The Audiophiliac picks the best speakers under $650

M-Audio BX5 D2 desktop speakers


(Credit:
M-Audio)

I’ve said it many times: the very best audio is frighteningly expensive, and so are the world’s best cars, cameras, clothing, boats, and so forth. The good news is there are really pretty spectacular finds at the other end of the audio rainbow. I love it when I come across an over-performing budget-priced speaker, and lately, I’ve found quite a few. Here’s a newly revised list of standout designs.

Since this list covers a broad range of speaker types, there’s no ranking order; each one is exceptional in its own right. I have spent time with or reviewed all of them.

Source Article from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/cnet/tcoc/~3/2UfZ2DWmMxY/

RSPCA UK’s 3rd MOST COMPLAINED ABOUT CHARITY

 Britain’s biggest animal welfare charity is one of the country’s most
complained about charities, figures from charities regulator suggest.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9783676/RSPCA-is-one-of-Britains-most-complained-about-charities.html

Source Article from http://rspcainjustice.blogspot.com/2013/01/rspca-uks-3rd-most-complained-about.html

Star Wars movie to be shot in UK

Star Wars JJ Abrams

Abrams is set to direct the next installment of Star Wars. Picture: AP/Matt Sayles
Source: AP



THE next Star Wars movie will be shot in a galaxy far, far away from Hollywood – Britain.


Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy says the company has reached a deal with British Treasury chief George Osborne to make Star Wars: Episode VII in the UK.

She said on Friday that the production company was “revisiting the origins of `Star Wars'” for the new movie. Parts of all six previous movies were made in Britain.

Osborne said the announcement was “great news for fans and our creative industries.”

Star Wars maker Lucasfilm was bought last year for $4.05 billion by The Walt Disney Co., which has announced plans for a new trilogy of films.

The first new movie, directed by sci-fi wunderkind J.J. Abrams (Star Trek), is due for release in 2015.

Source Article from http://news.com.au.feedsportal.com/c/34564/f/632581/s/2bc970ae/l/0L0Snews0N0Bau0Centertainment0Cmovies0Cstar0Ewars0Emovie0Eto0Ebe0Eshot0Ein0Euk0Cstory0Ee6frfmvr0E1226640A0A536160Dfrom0Fpublic0Irss/story01.htm

Superman back with a vengenace

Man of Steel

Henry Cavill takes on the role of Superman in the new film Man of Steel.
Source: Supplied



FASTER than a speeding bullet – Superman is heading Down Under.


The latest actor to don the blue tights and big red S, Henry Cavill, will be in Sydney on June 24 for the Australian premiere of Man of Steel, accompanied by the movie’s director, Zack Snyder of Watchmen and 300 fame.

The $170 million movie, which is being produced by Christopher Nolan, the man behind the hit Batman trilogy, is an attempt to reboot the franchise of one of the most popular heroes in the comic book canon.

Since making his first appearance in 1938, Superman has been adapted for TV and the big screen multiple times. The most notable portrayal was Christopher Reeve, who played the character in four movies beginning in 1978.

The last son of the planet Krypton was last seen on the silver screen in 2006, in Superman Returns, which was considered a disappointment, despite receiving generally positive reviews and making nearly $400 million at the box office.

Russell Crowe

Henry Cavill says he regards co-star Russell Crowe, who plays his father, as a mentor.

The new movie, which opens in Australia on June 27, also stars Russell Crowe as Superman’s natural father, Oscar nominee Amy Adams and Michael Shannon of Boardwalk Empire fame.

Cavill recently revealed to GQ magazine that he regarded Crowe as something of a mentor, having asked him for advice when he was an extra on the set of the Aussie Oscar-winner’s 2000 film Proof Of Life.

“I thought we kind of look ridiculous, standing there, looking over at this famous actor,” he told GQ. “And I want to be an actor. So I thought I may as well go over and ask this guy about it.”

So he asked him: “Hi, my name’s Henry. I want to be an actor. What’s it like?”

According to Cavill, Crowe told him: “If you want to go for it, then really go for it. Commit.”

