Lawsuit Against Mass Electronic Surveillance to Proceed

From the EFF:
A federal judge today rejected the U.S. government's latest attempt to dismiss the Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF's) long-running challenge to the government's illegal dragnet surveillance programs. Today's ruling means the allegations at the heart of the Jewel case move forward under the supervision of a public federal court.

"The court rightly found that the traditional legal system can determine the legality of the mass, dragnet surveillance of innocent Americans and rejected the government's invocation of the state secrets privilege to have the case dismissed," said Cindy Cohn, EFF's Legal Director. "Over the last month, we came face-to-face with new details of mass, untargeted collection of phone and Internet records, substantially confirmed by the Director of National Intelligence. Today's decision sets the stage for finally getting a ruling that can stop the dragnet surveillance and restore Americans' constitutional rights."

App Provides Visualization of Twitter Retweets

From Wired:
The online application Where Does My Tweet Go?, created by information architect BenoƮt Vidal and the team at MFG Labs in France, uses a visual algorithm to illustrate how your messages spread between your followers and strangers alike. Rather than looking at your Twitter feed and seeing an obscure number of retweets for a post, these graphs let you see how your messages travel and who moves them along in the Twitterverse. Vidal says that while they were inspired by how information gets out so quickly over the Internet, they were also inspired by their dissatisfaction with other applications that tracked your activity and gave you content suggestions, but did so in an invisible way.

At&T Is Preparing to Follow Other Companies and Sell Your Data

From Fierce Wireless:
AT&T (NYSE:T) said it "may" begin selling anonymous information about its customers' wireless and Wi-Fi locations, U-verse usage, website browsing, mobile application usage and "other information" to other businesses. The carrier said it will protect its customers' privacy by providing the data in aggregate so it cannot be used to identify an individual. The carrier also said its customers can opt out of the program.

AT&T is not the first company to sell anonymous information about its customers' location and behavior. Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and most other Internet companies have long sold such data. In the wireless industry, Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) launched its Precision Market Insights business last year, which also anonymizes and sells customer location and usage information. Further, companies such as AirSage and SAP have recently begun selling aggregated location and usage information from wireless carriers.

Firefox Add-On Blocks Browser Tracking

Ghostery is a Firefox add-on that allows users to see who is tracking them and block the offending trackers.  From the extension's description:
Ghostery is built and maintained for users that care about their online privacy, and is engineered with privacy as a primary goal. Ghostery use is anonymous. No registrations or sign-ups are required. The Ghostery plug-in does not place cookies into your browser. Neither the Ghostery application nor Evidon receives any data from Ghostery users unless the user opts-in to participate in Ghostrank. Ghostrank data itslef is anonymous, is NEVER used for advertising targeting purposes, and is only shared in aggregated, non-personal, statistical form.

Tech and Civil Rights Groups to Protest Dragnet Government Surveillance on Fourth of July

Tomorrow, the Fourth of July, a new campaign is being launched to restore the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and reign in the rampant abuses against illegal search and seizure that have become all too routine in the United States.  Find a protest site in your area here.  PC World reports on the campaign:

A large coalition of civil rights and privacy groups and potentially thousands of websites will stage protests on the Fourth of July to protest surveillance programs at the U.S. National Security Agency.

As part of the Restore the Fourth campaign, many website members of the 30,000-member Internet Defense League plan to display a protest of NSA surveillance and the text of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Websites participating include Reddit, where Restore the Fourth originated, WordPress, 4chan, Mozilla, Fark, and  Organizers of Restore the Fourth are also planning live protests in dozens of U.S. cities, including New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Houston and Atlanta.

Anti-Tech Security Hysteria

When the security hysterics among us get their feathers in a bunch, the first thing they seek to do to assuage their irrational fears is to demands that the rest of us comply with their insane proposals, no matter how inimical they are to liberty, rights or even security itself.  Tech Dirt takes down a prime example of anti-tech hysteria at the Washington Post:
Every time I think I've read the least well-thought out luddite argument, someone comes along to top it, and today we have columnist Robert Samuelson in the Washington post with what might be the silliest, most lacking-in-thought argument for why we should get rid of the internet. The short version: yes, the internet has provided us with some good stuff, but because there's a yet unproven risk that it might also lead to some cyberattacks that might lead to as yet undetermined problems, we should scrap the whole thing. Oddly, the WaPo had put different titles on the piece online and in the print newspaper. Online, it's entitled: "Beware the Internet and the danger of cyberattacks." In the physical paper, they apparently went with the much more ridiculous: "Is the Internet Worth It?" with the clear implication being a fulfillment of Betteride's Law that the answer is "no, the internet is not worth it."

UK Leads the Way on Social Media Surveillance and Spying

From Ars Technica:
The PRISM scandal engulfing US and UK intelligence agencies has blown the debate wide open over what privacy means in the digital age and whether the Internet risks becoming a kind of Stasi 2.0. The extent of the UK's involvement in this type of mass surveillance—which already appears exhaustive—shows just what a potential intelligence goldmine social media data can be.

But the monitoring of our online trail goes beyond the eavesdroppers in GCHQ.  For the past two years, a secretive unit in the Metropolitan Police has been developing the tools for blanket surveillance of the public's social media conversations. Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, a staff of 17 officers in the National Domestic Extremism Unit (NDEU) has been scanning the public's tweets, YouTube videos, Facebook profiles, and anything else UK citizens post in the public online sphere.

The intelligence-gathering technique—sometimes known as Social Media Intelligence (Socmint)—has been used in conjunction with an alarming array of sophisticated analytical tools . . .