Democracy Going Dark:
The Electronic Police State
[The FBI's Multi-Billion
"High-Tech Surveillance" Program]
by: Tom Burghardt
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."]
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
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 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 -
"... 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
Under the heading "Electronic Surveillance," OTD
"... 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
Headquarters for the FBI's Operational Technology Division
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
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
Hacking is illegal - except when the government does
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
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,
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
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
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)
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
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
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
For those who are new to the Electronic Police State Report,
we will re-state our definitions:
The electronic tentacles
of the new American police state
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
are advanced electronic police states; nations depicted
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.
- North Korea
- United States of America
- United Kingdom
- South Korea
- New Zealand
- Czech Republic
- South Africa
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,
The program is closely tied with technology under development
by West Virginia University's Center for Identification Technology Research
As the FBI's "lead academic partner in biometrics research"
according to a Bureau press release, CITeR provides -
A. Hornak, "a 'visionary' of the Big Brother school of
"... 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
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
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
YOU CAN HELP BY EMAILING
THIS ARTICLE TO
YOUR FRIENDS AND