April 16, 2012
End The Lie
By Madison Ruppert
“Facebook probably knows more about you than members of your own family.” –KTRN
April 16, 2012
By Jennifer Lynch
“If you thought survelliance drones were only used by the federal government, think again.” –KTRN
EFF recently received records from the Miami-Dade Police Department in response to a Public Records request for information on its drone program. These records provide additional insight into domestic drone use in the United States, and they reinforce the importance of public access to information on who is authorized to fly drones inside US borders.
The records the Miami-Dade PD released include the Federal Aviation Administration-issued Certificate of Authorization (COA) to fly the MDPD drones. This appears to be the first time a law enforcement agency has made its COA available to the public without redactions.
The COA and the other records EFF received show that Miami-Dade’s drone program is quite limited in scope. The two small drones the MDPD is flying—Honeywell T-Hawks—are able to fly up to 10,000 feet high, can record video or still images in daylight or infrared, and can “Hover and stare; [and] follow and zoom,” (pdf) according to the manufacturer. However, the COA limits their use to flights below 300 feet. The drones also must remain within visual line of sight of both a pilot and an observer and can only be flown during the day. They cannot be flown within the Miami city limits or over any high-rise buildings, populated beaches, outdoor assemblies of people, or heavily trafficked roadways (which seems to severely limit their range). Also, the MDPD has stated it doesn’t use the drones to record incidents or store image files and that the drone is set up to “clear the picture upon the next picture being captured.” (It is not clear from MDPD’s records whether the department has another system set up to retain the image files.)
April 13, 2012
By Madison Ruppert
“There is no doubt that technology is amazing. But you may think twice before getting the latest smartphone.” –KTRN
The Broadcom Corporation, a Fortune 500 company, recently unveiled a brand new microchip for smartphones which will provide ultra-precise location details, potentially even within a few centimeters, far beyond what current smartphones can detect.
Today cell phones, but smartphones in particular, have become one of the most powerful surveillance tools available with Carrier IQ, citizen spying applications distributed by both the private sector and government agencies, techniques to encourage citizen spying, and a total lack of privacy.
The new chip, called Broadcom 4752 or BCM4752, will relay information about the vertical and horizontal position, if the individual is indoors or out, all through combining a wide variety of information sources.
It is loaded with sensors that can draw data from global navigation satellites, which is common in many modern smartphones, along with cell phone towers, wireless hotspots, gyroscopic information, data from the phone’s accelerometer, step counters and even altimeters.
Combining all of this information will allow for location data which is unprecedented in its preciseness, raising the potential of even more powerful surveillance via smartphones.
April 11, 2012
“Next time you’re playing Call of Duty, the DHS might be listening.” –KTRN
The US Department of Homeland Security might soon take the “joy” out of “joystick.” The country’s top counterterrorism unit has awarded a California company $177,235 to hack video game consoles under the guise of cracking down on criminal activity.
San Francisco-based Obscure Technologies is the recent recipient of a government contract for $177,235.50. For a small computer forensics firm with less than half-a-dozen employees, it’s a significant sum being awarded by Uncle Sam. The only catch, however, is that the small-time Silicon Valley company will be in charge of prying into the video game consoles used by millions of Americans during their personal pastime that was thought to be otherwise free of federal interference. According to the Department of Homeland Security, uncovering online communications conducted over video game networks could be key in thwarting terrorism.
As per the official contract awarded earlier this month to Obscure Technologies, the DHS is hoping the small time computer experts will be able to come up with “hardware and software tools that can be used for extracting data from video game systems.” If those powers can be made possible, the government wants to be able to get into the heavily encrypted computer data inside machines like Microsoft’s X-Box 360 and Nintendo’s Wii in order to build cases against could be criminals.
In explaining their case, the government argues that both pedophiles and terrorists alike are using communication modes available only through video game systems to both lure in children and plot possible attacks, respectively. Currently video game platform largely rely on heavy-duty encryption to keep any sort of person-to-person correspondence made through their systems hard to uncover, but the DHS believes that once Obscure can crack that code they will be able to provide a procedure that law enforcement can use in furthering investigations.
