NSA reportedly recommends retiring phone surveillance program

first_imgThe National Security Agency has recommended the White House abandon a controversial program that collects and analyzes data on millions of Americans’ domestic calls and texts, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.The recommendation against renewing the program represents a dramatic reversal from the longstanding position of the agency, which had argued that the program was vital to identifying and disrupting terrorist activities. The program, which was put in place after the 2001 terrorist attacks, has legal and logistical burdens that outweigh its value to national security, sources told the Journal.The reported recommendation comes a little more than a month after a national security advisor revealed that the NSA hasn’t used the system in months. Luke Murray, an advisor for Republican House minority leader Kevin McCarty of California, also said at the time the White House might not seek to renew its legal authority to operate the program.The NSA had been collecting large amounts of metadata, the digital information that accompanies electronic communications, under a controversial national security policy put in place by the Patriot Act in 2001. That information included what phone numbers were on the call, when the call was placed and how long it lasted, which was then saved in a database.The already heated debate over the Patriot Act programs intensified in 2013 when former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents detailing the ways in which the secretive US government agency was collecting data. A new system put in place by Congress in 2015 required federal agencies to seek a court order on a case-by-case basis to obtain call data from telephone companies.The USA Freedom Act of 2015, legislation designed to curtail the federal government’s sweeping surveillance of millions of Americans’ phone records, is set to expire at the end of year, if the Trump administration doesn’t ask Congress to renew its authority to continue the program.The NSA and White House didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. 6 Now playing: Watch this: 4:25 NSA Security Tech Industrycenter_img Share your voice Comments Yes, Facebook is still tracking you (The 3:59, Ep. 541) Tagslast_img read more

Akala Theresa May and the Conservative Party patronise people

first_img The UK conscious rapper on why his songs never get played on daytime radio, the 2017 general election, and whether he would ever go into politics. IBTimes VideoRelated VideosMore videos Play VideoPauseMute0:01/2:51Loaded: 0%0:01Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVE-2:50?Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedSubtitlessubtitles settings, opens subtitles settings dialogsubtitles off, selectedAudio Trackdefault, selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window. COPY LINKAD Loading … Closecenter_img Akala: Theresa May and the Conservative Party patronise peoplelast_img read more

Report DC Circulator Streetcar Deepen Racial Bias

first_imgAn Amalgamated Transit Union report released May 17 excoriates the District for using contractors to create the D.C. Circulator and the D.C. Streetcar, two premium transit services the report says deepen racial bias in the city.The Fool D.C. Twice: Why D.C. Must Abandon Private Sector Control of Public Transit}report alleges both systems cater to wealthy Whites and tourists, while relying on taxpayers – who don’t use the services – to subsidize them when rider expectations fall short.The ATU released a report that claims private sector control of the D.C. transit system is benefiting wealthy Whites. (Courtesy Photo)“These services tend to exacerbate existing patterns of inequality,” Michael McCall-Delgado, the union’s strategic researcher, said on a conference call with reporters. He added that the streetcar was specifically designed to hasten gentrification along the H Street corridor in the city’s Northeast quadrant.The report primarily focuses on labor issues, safety standard violations, and failures to meet stated ridership and service goals – matters the union says besieged both systems after the city contracted them to for-profit companies.The union has been against the privatization of bus routes, the Circulator and the Streetcar for some time. In 2013, the union was against privatization of the systems. The union’s initial complaint against privatization was job loss, rider dissatisfaction and loss of public input.The transit union supports mass transit and represents more than 190,000 transit and allied workers in the U.S. and Canada.It’s up to residents to demand that public officials implement a transportation system that serves the community, instead of one that “only subsidizes the leisure of city elites,” the report said. District riders should also tell city officials to stop attempting to save money by contracting services out to for-profit companies. The private sector becomes a barrier between city officials and riders that officials “hide behind” when things go awry, Delgado said.“Each one gets to use the other as a shield for what the other is supposed to be doing,” Delgado said.Essie Jackson lives in Anacostia and has cleaned offices at the U.S. Department of Housing for 14 years. She relies on the A8 bus to get her from her home to the Anacostia Metro station and then on the Green Line to take her to work. Jackson, 61, then takes the reverse route to get home.Officials from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority should set the schedules so that the buses are waiting for riders as soon as they get off the train, she said. “They shouldn’t have to wait an hour and a half,” Jackson said.When the bus does come, it’s jam-packed with people, she said, forcing her to stand. She said she is already battling several injuries, is blind in her left eye, and is afraid of hurting herself if she falls on the bus.Ty Johnson, also a resident of Anacostia, wishes WMATA ran trains more frequently on the Green Line. She added that the ongoing Safe Track program on the Red Line frequently makes her late for her retail job in Friendship Heights. “It’s ridiculous how long the surges are,” Johnson, 27, said.Labor groups’ fight against privatization efforts within transit continued this week. On May 22, Metro Washington Council AFL-CIO held a news conference urging labor leaders to reject privatization and to endorse ATU Local 689’s proposal to stabilize and improve WMATA.Certain parts of the Fool D.C. Twice calls out the Circulator for serving an average census tract that is 15 percent Whiter and 18 percent less Black than the District’s population. The Circulator runs six routes that go through Georgetown, Navy Yard, DuPont Circle, the National Mall, Adams Morgan, Woodley Park, and others. It only costs $1 to ride. “The decision to run the Circulator in areas with a wealthier, Whiter population created a politically influential constituency for the service,” the report said. “This in turn has created pressure on local politicians to defend the service and expand it, even into neighborhoods that are already covered by the existing Metrobus network.”Meanwhile, three Metrobus lines already serve the rapidly gentrifying H Street corridor and transport more than 17,400 riders every weekday, according to the report. Those routes link commuters to job centers and serve residents living east of the Anacostia River in Wards 7 and 8, the report said.“These routes already provide broader service than the streetcar does with the added flexibility of being able to maneuver around obstructions,” the report said.According to the Washington Post article in July 2013, a privatization deal was supposed to include building a streetcar system in Anacostia and along H Street. To date, McDonald Transit Associates, the contractor behind D.C. Streetcar, has only completed the H Street streetcar system.First Transit, the contractor that operates D.C. Circulator, and McDonald Transit Associates did not respond to the AFRO’s requests for comment.Ron Holzer, a WMATA spokesman, cautions against condemning all contracts.To maximize efficiency while maintaining or enhancing service, General Manager Paul Wiedefeld’s has called for additional public sector support for Metro where it makes sense.  “With regard to Circulator, DDOT (District Department of Transportation) and WMATA are working cooperatively to improve the performance of this particular contract,” Holzer told the AFRO via email.Terry Owens, a DDOT spokesman told the AFRO via email that the agency continuously evaluates its transit services to determine where improvements can be made. He declined to comment further, saying he had not read the ATU report.Yet for all of WMATA’s problems, Jackson, who doesn’t drive, says she’s grateful for the system.“I thank God for Metro, because it takes me to where I need to go.”last_img read more