Surveillance

Stealing secret records about government spying used to be way more complicated

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In 1971, a group of radicals broke into an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania and stole a bunch of documents about J. Edgar Hoover’s surveillance program targeting dissidents and antiwar activists.

Thanks to their criminal act, which they followed up by anonymously sending copies of the files to major media outlets, awareness of FBI spying under Cointelpro penetrated mainstream consciousness.Read more »

You can't see me

High concept anti-surveillance fashion finds mass appeal

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caitlin@sfbg.com

SURVEILLANCE It's all a mess: the government is suddenly (to those of us waking from our Twinkie nap) spying on us. Mulder and Scully were right, trust is for the foolish and undisturbed sleep is for the ignorant.

All the more reason to go out. Authoritarian regime is no excuse for poor style, says New York high tech fashion designer Adam Harvey. And armed with his projects, drone-defeating tactics can look damn good.Read more »

All eyes on us

The NSA surveillance scandal is rooted in the Bay Area. Who was involved, when did it start -- and how can you protect your privacy?

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rebecca@sfbg.com

About 500 people packed into Berkeley's St. John's Presbyterian Church on June 11, days after revelations of a massive National Security Agency electronic surveillance program had hit the news.

They were there for panel talk titled "Our Vanishing Civil Liberties," and the discussion revolved around Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old former employee of NSA contractor Booz Allen Hamilton who leaked top-secret documents to reveal the scope of the massive NSA spying infrastructure, triggering a firestorm of public debate internationally.Read more »

Panel sees Orwellian overtones in NSA spying scandal

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It is now public knowledge that the NSA has been spying on us (unless you’ve been living under a rock and, lucky for you, exempt from digital surveillance) thanks to the information leaked by Edward Snowden last week.

In the wake of this scandal, people crowded into St. John’s Presbyterian Church in Berkeley on Tuesday, June 11, to participate in a panel discussion titled “Our Vanishing Civil Liberties,” centered around the intricacies of government intrusion and spying in the age of the War on Terror.Read more »

A 'reasonable' cheek swab

Supreme Court ruling on DNA brings California's more expansive law into focus

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Rebecca@sfbg.com

On June 3, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it's legal for law enforcement to collect DNA samples from people who are arrested — even when the individuals taken into custody are never convicted of a crime. The justices were narrowly split, and the decision immediately drew criticism from civil liberties advocates like American Civil Liberties Union, who characterized it as a blow to American's Fourth Amendment right to privacy.Read more »

Dianne Feinstein fails

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You have to have your head deeper in the sand than the worst Republicans not to have noticed that the federal government has been busted spying on all of us. Pretty much every cell phone call you make, and just about everything you do with social media or email, is being monitored be the National Security Agency to make sure you're not a terrorist. Read more »

NSA spying extends to Internet companies, reports say

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As if a top secret court order requiring Verizon to hand telephone records over to the National Security Agency weren't enough, the UK Guardian is now reporting that the federal government's spying program extends to online communications, through a program granting the NSA "direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US Internet giants." The program is called PRISM, and details about it were provided in Read more »

NSA spying on Verizon calls is nothing new

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So, the federal government is spying on millions of Americans. Still. And this time, there’s a document to prove it.

In a momentous scoop by journalist Glenn Greenwald, the UK Guardian has published a top secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order requiring Verizon to turn over all call records to the National Security Agency.Read more »

Bay to Breakers will have video surveillance, license plate scans, and secret "FBI assets"

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Police video surveillance was in the spotlight during yesterday's City Hall hearing on security measures at large events, as supervisors voiced a desire to strike the right balance between security and civil liberties. And while they got some reassurance and small signs of restraint from the SFPD, they also learned about secretive new security measures that go beyond what the public was aware of.Read more »

Hearing on event security as SFPD pushes police state

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Just a few weeks ago, Sup. Scott Wiener, civil libertarians, and I were raising concerns here about the SFPD unilaterally expanding its video surveillance reach. Then came the bombings at the Boston Marathon, which the SFPD used to seriously up the ante in the police state pot, asking for real time video surveillance up and down Market Street and banning backpacks at Bay to Breakers.

Now, I'm not one to stand in the way of reasonable security precautions. But we shouldn't just defer to the SFPD on whatever it says it wants because then we'll have cameras on every corner, spy drones overhead, stop-and-frisk, and an ever-greater portion of our tax dollars going to expand the police state. Because the cops will always want more tools to police us, tools they will always say they need to protect us – it's just in their nature. But it's up to the rest of us to strike the right balance and not lose our heads every time some whack-job resorts to violence.

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