Surveillance

United States v. Apple: Finding Common Ground

Steve Spingola published this article at Right Wisconsin. To see the content, please use this link:

http://www.rightwisconsin.com/perspectives/Finding-Common-Ground-on-Apple-v-US-Government-370861061.html

————————————
Steve Spingola is a retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide lieutenant, an author, and an investigator for TNT’s Cold Justice. His latest book, “Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. 1 & 2,” is available at Amazon.com


Police Use of Orwellian Technology Raises Red Flag

Steve Spingola published this article at Right Wisconsin. To see the content, please use this link:

http://www.rightwisconsin.com/perspectives/Police-Use-of-Orwellian–367577431.html

In response to this post, a vigorous debate between the cops of yore and those of the job today occurred on Facebook (please see the link):

https://www.facebook.com/steve.spingola/posts/1290292374319479?pnref=story

——————————————
Steve Spingola is a retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide lieutenant, an author, and an investigator for TNT’s Cold Justice.


The Man Against the Machine: U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner Reins In the NSA

A few decades ago, one of my class instructors joked that, “If pro is the opposite of con, then Congress is the opposite of progress.” With 535 legislators with different agendas, Congress is a body that is often pulled if different directions, many of which are dominated by well-heeled special interests.

This makes Wisconsin Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner’s USA Freedom Act an unusual species in Washington. This legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate with large, bi-partisan support, and was then signed by President Obama.

A U.S. representative since 1979, Sensenbrenner is a leader on legal issues that affect Americans’ privacy. He is keenly aware that the powerful pull the strings vis-à-vis their well-connected hired guns — lobbyists.

With the far, neo-con right ratcheting up the rhetoric regarding the expiration of the USA Patriot Act’s bulk data collection of all Americans’ telephone records, Sensenbrenner was able to build a coalition of Democrats and liberty minded Republicans to debunk the myths being bellowed by the national security statists.

One of the myths being promulgated by the neo-cons: There is no need to worry because the NSA is simply retrieving telephone calls and the length of these calls; none of these conversations are recorded.

First, if the government possesses every telephone call placed, and couples this data with the algorithms the NSA gobbles up by archiving Americans’ e-mails, Web clicks, and posts on various social media Web sites, an intelligence analysis with an eighth grade reading level could easily draw a portrait of any individual’s life. In essence, the government knows what books we read, who we communicate with, our political beliefs, and the means by which Americans exercise their free speech rights.

Second, the NSA does record telephone calls and, anyone who says otherwise is part of the government’s noble lie. Since 9/11, the NSA has recorded trillions of telephone conversations. To learn how these programs work, I would strongly encourage readers to visit the below link:

http://www.wired.com/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/

Today, Congressman Sensenbrenner appeared on the Jay Weber Show to discuss the USA Freedom Act. To hear the podcast, please visit the below link:

http://www.newstalk1130.com/media/podcast-jay-weber-show-thejaywebershow/jay-weber-hour-2-part-1-26102606/

Any American concerned with the issue of security vs. privacy should be proud of Sensenbrenner’s accomplishment. Even the secular-progressive Milwaukee Journal Sentinel applauded this rare, bi-partisan legislation and the proposed oversight of these Orwellian government agencies:

http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/after-carefully-building-coalition-sensenbrenner-savors-win-b99512887z1-306069891.html

___________________________________________________________
Steve Spingola is an author, retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective, and a contributor to TNT’s Cold Justice.

His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2015


Michael Chertoff’s Brave New World

On the thirteenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, various media outlets revisited the events of that fateful day, which caused me to wonder: how long it will be before 9/11 becomes a footnote in American history. After all, most of this year’s incoming college freshmen were entering kindergarten at the time the World Trade Center came tumbling down.

Nonetheless, it is the adults that I am most concerned about. The first group is the Obama administration, which seems hell bent on fulfilling George Orwell’s 1984 prophecy.  Americans are fortunate that the Constitution will force this group of misfits from power in the early days of 2017. Another troubling group is the cabal of neo-cons who have convinced Americans to surrender much of their privacy in the name of security.

Michael Chertoff is a member of the latter group. As a guest on Fox News last evening, Chertoff used the anniversary of 9/11 to chastise lawmakers’ efforts to marginalize the NSA’s Orwellian collection of Americans’ electronic data.

Now, Mr. Chertoff, a high-profile former prosecutor instrumental in New York’s Mafia crackdown, should know better. He is keenly aware that 99.999 percent of Americans using cellular telephones and the Internet have absolutely no relationship to terrorism.  Mr. Chertoff must know that government funded surveillance cameras at intersections in Sauk City, Wisconsin — a town with a population of 3,410 — will never capture an image of a plotting terrorist.  Still, Chertoff, Dick Cheney, President Obama, Janet Napolitano, et al, have spent billions and billions of dollars creating an American surveillance state in venues as small as Sauk City.  In the process, many of their special interest connections at corporations, such as Lockheed Martin, have received billion dollar government contracts paid for with borrowed money from China and quantitative easing.

And Michael Chertoff, Charles Krauthammer, Mark Belling, and the judges on the FISA courts, know full well that the NSA charter prohibits that agency from collecting information from American citizens while on U.S. soil. They further are aware that the Fourth Amendment requires warrants and court orders for searches to cite specific crimes that that have been or might be committed by specific persons before a search is authorized; yet they trample on the Constitution whenever it does not fit their political narrative.  When asked if the seizure of virtually every Americans’ cellular telephone and Internet data has stopped a single terrorist attack, members of both of the aforementioned groups refuse to answer, hiding behind national security concerns.  By refusing to answer, the members of these two groups are simply telling the public to shut-up, go away, and pay your taxes, as transparency is no longer needed in this republic.  Instead, American taxpayers should blindly trust the government, and leave our freedoms in the ever crushing grasp of the rubberstamps at the FISA courts, where an adversarial argument is NEVER heard.

Unlike this year’s incoming college freshmen class, I grew-up in an era when the United States was considered the land of the free and the home of the brave. Today’s youth have come of age in at a time when our nation is slouching, at light speed, towards China.  It is unfortunate these young people only know this nation as the land of the regulated and the home of the watched.

Class of 2018: it’s a brave new world out there.

—————————————————————————–

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com  and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014


When Judges Drink the Big Brother Kool Aid

If one needs to wonder why the United States — once the land of the free — has slowly morphed into a surveillance state, all they need do is listen to what a Supreme Court justice recently said.

“At an interview the National Press Club on Thursday,” reports BreitbartTV. “Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg talked about their views of the First Amendment.”

Marvin Kalb, the event’s moderator, questioned Scalia on the constitutionality of the NSA’s domestic spying of American citizens. Is it possible that the NSA’s grab of metadata, which the agency combines with algorithms to paint of portrait of individuals, is unconstitutional, Kalb asked?

