Sunday, October 27, 2013

What are world leaders proposing to do about NSA snooping at this point? / Guardian, CNN

From the Guardian:
[A new NSA document revealed in Germany's Bild newspaper said there was a] "... not legally registered spying branch" (illegal under German law) in the US embassy in Berlin, the exposure of which would lead to "grave damage for the relations of the United States to another government".
From the Washington Post:
Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich was quoted Sunday as telling newspaper Bild am Sonntag he wants “complete information on all accusations” and that “if the Americans intercepted cellphones in Germany, they broke German law on German soil.” He added wiretapping is a crime and “those responsible must be held accountable.” 
Back to the Guardian
From there, NSA and CIA staff were tapping communication in Berlin's government district with high-tech surveillance. Quoting a secret document from 2010, Der Spiegel said such branches existed in about 80 locations around the world, including Paris, Madrid, Rome, Prague, Geneva and Frankfurt...
Germany and Brazil are spearheading efforts at the UN to protect the privacy of electronic communications. Diplomats from the two countries, which have both been targeted by the NSA, are leading efforts by a coalition of nations to draft a UN general assembly resolution calling for the right to privacy on the internet. Although non-binding, the resolution would be one of the strongest condemnations of US snooping to date.
"This resolution will probably have enormous support in the GA [general assembly] since no one likes the NSA spying on them," a western diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity... The Associated Press quoted a diplomat who said the language of the resolution would not be "offensive" to any nation, particularly the US. He added that it would expand the right to privacy guaranteed by the international covenant on civil and political rights, which went into force in 1976.
The draft would be sent next week to the general assembly subcommittee on social, humanitarian, cultural and human rights issues, and be put to the full general assembly in late November.
Germany and France demanded on Thursday that the Americans agree to new transatlantic rules on intelligence and security service behaviour by the end of the year. Merkel added that she wanted action from Obama, not just apologetic words.
From CNN:
Viviane Reding, vice president of the European Commission, called for EU nations to commit to adopting a data protection law in light of the recent spying scandals.
"Data protection must apply to everyone -- whether we are talking about citizens' e-mails or Angela Merkel's mobile phone," she said. "We now need big European rules to counter big fears of surveillance.
"At the summit today, Europe's heads of state and government must follow words with action: They should commit to adopting the EU Data Protection Reform by spring 2014. This would be Europe's declaration of independence. Only then can Europe credibly face the United States."
From the Guardian:
A delegation of nine MEPs (members of the European parliament) will travel to Washington on Monday for a three-day visit, during which they will press senior US government and intelligence officials for answers on allegations of widespread spying by the US, and explore "possible legal remedies for EU citizens" resulting from the alleged surveillance. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Anger Growing Among Allies Over U.S. Surveillance / Obama Lies / NY Times, Reuters, WaPo

 From the Times:
Leaders and citizens in Germany, one of America’s closest allies, simmered with barely contained fury on Thursday over reports that American intelligence had tapped into Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone...
Ms. Merkel herself angrily demanded assurances from President Obama that her cellphone was not the target of an American intelligence tap as soon as suspicions surfaced on Wednesday. Washington hastily pledged that her calls were not being monitored and would not be in future but conspicuously said nothing about the past...
Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière, gave full voice to the shock expressed by politicians and citizens.
“If that is true, what we hear, then that would be really bad,” Mr. de Maizière told ARD, Germany’s leading state television channel. America is Germany’s best friend, he noted, adding: “It really can’t work like this.”
He suggested that there would be consequences. “We can’t simply go back to business as usual,” he said...
Reuters brought up the particularly sensitive issue of East Germany's infamous secret police, the Stasi, curbed only two decades ago, which had arguably the most intrusive spy machinery in the Soviet bloc.
For Germany the matter is particularly sensitive. Not only does the government say it has evidence the chancellor's personal phone was monitored, but the very idea of bugging dredges up memories of eavesdropping by the Stasi secret police in the former East Germany, where Merkel grew up...  
Reuters suggests that the EU may draw up new rules on data privacy as a result:
The furore over the alleged espionage could encourage member states to back tougher data privacy rules currently being drafted by the European Union. The European Parliament this week approved an amended package of legislation that would overhaul EU data protection rules that date from 1995. The new rules would restrict how data collected in Europe by firms such as Google and Facebook is shared with non-EU countries, introduce the right of EU citizens to request that their digital traces be erased, and impose fines of 100 million euros ($138 million) or more on rule breakers...
BBC says the German anger is intensifying and the response in today's papers "blistering." Had President Obama told the truth about NSA surveillance previously, to his own citizens, perhaps European leaders would trust him now.  The Washington Post listed some of his lies back in August. Watch him lie on the Tonight Show.  

