In the wake of news that terror suspect Jose Pimentel was operating a jihadist Blogger site, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) is urging Google to implement a system that bans terrorist material.
Last week, Lieberman sent a letter to Google CEO Larry Page on behalf of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs that called on Google to ramp up its efforts against terrorist material on the Blogger platform.
Pimentel’s “hate-filled writings” and “bomb-making instruction links” were littered throughout www.trueislam1.com, his Google-hosted Blogger site, Lieberman noted. Pimentel has been accused of attempting to plan what’s being described as a “lone wolf” terrorist attack by using pipe bombs.
“As demonstrated by this recent case, Google’s webhosting site, Blogger is being used by violent Islamist extremists to broadcast terrorist content,” he wrote. “Pimentel’s site is just one of the many examples of homegrown terrorists using Google-hosted sites to propagate their violent ideology...”
Better close your blinds. Someone is peering into your home.
Who is this creep intruding on your privacy like that?
Everyone is entitled to privacy in their home — as well as their finances, health and communication. Privacy is protected by the Privacy Act of 1974 plus a slew of U.S. Supreme Court cases and even the Bill of Rights.
That's why people post signs everywhere with the words "Private," "Private Drive" and "Private Property" in big letters. That's why people hang the universal "Privacy, Please" tag outside their hotel rooms to avoid being disturbed by the maid.
So who's violating your privacy?
A recent faculty/industry seminar hosted by the International Radio and Television Society in New York City implicates "social media." The seminar revealed that the average person spends a mind-blowing 11.5 hours per day using media such as cell phones, tablets, laptops, desktops and televisions.
More and more, we're using these devices to connect with other people on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+ and LinkedIn.
What are we doing? We're posting photos and videos; we're mapping where we are; and we're offering thoughts we would normally keep to ourselves...
It’s an intrusive era. Insurers know that those who buy felt pads to place under table legs to avoid scratching floors are obsessives who pay their bills on time; clerks may soon not ask if you’re just browsing since they’ll know your tendency via biometrics; and tracking data can discern your politics and whether you see a psychiatrist or frequent a casino.
“The thought of Richard Nixon having access to the sort of data now available to government should make anyone shudder,” Strahilevitz said.
And data security is only as reliable as the weakest human link in the surveillance chain. Just consider how it is that Pfc. Bradley Manning, a low-level Army intelligence analyst, is accused of transferring those prodigious government files to WikiLeaks...
At the centre of the debate is the UIDAI’s process of using multiple registrars and enrolment agencies to collect individual data as well as its system of relying on ‘secondary information’ via existing identification documents. While Nilekani feels this is an effective method, NPR protagonists are pushing for a method of public scrutiny in which individual data is collected directly and put up before the public to weed out any fraud.
This many-layered screening process used in NPR is what, in fact, helped villagers in Gujarat’s border areas expose ‘strangers’ (from Pakistan) on the rolls when the data was put up for public scrutiny. This reinforced the RGI’s belief that the NPR process, despite being long and painstaking, is more foolproof. The one meeting point with Aadhar is the biometrics technology, which NPR has adopted. “We are fully governed by Aadhar standards for biometrics,” says RGI and census commissioner Dr C. Chandramouli. “Our objection is to the data collection by other registrars who have a different orientation from ours. From a security point of view, they are not acceptable...”
During this holiday season several events have sparked many to be concerned over their safety while shopping. However, a move by a local mall now has some shoppers worried about their privacy.
The Promenade mall in Temecula has begun using cellphone tracking technology in order to monitor customers in and around the shopping center, according to the North County Times.
The technology is called FootPath, and the mall’s management said Wednesday that it was completely anonymous and those worried about their data being collected should turn off their phones, the NCT reported.
"It's just a ping," Kym Espinosa, marketing director for The Promenade, told the NCT.
The "ping" will reportedly help mall officials track how people move within the space during special events as well as how long shoppers stick around before and after the event...
