writes: US Senator Rand Paul plans to force the expiration of the PATRIOT Act Sunday by refusing to allow Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to expedite debate on a key surveillance bill.
In a statement on Saturday, Paul warned that he would not consent to any efforts to pass either an extension of current law or the USA Freedom Act, a reform bill passed overwhelmingly by the House earlier this month.
“So tomorrow, I will force the expiration of the NSA illegal spy program,” Paul said.
Because of the nature of the Senate rules, Paul can force the expiration of the PATRIOT Act, which he has vowed on the campaign trail to repeal as president because he contends it invades Americans’ privacy rights.
In a rare Sunday session, McConnell, sources said, appears likely to move the USA Freedom Act, despite his opposition to how the bill overhauls the National Security Agency’s bulk data collection program. That’s because McConnell has little other choice given the vast support within Congress for the bill.
But Paul argues that bill actually expands the PATRIOT Act and he’s threatening to prevent the Senate from moving to final passage Sunday. He can likely prevent the bill from passing until at least Thursday, three days after the expiration of a law many argue is central to the nation’s security.
A full statement by Senator Rand Paul is at this link,Link to Original Source
writes: Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is filibustering the Patriot Act on the Senate floor, and it doesn’t look like he’s going to stop anytime soon.
The Republican presidential candidate took control of the floor Wednesday afternoon at 1:18 p.m., simultaneously explaining on Twitter that he is filibustering the renewal of the Patriot Act because of the National Security Agency’s program that collects bulk phone record data of American citizens.
The ongoing filibuster can be watched live here: http://www.c-span.org/video/?3...Link to Original Source
writes: Multiple billboards in downtown Atlanta were hacked and began to display the infamous Goatse meme from the Internet.
Thousands of YESCO digital billboards are installed across the country. Naturally, it comes with an internet connection. The setup is exactly as insecure as you’d imagine: many of these electronic billboards are completely unprotected, dangling on the public internet without a password or any kind of firewall. This means it’s pretty simple to change the image displayed from a new AT&T offer to, say, Goatse.
The appearance of this unexpected mammoth image alarmed residents so much that at least one called 911.
“There’s an electronic billboard that is flashing a naked man,” one woman said in the 911 call. “It’s not actually an emergency; it’s just totally disgusting.” Police say the billboard’s owner temporarily cut power to the billboard.Link to Original Source
writes: The US government's prosecution of a South Korean businessman accused of illegally selling technology used in aircraft and missiles to Iran was dealt a devastating blow by a federal judge. The judge ruled Friday that the authorities illegally seized the businessman's computer at Los Angeles International Airport as he was to board a flight home.
The authorities who were investigating Jae Shik Kim exercised the border exception rule that allows the authorities to seize and search goods and people—without court warrants—along the border and at airport international terminals. US District Court judge Amy Berman Jackson of the District of Columbia noted that the Supreme Court has never directly addressed the issue of warrantless computer searches at an international border crossing, but she ruled (PDF) the government used Kim's flight home as an illegal pretext to seize his computer. Authorities then shipped it 150 miles south to San Diego where the hard drive was copied and examined for weeks, but the judge said the initial seizure "surely cannot be justified."Link to Original Source
writes: In a speech in San Francisco, presidential candidate Rand Paul told Silicon Valley conservatives that he could win over Californians and other voters not normally associated with the Republican Party largely on issues of civil liberties and technology.
At the Disrupting Democracy speaker series hosted by Lincoln Labs, a tech-friendly conservative organization, Paul made the case for appealing to younger voters by way of ending mass data collection, an activity he said went against one of the main reasons young people voted for Barack Obama in 2008.
I also think people who voted for President Obama was because they thought he was a civil libertarian," Paul said.
Saturday's speech was part of Paul's message of reaching to nontraditional GOP voters. Last year, he spoke at the University of California at Berkeley, which is not viewed as a conservative bastion.
