The Federal Aviation Administration has limited drone usage in the past, but now it seems that simply posting your drone footage on Youtube will be restricted.
Whether shooting down Amazon’s attempt at drone delivery service or sending cease-and-desist letters to many commercial drone users – limiting drone use is nothing new to the FAA. Jayson Hanes, a Tampa-based drone hobbyist has been sent a letter by the FAA to end “commercial” use of his drone. How was he “commercially” using his drone? By posting his videos on Youtube – with ads.
A segment of the letter read …
“This office has received a complaint regarding your use of an unmanned aerial vehicle (aka drone) for commercial purposes referencing your video on the website youtube.com as evidence … After a review of your website, it does appear that the complaint is valid.”
So, if someone is “commercially” using a drone – just by posting videos on Youtube, where is the line in the sand? What if a news agency takes someone’s drone footage and runs it with ads? Is that person still liable? The FAA has full legal ability to send letters to drone users if they are flying in an unsafe manner, but Haynes’ case demonstrates that the FAA has an agenda to regulate drones in an unspecified manner. One also has to ask – what are they going to do to the thousands of other drone users who post on Youtube? Also, as civilians are being limited in drone usage, police departments are being given access to use them in investigations.
This may have opened the door to a regulation nightmare.
Catherine J. Frompovich
Just WHAT are the facts regarding measles? readers may be asking.
Fact – There are 23 strains/genotypes of measles: “The WHO [World Health Organization] currently recognizes 8 clades, designated A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and H. Within these clades there are 23 recognized genotypes, designated A, B1, B2, B3, C1, C2, D1, D2, D3, D4, D5, D6, D7, D8, D9, D10, E, F, G1, G2, G3, H1, and H2, and 1 provisional genotype, d11.” 
Which strain/genotype of measles is in the MMR vaccine?
Fact – According to the MMRII vaccine package insert, it’s the “Enders’ attenuated Edmonston strain”  an attenuated live strain, which is genotype A .
Which strain of measles was found in the Disneyland, California, outbreak that has caused panic in parents and nothing short of vaccine anarchy?
Fact – According to the U.S. CDC’s Health Alert Network (HAN),
Measles genotype information was available from 9 measles cases; all were genotype B3 [New York USA] and all sequences linked to this outbreak are identical. 
Therefore, what that means is that a different strain/genotype [B3] of measles is circulating in the USA from the measles strain/genotype in the MMRII vaccine—genotype A. Consequently, both vaccinated and non-vaccinated persons with weak immunities can contract measles.
Furthermore, the strain/genotype of “Disneyland” measles was confirmed by scientific testing known as PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction). So, the measles vaccine does not provide antigen response ‘immunity’ for the B3, just the Edmonston A genotype. Now you know why so many people are contracting measles: Even though they are vaccinated, they have no immunity!
Vaccinees also can come down with measles from the vaccine! According to Live Science,
About 3 percent of people who receive two doses of the measles vaccine will get measles if they come in contact with someone who has the virus, according to the CDC. 
So, readers now can understand a lot more about the apparent “consensus-science“ the CDC/FDA and health agencies everywhere have been telling the media, public, and parents. Even though the CDC/FDA claim it is the unvaccinated who are spreading measles, here are some hardcore statistics regarding measles outbreaks in the United States.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine 1987; 316:771-74; Journal of the American Medical Association 1990; 263:2467-71; and several CDC MMWR reports, Measles occurred in the following years, school populations and the percent that were vaccinated:
- 1984 58 percent of all school age children who contracted measles were vaccinated
- 1985 99 percent in the Corpus Christi, Texas, measles outbreak were fully vaccinated
- 1986 96 percent of the Dane County, Wisconsin, measles outbreak were vaccinated
- 1988 69 percent of all school age children who contracted measles were vaccinated
- 1989 89 percent of all school age children who contracted measles were vaccinated
- 1995 56 percent of all measles cases occurred in previously vaccinated persons 
As an aside, here’s something readers ought to know about measles:
Atypical measles occurred in children who received formalin-inactivated (killed) measles vaccine that was in use in the United States from 1963 to 1968 . These children developed high fever, a rash that was most prominent on the extremities and often included petechiae, and a high rate of pneumonitis [34–36]. Recent studies in monkeys indicate that this illness was caused by antigen-antibody immune complexes resulting from incomplete maturation of the antibody response to the vaccine [37–38].  [CJF emphasis added]
So, you see, there are problems with vaccines, which are not being fully disclosed by medical personnel other than “get your damn shots!”