Your Cell Phone Makes You A Prisoner Of A Digital World Where Virtually Anyone Can Hack You And Track You
April 9, 2012
By Michael Snyder
If you own a cell phone, you might as well kiss your privacy goodbye. Cell phone companies know more about us than most of us would ever dare to imagine. Your cell phone company is tracking everywhere that you go and it is making a record of everything that you do with your phone. Much worse, there is a good chance that your cell phone company has been selling this information to anyone that is willing to pay the price — including local law enforcement. In addition, it is an open secret that the federal government monitors and records all cell phone calls. The “private conversation” that you are having with a friend today will be kept in federal government databanks for many years to come.
The truth is that by using a cell phone, you willingly make yourself a prisoner of a digital world where every move that you make and every conversation that you have is permanently recorded. But it is not just cell phone companies and government agencies that you have to worry about. As you will see at the end of this article, it is incredibly easy for any would-be stalker to hack you and track your every movement using your cell phone. In fact, many spyware programs allow hackers to listen to you through your cell phone even when your cell phone is turned off. Sadly, most cell phone users have absolutely no idea about any of this stuff.
Your phone company knows where you live, what websites you visit, what apps you download, what videos you like to watch, and even where you are. Now, some have begun selling that valuable information to the highest bidder.
April 6, 2012
“Thanks USA. We’re so glad you are so cornered about our lives that you want to watch us all the time. You are doing great work.” –KTRN
The United States has successfully launched a multi-million dollar rocket into the sky outside of Los Angeles, but details regarding the cargo of the craft are not being released, as the government refuses to comment fully on the classified mission.
A Delta IV rocket was launched out of the Vandenberg Air Force base in Western California on Tuesday as part of a mission made possible to support the National Reconnaissance Office, one of the United States’ 16 intelligence agencies. The NRO regularly manages spy satellites and related spacecraft for the US government, and although the specifics of the latest mission are staying sealed, this week’s liftoff is expected to further the country’s surveillance capabilities from high above the Earth.
As the exact purpose of the latest launch remains a matter for high-profile officers only, intelligence analysts speaking with the Associated Press speculate that the rocket was fired off to release a spy satellite that will allow the government to see from a set of eyes in the sky that will more successfully be able to see at night and in bad weather using high-tech radar imagining. To the AP, unidentified experts say they believe the high-tech satellite will be able to zoom into countries of interest and provide a point of view for the intelligence community that is not obtainable by America’s otherwise advanced surveillance equipment.
Jim Sponnick, the vice president of the aerospace contractors and Delta IV maker United Launch Alliance, congratulates the NRO this week for the latest launch, which he only explains as being “critical for national security.” So secretive are the government’s exact intentions, however, that the US ordered the ULA to abort their live broadcast of the missile launch only three minutes after the countdown to liftoff reached zero.
April 5, 2012
Electronic Frontier Foundation
By Hanni Fakhoury
New data from law enforcement agencies across the country has confirmed what EFF has long been afraid of: while police are routinely using cell phone location tracking information, only a handful of agencies are bothering to obtain search warrants.
Since 2005, we’ve been beating the drum loudly, warning that the government’s attempts to track a person’s physical location through their cell phone requires a search warrant.
As we’ve said again and again, because cell phone tracking can give the government a snapshot of a person’s life through their movements, a search warrant is necessary to safeguard against privacy intrusions.
Now new data — obtained from a coordinated FOIA request by the ACLU — shows just how pervasive cell phone tracking is throughout the United States. The ACLU obtained 5,500 pages of records from over 200 different law enforcement agencies. The records revealed that most law enforcement agencies are using location tracking information routinely, with only 10 out of the more than 200 claiming they had not tracked cell phones.
And even more troubling, the records demonstrate that different agencies use different standards to obtain this information, with only a few agencies obtaining search warrants in order to track.
It looks like local law enforcement agencies are taking their lead from the federal government, who has been using cell location data obtained without a search warrant for years.
