07 May 15. A U.S. spying program that systematically collects millions of Americans’ phone records is illegal, a federal appeals court ruled on Thursday, putting pressure on Congress to quickly decide whether to replace or end the controversial anti-terrorism surveillance. Ruling on a program revealed by former government security contractor Edward Snowden, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said the Patriot Act did not authorize the National Security Agency to collect Americans’ calling records in bulk. Circuit Judge Gerard Lynch wrote for a three-judge panel that Section 215, which addresses the FBI’s ability to gather business records, could not be interpreted to have permitted the NSA to collect a “staggering” amount of phone records, contrary to claims by the Bush and Obama administrations.
“Such expansive development of government repositories of formerly private records would be an unprecedented contraction of the privacy expectations of all Americans,” Lynch wrote in a 97-page decision. “We would expect such a momentous decision to be preceded by substantial debate, and expressed in unmistakable language. There is no evidence of such a debate.”
The appeals court did not rule on whether the surveillance violated the U.S. Constitution. It also declined to halt the program, noting that parts of the Patriot Act including Section 215 expire on June 1. Lynch said it was “prudent” to give Congress a chance to decide what surveillance is permissible, given the national security interests at stake. Enacted after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the Patriot Act gives the government broad tools to investigate terrorism. (Source: Reuters)
07 May 15. Paradigm ISR announced a strategic partnership with Analytical Graphics, Inc. (AGI) to deliver geospatial data products in support of ongoing commercial collection operations. Analytical Graphics, Inc. (AGI) provides enterprise commercial-off-the-shelf and open source software for use within the aerospace and geospatial community. The software products include open data interfaces to encourage interoperability and best of breed implementations. AGI’s software provides capability within three domains, (1) aerospace engineering, (2) mission analytic services, (3) processing, dissemination and visualization. The software is delivered as enterprise installed products or via the cloud as web services, clustered analytic processing and thin client applications. AGI is the primary author of the Cesium open source project, which provides 3D geospatial visualization in a browser without a plugin and handles time as a first class citizen.
“In working with Paradigm, we’ve been able to highlight the Cesium platform’s ability to handle highly accurate, high resolution, 3D sensitive collection information,” says Todd Smith, AGI Director of Geospatial Technology.
The Paradigm team integrates manned and unmanned (UAS) collected imagery and terrain into the Cesium platform- an improved alternative to Google Earth. These tools are also used to represent multiple types of data sets in once place, with a temporal component. For example, this technology allows the company to model the collection of data to observe where a UAV flew, how collection flight paths can be made more efficient and model a wide range of sensor technology.
“The ultimate potential for the system is the ability to deliver complex data products and back them up with powerful analytics in a geospatial visualization system”, says JD Lewis, Paradigm ISR Geospatial Specialist.
“An example of this would be the modeling of wide-spread and complex aerial data collection over different types of terrain and conditions. Integrated with aircraft data and modeling of sensor systems allow an analyst to compare it with actual operational data and produce a more powerful product for decision makers”, commented Jake Jacobs, Paradigm Vice President of Sales and Marketing.
Our partnership gives both companies access to a