FBI Claims Wikipedia Can't Display Its Logo
from the good-luck-on-that dept
Apparently the FBI has some free time on its hands. How else can you explain this bizarre, and almost certainly legally questionable attempt to force Wikipedia to remove its logo on Wikipedia's article on the FBI:
Wikipedia's General Counsel, Mike Godwin (yes, of Godwin's law fame) responded to the FBI with a delightfully snarky reply (pdf) noting that the FBI's reading of the law concerning displaying an FBI badge is clearly written to prevent people from falsely presenting themselves as being with the FBI or directly profiting from the use of the seal:
Godwin notes that the version of the law that the FBI conveniently sent him just happened to omit some parts of the law, which basically show that the law is entirely focused on such attempts to use the logo to deceive. Among the key passages:
Entertainingly, in support for your argument, you included a version of 701 in which you removed the very phrases that subject the statute to ejusdem generis analysis. While we appreciate your desire to revise the statute to reflect your expansive vision of it, the fact is that we must work with the actual language of the statute, not the aspirational version of Section 701 that you forwarded to us.
In your letter, you assert that an image of an FBI seal included in a Wikipedia article is "problematic" because "it facilitates both deliberate and unwitting violations" of 18 U.S.C. 701. I hope you will agree that the adjective "problematic," even if it were truly applicable here, is not semantically identical to "unlawful." Even if it could be proved that someone, somewhere, found a way to use a Wikipedia article illustration to facilitate a fraudulent representation, that would not render the illustration itself unlawful under the statute. As the leading case interpreting Section 701 points out, "The enactment of § 701 was intended to protect the public against the use of a recognizable assertion of authority with intent to deceive." ... Our inclusion of an image of the FBI Seal is in no way evidence of any "intent to deceive," nor is it an "assertion of authority," recognizable or otherwise.
Godwin also points out that the Encyclopaedia Britannica appears to have an image of the logo as well. As for our own usage here, I'll first note that the NY Times is also displaying the logo with its story, and it would seem that all three of us are similarly not running afoul of this law, in that none of us are using the logo with any attempt to deceive at all, but to display factual information for the sake of informing.
Report: U.S. Army homosexual tied to WikiLeaks scandal
The following is based on an article by Cliff Kincaid for Accuracy in Media.
The American soldier at the center of the scandal involving the theft and release of classified military information that could cost the lives of U.S. military personnel was “openly homosexual” and apparently held a grudge against the U.S. military’s anti-gay policy, the British Telegraph newspaper is reporting.
In another bizarre twist, reliable reports suggest that Private First Class Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army Intelligence analyst accused of leaking the classified information to the WikiLeaks.org website, was also considering a sex change. Manning was arrested at the end of May and is being detained by U.S. authorities.
The Telegraph features photographs of Manning, who could face more than 50 years in prison for treasonous conduct, holding up a sign with rainbow colors demanding “equality on the battlefield” and participating in a gay pride parade.
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It is apparent that Manning, based on published reports, was a public homosexual activist for at least over a year. During this time he apparently came up with the idea of downloading and releasing the classified information to WikiLeaks as a way to get back at the United States military over its policy regarding homosexuality.
Telegraph writers Heidi Blake, John Bingham and Gordon Rayner write that Manning had “appeared to sink into depression after a relationship break-up” and became increasingly bitter with his treatment by the Army.
Manning may have been anxious about the failure of Congress to pass the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” anti-gay military policy.
President Obama had promised during the 2008 campaign to repeal the policy and in office has championed the “rights” of homosexual and “transgendered” people to high-level federal positions.
The Telegraph account of Manning’s growing rage and anger raises questions about how the soldier was able to flaunt his homosexuality despite the fact that the Pentagon still officially has a policy in place of excluding open homosexuals from military service.
The evidence demonstrates that Manning was continuing to serve after openly flaunting his homosexuality, including on Facebook.
Who in the Obama Administration — and the Department of Defense — was aware of his conduct and looked the other way? Was Manning given a pass because his “lifestyle” was considered to be in favor and acceptable under the Obama Administration?
Now, it appears that the United States, its soldiers, and relations with countries in the region could pay the price.
The result could be not only the loss of the lives of U.S. soldiers, as a result of the enemy understanding U.S. intelligence sources and methods, but damaged relations with Afghanistan and Pakistan and a possible U.S. military defeat in the region as a whole.
It will be interesting to see how the pro-homosexual U.S. media deal with the shocking revelations about Manning — and whether they investigate whether he was part of a secret homosexual network in the military that is currently working with WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, once part of a group called the “International Subversives.” Assange, a native of Australia with an anti-American and anti-military bent, has a criminal record for illegal computer hacking.