“No, because it’s not absolute,” said Scalia.  “As Ruth has said there are very few freedoms that are absolute. I mean your person is protected by the Fourth Amendment but as I pointed out when you board a plane someone can pass his hands all over your body that’s a terrible intrusion, but given the danger that it’s guarding against it’s not an unreasonable intrusion. And it can be the same thing with acquiring this data that is regarded as effects. That’s why I say it’s foolish to have us make the decision because I don’t know how serious the danger is in this NSA stuff, I really don’t.”

What is scary is this statement was made by a man who took an oath to uphold the Constitution — a document that supposedly protects its citizens from government abuses.

First, Justice Scalia might want to checkout the NSA’s charter, which limits that agency to collecting foreign intelligence and prohibits it from spying on American citizens within the United States.  That job belongs to the FBI.

Second, if Justice Scalia is so inclined, could he explain the constitutionality of a foreign intelligence surveillance court approving a warrant for 150 million non-specific targets for the purposes of gathering the telephone records of American citizens.  A warrant or a subpoena, based on such a wide-swath of targets and absent probable cause of individual wrong doing, does not jibe with the Fourth Amendment.

This statist rationale — cut from the same cloth that Supreme Court once used to uphold the 1917 Espionage Act, which permitted censorship of newspapers — is proof that, when it comes to individual liberty, our courts have become government rubber stamps.

“Where did our nation’s judges get their law degrees from?” asked Devin Sharif, who brought Scalia’s statements to the attention of SF,  “China or Russia?”

Hummmm

—————————————————————————————————–

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014


The One Last Hope? Rand Paul and the Right Side of History

If Rip Van Winkle fell asleep in 1990 and woke-up today, would he recognize the United States as the land of the free?  Initially, he might, until, of course, he picked-up a newspaper (news on the Web did not exist in 1990).  Then, it wouldn’t take Mr. Van Winkle long to realize that the freedoms Americans had formerly recognized were auctioned off by federal, state, and local politicians, to leaders of high-tech companies who made significant campaign contributions.

Like crack addicts, politicians, especially those on the state and federal level, are constantly on the lookout for their next fix.  When the money tree shakes, the politicians scramble to collect the falling dollars.  Only a dolt would believe that this cash is simply handed over to the campaign committees of politicians with no strings attached.  And the news media, which treats politics like a sporting event, is all too willing to play the role of an official score keeper by portraying candidates as viable based on the amount of money stuffed away in their campaign war chests.

After all, it is the desire for campaign cash — that pipeline of revenue skimmed from the goods and services that the public and/or the government over pays for — that underwrites a politician’s lust for power by maintaining or securing committee chairmanships.  Unfortunately, this practice of money-hungry politicians on steroids has transformed America into a nation of ‘freedom on paper only.’  It has also turned our political leaders, such as the President and his director of National Intelligence, into prevaricators.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/07/27/1227008/-Clapper-Admits-He-Lied-to-Congress-in-Letter-Posted-by-Senator-Wyden

Only one national political figure, U.S. Senator Rand Paul, has sought to mobilize those of us — the taxpayers — who over pay for the goods and services used to fund these de facto campaign kickbacks. Speaking, at all places, the University of California-Berkeley, Paul drew a standing ovation from a crowd of millenniums as he denounced the American surveillance state.

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/03/rand-paul-privacy-university-of-california-berkeley-104834.html

Sen. Paul is conveying a message eerily reminiscent to that of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill — from the shores of New York City, to the beaches of Waikiki, an electronic iron curtain has descended across the American continent. All of us are being watched, not just by the NSA, the FBI, the intelligence fusion centers operated by state and local police, but also by the U.S. military.

Today, the Washington Examiner reported that the U.S. Navy’s Law Enforcement and Information Exchange (LinX) is keeping tabs on Americans by collecting data compiled from criminal histories, arrest reports, traffic citations, and even field interview cards filled out by cops on the beat.

http://washingtonexaminer.com/navy-database-tracks-civilians-parking-tickets-fender-benders-raising-fears-of-domestic-spying/article/2546038

“More than 1,300 agencies participate, including The FBI and other Department of Justice divisions, the Department of Homeland Security and the Pentagon,” notes the Examiner’s Mark Flatten. “Police departments along both coasts and in Texas, New Mexico, Alaska and Hawaii are in LinX.”

Herein, lays the problem with the Republican Party, which supposedly is an advocate for limited government.  The neo-conservative wing of the party has yet to see a government surveillance program that it does not like.  When voters, especially young people, hear GOP candidates speaking in glowing terms of limited government, many simply roll their eyes and think, ‘Why do they support a foreign surveillance court that gathers the telephone records of every American? Hum, sounds more like China than America.’

Recently, a student of mine drafted a paper that purported to show how Republican appointees to state and federal courts — most notably the U.S. Supreme Court — have “stripped away” many of the rights citizens maintained just a few decades ago and “turned American into a virtual police state.”  Admittedly, even though I have used many of these judicial changes to my advantage as a detective, I had to concur with his thesis.

Which begs the question: as the wave of totalitarian electronic surveillance presents itself, is it possible that Rand Paul can save the Republican Party from a generation or more or resounding Presidential election defeats?

Along with an electronic iron curtain reference, when it comes to Big Brother creeping further-and-further into our lives, Senator Paul might want to incorporate this Churchillian theme into his repertoire of freedom:  ‘But if we fail to control the monster of technology, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of high technology. Let us, therefore, brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the United States lives for a thousand years, people will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’

————————————————————————————————————————————————

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014


Hackers & Blackmail: Our Future Electronic Concentration Camp

In his 2006 book No Place to Hide, journalist Robert O’Harrow, Jr. painted a troubling picture of America’s brave new world, where technology would track our every move.

Eight years later, O’Harrow’s writings have proved prophetic.  Within the scope of the last month, 110 million Americans have had their personnel data compromised courtesy of security flaws at Target.  Sources say that Target customers routinely had their driver’s license scanned after making certain purchases.  This data, along with specific credit card information, is now in the hands of Russian hackers.

“I’ll never shop at Target again,” said woman who had contacted SF.  “I felt very uncomfortable when they scanned my driver’s license at checkout.  I just thought that, being a major corporation, Target would have its act together.  Was I ever wrong.”

Today, Sen. Al Franken,  chairman of a Senate Committee on Privacy and Technology, demanded that Ford Motor Company discontinue the GPS tracking of persons who have purchased that company’s vehicles.

During recent remarks, Ford’s Vice President of Jim Farley stated, “We know everyone who breaks the law; we know when you’re doing it. We have GPS in your car, so we know what you’re doing.”  Farley went on to say that Ford is not supplying its customers’ data to anyone, although Franken claims that evidence exists that Ford is tracking individuals who drive their company’s vehicles and is supplying the data to third parties.

