The US Government Destroyed Our Privacy While No One Was Looking

The CLOUD Act, which was included in last week’s Omnibus bill, eviscerates what may have been left of citizen privacy in America and it makes personal information readily available to other governments. Foreign police now can wiretap communications from U.S. companies without a warrant, foreign nations can demand personal data stored in the US, the US president can make agreements to allow police in foreign nations to seize data in the US while ignoring US privacy laws, foreign police can obtain data without notifying the US government, and it empowers US police to grab any data from anyone, regardless of where it is stored. In other words, It empowers the US government and foreign governments to invade the privacy of anyone it wants to stalk. [The big question is why did President Trump sign such a bill when he could have vetoed it? The assertion that Hillary would have been worse is not an answer to that question.] -GEG

While the nation remained fixated on gun control and Facebook’s violative practices last week, the U.S. government quietly codified the CLOUD Act, its own intrusive policies on citizens’ data.

While the massive, $1.2 trillion omnibus spending bill passed Friday received widespread media attention, the CLOUD Act — which lawmakers snuck into the end of the 2,300-page bill — was hardly addressed.

The Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act (CLOUD) “updates the rules for criminal investigators who want to see emails, documents and other communications stored on the internet,” CNET reported. “Now law enforcement won’t be blocked from accessing someone’s Outlook account, for example, just because Microsoft happens to store the user’s email on servers in Ireland.

The CLOUD Act will also allow the U.S. to enter into agreements that allow the transfer of private data from domestic servers to investigators in other countries on a case-by-case basis, further globalizing the ever-encroaching surveillance state. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has strongly opposed the legislation, listed several consequences of the bill, which it called “far-reaching” and “privacy-upending”:

  • Enable foreign police to collect and wiretap people’s communications from U.S. companies, without obtaining a U.S. warrant.
  • Allow foreign nations to demand personal data stored in the United States, without prior review by a judge.
  • Allow the U.S. president to enter “executive agreements” that empower police in foreign nations that have weaker privacy laws than the United States to seize data in the United States while ignoring U.S. privacy laws.
  • Allow foreign police to collect someone’s data without notifying them about it.
  • Empower U.S. police to grab any data, regardless if it’s a U.S. person’s or not, no matter where it is stored.

The bill is an update to the current MLAT (Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty), the current framework for sharing internet user data between countries, which both legislators and tech companies have criticized as inefficient.

Some tech companies, like Microsoft, have endorsed the new CLOUD policy. Brad Smith, the company’s president and chief legal officer, called it  “a strong statute and a good compromise,” that “gives tech companies like Microsoft the ability to stand up for the privacy rights of our customers around the world.”

They echoed the sentiment of lawmakers like Orrin Hatch (R-UT). In February, he said of the bill:

The CLOUD Act bridges the divide that sometimes exists between law enforcement and the tech sector by giving law enforcement the tools it needs to access data throughout the world while at the same time creating a commonsense framework to encourage international cooperation to resolve conflicts of law.”

But one of the biggest complaints from privacy advocates, however, it that the new legislation places too much unmitigated power in the hands of governments with abysmal human rights records while also giving too much discretion to the U.S. government’s executive branch. Noting that the executive branch will decide which countries are human rights compliant and that those countries will then be able to engage in data collection and wiretaps without any further restrictions or oversight

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Oxford, England: Seven Muslim Men Convicted on Underage Sex Ring Charges

Seven Muslim men were convicted on charges ranging from false imprisonment to rape and assault.  The five victims were between 13 and 15 years old at the time, and it was reported that the gang preyed on girls who had a background of problems at home.  The men exploited the young girls on a massive scale that included gang rape. The men await sentencing, which is set for June. -GEG

Seven men have been found guilty of grooming and raping underage girls aged 13 to 17, plying them with drink and drugs and abusing them at sex “parties” and in a van known as the “shag wagon”.

The seven-man grooming gang was described as “predatory and cynical” by a judge as the jury announced their decision on Friday following a five-month trial at Oxford Crown Court.

The men, aged between 37 and 48, denied what prosecutors described as “sexual exploitation on a massive scale” — but were found guilty of charges including multiple counts of rape, indecent assault, false imprisonment, and supplying drugs.

