National Security Agency Whistleblower William Binney On Growing Orwellian State Surveillance (Video)

Part 1 – Exclusive: National Security Agency Whistleblower William Binney on Growing State Surveillance


Part 2 – Detained in the U.S.: Filmmaker Laura Poitras Held, Questioned Some 40 Times at U.S. Airports

Part 3 – “We Don’t Live in a Free Country”: Jacob Appelbaum on Being Target of Widespread Gov’t Surveillance


Part 4 – Whistleblower: The NSA is Lying–U.S. Government Has Copies of Most of Your Emails

Exclusive: National Security Agency Whistleblower William Binney on Growing State Surveillance (Democracy Now, April 20, 2012):

In his first television interview since he resigned from the National Security Agency over its domestic surveillance program, William Binney discusses the NSA’s massive power to spy on Americans and why the FBI raided his home after he became a whistleblower. Binney was a key source for investigative journalist James Bamford’s recent exposé in Wired Magazine about how the NSA is quietly building the largest spy center in the country in Bluffdale, Utah. The Utah spy center will contain near-bottomless databases to store all forms of communication collected by the agency, including private emails, cell phone calls, Google searches and other personal data.

Binney served in the NSA for over 30 years, including a time as technical director of the NSA’s World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group. Since retiring from the NSA in 2001, he has warned that the NSA’s data-mining program has become so vast that it could “create an Orwellian state.” Today marks the first time Binney has spoken on national television about NSA surveillance. This interview is part of a 4-part special. Click here to see segment 2, 3, and 4. [includes rush transcript]

Guest:

William Binney, served in the NSA for over 30 years, including a time as director of the NSA’s World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group. Since retiring from the NSA in 2001, he has warned that the NSA’s data-mining program has become so vast that it could “create an Orwellian state.”

(Rush) Transcript

JUAN GONZALEZ: Today we bring you a Democracy Now! special on the growing domestic surveillance state and the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to spy on dissident journalists and activists. In a national broadcast exclusive, we’re joined by National Security Agency whistleblower William Binney. He was a key source for James Bamford’s recent [exposé] in Wired Magazine about the NSA—how the NSA is quietly building the largest spy center in the country in Bluffdale, Utah. The Utah spy center will contain nearly bottomless databases to store all forms of communication collected by the agency, including private emails, cell phone calls and Google searches and other personal data.

Binney served in the NSA for over 30 years, including a time as director of the NSA’s World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group. Since retiring from the NSA in 2001, he has warned that the agency’s data-mining program has become so vast that it could, quote, “create an Orwellian state.” Today marks the first time Binney has spoken on national television about surveillance by the National Security Agency.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re also joined by two individuals who have been frequent targets of government surveillance: Laura Poitras, the Academy Award-nominated filmmaker, and Jacob Appelbaum, a computer security researcher who has volunteered with WikiLeaks. Poitras is the director of the documentary films My Country, My Country and The Oath. Both Poitras and Appelbaum have been repeatedly detained and interrogated by federal agents when entering the United States. Their laptops, cameras and cell phones have been seized, and presumably their data has been copied.

The Justice Department has also targeted Applebaum’s online communications. In November, a federal judge ordered Twitter to hand over information about his account. In October, the Wall Street Journal revealed the Justice Department had obtained a secret court order to force Google and the internet provider Sonic.net to turn over information about Appelbaum’s email accounts.

William Binney, Laura Poitras and Jacob Appelbaum will be speaking tonight at the Whitney Museum here in New York for a teach-in on surveillance. The three of them join us here in our studio together in a broadcast for the first time. We’re going to begin with William Binney.

You worked for the National Security Agency for more than three decades.

WILLIAM BINNEY: Almost four.

Read moreNational Security Agency Whistleblower William Binney On Growing Orwellian State Surveillance (Video)

Prototype Wind Turbine Condenses 1,000 Liters Of Water A Day From Desert Air

Prototype Wind Turbine Condenses 1,000 Liters of Water a Day from Desert Air (Geek, April 18, 2012):

If you live in or travel through a desert region, having access to clean water is always going to be an issue. If you can’t carry enough for your journey, you have to ensure your route allows for a few water bottle refills. But the lack of water in deserts and other arid locations may soon be a thing of the past if a new wind turbine system is implemented on a large scale.

Marc Parent, founder of Eole Water, realized that he could extract water from the air after noticing how much water an air conditioner unit collected. He decided to combine a green energy source with the necessary components for condensing water directly from the air. The end result after 10 years of R&D is the WMS1000 wind turbine, capable of condensing and storing up to 1,000 liters of water every day.

