White Fright – By Reihan Salam Sept 4 2015


Does Donald Trump represent the ascendancy of white nationalism on the American right?

Is this the face of white nationalism? Donald Trump in New York, Sept. 3, 2015. Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Fear of “white nationalism” is very much in vogue. To Thomas Edsall, writing in the New York Times, the rise of Donald Trump is a predictable consequence of the fact that the Republican Party is “the home of an often angry and resentful white constituency,” which fears that discrimination against whites is a growing problem. Evan Osnos of the New Yorker, in a similar vein, seeks to explain the Trump phenomenon by viewing it through the lens of radical white nationalists, who warn that white Americans face cultural genocide as their numerical majority shrinks. Ben Domenech, publisher of the Federalistargues that Republicans face a choice: They can build their coalition around a more inclusive libertarian vision, the path that he prefers, or they can follow Trump and redefine themselves as the defenders of white interests in a bitterly divided multiracial society.

Does Donald Trump represent the ascendancy of white nationalism on the American right? I’m skeptical, for a number of reasons. While anti-immigration rhetoric is certainly a big part of Trump’s appeal, it is also true that he fares particularly well among the minority of Republican voters who identify themselves as moderate or liberal. As a general rule, moderate and liberal Republicans are more favorably inclined toward amnesty and affirmative action than their conservative counterparts. Moreover, as Jason Willick of the American Interest has observed, the leading second-choice candidates are Ben Carson, the black neurosurgeon, and Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, both of whom are senators of Cuban descent, the latter of whom played a leading role in crafting immigration reform legislation. Granted, it could still be true that Trump is benefiting from white racial resentment. It’s just not clear to me that Trump is anything more than Herman Cain with an extra billion or so dollars in the bank and over a decade’s worth of experience as host of one of network television’s most popular reality shows.

Nevertheless, I believe that white identity politics is indeed going to become a more potent force in the years to come, for the simple reason that non-Hispanic whites are increasingly aware of the fact that they are destined to become a minority of all Americans. According to current projections, that day will come in 2044. Non-Hispanic whites will become a minority of eligible voters a few years later, in 2052. According to States of Change, a report by Ruy Teixeira, William H. Frey, and Robert Griffin, California and Texas are set to join Hawaii and New Mexico in having majority-minority electorates in the next few years, and several other states will follow in the 2030s.

Why does it matter that in the near future, non-Hispanic whites will become a minority in one state after another? The most obvious reason is that non-Hispanic whites might lose their sense of security. They will be outnumbered and outvoted. If they remain wealthier than average, as seems likely, they might fear that majority-minority constituencies will vote to redistribute their wealth. Over time, they might resent seeing their cultural symbols give way to those of minority communities—which is to say the cultural symbols of other minority communities.

In a 1916 essay in the Atlantic, Randolph Bourne, at the time one of America’s leading left-wing intellectuals, attacked the melting-pot ideal, in which immigrants to the United States and their descendants were expected to assimilate into a common culture. He saw instead America evolving into “a cosmopolitan federation of national colonies, of foreign cultures, from whom the sting of devastating competition has been removed.” Instead of forging a common American identity, the country he envisioned would be one where members of minority ethnic groups preserved their cultural separateness.

To fully realize this ideal, however, it was vitally important that Anglo-Saxon Americans not assert themselves in the same way as the members of other ethnic groups. Why? Because if Anglo-Saxon Americans were to celebrate their identity as a people with longstanding ties to their American homeland, it would implicitly discount the American-ness of those from minority ethnic backgrounds. For Bourne, and for those who’ve advocated for his brand of cultural pluralism since, it is the obligation of Anglo-Saxon Americans, and other white Americans with no strong ties to a non-American homeland, to be post-ethnic cosmopolitans. But what if being a post-ethnic cosmopolitan is not actually that satisfying?