April 4, 2012
By Madison Ruppert
“For some reason, the powers that be are keen on watching their own citizens instead of letting them live in freedom.” –KTRN
The behemoth and corrosive Department of Homeland Security (DHS) seeks to unleash a massive Raven Aerostar aerostat (essentially a blimp) on the U.S. border, which was designed for and used in the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan.
It’s worth pointing out that if this blimp is used, it would not be the first Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), or drone, to be flown for surveillance purposes over the U.S. border.
Indeed, the Predator drone is being used quite often to conduct surveillance on the border in a supposed attempt to crack down on illegal immigration, as The Washington Post reported last year.
Furthermore, the use of drones domestically has increased a great deal as of late (which I personally find quite disturbing) and it will only continue to rise with the passage of legislation speeding up the integration of drones into American national airspace.
This project was similar in some ways to other so-called “spy blimp” projects, which have run into many problems, meaning countless additional wasted taxpayer dollars (similar to the “airborne laser” program).
This blimp has long distance surveillance capabilities, somewhat similar to the so-called panopticon drone which is set to be deployed to Afghanistan.
The DHS contends that placing cameras capable of capturing video of miles of the border in a single shot will be the future of border security and surveillance.
The system known as Kestrel is a wide-area surveillance camera system, originally used in the many endless wars in the Middle East.
April 4, 2012
By Chris Martin
“Maybe the real reason we all have cell phones now is because the powers that be want us to be tracked. Perhaps that was their intention all along.” –KTRN
On January 23, 2012 the United States Supreme Court decided unanimously that Antoine Jones’ 4th Amendment right to be secure against unreasonable search was violated. The court ruled planting a Global-Positioning-Systems (GPS) on Mr. Jones wife’s Jeep Grand Cherokee, for the purpose of obtaining information constitutes a search. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia approved the warrant, allowing ten days for the placement of a tracking device on the vehicle. The Keystone cops responsible for placing the tracking device did so on the 11th day and in the State of Maryland. Opening the door for the appeals court to overturn the lower court and finally for the Supreme Court to uphold the appeals court’s decision.
This case brings us to the discussion of rampant police abuse of cell phone tracking. A survey released by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) found that “the overwhelming majority of law enforcement agencies that responded engage in at least some cell phone tracking.” ACLU attorney Catherine Crump stated, “What we have learned is disturbing. The government should have to get a warrant before tracking cell phones. That is what is necessary to protect Americans’ privacy, and it is also what is required under the constitution…the fact that some law enforcement agencies do get warrants shows that a probable cause requirement is a completely reasonable and workable policy, allowing police to protect both public safety and privacy.”
April 4, 2012
By Info Wars
“Why are they so afraid of us that they would need to use nuclear drones to watch every move we make? Let’s hope they use these drones to catch real criminals like rapists and murderers. More than likely, they will be watching pot growers and cars speeding over the limit.” –KTRN
The next generation of surveillance drones will be nuclear powered. Instead of flying for hours, the new drones will be able to stay in the air for months. The development represents a bonanza for the national security state and its military-industrial complex ministries like the Department of Homeland Security.
The blueprints for the new drones, which have been developed by Sandia National Laboratories – the US government’s principal nuclear research and development agency – and defense contractor Northrop Grumman, were designed to increase flying time “from days to months” while making more power available for operating equipment, according to a project summary published by Sandia.
Using nuclear power would enable the Reaper [a Northrop Grumman drone] not only to remain airborne for far longer, but to carry more missiles or surveillance equipment, and to dispense with the need for ground crews based in remote and dangerous areas.
In February, the project was fast-tracked and the FAA gave the go-ahead to allow the unmanned surveillance aircraft to fly in U.S. air space.
“The FAA Reauthorization Act, which President Obama is expected to sign, also orders the Federal Aviation Administration to develop regulations for the testing and licensing of commercial drones by 2015,” washingtontimes.com reported.
“We don’t want to wonder, every time we step out our front door, whether some eye in the sky is watching our every move,” the ACLU wrote in a statement.
“The bottom line is: domestic drones are potentially extremely powerful surveillance tools, and that power — like all government power — needs to be subject to checks and balances We hope that Congress will carefully consider the privacy implications that this technology can lead to.”