Paul made the case that criminal justice reform could be a way to appeal to voters, noting that the Republican Party often touts itself as the party of the Second Amendment.
"I want to also be the party of the First Amendment, the Fourth Amendment but also the Fifth and Sixth Amendment," Paul said. As part of this, Paul talked about restoring the right to vote for convicted felons.
Paul also held firm to his opposition to net neutrality, saying he had not seen concerns about internet monopolies that could control rates being manifested.
"I don't think there is yet evidence that there's absolute control of rates," adding if there was any organization involved with monopolies, it was government monopolies. Paul also dismissed the idea that it would make it harder for small startup companies to succeed.Link to Original Source
writes: Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said this week that he intends to mount a fight against the reauthorization of the Patriot Act, the post-Sept. 11 law that gives the National Security Agency much of its authority to conduct surveillance programs.
"I'm going to lead the charge in the next couple of weeks as the Patriot Act comes forward. We will be filibustering. We will be trying to stop it. We are not going to let them run over us," Paul told the New Hampshire Union Leader on Monday.
The Patriot Act expires June 1, but Congress must effectively renew the law by May 22nd because of a scheduled weeklong break. Paul, a civil libertarian who hopes to capture the 2016 Republican nomination for president, has consistently spoken against reauthorizing the law, going so far as to oppose a 2014 bill that would have ended controversial NSA phone record collection because it left the government's broad authority to conduct surveillance intact.Link to Original Source
writes: Political campaigns are notoriously opaque. They're also typically pretty top-down affairs despite staffers' insistence that "It's all about the grassroots."
So it was a bit surprising to see Vincent Harris, the young entrepreneur heading digital for GOP presidential hopeful Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, asking supporters on Twitter for ideas.
The request for ideas isn't about needing help, necessarily, said Mr. Harris in an email exchange with Ad Age. "Rand is running a crowd-sourced digital effort and as part of that we're looking to the web for ideas. We've seen in the past that groupthink can occur often in politics, and it's something Senator Paul wants to avoid. He has the most active and creative supporters of any Presidential campaign on both sides of the aisle and wants to get them involved," he wrote. He said supporters have suggested ad platforms, YouTube editing tips and other ideas.Link to Original Source
writes: Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul will take part in a "Disrupting Democracy" event on Saturday, May 9 in San Francisco.
The event — hosted by Brigade and organized through Lincoln Labs, a libertarian-leaning technology and policy group — will focus on strategies and tools that can increase voter turnout and overall civic engagement among Americans.
Paul, the junior U.S. senator from Kentucky, will take part in a "fireside chat" with Brigade CEO Matt Mahan and San Francisco Chronicle reporter Carla Marinucci. Tickets are free, but space is limited.
Paul's mostly-libertarian political ethos is appealing to many in Silicon Valley, especially those concerned about government surveillance programs.
"We look forward to Senator Paul's participation in the first Disrupting Democracy conversation," Lincoln Labs co-founder Garrett Johnson said in a news release. "We hope he is the first of many candidates who will come and share their vision for the technology sector in America."Link to Original Source
writes: This week marks the two-year anniversary since Cody Wilson, the inventor of the world’s first 3-D printable gun, received a letter from the State Department demanding that he remove the blueprints for his plastic-printed firearm from the internet. The alternative: face possible prosecution for violating regulations that forbid the international export of unapproved arms.
Now Wilson is challenging that letter. And in doing so, he’s picking a fight that could pit proponents of gun control and defenders of free speech against each other in an age when the line between a lethal weapon and a collection of bits is blurrier than ever before.
Wilson’s gun manufacturing advocacy group Defense Distributed, along with the gun rights group the Second Amendment Foundation, on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against the State Department and several of its officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry. In their complaint, they claim that a State Department agency called the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) violated their first amendment right to free speech by telling Defense Distributed that it couldn’t publish a 3-D printable file for its one-shot plastic pistol known as the Liberator, along with a collection of other printable gun parts, on its website.Link to Original Source
writes: In 1996, a young woman named Angie Dodge was murdered in her apartment in a small town in Idaho. Although the police collected DNA from semen left at the crime scene, they haven’t been able to match the DNA to existing profiles in any criminal database, and the murder has never been solved.
