Author Topic: they know what you are doing  (Read 126499 times)

Offline Ellirium113

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1624
  • Gold 303
  • We are here
Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #675 on: November 30, 2015, 05:32:26 PM »
New "Tattle-Tale" Barbie will console you child with AI and act as a digital diary. It will also report "abuse" to the authorities. It will be like having child protective services in your very own home 24/7. Mommy won't give you a candy bar? No problem Tell Barbie what a mean mommy you have and the courts will help her become a better improved mommy. :P

As if THAT isn't bad enough...beware...Barbie's voice may suddenly change to that of deranged pedophile or worse.


Offline Dyna

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 622
  • Gold 127
Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #676 on: December 12, 2015, 10:41:00 AM »
My sisters Amazon account was hacked yesterday her credit cards had to be changed $200.00 gone, good time to change the passwords on any account. >:(
When the debate is lost,
slander becomes the tool of the loser.

space otter

  • Guest
Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #677 on: December 29, 2015, 12:48:02 PM »

Someone Let Your Voting Data Leak Online.
 Here's What That Means
"Our society has never had to confront the idea of all these records, all in one place, being available to anyone in the entire world for any purpose instantly."

? 12/28/2015 04:40 pm ET
Alexander Howard
Senior Editor for Technology and Society, The Huffington Post

There's a database of 191 million voter records online, and no one knows where it came from or who owns it.

That revelation comes from security researcher Chris Vickery, who found the data on Dec. 20 and shared his discovery with an anonymous privacy advocate at and CSO Online's Steve Ragan, who confirmed that the records of American voters -- including himself -- are indeed available for free online.

The data in question includes the full of name of a given voter, his or her home address, phone number, gender, date of birth, state voter ID, unique voter ID, date of voter registration, phone number, political affiliation and whether or not he or she voted in primary elections, beginning in 2000.

Stewart Brand, the founder of the Whole Earth Catalog, famously said that "information wants to be free." But when it comes to the sacred act of voting in a democracy, should that information be freely and easily accessible online? 

"Our society has never had to confront the idea of all these records, all in one place, being available to anyone in the entire world for any purpose instantly," wrote Vickery on Reddit on Monday. "That's a hard pill to swallow."

While state voter registration records are public records, it isn't always easy -- or cheap -- to access them across the United States.

Using voter data is also tricky. Depending on the state, the data may not be used for commercial or charitable purposes, or it may only be used for political or electoral purposes, or it may have no restrictions at all.

Both Ragan and suggested that the data originated with campaign software vendor NationBuilder, which provides its users with access to a national voter file.

NationBuilder founder and CEO Jim Gilliam, however, told The Huffington Post that while some of the data probably came through his firm, the schema -- or how it's structured -- is not theirs.

In a post published to the NationBuilder blog, Gilliam indicated that, from what his team has seen, there is no new or private information released in this database beyond what is already available from each state government.

In the meantime, this episode can tell us three things.

First, data is a strategic asset in 21st century campaigns. When the Democratic National Committee cut off the Bernie Sanders campaign's access to a national voter file after a staffer looked at confidential information, the move posed a huge risk to the campaign's ability to do voter identification and fundraising. While the DNC ultimately restored the Sanders campaign's access, the episode showed how much that data matters. In addition, the way the Obama campaign used data to rally voters is of great interest to every presidential candidate this election season.

Second, this episode will call attention to the ethics of public data access, from inequities of access between campaigns to whether this category of public records should be available online at all.

“We strongly believe in making voter information more accessible to political campaigns and advocacy groups, so we provide cleaned versions of that publicly accessible information to them for free," said Gilliam.

Generally speaking, Americans are comfortable with open data about safety and restaurants, but not their mortgages. It may come as a surprise to many citizens to know that state governments are publishing their voting history.

Finally, consumer data privacy deserves more scrutiny. While some states do regulate use, there are limited formal protections for voting data as a category of personal information or statutory consequences for campaigns or organizations that inadvertently expose it.

In theory, the Federal Elections Commission might weigh in, but despite having figured out how to disclose data online, the dysfunctional regulator remains at war with itself, unlikely to curb abuse of election laws in 2016.

In practice, it's up to Congress and the courts to decide if threats to voter privacy merit national limits on data use.



Salted Hash- Top security news
By Steve Ragan
Fundamental security insight to help you minimize risk and protect your organization
Database configuration issues expose 191 million voter records

Massive database exposed to public, major political data managers deny ownership

  CSO | Dec 28, 2015 4:00 AM PT

A misconfigured database has led to the disclosure of 191 million voter records. The database, discovered by researcher Chris Vickery, doesn't seem to have an owner; it's just sitting in the public – waiting to be discovered by anyone who happens to be looking.

What's in the database?

The database was discovered by researcher Chris Vickery, who shared his findings with The two attempted to locate the owner of the database based on the records it housed and other details. However, their attempts didn't pan out, so they came to Salted Hash for assistance.

Never one to shy away from a puzzle, I agreed to help. the best place to start looking was the database itself. That's when Vickery sent me my personal voter record from the database. It was current based on the elections listed. My personal information was accurate too. Vickery discovered his own record as well, so I asked him about his initial reaction.

"My immediate reaction was disbelief," Vickery said.

"I needed to know if this was real, so I quickly located the Texas records and ran a search for my own name. I was outraged at the result. Sitting right in front of my eyes, in a strange, random database I had found on the Internet, were details that could lead anyone straight to me. How could someone with 191 million such records be so careless?"

The database contains a voter's full name (first, middle, last), their home address, mailing address, a unique voter ID, state voter ID, gender, date of birth, date of registration, phone number, a yes/no field for if the number is on the national do-not-call list, political affiliation, and a detailed voting history since 2000. In addition, the database contains fields for voter prediction scores.

All voter information, except for a few elements protected by law in some states, is public record. For example, in Ohio, voter records are posted online. Other states make obtaining voter records a bit more challenging or outright expensive, but they're still available. For the most part, voter data is restricted to non-commercial purposes.

However, each state has its own rules for such data.

Point in case, in Alaska, Arkansas, and Colorado, voter data has no restrictions placed on it. However, in California, voter data may only be used for political purposes and may not be made available to persons outside of the U.S. South Dakota has a law that is directly related to this article's focus:

"...the voter registration data obtained from the statewide voter registration database may not be used or sold for any commercial purpose and may not be placed for unrestricted access on the internet."

The database discovered by Vickery doesn't contain Social Security Numbers or driver license numbers, but it's still a massive collection of data.

Again, most states or data brokers require that anyone obtaining voter data affirm that they're not going to use it for commercial gain and that they'll follow all related state laws.

Yet, because the information Vickery discovered is in a database available to anyone on the Internet who knows how to find it, it's essentially unrestricted data.

 shared my personal voting file with a few election sources and experts. One of them offered a simple explanation as to why it exists, and what a database such as this could be used for during an election season.

"This file has all the basic information that a voter file would have on you: your address, date of birth, every election you did or didn't vote in, and some basic demographic information. Campaigns use all of [this] information to target their messages more efficiently: to make sure they're targeting not just the right people, but people who will actually end up voting. Most of this data is public record, with the caveat that it can only be used for campaign purposes," explained Maclen Zilber, a Democratic political consultant with the firm Shallman Communications.