Article continues:

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/09/donald_trump_and_white_nationalism_does_the_candidate_s_rise_represent_the.html

The real reason Americans fight about identity politics – Updated by Amanda Taub on August 12, 2015, 9:00 a.m. ET


It’s scarcely half over, but 2015 already seems to be the year that America officially got serious about tearing apart the fabric of ordinary life to search out the threads of discrimination woven into it. It’s also the year when we got worried about just how many threads we were pulling, and whether perhaps we were going to end up with a pile of ragged scraps, and whether someone ought to stop the thread pulling before it gets completely out of hand?

This is the year of Black Lives Matter, of the Empty Chair, of Carry That Weight. Of Taylor Swift versus Nicki Minaj. Of trigger warnings. Of taking down That Flag. It’s the year we found out that our air conditionersare misogynist and our cameras are racist. The year of Between the World and Me.

But this is also the year of L’Affaire Kipnis, and of All Lives Matter. It’s the year the “Liberal Professor” was terrified of his students, and the year Jerry Seinfeld said he wouldn’t perform on campuses any more. People have begun to voice their fears that a growing culture of “political correctness” might be stifling free debate and attacking academic liberty, and that marginalized groups might be undermining equality in their attempt to achieve it.

In other words, it’s the year that the backlash against “identity politics” — the shorthand that is often used to describe critiques based in feminism, anti-racism, and the like — also became part of mainstream debate.

Confusingly, all parties to that debate seem to think they are riding to the rescue of the same set of values. Everyone on both sides of the “PC culture” debate, for instance, believes that academic liberty and freedom of speech are important — they just have very different visions of what they require. Likewise, the protesters holding Black Lives Matter signs are arguing against racial discrimination, but the people across the street from them holding up All Lives Matter signs claim that they’re calling for racial equality, too.

So what’s actually going on here? The truth is that they’re not really disagreeing with each other at all: They’re having totally separate conversations.

Article continues:

http://www.vox.com/2015/8/11/9132619/oath-keepers-militia-ferguson

Our nation’s most toxic obsession: The violent history of “Real Americans” – HEATHER DIGBY PARTON SATURDAY, JUL 4, 2015 06:30 AM PDT


From its earliest beginnings to its 1st black president, America has seen too much bloodshed over who truly belongs

Our nation's most toxic obsession: The violent history of "Real Americans"

From the early days of our nation, we have been debating what constitutes a “Real American.” If one were to define a real American as a person indigenous to the continent we know as North America, one would certainly have to say that the only Real Americans are native Americans. But since the United States as we know it was formed by the offspring of British colonialists and religious migrants who wanted the colony for themselves, we can fairly say that from the beginning that has never been an accurate definition, even though it probably should have been. (Some people have even described the original “nativists” as the Indians, which I think is wrong. They were defending their own lands against invasion, which isn’t the same thing at all.)

Needless to say the most repressed immigrants in America have always been the descendants of African slaves. They didn’t ask to come here and they certainly didn’t ask to be slaves. But their ancestors were here long before most of the rest of us and their claim to being Real Americans could not stronger. Of course nativists usually don’t see it that way, simply because most nativists are also racists. All you have to do is look at the nonsensical conspiracy theory about the first African American president being a “foreigner”to see how mixed up race and ethnicity are with those folks.

Be that as it may, going all the way back to the beginning, this country has been a nation of immigrants from all over the world. And while we have, at various times and in many different ways, celebrated that fact, we have also been a xenophobic society from the get-go. In the 19th century, the original Americans were upset about Irish catholic immigration. There was fighting in the street over that one for many decades. And soon there was hatred towards German immigrants (the single largest ethnic sub-group in America, by the way) with complaints about their alleged unwillingness to assimilate properly and their habits of speaking their mother tongue, sending their kids to their own schools, and attending their German church (Lutheran, of course). In the 1890s, a Wisconsin Governor said:

“We must fight alienism and selfish ecclesiasticism…. The parents, the pastors and the church have entered into a conspiracy to darken the understanding of the children, who are denied by cupidity and bigotry the privilege of even the free schools of the state.”

Those Germans just refused to assimilate. And look what’s happened. They’re everywhere.

