Tech

Quick thoughts on open source ecosystems after a decade dabbling in Drupal and Wordpress

Hope everyone's doing well out there. I'm aiming to update HongPong.com to Drupal 8 within a month or so. Lately I've been doing more work with WordPress than Drupal. Neither one is perfect. I must wish a happy 15th birthday to the Drupal community since the software was named and released under the GPL a decade and a half ago. Hard to believe I've been generally in that orbit for 2/3rds of the time! [I registered on Drupal.org 9 years 8 months ago, and Wordpress.org in June 2005]

There is some consternation with WordPress updates out there breaking old sites and whether it's changing too fast. I had to throw the following on the thread:


Having been in and out of Wordpress and Drupal development for a decade, there is no perfect approach or methodology for a good ecosystem that minimizes hassle.

In the last year Drupal.org got a polished continuous integration system set up so that git patches are pushed through testing on several different sql & PHP versions. I think a major push to modernize wordpress.org plugin support thread management and introducing CI ( meshing this with github or a free software equivalent if necessary) would help plugin maintainers deal with API changes much more effectively. It's not possible to attach patches through the threads and that should change, first of all. [after all, has it really changed in a decade? Does anyone benefit from threads that get locked quickly, when the same problems recur year after year etc?]

Also in Drupal world the community is the ultimate steward of the fate of modules while in Wordpress the authors have more exhaustive control. When authors abandon their plugins, if others could claim plugins that are idle this would result in fewer, better plugins. Drupal modules are not allowed to promote their author's wares either, which might be worth considering, although perhaps this pesky internal advertising system helps keeps more devs afloat. It's quite a contrast to Drupal.

Also as complexity increased Drupal forked off into Backdrop CMS, which is a lightweight, slightly modified for performance and easier maintainability with static files. Wordpress Lite with a smaller API and mostly similar theme layer could work well as the core expands into trickier areas like REST implementation.

Lastly I think that the Dependency Injection / Service Container system pioneered by Symfony and implemented in Drupal 8 would be good for Wordpress to look at. It would let people knock out the code areas that they need for very custom apps (i.e. Buddypress) while still maintaining a lean core API. It would be great in the long run if Wordpress 5 or whatever were totally rewritten to have a more modern structure than it has now... but only with good CI would the ecosystem keep up.

Fascinating Greek parallel euro payment network nearly activated in crisis, after hacking into EU-controlled systems to clone tax IDs

It can't be emphasized enough that the global debt complex we are all trapped in is reproduced daily by sophisticated (and in many cases quite old & deteriorated) computers. There is no magic man behind the curtain, just a bunch of nasty computer systems whose authority is enforced by central banking authorities like the Troika, IMF, World Bank, Bank for International Settlements and the Federal Reserve System.

This is one of the biggest stories at this level I have seen in ages, perhaps ever. Fascinating story very worth reading: A secret lolcat team in Greece's finance ministry hacked into their own EU-controlled systems and had a parallel financial network ready to go, but it all got wound down. Apparently FM Varoufakis resigned as a result of the plan being halted - and overall it was a pretty cool plan under dire national circumstances of emergency survival vs austerity.

Varoufakis reveals cloak and dagger 'Plan B' for Greece, awaits treason charges - Telegraph;

VFakDrak_0.png

A secret cell at the Greek finance ministry hacked into the government computers and drew up elaborate plans for a system of parallel payments that could be switched from euros to the drachma at the "flick of a button" .

The revelations have caused a political storm in Greece and confirm just how close the country came to drastic measures before premier Alexis Tsipras gave in to demands from Europe's creditor powers, acknowledging that his own cabinet would not support such a dangerous confrontation.

Yanis Varoufakis, the former finance minister, told a group of investors in London that a five-man team under his control had been working for months on a contingency plan to create euro liquidity if the European Central Bank cut off emergency funding to the Greek financial system, as it in fact did after talks broke down and Syriza called a referendum.

People really need to pay more attention to the crappy computers running the whole financial system, see also very important here: Bank IT, Grexit, and Systemic Risk | naked capitalism - lots of gory details:

On the IT front, the challenge is vastly larger due to the state of financial firm IT systems. We intend to return to this topic, because we see bank IT systems as an unrecognized source of systemic risk. They are required to run to mission critical standards: enormous transaction volumes, extremely high demands for accuracy of end output, high uptimes. Yet the code base is an agglomeration, with many important operations relying in meaningful ways on legacy systems. Thus, as our expert with relevant experience stressed, changes that seem simple are anything but.

VaroufakisStare_0.pngThis is precisely why it is so important to understand these systems and come up with intermediate replacements, as your local version of the ECB is always waiting to make its next move for artificial austerity & assorted lethal games all taking place inside these computers…

More: Reports Of Secret Drachma Plots Leave Tsipras Facing Fresh Crisis | Zero Hedge, Syriza "Rebels" Planned To Ransack Greek Mint, Seize Cash Reserves, Arrest Central Bank Governor | Zero Hedge.

Varoufakis claims had approval to plan parallel banking system | News | ekathimerini.com

Former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has claimed that he was authorized by Alexis Tsipras last December to look into a parallel payment system that would operate using wiretapped tax registration numbers (AFMs) and could eventually work as a parallel banking system, Kathimerini has learned.

In a teleconference call with members of international hedge funds that was allegedly coordinated by former British Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont, Varoufakis claimed to have been given the okay by Tsipras last December – a month before general elections that brought SYRIZA to power – to plan a payment system that could operate in euros but which could be changed into drachmas "overnight" if necessary, Kathimerini understands.

Varoufakis worked with a small team to prepare the plan, which would have required a staff of 1,000 to implement but did not get the final go-ahead from Tsipras to proceed, he said.

The call took place on July 16, more than a week after Varoufakis left his post as finance minister.

The plan would involve hijacking the AFMs of taxpayers and corporations by hacking into General Secretariat of Public Revenues website, Varoufakis told his interlocutors.This would allow the creation of a parallel system that could operate if banks were forced to close and which would allow payments to be made between third parties and the state and could eventually lead to the creation of a parallel banking system, he said.

As the general secretariat is a system that is monitored by Greece’s creditors and is therefore difficult to access, Varoufakis said he assigned a childhood friend of his, an information technology expert who became a professor at Columbia University, to hack into the system. A week after Varouakis took over the ministry, he said the friend telephoned him and said he had “control” of the hardware but not the software "which belongs to the troika."

….

"The prime minister before he became PM, before we won the election in January, had given me the green light to come up with a Plan B. And I assembled a very able team, a small team as it had to be because that had to be kept completely under wraps for obvious reasons. And we had been working since the end of December or beginning of January on creating one.

"What we planned to do was the following. There is the website of the tax office like there is in Britain and everywhere else, where citizens, taxpayers go into the website they use their tax file number and they transfer through web banking monies from the bank account to their tax file number so as to make payments on VAT, income tax and so on and so forth.

“We were planning to create, surreptitiously, reserve accounts attached to every tax file number, without telling anyone, just to have this system in a function under wraps. And, at the touch of a button, to allow us to give PIN numbers to tax file number holders, to taxpayers.

"That would have created a parallel banking system while the banks were shut as a result of the ECBs aggressive action to deny us some breathing space.

"This was very well developed and I think it would have made a very big difference because very soon we could have extended it, using apps on smartphones and it could become a functioning parallel system and of course this would be euro denominated but at the drop of a hat it could be converted to a new drachma.

"But let me tell you - and this is quite a fascinating story - what difficulties I faced. The General Secretary of Public Revenues within my ministry is controlled fully and directly by the troika. It was not under control of my ministry, of me as minister, it was controlled by Brussels.

Ok, so problem number one: The general secretary of information systems on the other hand was controlled by me, as minister. I appointed a good friend of mine, a childhood friend of mine who had become professor of IT at Columbia University in the States and so on. I put him in because I trusted him to develop this……


a week or so after we moved into the ministry, he calls me up and says to me: 'You know what? I control the machines, I control the hardware but I do not control the software. The software belongs to the troika controlled General Secretary of Public Revenues. What do I do?'

…..

"So we decided to hack into my ministry’s own software program in order to be able break it up to just copy just to copy the code of the tax systems website onto a large computer in his office so that he can work out how to design and implement this parallel payment system.

"And we were ready to get the green light from the PM when the banks closed in order to move into the General Secretariat of Public Revenues, which is not controlled by us but is controlled by Brussels, and to plug this laptop in and to energize the system.


Obviously it was a disappointment to many sane people that Syriza seems to have mostly folded to the Troika but perhaps the Secret Team tactic could be used when the next big one hits the fan and an entrapped debtor nation decides to quickly assert technical sovereignty.

But how to pull this again without tipping the hand? And could it be used again by Greece, now that the word is out? What will happen to Varoufakis' rather exposed techie friend, assuming it's accurate? A fascinating and very pertinent story, I can only hope gets dramatized in some fashion.

Get these computers because one way or another, they are definitely gonna getcha, getcha, getcha…


Update: worth pointing out the Federal Reserve drama over banks wanting their electronically created money kicked back from the Fed. Interesting because it unravels a 100-year-old pact between Congress and banks, as well as highlighting the bizarre secretive and lucrative bank membership in Fed regional entities. Great source of electronic "money" to put into the roads, Ace work whoever managed to slide this policy under the nose of the bank lobbyist fleet.

The Hill, 7/25/2015 - Banks revolt over plan to kill $17B Fed payout by Peter Schroeder

Industry lobbyists say they were blindsided by the inclusion of the provision, which would help policymakers cover the bill’s cost by cutting the regular dividend the Federal Reserve pays to its member banks.

One lobbyist went so far as to reread the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 after getting wind of the proposal to determine what was at stake.
“I think it took everyone by surprise,” said Paul Merski with the Independent Community Bankers of America. “There was no study of the issue, no hearings, no consultation with the Federal Reserve itself.”

“It came on very quickly,” said James Ballentine of the American Bankers Association, who said he first caught wind of the idea a little over a week ago. “It’s certainly a scramble.”

In a Congress where lawmakers are always hunting for politically palatable ways to raise revenue or cut costs to cover the expenses of additional legislation, the Fed provision was a novel, and rich, one. The proposal is estimated to raise $17 billion over the next decade, and is by far the richest “pay for” included in the bill.

Lobbyists said they were not aware of any previous time when lawmakers had attached the language to a piece of legislation, which would scrap a perk banks have come to expect for over a century.

When banks join the Federal Reserve system, they are required to buy stock in the central bank equal to 6 percent of their assets. However, that stock does not gain value and cannot be traded or sold, so to entice banks to participate, the Fed pays out a 6 percent dividend payment.

The Senate proposal says it would slash that “overly generous” payout to 1.5 percent for all banks with more than $1 billion in assets. While the summary language outlining the proposal said that change would only impact “large banks,” industry advocates argued that banks most would identify as small community shops could easily have assets in excess of that amount.

