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“For ages, I’ve dreamed of a United States where Project Censored isn’t necessary, where these crucial stories and defining issues are on the front page of the New York Times, the cover of Time, and in heavy rotation on CNN. That world still doesn’t exist, but we always have Project Censored’s yearly book to pull together the most important things the corporate media ignored, missed, or botched.” –Russ Kick, author of You Are Being Lied To, Everything You Know Is Wrong, and the New York Times bestselling series The Graphic Canon.
“Most journalists in the United States believe the press here is free. That grand illusion only helps obscure the fact that, by and large, the US corporate press does not report what’s really going on, while tuning out, or laughing off, all those who try to do just that. Americans–now more than ever–need those outlets that do labor to report some truth. Project Censored is not just among the bravest, smartest, and most rigorous of those outlets, but the only one that’s wholly focused on those stories that the corporate press ignores, downplays, and/or distorts. This latest book is therefore a must read for anyone who cares about this country, its tottering economy, and–most important– what’s now left of its democracy.” –Mark Crispin Miller, author, professor of media ecology, New York University.
Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review
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“Project Censored brings to light some of the most important stories of the year that you never saw or heard about. This is your chance to find out what got buried.” –Diane Ravitch, author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System.
“At a time when the need for independent journalism and for media outlets unaffiliated with and untainted by the government and corporate sponsors is greater than ever, Project Censored has created a context for reporting the complete truths in all matters that matter. . . . It is therefore left to us to find sources for information we can trust. . . . It is in this task that we are fortunate to have an ally like Project Cen-sored.” —Dahr Jamail
“Censored 2014 is a clarion call for truth telling. Not only does this volume highlight fearless speech in fateful times, it connect the dots between the key issues we face, lauds our whistleblowers and amplifies their voices, and shines light in the dark places of our government that most need exposure.” –Daniel Ellsberg, The Pentagon Papers
“[Censored] should be affixed to the bulletin boards in every newsroom in America. And, perhaps read aloud to a few publishers and television executives.” —Ralph Nader
“Activist groups like Project Censored . . . are helping to build the media democracy movement. We have to challenge the powers that be and rebuild media from the bottom up.” —Amy Goodman
“Project Censored continues to be an invaluable resource in exposing and highlighting shocking stories that are routinely minimized or ignored by the corporate media. The vital nature of this work is underscored by this year’s NSA leaks. The world needs more brave whistle blowers and independent journalists in the service of reclaiming democracy and challenging the abuse of power. Project Censored stands out for its commitment to such work.” —Deepa Kumar, author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire and associate professor of Media Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University
“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
“Project Censored interrogates the present in the same way that Oliver Stone and I tried to interrogate the past in our Untold History of the United States. It not only shines a penetrating light on the American Empire and all its deadly, destructive, and deceitful actions, it does so at a time when the Obama administration is mounting a fierce effort to silence truth-tellers and whistleblowers. Project Censored provides the kind of fearless and honest journalism we so desperately need in these dangerous times.” —Peter Kuznick, professor of history, American University, and coauthor, with Oliver Stone, of The Untold History of the United States
“[Censored] offers devastating evidence of the dumbing-down of main-stream news in America. . . . Required reading for broadcasters, journalists, and well-informed citizens.” —Los Angeles Times
“In another home run for Project Censored, Censored 2013 shows how the American public has been bamboozled, snookered, and dumbed down by the corporate media. It is chock-full of ‘ah-ha’ moments where we understand just how we’ve been fleeced by banksters, stripped of our civil liberties, and blindly led down a path of never-ending war.” –Medea Benjamin, author of Drone Warfare, cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK.
“The staff of Project Censored presents their annual compilation of the previous year’s 25 stories most overlooked by the mainstream media along with essays about censorship and its consequences. The stories include an 813% rise in hate and anti-government groups since 2008, human rights violations by the US Border Patrol, and Israeli doctors injecting Ethiopian immigrants with birth control without their consent. Other stories focus on the environment, like the effects of fracking and Monsantos GMO seeds. The writers point out misinformation and outright deception in the media, including CNN relegating factual accounts to the “opinion” section and the whitewashing of Margaret Thatcher’s career following her death in 2013, unlike Hugo Chavez, who was routinely disparaged in the coverage following his death. One essay deals with the proliferation of “Junk Food News,” in which “CNN and Fox News devoted more time to ‘Gangnam Style’ than the renewal of Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ law.” Another explains common media manipulation tactics and outlines practices to becoming a more engaged, free-thinking news consumer or even citizen journalist. Rob Williams remarks on Hollywood’s “deep and abiding role as a popular propaganda provider” via Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. An expose on working conditions in Chinese Apple factories is brutal yet essential reading. This book is evident of Project Censored’s profoundly important work in educating readers on current events and the skills needed to be a critical thinker.” -Publisher’s Weekly said about Censored 2014 (Oct.)
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“Project Censored shines a spotlight on news that an informed public must have . . . a vital contribution to our democratic process.” —Rhoda H. Karpatkin, president, Consumer’s Union
“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney

