Monday, August 15, 2011

Does FEMA do surveillance?

Readers of this blog may also be following events in Great Britain. One Director of FEMA in the REAGAN ERA wanted FEMA to be a designated member of the INTEL community under the current system then in effect. The 16 members of the INTEL community are actually listed I believe in E.O. 12333, and its predecessors. That did not happen and in fact under President Bill Clinton FEMA even lost its authority to create its own black (compartmented) programs.

To my knowledge FEMA does not participate in any kind of surveillance over the citizens and residents of the USA. The WIKIPEDIA entry on SURVEILLANCE is instructive and partially follows:

"The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject.

Surveillance (play /sərˈveɪ.əns/ or /sərˈveɪləns/)[1] is the monitoring of the behavior, activities, or other changing information, usually of people and often in a surreptitious manner. It most usually refers to observation of individuals or groups by government organizations, but disease surveillance, for example, is monitoring the progress of a disease in a community.

The word surveillance is the French word for "watching over".

The word surveillance may be applied to observation from a distance by means of electronic equipment (such as CCTV cameras), or interception of electronically transmitted information (such as Internet traffic or phone calls). It may also refer to simple, relatively no- or low-technology methods such as human intelligence agents and postal interception.

Surveillance is very useful to governments and law enforcement to maintain social control, recognize and monitor threats, and prevent/investigate criminal activity. With the advent of programs such as the Total Information Awareness program and ADVISE, technologies such as high speed surveillance computers and biometrics software, and laws such as the Communications Assistance For Law Enforcement Act, governments now possess an unprecedented ability to monitor the activities of their subjects.[2]

However, many civil rights and privacy groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and ACLU have expressed concern that by allowing continual increases in government surveillance of citizens that we will end up in a mass surveillance society, with extremely limited, or non-existent political and/or personal freedoms. Fears such as this have led to numerous lawsuits such as Hepting v. AT&T.[2][3]

1 Types of surveillance
1.1 Computer surveillance
1.2 Telephones
1.3 Surveillance cameras
1.4 Social network analysis
1.5 Biometric surveillance
1.6 Aerial surveillance
1.7 Data mining and profiling
1.8 Corporate surveillance
1.9 Human operatives

It is unknown whether the DHS FUSION CENTERS share their surveillance results with FEMA. These units were created adminstratively but now have a statutory basis.

As many readers of this blog I think it would be a real reform and important change to have the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, Public Law 100-707. to make clear that FEMA does not pay for any federal, STATES and their local governments, Law enforcement activity and cannot also be used for gathering of domestic intelligence in any way. Congress are you listening?