Formalin is a form of formaldehyde. Currently, formaldehyde is an ingredient in vaccines.  It’s rather interesting that recent research indicated that there were problems with the antigen response capabilities of the 1963-68 vaccine, which basically did not enable the vaccinees’ bodies to make a complete “antigen antibody response”, which vaccinology considers ‘immunity’.
Are vaccines effective?
According to statistics, there have been no deaths in the USA from “wild measles”, i.e., strains not included in the vaccine, since 2005. However, according to the VAERS reports during a ten-year span, there have been 108 deaths from the MMR vaccine, 68 of them in children who were under three years of age. (Source)
According to VaccinationLiberation.org,
FACT: Before the vaccine was introduced, it was extremely rare for an infant to contract measles. However, by 1993 more than 25% of all measles cases were occurring in babies under one year old. CDC (Centre for Disease Control) officials attribute it to the growing number of mothers who were vaccinated during the 1960’s, ‘70’s, and ‘80’s. (When natural immunity is denied, measles protection cannot be passed onto their babies.) 8  [CJF emphasis added]
FACT: According to a study by the World Health Organisation (W.H.O.), those vaccinated against measles are 14 times more likely to contract the disease than those left unvaccinated. 13 
The exalted state of “herd immunity” that federal and state health agencies keep promoting, as if akin to attaining ‘nirvana’, is nothing more, in my opinion, than a fabrication of medical semantics, as anyone can realize from the measles vaccine alone that there are many more strains/genotypes of infectious diseases—measles in this case, which are not covered in vaccinations and which vaccines cannot provide immunity for.
Furthermore, vaccines ‘tag’ the immune system in a way that interferes with the workings of natural immunity. Vaccines activate the humoral branch, which now has been renamed the “adaptive branch,” rather than the innate branch of the immune system, and that just may be one of the causes for adverse reactions to vaccines, plus vaccine failures, I offer.
Another classic example of vaccine failure or ineffectiveness is the influenza vaccine. The 2014-15 strain is nothing short of a bust. On January 15, 2015, Reuters published, “More than three quarters of U.S. flu shots ineffective—report.” Any other defective, or ineffective, product would be recalled, but not vaccines—just keep pushing them into an unsuspecting and ever-obliging, vaccine-proselytized public!
Although and granted, there is one aspect of human health that all vaccines are very operative in—it is this: Syringing very toxic chemicals into infants, toddlers, teens, and adults! Here’s the chemical list from the CDC PinkBook of 2011:
Ovalbumin, human serum albumin, bovine albumin, aluminum hydroxide, aluminum hydroxyphosphate sulfate, aluminum phosphate, aluminum potassium sulfate, amino acids, ammonium sulfate, amphotericin B, ascorbic acid, bactopeptone, beta propiolactone, benzethonium chloride, brilliant green dye, calcium carbonate, calcium chloride, chlortetracycline, cystine, dextran, DNA, Dulbecco’s modified Eagle Medium, ethylenediamine- tetraacetic acid sodium, egg protein, ferric (III) nitrate, formaldehyde-formalin, gelatin, genetamicin, glucose glutamine, glutaraldehyde, glycerin, glycine, histidine, hydrochloric acid, hydrocortisone, lactose, magnesium stearate, magnesium sulfate, monosodium glutamate, mouse serum protein, MRC-5 cellular protein (aborted fetal cell line), neomycin, phenol, phenol red, 2-phenoxyethanol, phosphate buffers (eg. Disodium, monosodium, potassium, sodium dihydrogenphosphate), polydimethylsilozone, polymyxin B, polyoxyethylene9-10 nonyl phenol, polyoxyethelated octyl phenol, polysorbate 20, polysorbate 80, potassium chloride, potassium glutamate, bovine calf serum, sodium acetate, sodium bicarbonate, sodium chloride, sodium deoxycholate, sodium hydrogenocarbonate, sodium hydroxide, sodium phosphate, sodium pyruvate, sorbitol, streptomycin, sucrose, Thimerosal [49.6% ethylmercury], tocopheryl hydrogen succinate, tyrosine, urea, vitamins unspecified, xanthan, and yeast protein that are used to manufacture vaccines grown on the following production media: bovine protein, calf skin, chick kidney cells, chicken embryo, Cohen-Wheeler modified (pertussis components), human diploid tissue culture-MRC-5 and WI-38 [aborted fetal cell lines], Lathan medium derived from bovine casein, Linggoud-Fenton medium containing extract, Medium 199 (including amino acids, vitamins, sucrose, phosphate, glutamate, human albumin, fetal bovine serum), minimum essential medium (including amino acids, vitamins, fetal bovine serum, human albumin), monkey kidney tissue culture-Vero (Vervet or African green monkeys), mouse brain culture, Mueller-Hinton agar medium, Mueller-Miller medium, Puziss-Wright medium 1095, Rhesus [monkey] fetal lung tissue culture, Stainer-Scholte medium, soy peptone broth [probable GMO product], synthetic/semi-synthetic [what that exactly is, is not defined! Nanoparticles?], Watson-Scherp medium, yeast or yeast extract (typically Saccharomyces cerevisiae)
What’s in your vaccine?
