Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Government Privacy

FBI Studied How Much Drones Impact Your Privacy -- Then Marked It Secret 139

Posted by timothy
from the awfully-suggestive dept.
v3rgEz writes When federal agencies adopt new technology, they're required by law to do Privacy Impact Assessments, which is exactly what the FBI did regarding its secretive drone program. The PIAs are created to help the public and federal government assess what they're risking through the adoption of new technology. That part is a little trickier, since the FBI is refusing to release any of the PIA on its drone project, stating it needs to be kept, er, private to protect national security.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

FBI Studied How Much Drones Impact Your Privacy -- Then Marked It Secret

Comments Filter:
  • Transparency (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) on Friday July 25, 2014 @07:32PM (#47535539) Homepage Journal

    Any way you want to measure it, there's never been a more secretive administration in the US. And this from a president who promised "the most transparent administration in history".

    I apologize to everyone here for having voted for them a second time.

    • Re:Transparency (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gstoddart (321705) on Friday July 25, 2014 @08:31PM (#47535873) Homepage

      I find this a little creepy ... the study to tell us how much they're violating our privacy and civil rights is now a secret.

      Which I'm going to have to assume they're pretty much doing everything they're not supposed to.

      When government will no longer tell you what they're doing, you have to assume they're doing the worst.

      • by msauve (701917)
        Government is the people. This is a matter of regaining control from the evil overlords.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Why do you think they are rushing into an automated military?
          • Re: Transparency (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            (And fighting tooth and nail at every opportunity to outlaw any means the citizens have to resist.)

            • Re: Transparency (Score:5, Insightful)

              by erikkemperman (252014) on Saturday July 26, 2014 @02:32AM (#47537103)

              (And fighting tooth and nail at every opportunity to outlaw any means the citizens have to resist.)

              Oddly enough, some of the staunchest defenders of the second amendment claim to do so on the principle that an armed populace can keep a government in check -- and overthrow them by force if need be -- and yet those same people seem some of the least likely candidates to criticize the government for all these bogus measures and information black-outs in the name of "national security".

              This instance is particularly shocking. They are required to make privacy assessments, presumably as a remnant of more enlightened times when the government still operated on the assumption that at least *some* members of the public are well-meaning, mostly harmless citizens. Times in which the folks who wrote up this requirement didn't even think, apparently, to include a demand that the results be made public.

              And now they claim that the results of that assessment must be kept secret. For your own good, honestly. Well, that fact in itself should tell you all you need to know.

              • I'm not right wing, but I have to call you out on that. Most extreme right-wingers that I know - the kind that likes to talk about right to keep and bear arms as "means to fight back against a tyrannical government" - are actually pretty skeptical of PATRIOT Act, NSA surveillance, and all that stuff. Notice how a lot of recent attacks on the NSA came from Tea Party.

                • I'm not right wing, but I have to call you out on that. Most extreme right-wingers that I know - the kind that likes to talk about right to keep and bear arms as "means to fight back against a tyrannical government" - are actually pretty skeptical of PATRIOT Act, NSA surveillance, and all that stuff. Notice how a lot of recent attacks on the NSA came from Tea Party.

                  Actually I haven't said anything about left- or right-wing, though I suppose that generally speaking the need for the second amendment is felt more strongly by the right-wing. And the need to rid society of all those firearms is perhaps more strongly felt by the left. But, correct me if I am wrong, isn't the Tea Party a minority amongst right-wingers? And by extension, among pro-gun activists?

                  From the outside, the Ds and Rs don't actually seem all that different, and it would appear that they somehow agree

                  • Tea Party is a minority among right-wingers, but it's also the one that is most strongly pro-gun, and also the one that's most consistently emphasizing the "right to armed uprising". Mainstream Republicans are rather averse to such rhetoric (the politicians are another matter when they're pandering to electorate - they know that being seen as "pro-gun" will win them some fringe votes, but won't spook the mainstream enough to cost them more, especially when the other option is a Democrat).

