Privacy Watch News /privacywatchnews Privacy Watch News - Privacy Watch Information Tue, 24 Jan 2017 22:00:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Facebook secretly working with the police state to violate your Fourth Amendment rights /privacywatchnews/2017-01-10-facebook-secretly-working-with-the-police-state-to-violate-your-fourth-amendment-rights.html /privacywatchnews/2017-01-10-facebook-secretly-working-with-the-police-state-to-violate-your-fourth-amendment-rights.html#respond Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Your constitutional right to privacy has suffered greatly in the Information Age, either through blatantly illegal government surveillance or by voluntarily giving it up through the use of social media.

But what about when you don’t voluntarily give up information—does the government still have the right to it? If you’re Facebook, then the answer is yes.

As reported by the AntiMedia, according to the social media giant’s Global Government Requests Report, requests by government for data and information rose 27 percent last year, to 59,229. And more than half of those requests were met without it being disclosed to the user.

“The majority of data requests we received from law enforcement in the United States, or approximately 56%, contained a non-disclosure order that prohibited us from notifying the user,” the report said.

But it gets even worse.

Police demanding evidence in criminal investigations even before they are granted a warrant

According to the report, law enforcement agencies from around the world often send restriction requests—demands that Facebook actually take down content from some of its forums. So, besides theft of data, governments get their censorship requests met as well.

The good news—what there is of it—is that requests for censorship dropped quite a bit over the past year, from 55,827 in the latter half of 2015 to just 9,663 in 2016, an 87-percent decline. And most of the restrictions pertained to “French content restrictions of a single image from the November 13, 2015 terrorist attacks,” the report said.

For the first time, Facebook also used its annual report to disclose what the company does when  it actually receives requests from law enforcement agencies to provide “snapshots” of a user’s account that could be relevant to police for undisclosed reasons.

Those “preservation requests,” as they are formally known, seek to “preserve data pending receipt of formal legal process”—in other words, cops don’t want evidence deleted. But this act alone is a violation of due process, since it essentially provides law enforcement with evidence before a court has signed off and issued a search warrant, which is required by the Fourth Amendment.

Facebook does indeed honor snapshot requests, according to the report, which are temporarily preserved. The company did say it does not “disclose any of the preserved records unless and until we receive formal and valid legal process.”

During the first half of 2016, Facebook received 38,675 preservations requests, the report noted, involving 67,129 accounts—a huge number.

Facebook appears to be providing some transparency here, but it could very well be just smoke and mirrors. The social media site and others, after all, have cooperated with the Obama administration to provide data to intelligence agencies without prior court approval.

J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for Natural News and News Target, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.


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Amazon Echo devices spy on you in your own home… police are now trying to acquire those recordings /privacywatchnews/2017-01-09-police-are-tapping-amazon-echo-devices-to-function-as-spies-in-your-own-home.html /privacywatchnews/2017-01-09-police-are-tapping-amazon-echo-devices-to-function-as-spies-in-your-own-home.html#respond Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Well, it sure didn’t take long for the authorities to find yet another way to use technology—specifically “the Internet of things”—to violate our constitutional right to privacy.

As reported by EnGadget, police in Arkansas want to know if one of Amazon’s Echo devices, which are constantly connected to the Internet and listening for the sound of voice commands and questions, might have overheard something that can help them solve a murder case.

Only, they will have to get a court—or Amazon, voluntarily—to allow them access to loads of information in addition to whatever the device might have “overheard” and, thus, stored.

The report said that police in Bentonville, home to retail giant Walmart, have issued a warrant to Amazon, ordering the company to turn over any audio or other records from an Echo that belongs to James Andrew Bates; he is set to go to trial for first-degree murder for the death of Victor Collins next year.

So far, Amazon has declined to give police specifics on the information that the Bates Echo device logged on its servers, but the company has turned over information regarding Bates’ account info and purchases. And cops say they’ve managed to pull data off of the speaker, though it is not clear what they were able to access.

Always on, always ‘listening’ and tracking and recording…

Because the device is always “on” and connected to the Internet, police say they are looking for any audio that the speaker may have picked up the night of the alleged murder. Though the device is activated by keywords, it is not uncommon for the IoT gadget to be alerted to listen in by accident.

Or, maybe, even by design.

Police said that Bates had a number of other smart home devices, including a water meter, which showed that 140 gallons of water had been used between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. the night Collins was found dead in Bates’ hot tub. And who says there is nothing invasive about smart meters?