While nearly all Americans head to family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving, the Senate is gearing up for a vote on Monday or Tuesday that goes to the very heart of who we are as Americans. The Senate will be voting on a bill that will direct American military resources not at an enemy shooting at our military in a war zone, but at American citizens and other civilians far from any battlefield — even people in the United States itself.
The Senate is going to vote on whether Congress will give this president—and every future president — the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world. Even Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) raised his concerns about the NDAA detention provisions during last night’s Republican debate. The power is so broad that even U.S. citizens could be swept up by the military and the military could be used far from any battlefield, even within the United States itself...
Egypt’s infamous state security apparatus, notorious for spying on political activists and torturing dissidents, has renamed itself “homeland security,” presumably in homage to its American namesake, which has also been used as a tool of political repression.
As part of the re-branding of dictatorship in Egypt, the same security force implicated in the imprisonment and torture of anti-Mubarak activists is busy reorganizing itself while maintaining intimidation and spying campaigns targeted against parliamentary candidates by bugging phone calls and harassing prominent critics of the ruling military regime’s bloody crackdown on protesters.
“After some initial moves to purge the security forces, attempts at systemic reform were halted, say analysts and political observers. Under the auspices of the Ministry of Interior, the 100,000-strong state security service has been renamed homeland security and personnel moved around,” the Financial Times reports today...
Imagine catching up with your texts, social networking and perhaps the news without having to log on to a computer or even glance at a smartphone.
Messages and images would simply appear in front of your eyes, generated by a computerised contact lens.
Of course, you may not always want to be bothered by such messages if you are doing anything so quaint as – for instance – reading a book or going out walking and enjoying the scenery.
But until now the concept of info-vision – the ability to stream information across a person’s field of vision – had belonged to the realms of science fiction, featuring in films such as the Terminator series or TV shows such as Torchwood.
However, scientists have developed a prototype lens that could one day provide the wearer with all kinds of hands-free information.
It could also be used to display directions and TV programmes...
The U.S. military can see you breathing on the other side of that wall. It can even see your heartbeat racing while you crouch behind the door. But if you think running farther away or hiding in a crowd will make you invisible to the Defense Department’s sensors, you might be in for a surprise. The Pentagon’s geeks are looking to tweak their life-form finder so they can spot your tell-tale heart no matter what you do.
Darpa, the Pentagon’s mad-science shop, announced last week that it’s looking to improve on technologies that sniff out biometric signatures like heartbeats from behind walls. Dubbed “Biometrics-at-a-distance,” the program seeks to build sensors that can remotely identify humans from farther away and tell them apart in a crowd.
Seeing or “sensing” human life through walls can be a pretty helpful trick. For troops that have to clear houses in search of terrorists or insurgents, it’s always nice to know what’s on the other side of that door. Picking up “life-form readings” may sound like science fiction straight out of Star Trek, but the Defense Department has been able to do it for years now.
In 2006, Darpa developed Radar Scope,which used radar waves to sense through walls and detect the movements associated with respiration. A year later, the Army invested in LifeReader, a system using Doppler radar to find heartbeats. More recently, the military’s been using devices like the AN/PPS-26 STTW (“Sense Through the Wall“) and TiaLinx’s Eagle scanner, which can sense the presence of humans and animals through walls.
Handy though these gadgets may be, Darpa wants to one-up them with some new and better capabilities...
Hewlett-Packard Co. equipment worth more than $500,000 has been installed in computer rooms in Syria, underpinning a surveillance system being built to monitor e-mails and Internet use, according to documents from the deal and a person familiar with the installation.
The gear made by Palo Alto, California-based Hewlett- Packard would run a Damascus monitoring center for Syrian agents to track citizens' communications, and route data, according to blueprints and the person familiar with the system. The Italian company running the project, Area SpA, bought the equipment through resellers in Italy, according to the documents and the person familiar with the deal.