Assange released the documents in coordination with their publication and analysis by the British Guardian, the German Der Spiegel, and The New York Times.
Although in the military service, Manning had his own anti-military bent, based on his opposition to the defense policy of keeping open and active homosexuals out, and advertised his homosexuality on his Facebook page.
Gawker.com reports that “A screen capture of Manning’s Facebook profile shows the pages he liked were almost exclusively LGBT-related, including LGBT America, Gay Marriage, Equality Maryland, Dan Savage, Human Rights Campaign, etc.”
LGBT refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered.
The Facebook image also shows that he enjoyed the MSNBC program hosted by Rachel Maddow, the lesbian activist, and that he listed Media Matters and the National Center for Transgender Equality as being among his “likes and interests.” Media Matters is run by gay activist David Brock.
Manning’s favorite personalities included Barack and Michelle Obama and Barney Frank, the openly gay member of Congress from Massachusetts. He even listed Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who supports Obama’s repeal of the homosexual exclusion policy, as being among his favorite personalities.
Gawker cites evidence that Manning contacted well-known trans videoblogger ZJ via AOL Instant Messenger as far back as Feb. 21, 2009, and said that he enjoyed the videos on the site. “He just said he enjoyed my videos,” ZJ said. “He told me that me and him were on the same page.”
ZJ is “Zinnia Jones” and the site is linked to a Facebook entry for “Queer and Queer-Supportive Atheists,” described as “A group for atheists and agnostics who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, intersex, or otherwise queer, as well as straight allies. We support LGBT rights and oppose the influence of religion in the government and the law.”
The dramatic revelations about Manning’s circle of friends and associates suggest that, rather than repeal the homosexual exclusion policy, as Obama is demanding, the prohibition on homosexuals should have been more strictly enforced and that it should be strengthened today. What’s more, it is clear that Manning should have been expelled from the Armed Forces long before he allegedly did his damage to U.S. national security.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Navy Admiral Mike Mullen, has said that “Releasing classified documents could put in jeopardy American lives,” but has supported repeal of the prohibition on open homosexuals serving in the military. Such a change would bring more people with sexual identity problems like Bradley Manning into the Armed Forces.
The repeal, however, has not passed both Houses of Congress and remains a contentious issue on Capitol Hill.
This is important because the Manning scandal provides ammunition to those who want to maintain the exclusion of homosexuals from the military. It proves in dramatic terms that homosexuals with gender identity disorders are potentially unstable and that their strange sexual preferences can subvert the military mission and cost lives.
However, a libertarian writer named Justin Raimondo on the website of antiwar.com is calling Manning an “American patriot” and “true soldier” for releasing thousands of classified documents. Raimondo, who is himself gay, suggests that supporters of Manning go to a “Help Bradley Manning” site.
But the revelations about Manning keep coming.
Another British publication, the Daily Mail, reports that a friend said Manning, who was born in the United States but raised in Britain, had been gay since the age of 13. The friend wondered why the U.S. Army “didn’t ask more questions when they recruited him.”
Is this more evidence that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” has been ignored and not enforced?
While the WikiLeaks scandal is the subject of numerous and continuing press reports, the Telegraph account of his “openly homosexual” conduct is the first to provide absolute proof that he was a gay activist who wanted to strike back against the U.S. military.
However, several weeks ago, on July 6, the Associated Press ran a story that hinted at the controversy. It reported that Manning’s Facebook page had included numerous gay references and quoted a friend of Manning as saying that in recent months he “seemed to have grown more aware of social issues, including the gay-rights movement.” Manning reportedly described himself as “nonreligious” and had custom-made military dog tags reading “humanist.”
Before this, on June 8, Shane Harris of the Washingtonian had quoted a friend as saying that Manning was going to be discharged from the Army because of “an adjustment disorder.” The publication said that questions were raised by some observers “about whether Manning could have been dismissed under the military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy, which forbids homosexuals from serving openly.”
This adds to the evidence that Manning’s actions were motivated by hatred of the U.S. military over its anti-gay policy.
Adding further intrigue, the website known as “Boing Boing” suggests that Manning was a transsexual undergoing a transition from male to female and notes that his friend, Adrian Lamo, was an active member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community. It cites evidence that Lamo had been appointed as a member of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning Youth Task Force in San Francisco.
Commenting on transcripts of chats between Manning and Lamo, the website known as “QueerTV” said that Manning “might be one of us” and that the conversations “reveal the soldier might identify as transgender.”