Source Article from http://news.com.au.feedsportal.com/c/34564/f/632581/s/2bc8bbf6/l/0L0Snews0N0Bau0Centertainment0Cmovies0Csuperman0Eback0Ewith0Ea0Evengenace0Eas0Eman0Eof0Esteel0Estars0Egear0Eup0Efor0Eaustralian0Epremiere0Cstory0Ee6frfmvr0E1226639990A5190Dfrom0Fpublic0Irss/story01.htm

Chrysler recalls almost 470,000 Jeep 4WDs



CHRYSLER is recalling 469,000 Jeep four-wheel drives worldwide because they can shift into neutral without warning on startup.


The recall affects 2005 to 2010 Grand Cherokees and 2006 to 2010 Commanders.

US safety regulators say cracks in a circuit board can cause a faulty signal as the 4WDs are being started. If the vehicles shift into neutral they can roll away.

Chrysler says the problem has caused 26 crashes and two injuries.

Chrysler will notify owners and dealers will update software to take care of the problem. Chrysler found cracks in a circuit board that turns the four-wheel-drive system on and off.

Repairs will be made at no cost.

The recall covers 295,000 vehicles in the US, 28,500 in Canada, and 4,200 in Mexico. The remaining 141,000 are outside North America.


Source Article from http://news.com.au.feedsportal.com/c/34564/f/632570/s/2bc8f9d7/l/0L0Snews0N0Bau0Cbusiness0Cbreaking0Enews0Cchrysler0Erecalls0Ealmost0E470A0A0A0A0Ejeep0E4wds0Cstory0Ee6frfkur0E1226640A0A60A150A0Dfrom0Fpublic0Irss/story01.htm

G7 pledges to support growth



THE Group of Seven top economies is committed to “nurturing” world economic recovery, British finance minister George Osborne said on Saturday following a meeting of the international body that also pledged to further slash countries’ huge public deficits.


“Overall, our discussions over the past two days have reaffirmed that there are still many challenges to securing sustainable global recovery, and we can’t take it for granted,” he said.

“But we are committed as the advanced economies in playing our part in nurturing that recovery and ensuring a lasting recovery so that we have prosperity in all our countries.”

The chancellor of the exchequer was speaking after a two-day informal meeting of G7 finance ministers and central bankers aimed at striking a balance between supporting fragile economic recovery and slashing government debts.

Osborne said the discussions had revealed more areas of agreement between the member states than is assumed, amid pressure from the United States for Europe to scale back deep austerity measures.

He also told reporters after the talks in Aylesbury, northwest of London, that the G7 ministers had agreed on the “importance of collective action” to tackle tax evasion, which Britain has made a priority of its presidencies of the G7 and the G8.

The G7 comprises Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States. The G8 is the G7 plus Russia.

The Aylesbury gathering, also attended by top representatives from the European Union and International Monetary Fund, built on last month’s wider Group of 20 meeting while looking ahead to next month’s G8 summit in Northern Ireland.

Osborne on Saturday said the G7 had “discussed the importance of having in place credible, country-specific, medium-term fiscal consolidation plans for ensuring sustainable public finances and sustainable growth”.

The chancellor added: “This meeting confirmed there are more areas of agreement between us on fiscal policy than is commonly assumed.”

The IMF, while welcoming government efforts to reduce spending, has urged Britain to lessen the pace of its austerity program to support the country’s fragile economic recovery.

Meanwhile on Friday, US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said the world’s biggest economy feels “strongly there needs to be the right balance between austerity and growth”, amid accusations that Germany has forced heavily indebted eurozone colleagues such as Spain and Italy down a path of deep spending cuts.

The G7 gathering also took place against a background of renewed market focus on currency wars after the yen on Friday hit its lowest point against the dollar in more than four years.

Osborne said the G7 had reaffirmed its commitment made in February that its “fiscal and monetary policies have been and will remain orientated towards meeting” its members’ respective domestic objectives and “will not target exchange rates”.

The dollar this week vaulted past the key 100-yen barrier for the first time since October 2008, as Tokyo’s aggressive stimulus efforts to lift the Japanese economy continue to depress its currency, helping to boost demand for Japanese exports.

