Tag Archives | Surveillance

Glenn Greenwald: From Martin Luther King to Anonymous, the State Targets Dissenters Not Just ‘Bad Guys’

Disinfonauts, do you consider yourselves dissenters? Well if you dissent loudly enough you’ll become a state target, per Glenn Greenwald at The Guardian.

Glenn Greenwald. Photo: Photo: David dos Santos (CC)

Glenn Greenwald. Photo: Photo: David dos Santos (CC)

A prime justification for surveillance – that it’s for the benefit of the population – relies on projecting a view of the world that divides citizens into categories of good people and bad people. In that view, the authorities use their surveillance powers only against bad people, those who are “doing something wrong”, and only they have anything to fear from the invasion of their privacy. This is an old tactic. In a 1969 Time magazine article about Americans’ growing concerns over the US government’s surveillance powers, Nixon’s attorney general, John Mitchell, assured readers that “any citizen of the United States who is not involved in some illegal activity has nothing to fear whatsoever”.

The point was made again by a White House spokesman, responding to the 2005 controversy over Bush’s illegal eavesdropping programme: “This is not about monitoring phone calls designed to arrange Little League practice or what to bring to a potluck dinner.

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Activists’ Must-Have: Identity Replacement Tech

MaskTumblr

URME Surveillance

There have been attempts at foiling facial recognition surveillance technology before, but the new and most sophisticated tools yet are arriving in the form of “identity replacement tech.” CNET describes the Personal Surveillance Identity Prosthetic, which “gives you a whole new face”:

If the world starts looking like a scene from “Matrix 3″ where everyone has Agent Smith’s face, you can thank Leo Selvaggio.

His rubber mask aimed at foiling surveillance cameras features his visage, and if he has his way, plenty of people will be sporting the Personal Surveillance Identity Prosthetic in public. It’s one of three products made by the Chicago-based artist’s URME Surveillance, a venture dedicated to “protecting the public from surveillance and creating a safe space to explore our digital identities.”

“Our world is becoming increasingly surveilled. For example, Chicago has over 25,000 cameras networked to a single facial recognition hub,” reads the URME (pronounced U R Me) site.

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I, Camera – The 5 Laws of FFUCams

FFUCam in action
A FFUCam spreading trust
[ based on image by West Midlands Police ]

Everyone knows that the camera never lies. That’s a definitely true fact. The flip side to this fact is of course the additional fact that people can and do lie – frequently. So when it comes to lying, cameras are clearly more trustworthy, reliable and generally better than people. Everyone has known this since the phrase “the camera never lies” was first discovered in 1857 (the date might be a lie of course, after all I’m only human).

The incredible thing is that despite everyone knowing that the camera never lies and is better than people, this beacon of moral certitude was so massively under utilised.

Let us consider the evidence before us in a forensic and thorough way.

Do cameras commit murder? No.
Are cameras ever drunk and disorderly? No.
Do cameras abuse their position in society?… Read the rest

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Artificial Intelligence and Surveillance Will Inevitably Connect

Pic: Quevaal (CC)

Pic: Quevaal (CC)

 The Atlantic‘s Alexis C. Madrigal has assembled five links that indicate artificial intelligence and surveillance will evolve hand in hand.

1. Surveillance by artificial intelligence… how else did we think law enforcement would process all that video footage?

“Artificial intelligence is already in use across surveillance networks around the world. At high security sites like prisons, nuclear facilities or government agencies, it’s commonplace for security systems to set up a number of rules-based alerts for their video analytics. So if an object on the screen (a person, or a car, for instance) crosses a designated part of the scene, an alert is passed on to the human operator. The operator surveys the footage, and works out if further action needs to be taken… BRS Labs’ AISight is different because it doesn’t rely on a human programmer to tell it what behaviour is suspicious. It learns that all by itself.”

Read the rest of it here.Read the rest

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Edward Snowden: Vladimir Putin Must Be Called to Account on Surveillance Just Like Obama

Photo: www.kremlin.ru (CC)

Photo: www.kremlin.ru (CC)

Edward Snowden writes at the Guardian:

On Thursday, I questioned Russia’s involvement in mass surveillance on live television. I asked Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, a question that cannot credibly be answered in the negative by any leader who runs a modern, intrusive surveillance program: “Does [your country] intercept, analyse or store millions of individuals’ communications?”

I went on to challenge whether, even if such a mass surveillance program were effective and technically legal, it could ever be morally justified.

The question was intended to mirror the now infamous exchange in US Senate intelligence committee hearings between senator Ron Wyden and the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, about whether the NSA collected records on millions of Americans, and to invite either an important concession or a clear evasion. (See a side-by-side comparison of Wyden’s question and mine here.)

Clapper’s lie – to the Senate and to the public – was a major motivating force behind my decision to go public, and a historic example of the importance of official accountability.