#20 FBI Seeks Backdoors in New Communications Technology

Responding to announcements by Apple and Google that they would make customers’ smartphone and computer data more secure, in October 2014 the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s director James Comey announced that the Bureau was seeking to enlarge its data collection capabilities to include direct access to cell phones, tablets, and computers through an expansion of the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). Comey told an audience at the Brookings Institution that expanding surveillance was in the interest of “public safety” to protect the nation against “potential terrorist threats.”

According to the FBI director, “Unfortunately, the law hasn’t kept pace with technology, and this disconnect has created a significant public-safety problem.” Specifically, Comey called on Congress to update CALEA to mandate all software and hardware providers to build interception methods into their products and services.

The debate hinges on this language in CALEA: “A telecommunications carrier shall not be responsible for decrypting, or ensuring the government’s ability to decrypt, any communication encrypted by a subscriber or customer, unless the encryption was provided by the carrier and the carrier possesses the information necessary to decrypt the communication.” Commenting on CALEA and Comey’s appeal, Cindy Cohn of the Electronic Frontier Foundation wrote, “Nothing in the bill is intended to limit or otherwise prevent the use of any type of encryption within the United States. Nor does the Committee intend this bill to be in any way a precursor to any kind of ban or limitation on encryption technology.”

In a Vice News article, published after the Apple and Google announcements, Cohn, Jeremy Gillula, and Seth Schoen anticipated FBI director Comey’s well-rehearsed arguments against encryption: “The common misconception among the hysteria is that this decision will put vital evidence outside the reach of law enforcement. But nothing in this encryption change will stop law enforcement from seeking a warrant for the contents of a phone, just as they seek warrants for the contents of a laptop or desktop computer.”

In late October, Ed Pilkington of the Guardian reported that the FBI also sought to expand its powers by proposing “operating changes related to rule 41 of the federal rules of criminal procedure, the terms under which the FBI is allowed to conduct searches under court-approved warrants.” Under existing wording, Pilkington wrote, warrants have to be highly focused on specific locations where suspected criminal activity is occurring and approved by judges located in that same district. The FBI proposed changing this rule so that a judge could issue a warrant permitting the FBI to hack any computer, no matter where it is located. The proposed change, Pilkington reported, would allow federal investigators to target computers that have been “anonymized,” meaning that their location has been hidden using tools such as Tor, which hide IP addresses and prevent browser fingerprinting to protect online users against tracking and surveillance.

“FBI Wants Congress to Mandate Backdoors in Tech Devices to Facilitate Surveillance,” Homeland Security News Wire, October 20, 2014, http://www.homelandsecuritynewswire.com/dr20141020-fbi-wants-congress-to-mandate-backdoors-in-tech-devices-to-facilitate-surveillance.

Cindy Cohn, Jeremy Gillula, and Seth Schoen, “What Default Phone Encryption Really Means For Law Enforcement,” Vice News, October 8, 2014, https://news.vice.com/article/what-default-phone-encryption-really-means-for-law-enforcement.

Ed Pilkington, “FBI Demands New Powers to Hack into Computers and Carry out Surveillance,” Guardian, October 29, 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/oct/29/fbi-powers-hacking-computers-surveillance.

Student Researcher: Chelsea McCampbell (Indian River State College)

Faculty Evaluator: Elliot D. Cohen (Indian River State College)

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