“We are not manipulating the foreign exchange market but trying to come out of deflation,” Japan’s Finance Minister Taro Aso insisted on Friday, when the US currency raced as high as 101.98 yen.

Elsewhere, US and Frankfurt stock markets surged to record highs this week following positive economic data out of the United States and Germany.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who did not attend the G7 meeting, sounded a note of caution Friday about the record-setting rise on Wall Street as the Fed holds its near-zero key interest rate and pumps $US85 billion ($A84.62 billion) a month into bond purchases to support a weak economic recovery.

“In light of the current low interest rate environment, we are watching particularly closely… forms of excessive risk-taking,” he told a Chicago Fed conference.

Osborne noted on Saturday: “Financial market sentiment has improved and there are signs that this is feeding through to an improved outlook in some of our economies.

“However, we all agreed that growth prospects remain uneven and we can’t take the global recovery for granted.”

Source Article from http://news.com.au.feedsportal.com/c/34564/f/632570/s/2bc8f9d8/l/0L0Snews0N0Bau0Cbusiness0Cbreaking0Enews0Cg70Epledges0Eto0Esupport0Egrowth0Cstory0Ee6frfkur0E1226640A0A581840Dfrom0Fpublic0Irss/story01.htm

G7 committed to ‘nurturing’ economies



THE Group of Seven top economies is committed to nurturing world economic recovery, British finance minister George Osborne says.


He was speaking at a press conference on Saturday following a meeting of the group.

“Overall, our discussions over the past two days have reaffirmed that there are still many challenges to securing sustainable global recovery, and we can’t take it for granted,” Chancellor of the Exchequer Osborne said.

“But we are committed as the advanced economies in playing our part in nurturing that recovery and ensuring a lasting recovery so that we have prosperity in all our countries.”


Source Article from http://news.com.au.feedsportal.com/c/34564/f/632570/s/2bc8921d/l/0L0Snews0N0Bau0Cbusiness0Cbreaking0Enews0Cg70Ecommitted0Eto0Enurturing0Eeconomies0Cstory0Ee6frfkur0E1226640A0A178120Dfrom0Fpublic0Irss/story01.htm

America’s Muslim Zionists



The name sounds benign enough: the American Islamic Congress (AIC).

The mission appears equally harmless, if somewhat vague:

We believe American Muslims must take the lead in building tolerance and fostering a respect for human rights and social justice. We work to change the discourse within both the American Muslim community and in the broader American Society. AIC advocates for the American Muslim community, meeting with leaders on Capitol Hill and government agencies and collaborating with NGOs and campaigns.

The reality, however, is very different. The AIC is not what it seems.

An investigative report by the author Max Blumenthal, published in Electronic Intifada, exposes the shocking truth that the AIC is funded by the most fanatical section of the Israel lobby in the United States.

According to Internal Revenue Service 990 information filings, the AIC is funded largely by a pool of right-wing donors responsible for bankrolling key players in America’s Islamophobia industry, from Charles Jacobs to Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism and Daniel Pipes’ Middle East Forum. These same donors have pumped millions into major pro-Israel organizations, including groups involved in settlement activity and the Friends of the IDF, which provides assistance to the Israeli army.

Among the AIC’s most reliable supporters is the Donors Capital Fund, which has provided at least $85,000 in funding since 2008. Donors Capital was among the seven foundations identified in the Center for American Progress’s 2011 report Fear Inc. as “the lifeblood of the Islamophobia network in America.” Another foundation singled out in the report, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, has donated $325,000 to the AIC between 2005 and 2011.

We must confess, hitherto we had paid little attention to the AIC, having assumed that it was one of the plethora of docile and ineffectual Muslim or Arab organizations in the US. However, we share the shock of journalist Issandr El Amrani, who wrote a blog post that alerted us to Blumenthal’s article in Electronic Intifada. Writing in the Arabist, he says:

I was shocked to read about the funding behind AIC that Max uncovers, I had simply no idea, having thought AIC was funded by Muslim Americans or, perhaps, Gulf countries. It turns out the most fanatic wing of the Israel lobby has a big role in it.

The moral of the story is this: never take anyone or anything at face value, irrespective of the label they adopt.