You don’t even want to think about the hatred toward the Chinese. It was one thing to import them by the thousands to do the heavy scut work of building railroads and the like, quite an other to consider them Real Americans. The Irish Americans who had been the object of xenophobic rage in earlier decades were particularly upset by the Chinese, and they led the way to the Chinese exclusion act in 1882, the first of America’s official federal immigration containment programs.

In the 20th century, all those previously considered unworthy (except the Chinese, of course) were suddenly okay, as a huge influx of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe decided to come to the land of opportunity. The government went to work to ensure that this didn’t get out of hand. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge proposed literacy tests, making the intention very clear:

Article continues:

The FBI Is Very Excited About This Machine That Can Scan Your DNA in 90 Minutes – —By Shane Bauer | Thu Nov. 20, 2014 6:30 AM EST


Rapid-DNA technology makes it easier than ever to grab and store your genetic profile. G-men, cops, and Homeland Security can’t wait to see it everywhere.

Illustration: Dan Bejar

Robert Schueren shook my hand firmly, handed me his business card, and flipped it over, revealing a short list of letters and numbers. “Here is my DNA profile.” He smiled. “I have nothing to hide.” I had come to meet Schueren, the CEO of IntegenX, at his company’s headquarters in Pleasanton, California, to see its signature product: a machine the size of a large desktop printer that can unravel your genetic code in the time it takes to watch a movie.

Schueren grabbed a cotton swab and dropped it into a plastic cartridge. That’s what, say, a police officer would use to wipe the inside of your cheek to collect a DNA sample after an arrest, he explained. Other bits of material with traces of DNA on them, like cigarette butts or fabric, could work too. He inserted the cartridge into the machine and pressed a green button on its touch screen: “It’s that simple.” Ninety minutes later, the RapidHIT 200 would generate a DNA profile, check it against a database, and report on whether it found a match.

A scanner, quickly: The RapidHIT 200 can generate a DNA profile in about 90 minutes. IntegenX

The RapidHIT represents a major technological leap—testing a DNA sample in a forensics lab normally takes at least two days. This has government agencies very excited. The Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and the Justice Department funded the initial research for “rapid DNA” technology, and after just a year on the market, the $250,000 RapidHIT is already being used in a few states, as well as China, Russia, Australia, and countries in Africa and Europe.

“We’re not always aware of how it’s being used,” Schueren said. “All we can say is that it’s used to give an accurate identification of an individual.” Civil liberties advocates worry that rapid DNA will spur new efforts by the FBI and police to collect ordinary citizens’ genetic code.

The US government will soon test the machine in refugee camps in Turkey and possibly Thailand on families seeking asylum in the United States, according to Chris Miles, manager of the Department of Homeland Security’s biometrics program. “We have all these families that claim they are related, but we don’t have any way to verify that,” he says. Miles says that rapid DNA testing will be voluntary, though refusing a test could cause an asylum application to be rejected.

“We’re not always aware of how it’s being used. All we can say is that it’s used to give an accurate identification of an individual.”

Miles also says that federal immigration officials are interested in using rapid DNA to curb trafficking by ensuring that children entering the country are related to the adults with them. Jeff Heimburger, the vice president of marketing at IntegenX, says the government has also inquired about using rapid DNA to screen green-card applicants. (An Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman said he was not aware that the agency was pursuing the technology.)

Meanwhile, police have started using rapid DNA in Arizona, Florida, and South Carolina. In August, sheriffs in Columbia, South Carolina, used a RapidHIT to nab an attempted murder suspect. The machine’s speed provides a major “investigative lead,” said Vince Figarelli, superintendent of the Arizona Department of Public Safety crime lab, which is using a RapidHIT to compare DNA evidence from property crimes against the state’s database of 300,000 samples. Heimburger notes that the system can also prevent false arrests and wrongful convictions: “There is great value in finding out that somebody is not a suspect.”

Article continues:

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/11/rapid-dna-profiles-database-fbi-police

Anonymous takes on the Ku Klux Klan – 18 November 2014 Last updated at 20:31 ET


BBC Trending

Members of the Fraternal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan participate in the 11th Annual Nathan Bedford Forrest Birthday march July 11, 2009 in Pulaski, Tennessee

Ku Klux Klan members threatened those expecting to protest over the death of Michael Brown

With a promise that “This is just the beginning,” the international hacktivist group Anonymous continued to control the Ku Klux Klan’s online presence on Tuesday days after the KKK threatened to hurt potential protesters in Ferguson, Missouri.

