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The Anti-Social Network

Whisper is an app that allows users to "anonymously share your thoughts and emotions with the world, and form lasting and meaningful relationships in a community built around trust and honesty." Secret is an app " to openly share what you're thinking and feeling with your friends. Speak freely, share anything." The Genius of Whisper, the Massively Popular App You Haven't Heard Of. With New Anonymous Social App Secret, the Merit Is in the Message. Two Apps, One Hot Trend [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 15, 2014 - 72 comments

honor bound to defend freedom

Writing In The Gray Areas - "Are some acts so revolting that the people who commit them do not deserve a hearing?" [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 27, 2014 - 22 comments

Plus ca change?

President Obama unveils new policy directives for the NSA. Full text of the speech. And for lols, here are some photos also from Slate.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering on Jan 17, 2014 - 142 comments

"Everyone being held was a US citizen."

But that didn't prevent On the Media producer Sarah Abdurrahman and several members of her family and friends from being detained at a Canadian-US border while on the way home from a wedding. The story is all the more frightening as it details Sarah's inability to get any answers about policy from the Border Patrol, including the name of the officers who held her.
posted by Eyeveex on Sep 23, 2013 - 92 comments

NSA may have secretly made major mathematics breakthrough

If the NSA is able to break through banks' computer security, does that mean it solved the prime factorization problem? The New York Times reported recently that “the agency has circumvented or cracked much of the encryption, or digital scrambling, that guards global commerce and banking systems.” Since banks' encryption codes rely on the fact that nobody knows how to find the prime factors of really large numbers, it could mean that the NSA has found a way to do that. Or it could mean that the NSA has simply gotten lots of banks to give up their information, or found other ways around their encryption. But if they've cracked this long-standing math problem, might the secret leak? What would be the effects?
posted by Sleeper on Sep 12, 2013 - 60 comments

Bradley Manning found guilty of Espionage Act violations

Bradley Manning cleared of 'aiding the enemy' but guilty of most other charges. "Manning, the source of the massive WikiLeaks trove of secret disclosures, faces a possible maximum sentence of more than 130 years in military jail after he was convicted of most charges on which he stood trial." Transcripts from Bradley Manning's Trial. [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Jul 30, 2013 - 225 comments

Privacy in an age of publicity

The Secret History of Privacy. "Something creepy happened when mystery became secular, secrecy became a technology, and privacy became a right..." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Jun 17, 2013 - 26 comments

The Files Will Get Out

Mitt Romney's damning '47 Percent' video and the new politics of privacy
posted by Artw on Mar 14, 2013 - 112 comments

Nothing to hide?

Why Privacy Matters, Even If You Have Nothing To Hide, by Daniel J. Solove
The nothing-to-hide argument pervades discussions about privacy. The data-security expert Bruce Schneier calls it the "most common retort against privacy advocates." ... To evaluate the nothing-to-hide argument, we should begin by looking at how its adherents understand privacy. Nearly every law or policy involving privacy depends upon a particular understanding of what privacy is. The way problems are conceived has a tremendous impact on the legal and policy solutions used to solve them.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 9, 2012 - 67 comments

"I went from God loves everybody to God saves everybody to God is in everybody."

From Bible-Belt Pastor to Atheist Leader. Jerry DeWitt is a former Pentecostal pastor in the evangelical parish of DeRidder, Louisiana who slowly lost his religious faith. Last Fall, he went public with his atheism, committing what he calls "identity suicide," and instantly becoming "the most disliked person in town." Since then, Mr. DeWitt's lost his job, his wife, his community and may be losing his house, but is still persevering and working to help others who find themselves in similar circumstances. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 27, 2012 - 163 comments

Challenging the Surveillance State

"If the government is able to learn what we speak about, and know who we're talking to, and know what it is that we're planning, it makes any kind of activism extremely difficult, because secrecy and privacy are prerequisites to effective activism. "
Glenn Greenwald on challenging the surveillance state: (1 - 2 - 3 - 4).
posted by dunkadunc on Jul 1, 2012 - 48 comments

In the name of Defense.