Reporting on the gang of what the BBC described as “Oxford men” was previously restricted, and two men involved in the trial still cannot be named for legal reasons.

The guilty men were named as Assad Hussain, 37, of Morrell Avenue; Moinul Islam, 41, of Wykeham Crescent; Raheem Ahmed, 40, of Starwort Path; Kamran Khan, 36, of Kersington Crescent; Kameer Iqbal, 39, of Dashwood Avenue; Alladitta Yousaf, 48, of Bodley Road; and Khalid Hussain,  38, of Ashurst Way.

Two others, Saboor Abdul and Haji Khan, were acquitted of all charges.

Six of the attackers were from Oxford and one from Bolton, Thames Valley Police said. Their five “vulnerable female victims” were aged 13 to 17 when they were abused from 1998 and 2005.

“Systematic and widespread grooming, that is what this case has revealed,” remarked Judge Peter Ross, who presided over the trial.

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SoCal Sheriff Rejects Sanctuary State Laws, Posts Inmates’ Release Dates to Assist ICE

Orange County, just south of Los Angeles, is a pocket of conservatism in a deep blue state, and local citizens are pushing back against California’s sanctuary state laws that severely limit cooperation with federal immigration officials. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department announced it will publicly post when inmates are released from custody.  The information  will apply to all inmates although it is intended to assist ICE agents to pick up those with criminal records as they are released. -GEG

Orange County, traditionally a conservative pocket in Southern California just south of Los Angeles, is fighting back against the state’s dangerous sanctuary law.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department announced Monday it will be publicly posting inmates’ release dates in order to assist ICE agents.

The Orange County Register reported:

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department, whose leadership opposes the new California sanctuary law that limits cooperation with federal immigration officials, announced Monday that it is now providing public information on when inmates are released from custody.

As of Monday, March 26, an existing “Who’s in Jail” online database includes the date and time of inmates’ release – a move agency officials say will enhance communication with its law enforcement partners.

The release date information applies to all inmates, not just those who are suspected of being in the country illegally.  But the goal is to assist agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

“This is in response to SB-54 limiting our ability to communicate with federal authorities and our concern that criminals are being released to the street when there’s another avenue to safeguard the community by handing them over (to ICE for potential deportation),” Orange County Undersheriff Don Barnes said.

Orange County officials did not confer with ICE before making the change, he said.

ICE spokeswoman Lori Haley wrote in an email late Monday that she would not comment “beyond what the Sheriff has said.”

Many cities in Orange County are beginning to fight the state’s sanctuary law.

Los Alamitos just voted to exempt the city from the ‘California Values Act,’ and many others are following suit.

Orange County Supervisors met Tuesday to consider whether the county will move forward with litigation in order to protect the citizens against the state’s dangerous sanctuary law.

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Planned Parenthood Calls for Disney Princess Who’s Had an Abortion

Planned Parenthood in Pennsylvania tweeted that the Disney company should expose children to extreme left-leaning themes including a Disney princess who has had an abortion, a princess who is pro-choice, a princess who is an illegal alien, a princess who is a union worker, and a princess who is transgender. The tweet was deleted shortly after posting. -GEG

Planned Parenthood argued in support of new Disney characters Tuesday including a princess who’s had an abortion.

In a statement on Twitter, the “Planned Parenthood Keystone” account called on the animation company to expose children to numerous left-leaning themes.

The tweet, which received only 40 retweets, was deleted shortly after as both supporters and opponents of the organization voiced their concerns.

“Disney princesses are for CHILDREN and these are adult issues. Jesus,” one supporter said. “This far-out crap is why we got stuck with Donald Trump.”

Another pro-choice Twitter user agreed, describing Planned Parenthood’s tweet as “extreme.”

Others likewise pushed back against the group’s demand prior to the tweet being deleted.

Those opposed to Planned Parenthood also weighed in, both mocking and criticizing the political tweet.

“We need a Disney princess who uses her royal authority to defund you stupid a**holes,” the Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro said.

“A trans princess who is an illegal immigrant union worker who has had an abortion. Kids will love it!” another joked.

Twitter users quickly turned the tweet into a meme, offering up suggestions on what kind of Disney princesses are needed.

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