maine security guard
Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team Los Angeles conducts training near Santa Barbara, Oct. 24, 2016 (USCG)
[Written by Lt. j.g. Antoine Adams]
Maritime Safety and Security Team (MSST) Kings Bay is one of six Coast Guard Atlantic Area (LANTAREA) MSSTs. The unit s building, quietly situated off a remote road in St. Marys, Georgia, is unassuming when viewed from outside its compound. It adjoins a municipal police department and offers little to categorize it as a Coast Guard unit with such a significant impact. Inside the compound, six response boats, a dozen government vehicles, and men and women bustling about in operational dress uniforms hint that an operational Coast Guard unit exists in rural Camden County, Georgia. To describe the MSSTs operating area, a globe would be an appropriate reference, as MSSTs spend a significant amount of time on the road, with operations spanning an area of responsibility not limited by traditional geographic boundaries. For this last year alone, MSST Kings Bay accumulated over 100,000 miles on their vehicles to trailer boats up and down the highways in support of 25 operations and 14 different sector commanders. Their missions took them north to Bar Harbor, Maine, where they engaged in Ports Waterways and Coastal Security (PWCS), providing escorts for high capacity passenger vessels, and as far south as the Caribbean, where a Coast Guard Tactical Law Enforcement Team works with an MSST crew on a Navy patrol craft, conducting counter-drug and migrant interdiction boardings. Most recently, two non-compliant vessel pursuit crews from MSST Kings Bay joined law enforcement detachments from both coasts and deployed aboard USS Zephyr and USS Shamal for an approximate 60-day counter-narcotics patrol. This unique collaboration of forces and capabilities resulted in the largest seizure for this operational concept to date, a record 900 kilograms of cocaine estimated at over $30 million in street value.
On an international training front, MSST Kings Bay members deployed to Saudi Arabia to teach boat tactics to aspiring border guard and to Belize to instruct their coast guard on boat handling and navigation skills. MSST Kings Bay also found themselves in Cleveland, the city that hosted the 2016 Republican National Convention. For this historic event, MSST Kings Bay led a force consisting of 14 tactical boat crews, 12 response boats, engineering support, canine explosive detection teams, a remotely operated vehicle, and planning personnel to support all aspects of maritime security operations. MSST members accumulated 628 patrol hours escorting vessels and enforcing security zones to safeguard maritime critical infrastructure and 50,000 attendees and dignitaries. As part of their mission, MSST members conducted positive control boardings, swept facilities and vehicles for explosives, and conducted search and rescue operations. Whether enduring the snow of Lake Michigan for a naval vessel protection zone, deploying in under 24 hours in response to intelligence in our nation s capital, providing foreign dignitary/heads of state protection in New York City during the United Nations General Assembly, or pursuing a go-fast in the open water of the Caribbean, MSSTs highly trained and professional personnel provide adaptable and scalable capabilities in support of missions worldwide.
The opinions expressed herein are the author’s and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.
When President Trump and the Republican majorities in Congress swept away privacy rules preventing your internet service providers from selling your data without your permission, you might think Fletcher Kittredge would want to celebrate. Kittredge, after all, is founder and CEO of Biddeford-based GWI, an internet service provider that serves more than 18,000 Maine customers and would benefit from the repeal, which lets companies like his sell his customer s Web browsing history, geo-location movements, and all sorts of other valuable information to advertisers. The rules, repeal advocates said, had put more stringent restrictions on such firms than are applied to Web-based companies like Facebook or Google.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF
Privacy experts say there are ways to make it harder for internet service providers and Web companies to snoop on your online activity. Use privacy-enchanced browsers TOR, a free browser created by volunteers, makes it harder to track your movements on the internet.
Opt out of being tracked Most ISPs allow you to opt out of some of the ways they track your data and feed you ads. Virtual Private Network A subscription service that creates an encrypted tunnel for your internet activity, but you have to trust your VPN not to snoop on you. Pick an ISP that doesn t collect data Some ISPs don t, but you have to live in a town they happen to serve. Check their privacy policies.
But Kittredge says the repeal is a disaster for his customers and anyone who cares about privacy or civil liberties, an ill-conceived move that will ultimately make people s data less secure and the internet itself less valuable.
