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EU Court Says Google Must Delete ‘Irrelevant’ Links at the Request of Ordinary Individuals

Photo Credit: Getty

Photo Credit: Getty

By The Independent.

The European Court of Justice struck a major blow against the right of internet companies to hold unlimited information on individuals when it ordered Google to remove links that are deemed “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant”.

The court’s decision will allow individuals the right to ask internet search engines to remove links to information about them that they do not want known – which could be seen either as an assertion of the right to privacy or an attack on free speech. Google and free speech activists reacted angrily to the court’s verdict which could guarantee individuals a “right to be forgotten” on the internet which is not currently available.

It is unclear exactly how the ruling will be implemented considering the sheer volume of online data and internet users. For individuals keen to erase embarrassing incidents from their past, it could prove a handy tool for re-shaping their digital footprint, while data protection advocates are calling it a victory against the all-powerful internet giants.

But for champions of free speech, the potential for misuse is deeply worrying.

“This is akin to marching into a library and forcing it to pulp books,” said Jodie Ginsberg, chief executive of Index on Censorship. “Although the ruling is intended for private individuals, it opens the door to anyone who wants to whitewash their personal history.”

Read more from this story HERE.

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Europe’s top court: people have right to be forgotten on Internet

By Reuters.

People can ask Google to delete sensitive information from its Internet search results, Europe’s top court said on Tuesday.

The case underlines the battle between advocates of free expression and supporters of privacy rights, who say people should have the “right to be forgotten” meaning that they should be able to remove their digital traces from the Internet.

The ruling by the Luxembourg-based European Union Court of Justice (ECJ) came after a Spanish man complained to the Spanish data protection agency that an auction notice of his repossessed home on Google’s search results infringed his privacy.

Read more from this story HERE.

NSA Broke Privacy Rules Thousands of Times Per Year, Audit Finds

NSAThe National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008, according to an internal audit and other top-secret documents.

Most of the infractions involve unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign intelligence targets in the United States, both of which are restricted by statute and executive order. They range from significant violations of law to typographical errors that resulted in unintended interception of U.S. e-mails and telephone calls.

The documents, provided earlier this summer to The Washington Post by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, include a level of detail and analysis that is not routinely shared with Congress or the special court that oversees surveillance. In one of the documents, agency personnel are instructed to remove details and substitute more generic language in reports to the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

In one instance, the NSA decided that it need not report the unintended surveillance of Americans. A notable example in 2008 was the interception of a “large number” of calls placed from Washington when a programming error confused the U.S. area code 202 for 20, the international dialing code for Egypt, according to a “quality assurance” review that was not distributed to the NSA’s oversight staff.

In another case, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which has authority over some NSA operations, did not learn about a new collection method until it had been in operation for many months. The court ruled it unconstitutional.

Read more from this story HERE.

Texas ‘Garden of Eden’ Owner Claims SWAT Raided Her Property Under ‘Guise’ of a Drug Bust and Took 20,420 Pounds of Material (+video)

swat_raidThe owner of sustainable farm in Texas claims a SWAT team came onto her property “under the guise that we were doing a drug trafficking, marijuana-growing operation” and ended up taking more than 20,000 pounds of material and allegedly violated personal rights, according to WFAA-TV.

“There were 15 to 20 blackberry bushes. There were sunflowers for our bees and gifting. Lots of okra, and we had a sweet potato patch that they whacked down with a Weed-Eater. The weeds that we used to shade our crops are also gone,” owner of the Garden of Eden Shellie Smith told WFAA of the scene after authorities came through.

The SWAT team had a probable cause search warrant to come onto the Arlington farm August 2. A code enforcement team also entered the property with an abatement warrant, which allowed them to take nearly “20,420 pounds of nuisance materials” from the property.

WFFA reported these materials including two dozen tires with stagnant water and “compost, wooden pallets and furniture.”

“The purpose was to improve the quality of life, to resolve life safety issues within neighborhoods and to hold the property owner responsible for creating blight conditions on their property,” the City of Arlington’s spokeswoman Sana Syed wrote in a statement of the raid.

Read more from this story HERE.

Noonan: What We Lose if We Give Up Privacy

surveillance_stateWhat is privacy? Why should we want to hold onto it? Why is it important, necessary, precious?

Is it just some prissy relic of the pretechnological past?

We talk about this now because of Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency revelations, and new fears that we are operating, all of us, within what has become or is becoming a massive surveillance state. They log your calls here, they can listen in, they can read your emails. They keep the data in mammoth machines that contain a huge collection of information about you and yours. This of course is in pursuit of a laudable goal, security in the age of terror.

Is it excessive? It certainly appears to be. Does that matter? Yes. Among other reasons: The end of the expectation that citizens’ communications are and will remain private will probably change us as a people, and a country.

Among the pertinent definitions of privacy from the Oxford English Dictionary: “freedom from disturbance or intrusion,” “intended only for the use of a particular person or persons,” belonging to “the property of a particular person.” Also: “confidential, not to be disclosed to others.” Among others, the OED quotes the playwright Arthur Miller, describing the McCarthy era: “Conscience was no longer a private matter but one of state administration.”

Read more from this story HERE.

The Most Unconstitutional Law In American History

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but something has happened that you need to know about.

Last week, while our attention was diverted to the Boston Marathon bombing manhunt, the U.S. House of Representatives snuck in and struck a blow to civil liberties.