Print Friendly


 

Source Article from http://www.redressonline.com/2013/05/americas-muslim-zionists/

Now that the SOB is Dead … A Novel Idea: Asking an Afghan about Afghanistan

“Now that the sonovabitch is dead, why is the US still angry with us?”

“Us”, in this conversation, are the Taliban. The SOB in question is Osama bin Laden.

The Taliban’s frustration was relayed to me by Yahya Maroofi, Counsellor to Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai – Karzai’s Kissinger, if Kissinger had a soul.

The Silk Road nation of Kazakhstan is an excellent place to encounter the dervishes of the Great Game for control of the camel-and-pipeline routes of the Central Asian steppes. Here we can witness the diplomatic-military idiocies of new empires pathetically attempting to ignore the dried skeletons of the imperial forces that went before them.

Maroofi was spending the day in Kazakhstan’s capital on his way to little-noticed peace negotiations – little noticed because neither Uncle Sam nor Great-Uncle Britain were invited. Attendance is limited to those frontline states that will be left holding the grenade when the US and UK pull out the pin with the removal of their troops in 2014. The lineup includes Kazakhstan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan (birthplace of the Boston Bombers) and the big new swinging dick on the block, Turkey, as well as Iran, the nation most feared and despised by the Taliban. The unannounced guests, of course, are the Taliban themselves.

I am moved to recount a bit of my lengthy talk with the Afghan minister after reading reams of meretricious bunkum about Afghanistan from the pens of US propaganda repeaters pretending to be reporters. My favourite is, “Hope Seen for Afghanistan After Coalition Leaves,” in the New York Times. To give us an expert view, two American reporters used their 20-column inches to take down the words of General Joseph F Dunford Jr, commander of all “international forces” in Afghanistan.

Dunford just arrived in Afghanistan for the first time about 12 weeks ago. He may not know a Tajik from a camel fart, but he does speak fluent Pashto. (I made that last one up because I’m tired of Europeans making fun of Americans for being ignorant of foreign languages.) Notably, the Times article about the future of Afghanistan includes not one word from an Afghan.

But the General does have lots of medals (see?), so I suppose he’s as good a source as any.

I did wonder why the Times flew reporters all the way to Kabul to speak to a bewildered US general when they could have saved time and painful immunisations by just copying the Pentagon press releases in Washington. The Times asked “Fighting Joe”, as he’s called in his official bio, the only question of concern to the US press: “Will the Afghan troops be able to resume lead responsibility” in killing Taliban? “Yes!” asserted the tourist-general.

So I figured, what the hell, let’s ask an Afghan about Afghanistan’s future. Maroofi, the minister into whose hands this future falls, takes a different tack entirely. He has no time for the American fixation on whether Afghans will fight the Taliban. He makes it clear that Afghans don’t want to fight the Taliban at all. And the Taliban don’t want to fight fellow Afghans.

But General Joe wants the Afghan army to prove its mettle in “fighting fellow Muslims and countrymen”, as the Times puts it. It appears the US has a great fear that, without US boots on the ground and drones in the sky, the war will end, and with it, the Great (and very lucrative) Game.

However, it is the hope of most Afghans, and the goal of the Karzai government, not to kill Taliban, but to bring them into the government.

Or, as Maroofi explains, to recognise publicly that “the Taliban are already in the government, in the Parliament, in control of governorships” – but not openly. The talks among the frontline nations are to bring the Taliban back to its roots as a political organisation, not an armed insurgency.

Maroofi notes that there are some kinks to work out: Currently, female members of the Afghan parliament are fearful of attending with their not-yet-public Taliban colleagues.

“Taliban are Pashtun. They are citizens of Afghanistan. They have to have a place in our democracy.” That’s not what Uncle Sam wants to hear. President Barack Obama, the Drone Ranger, wants to convert Afghan forces into a kind of drone army, remotely controlled killers keeping the pot boiling.

Afghans, however, have had enough of playing proxy in someone else’s war. And they see an opportunity to end the killing. It was taken as a matter of fact by all the Asian diplomats I met that, “The Taliban have been defeated” – militarily, that is; like the US army, they can’t advance or hold ground. They are facing fellow Pashtuns (Karzai is one, of course), not the Northern Alliance of minorities that once controlled their opposition. The Taliban can’t party like it’s 1999.