The New Republic goes into the flimsy legal arguments now being twisted to justify a level of surveillance whose scope was even hidden from the FISA court, according to its chief Justice, Reggie Walton.

UPDATE Nov. 17:  Verbatim from the Christian Science Monitor:
... Fresh anger was unleashed after two new reports, first in the German magazine Der Spiegel, and then in the Sydney Morning Herald, named cities in Asia in which the “Five Eyes” group – the US, UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand – have allegedly worked together to gather intelligence. The cities include Jakarta, Bangkok, Hanoi, Beijing, and Kuala Lumpur.As the Sydney Morning Herald reports:
Australian embassies are being secretly used to intercept phone calls and data across Asia as part of a US-led global spying network, according to whistleblower Edward Snowden and a former Australian intelligence officer.
The top secret Defense Signals Directorate operates the clandestine (US) surveillance facilities at embassies without the knowledge of most Australian diplomats. 
The signals program at issue is called Stateroom, and involves radio, telecommunications, and Internet traffic inception, in US, British, Australian, and Canadian diplomatic missions. In all, surveillance equipment was allegedly installed in about 80 embassies and consulates around the world, according to the Sydney Morning Herald... New anti-surveillance coalition video (w/Hollywood stars), Rally, Websites

From the organization itself: is a coalition of more than 100 public advocacy organizations (especially the Electronic Freedom Foundation) and groups from across the political spectrum. Join the movement at
This video harnesses the voices of celebrities, activists, legal experts, and other prominent figures in speaking out against mass surveillance by the NSA. Please share widely to help us spread the message that we will not stand for the dragnet surveillance of our communications.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is a nonprofit civil liberties law and advocacy center that has been fighting the NSA's unconstitutional spying for years. Learn more at

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

NSA spying programs galore: "everything you've ever done on the internet"--spyware--phone recordings / Le Monde, CNN

Le Monde (France's leading newspaper) discussed spyware and various NSA programs used to obtain information.   Discussing internal memos it has obtained:
We discover here the proof of the existence of the GENIE programme, one of the most topical in the NSA: the remote delivery of spyware to computers... The document specifies the techniques used to spy on the communications of the French diplomats: 'Highlands' for pirating computers using remotely delivered cookies; 'Vagrant' for capturing information from screens; and finally PBX which is the equivalent of eavesdropping on the discussion of the French diplomatic service as if one was participating in a conference call as the Spiegel first reported. Some of the techniques developed are known to other secret services but like all the major secret services in the world, the NSA also creates its own tools which do not exist anywhere else.
In 2011, the American budget reports... stated that 652 million dollars had been devoted to the 'spyware' project alone. Thus we learn that in the same year 'tens of millions of computers' were attacked in this way and the plan is to extend this figure to several millions via the TURBINE programme. The NSA's flagship product for these projects is the TAO (Tailored Access Operation) in charge of aggressive operations. According to the Washington Post, by the end of 2013, the GENIE programme will have remote control of 85,000 spyware devices in computers throughout the world. Lire notre article en Français
It can be seen that over a period of thirty days – from 10 December 2012 to 8 January 2013, 70,3 million recordings of French citizens' telephone data were made by the NSA. This agency has several methods of data collection. According to the elements obtained by Le Monde, when a telephone number is used in France, it activates a signal which automatically triggers the recording of the call. Apparently this surveillance system also picks up SMS messages and their content using key words. Finally, the NSA apparently stores the history of the connections of each target – or the meta-data.
I failed to pay attention to the XKeyscore story when it first appeared.  CNN wrote the following about XKeyscore on July 31:
(CNN) -- You've never heard of XKeyscore, but it definitely knows you. The National Security Agency's top-secret program essentially makes available everything you've ever done on the Internet — browsing history, searches, content of your emails, online chats, even your metadata — all at the tap of the keyboard.
The Guardian exposed the program on Wednesday in a follow-up piece to its groundbreaking report on the NSA's surveillance practices. Shortly after publication, Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former Booz Allen Hamilton employee who worked for the NSA for four years, came forward as the source.
This latest revelation comes from XKeyscore training materials, which Snowden also provided to The Guardian. The NSA sums up the program best: XKeyscore is its "widest reaching" system for developing intelligence from the Internet.
The program gives analysts the ability to search through the entire database of your information without any prior authorization — no warrant, no court clearance, no signature on a dotted line. An analyst must simply complete a simple onscreen form, and seconds later, your online history is no longer private. The agency claims that XKeyscore covers "nearly everything a typical user does on the Internet."