More than 3,500 people have died in Syria's crackdown on protesters since March. At the same time, technicians from Area were installing and testing the surveillance system, which also includes data-storage equipment from Sunnyvale, California-based NetApp Inc., a Nov. 4 article by Bloomberg News showed...
Hundreds of Muslims staged a rally and public prayers in New York City Friday, to protest alleged ethnic and religious profiling in their community by the city's police department.
Demonstrators gathered in New York’s Foley Square chanting for an end to surveillance. They also held signs condemning the New York City Police Department for allegedly infiltrating mosques, spying on Muslim student groups, cataloguing Middle Eastern restaurants and compiling data on Arab cab drivers. The charges came to light in a recent investigative report by the Associated Press.
In a sermon at the rally during traditional Friday Muslim prayers, Imam Talib Abdur-Rashid said Muslims in the United States are unapologetic about their faith and uncompromisingly American.
“Our American identity is based on ideals, and principals and affirmation of truth. We affirm the American dream,” he said.
One of the signs at the rally said “The police watch us. Who’s watching the police?”
Documents obtained by The Wall Street Journal open a rare window into a new global market for the off-the-shelf surveillance technology that has arisen in the decade since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The techniques described in the trove of 200-plus marketing documents, spanning 36 companies, include hacking tools that enable governments to break into people's computers and cellphones, and "massive intercept" gear that can gather all Internet communications in a country. The papers were obtained from attendees of a secretive surveillance conference held near Washington, D.C., last month.
Intelligence agencies in the U.S. and abroad have long conducted their own surveillance. But in recent years, a retail market for surveillance tools has sprung up from "nearly zero" in 2001 to about $5 billion a year, said Jerry Lucas, president of TeleStrategies Inc., the show's operator.
Critics say the market represents a new sort of arms trade supplying Western governments and repressive nations alike. "The Arab Spring countries all had more sophisticated surveillance capabilities than I would have guessed," said Andrew McLaughlin, who recently left his post as deputy chief technology officer in the White House, referring to the Middle Eastern and African nations racked by violent crackdowns on dissent...
Facebook officials are now acknowledging that the social media giant has been able to create a running log of the web pages that each of its 800 million or so members has visited during the previous 90 days. Facebook also keeps close track of where millions more non-members of the social network go on the Web, after they visit a Facebook web page for any reason.
To do this, the company relies on tracking cookie technologies similar to the controversial systems used by Google, Adobe, Microsoft, Yahoo and others in the online advertising industry, says Arturo Bejar, Facebook's engineering director...
Addams, a 33-year-old graphic artist and Web marketing specialist, found out about the search when he arrived home to find the warrant in his mailbox and some of his painting materials missing. However, he was not aware that the police were continuing to spy on his home until one day when he saw a flash go off as he left his house.
“As I got closer [to where the flash went off] I saw that it was a hunting camera strapped to a tree. So I ripped it down off the tree,” Addams said. “I took a look [on the other side of the driveway] and I found another hunting camera.”
Addams checked the flash drive cards to see what images the cameras contained. One card was clear of any photos except the surveillance, which started on June 14 at 3 a.m., according to the time stamp.
But the other card had two files with a total of 240 pictures, including graphic images taken at crime scenes, involving a variety of police cases. Some of the photos were very disturbing, said Addams.
“If it was my or your loved ones that were on that camera, which it may very well be, it’s not something that you want to have fall into the hands of [members of the public],” Addams said...
Every year, thousands of children go missing. Some run away, others are abducted. A new project to provide law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to help track and identify missing children got a boost today from a couple of Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Running back LeGarrette Blount and offensive tackle James Lee contributed thousands of dollars to the FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Association to buy some 60,000 identification kits.
The kits offer parents a chance to preserve DNA and fingerprints of their children. That can help law enforcement when searching for the missing kids.
Buying the kits is a "dream come true" for Blount.
Lee said parents should make use of the kits. When children go missing "parents can come to the police and say, 'Here's a kit, can you please help my child?' " he said.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Steven Ibison said the kits are a valuable tool for law enforcement.
