DHS findings: People are insufficiently suspicious of their neighbors! Fear levels too low! Alert!

Privacy SOS

How can you be a better snitch patriot? How can DHS make you feel more comfortable calling, texting, tweeting, facebooking, emailing, or mobile app-ing your concerns about the people around you to the police or the feds? Why don’t you feel comfortable doing this now? Why aren’t you more afraid?

DHS wants to know.

Ok, so those weren’t exactly the questions DHS had a private research firm ask US residents during in person focus group and telephone polling sessions, but they are close. Here’s an actual question:

“What would make the reporting of suspicious activity easier for you and your neighbors?”

Part of the problem, as DHS saw it, was that people weren’t reporting on each other enough. It’s not only a “quality” problem, but a “quantity” problem that needs fixing, it says. So naturally, it did focus groups. And polling. (At cost to taxpayers? I don’t know; couldn’t find out.)

So how’d we do when put to the FEAR TEST, us US residents? Not bad, actually. US persons come away from the focus groups and polling looking like pretty stand up people.

When DHS’ private contractor ICF Macro laid out a bunch of scenarios for people and asked if they would report “suspicious” activity to the police in those situations, forty-three percent of the people who demurred said that they would hesitate out of “concern you may get an innocent person in trouble.” Kudos, USA! That’s some great independent thinking and love of neighbor, not to mention clear evidence that the government’s sustained fear campaigns have not had the intended effect of sufficiently frightening us into submission or fear of one another. There is hope yet!

Though disturbingly, some of the fear-mongering over the past ten years must have rubbed off on young people more effectively than our older compatriots: while 54% of people aged 65+ said they didn’t want to rat on people for fear that they would harm an innocent person, only 41% of 18-34 year olds said the same. Older respondents also reported being more uncomfortable judging people than the younger participants.

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Next Phase of the Surveillance State: Nuclear Powered Drones

Infowars.com

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The next generation of surveillance drones will be nuclear powered. Instead of flying for hours, the new drones will be able to stay in the air for months. The development represents a bonanza for the national security state and its military-industrial complex ministries like the Department of Homeland Security.

From The Guardian:

The blueprints for the new drones, which have been developed by Sandia National Laboratories – the US government’s principal nuclear research and development agency – and defense contractor Northrop Grumman, were designed to increase flying time “from days to months” while making more power available for operating equipment, according to a project summary published by Sandia.

(…)

Using nuclear power would enable the Reaper [a Northrop Grumman drone] not only to remain airborne for far longer, but to carry more missiles or surveillance equipment, and to dispense with the need for ground crews based in remote and dangerous areas.

In February, the project was fast-tracked and the FAA gave the go-ahead to allow the unmanned surveillance aircraft to fly in U.S. air space.

“The FAA Reauthorization Act, which President Obama is expected to sign, also orders the Federal Aviation Administration to develop regulations for the testing and licensing of commercial drones by 2015,” washingtontimes.com reported.

“We don’t want to wonder, every time we step out our front door, whether some eye in the sky is watching our every move,” the ACLU wrote in a statement.

“The bottom line is: domestic drones are potentially extremely powerful surveillance tools, and that power — like all government power — needs to be subject to checks and balances We hope that Congress will carefully consider the privacy implications that this technology can lead to.”

Congress has spoken. By 2015 and probably sooner the surveillance state will take to the air. It’s the next phase of a high-tech surveillance state: 24-7 aerial drones to monitor the masses and “prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together,” as Zbigniew Brzezinski writes.

NYPD and Pentagon to place mobile scanners on the streets on NYC

New York City’s war on freedom could be adding a new weapon to its arsenal, especially if NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly has his say.

The head of the New York Police Department is working with the Pentagon to secure body scanners to be used throughout the Big Apple.

If Kelly gets his wish, the city will be receiving a whole slew of Terahertz Imagining Detection scanners, a high-tech radiation detector that measures the energy that is emitted from a persons’ body. As CBS News reports, “It measures the energy radiating from a body up to 16 feet away, and can detect anything blocking it, like a gun.”

What it can also do, however, is allow the NYPD to conduct illegal searches by means of scanning anyone walking the streets of New York. Any object on your person could be privy to the eyes of the detector, and any suspicious screens can prompt police officers to search someone on suspicion of having a gun, or anything else under their clothes.

According to Commissioner Kelly, the scanners would only be used in “reasonably suspicious circumstances,” but what constitutes “suspicious” in the eyes of the NYPD could greatly differ from what the 8 million residents of the five boroughs have in mind.

The American Civil Liberties Union has already questioned the NYPD over what they say is an unnecessary precaution that raises more issues than it solves.

“It’s worrisome. It implicates privacy, the right to walk down the street without being subjected to a virtual pat-down by the Police Department when you’re doing nothing wrong,” Donna Lieberman of the NYCLU says to CBS.

The scanners also raise the question of whether such searches would even be legal under the US Constitution. Under the Fourth Amendment, Americans are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures. Does scoping out what’s on someone’s person fall under the same category as a hands-on frisk, though?

To the NYPD, it might not matter. In the first quarter of 2011, more than 161,000 innocent New Yorkers were stopped and interrogated on the streets of the city. Figures released by the NYPD in May of last year revealed that of the over 180,000 stop-and-frisk encounters reported by the police department, 88 percent of them ended in neither an arrest nor a summons, leading many to assume that New York cops are already going above and beyond the law by searching seemingly anyone they chose. Additionally, of those 161,000-plus victims, around 84 percent were either black or Latino. At the time, the ACLU’s Lieberman wrote, “The NYPD is turning black and brown neighborhoods across New York City into Constitution-free zones.”

Given the alarming statistics, many already feel that officers within the ranks of the NYPD are overzealous with their monitoring of New Yorkers, regularly stopping them for unknown suspicions that nearly nine-out-of-ten times prove false. With the installation of the Terahertz Imagining Detection scanners though, those invasive physical searches wouldn’t just be replaced with a touchless, more intrusive monitoring, but will only allow New Yorkers one more reason to fear walking the streets. Continue reading