[B] 野添憲治の《秋田県における朝鮮人強制連行8》 岩手とまたがる花輪鉱山 鹿角市花輪 

2 days 23 hours ago
秋田県と岩手県にまたがる鉱区を持つ花輪鉱山は幕藩時代から続く古い鉱山で、一時休山となっていたが、昭和に入って経営が日本鉱業に移ってから硫化鉄興さんとして栄えた。戦時体制下の1940年(昭和15年)以降、たくさんの朝鮮人連行者が「官斡旋・徴用」で送りこまれた。国家による強制連行であったことが分かる。(大野和興)
日刊ベリタ

Shots Fired: Congressional Letter Questions DHS Funding of ShotSpotter

3 days 3 hours ago

There is a growing pile of evidence that cities should drop Shotspotter, the notorious surveillance system that purportedly uses acoustic sensors to detect gunshots, due to its inaccuracies and the danger it creates in communities where it’s installed. In yet another blow to the product and the surveillance company behind it—SoundThinking—Congress members have sent a letter calling on the Department of Homeland Security to investigate how it provides funding to local police to deploy the product.

The seven page letter, from Senators Ed Markey, Ron Wyden and Elizabeth Warren, and Representative Ayanna Pressley, begins by questioning the “accuracy and effectiveness” of ShotSpotter, and then outlines some of the latest evidence of its abysmal performance, including multiple studies showing false positive rates—i.e. incorrectly classifying non-gunshot sounds as gunshots—at 70% or higher. In addition to its ineffectiveness, the Congress members voiced their serious concerns regarding ShotSpotter’s contribution to discrimination, civil rights violations, and poor policing practices due to the installation of most ShotSpotter sensors in overwhelmingly “Black, Brown and Latin[e] communities” at the request of local law enforcement. Together, the inefficacy of the technology and the placements can result in the deployment of police to what they expect to be a dangerous situation with guns drawn, increasing the chances of all-too-common police violence against civilians in the area.

In light of the grave concerns raised by the use of ShotSpotter, the lawmakers are demanding that DHS investigate its funding, and whether it’s an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars. We agree: DHS should investigate, and should end its program of offering grants to local law enforcement agencies to contract with SoundThinking. 

The letter can be read in its entirety here.

Hannah Zhao

Georgia Prosecutors Stoke Fears over Use of Encrypted Messengers and Tor

3 days 7 hours ago

In an indictment against Defend the Atlanta Forest activists in Georgia, state prosecutors are citing use of encrypted communications to fearmonger. Alleging the defendants—which include journalists and lawyers, in addition to activists—in the indictment were responsible for a number of crimes related to the Stop Cop City campaign, the state Attorney General’s prosecutors cast suspicion on the defendants’ use of Signal, Telegram, Tor, and other everyday data-protecting technologies.

“Indeed, communication among the Defend the Atlanta Forest members is often cloaked in secrecy using sophisticated technology aimed at preventing law enforcement from viewing their communication and preventing recovery of the information” the indictment reads. “Members often use the dark web via Tor, use end-to-end encrypted messaging app Signal or Telegram.”

The secure messaging app Signal is used by tens of millions of people, and has hundreds of millions of global downloads. In 2021, users moved to the nonprofit-run private messenger en masse as concerns were raised about the data-hungry business models of big tech. In January of that year, former world’s richest man Elon Musk tweeted simply “Use Signal.” And world-famous NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden tweeted in 2016 what in information security circles would become a meme and truism: “Use Tor. Use Signal.”

Despite what the bombastic language would have readers believe, installing and using Signal and Tor is not an initiation rite into a dark cult of lawbreaking. The “sophisticated technology” being used here are apps that are free, popular, openly distributed, and widely accessible by anyone with an internet connection. Going further, the indictment ascribes the intentions of those using the apps as simply to obstruct law enforcement surveillance. Taking this assertion at face value, any judge or reporter reading the indictment is led to believe everyone using the app simply wants to evade the police. The fact that these apps make it harder for law enforcement to access communications is exactly because the encryption protocol protects messages from everyone not intended to receive them—including the users’ ISP, local network hackers, or the Signal nonprofit itself.

Elsewhere, the indictment hones in on the use of anti-surveillance techniques to further its tenuous attempts to malign the defendants: “Most ‘Forest Defenders’ are aware that they are preparing to break the law, and this is demonstrated by premeditation of attacks.” Among a laundry list of other techniques, the preparation is supposedly marked by “using technology avoidance devices such as Faraday bags and burner phones.” Stoking fears around the use of anti-surveillance technologies sets a dangerous precedent for all people who simply don’t want to be tracked wherever they go. In protest situations, carrying a prepaid disposable phone can be a powerful defense against being persecuted for participating in first-amendment protected activities. Vilifying such activities as the acts of wrongdoers would befit totalitarian societies, not ones in which speech is allegedly a universal right.

To be clear, prosecutors have apparently not sought to use court orders to compel either the defendants or the companies named to enter passwords or otherwise open devices or apps. But vilifying the defendants’ use of common sense encryption is a dangerous step in cases that the Dekalb County District Attorney has already dropped out of, citing “different prosecutorial philosophies.”

Using messengers which protect user communications, browsers which protect user anonymity, and employing anti-surveillance techniques when out and about are all useful strategies in a range of situations. Whether you’re looking into a sensitive medical condition, visiting a reproductive health clinic with the option of terminating a pregnancy, protecting trade secrets from a competitor, wish to avoid stalkers or abusive domestic partners, protecting attorney-client exchanges, or simply want to keep your communications, browsing, and location history private, these techniques can come in handy. It is their very effectiveness which has led to the widespread adoption of privacy-protective technologies and techniques. When state prosecutors spread fear around the use of these powerful techniques, this sets us down a dangerous path where citizens are more vulnerable and at risk.

Bill Budington