The suspect announced he would carry out a ‘Virginia Tech-style’ shooting online just minutes before the event took place. He completed the Christiansburg Citizen Police Academy training, a DHS-sponsored training curriculum in which average citizens learn how to ‘work with police,’ and receive ‘active shooter’ scenario training, or even how apprehend suspects at traffic checkpoints.
CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. — An 18-year-old community college student was charged with wounding two women with a shotgun at a mall branch of the school in southwestern Virginia Friday afternoon.
Just before the attack, writing from inside the school, he posted his intentions to an online message board, noting he was “10 minutes away from Virginia Tech.”
Police said Neil Allen MacInnis, of Christiansburg, was subdued by an off-duty mall security guard and two officers shortly about 2 p.m. at the New River Valley Mall. He is being held without bail at the Montgomery County Jail.
Last year, MacInnis, who is enrolled at New River Community College, completed the Christiansburg Citizen Police Academy training, Police Chief Mark Sisson said at a Friday night news briefing.
“Today has been a very tough day,” he said.
Investigators are trying to determine a motive and MacInnis’ connections to the women who were shot. One was a part-time college employee.
Police said their identities would not be released “to protect their privacy.”
One victim was airlifted to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, but spokesman Eric Earnhart could not provide additional information on her identity or condition.
The other victim was taken by ambulance for treatment. She was in stable condition Friday afternoon but was transferred to another hospital to get specialized care, said Nancy May, a spokesman for Lewis Gale Hospital at Montgomery.
One of the women was shot through a window and suffered cuts to her face and was also hit in the hand.
Gawker.com reported earlier that the shooting was apparently announced on the 4chan message boards just three minutes before it was reported.
Sisson said police were investigating the post.
The poster identified himself as Neil MacInnis. He said he was a New River Community College student, was writing from the school inside the shopping center and would use a “Stevens 320 shotgun” with “Buck shots and slugs.”
“I’m gonna give y’all the details because the news never gets it right,” the post said. “Wish me luck.”
The poster included a photo of the mall and school entrances and linked to his college profile, which includes a photo and a portfolio of his work.
Gawker included a screen shot of the 4chan posting, which it said had been deleted, probably automatically, because of the site’s rapid turnover. Someone provided an archive and the screen shot.
Link to article:
Citizens Police Academy Training Video
Citizen Police Academy Training on ‘how to run a checkpoint and apprehend suspects’
IRS attorneys have asserted in internal documents that the Fourth Amendment does not protect email and that a warrant is not needed to plant a GPS location tracker on a car in its owner’s driveway.
In documents obtained from the IRS by the ACLU under the federal Freedom of Information Act and posted on the website Wednesday, the agency’s attorneys adopt an extremely aggressive posture toward the requirements the Fourth Amendment might place on its criminal investigators who want to read email or text messages, or use GPS location tracking.
“The Fourth Amendment does not protect communications held in electronic storage, such as email messages stored on a server, because Internet users do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications,” states a 2009 “Search Warrant Handbook” from the IRS Criminal Tax Division’s Office of Chief Counsel.
According to several reports, the agency will also be collecting personal information from sites like Facebook and Twitter.
It says the effort is to catch people trying to beat the system, but some say it goes too far.
Attorney Kristen Mathews warns to be careful with what you say on social media platforms.
She has concerns the government is pushing the limits of what has historically been considered private.
“There are laws that regulate the government’s ability to get a hold of things like credit card transaction history. But those laws have become more permissive in the last several years, particularly after 9-11, and so some might say those laws are no longer in line with the average expectation of privacy,” says Mathews.
The government has said it would only check a Facebook page or twitter account if there is already red flag in a tax form.
NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration is drawing up plans to give all U.S. spy agencies full access to a massive database that contains financial data on American citizens and others who bank in the country, according to a Treasury Department document seen by Reuters.