"Some major voting data companies will give each voter a rating of how likely they are to turn out and vote, how likely they are to support a given political party, and even more niche questions such as how likely they are to support a specific issue. The prediction score row suggests that this file is from a company selling voter data, not just a file from a government database."

Who owns the database?

Salted Hash reached out to several political data firms in an effort to locate the owner of the exposed database. Dissent (admin of did the same thing. However, none of our efforts were successful.

The following firms were contacted by Salted Hash for this story: Catalist, Political Data, Aristotle, L2 Political, and NGP VAN. reached out to Nation Builder. Speaking to Dissent, Nation Builder said that the IP address hosting the database wasn't one of theirs, and it wasn't an IP address for any of their hosted clients.

As for the firms contacted by Salted Hash, each of them denied that the database was theirs, and in the case of NGP VAN, the technical aspects of the infrastructure (Linux vs. Windows) ruled them out because they're a Windows shop and the data is housed as part of a Linux build.

A later attempt to contact i360, another political data firm, was unsuccessful. In addition, DSPolitical, TargetSmart, and Data Trust were also contacted about the database.

Conversations between TargetSmart and Salted Hash went as expected by this point; the database isn't theirs and they are not using that IP address. If DSPolitical and Data Trust respond to questions, this story will be updated.

Update: Data Trust has reached out with confirmation that the database isn't theirs.

Update 2: DSPolitical has responded to state that the database isn't theirs.

How was this database compiled?

For the last week, Salted Hash has attempted to discover not only who owns the database that's been exposed to the public, but also how it was compiled. The hope was that if the owner couldn't be determined, then knowing the source of the data could be useful, as the vendor might be able to contact a customer and alert them to the problem.

As it turns out, researching this story was a bit complicated because of the Sanders / Clinton / NGP VAN voter database incident. Many of those contacted by Salted Hash assumed the two stories were somehow connected.

To be perfectly clear, this story is not related to the Sanders / Clinton incident at all.

The NGP VAN incident involving the Sanders and Clinton campaigns centered on a software configuration error that resulted in the Sanders campaign seeing client scores from the Clinton camp. There were no voter records exposed, just client scores.

In fact, the Sanders and Clinton campaigns share the exact same DNC voter database. The information exposed was added by one campaign, and the glitch allowed the other campaign to see it.

What Vickery has discovered is worse, because the data he discovered isn't a client score – it's a complete voter record for 191 million registered voters. The problem is, no one seems to care that this database is out there and no one wants to claim ownership.

As it turns out, many state and county elections offices charge for access to voter data. Sometimes, voter data is free, but when there's a cost involved, the total paid can be extreme. For example, in 2012, the fee to obtain 3 million voter registration records in Alabama was just over $29,000. Such costs can really cut into the budget of a political campaign, so campaign managers will turn to various political data firms and purchase the information needed at a lower cost.

One of the places campaigns turn to is Nation Builder. When Vickery first discovered the voter database, he and Dissent identified Nation Builder as the possible source of the data. However, as mentioned, Nation Builder denied that the IP address was theirs. They also said the IP wasn't being used by any of their hosted clients.

But did the data in the exposed voter database come from Nation Builder? Based on the database schema and formatting, yes, it did. The personal voter file given to me by Vickery is clearly from a Nation Builder data set.

In the U.S., few vendors maintain a national voter file. For those vendors that do, each voter file has signature components that are unique to that particular vendor – similar to a digital fingerprint.

In order to distinguish one voter file source from another, one can compare the file structure - how the vendor chooses to name various fields as well as the order in which they appear on their file. Another clear distinguishing factor is the unique voter ID - the code that the vendor assigns to each voter in the country.

Each vendor that deals with national voter files has their own distinct approach to creating unique identifiers for voters.

In my voter record, the voter ID and the field names point directly to Nation Builder as the source of the data that's been exposed. When you compare my voter record to the file structure published by Nation Builder, there are clear similarities including the nbec_precinct_code.

This code is unique to Nation Builder. It's shorthand for Nation Builder Election Center Precinct Code. In my case, that code is: 18097-Marion-Center (Marion County, Center Township).

As for the voter ID, my voter record uses a voter ID code consisting of 32 letters and numbers separated by dashes: 058a902b-4e1d-4989-8fdb-4976f48fbfb6

Multiple firms questioned about the digital fingerprints in my voter record (UID / NBEC code) quickly concluded that Nation Builder was the source of the data, and one said that this would be clear to anyone who has ever viewed Nation Builder before.

But is Nation Builder to blame? Not really...

So while Nation Builder denied any claim to the IP and the leaked database, it's entirely possible they might know who developed it – but that would require an extensive records check. This is because a developer or campaign wishing to access the Nation Builder Election Center would need to register their contact details, such as name and email address.

However, Nation Builder is under no obligation to identify customers, and once the data has been obtained, they cannot control what happens to it. In short, while they provided the data that's in my newly leaked voter record, they're not liable in any way for it being exposed.

And to be clear, I don't blame Nation Builder for my leaked record either, I blame the person(s) who developed the database and poorly configured its hosting. I'm just not sure who they are yet.

Either way, I'm just one individual. There are more than 191 million people with records in this database. So if you're a registered voter in the U.S., you should know your data has been exposed.

Moreover, there is no way to know for sure how long this database has existed online, and for some of you – that's a problem. Point in case, the law enforcement officer that spoke to Dissent about their leaked voter file.

Based on the voter count and some of the records, the database appears to be from Nation Builder's 2014 update from February or March, but unless the database owner is contacted and confirms, there's no way to prove that conclusion.

The concern is the potential for abuse. Stalking and the exposure of people who normally don't share their personal information is certainly an issue.

There are other long term issues too. The personal information in this database, including political affiliation, date of birth, could be used to construct a targeted Phishing campaign.

While most people are aware of financially-based Phishing attacks, or those focused on retail or shipping, a targeted list based on politics might have a higher level of success, especially this time of year heading into the 2016 election cycle.

Vickery and Dissent have reached out to federal law enforcement for assistance in locating the database's owner or removing it from public view. In addition, they've contacted the California Attorney General.

At the time this article was written and published, the database was still live.


just one link in a search with tons of info out there....

search for :   Nation Builder Election Center Precinct Code
and got pages

« Last Edit: December 29, 2015, 02:29:20 PM by space otter »

space otter

  • Guest
Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #678 on: December 30, 2015, 08:14:46 AM »

this younger computer generation doesn't have a chance to know what privacy is..sigh

By Andrea Peterson December 28

The Switch

Google is tracking students as it sells more products to schools, privacy advocates warn

In public classrooms across the country, the corporate name that is fast becoming as common as pencils and erasers is Google.

More than half of K-12 laptops or tablets purchased by U.S. schools in the third quarter were Chromebooks, cheap laptops that run Google software. Beyond its famed Web search, the company freely offers word processing and other software to schools. In total, Google programs are used by more than 50 million students and teachers around the world, the company says.

