Law Enforcement Using Facebook And Apple To Data-Mine Accounts Of Trump Protest Arrestees

By Memorial Day weekend, Congress will likely have decided whether the federal government's mass surveillance programs will be partially reined in or not. (iStock)

By Sarah Lazare for AlterNet – Law enforcement is compelling Apple and Facebook to hand over the personal information of users who were mass arrested at protests against the inauguration of Donald Trump in Washington, D.C., AlterNet has confirmed. The tech giants appear to be complying with the data-mining requests, amid mounting concerns over the heavy-handed crackdown against the more than 200 people detained on January 20, among them journalists, legal observers and medics. “This is part of an increasing trend of law enforcement attempting to turn the internet, instead of technology for freedom, into technology for control,” Evan Greer, the campaign director for Fight for the Future, told AlterNet. “This trend started long before Trump and seems to be escalating and growing in scale now.”

Memphis Police Have A Watchlist Of BLM Protesters

A BLM protest in California. | Photo: Reuters

By Staff of Tele Sur – The Memphis Police Department has a watch list of Black Lives Matter protesters — a fact that has come to light decades after the department was barred from spying on civil rights activists. The list, which includes the names, race, gender, height, weight and corresponding photographs of several well-known activists, bars those listed from entering the Memphis City Hall without an escort. The list infringes on the civil rights of those it profiles. MPD also appears to be in violation of the 1978 federal decree it was handed following revelations the department spied on civil rights activists and other protesters for years, spurring the American Civil Liberties Union to sue them. MPD Director Michael Rallings defended the list Tuesday, saying it was instead related to “security.”

NYPD Must Release All Files About Undercover Spying On Black Lives Matter Protests

People protest in New York, November 25, 2014 © Eduardo Munoz / Reuters

By Staff of RT – A New York Supreme Court judge has ruled that the New York Police Department must comply with an information request for files and recordings of undercover surveillance of a Black Lives Matter protest that didn’t result in any arrests. The NYPD had sought to withhold its records from activist James Logue, who had attended a Black Lives Matter protest at Grand Central Station in November 2014. Logue filed a Freedom of Information (FOI) request for the files after noticing both uniformed and plainclothes officers “regularly and openly recording events as they were taking place,” court documents said.

Are Police Searching Inauguration Protesters’ Phones?

Riot police push back protesters from an inaugural ball venue after the swearing in of U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington January 20, 2017. (James Lawler Dugga/Reuters)

By George Joseph for City Lab – A lawyer for several protesters arrested in inauguration protests on Friday claims that police appear to be mining information from mobile phones taken after they were detained. On Friday, January 20, thousands of protesters took to the streets of D.C. to disrupt Donald Trump’s inauguration festivities. A small fraction of them damaged property and threw projectiles at police in riot gear, who deployed flash-bang grenades, tear gas, and pepper spray on large crowds throughout the day. But according to CityLab’s observations of the demonstrations that morning, most of the roughly 230 people arrested—who included a number of legal observers, journalists, and medics

How To Protest In Trump’s Expanded Surveillance State

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By Sally Adee for New Scientist. WELCOME to the new normal. Even before Donald Trump was elected, the US was already in a “golden age of surveillance“. As Edward Snowden revealed in 2013, the US government’s surveillance powers had expanded dramatically under the Obama administration. Trump has repeatedly signalled that he intends to make much greater use of these capabilities – perhaps inspired by British legislation that has given the UK government unprecedented power to snoop on its citizens. In both cases, such powers were ostensibly introduced to combat terrorism. But there’s very little evidence that greater spying powers actually catch terrorists, many of whom already know how to evade spooks. On the other hand, there is mounting concern among privacy advocates and human rights campaigners that such powers will stifle domestic dissent and enable political witch-hunts.

Obama Expands Surveillance Powers On His Way Out

From eff.org

By Kate Tummarello for EFF – With mere days left before President-elect Donald Trump takes the White House, President Barack Obama’s administration just finalized rules to make it easier for the nation’s intelligence agencies to share unfiltered information about innocent people. New rules issued by the Obama administration under Executive Order 12333 will let the NSA—which collects information under that authority with little oversight, transparency, or concern for privacy—share the raw streams of communications it intercepts directly with agencies including the FBI, the DEA, and the Department of Homeland Security, according to a report today by the New York Times.

Law Enforcement’s Possible Use Of Surveillance Tech At Standing Rock

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By Stephanie Lacambra for EFF – One of the biggest protests of 2016 is still underway at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, where Water Protectors and their allies are fighting Energy Transfer Partners’ plans to drill beneath contested Treaty land to finish the Dakota Access Pipeline. While the world has been watching law enforcement’s growing use of force to disrupt the protests, EFF has been tracking the effects of its surveillance technologies on water protectors’ communications and movement. Following several reports of potentially unlawful surveillance, EFF sent technologists and lawyers to North Dakota to investigate.

