Tag Archives | Surveillance

Edward Snowden’s Television Interview with German Public Broadcaster ARD

snowden ardvia chycho

From what I understand western mainstream media is not providing very much coverage of Edward Snowden’s latest television interview (transcript). Understandable of course since much of what he talks about would contradict the script.

Figured we’d do our part and give this as much exposure as possible. Below you will find the Vimeo copy (Dailymotion, YouTube copy has been taken down due to copyright claim by ARD). It is worth the watch.

Edward Snowden Interview, English (1/27/2014)

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Documents Reveal NSA Targets “Leaky” Apps Such As Angry Birds To Spy On Smartphone Users

Are virally popular, addictive phone games nothing more than a fiendish plot to get us to install spyware on our devices?The latest from the Snowden document trove via the Guardian:

The National Security Agency and its UK counterpart GCHQ have been developing capabilities to take advantage of “leaky” smartphone apps, such as the wildly popular Angry Birds game, that transmit users’ private information across the internet.

The data ranges from phone model to personal details such as age, gender, current location (through geolocation), education level, sexual orientation – one app recorded even specific sexual preferences such as whether or not the user may be a swinger.

One mobile ad platform, Millennial Media, appeared to offer particularly rich information. Millennial Media’s has partnered with Rovio on a special edition of Angry Birds; with Farmville maker Zynga; with Call of Duty developer Activision, and many other major franchises.

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Trial of NATO3 Reveals Police Spying Operation

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 9.58.35 AMTestimony from an undercover police officer in the trial of three activists arrested just prior to the Chicago’s NATO summit in May 2012 and now face terrorism charges, revealed a large surveillance operation Chicago Police had months prior to the summit.

The prosecution alleges the three men were planning to build Molotov cocktails to bring to the protests along with discussing “attacking” several locations, including President Barack Obama’s re-election headquarters and police stations. Police also allege they found several weapons including knives and a throwing star, a mortar made from PVC pipe and a bow during the raid.

Much of the case against the three is based on information garnered from two Chicago Police informants who infiltrated local activist groups many weeks prior to the NATO protests. Known as “Moe” and “Gloves,” the prosecution alleges the two officers were inside the apartment where Church, Chase and Betterly were staying when they say they filled beer bottles with gasoline.… Read the rest

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Cut Off the NSA’s Juice

1984-Big-BrotherThe National Security Agency depends on huge computers that guzzle electricity in the service of the surveillance state. For the NSA’s top executives, maintaining a vast flow of juice to keep Big Brother nourished is essential — and any interference with that flow is unthinkable.

But interference isn’t unthinkable. And in fact, it may be doable.

Grassroots activists have begun to realize the potential to put the NSA on the defensive in nearly a dozen states where the agency is known to be running surveillance facilities, integral to its worldwide snoop operations.

Organizers have begun to push for action by state legislatures to impede the electric, water and other services that sustain the NSA’s secretive outposts.

Those efforts are farthest along in the state of Washington, where a new bill in the legislature — the Fourth Amendment Protection Act — is a statutory nightmare for the NSA. The agency has a listening post in Yakima, in the south-central part of the state.… Read the rest

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Verizon Says U.S. Authorities Made 320,000 Requests For Customer Data Last Year

smartphoneThis is, of course, setting aside the much broader data collection conducted by the NSA. PCWorld writes:

Verizon Communications received more than 320,000 requests for customer information from U.S. federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in 2013, more than 100 times the number of requests from any other country, the telecom carrier said in its first surveillance transparency report.

Verizon received more than 164,000 subpoenas from U.S. law enforcement agencies and nearly 71,000 court orders, including more than 6,300 pen-register or trap-and-trace orders and nearly 1,500 wiretap orders last year, Verizon said.

Verizon is one of a handful of tech and telecom companies that have begun to publish surveillance transparency reports after revelations last year of U.S. National Security Agency programs by former contractor Edward Snowden.

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A Running List of What We Know the NSA Can Do. So Far.