 Rota PA, Khan AS, Durigon E, Yuran T, Villamarzo YS, Bellini WJ. Detection of measles virus RNA in urine specimens from vaccine recipients. J Clin Microbiol. 1995 Sep;33(9):2485-8.
 Auwaerter PG, et al. Changes within T Cell Receptor VβSubsets in Infants Following Measles Vaccination. Clinical Immunology and Immunopathology, May 1996; 79(2): 163-170.
Miller, Neil Z. Vaccine Safety Manual. New Atlantean Press, 2008.
 J Infect Dis. (2004) 189 (Supplement 1): S4-S16. doi: 10.1086/377712
 Daniel Q Haney, “Wave of Infant Measles Stems From ‘60s Vaccinations,” Albuquerque Journal, (November 23, 1992), p. B3.
 National Health Federation Bulletin, (Nov. ‘69). Also see Note 5.
Robert Mendelsohn MD, “How To Raise a Healthy Child … In Spite of Your Doctor”, (Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1984), p.216.
The Israeli Zionist ministry of propaganda has successfully blurred the distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. With clever adeptness and manipulation they have succeeded in spreading a form of domestic terror to Europe and the United States. This form of terrorism as defined by the Thesaurus is “the calculated use of violence or threat of violence to civilians in order to attain goals that are religious or political or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation, coercion or instilling fear.” Use of the Holocaust as propaganda invites fear and hysteria.
Netanyahu drew thunderous applause that followed the words loudly proclaimed as if he owned them: “Never Again.” I felt sick as he spoke of the deadly rise of anti-Semitism, a hatred of Jews bound together with the destruction of Israel. “Never Again,” a powerful and highly charged statement, was used here to create a lie in the suppression of the crimes of Israeli Zionism, covered up and justified as a means to “defend itself.” What? To defend itself from a repeat of Hitler’s program to rid Europe of all Jews? Is that the vision of a Jewish State only, a place of safety for all Jews to be protected from a hostile world, with walls, and born from the blood of apartheid and ethnic cleansing? Is this not insanity to pursue an agenda with complete disregard to human values except for Jews?
Now as Europe and the United States struggle to wake up, to question the blind support of Zionist Israel, those who speak out and say “No,” continue to be vilified. Israel’s shouts of anti-Semite are attempts to drown dissent. Can one really believe there still exists the possibility of another incarnation of the Nazi Holocaust? Is this not designed for empathy and support from those who still fantasize the lost dream of Israel as a beacon of light? It is not difficult to observe the strong emotional responses, particularly in Jews and Germans, upon hearing reference to the ashes of the Holocaust as a justification for Israel to “defend itself. ” “Never again” would refer to a justification to commit atrocities against Palestinians for the past 70 years. It must stop.
As the memory of the Holocaust is ignited, cries of “anti-semite” grow and create fear. Useful for the purpose of taking the focus off internal brutal assaults, land stealing, apartheid and ethnic cleansing, it is a distortion in my view and obscures the genesis of a new rise of anti-Semitism in the last decade. True anti-Semites hate Jews. Rising up against Israel is about standing against an ideological, nationalistic and racist government.
