Police departments across the United States are now using a program that mines Internet comments and social media posts to determine the “threat score” of a suspect before cops arrive on the scene.
Reuters reports that law enforcement authorities have utilized an application called Beware since 2012 that takes just seconds to crawl billions of records in commercial and public databases to assign a threat rating to an individual – green, yellow or red. (more…)
We recently noted that, despite it passing overwhelmingly, Congress quietly deleted a key bit of NSA reform that would have blocked the agency from using backdoors for surveillance. But this week something even more nefarious happened, and it likely would have gone almost entirely unnoticed if Rep. Justin Amash’s staffers hadn’t caught the details of a new provision quietly slipped into the Intelligence Authorization Act, which effectively “legitimized” the way the NSA conducts most of its mass surveillance. (more…)
Thank God for Noam Chomsky. Not for his lifetime of eviscerating assaults on our political hypocrisy, but for his linguistics. Long before I knew him, undergraduate Fisk laboured at his university linguistics course, where Chomsky’s work first alerted me to the pernicious use of language. Hence I condemn at once the vile semantics of the Pentagon and the CIA. Not just that old, wolfish, obscene phrase “collateral damage”, but the language of torture.
Or, as the lads who torture on our behalf call it, “enhanced interrogation techniques”. Let’s take a closer look at that. “Enhanced” is a word of improvement. It suggests something better, more learned, even less costly. For example, “enhanced medicine” would presumably involve a more streamlined way of improving your health. Just as “enhanced schooling” would suggest a more worthy education for a child. “Interrogation” at least gives a hint of what this is all about. Asking questions and getting – or not getting – a reply. But “techniques” beats the lot. A technique is a technical skill, is it not? Usually, so my dictionary tells me, in artistic work. (more…)
The California Highway Patrol website has a special military recruiting page which states “Former military personnel easily fit into the CHP’s workforce and adapt well to our paramilitary work environment. You can use your former military skills and self-initiative to help you promote through the CHP’s ranks.” (more…)
It was July 2005 and Jack Straw was in combative mood. During a parliamentary debate, the then foreign secretary insisted that there was no need for a judicial inquiry into the UK’s role in extraordinary rendition – “unless we all start to believe in conspiracy theories and that the officials are lying, that I am lying, that behind this there is some kind of secret state which is in league with some dark forces in the United States”.
But the publication last week of a long-awaited US Senate intelligence report has raised fresh questions about what the UK knew about the CIA’s torture programme – and in particular the role played by an obscure overseas British territory. (more…)