Democracy Going Dark:
The Electronic Police State

[The FBI's Multi-Billion
"High-Tech Surveillance" Program]

by: Tom Burghardt

PREFACE

This is a very important article, and you are URGED to take it very seriously. My great fear in all of this is not so much that Christians will fall victim to the developing police state in the U.S., but will - OUT OF FEAR - be subsumed by it "AND PARTAKE OF HER SINS" just as German Christians did with regard to Nazi Germany.  It is not without reason that the Bible warns us:

"... COME OUT OF HER, my people, that ye BE NOT PARTAKERS OF [i.e., participate in] HER SINS, and that ye receive not of her plagues [and that ye be not judged with her]. (Rev. 18:4) [Please see our article, "Come out of Her."]

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Introduction

The Federal Bureau of Investigation's budget request for Fiscal Year 2010 reveals that America's political police intend to greatly expand their high-tech surveillance capabilities.

According to ABC News, the FBI is seeking additional funds for the development of -

"... a new 'Advanced Electronic Surveillance' program which is being funded at $233.9 million for 2010. The program has 133 employees, 15 of whom are agents."

Known as "Going Dark," the program is designed to beef up the Bureau's already formidable electronic surveillance, intelligence collection and evidence gathering capabilities "as well as those of the greater Intelligence Community," ABC reports. An FBI spokesperson told the network:

"The term 'Going Dark' does not refer to a specific capability, but is a program name for the part of the FBI, Operational Technology Division's (OTD) lawful interception program which is shared with other law enforcement agencies. The term applies to the research and development of new tools, technical support and training initiatives." (Jason Ryan, "DOJ Budget Details High-Tech Crime Fighting Tools," ABC News, May 9, 2009)

Led by Assistant Director Marcus C. Thomas, OTD describes the office as supporting -

Marcus

"... the FBI's investigative and intelligence-gathering efforts--and those of our federal, state, and local law enforcement/intelligence partners--with a wide range of sophisticated technological equipment, examination tools and capabilities, training, and specialized experience. You won't hear about our work on the evening news because of its highly sensitive nature, but you will continue to hear about the fruits of our labor..."

According to OTD's website, the Division possesses "seven core capabilities:"

  • Digital Forensics;

  • Electronic Surveillance;

  • Physical Surveillance;

  • Special Technology and Applications;

  • Tactical Communications;

  • Tactical Operations;

  • Technical Support/Coordination.

Under the heading "Electronic Surveillance," OTD deploys -

"... tools and techniques for performing lawfully-authorized intercepts of wired and wireless telecommunications and data network communications technologies; enhancing unintelligible audio; and working with the communications industry as well as regulatory and legislative bodies to ensure that our continuing ability to conduct electronic surveillance will not be impaired as technology evolves."

Headquarters for the FBI's Operational Technology Division (OTD)

But as we have seen throughout the entire course of the so-called "war on terror," systemic constitutional breeches by the FBI--from their abuse of National Security Letters, the proliferation of corporate-dominated Fusion Centers to the infiltration of provocateurs into antiwar and other dissident groups--the only thing "impaired" by an out-of-control domestic spy agency have been the civil liberties of Americans.

Communications Backdoor Provided by Telecom Grifters

While the Bureau claims that it performs "lawfully-authorized intercepts" in partnership with the "communications industry," also known as telecommunications' grifters, the available evidence suggests otherwise.

As Antifascist Calling reported last year, security consultant and whistleblower Babak Pasdar, in a sworn affidavit to the Government Accountability Project (GAP), provided startling details about the collusive--and profitable alliance--between the FBI and America's wireless carriers.

PLEASE SEE THE FOLLOWING IMPORTANT
VIDEO FROM "DEMOCRACY NOW"

Pasdar furnished evidence that FBI agents have instantly transferred data along a high-speed computer circuit to a Bureau technology office in Quantico, Virginia. The so-called Quantico Circuit was provided to the FBI by Verizon, The Washington Post revealed.

According to published reports, the company maintains a 45 megabit/second DS-3 digital line that allows the FBI and other security agencies virtually "unfettered access" to the carrier's wireless network, including billing records and customer data "transferred wirelessly." Verizon and other telecom giants have supplied FBI technical specialists with real-time access to customer data.

