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FBI: Look Mom, We “Found” Another Terrorist!


The news this morning is full of the arrest of yet another American on charges of “attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.” Nobody’s suggesting that 20-year-old National Guardsman Nicholas Teausant of Acampo, CA is a terrorist, or that he provided any help whatsoever to terrorists, or that he was in contact, ever, with any actual terrorists. But, the media breathlessly report, he’s still facing charges that can put him in jail through to the 2030s.


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Google’s “Zeitgeist” List of Top 100 Search Terms of 2013 Includes Snowden; WP Writes Whole Article About How It Didn’t

Brian Fung, on the Washington Post’s “The Switch” blog, “reported” recently on Google’s “Zeitgeist” list of the top 100 search terms for 2013. His main interest in it, it appears, was to make the point that “Edward Snowden” wasn’t one of them, and therefore that the public really doesn’t care that much about the surveillance abuses uncovered by his whistleblowing.

A picture of Snowden courtesy of a Kerala, India newspaper - because the world don't care, right?

A picture of Snowden courtesy of a newspaper in south India – because the world doesn’t care, right?

You know what’s funny? Snowden is on the list. True, he’s at #97. But you’d think that if you were going to write a whole article about how unimportant this silly little man is, and if you were going to use presence on Google’s list as the sole determinant of what people care about, then you’d actually bother to find out whether he was on it first.

Not, clearly, if you’re Brian Fung of the Washington Post. Facts are for the little people. So if you actually want to know what’s on the list – you won’t find the full list anywhere else on the Internet – keep reading.

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The Day We Fight Back: Join the resistance against mass surveillance!

The Internet is organizing to oppose mass surveillance on February 11, the anniversary of Aaron Swartz’s passing. We’re calling it The Day We Fight Back. This is what we’re doing and how you can get involved.

Call Your Congressmember
Both of our Senators here in Massachusetts and four of our Congressmembers (Tierney, McGovern, Capuano, Keating) have co-sponsored the USA FREEDOM Act, which represents the best near-term chance of meaningful reform of the surveillance state. Now would be an excellent time for newly minted Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D-Malden) to follow through on her pledge during the campaign to oppose mass surveillance. We’ll be coordinating calls with the ACLU of Massachusetts and others to try to get all nine of our U. S. House members to support it. We need volunteers for all nine congressional districts, so if you can, please sign up to help below.

UPDATE: Courtesy of PrivacySOS, we have news that Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA08) has signed on as a cosponsor. That now makes a majority of Massachusetts representatives cosponsoring the USA Freedom Act.

Cryptoparty at Northeastern
Cryptoparties train members of the public in techniques that go some way toward protecting your communications and your personal data from intrusion by outsiders (non-governmental or governmental). In collaboration with the Tor Project, the Massachusetts Pirate Party, the ACLU of Massachusetts, the National Lawyers’ Guild and others, we’re putting on a cryptoparty at Northeastern University:

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New England mobilizes against the surveillance state: Updates from ME, NH and RI

In the states and the cities of New England, unparalleled, cross-partisan, cross-racial coalitions are forming, bringing together libertarians, Tea Party people, technologists, peace and environmental activists, Occupy folks, veterans’ groups, people of color, religious groups and progressive Democrats. The nation may never have seen people of such disparate views united under one banner.

Three examples from just this last month:

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Thousands to Rally in DC Against Mass Surveillance on Patriot Act Anniversary 10/26

We’re now at over 4,000 signups for the anti-NSA rally down in DC this Saturday!

We’re looking for people who are driving down to DC from New England and have space in their car for fellow protesters: please email me if that’s you!


We’ll deliver a petition with over half a million signatures to Congress, We’ll demand real NSA reforms and an end to mass surveillance programs that do an end-run around the Fourth Amendment. It’s time for the lies to end.

To sign the petition:
To join the rally:

Details below the fold:

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How to Prevent the Coming Surveillance Dystopia: Endnote at PirateCon 2013

Footage of my endnote at PirateCon 2013:

Help get this anti-PRISM video on the air

Our friends over at Fight for the Future are creating a video that explains PRISM and the NSA’s unconstitutional mass surveillance programs, in order to help build opposition.

They need to raise another $10,000 to have the video produced and released. Check out the trailer, and give if you can!

#MassWiretap Campaign Breaks 3,000 Signatures After Just 7 Days

The #MassWiretap campaign to prevent passage of a bill that would greatly loosen Massachusetts’ wiretapping laws has reached over 3,000 signatures after only seven days. And today, our partners at Demand Progress, the advocacy group founded by Aaron Swartz, have launched their part of the petition campaign. David Segal, Demand Progress’s Executive Director, had this to say:

“For this to happen less than a month after the revelations of NSA spying is an outrage. To make matters worse, the bill they’re considering wouldn’t just expand wiretapping – it also gets rid of a clause that makes privacy a crucial constraint on lawmaking. That tells us that our lawmakers know this expansion is a grave danger to our privacy, but that they don’t think that’s important anymore. Right now, Massachusetts has some of the strongest privacy protections on wiretapping. Let’s keep it that way.”


[UPDATE] 600 new signatures from Demand Progress in the first hour of their petition!
[UPDATE x 2] Another 510 signatures by 6pm from Demand Progress and now BORDC too, takes us over 3,000!

#MassWiretap Press Release: NSA-Style Phone Tapping Coming to Massachusetts?

NSA-Style Phone Tapping Coming to Massachusetts? New alliance of civil liberties groups opposes massive expansion of Massachusetts wiretapping law


Alex Marthews, President, Digital Fourth, 781 258-2936,

The recent NSA spying scandals have rocked the DC establishment and shocked the public. However, that hasn’t stopped a new bill before the Mass. Legislature that actually loosens Massachusetts’ wiretapping laws (Mass. Gen. Laws. 272.99). Digital Fourth, a new group named in honor of the 4th Amendment, is leading a coalition of six civil liberties groups to oppose the bill, and is launching a petition campaign today.

The bill, called “An Act Updating The Wire Interception Law” (S. 654 / H. 3261), will come up for a hearing before the Judiciary Committee of the Massachusetts legislature on July 9. Its major provisions:

1) Remove the requirement that an electronic wiretapping warrant be connected with organized crime, or indeed with serious crimes more generally. Potentially, even minor crimes like marijuana possession could become eligible for wiretapping by state authorities.

2) Double the length of an authorized wiretap, from 15 to 30 days.

3) Legalize mass interception of communications at telecommunications switching stations, rather than through individual wiretaps on individual phone numbers.

Alex Marthews, founder of Digital Fourth, comments, “The mass interception provisions are especially worrying. Both the Fourth Amendment and our own state constitution’s Article XIV forbid ‘general warrants’ that tap entire streams of personal information without specifying ahead of time what’s being searched for and whose records are being searched. This bill undermines basic liberties that have served us well for over two hundred years.”

As this bill and other privacy legislation come before the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee, the nation’s eyes are on Massachusetts. Will our Legislature react to the recent terrorist attacks with panic, throwing away two centuries of our historic commitment to civil liberties? Will they allow state law enforcement the kind of Orwellian powers to track our phone calls that Congress unwisely gave to federal intelligence agencies? Or will they set an example for how Americans can roll back an increasingly intrusive surveillance state?

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