Then there is the NSA showing, yet again, why this Orwellian agency is an acronym for Never Say Anything.  The British newspaper, The Guardian, just published a piece indicating that the NSA routinely vacuums over 200 million text messages each day.

Unfortunately, this is just the beginning.  Things are bound to get  much, much worse.  Just wait until hackers get their hands on the medical records of Americans and use them to blackmail individuals.  It is not a reach to imagine a scenario where a ransom is demanded in bitcoin.  If this ransom goes unpaid, the hackers will disclose a list of psychiatric medications or disclose an individual’s personal medical information online.

And regardless of what our politicians promise, it will only be a matter of time before state and federal government DNA databases are compromised.  Imagine what an insurance company might be willing to pay for this information prior to underwriting health and life policies.

So keep playing with all those high-tech gadgets and continue believing that those who’ve warned of the Brave New World’s electronic concentration camp are simply delusional crackpots.

——————————————————————————————–

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective.  He is set to appear on TNT’s show “Cold Justice,” on February 14.   His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. I & II, is available at Amazon.com.

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014


It’s Time to Stop Feeding the Beast

Manipulation has always been a part of politics.  Remember the anti-Barry Goldwater ad showing an atomic bomb exploding while a young girl played with a flower?  How about the famed Willie Horton spot employed by Bush 41?

At the federal government level, however, the strategy of playing to one’s fears and stretching the truth has been replaced by subterfuge and outright lies.

First, there is the Obama administration’s argument that having the NSA seize the data on over 280 million Americans’ cellular telephones does not equate to domestic spying.  The NSA’s own charter restricts the agency to gathering information on foreign nationals, not American citizens on American soil. Why then did the Obama administration use a foreign intelligence surveillance court to obtain data on American citizens?

Only a “secret” court using apparently “secret” rules would approve a request from the government seeking swaths of information in order to conduct a fishing expedition.  The Fourth Amendment requires that a court order be signed by a magistrate, and supported by Oath or affirmation, “particularly” describing the alleged offense, the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.  In the case of the metadata seizure, the government, according to a Federal Judge Richard Leon, has not met this burden.  In fact, when asked, the government could not provide any information to Judge Leon about a single terrorist act that the collection of metadata had prevented.

And unlike the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Smith v. Maryland, the metadata obtained by the NSA does more than simply record telephone numbers in a pen register.  Cellular telephone technology enables the NSA to track a user’s location and to geo-tag, via GPS and tower triangulation, the person being called. Granted, while the actual telephone records might be owned by a third party (Verizon, Sprint, etc.), the device itself, which emits its location, is owned and operated by the user.  Common sense dictates that Americans, absent their consent, have a reasonable expectation to privacy when it comes to their location, unless the government can show that an individual is involved in criminal activity. Absent this showing, the NSA’s metadata collection is little more than domestic spying.

The government’s thrust for the metadata of Americans is just one example of a federal government out of control.  Using grant money to hook the local police into a culture of control and surveillance, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTSA) have ushered in a new phase of Orwell’s America.

In late November, an NBC affiliate in Texas reported, “Police officers in Fort Worth, Texas, set up a roadblock on a busy city street last week, and directed motorists into a parking lot, where they were asked to submit samples of their breath, saliva and blood.”

The non-consensual roadblock that unduly interpreted the lives of every day Americans was funded by a NTSA grant.  Its purpose, according to the news report, was to gather “random sampling…to determine how many motorists are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”

http://autos.aol.com/article/police-ask-random-drivers-for-saliva-breath-blood-samples/?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl14%7Csec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D409229

In Redding, Pennsylvania, local police and a federal contractor conducted a similar operation.  “A private firm,” reports the Redding Eagle, “with a federal contract – and backed up by city police – forced motorists off Laurel Street and into a private parking lot Friday to question them about their driving habits and ask for a swab of their mouth.”

One individual, whose was detained even though he had violated no law, was Ricardo Nieves, who told the Redding City Council, “I feel this incident is a gross abuse of power on many levels.”

“The checkpoint” according to the newspaper, “was supposed to be voluntary, but Nieves said he had to refuse several times over a five-minute period before the woman taking the survey let him go.”

http://readingeagle.com/article/20131217/NEWS/312179910&template=mobileart

Is this the same America that was once the home of the FREE or does this type of conduct eerily resemble that of the police state in the People’s Republic of China?

The federal government is the equivalent of a 600 pound man whose size is set to cause a cataclysmic death.  Only one thing can save him: calorie restriction.  And with our elected officials in the tank for the security-industrial complex and their well-connected lobbyist on K Street, our freedoms and prosperity will soon be crushed unless we stop feeding the beast.

———————————————————————————-

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Volume-Steven/dp/0979683998/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364048098&sr=8-1&keywords=best+of+the+spingola+files

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013


Wisconsin Lawmakers’ Attempt to Rein in Surveillance State

Whether one thinks of him as a traitor or a whistleblower, Edward Snowden’s leaks of information pertaining to NSA spying illustrate one thing: our government and its leaders will lie to the American people whenever they deem it necessary.

Typically, these so-called “noble lies,” a term coined by the philosopher Plato, are premised on protecting our national security interests.  In reality, no matter what the underlying purpose, untruthfulness on the part of public officials undermines the rule of law at every level of government.

In August, President Obama, during an appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, proclaimed, “We don’t have a domestic spying program.”

Even though he is isolated in the White House, even a casual observer must wonder what planet the President is living on.  Has he driven down a major thoroughfare in his limo and observed surveillance cameras capturing the movements of Americans?  What about the millions of closed circuit television cameras (the square white ones) found virtually every mile or two on high traveled portions of interstate highways?  Has the President conveniently forgotten that his own administration is providing grants to local law enforcement for automated license plate readers that capture, geo-tag, and store data on the locations of our vehicles absent a reasonable suspicion? What about the NSA’s Utah Data Center, a facility that creates electronic dossiers on millions of Americans?

During my tenure at the Milwaukee Police Department, a long-time detective frequently echoed the mantra that “abuses lead to restrictions.”  If this now retired detective’s warning rings true, then the wide spread abuses and overreaching of our government, at all levels, is about to be met with a slew of regulations.

Fortunately, the state legislature in Wisconsin is finally grabbing the proverbial bull by the horns.  Two proposed bills seek to curtail the ability of the government to spy on its citizens.

