Tag Archives | Spying

Ted Rall’s Prescient Take On Verizon And The NSA

verizon and the NSAVia Common Dreams, political cartoonist Ted Rall foresaw exactly where we would be today in a piece written in 2006:

Several months ago employees of Verizon, the company that enjoys a monopoly on local telephone service where I live, confirmed that my telephone has been tapped by the government.

“I don’t mind that Bush is listening to my calls,” I told the security department. “It’s not like I’m calling al Qaeda. And if they called me, I wouldn’t be able to hear them because of the noise on the line.”

Most Americans feel the same as me. We’re not doing anything wrong, so why should we care if the government knows when we’re stuck on hold? If losing our privacy can prevent another 9/11, isn’t it worth it?

No. First and foremost, domestic spying is not an anti-terrorism program. The CIA estimates that there are between 2,000 and 10,000 al Qaeda members worldwide.

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Glenn Greenwald Challenges The Media’s NSA Leaks Talking Points On MSNBC

In the days since publishing bombshell articles revealing the NSA’s secret spying on all Americans’ phone calls, chats, and emails, Glenn Greenwald has been appearing on mainstream U.S. media outlets to challenge the notion that the his scoop is traitorous or a threat to national security: “Yeah, I’ll put it into context for you. The White House talking points that you’re using are completely misleading and false.”

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Don’t Worry About Obama Spying On You—Just Kidding, You Should Worry

article-obama-1207Ah, the sweet smell of Thursday morning outright denial-of-reality.

Yes, in a sweeping scoop from The Guardian‘s Glenn Greenwald, it has been revealed that the Obama administration since at least April has been hoovering up millions of Verizon subscribers’ phone data – customers within the United States, calling other customers within the United States. Monitoring such ‘domestic only’ communications is strictly forbidden by the NSA’s mandate, but don’t worry, some hardcore Obama policy defenders on Twitter and on the cable news networks this morning have a reality distortion field… or wish they had one.

You see, according to such apologists for warrantless spying, this isn’t a big deal because a) Bush was doing it in some form also and b) it’s just ‘metadata.’

To address point A: and their point is? Weird world we live in when the best justification you can come up with is that the Mission Accomplished Guantanamo waterboarding torture war with the wrong country guy with a ranch in Crawford, Texas did it also.… Read the rest

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Does Anti-Defamation League Leader Support Blanket Spying on American Muslims?

ADL-Logo-BlueThis seems sketchy, but is he advocating blanket monitoring of America’s Muslim Community or is he simply discussing how such reactionary measures come about? The Daily Beast’s Ali Gharib feels that it is the former. Your thoughts?

The most staggering ambivalence about bigotry in Foxman’s Haaretz interview, though, wasn’t about Christians or even Palestinians; it was about American Muslims. Asked by his interviewer, Chemi Shalev, about anti-Muslim discimination, Foxman sought to rationalize it. First, he argued that incidents of anti-Semitism occur more frequently than those related to anti-Muslim bigotry, as if tracking bigotry is a game in which scores are kept. But then Foxman digs deeper.

Shalev: You don’t think that “Muslim-baiting” is much more acceptable in the mainstream media than, say, “Jew-baiting”? There is a Congressman now who is calling for the authorities to keep track of the entire Muslim community.

Foxman: I don’t think that’s Muslim-baiting. It’s a natural response.

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CISPA Cybersurveillance Bill Passes In House Of Representatives

CISPAHere’s crossing your fingers that Obama stands strong on his threat to veto if the bill make it through the U.S. Senate. Via CNET on Thursday:

By a 288-127 vote today, the House adopted the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, better known as CISPA. CISPA would authorize e-mail and Internet providers to share confidential information with the federal government.

The odds of a Democrat-controlled Senate the approving legislation opposed by President Obama are slim, but today’s vote could increase pressure for some sort of legislation this year.

CISPA is “so important to our national security” that it must be adopted, said Rep. Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican who authored CISPA and heads the House Intelligence Committee.

CISPA is controversial because it overrules all existing laws by saying “notwithstanding any other provision of law,” including privacy policies and wiretap laws, companies may share cybersecurity-related information “with any other entity, including the federal government.”






