This is not new. But I guess if we look at the details of the Snowden revelations the story becomes only a little more interesting. The article opens by declaring that the government spies
on most Americans through our computers, phones, cars, buses, streetlights, at airports and on the street, via mobile scanners and drones, through our credit cards and smart meters, televisions, dolls, and many other ways.
Computers? Of course. Phones? Oh, yeah. And it’s not just the government. What’s crazy is that the government grants use permits for the surveillance technology to other companies. If you work for a company that requires a phone app to conduct business, you are handing over all of your personal data, your contacts, your location, your browsing history, everything you might use on a smart phone, you are handing over, not just to government warehouses where they store the information but to sociopathic employers who want to satisfy their envy. Does the government have contractual agreements, coerced or willingly agreed to, to install surveillance software programmed into cars? You betcha. Buses? Oh, hells yes. Streetlights? Streetlights! The better to see you with? Almost. Or the better to hear you with. I’ve seen this. The funds came from Obama’s 2009, American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, creating what he and his staff liked to call Shovel Ready jobs. I recall how the shovel ready funds arrived in my town, which received nearly $4 million in funding. The funds were dedicated to retro-fitting a freeway on-ramp. The project of retrofitting lasted for years. They had to get that retrofitting just right. Then the second installment of funds arrived and a section of a main boulevard in my old town was repaved and streetlights went up. Lots of them. Redundant amounts. I noticed, too, how the light coming from the lights was a muffled yellow light that didn’t really seem to light the street for drivers or pedestrians. Odd. Or was it? Perhaps not. So if the lights weren’t installed to illuminate the street, they were apparently put in to illuminate the conversations of residents within earshot east and west of the boulevard. It took the city a total of four years to complete a one-mile stretch of the boulevard. That was my suspicion then. And then I read this from 2013, four years into the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (remember Clinton’s Community Reinvestment Act? It’s what led to the subprime mortgage crisis) and the tail end of the street construction:
Street lights that can spy installed in some American cities
America welcomes a new brand of smart street lightning systems: energy-efficient, long-lasting, complete with LED screens to show ads. They can also spy on citizens in a way George Orwell would not have imagined in his worst nightmare.
With a price tag of $3,000+ apiece, according to an ABC report, the street lights are now being rolled out in Detroit, Chicago and Pittsburgh, and may soon mushroom all across the country.
Part of the Intellistreets systems made by the company Illuminating Concepts, they have a number of “homeland security applications” attached.
Each has a microprocessor “essentially similar to an iPhone,” capable of wireless communication. Each can capture images and count people for the police through a digital camera, record conversations of passers-by and even give voice commands thanks to a built-in speaker.
Ron Harwood, president and founder of Illuminating Concepts, says he eyed the creation of such a system after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the Hurricane Katrina disaster. He is “working with Homeland Security” to deliver his dream of making people “more informed and safer.”
Not to be outdone by Obama’s extensive 2009 spying program affectionately known at the American Recovery [recovery from what?] and Reinvestment Act, Obama signed into law a second wave of shovel ready funds anointed by the very proletariat description of American Jobs Act. You’ve got to love the titles of these tax-funded bamboozles. Remember this?
The following article is reprinted here from expressed written permission from Washtingon’s Blog.
NSA Uses Trick to Spy On Americans
The government is spying on most Americans through our computers, phones, cars, buses, streetlights, at airports and on the street, via mobile scanners and drones, through our credit cards and smart meters, televisions, dolls, and in many other ways.
Yesterday, ZDNet reported that the NSA uses a trick to get around the few flimsy American laws on spying … they shuttle internet traffic overseas so they can pretend they’re monitoring foreign communications:
A new analysis of documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden details a highly classified technique that allows the National Security Agency to “deliberately divert” US internet traffic, normally safeguarded by constitutional protections, overseas in order to conduct unrestrained data collection on Americans.
According to the new analysis, the NSA has clandestine means of “diverting portions of the river of internet traffic that travels on global communications cables,” which allows it to bypass protections put into place by Congress to prevent domestic surveillance on Americans.
. . .
One leaked top secret document from 2007 details a technique that allows the intelligence agency to exploit the global flow of internet data by tricking internet traffic into traveling through a set and specific route, such as undersea fiber cables [http://bit.ly/14VFDL2] that the agency actively monitors.
Leaked NSA document from 2007. (Image: source document)
The document’s example noted Yemen, a hotspot for terrorism and extremist activity. It is difficult to monitor because the NSA has almost no way to passively monitor internet traffic from the cables that run in and out of the country. By shaping the traffic, the agency can trick internet data to pass through undersea cables that are located on friendlier territory.
Goldberg’s research takes that logic and focuses it on US citizens, whose data and communications is out of bounds for the intelligence agencies without a valid warrant from the surveillance court.
The government only has to divert their internet data outside of the US to use the powers of the executive order to legally collect the data as though it was an overseas communication. Two Americans can send an email through Gmail, for example, but because their email is sent through or backed up in a foreign data center, the contents of that message can become “incidentally collected” under the executive order’s surveillance powers.
Thomas Drake – one of the top NSA executives, and Senior Change Leader within the NSA – blew the whistle on this deceptive practice more than a decade ago.
For his troubles, Drake was prosecuted under the Espionage Act and literally framed by the government.
Postscript: Drake also notes that the government is storing for the long-term just about everythingthey’re collecting.