"A lot of times, when we have a kidnapping, we have nothing," he said. "If a child is young, there is no DNA sample, there is no blood sample, there are no fingerprints. This gives us a jump start."
Authorities know the kits won't stop children from running away or being abducted, but they do provide resources law enforcement agencies need to track them down as quickly as they can...
The U.S. Department of Justice is defending computer hacking laws that make it a crime to use a fake name on Facebook or lie about your weight in an online dating profile at a site like Match.com.
In a statement obtained by CNET that's scheduled to be delivered tomorrow, the Justice Department argues that it must be able to prosecute violations of Web sites' often-ignored, always-unintelligible "terms of service" policies.
The law must allow "prosecutions based upon a violation of terms of service or similar contractual agreement with an employer or provider," Richard Downing, the Justice Department's deputy computer crime chief, will tell the U.S. Congress tomorrow.
Scaling back that law "would make it difficult or impossible to deter and address serious insider threats through prosecution," and jeopardize prosecutions involving identity theft, misuse of government databases, and privacy invasions, according to Downing...
widespread spam attack on Facebook has caused violent and pornographic images to be posted on some users’ profile pages, representing one of the worst security breaches in the young Web site’s history and raising concerns about its vulnerability to hackers.
The company, which acknowledged the problem Monday, said it was working to shut down the accounts responsible for the attack.
The disturbing pictures surfaced as the company tries to quell concerns about user safety and privacy. Facebook is reportedly near a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over complaints about the way it stores and shares user data. Experts said that while this latest attack didn’t appear to compromise users’ data, it was a serious security breach.
“Protecting the people who use Facebook from spam and malicious content is a top priority for us, and we are always working to improve our systems to isolate and remove material that violates our terms,” Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said in a statement. “Our efforts have drastically limited the damage caused by this attack, and we are now in the process of investigating to identify those responsible...”
Volney said the categories from whom non-intimate samples could be taken have expanded. He said it now included members of the protective services; holders of firearm licences; deported citizens and people from who samples were required in the interest of national security. He said DNA-testing facilities would be set up at all police stations. He said if citizens had “nothing to hide, they should have nothing to fear. Volney said the Government was committed to ensure that justice was served to the victim and the offender...
A federal judge on Thursday ruled that Twitter, the popular microblogging platform, must reveal information about three of its account holders who are under investigation for their possible links to the WikiLeaks whistle-blower site.
The case has become a flash point for online privacy and speech, in part because the Justice Department sought the information without a search warrant last year. Instead, on the basis of a 1994 law called the Stored Communications Act, the government demanded that Twitter provide the Internet protocol addresses of three of its users, among other things. An Internet protocol address identifies and gives the location of a computer used to log onto the Internet.
The three people came to the Justice Department’s attention because it believed they were associated with WikiLeaks.
Twitter informed the three people — Jacob Appelbaum, an American computer security expert, along with Rop Gonggrijp, a Dutch citizen, and Birgitta Jonsdottir, a member of Iceland’s Parliament — of the government’s demand for information earlier this year.
The petitioners argued in federal court that their Internet protocol addresses should be considered private information and that the demand for information was too broad and unrelated to WikiLeaks. They also argued that the order suppressed their right to free speech.
The court disagreed...
"BRS Labs' software has been selected by the City of Houston's video surveillance program and is being deployed in an effort to proactively identify unusual behavioral activities and notify security and law enforcement staff of the potential threats detected", according to Maurice Singleton, subject matter expert and security technology advisor for the City of Houston. Singleton further added that, "the ability to collect advanced video surveillance intelligence reflects the city's commitment to proactively identify potential threats throughout city operations."
Specifically designed to autonomously serve as the eyes and brain for large scale critical security environments, BRS Labs' software, AISight(TM), is able to attach to existing video surveillance infrastructure and watch, learn, and identify unusual behavioral patterns in real time. This advanced video surveillance technology will be incorporated into the City of Houston's critical infrastructure protection program thereby increasing the city's level of situational awareness and providing the ability to proactively identify security violations, potential criminal activity and more serious threats...