I feel particularly as Jews we have a responsibility to remain vigilant and to speak out against victimization. The pursuit of a just society is a fundamental concept of Judaism, which teaches involvement and concern with the plight of our fellow human beings. Every life is sacred and we are obligated to do what we can to help others. The Torah states, “neither shalt thou stand idly by the blood of thy neighbor.“ (Lev. 19:16) There is nothing anti-Semitic about speaking out against the suffering perpetrated on the lives of Palestinians.
The distinction between Zionism and Judaism remains in constant need of clarification and discussion. Fanatics closed to discussion believe in their moral superiority and create political terror so as to silence and deny. The charge of “delegitimizing Israel “ requires one to question what the Israeli government is hiding and whether Israel has not delegitimized itself through decades of illegal human rights abuses. I believe these abuses have contributed profoundly to the rise of true anti-Semitism in the world today.
Framed as anti-hacking measure, opponents say CISA threatens both consumers and whistleblowers
The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee approved a cybersecurity bill during a secret session on Thursday, marking the next step in a process that critics warn will nefariously expand the government’s already substantial surveillance powers.
The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), which passed by 14-1 vote, would ostensibly protect against large-scale data thefts of private consumer information, exemplified by recent hacks of Target, Sony, and Home Depot. But critics—including the lone dissenting voice on the committee Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Or.)—say it would open the door for continued invasive and unlawful government spying operations.
Although Wyden denounced the measure as “a surveillance bill by another name,” his opposition was unable to stop the proposal from being approved by the committee. The bill, which reportedly underwent a dozen changes during the meeting, will next go to the full Senate for debate. Its passage in committee, however, means it has already succeeded where other recent cybersecurity proposals have failed.
Committee chairman Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) told reporters after the vote that CISA would allow for private-to-private, private-to-government, and government-to-private information sharing, “in a voluntary capacity.”
“This current bill is critically important both for our agencies that keep the country safe, and the institutions that hold millions of Americans’ personal information,” Burr continued.
However, as ACLU media strategist Rachel Nusbaum noted on Thursday, making information-sharing “voluntary” during criminal proceedings means that the government would be able to obtain private data without a warrant.
That includes any instance in which the government uses the Espionage Act to go after whistleblowers, who, according to Nusbaum, “already face, perhaps, the most hostile environment in U.S. history.” The new measure, she continued, “fails to limit what the government can do with the vast amount of data to be shared with it” by the these companies.” Nusbaum called the measure “one of those privacy-shredding bills in cybersecurity clothing.”
“This bill is arguably much worse than CISPA [Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act] and, despite its name, shouldn’t be seen as anything other than a surveillance bill—think Patriot Act 2.0,” Nusbaum said.
Thursday’s meeting was closed to the public, but Wyden emerged after the vote and warned the bill “lacks adequate protections for the privacy rights of American consumers, and that it will have a limited impact on U.S. cybersecurity.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the panel, said Thursday that the newest version of the bill would allow companies to defend themselves against cyberattacks but would prohibit them from taking “countermeasures” if a breach occurred.
The Wall Street Journal writes:
The bill would attempt to funnel corporate intelligence about cybersecurity threats and breaches through the Department of Homeland Security, an important distinction for many companies that don’t want the data to be housed in a military agency or an intelligence agency. DHS could share the information, if applicable, with other companies or other federal agencies, though it is supposed to be scrubbed to prevent the transfer of personal data about consumers.
Companies could also provide data to the NSA as long as it wasn’t in “electronic form,” according to Burr. If private customer data “finds its way to the federal government” following a hack, Burr added, “once we distribute it in real time and we realize there’s personal information, any company that discovers it has to remove it or minimize it in a way that it can’t be shared anywhere else.”
A draft (pdf) of the measure released last month was met with resistance from privacy advocates who said its vague language could give license to the government to increase unwarranted surveillance of U.S. citizens. Burr and Feinstein said Thursday the new version of the bill takes those concerns into account—but the privacy community was hesitant to follow such praise without seeing the final version of the measure.
“We are glad that the Senate Intelligence Committee heard the privacy community’s concerns, and we’re eager to see if the changes to the bill will adequately address the significant threats to privacy and internet security that CISA has raised,” Robyn Greene, policy counsel with New America’s Open Technology Institute, said in a statement Thursday. “Based on how dangerously broad and vague the last version of the bill was, it would be surprising if the bill agreed to in secret today will garner the support of the privacy community.”
Greene called the earlier draft “as much a backdoor for surveillance as it is a cybersecurity information-sharing bill.”
