So Much This there's always plenty to do

22Nov/110

DIY drone surveillance for protesters

Another development in protester counter intelligence. Protesters in Warsaw recently used a small drone helicopter equipped with a camera to monitor police activity. Very cool.

The next step is using 3D printers to crank out more advanced models.

We're still talking tactics here, not strategy, but very useful tactics.

7Jul/110

Adam Curtis makes the illest shit

6Jul/110

Hackers reveal government-corporate surveillance plot

Take it as a given that governments and corporations have a vested interest in surveilling the population and subtly swaying it's opinions. Also accept that they sacrifice a considerable percentage of their profits to further those interests. Also interesting here, it was the dreaded hackers, the new terrorist threat, who brought this information to light.

Via: Guardian

After having spent several months studying those emails and otherwise investigating the industry depicted therein, I have revealed my summary of a classified US intelligence programme known as Romas/COIN, as well as its upcoming replacement, known as Odyssey. The programme appears to allow for the large-scale monitoring of social networks by way of such things as natural language processing, semantic analysis, latent semantic indexing and IT intrusion. At the same time, it also entails the dissemination of some unknown degree of information to a given population through a variety of means – without any hint that the actual source is US intelligence. Scattered discussions of Arab translation services may indicate that the programme targets the Middle East.

6Jul/110

CopWatch and OpenWatch: covert recording apps for interactions with authority figures

About the OpenWatch Project from OpenWatch on Vimeo.

via: Boing Boing

OpenWatch is a project that publishes open/free apps for Android and iOS; the apps (called "OpenWatch Recorder" and "CopRecorder") covertly record audio and, at your direction, transmits it to the OpenWatch site. There, it is reviewed for significance, stripped of personal information, and published. It also has a video mode. The OpenWatch site looks for regional patterns in authority-figure interactions -- for example, whether a county operates its drunk-driving checkpoints in an illegal fashion.

18May/110

The Secret Sharer

More "It's not as bad as you think, it's worse," news about domestic surveillance. Obviously, the brave whislteblower responsible for providing the public with this information is being labeled a traitor by the gov.

via: The New Yorker

When Binney heard the rumors, he was convinced that the new domestic-surveillance program employed components of ThinThread: a bastardized version, stripped of privacy controls. “It was my brainchild,” he said. “But they removed the protections, the anonymization process. When you remove that, you can target anyone.” He said that although he was not “read in” to the new secret surveillance program, “my people were brought in, and they told me, ‘Can you believe they’re doing this? They’re getting billing records on U.S. citizens! They’re putting pen registers’ ”—logs of dialled phone numbers—“ ‘on everyone in the country!’ ”

Drake recalled that, after the October 4th directive, “strange things were happening. Equipment was being moved. People were coming to me and saying, ‘We’re now targeting our own country!’ ” Drake says that N.S.A. officials who helped the agency obtain FISA warrants were suddenly reassigned, a tipoff that the conventional process was being circumvented. He added, “I was concerned that it was illegal, and none of it was necessary.” In his view, domestic data mining “could have been done legally” if the N.S.A. had maintained privacy protections. “But they didn’t want an accountable system.”

...

Binney, for his part, believes that the agency now stores copies of all e-mails transmitted in America, in case the government wants to retrieve the details later. In the past few years, the N.S.A. has built enormous electronic-storage facilities in Texas and Utah. Binney says that an N.S.A. e-mail database can be searched with “dictionary selection,” in the manner of Google. After 9/11, he says, “General Hayden reassured everyone that the N.S.A. didn’t put out dragnets, and that was true. It had no need—it was getting every fish in the sea.”

17May/110

Fingerprinting the author of the ZeuS Botnet

This is still theoretical, but for anyone considering hacktivism, it's something to keep in mind.

via: The Shape of Code

The source code of the ZeuS Botnet is now available for download. I imagine there are a few organizations who would like to talk to the author(s) of this code.

All developers have coding habits, that is they usually have a particular way of writing each coding construct. Different developers have different sets of habits and sometimes individual developers have a way of writing some language construct that is rarely used by other developers. Are developer habits sufficiently unique that they can be used to identify individuals from their code? I don’t have enough data to answer that question. Reading through the C++ source of ZeuS I spotted a few unusual usage patterns (I don’t know enough about common usage patterns in PHP to say much about this source) which readers might like to look for in code they encounter, perhaps putting name to the author of this code.

14May/110

Police buy software to map suspects’ digital movements

See also this earlier Surveillance post.

via: Guardian

Britain's largest police force is using software that can map nearly every move suspects and their associates make in the digital world, prompting an outcry from civil liberties groups.

The Metropolitan police has bought Geotime, a security programme used by the US military, which shows an individual's movements and communications with other people on a three-dimensional graphic. It can be used to collate information gathered from social networking sites, satellite navigation equipment, mobile phones, financial transactions and IP network logs.

Police have confirmed its purchase and declined to rule out its use in investigating public order disturbances.

Campaigners and lawyers have expressed concern at how the software could be used to monitor innocent parties such as protesters in breach of data protection legislation.