But Google is also tracking what those students are doing on its services and using some of that information to sell targeted ads, according to a complaint filed with federal officials by a leading privacy advocacy group.

And because of the arrangement between Google and many public schools, parents often can’t keep the company from collecting their children’s data, privacy experts say.

“In some of the schools we’ve talked to parents about, there’s literally no ability to say, ‘no,’” said Nate Cardozo, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Google, whose parent company is called Alphabet, pushed back against the criticism, saying its education apps comply with the law. But it acknowledged it collects data about some student activities to improve its products.

"We have always been firmly committed to keeping student information private and secure," Jonathan Rochelle, director of Google Apps for Education, wrote in a blog post defending its practices. Google declined to comment further.

But privacy advocates warn that many school administrators may not realize just how much information Google is collecting or how it may be used beyond providing educational services. And for some parents, the arrangement is concerning.

Jeff, who spoke on the condition that his last name not be published to protect his family’s privacy, lives in a Roseville, Calif. school district that requires students to use Google’s education products. He said he has struggled to keep his 4th grade daughter out of Google’s system.

“Google’s primary source of income is collecting data on people,” he said. “And we didn’t like the idea of that being in our school system.”


In just a few short years, Google has become a dominant force as a provider of education technology. In 2012, Chromebooks made up less than 1 percent of all laptops and tablets shipped to K-12 schools in the United States, while Apple supplied more than half of all sales, according to Futuresource Consulting. The firm’s latest data shows that Chromebooks accounted for 51 percent of those device sales in the third quarter of this year, while Apple captured 24 percent and Microsoft 23 percent.

Google’s fast rise has partly been because of low costs: Chromebooks can often be bought in the $100 to $200 range, a fraction of the price for a MacBook. And its software is free to schools.

As its products were taking off in classrooms, Google earlier this year signed onto an industry-led student privacy pledge where it promised to limit how it collects and uses information about students.

But in a filing with the Federal Trade Commission, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) argued Google is tracking nearly everything students are doing when they are signed into their Google accounts and, in some cases, using that information to build profiles and serve them targeted ads in certain Google programs.

Google only considers some services parts of its education suite -- such as Gmail, Calendar, Google Docs -- but not others such as Search, Maps, Youtube, and Google News. So if students are logged into their educational account and use Google News to find stories for a report or watches a history video on Youtube, Google can use that activity to build a profile about them and serve them advertisements outside its educational products, EFF alleges.

The EFF also says that a feature automatically turned on in Chromebooks -- including those sold to schools -- runs afoul of Google’s privacy pledge. The feature, dubbed Chrome Sync, lets Google users port their browsing history, passwords and other personalized features between any Chromebook or Chrome browser that they log into. The EFF protested Google’s effort to track that activity and use it for commercial purposes without parental consent.
Google wrote in a blog post that the decision to allow students to use Chrome Sync or use apps beyond its core education suite is up to school districts. The data collected through Chrome Sync is only used in the aggregate to improve its products and all identities are scrubbed, the company’s blog post said.

The authors of the student privacy pledge -- the Future of Privacy Forum, an industry-backed think-tank, and SIIA, a trade association -- came to Google’s defense, saying the EFF’s accusations went too far.

“We have reviewed the EFF complaint but do not believe it has merit,” Jules Polonetsky, the executive director of the Future of Privacy Forum, said in a statement.

But privacy advocates say the complaint should be a wake up call not just to Google, but to other companies handling student data.

“There are so many different apps and providers -- and overwhelmingly students are not getting the kind of security and privacy protection they deserve,” said Khaliah Barnes, an associate director at the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

And thanks to a 1970’s-era student privacy law, school districts don’t need parents’ written consent to share information about students with the companies they contract with, privacy advocates said.

Many school districts simply leave parents “in the dark” about who is tracking their children’s activities in school, said Barnes.

A 2013 study examining a national sample of public school districts found that 95 percent of them relied on some sort of online cloud service. But only a quarter of those districts informed parents about their use of such systems and one in five lacked policies governing the use of online services.

Fewer than a quarter of service agreements spelled out why the school district was disclosing student information to a vendor and less than 7 percent restricted vendors from selling or marketing data about students, according to the study.
“I think officials in most school districts in the U.S. are completely ignorant about the information they are giving out about their kids,” said Joel Reidenberg, a Fordham University law professor and one of the authors of the study.


In the Washington suburbs, Alexandria City public schools have been using some Google education programs since 2013. This year, the school district switched to Chromebooks for high school students and is piloting them for 4th and 5th graders.

The district does not require parents’ explicit consent for the Chromebook program, except when elementary school students take the devices home, said chief technology officer Elizabeth Hoover. Since the EFF’s complaint, she has heard from one parent who raised privacy concerns and says the district will try to work with families who are uncomfortable with it.

But, she stressed, the district had taken a number of steps to protect students’ privacy. For instance, the district disabled the Chrome Sync feature before rolling the devices out. And they’ve limited the services that students can access from their school Google accounts to Google Drive, Gmail, and Maps, she said.

“Working with GAFE has its own set of challenges so we try to proceed cautiously,” Hoover explained.

Pushes to beef up student privacy protections on the federal level have hardly gained traction. But in 2014, 28 student data privacy laws were signed into law across 20 states, according to the an analysis by the Data Quality Campaign. One of the toughest was a California law that bars school vendors from selling student data, using it to target advertisements, or building a profile about them for non-educational purposes.

Laura Assem, the chief technology officer at the Roseville City School District in California, said the school system is evaluating how the state law will impact their district and its vendors. “Unfortunately, technology advances faster than legislation, but you can’t remove technology from education because it’s an accelerator,” she said.

This year, administrators turned down an offer from Jeff’s family to provide a personal device for their daughter, Jeff said. According to an e-mail Jeff shared with The Post, Roseville City School District superintendent Derk Garcia said that the school system was “considering removing the opt out clause” for parents starting the next school year. It was only after Jeff sought counsel from EFF that his family was able to work out a solution, he said.

Garcia did not respond to a request verify the content of the e-mail, but Assem said the school system is still considering its options. “The district is working with our legal team as well as meeting with [Jeff] to figure out a solution,” she said. It’s also working to improve its infrastructure to better support students who want to bring their own devices, Assem added.

But Jeff remains frustrated. “This is a decision my school district made about the privacy and security of my child -- and it felt like they didn’t really understand the implications,” he said.


space otter

  • Guest
Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #679 on: January 28, 2016, 04:16:01 PM »

States Crack Down On Police 'Stingray' Tech That Can Intercept Your Texts
Cops say stingray devices help catch criminals. But they could also be collecting civilians' texts and calls.

? 01/28/2016 04:44 pm ET

Casey Williams
Editorial Fellow, The Huffington Post

You might not realize it, but your text messages and phone calls could be intercepted by local police on the hunt for a suspect. This is a practice widely used across the country, and a handful of states are trying to place limits on the controversial technology that makes it possible.

