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It’s a crisp Saturday morning in late November, and the University of Pennsylvania’s campus is just barely stirring as I walk into the Silverman building and head towards Room 147, excited about the morning’s roundtable discussion: Spying and the Judiciary: FISA and Other Special Courts.

A chilling report released Wednesday unveils the well-funded and shadowy world of corporate espionage of social justice organizations, through infiltration, intrusion, spying, wiretaps and more.

From 2008 to 2010, Boston and eight surrounding cities and towns installed surveillance cameras provided by a grant through the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Urban Areas Security Initiative.

Since 2010, the National Security Agency has been exploiting its huge collections of data to create sophisticated graphs of some Americans’ social connections that can identify their associates, their locations at certain times, their traveling companions and other personal information, according to newly disclosed documents and interviews with officials.

The Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday held a hearing, ostensibly to investigate various issues raised about the NSA's activities. What the hearing primarily achieved instead was to underscore what a farce the notion of Congressional oversight over the NSA is.

Officials refuse to say in Senate testimony whether cell site data had ever been used to pinpoint an individual's location.

In October 2012 it was revealed that the BPD placed local anti-war groups under surveillance with no plausible connections to criminal activity. One year later many questions remain about the scope of the BPD’s breach of privacy. What was the purpose of such surveillance and how was it done? Are antiwar activists continuing to have their protected free speech rights violated? Has information on antiwar groups been passed on to national databases, perhaps stored permanently?

A knock-down, drag-out fight between basic constitutional rights and government surveillance will go another round in San Francisco federal court this week. In Jewel v. NSA (aka “Jewel”), the Electronic Frontier Foundation is suing the federal government and several high officials of the Bush and Obama administrations, charging they authorized illegal dragnet surveillance against millions of Americans in the wake of 9-11.

Every 90 days for the past seven years, the government has acquired the full billing records of every American’s daily telephone calls. Though the use of of secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court orders, the FBI has forced telecommunications companies to hand over records revealing such details as who individuals call, the length of those phone calls, and the locations of the callers. As the ACLU explains in a new report titled, “Unleashed and Unaccountable: The FBI’s Unchecked Abuse of Authority,” these secretive, unconstitutional, and ineffective invasions of privacy have become a mainstay in the post-9/11 domestic surveillance enterprise.

Close the N.S.A.’s Back Doors

Reposted from The New York Times: In 2006, a federal agency, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, helped build an international encryption system to help countries and industries fend off computer hacking and theft. Unbeknown to the many users of the system, a different government arm, the National Security Agency, secretly inserted a “back door” into the system that allowed federal spies to crack open any data that was encoded using its technology.