"The circuit was tied to the organization's core network," Pasdar wrote. Such access would expose customers' voice calls, data packets, even their physical movements and geolocation to uncontrolled--and illegal--surveillance.

In April, Wired obtained documents from the FBI under a Freedom of Information Act request. Those files demonstrate how the Bureau's "geek squad" routinely hacks into wireless, cellular and computer networks.

Hacking is illegal - except when the government does it.

Although the FBI released 152 heavily-redacted pages, they withheld another 623, claiming a full release would reveal a "sensitive investigative technique." Nevertheless, Wired discovered that the FBI is deploying spyware called a "computer internet protocol address verifier," or CIPAV, designed to infiltrate a target's computer and gather a wide range of information, "which it sends to an FBI server in eastern Virginia." While the documents do not detail CIPAV's capabilities, an FBI affidavit from a 2007 case indicate it gathers and reports -

"... a computer's IP address; MAC address; open ports; a list of running programs; the operating system type, version and serial number; preferred internet browser and version; the computer's registered owner and registered company name; the current logged-in user name and the last-visited URL.

"After sending the information to the FBI, the CIPAV settles into a silent 'pen register' mode, in which it lurks on the target computer and monitors its internet use, logging the IP address of every server to which the machine connects." (Kevin Poulsen, Wired, April 16, 2009)

"Going Dark" is ostensibly designed to help the Bureau deal with technological changes and methods to intercept Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) phone calls facilitated by programs such as Skype. But a tool that can seamlessly target hackers and cyber-criminals can just as easily be deployed against political opponents.

The FBI also intends to continue their use of automated link and behavioral analysis derived from data mining as investigative tools. As a subset of applied mathematics, social network theory and its derivatives, link and behavioral analysis, this methodology purports to uncover hidden relationships amongst social groups and networks. Over time, it has become an invasive tool deployed by private and state intelligence agencies against political activists, most recently, as Antifascist Calling reported in February, against protest groups organizing against the Republican National Convention.

These methods raise very troubling civil liberties' and privacy concerns. The Electronic Privacy Information Coalition (EPIC) filed a Freedom of Information Act request, demanding that the General Services Administration (GSA) turn over agency records -

"... concerning agreements the GSA negotiated between federal agencies and social networking services, including Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo, Blip.tv, and Facebook."

With the proliferation of social networking sites, applications allow users to easily share information about themselves with others. But as EPIC points out -

"... Many online services relay information about online associations as users create new relationships. While government agencies may use social networking, cloud computing, and Internet services to create greater transparency on their activities, it remains unclear if there are data collection, use, and sharing limitations."

And with "information discoverability" all the rage amongst spooky security agencies ranging from the FBI to the NSA, "connecting the dots," particularly when it comes to dissident Americans, "is gaining increasing attention from homeland security officials and experts in their ongoing attempt to corral anti-terrorism information that resides across federal, state and local jurisdictions," Federal Computer Week reports.

Will an agreement between Facebook and the FBI facilitate "dot connecting" or will it serve as a new, insidious means to widen the surveillance net, building ever-more intrusive electronic case files on dissident Americans?

The Electronic Police State

As Antifascist Calling reported earlier this month, citing the Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF) dossier on the FBI's Investigative Data Warehouse (IDW), the office had "transitioned to the operations and maintenance phase during FY 2008" and now possesses some "997,368,450 unique searchable documents," ready for data mining.

But as study after study has revealed, most recently the comprehensive examination of various programs by the National Research Council, automated data mining is "likely to generate huge numbers of false leads."

Because the mountainous volumes of data "mined" for "actionable intelligence" are drawn from dozens of disparate sources on terrorism or criminal suspects -

"... they have an enormous potential for privacy violations because they will inevitably force targeted individuals to explain and justify their mental and emotional states."

EFF documented that the Bureau's Telephone Application (TA) -

"... provides a central repository for telephone data obtained from investigations."

