24th April 2017
According to official reports, during the year 2016, only 2.65 percent of those immigrating into Italy were awarded asylum as refugees, with the vast majority staying on in the country as illegal, undocumented immigrants.
According to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), a total of 181,436 migrants crossed the Mediterranean Sea into Italy during 2016, a record year in recent history. This figure does not include those who were able to enter the country undetected, but only those who were officially registered either by Italian officials or NGOs.
Of these, only 4,808 were recognized as refugees and awarded asylum in Italy, a mere 2.65 percent of the total number of those making the crossing.
A disturbing statistic that has recently come to light reveals that half of the migrants arriving in the country (90,334) never even requested asylum, but disappeared into the country as undocumented immigrants, commonly referred to by the Italians as “clandestini.”
The remaining 91,902 migrants applied for asylum, and 60 percent of these (54,252) had their petitions rejected unconditionally. Another 21 percent (18,979) were awarded “humanitarian protection,” allowing them a renewable yearly permission to remain in the country, and 14 percent more (12,873) were given “subsidiary protection.”
The 4,808 immigrants who were awarded asylum represent 5.28 percent of the asylum seekers and therefore only 2.65 percent of the total number of immigrants entering in the country during the year.
Despite the fact that the vast majority of immigrants into Italy were denied asylum, fewer than 5,000 were deported in 2016, meaning that more than 175,000 remained in the country, most of them illegally.
Despite last year’s record immigration into Italy, the first quarter of 2017 registered a 30 percent jump compared with the same period in 2016. Shortly afterward, Italy received another 8,500 migrants in a single weekend as migrants poured into the country over Easter.
The leader of the Northern League (La Lega) political party, Matteo Salvini, announced that he would bring a case against government leaders for promotion of illegal immigration into the country.
“It is now clear that illegal immigration is organized and financed and for this reason we have decided to bring a case against the government, the President of the Council, the ministers and the commanders of the Navy and the Coast Guard,” Salvini said.
20th April 2016
The system, called Biometric Exit, is currently being tested on a one-way flight from Atlanta to Tokyo and is expected to be rolled out to more airports this summer after being expedited by the Trump Administration, according to a report from The Verge.
The current practice used by Customs and Border Protection agents is to take photos and fingerprints of every visa holder who enters the U.S., but there is no system in place to verify that a visa holder has left before their visa expires. This is where Biometric Exit comes in.
Passengers will have their photos taken at the airport before boarding flights, that photo will cross-reference with “passport-style photos provided with the visa application.” If there is no match, then that will raise flags about whether the visitor entered the United States illegally.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Larry Panetta, who is leading the airport segment of the project, said, “We currently have everyone’s photo, so we don’t need to do any sort of enrollment. We have access to the Department of State records so we have photos of US Citizens, we have visa photos, we have photos of people when they cross into the US and their biometrics are captured into [DHS biometric database] IDENT.”
President Trump expedited the implementation of Biometric Exit when he signed the executive order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States,” the same document that called for the temporary halt of immigrants from seven Middle Eastern countries.
“Sec. 7. Expedited Completion of the Biometric Entry-Exit Tracking System. (a) The Secretary of Homeland Security shall expedite the completion and implementation of a biometric entry-exit tracking system for all travelers to the United States, as recommended by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States,” the executive order states.
The CBP is also looking to use facial recognition at the border to help identify any person that is in relevant law enforcement databases.
Officials with the CBP solicited proposals from companies for small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS), like consumer drones, for deployment by Border Patrol agents along the southern border.
The agency is specifically looking for a drone that is small enough that it can fit into a truck, weighs under 55 pounds, and is deployable by a single agent in less than 5 minutes. Officials also want a drone fitted with state-of-the-art sensor technology which reportedly may include, “infrared cameras and facial-recognition capabilities.”
A document included with the solicitation, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) Capabilities, said the agency is looking for a drone that can, “distinguish between natural and artificial features, and between animals, humans, and vehicles at long range.”
The same document also states that the agency is looking for a drone that, “would have facial recognition capabilities that allow it cross-reference any persons identified with relevant law enforcement databases.”