ISPs have broader access to information about you than anybody else because everything else goes on top of the connection they provide, he says. They can tell who you re having conversations with, where you go, and lots of information that s best left private, especially as hackers will be attracted to it.
If we all end up not being able to appropriately trust the internet, that s not good for anyone. The rule repeal which the president signed into law April 3 will make most things we do on the internet much less private, privacy experts say, as providers learn how to make money selling their customers data. For years prior to the repeal, providers had been expecting tightened rules and had set their policies to anticipate this, but now are free to exploit data more aggressively. This has implications for Maine internet users and national policymakers alike. Proponents of the repeal said it was necessary to create an even playing field between internet service providers and other Web-based companies, but the practical effect so far has been to shift the balance in favor of service providers, who can now operate with far fewer privacy restrictions.
There are no rules here now, says lawyer Peter Guffin, who heads Pierce Atwood s privacy and data security practice and teaches information privacy law at the University of Maine School of Law. There s a complete vacuum in terms of when an ISP can see into the contents of our communications, what it can do with those contents, and even whether it has to tell us if this data has been hacked.
From a user s perspective, you should be on notice that the ISPs have been given the green light by the U.S. government to essentially surveil all of your electronic communications, Guffin added. My hunch is that many providers are rewriting their privacy notices, and whatever they said about opting out won t be the same as a year ago.
Internet providers can see a wide range of their customers online activity, according to Jeremy Gillula, senior staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the San Francisco-based digital civil liberties group. Unless you re using special tools like a virtual private network or the free, privacy-minded Tor internet browser, he says, an ISP could definitely see and sell all the web addresses you visit, though they would be limited to the domain name for https sites using encryption, such as banks, most online shopping sites, Google, Facebook, and Web mail. They can also gather your geo-location data especially interesting for mobile internet and could glean what songs you ve been listening to, movies you ve watched, or items you ve shopped for from any unencrypted addresses you ve visited. While they can also see the content of emails in accounts they provide their users, wiretapping laws likely prevent them from sharing or selling this information.
Reducing exposure to snooping
There are steps Mainers can take to reduce their exposure, says Zachary Heiden, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine. One is to use the Tor browser (download the Tor browser here) though it will slow down your internet traffic and encrypted text messaging tools like Signal (download Signal here).
That will at least protect the content of your communications, he says. But it doesn t protect the metadata the digital equivalent of a letter s envelope, with sender, receiver, time stamp, and size information about the text. Users can also ask their ISPs to opt them out of at least some of their data being shared, though this process is often cumbersome. An ACLU colleague of mine who is an expert on internet privacy tried as an exercise to contact different ISPs and exercise the opt-out option and found it incredibly challenging and confusing and this is somebody who studies technology for a living, he says. But if you care about privacy and don t want your personal browsing history stored, commodified, and sold then it may be worth it for you to take those steps to opt out. More sophisticated users may consider subscribing to a virtual private networking or VPN service, which masks much of one s internet activity from your service provider, but experts say that comes with its own risks, as the VPN provider may be snooping on you itself.
There s a strong overlap between VPN companies and the dark web, because a lot of people who want to hide things this way are also doing something wrong, says Kittredge. It can be like hiring a security guard to protect your warehouse by going to the local bar and picking out somebody who looks tough.
A fourth possibility, depending on your geographic location: Vote with your wallets and choose ISPs that are protective of your privacy, Heiden says. Most ISPs active in Maine are seeking to reassure customers about their commitment to their privacy, but on closer scrutiny, the strength of their stated commitments varies considerably. Another unknown is what lawmakers will do next.
Repeal s goal: An even playing field
Congress repealed the privacy rules the Federal Communications Commission was about to put into effect that would have prohibited internet providers from selling or sharing a wide range of personal data without users consent, including Web browsing history, geo-location, and application usage. It was a party-line vote, with Sen. Susan Collins and Rep. Bruce Poliquin voting with their Republican colleagues for repeal, independent Sen. Angus King, Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree and the entire Democratic caucus voting against. The action also prevents the FCC the only entity currently authorized to regulate ISPs from developing new rules. Supporters of repeal say it was necessary to create an even playing field between ISPs and other internet firms like Google and Facebook. The FCC rules on internet providers were stricter than those for Web-based firms and application developers, which are regulated by a different agency, the Federal Trade Commission. Opponents reject this as a false comparison.
