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International Data Privacy Day

by Stephen Lendman Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014 at 11:43 PM


International Data Privacy Day

by Stephen Lendman

It's commemorated annually on January 28. More on its significance below.

This year's DPA comes when revelations show unconstitutional NSA spying. Privacy no longer exists.

Other fundamental freedoms are eroding. They're disappearing in plain sight.

America was never a democracy. Today it's more police state than free society. Unconstitutional mass surveillance is official US policy.

What Bush began, Obama accelerated. He governs secretly. His administration is the least transparent in US history.

He operates extrajudicially. He ignores constitutional law. He violated the public trust. He broke every major campaign pledge  made.

He promised to end Bush/Cheney abuses. They'll be no "wiretaps without warrants," he said. Straightaway as president he authorized them. His pledges belie his policies.

"When I came into this office," he said, "I made two commitments that are more important than any commitment I made: number one to keep the American people safe, and number two to uphold the Constitution."

He's gone all out to consign it to the dustbin of history. He's done more to subvert rule of law principles than any previous US president.

Americans have never been less safe. Police state priorities threaten everyone. Obama lied claiming mass surveillance "help(s) prevent terrorist attacks."

False! None occurred on US soil in modern memory. 9/11 was state-sponsored. The Big Lie persists. So-called "crazed Arabs" had nothing to do with it.

Obama calls NSA spying "modest encroachment on privacy." It's sweeping. It's pervasive. It's lawless. It destroys privacy altogether.

He lied saying "nobody is listening to your telephone calls." Or reading your emails. Or your text messages. Or what web sites you visit.

False! Phone calls, emails, and other communications are systematically monitored. It's done secretly. It's without court authorization.

It's without probable cause. Telecom and Internet companies cooperate. All three branches of government are complicit. Big Brother is more pervasive than Orwell ever imagined.

On January 26, Edward Snowden told German public broadcaster ARD TV about NSA's industrial espionage.

At issue is giving US corporations a competitive edge. Companies like Siemens are targeted.

"If there's information at Siemens that's beneficial to US national interests - even if it doesn't have anything to do with national security - then they'll take that information," said Snowden.

"There is no question that the US is engaged in economic spying," he stressed.

Polls show most Germans don't trust America. Only 35% call Washington a reliable partner. Snowden is considered a hero.

New information keeps surfacing. In mid-January, top secret documents released show the NSA collects around 200 million text messages daily.

They do it worldwide. The program is codenamed "Dishfire." It collects "pretty much everything it can."

A 2011 NSA presentation titled "SMS Text Messages: A Goldmine to Exploit" revealed a daily April 2011 average collection of 194 million text messages.

A separate program called "Prefer" analyzes information obtained.

On January 28, London's Guardian headlined "Angry Birds and 'leaky' phone apps targeted by NSA and GCHQ for user data," saying:

They "transmit users' private information across the internet, according to top secret documents."

Data collected from iPhone and Android apps range from "phone model and screen size to personal details such as age, gender and location."

Some apps identify sexual orientation. Smartphone users don't know how extensively personal information is shared across the Internet.

NSA collects it freely. So does Britain's GCHQ. Both agencies consider obtaining it a high priority.

They want to know everything about everyone everywhere. It's unrelated to national security.

It's for control. It's for political and economic advantage. It's about destroying privacy.

It gives government more power than ever. It facilitates repression. It makes state terror easier.

It leaves activists challenging out-of-control policies vulnerable. It lets authorities identify them more easily.

It means more law-abiding citizens will be wrongfully targeted. Thousands of political prisoners already languish in America's gulag.

Expect many more to join them. Police states operate this way. America is by far the worst. It's out-of-control globally.

Pervasive NSA spying leaves no place to hide. Smartphone use greatly aids data collection efforts.

A program called "Golden Nugget!" does it. A "perfect (NSA) scenario "(t)arget(s) uploading photo(s) to a social media site taken with a mobile device. What can we get?"

