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The NSA Is Listening

In another violation of the privacy of U.S. citizens, the NSA has asked Verizon Wireless to provide it with millions of records of the phone activity of its customers. How this will help combat and detect threats to national security is impossible to tell. It would be hard to pick evil-doers out of such a huge pile of data. The Guardian reports on domestic surveillance by the NSA:

The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an "ongoing, daily basis" to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.

The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk - regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.

The secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Fisa) granted the order to the FBI on April 25, giving the government unlimited authority to obtain the data for a specified three-month period ending on July 19.

Under the terms of the blanket order, the numbers of both parties on a call are handed over, as is location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls. The contents of the conversation itself are not covered.

At least no one is listening on each and every call.

Rising Mortgage Rates

Will rising mortgage rates be the factor that kills the increase in real estate prices and sales. Both have risen at an astonishing trajectory, to the point of concern about a new real estate bubble in some regions. CNNMoney said about the rise in mortgage rates:

In the past month, rates have been on the rise and they are expected to continue to climb. Last week, the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage climbed to 3.81%, up from 3.3% in early May, according to mortgage giant Freddie Mac. Meanwhile, those seeking a 15-year loan received an average rate of 2.98%, up from 2.56% a month earlier - a record low.

"It's unlikely that rates will ever be that low again," said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae's chief economist.
Those who didn't take advantage of record-low rates have missed the boat - at least for now.

It will take months to see the effect because data from real estate research firms Corelogic, RealtyTrac, Case-Shiller and Trulia lag sales activity so much.

Procter & Gamble CEO Search

Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) has set a management system to identify its next chief executive officer. Former chief executive A.G. Lafley came back recently to replace embattled Robert McDonald. The company reported:

The Procter & Gamble Company today announced it is grouping its Global Business Units into four industry-based sectors as part of the Company's ongoing plan to improve business performance. These changes support the Company's current growth strategies of strengthening developed market businesses, maintaining developing market momentum, building a strong innovation pipeline, and driving productivity improvements.

"This sector organization and leadership team will help us operate more effectively and efficiently to continue momentum behind P&G's growth strategies," said A.G. Lafley, P&G Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer. "These changes build on the productivity and organization design work led by Bob McDonald, and will help us get closer to consumers and become more agile with customers."

New Sector Groups

The businesses in each sector are focused on common consumer benefits, share common technologies, and face common competitors. Each sector will be led by a Group President.


Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Market Open Tagged: featured, PG