You are browsing the archive for Petraeus.

by msmolly

Over Easy …one more thing

7:45 am in Uncategorized by msmolly

Snooping dog

Snoop dog!


Let’s reread the Fourth Amendment (my emphasis).

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

I’ve been fascinated by the comments from government officials that the only thing they’re collecting about us is metadata, not the content of our emails or phone calls. So therefore, the Fourth Amendment doesn’t apply. The Guardian’s John Naughton says the NSA/GCHQ metadata reassurances are breathtakingly cynical.

Over the past two weeks, I have lost count of the number of officials and government ministers who, when challenged about internet surveillance by GCHQ and the NSA, try to reassure their citizens by saying that the spooks are “only” collecting metadata, not “content”. Only two conclusions are possible from this: either the relevant spokespersons are unbelievably dumb or they are displaying a breathtaking contempt for their citizenry.

The Guardian also provides a handy exploration of “metadata” and lets you check what common social media services (phone, email, Facebook, Web browser, etc.) metadata reveals about you. Scroll down on the page for an example, using a fascinating case study of the Petraeus scandal and how the FBI identified Paula Broadwell as Petraeus’s paramour.

Viewing a collection of your phone and email metadata can reveal your friends or romantic relationships, your favorite restaurant or barber or dentist, whether you bet on the ponies or have a medical condition or need a payday loan or physical therapy or a psychiatrist. The government almost doesn’t need to see the content to build a fairly comprehensive picture of your life and habits.

If you’re skeptical, go see how your email metadata paints a profile of you with Immersion: a people-centric view of your email life using only your metadata. Immersion only works for Gmail at the moment, but they also have a demo you can try if you don’t use Gmail or don’t want to use your personal account.

Were you also aware that every piece of snail-mail is photographed?
U.S. Postal Service Logging All Mail for Law Enforcement.
(again, my emphasis)

The Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program was created after the anthrax attacks in late 2001 that killed five people, including two postal workers. Highly secret, it seeped into public view last month when the F.B.I. cited it in its investigation of ricin-laced letters sent to President Obama and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. It enables the Postal Service to retrace the path of mail at the request of law enforcement. No one disputes that it is sweeping.

“In the past, mail covers were used when you had a reason to suspect someone of a crime,” said Mark D. Rasch, who started a computer crimes unit in the fraud section of the criminal division of the Justice Department and worked on several fraud cases using mail covers. “Now it seems to be, ‘Let’s record everyone’s mail so in the future we might go back and see who you were communicating with.’ Essentially you’ve added mail covers on millions of Americans.”

Judges have ruled that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy for information printed on the outside of a sealed envelope. Both the Bush and Obama administrations have used these court rulings to justify the N.S.A.’s surveillance programs, saying the electronic monitoring of only metadata amounts to the same thing as a mail cover that reads the outside of an envelope. But if you pay attention, you can see that even your junk mail, increasingly targeted by age (those AARP or hearing aid vendor solicitations) or previous transactions and habits (your last oil change or local restaurant meal), can reveal a lot about you.

But it’s only metadata! I’m reassured. Aren’t you?

Image by bastiyxc, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

by msmolly

Over Easy: (Black) Friday Free for All

4:55 am in Uncategorized by msmolly

Eatons Crowds Toronto

Friday Bargain Day Crowds, Eaton's Department Store, Toronto, Canada, 1905. Public domain photo.

Welcome to Black Friday, Firepups! I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving! ***Please note*** that thanks to the wonders of technology, you will be reading this post while I’m away for the Thanksgiving weekend, so I won’t be joining you today.

Here’s what’s on my mind this week:

Thanksgiving this year fell on the 49th anniversary of JFK’s assassination. I was just 20, married only 9 months, and my husband and I spent the weekend glued to the TV in our tiny apartment, weeping. That and the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center are my only two “never forget where I was when I heard” moments.

Many of you know that I am very partial to Charles P. Pierce’s Politics blog at Esquire. Pierce’s rapier wit makes his posts enjoyable, educational, and laugh-out-loud funny, as are many of the witty comments. Pierce summarizes last week’s Petraeus brouhaha in his intro to discussing the Affordable Care Act: “The entire national-security apparatus got together and decided to produce a remake of the famous 1989 Helen Mirren vehicle, The Cook, The Thief, The Wife, Her Lover, The General, His Wife, The Other Woman, The Other Other Woman, The Other General, and The Lovesick Shirtless FBI Guy.”

However, Tom Junod’s guest post on the Esquire’s Politics blog on the David Petraeus scandal is deadly serious and very worth reading. As is Jeremy Scahill on The Petraeus Legacy: A Paramilitary CIA. Neither is at all interested in the sex aspects. Nor is Tom Tomorrow.

Meanwhile… “Move over, adulterous generals. It might be time to make way for a new sexual rat’s nest – at America’s top financial police agency, the SEC.” Taibbi is on it!

Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico: Amend the Constitution and Overturn Citizens United!

Want the employees who handle and serve your food to not be sick? Here is A Children’s Treasury of CEOs Throwing Very Grown-Up Tantrums Over Obamacare by making sure their employees aren’t covered by the ACA. You may want to think about this next time you dine out. I won’t be spending my money at these establishments. Keep in mind that not frequenting them isn’t enough. Write and tell them why you won’t be dining there. (And no, I don’t regularly read Wonkette!)

Dahlia Lithwick didn’t come back to Jerusalem to be in a war. But there she is, and writes about what it’s like to be in Israel as the conflict escalates.

So…I’m having two eggs over easy with a side of country fries (with onion and sage) and some toasted homemade bread. What’s your pleasure this morning?