Monday, October 21, 2013

Dianne Feinstein remains NSA's biggest defender, while she herself was subject of NSA wiretaps early on / Business Insider

I've wondered why Dianne Feinstein so persistently defends NSA and other surveillance abuses.  Now she is proposing a bill designed to avoid reining in these abuses--an attempt to circumvent other, more substantive bills such as that of Jim Sensenbrenner and Pat Leahy--and yesterday she penned a paean to surveillance in USA Today that, more than anything, sounds like it was written by a robot. 

On Oct 2 The Hill wrote about Feinstein's plan to save surveillance in a story titled, Feinstein Vows to Kill Leahy's Bill.

As head of the Senate Intelligence committee, she is one of only eight Congresspeople who gets highly classified intel briefings, and is the top legislator responsible for oversight of US intelligence gathering.  Don't you think her communications were the first to be collected?  The way she slavishly carries NSA's dirty water shouts "blackmail".  She has a lot to lose.  Her Senate disclosure lists assets of between 43 and 99 million dollars, making her the fifth richest US Senator.

How many of our elected representatives have not a single skeleton in the closet for the intelligence agencies to exploit?

Former NSA official Russell Tice recently claimed that back in 2004, he had orders in his hand to wiretap Senators Barack Obama,  Dianne Feinstein, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, Gen. David Petraeus, and a current Supreme Court Justice (Alito). Quoting Tice:
"The abuse is rampant and everyone is pretending that it's never happened, and it couldn't happen. ... I know [there was abuse] because I had my hands on the papers for these sorts of things: They went after high-ranking military officers; they went after members of congress — Senate and the House — especially on the intelligence committees and the armed services committees, lawyers, law firms, judges, State Department officials, part of the White House, multinational companies, financial firms, NGOs, civil rights groups ..."
UPDATE Nov 2 (thanks to Washington's blog and Ars Technica):  Stanford Law Professor on Feinstein's bill:  
“I’d laugh if I weren’t so offended,” said Jennifer Granick, of Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society, in an e-mailed comment about Feinstein’s bill. [Granickteaches cyber law at Stanford Law School.] “It legalizes the currently illegal bulk collection of phone records and its language—whether sloppily or intentionally, I don’t know—encourages the NSA to conduct bulk collection of other kinds of records under 215, as well as content, without even the bill’s purported ‘safeguards.’”
The “enhanced criminal penalties” for unauthorized access to data actually criminalizes anyone who accesses a computer “without authorization,” noted Ruthann Robson, professor of Law at City University of New York. “While couched in protecting privacy and data, this provision would also further sanction and chill whistleblowers.”
“The modest improvements [the bill] makes are far outweighed by the damage it does to civil liberties,” said Greg Nojeim, of the Center for Democracy and Technology.
Thanks Diane.  I mean Big Sister.

UPDATE from TechDirt:  How Feinstein's bill would legalize NSA spying, and it includes a copy of the bill.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

NSA collects millions of e-mail address books globally (and plenty more) / Washington Post

How does NSA avoid the legal restrictions that exist in FISA (the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) regarding data collection on US persons?  The Post article is explicit about how the law is trampled by collecting the data on Americans from outside the US: from non-US nodes in the worldwide internet. And who maintains the web architecture that routes your communications through overseas nodes?  Now you know why the internet itself is provided for free, courtesy of the US government. 

BBC points out this information  "is particularly significant because President Obama has previously said that US citizens were not targeted by the surveillance, which he said struck "the right balance" between security and privacy.

