JUST PEACHY: Facebook shared personal data of users a mere 26 thousand times in the first six months of 2013

Guest post by Eric Boehm

On Facebook, you can share posts and pictures with friends.

But at Facebook, they can (and do) share your posts and pictures and personal information with government agents all around the world.

Facebook released a report Tuesday detailing their level of involvement with government requests for data. Since users willingly share so much about themselves on Facebook and other social media tools, it seems government agencies are looking to take advantage of the information – and Facebook is more than happy to comply.

“As we have said many times, we believe that while governments have an important responsibility to keep people safe, it is possible to do so while also being transparent,” said Colin Stretch, an attorney for the social networking mega-site. “Government transparency and public safety are not mutually exclusive ideals.”

Stretch assured users that Facebook scrutinizes each request and maintains a “very high legal bar” that governments must clear before users’ private information is passed along.

Even so, the numbers are startling.

In total, Facebook received more than 26,000 separate requests for information about nearly 39,000 different accounts from 72 different national governments during the first six months of 2013.

And guess which country’s government made the most requests for information from Facebook – so many, in fact, that it is more than all other requests from all other national governments in the entire world, combined.

Go ahead, guess.

Here’s the chart of the top 10:

It does raise some questions – like, if government surveillance is meant to stop terrorist attacks, are terrorists really posting “about to build a bomb” on their status updates?

Or, perhaps the government is collecting Facebook information for other reasons – particularly since we already know the Drug Enforcement Agency frequently gets “tips” from the National Security Agency and others (then lies about where those tips come from).

And Facebook’s willingness to share personal data with the governments of the world seems even stranger one week after Joe Sullivan, the company’s chief security officer, said “it is never acceptable to compromise the security or privacy of other people.

Of course in that instance he was talking about one user compromising another user’s privacy. If Facebook is going to compromise everyone’s privacy at once, that must be better – somehow.

Now we really need that “dislike” button.


Boehm is a reporter for Watchdog.org and can be reached at Eric@PAIndependent.com. Follow him on Twitter at @EricBoehm87. Please visit Watchdog.org for more information.

Doug Ross @ Journal

AWESOME: White House collecting personal financial records of 5 million Americans without warrants or due process

It would appear that the Obama administration is not only spying on Americans’ domestic telephone calls, but stealing their personal financial records as well.

Judicial Watch announced today that it has obtained records from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) revealing that the agency has spent millions of dollars for the warrantless collection and analysis of Americans’ financial transactions. The documents also reveal that CFPB contractors may be required to share the information with “additional government entities.” The records were obtained pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed on April 24, 2013, following the April 23 Senate Banking Committee testimony of CFPB Director Richard Cordray…

[The documents outline the] scope of the [CFPB] program accordingly:

The panel shall include 5 million consumers, and joint borrowers, co-signers, and authorized users [emphasis added]. The initial panel shall contain 10 years of historical data on a quarterly basis [emphasis added]…

The CFPB data collection program has been highly controversial since the April 2013 hearing, when Cordray disclosed elements of the venture at a Senate Banking Committee hearing. At the time, the US Chamber of Commerce accused the CFPB of breaking the law by demanding the account-level data without a warrant or National Security Letter.

In short, the Obama administration is unlawfully collecting the private financial information of millions of Americans. This time, it’s under the aegis of another massive, thousand-plus page bill (Dodd-Frank) that not one legislator read or understood before voting upon.

Let’s recap: the Obama administration is building a massive database on you. Your private health information, your personal financial data, your telephone calls, your Internet activity and — soon — your driving habits.

I forget: would you call this sort of activity by a government fascism, despotism or totalitarianism?

Or just all of the above?

Hat tip: BadBlue News.

Doug Ross @ Journal

This Is What Crisis Feels Like: A Personal Story: “It All Changed. Literally Within A Day…”

Originally published by Simon Black at Sovereign Man.

