Tag Archives | Security

Tennessee Becomes First State With TSA Checkpoints On Highway

Terrorists can't afford airline tickets these days, so the TSA is adjusting to stay one step ahead. Tennessee News Press reports:
“People generally associate the TSA with airport security…but now we have moved on to other forms of transportation, such as highways, buses and railways,” said Kevin McCarthy, TSA federal security director for West Tennessee. They are randomly inspecting vehicles on highways in Tennessee.
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Phone Snooping ‘Prevented Riots’

Photo: Riemer Palstra (CC)

Photo: Riemer Palstra (CC)

To tweet or not tweet where you’re rioting next? One option was to shut down social networks so that rioters couldn’t mass communicate. The other option was to allow them to tweet and text, then read their messages to find out what they’re planning next. The latter was able to prevent attacks on the Olympic site and London’s Oxford Street. BBC reports:

Police say they prevented attacks by rioters on the Olympic site and London’s Oxford Street after picking up intelligence on social networks.

Assistant Met Police Commissioner Lynne Owens told a committee of MPs officers learned of possible trouble via Twitter and Blackberry messenger.

But Acting Commissioner Tim Godwin said he had considered asking authorities to switch off social networks.

He said they provided intelligence but could also be misleading.

A number of politicians, media commentators and members of the police force have suggested that Twitter and Blackberry Messenger (BBM) had a role to play in the riots.

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Stand Your Ground: Taking Photos In Public

The London Street Photography Festival had six photographers attempt to take pictures in various locations on public streets in Britain's capital. Despite being perfectly within their rights, all six were stopped by private security forces who made vague allusions to "terrorism" and "security" and tried to intimidate them. The Festival filmed the encounters and what happened when the photographers politely refused to back down:
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This Vehicle Registration Plate Surveillance System Is a Warning to Us All

Knight RiderNo CCTV has teamed up with Privacy International and Big Brother Watch to challenge the legality of the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) [also known as ALPR in North America] camera network in the UK. A complaint has been sent to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) against a so-called ANPR “Ring of Steel” that is being constructed around the town of Royston in Hertfordshire — but for Royston read any town in the UK.


The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has constructed a network of cameras across the country without any public or parliamentary debate. These cameras record the number plate of each and every vehicle that passes, sometimes taking a photograph of the car and its occupants. The number plate is then compared to a “hotlist” of vehicles of interest, and whether or not the plate is on that list (ie a “hit”), all information gathered is stored for between two and five years.… Read the rest

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Cloud-Based Data Outside the U.S. Not Exempt From PATRIOT Act Spying

Bald EagleStephen C. Webster writes on The Raw Story:
In the brave new world of cloud computing, where data is stored off-site in massive server farms instead of on a user's local hard drive, privacy and security are paramount in the consumer's mind. Unfortunately for privacy advocates, their concerns are essentially moot thanks to the U.S.A. Patriot Act, which a key Microsoft official said recently permits the U.S. to spy on data stored within cloud servers across the European Union. The revelation of transcontinental spying, which has long been suspected, came from Gordon Frazer, Microsoft U.K.'s managing director, speaking at an announcement event for the company's new suite of office software. Frazer's admission was caught by ZDNet reporter Zack Whittaker, who's long covered data security issues as they relate to the Patriot Act.
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Man Flies From JFK To LA Without Valid ID Or Boarding Pass

Photo: Magnus Manske (CC)

Photo: Magnus Manske (CC)

While the TSA is busy being as thorough as they possibly can, it seems other aspects of the airport personnel are not up to par. Via The Gothamist:

While the Transportation Security Administration may or may not be making old ladies take off their Depends during screening, there’s this: A Nigerian man managed to board a Los Angeles-bound flight at JFK Airport without a valid boarding pass or valid identification. Olajide Olwaseun Noibi used a fake ID and an expired boarding pass to get onto Virgin America Flight 415.

WCBS 2 reports, “The FBI says Noibi sat in the main cabin and when a flight attendant asked him to show his boarding pass, he produced the expired pass. Noibi was still allowed to get off the plane when it landed in Los Angeles.” Great! And how did Noibi get the pass?ABC News explains:

“On that pass was the name of a man with the initials M.D.

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LulzSec ‘Takes Down’ CIA Website

somehwat-mad-completely-mad-u-mad-MADADVia BBC News:
The hacker group Lulz Security has claimed it has brought down the public-facing website of the US Central Intelligence Agency. The alleged attack on CIA.gov occurred on the same day the group opened a telephone request line so its fans could suggest potential targets. On its Twitter feed, the group wrote: "Tango down - cia.gov - for the lulz". The CIA website was inaccessible at times on Wednesday but appeared to be back up on Thursday. It was unclear if the outage was due to the group's efforts or to the large number of internet users trying to check the site. The CIA would not confirm if it had been the victim of an attack. In a statement, a spokesperson told BBC News: "The CIA's public web site experienced technical issues that caused it to respond slowly for a short time yesterday evening. Those issues are now resolved."
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Two Men Run Wild In An Empty Terminal At Dallas Forth-Worth Airport

There has been a video floating around the internet of photographer Joe Ayala and friend Larry Chen stranded at Dallas Fort-Worth Airport after their connecting flight was canceled one night. When it appeared there was no one else in the terminal, the two decide to make the most of the situation and goof around in wheelchair races and enjoying themselves to some free beer. The incident was seen on security cameras, but no personnel seem to be in the terminal. Aviation security experts don't believe it to be too much of a security risk because the men were ticketed passengers who had already been through TSA screenings, but not everyone agrees.
DFW airport board member Betty Culbreath says while it may have been a prank, it sent the wrong message. “It’s not funny. It’s not going to happen again as far as I’m concerned. It should not have happened because it gives the perception the airport is sitting out there unguarded and that’s why I was concerned, and am still concerned.”
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Texas Proposes ‘Anti-Groping’ Law Against TSA, Feds Threaten To Ground All Flights

Texas has been the first state to propose a bill that will disallow TSA agents from groping passengers. The federal government stated that if the state were to approve such a bill, the TSA would be forced to ground all flights. Makes me think of something Thomas Jefferson stated, "Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one." Via The Raw Story:
A bill that would criminalize TSA agents who conduct airport patdown searches was scuttled Tuesday night after the federal government threatened to ground all flights out of Texas. The proposed law would have levied misdemeanor charges against security agents who "intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly [touch] the anus, sexual organ, buttocks, or breast of the other person, including touching through clothing, or touching the other person in a manner that would be offensive to a reasonable person." An earlier version of House Bill 1937 would have made such action a felony. [Story continues]
Fox 7 reports:
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Cisco Systems Sued For Helping China Monitor Internet

Computer-science29The Financial Times reports:

Senior executives at Cisco Systems worked closely with Chinese government security agents to tailor hardware and software they knew would be used to track, detain and torture followers of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement, according to a US federal lawsuit filed last week.

The suit accuses the networking company’s chief executive John Chambers and leaders of Cisco’s China business of close collaboration with Beijing, citing statements on company websites, at trade shows and in internal documents.

The 52-page complaint was brought by the Washington-based Human Rights Law Foundation, which has handled other legal issues for Falun Gong followers, on behalf of residents in the US and survivors of some said to have been killed in China for their participation in Falun Gong activities.

Cisco has faced criticism in the past for allowing its routers, which have the greatest share of the world market by revenue, to play a crucial role in China’s massive internet blocking and surveillance.

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