The first initiative would restrict the ability of so-called Intelligence Fusion Centers from using GPS cellular telephone technology to monitor the movements of citizens without court authorization.

http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/bill-would-require-warrants-for-law-enforcement-tracking-of-cellphones-b99158195z1-234978781.html

As things currently stand, operatives at the Southeastern Wisconsin Threat Assessment Center, located on the second floor of Milwaukee’s Police Administration Building, can keep close tabs on any cellular telephone user who leaves their “location services” on.   The software used is very Orwellian.  Even though local tax dollars are used to fund the MPD’s fusion center, federal officials and city leaders believe much of the data captured and stored is exempt from Wisconsin’s open records law.

Another bill takes aim at information accumulated from Automated License Plate Readers (ALPRs).  These devices are either mounted on squad cars or at fixed locations.  Once a license plate is capture it is time stamped and geo-tagged.

http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/proposed-wisconsin-bill-would-set-rules-for-license-plate-readers-b99155494z1-234324371.html

The proposed bill would limit the amount of time that law enforcement can maintain the license plate information after its capture.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the Milwaukee Police Department has photographed over 9.6 million license plates since 2008.

Of course, Wisconsin’s law enforcement community is not particularly pleased with these restrictions, which limit its authority to spy on citizens absent a reasonable suspicion on any wrong doing.  Statist politicians, such as former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and big government police chiefs, like Milwaukee’s Edward Flynn, appear to view electronic surveillance and other measures that stretch the Constitution to its limits and beyond as a god send.

For example, Flynn, like Bloomberg, is a supporter of the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy, which require officers to have a reasonable suspicion to stop a person but seems to forgo the reasonable articulable suspicion necessary for a lawful pat down.

http://inpublicsafety.com/2013/08/the-ongoing-battle-of-stop-and-frisk-nypd-faces-epic-battle-today-while-detroit-police-chief-pledges-to-continue-practice/

Yet if surveillance initiatives are a god send then why does the government feel the need to conceal their activities from open records laws or, as was the case with the NSA, outright lie about them? Could it be that these leaders are fearful of what its citizens may learn: that America has become the land of the watched and home of the “Brave New World” that Aldous Huxley foretold in 1932?

————————————————————————————————

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Volume-Steven/dp/0979683998/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364048098&sr=8-1&keywords=best+of+the+spingola+files

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013


The President’s Ignoble Lie

BWS_bestofspingola_300dpi

Only a politician who knows that the mainstream media is in the tank for him would appear on national television and—with a straight face—tell such a whopper.

In early August, President Obama appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and told the host, “We [the United States government] don’t have a domestic spying program,” even though media reports abound that contradict this statement.

“Everybody knows I love this president, but this is ridiculous,” said Van Jones, a far-left former Obama administration advisor, while appearing on CNN. “First of all, we do have a domestic spying program, and what we need to be able to do is figure out how to balance these things, not pretend like there’s no balancing to be done.”

Splitting hairs like virtually every politician does, President Obama’s answer is, of course, predicated on what is considered “a domestic spying program.”  The reality is that the federal government, as well as state and local law enforcement (funded, in part, by the federal government), is up to their ears in  spying on Americans.

The most visible sign of domestic spying initiatives are the millions of cameras posted along interstate highways, mounted on poles at key intersections, or those little white boxes containing cameras found, in some instances, every mile on stretches of southeastern Wisconsin freeways.  This data is recorded and archived by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s State Traffic Operations Center in Milwaukee—an Orwellian facility funded, in part, with federal grant money.

At the national level, the National Security Administration (NSA) operates programs, described in detail by fugitive Edward Snowden, which can watch Americans type instant messages and e-mails in real time.  The NSA is set to open its Utah Data Center this month.  This 1,000,000 square foot facility will house trillions of Americans’ telephone conversations and e-mails. Once a user of telephone and/or an electronic device utters or types one of over 1,000 keywords, every conversation or message to-and-from that device is recorded and stored by the NSA.  Under the auspices of the USA Patriot Act, this type of wiretapping is no longer concerned eavesdropping, unless the government chooses to open an individual’s electronic dossier and listen to the recordings.

“A requirement of the 2008 law is that the NSA “may not intentionally target any person known at the time of acquisition to be located in the United States.” A possible interpretation of that language, some legal experts said, is that the agency may vacuum up everything it can domestically — on the theory that indiscriminate data acquisition was not intended to “target” a specific American citizen,” wrote CNet’s Declan McCullagh.

And that is precisely what the NSA does and what the Utah Data Center was built to store.

If the NSA and Wisconsin’s DOT’s spy center still doesn’t have one convinced that President Obama was either lying to Jay Leno or is simply inept, consider the 77 intelligence fusion centers spread across the United States.  Wisconsin has two such centers: one operated by the Milwaukee Police Department and the other housed in a benign office park on Madison’s north side.  The equipment used by these centers was purchased with Department of Homeland Security grant money.  Moreover, federal funds underwrite about 20 percent of the Milwaukee fusion center’s budget.

These high-tech fusion centers can access one’s personal information from private sector data mining companies, such as ChoicePoint, in order to ascertain an individual’s financial transactions, book purchases, vehicles and properties owned, credit information, as well as names and addresses of relatives and neighbors.  Fusion centers also use software to track cellular telephones absent judicial oversight.  This technology enables an agent of the government to follow a cell phone from room-to-room within a particular building or structure.

If recording electronic communications, obtaining personal data from private sector companies, and following cellular telephone users in real time, still doesn’t have one convinced the government is spying on virtually all of us on a daily basis, automated license plate readers—considered by some the crown jewel of state and local government surveillance—should.

In Wisconsin, over 37 law enforcement agencies use automated license plate readers (ALPR), which are generally mounted on patrol vehicles, although some are placed at fixed locations.  These devices scan hundreds of license plates of passing vehicles each minute to check on the driver’s license status, possible warrants, or other fugitive data.  These devices also record the date, time, and location that the vehicle was scanned.  This information is then stored in various databases.  Most of these automated license plate readers are purchased, in part, with federal grant money.

Fox News 6 in Milwaukee ran an excellent segment on ALPRs last November (see the below link):

http://fox6now.com/2012/11/04/fox6-investigators-new-device-helps-cops-track-criminals-as-well-as-the-innocent/

But what about surveillance from the air?  By 2017, some experts believe law enforcement agencies will have access to over 33,000 Unmanned Ariel Vehicle (UAVs), also known as drones.  The Department of Homeland Security’s Customs Enforcement Division currently uses Predator drones with very intrusive surveillance equipment, including infrared that can see through the walls of homes.

A little over a week ago, I communicated with a former secret squirrel (law enforcement terminology for an agent or an officer who worked in the area of intelligence gathering), who, having observed my name on the dedication page of Mitchell Nevin’s new novel, “Psychic Reprieve,” seemed perturbed by the book’s detailed descriptions of the drone surveillance of a terror suspect and a sneak-and-peek search of the target’s home near San Diego.  He was not complaining about the novel’s factual description of the events, but that the author provided too vivid of a portrait of government operations.