In December 1974, New York Times reporter Seymour Hersh's front-page account (paywall) of the CIA's MK-ULTRA program documented their illegal domestic intelligence operations against the antiwar movement and other dissident groups in the United States. The article eventually prompted investigations by the Rockefeller Commission and the Church and Pike committees. "There have been other reports on the CIA's doping of civilians, but they have mostly dished about activities in New York City. Accounts of what actually occurred in San Francisco have been sparse and sporadic. But newly declassified CIA records, recent interviews, and a personal diary of [George H. White,] an operative at Stanford Special Collections shed more light on the breadth of the San Francisco operation." SF Weekly: "Operation Midnight Climax: How the CIA doped San Francisco citizens with LSD." MK-ULTRA: Previously on Metafilter. (Via)
posted by zarq on Mar 26, 2012 - 29 comments

White House sticks to secrecy as the death toll in drone strikes surges

Secrecy defines Obama’s drone war. "Since September, at least 60 people have died in 14 reported CIA drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal regions. The Obama administration has named only one of the dead, hailing the elimination of Janbaz Zadran, a top official in the Haqqani insurgent network, as a counterterrorism victory. The identities of the rest remain classified, as does the existence of the drone program itself. Because the names of the dead and the threat they were believed to pose are secret, it is impossible for anyone without access to U.S. intelligence to assess whether the deaths were justified." [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Dec 21, 2011 - 82 comments

"I Will Never Plea-Bargain With The Truth."

The Secret Sharer: Is Thomas Drake an Enemy of the State? [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 16, 2011 - 25 comments

Contested RCMP files on Tommy Douglas released.

Tommy Douglas: Greatest Canadian. Famous as a Saskatchewan NDP leader, and for creating Canadian medicare.

In an affidavit filed in Federal Court, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service argued that full disclosure of the file on Douglas could endanger the lives of confidential informants and jeopardize the agency’s ability to conduct secret surveillance. [more inside]
posted by Stagger Lee on Feb 23, 2011 - 25 comments

A Tale of 2 Gitmo Opinions

In Gitmo Opinion, Two Versions of Reality. "When Judge Henry Kennedy Jr. ordered the release of a Guantánamo Bay detainee last spring, the case appeared to be a routine setback for an Obama administration that has lost a string of such cases. But there turns out to be nothing ordinary about the habeas case brought by Uthman Abdul Rahim Mohammed Uthman, a Yemeni held without charges for nearly eight years. Uthman, accused by two U.S. administrations of being an al-Qaida fighter and bodyguard for Osama bin Laden, is among 48 detainees the Obama administration has deemed too dangerous to release but 'not feasible for prosecution.' A day after his March 16 order was filed on the court's electronic docket, Kennedy's opinion vanished. Weeks later, a new ruling appeared in its place. While it reached the same conclusion, eight pages of material had been removed, including key passages in which Kennedy dismantled the government's case against Uthman."
posted by homunculus on Oct 13, 2010 - 92 comments

Not any more it's not.

This document is confidential.
posted by scalefree on Aug 17, 2010 - 54 comments

Someone forgot to tell 'em the Cold War ended....

The US Department of Justice has announced arrests in four states of ten alleged members of a “deep-cover” Russian spy ring whose ultimate goal was apparently to infiltrate U.S. policy-making circles. So much for burger diplomacy? [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 28, 2010 - 70 comments

"A Death Threat Magnet"

The FBI has released their extensive files on US Senator Edward M. Kennedy to the public, covering their relationship with him between 1961 and 1985. The seven files, totaling more than 2,200 pages of documents reveal (among other things,) the perhaps unsurprising news that the late Senator received "scores" of death threats from radical groups, including the Ku Klux Klan, “Minutemen” organizations, and the National Socialist White People’s Party. The release was initiated by a Freedom of Information Act Request from Judicial Watch on May 3, 2010, (Complaint pdf) but the FBI gave the Senator's family the "rare opportunity" to raise objections before releasing the file.
posted by zarq on Jun 14, 2010 - 20 comments

