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Hunton & Williams, ‘Privacy Expert,’ Snared In Invasion-Of-Privacy Scandal

Originally published in the Privacy Times Newsletter, March 2, 2011- Reposted with permission.

A major law firm that perennially has won a so-called “Best Privacy Adviser” award, is
embroiled in an invasion-of-scandal and the target of a complaint to the District of Columbia Bar Association for violating the code of legal ethics.

The controversy stems from a proposed campaign involving Hunton & Williams to
discredit both the liberal opponents of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the supporters of WikiLeaks through collection of personal data and dirty tricks.
The Feb. 23rd bar complaint, filed by the group “StopTheChamber” against Hunton &
Williams Partners John W. Woods, Richard L. Wyatt Jr., and Robert T. Quackenboss, accuses the attorneys of being involved in a conspiracy to filch data from the Facebook sites of the Chamber’s political critics – and their families and children – in possible violation of federal law.

Bank of America Offers Legislators Secret Phone Number (Here It Is…Please Share)

-Originally blogged on Max Gardner's Bankruptcy Boot Camp

March 14, 2011- Abigail Field at Daily Finance regularly presents clear, revealing analyses of the games mortgage servicers, banks and other predators in the mortgage industry play, but she outdid herself this week.  She dug into Bank of America’s effort to make life easier for the important folks by issuing a special telephone number for legislators, their families, staff and constituents reaching out to them for help.

Move Your Bank Accounts, Defang the Beast

-Blogged by Andrew McInnes on

March 12, 2011- The protests in Wisconsin against the actions of Governor Scott Walker’s attack on collective bargaining rights have given rise to interesting methods. One in particular is of interest to this website, because it represents a live test of sort of action which I wrote about in this post.

A group of about 200 protesters swarmed an M&I Bank location in Madison, due to that bank’s having supported Governor Walker’s now much-regretted election. M&I Bank has whinged that donations to Governor Walker’s campaign were not from bank funds, and that they really just love everyone equally.




"The US Chamber Doesn't Speak For Me": New Campaign by 350.Org

On Tuesday, February 22nd, Founder, Bill McKibben, a new campaign with an article titled “Money Pollution” that’s now been published in TomDispatch, CBS News, Huffington Post, Daily Kos, Alternet, TruthDig, Guernica, and elsewhere.

The campaign is a new Chamber watchdog with a green focus- working to expose the Chamber as an industry front group representing big business and big polluters, and not the little guy who provides jobs in the local community.

On their site you can add your name to their declaration "The US Chamber Doesn't Speak For Me"


Threat Post: RSA 2011: Winning the War But Losing Our Soul

-By Paul Roberts

February 22, 2011- There was lots of noise and distraction on the crowded Expo floor of the RSA Security Conference this year. After a grueling couple of years, vendors were back in force with big booths, big news and plenty of entertainment designed to attract visitor traffic. Wandering the floor, I saw - variously - magic tricks, a man walking on stilts, a whack-a-mole game, a man dressed in a full suit of armor and a 15 foot long racetrack that I would have killed for when I was 10.

The most telling display, however, may have been the one in Booth 556, where malware forensics firm HBGary displayed a simple sign saying that it had decided to remove its booth and cancel scheduled talks by its executives. This, after the online mischief making group Anonymous broke into the computer systems of the HBGary Federal subsidiary and stole proprietary and confidential information. The HBGary sign stayed up for a couple days, got defaced by someone at the show and was later removed. When I swung by HBGary's booth on Thursday, it was a forlorn and empty patch of brown carpet where a couple marketing types where holding an impromptu bull session.

StopTheChamber / VR Files Bar Complaint Against Hunton & Williams

February 23, 2011- Today StopTheChamber filed a bar complaint against John W. Woods, Richard L. Wyatt Jr., and Robert T. Quackenboss of the Hunton & Williams Law Firm for their role in the HB Gary spying operation against us and other opponents of the US Chamber of Commerce. Their involvement in the operation on behalf of the Chamber was made plain in the HB Gary emails leaked by Anonymous.

It is our intention to see the three aforementioned lawyers disciplined for their participation in this dirty tricks campaign, and for gross violations of the Washington DC code of legal ethics.


RSA Conference: HBGary boss notably absent from RSA after Anonymous hack

February 16, 2011- Greg Hoglund, founder of HBGary, was due on a panel discussion on cyberwar this morning but, as the moderator put it, he's having some problems with Anonymous. The HBGary stand has also been taken down, after a sign was left on there purporting to be from the hacking group.

The reason for this was that the company had received threats of physical violence to its staff. It's possible, according to RSA's former boss Art Coviello. He said that the organisers have been physically threatened in the past for having convicted felon Frank Abagnale (of 'Catch me if you can' fame) give a keynote.

“We are nothing if not passionate,” Coviello said.

Berico Technologies Press Release: Severing Ties With HB Gary

From Berico Co-founders: Guy Filippelli (CEO) and Nick Hallam (COO)

February 11, 2011- Berico Technologies is a technical and analytic services firm that helps organizations better understand information critical to their core operating objectives.  Our leadership does not condone or support any effort that proactively targets American firms, organizations or individuals.  We find such actions reprehensible and are deeply committed to partnering with the best companies in our industry that share our core values.  Therefore, we have discontinued all ties with HBGary Federal.  We are conducting a thorough internal investigation to better understand the details of how this situation unfolded and we will take the appropriate actions within our company.

Brad Blog Goes Offline as Brad Friedman Talks About HB Gary on Mike Malloy Show

February 11, 2011- Last night Brad Friedman was sitting in for Mike Malloy on the Mike Malloy Radio Program. The topic on his mind was the attacks he and his associates and family were being subjected to by the Virginia-based security firm HB Gary, who -according to emails leaked by the Anonymous hacker community- had been trying to obtain a contract from the US Chamber of Commerce to conduct a disinformation campaign against various whistleblower groups attempting to expose the Chamber's dirty tricks. And yes, Velvet Revolution and were mentioned in those emails.

As of this writing BradBlog's server is still offline. Details are sketchy, as Brad is having trouble getting information from his ISP, but it appears to have been a cyber attack. At this time, there is no information to suggest who is behind it, but the timing is... interesting.

Truthout: State Budget Cuts: Starting at the Top

-By Dean Baker

February 7, 2011- The elite media are on yet another jihad. They are determined to cut the pay and benefits of public-sector workers who can still enjoy a middle-class lifestyle.

The idea that a schoolteacher or highway worker can retire with a pension of $2,000-$3,000 a month is directly at odds with their view of government. They believe that government exists to redistribute income from everyone else to those who already are rich and powerful. To these people, the money that is going to pay the wages and pensions of ordinary workers is money that could be in the pockets of the rich.

Update: 1/18/11:

We Call On FBI To Investigate Chamber Funding Of Candidates Who Support Violence

Today, we sent a letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller requesting that the FBI investigate and prosecute IRS and FCC approved organizations that fund and promote violence against political candidates and others. See full letter here: We have been warning for years about the far right inciting violence, and Frank Schaeffer, who started the campaign with us, has gone on record as saying that these threats are a product of "lobbyist run" groups who have "a small army ... at their beck and call." He calls them, "American Brown Shirts at the ready." He names Freedom Works and American For Prosperity for being major supporters of intimidation tactics.

Update: 12/7/10

At least 40 local Chambers have recently quit the US Chamber because of its partisan politics. We urge all local Chambers to follow that lead. 


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