News (Datacide 14): Endless War; Social Media and Internet Surveillance; Music Industry and Copyright

Endless War
A leaked classified US government document published by The Intercept gives more precise numbers about people placed on various ‘terrorism’ suspect databases as of August 2013. The Terrorism Screening Database (TSDB) has 680,000 ‘known or suspected terrorists’, with 40% or 280,000 labeled as having ‘no recognized terrorist group affiliation’. An additional 320,000 are in Terrorism Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE). This unclassified information is based on ‘reasonable suspicion’ (not facts or evidence), and is routinely shared to intelligence, military, local police, foreign governments and private companies. The second highest concentration of ‘known or suspected terrorists’ is in Dearborn, Michigan, a city with the largest percentage of Arab-Americans, which makes the racial profiling practices of the databases clear. There are 240 nominations a day to TIDE. The no-fly list contains 47,000 people; 16,000 more people are ‘selectees’ given addition airport screening. TIDE includes more than 860,000 biometric files (face scans, fingerprints, iris scans) on 144,000 people. The Intercept also published the leaked March 2013 Watchlisting Guidance document which details the secret procedures that 19 government agencies use to put people on these various databases.

Rahinah Ibrahim is the first person to successfully challenge her placement on the government no-fly list. The federal court judge ruled that she was not a ‘threat’ to national security and had been placed on the no-fly list because of a bureaucratic ‘mistake’ when the FBI official, Kevin Kelley, filled out the form wrong by checking the ‘wrong boxes’. Her name has to be purged from the list, or the government has to certify her name is already removed. Four American Muslims have filed a lawsuit in which they accuse the FBI of putting them on the no-fly list in order to either intimidate them into becoming informants or retaliating against them for refusing. In another American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawsuit on behalf of 13 US citizens, a federal judge struck down as unconstitutional the procedures people on the list must use to contest their inclusion. The government must create a new remedy process, but the judge did not in any way stop the implementation of the no-fly list.

In April 2014, publicintelligence.net made public a 2011 US Army Commander’s Guide to Biometrics in Afghanistan, which thoroughly details the government’s goal to collect biometric data (facial photos, iris scans, and all ten fingerprints) from every person in Afghanistan. The biopolitical war project includes not only attempting to ID ‘terrorists’ by running the biometrics through Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and FBI databases, but also the management of entire populations. [Read more →]

Vinyl Meltdown

In the first of two parts, the dialectic of noise as both pacifier and intensifier is set against the ongoing transition from vinyl to digital sound carriers.

‘music represents at once the immediate manifestation of impulse and the locus of its taming’ (Adorno; 288)

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Vinyl as a format for distributing cutting-edge noise is continuing to decline. Trying to find more than a handful of releases to review for this issue of Datacide made this clear. Preference has always been given at Datacide to reviewing physical sound-carriers, and in particular vinyl, as it offers the best possible reproduction of sound. Noise reveals itself throughout history as having the ability to pacify or stimulate listeners, and therefore the production and distribution medium of noise can be viewed as a site of struggle. How should the move from vinyl to intangible sound carriers be viewed in terms of the potential for intensification?
[Read more →]

Datacide 11 – Political news compiled by Nemeton

Social Media Surveillance and Repression
Previously undisclosed government documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation through Freedom of Information Act (FIOA) lawsuits give hard evidence to previous reports that various spy agencies including the FBI, CIA, and others under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are using social media sites like facebook, myspace, twitter, youtube, etc. to gather “evidence” of criminality against suspects. One FIOA obtained internal document from the Justice Department trains FBI agents how to snoop for pictures, postings, videos, etc on social media sites. Investigators sometimes create false identity accounts on the social media sites in order to “friend” the suspect, or “friend” any number of individuals who the suspect is “friends” with in order to gain information that can be used for evidence and conviction. For example, Maxi Sopo, wanted by the feds for bank fraud, was discovered to be in Mexico and then later extradited to the US, after agents read such evidence on the public and private facebook pages of his friends. Information gathered from social media sites are shared with other law enforcement agencies in local, state or federal areas and databases. [Read more →]