The Golden Platform


Posts tagged Department of Homeland Security

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"Cyber Czar" wants Homeland Security to patrol America’s Internet borders


Lawmakers in Washington are divided as to how to implement cybersecurity legislation to protect against infiltration from hackers, but one insider says the answer is simple: just establish border patrol for the Internet in America.

Former George W Bush special adviser for cybersecurity, Richard A. Clarke, tackles the topic of America’s susceptibility to Internet crimes in an editorial published in The New York Times this week, and the ex-White House “cyber czar” says the issue could easily be resolved. Clarke argues that America loses billions of dollars every year from foreign hackers that steal information from US computers, and while Congress is at odds over which of the handful of cybersecurity bills best fits the country’s needs, Clarke — who held related positions in both the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations — offers a solution of his own. In an op-ed published on April 2, Clarke suggests that the US Department of Homeland Security stands to largely stop critical data from being accessed by foreign hackers if they can successfully implement a way to monitor what goes in and out of America’s online infrastructure.

Clarke argues in his op-ed that the current administration is all too hesitant to grab the issue by the horns. Not only has Congress complicated matters by considering several similar laws to establish cybersecurity guidelines with little success, he says, but President Barack Obama himself has failed to exercise his own authority to take on the issue. The commander-in-chief, argues Clarke, could easily let the Department of Homeland Security take a stab at the problem. In turn, all they would have to do is scan trillions upon trillions of bits and bytes being beamed out of the personal computers in each American household.

“Under Customs authority, the Department of Homeland Security could inspect what enters and exits the United States in cyberspace,” writes Clarke. “Customs already looks online for child pornography crossing our virtual borders. And under the Intelligence Act, the president could issue a finding that would authorize agencies to scan Internet traffic outside the United States and seize sensitive files stolen from within our borders.”

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Filed under News CISPA Internet Privacy department of homeland security DHS US Government Surveillance Surveillance State Internet

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Drones Flying Under the Radar

By Tom Barry

An undated handout photo of a U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper, a drone aircraft aimed with laser-guided munitions and Hellfire missiles.

Drones are the future, especially in foreign wars, surveillance and law enforcement.

In all sizes, armed and unarmed, drones are proliferating at home and abroad. Some are loaded with missiles, others simply with Tasers, but all carry surveillance payloads.

These “eyes in the skies,” also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or Remotely Piloted Vehicles (RPA), may soon be inescapable. For the most part, however, drones fly outside the radar of public scrutiny, Congressional oversight or international control.

In the seven years that the CIA and US military have deployed killer drones, the US Congress has never once debated the new commitment to drone operations. Although the CIA and the US military now routinely direct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operations that enter foreign airspace, these interventions haven’t been subject to serious Congressional review.

Drone operations often proceed without any authorization or knowledge of the intervened nations.

On the domestic front, local police and Homeland Security agents are also enthusiastically deploying drones for law enforcement and border security missions. At all levels, government in the United States is sidelining mounting civil rights, privacy and air safety concerns. The US Congress functions more as a booster for the drone industry than as a regulator.

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Filed under News Drones UAV Drones Surveillance Surveillance State US Government CIA US Military Spying Washington DC UK FAA DHS department of homeland security

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Shelters Direct Builds Bullet Resistant Booths for Homeland Security

Side Note: Also see “Department Of Homeland Security orders 450 million rounds of hollow-point bullets." What exactly is the DHS planning for? Keep in mind that the DHS is nothing more than a domestic version of the Pentagon. Just like the Pentagon needs a steady stream of wars and ‘conflicts’ to remain ‘legitimate’ - the DHS is going to need a constant stream of terrorism and terrorists to keep itself legitimate. Eventually an entity like the DHS just silently declares war on the entire citizenry - which I’m pretty sure is what we’re seeing:


Press release date: April 4, 2012

Owner: Department of Homeland Security

Project Description:

Shelters Direct provided the Department of Homeland Security with this 4x13 Steel UL 752 Level 3 Bullet Resistant Booth. 

This guard building features a standing seam hip roof, a thru-wall HVAC unit, (2) UL 752 BR Level 3 sliding doors, UL 752 Bullet Resistant Level 3 glass and a Low]E coating.

Other noticeable highlights of this prefabricated steel building include metal halide security lighting, decorative window grille frames, and a “Stop & Go” light with controls.

***Check this out too:  

ATK Secures .40 Caliber Ammunition Contract with Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (DHS, ICE)

Filed under News DHS Police State Ammo Department of Homeland Security totalitarianism

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SPY GAMES: The Department of Homeland Security is trying to hack into your Xbox. Should gamers be worried?


Recent years have brought reports of the U.S. government eavesdropping on phone conversations, e-mails, even tweets — all in the name of fighting terrorism. But surely your Xbox must be safe from the prying eyes of Big Brother?

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Filed under News Police State Surveillance Surveillance State DHS Department of Homeland Security Big Brother US Government XBOX 360 Wii Playstation 3

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Everybody’s a Target in the American Surveillance State

by John W. Whitehead

“Everybody’s a target; everybody with communication is a target.”
– A senior intelligence official previously involved with the Utah Data Center

In the small town of Bluffdale, Utah, not far from bustling Salt Lake City, the federal government is quietly erecting what will be the crown jewel of its surveillance empire. Rising up out of the desert landscape, the Utah Data Center (UDC) — a $2 billion behemoth designed to house a network of computers, satellites, and phone lines that stretches across the world — is intended to serve as the central hub of the National Security Agency’s vast spying infrastructure. Once complete (the UDC is expected to be fully operational by September 2013), the last link in the chain of the electronic concentration camp that surrounds us will be complete, and privacy, as we have known it, will be extinct.