Poliquin says that repealing the rule will enhance privacy. I absolutely want to ensure there are proper safeguards to keep Mainers private data secure when they use the Internet, which is why I voted with Senator Collins to remove this FCC rule, he said in a written statement to the Maine Sunday Telegram. The reality is that the FCC rule creates a misleading sense of security for users because they applied to only a specific segment of the industry, while giving unequal advantage and preference to a handful of companies that wouldn t be under their jurisdiction. This is not the way to regulate, as it would also undermine the very goal of protecting users data. His vote, he added, was the right thing to do. According to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, internet firms have not been important campaign donors to either Collins or Poliquin. No member of the industry appears in the top 20 donors to either s campaign or the political action committees they control.
Users don t pay Google, Facebook
The most prominent lobbyist pushing for the changes is Jon Leibowitz, who was chairman of the Federal Trade Commission under President Obama, and now co-chairman of the 21st Century Privacy Coalition, which represents Comcast, Time Warner Cable (now Spectrum), Verizon, DirecTV and other major internet providers who disliked the restrictions. In interviews with the Telegram, Leibowitz defended the rule change on fairness grounds. The whole history of American privacy protection is focused on three things: the data itself, the way in which it s collected, and the way in which it s used, he said. You shouldn t discriminate on the basis of silos, on the basis of who is doing the collecting. ISPs, he and other proponents of the repeal argue, should be on an even playing field with other internet firms in terms of exploiting users digital data. But repeatedly asked why internet service providers should necessarily operate under the same rules as Web companies, he was unable to provide a clear answer. It s not about who is collecting your data, it s about what data is being collected and how it is being used, he reiterated, adding that he thought you could make a fair apples to apples comparison between ISPs and other internet firms.
Elsewhere he has argued that ISPs don t really have a comprehensive picture of our internet use, both because they can t see the content of browsing at https sites and because customers roam from ISP to ISP during the day, connecting at work or the local coffee shop. Opponents of the rule change disagree, arguing there is a fundamental difference between the companies we pay to provide us internet access and those like Google and Facebook that are paid by advertisers for information about who we are and what products we might like. For internet service providers, they say, their users are their customers, while for Google and Facebook their users are the product they re selling to their real customers, marketers and advertisers.
It s a little disingenuous for ISPs to argue they should be treated equally, because it s not really comparing apples to apples, Pierce Atwood s Guffin says. Unlike using Google, which is free, I m actually paying my ISP 50 bucks a month to get that ISP connection, and now I find out all my data is also being monetized and leveraged to make more money. ISPs, he says, are more akin to the postal service a conduit through which we conduct our digital lives, and one you can t avoid having, which is why European regulations prohibit such firms from collecting user data. Nor do most Maine consumers have a lot of options, as many communities are served by just one or two providers. It s an essential service, and there aren t hundreds of ISPs that are knocking at my door for business, he adds.
Heiden at the ACLU of Maine agrees. The rules should be different, because ISPs are literally invited into our home and provide a service that is almost necessary for participating in the public and economic life of our country, he says. That carries with it a social responsibility that s different than that of the Web companies we may choose to visit through the internet.
It s unclear how or when privacy rules will be replaced
In the short term, the repeal has also created a profoundly uneven playing field, as ISPs are now far less regulated than other firms. It is unclear how and when Congress will move to rectify the situation, given that the FCC still has authority over the ISPs yet is barred from developing privacy regulations. Some backers of the repeal appear concerned about the vacuum. On April 7, 50 Republican House members wrote the FCC chairman to urge him to continue to hold ISPs to their privacy promises laid out in the privacy policies they present their users. The letter also suggested the FCC should turn regulation of ISPs over to the FTC. (Poliquin was not a signatory.)
But Gillula of the Electronic Frontier Foundation says that s not reassuring, as many major ISPs privacy policies allow them to collect your browsing history and target ads at you unless you opt out, something most users are unaware they can do. Basically, the letter is kind of like asking the FCC to ensure that the fox guarding the henhouse stands by the contract he imposed on the hens, which says in fine print that he s allowed to eat one or two of them now and then, he says. It s also possible that the Maine Legislature could try to impose its own rules, though this might be tested in court. This is all uncharted waters, says Guffin. But if you have Congress saying we re not regulating ISPs, it may create an opening for states to step in.