So, President Obama, don’t lie to the American people. The government is spying on Americans 24 x 7 and federal money is paying for most of the gadgets as well as some of the manpower. Granted, the President knew Jay Leno wouldn’t call him out on domestic spying, which is precisely why he uttered his ignoble lie on The Tonight Show and not in front of knowledgeable journalists.

—————————————————————————

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Volume-Steven/dp/0979683998/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364048098&sr=8-1&keywords=best+of+the+spingola+files

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013


Think that the Word “Gullible” Can’t be Found in the Dictionary? Then You’ll Believe the NSA, Too.

The controversy surrounding the National Security Agency’s (NSA) metadata collection of the telephone records of Americans has resulted in statist politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, alleging that the NSA is not examining the content of our communications.

With history as our guide, Americans should know that the NSA is an agency that, to put it mildly, has a track record of being less than truthful, not only to the American people, but also to congress.  This is because its leaders believe that the misinformation they provide is justifiable under the ‘noble lie’ doctrine.

A “noble lie”—as defined by Plato in his book The Republic—is misinformation disseminated by members of the elite and/or governing classes to reduce social anxiety or to advance a hidden agenda. As those who have worked in law enforcement know it is perfectly lawful for an agent of the government to lie to the public, but a crime for a member of the public to lie to an agent of the state.  This is the ultimate ‘do as I say, not as I do’ rule of the governing class.

Last Friday, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) appeared on WISN radio to discuss, in part, the NSA controversy.  Talk-show host Vicki McKenna, though, came to the table, figuratively, with both guns loaded.

To listen to the exchange visit:

http://www.newstalk1130.com/cc-common/podcast/single_page.html?more_page=1&podcast=vicki_mckenna&selected_podcast=vm_06-14-13_hour2_part2_1371233111_11642.mp3

Sen. Johnson, when pressed, stressed that the purpose of the NSA’s use of a foreign intelligence court to gather and store the domestic telephone records of American citizens did not involve the seizure of content.  However, while I do not believe Sen. Johnson is being at all untruthful, he is basing his response on information spoon fed to him by the NSA and/or members of U.S. Senate carrying water for intrusive domestic surveillance initiatives.

William Binney is a former NSA engineer turned whistleblower.  While employed with the NSA, he designed a program that would have allowed the spy agency to identify the electronic communications of terror suspects while protecting the privacy of law-abiding Americans.  The NSA rejected this program outright.  Binney has emphatically stated that the NSA is retrieving the domestic telephone, e-mail, and Internet content of Americans.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuET0kpHoyM

Author and NSA expert James Bamford mentioned a few of the NSA’s eavesdropping programs in his outstanding book, The Shadow Factory. Because much of the world’s electronic communications has shifted from satellites to ocean-buried fiber optic cables, the NSA has sought and obtained access to these cable links.  One example is the AT&T center in San Francisco, where, with that company’s consent, the NSA established a so-called listening room; whereby, NSA operatives installed software that records and catalogs the electronic content of Americans’ communications.

Ironically, while the federal government requires companies to provide consumers with privacy notices, the same government has granted telecoms that violate these privacy agreements, by turning over users’ information to the NSA, immunity from civil and criminal prosecution.  Moreover, the government further forbids these telecoms from informing their customers that these privacy policies are worth no more than the paper that they are written on.

In other words, our own government is feeding its citizens one noble lie after another.

This is precisely why those who pay attention to the NSA believe that the agency has recorded, cataloged, and stored between 21 – 25 trillion telephone conversations, many involving Americans, since 9/11.  The purpose of the 1,000,000 square foot Utah Data Center, built at a cost of $2 billion, is to retrieve, record, and store telephone conversations, e-mails, credit card transactions, faxes, and even encrypted data.  That way, should an individual later be identified as a person of interest, federal investigators can obtain a warrant from a FISA judge to access the content of their NSA dossier.

https://www.rutherford.org/multimedia/on_target/pressure_points_the_electronic_concentration_camp/

As we learned during the Nixon administration and, now, during the current Obama administration’s IRS scandal, sensitive information in government hands can be used by political hacks to gather dirt on political opponents of the government or to embarrass those who dare speak out (as the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover did to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.).

So, no, I am not buying the line from politicians like Lindsay Graham, John McCain, and Diane Feinstein.  I am, however, surprised that Sen. Johnson was willing to pinch hit for these statists.

UPDATE: THREE NSA WHISTLEBLOWERS APPEAR IN USA TODAY VIDEO

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/06/16/snowden-whistleblower-nsa-officials-roundtable/2428809/

———————————————————————————————————–

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Volume-Steven/dp/0979683998/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364048098&sr=8-1&keywords=best+of+the+spingola+files

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013


Spying on Americans for Surveillance Sake is a Scandal

The scandal—and it is a scandal not a controversy—involving the Obama administration’s directive ordering the National Security Agency (NSA) to literally seize the telephone records of millions of Americans, according to at least one whistleblower, is the “tip of the iceberg.”

One of the best books concerning NSA surveillance is James Bamford’s Shadow Factory, where the author spotlights intrusive initiatives designed to capture the data of those abroad as well as American citizens.

One of these intrusive technologies is called “word spotting,” by which software supplied by Nexidia Inc. makes 8,000 hours of searchable audible data available each day.  The second and much more Orwellian NSA program was dubbed “Trailblazer,” which uses algorithms—computer generated data collected from “telephone calls, credit card transactions, social network sites, cellular telephone geo-location, Amazon book purchases, and E-Z toll passes,” to make it possible to not only discern where an individual is but what they are doing while they are at a particular location.

Bamford’s book, which was authored is 2008, is, by technological standards, yesterday’s news.  An even more intrusive spy program—one that began during the Bush administration, but expanded under President Obama—seeks to record and catalog all electronic communications and transactions.  In order to store this mountain of digital information, the U.S. government is spending $2 billion to complete the Utah Data Center, a 900,000 square foot facility with 25,000 square feet of high-tech servers. The program, called “Stellar Wind,” is the result, claims former NSA employee turned whistleblower William Binney, of the NSA installing cable tapping gear at the nation’s fiber optic nerve centers.

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/

“According to Binney,” Bamford writes, “one of the deepest secrets of the Stellar Wind program—again, never confirmed until now—was that the NSA gained warrantless access to AT&T’s vast trove of domestic and international billing records, detailed information about who called whom in the US and around the world. As of 2007, AT&T had more than 2.8 trillion records housed in a database at its Florham Park, New Jersey, complex.”

