CNN’s Samuel Burke reports at least 950 million Android phones are at risk of being hacked by simply receiving a text message.
BY PERRY JONES
Within the memory of those who’ve been alive for more than a few decades, there was a time in the United States when court orders were defied and laws were ignored in the name of conscience and ‘a higher law.’
At the time, defiance of such mandates and court orders became like a veritable badge of honor.
The 1960s era of civil disobedience set the country on a new trajectory whose repercussions still reverberate. In fact, some of the concern pertaining to hedonistic trends in our culture today may be traced back to this era of extreme and violent challenges to the status quo.
That extreme response, then, was nothing new. Americans have never been strangers to rebelliousness and lawbreaking. After all, what was our own revolution but a rebellion to overthrow the King and Parliament, disobedience taken to the extreme – outright war!
Putting a wet finger in the air to gauge the winds of social direction, there are indications of a brewing period of greater civil disobedience ahead. This time, opposed to the 1960s, it will be led by sentiment from the right.
What are the indicators?
A precursor may be found in the response to the Oklahoma Supreme Court decision that ordered a monument of the Ten Commandments removed from the Capitol by a 7-2 vote.
The court saw the Commandments were “religious in nature and an integral part of the Jewish and Christian faiths” and must go.
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has refused. Oklahoma lawmakers have filed legislation to let voters remove from their constitution the very article that the justices had invoked, which would allow the monument to remain. Some legislators even want the justices to be impeached.
Fallin’s action – refusing to follow the decision of the state’s Supreme Court – is tantamount to the 1960s style civil disobedience and likely harbinger of more to come. In fact, examples galore already swirl around us, albeit at a low velocity at present.
The U.S. past is rich with stories of such rebellious responses, which have been lionized and embedded into our history. Beginning with the characters and sub-plots that led to and through the Revolutionary War; to the anti-slavery fanatic John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry and his hanging; to the open rejection of the Volstead Act that brought an end to prohibition; to Rosa Parks refusal to give up her seat on that Birmingham bus; to Dr. Martin Luther King’s directive:
“one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”
These are only a few of the countless stories celebrated for how a demonstration of courageous rebellion positively changed the future.
Today, a pizza shop owner in Iowa and a bakery owner in Oregon assert their Christian beliefs prohibit them from providing service to a same-sex wedding. They are both vilified and celebrated, but one of these will prevail in the longer run.
Many businesses have not complied with the Obamacare mandate to provide contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs to their employees. Many priests and pastors continue to refuse to perform same-sex marriages and churches and chapels refuse to host them and Christian colleges and universities deny their married-couple facilities to homosexuals.
The LGBT community strives to make it a violation of federal civil rights law for those Christians to refuse these services. But, as history shows, even with legislation in place, many will follow the advice of Dr King: “one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”
The chasm between values in United States, on issues as fundamental as right and wrong, good and bad, proper and improper, has never been so wide and deep.
If America were a family, the family would fall apart. The parents would divorce. The children would go their separate ways, with Google as their God.
Twenty five years ago, Arthur Schlesinger Jr. wrote that America is disuniting.
At the beginning of a post-Christian/anti-Christian era, divisions on social, moral, cultural and political values and views are accelerating that disuniting.
The trend is likely to continue as history indicates legislation can’t ensure 100% compliance by forcing Americans for compromise or sacrifice their beliefs and values.
How powerful and far-reaching is the National Security Agency’s (NSA) Google-like search engine, known as XKeyscore? Alexey Yaroshevsky examines the facts from the Edward Snowden leaks and looks into how the engine is used to search for specific online communications.
Published on Jun 25, 2015
New images of America’s historic top-secret military aerospace testing facility have been posted at Terraserver. The base looks busier than ever, with no less than four “Janet” 737s and a turboprop on the terminal ramp. But the biggest change on base has to do with the new huge south-base hangar, which now appears nearly complete.
If we can lock down this chance to film the base, we could come out of there with the best images to date. We could not only get the most updated shots, But the first video of the hanger. Make sure to bookmark the livestream and live feed links.
Infowars first warned of PC microphone snooping nearly a decade ago
by PAUL JOSEPH WATSON | JUNE 23, 2015
Almost a decade after Infowars first warned that corporations may be spying on computer users via PC microphones, it has now come to light that secretly installed Google software is doing precisely that.
“The Chromium browser – the open source basis for Google’s Chrome – began remotely installing audio-snooping code that was capable of listening to users,” reports the London Guardian.
The software was designed to work with Chrome’s ‘OK, Google’ hotword detection, which functions in response to voice commands given by the user – but in some cases the software was installed and activated without permission.
