Tag Archives: surveillance

The Compound Eye

Plan accordingly …. 

Compound eyes, common with insects and crustaceans, are made up of thousands of individual visual receptors, called ommatidia. Each ommatidium is a fully functioning eye in itself. The insect’s “eye” is thousands of ommatidium that together create a broad field of vision. Every ommatidium has its own nerve fiber connecting to the optic nerve, which relays information to the brain. The brain then processes these inputs to create a three-dimensional understanding the surrounding space.

The compound eye is a good way to imagine how the surveillance state will keep tabs on the subjects in the near future. Unlike the dystopian future imagined by science fiction, it will not be one eye focusing on one heretic, following him around as he goes about his business. Instead it will be tens of millions of eyes obtaining various bits of information, sending it back to the data-centers run by Big Tech. That information will be assembled into the broad mosaic that is daily life.

For example, rather than use informants and undercover operatives to flesh out conspiracies against the state, the surveillance state will use community detection to model the network of heretics. Since everyone is hooked into the grid in some fashion and everyone addresses nodes of the grid on a regular basis, keeping track of someone is now something that can be done from a cubicle. There is no need to actually follow someone around as they go about their life.

For example, everyone has a mobile phone. At every point, the phone is tracking its location, which means it is tracking your location. It also knows the time and day when you go into various businesses. Most people use cards to pay miscellaneous items, so just that information would tell the curious a lot about you. Combine that information with the same information from other phones that come into close proximity with your phone and figuring out the community structure is simple.

Of course, the mobile phone is not the only input device. Over Christmas, millions of Americans were encouraged to install surveillance devices in their homes by friends and family. Maybe it was an Alexa listening device from Amazon or a Nest Doorbell surveillance device from Google. All of these gadgets are collecting data on your life inside and around your home. It is then fed to the same data-centers that have all of your movements and associations collected from your phone.

That’s an enormous amount information about the lives of the subjects, but that’s just the start of what they are collecting. Everything about property and property ownership is now kept in those same systems. Tax and earnings information are now shared with the new technological overlords. We know this because Raj Chetty told us so. He gained access to everyone’s tax information from the IRS. Since Big Tech provides the infrastructure to all government operations, they have their data too.

It turns out that the future will not be one big eye searching about for a heretic on which to focus or even thousands of such eyes. Instead, it will be tens of millions of eyes, collecting data, filtering it through a specific lens, and passing it onto massive data-centers controlled by Big Tech. It is there where the focus will narrow, looking for patterns, modeling communities and searching for any anomalies that could indicate unacceptable behavior. Big Brother will be an Indian in a cubicle.

The human eye is attached to muscles that allow it to move, expanding the field of vision and narrow in on specific items of interest. The compound eye is fixed and therefore cannot focus on a single item. It also results in nearsightedness. It is, however, exceptional at detecting motion. The mosaic of infinitesimally small images lets the insect notice the smallest movement around it. This is why flies, for example, are so good at anticipating your effort to swat them.

Big Tech’s compound eye will be similar. It will be adept at tracking movement and capturing data about the environment, but it will not be very good at focusing in on one individual or even a group of individuals. That’s where the brain takes over to interpret the data, looking for the sorts of movement that could present danger. As with insects, the compound eye has evolved for defensive purpose. Hunters need focus, prey need a broad field of vision and pattern matching.

We are seeing the precursors of what will be special teams of agents charged with focusing in on potential trouble. Those “Trust & Safety” squads on social media are the early attempts at this. Algos were created to look for patterns and movement that would then warrant further review. The “focus teams” then look more carefully at individuals inside an identified community. This is how a heretic gets banned from Twitter despite not using the system very much. He was part of an identified community.

In the future, these “Trust & Safety” teams will be dispatched into the real world to infiltrate suspected communities, disrupt social bonding within dissident communities that are forming up and, of course, neutralize genuine threats. That last part is always what the dystopians focus on, but that will be an exceedingly rare occurrence as we move into the custodial state. Technological advance will also bring with it new ways to influence behavior in a myriad of small ways.