But while many celebrated the online group’s actions, did Anonymous go too far in fighting the KKK?

The Anonymous cyberwar started during the weekend after the white supremacist group issued a warning to any potential rioters waiting for a grand jury decision on a possible charges against Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in August.

Using the hashtags #OpKKK and #HoodsOff, Anonymous “unhooded” alleged Klan members online, and provided links to social media accounts which contained their photos, addresses, phone numbers, ages, workplaces, and photos of their children.

Most Twitter users appeared supportive of Anonymous.

“Start Quote

We would never post pictures of their kids, or where they live. We don’t out any small person who has radical right views; only if they are hiding behind anonymity to do something really loathsome”

Mark PotokSouthern Poverty Law Center

“I daresay that @KuKluxKlanUSA will remember, remember, remember the 16th of November. Bravo, Anonymous, Bravo. #oppKKK #hoodsoff,” wrote Carlos Larkin.

After back-and-forth taunting, in which the KKK wrote “We are continuing to read Anonymous threats with much amusement” and “I thought you Anons were all about free speech. Cowards!”, Anonymous gained access to the KKK website and took over its Twitter account.

The most recent tweet from the hacked @KuKluxKlanUSA account was on Monday evening, showing a unicorn and rainbow in front of a sunset scene.

Responding to criticism about violating free speech, Anonymous released this statement:

“We are not attacking you because of what you believe in, as we fight for freedom of speech. We are attacking you because of your threats to use lethal attacks against us at the Ferguson protests… The Ku Klux Klan is a terrorist group. The blood of thousands of human beings are on the hands of the Klansmen.”

Although every American has a right to free speech, The Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organisation that tracks hate groups, argues that the right does not include permission to organise hate crimes.

Article continues:

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-30105412

Now Everyone Wants to Sell You a Magical Anonymity Router. Choose Wisely – BY ANDY GREENBERG 10.24.14 | 6:30 AM


anonymity-box-inline

 Yagi Studio/Getty Images

Maintaining your privacy online, like investing in stocks or looking good naked, has become one of those nagging desires that leaves Americans with a surplus of stress and a deficit of facts. So it’s no surprise that a cottage industry of privacy marketers now wants to sell them the solution in a $50 piece of hardware promising internet “anonymity” or “invisibility.” And as with any panacea in a box, the quicker the fix, the more doubt it deserves.

Last week saw the fast forward rise and fall of Anonabox, a tiny $45 router that promised to anonymize all of a user’s traffic by routing it over the anonymity network Tor. That promise of plug-and-play privacy spurred Anonabox to raise $615,000 on the fundraising platform Kickstarter in four days, 82 times its modest $7,500 goal. Then on Thursday, Kickstarter froze those pledges, citing the project’s misleading claims about its hardware sources. Other critics pointed to flaws in Anonabox’s software’s security, too.

But the Anonabox fiasco hasn’t deterred other projects hoping to sell an anonymity router of their own. In fact, many of them see Anonabox’s 9,000 disappointed backers as proof of the demand for their own privacy-in-a-box product. At least five new or soon-to-launch crowdfunding projects now claim to offer a consumer-focused anonymity router with names like Invizbox, Cloak, TorFi, and PORTAL, each with its own promises—and caveats.

Security Claims and Snake Oil

Some of those projects are already repeating Anonabox’s mistakes, or making significant new ones. A project called TorFi, which offered a version of Tor installed on an off-the-shelf Wi-Fi router, has already had its Kickstarter campaign yanked, seemingly under the same prohibition that killed Anonabox (selling someone else’s product). Another router initiative called Project Sierradoesn’t use Tor’s well-tested anonymity system that routes traffic through three random hops among thousands of computers; Instead, its creator Kerry Cox says it pushes data through VPN servers rented from a Texas hosting company, an option that likely means faster connections but not much real anonymity. Anything you do can be seen by that Texas company or any third party that can get access to its data, including law enforcement.