In an interview with Wired on Thursday, she criticized the secretive nature of the meeting, stating, “This bill has the potential to seriously harm Americans’ privacy rights and it wasn’t even debated in public.”
Palm oil cultivation in West Africa, climate change, and how to kill Americans more effectively than cigarettes. These were the issues on Osama bin Laden’s mind in his final years as he struggled to direct the terrorist group’s activities from his hideout in Pakistan, according to newly released files retrieved from the compound where he was killed.
Direct communications between the al Qaeda leader and his inner circle were entered as evidence in a terrorism trial recently concluded in Brooklyn, New York, effectively doubling the amount of publicly available documents recovered from bin Laden’s final hideout. Together the newly disclosed documenoryts paint a picture of a man who, despite being holed up for years in his high-walled compound in the garrison town of Abbottabad, Pakistan, maintained a hands-on role managing al Qaeda in the face of a crippling “espionage war” and mounting bureaucratic obstacles.
The emergence of the documents marks just the second time since the historic 2011 raid, which ended in the death of bin Laden, that documentary evidence recovered from his compound has been made public; 17 other documents were declassified and released to West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center in 2012.
The new documents were entered as evidence in the federal trial of Abid Naseer, a Pakistani national convicted of plotting with al Qaeda to carry out a bomb attack in Manchester, England between 2008 and 2009; Naseer is not mentioned in the documents. U.S. attorneys used the recovered documents to support the testimony of an FBI agent who was present when a team of U.S. Navy SEALs returned bin Laden’s body and the materials they recovered from his compound to a U.S. base in Afghanistan.
Multiple media outlets have reported on the existence of the bin Laden files, quoting passages from them without posting the full set of documents. DOWNRANGE, an online forum managed by Kronos Advisory, a firm specializing in terrorism investigations, obtained and published the full set of files.
Kronos’ research and analysis team includes Cindy Storer, a former CIA senior al Qaeda analyst who was part of the team that tracked bin Laden to Abbottabad. Michael S. Smith II, the firm’s chief operating officer, told The Intercept the bin Laden documents “came from a very reliable source.”
Totaling more than 150 pages, the documents include communications between bin Laden, his chief of external operations, his general manager and others connected with the group. They reveal al Qaeda’s frustrated efforts to carry out overseas attacks.
In a handwritten letter scrawled on crumpled notebook paper, bin Laden’s chief of external operations admitted losing contact with operatives sent to carry out attacks in Britain, Russia and Europe. He cited shortcomings in the commitment of his personnel, communications challenges, lack of necessary travel documents and a failure to execute operations as key problems.
“One of the main impediments to our work … is that the brother is unable to carry out his work due to the lack of required tools (materials – weapons); hence, we had to contemplate new methods to obtain the tools or invent new methods of execution,” he wrote, suggesting the group move “towards new methods like using the simplest things such as household knives, gas tanks, fuel, diesel and others like airplanes, trains and cars as killing tools.”
Bin Laden’s general manager, meanwhile, offered a detailed account of al Qaeda’s challenges in Pakistan, chief among them: the CIA’s drone war. He used the 2010 killing of al Qaeda’s former third in command, Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, also known as Saeed al-Masri, as an example.
In late May, 2010, al-Yazid was in the tribal regions of Pakistan, attending meetings with his “media brothers,” when the house where he and his family were staying was hit by a drone strike.
Al-Yazid and his family had fallen asleep in the building.
“Less than an hour later they were hit,” bin Laden’s manager wrote. “This house was, as we say, completely ‘burned down.’” He described the home as “a very, very combustible place (a house owned by one of our well known supporters).”
The strike killed al Yazid, his wife, three daughters and granddaughter. The “young sons” of another al Qaeda figure–it is unclear how many–and the owners of the home died, as well, according to the documents. (Media accounts at the time reported varying numbers of casualties resulting from the strike; according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism as many as960 civilians have been killed by U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, including up to 207 children.)
“A spy plane must have started making loops,” the al Qaeda manager wrote of the attack. “Especially those distinctive loops (circles) that we all know and, all of the brothers have experienced. They all know that if a plane starts doing those turns, it is going to strike.”