New legislation proposed last week in Illinois makes this state the most recent to attempt a crackdown on the use of so-called "stingray" devices, also known as "cell site simulators." While this tech is meant to capture cell phone data from suspected criminals, it's used to sweep up data from a large area and can pull in text and call content from innocent civilians. The devices mimic cell phone towers, tricking cell phones into connecting to them.

Illinois' bill, introduced by State Senator Daniel Biss, would require police to obtain a warrant before switching on the stingrays and would force police to delete civilians' text and call records accidentally collected during an investigation.

Police in 23 states are known to have stingray devices, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. Four states have already passed laws requiring police to get a warrant before using stingrays, per ABC Chicago affiliate WLS.

Sponsors of the proposed Illinois law say the warrantless collection of civilian phone data, even if it’s accidental, could violate privacy rights. Civil liberties groups are also worried.

"We are concerned with assuring that the devices operate within our accepted constitutional framework," Edwin Yohnka, the public policy and communications director the American Civil Liberties Union told The Huffington Post in an email Wednesday.

Under the proposed law, he said, “If you or I were in an area where a stingray is being used, government won’t have a record of that fact -- we are therefore free to travel without that surveillance."


Police in 23 states are known to have stingray surveillance devices, according to the ACLU.

If passed, the proposed surveillance legislation would bring Illinois in line with federal law. In October, the Department of Justice announced new rules requiring federal investigators to obtain a warrant before using stingrays. But the rules don’t apply to local police.

Illinois's police practices came into the national spotlight last year after Chicago officer Jason Van Dyke was charged in the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

Law enforcement officials say that stingrays help them catch criminals. But federal investigators haven't disclosed much information about how and when such devices are used. In one case, feds seized stingray records from a local police department to keep them out of the hands of watchdog groups.

State Representative Ann Williams, who sponsored the bill in the Illinois House of Representatives, hopes the proposed legislation will help protect rights in an era of rapid technological change.

"Basic protections are no different because of advancing technology. The law has to keep up with it," Williams told the Chicago Tribune last week. 

space otter

  • Guest
Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #680 on: February 08, 2016, 10:13:39 PM »

look up...look down...look all around and wave to the camera...grrrrrrrrrrr

A federal appeals court on Monday ruled it is not unconstitutional for law enforcement to set up a camera on a public utility pole and record a suspect's moves for 10 weeks straight.

Such warrantless recording is permitted, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit said, because people have "no reasonable expectation of privacy in video footage recorded by a camera that was located on top of a public utility pole and that captured the same views enjoyed by passersby on public roads."

The ruling stemmed in part from a nasty, years-long confrontation between two Tennessee brothers and local police -- long-simmering bad blood that led to shootouts, officer deaths and ultimately a criminal trial that ended in acquittals for the brothers.

Despite this history, the conflict persisted, and federal agents later learned from local law enforcement that one of the brothers, Rocky Houston, had a prior felony and thus was in violation of federal law for possessing firearms in his rural property -- which he shared with his brother Leon, who slept in a trailer, and an adult daughter, who lived in a nearby barn.

Federal agents followed up on the tip and visited the property to investigate, but quickly realized that their vehicle "stuck out like a sore thumb" and they couldn't conduct proper surveillance of the premises. That's when they enlisted the help of the utility company and, without obtaining a warrant, set up a camera from a pole located roughly 200 yards away from Leon's trailer.

Mark Makela via Getty Images

For a federal appeals court, a camera that recorded a suspect's moves for 10 weeks straight didn't violate his "reasonable expectation of privacy."

That was good enough to monitor the brothers' activities for 10 weeks straight, including instances of Houston handling guns on the property. About a month after the surveillance ended, the agents moved in on the farm, seized 25 firearms -- 17 of them Houston's -- and charged him under a federal law that prohibits former felons from possessing them.

Houston was ultimately convicted and sentenced to nine years in prison for the offense, in large part based on the evidence gathered through the warrantless surveillance of the family property.

On appeal, the 6th Circuit ruled the surveillance didn't violate his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches.

"The ATF agents only observed what Houston made public to any person traveling on the roads surrounding the farm," the court said, reasoning that the "agents had a right to access the public utility pole and the camera captured only views that were plainly visible to any member of the public who drove down the roads bordering the farm."

But the court also dismissed the notion that the length of surveillance mattered to its constitutional analysis, noting that "the Fourth Amendment does not punish law enforcement for using technology to more efficiently conduct their investigations."

As George Washington University law professor Orin Kerr observed in a legal blog, the court appears to have employed an interest-balancing theory to reach its conclusion -- that is, the surveillance is justified because it helps avoid giving wrongdoers "the upper hand."

“The law cannot be that modern technological advances are off-limits to law enforcement when criminals may use them freely.

—U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit

"The law cannot be that modern technological advances are off-limits to law enforcement when criminals may use them freely," the court said.

The 6th Circuit ruling from Monday is an outgrowth of a 2012 Supreme Court decision that declared it unconstitutional to install a GPS device on a vehicle without a warrant -- the first major ruling to try to adapt the law on unreasonable searches and seizures to the realities of modern technology.

Though she didn't write the court's lead opinion, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, whom the 6th Circuit cited, wrote separately to articulate a broad and liberal vision for how the Fourth Amendment should be interpreted in the age of smartphones and the surveillance state.

"Awareness that the Government may be watching chills associational and expressive freedoms. And the Government’s unrestrained power to assemble data that reveal private aspects of identity is susceptible to abuse," she wrote.

In light of these concerns, Sotomayor questioned whether the government should be entrusted with these technologies without a meaningful check, "especially in light of the Fourth Amendment’s goal to curb arbitrary exercises of police power" and "police surveillance."

Sotomayor's view is not the law nationwide. But as the Houston case and others illustrate, the Supreme Court may need to clarify soon what is and isn't reasonable as government tactics grow more and more sophisticated.

space otter

  • Guest
Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #681 on: February 11, 2016, 12:43:07 PM »

The NYPD Has Secretly Been Spying On Cell Phones Since 2008
It's using surveillance devices originally developed for the CIA.

? 02/11/2016 02:07 pm ET    Ryan Grenoble  News Editor, The Huffington Post
The New York Police Department has secretly tracked cell phones more than 1,000 times between 2008 and 2015, documents obtained by the New York Civil Liberties Union show.

The documents, released only after an inquiry under the state's Freedom Of Information Law, or FOIL, reveal for the first time the NYPD owns and uses Stingrays. Stingrays, also known as cell-site simulators, are devices that mimic cell phone towers, then collect information from phones that attempt to connect to them.

That information allows police to pinpoint a person's location. In some instances, police can also record information from the phone, including numbers it has called and texted, and the contents of those communications.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office via Associated Press

This undated handout photo shows the StingRay II, manufactured by Harris Corporation, which simulates being a cellular site for surveillance purposes.

“If carrying a cell phone means being exposed to military grade surveillance equipment, then the privacy of nearly all New Yorkers is at risk,” Donna Lieberman, executive director of the NYCLU, said in a statement. “Considering the NYPD’s troubling history of surveilling innocent people, it must at the very least establish strict privacy policies and obtain warrants prior to using intrusive equipment like Stingrays that can track people’s cell phones.”

