Comcast Defends Role As Internet Traffic Cop

 

By Cecilia Kang

Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 13, 2008; Page D01

Comcast said yesterday that it purposely slows down some traffic on its network, including some music and movie downloads, an admission that sparked more controversy in the debate over how much control network operators should have over the Internet.

In a filing with the Federal Communications Commission, Comcast said such measures — which can slow the transfer of music or video between subscribers sharing files, for example — are necessary to ensure better flow of traffic over its network.

In defending its actions, Comcast stepped into one of the technology industry’s most divisive battles. Comcast argues that it should be able to direct traffic so networks don’t get clogged; consumer groups and some Internet companies argue that the networks should not be permitted to block or slow users’ access to the Web.

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NYC subways adding dogs, armed officers

Why now 6 years after the attacks?

Teams of police officers armed with submachine guns and bomb-sniffing dogs will soon be patrolling the busiest parts of New York City subways as part of a major increase in regional security funding.

The subway initiative is one use of the $151.2 million in new grant money from the Department of Homeland Security to transit systems in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. Last year, they received $98 million.

Explaining the increase, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said law enforcement officials in the three states “have to deal with vulnerabilities and threats in this region that are really second to none.”

New York’s subways have long been considered a potential terror target; police already randomly check riders’ bags, and the tunnels and ventilation systems are searched for explosives. Hidden cameras register any suspicious action.

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Revealed: 800 public bodies now have powers to ‘snoop’ on our phones and emails

Almost 800 public bodies have assumed powers to “snoop” on our phone records or private correspondence, it emerged yesterday.The “surveillance state” powers have been handed to prison bosses, the police, Environment Agency, NHS Trusts, fire chiefs, Post Office and 474 local councils.

Local authorities made 1,700 requests to access mobile phone records and other private information in the last nine months of 2006 – using them to catch “criminals” such as fly-tippers.

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The Homeland Security Campus: Repress U

by Michael Gould-Wartofsky

Global Research, January 25, 2008
The NationFree-speech zones. Taser guns. Hidden cameras. Data mining. A new security curriculum. Private security contractors. Welcome to the homeland security campus.
From Harvard to UCLA, the ivory tower is fast becoming the latest watchtower in Fortress America. The terror warriors, having turned their attention to “violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism prevention”–as it was recently dubbed in a House of Representatives bill of the same name–have set out to reconquer that traditional hotbed of radicalization, the university.

Building a homeland security campus and bringing the university to heel is a seven-step mission:

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Like FBI, CIA Has Used Secret ‘Letters’

For three years, the Bush administration has drawn fire from civil liberties groups over its use of national security letters, a kind of administrative subpoena that compels private businesses such as telecommunications companies to turn over information to the government. After the 2001 USA Patriot Act loosened the guidelines, the FBI issued tens of thousands of such requests, something critics say amounts to warrantless spying on Americans who have not been charged with crimes.Now, newly released documents shed light on the use of the letters by the CIA. The spy agency has employed them to obtain financial information about U.S. residents and does so under extraordinary secrecy, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which obtained copies of CIA letters under the Freedom of Information Act.

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US drafting plan to allow government access to any email or Web search

National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell is drawing up plans for cyberspace spying that would make the current debate on warrantless wiretaps look like a “walk in the park,” according to an interview published in the New Yorker‘s print edition today.Debate on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act “will be a walk in the park compared to this,” McConnell said. “this is going to be a goat rope on the Hill. My prediction is that we’re going to screw around with this until something horrendous happens.”

The article, which profiles the 65-year-old former admiral appointed by President George W. Bush in January 2007 to oversee all of America’s intelligence agencies, was not published on the New Yorker‘s Web site. (It can be read here in pdf).

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AT&T and Other I.S.P.’s May Be Getting Ready to Filter

For the last 15 years, Internet service providers have acted – to use an old cliche – as wide-open information super-highways, letting data flow uninterrupted and unimpeded between users and the Internet.

But I.S.P.’s may be about to embrace a new metaphor: traffic cop.

At a small panel discussion about digital piracy at NBC’s booth on the Consumer Electronics Show floor, representatives from NBC, Microsoft, several digital filtering companies and the telecom giant AT&T said the time was right to start filtering for copyrighted content at the network level.

Such filtering for pirated material already occurs on sites like YouTube and Microsoft’s Soapbox, and on some university networks.