Plus, the Taliban know there’s a four-trillion-dollar carrot awaiting those who sign on to a peace agreement. The US Air Force has conducted a complete aerial survey of Afghan resources and released Russian assays measuring the nation’s untapped mineral wealth in gold (in Badakshan), copper (Balkhab), iron (Haji-Gak), cobalt (Aynak), carbonatite (Khanneshin), tin (Dusar-Shaida) and more. Afghanistan could be the Saudi Arabia of rich rocks.

Left out of the published US reports (but something I dug out of old paper CIA files not purged from computers) was the most valuable stash of all: uranium, possibly the world’s largest deposit. The Soviets secretly mined the uranium, using only imported Russian workers, until they were chased back home in 1988.

Uranium mining beats the hell out of the opium trade (which is slipping to Myanmar, anyway). The Karzai government’s hope is to leave a path to wealth as its legacy, but that wealth can’t be dug out until the soil above is free of land-mines and maniacs.

Chinese state companies are lining up in Kabul with shovels and signing bonuses. Maroofi likes Chinese companies – they’re more likely to provide jobs than baksheesh. Unlike Western companies.

Baksheesh. Bribes. Corruption. It was this topic that set Maroofi on a long rip. Yes, Afghans have been showered with billions in bribes, backhanders and corrupt deals, but who’s paying those bribes? Who’s doing the corrupting?

“Karzai told defence contractor Lockheed Martin, ‘You give hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts to my family and to my minister’s families because you expect to buy influence. You’re not getting influence, and you’re not getting your money back, either.'”

Lockheed’s response is that it is required by US law to give contracts to the “most qualified” bidder, regardless of familial relationships with government. Any government, it seems: Lynn Cheney, Dick’s wife, was once on Lockheed’s Board of Directors.

(Maroofi gave me details of questionable contracts that are poisoning the entire system of governance. I intend to hunt down the facts, so watch this space.)

America’s front pages have been splashed this past week with the CIA’s admission that it has been sending bucket-loads of US currency to President Karzai’s office. No one suggests that Karzai has dipped his own hand into the buckets: the loot is for his dispersal among warlords who need a little TLC. For example, Uzbek berserker Abdul Rashid Dostum boasts of billing the CIA $800,000 per month to stay on the government’s side.

But Karzai simply can’t control the buckets of system gone wild. Maroofi is particularly incensed that, “These US companies give millions to governors they know are splitting the money with the Taliban.” One favourite racket is for the Taliban to take millions in bribes (via the governors) to let through shipments of material used to supply US forces in remote areas who are fighting the Taliban.

Right now, the Taliban are ready – if reluctantly – for the peace deal, in order to get a piece of the resource action. And they’re astonished that, with that sonovabitch Osama dead, the US still holds a grudge.

Why? Face it: if Karzai can end the war, then the winner of the Great Game is… China. After all, the US has almost all the ore it needs under its own soil or within easy grabbing distance from Canada and Latin America. And unlike China, desperate for those gas pipelines from Kyrgyzstan and oil lines from the Caspian, the US has fracked natural gas and oil coming out its arse. Indeed, unleashing Afghanistan’s resource riches will only crash the price of commodity reserves held by US companies.

Afghanistan’s peace is China’s economic life-line and America’s commodity price recession.

General Joe is not worried about a sudden outbreak of peace. “You can accuse me of being an optimist and I’ll plead guilty,” as he looks forward to an Afghanistan trapped in a war without end. For US corporations, that means a profit centre without end. That’s because, even after US troops go, the military-industrial gravy train – boarded by contractors, special ops mercenaries, “development” agencies and their fixers – will continue to roll.

Source Article from http://www.nationofchange.org/now-sob-dead-novel-idea-asking-afghan-about-afghanistan-1368285872

Could New FBI Rules on Online Surveillance Lead to More Cyberattacks?