Troublingly, the devices were employed without warrants, and often collect information from bystanders' phones, even if they're not involved in any active investigation.

Roberto Machado Noa via Getty Images

Stingray devices collect data from cell phones by mimicking communication towers.

Stingrays were originally used by intelligence agencies like the CIA after telecommunications companies in foreign countries refused to comply with their surveillance requests, per a Scientific American report from June 2015. The U.S. Military then bought into the technology, and various domestic agencies -- including the Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI, and Department of Homeland Security -- began using them in the U.S.

They've since been purchased and deployed by a wide range of state and local law enforcement, though the ACLU reports these agencies go to great lengths to purchase and use them in secrecy.

space otter

  • Guest
Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #682 on: February 12, 2016, 08:30:03 PM »

yet another case of true being stranger than fiction...sigh

Casey Williams
Editorial Fellow, The Huffington Post
02/11/2016 01:52 pm ET

The FBI Could Be Eavesdropping On Your Toaster
In case you weren't already terrified about your cybersecurity...

Spy agencies might begin hacking into Internet-connected consumer products to collect information about suspects, the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the Senate on Tuesday.

This troubled civil liberties advocates who argue that surveillance laws have not kept up with the rapid pace of technological change.

"These new surveillance techniques are operating in legal darkness," Neema Singh Guliani, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, told The Huffington Post on Wednesday. She added that it's not clear to people outside the intelligence community which laws intelligence agencies use to justify new surveillance measures or how they're interpreting those laws.

The USA Freedom Act, passed in 2015, prohibits spy agencies from gathering Americans' communication data from phone and Internet companies. But the law does not apply to all types of government surveillance, according to Guliani.

What's more, a growing number of common household items can connect to the Internet, collecting our data and transmitting it. The so-called "Internet of Things" includes gadgets -- from TVs, baby monitors and Barbies, to Google's Nest, an Internet-enabled thermostat and smoke alarm -- that are equipped with sensors for gathering audio, video, location and other data.

"The Freedom Act doesn’t cover the FBI getting information about your toaster," Guliani said. "Technology continues to develop at lightning speed and our laws have not kept pace."

The ACLU has called on Congress to update surveillance and privacy laws to reflect these advancements. Guliani said that new measures should "make clear that law enforcement officials must have a warrant to obtain an individual’s sensitive information -- whether it's location information stored on a cell phone or medical information stored on a personal device."

“The Freedom Act doesn’t cover the FBI getting information about your toaster.

—Neema Singh Guliani, legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union

Further complicating matters, "smart home" devices tend not to be very secure. Seventy percent of Internet-enabled objects do not encrypt the data they transmit across the Internet, according to a 2015 study by Hewlett Packard.

Intelligence agencies can remotely intercept data from these smart home devices and use it to track down targets, according to the intelligence director's Tuesday testimony.

“Intelligence services might use the [Internet of things] for identification, surveillance, monitoring, location tracking and targeting for recruitment, or to gain access to networks or user credentials,” Clapper told the Senate.

His statements echo a report released this month from Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society that describes how spying on Internet-connected devices could allow intelligence officials to get the information they need, as opposed to cracking through encrypted communications sent via a more secure device, like a smartphone.

It's not just the authorities who know this, either. Hackers have hijacked Internet-connected baby monitors to spy on children. There's even a search engine to help you locate unsecured Internet-connected devices.

The government is taking steps to protect consumers' Internet-enabled products from hacking, however. The White House unveiled a new government cybersecurity program on Tuesday that will "test and certify networked devices within the 'Internet of Things,'" to make sure they're insulated from cyberattacks, according to a post on the official White House blog.

But, if the government wants to protect Americans' privacy, Guliani says, it should encourage them to encrypt their data.

"Congress should be doing everything in its power to increase the use of encryption and other security functions to protect people's privacy and communications," she said. 

space otter

  • Guest
Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #683 on: March 05, 2016, 10:02:54 AM »

privacy or there a choice? or is it too late to make one?
doesn't look like the peons will get a vote..sigh  :(
Dave Lee
North America technology reporter
2 March 2016

Apple v FBI: US debates a world without privacy

Is there such a thing as security so good it's a danger to society?

That's the bigger picture at hand as Apple continues to fight an order to unlock a terrorist's iPhone.

That fight made its way to Capitol Hill on Tuesday for a hearing in front of the House Judiciary Committee, the government body that covers matters relating to how law and order is enforced in the US.

Over the course of four meandering hours, representatives dived headfirst into the complexities of the case FBI director James Comey said is the most difficult issue he has ever had to deal with.

He told the committee that his organisation was seriously concerned by the growth of what law enforcement describe as "warrant-proof spaces"?-?the term given for methods of communication or storage that, even with the correct permission from the court, can't be accessed. Not by police and not by technology companies

If we're going to move to a place where it's not possible to overcome that," Mr Comey warned, "that's a world we've never lived in before in the United States."

His demand that Apple assists his agency in weakening the iPhone's security was met with this from California Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren.

"The alternative [to strong encryption] is a world where nothing is private.

"Once you have holes in encryption, the rule is not a question of if, but when those holes will be exploited and everything you thought was protected will be revealed."

Physical intrusion

Apple was represented in this hearing by its lead counsel, Bruce Sewell.

Aside from customer letters, and a somewhat stage-managed interview with ABC, it's the first time the computing giant has been put under scrutiny over its refusal to comply with the FBI order.

Mr Sewell put in a strong performance thanks, largely, to the testimony of cryptology expert Prof Susan Landau? - whose pivotal input I'll discuss later.

Mr Sewell endured fierce exchanges with South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy, who was angry at what he deemed a lack of cooperation in this controversial case.

How is it possible, the Congressman offered, to live in a world where the FBI has the authority to stick a finger up someone's rear in search of drugs, but not the power to look at the locked iPhone of that same suspect?

There's no simple answer to that, of course, though Apple might contest that law enforcement's capability to carry out such physically intrusive actions doesn't increase the general public's risk of exposure to an unruly finger or two.

'No no no'

But, crass comparison aside, Congressman Gowdy's heated questioning eventually arrived at this key point - if Apple won't comply with this order, he thinks the company must at least be forthcoming in sharing what it is actually prepared to do.

In a similar vein, the session's soundbite moment came from the mouth of Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, who scolded Apple for having the audacity to demand Congress do something without offering any solution itself.

"All you've been doing is saying 'no no no no'," the Congressman said.

"You're operating in a vacuum.

"You've told us what you don't like. You haven't told us one thing about what you do like. When are we going to hear about what you do like so Apple has a positive solution to what you are complaining about."

Congress could, he added, continue unassisted by Apple, "but I can guarantee you aren't going to like the result".

Mother's diary

That's because, judging by some of the questioning during the session, some members of Congress consider it unfathomable that police cannot reach the information kept in Apple devices.

It's a barrier hindering many, many cases. Mr Comey could not say exactly how many phones the FBI wanted to unlock nationwide, other than that it was "a lot".

Later in the hearing, we learned that there are 205 locked iPhones currently held by police in New York alone.