Under this new initiative, the NSA uses keyword detection to monitor all electronic communications, such as e-mails, digital telephone calls, faxes, text messages, instant messages, and Web streamed communications. Once a keyword is detected from a device, all communications emanating from a machine or an IP address are recorded and stored, even telephone conversations.  Under a liberal interpretation of the Patriot Act, data storage and cataloging is no longer considered eavesdropping, which is why a court order from a FISA court is not needed until an agency seeks to actually listen to the recorded telephone conversations.  Even encrypted data—codes that the NSA does not yet have the ability to decipher—are collected in the hopes that, somewhere in the future, the agency will have the capabilities to decrypt these messages.

With this data in hand, under the auspices initiated by Trailblazer, it is possible to now watch what a target of NSA surveillance is actually typing in real time.  One of the components of the FBI’s $1.2 billion Next Generation Identification (NGI) network is the identification and cataloging of an individual’s key stroke rhythms. And where would the FBI gather such data? From the installation of individual key stroke recording devices as well as a data base from another agency with the ability to record key strokes.

In an effort to educate the public, SF is now offering The State of Surveillance—a new hour-and-a-half program that explains government surveillance initiatives. Whether it is the use of drones or the NSA’s intrusive domestic spying, those in attendance are in for a real eye-opening experience. I also discussed the NSA and other government surveillance initiatives in my latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. I & II, available at Amazon.com.

Related links:

http://www.badgerwordsmith.com/state_of_surveillance.html

https://www.rutherford.org/multimedia/on_target/everybodys_a_target_in_the_american_surveillance_state/

http://www.democracynow.org/2012/4/20/exclusive_national_security_agency_whistleblower_William

————————————————————————————————————-

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Volume-Steven/dp/0979683998/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364048098&sr=8-1&keywords=best+of+the+spingola+files

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

(c) Copyright, Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013


In Appleton, Wisconsin, Having a Cold One is Now the Government’s Business

Had a tough week at work in the Fox River Valley? If you did and decided to stop after work on Friday to have a cold one and blow-off some steam, you might want to avoid the following Appleton, Wisconsin, taverns:

  • Luna Lounge
  • Anduzzi’s
  • OB’s Brauhaus
  • Mill Creek
  • Speakeasy Ultra Lounge

The proprietors of these establishments have, absent the consent of their patrons, caved to the de facto pressures brought to bear by the regulators of their tavern licenses: the City of Appleton and its enforcement arm—the Appleton Police Department.  When a customer enters one of the above taverns, a doorman scans their identification and later hands the information off to the Appleton Police Department.

An article in the Appleton Post Crescent documents this public-private information gathering operation:

http://www.postcrescent.com/article/20130601/APC0198/306010139/Has-Big-Brother-arrived-Police-use-ID-scanner-bars-nab-criminals-civil-liberties-raise-concerns?gcheck=1

Of course, the doormen of these taverns, acting more-or-less as agents of the state, do not disclose to those providing IDs on demand that their data is being provided to the government.  Even e-mail solicitations, by law, give an individual an opportunity to opt-out.  At a bare minimum, if the objective is, as the Appleton police claim, to deter those on probation or parole from visiting these taverns, why not post signs giving ALL customers notice that their personal information will be forwarded to law enforcement?

Unfortunately, the Appleton Post Crescent’s reporter, Nick Penzenstadler, failed to ascertain what the police are doing with the data obtained from tavern customers.  Is this information being maintained in an Appleton PD data base for future use or being forwarded to one of Wisconsin’s two intelligence fusion centers? Is the data, at some point, being purged? Who, exactly, besides officials at the Appleton PD, will have access to this data? Now in possession of a government agency, is the personal information gleaned by these scanners a public record?

Until patrons get some answers they might choose to boycott businesses willing to ignore any semblance of a law-abiding person’s right to be left alone.  My suggestion to their competitors is to post signs proclaiming that they will not disclose their patrons’ personal information to the government absent a subpoena.

—————————————————————————————————–

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Volume-Steven/dp/0979683998/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364048098&sr=8-1&keywords=best+of+the+spingola+files

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.


A Police State Hugo Chavez Would be Proud Of

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary the definition of a police state is, “A political unit characterized by repressive governmental control of political, economic, and social life usually by an arbitrary exercise of power by police and especially secret police in place of regular operation of administrative and judicial organs of the government according to publicly known legal procedures.”

Within the past week, Americans have learned that:

1. The former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, was untruthful with the victims of attacks at the U.S Consulate in Benghazi when she told them, “We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful Internet video that we had nothing do to with.”

“The American people were effectively lied to for a period of about a month,” said House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa on NBC’s Meet the Press.

Clinton, and many others that developed the so-called talking points about the attack on Benghazi were well aware that the Youtube video had little to do with the deaths of four Americans at the hands of Libyan terrorists;

2. That officials from the Internal Revenue Service selectively audited groups affiliated the words “tea party” and “patriot” or  organizations who aspired to advocate for such things as an adherence to the Constitution of the United States.

“This is truly outrageous and it contributes to the profound distrust that the American people have in government,” said Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, a centrist Republican, said on CNN’s State of the Union;

3. That high-ranking officials in the Obama administration’s Department of Justice secretly obtained telephone records from more than 20 telephone lines belonging to Associated Press journalists over a two-month period.

“There can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of the Associated Press and its reporters,” wrote Gary B. Pruitt, president and chief executive of the AP.

The line Americans have received from Obama et al over the past four years while addressing the Orwellian nature of the National Defense Authorization Act is, ‘You can trust us.’

“Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems, “ said Obama, seeking to reassure the public during a commencement ceremony at Ohio State University just nine days ago.  “Some of these same voices also do their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices.”

Yeah, right.

Obama’s remarks are eerie similar to those of Richard Nixon, who on November 18, 1973, told the Washington Post, “People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook.”

The use of the government’s arbitrary exercise of power in these instances is astonishing, and, quite frankly, illustrates that, while one can take a politician out of Chicago, one can never take the Chicago politics out of the politician.

———————————————————————————————————-

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Volume-Steven/dp/0979683998/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364048098&sr=8-1&keywords=best+of+the+spingola+files

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.


Michael Bloomberg’s Very Revealing Constitutional Faux Pas

Less than two months after a populist U.S. Senate filibuster forced the executive branch of the federal government to concede that using drones to kill American citizens on U.S. soil is bad policy, New York City Mayor Michael “Big Brother” Bloomberg’s relentless assault on freedom and liberty continues unabated.

“We have to understand that in the world going forward, we’re going to have more cameras and that kind of stuff,” said Bloomberg during an April 22 news conference. “That’s good in some senses, but it’s different than what we are used to. And the people who are worried about privacy have a legitimate worry, but we live in a complex world where you’re going to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days, if you will. And our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution I think have to change.”