The proposed plan represents a major step by U.S. intelligence agencies to spot and track down terrorist networks and crime syndicates by bringing together financial databanks, criminal records and military intelligence. The plan, which legal experts say is permissible under U.S. law, is nonetheless likely to trigger intense criticism from privacy advocates.
Financial institutions that operate in the United States are required by law to file reports of “suspicious customer activity,” such as large money transfers or unusually structured bank accounts, to Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
The Federal Bureau of Investigation already has full access to the database. However, intelligence agencies, such as the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, currently have to make case-by-case requests for information to FinCEN.
The Treasury plan would give spy agencies the ability to analyze more raw financial data than they have ever had before, helping them look for patterns that could reveal attack plots or criminal schemes.
The planning document, dated March 4, shows that the proposal is still in its early stages of development, and it is not known when implementation might begin.
Financial institutions file more than 15 million “suspicious activity reports” every year, according to Treasury. Banks, for instance, are required to report all personal cash transactions exceeding $10,000, as well as suspected incidents of money laundering, loan fraud, computer hacking or counterfeiting.
“For these reports to be of value in detecting money laundering, they must be accessible to law enforcement, counter-terrorism agencies, financial regulators, and the intelligence community,” said the Treasury planning document.
A Treasury spokesperson said U.S. law permits FinCEN to share information with intelligence agencies to help detect and thwart threats to national security, provided they adhere to safeguards outlined in the Bank Secrecy Act. “Law enforcement and intelligence community members with access to this information are bound by these safeguards,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
Some privacy watchdogs expressed concern about the plan when Reuters outlined it to them.
A move like the FinCEN proposal “raises concerns as to whether people could find their information in a file as a potential terrorist suspect without having the appropriate predicate for that and find themselves potentially falsely accused,” said Sharon Bradford Franklin, senior counsel for the Rule of Law Program at the Constitution Project, a non-profit watchdog group.
Despite these concerns, legal experts emphasize that this sharing of data is permissible under U.S. law. Specifically, banks’ suspicious activity reporting requirements are dictated by a combination of the Bank Secrecy Act and the USA PATRIOT Act, which offer some privacy safeguards.
National security experts also maintain that a robust system for sharing criminal, financial and intelligence data among agencies will improve their ability to identify those who plan attacks on the United States.
“It’s a war on money, war on corruption, on politically exposed persons, anti-money laundering, organized crime,” said Amit Kumar, who advised the United Nations on Taliban sanctions and is a fellow at the Democratic think tank Center for National Policy.
The Treasury document outlines a proposal to link the FinCEN database with a computer network used by U.S. defense and law enforcement agencies to share classified information called the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System.
The plan calls for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence – set up after 9/11 to foster greater collaboration among intelligence agencies – to work with Treasury. The Director of National Intelligence declined to comment.
More than 25,000 financial firms – including banks, securities dealers, casinos, and money and wire transfer agencies – routinely file “suspicious activity reports” to FinCEN. The requirements for filing are so strict that banks often over-report, so they cannot be accused of failing to disclose activity that later proves questionable. This over-reporting raises the possibility that the financial details of ordinary citizens could wind up in the hands of spy agencies.
Stephen Vladeck, a professor at American University’s Washington College of Law, said privacy advocates have already been pushing back against the increased data-sharing activities between government agencies that followed the September 11 attacks.
“One of the real pushes from the civil liberties community has been to move away from collection restrictions on the front end and put more limits on what the government can do once it has the information,” he said.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has customized its Predator drones, originally built for overseas military operations, to carry out at-home surveillance tasks that have civil libertarians worried: identifying civilians carrying guns and tracking their cell phones, government documents show.
The documents provide more details about the surveillance capabilities of the department’s unmanned Predator B drones, which are primarily used to patrol the United States’ northern and southern borders but have been pressed into service on behalf of a growing number of law enforcement agencies including the FBI, the Secret Service, the Texas Rangers, and local police.