A third option called Wemagin has filled its Kickstarter page with brash claims of a “military grade” USB drive that offers untraceability (without using Tor) and a “private browser…so simple your Grandmother can use it.” It doesn’t offer details about how any of those features actually work. “I’m surprised these guys aren’t telling you it’ll also help you lose weight and is powered by antioxidants,” says Steve Lord, a British penetration tester and one of the critics who poked holes in Anonabox’s security claims.

A humbler project called Invizbox, which launched last week on Indiegogo, is more straightforward about its protections and imperfections. Invizbox uses the same hardware as Anonabox, and similarly integrates Tor with the open source wireless software OpenWRT. It promises, however, to fix its predecessor’s configuration flaws—Anonabox was criticized for shipping with no password protection for its Wi-fi network by default, and hardcoded root and SSH passwords that could let a hacker compromise the device. But Invizbox still uses stock hardware that its creators admit may have vulnerabilities it can’t control, and the project has yet to release its software for outside scrutiny.

Article continues:

http://www.wired.com/2014/10/anonymity-routers/

FBI rolls out new facial recognition program – by Renee Lewis September 15, 2014 4:53PM ET


The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced Monday the completion of its new facial recognition system, making operational a program that civil rights groups have warned risks turning millions of citizens with no criminal record into suspects.

Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at Sep 16, 2014 12.23

Next Generation Identification (NGI), as the technology is known, was developed to expand the bureau’s biometric identification capabilities. Now, the NGI system will include automated fingerprint search capabilities, mobile fingerprint identification and electronic image storage, a press release by the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division said.

Whistle-blower Edward Snowden revealed in June that the National Security Agency (NSA) pulls in millions of images to aid its own facial recognition program.

The FBI’s facial recognition service “will provide the nation’s law enforcement community with an investigative tool that provides an image-searching capability of photographs associated with criminal identities,” the FBI release said.

But civil liberties watchdog Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) said the system poses a threat to the privacy of all Americans, including those with no criminal history.

EFF filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for information on NGI in April. FBI documents they obtained showed that the facial recognition component of the system could include as many as 52 million digital images of faces by 2015, the group said.

Up to 4.3 million pictures taken for non-criminal purposes will also be added to the database, documents obtained by EFF showed. Mug shots will be combined with non-criminal facial images taken from employment records and background check databases, technology news website The Verge reported Monday.

That means someone with no criminal history could be implicated as a suspect in a crime if an image of his or her face happens to be in the database, EFF warned.

Compounding that risk is the apparent ineffectiveness of the system, with some in the industry saying the image matching system has a low rate of success, according to The Verge report.

Article continues:

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/9/15/fbi-facial-recognition.html

Rand Paul Can Run, But He Can’t Hide From Latino Voters in 2016 By CESAR VARGAS and ERIKA ANDIOLA August 08, 2014


Screen Shot 2014-08-09 at Aug 9, 2014 3.29

Last Sunday in Iowa, the two of us had the opportunity to meet Rep. Steve King of Iowa and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. After we identified ourselves as “DREAMers”— undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children — what we intended to be a civil, serious discussion turned into a tense confrontation with King.

That tense confrontation became a viral Internet sensation when Paul fled the scene in the middle of eating a hamburger. Here’s the whole story.

Originally, we had travelled to Iowa to meet other DREAMers and Iowans from King’s district. King is one of the House of Representatives’ most vocal opponents of comprehensive immigration reform, and he is known for his wild statements equating Hispanic immigrants to “drug mules.” Despite his cold reception, Iowans were very welcoming: We met a gentle-spoken Christian Republican who told us that King did not represent his views, or his neighbors’, when it comes to immigration, explaining why the issue drove down King’s winning margin from 30 percentage points in 2010 to just 8 points in 2012.

After speaking with undocumented young people like us, we were invited by King’s constituents to attend his fundraiser. It was telling that his constituents lamented how King rarely speaks directly to the people he represents.