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Yes, You Are Under Surveillance

disinformation staffers often joke that all of their communications are being monitored, but guess what, you’re under surveillance too. Julia Angwin explains for The Week:

Anti1984 We are living in a Dragnet Nation — a world of indiscriminate tracking where institutions are stockpiling data about individuals at an unprecedented pace. The rise of indiscriminate tracking is powered by the same forces that have brought us the technology we love so much — powerful computing on our desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

Before computers were commonplace, it was expensive and difficult to track individuals. Governments kept records only of occasions, such as birth, marriage, property ownership, and death. Companies kept records when a customer bought something and filled out a warranty card or joined a loyalty club. But technology has made it cheap and easy for institutions of all kinds to keep records about almost every moment of our lives.

The combination of massive computing power, smaller and smaller devices, and cheap storage has enabled a huge increase in indiscriminate tracking of personal data.

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From the Pages of Barry Ween: What We Would All Like to Do and Say to the Minions of the Surveillance State

via chycho

barry_wee_8

Barry Ween is a fictional “10-year-old boy who secretly possesses the most powerful intellect on Earth”. His escapades are brilliantly depicted by Judd Winick in the pages of “The Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius”.

Barry is a genius, and we’re not talking about the regular Einstein type of genius, or beyond belief Tesla genius, we’re talking about 350 I.Q. “by far the smartest organism on the planet” genius. We’re talking about “self-awareness-in-the-womb-smart” (click images to enlarge).

Being the smartest creature to ever walk this earth, he realizes early on that for his safety and the safety of those that he loves, he would have to remain hidden. After all, we all know what humanity is capable of once fear of the incomprehensible and the unknown takes hold.

His first few years were long and arduous but he withstood them, and at the age of 10 he acquired enough freedom to explore the limits of science and understanding, albeit, still in secret.

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NSA’s Desperation for Secrecy Leads to Stupidity, Alienating the Hacker Community

nsa_General_Keith_B._Alexander_in_service_uniform
via chycho

In 2012 we witnessed NSA’s Director Gen. Keith Alexander put on a black t-shirt and jeans and head out to DEF CON, “one of the world’s largest annual hacker conventions”, in search of the youngest and brightest minds in our society to join his ilk:

“‘In this room, this room right here, is the talent our nation needs to secure cyberspace,’ Alexander told the standing-room-only audience at DefCon, a grassroots gathering in Las Vegas expected to draw a record 16,000 attendees this year. ‘We need great talent. We don’t pay as high as everybody else, but we’re fun to be around.’”

DEF CON 20 By General Keith B Alexander Shared Values Shared Response [sic]

We all know that top government officials lie, this should be obvious to everyone, especially after watching the “National Director of Intelligence James Clapper commit perjury when he testified before the Senate” when he stated that the NSA does “not wittingly” spy on Americans, but the lies that Gen.

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The NSA Plans on Infecting Millions of Computers With Malware: Here’s How

o-NSA-PHONE-RECORD-COLLECTION-facebookLike sketchy porn sites, faux internet contests and websites offering to clean your PC for free, the NSA hopes to infect millions of computers with malware. Glenn Greenwald’s The Intercept has the story. If you’re interested in NSA coverage, I recommend it.

Via The Intercept

Top-secret documents reveal that the National Security Agency is dramatically expanding its ability to covertly hack into computers on a mass scale by using automated systems that reduce the level of human oversight in the process.

The classified files – provided previously by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden – contain new details about groundbreaking surveillance technology the agency has developed to infect potentially millions of computers worldwide with malware “implants.” The clandestine initiative enables the NSA to break into targeted computers and to siphon out data from foreign Internet and phone networks.

The covert infrastructure that supports the hacking efforts operates from the agency’s headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, and from eavesdropping bases in the United Kingdom and Japan.

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The East German Stasi Collected Metadata, Too

A21l7FJJulia Angwin, author of Dragnet Nation, authored an interesting article at Information Liberation on the East German secret police. They collected “harmless metadata” too, but didn’t have anywhere near the power of our own NSA.

Via Information Liberation:

The East German secret police, known as the Stasi, were an infamously intrusive secret police force. They amassed dossiers on about one quarter of the population of the country during the Communist regime.

But their spycraft — while incredibly invasive — was also technologically primitive by today’s standards. While researching my book Dragnet Nation, I obtained the above hand drawn social network graph and other files from the Stasi Archive in Berlin, where German citizens can see files kept about them and media can access some files, with the names of the people who were monitored removed.

The graphic shows forty-six connections, linking a target to various people (an “aunt,” “Operational Case Jentzsch,” presumably Bernd Jentzsch, an East German poet who defected to the West in 1976), places (“church”), and meetings (“by post, by phone, meeting in Hungary”).

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