                    • by PopeRatzo (965947)

                      The Tea Party didn't become "skeptical of PATRIOT Act, NSA surveillance, and all that stuff" until January of 2009. For some reason, having nothing to do with the color of the skin of the guy in the White House, I'm certain.

                      But the timing is a little suspect, you must admit.

                      Maybe you can find an example of a Tea Party person showing opposition to those programs prior to 2009. I tried and I could not.

                    • by anegg (1390659)

                      I'm sympathetic to some of the ideals of the Tea Party. I believe that the 2nd amendment describes a pre-existing individual right to keep and bear arms for private defense as well as to maintain the security of a free state. I tend to vote conservative. I was aghast at some of the provisions of the Patriot Act and other similar legislation when they were proposed and stunned that they were voted into law.

                      I am certainly a person, although you may claim that I'm not a "true Tea Party person" because I'm

                    • I do know a few right-wingers who discussed the subject even back in Bush days, long before Obama. For example, Matthew Bracken, who wrote "Enemies Foreign and Domestic" (it's basically a right-wing propaganda piece, with central theme being the govt cracking down on gun owners, but it also directly touches on surveillance and police militarization, and the use of terrorism as a pretext to curtail civil liberties; as I recall, it specifically mentions the PATRIOT Act). That book was written in 2003, back wh

                    • by PopeRatzo (965947)

                      Ron Paul & his followers in the 2008 election, including Campaign for Liberty?

                      Tea Partiers don't tend to think so highly of Ron Paul.

                    • Yes actual views are much more nuanced. That is the reason why we only have two major parties, and why they are made to appear so widely different. They create the illusion of "us and them" in order to divide the population and pit them against each other. That leaves them terrified that the other party will get their person into office so that they are afraid to attempt to vote for any third party.

                      There is so much theater that we have a hard time realizing that the two parties are really just two fac
              • Oddly enough, some of the staunchest defenders of the second amendment claim to do so on the principle that an armed populace can keep a government in check -- and overthrow them by force if need be -- and yet those same people seem some of the least likely candidates to criticize the government for all these bogus measures and information black-outs in the name of "national security".

                I am unsure what you are implying here... Are you trying to say that those who demand gun control are the ones most likely to rebel against authority? Seems kind of like an antelope yelling at a leopard. Am I missing something here?

                • Are you trying to say that those who demand gun control are the ones most likely to rebel against authority?

                  Well, I don't think anyone is likely to rebel against the US government -- not by force anyway, given that the latter is armed to the teeth. 1.6 billion bullets for DHS, was it?

                  But not everybody is claiming that the possibility of armed rebellion (preposterous though it may be) makes for a valid argument in support of the second amendment.

                  • Well, I don't think anyone is likely to rebel against the US government -- not by force anyway, given that the latter is armed to the teeth. 1.6 billion bullets for DHS, was it?vBut not everybody is claiming that the possibility of armed rebellion (preposterous though it may be) makes for a valid argument in support of the second amendment.

                    Well, we could always quote someone from the previous administration:

                    "The cost of one bullet, if the [...] people take it on themselves, is substantially less than [the cost of a war]." -- White House press secretary Ari Fleischer 1 Oct 2002.

                    At the time they were talking about an overthrow of Iraq. It applies well to the US as well.

        • Vote for good overlords...

        • by JonathanR (852748)

          This was never the case, even when the ink on the declaration of independence was still wet.

          How many of "the people" were involved in these decisions?

      • by Anonymous Coward
        It's no secret. By withholding this information, they are tacitly admitting that these drones greatly violate our privacy. They think they're slick censoring and classifying this stuff, but that very action speaks volumes.
      • I honestly would expect nothing less.......if this study is worth anything, it is going to discuss classified programs in detail, and as such, falls in the category of classified.

