Archive for category Big Brother
July 25, 2012
Earlier this year, the spy satellite industry was hit hard by defense budget cuts.
For the top two commercial satellite companies, which survive largely by providing imagery to the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies, the cuts left only enough money for one to survive.
Now budget austerity has forced the companies to merge together and create a new space monopoly with control over what we see from orbit.
On Monday, Colorado-based satellite firm DigitalGlobe announced it’s merging with Virginia-based competitor GeoEye in a stock and cash deal worth $900 million. The merger works out in DigitalGlobe’s favor, which keeps its name intact and whose shareholders will control 64 percent of the new company.
DigitalGlobe will also take over GeoEye operations. Best known for providing imagery for applications like Google Earth, the companies combined provide more than three-quarters of the U.S. government’s satellite images.
The company also has somewhat of a codependent relationship with the Pentagon. For one, the companies help serve a need for satellite images that the government’s own aging fleet of satellites can’t always fulfill.
Meanwhile, the companies are dependent on funding from Congress and the Pentagon’s National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) in order to stay afloat. This year, that funding got cut — severely.
Earlier this year, the Pentagon announced it was pushing “significant reductions” for commercial satellite imagery for fiscal year 2013.
July 23, 2012
Millions of us turn to social networks like Facebook and Twitter to share our lives with friends and family. But what you might not know is that you could be giving away your personal data to governments. RT’s Marina Portnaya explains, no privacy settings can bar the authorities’ prying eyes.
by: Madison Ruppert
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Finally, the U.S. government formally admitted that their incredibly massive surveillance program has, in fact, violated our right to be safe from unreasonable search and seizure as protected by the 4th Amendment to the Constitution.
Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, previouslyrevealed the so-called “secret PATRIOT Act” and along with Senator Mark Udall, has called for the Obama administration to declassify the rulings of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court.
Now, thanks to a letter from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Wyden is able to say that “on at least one occasion” the FISA Court found that the so-called “minimization procedures” used by the government while collecting intelligence were “unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment.”
Unfortunately, Wyden’s knowledge still seems quite limited. He does not know exactly how widespread this clearly illegal surveillance was, when it actually occurred or even how many American people have been targeted.
In the letter to Wyden obtained by Wired’s Danger Room, we learn that the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) “has taken the exceptional step of declassifying your proposed text and the other information contained in this letter.”
by: Madison Ruppert
July 20, 2012
The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA), the intelligence community’s equivalent of the mad scientist-like Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is seeking to develop silent drones inspired by owls.
For those who are not aware, there have been recent technological leaps of a significant magnitude in the field of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), better known as drone, research and development.
One problem which IARPA seems to be focused on tackling is the sound created by most drone systems which can make effective surveillance quite difficult.
In IARPA’s “Proposers’ Day Overview Briefing” in 2011, they stated that they seek to “enter an area of interest without anyone knowing you are there” and thus need to “develop the technology that enables a new class of UAVs.”
This is all part of IARPA’s Great Horned Owl (GHO) Program which began in 2011.
The GHO program was created in order to reduce the ability of the target “to counter [surveillance]” by creating, “Better, more efficient, quiet power sources and propulsion techniques [in order] to engineer the next generation UAVs for ISR [Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance] mission applications.”