The al Qaeda manager reported that the organization’s fighters in Pakistan were effectively pinned down by the air strikes. “The planes are still circling our skies nearly every day,” he wrote. “Sometimes there are fewer of them because of weather conditions like thunder, wind, clouds and the like, then they come back when the sky is clear.” The official described how al Qaeda was “constantly uncovering and destroying spies’ networks […] But that has not kept airstrikes from hitting us repeatedly because we continue to make mistakes, and for other reasons.”
The group was working hard to find ways to jam or hack the drones, but “no results so far,” he wrote. “However, they are continuing.”
In addition to weathering drone strikes, the al Qaeda manager also described the group’s attempts to broker deals with the Pakistani government. According to the communications, al Qaeda told Pakistani intelligence officials, “We are aiming our war against the Americans in Afghanistan. If the Pakistani Army and government leaves us alone, we will leave them alone.”
Conducting large-scale terrorist attacks against the United States remained a priority for bin Laden, who argued that the number of casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan was insufficient to prompt a significant change in U.S. foreign policy. To do that, he concluded, required something more. “[E]very year 400,000 (four hundred thousand) people die from smoking, which is a huge number compared to the number killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but they still have not come out in mass protests to close down tobacco companies,” he wrote.
In communications back to his subordinates, bin Laden was given to long-winded and detailed replies. Describing his vision for operations in Somalia, he advised sending “a delegation of trusted Somali tribal leaders” to meet with businessmen in the Persian Gulf and “brief them about the living conditions of Muslims in Somalia and how their children are dying of extreme poverty, to remind them of their responsibilities towards their Muslim brothers.”
He also devoted an entire paragraph to the potential value of Palm Oil trees in the region; “It should be known that the income generated by one acre of palm oil trees was seven hundred and fifty dollars a few years ago, and it is supposed to have gone up now.”
The terrorist leader was particularly concerned with climate change, noting in one communication, “Attached is a report about climate change, especially the floods in Pakistan. Please send it to AI-Jazeera.”
The newly disclosed documents reflect bin Laden’s acute attention to operational security, revealing the al Qaeda leader was aware of his adversaries’ electronic surveillance capabilities years before Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations. “[J]ust because something can be encrypted doesn’t make it suitable for use,” bin Laden wrote. “As you know, this science is not ours and is not our invention. That means we do not know much about it. Based on this, I see that sending any dangerous matter via encrypted email is a risky thing.”
While the release of the bin Laden documents signals a significant increase in publicly available information gleaned from the raid on his compound, it represents only a sliver of the intelligence U.S. forces obtained in the operation.
In a Senate briefing just days after the raid, a senior Pentagon intelligence official described the materials recovered as “the single largest collection of senior terrorist materials ever” including “digital, audio and video files of varying sizes, printed materials, computer equipment, recording devices and handwritten documents.”
Analysis of the seized documents–which reportedly number in the thousands–was led by the CIA, with support from the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the NSA and the Pentagon’s National Media Exploitation Center. Last monthThe New York Times reported that the documents have fueled an “unprecedented” increase in U.S. special operations raids in Afghanistan.
“Today and in the future, we won’t necessarily be able to provide regular updates on what this operation yielded,” the Pentagon official said in the aftermath of the 2011 raid. “As you can understand, much of what we find will remain classified. The war against al Qaeda and its affiliates continues.”
Margot Williams contributed to this story.
Photo: United States v. Abid Naseer court records
The following report from the U.K. Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament on mass surveillance activities conducted by the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) was released March 12, 2015. Throughout the report, an ellipsis indicated by a set of three asterisks “***” is used to indicate that information has been redacted.
Privacy and Security: A modern and transparent legal framework
i. The internet has transformed the way we communicate and conduct our day-to-day lives. However, this has led to a tension between the individual right to privacy and the collective right to security, which has been the focus of considerable debate over the past 18 months.
ii. The leak by Edward Snowden of stolen intelligence material in June 2013 led to allegations regarding the UK Agencies’ use of intrusive capabilities – in particular those relating to GCHQ’s interception of internet communications. This Committee investigated the most serious of those allegations – that GCHQ were circumventing UK law – in July 2013. We concluded that that allegation was unfounded. However, we considered that a more in-depth Inquiry into the full range of the Agencies’ intrusive capabilities was required – not just in terms of how they are used and the scale of that use, but also the degree to which they intrude on privacy and the extent to which existing legislation adequately defines and constrains these capabilities.