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Shell, Nestle, Monsanto and McDonald’s Have Biggest Private Spy Outfits

Just as governments spy on activists, so do corporations. In an interview, investigative reporter Eveline Lubbers is asked which corporations have the most extensive intelligence-gathering operations. The answer (maybe) via Parapolitical.com: Royal Dutch Shell, Nestle, Monsanto and McDonald’s.

Are these corporations the worst offenders in general? That is a difficult question, and I have no answer to it in terms of straight figures and statistics. Since most of  these manoeuvres are secret, they remain in the dark (no pun intended). You don’t know what you don’t see.

What I can say from the case studies that I worked on, and from the stories that have come to light in the past few years in the UK and the US, is this. We are not looking at isolated cases, what has come to the surface is more like the tip of the iceberg. I have identified patterns in how police and corporations deal with resistance, with criticism, with campaigners, and how they join forces.

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Furniture Chain’s Rental Computers Sent 185,000 Spyware Emails Containing Customers’ Passwords, Explicit Photos, Financial Information Back to Headquarters

The Atlanta-based national furniture chain Aaron’s offers computers on a rent-to-own basis. Many of the computers contained secretly activated spyware which tracked customers’ locations, took webcam photos inside their homes, and forwarded intimate photos and information back to corporate servers, reports NBC News:

Spyware installed on computers leased from furniture renter Aaron’s Inc. secretly sent 185,000 emails containing sensitive information — including pictures of nude children and people having sex — back to the company’s corporate computers, according to court documents filed Wednesday in a class-action lawsuit.

According to the filings, some of the spyware emails contained pictures secretly taken by the rental computers’ webcams or other sensitive information including Social Security numbers, social media and email passwords, and customer keystrokes, the Federal Trade Commission determined last year.

Aaron’s officials have previously said the company never installed the spyware on computers rented out of 1,140 company-operated stores and blamed individual franchisees for installing it.

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The Hidden Geography Of Optical Calibration Targets

The Center for Land Use Interpretation on symbols strewn across the American landscape which make sense only to airborne machines:

There are dozens of aerial photo calibration targets across the USA, curious land-based two-dimensional optical artifacts made mostly in the 1950s and 1960s, and many are still in use, though their history is obscure.

Most of them follow the same form established by the Air Force and NASA. The pattern painted on the targets is sets of parallel and perpendicular bars that function like an eye chart at the optometrist. For aerial photography and satellites, it provides a platform to test, calibrate, and focus aerial cameras traveling at different speeds and altitudes.

Many of these resolution test targets are found in the Mojave desert of California, one of the principal development and test areas for surveillance aircraft. The largest concentration in one place is on the grounds of Edwards Air Force Base, where calibration targets run for 20 miles.

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The U.S. Military Is Developing Deadly Robotic Insect Drones

Want to know something horrifying? The Air Force has a “drone birdhouse” filled with tiny, lethal, buzzing robotic creatures. In a few years, the doors will open and the drone bugs will be released upon the world. Via National Geographic, John Horgan reveals:

DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, has challenged researchers to build drones that mimic the size and behavior of bugs and birds. Cobb’s answer is a robotic hawk moth, with wings made of carbon fiber and Mylar. Piezoelectric motors flap the wings 30 times a second, so rapidly they vanish in a blur.

The Air Force has nonetheless already constructed a “micro-aviary” for flight-testing small drones. In an animated demonstration video, the drones swarm through alleys, crawl across windowsills, and perch on power lines. One of them sneaks up on a scowling man holding a gun and shoots him in the head.

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‘Seagulls’: Short Film About Surveillance Drones Shadowing a Girl

It won’t be long before the foreboding surreal visions of the short film “Seagulls” come to pass. Artist Mato Atom shows us a world where we are not only surveilled by the omnipresent drones, but followed from our very birth throughout our lives, for some creepy, sinister, unknown purpose.

via Gizmodo:

seagulls from Mato Atom on Vimeo.

Watch the entire video on Vimeo.

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