Banks are working to mobilize against the provision, even as lawmakers are pushing to pass a highway bill before program funding expires at the end of the month.

Merski said ICBA had launched a “nationwide grassroots effort,” enlisting its numerous member banks and bankers and told them to call Senate offices to oppose the provision.

And Ballentine said his group was engaged in a concerted education effort for members, outlining why the industry believes the policy change would be disruptive and has no place in highway legislation.

Five major industry groups also sent a letter to lawmakers blasting the provision, saying it “undermines a key agreement that has underpinned the United States banking system for 100 years.”

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) opposes the provision, and invited Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen to opine on it when she appeared before his panel earlier this month.

She told lawmakers that if the dividend payment is reduced, some banks may not want to buy into the Fed.

“This is a change that likely would be a significant concern to the many small banks that receive the dividend,” she said.

Donald Kohn, the former vice chair of the Fed, told House lawmakers Wednesday that the proposal would be one directly felt by banks.

“Let’s recognize that by lowering it to, say, 1.5 percent on the proposal, in effect you are placing a tax on banks,” he told the House Financial Services Committee.

A review of previous policy proposals suggests that the idea may have first been thought up by House liberals. The 2014 budget proposal from the Congressional Progressive Caucus put forward the idea to raise revenue, and a CPC aide said he believed it was the first time someone in Congress proposed the idea. But the Senate highway bill apparently marks the first time members have actually placed it in actual legislation.

This all reminds me that the Federal Reserve Bank [Atlanta] branch in Miami would have some fascinating figures benefiting its busy member banks from the 1980s in the Iran Contra cocaine salad days, but that's another story... [Jeb Bush's angle in the Miami Dade Republican Party/Cartel days is treated in this hilarious Daily Beast limited hangout, spurring hope of awesome JebCokeCIA campaign stories (or videos?) yet to come.]

Barrett Brown Bonus Points; Listening for the Panaudicon; "Highlands Group" Pentagon incubator network for Intelligence kickstarts Google; Four Rogue Lords & UK Snoopers Charter

Roundup post. Barrett Now on the Hook for Stratfor My Post Cyberpunk Indentured Servitude - The Daily Beast [DailyBeast dropped the "you lost some rights" headline apparently as well]. Imprisoned journalist Barrett Brown gets his Declaration of Independence Back, but the +5 snark chainmail didn't do any good: cryptome.org/2015/01/brown-105.pdf

Federal sentencing agreements add and subtract points based on mysterious, occult rules derived from RolePlayingGames deep in the sweaty basement of the Federalist Society on the Yale campus.

201502010154.jpg

As you can see, both dexterity and Photoshop skilz qualify as "deadly skull" level 63 month sentence:

dnd-resume-1.jpg
Wait maybe this is actually the real one.

linkpastingpenalty.png

Yes "Unauthorized Access Devices" is hyperlinks.

via ( Clever: D&D Character Sheet Styled Resume | Geekologie & http://www.mmorpg-info.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/dd2.jpg )

Quinn Norton: We Should All Step Back from Security Journalism — The Message — Medium.

//////

Intelligence community incubated Google: A few pretty large chunks turned up with new work from Nafeez Ahmed via crowdfunding, focused on period around the time Google was developed at Stanford. One of the computer scientists involved disputes part of Ahmed's story (and prepended his PDF source at that URL w a new statement), but the overall scope of the Highlands Forum / Group, along with the CIA's In-Q-Tel venture capital development/incubator operations, reconfigures our understanding of intersecting tech and intelligence worlds.

SEE: HIGHLANDS GROUP - About

Highlands Group Overview The Highlands Group is an international consulting network that has been interestingly termed an "intellectual capital venture firm" with extensive experience assisting corporations, organizations, and government leaders frame issues and consider alternatives in the achievement of their objectives. The Highlands Group is a leader in helping clients to explore the edges for new ideas and approaches, create new networks, manage creativity, and succeed. The Highlands Group provides clients with a wide range of services, including: strategic planning, scenario creation and gaming for expanding global markets, and special events planning and assistance. The Highlands Group assists clients in identifying new technologies, ideas, and opportunities. Highlands draws on a network of subject matter experts and facilitates cross-disciplinary gatherings of creative thinkers, working with clients to build strategies for execution. We are a small and agile firm, supported by the strengths of a global network of experts, and provide our clients with personal involvement and dedication. The Highlands Group is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and Carmel Highlands, California, and is supported by a network of companies and independent researchers. It is truly a collaborative effort with great contributions from our sponsors; our Highlands Forum partners for the past ten years at SAIC; and the vast Highlands network of participants in the Highlands Forum, Singaporean Island Forum, the St. Michaels Forum, and the Information Engagement Forum.

Highlands Forum also has Thomas Barnett who provided crucial early post-9/11 backing for "core and gap" geopolitical dichotomy and 'rule setting' military hegemony quests within Pentagon circles. I read his book ages ago Thomas P.M. Barnett's Globlogization - The Pentagon's New Map: War & Peace in the 21st C. - it is important for understanding what framework got installed - as Ahmed digs up this was a transmission belt for Barnett and many others.

This gives earlier knowledge than the more wellknown roots of Google Earth as CIA's In-Q-Tel supported Keyhole -- they bought it partially from In-Q-Tel and turned in to Google Earth Enterprise as a platform for geospatial intelligence (GEO INT).

The powers that be have a strong interest in having one big Google (and Walmart, and foreign militant groups etc) - so it's no surprise that support among key figures - along with funding and special privileges, eventually contracts - to keep the tech scene consolidated.

INSURGE INTELLIGENCE, a new crowd-funded investigative journalism project, breaks the exclusive story of how the United States intelligence community funded, nurtured and incubated Google as part of a drive to dominate the world through control of information. Seed-funded by the NSA and CIA, Google was merely the first among a plethora of private sector start-ups co-opted by US intelligence to retain ‘information superiority.’

The origins of this ingenious strategy trace back to a secret Pentagon-sponsored group, that for the last two decades has functioned as a bridge between the US government and elites across the business, industry, finance, corporate, and media sectors. The group has allowed some of the most powerful special interests in corporate America to systematically circumvent democratic accountability and the rule of law to influence government policies, as well as public opinion in the US and around the world. The results have been catastrophic: NSA mass surveillance, a permanent state of global

PART 1: How the CIA made Google — Medium

PART 2: Why Google made the NSA — Medium

There is plenty to go over here and many links - it is a lot of material to get through, but worth your time. See Clifton - CV - Technical Reports . The Anatomy of a Search Engine.

///////

Ubiquity of web enabled microphones: very much worth reading. If you don't know how the zeroday market works now especially. via https://panaudicon.wordpress.com/ - Jan 23 2015

Cross posted at Cryptome.org: On the Ubiquity of Web-enabled Microphones

Bruce Schneier (computer security expert, now also with the EFF) has remarked: "It's bad civic hygiene to build technologies that could someday be used to facilitate a police state. No matter what the eavesdroppers and censors say, these systems put us all at greater risk."

There are two elements of this emerging technology that prompt me to regard this as bad civic hygiene: the omnipresence of these microphones, and the increasing lack of technological constraint allowing their compromise by state and other actors.

When I say "increasing lack of technological constraint", I am referring to several things: the descriptions of actions by agencies such as NSA, GCHQ, and the FBI who are specifically targeting smartphones (e.g. Tailored Access Operations of NSA and Remote Operations Unit of FBI), the exploding grey market for zero-day vulnerabilities dominated by state actors (especially the United States), and the emerging market for contractors who are developing exploits and software tools which enable to these vulnerabilities to be efficiently utilized. (Vupen in France, Hacking Team in Italy, Endgame Systems in U.S., FinFisher in the U.K., etc.)

Zero-day vulnerabilities are essentially unintentional backdoors that are discovered in various software applications every year by hackers. There are hundreds of these things discovered every year, and they are an unavoidable by-product of the software development cycle. They are a special kind of software bug that can permit a third-party who knows about them to take over a person's device. Sort of like skeleton keys which allow entry into anyone's device that happens to use the operating system or application in which the vulnerability is discovered, and they permit various degrees of power over a person's device. Programmers create exploits known as "zero-day exploits" to make use of these vulnerabilities. A market has emerged whereby these exploits are sold to the highest bidders, which, unsurprisingly, happen to be state actors. An exploit for the iPhone's iOS was sold for $500,000 at one point to an unknown buyer -- the NSA perhaps, but every intelligence agency on the planet is willing to pay top dollar for these things. Parties are willing to pay much more if it seems the exploit is likely to go undetected for some time and if it provides a lot of power over the device (laptop, smartphone, or tablet). However, when a vulnerability is discovered "in the wild" and reported to the software company (as should be the case), the value drops to near zero very quickly as the software company develops a "patch" and sends out security updates to consumers. In any event, the result of these activities over just the past decade is that sophisticated intelligence agencies, and certainly the FBI and NSA, now possess a revolving set of skeleton keys that allow them to reach inside virtually anyone's device on the planet. They don't need a warrant to do this, and they don't need permission from the telecoms or software companies. They don't have to notify any third parties that this is happening. This is a HUGE amount of power for any state actor to have.

Federal law enforcement agencies like the FBI have been clamoring for mandatory backdoors into all these new web-based technologies, but there are fundamental technical issues with integrating a CALEA-type system with the internet (CALEA = Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act of 1994). Security experts are suggesting that the feds (including domestic agencies like the FBI) develop teams of hackers to perform wiretaps in the future. They are essentially recommending that the FBI develop their own Tailored Access Operations (an NSA hacking division). Installing a CALEA-type system will fundamentally weaken the security of the internet for everyone, they claim, and it's also not very practical because new technologies develop so rapidly. It will hinder innovation. (From later note: we now know the FBI has already developed their own hacking team with the Remote Operations Unit. Chris Soghoian, principal technologist with the ACLU, discovered the Remote Operations Unit through former contractors' CVs on LinkedIn and put the pieces together.)

See this paper for background:

https://www.cs.columbia.edu/~smb/papers/GoingBright.pdf

"Going Bright: Wiretapping without Weakening Communications Infrastructure" | Steven M. Bellovin, Matt Blaze, Sandy Clark, Susan Landau | IEEE Security & Privacy 11:1, Jan/Feb 2013

My comments on the authors' analysis in this paper: OK, fine, mandatory backdoors are unacceptable. But if the feds' teams of hackers develop the power to enact wiretaps and bugs without having to ask for third-party permission, that will facilitate intelligence laundering on a wide scale. Sure, the information/evidence can't be presented in court. But they are more than happy to find other ways to use the information. Numerous examples of this have cropped up in the past year in the press (e.g. Special Operations Division -- a joint operation between DEA, FBI, and NSA -- slides were released a few months after Snowden to the press in a leak, but they were not part of the Snowden dump. Agents are specifically instructed to "recreate" the trail of an investigation to hide the original sources. They are effectively removing any poisonous taint from illegal surveillance by fabricating an independent source and never revealing the original surveillance. I believe they are generally handling narcotics cases, and the ACLU and EFF filed an Amicus brief late last year in a case in SF court as a result of the slides, because they suspected illegal surveillance might be taking place and intelligence was being laundered -- see United States of America v. Diaz-Rivera -- a very recent case, not sure what the outcome was at the suppression hearing. Google: Special Operations Division) ….