The 34 meter tall turbine requires 15mph winds for its 13 meter diameter rotor to turn and generate sufficient energy. It then produces 30kW of power for the system to function. Air is drawn in through vents in the nose of the turbine and a generator heats it producing steam. That steam is then fed through a cooling compressor to form moisture that gets condensed into water. The resulting liquid is piped into a storage tank at the base of the turbine after being purified.

As long as an area meets the wind speed requirements this is a completely self contained system. It effectively allows mass water storage in some of the most arid places on earth.

Read morePrototype Wind Turbine Condenses 1,000 Liters Of Water A Day From Desert Air

Hate To Break It To You, But Your Car Likely Has A Black Box ‘Spying’ On You Already (Forbes)

Hate To Break It To You, But Your Car Likely Has A Black Box ‘Spying’ On You Already (Forbes, April 19, 2012):

The big news in automotive privacy this week is that Congress is on the verge of passing a transportation bill that will make “big brother” black boxes mandatory in all new cars. InfoWars is encouraging drivers to freak out about the horrific invasion of privacy represented by the government’s insisting that all Americans have event data recorders that reveal exactly what happened before and after a crash. But the truth of the matter is that most Americans already have black boxes in their cars. They’ve been around since 1996, are found in at least 60 million vehicles, and are a feature in 85% of new cars every year.

“Virtually every car that has an air bag has some kind of recording ability,” says James Casassa, of Wolf Forensics which specializes in downloading crash information from vehicles made by GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota and Honda. The recorders capture information about how fast you were going and whether you slammed on the brakes in the seconds before and after a crash. They capture just a snapshot, not a continual record of your driving activity — which would be far more concerning for privacy. (But don’t worry! You can get a far more invasive event recorder from your insurance company if you’re looking to lower your car insurance rates.)

Read moreHate To Break It To You, But Your Car Likely Has A Black Box ‘Spying’ On You Already (Forbes)

IBM’s Internal Plan To Grow Earnings-Per-Share To $20 By 2015: Reduce US Employees By 78 Percent!!!

Not your father’s IBM (Cringely, April 18, 2012):

This is my promised column about IBM — the first of several on the topic, all to be delivered this week.  The last time I wrote at length about Big Blue was in 2007.  I have been asked by readers many times to revisit the subject, something I haven’t wanted to do because it is such a downer. Writing the last time I hoped the situation, once revealed, would improve. But it hasn’t. And so, five years later, I turn to IBM again. The direct impetus for this column is IBM’s internal plan to grow earnings-per-share (EPS) to $20 by 2015. The primary method for accomplishing this feat, according to the plan, will be by reducing US employee head count by 78 percent in that time frame.

Read moreIBM’s Internal Plan To Grow Earnings-Per-Share To $20 By 2015: Reduce US Employees By 78 Percent!!!

DHS Project FAST: Precrime In America

In other news:

Homeland Security’s ‘Pre-Crime’ Screening Will Never Work (The Atlantic, April 17, 2012)


Precrime In America (ZeroHedge, April 18, 2012):

The U.S. Department of Homeland security is working on a project called FAST, the Future Attribute Screening Technology. FAST will remotely monitor physiological and behavioural signals like elevated heart rate, eye movement, body temperature, facial patterns, and body language, and analyse these signals algorithmically for statistical aberrance in an attempt to identify people with criminal or terroristic intentions.

It’s useful to briefly talk about  a few of the practical problems that such a system would face.

Firstly, the level of accuracy in remote monitoring. Is it possible to engineer a system that can remotely tell you the heart-rate of a hundred passengers  passing through a TSA checkpoint? Yes. Is it possible to do so accurately? That is much, much harder. The obvious conclusion is that such a system, were it to be deployed in the wilds of airports (and presumably, other locations where our ever-benevolent technocratic overlords determine “terrorists” or “criminals” may be operating) would — given a large enough number of scans — produce a lot of false positives stemming from erroneous data.

Read moreDHS Project FAST: Precrime In America

DARPA: Hybrid Insect Micro Electromechanical Systems (HI-MEMS)

Hybrid Insect Micro Electromechanical Systems (HI-MEMS) (DARPA):

Olfactory training of bees has been used to locate mines and weapons of mass destruction. The Hybrid Insect Micro Electromechanical Systems (HI-MEMS) program is aimed at developing technology to provide control over insect locomotion, just as reins are needed for effective control over horse locomotion.