        Now, whether anything at all should be classified is another question, but if anything should, then a study that discusses in detail classified programs should also be.
    • Re:Transparency (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Krishnoid (984597) on Friday July 25, 2014 @08:43PM (#47535947) Journal

      No argument on how much is being held back, but maybe it just seems secretive because of how fluidly the press and people are now using the Internet as an information medium within the past 5-10 years. Classified information and state secrets that would have previously taken decades to come to light, seem to have details globally available within years or months, and basic awareness of their existence even sooner.

      As such, I continuously wonder if there were just as many secrets before, but it's just faster to find out about their existence nowadays, leading to the current administration appearing to have more of them. On the other hand, storage has increased alongside communication, so maybe more secrets are being kept (and correspondingly leaked).

      • Re:Transparency (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Collective 0-0009 (1294662) on Friday July 25, 2014 @10:15PM (#47536333)
        Maybe? I don't think there is any chance the government could hide something like Area 51 in 2014. Watergate would have been revealed as quickly as Bridgegate. Secretes that would have previously taken decades to get out now take hours, days and weeks. Secrets that could have been squelched just a decade ago are now easily retrievable from computer storage and backups and surveillance and the ease of communicating not just messages, but evidence such as video, audio and pictures.

        Without a doubt, the governments of the past were able to keep more secrets. This is why the Arab Spring happened. Information is easily transferred and stored thanks to technology that has become mainstream in the past 5 - 10 - 15 years.
        • by greenbird (859670)

          Maybe? I don't think there is any chance the government could hide something like Area 51 in 2014. Watergate would have been revealed as quickly as Bridgegate. Secretes that would have previously taken decades to get out now take hours, days and weeks. Secrets that could have been squelched just a decade ago are now easily retrievable from computer storage and backups and surveillance and the ease of communicating not just messages, but evidence such as video, audio and pictures.

          Without a doubt, the

      • Wait a second (Score:4, Insightful)

        by s.petry (762400) on Friday July 25, 2014 @11:53PM (#47536703)

        You should really qualify "The Press" in these types of statements. The Press could be ABC, NBC, CBS, BBC, and many more who today claimed an 82 year old man shot a pregnant woman as a headline, when the person was both not pregnant and also committing armed robbery for at least the 2nd time against the same 82 year old man who was beaten as well as robbed. The Press could be the same crew that edited audio to make it look like a guy on neighborhood watch simply claimed to the Police that he was following a Black guy where the full audio shows he is responding to a 9/11 operator asking what race he believes the suspect was. The same media claimed that that guy was White when he's Hispanic, and portrayed the victim in a 7 year old picture to make it appear like the guy shot a little kid instead of a 6'1" nearly legal adult. All to sway public opinion (that one was for numerous purposes). The same media that interrupted a Congresswoman discussing the NSA for "breaking news" that Justin Beiber was arrested, and ensured that a twerk skank received more air time than dialogue about numerous political issues.

        The media we normally see and hear IS on the same team as the government, make no mistake.

        As such, I continuously wonder if there were just as many secrets before, but it's just faster to find out about their existence nowadays

        To some extent I agree that this, but up until 20 years ago we had some real journalism. Nation wide every station lost their "investigative reporters" within the same couple years, and that was the end of any real journalism with any of the 3 letter media outlets.

        With rare exceptions today, the only thing that get air time is propaganda.

        • by PopeRatzo (965947)

          nearly legal adult

          "Nearly legal adult"? Is that like "nearly pregnant"?

          Let me suggest that if you bang a thirteen year old girl and tell the judge, "But she looked like a nearly legal adult" that you might have some explaining to do.

          And if you say you were following her down an alley because she was wearing a hoodie, you might be considered sort of a creep.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          >With rare exceptions today, the only thing that get air time is propaganda.

          Absolutely. The problem, though, is that a large number of information consumers don't want facts -- they want validation. That's why nutty political talkshows have supplanted all other formats on broadcast radio and why such a large portion of the country believed that the President of the United States was not a U.S. citizen (or that he was raised by a Kenyan father who primed him to become "Leader of the Free World" in order

      • by PopeRatzo (965947)

        That's an interesting question you bring up. Are there more secrets today or are we finding out about them faster?