We were reminded about a case involving Brittany Mills, an expectant mother who was shot and killed on her doorstep in Louisiana last year. Her baby boy died soon after.

Ms Mills - whose family attended the hearing - kept a personal diary on her phone that could contain crucial information about the murderer. The phone is locked, rendered unreachable by Apple's encryption software.

"I think about the nine-year-old girl who asked 'why can't they open the phone so we can see who killed my mother'," said Louisiana Congressman Cedric Richmond.

Mr Sewell said Apple had done a lot to help with that investigation, but without creating the kind of tool demanded by the FBI in the San Bernardino case, it would be unable to assist further.

Making a smarter FBI

But maybe someone else could?

Republican Congressman Darrell Issa - a favourite among tech enthusiasts thanks to his opposition to several bills considered to be anti-internet - gave Mr Comey a hard time over the process leading up to asking for Apple's help.

Mr Issa said the FBI had not explored all the options for accessing the data and circumventing Apple's security.

He said the FBI should be investing in bringing in people with that expertise, not relying on companies like Apple to do the work for them.

Point being - if the FBI could crack the phone itself, Apple's opposition would be irrelevant.

This call was backed up by the thoughts of Prof Landau, an independent cryptology expert who argued, with some force, that there was no way the FBI's request in San Bernardino could be carried out safely.

The so-called Islamic State has used encrypted app Telegram to announce attacks

She said that while Apple could no doubt keep the code required to crack Syed Farook's phone a secret, the real issue is what will happen when Apple is subjected to possibly hundreds of requests to do the same thing on other devices.

She said the surge of orders would mean Apple would need to create a faster process to handle the task, one that would by its nature be vulnerable to exploitation through interception, or perhaps a rogue employee.

Prof Landau insisted the only real course of action was for the FBI to invest heavily in becoming smarter - rather than compelling Apple to make its products less secure.

Because a weakened iPhone would have one critical side effect, she said. Criminals would simply use other, more secure methods to talk to each other - apps created by countries outside the US, offering encryption mechanisms even more secure than those offered by Apple currently.

Should that happen, the wishes of Congress matter not a jot.

"What you're saying," Congressman Jerrold Nadler asked Prof Landau, "is that we're debating something that's… undoable?

"That's right."

pictures of some involved with this article at the link
also links to these stories

How did governments lose control of encryption?

Apple v the FBI - a plain English guide

Judge backs Apple in iPhone fight

Apple's boss hits back at FBI conduct

Bill Gates calls for terror data debate


meant to add this..any of you guys gonna try?
Updated March 2, 2016·12:58 PM ET
Published March 2, 2016·11:02 AM ET
Bill Chappell

U.S. Announces 'Hack The Pentagon' Bug Bounty Program

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter (left) says the Pentagon's new hacker program will strengthen America's digital defenses. Carter is seen here with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford.   
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter (left) says the Pentagon's new hacker program will strengthen America's digital defenses. Carter is seen here with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford.

Announcing what it calls "the first cyber bug bounty program in the history of the federal government," the Department of Defense says it's inviting hackers to test the security of its Web pages and networks.

The contest is only for "vetted hackers," the DoD says, which means that anyone hoping to find vulnerabilities in its systems will first need to pass a background check. Participants could win money and recognition for their work, the agency says.

The pilot program is slated to begin in April. And if you're wondering whether the hackers might disrupt a critical piece of the Department of Defense's infrastructure, the agency says that hackers will target a predetermined system that's not part of its critical operations.

According to a list published by the Defense Department, it currently manages 488 websites, which are devoted to everything from the 111th Attack Wing and other military units to the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program.

The "Hack the Pentagon" initiative is the work of the Defense Digital Service, a DoD unit that was launched last fall as part of the White House's U.S. Digital Service.

According to DDS Director Chris Lynch, "Bringing in the best talent, technology and processes from the private sector not only helps us deliver comprehensive, more secure solutions to the DoD, but it also helps us better protect our country."

News of the bug bounty program, which is similar to security-boosting strategies used by private companies, follows word that the Defense Department "plans to hire private contractors to develop a $600 million-plus computer system for a new background check agency," as Reuters reports.

Last summer, the Office of Personnel Management revealed that the private information of more than 20 million U.S. government workers and others had been stolen in a massive security breach.

Nearly three years ago, the Pentagon publicly said China's government had conducted cyberattacks against the U.S. government, citing attacks on "numerous U.S. diplomatic, economic and defense industry networks," as the Two-Way reported.

bunch of embedded links in there
« Last Edit: March 05, 2016, 10:25:26 AM by space otter »

space otter

  • Guest
Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #684 on: March 14, 2016, 08:25:43 PM »

could things really be changing ?   ?  or is it too little too late? ?

The Government Is Taking A Huge Step On Online Privacy
Some broadband providers aren't happy about it.
03/10/2016 12:57 pm ET
 David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is set to unveil details of a proposal on Thursday to protect consumers' internet privacy, safety advocates and industry officials said.

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler is expected to unveil a long-awaited plan for new broadband privacy rules to be voted on initially by the commission during its March 31 meeting. A final vote on new regulations would follow a public comment period.

A FCC spokeswoman declined to comment on the timing of the privacy proposal.

Broadband providers currently collect significant amounts of consumer data and some use that data for targeted advertising, which has drawn criticism from privacy advocates.

In November, Wheeler said he expected the FCC would address the privacy practices of network service providers.

Consumers should know what is being collected about their internet use, have a right not to have the information collected and have reassurances that the data will be protected, Wheeler said.

On Monday, Verizon Communications Inc agreed to pay $1.35 million to settle an FCC privacy probe after it admitted it inserted unique tracking codes in its users' internet traffic for advertising known as 'supercookies' without getting their consent or allowing them to opt out.

AT&T Senior Vice President Bob Quinn said in a blog post on Wednesday that the FCC is holding broadband providers to a different standard than companies like Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google unit.

"Time and time again, the FCC appears to want to place its thumb on the scale in favor of Internet companies and against the companies that invest in broadband infrastructure in this country," Quinn wrote.

A coalition of groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Digital Democracy and Electronic Frontier Foundation has urged the FCC to write sweeping privacy protections for the nation's broadband users.

The FCC has new authority to set privacy rules after it reclassified broadband providers last year as part of new net neutrality regulations. A federal appeals court has not ruled on a court challenge to that decision.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Bill Rigby)


It's Your Data: Empowering Consumers to Protect Online Privacy
03/10/2016 12:17 pm ET | Updated 4 days ago

It's the age of anywhere, anytime Internet connectivity -- do you know where your information is?

Whenever we go online, we share information about ourselves. This information can be used to recommend a TV show based on what we've watched before. It can help target advertisements for products that we're interested in. And it can also paint a portrait of our family life, our health, our finances, and other sensitive personal details.

We all know that the social media we join and the websites we visit collect our personal information, and use it for advertising purposes. Seldom, however, do we stop to realize that our Internet Service Provider (ISP) is also collecting information about us. What's more, we can choose not to visit a website or sign up for a social network, or choose to drop one and switch to another. Broadband service is different. Once you subscribe to an Internet service provider -- for your home or for your smartphone -- you have little flexibility to change your mind or avoid that network.