The goal will be to cross-reference the facial scans against multiple government databases that collect biometric information, including the FBI. “The bureau can draw from over 411 million photos spread across state and federal databases, including more than 173 million driver’s license photos, as part of the new biometric effort,” according to a government document that was analyzed by The Verge.
Ari Schuler, co-lead of CBP’s Silicon Valley office, which is managing the project, said that a drone that has these capabilities would allow Border Patrol Agents to identify traffickers who have violent criminal backgrounds, allowing the Agent the call backup.
Since large portions of the border lack cellular service, the biggest challenge for contractors is figuring out how to stream data from the drones. The CBP is also looking for a drone that is secure, not vulnerable to hacking.
The move to go from large military-style drones to small consumer ones comes from the disappointment the CBP has had with the Predator. A report from 2014 shows that the cost to operate 10 Predators over the course of a year exceeded $60 million. The drones failed to lower the cost of border surveillance and were vulnerable to GPS jamming and other attacks.
20th April 2017
CBS News has learned that a manhunt is underway for a traitor inside the Central Intelligence Agency.
The CIA and FBI are conducting a joint investigation into one of the worst security breaches in CIA history, which exposed thousands of top-secret documents that described CIA tools used to penetrate smartphones, smart televisions and computer systems.
Sources familiar with the investigation say it is looking for an insider — either a CIA employee or contractor — who had physical access to the material. The agency has not said publicly when the material was taken or how it was stolen.
Much of the material was classified and stored in a highly secure section of the intelligence agency, but sources say hundreds of people would have had access to the material. Investigators are going through those names.
The trove wasby the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks
In hisas director of the CIA just last week, Mike Pompeo railed against WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.
“It is time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is: A non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia,” he said.
WikiLeaks has said it obtained the CIA information from former contractors who worked for U.S. intelligence. The CIA has not commented on the authenticity of the WikiLeaks disclosures or on the status of the investigation.
15th april 2017
The battle between the CIA and WikiLeaks is intensifying.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo used his first major public remarks on Thursday to skewer WikiLeaks as a “non-state hostile intelligence service” willing to work with Russia and other foreign actors to promote their interests.
He blasted Julian Assange as a “fraud” interested in his own fame, seeking to undermine efforts by the WikiLeaks founder to be viewed as a legitimate ally of civil libertarians.
“It is time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is, a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia,” Pompeo said.“Assange is a narcissist who has created nothing of value,” the former Republican congressman charged. “He relies on the dirty work of others to make himself famous. He is a fraud—a coward hiding behind a screen.”
WikiLeaks was quick to respond, sending out a series of messages on Twitter claiming that Pompeo vowed to “silence” the organization over its purported disclosures of CIA hacking tools and using his remarks to promote an op-ed written by Assange in the Washington Post.
In the op-ed, Assange wrote that WikiLeaks had the same mission as news outlets such as the Post and The New York Times.
The organization also mocked Pompeo by sending out a since-deleted tweet he wrote last July, when the former Kansas lawmaker cited stolen Democratic National Committee emails released by WikiLeaks as proof that the presidential nomination had been “fixed” for Hillary Clinton.
Pompeo’s speech was a wide departure from President Trump’s praise of WikiLeaks on the campaign trail. Trump and his administration have taken a much more hostile approach to WikiLeaks since taking office.
U.S. national security experts welcomed Pompeo’s comments as a signal that the new director was taking a hard line on an organization that has leaked information damaging to American interests.
“I think what [Pompeo] did was putting him on notice, which I think is exactly the right thing to do,” James Carafano, a national security expert at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said. “I think he’s throwing down the gauntlet.”
But the speech was not warmly embraced by all. Journalist Glenn Greenwald, who published documents leaked by Edward Snowden, slammed Pompeo for his remarks, accusing him of “explicitly” threatening free speech and press freedoms.
“WikiLeaks now has few friends in Washington,” Greenwald wrote in The Intercept. “But the level of affection for WikiLeaks should have no bearing on how one responds to these press freedom threats from Donald Trump’s CIA Director. Criminalizing the publication of classified documents is wrong in itself, and has the obvious potential to spread far beyond their initial target.”