The American Civil Liberties Union has obtained documents revealing that the FBI and IRS may be reading emails and other electronic communications of U.S. citizens without obtaining a warrant. This comes just as reports have emerged that the Obama administration is considering approving an overhaul of government surveillance of the Internet. The New York Times reported the new rules would make it easier to wiretap users of web services such as instant messaging. “The FBI wants to be able to intercept every kind of possible communication,” says attorney Ben Wizner, director of the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. “The FBI basically wants to require all of these companies to rewrite their code in order to enable more government surveillance. … And in order to accomplish that, they would make the whole Internet less secure.”

TRANSCRIPT

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We turn now to the issue of government surveillance. The American Civil Liberties Union recently obtained documents revealing that the FBI and the IRS may be reading emails and other electronic communications of U.S. citizens without obtaining a warrant.

AMY GOODMAN: This comes as reports have emerged that the Obama administration is considering approving an overhaul of government surveillance of the Internet. The New York Timesreported the new rules would make it easier to wiretap users of web services such as instant messaging.

Well, to talk more about this, we’re joined by Ben Wizner, an attorney at the ACLU and director of the Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project.

We welcome you back to Democracy Now! What did you find out?

BEN WIZNER: I suppose we didn’t find out anything that was all that shocking. A 1986 law called the Electronic Communications Privacy Act actually allows law enforcement to read emails that are stored for more than 180 days without a warrant. Now, of course, that law was enacted before there was a World Wide Web, before there was cloud storage of email, when in order to store an email that long you had to download it to your own computer. So it’s an incredibly out-of-date law.

Now in 2010, a federal court said that it was unconstitutional for the FBI to obtain and read those emails without a warrant, which strikes us as absolutely correct. So we wanted to know: Is the FBIactually following this federal court decision? It’s a federal court decision that covers four states, but it seems to state the law absolutely correctly. And so we filed FOIA requests with lots of government agencies. And what we learned is that some seem to be following this decision, and others don’t. The FBI gave us a 2012 operations guideline that doesn’t even mention that case and that says unequivocally that it can obtain stored email communications without a warrant, simply with a subpoena.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: The—but the IRS.

BEN WIZNER: Yeah.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Why are they being able to look through people’s emails without a warrant?

BEN WIZNER: Well, they ought to be able to look through emails with a warrant. I mean, the IRSconducts criminal investigations, and perhaps they should conduct more criminal investigations, you know, given the way some people avoid tax laws in this country. But there’s no reason why they should not be able to obtain a probable cause warrant from a judge. You know, it’s ironic that we’ve been screaming about this for years and years, that there’s a big movement to reform this law, but only when we released documents about the IRS did any Republicans on Capitol Hill take any notice of this at all.

So I think the prospects for reform, for overhauling that out-of-date law, and for providing real constitutional protection for emails—and there’s no reason why your email should have different constitutional protections than a letter that you write. People expect, when they send a private email to someone else, that it is private, that it shouldn’t be treated just as a kind of business record that the government can obtain without good reason.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you find, after the Boston Marathon bombing, that there is increased willingness to accept all kinds of surveillance? I mean, the use of face-recognition technology, the whole country then sees that the suspects are then arrested. How are you dealing with this?

BEN WIZNER: You know, it’s very interesting, because I think that the Boston situation confirmed largely what we know about that kind of video surveillance. It doesn’t prevent or deter serious attacks. It didn’t in Boston, it didn’t in London, it didn’t in Madrid, and it didn’t in Times Square. It can be useful in helping to figure out after the fact who did it, which is why we don’t oppose camera systems at high-profile targets or events.

What we don’t want is cameras to be so pervasive that they’re pointed into our backyards or into bedroom windows, and for records to be stored primarily of innocent people going about their daily business. It’s not just a Big Brother problem that we’ll have this permanent database. It’s a “little brother” problem. We saw, you know, the NYPD flying over a rooftop and videotaping a couple in an amorous moment, and somehow that was leaked to a news station, so we know about it. I imagine that kind of thing happens all the time.

But, yes, I mean, I do—I think that there is this belief that greater surveillance leads to greater security. And I think that at times the opposite is true. Trying to prevent terrorism is trying to find a needle in a haystack. There’s just not a lot of terrorists. And the worst way to do that is to make the haystack so large that the needle can’t be found. And the more information that gets swept up, stored, the harder it is for law enforcement, with their limited resources, to actually figure out what’s going on.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And what about the efforts now in Congress and with the Obama administration siding with the FBI in actually weakening safeguards against surveillance, especially of people’s emails?