The "recreated trails" are also known as "parallel construction." Also here a good solution for analog switch on the mics for cell phones & also antenna & GPS seems a very constructive idea. Good deal. SEE DEA and NSA Team Up to Share Intelligence, Leading to Secret Use of Surveillance in Ordinary Investigations | Electronic Frontier Foundation August 2013.

/////

Besides the NYC Homeland Security grant madness, there is naturally a Rainbow Family in Montana Homeland Security money story now too: Police Seek DHS Grant to Deal With "Extremist" Hippy Group Which Stresses 'Non-violence, Peace and Love' - via Paul Joseph Watson.

////////

Four Rogue Lords & UK Snoopers Charter: Shameless: rogue Lords sneak Snooper's Charter back in AGAIN - Boing Boing && Shameless: rogue Lords sneak Snooper's Charter back in AGAIN - Boing Boing

Airchat Open radio / transmission packet network offers lulzy alternative communications for worldwide resiliency

An interesting project launched a few months ago worthy of specific note. Airchat (open source code on Github here) provides a basic protocol for making a rathe anonymous mesh network with radio gear, or other means of transmission. It can convert analog audio to and from packets, so that a HAM radio rig or other type of radio can send encrypted signals into the air and the correct other nodes can pull down the signal. Its developers claim to have used it at some distance.

The catch, of course there is one, in the USA and UK it is forbidden to encrypt information on public frequencies under FCC rules. Like all class pirate radio movies the FCC vans could come for you if this gets too big.

Still on a global scale it has obvious humanitarian utility such as transmitting digital medical information over more than 100km on cheap gear without any existing phone or internet connection. It also can do low-bandwidth digital audio. Truly this could make a major positive difference & I hope that its use can be extended.

//////

Writeup: Airchat, The Wireless Mesh Network From Lulzlabs

Some funny comments at Anonymous' Airchat Aim: Communication Without Need For Phone Or Internet - Slashdot

The fun intro video Airchat on Vimeo

Airchat from #lulzlabs on Vimeo.

/////

Another writeup from h+: AirChat: Secure Wireless from Anonymous -

Sounds pretty nifty. Good luck with that!

New Docs: For MN cellphone location data, police & attorneys submit administrative subpoenas; law enforcement spins vs warrant bill

Bonus data drops for Minneapolis video surveillance tech, the MN Violent Crimes Coordinating Council's strategic plans & so much moar!

admin-subpoena.png

Such subpoenas... does this count as "using" administrative subpoenas? Stay Tuned...

Most everyone has a pretty good idea of search warrants, those nastygrams which arrive borne by law enforcement & signed by a judge, authorizing very well-armed reductions in personal privacy within America's legal system. Less well-known are administrative subpoenas, which don't involve judges at all. In Minnesota, law enforcement agencies demand cell phone location data, including cell tower records and GPS data, from cell phone providers via administrative subpoenas, and virtually no one has any idea how large the scope of this shadowy scene really gets.

[A number of items surfaced from different data requests as email attachments, some new major items attached below. Including video intelligence system in downtown Minneapolis :]

A small but mostly positive reform to this nasty administrative subpoena situation comes from SF2466, requiring full search warrants with probably cause standards (more strict than 'reasonable suspicion') and notification for all cell phone location inquiries. Unfortunately, its House counterpart does NOT require warrants, but mere court orders. For background see RichNeumeister.com: Search warrants? We don't need no stinkin' search warrants. [More on Harris Kingfish/Stingray cell interceptors. Previously: Local cell phone spying KingFish stonewall: Minnesota law enforcement at BCA & Hennepin County refuse to disclose SIGINT cell phone snooping capabilities from NSA contractor Harris]

In an interesting development, assistant superintendent Drew Evans at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension claimed at the Minnesota Senate Judiciary Committee hearing late Thursday night, around 11:30PM or so, that I was wrong about administrative subpoenas used to try to get cell phone records, during the hearing for SF 2466 Status in the Senate for the 88th Legislature (2013 - 2014), "law enforcement cell phone tracking data search warrant requirement" - they would have to notify anyone they get location data on cell phones from, via warrants only, rather than the situation detailed below... (HF2288 only requires court orders, a lower standard...) Time to lay the JPEG down...

It's around the 3 to 4:30 mark in this video: Talking about "historical records" aka stale phone records: 4:00. Much of this is cryptic references to Harris Kingfish and possibly other cell interceptor tech. Also at one point Sen. Warren Limmer discusses how the legislators never find out about the tech upon which the laws are executed in a timely way.

If you listen from the start of the clip it seems like he is speaking on behalf of Minnesota law enforcement in general (not just the BCA). To try to be precise about electronic intelligence testimony split hairs, the accuracy of what he says depends on whether he is stating this for the BCA vs law enforcement:

"currently we get those records through a search warrant and so that is the mechanism that we get historical information. It's been referred to by one of the previous testifiers that we are using administrative subpoenas. We are not using administrative subpoenas to gather location information. The companies do not provide that information with an administrative subpoena, there is certain information that we get related to that, but we do not get location information right now from administrative subpoenas. ... we are always evaluating new technologies with regards to the Fourth Amendment. we only have interest in gathering information in a criminal investigation that will be used in a court of law, that will be admissible in a court of law. So every time we get a new piece of technology we are constantly doing an evaluation as to how to implement that technology in the confines of our current statute and our current criminal procedure and case law at that time.."

Perhaps, as these guys so frequently do in legislative & Capitol Hill hearings nationally, he was telling a decidedly 'oblique truth', that he only speaks for his own agency and DPS within BCA never sends these subpoenas, but it's not as if any county attorneys or county sheriffs association people corrected him (like James Franklin who was in the room but declined to add anything). The other agencies send administrative subpoenas all the time. And whether they actually obtain data, they are certainly "using" the strong threatening language on the subpoenas to try to get the records.

So basically... the claim that they will punish people for failing to provide cell location records is a 'color of law' bluff, a conceit or whatever verbiage encompasses "something the government claims to demand of you but actually doesn't have standing to." It is really hard to tell what statutes, state and federal, actually would make failing to turn over the location data enforceable, so I have to call this situation a fog. Still, it's a fog they stated doesn't exist...

Plz forgive the blurry quality here, these were quick late snapshots courtesy of Rich Neumeister's doc collection. Attached to this post is a sample of recent subpoenas from various law enforcement agencies including those freewheeling Department of Public Safety alcohol & gaming division cats, which I have heard has its own special subpoena power in statute.

Ramsey County: 10/11/2012 demanding "including ... locations":

admin-subpoena-ramsey.png

This is the Department of Public Safety Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement - sorry it's blurry. They apparently have special dispensation in statute. Two of these are almost the same:

alcohol-gambling-dps.png

Dated 1.31.2014 this is really recent use of the legal tactic. You can deliver data to the non-BCA section of DPS:

alcohol-gambling-dps2.png

Dakota County: Let's take a close look at what James Backstrom's underling, (he's key player in MN county attorney world) has been signing off on:

dakota-admin-subpoena.png

dakota-admin-subpoena-2.png

dakota-admin-subpoena-3.png

dakota-admin-subpoena-4.png

dakota-admin-subpoena-5a.png

dakota-admin-subpoena-5b.png

dakota-admin-subpoena-6.png

Plus Ramsey County: Derek Fitch signed off for John Choi at Ramsey County Attorney:

ramsey-admin-subpoena.png

And a bonus since you read this far: prices for cellphone tower dumps!!

tower-records.png

//////

Here is the quadrilateral of Fourth Amendment champs from last Thurs: myself, @Sen_B_Petersen @CaptainKurtis @richneumeister working on this circa 10:30PM.

fourth-amdt-champs.jpg

Fortunately the bill got through mostly unscathed, which will help protect the warrant standard in what is sure to be a sketchy conference committee situation. Unfortunately it will be routed also to Finance because of the possible financial implications of having to track how frequently these searches are done -- even though the House said it had no fiscal impact the Senate can 'think differently'.

Here is Part 1, where the bill advocates take care of biz late at nite: I start at 38min. Kurtis Hanna around 35min. Rich Neumeister & Chuck Samuelson from the ACLU-MN start around 20min. I was able to at least discuss a number of related issues including responsible disclosure of cell phone interceptors like Harris Kingfish, as well as compare law enforcement cell interception to the ol high school Etherpeek wifi packet sniffing situation... aww yeah.

What is an administrative subpoena? An administrative subpoena comes from an executive branch agency like the Hennepin County Sheriff's Department, and it gets signed off by the county attorney as well. There is no judicial branch check. Part of the key here is that administrative subpoenas frequently apply to 'business records' which can easily encompass all your 'cloud files', 'emails older than 180 days'...

See: We Don’t Need No Stinking Warrant: The Disturbing, Unchecked Rise of the Administrative Subpoena | Threat Level | WIRED (8/2012) && the MN House overview info: www.house.leg.state.mn.us/hrd/pubs/adminsup.pdf, MN Statute: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=388.23&format=pdf, and IPAD guidance policy: Responding to Subpoenas and Court Orders. Also: Inside Orders: Administrative Subpoenas and the Surveillance State | Privacy SOS

Basically the laws never got updated as technology advanced, which made it far easier for law enforcement to get into the kinds of 'papers', now known as 'cloud files', for example, that used to be pretty safe in your house, unless two branches of government got involved. Now it is just the one branch, they are at times concealing the general game from the other branches, as we participated in first-hand on Thursday.

Here is the index of Hennepin County administrative subpoenas for 2010, courtesy Rich Neumeister. Mirrored at http://www.scribd.com/doc/215425554/Hennepin-County-Attorneys-Office-Adm...

Hennepin County Attorneys Office Admininistrative Subpoenas 2010 - skim over this for an amazing view of flow of 1 year of operations. Hotels, video game providers, many cell phone providers on investigation list.

File: http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/Hennepin.CountyAO.Admin.Subpoenas.2010.pdf

//////

While indeed it is a frustrating thing to parlay with our formal state government, the good news is that one can have an impact with relatively short time investment, and it is possible to work in tactical alliance across various lines to hew in the schemes of intelligence-inspired law enforcement's top echelon in MN to attempt to dominate the rest of society unchecked. Lurking at the Legislature is not something I have the leisure to do very often, but it is rewarding to work efficiently on small chunks when it really counts.

With luck the bill won't get chopped to bits!! Contact your legislators to help protect the bill (SF2466 / HF 2288) from further watering-downs - get search warrants added back into it! :-/ ...

