02-26-2013 09:02 PM #21
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- Dec 2008
Feb 26, 2013 4:45 AM EST
Bipartisanship is dead? Don’t tell that to ardent liberal Ron Wyden and hardcore conservative Rand Paul, who have teamed up to bedevil the Obama administration on drones.
If you’ve followed the drawn-out saga surrounding John Brennan’s nomination to be CIA director—with all the questions it has raised about drones and targeting of American citizens—you may have noticed something odd: one of the Senate’s longtime liberals, Ron Wyden of Oregon, has appeared to be very much on the same page as Rand Paul of Kentucky, arguably the most ardent Tea Partier on Capitol Hill.
It turns out this isn’t just a fleeting alliance. For some time now, Wyden and Paul—along with two other senators, Republican Mike Lee of Utah and Democrat Mark Udall of Colorado—have been working together to try to curb the broad authorities the Obama administration has asserted in the war on terror. The advent of this group, which calls itself the Checks and Balances Caucus, is certainly not the first time in political history that the libertarian right has allied with the civil-liberties-minded left. Yet at a moment when inter-party cooperation is almost nonexistent in Washington, any bipartisan alliance—especially one that includes some of DC’s most committed ideological opposites—is both unusual and noteworthy.
Lee said the four lawmakers began to reach out to each other in early 2011. “Little by little, those of us who share a lot of these beliefs in common found each other as people who saw the issues in a similar way,” he explained, adding, “We definitely have each other’s cell phone numbers.” Around that time, Lee and Paul were two of the only three Republicans to vote against reauthorizing the Patriot Act, while Wyden used the reauthorization to launch an (unsuccessful) effort to force the Obama administration to disclose what he said was a classified interpretation of the law.
Wyden and Paul are the central pairing in the group—and in terms of U.S. politics, the two lawmakers are chalk and cheese. It’s true that Wyden has proven willing to cross party lines on issues like Medicare reform, but the Oregon senator has generally been a reliable defender of liberal government programs. Paul, on the other hand, has developed a cantankerous reputation as an uncompromising leader of the Tea Party. (To take just one example: in July, he said that doctors under Obamacare would collect information for a government database on which citizens owned guns.)
Yet despite these political differences, the two recently told The Daily Beast in separate interviews that they like each other. “I have a great deal of respect for him. I point to people like Wyden and say, ‘If he wanted to accept the progressive label, it would be a proud label,’” Paul said. “Most of these liberal Democrats, they are more right wing than the neocons.” Wyden returned the compliment, saying of Paul: “He is very straightforward with me. For me, that is the coin of the realm. Everyone in the Senate has strong views and different positions. The single most important thing in politics and government: when someone says, ‘I will do point A,’ that he means it.”
Wyden and Paul are not the only ones who find themselves with strange bedfellows on the drone issue.
Prior to a few weeks ago, the alliance had not enjoyed much policy success. Yet now, on the question of drones—specifically their demand that the Obama administration release more details on the drone program before Brennan’s nomination is allowed to proceed through the Senate Intelligence Committee—they seem to have found an issue with legs. “I feel very strongly that the intelligence committee has to have any and all legal opinions related to targeted killings before there is a committee vote,” Wyden said. “Only about once every two years does the Congress have the maximum ability to do the kind of vigorous oversight that is necessary.”
04-01-2013 10:10 PM #22
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- Dec 2008
The anti-drone hoodie that helps you beat Big Brother's spy in the skyUnmanned surveillance drones are a global concern, but
The Guardian, Sunday 31 March 2013
I am wearing a silver hoodie that stops just below the nipples. Or, if you prefer, a baggy crop-top with a hood. The piece – this is fashion, so it has to be a "piece" – is one of a kind, a prototype. It has wide square shoulders and an overzealous zip that does up right to the tip of my nose.
