"Some of the world’s leading social critics and political critics have used pen names. As Tyler Durden of Zero Hedge points out (edited slightly for readability):
Though often maligned (typically by those frustrated by an inability to engage in ad hominem attacks), anonymous speech has a long and storied history in the United States. Used by the likes of Mark Twain (aka Samuel Langhorne Clemens) to criticize common ignorance, and perhaps most famously by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay (aka publius) to write the Federalist Papers, we think ourselves in good company in using one or another nom de plume.
Particularly in light of an emerging trend against vocalizing public dissent in the United States, we believe in the critical importance of anonymity and its role in dissident speech.
Like the Economist magazine, we also believe that keeping authorship anonymous moves the focus of discussion to the content of speech and away from the speaker – as it should be. We believe not only that you should be comfortable with anonymous speech in such an environment, but that you should be suspicious of any speech that isn’t".
"The Pentagon announced it is boosting "cybersecurity" personnel to 4,900. Is this really a move for defense, or to ramp up efforts to spy on Americans?".
"The Pentagon has approved plans for a five-fold increase in its cyberwar fighting force. The U.S. Cyber Command would see its ranks jump from 900 to 4,900, including both uniformed and civilian personnel. Defense officials say the boost in the cybersecurity force is necessary because of the nation's growing vulnerability to cyber attacks and also the need to prepare for more offensive cyber combat operations. But there is already a shortage of cyber specialists, and the new recruitment effort would increase the competition for skilled personnel within the government and the private sector. Audie Cornish talks to Tom Gjelten".
"Google demands probable-cause, court-issued warrants to divulge the contents of Gmail and other cloud-stored documents to authorities in the United States — a startling revelation Wednesday that runs counter to federal law that does not always demand warrants.
The development surfaced as Google publicly announced that more than two-thirds of the user data Google forwards to government agencies across the United States is handed over without a probable-cause warrant.
A Google spokesman told Wired that the media giant demands that government agencies — from the locals to the feds — get a probable-cause warrant for content on its e-mail, Google Drive cloud storage and other platforms — despite the Electronic Communications Privacy Act allowing the government to access such customer data without a warrant if it’s stored on Google’s servers for more than 180 days.
“Google requires an ECPA search warrant for contents of Gmail and other services based on the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which prevents unreasonable search and seizure,” Chris Gaither, a Google spokesman, said"
"Following the pattern set by the National Security Agency (NSA), the Justice Department last week refused to disclose how, when, and how often the federal government uses GPS to track vehicles.
As a result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) petition filed last July, on January 16 the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) received two internal Justice Department memos setting out the department’s policies regarding tracking of citizens using GPS technology.
At least that’s what the documents purported to reveal. In reality, the pair of memos sent to the ACLU by the DOJ were largely blacked out, leaving all but the barest of background information completely redacted.
As is customary among the participants in the government project to place every American under constant surveillance and make every citizen a suspect, Justice Department attorneys argue that the information requested by the ACLU in the FOIA petition could be used to help criminals escape capture by law enforcement.
The ACLU isn’t convinced, however.
Report: UK police categorize political activists as ‘domestic extremists’
By Stephen C. Webster
Sunday, October 25th, 2009 -- 8:55 pm
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British police inspectors have been building a massive, secret database containing personal information on thousands of otherwise innocent political activists, an investigative report revealed Sunday.
"The hidden apparatus has been constructed to monitor 'domestic extremists', the Guardian can reveal in the first of a three-day series into the policing of protests. Detailed information about the political activities of campaigners is being stored on a number of overlapping IT systems, even if they have not committed a crime."
The UK paper added that the term "domestic extremist" has no legal basis, but is instead intended to tar those who may have participated in something so benign as civil disobedience.
Even merely attending a protest and standing on the outskirts of the crowd can be enough to land one on the National Public Order Intelligence Unit's list of "domestic extremists."