WikiLeaks for weeks has needled the CIA by releasing troves of leaked documents allegedly revealing the agency’s hacking programs.
The releases, called “Vault 7,” contain documents describing hacking techniques used by the CIA, such as tools to breach mobile devices and hack into smart televisions, as well as other internal communications.
Hours after Pompeo’s speech, WikiLeaks leaked yet another trove of documents that claimed to reveal information about a top-secret CIA hacking program called Hive.
Experts have largely described the contents of the periodic document releases as unsurprising, and evidence that the CIA is doing its job. Nevertheless, they have renewed the debate around privacy and intelligence community spying and also raised questions about the source of the leaks.
“Obviously, this hurts when other people know where you have been, what you have been thinking,” said former CIA Director Michael Hayden, who said that the documents show no abuse of the agency’s powers.
“There is the danger that even though these things might reflect appropriate activities that Americans don’t object to, the fact that you can’t keep the tools secret, the fact that you can’t keep the data you collect from other prying eyes, that creates a real big, strong argument for, ‘then I don’t want you doing it in the first place,’” Hayden said.
Some note that the leaks underscore the persisting problem of insider threats, which has been a major cause for concern since the leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and former soldier Chelsea Manning.
Pompeo acknowledged Thursday that the agency needs to strengthen its own systems to prevent leaks.
Adam Klein, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, said that a major concern about WikiLeaks is that the organization provides an “outlet” for insider threats and encourages them.
“Insider threats are our intelligence agencies’ biggest security threat,” Klein told The Hill.
WikiLeaks has appeared to target CIA interns as potential sources of information. “CIA advertises internships. Whistleblowing opportunity?” the organized wrote on Twitter in mid-March.
“To the extent that there’s any news here, it’s that we have not gotten a handle on insider threats,” Klein said of the latest releases, noting that Congress should be concerned about the CIA leaks.
“I think it’s good news, frankly, that the CIA us thinking creatively about collecting information from foreign intelligence targets in the digital age,” Klein said.
The CIA has not confirmed the authenticity of any of the documents released, which Pompeo mentioned briefly on Thursday.
“As a policy, we at CIA do not comment on the accuracy of purported intelligence documents posted online,” Pompeo said. “In keeping with that policy, I will not specifically comment on the authenticity or provenance of recent disclosures.”
“But the false narratives that increasingly define our public discourse cannot be ignored,” he said.
15th April 2017
The Trump administration will not voluntarily disclose logs of visitors to the White House complex, it announced Friday, breaking with the practice started under former President Obama.
The White House cited “the grave national security risks and privacy concerns” of people who visit the White House, according to Time. Officials said that keeping the visitor logs private is necessary to protect President Trump’s ability to seek advice from people “with some discretion.”
A limited number of records of visitors to White House departments, such as the Office of Management and Budget, will be accessible through Freedom of Information Act requests. But most will not, including those that apply to the president and his senior staff.
The announcement is likely to anger ethics and good-government watchdogs, who argue the public has the right to know who is visiting the White House.Three of those organizations sued the administration in federal court this week, demanding the logs be released.
“We hoped that the Trump administration would follow the precedent of the Obama administration and continue to release visitor logs, but unfortunately they have not,” Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said in a statement.
Under the Trump administration’s policy, the records will be kept secret until five years after the president leaves office.
Since Trump took office Jan. 20, a section of the White House website where the visitor logs were posted under Obama has been left blank.
“This page is being updated. It will post records of White House visitors on an ongoing basis, once they become available,” the webpage reads.
“I was really disheartened for a while; it just brought up a lot of trauma for me,” the 32-year-old “Chained to the Rhythm” singer said in a cover story interview for this month’s Vogue magazine. “Misogyny and sexism were in my childhood: I have an issue with suppressive males and not being seen as equal.”
“I felt like a little kid again being faced with a scary, controlling guy,” Perry added. “I wouldn’t really stand for it in my work life, because I have had so much of that in my personal life.”
Months after the election, Perry has established herself as a vocal member of the anti-Trump “Resistance” movement. A month after Trump’s inauguration, Perry performed at the 2017 Brit Awards alongside giant skeletons meant to skewer Trump and U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May. Just ten days prior, Perry performed at the 2017 Grammy Awards while wearing an armband that read “PERSIST,” along with a Planned Parenthood button.