Think about it. Your ISP handles all of your network traffic. That means it has a broad view of all of your unencrypted online activity -- when you are online, the websites you visit, and the apps you use. If you have a mobile device, your provider can track your physical location throughout the day in real time. Even when data is encrypted, your broadband provider can piece together significant amounts of information about you -- including private information such as a chronic medical condition or financial problems -- based on your online activity.

The information collected by the phone company about your telephone usage has long been protected information. Regulations of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) limit your phone company's ability to repurpose and resell what it learns about your phone activity.

The same should be true for information collected by your ISP.

Today, I'm proposing to my colleagues that we empower consumers to ensure they have control over how their information is used by their Internet Service Provider. Every broadband consumer should have the right to know what information is being collected and how it is used. Every broadband consumer should have the right to choose how their information bits should be used and shared. And every consumer should be confident that their information is being securely protected.

This is not to say network providers shouldn't be

able to use information they collect -- only that since it is your information, you should decide whether they can do so. This isn't about prohibition; it's about permission.

Under my proposal, ISPs would be able to use information about where you want to go on the Internet in order to deliver the broadband service you signed up for, just as phone companies can use the phone numbers you dial to connect you to your calls. They would also be able to use customer information for other purposes that are consistent with customer expectations; for example to market higher speed connections and to bill for their services. ISPs would be able to use and share customer information with their affiliates to market other communications-related services unless you "opt out" and ask them not to. All other uses and sharing of your personal data would require your affirmative "opt-in" consent. We recognize that ISPs must necessarily collect and use information you create to provide service. However, consumers deserve to have safeguards in place to ensure that information necessary to run the network is used only for that purpose unless the owner of that information -- the consumer -- agrees otherwise.

One of the most important things to remember about this proposal is that it is narrowly focused on the personal information collected by network providers. The privacy practices of the websites that you choose to visit are not covered by this proposal. Indeed, there are other federal and state agencies, namely the Federal Trade Commission -- that do a great job dealing with such companies and their privacy practices. The Federal Communications Commission is the nation's telecommunications agency. We're sticking to our knitting -- decades of expertise concerning communications networks. Also, this proposal does not wade into government surveillance, encryption or other law enforcement issues. This is about ISPs and only ISPs.

On March 31, my fellow Commissioners will vote to seek comment on this proposal. If approved, all Americans will have the opportunity to weigh in and have their voices heard. We want to listen and we want to learn from you before we adopt final, enforceable rules of the road.

Simply by using the Internet, you have no choice but to share large amounts of personal information with your broadband provider. You have a right to know what information is being collected about you and how that information is being used. That's why establishing baseline privacy standards for ISPs is a common sense idea whose time has come. The bottom line is that it's your data. How it's used and shared should be your choice.


Tom Wheeler is Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, the United States' primary authority for communications laws, regulation and technological innovation. You can follow him on Twitter at @TomWheelerFCC or visit the agency at, on Twitter @FCC, Facebook, or Instagram.

space otter

  • Guest
Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #685 on: March 20, 2016, 07:12:22 AM »

hackers wanted...seems to be a trend..ahhhhh how times have changed... ;)

03/17/2016 05:29 pm ET | Updated 1 day ago
Nina Golgowski
Trends reporter, The Huffington Post

Google: $100,000 Says You Can’t Hack A Chromebook Remotely

Attention, hackers!
Google is hoping to bait the world’s top hackers with a $100,000 reward for hacking one of the company’s Chromebooks remotely.

The technology giant announced their six-digit prize Monday, doubling the amount offered last year after failing to receive a successful submission.

In a blog post titled “Get Rich or Hack Tryin’,” Google said the aim is to reward researchers who find and report security issues.

The one catch is that the laptop computer must be in guest mode at the time of the security breach. (They’d also like it if it’s your personal computer and not someone else’s.)

The challenge is one of several posted on its Chrome Rewards page, which offers prizes starting at $500.

Those who don’t want a monetary reward have the option of donating the money to an established charity. In those situations, the prize money will be doubled.

Google said it paid researchers more than $2 million last year for their work reporting on security bugs.

Offline Littleenki

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4014
  • Gold 202
Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #686 on: March 22, 2016, 11:51:17 AM »
Yes, yes "they"do, even the wildlife, or anything which should happen in front of the nations thousands of webcams available for public viewing, where should some inadvertent human behaviour take place in front of one, it can be used for various nefarious or non nefarious means....
Hermetically sealed, for your protection

space otter

  • Guest
Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #687 on: March 22, 2016, 05:15:36 PM »

hey LE.
.it's back up there a bit  - post number 680 -  I don't know if you saw it  but it

proves your point.. or are you proving that

you might want to check these out

it's past be sure to wave  as you go about your day..i do

Offline Littleenki

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4014
  • Gold 202
Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #688 on: March 24, 2016, 05:43:51 PM »

hey LE.
.it's back up there a bit  - post number 680 -  I don't know if you saw it  but it

proves your point.. or are you proving that

you might want to check these out

it's past be sure to wave  as you go about your day..i do

What caught my eye was the link I shared was for mostly wildlife cams..another layer where they can see us, during activities or hunting..etc..

Scary, but not unexpected by our megalomaniac so called leaders!

Hermetically sealed, for your protection

space otter

  • Guest
Re: they know what you are doing
« Reply #689 on: April 05, 2016, 06:28:01 PM »

kinda makes me wonder what would happen if everyone knew everything about every other one..
Leah McGrath Goodman
21 hrs ago

Panama Papers: Largest data leak in history is 'just the beginning'
A veritable Who’s Who list of billionaires, celebrities and global leaders has been linked to offshore tax shelters, following the extraordinary leak of 11.5 million documents from a Panama-based law firm. The disclosure stunned the world Monday, as presidents and prime ministers attempted to explain their previously unknown ties to hidden fortunes stashed in offshore tax shelters—with many bracing for more revelations this week.

“It’s the biggest leak we’ve ever seen of this kind—it’s like having a tsunami coming your way and the surfboard’s all greased up and ready to go,” says John Christensen, director and co-founder of the UK-based Tax Justice Network, which investigates the offshore wealth industry and each year publishes the Financial Secrecy Index, which estimates that $21 trillion to $32 trillion of private wealth “is located, untaxed or lightly taxed in secrecy jurisdictions around the world.” Panama is among the index’s worst offenders.

For the uninitiated, a tax shelter is a legal way to minimize or decrease a person’s taxable income. For instance, a 401(k) plan is technically a tax shelter. But the legality of some tax-efficient vehicles can be murky, particularly when they are used to illegally conceal the ownership or full extent of a person’s wealth or ties to illicit operations. Avoiding taxes has been a key plank of the world’s wealthy for decades, contributing to the growing wealth gap and placing an ever greater strain on ordinary taxpayers.

“While many people don’t know it, this affects the global economy, the way our governments work, all of us every single working day of our lives,” Christensen says. “The public is losing basic services left, right and center, and at the same time they are being burdened with more taxes because the global elite aren't paying their fair share.”