Freedom of the Press vs. Israel's Military Secrets

An Israeli journalist, Anat Kam (23), has been under secret house arrest since December on charges that she leaked up to 1,000 highly sensitive, classified military documents suggesting the IDF breached a court order against assassinations in the occupied West Bank, to Ha'aretz reporter Uri Blau. A court-imposed gag order first proposed by the Israeli government and now apparently supported by Kam's lawyers is preventing media investigation and coverage of both her arrest and the charges of espionage and treason against her in Israel. Blau is reportedly now self-exiled in London, and negotiating his return with Israeli authorities. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 5, 2010 - 38 comments

Google maps no longer showing pixel-veil over the VP's residence.

Change has come to Google Maps. The Cheney veil of pixels is gone from the Vice President's residence at the Naval Observatory. But don't look for sat photos to show you whatever it was that happened beneath the house.
posted by CunningLinguist on Jan 26, 2009 - 26 comments

Shred the banana peel

State Secrets: A government misstep in a wiretapping case. A New Yorker article on the Kafkaesque case of Al Haramain v. Bush. [Via Threat Level.] [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Apr 26, 2008 - 20 comments

The Open Government Act

Secrecy no more? The first major overhaul of the Freedom of Information act in years is awaiting President Bush's signature. It will finally create an "independent" government agency to handle to disputes between records holders and information requesters. The passage of the act comes after, ironically, after an Arizona senator used a "secret hold" to block the bill. He was ferreted out by a group of journalists.
posted by nospecialfx on Dec 20, 2007 - 26 comments

9/11 changed everything? And the NSA is only looking at overseas and terrorist-related phone and internet records?

to gather information about Americans' phone records --... the NSA had approached the company (Qwest) about participating in a warrantless surveillance program to gather information about Americans' phone records. ...Nacchio's account, which places the NSA proposal at a meeting on Feb. 27, 2001, suggests that the Bush administration was seeking to enlist telecommunications firms in programs without court oversight before the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon. The Sept. 11 attacks have been cited by the government as the main impetus for its warrantless surveillance efforts. ... -- The Administration's crimes and illegal spying on all of us and Quest's punishment for not going along with their plans.
posted by amberglow on Oct 13, 2007 - 76 comments

"If you scratch a paranoid, you find a narcissist"

What's the Big Secret? Four surveillance experts try to figure out what the NSA's superclassified wiretapping program really is (hint: it may have something to do with the filters). They don't seem to realize that this kind of reckless public discussion means some Americans are going to die. [Via Threat Level.]
posted by homunculus on Aug 30, 2007 - 47 comments

Senator Secrecy

A senator places a secret hold on a bill designed to counter secrecy in government. The Society of Professional Journalists, which supports the bill, smoked out Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) as the source of the hold, one of the more obscure parliamentary tactics possible in the Senate. The bill in question is the OPEN Government Act of 2007, which is an overhaul of the Freedom of Information Act. (See also.) Kyl claims the bill would force the release of "sensitive information." Kyl is also behind a measure that would criminalize the leaking of classified information.
posted by beagle on Jun 1, 2007 - 47 comments

Did A Purloined Letter Save a Supreme Court Nomination?