The singer’s “purposeful” pop has introduced what the singer hopes will be a new era of political activism, a time that has coincided with an “awakening” of young people she says are now more politically engaged than ever before.
“It’s an awakening that was necessary because I think we were in a false utopia, we can’t ever get that stagnant again,” Perry explained. “I am so grateful that young people know the names of senators. I think teenage girls are going to save the world! That age group just seems to be holding people accountable. They have a really strong voice — and a loud one.”
Just this week, Perry posted a picture of Clinton sporting a pair of pumps, called The Hillary, that the singer says were inspired by the former secretary of state.
The $139 pumps, now for sale on Perry’s website, include a clear heel embedded with golden moon and stars meant to inspire those who wear them to “step in and reach for the stars.”
9th April 2017
An individual or group known for leaking complete computer code for apparently authentic, stolen NSA hacking tools released a new batch of computer code Saturday.
The leaker, dubbed “TheShadowBrokers,” claimed that the newest leak was a “form of protest” against President Trump not continuing the isolationist brand of populism that he campaigned on. Earlier leaks from the group were typically political in nature.
TheShadowBrokers claimed to be releasing samples from the NSA source code to draw attention to its auction. The latest leaks accompany a post titled “Don’t Forget About Your Base.”
In the group’s trademark broken English, the post reads, “TheShadowBrokers voted for you. TheShadowBrokers supports you. TheShadowBrokers is losing faith in you. Mr. Trump helping theshadowbrokers, helping you. Is appearing you are abandoning ‘your base’, ‘the movement’, and the peoples who getting you elected.”
The post goes on to cite “good evidence” of Trump shunning his base, pointing to the GOP’s death on healthcare reform last month, removing White House chief strategist Steve Bannon from the National Security Council principals committee and appointing Cabinet members from Goldman Sachs and the “Military Industrial Intelligence Complex.”
TheShadowBrokers debuted in August, leaking a large package of source code it claimed was from the toolkit of the Equation Group, a vaunted hacking operation long believed to be affiliated with the NSA. Between then and January, the group dumped two more packages of source code.
Though always in the context of advertising the sale of their wares, the Brokers have mentioned politics in prior posts, including a racist sketch about the Clinton campaign. In the group’s last message to the public in January, it claimed any prior mention of politics was meant for publicity.
Past releases by TheShadowBrokers appears to be authentic. The Intercept, the publication headed by the fount of Edward Snowden leaks, Glenn Greenwald, published that a tracking ID code that appeared in the Brokers’ files matched a previously unreleased code in the Snowden files.
Earlier files from the group, while years old, contained working computer code to exploit many previously unknown security flaws in popular cybersecurity hardware from Cisco and other manufacturers.
Those flaws sent cybersecurity companies into a frantic race to repair their products before hackers took advantage. Researchers ultimately did find malware in the wild, which used these product vulnerabilities.
It is unclear how TheShadowBrokers obtained the files.
8th April 2017
BuzzFeed wants some answers from the FBI about deceased conservative media figure Andrew Breitbart — and it’s willing to sue to find out.
BuzzFeed and journalist Jason Leopold have filed a complaint against the FBI, claiming that the bureau hasn’t done everything it can to answer their request for information on Breitbart.
The complaint, filed Friday in federal court in California, says that Leopold filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the FBI for “all records related to Andrew Breitbart” on Aug. 7, 2012, a few months after Breitbart died at age 43.
According to the suit, the FBI responded to the request on Sept. 4, but said that the bureau only searched it “main file records,” claiming that no records were located.
That was an inadequate effort, as far as the suit is contained.
The complaint says that Leopold appealed the FBI’s response but was denied by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Information in 2013.
“In its appeal decision, OIP claimed that the FBI is not required to perform cross-reference searches unless the requester provides ‘information sufficient to enable the FBI to determine with certainty that any cross-references it locates are identifiable to the subject of [the] request,’ including, for example, the dates and locations of contacts between the subject of the request and the FBI, the subject’s social security number, or other such information,” the suit reads.