Fast forward to 2014. The Idaho police sent the semen sample to a private lab to extract a DNA profile that included YSTR and mtDNA—the two genetic markers used to determine patrilineal and matrilineal relationships (it’s unclear why they reopened the case after nearly 20 years). These markers would allow investigators to search some existing databases to try to find a match between the sample and genetic relatives.
The cops chose to use a lab linked to a private collection of genetic genealogical data called the Sorenson Database (now owned by Ancestry.com), which claims it’s “the foremost collection of genetic genealogy data in the world.” The reason the Sorenson Database can make such an audacious claim is because it has obtained its more than 100,000 DNA samples and documented multi-generational family histories from “volunteers in more than 100 countries around the world.”
Sorenson promised volunteers their genetic data would only be used for “genealogical services, including the determination of family migration patterns and geographic origins” and would not be shared outside Sorenson.
Despite this promise, Sorenson shared its vast collection of data with the Idaho police. Without a warrant or court order, investigators asked the lab to run the crime scene DNA against Sorenson’s private genealogical DNA database. Sorenson found 41 potential familial matches, one of which matched on 34 out of 35 alleles—a very close match that would generally indicate a close familial relationship. The cops then asked, not only for the “protected” name associated with that profile, but also for all “all information including full names, date of births, date and other information pertaining to the original donor to the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy project.”Link to Original Source
writes: In an ornate room on the first floor of the Capitol, some of the most liberal members of Congress met for lunch on Thursday with nearly a dozen stalwart conservatives who’ve repeatedly taken on their own leadership for being too soft.
The agenda consisted of a single topic, perhaps the only one that would bring together such ideologically divergent politicians in Washington at this moment: their shared disdain for the PATRIOT Act.
With key provisions of the controversial post-9/11 law set to expire at the end of the month, including authority for the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records, critics in both parties are preparing to strike. Among those on hand for the meeting were Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan, a card-carrying ACLU member from the liberal mecca of Madison, Wisconsin, and GOP Rep. Thomas Massie, a tea party adherent from Kentucky.
Along with Pocan and Massie, the Thursday gathering drew Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.). The lawmakers, many of them privacy zealots with libertarian leanings, discussed the USA Freedom Act, bipartisan legislation that would rein in the bulk collection of telephone records and reauthorize expiring anti-terror surveillance provisions in the PATRIOT Act.
“We are definitely making it a bipartisan effort because we believe there are people on both sides of the aisle who are interested in protecting the rights of Americans,” Amash said.
Democrats and libertarian-minded Republicans want changes that go beyond what’s currently on the table, but it’s unclear whether they have the numbers. Massie and Amash are key players in a growing conservative bloc of the Republican caucus that in the past has forced Boehner and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to alter legislation that didn’t pass conservative muster.
“People are going to have to make a decision if there are enough real reforms in there to make it worth reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act,” Massie said. “I don’t think the reforms are significant enough.”
“The onus is really on [Republican and Democratic leaders] to have something in place if this is going to run out and they need to reauthorize something,” the Republican added. “We’re trying to figure out how to get a better, stronger [bill] that protects privacy rights.”Link to Original Source
writes: Congress faces a critical deadline, and time is running out. On June 1, 2015, three provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act will expire. The actions of the U.S. Congress between today and June 1st will affect the privacy and liberty of millions of innocent Americans.
The 2001 USA PATRIOT Act was drafted and swiftly passed in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks. Due to the nature of the crisis, the goal was simply to pass a bill as quickly as possible. Many congressmen did not have an opportunity to thoroughly read, analyze or vet the bill's numerous and lengthy provisions. In fact, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, one of the original authors of the Patriot Act, later declared that he was shocked by how the law was used to spy on innocent Americans.