They passed new legislation called the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA; and it has substantial implications for online freedom.

Although the President hasn’t officially signed CISPA yet, the Obama Administration has embraced Total Information Awareness –“TIA” for short – which refers to the government’s power to accumulate a massive, searchable database of every conceivable type of electronic information.

And I’m not even talking about the agencies already compiling virtually billions of phone and email records. CISPA has taken all of that to a new level. The United States government now has more power than ever to snoop on you.

Read more from this story HERE.

Even the ACLU Says Reid’s Gun Legislation Threatens Privacy Rights, Civil Liberties

Photo Credit: Daily Caller

As Senate Democrats struggle to build support for new gun control legislation, the American Civil Liberties Union now says it’s among those who have “serious concerns” about the bill.

Those concerns have the capacity to prove a major setback to Sen. Harry Reid’s current gun bill, which includes language from earlier bills introduced by Sens. Chuck Schumer and Barbara Boxer.

In an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller, a top lobbyist for the ACLU announced that the group thinks Reid’s current gun bill could threaten both privacy rights and civil liberties.

Read more from this story HERE.

How Democratic Operatives Are Accessing 2.9 million Private Voter Records — Right Now

Fresh off re-election victories, President Barack Obama and his campaign-trail machine show no signs of slowing down. At all.

On Jan. 18, Obama for America (later, Organizing for America) became Organizing for Action; on Jan. 24, the campaign’s former national field director, Jeremy Bird, launched the party’s plan to turn Texas into a battleground; and in the coming weeks, if successful, the president’s Department of Justice will begin the process of turning Louisiana blue.

Just how would they go about doing that? Simple, really: The first step toward winning a state in the modern age is a deep knowledge of who is in that state, allowing organizations to understand how to reach, and sway, those people. And a major, major step in that direction in the Big Easy is obtaining the voter roll information — we’re talking Social Security numbers, license numbers, dates of birth, mother’s maiden names, dates and places of registration, and all changes to updates to registrations — for 2.9 million Louisiana voters, as well as the computer source codes the secretary calls “essential to election integrity,” and turn all that over to the activists and data gurus that won the country for the president in 2008 and 2012. One of these potential recipients is Catalist — an organization the Capital Research Center called “the most powerful weapon in [the left’s] arsenal,” and one that counted Obama for America among its long and illustrious list of (entirely progressive) clients.

Sound nefarious? Well, it is. And this, in real time, is how it is playing out:

The DOJ is suing Louisiana Secretary of State Thomas Schedler, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH), DHH Secretary Bruce Greenstein, the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and DCFS Secretary Ruth Johnson under Section 7 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, which requires states to register voters at welfare handout locations (they call these “public assistance” programs).

Read more from this story HERE.

Report: $91 Million Spent On Secret NSA Tests Probing Domestic Computer Systems

The National Security Agency is conducting secret tests on the computer systems of U.S. private sector entities, including public utilities, a CNET report revealed this week.

The secret program, dubbed Perfect Citizen, is part of an effort by the government to improve security systems in the private sector and test offensive operations against enemies’ computer systems.

Targets reportedly include power grids and gas pipelines. The NSA’s operation reportedly probes their computer systems for vulnerabilities as part of a larger cybersecurity and cyberwarfare initiative.

Details about the program were revealed through documents obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a Washington, D.C.-based research nonprofit.

Of the 190 pages obtained by EPIC about the program, 98 were heavily redacted for a number of reasons, including portions labeled “classified top secret.”

Read more from this story HERE.

WARNING – Graphic Language and Content: Texas Trooper Being Sued in Irving Body Cavity Search Case Suspended (+ video)

The officer being sued for a body cavity search has been suspended, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

DPS spokesman Tom Vinger said trooper Kelley Helleson is suspended with pay pending the outcome of the investigation.

The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office says the case is being investigated by the office’s public integrity division and will go before a grand jury in January.

Two Irving women are suing two state troopers and the head of their department in federal court, alleging they were subjected to an illegal and humiliating “roadside body cavity search” during a traffic stop.

See video below:

Read more from this story HERE.

U.S. Terror Agency To Tap Citizen Files

photo credit: donkey hotey

Top U.S. intelligence officials gathered in the White House Situation Room in March to debate a controversial proposal. Counterterrorism officials wanted to create a government dragnet, sweeping up millions of records about U.S. citizens—even people suspected of no crime.

Not everyone was on board. “This is a sea change in the way that the government interacts with the general public,” Mary Ellen Callahan, chief privacy officer of the Department of Homeland Security, argued in the meeting, according to people familiar with the discussions.

A week later, the attorney general signed the changes into effect.

Through Freedom of Information Act requests and interviews with officials at numerous agencies, The Wall Street Journal has reconstructed the clash over the counterterrorism program within the administration of President Barack Obama. The debate was a confrontation between some who viewed it as a matter of efficiency—how long to keep data, for instance, or where it should be stored—and others who saw it as granting authority for unprecedented government surveillance of U.S. citizens.

The rules now allow the little-known National Counterterrorism Center to examine the government files of U.S. citizens for possible criminal behavior, even if there is no reason to suspect them. That is a departure from past practice, which barred the agency from storing information about ordinary Americans unless a person was a terror suspect or related to an investigation.

Read more from this story HERE.