UPDATE:  A WaPo video shows Obama minimizing extent of NSA surveillance in June, denying collection of content.  Elsewhere, he denied spying on Americans and those who live in America, but I cannot find that WaPo clip.

According to the WaPo, NSA Director Keith Alexander is another purveyor of Big Lies.

Ours is a noble cause,” NSA Director Keith B. Alexander said during a public event last month. Our job is to defend this nation and to protect our civil liberties and privacy.
Excerpts from the Post follow:
The National Security Agency is harvesting hundreds of millions of contact lists from personal e-mail and instant messaging accounts around the world, many of them belonging to Americans, according to senior intelligence officials and top-secret documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The collection program, which has not been disclosed before, intercepts e-mail address books and “buddy lists” from instant messaging services as they move across global data links. Online services often transmit those contacts when a user logs on, composes a message, or synchronizes a computer or mobile device with information stored on remote servers.
Rather than targeting individual users, the NSA is gathering contact lists in large numbers that amount to a sizable fraction of the world’s e-mail and instant messaging accounts. Analysis of that data enables the agency to search for hidden connections and to map relationships within a much smaller universe of foreign intelligence targets...
Contact lists stored online provide the NSA with far richer sources of data than call records alone. Address books commonly include not only names and e-mail addresses, but also telephone numbers, street addresses, and business and family information. Inbox listings of e-mail accounts stored in the “cloud” sometimes contain content, such as the first few lines of a message.
Taken together, the data would enable the NSA, if permitted, to draw detailed maps of a person’s life, as told by personal, professional, political and religious connections. The picture can also be misleading, creating false “associations” with ex-spouses or people with whom an account holder has had no contact in many years.
The NSA has not been authorized by Congress or the special intelligence court that oversees foreign surveillance to collect contact lists in bulk, and senior intelligence officials said it would be illegal to do so from facilities in the United States. The agency avoids the restrictions in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by intercepting contact lists from access points “all over the world,” one official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the classified program. “None of those are on U.S. territory.”
UPDATE:  Don't miss the PBS Newshour interview with two former NSA officials, titled "NSA Collects 'Word for Word' Every Domestic Communication, Says Former Analyst." Notable quotes include:
"... no digital communication is secure."--Tim Clemente
"... they (NSA) are collecting everything, contents word for word, everything of every domestic communication in this country."--Russell Tice 
"... that's why they had to build Bluffdale, that facility in Utah with that massive amount of storage that could store all these recordings and all the data being passed along the fiberoptic networks of the world. I mean, you could store 100 years of the world's communications here. That's for content storage. That's not for metadata."--William Binney
UPDATE:  And another BBC piece from September: The US National Security Agency (NSA) is reported to have cracked the security codes which protect data on iPhones, Blackberries and Android devices. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Privacy Fears Grow as Cities Increase Surveillance / NY Times

The NY Times details how (borrowed) federal money spares no expense to equip US cities to achieve a level of surveillance of citizens thought only possible in science fiction, i.e., George Orwell's dystopic 1949 novel, titled 1984.  Here.  Now.  In America.
OAKLAND, Calif. — Federal grants of $7 million awarded to this city were meant largely to help thwart terror attacks at its bustling port. But instead, the money is going to a police initiative that will collect and analyze reams of surveillance data from around town — from gunshot-detection sensors in the barrios of East Oakland to license plate readers mounted on police cars patrolling the city’s upscale hills.
The new system, scheduled to begin next summer, is the latest example of how cities are compiling and processing large amounts of information, known as big data, for routine law enforcement. And the system underscores how technology has enabled the tracking of people in many aspects of life.
The police can monitor a fire hose of social media posts to look for evidence of criminal activities; transportation agencies can track commuters’ toll payments when drivers use an electronic pass; and the National Security Agency, as news reports this summer revealed, scooped up telephone records of millions of cellphone customers in the United States. 
Like the Oakland effort, other pushes to use new surveillance tools in law enforcement are supported with federal dollars. The New York Police Department, aided by federal financing, has a big data system that links 3,000 surveillance cameras with license plate readers, radiation sensors, criminal databases and terror suspect lists. Police in Massachusetts have used federal money to buy automated license plate scanners. And police in Texas have bought a drone with homeland security money, something that Alameda County, which Oakland is part of, also tried but shelved after public protest.
... Microsoft built the technology for the New York City program. I.B.M. has sold data-mining tools for Las Vegas and Memphis.  
For Oakland, CA:
The new center will be far more ambitious. From a central location, it will electronically gather data around the clock from a variety of sensors and databases, analyze that data and display some of the information on a bank of giant monitors... The center will collect feeds from cameras at the port, traffic cameras, license plate readers and gunshot sensors. The center will also be integrated next summer with a database that allows police to tap into reports of 911 calls. Renee Domingo, the city’s emergency services coordinator, said school surveillance cameras, as well as video data from the regional commuter rail system and state highways, may be added later... 
UPDATE:  The NY Times also had an interesting piece about how NYC created its own intelligence operation, its officers spying on Occupy Sandy, a relief operation for storm victims, bicycle rallies, and other minor public events, sometimes directed by former CIA officers.  Titled "Undercover Police, Just About Anywhere" the article notes:
The unrestrained surveillance in New York public life is the physical embodiment of what has been taking place online over the last decade under operations of the National Security Agency revealed by Edward J. Snowden...