TA allegedly functions as an -

"... investigative tool ... for all telephone data collected during the course of FBI investigations. Included are pen register data, toll records, trap/trace, tape-edits, dialed digits, airnet (pager intercepts), cellular activity, push-to-talk, and corresponding subscriber information."

Additionally, the civil liberties' group revealed that "records obtained through National Security Letters are placed in the Telephone Application, as well as the IDW by way of the ACS [Automated Case] system." It would appear that "Going Dark" will serve as a research subsystem feeding the insatiable appetite of the Investigative Data Warehouse.

In fact, these programs are part and parcel of what the security website Cryptohippie refers to as the Electronic Police State. Far from keeping us safe from all manner of dastardly plots hatched by criminals and/or terrorists, Cryptohippie avers:

"An electronic police state is quiet, even unseen. All of its legal actions are supported by abundant evidence. It looks pristine.

"An electronic police state is characterized by this: State use of electronic technologies to record, organize, search and distribute forensic evidence against its citizens. The two crucial facts about the information gathered under an electronic police state are these:

  • It is criminal evidence, ready for use in a trial.

  • It is gathered universally and silently, and only later organized for use in prosecutions.

"In an Electronic Police State, every surveillance camera recording, every email you send, every Internet site you surf, every post you make, every check you write, every credit card swipe, every cell phone ping... are all criminal evidence, and they are held in searchable databases, for a long, long time. Whoever holds this evidence can make you look very, very bad whenever they care enough to do so. You can be prosecuted whenever they feel like it--the evidence is already in their database." ('The Electronic Police State, 2008 National Rankings', Cryptohippie, no date)

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IMPORTANT NOTE FROM ELECTRONIC
POLICE STATE REPORT
:

The USA closes only 2/100ths of a point behind Russia.

When we produced our first Electronic Police State report, the top ten nations were of two types:

  • Those that had the will to spy on every citizen, but lacked ability.

  • Those who had the ability, but were restrained in will.

This is changing: The able have become willing and their traditional restraints have failed.

The United States, with the UK and France close behind, have now caught up with Russia and are gaining on China, North Korea and Belarus. The key developments driving this are the following:

  • The USA has negated their Constitution's fourth amendment in the name of protection and in the name of "wars" against terror, drugs and cyber attacks. 

  • The UK is aggressively building the world of 1984 in the name of stopping "anti-social" activities. Their populace seems unable or unwilling to restrain the government.

  • France and the EU have given themselves over to central bureaucratic control.

The electronic tentacles of the new American police state

For those who are new to the Electronic Police State Report, we will re-state our definitions:

An electronic police state is characterized by this:

State use of electronic technologies to record, organize, search and distribute forensic evidence against its citizens.

The two crucial facts about the information gathered under an electronic police state are these:

  • It is criminal evidence, ready for use in a trial.

  • It is gathered universally ("preventively") and only later organized for use in prosecutions.

In an Electronic Police State, every surveillance camera recording, every email sent, every Internet site surfed, every post made, every check written, every credit card swipe, every cell phone ping ... are all  criminal evidence, and all are held in searchable databases. The individual can be prosecuted whenever the government wishes.

Long-term, the Electronic Police State destroys free speech, the right to petition the government for redress of grievances, and other liberties. Worse, it does so in a way that is difficult to identify.

METHODOLOGY

We moved to a more elaborate ranking system this year. The categories remained the same, but we have now weighted each one according to its importance. (The weighting factors are shown in parenthesis for each category itemized below.) Within each category we used a comparative method of assigning value.

We have not taken into account how many people, or what percentage of people, are affected by each characteristic. So, even though very few people in North Korea have Internet access, those who do are subjected to very serious surveillance. The low number of users has no effect on the national ranking.

In addition, it is significant to note that we are not measuring government censorship of Internet traffic or police abuses, as legitimate as these issues may be. Nor are we including government corruption.

Note also that none of our categories apply to evidence-gathering by traditional, honest police work. (Searches only with warrants issued by an independent judge, after sufficient examination of evidence.)

The seventeen factors we included in these rankings are:

  • Daily Documents (2) Requirement of state-issued identity documents and registration.

  • Border Issues (2) Inspections at borders, searching computers, demanding decryption of data.

