The Obama Administration (Nobody Spies Like Us!)
June 17, 2013
AT&T has begun rolling out wireless emergency alert updates for the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 5. Now, if the in the past couple of days you had a blue alert message on your phone that said, “Carrier upgrades are now available on your phone,” they didn’t tell you what the carrier upgrades were. A carrier upgrade is an update or an upgrade sent out by AT&T or Verizon or T-Mobile, whoever the carrier, not Apple, it’s not a software upgrade. I got this blue alert on Saturday. Well, one of them on Sunday. I happen to know what it was because I read the tech blogs. But if you got one of those blue alerts, the alert didn’t tell you what was happening, and when you click okay to release the alert, you are not taken to what has been upgraded or added.
So here’s where you find out. If you have an iPhone 4S or iPhone 5 go into settings and then notifications and scroll all the way to the bottom. And if your phone has received the carrier update, what you will see are two on-off switches that are related to government alerts. One is Amber Alerts, the other is emergency alerts, and you can either leave them on or you can turn them off. There is a third alert that was part of the carrier update that you can’t turn off, and it’s called the presidential update. Any warnings, notifications, will come as a text message. That’s how they will appear.
So the next time the Feds issue an Amber Alert you’re gonna hear about it on your telephone, on your iPhone 4S or your iPhone 5 if you’re AT&T, and Verizon, too, my Verizon phone got it. If there is a weather alert. For example, the Feds issue some emergency tornado warning for X area, you will get that on your phone. It will look like a text alert. It will look like a text. By the way, you have no choice, this happens. You can turn the two alerts off, but you can’t keep them off the phone. Are you scrolling in there, Snerdley, to see if your phone has the alerts? You’re not doing it yet? You don’t have it yet? Well, you will. And it’ll just happen. You’ll get that blue alert box that says you now have a carrier update, it’s been installed and you click “okay” and it goes away. You find whether or not you’ve had it in notifications.
The presidential alert is any time Obama wants to talk to you. I remember when the federal law was passed, and it was not that long ago. But if Obama ever wants, or any president now, ever wants to issue a presidential alert, it’s thought of as very, very rare, and only in the most dire emergencies. But that ability now exists for the president of the United States to send out emergency text messages essentially to every telephone. Yeah, that’s how they come. You can turn those two off if you want, you have that ability. On Dawn’s phone, too. You didn’t even know it, right, didn’t even know it happened? It happened, they started rolling it out on Friday. And you might have seen that blue alert, thought it was something, you see ’em all the time, just released it, didn’t even read what it was, but that’s what it is.
Again, if you have an iPhone 4S or an iPhone 5. And this goes for Verizon, too, by the way. Just go to settings, notifications, scroll all the way to the bottom, and you’ll see if they’ve been installed on your phone. Amber Alerts and Emergency Alerts, you can turn those two off. The Presidential Alert doesn’t display. You can’t turn that off.
Participating carriers may allow subscribers to block alerts involving imminent threats to safety of life and/or Amber Alerts, but not presidential alerts. Presidential alerts are required of cellphone users and cannot be turned off.
MacDailyNews Take: We get “text-like messages” all day long; no “special chip” required. What else, if anything, does this “special chip” do? Is it just us or did the slope just get slipperier?
Yeah, yeah, we know: This is for our protection. It’s only for public safety. The government chip is “special.” Take off the tinfoil hats. This is a “Good Thing™. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
We have to wonder, though. What’s next? Maybe we’d all be “safer” if the government could use their federally-mandated “special chip” to turn on your cellphone cameras in “an emergency” in order to get a look at what’s going on around you? And your phones’ microphones, so the government can hear, too? How else could government-mandated special chips be used to make us “safer?”
Has anyone read Nineteen Eighty-Four recently?
You know what? The world is a dangerous place and you can’t protect everyone from everything. We’d rather retain what freedoms we have left and take our chances than to be forced to carry special government-mandated chips and receive presidential “text-like messages” that we can’t turn off, if we simply want to carry our cellphones.
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin
The Stasi state of OUR Own Government. Has the Patriot Act been Given Steroids? What Have We Accepted as “Normal”?
What is the NSA’s PRISM program? (FAQ)
by Ben Dreyfuss and Emily Dreyfuss
June 7, 2013
We now know that the NSA uses something called PRISM to monitor private Web data. Sounds like “1984.” What does it really mean?