The Case of the Disappearing Affirmative Action Letters In August 2005, letters written by future Chief Justice John Roberts, dealing with the Reagan Administration's policies on affirmative action, disappeared from the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. The National Archives and Record Administration was so concerned they conducted their own investigation, but their report on the investigation has so many redactions it raises more new questions than it answers about White House lawyers who had unguarded access to the papers.
posted by jonp72 on May 12, 2006 - 12 comments

FBI Investigated 3,501 People Without Warrants

FBI Investigated 3,501 People Without Warrants Pardon my one link post. I had thought this must be taking place once it became public that NSA could spy on us without court approval. If NSA, then why not FBI? And so it came to pass....
posted by Postroad on Apr 29, 2006 - 75 comments

Safety Last

Sellafield nuclear leak unreported for three months - The Cumbria, UK nuclear waste processing facility has been a constant source of worry and pollution since its inception. Security procedures were called "a bit of a joke" by safety technician Ron Hanas, who was fired for blowing the whistle on the accounting loss of over 30 kg of weapons-grade plutonium, noting as an aside that a section of a uranium fuel rod was found in a worker's desk drawer. Higher levels of plutonium are found in children's teeth as they live in closer proximity to the plant. It makes one think about the current energy policy being written behind closed doors, when the industry can't put basic safety systems in place.
posted by AlexReynolds on May 28, 2005 - 24 comments

US Anti-Espionage Posters

Loose lips sink ships!!!1 (There be images, some quite big here) I suspect a lot of MeFi shares my obsession with propaganda (and propaganda-style) posters, both domestic and foreign, as well as the photoshops that the Something Awful or Fark crowds generate. CoolGov has a link today to the Office of the National National Counterintelligence Executive and their Anti-Espionage poster collection. Some are great, some are almost pure propaganda, and some show how obsessed with secrecy our government has become. That lead me to Google to look for posters on the *.gov and *.mil domains. Check out the posters for "Venemous Snakes of Afghanistan and Pakistan", or what the well dressed airmen is wearing (*note the "Essentials"), posters from the NOAA telling you that "lightning kills", the Code of Ethics for Government Officers and Employees, and this one telling GI's why smoking could kill them.
posted by rzklkng on Apr 18, 2005 - 22 comments

Watching the spinners paid by US

Ever wonder who gets the spin money from the government to sell us everything from wars to reforms to reconnect the Army with the American people. A rundown on the seven biggest PR firms doing business with the government, and their refusal to come clean about what it is they're doing with our tax money. PRWatch has much, much more, including exposing the funding and associations pushing Social Security "reform"
posted by amberglow on Mar 10, 2005 - 83 comments

THE ARRIVAL OF SECRET LAW

The arrival of secret law. Americans can now be obligated to comply with legally-binding regulations that are unknown to them, and that indeed they are forbidden to know. This is not some dismal Eastern European allegory. It is part of a continuing transformation of American government that is leaving it less open, less accountable and less susceptible to rational deliberation as a vehicle for change.
posted by acrobat on Nov 18, 2004 - 38 comments

To establish the Department of Homeland Security, and for other purposes.

The Homeland Security Bill. It has passed the House, on to the Senate where it is believed that it will pass. The President will sign it. Yet the text of H.R.5710 is unavailable to the American public.
posted by four panels on Nov 13, 2002 - 22 comments

U.S. Tightening Rules on Keeping Scientific Secrets [NYTimes free subscription required]

U.S. Tightening Rules on Keeping Scientific Secrets [NYTimes free subscription required] "One White House proposal is to eliminate the sections of articles that give experimental details researchers from other laboratories would need to replicate the claimed results, helping to prove their validity " It's a new monkey to keep See, Hear, and Speak no evil company: Publish no scientifically replicable evil.
posted by srboisvert on Feb 17, 2002 - 7 comments

Classified documents posted, greeted with big yawn.

Classified documents posted, greeted with big yawn. What I find interesting is... If these documents are so uninteresting, why were they classified? It kind of bolsters my opinion that most secrecy in government is not unlike Calvin in his treehouse with the sign that says "No Grils". It's all an exercise in in-group, out-group dynamics, and has little, if anything, to do with National Security. Which means this is a big deal after all, if you think about it...
posted by aurelian on Jul 24, 2000 - 0 comments

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