Jody Avirgan of The Brian Lehrer Show on NPR is compiling a list of the NSA’s fearsome powers to spy on us. All of us. Here’s a sample of what he’s got on his list so far:

  • It can track the numbers of both parties on a phone call, as well location, time and duration. (More)
  • It can hack Chinese phones and text messages. (More)
  • It can set up fake internet cafes. (More)
  • It can spy on foreign leaders’ cell phones. (More)
  • It can tap underwater fiber-optic cables. (More)
  • It can track communication within media organizations like Al-Jazeera. (More)
  • It can hack into the UN video conferencing system. (More)
  • It can track bank transactions. (More)
  • It can monitor text messages. (More)
  • It can access your email, chat, and web browsing history. (More)
  • It can map your social networks.
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The Secrets Your Phone Shares About You

HK TST East Peninsula Centre sidewalk Three 3 Smartphone shop Nov-2012It may not come as a surprise that police and other government agencies can track your location via your mobile phone, but did you realize that many local businesses are doing the same thing or more? Elizabeth Dwoskin reports for the Wall Street Journal that businesses are increasingly installing sensors to track nearby potential customers:

Fan Zhang, the owner of Happy Child, a trendy Asian restaurant in downtown Toronto, knows that 170 of his customers went clubbing in November. He knows that 250 went to the gym that month, and that 216 came in from Yorkville, an upscale neighborhood.

And he gleans this information without his customers’ knowledge, or ever asking them a single question.

Mr. Zhang is a client of Turnstyle Solutions Inc., a year-old local company that has placed sensors in about 200 businesses within a 0.7 mile radius in downtown Toronto to track shoppers as they move in the city.

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Cameras And Devices Will Soon Decode, Store, And Track Your Emotions

Emotient is one of many companies that plan to capture, analyze, and sell emotional information:

Emotient is the leading authority on facial expression recognition and analysis technologies that are enabling a future of emotion aware computing.

The company began at the Machine Perception Lab at University of California, San Diego, and has since attracted industry leaders across the realms of business, technology and science.

Emotient’s flagship products are the FACET™ SDK, a high-accuracy, cost effective and adaptive software development kit, and FACET™ Vision, a fully featured desktop application for automated facial expression analysis and video annotation. With a camera-enabled device, our system can quickly process facial detection and automated expression analysis in real-time.

Our leading-edge software detects and tracks primary expressions of emotion and blended composites of multiple emotions. Fortune 500 companies, market research firms, and a growing number of vertical markets are ideally suited to leverage facial expression data.

 

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No Warrant, No Problem: How the Government Can Get Your Digital Data

This review by Theodoric Meyer and Peter Maass at ProPublica by is a must read for any American who wants to know which of their digital breadcrumbs are being picked up by the police and other government agencies:

The government isn’t allowed to wiretap American citizens without a warrant from a judge. But there are plenty of legal ways for law enforcement, from the local sheriff to the FBI to the Internal Revenue Service, to snoop on the digital trails you create every day. Authorities can often obtain your emails and texts by going to Google or AT&T with a simple subpoena that doesn’t require showing probable cause of a crime. And recent revelations about classified National Security Agency surveillance programs show that the government is regularly sweeping up data on Americans’ telephone calls and has the capability to access emails, files, online chats and other data — all under secret oversight by a special federal court.

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Hi Def Cameras Can Now Capture The Reflection Of Your Face In Someone Else’s Eye

“Zoom in. Now enhance.” – Deckard, Bladerunner.

Via BoingBoing:

In Identifiable Images of Bystanders Extracted from Corneal Reflections, British psychology researchers Rob Jenkins and Christie Kerr show that recognizable images of the faces of unpictured bystanders can be captured from modern, high-resolution photography by zooming in on subjects’ eyes to see the reflections in their corneas. The researchers asked experimental subjects to identify faces captured from these zoomed-in images and found that they were able to do so with a high degree of reliability.

Read the rest at BoingBoing.

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