Network-level filtering means your Internet service provider – Comcast, AT&T, EarthLink, or whoever you send that monthly check to – could soon start sniffing your digital packets, looking for material that infringes on someone’s copyright.

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The Expanding Police State

The Secret Raids of Alberto Gonzales

Operation Falcon: 10,000 Swept Up

By MIKE WHITNEY

18/05/08 “Counterpunch” — – There’s only one way to make sure that the machinery of state-terror is operating at maximum efficiency; flip on the switch and let er rip. That was thinking behind last month’s massive roundup of 10,000 American citizens in what was aptly-christened Operation Falcon.

Operation Falcon was a massive clandestine dragnet that involved hundreds of state, federal and local law-enforcement agencies during the week of April 4 to April 10, 2005. It was the largest criminal-sweep in the nation’s history and was brainchild of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and his counterpart in the US Marshal’s office, (Director) Ben Reyna.

Read more and listen to speeches by Mike Whitney and Jeremey Scahill on the militarization of America and on the looming martial law.

John Gibson: hatemonger extraordinaire.

I have to tell you straight away that I am not a Ron Paul supporter. If I lived in America I would go for Kucinich. I am more in favour of the European compassionate form of capitalism. In fact I would reject capitalism outright because it is unsustainable, but that would probably go to far for Americans.

However this piece of scum faux news reporter shows again how the corporate media tries to manipulate the elections and how scared they are of the 911 truth movement.

Freedom of Speech and H.R. 1955 pt. 1

Read the full text on the page above.

French Author Accused of Outing Secrets

Saturday December 8, 2007 4:46 AM
By VERENA VON DERSCHAU

Associated Press Writer

PARIS (AP) – A French anti-terrorist judge has filed preliminary charges against an investigative journalist and author accused of publishing defense secrets, judicial officials said Friday.

Authorities are investigating articles by Guillaume Dasquie, including one that reported French intelligence had suspected al-Qaida of planning a plane hijacking nine months before the Sept. 11 attacks.

Dasquie was detained Wednesday after investigators from the DST counterespionage agency searched his residence, the judicial officials said. On Thursday, investigating judge Philippe Coirre, who handles anti-terrorist cases, filed preliminary charges, the officials said.

The charges are for “possessing secret defense documents” and “divulging secret defense documents or intelligence,” the officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.

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Terror watch list swells to more than 755,000

WASHINGTON — The government’s terrorist watch list has swelled to more than 755,000 names, according to a new government report that has raised worries about the list’s effectiveness.

The size of the list, typically used to check people entering the country through land border crossings, airports and sea ports, has been growing by 200,000 names a year since 2004. Some lawmakers, security experts and civil rights advocates warn that it will become useless if it includes too many people.

“It undermines the authority of the list,” says Lisa Graves of the Center for National Security Studies. “There’s just no rational, reasonable estimate that there’s anywhere close to that many suspected terrorists.”

The exact number of people on the list, compiled after 9/11 to help government agents keep terrorists out of the country, is unclear, according to the report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Some people may be on the list more than once because they are listed under multiple spellings.

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Why, Even If You Have Nothing To Hide, Government Surveillance Threatens Your Freedom:

“I’ve got nothing to hide, so electronic surveillance doesn’t bother me. To the contrary, I’m delighted that the Bush Administration is monitoring calls and electronic traffic on a massive scale, because catching terrorists is far more important that worrying about the government’s listening to my phone calls, or reading my emails.” So the argument goes. It is a powerful one that has seduced too many people.Millions of Americans buy this logic, and in accepting it, believe they are doing the right thing for themselves, their family, and their friends, neighbors, community and country. They are sadly wrong. If you accept this argument, you have been badly fooled.

This contention is being bantered about once again, so there is no better time than the present to set thinking people straight. Bush and Cheney want to make permanent unchecked Executive powers to electronically eavesdrop on anyone whom any President feels to be of interest. In August, before the summer recess, Congress enacted the Protect America Act, which provided only temporary approval for the expanding Executive powers under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). These temporary powers expire in February 2008, so Congress is once again addressing the subject.

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NSA Spying: What Did Pelosi Know?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has admitted knowing for several years about the Bush administration’s eavesdropping on Americans without a court warrant. She said she was briefed on it when she was ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. But was she told that the illegal surveillance began well before 9/11?

