U.S. Government Surveillance Programs Are a Threat to the Privacy of Individuals Worldwide

In case you didn't realize it already. From Politico:
The journalist who broke the news that the government is monitoring vast quantities of American phone records is claiming the U.S. is building a “massive” snooping apparatus committed to destroying privacy worldwide.

“There is a massive apparatus within the United States government that with complete secrecy has been building this enormous structure that has only one goal, and that is to destroy privacy and anonymity, not just in the United States but around the world,” charged Glenn Greenwald, a reporter for the British newspaper “The Guardian,” speaking on CNN. “That is not hyperbole. That is their objective.”

Federal Government's War on the Fourth Amendment as Bad as Expected

The U.S. Federal Government under the dictatorship of the Democratic and Republican parties, and in partnership with their corporate allies, represent a grave and direct threat against the people and Constitution of the United States.  From the Washington Post:
The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track one target or trace a whole network of associates, according to a top-secret document obtained by The Washington Post. . . .

NSA extracts what it wants, according to the document: “Collection directly from the servers of these U.S. Service Providers: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple.”

Federal Government Caught in Massive Spying Operation

The war on the Fourth Amendment continues.  From The Guardian:
The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America's largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.  The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an "ongoing, daily basis" to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries. . . .

The secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Fisa) granted the order to the FBI on April 25, giving the government unlimited authority to obtain the data for a specified three-month period ending on July 19.

Under the terms of the blanket order, the numbers of both parties on a call are handed over, as is location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls. The contents of the conversation itself are not covered.

Access to the Internet is a Human Right

In an interview with The Verge, outgoing FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski states that communication over the internet is a "basic right."  Excerpt:
The most important thing for people to understand is that the basic rule that people have a right to send information over the internet — even when they are using a wireless device — is part of the framework. If a carrier blocks a consumer's access to the internet, they are violating our rules.

Trojon Virus Continuing to Spread Via Facebook

Just in case you needed to be reminded that you should always be cognizant of the links you click, the New York Times reports on a six year old piece of malware that continues to dupe Facebook users and drain bank accounts.  Excerpt:
a six-year-old so-called Trojan horse program that drains bank accounts is alive and well on Facebook.  Zeus is a particularly nasty Trojan horse that has infected millions of computers, most of them in the United States. Once Zeus has compromised a computer, it stays dormant until a victim logs into a bank site, and then it steals the victim’s passwords and drains the victim’s accounts. In some cases, it can even replace a bank’s Web site with its own page, in order to get even more information– such as a Social Security number– that can be sold on the black market.

Why Can't We Access Our Own Data?

Today, many if not most people understand that we are under constant surveillance in one way or another, whether by a public surveillance camera or our own cell phones.  What if you wanted to start collecting that data on yourself?  From the New York Times:
OUR mobile carriers know our locations: where our phones travel during working hours and leisure time, where they reside overnight when we sleep. Verizon Wireless even sells demographic profiles of customer groups — including ZIP codes for where they “live, work, shop and more” — to marketers. But when I called my wireless providers, Verizon and T-Mobile, last week in search of data on my comings and goings, call-center agents told me that their companies didn’t share customers’ own location logs with them without a subpoena. . . .

Maine House Passes Law Requiring Warrants for Police to Track Cell Phones

One might think that the strict language of the Fourth Amendment on illegal search and seizure would mean that it would be unconstitutional for police to track anyone's cell phone without a warrant.  But you would be wrong, as the Bill of Rights has been systematically undermined by the Democratic and Republican parties in the Congress.  Some states are pushing back, however.  A new bill Maine would require law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant to track a person's cell phone.  From Slate:
Lawmakers in Maine are putting themselves at the forefront of efforts to curb excessive surveillance by instituting new privacy safeguards.  On Wednesday, the state House voted 113-28 in favor of legislation that would in all but exceptional cases prohibit law enforcement agencies from tracking cellphones without a warrant. If enacted, LD 415 would make Maine the first state in the country to require authorities to obtain a search warrant before tracking cellphones or other GPS-enabled devices. The law would also require that law enforcement agencies notify a person that she was tracked within three days, unless they can prove that secrecy is necessary, in which case a delay can be granted for up to 180 days. LD 415 would additionally require the publication of an annual report online detailing the number of times location data were sought by law enforcement agencies.