Browsing: Big Brother

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‘Journalists from the BBC, Reuters and New York Times were among those spied on by the German foreign intelligence service, according to reports.

Surveillance was allegedly carried out by the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) on at least 50 reporters since 1999.

Respected German magazine Der Spiegel reported the findings after obtaining BND documents listing journalists’ emails, faxes and telephone numbers.

The document reportedly showed more than a dozen BBC journalists were being monitored via numbers at the organisation’s London headquarters and in Afghanistan.’

Read more: German foreign intelligence service ‘spied on journalists from BBC, New York Times and Reuters’


‘Prosecutors in Arkansas are attempting to set a dangerous precedent by forcing Amazon to release audio gathered by the Echo device.

Since its June 2015 release, civil liberties activists have been concerned with the dangers associated with Amazon’s Echo device. The device responds to either “wake,” “Alexa,” or “Amazon,” and records audio automatically. Echo is also capable of voice interaction and providing weather, traffic and other real-time information.

The device is a part of the growing trend towards Smart devices and appliances, which are themselves a part of the move towards Smart Homes and a completely interconnected digital Smart Grid. This Smart Grid is sometimes known as “The Internet of Things,” meant to describe a future where all smart devices (computers, phones, Amazon’s Echo, smart washer and dryers) are constantly listening and watching.

These smart devices will be connected within your home, as well as to other users’ devices across the globe. This vision of a totally connected grid of digital devices is ripe for manipulation and surveillance by both the corporate entities who sell them and the governments that believe it is their right to access the public’s most private details.’

Read more: Arkansas Police Want To Force Amazon To Release Private Audio From Echo


‘Turkey’s government has reportedly asked teachers and parents of Turkish origin in Germany to collect information on any criticism of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in German schools.

The Turkish consulate in North Rhine-Westphalia in western Germany has been holding meetings, named “information events,” during which it told the Turkish attendees that their children should film their teachers at classes, the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ) reported.

The report cited the Union for Education and Science (GEW) as saying that parents and teachers of Turkish origin have been asked to report any critical comments about the Turkish government.’

Read more: Turkey urges expats in Germany to spy for Erdogan: Report

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‘Protections for whistleblowers have become “ineffective” in the digital era thanks to stricter laws governing those attempting to leak national security information, a new study reveals.

According to research by the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) at the University of London, journalists receiving information from whistleblowers find it increasingly difficult to maintain their sources’ anonymity because of the major interception of phone and online activities.

The study follows a proposal earlier this month to significantly increase prison sentences for those found leaking official information.

“Legal protections [for whistleblowers] have become ineffective,” the report Protecting Sources and Whistleblowers in a Digital Age said.’

Read more: Britain’s draconian surveillance powers leave whistleblowers unprotected, study finds

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‘As soon as Trump became the President-elect, sales of George Orwell’s book 1984 surged to the top of Amazon Best Sellers where it has remained for the last couple months. It seems that learning about Statism is all the rage by those who opposed Trump. And no one defined it more succinctly than Orwell: “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.” However, if they read carefully enough, they’ll realize that temporary leaders of “Big Brother” merely continue the machinery of the State.

Your computer, smartphone, car, smart TV and appliances, and credit cards didn’t just start spying on you when Donald Trump became president. They were put in place by Big Brother over decades, and they will continue to expand under Trump because he’s continuing the manufactured war on terror. Moreover, a new approach to immigration signals that even more doors could be opened up for invading the privacy of travelers and residents alike.’

Read more: Government Is Still Recording Your Every Move Under Trump

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‘Law enforcement is compelling Apple and Facebook to hand over the personal information of users who were mass arrested at protests against the inauguration of Donald Trump in Washington, D.C., AlterNet has confirmed. The tech giants appear to be complying with the data-mining requests, amid mounting concerns over the heavy-handed crackdown against the more than 200 people detained on January 20, among them journalists, legal observers and medics.

“This is part of an increasing trend of law enforcement attempting to turn the internet, instead of technology for freedom, into technology for control,” Evan Greer, the campaign director for Fight for the Future, told AlterNet. “This trend started long before Trump and seems to be escalating and growing in scale now.”‘

Read more: Law Enforcement Using Facebook and Apple to Data-Mine Accounts of Trump Protest Arrestees

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‘A few months ago I wrote about how you can encrypt your entire life in less than an hour. Well, all the security in the world can’t save you if someone has physical possession of your phone or laptop, and can intimidate you into giving up your password.

A few weeks ago, that’s precisely what happened to a U.S. citizen returning home from abroad.

On January 30, Sidd Bikkannavar, a U.S.-born scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, flew back to Houston, Texas, from Santiago, Chile.

On his way through the airport, Customs and Border Patrol agents pulled him aside. They searched him, then detained him in a room with a bunch of other people sleeping on cots. They eventually returned and said they’d release him if he told them the password to unlock his phone.’

Read more: I’ll Never Take My Phone on an International Flight Again—Neither Should You

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‘China wants residents in a troubled part of the country to have GPS tracking installed in their cars so their movements can be monitored 24/7.

The measure has been ordered by Chinese security officials to be implemented on the Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Region of Xinjiang, following a spate of deadly, violent crime in the area.

According to a statement by the Bayingolin government via a local site, the mandatory order to install GPS trackers is intended to help “ensure social security and safety and promote social stability and harmony”…

…“There is a severe threat from international terrorism, and cars have been used as a key means of transport for terrorists as well as constantly serving as weapons. It is, therefore, necessary to monitor and track all vehicles in the prefecture,” an earlier announcement from the Bayingolin government read.’

Read more: China Orders to All Cars in Troubled Region to Install GPS to Be Tracked 24/7


‘On Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was invited to the Bundestag parliamentary committee to testify on the NSA and BND espionage scandal that shocked German residents in 2015. During her speech Merkel stuck to her old position, saying that she knew nothing about the spying activities of German intelligence.

In an interview with Sputnik Germany, German politician Patrick Schiffer noted that he was surprised by the lack of coordination between the BND and the German government and stressed that insufficient control was the main reason behind the unprecedented spy scandal that has shaken the country.’

Read more: German Spy Scandal Triggered by Broken Connection Between Government and Intelligence Agencies

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‘Freshman Republican Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana introduced legislation on February 16 requiring the Department of Homeland Security to monitor the social media activities of all visa applicants including their Facebook and Twitter accounts. The bill explicitly mandates DHS agents to interrogate children as young as 11 years old.

The legislation is titled the Visa Investigation and Social Media Act of 2017 and is the first bill submitted by the new congressman. The language, which was reviewed by AlterNet, states that no visa applicant will be admitted “unless a background check to determine whether or not the alien is a national security threat or is otherwise ineligible for such visa or admission is completed.”’

Read more: New Republican Bill Calls for Israeli-Style Spying on Social Media of All U.S. Visa Applicants