Let The FCC Know What You Think About Net Neutrality

The FCC has opened up the debate about net neutrality for comments from the public. This is your chance to voice your opinion on the up and coming changes. We plan to write an open letter via this channel and suggest that anyone interested in the debate make their case as well.

It is crucial that the voice of consumers is heard, and that the voice of reason prevails over profit motives.


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New FCC Proposal For "Net Neutrality" Has To Be A Joke

The United State's Federal Communications Commission headed by former Cable lobbyist Tom Wheeler, has created a new proposal for "net neutrality" after throwing out the long-standing net neutrality rules that we have enjoyed for over a decade. Then senator Barack Obama pledged to pass net-neutrality legislation as one of the cornerstones of his "Change We Can Believe In" campaign.

Net neutrality has traditionally stood for a simple principal. No traffic on the internet, no matter where it is going, will be censored or throttled. This means that no traffic gets preferential treatment from ISPs whether it is E-mail, Netflix, Facebook, or grandma's peanut brittle recipe.

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Pulitzer Prizes Awarded to The Washington Post and The Guardian for NSA Disclosures

The Guardian and The Washington post have been awarded Pulitzer Prizes for Journalism for their work done covering the Edward Snowden and National Security Agency disclosures.

Both publications have been instrumental in bringing the debate over privacy and dragnet surveillance to the center stage. The revelations have brought about sweeping changes to laws and policies in the EU and started a heated debate in the US and UK over their extensive intrusive programs.

Source: http://www.pulitzer.org/citation/2014-Public-Service

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Android App That Snooped On 50 Million Users Gets No Punishment

The FTC has issued a final ruling on the "Brightest Flashlight" app for Android that snooped on the real-time location data of 50 million users around the world.

The ruling said that the owner, Erik Geidl, has to delete all data that was collected with the app and has to register all new ventures he creates with the FTC for monitoring. There was no fine imposed on Geidl, and none of the money he made from selling the information was disclosed.

This ruling ultimately shows how weak privacy laws are for the internet and telecom companies in the United States.

The original source of the FTC ruling is here: http://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/cases/140409goldenshoresdo.pdf?Source=govdelivery

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Edward Snowden Speaks to the Council of Europe - Reveals Spying On Human Rights Organizations

Edward Snowden, speaking to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, revealed that as a contractor for the NSA he was tasked to spy on human rights organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. He also added that not only did he spy on the sensitive communications of these groups, they were spying on them within the United States and abroad.

The full guardian article on Snowden's talk with the council is here: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/08/edwards-snowden-us-government-spied-human-rights-workers

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The American Civil Liberties Union NSA Archive

The ACLU has posted an extensive archive in chronological order of the unfolding events of the NSA scandal. It is a very useful and intuitive tool which allows you to search for documents both by keywords and by dates. You can take a look here: https://www.aclu.org/nsa-documents-search?keyword=&sort=date_of_release&show=100

You can find a huge mountain of information on the programs that are discovered, and the discussion and discourse on the issue of mass surveillance.

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US Supreme Court Passes On Mass Phone Surveillance - While EU Passes Strong Anti-Surveillance Legislation

In nearly simultaneous moves this week, the US Supreme Court and the highest Court in the European Union gave opposite rulings on the issue of phone mass-surveillance.

In the United States, the Supreme Court passed on hearing the arguments for or against the mass collection of phone metadata on US citizens. By declining to expedite the process, the lower courts will now have to fight through the issue and it will likely ultimately wind up on the steps of the supreme court anyway. This is assuming that the issue at hand, named Patriot Act Section 215, is not changed by the legislative branch before it is up for renewal in 2015.

Meanwhile in the European Union, they threw out the legislation that required telecom companies to retain customer metadata for up to two years. The court claimed that it infringes basic rights. Their formal reasoning was that it "exceeded the limits of proportionality".

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New Google Informational Video Omits Huge Clandestine Programs

Google released a new informational video about how they handle data requests from law enforcement agencies. The video, titled "The Way of the Warrant" gives you the impression that vigorous oversight and restraint are given by Google, and that they will only grant user data on a limited basis.

The problem is the video is a massive lie by omission. The video fails to acknowledge the core reason that people are leery of using services like Google's anymore.

The spying that everyone is concerned about is not done through traditional law enforcement techniques. They are delivered in secret, and with a gag order that stops Google from being able to discuss the provisions of the demands. These programs sweep up massive amounts of user data that are unrelated to any case, and on all of their respective users, not just users that are under suspicion.

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Every Word of JFK's 1961 Speech On Secret Government Entities Applies Today


President John F. Kennedy

Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York City

April 27, 1961

Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen:

I appreciate very much your generous invitation to be here tonight.

You bear heavy responsibilities these days and an article I read some time ago reminded me of how particularly heavily the burdens of present day events bear upon your profession.

You may remember that in 1851 the New York Herald Tribune under the sponsorship and publishing of Horace Greeley, employed as its London correspondent an obscure journalist by the name of Karl Marx.

We are told that foreign correspondent Marx, stone broke, and with a family ill and undernourished, constantly appealed to Greeley and managing editor Charles Dana for an increase in his munificent salary of $5 per installment, a salary which he and Engels ungratefully labeled as the "lousiest petty bourgeois cheating."

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Government Requests To Google Have Doubled In Four Years

In Google's Transparency Report, they have shown a 120% surge in data requests by governments worldwide over the last four years.

However, the report still omits all data collection by programs operated by clandestine agencies. This makes the data in the Google Transparency Report largely worthless. We know about programs like Prism and Muscular. We know that Google isn't even allowed to acknowledge that dragnet surveillance programs exist and if someone were to release information about the surveillance they could face serious legal consequences.

The mostly symbolic gesture by Google to release these reports is a genuine attempt at telling us what they are allowed to. The problem is that they are gagged by the government and cannot tell us of the abusive and unconstitutional programs in operation at their datacenters.

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