One of the large, undiscussed questions of such surveillance is how civic dialogue can be influenced or distorted by police agents — perhaps as provocateurs...

The city has maintained that the expanded surveillance is necessary to keep society safe. No one in the Bloomberg administration has discussed the limits on their participation in public dialogue. Or, for that matter, why they ought to be standing alongside people handing out bags of groceries.
USA Today points out that in one day, the NSA amassed over 400,000 email address books from yahoo customers.  Nothing personal, you understand.  I guess NSA just wants to know everyone you know, because they can.  By now, it should be obvious that everything you send electronically is being scooped up, and probably connected with many other bits of information about you, including your whereabouts, your car, your banking, your friends, and your purchases.    What's left?  Think those skeletons in the closet are still secret?

Russell Tice, a 20 year NSA veterans, says they scoop up every word of your phone calls, faxes, texts, etc. in a PBS interview. NSA wiretapped many major politicians, of which he had personal knowledge and evidence.  This included Supreme Court judges, Senators and Representatives, especially those who were responsible for intelligence oversight, like Senator Feinstein.  Full text information is being digitized, recorded and archived, according to Tice.  However, the NSA general counsel says NSA does not do a "Hoover-like" collection. Who do you believe?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

"What, in Fact, Is the Evidence That Vaccinating Healthcare Workers against Seasonal Influenza Protects Their Patients? A Critical Review" / Int'l J Family Medicine

Israeli doctor Zvi Howard Abramson reviewed the literature on healthcare worker flu vaccinations in 2012 and found the evidence to support vaccinations wanting. Read the whole article or his key points:

(i)There are no studies showing that healthcare workers are at increased risk of influenza and its complications or that the vaccine is more effective in this group.(ii)The evidence base for the claim that vaccinating healthcare workers against influenza protects their patients is heavily flawed and inconclusive at best.(iii)The benefit from vaccinating healthcare workers, if any, may differ according to specifics of the patients, location, and worker.(iv)At present, the decision whether to get vaccinated should, except possibly in extreme situations, be that of the individual healthcare worker, without legal, institutional, or peer coercion.
... To summarize these four randomized controlled trials, the repeated conclusion that staff vaccination has preventive value for elderly patients in nursing homes appears to be the result of major methodological errors and wishful thinking. Even when there appears to be less morbidity and mortality in the intervention hospitals this probably resulted from other factors....
The severely biased conclusions of these articles are the crux of the “proof” presented by authorities supporting HCW vaccination. It is somewhat depressing to see the prejudiced manner in which the literature can be presented, as illustrated by the 2010 CDC advisory committee on immunization practices recommendations on HCW vaccination. The above reviewed flawed studies are presented by this committee as evidence and further support is added by stating: “a review concluded that vaccination of HCP in settings in which patients also were vaccinated provided significant reductions in deaths among elderly patients from all causes and deaths from pneumonia.” This statement does not correctly represent the referenced 2006 review which presented the flawed data from the two studies published at that time but actually concluded, very differently, that “…an incremental benefit of vaccinating health-care workers for elderly people has yet to be proven in well-controlled clinical trials”.
This review was updated in a 2010 Cochrane systematic review* based on all four RCTs, which concluded that “no effect was shown for specific outcomes: laboratory proven influenza, pneumonia, and death from pneumonia. An effect was shown for nonspecific outcomes of ILI (influenza like disease), GP consultation for ILI, and all-cause mortality. These nonspecific outcomes are difficult to interpret because ILI includes many pathogens, and influenza contributes less than ten percent of all-cause mortality in individuals over 60 years of age. The identified studies are at high risk of bias... 
We conclude there is no evidence that vaccinating HCWs prevents influenza in elderly patients in long term care facilities."  
According to Abramson, 
This important and unambiguous conclusion was disregarded by the CDC committee in their recommendations,** published six months later, favoring HCW vaccination."

