The U.S. Government Can Brand You a Terrorist Based on a Facebook Post | Alternet

The US government’s web of surveillance is vast and interconnected. Now we know just how opaque, inefficient and discriminatory it can be.

As we were reminded again just this week, you can be pulled into the National Security Agency’s database quietly and quickly, and the consequences can be long and enduring. Through ICREACH, a Google-style search engine created for the intelligence community, the NSA provides data on private communications to 23 government agencies. More than 1,000 analysts had access to that information. [Read more]

How Cops and Hackers Could Abuse California’s New Phone Kill-Switch Law | Wired

Beginning next year, if you buy a cell phone in California that gets lost or stolen, you’ll have a built-in ability to remotely deactivate the phone under a new “kill switch” feature being mandated by California law—but the feature will make it easier for police and others to disable the phone as well, raising concerns among civil liberties groups about possible abuse.

The law, which takes effect next July, requires all phones sold in California to come pre-equipped with a software “kill switch” that allows owners to essentially render them useless if they’re lost or stolen. Although the law, SB 962, applies only to California, it undoubtedly will affect other states, which often follow the Golden State’s lead. It also seems unlikely phone manufacturers would exclude the feature from phones sold elsewhere. And although the legislation allows users to opt out of the feature after they buy the phone, few likely will do so. [Read more]

David Sarasohn: Senate has had enough of CIA snooping | Oregon Live

Unlike his close ally in pursuing intelligence abuses, Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado, Ron Wyden has not yet called for CIA Director John Brennan to quit or be fired. But speaking about the agency in Oregon this month, the senior senator from Oregon used the D.C. magic words:

Special prosecutor.

Whoever is monitoring the Senate for the agency – and this summer, there’s reason to think the agency monitors the Senate very closely – might want to notice that. [Read more]

How the NSA Helped Turkey Kill Kurdish Rebels | The Intercept

On a December night in 2011, a terrible thing happened on Mount Cudi, near the Turkish-Iraqi border. One side described it as a massacre; the other called it an accident.

Several Turkish F-16 fighter jets bombed a caravan of villagers that night, apparently under the belief that they were guerilla fighters with the separatist Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK). The group was returning from northern Iraq and their mules were loaded down with fuel canisters and other cargo. They turned out to be smugglers, not PKK fighters. Some 34 people died in the attack. [Read more]

Backing Barrett Brown: Amherst activist behind defense fund for journalist who faced 100 years in prison | Mass Live

Hacking and data leaks produced some of the biggest U.S. news stories of the past few years, such as stories surrounding WikiLeaks, Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning. In that world of hacker journalism and government secrecy, one of the biggest stories is the arrest and prosecution of journalist Barrett Brown.

And the man behind Brown’s defense fund, Kevin Gallagher, sipped a Guinness Tuesday night at a Northampton bar, casually explaining his direct involvement in the well-known criminal case 1,700 miles away. [Read more] – Michael’s Blog