//////

Bonus data drops: New material on top echelon police strategy via data requests & research. These files have been sitting around too long & each deserve a separate post...

vccc-tactical.pngVCCC strategy plan for MN law enforcement in politics: The Violent Crimes Coordinating Council was created to oversee gang task forces but also played a role early in pressuring the legislature against medical marijuana, as I found while working on building an informative website for MnNORML over the winter. This stuff needs close attention. Among other things the "tactical plan" shows that the police organizations don't really know what their goals should be... but they should lobby anyway (and indeed try to build alliances among people like realtors??).

http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/VCCC-Tactical-Action-Plan--10-15-2013.doc - probably the most interesting

http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/6-12-13--VCCC-Minutes-DRAFT.docx

http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/10-14-13-VCCC-Minutes.pdf

http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/VCCC-Strategic-Framework.pdf

http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/VCCC-Strategic-Update-Notes--10-15-2013...

http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/vccc-synthetics-notes-7-17-13.docx

http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/vccc-TaskForce_3-bg-.pptx - overview

http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/vccc.2-8-12minutesFINAL.pdf

http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/vccc.2-12-14VCCCAgenda-DRAFT.doc

http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/vccc.2013-TF-Manual.pdf

http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/vccc.ForfeitureLetter.doc

http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/vccc.MedicalMarijuanaLetter.pdf

http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/vccc.NaloxoneLetter.doc

http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/vccc.SyntheticsAgenda9-12.docx

http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/vccc.SyntheticsLetter.doc

http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/vccc.SyntheticsSign-In9-12.xlsx

http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/mn.ca.atty.2014ForfeitureTalkingPoints.doc - county attorney talking points

Weird intel and police funding grant stuff:

http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/Illinois-TF-Study-2012.pdf - Illinois structure of task forces study

http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/doj.RSAT2013GrantProgramGuidelines.doc - grant guidelines

http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/dps.BTTF_Part%201_ExecutiveSummary.pdf - MN DPS juvenile sentencing study

http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/dps.map.2013.Drug.VCET.pdf - MN drug task force map

http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/ecops-socialpolicing-nps62-082713-05.pdf - DOJ ECOPS social media / police theory

http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/CICC-executive-summary_compliant.pdf - national council stuff

//////

Minneapolis video intel system: PIPS and BOSS surveillance tech. A powerpoint presentation on Police Executive Research Forum, a key central node of shutting down the network of Occupy camps in 2011, from Minneapolis Police Chief Harteau including Agent Vi, an Israeli video intelligence system running via the Downtown Improvement District. [video intel to socially control urban spaces from the West Bank to downtown Mpls - such globalization. wow.] Referencing the screenshots in Harteau's presentation, I found a bunch of marketing spam & user manuals for the tech. (also the 'secret' Broadway bridge location is on here!)

On Scribd: http://www.scribd.com/doc/214972518/Minneapolis-Chief-Harteau-tracking-tech-Presentation-MPD-DID

File: http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/Harteau-policeforum-MinneapolisPresenta...

PIPS BOSS3: Yr video surveillance Backend:

harteau-intel1.png


harteau-intel2.png

Another local connection: This place called Milestone Systems does certifications for Agent Vi, "securing your lifeblood". See Agent Vi Products Achieve Milestone Solution Certification - Security Sales and Integration - at 12400 Whitewater Dr #100, Hopkins, MN 55343

The related files including user & admin manuals for PIPS/BOSS:

http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/Maplewood-PD-ALPR-Report-Batch1.pdf - the partially redacted ALPR records for Maplewood PD scanners. Crazy!

http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/pips-20120914_alpr_lapd_pips_user-guide...

http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/pips-3823219745PL_PIPS.pdf

http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/pips-federalsignal_capabilities_0808.pdf

http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/pips-MotorolaALPRSpecSheet.pdf

http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/pips-SWC302PIPSTechnologyPricingsheet.pdf

http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/BOSS-18555-18584-Vineland-OPRA-Response...

http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/BOSS-18592-18621-Vineland-OPRA-Response...

http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/fs.WhitePaper-InteroperableCommunicatio... - federal signal

http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/fs.WhitePaper-InteroperableCommunicatio... - federal signal

http://hongpong.com/files/mn-gps/ATT.radio.pdf AT&T PIPS radio system

//////

Thanks for sticking through this big ol post. Get involved, take a little time & get reading, take action! Working on the monitoring of cell phones by law enforcement has huge implications & is definitely a good spot to start checking into these sorts of political tech/social control issues. For Twin Cities police brutality & related issues see also http://cuapb.org .

Disclosure: Some of these files came from material related to a project for the MN affiliate of National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, resulting in a nice new website ( mnnorml.org ) with its own special data stash for revealing many lesser known details of the law enforcement state to a skeptical member base & public! Thanks to resourceful collaborator @CaptainKurtis Hanna for data requests. This post is not in any way an official view of MN Norml.

This post is dedicated to Darryl Robinson, an inexhaustible champion for the public in all these state police situations.

Soviet Psychotronic lit review since 1911, interesting warp drive scalar energy patents & papers from Deep Oddness & Moar

Let's have a nice link dump on some moar exotic science. If you care to scout this story out, you will have moar vortices of weirdness than you'll know what to do with. I like weird patents and ran into a few of them. Could all these things below be related? Can we hack a new machine to get into space and have a good time??

In any case weird patents show an undercurrent of the strange realities of control, the ownership of tools affecting the 'cybernetic reality' of a technically molded environment (as seen in 2003 doc The Net: www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLqrVCi3l6E ).

In a lulzy way we could say the weird patents: are part of the apparatus which hides exotic light sabers and/or the cow dung powered flying cars from the general US consumer market.

But First - NSA LULZ: The edge of the abyss: exposing the NSA's all-seeing machine | The Verge. PLus, epic snowden EFF hoodie trolling. Well played indeed An NSA Coworker Remembers The Real Edward Snowden: 'A Genius Among Geniuses' - Forbes [tangent: the classic gesture of Prior Notice amirite? :P ] // Judge Finds NSA Phone Metadata Program Infringes Upon Privacy & Vindicates Edward Snowden | The Dissenter

JPMorgue Patentfail Lulz: JPMorgan's "Bitcoin-Alternative" Patent Rejected (175 Times). I looked at the whole patent, at least skimmed it till I got bored. They think they deserve to have an electronic receiving address for payments etc. patented. The above link makes case for patent reform.

Graphene terahertz transmitter lulz: Graphene-based nano-antennas may enable networks of tiny machines


soviet-psychotronic.png

Soviet Psychotronics Gateway to directed energy research development: I have never seen anything quite like this paper with really nifty citations to poke around at.

Check it: Revealed: The Soviet Union’s $1 Billion ‘Psychotronic’ Arms Race with the US — The Physics arXiv Blog — Medium. The paper itself:

http://arxiv.org/pdf/1312.1148v2.pdf, http://arxiv.org/abs/1312.1148

Among other things it suggests directed energy research evolved on a number of lines, in a weirdly shaky political environment. Finally concludes with useful pointers on all this - electromagnetism as applied to influence biological and specifically human conditions. The Soviet flip-side to MK-ULTRA & moar, from 1911 to post-2000.

But also, weird conical 'torsional energy' channeling devices. I feel like maybe with improved superconductors some of this tech should be revisited?

Possibly / Probably Important?? These guys figured out a whole other ball game with quantum electromagnetism beyond fields....Phys. Rev. 115, 485 (1959): Significance of Electromagnetic Potentials in the Quantum Theory

Tons of citations to "Y. Aharonov and D. Bohm. Significance of Electromagnetic Potentials in the Quantum Theory. Physical Review Online Archive (Prola) INFO:

http://prola.aps.org/pdf/PR/v115/i3/p485_1, http://prola.aps.org/abstract/PR/v115/i3/p485_1
doi:10.1103/PhysRev.115.485 url:http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRev.115.485

Aharonov–Bohm effect - Wiki ... Magnetic flux quantum - Wiki - Quest for the Quantum Magnetic monopole - Wiki which could also possibly exploit some weird Dirac theory to instantly transmit info "non locally"?? Also nevar heard of excitons before, what an exciting particle.

Lulzy warp drive plans. Use of Aharanov-Bohm effect in Warp Drive - on StealthSkater.com of course. http://www.stealthskater.com/Documents/WarpDrive_01.pdf

Also warp drives lol: http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/2385221/1718820446/name/100yssOrlandoSarfat...

Kirlian photography shows EM auras - what are the Aharonov/Bohm implications? Сборка кирлиан-прибора собственными руками. // Electric potential - Wiki // Mathematical descriptions of the electromagnetic field - Wiki // Electromagnetic field - Wiki

Patent US5845220 - Communication method and apparatus with signals comprising scalar and vector ... - Google Patents - Information that changes as a function of time is communicated from a transmitting site to a receiving site by transmitting a signal comprising scalar and vector potentials without including ay electromagnetic field. The potentials vary as a function of time in accordance with the information.

Check out this intense Russian Patent: Machine Translation! As cited in the Lit Review footnotes.Patent Office: Patent Publication Number: 2149385 "patent SU1748662"

DEVICE FOR TREATING THE STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION OF BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS AND MATERIAL PROPERTIES

Patent Publication Number: 2149385

Type of document: C1

Country of publication: RU

Reg. Application Number: 99109496

Make an orderA complete description of the patent

Edition of the IPC: 7

The main IPC codes: G01N022/00 A61N005/00

Analogs of the invention: SU, 1748662 A3, 15.07.1992. Shipov GI Psychophysics phenomena and theory of physical vacuum. Consciousness and the physical world, no.1. - Moscow: Publishing House of the Agency's "Sailor", 1999, p.93, Akimov AE etc. Experimental manifestation of torsion fields and torsion technologies. - Moscow: Publishing House of STC Informatics, 1996, p.68. RU, 2125896 C1, 10.02.1999. RU, 2109530 C1, 27.04.1998. RU, 94025802 A, 20.08.1996.

Name of applicant: Closed Joint Stock Company Scientific-Production Association "Inorganic Materials"

Inventors: VF Panov

Gunmen VV

VV Yushkov

Yushkova TA

Patentees: Closed Joint Stock Company Scientific-Production Association "Inorganic Materials"

Abstract

Device for influencing the structure and function of biological systems and the properties of materials comprises a generator of torsion radiation, made in the form of electromagnetic radiation source placed in the hub of the torsion radiation modulator mantle with its torsion radiation generator, which stands on a permanent magnet, which are placed in torsion hub radiation, wherein the hub is configured as a cone and is mounted on a steel plate on top of the radiation concentrator torsion coil set, wherein the modulator is arranged, made in the form of sequentially installed downstream of a single crystal of quartz and the radiation tourmaline crystal, the spiral guide is mounted inside tubes fixed in the housing. As a source of electromagnetic radiation using electric lamp or beta emitter. Spiral made of copper wire. The technical result is to develop a simpler and more reliable operation of the apparatus. 2 ZP f-ly, 1 ill., 1 table.