        Well, one measure is the number of work-product documents of the Executive and Congressional branches that are being classified as secret. And it appears that the number is growing unbelievably fast. In 1996, there were about 5 million documents classified by the Federal Government. By 2006, the number had jumped to about 23 million. By 2009 it had gotten to 54 million and by 2011, we were

    • by hondo77 (324058)
      Because Romney would have been so much better, right?
      • by PopeRatzo (965947)

        Well, you know, maybe. Considering the nearly incoherent warlike rantings we're getting from John McCain, and the fact that his running mate was a half-bright weathergirl who might have had brain damage from sniffing too much nail polish, we probably made out OK in 2008.

        But I'm not so sure any more that boring Mitt Romney would have been much worse than the guy I voted for in 2012. At least when Mitt Romney lies, he looks a little embarrassed and his throat sounds a little tight and he pulls the sides of

    • I voted for him the first time but decided to go green party the second time for realizing that he pretty much changed nothing from Bush.
    • Re:Transparency (Score:5, Informative)

      by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Friday July 25, 2014 @09:20PM (#47536113)

      > there's never been a more secretive administration in the US.

      Oh, my. I don't know if you're young, or if the easy access of the modern Internet has confused you about just how _little_ information was available to the general population about government programs 30 years ago or more. Do, please, look up the history of the Pentagon Papers.

      • Re:Transparency (Score:4, Insightful)

        by MaskedSlacker (911878) on Friday July 25, 2014 @10:27PM (#47536385)

        Compare Ellsberg to Snowden. Obama is worse than Nixon.

        • Compare Ellsberg to Snowden. Obama is worse than Nixon.

          Nixon presided over the slaughter that was Vietnam which included the Phoenix program [wikipedia.org] of targeted killings and torture of suspected communists. Phoenix prisoners were subjected to rape, gang rape and they were murdered using some pretty bestial methods that included starvation and pounding dowels through prisoners heads. So even if you factor in drone assassinations and the torture allegation against them neither Obama nor GWB Jr can hold a candle to Nixon.

        • by greenbird (859670)

          Obama is worse than Nixon.

          I would guess only by virtue of the technology available rather than any moral dichotomies. If Nixon had the tools available today he likely would have been right up there with Obama.

    • Re:Transparency (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 25, 2014 @09:30PM (#47536163)

      More secretive when it comes to intelligence and national security, but pretty much everywhere else there have been huge strides in transparency. The amount of information available to the public today that wasn't when Obama was elected is staggering.

      • More secretive when it comes to intelligence and national security

        Which is by far the most important, given how easily exploitable it is.

      • by Panoptes (1041206)

        "The amount of information available to the public today that wasn't when Obama was elected is staggering."

        Never confuse quantity with quality.

        • by PopeRatzo (965947)

          But it's not even quantity. I would love to know what the GP is talking about when he claims there is now new information available for any part of government since Obama was elected. It's just not true.

      • by PopeRatzo (965947)

        More secretive when it comes to intelligence and national security, but pretty much everywhere else there have been huge strides in transparency.

        Absolutely not true. Do you know that the biggest growth area for classified documents is from the regulatory agencies? These are the agencies creating the laws we have to follow, but now they're classifying their work product for some strange reason.

        Also congress. For example, why would the House Rules Committee have to classify thousands of documents? Or th

      • Almost any relevant law, such as the FOIA, has exceptions carved out for "national security". Those were put in as escape clauses, so that all the government has to do is say those two magic words and they escape providing any information they don't want you to have. In many cases where that excuse is used there is no security concern at all, except the job security of government officials.
    • I apologize to everyone here for having voted for them a second time.

      Wait, why exactly did you vote the second time? It's not like we didn't know he was running a secretive administration before the election (indeed, he made a vote in favor of secrecy while he was still in the senate, before getting elected the first time).

