Tag Archives | Spying

These Are The Prices AT&T, Verizon and Sprint Charge For Cellphone Wiretaps

Reports Andy Greenberg on Forbes:

If Americans aren’t disturbed by phone carriers’ practices of handing over cell phone users’ personal data to law enforcement en masse–in many cases without a warrant–we might at least be interested to learn just how much that service is costing us in tax dollars: often hundreds or thousands per individual snooped.

Earlier this week the American Civil Liberties Union revealed a trove of documents it had obtained through Freedom of Information Requests to more than 200 police departments around the country. They show a pattern of police tracking cell phone locations and gathering other data like call logs without warrants, using devices that impersonate cell towers to intercept cellular signals, and encouraging officers to refrain from speaking about cell-tracking technology to the public, all detailed in a New York Times story

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Ex-CIA Spy-in-Training Goes Public on Twitter

Ex CIA Trainee“I was with the CIA for about three and a half months before I was sent to their secret psychiatric prison in Northern Virginia. I was a clandestine service trainee in their program so I wasn’t officially a spy yet. I was training to be a spy,” says Lynnae Williams. Reports Eli Lake on the Daily Beast:

The Twitter feed belonging to Lynnae Williams at first glance looks like most Twitter feeds. There are tweets about what she is reading (Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Madame Bovary); tweets about politics (leans toward the Occupy movement); and tweets about food (tuna casserole, carrot-cake muffins).

But on closer inspection, the feed features something rare for Twitter and even the Internet: detailed disclosures about the CIA. On Tuesday for example, Williams tweeted, “The #Farm is #CIA’s training center near #Williamsburg, Virginia. I think it’s the Kisevalter Center or something.”

In other tweets, Williams, who in 2009 spent nearly four months training to be a CIA spy, details her own experiences with CIA case officers, psychiatrists, and the special security division of the agency that serves as the CIA’s police force.

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Facebook Accused Of Reading Users’ Text Messages

DislikeMike Butcher writes on TechCrunch:

Ahead of Mobile World Congress and an appearance by Facebook to explain its next moves in mobile, the social networking giant is coming under increasing strain over its use of users’ personal information. Mobile startups and operators are both fretting over the issue this week, as smartphones and the apps that come with them increasingly eclipse the feature phones of old. We’ve already seen how Path ignited the debate around privacy by uploading iPhone address books to its servers without explicit permission, just as many other apps have done without anyone realizing for some time. Path was by no means the only offender.

The latest accusation is being leveled at Facebook. In today’s Sunday Times newspaper, published out of London, a story (behind a paywall) alleges that Facebook has “admitted” to “reading text messages” during a trial to launch its own messaging service.

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WikiLeaks Accuses Swedish Foreign Minister Of Being U.S. Spy

4034569140_cfcd205886WikiLeaks takes on Sweden’s elite? Russia Today writes:

The world famous whistleblowing group WikiLeaks claims it has documents exposing Sweden’s FM Carl Bildt as an American spy and is promising to publish them soon. The documents prove that Bildt has been a US informer since 1973 and that he collaborated with the US government in ways that contradict Swedish law, the Swedish tabloid Expressen reports.

It also reports that publication of the materials will inevitably lead to the resignation of the foreign minister and the end of his political career. The Swedish Foreign Ministry said that it first needs to see the documents before issuing any comments on the case.

Some say that WikiLeaks threats to Swedish officials are directly connected to the case of the website’s founder, Julian Assange, who is wanted in Sweden over rape and sexual assault allegations. Assange is currently in Britain fighting extradition to Sweden. His supporters say that if he is sent to Sweden he will then be extradited to the US.

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LAPD To Crack Down On Use Of Unmanned Drones By Real Estate Agents

dronerIn a nightmarish scenario from the future, technology ostensibly created to spy on our “enemies” is now being turned against us by the most nefarious of forces — real estate brokers. The Los Angeles Times reveals:

The Los Angeles Police Department is warning real estate agents not to use images of properties taken from unmanned aircraft, saying the flying drones pose a potential safety hazard and could violate federal aviation policy.

The warning was issued this week after officers saw a television news report showing a basketball-sized object with multiple rotors hovering over an expansive Westside residence.

Real estate agents have been posting aerial photos and video of homes for sale in the Los Angeles area, according to the LAPD. The pictures have been taken from several hundred feet off the ground in the city’s crowded airspace — an altitude at which police helicopters often fly.