HI-MEMS-derived technologies will enable many robotic capabilities at low cost, impacting the development of future autonomous defense systems. The realization of cyborgs will provide compact platforms that use highly efficient biological systems developed over millions of years of evolution. HI-MEMS platforms will extend the duration and improve the capability of microbotic missions due to the combined efficiency of biochemical energy storage (fat) and bio-actuators (muscle) compared to traditional chemical energy storage (battery) and actuators (motors).  The basic technology developed in this program will also serve as a biological tool to understand and control insect development, opening vistas in our understanding of tissue development and providing new technological pathways to harness the natural sensors and power generation of insects.

Read moreDARPA: Hybrid Insect Micro Electromechanical Systems (HI-MEMS)

Oil Firms Sonar Blasts Probably Responsible For The Deaths Of Thousands Of Dolphins

Deaths of 3,000 dolphins blamed on sonar blasts from oil firms exploring sea bed (Daily Mail, April 15, 2012)

The deaths of thousands of dolphins washed up on beaches in Peru may have been caused by acoustic testing offshore by oil companies, conservationists have warned.

Nearly 3,000 of the mammals are thought to have died this year so far, with 615 counted by conservationists along a 90-mile stretch of beaches near the city of Lambayeque on Wednesday.

Scientists in Peru are exploring the possibility the deaths were caused by sonar blasts used by firms to find oil under the sea. The method can damage dolphins’ ears and cause disorientation and internal bleeding, experts warn.

Read moreOil Firms Sonar Blasts Probably Responsible For The Deaths Of Thousands Of Dolphins

Hacking Expert David Chalk Joins Urgent Call To Halt Smart Grid: ‘100% Certainty Of Catastrophic Failure Of Energy Grid Within 3 Years’

Hacking Expert David Chalk Joins Urgent Call to Halt Smart Grid (Market Watch, April 12, 2012):

“100% certainty of catastrophic failure of energy grid within 3 years”

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Apr 12, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — The vulnerability of the energy industry’s new wireless smart grid will inevitably lead to lights out for everyone, according to leading cyber expert David Chalk. In an online interview for an upcoming documentary film entitled ‘Take Back Your Power’ ( www.ThePowerFilm.org ), Chalk says the entire power grid will be at risk to being taken down by cyber attack, and if installations continue it’s only a matter of time.

“We’re in a state of crisis,” said Chalk. “The front door is open and there is no lock to be had. There is not a power meter or device on the grid that is protected from hacking – if not already infected – with some sort of trojan horse that can cause the grid to be shut down or completely annihilated.”

“One of the most amazing things that has happened to mankind in the last 100 years is the Internet. It’s given us possibility beyond our wildest imagination. But we also know the vulnerabilities that exist inside of it. And then we have the backbone, the power grid that powers our nations. Those two are coming together. And it’s the smart meter on your home or business that’s now allowing that connectivity.”

Chalk also issued a challenge to governments, media and technology producers to show him one piece of digital technology that is hack-proof.

Read moreHacking Expert David Chalk Joins Urgent Call To Halt Smart Grid: ‘100% Certainty Of Catastrophic Failure Of Energy Grid Within 3 Years’

Pentagon Orders Dual-Focus Contact Lens Prototypes


Innovega says the lenses could be released to the public in 2014

Dual-focus contact lens prototypes ordered by Pentagon (BBC News, April 12, 2012)

Dual-focus contact lens prototypes ordered by Pentagon

The Pentagon has put in an order for prototype contact lenses that give users a much wider field of vision.

Read morePentagon Orders Dual-Focus Contact Lens Prototypes

Defense Department To Further Militarize US Law Enforcement With Hundreds Of Military Robots

Defense Department to Further Militarize U.S. Law Enforcement With Hundreds of Military Robots (The Intel Hub, April 10, 2012):

Last year I reported on the Pentagon’s 1033 Program, wherein local law enforcement agencies can obtain surplus military hardware through a website, only having to pay to pick up the equipment.

Now, according to the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), law enforcement will be even further militarized through the use of hundreds of military robots acquired by the Department of Defense over the past decade.

According to the head of the eastern team of DLA’s disposition services office, Dan Arnold, the older and more heavily used items will likely be robots for explosive ordnance disposal and surveillance, although some of the hardware is nearly brand new and never been deployed overseas.

According to National Defense, Arnold said to the attendees of the GovSec conference in Washington, D.C., that these robots are just one instance of the surplus equipment that will likely become available as the conflict in Afghanistan supposedly winds down.

Read moreDefense Department To Further Militarize US Law Enforcement With Hundreds Of Military Robots