BEN WIZNER: Isn’t it interesting, right, that the FBI agrees with us that the laws are out of date? We think it makes it too easy for them to conduct surveillance, and they think it makes it too difficult for them to conduct it. But what that story this week was, is that, you know, the FBI wants to be able to intercept every kind of possible communication. Now, if they get a warrant from a judge to listen to phone calls, they can go to a phone company, a switch can be flicked, and they can listen to those phone calls. But there’s lots of ways that we communicate online right now—through emails, through chats and text messages, through peer to peer, through encrypted communications—where the technology simply doesn’t exist for the FBI to get that information in real time. They can get it once it’s stored, with a warrant. The FBI basically wants to require all of these companies to rewrite their code in order to enable more government surveillance, essentially to change the world in order to facilitate surveillance.

What’s very interesting in that story, you saw that big businesses who this would affect are very much against it. And it’s tempting to sort of sit back and eat popcorn and watch the telecoms and theFBI slug it out against each other, but the issues are too important. You know, our government wasn’t created to make sure that law enforcement could spy on every single communication. People have always been able to walk out into a field and have a conversation not using a technology that could be wiretapped. And this would be a very, very dangerous proposal. I expect a pretty big fight.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And obviously, in the telecom battles, the telecoms would eventually cut a deal with the government and figure out a way to give the government some of what it wants while keeping their ability to keep making money.

BEN WIZNER: You know, they could be seeking leverage to make sure the government has to pay for all of the changes. No, we can’t entrust our civil liberties to for-profit entities.

AMY GOODMAN: Last year, National Security Agency whistleblower William Binney appeared onDemocracy Now!, and I asked him about President Obama’s record on surveillance.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you believe all emails, the government has copies of, in the United States?

WILLIAM BINNEY: I would think—I believe they have most of them, yes.

AMY GOODMAN: And you’re speaking from a position where you would know, considering your position in the National Security Agency.

WILLIAM BINNEY: Right. All they would have to do is put various Narus devices at various points along the network, at choke points or convergent points, where the network converges, and they could basically take down and have copies of most everything on the network.

AMY GOODMAN: And, of course, William Binney was at the National Security Agency—

BEN WIZNER: Right, [inaudible].

AMY GOODMAN: —which is several times larger than the CIA.

BEN WIZNER: That’s right. And, you know, as we all know, and as you reported many times, they’re constructing a massive data facility in Utah. And many people believe that the purpose of that is essentially to create a surveillance time machine to intercept every communication that they can, even encrypted ones, with the understanding that even if they can’t prevent attacks by building this haystack, as I said, they can at least connect the dots in hindsight by doing that.

But I will say that this new proposal adds a new level of danger, because it would require these companies to break encryption. There’s many kinds of communication that human rights activists use, that journalists use, with end-to-end encryption, so that even the companies that are providing the services can’t read the communication. The FBI considers this a “going dark” problem. They don’t want us to be able to communicate with each other in that kind of encrypted way. And in order to accomplish that, they would make the whole Internet less secure, because in order to build in this kind of surveillance back door, you’re essentially opening up all of these online platforms to cyber-attack from criminals, from hackers, from foreign governments. And some governments are even less benign than our own.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Ben Wizner, I want to thank you for being with us, attorney at the ACLU, director of the Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project.

And that does it for our broadcast. Juan, you’re headed to Philadelphia tonight.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Yes, the final opening of the Harvest of Empire movie based on my book is going to be at the Riverview Plaza Stadium 17 tonight at—and I’m going to be speaking afterwards, after the 7:25 showing. And since Philadelphia was my home for many years—I started my journalism career there—I expect that, hopefully, that many of my former colleagues and friends, as well as those Democracy Now! listeners, will show up and be there tonight at 7:25.

AMY GOODMAN: And I really encourage people to go out to see Harvest of Empire.

Source Article from http://www.nationofchange.org/could-new-fbi-rules-online-surveillance-lead-more-cyberattacks-1368285712