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Pain Compliance. Coming Soon to an Antiwar Demo Near You?

Last September, Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne indicated the military would use “nonlethal weapons” against “fellow citizens” before they use them in “a wartime situation.” In other words, the American people are considered little more than guinea pigs, especially dissenting Americans in need of “crowd control.”

Before zapping antiwar demonstrators with an ADS beam—that’s short for “Active Denial System”—the military or police may request they remove glasses, contact lenses, and take coins and keys out of their pockets. “Precautions used to test U.S. military’s microwave weapon ADS for crowd control have raised questions about its safety, says a report,” explains United Press International. “These precautions raise concerns about the ADS in real crowd-control situations, the New Scientist reported… The ADS fires a 95-gigahertz microwave beam, which is supposed to heat skin and to cause pain but no physical damage, the report said. Until now little information about its effects had been released.”

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Dragonfly or Insect Spy? Scientists at Work on Robobugs.

Vanessa Alarcon saw them while working at an antiwar rally in Lafayette Square last month.

“I heard someone say, ‘Oh my god, look at those,’ ” the college senior from New York recalled. “I look up and I’m like, ‘What the hell is that?’ They looked kind of like dragonflies or little helicopters. But I mean, those are not insects.”

Robotic fliers have been used by the military since World War II, but in the past decade their numbers and level of sophistication have increased enormously. Gallery
DragonSpies
Robotic fliers have been used by the military since World War II, but in the past decade their numbers and level of sophistication have increased enormously.

Out in the crowd, Bernard Crane saw them, too.

“I’d never seen anything like it in my life,” the Washington lawyer said. “They were large for dragonflies. I thought, ‘Is that mechanical, or is that alive?’ “

That is just one of the questions hovering over a handful of similar sightings at political events in Washington and New York. Some suspect the insectlike drones are high-tech surveillance tools, perhaps deployed by the Department of Homeland Security.

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Police State UK : Teenager Charged With Terrorism For Owning A Book

“Possessing” Information Can Now Brand You A Terrorist

By Darryl Mason

The Anarchists’ Cookbook, like the many widely available CIA sabotage manuals (an illustrated version was distributed to civilians in Nicaragua during the 1980s), contains recipes for making explosives. The book has been out of mainstream circulation for years. But in the UK, a 17 year was caught with a copy of the Anarchists’ Cookbook in his possession. He’s now been charged as a terrorist.

The boy wasn’t charged with attempting to carry out an act of terrorism, or even plotting an act of terrorism. He was charged because he had a book. Obviously the wrong book. But a book, all the same.

Philip K Dick’s concept of pre-crime – arresting someone before they even attempt to break the law – is now a rock solid reality in the UK, the US and Australia, thanks to the vaguely defined sprawl of anti-terror laws.

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Let’s make this a world hit

Inside the Council for National Policy

By Marc J. Ambinder
W A S H I N G T O N, May 2

Share When Steve Baldwin, the executive director of an organization with the stale-as-old-bread name of the Council for National Policy, boasts that “we control everything in the world,” he is only half-kidding.

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The Attack on MoveOn.org and Other Dangerous ‘Fingerprints’

Yeah, I didn’t like the wording of the ad either. But the attack on MoveOn.org by the Senate last week is not an aberration but is part of a dangerous — and accelerating — trend of echoes from the past.Students of history know that the National Socialists in Germany, before they came to power, made multiple assaults on democracy by pushing for laws and that expanded penalties for opponents’ speaking out against certain subjects. What they — and then Stalin, who studied Hitler — perfected was the identification of a `third rail’ of untouchable subjects that one could never approach critically without facing escalating penalties — job loss, personal attacks, or, just a little later, criminal charges. These subjects were the war, the party itself, and the military. Making these subjects sacred and untouchable allowed National Socialists to commit any number of crimes by explaining that the abusive actions were taken in the name of the off-limits-to-criticism ideals.

Then once they came to power, they developed an ever-expanding network of laws criminalizing ever expanding minor actions critical of the state or of the military or the paramilitary forces; they developed broad definitions of `treason’ and of what it meant to `impugn the honor of the nation’ — so that soon it became a crime against the state, defined as an assault on patriotism and a form of treason, to listen to the BBC or to speak up for an imprisoned Jew or communist.

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