//////

The research paper was backed up by these guys who are running Drupal of course: Patents | Association of Unconventional Science.

Patents (all patents found in public databases, most of the patents have already expired)

Passive generators IM Shakhparonov The device for the vacuum polarization (SU1806477)
IM Shakhparonov A device for decontamination of radioactive materials (RU2061266)
IM Shakhparonov Method of magnetizing non-magnetic materials (RU_2192390)
Kirpita PP Method and device for human exposure (RU2160133)
Okhatrin AF The device for the power and impact on bioobekt way to assess its effectiveness (RU2074748)
Fund Ordo protective device (DE3541480A1)
Helmut Reder, protector of biogeopatagennyh zones (DE3015105A1)
Paul Schweizer, Apparatus for measuring changes radiestezicheskih fields (DE3320518A1)
Anton Ramsauer, Installation for protection of terrestrial radiation (DE3015105A1)
Oscar Gerhard installation to prevent interference with radio receivers (DE616713A)
Oscar Korsheld, Apparatus for therapeutic purposes, whether or not informed of suggestion (DE69340A)
Allois Zor, protection from harmful fields (DE2360584A1)
Roth Trude, protector of negitivnogo terrestrial radiation (DE3416157A1)
Ian Dzhurzhdik, protection device or neutralize nezheletelnyh influences, influences or fields on the human body (DE3515307A1)
BORGNI JEAN, Permanent protective device against radiation known to be harmful to living beings and more particularly to humans (FR2534142A1)
Juasques Ravatin, Apparatus for amplifying emission due to shapes (WO001980000293)
EM generators Akimov AE The method of correcting the structural characteristics of the materials and device for its implementation (SU1748662)
Werner Kropp [DE], method of processing a substrate in a magnetic vector potential and device for its implementation (RU2101842) original German patentDE4036648A1
JSC "BIG" Method and device effects on microorganisms (RU2155083)
Akimov AE The method of correcting the structural characteristics of the steel (RU2151204)
Okhatrin AF The method of energy information and communication device for its implementation (RU2159009)
Thou et al, Aparatus for generating electromagnetic radiation (US5792184A)
HE Puthoff, "Communication Method and Apparatus with Signals Comprising Scalar and Vector Potentials without Electromagnetic Fields (US5845220)
Ivan Rampl, Device for attenuating cellular metabolism (US 20100286469 A1)
Бояршинов А.Е., Клюев А.В., Кокарева Н.А., Курапов С.А., Панов В.Ф., Стрелков В.В. ЭЛЕКТРОМАГНИТНАЯ АНТЕННА(RU2336612)
Willet Parry, Means for affecting plant life processes (US000002308204)
Impact JSC "BIG" Device for the impact of the wave of information on microorganisms (RU2161516)
Воздействие Y.S. Karp, An appoarch for generation of programmable impact on biological objects (RU2004267)

////

A whole new bunch of goodies on the horizon amirite? Get Moving you Zefram Cochranes. I'm goin to bed :P

Bitcoin taps $200 again as ecosystem for services matures

Prices around $200 USD now, interesting price patterns. Stabilization & slow growth reigned since the woolly early 2013 era. Here: Bitcoin fake fibonacci trend line fun - even in crashes it never broke thru the lowest trend line.

It's hard but not impossible to see it below $100 again. I think now $80 is probably the floor. $200 i think is a psychological barrier, it will have hard time spiking higher unless 'another round of buzz' occurs.

Also note the USD sliding against Euros today: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/22/us-markets-global-idUSBRE96S00... - probably helps BTC / USD price.

Also as the market for exchanges has slowly diversified you see less instability related spikes/crashes heavily spawning from MtGox, which has been an exchange overly-relied upon until now. Of course any market will suffer when there are not enough sturdy exchanges. It's called the GoxHammer or something like that when bitcoin prices crash around Gox instability.

Source: bitcoincharts.com and my pseudo-Fib generator in Preview :P

bitcoin-chart.png

If you are looking to get bitcoins: CAVEAT EMPTOR. Let buyer beware. I am not vouching for results with any service, your Grues may be eaten etc. The ecosystem is maturing but things will rise and fall, and beware pump n dumps.

However CampBx.com is doing pretty decently based in Georgia - a MtGox without the clustermesses. And you can mail them USD checks if you like. .55% fees on transactions seems pretty fair. You need to provide ID to use services extensively.

Also LocalBitcoins.com for meeting people in coffee shops around town locally. More anonymity than CampBX, but also a higher fee. Anonymity and fees seem to have an inverse relationship!

Also BitPay.com is also based in Georgia and can do point-of-sale integration with various platforms - the integration code for developers is admirably simple. Much cheaper Bitcoin purchases turned into USD bank deposits multiple times a week if you like. So you would only be risking a day or 2 of transaction cash at a time for this, used as a gateway in yr business.

Local cell phone spying KingFish stonewall: Minnesota law enforcement at BCA & Hennepin County refuse to disclose SIGINT cell phone snooping capabilities from NSA contractor Harris

kingfish.jpg

It's been dawning on Americans this year that their everyday electronic devices are used by law enforcement for investigations. However the lawmen and the county attorneys are withholding the policy information about the Harris Corporation Kingfish system which is a device that can alter the electronic behavior in a cell phone, also known as a CDMA Interrogator or cell phone interceptor.

The MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) has declined to share any policy information about Kingfish. I have also heard that Hennepin County Sheriffs Office and their legal counsel are putting up rather high barriers to disclosing anything at all about Kingfish. The whole case is weirdly parallel to the 1978 Rockford Files episode House on Willis Avenue, which ended with this unprecedented title card:

rockford-files-willis-ave.pngWe still have "no legal right" to know about who in Minnesota is building dossiers and how. The main question: what is Hennepin County and the BCA hiding in their versions of the House on Willis Avenue?

At the Hennepin County level in the 2010 they earlier promised to come up with sensible and clear policies about if and when law enforcement uses these devices to interfere with cell phones. Now they are claiming that stuff is non-public data - which of course precludes informed public debate at the Legislature in 2014 about electronic law enforcement interference in technical devices.

Several people including Rich Neumeister are looking into this nasty Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) mess. Follow @RichNeumeister - he is helpful answering about the details on this via Twitter.

In a shocking surprise Harris Corporation is a major contractor with the National Security Agency and KingFish is part of the domestic-grade apparatus for local but still unchecked NSA-style electronic snooping. The NSA didn't seem like a big deal when KingFish was approved, but now everyone has finally started noticing the tremendous power of unchecked electronic data collection. It's a much Hotter Potato than in 2012!

See: Sept 2009: Harris Corporation and National Security Agency Announce Certification of First Tactical Radio with Type-1 Suite B Information Security

July 2012: Harris Corporation Receives National Security Agency Certification for Soldier Radio Waveform in Falcon III AN/PRC-117G Multiband Manpack Radio

April 2007: National Security Agency Certifies Harris Corporation's SecNet 54 Top-Secret Capable Secure Wireless LAN Product

September 2004: Harris Corporation Receives NSA Certification for Programmable Cryptographic Module

Wikispaces notes: PIRT - Harris Corporation etc. More Harris links at end.

rockford3.pngAnother angle here: Hundreds of thousands of dollars have gone into KingFish in Minnesota and they are not willing to share the expense information. Ars Technica reports the boxes cost $25K so where the hell is the rest of the money? Meet the machines that steal your phone’s data | Ars Technica:

The Kingfish is a surveillance transceiver that allows authorities to track and mine information from mobile phones over a targeted area. The device does not appear to enable interception of communications; instead, it can covertly gather unique identity codes and show connections between phones and numbers being dialed. It is smaller than the Stingray, black and gray in color, and can be controlled wirelessly by a conventional notebook PC using Bluetooth. You can even conceal it in a discreet-looking briefcase, according to marketing brochures.

First used: Trademark records show that a registration for the Kingfish was filed in August 2001. Its “first use anywhere” is listed in records as December 2003.

Cost: $25,349.

Agencies: Government agencies have spent about $13 million on Kingfish technology since 2006, sometimes as part of what is described in procurement documents as a “vehicular package” deal that includes a Stingray. The US Marshals Service; Secret Service; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; Army; Air Force; state cops in Florida; county cops in Maricopa, Arizona; and Special Operations Command have all purchased a Kingfish in recent years.

[…]The code of silence shrouding the above tools, however, is highly contentious. Their use by law enforcement agencies is in a legal gray zone, particularly because interference with communications signals is supposed to be prohibited under the federal Communications Act. In May, an Arizona court ruled that the FBI's use of a Stingray was lawful in a case involving conspiracy, wire fraud, and identity theft. But according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), when seeking authorization for the use of the Stingray tool, the feds have sometimes unlawfully withheld information from judges about the full scope of its capabilities. This means that judges across the country are potentially authorizing the use of the technology without even knowing what it actually does. [But in MN who needs judges?? LOL]

That's not all. There is another significant issue raised by the Harris spy devices: security. According to Christopher Soghoian, chief technologist at the ACLU, similar covert surveillance technology is being manufactured by a host of companies in other countries like China and Russia. He believes the US government’s “state secrecy” on the subject is putting Americans at risk.

"Our government is sitting on a security flaw that impacts every phone in the country," Soghoian says. "If we don't talk about Stingray-style tools and the flaws that they exploit, we can't defend ourselves against foreign governments and criminals using this equipment, too."

rockford-files.png

Soghoian makes an excellent point - the vulnerabilities exploited by KingFish are in some ways a major public safety threat, and the security establishment is accruing power by hiding the flaws as usual instead of forcing society to deal with the overall crappiness of today's telecom technology.

"Security by obscurity" is the dominant principle of political accountability here, and of course it is doomed to fail. Responsible disclosure of the flaws exploited by KingFish and their granular legal circumstances are what we need, not moar domestic SIGINT fog and mystification.

All of these cell phone attack avenues should be known because similar tech to KingFish would be more widely available soon. The disruption under the federal Communications Act is also relevant.

Some time back I pointed out the problems with MN statutes about these kind of cell interceptor technology at a Senate committee and former Sen. Mee Moua suggested that if I wanted to go fishing for KingFish I might need to find some alternate way. At least these days more people care about this stuff!! [It should be recalled Moua - a Hmong war refugee - was hounded by law enforcement at the tail end of her service. See MPR clip below]

/////

Earlier: March 3 2010: Sheriff Stanek landing Fed cash for KingFish military cellphone tracker in Hennepin County; National Guard intelligence analysts fuse to metro police departments; Lobby for warrantless wiretaps in St. Paul | Twin Cities Indymedia -- March 15 2010: Surprise bill for interstate fusion center data sharing pops up Tuesday; Specs found for Harris StingRay & KingFish cellphone tracking devices | Twin Cities Indymedia

via Rich Neumeister: Open Secrets: An indefensible and odious practice with (Foia-Data Practice) data requests (Oct 15th)

////

Office of the Commissioner

445 Minnesota Street - Suite 1000 - Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101

Phone: 651.201.7160 - Fax: 651.297.5728 - TTY: 651.282.6555

Website: dps.mn.gov

October 3, 2013

Rich Neumeister VIA Electronic Mail

Re: Cell Phone Tracking Data Request

Dear Mr. Neumeister:

Thank you for your data request. You ask "to inspect and review all government data about the cell phone location tool known as the (Kingfish) including, but not limited to, such items as protocols, procedures, legal thresholds, Attorney opinions, evaluations, correspondence, and results of use."

