Washington Post: For Sale – Systems that can Secretly Track Where Cellphone Users Go Around the Globe

This article describes how technology firms are selling surveillance systems – with the ability to constantly track cellphone users – to governments and private organizations across the world. GAP client and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations show cellphone surveillance is not uncommon, but according to the article “these new systems allow less technically advanced governments to track people in any nation – including the United States – with relative ease and precision.” (Photo: By Sohail Al-Jamea, Lazaro Gamio and Craig Timberg)

Key Quote: “Any tin-pot dictator with enough money to buy the system could spy on people anywhere in the world,” said Eric King, deputy director of Privacy International, a London-based activist group that warns about the abuse of surveillance technology. “This is a huge problem.” 

Security experts say hackers, sophisticated criminal gangs and nations under sanctions also could use this tracking technology, which operates in a legal gray area. It is illegal in many countries to track people without their consent or a court order, but there is no clear international legal standard for secretly tracking people in other countries, nor is there a global entity with the authority to police potential abuses. 

New York Times: An Unfinished Chapter at Countrywide

Former co-founder and chief executive of Countrywide Financial Angelo R. Mozilo “may soon face a civil lawsuit from the Justice Department” surrounding his role in the country’s mortgage crisis.  

Rocky Mount Telegram (NC): City Council Considers ‘Whistleblower Policy’ for Reporting Fraud

A city council in North Carolina will vote on enacting a whistleblower policy for more than 900 city employees to report suspected wrongdoing or misuse of city funds, records, equipment, property and more.

Times-Tribune (PA): New Laws Extend Whistleblower Cover

Starting next month, Pennsylvania’s state whistleblower laws are set to begin protecting employees of the General Assembly, along with those of nonprofit organizations and private companies that receive public money.

Daily Report: Judge Sanctions Dialysis Clinic Firm for Spoiling Discovery

Last week, a judge ordered DaVita Inc. – one of the nation’s largest health care corporations – to reimburse whistleblower attorneys up to $2 million for “unacceptable” conduct in a whistleblower lawsuit.

Key Quote: U.S. District Senior Judge Charles Pannell Jr. ruled that DaVita Inc., which operates more than 2,000 kidney dialysis clinics, demonstrated “enough of a showing of bad faith” to warrant reopening discovery in the seven-year-old case. The suit, filed by two former employees who worked at DaVita clinics in Georgia, accuses the company of defrauding the federal government of hundreds of millions of dollars. 

The judge said he contemplated awarding attorney fees and costs for any prior discovery that was “impeded or spoiled,” the entire cost of new discovery, including redeposing witnesses, and the cost of filing and litigating the sanctions motion. The whistleblowers’ lawyers said those costs could exceed $2 million.

Michael Riley is a Communications Intern for the Government Accountability Project, the nation’s leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.