      I can sort of understand saying that he was better than the alternatives and that's why you voted for him, but that's not something you would apologize for, really....

    • by real gumby (11516)

      Any way you want to measure it, there's never been a more secretive administration in the US. And this from a president who promised "the most transparent administration in history".

      When they said “most transparent” they were apparently talking about magnitude, not sign.

    • by msk (6205)

      I voted for Kodos.

    • Re:Transparency (Score:4, Interesting)

      by dnavid (2842431) on Saturday July 26, 2014 @12:09AM (#47536759)

      Any way you want to measure it, there's never been a more secretive administration in the US.

      On what basis do you judge that? On the fact that in the past, you didn't hear about all the things the government kept secret?

      Both the initial drone strike program and the NSA surveillance programs were initially authorized and then kept secret during the Bush administration. The difference between then and now is not that this administration has kept them secret, but that they were discovered during this administration. What seems to be different is that during this administration more secret programs are coming to light rather than they are keeping significantly more secrets.

      I often wonder how it is people forget that the Reagan administration included such gems as the Iran-Contra illegal arms sales and a huge number of federal investigations leading to indictment by executive officials (including James Watt, the former Secretary of the Interior), Bill Clinton was actually impeached by Congress (but not convicted), and George W. Bush started a war with Iraq costing thousands of American lives based on information we now know the administration knew was highly questionable. Even in the current far more partisan atmosphere far more Reagan officials were actually indicted or convicted of actual federal crimes, and last I checked the current administration hasn't started any questionable wars leading to thousands of casualties. Not to excuse any misconduct on the part of the current administration, but I think its an exaggeration to say this administration is objectively more secretive or less competent. It certainly isn't objectively more criminal.

      Anyone remember Dick Cheney once attempted to claim simultaneously that as a member of the executive branch (being the Vice President) that he could claim executive immunity and refuse to disclose information to Congress, but also that as a member of the Senate (being the Constitutional President of the Senate by virtue of being the Vice President) the rules that apply to executive officers (including the President) when it came to security oversight did not apply to him? That's the standard upon which to judge the degree to which the current administration is "not transparent." Its a high hurdle.

      • by greenbird (859670)

        The difference between then and now is not that this administration has kept them secret, but that they were discovered during this administration. What seems to be different is that during this administration more secret programs are coming to light rather than they are keeping significantly more secrets.

        That's just plain bullshit. Obama has done more to penalize and intimate anyone who dares to disclose what he doesn't want disclosed than any past administration.

        Even in the current far more partisan atmos

      • by PopeRatzo (965947)

        On what basis do you judge that? On the fact that in the past, you didn't hear about all the things the government kept secret?

        I've posted links to data and graphs of the number of documents classified by the US government by year.

        When you see the graph, you will never again need to ask that question.

        Here, I'll do it again just for you: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

        And, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/ind... [wikipedia.org]

        • by dnavid (2842431)

          On what basis do you judge that? On the fact that in the past, you didn't hear about all the things the government kept secret?

          I've posted links to data and graphs of the number of documents classified by the US government by year.

          When you see the graph, you will never again need to ask that question.

          Here, I'll do it again just for you: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

          And, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/ind... [wikipedia.org]

          You are misusing that information. The graph you link to is the derivative classification activity graph. It doesn't show classification events. It shows classified document *usage*. Basically, that graph is the number of times a previously classified document was reused somewhere else. Quote from the report: "Derivative classification is the act of incorporating, paraphrasing, restating, or generating in new form information that is already classified."

          The actual graph of documents classified is on pa

          • by PopeRatzo (965947)

            Interesting, but let's look at another measure: the length of classification. The previous chart seems to indicate that the length of time these documents are being classified for is increasing.

            Also, the declassification procedures are being fought by the administration at a very high level. Documents that should have become classified are becoming re-classified, which would not show up on your chart of "original classification activity".