Among those caught up in the leak were 12 current and former world leaders among 143 politicians and their families, friends and associates, including the King of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud; Russian President Vladimir Putin; Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko; Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif; Iraqi Vice President and former acting prime minister Ayad Allawi; the family of Chinese President Xi Jinping and current and former members of China’s Politburo.

Also implicated was the former prime minister of Qatar, Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, and former emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani; cousins of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Rami and Hafez Makhlouf; the son of Egypt’s ex-president, Alaa Mubarak; the children of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. And also Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, who faced calls for his resignation. By late Monday, politicians in Iceland—the only country to have imprisoned dozens of bankers and financiers in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis—were calling for a vote of no confidence.

In the UK, the late father of Prime Minister David Cameron, Ian Cameron, was also named in the leak, along with six members of the House of Lords, three former Conservative members of Parliament and dozens of donors to British political parties. Downing Street declined to comment Monday. This spring, Cameron plans to hold a global anti-corruption summit in London that’s expected to address issues surrounding tax shelters.

Also on the list were 29 billionaires featured in Forbes Magazine’s list of the world’s 500 richest people and celebrities such as actor Jackie Chan and world-famous footballer Lionel Messi, along with 20 other high-profile sports stars.

Christensen says that while the Panama law firm at the center of the controversy, Mossack Fonseca, is not well known outside global financial circles, the world’s fourth-largest offshore law firm is “a whale among the firms known for setting up offshore tax shelters,” with offices on nearly every major continent, from the top tax havens of the British Virgin Islands, Gibraltar, Jersey and Zurich to offices across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Christensen himself is a former senior civil servant from the island of Jersey who previously worked inside the UK’s global network of overseas territories and Crown dependencies housing offshore wealth, which include Jersey and the British Virgin Islands. Both were implicated in the document leak.

Since last year, Christensen has worked with the German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung, which obtained the leaked documents from Mossack Fonseca through an anonymous source, sharing them with more than 370 journalists affiliated with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) from 107 media organizations in 76 countries, who are still combing through the records for further revelations and are expected to release more details shortly. The ICIJ is the watchdog journalism branch of the Center for Public Integrity, a Washington nonprofit, nonpartisan investigative group.

The leak is the biggest in history, greater than the cache of documents released by Wikileaks, and contains information from 1977 to December 2015, including the details of 214,000 entities, such as trusts, foundations and shell companies that can be used to hide the true ownership of assets.

“These law firms are pivotal to creating tax shelters,” Christensen says. “They advise clients and set up the layers of secrecy that allow for the concealment of offshore money. Then they hide behind the attorney-client privilege.”

Most of the documents leaked are emails. Others contain images of contracts, passports and memos, including one from a partner at Mossack Fonseca that stated, “Ninety-five percent of our work coincidentally consists in selling vehicles to avoid taxes.”

In response to the leak, Mossack Fonseca released a lengthy statement reported by Newsweek earlier, explaining it “cannot provide response to questions that pertain to specific matters, as doing so would be a breach of our policies and legal obligation to maintain client confidentiality.” It also indicated that it has never been found guilty of any wrongdoing and the leak may have been the result of a data breach.

Panama is known for defending what Christensen calls “an extreme secrecy model” that he says is “determined not to engage with the rest of the world in any effort toward financial transparency.”

The country ranks number 13 on the Tax Justice Network’s Financial Secrecy Index, while the U.S. ranks number three after Switzerland and Hong Kong (at number one and number two respectively). The UK comes in at number 15.

In response to questions about the release of additional names from the U.S., the editor of Süddeutsche Zeitung said on Twitter: "Just wait for what is coming next."

Christensen says so far the Panama Papers leak—which is still being mined by the team of journalists—did not contain what he considered to be a “representative” number of U.S. offenders.

“I do expect to see more scalps, including from Western countries like the U.S.,” Christensen says. “This is likely just the beginning.”


Journalist at center of Panama leaks: ‘Nobody hiding offshore is safe’

Süddeutsche Zeitung’s Frederik Obermaier discusses how the newspaper handled the explosive scoop.

By Alex Spence
  | 4/5/16, 12:17 PM CET
  | Updated 4/5/16, 12:39 PM CET


Panama Papers: Mossack Fonseca leak reveals elite's tax havens

By Richard Bilton
BBC Panorama
4 April 2016
From the section World



Massive leak reveals how world leaders, mobsters, celebrities hide their offshore wealth

By Associated Press
April 4, 2016


Putin associates had $2 billion in offshore accounts, report says


Iceland’s Prime Minister Steps Aside After Panama Papers Leaks

? 04/05/2016 09:29 am ET | Updated 3 hours ago

LONDON/REYKJAVIK, April 5 (Reuters) - Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson is to step down after leaked documents from a Panamanian law firm showed his wife owned an offshore company with big claims on collapsed Icelandic banks, his party said.

Gunnlaugsson became the first prominent casualty from the revelations in the so-called Panama Papers, which have cast light on the financial arrangements of an array of politicians and public figures across the globe and the companies and financial institutions they use.

« Last Edit: April 05, 2016, 06:37:44 PM by space otter » USA, LLC
Free Click Tracking USA, LLC

* Recent Posts

Re: The American Left uncensored by Littleenki
[Today at 07:13:59 AM]

The American Left uncensored by petrus4
[Today at 05:52:43 AM]

Re: The Question We Should Be Asking by petrus4
[Today at 04:46:03 AM]

Re: The Question We Should Be Asking by Ellirium113
[February 21, 2018, 06:35:07 PM]

Re: The Question We Should Be Asking by Eighthman
[February 21, 2018, 06:23:13 PM]

Re: The Question We Should Be Asking by Eighthman
[February 21, 2018, 05:41:06 PM]

Re: The Question We Should Be Asking by zorgon
[February 21, 2018, 04:48:19 PM]

Re: The Question We Should Be Asking by Ellirium113
[February 21, 2018, 04:06:56 PM]

Re: The Question We Should Be Asking by Irene
[February 21, 2018, 09:45:51 AM]

Australien Skies 2 - Exclusive Premiere by thorfourwinds
[February 20, 2018, 10:10:11 PM]

Re: The Question We Should Be Asking by robomont
[February 20, 2018, 08:21:05 PM]

Re: The Question We Should Be Asking by petrus4
[February 20, 2018, 05:10:21 PM]

Re: The Question We Should Be Asking by Ellirium113
[February 20, 2018, 04:10:16 PM]

Re: The Question We Should Be Asking by ArMaP
[February 20, 2018, 01:52:22 PM]

Re: The Question We Should Be Asking by space otter
[February 20, 2018, 07:11:59 AM]

Re: The Question We Should Be Asking by Eighthman
[February 20, 2018, 05:53:51 AM]

Re: The Question We Should Be Asking by ArMaP
[February 19, 2018, 06:54:51 PM]

Re: The Question We Should Be Asking by robomont
[February 19, 2018, 06:28:01 PM]

Re: The Question We Should Be Asking by ArMaP
[February 19, 2018, 05:44:09 PM]

Re: The Question We Should Be Asking by robomont
[February 19, 2018, 03:28:14 PM]