However, BuzzFeed and Leopold contend in the complaint, “Nothing in the FOIA statute requires a requester to provide this information before a cross-reference search must be conducted.”
“As FBI and OIP are certainly aware, Andrew Breitbart was a well-known public figure and is easily identifiable by the FBI in conducting a cross-reference search,” the suit reads. “As the FBI and OIP are also aware, cross-reference searches frequently turn up records not located in main file searches.”
Alleging violation of the Freedom of Information Act, the suit is asking the court to order the FBI to “conduct a reasonable search for records, including a cross-reference search, and to produce all non-exempt requested records.”
An attempt by U.S. authorities to identify an anonymous critic of President Donald Trump on Twitter has set off alarm bells among Democratic and Republican lawmakers and civil liberties advocates fearful of a crackdown on dissent.
Twitter Inc on Friday succeeded in beating back a demand for records about a Twitter account called ALT Immigration (@ALT_uscis), which pokes fun at Trump’s immigration policies and appears to be run by one or more federal employees.
The U.S. government withdrew an administrative summons that customs agents had sent the company in March demanding the records.
But the government backed away only after Twitter filed a federal lawsuit accusing it of violating the First Amendment’s protection of free speech. Customs agents could still continue the investigation using some other methods, civil liberties attorneys said.
Although authorities retreated, the case has laid bare the broad power of the U.S. government to demand information from technology companies, sometimes with no oversight from the courts and often with built-in secrecy provisions that prevent the public from knowing what the government is seeking.
The summons that Twitter received came from agents who investigate corruption and misconduct within U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Even after it was withdrawn, some lawmakers had questions about the agency’s actions.
“CBP must ensure that any properly authorized investigation does not disregard the rights to free speech enshrined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” two Republican U.S. senators, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Mike Lee of Utah, wrote in a letter on Friday to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.
The senators asked whether the agency would ever ask a private company to divulge private records about a customer based solely on “non-criminal speech.” Senate Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon called for an investigation of whether customs agents had violated a law by retaliating against an internal critic.
The Department of Homeland Security plans to respond directly to the senators, an official said on Friday.
There are two primary ways the U.S. government can obtain information from internet companies without a judge’s approval using a law known as the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, according to experts in privacy law.
Agencies with enforcement power, such as the Internal Revenue Service, can issue administrative subpoenas demanding user records. Prosecutors can also ask grand juries investigating a crime to issue a subpoena.
An aggressive agency, for example, might demand information about a Twitter account that used an agency logo on the grounds that it is deceptive, said Georgetown University law professor Paul Ohm.
Similarly, a prosecutor could ask a grand jury to issue a subpoena based on the idea that a federal employee, suspected of criticizing the administration anonymously, was misusing government resources.
“It doesn’t take a brilliant legal mind to think of hypotheticals,” Ohm said. Further, such subpoenas are usually kept secret, making them more difficult to challenge.
Some other government tools, such as a national security letter, are intended to be used for narrow purposes related to counter-terrorism investigations. But they do not require judicial approval either, instead relying on internal safeguards. Challenging such demands is difficult and often requires deep pockets, attorneys familiar with such orders said.
“It’s important to keep in mind how formidable the government’s range of investigatory powers is,” said Andrew Crocker, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which advocates for digital rights.
In the case of ALT Immigration, Twitter said it was not bound to keep the summons a secret, and the company informed the account holder of the government demand. That person then found legal representation with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Esha Bhandari, the ACLU staff attorney representing the dissident, said she thinks the speed with which the government withdrew its summons – less than a day after Twitter sued – means the customs agents will cease investigating, but she cannot be sure.
“It’s impossible to predict, of course, but I’m hopeful that this really is a recognition that people have the ability to speak online including in ways that are critical of the government,” Bhandari said.
The Department of Homeland Security has not said what its plans are for the investigation.
After Trump’s inauguration in January, anonymous Twitter feeds that borrowed the names and logos of more than a dozen U.S. government agencies appeared to challenge the president’s views on climate change and other issues. They called themselves “alt” accounts.
Twitter has declined to say if it has received any other government demands to reveal such anti-Trump critics.