Alongside those millions of eyes collecting data will be other nodes that nudge people in the right direction through the power of suggestion, social proof and social bonding. The Chinese social credit system is a crude example of what is to come. A much more subtle version will rely on social influencers, who will be rewarded for encouraging positive behaviors. Social proof and fear of ostracism will confirm the tendency to accept what comes from prominent influencers.

This is already happening in a crude way on social media platforms. They promote those with the right opinions and demote those with the wrong opinions. Since active users seek an audience, inevitably they act in such a way that gets them promoted by the algos running these sites. It is why review sites have abandoned real user reviews in favor of robots. It is a lot easier to push a movie on a movie review site if the “viewer reviews” are actually robots run by the site.

That’s the future that awaits us in the custodial state. It is living under the watchful compound eye that is feeding all of our data into massive data-centers controlled by private companies. Since information is the ultimate currency and controlling the currency makes you sovereign, the official state will simply become another node on the network run by the Big Tech. There will be no recourse. Any effort to revolt will be detected by the compound eye before it gets started.

Source: The Z Man

“Alexa, How Do We Subvert Big Tech’s Orwellian Internet-of-Things Surveillance?”

Convenience is the sales pitch, but the real goal is control in service of maximizing profits and extending state power.

When every device in your life is connected to the Internet (the Internet of Things), your refrigerator will schedule an oil change for your car–or something like that–and it will be amazingly wunnerful. You’ll be able to lower the temperature of your home office while you’re stuck in a traffic jam, while your fridge orders another jar of pickles delivered to your door.

It’s all in service of convenience, the god all Americans are brainwashed to worship. Imagine the convenience of turning on the light while seated on your sofa! Mind-boggling convenience at your fingertips–and since you’re already clutching your smart phone 24/7, convenience is indeed at your fingertips.

It’s also about control, and as we lose control of everything that’s actually important in our lives, the illusion of agency/control is a compelling pitch. Imagine being able to program your fridge to order a quart of milk delivered when it gets low but not order another jar of pickles when that gets low! Wow! That’s control, yowzah.

The Internet of Things is indeed about control–not your control, but control over you— control of what’s marketed to you, and control of your behaviors via control of the incentives, distractions and micro-decisions that shape behavior.

I Used Google Ads for Social Engineering. It Worked. (via Mark J.)

The control enabled by the Internet of Things starts with persuasion and quickly slides into coercion. Since corporations and government agencies will have a complete map of your movements, purchases, consumption, communications, etc., then behavior flagged as “non-beneficial” will be flagged for “nudging nags”, while “unsanctioned” behavior will be directed to the proper authorities.

Say you’re visiting a fast-food outlet for the fourth time in a week. Your health insurance corporation has set three visits a week as a maximum, lest your poor lifestyle choices start costing them money for treatments, so you get a friendly “reminder” to lay off the fast food or make “healthier” choices off the fast food menu.

Failure to heed the “nudges” will result in higher premiums or cancelled coverage. Sorry, pal, it’s just business. Your “freedom” doesn’t extend to costing us money.

Domestic corporate versions of China’s social credit score will proliferate. Here is evidence that such scores already exist:

Everyone’s Got A “Surveillance Score” And It Can Cost You Big Money (Zero Hedge)

Then there’s the surveillance. The Internet of Things isn’t just monitoring energy use and the quantity of milk in a fridge; it’s monitoring you–not just in your house, car and wherever you take your Personal Surveillance Device, i.e. your smart phone, but everywhere you go.

If you are a lookie-loo shopper–you browse the inventory but rarely buy anything–expect to be put in Category Three–zero customer service, and heightened surveillance in case your intent is to boost some goodies (shoplift).

Heaven help you if you start spending time reading shadow-banned websites like Of Two Minds: your social credit standing moves into the red zone, and your biometric scans at airports, concerts, retail centers etc., will attract higher scrutiny. You just can’t be too sure about people who stray off the reservation of “approved” corporate media.

Your impulses are easy to exploit: since every purchase is tracked, your vulnerabilities to impulse buys will be visible with a bit of routine Big Data analysis, and so the price of the treats you succumb to will go up compared to the indifferent consumer next to you. Sorry, pal, it’s just business. Your vulnerabilities, insecurities and weaknesses are profit centers. We’d be foolish not to exploit them to maximize profits, because that is the sole mission of global corporations.

