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Archive for March 7th, 2016

San Francisco Chronicle: Why Apple Should Stand Firm in Its Fight Against the FBI

Apple logoBy Editorial Board
San Francisco Chronicle

Since a pitched legal battle between the FBI and Apple began last month, the arguments over encryption and national security are deepening. A pair of test cases have produced inconclusive wins for each side. Neither Silicon Valley nor federal sleuths are budging.

But personal privacy and doubts about law enforcement’s motives give Apple the better argument in the case springing from the horrific San Bernardino shootings that left 14 dead. FBI Director James Comey told a congressional panel that his agency will be back with more demands to pry into other smartphones if he succeeds in unlocking an iPhone belonging to one of the killers.

That ghastly crime demands a full investigation. But if the FBI gets Apple to unlock a single smartphone, it sets an unnerving precedent. A powerful tool, once developed, will be hard to put away. Already other prosecutors and police departments are lining up garden-variety cases in which encrypted phones figure.

Apple, one of the world’s wealthiest corporations, isn’t without flaws. After the furor over National Security Agency eavesdropping — with which Apple quietly cooperated — the firm added more encryption to iPhones, the better to sell its products. Privacy became a marketing point, making its lofty-sounding protests a tad hypocritical.

But other principles are at stake. The FBI is dictating that a company write lock-busting software that lessens the worth of its own product. Once this handiwork is done, it could create a digital backdoor that criminals or hackers could exploit. Repressive countries such as China could demand Apple do the same and cough up password overrides, a worry underlined this week by the head of the U.N.’s human rights chief. The FBI’s plausible hunt for information on the San Bernardino shooters could swing out of control.

 

To read more click here. 

Questions Raised about FBI Targeting High School Students Who Show Signs of ‘Extremism’

schoolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is now targeting high school students who could be potential extremists.

New FBI guidelines are calling for high schools nationwide to report students who are critical of government policies and “western corruption” in an effort to get an early warning about potential sympathizers of terrorism, Alternet reports.

The guidelines warn of “anarchist extremists” and young people who travel to “suspicious” countries.

The “Preventing Violent Extremism in Schools” guidelines were released in January and “are almost certainly designed to single out and target Muslim-American communities,” Alternet argues.

“However, in its caution to avoid the appearance of discrimination, the agency identifies risk factors that are so broad and vague that virtually any young person could be deemed dangerous and worthy of surveillance, especially if she is socio-economically marginalized or politically outspoken,” Alternet reports.

The new guidelines suggest high schools can be hotbeds of extremism.

“High school students are ideal targets for recruitment by violent extremists seeking support for their radical ideologies, foreign fighter networks, or conducting acts of violence within our borders,” the document warns, claiming that youth “possess inherent risk factors.”

Former Secret Service Agent Says Nancy Reagan’s Personal Life Was As Gracious As Public Life

President Barack Obama escorts former First Lady Nancy Reagan in the Diplomatic Room of the White House June 2, 2009.  (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson) This official White House photograph is being made available for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way or used in materials, advertisements, products, or promotions that in any way suggest approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.Ê

President Barack Obama escorts former First Lady Nancy Reagan in the Diplomatic Room of the White House June 2, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Tim Franklin was well aware of Nancy Reagan’s public life, one punctuated by kindness and class.

But between 2001 and 2003, the former secret service agent was assigned to protect the former first lady, and she was just as gracious in her personal life as she was in her public one, he told AZFamily.com. 

Among Franklin’s jobs was to accompany Reagan the White House in 2002, when she was honored with the Presidential Metal of Freedom.

“It was very unique to be around her during those moments in history after they left office, and see her private reactions to the politics that were happening,” Franklin said.

The former Arizona State University criminologist added: “She was extremely kind to me. She was also, what I would say, the epitome of class.”

On his final day with the former first lady, Franklin posed for a picture with Reagan and expressed his gratitude.

“She responded and thanked me as well. It was a very personal moment, a quiet moment, a brief moment. One that I’ll never forget.”

Reagan died on Sunday at the age of 94.

Congress to Investigate Claims That Secret Service Agent Coerced Woman into Having Sex

secret-service-3By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Very few people wanted to believe Kristen Miles Anderson’s claim that she was coerced into having sex with a Secret Service agent who was investigating whether she embezzled money from a bank.

It was March 2010, and the agent who first denied the sexual encounter later said the act was consensual, Greenville Online reports. 

Anderson eventually pleaded guilty to embezzling about $90,000 and was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison. She served 10 months.

A judge dismissed her lawsuit against the agent, the federal government and others, and a grand jury investigation into the alleged sexual encounter resulted in no charges.

But now the U.S. House Committee on Oversight is interested in learning more about what happened and last month requested the inspector general of Homeland Security to turn over a copy of the investigation report.

“I stood up and took the blame, told them what I did and paid the price,” Anderson said during an exclusive interview with The Greenville News. “Then to go back and learn they didn’t even charge him, that’s just devastating. I can’t even tell you.”

The accused agent, Richard Kerns Jr., could not be reached for comment.

Secret Service Investigating Radio Host Glenn Beck Over Alleged Threats to Donald Trump

Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service is investigating conservative radio host Glenn Beck following comments he made on his radio show about Donald Trump.

Beck said his remarks were not directed at the GOP front-runner.

On his radio show Friday, Beck responded to his producer’s mocking statements about Beck being in the shoes of Trump’s rivals: “Was it  gigantic shoes?” producer Stu Burguiere asked.

“If I was close enough and I had a knife. Really.  I mean the stabbing just wouldn’t stop,” Beck responded.

Beck wasn’t referring to Trump, Burguiere said on Facebook.

“It was reported that Glenn had threatened to stab a presidential candidate this morning which was odd since I was on the show with him and didn’t notice anything like that… Of course, if you were listening, you know that Glenn actually threatened me, not Donald Trump, so I am in the odd situation of defending my boss for threatening my life.”

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