robert M. McDowell
Tomorrow morning the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will mark the winter solstice by taking an unprecedented step to expand government’s reach into the Internet by attempting to regulate its inner workings. In doing so, the agency will circumvent Congress and disregard a recent court ruling.
How did the FCC get here?
For years, proponents of so-called “net neutrality” have been calling for strong regulation of broadband “on-ramps” to the Internet, like those provided by your local cable or phone companies. Rules are needed, the argument goes, to ensure that the Internet remains open and free, and to discourage broadband providers from thwarting consumer demand. That sounds good if you say it fast.
Nothing is broken that needs fixing, however. The Internet has been open and freedom-enhancing since it was spun off from a government research project in the early 1990s. Its nature as a diffuse and dynamic global network of networks defies top-down authority. Ample laws to protect consumers already exist. Furthermore, the Obama Justice Department and the European Commission both decided this year that net-neutrality regulation was unnecessary and might deter investment in next-generation Internet technology and infrastructure.
Analysts and broadband companies of all sizes have told the FCC that new rules are likely to have the perverse effect of inhibiting capital investment, deterring innovation, raising operating costs, and ultimately increasing consumer prices. Others maintain that the new rules will kill jobs. By moving forward with Internet rules anyway, the FCC is not living up to its promise of being “data driven” in its pursuit of mandates—i.e., listening to the needs of the market.
It wasn’t long ago that bipartisan and international consensus centered on insulating the Internet from regulation. This policy was a bright hallmark of the Clinton administration, which oversaw the Internet’s privatization. Over time, however, the call for more Internet regulation became imbedded into a 2008 presidential campaign promise by then-Sen. Barack Obama. So here we are.
Last year, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski started to fulfill this promise by proposing rules using a legal theory from an earlier commission decision (from which I had dissented in 2008) that was under court review. So confident were they in their case, FCC lawyers told the federal court of appeals in Washington, D.C., that their theory gave the agency the authority to regulate broadband rates, even though Congress has never given the FCC the power to regulate the Internet. FCC leaders seemed caught off guard by the extent of the court’s April 6 rebuke of the commission’s regulatory overreach.
In May, the FCC leadership floated the idea of deeming complex and dynamic Internet services equivalent to old-fashioned monopoly phone services, thereby triggering price-and-terms regulations that originated in the 1880s. The announcement produced what has become a rare event in Washington: A large, bipartisan majority of Congress agreeing on something. More than 300 members of Congress, including 86 Democrats, contacted the FCC to implore it to stop pursuing Internet regulation and to defer to Capitol Hill.
Facing a powerful congressional backlash, the FCC temporarily changed tack and convened negotiations over the summer with a select group of industry representatives and proponents of Internet regulation. Curiously, the commission abruptly dissolved the talks after Google and Verizon, former Internet-policy rivals, announced their own side agreement for a legislative blueprint. Yes, the effort to reach consensus was derailed by . . . consensus.
After a long August silence, it appeared that the FCC would defer to Congress after all. Agency officials began working with House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman on a draft bill codifying network management rules. No Republican members endorsed the measure. Later, proponents abandoned the congressional effort to regulate the Net.
Still feeling quixotic pressure to fight an imaginary problem, the FCC leadership this fall pushed a small group of hand-picked industry players toward a “choice” between a bad option (broad regulation already struck down in April by the D.C. federal appeals court) or a worse option (phone monopoly-style regulation). Experiencing more coercion than consensus or compromise, a smaller industry group on Dec. 1 gave qualified support for the bad option. The FCC’s action will spark a billable-hours bonanza as lawyers litigate the meaning of “reasonable” network management for years to come. How’s that for regulatory certainty?
To date, the FCC hasn’t ruled out increasing its power further by using the phone monopoly laws, directly or indirectly regulating rates someday, or expanding its reach deeper into mobile broadband services. The most expansive regulatory regimes frequently started out modest and innocuous before incrementally growing into heavy-handed behemoths.
On this winter solstice, we will witness jaw-dropping interventionist chutzpah as the FCC bypasses branches of our government in the dogged pursuit of needless and harmful regulation. The darkest day of the year may end up marking the beginning of a long winter’s night for Internet freedom.
August 5, 2010
The Washington Post
Google and Verizon have come to an agreement on how network operators can manage Web traffic, according to two sources briefed on their negotiations.
The agreement, expected to be announced within days, comes as the Federal Communications Commission tries to get major Internet content firms and network service providers to strike a deal on disputed points of so-called net neutrality rules. It’s unclear how the deal will affect the direction of those discussions.
The FCC said Verizon and Google are still part of meetings between senior staff and officials at AT&T, Skype, a cable trade association and the Open Internet Coalition. Public interest groups criticized the meetings and the rumored agreement between Verizon and Google for allowing giant Internet firms to have a greater say in the future of how consumers access the Web.
Verizon wouldn’t confirm that a deal was struck but said in an e-mail statement:
“We’ve been working with Google for 10 months to reach an agreement on broadband policy. We are currently engaged in and committed to the negotiation process led by the FCC. We are optimistic this process will reach a consensus that can maintain an open Internet and the investment and innovation required to sustain it.”
Specifically, Google and Verizon’s agreement could prevent Verizon from offering some prioritization to the biggest bidders who want better delivery of content on its DSL and fiber networks, according to the sources. But that wouldn’t apply to mobile phones, the sources said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the companies have not officially made their announcement.
And Verizon could offer some managed services — better quality to some Web sites such as those offering health care services, the sources said. But some analysts speculate that managed services could also include discounted YouTube and other services to FiOs customers at better quality.
Google did not reply to a request for comment.
The rumored deal drew criticism from public interest groups, who have argued that the country’s biggest Web firms and broadband service providers shouldn’t have such a strong influence on how federal rules are formed on Internet access.
“The fate of the Internet is too large a matter to be decided by negotiations involving two companies, even companies as big as Verizon and Google, or even the six companies and groups engaged in other discussions at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on similar topics,” said Gigi Sohn, president of public interest group Public Knowledge.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s chief of staff has orchestrated meetings with Google, AT&T, Verizon, Skype, a cable trade association and the Open Internet Coalition in hopes of presenting to Congress consensus ground rules that would prevent network operators from blocking or slowing down certain Web sites. Genachowski wants an agreement that will encourage lawmakers to introduce net neutrality legislation as the FCC struggles over its ability to regulate broadband providers.
The six officials at the FCC meetings, which continued Wednesday and will resume Thursday, are hashing out details on whether wireless phones should be included in legislation and if carriers can charge for better quality of service.
The FCC declined to comment specifically on Verizon and Google’s deal, but an FCC spokesperson said: “The broad stakeholder discussions continue to actively include Google and Verizon.”
According to the sources, Verizon and Google have met separately to reach an agreement they will tout as an example of successful self-regulation. Once bitter opponents in the so-called net neutrality debate, the firms have grown closer on the issue as their business ties have also strengthened. Verizon partners with Google on their Android wireless phones.
Their actions could set a course for the FCC meetings and what ultimately the parties could present to lawmakers, analysts said.