Homeland Security’s specifications for its drones, built by San Diego-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, say they “shall be capable of identifying a standing human being at night as likely armed or not,” meaning carrying a shotgun or rifle. They also specify “signals interception” technology that can capture communications in the frequency ranges used by mobile phones, and “direction finding” technology that can identify the locations of mobile devices or two-way radios.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center obtained a partially redacted copy of Homeland Security’s requirements for its drone fleet through the Freedom of Information Act and published it this week. CNET unearthed an unredacted copy of the requirements that provides additional information about the aircraft’s surveillance capabilities.
Homeland Security’s Predator B drone can stay aloft conducting surveillance for 20 hours.(Credit: U.S. Department of Homeland Security)
Concern about domestic use of drones is growing, with federal legislation introduced last month that would establish legal safeguards, in addition to parallel efforts underway from state and local lawmakers. The Federal Aviation Administration recently said that it will “address privacy-related data collection” by drones.
The prospect of identifying armed Americans concerns Second Amendment advocates, who say that technology billed as securing the United States’ land and maritime borders should not be used domestically. Michael Kostelnik, the Homeland Security official who created the program, told Congress that the drone fleet would be available to “respond to emergency missions across the country,” and a Predator drone was dispatched to the tiny town of Lakota, N.D., to aid local police in a dispute that began with reimbursement for feeding six cows. The defendant, arrested with the help of Predator surveillance, lost a preliminary bid to dismiss the charges.
“I am very concerned that this technology will be used against law-abiding American firearms owners,” says Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation. “This could violate Fourth Amendment rights as well as Second Amendment rights.”
Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection agency declined to answer questions about whether direction-finding technology is currently in use on its drone fleet. A representative provided CNET with a statement about the agency’s unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) that said signals interception capability is not currently used:
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is not deploying signals interception capabilities on its UAS fleet. Any potential deployment of such technology in the future would be implemented in full consideration of civil rights, civil liberties, and privacy interests and in a manner consistent with the law and long-standing law enforcement practices.CBP’s UAS program is a vital border security asset. Equipped with state-of-the-art sensors and day-and-night cameras, the UAS provides real-time images to frontline agents to more effectively and efficiently secure the nation’s borders. As a force multiplier, the UAS operates for extended periods of time and allows CBP to safely conduct missions over tough-to-reach terrain. The UAS also provides agents on the ground with added situational awareness to more safely resolve dangerous situations.
During his appearance before the House Homeland Security committee, Kostelnik, a retired Air Force major general who recently left the agency, testified that the drones’ direction-finding ability is part of a set of “DOD capabilities that are being tested or adopted by CBP to enhance UAS performance for homeland security.” CBP currently has 10 Predator drones and is considering buying up to 14 more.
If the Predator drones were used only to identify smugglers or illegal immigrants crossing the Mexican and Canadian borders, or for disaster relief, they might not be especially controversial. But their use domestically by other government agencies has become routine enough — and expensive enough — that Homeland Security’s inspector general said (PDF) last year that CBP needs to sign agreements “for reimbursement of expenses incurred fulfilling mission requests.”
“The documents clearly evidence that the Department of Homeland Security is developing drones with signals interception technology and the capability to identify people on the ground,” says Ginger McCall, director of the Open Government Project at the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “This allows for invasive surveillance, including potential communications surveillance, that could run afoul of federal privacy laws.”
A Homeland Security official, who did not want to be identified by name, said the drones are able to identify whether movement on the ground comes from a human or an animal, but that they do not perform facial recognition. The official also said that because the unarmed drones have a long anticipated life span, the department tries to plan ahead for future uses to support its border security mission, and that aerial surveillance would comply with the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and other applicable federal laws.
The documents show that CBP specified that the “tracking accuracy should be sufficient to allow target designation,” and the agency notes on its Web site that its Predator B series is capable of “targeting and weapons delivery” (the military version carries multiple 100-pound Hellfire missiles). CBP says, however, that its Predator aircraft are unarmed.
Gene Hoffman, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who’s the chairman of the Calguns Foundation, said CBP “needs to be very careful with attempts to identify armed individuals in the border area” when aerial surveillance touches on a constitutional right.