Make no mistake about, when elitists propose a reinterpretation of the Constitution their intent is to place this sacred document through the shredder of statist legalese.  If Bloomberg et al were honest in their intentions, a process already exists to change or amend the United States Constitution.  However, since the implementation of a Chinese-style police state is about as popular as AIDS, the Machiavellian-types—constantly on the lookout for new ways to get their hands in our wallets and their boots on our necks—emphasize the Constitution as a living document.

The living document mantra stems, primarily, from the incorporation of technological advances into the legal body fabric.

For example, one question I sometimes pose to students is, “What does the Constitution say about motor vehicle searches?” The answer is rather easy. The Constitution says absolutely nothing about motor vehicles since none existed in 1788, the year the document was ratified.  Ninety-one years later, Karl Benz received the first patent for a reliable two-stroke combustion engine. As a result, laws and legal concepts pertaining to motor vehicles on public roadways required interpretation from the judicial branch to clarify issues like the reasonable search and seizure clause of the Fourth Amendment.

Nowhere in the Bill of Rights does it state that a rich, eccentric politician can stand in front of the media and myopically deem our Constitutional protections from overzealous governmental reach a product of “the olden days,” as if our freedoms and liberties went the way of the electric typewriter.

And what bold idea is New York City’s nanny-state mayor now advocating?  An expansion of government surveillance, even though the $500 billion our nation has already spent in this area has failed miserably in several instances, including the attacks on Boston. As I mentioned in a prior post, surveillance cameras will not prevent terrorist attacks. Individuals intent on dying are undeterred by technology that captures and stores their images.

http://www.badgerwordsmith.com/spingolafiles/2013/04/20/a-few-thoughts-about-boston/

No doubt, political correctness is the reason politicians continue to travel down the same road of wide-spread Orwellian surveillance, even though a prudent course of action—one that would prevent actual terror attacks while preserving our freedoms—is tracking, monitoring and investigating, those with an actual motive.

Had Milwaukee’s police chief, Ed Flynn, advocated suppressing the criminal activities of the Latin Kings by placing surveillance cameras on traffic control signals in a predominately African-American neighborhood on the city’s north side, many would say that the police chief is either very uninformed or his department has an ulterior agenda. Why, then, do so many Americans, as well as a majority of the mainstream media, fail to challenge the surveillance initiatives advocated by Bloomberg and the federal government that target millions of Americans while ignoring the obvious?

After all, it is not rocket science to connect the dots. What do the shoe bomber, the Time Square bomber, the Ft. Hood shooter, and the Boston bombers, all have in common?  President Obama, I know it’s difficult to say it—Islamic Jihad.

————————————————————————————————-

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Volume-Steven/dp/0979683998/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364048098&sr=8-1&keywords=best+of+the+spingola+files

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013


Privacy Advocate: “Drones are the Ultimate Totalitarian Technology”

Last week, during a return trip from the Twin Cities, the Spingola Files stopped over in Hudson, Wisconsin, to interview privacy advocate Miles Kinard, the author of the e-magazine exposé, American Stasi: Fusion Centers and Domestic Spying.  Kinard has spent considerable time researching the intrusive capabilities of government operated drones and other government surveillance initiatives.

*                             *                             *                             *                               *

SF:   By 2017, some privacy experts believe law enforcement will likely control over 30,000 drones that the government will use to monitor Americans from the skies. Why do you see drones as an issue that affects the public?

MK:   There are two reasons: total 24 x 7 surveillance that is cataloged and stored, and extensive electronic tracking and monitoring, all done without even a simple reasonable suspicion of any wrong doing. In other words, surveillance for surveillance sake.

SF:    How could drones keeps tabs on us 24 x7?

MK:   DARPA, one of the companies that makes-up the security-industrial complex, has developed a 1.8 billion pixel wide-ranging surveillance camera the company has dubbed ARGUS. The definition is so solid that, from just under 17,000 feet, ARGUS can record all things publicly visible within a 15-mile radius of the drone. I’m talking objects as small as six inches.

                [SF has asserted this link to allow readers to view the capabilities of ARGUS] https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QGxNyaXfJsA

SF:   What other things can drones do to track and monitor those of us who are simply going about our daily lives?

MK:   The Department of Homeland Security is requiring manufactures of the drones that the DHS intends to purchase to be equipped with IMSI-catchers. These devices act as a vertical base transceiver station that mimics the cellular telephone towers within a 15-miles radius. From just under 17,000 feet in the air, one individual DHS drone could obtain all the numbers of every cellular telephone user in contact with each tower within its reach.

SF:  So these cellular telephone “catchers,” as you described them, could record and keep tabs of cell phone users as these signals bounce-off individual towers without the users’ consent and/or without the consent of the cell tower owners?

MK:    Yes, IMSI devices mimic towers—then record and download the data intended for the towers without the consent of any of the parties involved. In past the government has argued that these towers are owned by private companies and simply leased by users. Hence, the government argued, the users do not have a Fourth Amendment expectation of privacy.

SF:   Well, then, what would prohibit drones, especially those deployed by DHS, from intercepting telephone calls?

MK:  IMSI software currently available can compel a cellular telephone to link up with what is referred to as “no call encryption”; whereby, the digital signal is then converted to recordable audio.  One of the key provisions of the USA Patriot Act revised the definition of electronic eavesdropping. No longer does intercepting and storing a telephone conversation require judicial oversight.  A court order is not mandated unless an agent of the government accesses the stored file to listen to or see the data [i.e. the telephone conversation].

SF:   So, from the air, the government would be able to see what we do on the ground and hear what they couldn’t see?

MK:   Drones are the ultimate totalitarian technology.  Judicial precedent handed down by the courts gives Americans virtually no privacy protections from surveillance conducted from the sky.  When a homeowner erects a stockade fence as a barrier for privacy, if a police officer on the ground were to stand on an object to peer over the fence that would likely be considered a curtilage violation. Yet when a drone records the same data from the air, the courts deem that perfectly lawful, even without a court order. Some of the drones local law enforcement is actively seeking are called nano-drones, which are disguised as hummingbirds or insects; therefore, most people would have no idea when they are being watched or what the government is collecting.

                [Video link to the Rutherford Institute] https://www.rutherford.org/multimedia/on_target/the_empire_strikes_back_attack_of_the_drones/

SF:  In regards to relatively large cities, what are the ramifications of drone deployment?

MK:   Well, for example, when coupled with the ARGUS surveillance camera, four DHS drones could record every public movement and document all cellular telephone activity in the city the size of Milwaukee. This data is recorded and stored. So, if a government agent wanted to know what had transpired at a particular location five days, four hours and ten minutes in the past, they could easily do so.

SF:   What can the public do to protect their privacy from this Orwellian technology?

