Domain seizure just got even more scary.

  big_brother dhs dns domain_registration economic_warfare internet seizure

I remember, once upon a time, when it was said by many that the Internet transcended mere political boundries. A user in the United States could chat with another user in France, read breaking news in Japan, and swap code with hackers in Iceland. Those were the times when it cost beaucoup to register your own domain; Network Solutions was the only game in town and you paid through the sinuses to own smartcards.com or energy-efficient-lanters.org. That began to change around 1999 or 2000 and now anybody with a couple of bucks to spare can register a domain …

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Could getting a US passport get much more difficult in the near future?

  wtf background_checks big_brother international_travel paperwork passport us

Note: All links anonymized due to the possibility that Someone might subpoena web server logs.

Earlier today during my morning news crawl (Twitter has pretty much supplanted everything I used before due to how fast word travels on that service, even Google News) I ran across something that made me shiver while considering the implications: the US Department of State is considering implementing new paperwork that United States citizens would have to fill out to apply for a passport which includes a biographical questionnaire that asks some pretty outlandish things which are analyzed in depth here. The proposed form, called …

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A day late and a dollar short, but we're the ones who'll pay.

  big_brother calea fbi internet privacy social_networking software surveillance us wiretapping

For nearly twenty years in the United States a law called CALEA (Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act of 1994) has been on the books. To summarize, CALEA set the federal requirement that telecommunications companies (phone companies, long distance companies, cellular carriers, and so forth) had to modify their infrastructures such that various forms of wiretapping of customers had to be possible upon presentation of a warrant. Contrary to popular belief, there are methods of surveillance other than recording a conversation. The simplest involves making a list of every phone number that a particular number calls, when the calls were …

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Is DC trying to become more like Great Britain?

  big_brother cameras dc surveillance

Chances are if you've been on the Net in the past couple of years you've heard about the neigh-omnipresent surveillance network Great Britain has built. It's been said that there are over four million securicams watching the street, alleys, storefronts, street corners, front stoops; to put it another way, that's about one camera for every fourteen people, though some estimates are higher than that. That's a scary number if you think about it a little. Did you know, however, that my hometown of Washington, DC is building its own panopticon network?

In hindsight it shouldn't be that surprising. From time …

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More on the TSA's power trip.

  action big_brother harassment profit shady travel tsa usa wtf

Note: I started working on this article the day after the first one went up. Since that time, I've been keeping an eye on things while on vacation in Pennsylvania and collecting another queue of a few dozen links to sort through. I've also had a couple of disressing conversations with people which went something like this: "The TSA is there to keep us safe when traveling. It's worth being imaged nude to stay safe. It's worth being skin searched to stay safe. No, the TSA would never hire screeners who abuse their power. No screeners are abusing their power …

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The TSA is listening to the people, all right...

  big_brother freedom_of_speech threats travel tsa usa wtf

I was originally going to fold this into my follow-up post on the TSA's "get imaged by a pornoscanner or get felt up by a screener" policy but I think this deserves to be brought up by itself, lest it get lost in the noise.

The US TSA is most certainly listening to everyone pushing for them to stop degrading people and do something which actually increases security. They are paying attention. And they have decided to say that everyone kicking up a fuss is a threat. The high points of an internal TSA document were sent anonymously to a …

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The people said "No more!" and the TSA said "Shut your pie holes!"

  big_brother dhs government privacy retribution scanners travel tsa usa wtf x_ray

First, I'd like to give special thanks to I/Oerror who's been keeping a hawk's eye on this. I found a couple of the articles for this post on his Twitter feed during my daily news crawl. I wish I had the time to dedicate to scanning feeds constantly for stuff like this.

I haven't been posting about this for two reasons: first, because hearing that stuff like this is going on within the United States of America to decent people who haven't done anything upsets me greatly. There is simply no reason to mistreat people like this, all it …

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Proposed bill will require wiretapping, cryptographic insecurity of services operating within the USA.

  crypto surveillance big_brother bill communications congress internet law_enforcement usa

Once upon a time, monitoring someone's communications was a relatively simple matter for law enforcement: they sent someone out to the pole or the side of the house with a hex driver and patched a transmitter into the pair of wires leading into the building that would kick on and send both ends of any conversations to a listening post some distance away. Since then, technology's changed just a bit (consider this my entry for the Understatement of the Year Award) but the powers that be are finding themselves hard pressed to keep up. In the year 1994 a law …

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Saloncon, unashamed gamers, and a beacon in your pocket.

  announcement big_brother cellphones convention gaming monitoring rpg saloncon steampunk surveillance tracking victoriana

Word has come down from the state of New Jersey that Saloncon, the first known neo-victorian convention in the United States, is no more. Following the tribulations of 2009, including the economy floating upside down in its fishbowl, the organizers are not able to set the wheels in motion for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, the organizers have branched out in new directions in their personal lives and do not have the time or energy right now to put on a convention as a result. saloncon will certainly be missed; I know I shall miss the yearly trek to …

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If only the private sector got turnaround times like this.

  accident big_brother black_lines fibre moblog_fail outage secrets telecom tla virginia

Not too far away from where I live is Tyson's Corner, Virginia, a veritable hotspot of commerce, .com site headquarters, overpriced stores, and shopping malls of assorted shapes, sizes, and funny looks given if you walk in wearing ripped jeans and a "DIE YUPPIE SCUM" t-shirt. Since I moved into the DC metroplex back in '05 the Tyson's Corner area has been in one stage or another of the planning and construction of a new Metrorail station. Obviously, this involves a certain amount of disruption of daily life from crews busily tearing up the roads, highways, sidwalks, and parking lots …

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