By Alfredo Lopez
A legal case, virtually unreported in the U.S., could very well unhinge a major component of this country's surveillance system. In any case, it certainly challenges it.
Yves Bot, he Advocate General of the European Court of Justice (the European Union's litigation arena) just published an "opinion" that the privacy and data sharing arrangements between the EU's 28 countries and the United States are "invalid", must be revised and cannot now be used to regulate data transfer.
This is to surveillance what an earthquake would be to a city: it wouldn't halt surveillance but it would destroy one of its major components. While the EU court's 15 justices have yet to issue their ruling on the opinion, they seldom deviate very much from their AG's advice and, given that they published his opinion and circulated it to the media, it's a good bet they are going to approve something close to it. They'll make that ruling later this year.
But the opinion alone is undoubtedly sending shudders through the halls of the NSA which gets all kinds of data from cooperating big-data companies (like Facebook and Google) and steals data from the ones that don't cooperate through a program called PRISM.
That's where one must start in understanding this: PRISM, a highly sophisticated data capture program used by the NSA to steal data from servers in this country and overseas. It's the most comprehensive spy program in U.S. history and much of its activity involves servers in other countries because that's where much of the data the NSA wants is stored.
With the advent of the cloud storage programs, your data is "distributed. For instance, an email you send is cut up into little pieces stored in various servers throughout the world. This makes for a more efficient use of storage space. When you ask for your data, the servers cooperate in putting it together and sending it to you. PRISM takes the data as soon as its together, often from a European server right before it is sent out or brought in.
For many years, PRISM was clandestine until whistle-blower Edward Snowden told the world about it...
For the rest of this article by ALFREDO LOPEZ in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent, uncompromised, five-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/2864
Mainstreaming the Preferential Option For the Poor: Pope Francis Drops a Bomb on Washington
By John Grant
A political society endures when it seeks, as a vocation, to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk.
Pope Francis' speech to the US Congress struck me as a message with strains long demanded in the corrupt halls of our government. It was a message that took me back 30 years to my travels in Central America during the Reagan years, which was a pivotal moment in modern US history for the rise of a money class and the problems of inequity we currently face.
My father’s honeymoon with the corporate side of the company did not last long. I imagine it was a bitter affair, because soon enough he collected his wife and three sons and moved to a house in the truck farming area of south Dade County below Miami. I recall him saying he was going “bohemian.” He got a job lecturing in physiology at the University of Miami Medical School and he set up our rural property as an amateur nursery, where he worked a hobby of botany, treating seeds aimed at the creation of strange new versions of sub-tropical plants.
You might say dear old Dad was a bit eccentric. He had been a PT boat captain in the Solomon Islands, Peleliu and Okinawa for a couple years and, though it wasn’t an issue then, he must have had some variant of PTSD that contributed to his eccentricities. He and I fought most of our lives over politics, me taking a critical, leftist line, especially following my stint in Vietnam. Still, he was a complicated man and I recall him saying about me in public more than once, “Sometimes, at night, I wonder whether you might be right.” The one thing we saw absolutely eye-to-eye on was a disbelief in some kind of supernatural deity who knew or cared what we humans were thinking and doing. What he believed in was biology.
One of the things we regularly fought over was Ronald Reagan...
For the rest of this article by JOHN GRANT in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent, uncompromised, five-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/2861
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