Lancaster city officials have unanimously approved a measure that would allow police to use a plane affixed with high-tech optical equipment to record the movements of people on the ground.
The aerial surveillance program, slated to begin by next May, will involve a piloted Cessna 172 fixed-wing aircraft that would circle the Antelope Valley city at altitudes of 1,000 to 3,000 feet some 10 hours a day.
The technology affixed to the plane and developed by Lancaster-based Spiral Technology Inc. will record video footage that will be transmitted to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department...
Tired of losing the keys to your bike? Well, now you can lose them altogether.
FIST Enterprises of Boca Raton, Florida, has developed a biometric security system that can be installed on a motorcycle, car or any vehicle, letting you start it up with the swipe of a finger.
BioSmartStart uses a small scanner that replaces the ignition key slot and can authorize up to 100 different fingerprints, which makes it suitable for commercial applications, such as use on construction equipment, and for vehicle owners with very large families. As of now, the system is only designed to work on the ignition, so you’ll still need a door key if you want to use it with a car, but a version that can also control vehicle access is in the works...
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Tuesday in the case of a Washington nightclub owner convicted of dealing cocaine in part based on evidence from a GPS device attached to his SUV without a warrant.
Both sides see high stakes in United States v. Antoine Jones, a case examining the line between security and privacy, which is increasingly obscured by new technologies. Depending on which side is arguing, the case could seriously hamper investigations of criminals and terrorists alike, or it could lead to police using your own cell phone to track your every move.
Seven years ago, nightclub owner Antoine Jones came under police and FBI suspicion of drug dealing.
Investigators attached a GPS device to his Jeep Grand Cherokee and collected data about where he drove for four weeks, according to court filings. But they didn’t comply with the terms of their warrant, allowing it to lapse and violating geographical restrictions.
Nonetheless, prosecutors used GPS data—which showed Jones visiting a stash house—to prove their case, along with other evidence. Jones was sentenced to life in prison for conspiracy to distribute nearly 100 kilograms—200 pounds—of cocaine...
“Bluetooth headset maker Jawbone will soon release its new Up life monitoring wristband that’s designed to help you live a more healthy life by tracking every move you make, what you’re eating, how long you’re sleeping and how many calories you burn.”
The wristbands attach to mobile phones. Apparently the user is expected to wear the wristbands 24 hours a day. The company has made it easy for them to do so by making the bands out of medical-grade, hypo-allergenic rubber, which makes the bracelets sweat-proof and water resistant.
This is yet another example of police state indoctrination-though-gadget. Such toys serve to warm the public over to an inevitable reality in which the monitoring of every aspect of one’s life by machines– which will report the information back to centralized government/corporate centers– is no longer a voluntary novelty, but a shackle nobody can get away from...
No matter how well-intentioned, regulation often has unintended consequences. A case in point is the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA), a law that mandates certain online privacy protections for children under the age of 13. A new study documents how the law has encouraged many kids—often with the help of their parents—to lie about their ages online and evade age-based restrictions. The authors also conclude that COPPA “inadvertently undermines parents’ ability to make choices and protect their children’s data.”
It wasn’t supposed to work out this way. The goal of COPPA was to enhance parents’ involvement in their children’s online activities and better safeguard kids’ personal information online. COPPA is a complicated law, however, and its “parental consent” provisions have proven difficult to enforce...
In an anonymous industrial park, CIA analysts who jokingly call themselves the "ninja librarians" are mining the mass of information people publish about themselves overseas, tracking everything from common public opinion to revolutions.
The group's effort gives the White House a daily snapshot of the world built from tweets, newspaper articles and Facebook updates.
The agency's Open Source Center sometimes looks at 5 million tweets a day. The analysts are also checking out TV news channels, local radio stations, Internet chat rooms — anything overseas that people can access and contribute to openly...