The BCA does possess cellular exploitation equipment; however, we cannot provide details about the equipment because it would compromise ongoing and future criminal investigations including AMBER Alerts, kidnapping cases, fugitive searches and homicides.

In addition, any disclosure regarding the manufacturer, model, capabilities, functionality or other specifics about the equipment could be used by criminals and fugitives to defeat the technology and render the system useless.

As a result, any data regarding this equipment is confidential or protected non-public under Statutes 13.82 Subd. 25 and 13.37 Subd. l (a).

Portions of the data are also trade secret data not subject to dissemination. The contracting company has taken efforts to protect the data from disclosure. As you are aware, a corporation supplying trade secret data to a government entity may claim portions are trade secret. The contractor in this case has appropriately made such a claim as it relates to portions of the data, pursuant to Minn. Statute 13.37 Subd. 1(b).

Again, thank you for your data request. Should you care to discuss it further please contact me.

Sincerely,

E. Joseph Newton

General Counsel

/////

Lol "any disclosure regarding the manufacturer, model, capabilities, functionality or other specifics about the equipment could be used by criminals and fugitives to defeat the technology" - so they are counting on ignorance to succeed in controlling society. A perfectly sound way to invest public Debt-Dollars, counting on perpetual confusion over some metal box's legal & technical specifications. Perhaps this kind of clever spending theory contributed to the federal government shut down - it's not like millions haven't vanished on deficient & wasteful Homeland Security gear :-/

Well then let us take a look at MN Statutes 13.82 Subdivision 25. 13.82, 2013 Minnesota Statutes

"Subd. 25.Deliberative processes. Data that reflect deliberative processes or investigative techniques of law enforcement agencies are confidential data on individuals or protected nonpublic data; provided that information, reports, or memoranda that have been adopted as the final opinion or justification for a decision of a law enforcement agency are public data."

Justification for a decision of a law enforcement agency are public data and that would really seem to include the legal memos about the process for when to fire up Kingfish to poke at cell phones.

here is the 13.37 Subdivision 1 a: 13.37, 2013 Minnesota Statutes

Subdivision 1.Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms have the meanings given them.

(a) "Security information" means government data the disclosure of which the responsible authority determines would be likely to substantially jeopardize the security of information, possessions, individuals or property against theft, tampering, improper use, attempted escape, illegal disclosure, trespass, or physical injury. "Security information" includes crime prevention block maps and lists of volunteers who participate in community crime prevention programs and their home and mailing addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail or other digital addresses, Internet communication services accounts information or similar accounts information, and global positioning system locations.

/////

It seems like this is worded to mean that the "information" would be subjected to "theft, tampering, improper use, attempted escape, illegal disclosure, trespass, or physical injury". "Defeat the technology" is not on that list, and indeed the question of who the technology has been used on remains decidedly open.

Here is Rich's list of questions which is a good starting point: What's behind the secrecy wall of Hennepin Co Sheriff and BCA?

Some of the few questions I am trying to get answered are as follows: In what situations are the cellular exploitation devices used?

Are the BCA/Hennepin Co Sheriff invading people's privacy and liberty at a low legal threshold or no threshold rather than get a search warrant?

Who oversees and approves the use of the equipment? Where is the accountability?

How many innocent people have been within sights of the Kingfish or similar device, the data collected and those subjects of the surveillance who may not even know about it,? How many arrests have happened with the use of this device?

Kip Carver, an official in the Hennepin County Sheriff's office stated to the county's commissioners three years ago that the cellular exploitation device may be used hundreds of times a year.

How frequently are the cellular exploitation devices used and the number of subjects?

Depending if the cops are using a low threshold or none at all in using this device are they doing so to avoid an appearance before a judge where a search warrant (top standard to protect our privacy & liberty) needs to be issued and where questions can be asked?

What is the role of the prosecutors in situations when this equipment is used?

In my data request I asked for the legal thresholds that the agencies must go by in order to use the Kingfish? What is so secret about that?

At this time, the attitude that both agencies have taken with my data requests give the Minnesota Legislature and most important the public no idea how this tool has been used, is being used, how an individual or individuals get chosen to be pursued, and who is accountable.

As some people may currently know I have been working to possibly update our state laws so that the rule of law applies to whats happening now in 2013 not in 1988-1989 when 626A had its last major update.

Even though the Department of Public Safety and the Hennepin County Sheriff do not want to tell me or the public their protocols, policies, procedures of accountability, legal thresholds, and other appropriate public data I will still push on and I hope others will. I am not interested to live in a state where law enforcement rules and not the people.

/////

Story from Feb 9 2010 Star Tribune. You Can LOL about how Kip Carver claims that the device would only track cell phone numbers obtained through a search warrant: via Sheriff Stanek landing Fed cash for KingFish military cellphone tracker in Hennepin County; National Guard intelligence analysts fuse to metro police departments; Lobby for warrantless wiretaps in St. Paul | Twin Cities Indymedia | Movement Media for Minneapolis-St. Paul

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in St. Paul has a KingFish device and makes it available to local agencies, said Jill Oliveira, a BCA spokeswoman. Only a few people know how to use it because the training is expensive, she said.

Stanek couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday. Kip Carver, a Sheriff's Office inspector who heads the investigations bureau, told commissioners that the device would track only cell phone numbers obtained through a search warrant, and couldn't be used without a court order.

The KingFish can't eavesdrop on phone conversations, Carver said. Instead, it locates cell phones that might be in the possession of an abduction victim, he said, or a robber making a getaway.

"I truly believe [we] would be very busy using that," Carver said. Asked how many times a year the device might be used, he said it could be in the hundreds.

Commissioner Jan Callison agreed to table the request to get more information, but added she was not as troubled by the device as some of her colleagues. "It seems to me that there are certainly ways to make sure this technology is deployed legally. ... It's really the sort of law enforcement that we want," she said.

/////

rockford-files2.pngHere is something handy, a contract surely similar to the ones being currently hoarded by BCA and Hennepin County Sheriffs Office, a 2012 Harris Government Communications Systems Division June 25 2012 from the city of Tempe Arizona: Harris Corporation Wireless Surveillance Products Standard Terms and Conditions of Sale | Public Intelligence - 11 pages.

Harris Corporation’s “StingRay” Used by FBI for Warrantless Mobile Phone Tracking

Harris Corporation AmberJack, StingRay, StingRay II, KingFish Wireless Surveillance Products Price List. Thanks to PublicIntelligence.net as always for stacking the key infos nicely!

/////

December 2008: Harris Corporation Receives National Security Agency Certification for Type 1 Ethernet Module for SecNet 54

June 2013: Harris Corporation Receives NSA Type 1 Certification for Cryptographic Component of Anti-Scintillation/Anti-Jam Modem

July 2011: Harris Corporation's Small Secure Data Link Receives National Security Agency Certification - aka drone radios

January 2008: Harris Corporation Receives National Security Agency Certification for Falcon III Multiband Manpack Radio

Photo source: Ars Technica: Meet the machines that steal your phone’s data | Ars Technica

/////

Sen Mee Moua hounded by law enforcement: Mee Moua leaves state Senate, legacy | Minnesota Public Radio News - Laura Yuen June 29 2010

Yet Moua made waves with some law-enforcement officials this year when she proposed legislation that would ban police departments from sharing secret files on gang members and activities. Moua said she had concerns about racial profiling, especially of young African-Americans who she says could be entered into the database simply for being photographed with a known gang member. The proposal came after a series of scandals involving the now-defunct Metro Gang Strike Force.

"So she saw abuse in law enforcement, and I think that's why she wrote the bills she did," Limmer said. "Was it an overreach? Hmm. Some people might say so, but you could understand where she was coming from."

Some law-enforcement officials, though, painted Moua as a gang sympathizer. And Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said at the time that Moua was overreacting to isolated problems with the strike force.

"I think that overreaction has caused her to introduce reckless legislation that will jeopardize the safety of citizens, officers and case prosecutions," Fletcher said.

Moua said she was taken aback by the reaction from law enforcement.

"They wanted to make this about cops vs. dangerous criminals," she said. "But the actuality is it's about cops vs. people in the community who haven't done anything [wrong] and who were being profiled in these databases."

Chaska Police Chief Scott Knight said Moua has been known to question police practices -- which may have irked some law enforcement officials.

"While sometimes some of my peers had some frustrations, I thought she was very healthy for the global approach to law enforcement, and the balance with community and citizens' rights and fairness," Knight said.

/////

To paraphrase Rockford Files Jim says: "You can stomp someone into the ground using computer technology as a club"… Evil CEO guy: "To my knowledge none of this is illegal." Jim: "It should be!" The House on Willis Avenue is easily the most applicable episode to this scenario, with its combination of unregulated electronic spying and shady local government operations:

See also: Rockford files data surveillance didactic ending — Critical Commons

/////

Finally I would add there are several candidates for Pirate Party in Minneapolis in November - if you want to send the signal that these issues matter, consider voting for them. The two parties are almost certainly not going to help you and the other minor parties are all over the map.

Terrible proposed shield law spells doom for journalists, in particular me :[

mediashieldlawdifi.jpg

Here is some horrible news. I am inquiring further since of course it's people like me that this is intended to chill and/or enable grand juries to throw in prison without charges…. I have put in inquiries with MN Sens. Klobuchar and Franken offices to determine if they believe reporters should be divided into classes, and what is the deal with grand juries here and etc.

Full report by Kevin Gosztola, another non-journalist: Media Shield Law, Which Aims to Protect Only ‘Real Reporters,’ Moves Onward to the Senate | The Dissenter

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed legislation that would establish a federal shield law for reporters or journalists in the United States. The legislation was amended, before passing out of committee, to define who would be a “covered journalist” under the proposed shield legislation.

The proposed shield legislation, the Free of Flow of Information Act of 2013, was introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer as news of the Justice Department seizing an overly broad set of the Associated Press’ phone records for a leak investigation and of an FBI agent labeling Fox News reporter James Rosen an “aider, abettor and co-conspirator” in a leak investigation were making headlines. However, there is nothing immediately obvious in the proposed media shield that would protect the press from an agency in government committing those kind of abuses. It would not protect someone like New York Times reporter James Risen, who the administration of President Barack Obama has tried to force to testify against his source in a leak case despite protest from media organizations.[….]