Congress and the American people now know, thanks to whistleblower leaks, that federal agencies like the National Security Agency regularly perform mass surveillance on Americans without bothering to obtain a warrant. As constitutional law scholar Randy Barnett wrote in the Wall Street Journal, "The National Security Agency has seized from private companies voluminous data on the phone and Internet usage of all U.S. citizens. ... This dangerously violates the most fundamental principles of our republican form of government." He concludes that "[s]uch indiscriminate data seizures are the epitome of 'unreasonable,' akin to the 'general warrants' issued by the Crown to authorize searches of Colonial Americans."
The Founders of this great nation fought and died to stop the kind of warrantless spying and searches that the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act authorize. What happens between now and June 1 depends on the American people. It is imperative that every freedom-loving American demand an end to these unconstitutional programs. At the very least, the expiring provisions of the Patriot Act should not be renewed. After that, the entire Patriot Act should be repealed so we can start over and establish law enforcement programs that respect our Constitution.Link to Original Source
writes: Congressman Thomas Massie does things differently in the House, perhaps because his path to politics was pretty unique: He graduated from MIT with degrees in engineering, started a technology company, sold that company, and moved back to Kentucky with his wife, Rhonda, where they now live entirely off-the-grid on a cattle farm. He was elected in 2012 special election out of a seven-way primary in a heavily Republican district and has been the thorn in the side Boehner and his allies ever since.
That hasn’t stopped Democrats from believing that he’s sometimes their best option for getting their legislation through the House. Last June, Rep Lofgren convinced Massie to take on the role as lead sponsor of an amendment to a major defense bill that would to end so called “back door” searches by the NSA.
It’s incredibly unlikely some of Massie’s legislation — particularly his bill with Pocan to repeal the PATRIOT Act — would ever pass the House, let alone get through the Senate. But putting Massie’s name on a bill could have other benefits: Massie is able to tout the legislation in places Democrats won’t go.
Increasingly, in fact, Massie has become a go-to member of the Republican conference for Democratic members looking for a GOP member to sponsor legislation on everything from surveillance, to industrial hemp, to cell-phone unlocking legislation.
But his early opposition to surveillance programs have drawn him accolades from the Democratic side of the aisle, as has his willingness to buck his party leadership. And as the House and Senate attempt to re-authorize portions of the PATRIOT Act in the coming month, Massie plans on being at the center of that debate — again with a Democrat. He recently introducing a bill with Wisconsin Democrat Mark Pocan to repeal that 2001 law passed in the wake of 9/11 and overhaul many of the NSA’s surveillance programs.Link to Original Source
writes: U.S. Senator Rand Paul, a Republican presidential hopeful, on Wednesday introduced a resolution to block new regulations on Internet service providers, saying they would "wrap the Internet in red tape."
The "net neutrality" rules, which are slated to take effect in June, are backed by the Obama administration and were passed by the Democratic majority of the Federal Communications Commission in February. AT&T Inc and wireless and cable trade associations are challenging them in court.
Paul's resolution, if adopted, would allow the Senate to fast-track a vote to establish that Congress disapproves of the FCC's new rules and moves to nullify them.Link to Original Source
writes: Aiming to appeal to Millennials and libertarian-leaning tech workers, GOP presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul will visit San Francisco next week for a campaign swing that includes headlining a discussion and conference on “Disrupting Democracy.”
The May 9 event, formally titled “Disrupting Democracy: A New Generation of Voter Engagement,” is being hosted by Lincoln Labs, a GOP-leaning “liberty-focused thought and leadership group,” and Brigade, a tech firm that develops social tools aimed at boosting civic engagement and is chaired by billionaire Facebook and Napster co-founder Sean Parker.
Paul is scheduled to sit down with Brigade CEO Matt Mahan during the conference.Link to Original Source