US Government Quietly Starts Asking Travelers For Social Media Accounts

Social media accounts are "gateways into an enormous amount of [users'] online expression and associations, which can reflect highly sensitive information about that person's opinions, beliefs, identity, and community." (Photo: The Hamster Factor/flickr/cc)

By Nadia Prupis for Common Dreams – The U.S. government has quietly started to ask foreign travelers to hand over their social media accounts upon arriving in the country, a program that aims to spot potential terrorist threats but which civil liberties advocates have long opposed as a threat to privacy. The program has been active since Tuesday, asking travelers arriving to the U.S. on visa waivers to voluntarily enter information associated with their online presence, including “Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube, as well as a space for users to input their account names on those sites,” Politico reports.

Police’s Secret Cellphone-Surveillance Tool Can Also Block Calls

Law enforcement agencies in dozens of cities and states have suitcase-sized surveillance tools that simulate cellphone towers such as this one and can track individual cellphones. But the devices can also disrupt emergency calls placed by individuals who are not being monitored. This week, a congressional committee called for legislation to set a national standard for their use. Nati Harnik AP

By Tim Johnson for McClatchy DC – It’s no secret that state and local law enforcement agencies have grown more militarized in the past decade, with armored personnel carriers, drones and robots. But one item in their arsenal has been kept largely out of public view, to the dismay of civil liberties advocates who say its use is virtually unregulated – and largely untracked. The device is a suitcase-size surveillance tool commonly called a StingRay that mimics a cellphone tower, allowing authorities to track individual cellphones in real time.

Parliament Passes Most Extreme Surveillance Law In UK History

(Illustration by Todd Detwiler)

By Staff of RSF – The UK Government has failed to respond to widespread public dismay over secret mass surveillance revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013. The Bill will not only put into statute the capabilities revealed by Snowden but extend surveillance even further. This is not just of grave concern for UK citizens. The impact of the Bill will be felt around the world. Authoritarian leaders with poor human rights records can now point to the UK when justifying their own surveillance regimes.

Open Letter: We Refuse To Be Enemies

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By Omar Scott Antar. We Refuse To Be Enemies is a coalition of Jews, Muslims, and Christians in Connecticut, committed to peace and justice, and particularly focused on the Middle East. The NYPD-CIA, in their highly politicized, discriminatory, and illegal operations, target not only Muslims, but also left-wing activists. Because Ivanka M. Trump, daughter and advisor of President-elect Donald J. Trump, is on board of the NYC Police Foundation (page 124 of 128), the NYPD’s slush fund, which finances the NYPD-CIA’s International Liaison Programs (ILPs), it is little wonder Trump approves of and extols the NYPD-CIA and its abusive former Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. Donald Trump also calls for explicit profiling of Muslims, approvingly citing the NYPD-CIA programs and less free foreign countries, such as France and Israel.

Anti-Black Surveillance Did Not End With COINTELPRO

Even as the Smithsonian Museum is documenting Black history, the US is continuing its repression of Black life. (Photo: Arash Azizzada / Flickr)

By Stephanie Llanes for Truthout – Fifty years from now, what will the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture’s exhibit on the Movement for Black Lives look like? Will the exhibit feature videos from the hundreds of protests that erupted around the United States and the world, alongside pictures of children with signs that say “I Can’t Breathe,” and “Say Her Name?” Will there be displays of the canisters of tear gas thrown by police at protestors, and a copy of the Vision for Black Lives policy plan for visitors to read?

Judge Calls For Additional Safeguards In NYPD Surveillance Rules

Cyrus McGoldrick, takes a photo with his cell phone of an anti-Muslim poster in New York’s Times Square subway station. Thirty-three key organizations promoting anti-Muslim sentiment had access to a combined budget of $205,838,077 between 2008 and 2013 alone.

BY Staff of ACLU – NEW YORK – In a legal challenge to the New York City Police Department’s surveillance of American Muslims, a federal judge issued a ruling calling for alterations to a landmark lawsuit settlement as a condition of approving the settlement. The alterations proposed by the judge would further strengthen the settlement’s ability to protect New York Muslims and others from discriminatory and unjustified surveillance.

The Security Firm Running Dakota Access Pipeline Intelligence

Flickr | chuck holton

By Steve Horn for Desmog – TigerSwan is one of several security firms under investigation for its work guarding the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota while potentially without a permit. Besides this recent work on the Standing Rock Sioux protests in North Dakota, this company has offices in Iraq and Afghanistan and is run by a special forces Army veteran. According to a summary of the investigation, TigerSwan “is in charge of Dakota Access intelligence and supervises the overall security.”

Civil Rights Group Sues Federal Gov Over Surveillance Of Black Activists

A woman holds up a sign reading Black Lives Matter in the street in Ferguson, Missouri, on the anniversary of Michael Brown’s death. Photograph: Jim Vondruska/Xinhua Press/Corbis

By Aaron Morrison for Identities Mic – It’s no longer a secret that police have conducted surveillance on activists involved in the Movement for Black Lives. Increasingly, these activists say they want to know exactly what’s in the files the government may be keeping on them. Color of Change, a national racial justice group, filed a lawsuit in federal court in New York on Thursday, over the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s rejection of its request for surveillance information on Black Lives Matter activists.