“In the border area of California and Arizona, it may be actively dangerous for the law-abiding to not carry firearms precisely due to the illegal flow of drugs and immigrants across the border in those areas,” Hoffman says.
CBP’s specifications say that signals interception and direction-finding technology must work from 30MHz to 3GHz in the radio spectrum. That sweeps in the GSM and CDMA frequencies used by mobile phones, which are in the 300MHz to 2.7GHz range, as well as many two-way radios.
The specifications say: “The system shall provide automatic and manual DF of multiple signals simultaneously. Automatic DF should be able to separate out individual communication links.” Automated direction-finding for cell phones has become an off-the-shelf technology: one company sells a unit that its literature says is “capable of taking the bearing of every mobile phone active in a channel.”
Although CBP’s unmanned Predator aircraft are commonly called drones, they’re remotely piloted by FAA-licensed operators on the ground. They can fly for up to 20 hours and carry a payload of about 500 lbs
The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, CISPA is set to be re-introduced before the US House next week. The bill will be identical to the one introduced last spring, that was defeated on the Senate floor in August of last year.
The house Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Representative Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md) will attempt the re-introduction based on a spate of cyber espionage and hacking attacks.
Civil liberties groups have criticized the bill for invading privacy. CISPA allows for the voluntary sharing of information about internet traffic between private companies and the government. Its intention is to assist the intelligence service in identifying and neutralizing cyber and hacking attacks and to ensure the security of networks against attack .
The bill would also allow the government to pass information to private companies and protect them from legal actions that may arise from the sharing of information.
Opponents of the bill say it will allow government to track an individuals browsing information, allowing them to spy on individuals at will.
Fight for the Future, a non-profit group’working to extend the internet’s powers for good’ have already started an online petition which asks voters to call their representatives on the House Intelligence Committee to register their opposition to the bill.
Several newspapers have recently become victims of cyber spying. The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post have all been attacked.
Janet Napolitano, head of Homeland Security said in January:
“We shouldn’t wait until there is a 9/11 in the cyber world. There are things we should be doing right now that,if not prevent, would mitigate the extent of the damage.”
Last October Leon Panetta also warned of the possibility of a ‘cyber Pearl Harbor”
Despite the huge amount of opposition to the bill President Obama is expected to issue an Executive order aimed at strengthening US cyber security, the order is expected to be released after he delivers the State of the Union address on Tuesday.
MORE: The Daily Sheeple
Contributed by Chris Carrington of The Daily Sheeple.
Chris Carrington is a writer, researcher and lecturer with a background in science, technology and environmental studies. Chris is an editor for The Daily Sheeple. Wake the flock up!
Unable to reach a deal with Congress, President Obama plans to use his power to exert executive actions against the will of lawmakers. The president will issue orders addressing controversial topics including cybersecurity.
Although President Obama has issued fewer executive orders than any president in over 100 years, he is making extensive plans to change that, Washington Post reports quoting people outside the White House involved in discussions on the issues. Due to conflicts with a Congress that too often disagrees on proposed legislation, Obama plans to act alone and is likely “to rely heavily” on his executive powers in future, according to the newspaper.
Obama’s first executive order is expected to be issued this week when the president calls for the creation of new standards on what private-sector companies must do to protect their computer systems from a cybersecurity breach.
The order is a direct response to Congress’ refusal to pass the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) last year, which the administration deemed crucial to prevent crippling attacks on the nation’s infrastructure. But members of Congress who opposed the legislation cited serious privacy concerns with giving the government greater access to Americans’ personal information that only private companies and servers might have access to.
Resolution bans all municipal agencies from buying or leasing drones
A statue of Thomas Jefferson overlooks the Charlottesville, Va., campus of the University of Virginia.
Charlottesville, Va., has become the first city in the United States to formally pass an anti-drone resolution.