RiotsIf you’re one of the 1,000+ subscribers who has take the trip down to Chile, you might have had the pleasure of meeting Marco, my right-hand man in Chile.

One of the great things about Marco is that he intuitively understands our Sovereign Man philosophy. Because he lived through it.

You see, Marco is originally from Argentina. And he has some extraordinary stories about what it’s like to live through a sovereign default and currency collapse.

From Marco:


On December 1, 2001, Argentina’s economy was in trouble. Unemployment was high, debt was high, and recession had taken hold. But life was somewhat ‘normal’.

Basic services still functioned. And no one had to really worry about… food. Or water. Then it all changed. Literally within a day.

On December 2nd, our bankrupt government imposed measures that essentially froze everyone’s bank accounts. You can just imagine– one day having access to your funds, and the next day being completely cut off.

Within a matter of days, people were out in the streets doing battle with the police. The government soon defaulted on its debt, and the currency went into freefall.

I was doing some post-graduate work in Boston at the time. As a foreigner in the US, I wasn’t really able to work… so I was living on a tight budget from my savings.

Yet, overnight, I went from being able to pay my rent and living expenses to being completely cut off from my funds. I had nothing.

But when I spoke to my family back in Argentina, I realized that they had it even worse.

Everything became scarce. The electricity went out all the time. Even food on the grocery store shelves ran low. You would eat what you had available at home.

And in a way, food became a medium of exchange. Within just a few days, people went from having confidence in their currency to not trusting it at all. No one wanted to accept paper money anymore, especially for something as valuable as food.

And if they did, it would be at 2-3 times the normal price. With all of this unfolding, I flew back down to see my family.

My father called me and said he had stashed his life savings in US dollar cash in a bank safety deposit box. He needed my help getting it out.

When we arrived to the bank, there were thousands of people in the streets rioting. The police were there in paramilitary gear. It was so tense, we had to bribe someone just to get inside the bank.

Fortunately we were able to get access to the box. But… we had to walk 3 or 4 blocks to the car. It was half panic, half adrenaline rush walking past an angry crowd with my father’s life savings shoved down our pants.

Looking back, this was crazy. But at the time, it was the only way. Then came the even harder part– getting it out of the country.

We had friends who would take rowboats full of cash to neighboring Uruguay. But this was incredibly risky.

At the time, the only legitimate way to get money out of the country was buying ADRs (Argentine public companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange). And the only reason we were even able to do this was because we had the contacts.

But we got killed on the fees. The commission alone was 20%, and then, of course, the stocks we purchased took a dive.

So my father ended up losing about half of his savings trying to get it out of the country at the wrong time.

What’s funny is that we eventually ended up suing the government. They had destroyed everyone’s life savings, and even seized pensions as well.

The government dragged out the legal process for years, almost a decade. They were hoping that all the retirees who were suing them would simply die off, and the problem would go away.

Eventually, we won the case (along with thousands of others). But the judge gave the government a ‘suspended sentence’. So, no penalty.

There are so many more stories to tell about this… and fortunately I can laugh about it all now. But at the time, it was beyond stressful.

The best way I can describe it is despair. And this is really the worst emotion you can have. Because when you’re in a state of despair, you’re hopeless. It’s a terrible position to be in.

Life becomes hell because you do not know whether you are going to be able to put food on the table the next day.

And in such a state of despair, you’re not in a position to make good decisions. It’s all about survival.

Of course, we kept thinking, “why didn’t we see this coming? Why didn’t we do something sooner?”

If only we had moved some money out of the country before, or taken steps to safeguard his pension, life would have turned out much differently.

It’s like that old saying– better to be a year (or decade) too early than a day too late. Because one should never underestimate the speed with which things can unravel.

[Sovereign Man Editor’s note: This is an incredibly powerful story that shows how quickly things can change. And it’s happening again now in the West, just ask the Cypriots.

If you agree that it’s time to take action, click here to find out more about Simon’s Offshore Tactics Workshop video series, and the limited time $ 350 discount he’s offering.]

SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You