If you’re finding it tough to stay off of Facebook, you may soon find it even harder to keep your words off of Google.
The Internet’s most popular — and powerful — search engine will soon expand its search index to include user comments on Facebook as part of Google’s traditional search results.
While private users will still be protected, any comments made on Facebook forms on other websites or public pages within the social networking site will be indexed and open for all the world to see.
The controversial change comes as Google looks to expand its reach to any user content currently hiding from its all-seeing search robots — usually in comment systems like the one used on Facebook and other popular sites...
Britain’s largest police force has been using covert surveillance technology that can masquerade as a mobile phone network to intercept communications and unique IDs from phones or even transmit a signal to shut off phones remotely, according to the Guardian.
The system, made by Datong in the United Kingdom, was purchased by the London Metropolitan police, which paid $230,000 to Datong for “ICT hardware” in 2008 and 2009.
The portable device, which is the size of a suitcase, pretends to be a legitimate cell phone tower that emits a signal to dupe thousands of mobile phones in a targeted area. Authorities can then intercept SMS messages, phone calls and phone data, such as unique IMSI and IMEI identity codes that allow authorities to track phone users’ movements in real-time, without having to request location data from a mobile phone carrier.
In the case of intercepted communications, it is not clear whether the network works as a blackhole where intercepted messages go to die, or whether it works as a proper man-in-the-middle attack, by which the fake tower forwards the data to a real tower to provide uninterrupted service for the user.
In addition to intercepting calls and messages, the system can be used to effectively cut off phone communication, such as in a war zone where phones might be used as a trigger for an explosive device, or for crowd control during demonstrations and riots where participants use phones to organize...
The use of biometrics to verify identity is becoming well-established at airports, but the technology could find a wider application in the future to diagnose suspicious intent on the part of passengers and staff.
Defence Research and Development Canada (part of the Department of National Defence) released a paper in March 2011 describing how brain signals might be measured to distinguish hostile intent from everyday emotions.
Scientists aim to create standards to measure an individual's normal psychological and behavioural responses, before isolating the physiology of emotions such as fear or anger. In this way, 'biometrics of intent' could be employed to determine whether individuals displaying unusual behaviour in an airport are simply anxious or dangerous...
Most Americans are more than willing to use their own bodies - or at least parts of them - as a form of identification in their everyday activities. The use of biometrics, it appears, doesn't frighten a majority of connected Americans.
That's the takeaway from a just-released survey by IT integrator Unisys.
A majority of Americans polled say they'd provide personal biometric information - an iris scan, fingerprint, voice print - to enter airport terminals, conduct banking transactions and do business with government.
Sixty percent of Americans polled say they'd provide personal biometric information - an iris scan, fingerprint, voice print - to enter airport terminals; 57 percent, conduct banking transactions; and 53 percent, transact business with government.
Oddly, these Americans feel less comfortable with sharing their biometrics with employers; only 46 percent say they'd furnish biometrics to access their employers' computer systems. And, though, many users share intimate details about their lives on the likes of Facebook and YouTube, only one in five would provide a biometric to log on to a social network...
The wave of uprisings across North Africa and the Middle East that have overturned three governments in the past year have prompted the U.S. government to begin developing guidelines for culling intelligence from social media networks, a top Homeland Security official said Monday.
Department of Homeland Security Undersecretary Caryn Wagner said the use of such technology in uprisings that started in December in Tunisia shocked some officials into attention and prompted questions of whether the U.S. needs to do a better job of monitoring domestic social networking activity.
"We're still trying to figure out how you use things like Twitter as a source," she said. "How do you establish trends and how do you then capture that in an intelligence product?"
Wagner said the department is establishing guidelines on gleaning information from sites such as Twitter and Facebook for law enforcement purposes. Wagner says those protocols are being developed under strict laws meant to prevent spying on U.S. citizens and protect privacy, including rules dictating the length of time the information can be stored and differences between domestic and international surveillance...