Eileen Sullivan, Associated Press, April 1, 2009
"The U.S. Border Patrol is erecting 16 more video surveillance towers in Michigan and New York to help secure parts of the U.S.-Canadian border, awarding the contract to a company criticized for faulty technology with its so-called 'virtual fence' along the U.S.-Mexico boundary. The government awarded the $20 million project to Boeing Co., for the towers designed to assist agents stationed along the 4,000-mile northern stretch....
"Boeing is the firm responsible for a 28-mile stretch of technology erected along the U.S.-Mexico border near Tucson, Ariz., as part of the government's Secure Border Initiative. The company was widely criticized for delivering an inferior product. Last year the government withheld some of the payment to Boeing because technology used in the test project near Tucson did not work properly. Boeing also was late in delivering the final product....
"Tim Sparapani, senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, said the Secure Border Initiative has been a disaster since its inception. 'The technologies don't work, they're not weather-resistant and they're certainly privacy invasive,' Sparapani said. 'Putting them in America's backyards only invades the privacy of Americans, it doesn't add to our security.'"
Calum MacLeod, USA Today, July 10, 2008
"Li Fangping, a defense lawyer for two of China's well-known human rights cases, expects to be under 24-hour police surveillance during next month's Olympic Games. 'I will definitely have my freedom restricted,' Li says. 'But I could also be placed under illegal house arrest, or taken outside of the city to a remote holiday resort and completely deprived of my rights.'
"Another lawyer, Zhang Xingshui, says that could happen to him, too. During President Bush's visit to China in 2005, Zhang says, he "was kidnapped by the police for seven days" and held in a Beijing hotel without access to a telephone. 'I hope the government will not take me away again during the Olympics, but it might happen,' says Zhang, who hopes to catch the China-USA basketball matchup for a medal.
"Lawyers and human rights activists are concerned China will silence outspoken citizens to project Beijing's Olympic theme of 'harmony' when the world tunes in to watch Aug. 8-24."
Matthew Rothschild, Progressive, March 16, 2008
"Today, more than 23,000 representatives of private industry are working quietly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The members of this rapidly growing group, called InfraGard, receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does—and, at least on one occasion, before elected officials. In return, they provide information to the government, which alarms the ACLU. But there may be more to it than that. One business executive, who showed me his InfraGard card, told me they have permission to "shoot to kill" in the event of martial law."
Spencer S. Hsu, Washington Post, February 28, 2008
"The Bush administration has scaled back plans to quickly build a "virtual fence" along the U.S.-Mexico border, delaying completion of the first phase of the project by at least three years and shifting away from a network of tower-mounted sensors and surveillance gear....
"Those problems included Boeing's use of inappropriate commercial software, designed for use by police dispatchers, to integrate data related to illicit border-crossings. Boeing has already been paid $20.6 million for the pilot project, and in December, the DHS gave the firm another $65 million to replace the software with military-style, battle management software."