Alex Hanff, the campaigns manager at Privacy International, called on the police to explain who will decide how this software will be used in future.

"Once millions and millions of pieces of microdata are aggregated, you end up with this very high-resolution picture of somebody, and this is effectively what they are doing here."

Related: Cellphones to get disaster alerts

There will be at least three levels of messages, ranging from a critical national alert from the president to warnings about impending or occurring national disasters to alerts about missing or abducted children. People will be able to opt out of receiving all but the presidential alerts.

A special chip is required to allow a phone to receive the messages, and soon all new phones will have the technology. Some smartphones already have the chip, and software updates will be available when the network goes online later this year, Genachowski said.

I'm pretty sure you don't need a special chip to receive text messages. So what does it really do?

2May/110

More domestic surveillance

The EFF has released more details about FBI spyware that they can get on target computers with fake links in emails the same way phishing scams do.

What is CIPAV and How Does It Work?
The documents discuss technology that, when installed on a target's computer, allows the FBI to collect the following information:

* IP Address
* Media Access Control (MAC) address
* "Browser environment variables"
* Open communication ports
* List of the programs running
* Operating system type, version, and serial number
* Browser type and version
* Language encoding
* The URL that the target computer was previously connected to
* Registered computer name
* Registered company name
* Currently logged in user name
* Other information that would assist with "identifying computer users, computer software installed, [and] computer hardware installed"

Anyone doing any significant political resistance work should assume that all communications are compromised. If the group itself isn't infiltrated, then at the very least all electronic communications are being monitored.

29Apr/110

Surveillance

Just a collection of links here about how we are constantly being monitored and some of the uses the State has for the data.

The NSA is basically monitoring all domestic Internet traffic and recording/analyzing a significant portion of it.
NSA, AT&T and the NarusInsight Intercept Suite

Smartphones collect massive amounts of data about their users.
What Does Your Phone Know About You? More Than You Think

Even if you don't use a smartphone, there are other ways to track you, and the government is clearly interested in this data.
TomTom satnav data used to set police speed traps

Finally, meet SEAS, the computer program that aggregates data from multiple sources to form profiles for individuals and can then run simulations like disaster scenarios to predict individual and group behavior. Let's assume that this software is still a lot of hype, that it's no better at predicting human behavior than Doppler 5000 is at predicting the weather. OK then, just give it 5 years, or ten. Feed it an increasingly rich data set from more and more smartphones, social networking, and ubiquitous computing/cloud computing/"Internet of things" devices. Soon enough its predictions will get very accurate. And then what? I don't know, but I do think that this happening, and is likely unstoppable (if it isn't here already because the best black budget mil tech is at least 5 years ahead of what we are shown) and we should plan accordingly.
Synthetic Environments for Analysis and Simulation

29Apr/110

Drones Spray, Track the Unwilling in Air Force Plan

Any technology developed for use against "terrorists" will eventually be applied or adapted for use against any threats to state power. Protesters included/especially. In Tehran they just shoot protesters with paint balls to mark them for later arrest. The US, of course, prefers to be more high tech and subtle.

via: Danger Room

Here’s how the U.S. Air Force wants to hunt the next generation of its enemies: A tiny drone sneaks up to a suspect, paints him with an unnoticed powder or goo that allows American forces to follow him everywhere he goes — until they train a missile on him.

On Tuesday, the Air Force issued a call for help making a miniature drone that could covertly drop a mysterious and unspecified tracking “dust” onto people, allowing them to be tracked from a distance. The proposal says its useful for all kinds of random things, from identifying friendly forces and civilians to tracking wildlife. But the motive behind a covert drone tagger likely has less to do with sneaking up on spotted owls and more to do with painting a target on the backs of tomorrow’s terrorists.

Effectively tracking foes has become a high priority — and deeply secret — research effort for the Pentagon, which has struggled at times to sort out insurgent from innocent in places like Afghanistan. The Navy has a $450 million contract with Herndon, Virginia’s Blackbird Technologies, Inc. to produce tiny beacons to make terrorists trackable. The Defense Department has been pouring serious cash — $210 million that they’ll admit to — into find advanced new ways to do this so-called “Tagging, Tracking and Locating” work, as Danger Room co-founder Sharon Weinberger noted in Popular Science last year.

The research she cataloged is as mind-boggling as it is varied. Ideas range from uniquely-identifiable insect pheromones to infrared gear that tracks people with their “thermal fingerprint.” One company, Voxtel, makes tiny nanocrystals that can be hidden in clear liquids and seen through night vision goggles.

A 2007 briefing from U.S. Special Operations Command on targeting technology stated that SOCOM was looking for “perfumes” and “stains” that would mark out bad guys from a distance. The presentation listed a “bioreactive taggant” as a “current capability” next to a picture of what looks like a painted or bruised arm.

Another tracking technology is “smart dust” — a long-forecast cloud of tiny sensors that stick to target human or his clothes. And that seems to be what the Air Force wants its mini drone configured for.

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