MOAR: Why Sen. Feinstein Is Wrong About Who’s a “Real Reporter” | Electronic Frontier Foundation && Why “Members of the News Media” Should Welcome a Shield for the Act of Journalism | emptywheel

PASSED SENATE JUDICIARY: Text of S. 987: Free Flow of Information Act of 2013 (Introduced version) - GovTrack.us

S 987 IS

113th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 987

To maintain the free flow of information to the public by providing conditions for the federally compelled disclosure of information by certain persons connected with the news media.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 16, 2013

Mr. SCHUMER (for himself and Mr. GRAHAM) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


A BILL

To maintain the free flow of information to the public by providing conditions for the federally compelled disclosure of information by certain persons connected with the news media.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ‘Free Flow of Information Act of 2013’.

SEC. 2. COMPELLED DISCLOSURE FROM COVERED PERSONS.

(a) Conditions for Compelled Disclosure- In any proceeding or in connection with any issue arising under Federal law, a Federal entity may not compel a covered person to comply with a subpoena, court order, or other compulsory legal process seeking to compel the disclosure of protected information, unless a Federal court in the jurisdiction where the subpoena, court order, or other compulsory legal process has been or would be issued determines, after providing notice and an opportunity to be heard to such covered person--

(1) that the party seeking to compel disclosure of the protected information has exhausted all reasonable alternative sources (other than a covered person) of the protected information; and

(2) that--

(A) in a criminal investigation or prosecution--

(i) if the party seeking to compel disclosure is the Federal Government, based on public information or information obtained from a source other than the covered person, there are reasonable grounds to believe that a crime has occurred;

(ii) based on public information or information obtained from a source other than the covered person, there are reasonable grounds to believe that the protected information sought is essential to the investigation or prosecution or to the defense against the prosecution;

(iii) the Attorney General certifies that the decision to request compelled disclosure was made in a manner consistent with section 50.10 of title 28, Code of Federal Regulations, if compelled disclosure is sought by a member of the Department of Justice in circumstances governed by section 50.10 of title 28, Code of Federal Regulations; and

(iv) the covered person has not established by clear and convincing evidence that disclosure of the protected information would be contrary to the public interest, taking into account both the public interest in gathering and disseminating the information or news at issue and maintaining the free flow of information and the public interest in compelling disclosure (including the extent of any harm to national security); or

(B) in a matter other than a criminal investigation or prosecution, based on public information or information obtained from a source other than the covered person--

(i) the protected information sought is essential to the resolution of the matter; and

(ii) the party seeking to compel disclosure of the protected information has established that the interest in compelling disclosure clearly outweighs the public interest in gathering and disseminating the information or news at issue and maintaining the free flow of information.

(b) Limitations on Content of Information- A subpoena, court order, or other compulsory legal process seeking to compel the disclosure of protected information under subsection (a) shall, to the extent possible, be narrowly tailored in purpose, subject matter, and period of time covered so as to avoid compelling disclosure of peripheral, nonessential, or speculative information.

SEC. 3. EXCEPTION RELATING TO CRIMINAL CONDUCT.

(a) In General- Section 2 shall not apply to any information, record, document, or item obtained as the result of the eyewitness observations of, or obtained during the course of, alleged criminal conduct by the covered person, including any physical evidence or visual or audio recording of the conduct.

(b) Exception- This section shall not apply, and, subject to sections 4 and 5, section 2 shall apply, if the alleged criminal conduct is the act of communicating the documents or information at issue.

SEC. 4. EXCEPTION TO PREVENT DEATH, KIDNAPPING, SUBSTANTIAL BODILY INJURY, SEX OFFENSES AGAINST MINORS, OR INCAPACITATION OR DESTRUCTION OF CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE.

Section 2 shall not apply to any protected information that is reasonably necessary to stop, prevent, or mitigate a specific case of--

(1) death;

(2) kidnapping;

(3) substantial bodily harm;

(4) conduct that constitutes a criminal offense that is a specified offense against a minor (as those terms are defined in section 111 of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (42 U.S.C. 16911)), or an attempt or conspiracy to commit such a criminal offense; or

(5) incapacitation or destruction of critical infrastructure (as defined in section 1016(e) of the USA PATRIOT Act (42 U.S.C. 5195c(e))).

SEC. 5. EXCEPTION TO PREVENT TERRORIST ACTIVITY OR HARM TO THE NATIONAL SECURITY.

(a) In General- Section 2 shall not apply to any protected information if--

(1) the party seeking to compel disclosure is the Federal Government; and

(2)(A) in a criminal investigation or prosecution of the allegedly unlawful disclosure of properly classified information, the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the protected information for which compelled disclosure is sought would materially assist the Federal Government in preventing or mitigating--

(i) an act of terrorism; or

(ii) other acts that are reasonably likely to cause significant and articulable harm to national security; or

(B) in any other criminal investigation or prosecution, the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the protected information for which compelled disclosure is sought would materially assist the Federal Government in preventing, mitigating, or identifying the perpetrator of--

(i) an act of terrorism; or

(ii) other acts that have caused or are reasonably likely to cause significant and articulable harm to national security.

(b) Deference- In assessing the existence or extent of the harm described in subsection (a), a Federal court shall give appropriate deference to a specific factual showing submitted to the court by the head of any executive branch agency or department concerned.

(c) Relationship to Section 2- Subsection (a) shall not apply, and, subject to sections 3 and 4, section 2 shall apply, to any criminal investigation or prosecution of the allegedly unlawful disclosure of properly classified information other than one in which the protected information is sought by the Federal Government to prevent or mitigate the harm specified in subsection (a)(2)(A). In considering the extent of any harm to national security when applying section 2 to such cases, a Federal court shall give appropriate deference to any specific factual showing submitted to the court by the head of any executive branch agency or department concerned.

(d) Subsequent Unlawful Disclosure- The potential for a subsequent unlawful disclosure of information by the source sought to be identified shall not, by itself and without any showing of additional facts beyond such potential disclosure, be sufficient to establish that compelled disclosure of the protected information would materially assist the Federal Government in preventing or mitigating--

(1) an act of terrorism; or

(2) other acts that are reasonably likely to cause significant and articulable harm to national security.

SEC. 6. COMPELLED DISCLOSURE FROM COMMUNICATIONS SERVICE PROVIDERS.

(a) Conditions for Compelled Disclosure-

(1) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in paragraph (2), if any document or other information from the account of a person who is known to be, or reasonably likely to be, a covered person is sought from a communications service provider, sections 2 through 5 shall apply in the same manner that such sections apply to any document or other information sought from a covered person.

(2) EXCEPTION- If any document or other information from the account of a person who is known to be, or reasonably likely to be, a covered person is sought from a communications service provider under section 2709 of title 18, United States Code, the provisions of sections 2 through 5 governing criminal investigations and prosecutions shall apply in the same manner that such sections apply to any document or other information sought from a covered person in the course of a criminal investigation or prosecution, except that clauses (i) and (iii) of section 2(a)(2)(A) and the phrase ‘particularly with reference to directly establishing guilt or innocence’ in section 2(a)(2)(A)(ii) shall not apply.

(b) Notice and Opportunity Provided to Covered Persons- A Federal court may compel the disclosure of a document or other information described in this section only after the covered person from whose account the document or other information is sought has been given--

(1) notice from the party seeking the document or other information through a subpoena or other compulsory request, not later than the time at which such subpoena or request is issued to the communications service provider; and

(2) an opportunity to be heard before the court before compelling testimony or the disclosure of a document.

(c) Exception to Notice Requirement- Notice under subsection (b)(1) may be delayed for not more than 45 days if the Federal court involved determines by clear and convincing evidence that such notice would pose a substantial threat to the integrity of a criminal investigation, a national security investigation, or intelligence gathering, or that exigent circumstances exist. This period may be extended by the court for an additional period of not more than 45 days each time the court makes such a determination.

(d) Notice to Communications Service Provider- In all cases in which notice is required to be provided to the covered person under this section, a copy of such notice shall be provided simultaneously to the communications service provider from whom disclosure is sought. Once it has received such notice, the communications service provider shall not comply with the request for disclosure unless and until disclosure is either ordered by the court or authorized in writing by the covered person.

SEC. 7. SOURCES AND WORK PRODUCT PRODUCED WITHOUT PROMISE OR AGREEMENT OF CONFIDENTIALITY.

Nothing in this Act shall supersede, dilute, or preclude any law or court decision compelling or not compelling disclosure by a covered person or communications service provider of--

(1) information identifying a source who provided information without a promise or agreement of confidentiality made by the covered person as part of engaging in journalism; or

(2) records, other information, or contents of a communication obtained without a promise or agreement that such records, other information, or contents of a communication would be confidential.

SEC. 8. PROCEDURES FOR REVIEW AND APPEAL.

(a) Conditions for Ex Parte Review or Submissions Under Seal- With regard to any determination made by a Federal court under this Act, upon a showing of good cause, that Federal court may receive and consider submissions from the parties in camera or under seal, and if the court determines it is necessary, ex parte.

(b) Contempt of Court- With regard to any determination made by a Federal court under this Act, a Federal court may find a covered person to be in civil or criminal contempt if the covered person fails to comply with an order of a Federal court compelling disclosure of protected information.

(c) To Provide for Timely Determination- With regard to any determination to be made by a Federal court under this Act, that Federal court, to the extent practicable, shall make that determination not later than 30 days after the date of receiving a motion requesting the court make that determination.

(d) Expedited Appeal Process-

(1) IN GENERAL- The courts of appeal shall have jurisdiction--

(A) of appeals by a Federal entity or covered person of an interlocutory order of a Federal court under this Act; and

(B) in an appeal of a final decision of a Federal court by a Federal entity or covered person, to review any determination of a Federal court under this Act.

(2) EXPEDITION OF APPEALS- It shall be the duty of a Federal court to which an appeal is made under this subsection to advance on the docket and to expedite to the greatest possible extent the disposition of that appeal.

SEC. 9. RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.

Nothing in this Act may be construed to--

(1) preempt any law or claim relating to defamation, slander, or libel;

(2) modify the requirements of section 552a of title 5, United States Code, or Federal laws or rules relating to grand jury secrecy (except that this Act shall apply in any proceeding and in connection with any issue arising under that section or the Federal laws or rules relating to grand jury secrecy);

(3) create new obligations, or affect or modify the authorities or obligations of a Federal entity with respect to the acquisition or dissemination of information pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.); or

(4) preclude voluntary disclosure of information to a Federal entity in a situation that is not governed by this Act.

SEC. 10. AUDIT.

(a) In General- The Inspector General of the Department of Justice shall perform a comprehensive audit of the use of this Act during the period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act and ending on December 31, 2016. The audit shall include an examination of each instance in which a court failed to compel the disclosure of protected information under this Act, and whether this Act has created any procedural impediments that have had a detrimental operational impact on the activities of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

(b) Report- Not later than June 30, 2017, the Inspector General of the Department of Justice shall submit to the Committee on the Judiciary and the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate and the Committee on the Judiciary and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives a report containing the results of the audit conducted under subsection (a).