At the event, we listened to King’s speech. He wasted no time bragging about his recent legislative success to kill DACA – the federal program to halt the deportation of young immigrants raised in the United States The speech made us angry; it was then that one of us decided to hand him our DACA card, challenging him to rip it up if he truly opposes the program.

Contrary to what King said later, we did not create an elaborate, 007-like plan to catch him on camera saying something outrageous. Nor had we planned to ask King to rip up our DACA cards, the tangible identification that protects us from deportation. Most importantly, we don’t have a “left wing” partisan agenda; this is personal for us because this is about our families, not politics.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/08/rand-paul-can-run-but-he-cant-hide-from-latino-voters-in-2016-109859.html#ixzz39w97963l

 

N.S.A. Collecting Millions of Faces From Web Images – By JAMES RISEN and LAURA POITRAS MAY 31, 2014


The National Security Agency is harvesting huge numbers of images of people from communications that it intercepts through its global surveillance operations for use in sophisticated facial recognition programs, according to top-secret documents.

The spy agency’s reliance on facial recognition technology has grown significantly over the last four years as the agency has turned to new software to exploit the flood of images included in emails, text messages, social media, videoconferences and other communications, the N.S.A. documents reveal. Agency officials believe that technological advances could revolutionize the way that the N.S.A. finds intelligence targets around the world, the documents show. The agency’s ambitions for this highly sensitive ability and the scale of its effort have not previously been disclosed.

The agency intercepts “millions of images per day” — including about 55,000 “facial recognition quality images” — which translate into “tremendous untapped potential,” according to 2011 documents obtained from the former agency contractor Edward J. Snowden. While once focused on written and oral communications, the N.S.A. now considers facial images, fingerprints and other identifiers just as important to its mission of tracking suspected terrorists and other intelligence targets, the documents show.

Photo

 

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, left, who tried to bomb an airplane, and Faisal Shahzad, who tried to set off a car bomb in Times Square. The attempts prompted more image gathering. Credit Reuters; U.S. Marshals Service, via Associated Press

“It’s not just the traditional communications we’re after: It’s taking a full-arsenal approach that digitally exploits the clues a target leaves behind in their regular activities on the net to compile biographic and biometric information” that can help “implement precision targeting,” noted a 2010 document.

One N.S.A. PowerPoint presentation from 2011, for example, displays several photographs of an unidentified man — sometimes bearded, other times clean-shaven — in different settings, along with more than two dozen data points about him. These include whether he was on the Transportation Security Administration no-fly list, his passport and visa status, known associates or suspected terrorist ties, and comments made about him by informants to American intelligence agencies.

It is not clear how many people around the world, and how many Americans, might have been caught up in the effort. Neither federal privacy laws nor the nation’s surveillance laws provide specific protections for facial images. Given the N.S.A.’s foreign intelligence mission, much of the imagery would involve people overseas whose data was scooped up through cable taps, Internet hubs and satellite transmissions.

Because the agency considers images a form of communications content, the N.S.A. would be required to get court approval for imagery of Americans collected through its surveillance programs, just as it must to read their emails or eavesdrop on their phone conversations, according to an N.S.A. spokeswoman. Cross-border communications in which an American might be emailing or texting an image to someone targeted by the agency overseas could be excepted.

Civil-liberties advocates and other critics are concerned that the power of the improving technology, used by government and industry, could erode privacy. “Facial recognition can be very invasive,” said Alessandro Acquisti, a researcher on facial recognition technology at Carnegie Mellon University. “There are still technical limitations on it, but the computational power keeps growing, and the databases keep growing, and the algorithms keep improving.”

State and local law enforcement agencies are relying on a wide range of databases of facial imagery, including driver’s licenses and Facebook, to identify suspects. The F.B.I. is developing what it calls its “next generation identification” project to combine its automated fingerprint identification system with facial imagery and other biometric data.

The State Department has what several outside experts say could be the largest facial imagery database in the federal government, storing hundreds of millions of photographs of American passport holders and foreign visa applicants. And the Department of Homeland Security is funding pilot projects at police departments around the country to match suspects against faces in a crowd.