The resolution, passed Monday, “calls on the United States Congress and the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia to adopt legislation prohibiting information obtained from the domestic use of drones from being introduced into a Federal or State court,” and “pledges to abstain from similar uses with city-owned, leased, or borrowed drones.”
The resolution passed by a 3-2 vote and was brought to the city council by activist David Swanson and the Rutherford Institute, a civil liberties group based in the city. The measure also endorses a proposed two-year moratorium on drones in Virginia.
Councilmember Dede Smith, who voted in favor of the bill, says that drones are “pretty clearly a threat to our constitutional right to privacy.”
“If we don’t get out ahead of it to establish some guidelines for how drones are used, they will be used in a very invasive way and we’ll be left to try and pick up the pieces,” she says.
The passed resolution is much less restrictive than the draft Swanson originally introduced, which would have sought to declare the city a “No Drone Zone” and would have tried to banned all drones over Charlottesville airspace “to the extent compatible with federal law.” The draft would have also banned all Charlottesville municipal agencies from buying, leasing, borrowing, or testing any drones.
Councilmember Dave Norris says the city has a “long tradition of promoting civil liberties.”
“It’s just part of our culture here,” he says.
Charlottesville is located 120 miles southwest of Washington, D.C., and has a population of about 43,000. The city is home to the University of Virginia, which has not tried to obtain a waiver to test drones from the Federal Aviation Administration.
The move earned praise from the Electronic Privacy Information Center. Amie Stepanovich, a lawyer with the group, says that the “Charlottesville resolution demonstrates that people care about protecting their civil liberties and Fourth Amendment rights and are willing to devote the time necessary to closely examine this issue.”
“Lawmakers should be looking at [drone privacy] issues now in order to ensure that there are safeguards in place to protect individual privacy from these invasive technologies,” she says.
Smith admits that the final legislation won’t do anything to prevent federal- or state-operated drones from operating over Charlottesville’s skies, but that the symbolic move could push other cities to follow suit.
“With a lot of these resolutions, although they don’t have a lot of teeth to them, they can inspire other governments to pass similar measures,” she says. “You can get a critical mass and then it does have influence. One doesn’t do much, but a thousand of them might. We want this on [federal and state lawmakers'] radars.”
Vice Mayor Kristin Szakos, who voted against the resolution, says she “can imagine ways in which drones might be used for positive things” and that the move was premature.
“I think drones have been used for bad things, but it’s like banning airplanes because they can drop bombs,” she says. “At this point, the city isn’t even talking about using drones. It seems premature to me to ban them altogether.”
* For the record – this is the #1 reason that we did everything we could to stop O Care. We have explored many free market / local solutions to the problems of US Health care, and none of them involve loss of privacy, insurance corps, or the IRS / Govt. In our opinion - The way we are going… It wont be long before US Health care takes on the characteristics of the European Health system.
Big brother to log your drinking habits and waist size as GPs are forced to hand over confidential records
- Data includes weight, cholesterol, BMI, family health history and pulse rate
- Doctors will be forced to reveal alcohol consumption and smoking status
- Privacy campaigners described it as ‘biggest data grab in NHS history’
- Part of new Health Service programme called Everyone Counts
- Officials insisted data will be anonymous and deleted after analysis
By Jack Doyle
GPs are to be forced to hand over confidential records on all their patients’ drinking habits, waist sizes and illnesses.
The files will be stored in a giant information bank that privacy campaigners say represents the ‘biggest data grab in NHS history’.
They warned the move would end patient confidentiality and hand personal information to third parties.
Data grab: Doctors will be forced to hand over sensitive information about patients as part of a new programme called Everyone Counts but campaigners have criticised the move
The data includes weight, cholesterol levels, body mass index, pulse rate, family health history, alcohol consumption and smoking status.
Diagnosis of everything from cancer to heart disease to mental illness would be covered. Family doctors will have to pass on dates of birth, postcodes and NHS numbers.
Officials insisted the personal information would be made anonymous and deleted after analysis.
He added: ‘It is unbelievable how little the public is being told about what is going on, while GPs are being strong-armed into handing over details about their patients and to not make a fuss.