            Add in the level of whistleblower prosecutions and executive work p

            • by dnavid (2842431)

              Interesting, but let's look at another measure: the length of classification. The previous chart seems to indicate that the length of time these documents are being classified for is increasing.

              Also, the declassification procedures are being fought by the administration at a very high level. Documents that should have become classified are becoming re-classified, which would not show up on your chart of "original classification activity".

              Add in the level of whistleblower prosecutions and executive work product that is simple outside of the system via private emails, texts and "crashed hard drives", and you get a picture of a very secretive administration. What do you think?

              I think the degree to which the current administration aggressively attempts to prosecute whistleblowers is significantly higher than in previous administrations, but that's a subjective opinion of mine (that others share, of course). The question is whether its obviously more secretive, and its struggles with journalists notwithstanding I'm not sure that's objectively true.

              Where I would agree is that for an administration that campaigned on transparency, it certainly does not meet the higher expectations

    • What most of us - including the politicos - forget is the fact that the "idea of being the POTUS" is attractive, not actually "being the POTUS."
      BO was sure he is going to create history. And he did create history being the first black prez and all that. But then the actual job sucks. I have no idea how sane people willingly fight for this!
      Still its better the illusion remains. Else the top decision makers will be much more worse than what we have now.
    • It is totally transparent. You can't see what it is doing at all.

    • I apologize to everyone here for having voted for them a second time.

      No need to apologize. All of this would have happened no matter who you voted for. There might have been a slightly different texture to the chains that are being foisted upon us, but the chains were coming no matter what.

      The public face changes but the identity remains unchanged. The US Government is owned and does the bidding of a small group of people... and they are VERY small minded and selfish people with grandiose plans.

    • by Sciath (3433615)
      DITTO.
  • Right .... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    If they have nothing to fear from the reports content then they should have nothing to hide.

  • The FBI isn't yet aware of the NSAs little brown submarine drones that listen in on FBI scuttlebutt in the loo.
    Periscope UP! Only assholes in here captain.

  • by SeaFox (739806) on Friday July 25, 2014 @09:04PM (#47536027)

    I guess the contents of the report show that their drone programs impacts privacy in ways that violate the law. So their drone program needs to be stopped.

    What's that, FBI? It doesn't? Well then why don't you release the report, without any omitted material or redacting.
    I mean, you say the program is working within the correct boundaries. You should have nothing to hide if you're not doing anything wrong.

    • The reality will be that there are capabilities in the drones that they don't want to talk about. Now the interesting issue that this raises is that if a drone is used for a criminal case, it is the right of the defence to have ALL evidence gathered in the case, so actually the capabilities will become public if it is used in a case that comes to trial...
  • ... to get the PIA for you.

  • At a time in at which criminals felt that cell phones were safe to use in committing their crime planning it caused a lot of them to end up in prison. As it became more apparent that cell phones were being used to catch criminals they switched tactics. So now we may have drones that are quite small and can plant a microphone in the plants near a porch where people are thought to be conspiring to commit crimes or organize terror attacks. Would you want them to really believe that such a techn
  • but I classified it as top secret.
  • This is not an issue. It is protecting their privacy that matters.

  • PIA's generally discuss the technology or system in terms of how it would be used by the agency. For the FBI, this would likely include different operational scenarios, and certainly how drone data would be used in investigations. I can understand that such information would reveal strategies and tactics. As long as is has oversight by somebody (a point of discussion, I know) I'm fine with it being marked For Official Use Only (FOUO).
  • Hello, wir are looking for employers in IT Sector in Germany. (Security systems) Someone interested: http://www.tta-personal.de/ [tta-personal.de] and medicine: http://www.tta-personalmedizin... [tta-personalmedizin.de] Thank you
  • They can hide all the reports they want. Obviously drones used improperly can completely destroy privacy. It's going to be very hard to draw the line. I just hope our country has enough sense to steadfastly oppose any use of drones for surveillance of people on U.S. soil.

"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev

Working...