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A Floor, Not A Ceiling: Supporting The USA FREEDOM Act As A Step Towards Less Surveillance - EFF

A Floor, Not a Ceiling: Supporting the USA FREEDOM Act as a Step Towards Less Surveillance


Over the last few weeks, we’ve been analyzing the USA FREEDOM Act1, a bipartisan bill authored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI).

If passed, this bill (also known as S. 1599) would be a substantial improvement to America’s laws regarding mass surveillance. It brings new levels of transparency to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court (FISA court), introduces a special advocate to champion civil liberties in the FISA court, and appears to create new statutory limits on mass surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA). We are proud to support this bill and urge others to join us in working to ensure its passage.

we consider this bill to be a floor, not a ceiling. The bill only touches on a few of the issues surrounding the NSA’s invasive and unconstitutional surveillance. There are a variety of improvements that can and should be made to ensure the bill actually reins in the NSA and is less susceptible to being undermined by aggressive legal arguments in the FISA court or elsewhere.

What the Bill Doesn’t Cover

The bill only addresses a small portion of the problems created by NSA spying and overreaching government secrecy. It does not touch problems like NSA programs to sabotage encryption standards, it does not effectively tackle the issue of collecting information on people outside of the United States, and it doesn't address the authority that the government is supposedly using to tap the data links between service provider data centers, such as those owned by Google and Yahoo.

The bill also does not address...


More: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/11/floor-not-ceiling-supporting-usa-freedom-act-step-towards-less-surveillance

Whoop... There It Is !!! - But You Already Knew This... So Don't Bother...

Americans’ personal data shared with CIA, IRS, others in security probe
BY MARISA TAYLOR - McClatchy Washington Bureau
November 14, 2013


WASHINGTON — U.S. agencies collected and shared the personal information of thousands of Americans in an attempt to root out untrustworthy federal workers that ended up scrutinizing people who had no direct ties to the U.S. government and simply had purchased certain books. Federal officials gathered the information from the customer records of two men who were under criminal investigation for purportedly teaching people how to pass lie detector tests. The officials then distributed a list of 4,904 people – along with many of their Social Security numbers, addresses and professions – to nearly 30 federal agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service, the CIA, the National Security Agency and the Food and Drug Administration.

Although the polygraph-beating techniques are unproven, authorities hoped to find government employees or applicants who might have tried to use them to lie during the tests required for security clearances. Officials with multiple agencies confirmed that they’d checked the names in their databases and planned to retain the list in case any of those named take polygraphs for federal jobs or criminal investigations.

It turned out, however, that many people on the list worked outside the federal government and lived across the country. Among the people whose personal details were collected were nurses, firefighters, police officers and private attorneys, McClatchy learned. Also included: a psychologist, a cancer researcher and employees of Rite Aid, Paramount Pictures, the American Red Cross and Georgetown University. Moreover, many of them had only bought books or DVDs from one of the men being investigated and didn’t receive the one-on-one training that investigators had suspected. In one case, a Washington lawyer was listed even though he’d never contacted the instructors. Dozens of others had wanted to pass a polygraph not for a job, but for a personal reason: The test was demanded by spouses who suspected infidelity.

The unprecedented creation of such a list and decision to disseminate it widely demonstrate the ease with which the federal government can collect and share Americans’ personal information, even when there’s no clear reason for doing so.

The case comes to light amid revelations that the NSA, in an effort to track foreign terrorists, has for years been stockpiling the data of the daily telephone and Internet communications of tens of millions of ordinary Americans. Though nowhere near as massive as the NSA programs, the polygraph inquiry is another example of the federal government’s vast appetite for Americans’ personal information and the sweeping legal authority it wields in the name of national security.

“This is increasingly happening – data is being collected by the federal government for one use and then being entirely repurposed for other uses and shared,” said Fred Cate, an Indiana University-Bloomington law professor who specializes in information privacy and national security. “Yet there is no constitutional protection for sharing data within the government.”

Several people who were on the list not only were stunned to learn about it...


More: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/11/14/208438/americans-personal-data-shared.html

Well Then... No Wonder It's Been Kept Secret...

Beginner's guide: What is the TPP?
The New Zealand Herald
11:15 AM Thursday Nov 14, 2013

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key with other leaders, including United States President Barack Obama at a Trans Pacific Partnership leaders meeting last year.


Here are ten things to know about the Trans Pacific Partnership:

* Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations began in March 2010, after President Barack Obama endorsed George W. Bush's commitment to join.

* TPP began as a free trade agreement (FTA) between New Zealand and Singapore, then became the Pacific 4 (P4) when Chile and Brunei joined.

* The US is effectively leading the negotiations.


More: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=11157100

Time To Release Full TPP Text: Kelsey - 3news.co.nz

Time to release full TPP text - Kelsey
Dan Satherley 3 News Online Reporter
Friday 15 Nov 2013 9:18a.m


Auckland University law professor Jane Kelsey says New Zealand's negotiators in the Trans-Pacific Partnership discussions appear to be fighting the good fight, but this might prevent the deal being signed altogether.

Leaked yesterday, the intellectual property chapter of the controversial trade deal shows New Zealand – and most of the other countries involved – clashing with the US on around three-quarters of its contents.

Prof Kelsey says it's reassuring to see New Zealand sticking up for itself, but fears how much longer they can hold out. "Our intellectual property negotiators we know have been very staunch," she said on Firstline this morning.