MK:    Pick-up the telephone and call your state and federal representatives. Understand that you will likely run into some resistance.  Members of state legislatures and congress of both political parties have a lust for two things: campaign cash and political power. They need the former to obtain the latter. Drone makers and outfitters—Boeing, BAE, DARPA, General Dynamics, to name a few—understand that money talks. So, unless our political leaders hear a hue and cry from the public, they’ll carry water for those with deep enough pockets to contribute to their campaigns. Unfortunately, many of our state and federal lawmakers are all too willing to take the campaign cash and then pass laws that require taxpayers to fund the technology used to chronicle their movements.

————————————————————————————————-

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Volume-Steven/dp/0979683998/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364048098&sr=8-1&keywords=best+of+the+spingola+files

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013


Google Glasses Have Law Enforcement “Giddy” at the Possibilities

googleglass

When it comes to high-tech government surveillance—the electronic concentration camp New York City’s nanny-state mayor, Michael Bloomberg, revels in creating—law enforcement administrators on the lookout for ‘free federal money’ and politicians addicted to handouts in the form of campaign contributions—conveniently search for innovative ways to turn technology against the citizenry.

Recently, I have had a few matter-of-fact conversations with those who believe “Google glasses” will someday become standard equipment for police officers on patrol.

At a cost of $1,500 each, “Google Glasses” enable a wearer to shoot video, search the internet, and send e-mail via voice command.

“Each pair of glasses is fitted with a miniaturised camera and web browser which displays digital information on a tiny screen — a clear plastic block the width of a pencil — just in front and slightly above a wearer’s eye,” Daily Mail reporter Tom Leonard notes.  “The arm of the headset, which sits near the wearer’s temple, acts as a touch pad. By sliding your finger up and down it, you can scroll through the text visible in your eyepiece. To select something on the screen, the user simply taps the headset.”

Last October, LifeonTech.com found Google’s efforts to acquire the company Viewdle as “particularly interesting.”  Viewable is a facial recognition software company that “specializes in augmented reality and automatic face tagging.” In other words, if this technology is incorporated into Google Glasses, wearers could compare the faces of those they view against private sector databases, enabling them to know the identities and backgrounds of those nearby.

Behind the scenes, high-ranking federal, state, and local law enforcement officials are giddy about the possibilities of these hands-free glasses.  Imagine a scenario where a cop on the beat could simply look at an individual walking down the sidewalk and, instantly, compare that person’s image against biometrical information—computer generated software that assigns a mathematical equation to faces, ears, and noses—stored in every state’s department of motor vehicle’s data base and the FBI’s $1.2 billion Next Generation Identification system. Within a matter of seconds, information federally subsidized intelligence fusion centers purchase from private sector companies, such as ChoicePoint and Acxiom, could alert the officer to their target’s occupation, credit score, hobbies, family members, and the identifies of close personal associates.

Moreover, law enforcement envisions another scenario—the collection of faces and license plates observed by the viewer, which would then get time-stamped, geo-tagged, and stored indefinitely. When an individual becomes a suspect, a protestor, or maybe even a political opponent, government agents could access these data bases to create a timeline concerning their precise whereabouts.

One can only imagine the data just one Milwaukee police officer wearing such glasses could input by viewing a crowd at bar time on Water Street.

As I detail these types of intrusive technologies to others, many people tend to shrug their shoulders as if the say, ‘Oh, well, this is the world we live in.’ There is, however, no need to act like sheep being led to the slaughter. Call your state and federal representatives. Sure, many elected officials, especially those receiving campaign contributions from lobbyists affiliated with companies that profit by marginalizing our freedoms, might seem stand-offish. Nonetheless, they do, supposedly, work for those they purport to represent and not the members of the security-industrial complex.

——————————————————————————————————–

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Volume-Steven/dp/0979683998/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364048098&sr=8-1&keywords=best+of+the+spingola+files

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013


Tonight: New Program to Spotlight NSA’s Surveillance State

As many of you may know, after leaving Fox News, Glenn Beck formed his own network, The Blaze.

Tonight, at 7 PM, a new Blaze program, For the Record, takes a detailed look at America’s post-9/11 surveillance state. The show’s host, Laurie Dhue, also formerly of Fox News, interviews a former employee of the National Security Agency (NSA) turned whistleblower.

For the Record explores a secretive new NSA facility, the Utah Data Center, described last fall in Wired Magazine.

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/

This morning, Glenn Beck interview Ms. Dhue on his morning radio program. Having spent a considerable amount of time researching government surveillance, tonight’s show, part of a four part series, is one that anyone interested in law enforcement and government should watch.

The Blaze is s subscription service that costs $9.95 a month; however, the site does offer a two-week free trial offer.

www.theblaze.com

Moreover, Laurie Dhue’s personal story of her 15-year struggle with alcoholism—the same demon Beck battled—illustrates that people can eventually claw their way back and reclaim their professional standing.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1355452/Secret-battle-Laurie-Dhue-reveals-secret-15-year-battle-alcoholism.html

In the print edition of Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. I & II, I discussed the NSA’s perceived mandate to turn their intrusive eavesdropping capabilities inward in a chapter entitled, Why the NSA is an Acronym for Never Say Anything.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Volume-Steven/dp/0979683998/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363211388&sr=8-1&keywords=best+of+the+spingola+files

————————————————————————————————————–

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective.

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, please visit:

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013


What DHS Deployed Drones Can Do to You–and, Yes, it is Scary

dronemap

In a previous post, I asked readers of SF to sign a petition asking Gov. Walker to regulate the use of drones over the skies of Wisconsin.

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/restrict-wisconsin-drone-surveillance.html

Now, a report has surfaced that the Department of Homeland Security will ask drone manufacturers to equip these Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) with systems that will ascertain whether American civilians are armed. DHS has also mandated that drones deployed within the US have the capability to locate, track, and follow cellular telephone users.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57572207-38/dhs-built-domestic-surveillance-tech-into-predator-drones/

I encourage the readers of this blog to scroll down and read the previous posts concerning a new UAV video surveillance system called ARGUS.  After viewing this video, plese consider signing the petition calling on Wisconsin’s governor to take executive action on restricting the use of drones and their totalitarian surveillance systems.

UPDATE: Everyday, it seems new information surfaces regarding the use of drones. No doubt, UAVs, if used properly, will protect public safety and law enforcement officers in the field. That being said high-ranking law enforcement officials have bigger, bolder ideas—those that will directly impact your privacy and liberty—as the article at this link explains:

http://www.cnbc.com/id/100515357

ANOTHER UPDATE: In a letter to Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said, “It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force [via a drone strike] within the territory of the United States.”

http://washingtonexaminer.com/eric-holder-drone-strikes-against-americans-on-u.s.-soil-are-legal/article/2523319

—————————————————————————————————————-

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com and CreateSpace.com,

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

Copyright (c) Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013