It does not, it's fair to say, make its wearer look especially cool. But that's not really what this hoodie is about. It has been designed to hide me from the thermal imaging systems of unmanned aerial surveillance vehicles – drones. And, as far as I can tell, it's working well.
"It's what I call anti-drone," explains designer Adam Harvey. "That's the sentiment. The material in the anti-drone clothing is made of silver, which is reflective to heat and makes the wearer invisible to thermal imaging."
The "anti-drone hoodie" was the central attraction of Harvey's Stealth Wear exhibition, which opened in central London in January, billed as a showcase for "counter-surveillance fashions". It is a field Harvey has been pioneering for three years now, making headlines in the tech community along the way.
It began in 2010 with Camoflash, an anti-paparazzi handbag that responds to the unwanted camera flashes with a counter-flash of its own, replacing the photograph's intended subject with a fuzzy orb of bright white light.
Then came his thesis project CV Dazzle, a mix of bold makeup and hairstyling based on military camouflage techniques, designed to flummox computer face-recognition software. It worked, but also made you look like a cyberpunk with a face-painting addiction. Which was not exactly inconspicuous.
Once again, though, that wasn't really the point. "These are primarily fashion items and art items," Harvey tells me. "I'm not trying to make products for survivalists. I would like to introduce this idea to people: that surveillance is not bulletproof. That there are ways to interact with it and there are ways to aestheticise it."
There is, I point out, no obvious target audience for anti-drone fashion. He's unfazed. "The kind of person who would wear it really depends on what drones end up being used for. You can imagine everything, from general domestic spying by a government, or more commercial reconnaissance of individuals." I suggest perhaps political protesters. "Yeah, sure. Maybe that's the actual market."
Harvey is well aware his work can seem a little before its time. "I wouldn't say many people have a problem being imaged by drones yet," he deadpans. "But it imagines that this is a problem and then presents a functional solution."
Reality, to be fair, is not so far behind. Over the next 15 years the US Federal Aviation Administration anticipates more than 20,000 new drones will appear in American skies, owned not just by law enforcement agencies and the military, but also public health bodies and private companies.
In the UK, several police forces are already experimenting with drones, and not just for thermal imaging. "They can be equipped with things called IMSI-catchers that will work out the mobile phone numbers of any people in a certain area," explains Richard Tynan, research officer at campaign group Privacy International.
"If police deploy these things for crowd control there's no issue with them figuring out every single person who's in there – and their mobile phone numbers. They can also intercept calls and send out false messages. It's not just the police either. Cybercriminals can use these, or even business opponents. This technology already exists."
Tynan is sceptical about the power of inventions such as the hoodie to protect us from such technology. "The growth in [civilian counter-surveillance] will be dependent on the kind of work we do here to uncover what surveillance is being used. They will always lag behind in the battle."
Not least because many of the people making counter-surveillance equipment are keen to keep it out of civilian hands. "The only people who really don't need to be seen," says military camouflage designer Guy Cramer, "are the ones who are doing something wrong out there."
Cramer is, in a sense, Harvey's military equivalent: another pioneer in the art of vanishing. Last year, Cramer's delightfully shady-sounding company HyperStealth Biotechnology Corp made headlines worldwide with its claim to have built a functioning "invisibility cloak", using light-bending optical camouflage to make a soldier simply disappear. So far, only various members of military top brass have been permitted to see the cloak in action – for fear, he says, that the technology will fall into the wrong hands.
=============="curses, my drone targets foil me again"
04-02-2013 01:44 PM #23
“Whatever you do, strive to do it so well that no man living and no man dead, and no man yet to be born can do it any better.”
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- Aug 2010
04-02-2013 09:56 PM #24
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- Dec 2008
tall, instead of being lazy, plus insulting, use your google search to do actual homework. You'll find all kinds of verification for the above, plus a whole lot more.
Get yer head out of Huff Po, and WaPo and the Dem Talking Points factory.
04-07-2013 08:06 PM #25
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- Dec 2008