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has released a statement saying, “PRISM is not an undisclosed collection or data mining program.” Instead, the name PRISM appears to refer to the actual computer program used to collect and analyze data legally requested by the NSA and divulged by Internet companies. This matches reports from CNET and The New York Times.
However, as the New York Times reported late Friday evening, it has come to light that the nine large tech companies first reported to be working with the NSA to divulge information have, in fact, made it easier for the government to access data from their servers.
Which companies are involved?
Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL, Facebook, Google, Apple, PalTalk, YouTube, and Skype. Dropbox is allegedly “coming soon.” However, 98 percent of PRISM production is based on just Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft.
All nine of them have explicitly denied that the government has “direct access” to their servers. Reliable sources have confirmed to CNET that PRISM works on a request-by-request basis, rather than unfettered access, as was originally reported by the Washington Post. Here is a direct quote from our in-depth article on this issue:
Those reports are incorrect and appear to be based on a misreading of a leaked Powerpoint document, according to a former government official who is intimately familiar with this process of data acquisition and spoke today on condition of anonymity.
Still, it appears that though they may have withheld direct access to their servers, many did in fact agree to collaborate with the government on “developing technical methods to more efficiently and securely share the personal data of foreign users in response to lawful government requests.”
It’s not entirely clear, but according to the New York Times, in at least two cases the companies discussed creating secure digital dropboxes where information sought by the NSA could be electronically deposited.Facebook reportedly actually built such a system.
On Tuesday, June 11, Google published a letter to the Justice Department, asking for permission to disclose the mechanism by which FISA requests are completed. A Facebook spokesperson joined the call, announcing that Facebook would “welcome the opportunity to provide a transparency report that allows us to share with those who use Facebook around the world a complete picture of the government requests we receive, and how we respond.” After writing the letter to the Justice Department, Google discussed with Wired Magazine the ways it gets legal information to the government, insisting throughout that reports of “direct access” to Google servers have been erroneous. Jump to our How does it work? section for more details.
Why isn’t Twitter a part of PRISM?
That’s a very good question that at first no one was able to answer.
It now appears as though the answer is: Twitter simply said no.
Companies are legally obligated to comply with any legitimate government request for user data, but they are under no legal obligation to make that process easier. Twitter apparently refused to join the other nine in steam rolling the process.
On Friday, June 7, the New York Times wrote:
Twitter declined to make it easier for the government. But other companies were more compliant, according to people briefed on the negotiations. They opened discussions with national security officials about developing technical methods to more efficiently and securely share the personal data of foreign users in response to lawful government requests. And in some cases, they changed their computer systems to do so.
What type of data is monitored?
According to “slides and other supporting materials” given to the The Guardian and The Washington Post by Snowden: “e-mail, chat, videos, photos, stored data, VoIP, file transfers, video conferencing, notifications of target activity…log-ins, etc., online social networking details” — so, everything.
For instance, Google data includes ”Gmail, voice and video chat, Google Drive files, photo libraries, and live surveillance of search terms.”
The original report suggests that “NSA reporting increasingly relies on PRISM” as its leading source of raw material, accounting for nearly one in seven intelligence reports.
A reliable source tells CNET that both the contents of communications and metadata, such as information about who’s talking to whom, can be requested.
Can they read my iMessage?
Theoretically, yes. That is the kind of data the program has access to.
So someone has read my e-mail?
Aside from the fact that Google’s algorithms crawl your e-mail all the time to target ads at you, “someone” within the NSA may have read your e-mails.
Is it even legal?
Yes, under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 2008 and the Protect America Act of 2007. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper released a statement Thursday night saying that “Section 702 is a provision of FISA that is designed to facilitate the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning non-U.S. persons located outside the United States. It cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, any other U.S. person, or anyone located within the United States.” FISA was renewed last year by Congress.
Is this the same as the data Verizon is giving to the NSA?
No. This is separate. The data Verizon gives to the NSA is only metadata, so although the government can see who you call and how long you talk to them, they are not listening in on your voice mails and phone calls. But again, that’s a separate NSA program. For more information on it, read this.
What’s the fallout?
Well, so far respected human rights watchdog Freedom House has downgraded America’s freedom ranking. Last time their survey was released, the United States was the second most free country on Earth in terms of Internet freedoms. That position is about to change.