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Iran Calls Video Games Part Of CIA Plot

Amir Mirzaei Hekmati

Amir Mirzaei Hekmati

Robert Mackey writes for the New York Times:

According to Iranian state television, a former United States marine who was convicted of spying on Iran and sentenced to death on Monday was also involved in a nefarious plot to brainwash the youth of the Middle East using an unlikely tool: video games.

In a video report broadcast last month, Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, the former marine of Iranian descent who was arrested during a visit to Tehran in August, allegedly confessed to a career in American intelligence that included a stint at a video game company in New York that was “a cover for the C.I.A.”

According to an English translation of the report published by The Tehran Times, an Iranian state-run newspaper, about one-third of the way through the report, Mr. Hekmati said he had worked for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or Darpa, after he left the Marine Corps in 2005.

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DARPA Spy Satellite To Track Objects In Real Time

Via DARPA website

Via DARPA website

Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

Now that unmanned surveillance and attack drones hovering over foreign and friendly skies the world over has become almost commonplace, the Pentagon is looking to add another eye in the sky for big brother. The Defense Department’s research arm DARPA, is developing a satellite that would capture real time imagery from space. Project MOIRE (Membrane Optical Imager for Real-Time Exploitation) would fit spy satellites with camera lenses nearly 60 feet wide. DARPA argues that because there aren’t enough drones or other aircraft providing real time imagery and current satellites only take still photos, such a project bridges a national security gap.

According to Universe Today, each MOIRE satellite would cost $500 million and would cover an area of more than 100 km by 100 km. DARPA hopes the device would be able to track a vehicle moving up to 60mph, which would require a resolution so fine it would be able to see objects a mere 10 feet long in a single pixel.… Read the rest

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Connecticut’s Cold War Secret

AP via Fox News:

For more than a decade they toiled in the strange, boxy-looking building on the hill above the municipal airport, the building with no windows (except in the cafeteria), the building filled with secrets.

They wore protective white jumpsuits, and had to walk through air-shower chambers before entering the sanitized “cleanroom” where the equipment was stored.

They spoke in code.

Few knew the true identity of “the customer” they met in a smoke-filled, wood-paneled conference room where the phone lines were scrambled. When they traveled, they sometimes used false names.

At one point in the 1970s there were more than 1,000 people in the Danbury area working on The Secret…

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Insect Cyborgs May Be The Spies And First Responders Of The Future

111123133510-largeAirborne bugs equipped with sensors, microphones, and cameras will one day go wherever people cannot. Science Daily reports:

Research conducted at the University of Michigan College of Engineering may lead to the use of insects to monitor hazardous situations before sending in humans.

“Through energy scavenging, we could potentially power cameras, microphones and other sensors and communications equipment that an insect could carry aboard a tiny backpack,” Professor Khalil Najafi said. “We could then send these ‘bugged’ bugs into dangerous or enclosed environments where we would not want humans to go.”

The principal idea is to harvest the insect’s biological energy from either its body heat or movements. The device converts the kinetic energy from wing movements of the insect into electricity, thus prolonging the battery life. The battery can be used to power small sensors implanted on the insect (such as a small camera, a microphone or a gas sensor) in order to gather vital information from hazardous environments.

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Undercover Police Spied On Occupy Los Angeles In Search Of ‘Extremists’

occupy-los-angeles-460x307No word on how much fun undercover officers did or didn’t have during their infiltration of Occupy Los Angeles in search of terrorists. Reuters reports:

Undercover police officers infiltrated Occupy LA’s tent city last month to spy on people they suspected of stockpiling human waste and crude weapons for resisting an eventual eviction, police and city government sources said.

Authorities also used security cameras mounted outside City Hall, where the camp was located, and monitored publicly available Internet chatter and video on social-networking sites such as Twitter, sources said.

They insisted that covert surveillance of the camp was aimed not at anti-Wall Street activists exercising their constitutional right to freedom of expression but at those they considered anti-government extremists bent on violence. Civil liberties advocates said they were troubled by law enforcement’s infiltration of peaceful demonstrations, although the LAPD’s undercover efforts were not unique.

In the end, nearly 300 Los Angeles demonstrators were arrested the night police raided their encampment, nearly all for defying orders to leave but with little violence.

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