“Without consent, Google’s code had downloaded a black box of code that – according to itself – had turned on the microphone and was actively listening to your room,” writes Pirate party founder Rick Falkvinge. “Which means that your computer had been stealth configured to send what was being said in your room to somebody else, to a private company in another country, without your consent or knowledge, an audio transmission triggered by … an unknown and unverifiable set of conditions.”
Google has denied the accusations, asserting that users have to “opt-in” before the software is activated, but developers insist otherwise.
“The default install will still wiretap your room without your consent, unless you opt out, and more importantly, know that you need to opt out, which is nowhere a reasonable requirement,” said Falkvinge.
Way back in 2006 we first reported that both the state and corporations were moving to utilize microphones attached to people’s computers to eavesdrop on their conversations, as well as for building psychological profiles for the purposes on invasive, Minority Report-style advertising.
Indeed, that same year Google announced that they were developing software that would use PC microphones to listen to ambient background noise in order to generate “relevant content” for the user.
“Since at least 150 million Americans are Internet-active they will all be potential targets for secret surveillance and the subsequent sell-off of all their information to unscrupulous data mining corporations and government agencies,” we reported nearly nine years ago.
Other companies have also been accused of using voice recognition software to spy on conversations.
Since its launch in 2010, Microsoft’s X-Box Kinect games device has a video camera and a microphone that records speech. The company informs its users that they “should not expect any level of privacy concerning your use of the live communication features,” while Microsoft also “may access or disclose information about you, including the content of your communications.”
Last year, Microsoft was forced to deny claims that the Xbox One’s Kinect camera could see gamers’ genitals after video footage emerged which suggested the device’s IR camera was so sophisticated that it could capture the outline of a user’s penis.
Gamers also complained that Kinect was monitoring their Skype conversations for swearing and then punishing them with account bans.
An old law has come to the forefront, and it’s being applied in a way that could affect what you do on your PC. In a case close to the Boston Marathon bombings, a federal court will decide if the deletion of browser history was an obstruction of justice.
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act was signed into law by President Bush in 2002, largely in response to the 2001 Enron scandal. Though it deals mostly with corporate financial reporting, it is now being used for an entirely different purpose.
Khairullozhon Matanov, a former taxi driver and acquaintance of the Boston Marathon bombers, is due in court next week. But it’s not because he knew about the bombings beforehand, or because he participated in the attacks.
Instead, his crime was deleting his browser history in the days following the bombings. He’s been charged with obstruction of justice for the deed, and could spend the next 20 years in prison.
Prosecutors are clutching to one section of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which details severe penalties for “destroying, mutilating, concealing, falsifying records, documents, or tangible objects” with intent to impede or stall a federal investigation.
A Grand Jury indictment from May 29, 2014 states that Matanov “deleted a large amount of information from his Google Chrome Internet cache” following the bombing, including “references to the video of the suspected bombers [later identified as the Tsarnaevs]…two of the photographs of the bombers released at approximately the same time…[and] a photograph of Officer Sean Collier, who had been allegedly killed by Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev.”
Matanov also faces three other counts stemming from allegations that he lied to investigators about his activities and relationship with the Tsarnaev brothers. Those carry a sentence of up to eight years each.
Although he maintains his innocence, Matanov pleaded guilty to all charges earlier this year, hoping that the US district judge will accept his plea agreement for a 30-month sentence.
Many online have responded to news of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act being used against internet users, expressing anger that a seemingly innocent task could land a person in jail for two decades.
The senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Hanni Fakhoury, says that Washington wants – and believes it is entitled to – all online data for policing purposes.
“Don’t even think about deleting anything that may be harmful to you, because we (the government) may come after you at some point in the future for some unforeseen reason and we want to be able to have access to that data. And if we don’t have access to that data, we’re going to slap an obstruction charge that has as 20-year maximum on you,” Fakhoury told The Nation.
Others were quick to point out that the law only applies to those who knowingly delete data with intent to impede or stall a federal investigation.
But according to The Nation’s Juliana DeVries, the law can be applied broadly because prosecutors “do not have to show that the person deleting evidence knew there was an investigation underway.”
She cited the case of David Kernell, a University of Tennessee student who entered Sarah Palin’s email account in 2010 and changed her password to “popcorn.”
Although entering Palin’s email was considered a misdemeanor, Kernell was convicted of a felony for deleting his internet history afterwards because his alleged awareness of a potential investigation into his conduct was enough to uphold the charge.
For the moment, it remains unclear just how broadly the Sarbanes-Oxley Act can be used by prosecutors in the digital age, or how much data citizens should preserve in case they find themselves part of an investigation.