Tuesday, 14 June 2016

NSA and Dir. of National Intelligence: We Will Gather Data from Pacemakers, Appliances, and Children's Toys

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Always anxious to expand the size of its surveillance dragnet, the National Security Agency (NSA) is exploring the possibility of seizing data from Internet-connected biomedical devices such as pacemakers, Richard Ledgett, the NSA’s deputy director said at a June 10 convention in Washington, D.C. “We’re looking at it sort of theoretically from a research point of view right now,” Leggett told the attendees of the 2016 Defense One Tech Summit.

Ledgett referred to the life-saving devices as “another tool in the toolbox” of the snoops. He agreed with a comment saying that the data that could be gathered from the biomedical devices would be a “signals intelligence bonanza.”

“As my job is to penetrate other people’s networks, complexity is my friend,” he said. “The first time you update the software, you introduce vulnerabilities, or variables rather. It’s a good place to be in a penetration point of view.”

Penetrating networks is spook-speak for violating the rights protected by the Fourth Amendment.

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees that: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Of course, the federal government would argue that pacemakers aren’t papers; therefore, they aren’t covered by the Fourth Amendment’s mandates.

Ledgett’s not alone in his slavering over the data that could be collected from the so-called Internet of Things.

At a Senate hearing in February, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that Internet-connected devices of all sorts could help with “identification, surveillance, monitoring, location tracking, and targeting for recruitment, or to gain access to networks or user credentials.”

Believe it or not, in a letter to Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) Clapper identified in passing some of the devices that could be hacked by the NSA (or other federal officers) to obtain personal information from a surveillance target: “a refrigerator, a washing machine, or a child’s toy.”

The dragnet now, apparently, will collect information from everyday appliances and the dolls and trucks played with by our children.

The fact that the chiefs of these major centers of the surveillance state openly admit that they are developing technology to monitor personal data from medical devices and private conversations from toys and household appliances proves that our elected representatives (and the courts, for that matter) have disregarded the Constitution and built a domestic spy apparatus that bears no resemblance whatsoever to the blueprint provided by our Founding Fathers in the Constitution.

Influential states’ rights advocate and Founding Era jurist St. George Tucker wrote, regarding the importance of the checks included in the Fourth Amendment, “The constitutional sanction here given to the same doctrine, and the test which it affords for trying the legality of any warrant by which a man may be deprived of his liberty, or disturbed in the enjoyment of his property, can not be too highly valued by a free people.”

The provision of the Massachusetts State Constitution of 1780 puts an even finer point on the protections provided by the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution:

Every subject has a right to be secure from all unreasonable searches, and seizures of his person, his houses, his papers, and all his possessions. All warrants, therefore, are contrary to this right, if the cause or foundation of them be not previously supported by oath or affirmation; and if the order in the warrant to a civil officer, to make search in suspected places, or to arrest one or more suspected persons, or to seize their property, be not accompanied with a special designation of the persons or objects of search, arrest, or seizure: and no warrant ought to be issued but in cases, and with the formalities, prescribed by the laws.

This echoes Article 23 of the Maryland Constitution of 1776, which reads:

Every subject has a right to be secure from all unreasonable searches, and seizures of his person, his houses, his papers, and all his possessions. All warrants, therefore, are contrary to this right, if the cause or foundation of them be not previously supported by oath or affirmation; and if the order in the warrant to a civil officer, to make search in suspected places, or to arrest one or more suspected persons, or to seize their property, be not accompanied with a special designation of the persons or objects of search, arrest, or seizure: and no warrant ought to be issued but in cases, and with the formalities, prescribed by the laws.

Heedless of the rule of law, the laws passed by the states, and the U.S. Constitution, the NSA and other surveillance state agencies are committed to constructing a 21st Century Panopticon that will imprison the entire globe within the walls of this electronic prison.

The abridgments of fundamental liberties by the NSA are only the tip of the massive surveillance iceberg. Phone calls, texts, social media posts, etc. are already subject to the surveillance and sharing of the executive branch. Now medical devices, appliances, and children’s toys are about to be added to the list of Stasi-like listening posts.

This Republic has entered an era in which the representatives of the people secretly sign off on the systematic destruction of the constitutional walls erected to protect the people from the abuses and usurpations of those who would be their masters.

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