iii. All those who contributed to this Inquiry agreed that the intelligence and security Agencies have a crucial role protecting UK citizens from threats to their safety. The UK intelligence and security Agencies (MI5, SIS and GCHQ) exist to protect the country from threats and to obtain intelligence in the interests of the UK’s national security or economic well-being and for the detection and prevention of serious crime. The importance of this work is reflected in the fact that Parliament has provided the Agencies with a range of intrusive powers which they use to generate leads, to discover threats, to identify those who are plotting in secret against the UK and to track those individuals.
iv. However, in a democratic society those powers cannot be unconstrained: limits and safeguards are essential. First and foremost, the Agencies are public bodies and therefore everything they do must be in accordance with the Human Rights Act 1998 (which incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law). While the Agencies work to protect our national security, they must do so while upholding our basic human rights. Some rights are not absolute: the right to privacy, for example, is a qualified right – as all the witnesses to our Inquiry accepted – which means that there may be circumstances in which it is appropriate to interfere with that right. In the UK, the legal test is that action can be taken which intrudes into privacy only where it is for a lawful purpose and it can be justified that it is necessary and proportionate to do so. The question that we have considered in relation to each of the Agencies’ capabilities is whether the intrusion it entails is justified and whether the safeguards are sufficient.
v. Our Inquiry has involved a detailed investigation into the intrusive capabilities that are used by the UK intelligence and security Agencies. This Report contains an unprecedented amount of information about those capabilities, including how they are used, the legal framework that regulates their use, the authorisation process, and the oversight and scrutiny arrangements that apply. For ease of reference, we have included
an overview of the Report in the next chapter and below we summarise our key findings:
• We are satisfied that the UK’s intelligence and security Agencies do not seek to circumvent the law – including the requirements of the Human Rights Act 1998, which governs everything that the Agencies do.
• However, that legal framework has developed piecemeal, and is unnecessarily complicated. We have serious concerns about the resulting lack of transparency, which is not in the public interest.
• Our key recommendation therefore is that the current legal framework be replaced by a new Act of Parliament governing the intelligence and security Agencies. This must clearly set out the intrusive powers available to the Agencies, the purposes for which they may use them, and the authorisation required before they may do so.
• Our Report also contains substantial recommendations about each of the Agencies’ intrusive capabilities, which we consider are essential to improve transparency, strengthen privacy protections and increase oversight.
• We have scrutinised GCHQ’s bulk interception capability in particular detail, since it is this that has been the focus of recent controversy:
– Our Inquiry has shown that the Agencies do not have the legal authority, the resources, the technical capability, or the desire to intercept every communication of British citizens, or of the internet as a whole: GCHQ are not reading the emails of everyone in the UK.
– GCHQ’s bulk interception systems operate on a very small percentage of the bearers2 that make up the internet. We are satisfied that they apply levels of filtering and selection such that only a certain amount of the material on those bearers is collected. Further targeted searches ensure that only those items believed to be of the highest intelligence value are ever presented for analysts to examine: therefore only a tiny fraction of those collected are ever seen by human eyes.
– The current legal framework of external and internal communications has led to much confusion. However, we have established that bulk interception cannot be used to target the communications of an individual in the UK without a specific authorisation naming that individual, signed by a Secretary of State.
• While these findings are reassuring, they nevertheless highlight the importance of a new, transparent legal framework. There is a legitimate public expectation of openness and transparency in today’s society, and the intelligence and security Agencies are not exempt from that.
65. Another major processing system by which GCHQ may collect communications is ***, where GCHQ are looking to match much more complicated criteria with three or four elements, for example. Unlike the simple selectors used in the first process, this technique requires ***.
66. This process operates across a far smaller number of bearers – GCHQ choose just *** of the bearers out of those they can theoretically access. These bearers are not chosen at random: they are deliberately targeted as those most likely to carry communications of intelligence interest. (For example, GCHQ are currently targeting bearers likely to be carrying communications of ***.)
67. As a first step in the processing under this method, ***. *** the system applies a set of ‘selection rules’. As of November 2014, there were *** selection rules. ***. Examples of these initial selection rules are:
• include ***;
• include ***; and
• discard communications ***.
As a result of this selection stage, the processing system automatically discards the majority (***) of the traffic on the targeted bearers. The remainder is collected ***.61 These communications are the ones that GCHQ consider most likely to contain items of intelligence value