Posts Tagged surveillance

Smartphones Track Your Movements

From KOMONews:

Students at the University of Washington volunteered their phones to see how easy it can be to see where the device has been. The frequent locations setting creates a map, and tapping on a specific locations reveals the dates and times of a particular visit and even how long you were there.

The students were taken aback that it was so easy to track their history.

“That’s kind of crazy,” Sebastian Aste said. “It’s interesting how accessible your life can be.” 

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What The Snowden Leaks Have Revealed

From the EFF:

It’s been one year since the Guardian first published the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order, leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, that demonstrated that the NSA was conducting dragnet surveillance on millions of innocent people. Since then, the onslaught of disturbing revelations, from disclosures, admissions from government officials, Freedom of Information Act requests, and lawsuits, has been nonstop. On the anniversary of that first leak, here are 65 things we know about NSA spying that we did not know a year ago:

1. We saw an example of the court orders that authorize the NSA to collect virtually every phone call record in the United States—that’s who you call, who calls you, when, for how long, and sometimes where.

2. We saw NSA Powerpoint slides documenting how the NSA conducts “upstream” collection, gathering intelligence information directly from the infrastructure of telecommunications providers.

Full Article

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Dirigibles Making A Comeback As Spies

From Wired.com:

Without a launcher, StratoBus floats to the lower stratosphere at an altitude of about 13 miles where developers say it will be in a perfect position to carry out a range of functions, including surveillance, border security monitoring, communications reinforcement and facilitating navigation — all from a stationary position with the help of two self-adjusting electric motors. The StratoBus will be able to endure missions of up to a year with a total lifetime of five years.

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Triton UAV

From Wired.com:

With its 130-foot wingspan, Triton will provide high-altitude, real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) from a sensor suite that supplies a 360-degree view at a radius of over 2,000 nautical miles, allowing monitoring from higher and farther away than any of its competitors.

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NRA and ACLU Team Up Against NSA Surveillance

From TribLive:

“Under the government’s reading of Section 215, the government could simply demand the periodic submission of all firearms dealers’ transaction records, then centralize them in a database indexed by the buyers’ names for later searching,” the NRA wrote in an amicus brief supporting the ACLU lawsuit against James Clapper, the director of national intelligence.

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Press Release: Dark Mail Alliance

Today at the Inbox Love conference in Mountain View, CA, Silent Circle along with Ladar Levision, Founder of Lavabit officially announced the creation of the Dark Mail Alliance.

Silent Circle and Lavabit, as privacy innovators have partnered to lead the charge to replace email as we know it today – fundamentally broken from a privacy perspective – we have collaborated in developing a private, next-generation, end-to-end encrypted alternative. Read the rest of this entry »

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Obama Administration Sued By ACLU Over NSA Spying

From New York Times:

The lawsuit could set up an eventual Supreme Court test. It could also focus attention on this disclosure amid the larger heap of top secret surveillance matters revealed by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor who came forward Sunday to say he was their source.

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Anonymity Impossible?

MIT asks the question in an article about how much information individuals create about themselves.

Much of this data is invisible to people and seems impersonal. But it’s not. What modern data science is finding is that nearly any type of data can be used, much like a fingerprint, to identify the person who created it: your choice of movies on Netflix, the location signals emitted by your cell phone, even your pattern of walking as recorded by a surveillance camera. In effect, the more data there is, the less any of it can be said to be private, since the richness of that data makes pinpointing people “algorithmically possible,” says Princeton University computer scientist Arvind Narayanan.

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Data Mining Surveillance Software Secretly Built By Raytheon

From The Sydney Morning Herald:

Raytheon says it has not sold the software – named Riot, or Rapid Information Overlay Technology – to any clients. But the Massachusetts-based company has acknowledged the technology was shared with US government and industry as part of a joint research and development effort, in 2010, to help build a national security system capable of analysing “trillions of entities” from cyberspace.

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Terrorism Tradecraft

Terrorism Tradecraft is republished with permission of Stratfor.”

By Scott Stewart

One of the distinctive features of Stratfor’s terrorism and security analysis is its focus on the methodology of attacks. Of course, identifying those responsible for an attack is important, especially in ensuring that the perpetrators are brought to justice. But Stratfor believes that analyzing the way in which an attack was conducted is more important because it can prevent future attacks and protect potential victims. It is likewise important to recognize that even if a terrorist is killed or arrested, other groups and individuals share terrorist tactics. Sometimes this comes from direct interaction. For example, many of the Marxist terrorist groups that trained together in South Yemen, Lebanon and Libya in the 1980s employed similar tactics. Otherwise, a tactic’s popularity is derived from its effectiveness. Indeed, several terrorist groups adopted airline hijacking in the 1960s and 1970s.