  • Financial Tracking (3) State's ability to search and record all financial transactions: Checks, credit card use, wires, etc.

  • Gag Orders (2) Criminal penalties if you tell someone the state is searching their records.

  • Anti-Crypto Laws (2) Outlawing or restricting cryptography.

  • Constitutional Protection (2) A lack of constitutional protections for the individual, or the overriding of such protections.

  • Data Storage Ability (3) The ability of the state to store the data they gather.

  • Data Search Ability (3) The ability to search the data they gather.

  • ISP Data Retention (3) States forcing Internet Service Providers to save detailed records of all their customers' Internet usage.

  • Telephone Data Retention (2) States forcing telephone companies to record and save records of all their customers' telephone usage.

  • Cell Phone Records (3) States forcing cellular telephone companies to record and save records of all their customers' usage, including location.

  • Medical records (1) States demanding records from all medical service providers and retaining the same.

  • Enforcement Ability (2) The state's ability to use overwhelming force (exemplified by SWAT Teams) to seize anyone they want, whenever they want.

  • Habeus Corpus (2) Lack of habeus corpus, which is the right not to be held in jail without prompt due process. Or, the overriding of such protections.

  • Police-Intel Barrier (3) The lack of a barrier between police organizations and intelligence organizations. Or, the overriding of such barriers.

  • Covert Hacking (3) State operatives copying digital evidence from private computers covertly. Covert hacking can make anyone appear as any kind of criminal desired, if combined with the removing and/or adding of digital evidence.

  • Loose Warrants (2) Warrants issued without careful examination of police statements and other justifications by a truly independent judge.

For each of these, we assigned a value of between 1 and 5. A value of 1 indicates minimal development of electronic police state abilities in that area. 5 indicates a full operation.

THIS YEAR'S RESULTS

We ranked 51 major states. The map above displays their rankings:

  • For the first time, we are using a top ranking color of black, for any nation achieving a score of 4.0 or greater. (North Korea is the only "black" nation.)

  • Nations depicted in Red are advanced electronic police states, with an average rank of 3.0 to 3.99 

  • Nations depicted in Orange are strongly developing electronic police states, with an average rank of 2.5 to 2.99

  • Nations depicted in Yellow are lagging (but still developing) electronic police states, with an average rank of 2.0 to 2.49

  • Nations depicted in green are states that seem to be going toward the electronic police state model, but not as quickly.

Here are the 51 states and their rankings.

Nations depicted in red are advanced electronic police states; nations depicted in orange are developing electronic police states; nations depicted in yellow are lagging (but still developing) electronic police states; Nations depicted in green are states that seem to be going toward the electronic police state model, but not as quickly.

  1. North Korea
  2. China
  3. Belarus
  4. Russia
  5. United States of America
  6. United Kingdom
  7. France
  8. Israel 
  9. Singapore
  10. Germany
  11. Ireland
  12. Malaysia
  13. Netherlands
  14. Italy 
  15. South Korea
  16. Australia
  17. Belgium
  18. Spain
  19. Austria 
  20. Ukraine
  21. Greece
  22. Switzerland
  23. Japan
  24. Norway
  25. Canada
  26. India
  27. New Zealand
  28. Portugal
  29. Denmark
  30. Hungary
  31. Poland
  32. Sweden
  33. Bulgaria
  34. Taiwan 
  35. Czech Republic
  36. Cyprus
  37. Finland
  38. Lithuania
  39. Estonia
  40. Luxembourg  
  41. Slovenia
  42. Malta 
  43. Iceland 
  44. Latvia
  45. South Africa
  46. Argentina
  47. Mexico
  48. Thailand 
  49. Romania  
  50. Brazil 
  51. Philippines

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Unfortunately, this is not the stuff of paranoid fantasies, but American reality today; one unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.

In addition to "Going Dark," the FBI is busily constructing what ABC News refers to as the -

"... development of the Biometric Technology Center, a Joint Justice, FBI and DoD program."

At a cost of $97.6 million, the center will function as a research and development arm of the Bureau's Biometric Center of Excellence (BCOE), one which will eventually -

"... be a vast database of personal data including fingerprints, iris scans and DNA which the FBI calls the Next Generation Identification (NGI)."