Anyway, investigators have theorized that Bates used the water to wash away evidence of what happened on his patio. But retrieving the data from the smart meter and request for additional data from the Echo is raising major issues about privacy, which seems to be all but gone in the Digital Age.

Frankly, at a time when there are any number of devices tracking and automating our habits—at home, at work, in public—should that data be available for the taking by law enforcement for use in criminal cases? Some, especially the government, believes it should be; but privacy experts and civil libertarians think that any information not immediately pertinent to such investigations should remain off-limits, as the founders intended.

Look for more attempts in the future by police and federal authorities to get their hands on as much of our personal information as possible.

J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for Natural News and News Target, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.


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China trying to police the internet now …worldwide /privacywatchnews/2016-12-02-china-trying-to-police-the-internet-now-worldwide.html /privacywatchnews/2016-12-02-china-trying-to-police-the-internet-now-worldwide.html#respond Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Communist China is often built up by the Regressive Left as being a prosperous country that America should look up to and aspire to be. They take what they perceive as being good and completely ignore the overwhelming negative aspects of the country in order to push the belief that communism is a reasonable system of government.

Anyone who values freedom and all of the things that come along with that — free speech, free thought and the like — should be completely opposed to becoming more like China. If more evidence was needed to prove this, consider the fact that the Chinese government is now trying to police the internet.

The Associated Press reports, “The latest measure approved by the National People’s Congress requires companies to enforce censorship and aid in investigations and imposes standards for security technology. It tightens controls on where Chinese citizens’ data can be stored. Human rights groups complain it will extend controls on a society in which media are controlled by the ruling party and the internet has provided a rare forum for individuals to express themselves to a large audience.”

Now, they’ve been controlling their country’s internet for quite some time now, but like all communist governments, controlling their people isn’t good enough. They want to control everyone and that’s what they are trying to do right now. There have been numerous reports that China is now trying to pressure tech companies into preventing certain content from being broadcast online.

This directly infringes on the freedoms of everyone who desires knowledge and truth and is a serious health concern. People, all people, have a right to know what is going on in the world and should be allowed to see whatever they choose through the use of the internet. Instead, governments like that of China are doing everything in their power to keep their people oppressed and ignorant to what is going on in the outside world.

We have seen this happen with countries like Cuba and we’ve come dangerous close to similar events taking place in America. As a result, we know how terrifying they can be and we should all be doing more to spread the truth about this kind of corruption. The best way to combat this behavior is by exposing it for what it is. The Chinese government needs to treat their own people better — and they desperately need to stop trying to tell American citizens what they can see on the internet.



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Police claiming they can enter a house and demand fingerprints from anyone /privacywatchnews/2016-11-07-police-claiming-they-can-enter-a-house-and-demand-fingerprints-from-anyone.html /privacywatchnews/2016-11-07-police-claiming-they-can-enter-a-house-and-demand-fingerprints-from-anyone.html#respond Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Police completely overstepping their bounds has become far too common in 2016 America. Whether it be the numerous examples of police brutality and unnecessary roughness or the fact that cops now seem to treat all warrants as optional, there’s a growing civil unrest in this country and it’s not hard to understand why. Turn on the news — mainstream or alternative — and it is immediately apparent.

Things are only going to get worse, though, until we face some serious changes in the militarization of the United States. Consider the fact that police officers are now raiding homes and demanding that people offer up their fingerprints in order to unlock cellphones. To call it an excessive overstepping of their authority would be a gross understatement, as this serves as yet another example of America become a full-fledged police state.

A memorandum signed by U.S. attorney for the Central District of California Eileen Decker, states, “While the government does not know ahead of time the identity of every digital device or fingerprint (or indeed, every other piece of evidence) that it will find in the search … It has demonstrated probable cause that evidence may exist at the search location, and needs the ability to gain access to those devices and maintain that access to search them.”

The fact that the federal government is pushing this kind of policy is alarming for a number of reasons, but it only makes us libertarians and conservatives that have been fearing this kind of behavior seem a lot less crazy to the brainwashed masses. For years we have been warning everyone that the powers that be are slowly trying to take away our everyday freedoms en route to enacting a full police state in America. While we were originally laughed at and disregarded as crazy conspiracy theorists, time has shown that we were right all along.

America was once known as the Land of the Free and if we are ever going to reclaim that title, then we have to stand up against the powers that be and reject the militarization of police forces. American citizens have rights — they are firmly locked into the United States Constitution — and they should be respected by all. Nobody and no organization should be above the law, but every branch of the government seems to believe that they are. Sadly, it appears as though they are right, and we’re all in trouble if they are…



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