(c) Review- Not later than 30 days before the submission of the report under subsection (b), the Inspector General of the Department of Justice shall provide the report to the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. The Attorney General or the Director of National Intelligence may provide such comments to be included in the report submitted under subsection (b) as the Attorney General or the Director of National Intelligence may consider necessary.

(d) Form- The report submitted under subsection (b) and any comments included under subsection (c) shall be in unclassified form, but may include a classified annex.

SEC. 11. DEFINITIONS.

In this Act:

(1) COMMUNICATIONS SERVICE PROVIDER- The term ‘communications service provider’--

(A) means any person that transmits information of the customer’s choosing by electronic means; and

(B) includes a telecommunications carrier, an information service provider, an interactive computer service provider, and an information content provider (as such terms are defined in section 3 or 230 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 153 and 230)).

(2) COVERED PERSON- The term ‘covered person’--

(A) means a person who--

(i) with the primary intent to investigate events and procure material in order to disseminate to the public news or information concerning local, national, or international events or other matters of public interest, regularly gathers, prepares, collects, photographs, records, writes, edits, reports or publishes on such matters by--

(I) conducting interviews;

(II) making direct observation of events; or

(III) collecting, reviewing, or analyzing original writings, statements, communications, reports, memoranda, records, transcripts, documents, photographs, recordings, tapes, materials, data, or other information whether in paper, electronic, or other form;

(ii) has such intent at the inception of the process of gathering the news or information sought; and

(iii) obtains the news or information sought in order to disseminate the news or information by means of print (including newspapers, books, wire services, news agencies, or magazines), broadcasting (including dissemination through networks, cable, satellite carriers, broadcast stations, or a channel or programming service for any such media), mechanical, photographic, electronic, or other means;

(B) includes a supervisor, employer, parent company, subsidiary, or affiliate of a person described in subparagraph (A); and

(C) does not include any person who is or is reasonably likely to be--

(i) a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power, as those terms are defined in section 101 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801);

(ii) a member or affiliate of a foreign terrorist organization designated under section 219(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1189(a));

(iii) designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the Department of the Treasury under Executive Order No. 13224 (50 U.S.C. 1701);

(iv) a specially designated terrorist, as that term is defined in section 595.311 of title 31, Code of Federal Regulations (or any successor thereto);

(v) a terrorist organization, as that term is defined in section 212(a)(3)(B)(vi)(II) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(3)(B)(vi)(II));

(vi) committing or attempting to commit the crime of terrorism, as that offense is defined in section 2331(5) or 2332b(g)(5) of title 18, United States Code;

(vii) committing or attempting the crime of providing material support, as that term is defined in section 2339A(b)(1) of title 18, United States Code, to a terrorist organization; or

(viii) aiding, abetting, or conspiring in illegal activity with a person or organization defined in clauses (i) through (vii).

(3) DOCUMENT- The term ‘document’ means writings, recordings, and photographs, as those terms are defined by rule 1001 of the Federal Rules of Evidence (28 U.S.C. App.).

(4) FEDERAL ENTITY- The term ‘Federal entity’ means an entity or employee of the judicial or executive branch or an administrative agency of the Federal Government with the power to issue a subpoena or issue other compulsory process.

(5) PROPERLY CLASSIFIED INFORMATION- The term ‘properly classified information’ means information that is classified in accordance with any applicable Executive orders, statutes, or regulations regarding classification of information.

(6) PROTECTED INFORMATION- The term ‘protected information’ means--

(A) information identifying a source who provided information under a promise or agreement of confidentiality made by a covered person as part of engaging in journalism; or

(B) any records, contents of a communication, documents, or information that a covered person obtained or created--

(i) as part of engaging in journalism; and

(ii) upon a promise or agreement that such records, contents of a communication, documents, or information would be confidential.

////

This is Washington-Speak for "SILENCE PEONS - CHILLING EFFECTS ARE THE NEW FREEDOM". Ughhhh terrible. More to follow.

Suspended radio network warns against consolidation of industry // Low Power FM FCC applications due in October

A radio network that once syndicated such grumpycats as Laura Ingraham, Michael Savage and Monica Crowley, previously Dick Morris etc claims to be halting operations because of abuses by the massive Westwood One network, which is attempting to merge with Cumulus Radio.

Having driven around a lot lately, it's clear American radio is really quite terrible nowadays, with mindless auto-repeats of top hits copied and re-copied around the country, the only local content crudely spliced Emergency Alert System weather alerts. Talk Radio Network (TRN) seems pretty typical of the industry but indeed more consolidation will just make things worse.

Press release: SOURCE Monday, September 9, 2013 - TALKERS.COM

TRN Issues Response to Reports of Financial Problems at the Company. TALKERS magazine has received a press release from Talk Radio Network and CEO Mark Masters in response to reports of financial problems at the company. Below is the full press statement as received from TRN at 2:30 pm ET on 9/9:

ARE YOU DIAL GLOBAL’S (WESTWOOD ONE’S) NEXT VICTIM?

The truth about the proposed merger between Dial Global/Westwood One and Cumulus is a dark one for our industry. Dial Global/Westwood One’s market power in programming and sales representation, combined with Cumulus Network’s programming and distribution power in the top 100 U.S. markets, will have a devastating effect on most every area of the radio industry. Our previous experience with Dial Global/Westwood consists of improper, illegal, and/or unethical conduct that is set forth in the second amended complaint http://www.trn1.com/uploads/files/SecondAmendedComplaint.pdf in our pending antitrust action against Dial Global/Westwood One and others.   If this merger is allowed to occur, the results of our previous experiences with Dial Global/Westwood One will be magnified tenfold to radio stations and content producers, which will be at the mercy of the newly empowered Dial (Westwood One)/Cumulus and the leverage that can be brought to bear by this new behemoth.

If this merger is allowed to occur, the culture of corruption at Dial/Westwood, as described in our second amended complaint, and other filings, will surely infect and spread within the new behemoth entity and victimize the rest of the industry, resulting in a super monopoly.

Sadly, the actions described in the second amended complaint are forcing the TRN companies to cut back to the basic operating essentials pending resolution of the multiple issues raised in their legal actions against Dial Global/Westwood One. We had hoped that the change in management at Dial Global/Westwood One would bring about a new paradigm focused on correcting the prior harms in a manner which would be helpful to our companies and the industry as a whole. Sadly, recent events have shown that the opposite is true and that the behaviors that gave rise to the lawsuits against Dial/Westwood One are endemic throughout the Dial/Westwood One monopoly. The ruthless and unethical behaviors that have continued through multiple executive teams at Dial/Westwood are breathtaking in their scope and arrogance.

We encourage the rest of our industry to stand together, and with us, now. We have been in business for 20 years, and have had excellent relationships with the other companies in our industry during that time. But this is a horse of a different color. Please contact the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition (antitrust@ftc.gov) and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (antitrust.complaints@usdoj.gov or (202) 307-2040), your state’s Attorney General, and your local member of Congress about the dangers of this proposed merger and its threat to your First Amendment rights, business and products. As for us, we will continue to pursue Dial Global/Westwood One in federal court and other appropriate forums, for monopoly and other improper behaviors, expose the behaviors described in the second amended complaint, and achieve ultimate victory from the tragedy that Dial Global/Westwood One have imposed upon our companies and others within the industry.

DIAL/WESTWOOD ONE SCORES INITIAL VICTORY WITH ARNN

The actions described in the second amended complaint with respect to America’s Radio News Network (“ARNN”), and additional actions which will be the subject of future filings, have now succeeded on an interim basis with respect to ARNN. Specifically, ARNN has been forced to suspend its broadcast operations, effective at the close of its broadcast day on Friday, September 6, 2013, pending the successful outcome of its actions against Dial Global/Westwood. ARNN has arranged for appropriate feeds to be provided to its affiliates for a reasonable period of time to enable them to secure alternate programming.

AS TO RUMORS OF OTHER ONGOING OPERATIONS

All of the TRN companies have been severely damaged by the Dial Global/Westwood One conduct addressed above and also addressed in the various legal actions which the TRN companies have brought, or will bring, against Dial Global/Westwood.   That conduct has forced all of these companies to make wrenching internal decisions and to take painful internal actions. As Dial Global/Westwood One has been collecting our advertising revenues, but refusing to pay them over to us or to account for them, these companies have now been forced to reduce as many operating costs as possible. However, the current rumors of an alleged shutdown of broadcasting operations for non-ARNN programming are unfounded. Broadcasts of the other programs are continuing without interruption.

CALL TO ACTION!

If Dial/Westwood can do this to us, they certainly can do this to you – so you need to join together, and with us, in opposing this dangerous merger, with as much force as you can muster, so that you can have a future that is not controlled by a monopoly http://www.trn1.com/uploads/files/SecondAmendedComplaint.pdf

///////

See also :: Talk Radio Network - Wikipedia // Talk Radio Network: Company News //

Is anyone interested in Low power FM licenses? See FCC Update: Low Power Window Announced at Last! | Prometheus Radio Project Due in October with awesome 4 month window of opportunity :/

Preparing to Apply Checklist | Prometheus Radio Project

The new low power application form is out! To get a sense of what is on the application and what you need to do, Prometheus has prepared a checklist. This checklist is designed to help organizations along the path to apply for low power FM (LPFM) radio licenses.

Be sure to fill out the Prometheus applicant support form to get updates and support through the application process.

Click the number to the left to read the full details about each task.

Meet the FCC Requirements

(1)

We have confirmed that there is an available channel at our location.

(2)

We are an eligible nonprofit (or school, government agency, or Indian Tribe) and we can prove it.

(3)

The members of our board either meet all eligibility requirements or fall into the listed exceptions and we can prove it.

(4)

Our organization is based close enough to our transmitter site and can prove it.

(5)

We have a description of our organization’s educational program and ­how our proposed station will be used to advance it.

(6)

We have a detailed description of the nature of our proposed station programming and, if possible, program schedules.

Improve Your Chances

(7)

We meet the 2-year established community presence point and can prove it. +1 point!

(8)

We can pledge to produce at least 8 hours of locally originated programming every day. +1 point!

(9)

We can pledge to maintain a publicly accessible studio in our community and staff the studio at least 20 hours a week. +1 point!

(10)

We pledge to meet both of the above criteria (we will produce locally originated programming AND maintain a staffed studio). +1 point!

(11)

Our organization has no other broadcast stations. +1 point!

(12)

We are a Tribal Applicant and our station will be located on our Tribal lands. +1 point!

Find a Channel and Antenna Location

(13)  

We have identified an antenna location and we can prove that we have permission to use it.

(14)

If there are multiple channels available at our site, we have identified which one we will apply for.

(15)

Our proposed station complies with all technical rules and we have collected all necessary data about our antenna site.

(16)

We agree to operate within the power and height restrictions that the FCC will calculate based on the data we provide.

(17)

We have identified a possible studio location.

/////

Syndicate content