Notes explain obtaining a "possible image," email selector, phone, buddy lists, and "a host of other social working data as well as location."

Virtually everything about users can be collected, including:

• country of residence;

• zip code;

• age;

• gender;

• marital status, including single, married, divorced, swinger, etc.;

• number of children;

• occupation;

• income;

• race;

• ethnicity;

• sexual orientation;

• educational level and more.

Vast amounts of information are collected in bulk. It's from Google and other mapping apps.

A 2008 document said "anyone using Google Maps on a smartphone is working in support of a GCHQ (and NSA) system." Both agencies work cooperatively.

Obama defends the indefensible. He lied claiming surveillance makes us safer. Imagine calling NSA intruders "our friends and family."

They're "neighbors," said Obama. They're "patriots."

He lied saying "US intelligence agencies (are) anchored in a system of checks and balances - with oversight from elected leaders, and protections for ordinary citizens."

He lied claiming mass surveillance "prevented multiple attacks and saved lives - not just here in the United States, but around the globe."

Zero terrorist threats were foiled. None whatever exist. Obama approved NSA's worst practices. He did so secretly.

His promised reform is none at all. It's old wine in new bottles. Business as usual continues.  

Nothing suggests promised change. Everything indicates things going from bad to worse. It bears repeating. Police states operate this way. America is by far the worst.

What's ongoing highlights Data Privacy Day's importance. It's an international effort to empower people. It's to educate them.

It's to help them protect their privacy. It includes their digital footprint. DPD is commemorated annually in America, Canada and 28 EU countries.

On January 28, 1981, the Council of Europe opened the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data for signatures.

On October 1, 1985, it became effective. It has 46 signatories. It's the first legally binding treaty on privacy and data protection.

On January 26, 2009, US House Resolution HR 31 passed 402 - 0. The Senate followed by unanimous consent. Both resolutions declared January 28 National Data Privacy Day.

The National Cyber Security Alliance is a public/private alliance. It educates digital society. It aims to help it use the Internet securely and safely.

It coordinates and promotes Data Privacy Day commemorations in America and Canada.

On January 24, 2012, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) highlighted threatening invasive laws mandating data retention.

They force ISPs and telecom providers to collect and store telephonic and digital communications of millions of users.

Doing so constitutes a gross invasion of privacy, anonymity, free expression and other freedoms. It overrides online privacy laws. It assures the kinds of abuses now known.

In 2006, EU nations adopted a highly controversial Data Retention Directive (DRD). Washington and Britain exerted enormous pressure to do so.

It's a mass surveillance law. It compels EU-based ISPs to collect and retain traffic data.

Doing so gives them access to telecommunications, emails, and other digital communications. It provides enormous amounts of personal information.

On January 27, EFF headlined "The Day We Fight Back: A Call to the International Community to Fight Against Mass Surveillance," saying:

Snowden "confirmed our worst fears about online spying." NSA, Britain's GCHQ, and other collaborative spy agencies built a global surveillance infrastructure.

They did it to " 'master the Internet' and spy on the world's communications." They undermined encryption standards. They "riddled the Internet's backbone with surveillance equipment."

They mass surveille millions of people worldwide indiscriminately. They do it extrajudicially.

EFF calls February 11 "The Day We Fight Back." It's a day to "demand an end to mass surveillance in every country, by every state, regardless of boundaries or politics."

EFF urges "everyone, all the users of the Global Internet, to make this a movement." In July 2013, "digital rights activists united on 13 principles."

They explain why mass surveillance violates human and civil rights. "On the day we fight back," said EFF, "we want the world to sign onto those principles."

"We want politicians to pledge to uphold them. We want the world to see we care." Go to the Day We Fight Back web site.

Tell others to do it. Sign on to the 13 principles. Take to the streets. "The Internet spies have spent too long listening (to) our most private thoughts and fears," said EFF.

"Now it's time they really heard us. If you share our anger, share the principles: and fight back."

Our freedom is compromised. We alone can save it. No one will do it for us. Resist or perish!

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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