Manning’s affinity on his Facebook page for “Repeal the Ban” is also significant. It is a project of a group called Servicemembers United, which describes itself as “the nation’s largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans, their allies and supporters.” The group receives financial support from the Open Society Institute of billionaire George Soros.
As the military and the FBI attempt to get to the bottom of what Manning allegedly did and for what reason, the need for an investigation of homosexual misconduct in the Armed Forces — before any change in policy is adopted by Congress — has been presented in dramatic fashion.
August 4, 2010 4:00 AM PDT
Feds admit storing checkpoint body scan images
by Declan McCullagh Font sizePrintE-mailShare249 comments Yahoo! Buzz
TSA's X-ray backscatter scanning with "privacy filter"
(Credit: TSA.gov) For the last few years, federal agencies have defended body scanning by insisting that all images will be discarded as soon as they're viewed. The Transportation Security Administration claimed last summer, for instance, that "scanned images cannot be stored or recorded."
Now it turns out that some police agencies are storing the controversial images after all. The U.S. Marshals Service admitted this week that it had surreptitiously saved tens of thousands of images recorded with a millimeter wave system at the security checkpoint of a single Florida courthouse.
This follows an earlier disclosure (PDF) by the TSA that it requires all airport body scanners it purchases to be able to store and transmit images for "testing, training, and evaluation purposes." The agency says, however, that those capabilities are not normally activated when the devices are installed at airports.
Body scanners penetrate clothing to provide a highly detailed image so accurate that critics have likened it to a virtual strip search. Technologies vary, with millimeter wave systems capturing fuzzier images, and backscatter X-ray machines able to show precise anatomical detail. The U.S. government likes the idea because body scanners can detect concealed weapons better than traditional magnetometers.
This privacy debate, which has been simmering since the days of the Bush administration, came to a boil two weeks ago when Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that scanners would soon appear at virtually every major airport. The updated list includes airports in New York City, Dallas, Washington, Miami, San Francisco, Seattle, and Philadelphia.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, has filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to grant an immediate injunction pulling the plug on TSA's body scanning program. In a separate lawsuit, EPIC obtained a letter (PDF) from the Marshals Service, part of the Justice Department, and released it on Tuesday afternoon.
These "devices are designed and deployed in a way that allows the images to be routinely stored and recorded, which is exactly what the Marshals Service is doing," EPIC executive director Marc Rotenberg told CNET. "We think it's significant."
William Bordley, an associate general counsel with the Marshals Service, acknowledged in the letter that "approximately 35,314 images...have been stored on the Brijot Gen2 machine" used in the Orlando, Fla. federal courthouse. In addition, Bordley wrote, a Millivision machine was tested in the Washington, D.C. federal courthouse but it was sent back to the manufacturer, which now apparently possesses the image database.
The Gen 2 machine, manufactured by Brijot of Lake Mary, Fla., uses a millimeter wave radiometer and accompanying video camera to store up to 40,000 images and records. Brijot boasts that it can even be operated remotely: "The Gen 2 detection engine capability eliminates the need for constant user observation and local operation for effective monitoring. Using our APIs, instantly connect to your units from a remote location via the Brijot Client interface."
TSA's millimeter wave body scan
(Credit: TSA.gov) This trickle of disclosures about the true capabilities of body scanners--and how they're being used in practice--is probably what alarms privacy advocates more than anything else.
A 70-page document (PDF) showing the TSA's procurement specifications, classified as "sensitive security information," says that in some modes the scanner must "allow exporting of image data in real time" and provide a mechanism for "high-speed transfer of image data" over the network. (It also says that image filters will "protect the identity, modesty, and privacy of the passenger.")
"TSA is not being straightforward with the public about the capabilities of these devices," Rotenberg said. "This is the Department of Homeland Security subjecting every U.S. traveler to an intrusive search that can be recorded without any suspicion--I think it's outrageous." EPIC's lawsuit says that the TSA should have announced formal regulations, and argues that the body scanners violate the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits "unreasonable" searches.
TSA spokeswoman Sari Koshetz told CNET on Wednesday that the agency's scanners are delivered to airports with the image recording functions turned off. "We're not recording them," she said. "I'm reiterating that to the public. We are not ever activating those capabilities at the airport."
The TSA maintains that body scanning is perfectly constitutional: "The program is designed to respect individual sensibilities regarding privacy, modesty and personal autonomy to the maximum extent possible, while still performing its crucial function of protecting all members of the public from potentially catastrophic events."
This post was updated at 2:25 p.m. PDT with a comment from a TSA spokeswoman.
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