Tag Archives | Security

The Emergency Broadcast False Alarm of 1971

 Via Things Magazine, sometimes, behind everything lies confusion:

The False Alarm of 1971 was an accidental triggering of the USA-wide Emergency Broadcast System, ‘an expeditious method of communicating with the American public in the event of war, threat of war, or grave national crisis.’ A detailed description of the event is chronicled here, the great accidental test broadcast of 1971, complete with a scan of one of the most ominous documents to ever be received by a Teletype machine:


The fault originated from the heart of Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado and involved the accidental inclusion of a real code word – ‘hatefulness’ – on a test transmission of the Emergency Broadcast System. As one broadcaster reportedly said, “This confusion ‘shows the whole darn (system) won’t work.

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Britain To Install Missiles In Apartment Complexes For London Olympics

London 2012More 2012 Olympics dystopianism as a dense East London neighborhood will be turned into a military base, in the name of pole-vaulting. Robert Booth writes in the Guardian:

The Bow Quarter complex of more than 700 apartments is the first of a handful of housing developments close to the Olympic Park chosen by military planners to host high velocity rockets aimed at preventing an airborne terrorist attack on this summer’s Games.

Ministry of Defence officials will this week inform a number of other residents that their homes have been selected to become part of London’s military lockdown. The missile units will be installed and armed with dummy rockets in time for a national Olympic security exercise starting on Wednesday. The test of the government’s £1bn security plans will see RAF Typhoon fast jets and military helicopters operating above London and the home counties.

“It is rather surreal,” said Nathan Lewis, a software developer who lives in the block beneath where the weapons will be located.

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Security Questions, Market Research, Or Something Else?

Email providers, banks, and other entities commonly and increasingly use knowledge-based security questions as a backup or addition to simple passwords, for your own security. Or at least that’s what they say the purpose is. Should you really be revealing these things to someone whom you don’t know? From the New Aesthetic:

What Apple would like to know about you. (Screenshots by Chris H.) These are Apple’s new security questions for iOS. I thought the London 2012 site ones – “What’s your favourite colour?” “Who’s your best friend?” were bad enough.


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Has The TSA Ever Foiled A Terrorist Plot?

5506396804_dee871f844_nVia the Economist, Bruce Schneier points out what should be obvious:

In the entire decade or so of airport security since the attacks on September 11th 2001, the TSA has not foiled a single terrorist plot or caught a single terrorist. Its own “Top 10 Good Catches of 2011” does not have a single terrorist on the list. The “good catches” are forbidden items carried by mostly forgetful, and entirely innocent, people—the sorts of guns and knives that would have been just as easily caught by pre-9/11 screening procedures. Not that the TSA is expert at that; it regularly misses guns and bombs in tests and real life. Even its top “good catch”—a passenger with C4 explosives—was caught on his return flight; TSA agents missed it the first time through.

In previous years, the TSA has congratulated itself for confiscating home-made electronics, alerting the police to people with outstanding misdemeanour warrants and arresting people for wearing fake military uniforms.

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New Surveillance Camera Can Search 36 Million Faces For Matches Per Second

The story of your life is being filmed and photographed each day, and soon will be searchable. Via PhysOrg:

A new surveillance camera by Hitachi Kokusai Electric can look at footage that contains an image of someone, either still or video, and then search other video or still images on file for other instances of that same face. It can search, process and display up to thirty six million faces in just one second. Each hit is displayed immediately, in thumbnail form, which its makers say, allows the camera to display the actions of a person prior to, or after, being seen by the surveillance camera.


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Security By Bending GPS Geography

INV-TSABLDG BLOG writes that the exurbs of Washington, DC are scattered with office parks quietly housing organizations and companies connected to national security and government secrets. Drive though, and you may not notice, but your GPS could be jammed, giving incorrect directions, or even suggesting that you drive in an infinite U-turn loop. These are areas where maps suddenly go sour:

In a fascinating detail from a series of articles published two years ago in the Washington Post, we learn about one way to hide classified government infrastructure in plain sight.

“Just outside Washington,” authors Dana Priest and William Arkin explain, in the exurbs of depopulated office parks and “huge buildings with row after row of opaque, blast-resistant windows,” there can be found what the authors describe as “the capital of an alternative geography of the United States, one defined by the concentration of top-secret government organizations and the companies that do work for them.” And it is cleverly camouflaged:

The existence of these clusters is so little known that most people don’t realize when they’re nearing the epicenter of Fort Meade’s, even when the GPS on their car dashboard suddenly begins giving incorrect directions, trapping the driver in a series of U-turns, because the government is jamming all nearby signals.

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How Private Warmongers and the U.S. Military Infiltrated American Universities

Steve Horn and Allen Ruff recently Grand Strategy Programsreported in Truthout:

A matrix of closely tied university-based strategic studies ventures, the so-called Grand Strategy Programs (GSP), have cropped up on a number of elite campuses around the country, where they function to serve the national security warfare state.

In tandem with allied institutes and think tanks across the country, these programs, centered at Yale University, Duke University, the University of Texas at Austin, Columbia University, Temple University and, until recently, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, illustrate the increasingly influential role of a new breed of warrior academics in the post-9/11 United States. The network marks the ascent and influence of what might be called the “Long War University.”

Ostensibly created to train an up-and-coming elite to see a global “big picture,” this grand strategy network has brought together scores of foreign policy wonks heavily invested — literally and figuratively — in an unending quest to maintain US global supremacy, a campaign which they increasingly refer to as the Long War.

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South Korea Rolls Out Robotic Prison Wardens

robotIncarceration just got a lot more adorable. Via the BBC:

A jail in the eastern city of Pohang plans to run a month-long trial with three of the automatons in March. The machines will monitor inmates for abnormal behaviour.

South Korea aims to be a world leaders in robotics. Business leaders believe the field has the potential to become a major export industry.

The three 5ft-high (1.5m) robots involved in the prison trial have been developed by the Asian Forum for Corrections, a South Korean group of researchers who specialise in criminality and prison policies. It said the robots move on four wheels and are equipped with cameras and other sensors that allow them to detect risky behaviour such as violence and suicide.

Prof Lee Baik-Chu, of Kyonggi University, who led the design process, said the robots would alert human guards if they discovered a problem.

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Occupy The National Security State

Spray The Founders?Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

It seems sadly fitting the USA Patriot Act turned ten years old the day after police in Oakland, California assaulted peaceful demonstrators with tear gas and rubber bullets. While police violence had been already rampant in New York in Zuccotti Park, Oakland marked one of the first major violent confrontations with Occupy demonstrators. Soon after, police in cities across American began raids on Occupy camps, many of which culminated in the use of pepper spray, tear gas, rubber bullets and sonic weapons. The evidence that such raids were coordinated by city mayors continues to mount, even though they vehemently deny any collusion. Most recently, police at UC Davis in California nonchalantly pepper sprayed peaceful students sitting on a plaza.

For ten years, we’ve watched one of the most draconian laws passed with incredible haste systematically destroy the freedoms that were supposedly under attack by terrorists and the “axis of evil.” In the name of national security, the Patriot Act has allowed our government — one that touts itself as the freeist in the world — the ability to spy on its citizens without justification, search their homes without warrants, and even penalize them for speaking a word of such actions.… Read the rest

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