The N.S.A., though, is unique in its ability to match images with huge troves of private communications.

“We would not be doing our job if we didn’t seek ways to continuously improve the precision of signals intelligence activities — aiming to counteract the efforts of valid foreign intelligence targets to disguise themselves or conceal plans to harm the United States and its allies,” said Vanee M. Vines, the agency spokeswoman.

She added that the N.S.A. did not have access to photographs in state databases of driver’s licenses or to passport photos of Americans, while declining to say whether the agency had access to the State Department database of photos of foreign visa applicants. She also declined to say whether the N.S.A. collected facial imagery of Americans from Facebook and other social media through means other than communications intercepts.

“The government and the private sector are both investing billions of dollars into face recognition” research and development, said Jennifer Lynch, a lawyer and expert on facial recognition and privacy at the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco. “The government leads the way in developing huge face recognition databases, while the private sector leads in accurately identifying people under challenging conditions.”

Ms. Lynch said a handful of recent court decisions could lead to new constitutional protections for the privacy of sensitive face recognition data. But she added that the law was still unclear and that Washington was operating largely in a legal vacuum.

Laura Donohue, the director of the Center on National Security and the Law at Georgetown Law School, agreed. “There are very few limits on this,” she said.

Continue reading the main story

Document

Identity Intelligence: Image Is Everything

An excerpt of a document obtained by Edward J. Snowden, a former contractor with the National Security Agency, referring to the agency’s use of images in intelligence gathering.

OPEN Document

Article continues:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/01/us/nsa-collecting-millions-of-faces-from-web-images.html?_r=0

Why Are You So Fearful, O Ye of Little Faith? – Emily Bazelon – MAY 13 2014 12:01 AM



Glenn Greenwald.
Glenn Greenwald strikes back.

Photo courtesy Jimmy Chalk

In the journalist Glenn Greenwald, Edward Snowden found a perfect match. I don’t mean to slight the contributions of Laura Poitras and Barton Gellman, the other two journalists who first dug into Snowden’s amazing and unprecedented trove of National Security Agency documents. Poitras was the one who realized Snowden was for real, and Gellman brought experience to the party. But Greenwald is the fighter—the one you want in your corner when the world comes after you. Snowden knew what he was in for, and he chose his cornerman well.

Greenwald’s pugilistic skills are on full display in his new book, No Place to Hide. My copy came with CONFIDENTIAL stamped on every page and a nondisclosure agreement that expires today. The prepublication insistence on secrecy seemed a little self-conscious given the topic. And in the end, it wasn’t newsy revelations that kept me reading. Greenwald provides great new details on his most dramatic recent story, including the growth in collection of all kinds of Internet data from major tech companies (up “32 percent in FY12”). But the Snowden leak has of course already produced blockbusters, from PRISM (for vacuuming up everything from search history to email content to live chats) to BOUNDLESS INFORMANT (for cataloging and mapping metadata from phone calls and emails) to whatever the acronym is for tapping Angela Merkel’s phone. Greenwald’s job in this book is to put the pieces together and tell the story of how it all came to light. And, most of all, to convince us to care.

A million jokesters have invited the NSA to listen in on their calls about feeding the cat or picking up the kids, noting that most Americans aren’t doing anything exciting enough to interest the government. You are missing the point if you’re in this camp, Greenwald urges:

Of course, dutiful, loyal supporters of the president and his polices, good citizens who do nothing to attract negative attention from the powerful, have no reason to fear the surveillance state. This is the case in every society: those who pose no challenge are rarely targeted by oppressive measures, and from their perspective, they can then convince themselves that oppression does not really exist. But the true measure of a society’s freedom is how it treats its dissidents and other marginalized groups, not how it treats good loyalists. … We shouldn’t have to be faithful loyalists of the powerful to feel safe from state surveillance. Nor should the price of immunity be refraining from controversial or provocative dissent. We shouldn’t want a society where the message is conveyed that you will be left alone only if you mimic the accommodating behavior and conventional wisdom of a Washington establishment columnist.