Colin Woodard can be contacted at:
- ^ swept away privacy rules (www.pressherald.com)
- ^ rule repeal (www.pressherald.com)
- ^ Tor internet browser (www.torproject.org)
- ^ download the Tor browser here (www.torproject.org)
- ^ download Signal here (whispersystems.org)
- ^ experts say (krebsonsecurity.com)
- ^ [email protected] (www.pressherald.com)
Max worked at a record label, and I worked in book publishing, and this is why people in the arts should not be trusted with complex equations.
At first, everything was wonderful. We slept late, bought each other thoughtful gifts, met each other s parents. At night, we went to shows for his bands or book parties for my authors, each of us gamely tolerating the rivers of unknown names and acronyms that flowed through the conversations. But by six months in, it was clear I was more invested. It was also clear neither of us wanted to address it.
Most people in our situation buy plants or adopt animals or watch fiendish amounts of television. We bought plane tickets. Each time the opportunity arose for one of us to get out of town, the other followed, hoping that the change of scenery would change our dynamic. Yet each trip had the inverse effect: pushing us farther apart. So, why would I continue to get on a subway with this person, never mind board an airplane?
I m so glad you asked.
First came Los Angeles. This was at a time when I was at the edge of illiteracy with L.A., and Max was at the edge of fluency. His attitude seemed to be, It sure is brighter here.
Mine was something like, Seventy-two suburbs in search of a city.
He booked us into the Le Parc Suite Hotel in West Hollywood, because of its proximity to the Troubadour, where one of his bands was playing. My only salient memory of the hotel is of standing in front of the bathroom mirror. We were getting ready to go to a birthday party at the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel, when Max appeared, looking me up and down as he had never done before. People don t dress up in L.A., he said.
I know, I said, looking down at my skirt and heels. It s not like I haven t been here.
But I hadn t. Not really. I had not yet stayed in homes that I now know as well as my own or shared banter with a studio security guard or sat in traffic and told friends what to order without looking at the menu. I had a good hunch that Venice was only accessible by boat.
Walking into the party wearing Chuck Taylors, I felt miscast in a play about a little girl trying to fit in. Was I competing with the memory of his former girlfriend or a whole city? Why compete with either?
It didn t help when we ran into her best friend, and Max looked as if he d swallowed a boulder. It helped less when I ripped the side mirror off the rental car exiting a parking garage. After a meeting the next day, I got so lost, I pulled off Santa Monica Boulevard and started weeping. Maybe I would just live here now. In this car. On this corner. No friends, no love life, no career. Just these four doors and a bottle of Poland Spring.
I confessed to Max that Los Angeles was making me feel unmoored and uncool. And by Los Angeles, I meant him. But this vulnerability fell on deaf ears. It s not that Max wasn t a good guy; he was a very good guy. It s that the framework of Los Angeles seemed to exacerbate whatever wasn t working in our relationship in New York. In theory, the nice thing about travel is that you never have to wonder if the feeling between you and the place you are visiting is mutual. But in practice, sentiment and scenery get muddled. This is why some people wind up with a surprising affection for Buffalo, and total disdain for Barcelona.
That night, we watched the band in silence. After the show, Max asked me what I thought. I grumpily informed him it was the kind of music I might listen to while doing something else, like reading, or cleaning, or listening to better music. We slept along opposite edges of the bed. Never had I felt so distant from a person so close to me. I fell asleep certain that Los Angeles had done us in.
Instead, we chalked it up to the trickery of the West.
In retrospect, Los Angeles was a masochistic first trip. So, for New Year s, we repacked our hopes and our sunglasses and headed to San Juan, P.R. Determined to prove my worth via my travel acumen, I sunk my teeth in. I had been there before, having gone midnight kayaking in the phosphorescent bays, and having found it to be transformative. I acquired a Puerto Rican flag bikini that was 70 percent polyester and 30 percent trying too hard. I picked the hotel, and made us a reservation at a restaurant in a converted mansion. But neither Max nor the couple who joined us felt much like kayaking through a rain forest full of mosquitoes. The bikini, meanwhile, gave me a rash, the restaurant turned out to be phenomenally expensive and the hotel featured a rooftop club thumping its music right through our ceiling. It was like sleeping in the heart of a jogging giant.