‘Not only have the public not been told what is going on, none of us has been asked to give our permission for this to happen.’
The data grab is part of Everyone Counts, a programme to extend the availability of patient data across the Health Service.
Campaigners for privacy: They warn the move would end patient confidentiality and hand personal information to third parties
GPs will be required to send monthly updates on their patients to a central database run by the NHS’s Health and Social Care Information Centre.
Health chiefs will be able to demand information on every patient, such as why they have been referred to a consultant. Another arm of the NHS will supply data on patient prescriptions.
In a briefing for GPs, health chiefs admit that ‘patient identifiable components’ will be demanded, including post code and date of birth.
NHS officials insist the information centre will be a ‘safe haven’ for personal data, which will be deleted soon after it is received.
The information will be used to analyse demand for services and improve treatment.
But a document outlining the scheme even raises the prospect of clinical data being passed on or sold to third parties.
It states: ‘The patient identifiable components will not be released outside the safe haven except as permitted by the Data Protection Act.
‘HSCIC … will store the data and link it only where approved and necessary, ensuring that patient confidentiality is protected.’
Personal: The data collected includes pulse rate, weight, cholesterol levels, body mass index, family health history, alcohol and smoking status
Patients will not be able to opt out of the system.
Before the election the Tories condemned the creation of huge databases – including the controversial NHS IT project – and insisted it would roll back ‘Labour’s database state’.
But last month, in the first sign of a dramatic shift away from this position, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he wanted millions of private medical records to be stored and shared between hospitals, GPs, care homes and even local councils. He sold the programme as part of plans for a ‘paperless NHS’ by 2018 and claimed ‘thousands of lives’ would be saved.
But details of the changes have raised serious concerns among civil liberties and privacy campaigners, as well as health professionals
Last night GPs’ leaders said the latest proposals were too broad.
‘Patients must be given the option to opt out of any scheme that seeks to transfer identifiable information about them from their records to another source,’ said a BMA spokesman.
‘This opt-out should be widely advertised and explained in order that patients are reassured and understand the process being carried out.’
Phil Booth of the campaign group NO2ID said an unprecedented volume of data would be ‘sucked up’.
‘People have to trust in the notion of medical confidentiality. They expect to be able to talk in confidence to their GP,’ he said.
‘They don’t expect their private conversations to be uploaded on to a national database where they will be made available for any number of purposes for the benefit of persons unknown.’
A spokesman for the NHS said last night: ‘The NHS constitution makes clear what information can be used for by the NHS and this proposal complies exactly with that.’
Back in 2011, the Office of National Drug Control Policy released a list of strategies for combating prescription pill abuse. From a civil liberties standpoint, one strategy in particular stood out: “Identify and seek to remove administrative and regulatory barriers to ‘pill mill’ and prescriber investigations that impair investigations while not serving another policy goal.” Last year I wondered what the DEA and the ONDCP might do to “remove” barriers that are meant to protect patient privacy. The ACLU has an answer for us:
The Drug Enforcement Administration is trying to access private prescription records of patients in Oregon without a warrant, despite a state law forbidding it from doing so. The ACLU and its Oregon affiliate are challenging this practice in a new case that raises the question of whether the Fourth Amendment allows federal law enforcement agents to obtain confidential prescription records without a judge’s prior approval. It should not.
In 2009, the Oregon legislature created the Oregon Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), which tracks prescriptions for certain drugs dispensed by Oregon pharmacies, including all of the medications listed above. The program was intended to help physicians prevent drug overdoses by their patients and more easily recognize signs of drug abuse. Because the medical information revealed by these prescription records is highly sensitive, the legislature created robust privacy and security protections for the PDMP, including a requirement that law enforcement must obtain a warrant before requesting records for use in an investigation. But despite those protections, the DEA has been requesting prescription records from the PDMP using administrative subpoenas which, unlike warrants, do not involve demonstrating probable cause to a neutral judge.