At five times the size of the U.S. Capitol, the UDC will be a clearinghouse and a depository for every imaginable kind of information — whether innocent or not, private or public — including communications, transactions, and the like. Anything and everything you’ve ever said or done, from the trivial to the damning — phone calls, Facebook posts, Twitter tweets, Google searches, emails, bookstore and grocery purchases, bank statements, commuter toll records, etc. — will be tracked, collected, catalogued, and analyzed by the UDC’s supercomputers and teams of government agents. In this way, by sifting through the detritus of your once-private life, the government will come to its own conclusions about who you are, where you fit in, and how best to deal with you should the need arise.

What little we know about this highly classified spy center — which will be operated by the National Security Agency (NSA) — comes from James Bamford, a former intelligence analyst and an expert on the highly secretive government agency.Bamford’s exposé in Wired, a must-read for anyone concerned about the loss of our freedoms in a technological age, provides a chilling glimpse into the government’s plans for total control, aka total information awareness. As Bamford notes, the NSA “has transformed itself into the largest, most covert, and potentially most intrusive intelligence agency ever created. In the process — and for the first time since Watergate and the other scandals of the Nixon administration — the NSA has turned its surveillance apparatus on the U.S. and its citizens.”

Supposedly created by the NSA in order to track foreign threats to America, as well as to shore up cybersecurity and battle hackers, the UDC’s technological capabilities are astounding. As the central depository for all of the information gathered by the NSA’s vast spy centers, the UDC’s supercomputers will be capable of downloading data amounting to the entire contents of the Library of Congress every six hours. However, the data being targeted goes far beyond the scope of terrorist threats. In fact, as Bamford points out, the NSA is interested in nothing less than the “so-called invisible web, also known as the deep Web or deepnet — data beyond the reach of the public. This includes password-protected data, U.S. and foreign government communications, and noncommercial file-sharing between trusted peers.”

The loss of privacy resulting from such aggressive surveillance systems highlights very dramatically the growing problem of large public and private institutions in relation to the individual citizen. What we are witnessing, in the name of so-called security and efficiency, is the creation of a new class system comprising the watched (average Americans such as you and me) and the watchers (government bureaucrats, technicians, and private corporations). The growing need for technicians necessitates the bureaucracy. The massive bureaucracies — now computerized — that administer governmental policy are a permanent form of government. Presidents come and go, but the nonelected bureaucrats remain.

The question looms before us. Can freedom in the United States continue to flourish and grow in an age when the physical movements, individual purchases, conversations, and meetings of every citizen are constantly under surveillance by private companies and government agencies?

Whether or not the surveillance is undertaken for “innocent” reasons, does not surveillance of all citizens, even the innocent sort, gradually poison the soul of a nation? Does not surveillance limit personal options — deny freedom of choice — for many individuals? Does not surveillance increase the powers of those who are in a position to enjoy the fruits of this activity? Is not control the name of the game?

We are all becoming data collected in government files. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who suffered under the secret police in the Soviet Union, wrote about this process some years ago:

As every man goes through life he fills in a number of forms for the record, each containing a number of questions…. There are thus hundreds of little threads radiating from every man, millions of threads in all. If these threads were suddenly to become visible, the whole sky would look like a spider’s web, and if they materialized like rubber bands, buses and trams and even people would lose the ability to move and the wind would be unable to carry torn-up newspapers or autumn leaves along the streets of the city.

Thus, we come back to the NSA’s spy center. That the NSA, which has shown itself to care little for constitutional limits or privacy, is the driving force behind this spy center is no surprise. The agency, which is three times the size of the CIA, consumes one third of the intelligence budget and has a global spy network, has a long history of spying on Americans — whether or not it has always had the authorization to do so. Take, for instance, the warrantless wiretapping program conducted during the Bush years, which resulted in the NSA monitoring the private communications of millions of Americans — a program that continues unabated today, with help from private telecommunications companies such as AT&T. The program recorded 320 million phone calls a day when it first started. It is estimated that the NSA has intercepted 15 to 20 trillion communications of American citizens since 9/11.

What has proven to be surprising to some is that the Obama White House has proven to be just as bad, if not worse, than the Bush White House when it comes to invading the privacy rights of Americans. As Yale law professor Jack Balkin notes, “We are witnessing the bipartisan normalization and legitimization of a national-surveillance state. [Obama has] systematically adopted policies consistent with the second term of the Bush administration.” Unfortunately, whereas those on the left raised a hew and cry over the Bush administration’s constant encroachments on Americans’ privacy rights, it appears that the political leanings of those on the left have held greater sway than their principles. Consequently, the Obama administration has faced much less criticism for its blatant efforts to reinforce the surveillance state.

Clearly, the age of privacy in America is coming to a close. We have moved into a new paradigm in which surveillance technology that renders everyone a suspect is driving the bureaucratic ship that once was our democratic republic. By the time this UDC spy center is fully operational, no phone call, no email, no Tweet, no Web search is safe from the prying eyes and ears of the government. People going about their daily business will no longer be assured that they are not being spied upon by federal agents and other government bureaucrats.

Filed under Dissent Commentary Free Speech Surveillance Big Brother Police State Terrorism Department of Homeland Security Utah National Security Agency United States

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