*  R. E. Thomas, T. Jefferson, and T. J. Lasserson, “Influenza vaccination for healthcare workers who work with the elderly,” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, vol. 2, p. CD005187, 2010. View at Scopus

** CDC, “Prevention and control of influenza with vaccines: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP),” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, no. 59, pp. 1–62, 2010.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Libya's Prime Minister asks for help securing 3-8,000 surface to air missiles (SAMs) and other loose weapons / BBC

Rumors of Syrian rebels being armed through weapons coming from and transiting through Libya abound.  Rumors I cited earlier suggest that the Benghazi consulate (which some suggest is a CIA base, not a consulate) attack had to do with several hundred surface to air missiles that were being secured. Today the BBC lends support to these rumors:
Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has called on Western powers to help stop the spread of militancy in his country. 
In an interview with BBC Newsnight he said Libya was being used as a base to export weapons throughout the region... 
Speaking to BBC Newsnight before the capture of Mr Liby, Mr Zeidan said that the huge proliferation of weapons in Libya poses a serious security threat."Weapons are being smuggled out of and into Libya by groups which are trying to murder and assassinate people, and spread terror in the country," he said. 
"You see every day the militants fight each other, the issue is that the arms are available for the Libyan citizens, they are available for the young people, it is available at homes and in stores everywhere." 
Proliferation is not just a concern for Libya but for its neighbours too.
Western intelligence agencies believe Libya now has the largest unsecured stockpile of weapons in the world, with millions of tons of arms unaccounted for since the 2011 revolution that toppled Muammar Gaddafi.
They include 3,000-8,000 so-called Manpads - Man Portable Air Defence Systems - portable missile systems which are a threat to all types of aircraft, including civilian passenger planes. 
These surface-to-air missiles, which are easy to use and easy to hide, are the weapon of choice for groups like al-Qaeda, say security experts.

Don't forget to charge your homing device, I mean cellphone / NY Times

The Times titled this article: In Test Project, N.S.A. Tracked Cellphone Locations.  
In his testimony, Mr. Clapper revealed few details about the project. He said that the N.S.A. does not currently collect locational information under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, the provision the government says is the legal basis for the N.S.A.’s once-secret program under which it collects logs of all domestic calls from telephone companies.“In 2010 and 2011, N.S.A. received samples in order to test the ability of its systems to handle the data format, but that data was not used for any other purpose and was never available for intelligence analysis purposes,” Mr. Clapper said...
Of course, having proved that they could use our phones to track us, they stopped doing so.  I'll believe anything that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says, because if he tells a bald-faced lie about surveillance of US persons he will only be telling me (like he told Congress) the "least untruthful" thing he could say.
But Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who receives classified briefings as a member of the Intelligence Committee and who has raised concerns about cellphone location tracking, said in a statement that there was more to know about the matter than the government had now declassified.
“After years of stonewalling on whether the government has ever tracked or planned to track the location of law-abiding Americans through their cellphones, once again, the intelligence leadership has decided to leave most of the real story secret — even when the truth would not compromise national security,” Mr. Wyden said.
Wonder if they have hooked up control of drones to the cellphone tracking of US persons? Probably only overseas, right?  So far.

Boston Dynamics puts its WildCat robot through its paces
Then again, maybe they don't need drones as killer robotic "Wildcats" are being developed for DARPA.  Per BBC
... WildCat can bound, gallop and turn, mimicking the movements of quadruped animals. It is powered by an internal combustion engine.
"It is a shame that such technology is not being developed with other research funding," said Prof Sharkey, who is also chair of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control.
"We do not know what military purpose it will serve but certainly it is a step towards a high-speed ground robot that could be weaponised to hunt and kill."