August 2, 2013 |
Third in a series of profiles of New Jersey's U.S. Senate candidates. Flanked by three scientists and joined by a former Energy Department secretary via webcam at a town-hall meeting Tuesday in West Windsor, N.J., called "Geek Out Live," the campaign message was clear: Rush Holt is an unabashed geek. The signs are everywhere: from the campaign bumper stickers proclaiming "My Congressman IS a Rocket Scientist" to his frequent reminder to voters that he beat the IBM computer Watson on Jeopardy!
July 12, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - How much are your private conversations worth to the government? Turns out that it can be a lot, depending on the technology. In the era of intense government surveillance and secret court orders, a murky multimillion-dollar market has emerged. Paid for by U.S. tax dollars but with little public scrutiny, surveillance fees charged in secret by technology and phone companies can vary wildly. AT&T, for example, imposes a $325 "activation fee" for each wiretap and $10 a day to maintain it. Smaller carriers Cricket and U.S. Cellular charge only about $250 per wiretap.
July 6, 2013 |
About 120 people marched from Washington Square to the Thomas Paine Plaza at the Municipal Services Building on Thursday afternoon as part of a national day of protest against widespread government surveillance. The group Restore the Fourth planned rallies across the country for the holiday, aiming to spread awareness about the National Security Agency's surveillance programs. Organizers said they hoped their movement will spark changes in the Patriot Act, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and subsequent amendments; create an oversight committee; and hold officials involved in the surveillance accountable, according to the group's website.
July 3, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration on Monday moved to contain a diplomatic flare-up with Europe over reports that the United States has spied on some of its closest allies, assuring them that it would respond to concerns while also insisting that American surveillance is a natural part of modern statecraft. More than two years after a massive breach of State Department cables revealed the inner workings of U.S. diplomacy, reports that the National Security Agency had undertaken a wide-ranging effort to monitor European diplomatic offices seemed - at the very least - to once again force American officials into an embarrassing position.
June 19, 2013 |
Where have all the liberals gone? President Obama, who as a senator accused the Bush administration of violating civil liberties in the name of security, now vigorously defends his own administration's collection of Americans' phone records and Internet activities. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said he thinks Congress has done sufficient intelligence oversight. His evidence? Polls. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi defended the programs' legality and said she wants Edward Snowden prosecuted for leaking details of the operations.
June 14, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The head of the National Security Agency defended its broad electronic surveillance programs Wednesday, saying that they had helped thwart dozens of terrorist attacks and that their recent public disclosure had done "great harm" to the nation's security. Facing his first public grilling since it was revealed the NSA has collected millions of telephone records and e-mails in secret, Gen. Keith Alexander sought to aggressively rebut congressional and other criticism of the Obama administration's antiterrorism tactics.
June 14, 2013
EDWARD SNOWDEN, the 29-year-old who has revealed himself as the source of last week's leaks about the National Security Agency's surveillance methods, is fascinating. He's a movie character come to life, and we'll be following along as his story develops. But in the speculation over Snowden's personality and motivations, we shouldn't lose sight of the important policy questions his actions have prompted. Regardless of what we learn next about the instigator, the country will have to grapple with these: Should the government be collecting the kind of data revealed in these leaks?
May 31, 2013 |
WHEN Philadelphia put up its first surveillance cameras in 2008 to help police fight crime, a few civil libertarians squawked that the system smacked of Big Brother-like spying. But now it seems that being Big Brother has been a big bother for the city, because roughly two-thirds of the 202 cameras have fallen into disrepair, and the city weaseled out of its promise to repair them by early last fall, according to City Controller Alan Butkovitz. Mayor Nutter said that Butkovitz's findings, released in an audit yesterday, were wrong.
April 26, 2013
YOUR STORY ABOUT the value of tax-exempt properties ("Officials eye tax abatements, nonprofits to ease property tax hit," April 17) includes some mistaken assumptions that should be corrected. The story claims that tax-exempt properties - properties owned by nonprofit institutions such as churches, hospitals, universities and others - "make up the majority" of the estimated $30.6 billion in tax-exempt land in Philadelphia. This is incorrect. In reality, half of this tax-exempt land - $15.3 billion - is property owned by the federal, state and local governments (including the public schools)
April 18, 2013 |
THE BOSTON Marathon bomber has been caught . . . on film. Law-enforcement authorities revealed Wednesday that they are "very close" - as a source told the Boston Globe - to a major break in the case of the worst domestic bombing attack since 9/11 after surveillance video captured footage of a suspect carrying and possibly dropping a black bag at the scene of the second of two explosions. A spokeswoman for Boston Mayor Thomas Menino told the newspaper that "the best source of video" has proved to be a Lord & Taylor department store that faces out toward the sidewalk where one of the bombs - which killed three spectators at the iconic race on Monday and injured more than 170 others - went off. That recorded video was one of many pieces of film - footage taken not just from store or street surveillance cameras but also spectator videos and TV news cameras recording some of the 23,000 runners crossing the finish line - that seem to be helping agents heat up a trail that might have otherwise grown cold, some 48 hours after the stunning attack.