On the beach on our last day, Max received a call from one of his singers, who had gotten engaged to an actress. The couple had met after Max and I got together. I don t make a habit of idealizing celebrity marriages, but upon hearing the news I felt the need to take an overtly dramatic walk, so that I might gaze upon the bigness of the ocean and lecture myself about the perils of jealousy. If the tropics couldn t make a couple out of us, what could? Travel is supposed to be taxing. Vacation itself the being there is not. The same with relationships: The work they require should be because you and your partner have different approaches to existing in a new place. It should not be because one of you refuses to leave the house.
By the time we got to the airport, I had reverted to an embarrassingly na ve and inept version of myself. At the gate, Max turned to me and asked where my luggage had gone. I ran back to the ticket counter, where I had left my bag; an old woman was leaning on it, yelling at a T.S.A. agent. I gently wheeled it out from under her elbow. It is impossible to overstate how out of character this was. I have missed exactly one flight in my life, and it was because I mixed up the departure and arrival times. I don t run late. I don t leave phone chargers in hotel rooms. Given the chance, I m pretty sure I could figure out how to circumnavigate the globe in 22 and a half hours. But with Max, I was perpetually out of place.
Should we just do this? I asked, exasperated and sad. I thought it might mitigate the pain if we ripped off the Band-Aid outside the Continental United States. I was the one in love; certainly, I couldn t be expected to do it. But by then, the boarding process (as though it s a metamorphosis) had begun. Max grabbed my bag. Only a monster breaks up with someone on an airplane.
Perhaps if we had gone to Reykjavik, Iceland, that would have expedited things. Cold locales force you to deal with what s in front of you. They don t demand that you slather yourself with positive thinking. Instead, like geniuses, we left for a weekend in Miami. I was coming from Maine, and there are no direct flights from Maine to Miami (a great disservice to the people of Maine). A storm grounded me in Philadelphia for four hours. When I arrived at the Standard in Miami Beach, exhausted, hungry and frizzy, I found Max sprawled on our bed, looking frightened after receiving a series of expletive-laced texts from me about my delay. But good news! He had made us dinner reservations at Prime 112.
Prime 112 is a steakhouse. I haven t eaten meat since I was a teenager. But, fine, I thought. O.K. Let s go to the cow factory. Since Miami turned out to be our last trip together, you would think I would remember more of it. But this is how the world ends: with a whimper. I remember going to the Raleigh Hotel and drinking mojitos, something I have done both before and since with greater joy. I remember going to an art exhibit that was closed when we arrived. I remember Max test-running his us talk on a boardwalk. During a lull, he said, Nice place to visit, but you wouldn t want to live here, you know? And I remember genuinely not knowing if he meant Miami or us.
He ended it in New York. It hurt. Pointing out the elephant in the room doesn t mean everything doesn t get broken pushing the elephant out of the room. For a long time, I couldn t so much as think of the places we had been. He took my favorite picture of me in San Juan, wearing a white dress and walking up a cobblestone alley surrounded by pastel houses. When I looked at the photo, all I saw was how far away he d have to have been in order to take it. But then years passed and time redrew the map. I went to shows at the Troubadour. I booked Prime 112 for a friend s bachelorette party. Plenty of fish and vegetable options. Max moved to Los Angeles, where he met his wife. The singer and the actress who had triggered my jealousy got divorced.
A few months ago, I saw Max at the wedding of a mutual friend. I watched him make small talk with my boyfriend, both of them laughing and chatting away, as if it weren t the craziest thing that had ever happened. But, of course, it wasn t. Max and I are a specific variety of old friends: ones who went to many of the wrong places at the wrong time.
On our way out, I told my boyfriend about our trips, marveling anew at what disasters they were. I struggled to remember the name of that restaurant in San Juan, eventually deciding that I didn t want to remember. Some places, like some people, are meant to be left behind. It doesn t mean you bear them ill will. If anything, it s the reverse. The next time you stumble on a familiar cafe or street corner somewhere, take a moment to pay tribute to these landmarks of relationships past. After all, you are one of two tourists in the whole world who will ever know they are there.