Rare - In the wake of recent mass shootings, Monday night the U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on an expansion of the Patriot Act.... The proposed bill, H.R. 5606, expands Section 314 of the Patriot Act to cover non-terrorism or money laundering related investigations. Critics claim that the bill is a threat to the privacy of innocent Americans and is being rammed through Congress without debate. Section 314 encourages law enforcement to share information with financial institutions on money laundering and terrorism. It also encourages financial institutions to share information with each other. The House Liberty Caucus, led by Congressman Justin Amash (R-Mich.), has come out in opposition to the bill, raising privacy issues as a concern. It claims that Treasury Department regulations will all but mandate financial institutions share information with the government, compromising the privacy of Americans who are not involved in criminal activity. The original Section 314 of the Patriot Act itself delegates significant authority to the Treasury Department to make regulations.
The Senate votes this week on whether to give the FBI warrantless access to your browsing history
Fight For The Future - A couple of weeks ago, the Senate tried to sneak a rider onto a spending bill that would give the FBI sweeping new surveillance authority, including warrantless access to browsing history (obtained from ISPs). This measure failed by one vote.... Now, Republican leadership is planning to re-introduce the measure (McCain Amendment 4787) and do a re-vote this week. Even though we won the first time, the razor-thin margin means this upcoming vote could really go either way. It all boils down to a few key senators who are undecided or likely to change their minds.
Pokémon Go Linked to CIA
Kit Daniels - The ‘augmented reality’ mobile game Pokémon Go, which uses the player’s smartphone camera to ‘add’ Pokémon to real-world locations, has ties to the CIA. The developer of Pokémon Go, Niantic, Inc., was founded by John Hanke, who previously received funding from the CIA’s venture capital firm In-Q-Tel to develop what eventually became Google Earth. In-Q-Tel was once described as an “independent strategic investment firm that identifies innovative technology solutions to support the missions of the U.S. Intelligence Community.” It’s easy to see why the CIA would have an interest in the software behind Pokémon Go; the game utilizes the player’s camera and gyroscope to display an image of a Pokémon as though it were in the real world, such as the player’s apartment complex or workplace bathroom. Software like that could theoretically turn millions of smartphone users into ‘Imperial probe droids’ who take real-time, ground-level footage of their cities and homes, reaching into dark alleyways and basements which spy satellites and Google cars can’t reach.
In Dallas, Drone Wars Just Came Home
The Ron Paul Institute - The Dallas shootings have ushered in a very new world for US citizens. For the very first time, drones have been used on US soil to kill Americans without trial or charges.... The media and opinion-leaders are presenting us with a false choice: if we question the use of drones to kill Americans -- even if we suspect they have done very bad things -- we somehow do not care about the lives of police officers. That is not the case. It is perfectly possible to not want police officers to be killed in the line of duty but to wholeheartedly reject the idea of authorities using drones to remotely kill Americans before they are found guilty. African-American Dallas protester Mark Hughes was wrongly identified by Dallas Police as a suspect in the shootings. Police tweeted photos of Hughes marching with protesters openly carrying a rifle, as is permitted in Texas. Police claimed was involved in the shooting. He was a suspect just like Johnson was a suspect.... What will happen in the future to a future Mark Hughes, falsely accused by police of being involved in a shooting?
U.S. missile brought down Russian helicopter in Syria says report
The Japan Times - Two Russian airmen killed in Syria on Friday were shot down with American weaponry, the Interfax news agency said Sunday, quoting a Russian military source. It said insurgents from the Islamic State group hit the airmen’s Mi-25 assault helicopter with a U.S.-made TOW heavy anti-tank missile, a weapon that uses guidance from a ground station.... Russian newspapers reported the alleged U.S. link without saying how the Islamic State group - which Washington is fighting in Iraq and Syria - might have obtained contemporary American weaponry. In some respects, the narrative mirrors Western allegations that Russia supplied the missile that shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in July 2014. However, the Islamic State group is known to have obtained U.S.-made vehicles and weapons when it seized territory from Iraq’s security forces in 2014.