The FBI's Biometric Technology Center in Clarksburg, West Virginia

The program is closely tied with technology under development by West Virginia University's Center for Identification Technology Research (CITeR).

Lawrence A. Hornak, "a 'visionary' of the Big Brother school of technology"

As the FBI's "lead academic partner in biometrics research" according to a Bureau press release, CITeR provides -

"... biometrics research support to the FBI and its law enforcement and national security partners and serve as the FBI liaison to the academic community of biometric researchers nationwide."

Indeed, CITeR director Lawrence A. Hornak, "a visionary of the Big Brother school of technology" told The Register, he awaits the day -

"... when devices will be able to recognize us and adapt to us. The long-term goal is the ubiquitous use of biometrics."

But as The Register pointed out when the program was publicly rolled-out -

"... civil libertarians and privacy advocates are not amused.

"They claim that the project presents nightmare scenarios of stolen biometric information being used for ever-more outlandish forms of identity theft, which would be nearly impossible to correct. Correcting an inaccurate credit report is already an insulting and hair-raising experience in America, and critics contend that the use of biometrics would make correcting inaccurate credit reports or criminal histories nearly impossible. Besides, they argue, the US government does not exactly have a sterling record when it comes to database security--what happens when, as seems inevitable, the database is hacked and this intimate and allegedly indisputable data is compromised? ...

"Databases usually become less accurate, rather than more, the older and bigger they get, because there's very little incentive for the humans that maintain them to go back and correct old, inaccurate information rather than simply piling on new information. Data entry typically trumps data accuracy. Furthermore, the facial recognition technology in its current iteration is woefully inaccurate, with recognition rates as low as 10 per cent at night. All in all, there is ample reason for skepticism--not that it will make much of a difference. (Burke Hansen, "FBI preps $1bn biometric database," The Register, December 24, 2007)

But WVU's CITeR isn't the only partner lining-up to feed at the FBI's trough. ABC reports that the Bureau -

"... has awarded the NGI contract to Lockheed Martin to update and maintain the database which is expected to come online in 2010. After being fully deployed the NGI contract could cost up to $1 billion."

However, Federal Computer Week reported in 2008 that although the initial contract will "consist of a base year," the potential for "nine option years" means that "the value of the multiyear contract ... could be higher." You can bet it will!

Additional firms on Lockheed Martin's "team" as subcontractors include IBM, Accenture, BAE Systems, Global Science & Technology, Innovative Management & Technology Services and Platinum Solutions. In other words, NGI is yet another in a gigantic herd of cash cows enriching the Military-Industrial-Security Complex.

Democracy "Going Dark"

The "vast apparatus of domestic spying" described by the World Socialist Web Site ... is a permanent feature of the United States; one that will continue to target political dissent during a period of profound economic crisis ...

From warrantless wiretapping to the suppression of information under cover of state secrets, and from the waging of imperialist wars of conquest to torture, the militarist mind-set driving the elites of the United States at warp speed towards an abyss of their own creation, are signs that new political provocations are being prepared by America's permanent "shadow government"-the military-intelligence-corporate apparatus.

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We URGE you to see our article, "The Evil in our Midst."

We need your help to spread the word concerning Antipas Ministries and the eschatological viewpoint it represents; WE NEED YOUR HELP BECAUSE WE DO NOT "LINK" WITH OTHER SO-CALLED "CHRISTIAN" WEBSITES which are, for the most part, "in the tank" insofar as their loyalty to the United States is concerned - a loyalty that has made them partners in the BLOODY trail the American military has left in its TERROR-RIDDEN rampage throughout the world, as well as making them partners in the abject poverty that American corporations have imposed on the peoples and nations the American military machine has ravaged - A BLOODY, TERROR-RIDDEN RAMPAGE THAT HAS TO A LARGE DEGREE BEEN CARRIED OUT IN THE NAME OF THE "PRINCE OF PEACE." [Please see our articles, "The Third World as a Model for the New World Order," Inside the American New World Order System" and "The American Empire: The Corporate / Pentagon / CIA / Missionary Archipelago."]

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