"The problem is – as we've always said and the leak proves – that the US is using this agreement to drive through new rules to benefit its companies, irrespective of the cost for other countries. Now, other countries are kicking back, but if they're going to pull a deal off, it's going to have to be a deal that [US President Barack] Obama can sell to the US Congress, and they've made it very clear that what they consider gold standard intellectual property rights – among other rules – are preconditions for any approval."

Democrats in the US have rejected Mr Obama's proposed fast-track process, which would have limited debate on the TPP in Congress. This will likely push any signing of the deal well beyond his – and Prime Minister John Key's – Christmas target. But Prof Kelsey says this could ironically strengthen Mr Obama's hand, in that it "gives him even more leverage to say to the other countries, 'You want a deal? You give us what we want.'"

Negotiations continue in Salt Lake City next week, and Prof Kelsey will be there. She says the leak further strengthens the case for releasing the full text of the TPP as it stands.


Link: http://www.3news.co.nz/Time-to-release-full-TPP-text---Kelsey/tabid/1607/articleID/321453/Default.aspx#.UoVe9nBjuSo

Top Secret Trade Deal WikiLeaked: It Is What We Expected - Dean Baker/Moyers & Company

Top Secret Trade Deal WikiLeaked: It Is What We Expected
November 14, 2013
by Dean Baker -Moyers & Company


WikiLeaks once again provided a valuable public service, releasing a working draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s (TPP) chapter on intellectual property. The chapter has many of the provisions that critics had feared.

Specifically, there are several provisions that will increase protectionism in the prescription drug market, pushing up prices in the countries that sign the agreement. There are also provisions that would strengthen copyright protection, increasing the responsibility of third parties to assist copyright holders in enforcing their copyrights.

The greater protection for prescription drugs takes a variety of forms. For example, there is wording that would require countries to allow patents for new combinations of existing drugs. This has been a hotly contested issue internationally.

India’s Supreme Court recently upheld a decision to withhold a patent for the cancer drug Glivec. This drug, which sells for as much as $100,000 for a year’s dosage in the United States, is a combination of previously approved drugs. On this basis India refused to award a patent. As a result, Indian patients can get a generic version that costs around $2,000 a year.

The TPP also provides for stronger and longer protection for test data used to establish a drug’s safety and effectiveness. If this gets into law, patients in many countries will likely have to wait longer before having access to generic versions of drugs.


More: http://billmoyers.com/2013/11/14/top-secret-trade-deal-wikileaked-it-is-what-we-expected/

EFF And Other Groups To NSA: Are You Spying On Our TPP Work? - EFF

EFF and Other Groups to NSA: Are You Spying on Our TPP Work?


EFF has joined over three dozen civil society groups in seeking assurances that our collective work on trade negotiations is not being surveilled by the National Security Agency (NSA) or other United States security agencies. In a letter sent this week to NSA Director Keith Alexander and U.S. Trade Rep Michael Froman, we asked whether the NSA is spying on organizations and individuals advocating for the public interest in U.S. trade policy. We also demanded answers on whether the US Trade Representative has requested this data, if they have included communications with foreign nationals, and if that surveillance has occurred within U.S. borders.

This letter was the result of an article in the New York Times that revealed the NSA's wide-reaching efforts to collect data for all sorts of purposes are driven in part by the agency’s “customers” — a range of other government agencies that includes the U.S. trade office.

The NSA's purpose for surveillance extends way beyond the purpose of fighting terrorism, including any "information with respect to a foreign power...that relates to...the conduct of the foreign affairs of the United States." Since negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) (see our analysis of the new leaked text) and the EU-US trade agreement, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (called T-TIP for short), are held in secret, it's even more unsettling that our private communications may have been intercepted and handed over to an executive agency that has been enthusiastic about allowing corporations to dictate its core policy agenda. We and our colleagues co-operate internationally to fight against opaque policy-making processes to ensure that all Internet users' rights are respected and upheld in these powerful bodies of international law. If the NSA is truly monitoring all of our electronic communications, the agency could be using that information to sabotage our work in this policy space.

Groups that have signed the letter include Center for Media and Democracy, the Communication Workers of America, Fight for the Future, Greenpeace, Knowledge Ecology International, and Public Citizen. It reads:

Core American principles ranging from the right to privacy to the right to petition our government are at stake. Simply put, we believe that our organizations as well as all others advocating on trade policy matters have right to an assurance that their operations are not under surveillance by U.S. government agencies. We trust you agree.

This letter has been sent as EU-US trade delegates meet for the second time in Brussels to negotiate the terms of the TTIP agreement. Like its counterpart in the Pacific region, they plan to make it an expansive agreement that will likely include digital regulations such as copyright enforcement and data protection.

Prominent EU officials have themselves expressed serious reservations about continuing talks...


More: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/11/eff-and-other-groups-ask-nsa-are-you-spying-our-tpp-work

2014/2016: Are You Prepared For Further "Incremental" Political Steps..

Or Are You For The Liberal Equivalent Of "Shock and Awe" (Unfortunate Phrase I Realize...)

I'm ready to go all out.

You ???

Just A Feeling... But Wouldn't This Be The Perfect Time To Do To The Word "Conservative"...

What They've Done To The Word "Liberal" For The Last 30/40 Years ???


Anti- Democratic


Just to name a few.

This Is How...The World Ends For US Someday...

"Stop This Madness": Filipino Climate Chief Yeb Saño Begins Hunger Fast to Protest Global Inaction

Link: http://www.democracynow.org/2013/11/12/stop_this_madness_filipino_climate_chief

We would be well advised to listen.

Damn... From The Phillipines...

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