The mechanics of terrorism go far beyond target selection and the method of attack. This is especially true of aspiring transnational terrorists. Basic military skills may be helpful in waging terrorist attacks in areas where a militant group has access to men, weapons and targets — such was the case with Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi, Libya — but an entirely different set of skills is required to operate in a hostile environment or at a distance. This set of skills is known as terrorist tradecraft. Read the rest of this entry »

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The All-Seeing Blimp

The US Army has recently become interested in long term battlefield surveillance. One of the results of this is a blimp called LEMV (Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle).

From Defense Industry Daily:

The rise of modern terrorism, sharply increasing costs to recruit and equip professional soldiers, and issues of energy security, are forcing 2 imperatives on modern armies. Modern militaries need to be able to watch wide areas for very long periods of time. Not just minutes, or even hours any more, but days if necessary. The second imperative, beyond the need for that persistent, unblinking stare up high in the air, is the need to field aerial platforms whose operating costs won’t bankrupt the budget.

 

Video from New Jersey test flight Aug 8th, 2012:

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Congressman Leaks – Government Spying on Our Phones

From Threat Level:

The carriers said they responded to police emergencies, subpoenas and other court orders. They did not clearly say how many times they responded to probable-cause warrants. That’s because much of Americans’ mobile-phone data is not protected by the Fourth Amendment.

The reports showed that AT&T, the nation’s second largest carrier, received about 125,000 requests from the authorities in 2007 — mushrooming to more than 260,000 last year.

Verizon, the nation’s largest carrier… said it also received about 260,000 requests last year…

Sprint said it has received…500,000 requests last year.

…T-Mobile, declined to divulge how many requests it gets.

McCone said the company (AT&T) employs more than 100 full-time staffers and “operates on a 24/7 basis for the purpose of meeting law enforcement demands.”

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First Flight of Boeing Phantom Eye

From Military Times:

Boeing said Monday that the 28-minute flight of the Phantom Eye began at 6:22 a.m. Friday. The aircraft reached an altitude of 4,080 feet and a cruising speed of 62 knots before landing at the California desert base.

From Wired’s Danger Room:

The Phantom Eye’s size means the drone can be loaded up with a whopping 450 lbs. of sensors and cameras — which will come in handy for toting the military’s forthcoming spy gear, like Gorgon Stare, designed to spy on “city-size” areas, or the Army’s ARGUS sensor, which collects the equivalent of 79.8 years of video footage each day. Combine that capacity with a lengthy loiter time, and you’ve got a high-flying spy system that can peek on entire cities for days at a time.

Video:

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A Practical Guide to Situational Awareness

From STRATFOR:

By Scott Stewart

For the past three weeks we have been running a series in the Security Weekly that focuses on some of the fundamentals of terrorism. First, we noted that terrorism is a tactic not exclusive to any one group and that the tactic would not end even if the jihadist threat were to disappear. We then discussed how actors planning terrorist attacks have to follow a planning process and noted that there are times during that process when such plots are vulnerable to detection.

Last week we discussed how one of the most important vulnerabilities during the terrorism planning process is surveillance, and we outlined what bad surveillance looks like and described some basic tools to help identify those conducting it. At the end of last week’s Security Weekly we also discussed how living in a state of paranoia and looking for a terrorist behind every bush not only is dangerous to one’s physical and mental health but also results in poor security. This brings us to this week, where we want to discuss the fundamentals of situational awareness and explain how people can practice the technique in a relaxed and sustainable way.

Situational awareness is very important, not just for personal security but as a fundamental building block in collective security. Because of this importance, Stratfor has written about situational awareness many times in the past. However, we believe it merits repeating again in order to share these concepts with our new readers as well as serve as a reminder for our longtime readers. Read the rest of this entry »

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Detecting Terrorist Surveillance

This is a report from STRATFOR:

By Scott Stewart

As we noted last week, terrorist attacks do not materialize out of thin air. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Those planning terrorist attacks follow a discernable process referred to as the terrorist attack cycle. We also discussed last week how terrorism planners are vulnerable to detection at specific points during their attack cycle and how their poor surveillance tradecraft is one of these vulnerable junctures.

While surveillance is a necessary part of the planning process, the fact that it is a requirement does not necessarily mean that terrorist planners are very good at it. With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at surveillance and discuss what bad surveillance looks like. Read the rest of this entry »

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