Governments access the trove of surveillance for their own purposes.Monitoring phone calls, texts and emails is only the first step; privacy as a concept and a right has effectively ceased to exist other than as a legal abstraction and useful fiction. The Dawn Of Robot Surveillance: AI, Video Analytics, and Privacy.

Longtime correspondent Simon H. recently submitted a video link on The Internet of Things as well as a sobering and insightful commentary.

Here is an overview by James Corbett of the totalitarian reach of the 5G IoT and a technocratic surveillance dictatorship. All delivered as an unavoidable facet of inevitable tech progress.

The 5G Dragnet

There seems to be an idea that the only reason we have historically had privacy, civil liberties and general freedoms is because in the past we lacked the technology to eliminate them.

The future does indeed seem to have globalist technocracy written all over it which is to be presented as a simple matter of embracing technological progress and celebrating new technological wonders. Don’t think about the total surveillance taking place just marvel at the speed of your connections and the convenience of outsourcing all of your troubling personal sovereignty to machine assistants to make all of your decisions for you.

Anyone who resists this undemocratic future will be branded as a nostalgically foolish, technological Luddite. However, this new form of tech is completely different in nature to all of those that have preceded it. If we think in terms of macro and micro economics, then we can also look at current developments in terms of macro and micro sovereignties. This phenomenon is more pronounced in the UK than the US because of the sovereignty issues of the EU and Brexit.

Not only is our democratic sovereignty being eroded by supranational organization such as the EU, the IMF, the IPCC, markets and the central banking masters of the economic universe, etc., if we take surveillance capitalism, 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) into consideration one can see that our sovereignty it is also under direct dual attack at an extreme and fundamentally personal level.

Against all of these things we are seeing extraordinary coalitions of resistance: Marxists, Anti-Capitalists, Anarchists, Austrian Libertarians and anyone of an old school left of right wing true liberalism who believe in the principles of democracy and sovereignty, freedom of speech, privacy and civil liberties.

The so called liberal progressives who support globalism and the technocracy are anything but liberal: they are imperialist totalitarians no better or less dangerous than the Nazis. We desperately need to strip them of their fake liberal and moderate claims and show them for what they truly are — sociopaths.

Thank you, Simon. Resistance can take many forms.

One approach is to minimize surveillance by stripping out apps from your smart phone, leaving it in a drawer most of the time, and disabling wifi in all appliances and devices you buy/own. This approach isn’t perfect, as surveillance is far beyond our control, despite Big Tech claims of transparency, privacy controls, etc., but nonetheless any reduction in data collection is meaningful.

More than 1,000 Android apps harvest data even after you deny permissions (via Mark J.)

Buy with cash and buy the absolute minimum. If you only buy real food–meats, vegetables, grains, fruit, etc.–you’ve effectively stripped out all the profit potential of our corporate overlords. Who is going to make a big profit offering you a discount on raw carrots? No one.

If your impulse buys are paid with cash, they can’t be tracked. Whatever you buy in person with cash can’t be tracked.

Limit your Personal Surveillance Device, i.e. your smart phone: disable its “always listening” and other capabilities; leave it in the drawer, etc.

How to Turn an Android Phone Into a Dumbphone in 8 Steps

Understand you’re being played and gamed 24/7; ignore all the marketing, pitches and propaganda. Make it a habit to ignore all marketing pitches, discounts, coupons, etc. Become an anti-consumer, minimizing trackable purchases and pursuing a DeGrowth lifestyle of repairing existing items and making everything you own last rather than replace it with a new item (this is the Landfill Economy I’ve discussed many times, with thanks to correspondent Bart D. who coined the phrase to the best of my knowledge).

Don’t buy wifi-enabled devices, and disable wifi if there are no non-wifi options available.

This subverts the value of the data Facebook, Google, et al. collect on you and sell to the highest bidder. If the data isn’t useful in selling you something, then the buyers of the data will at a minimum weed the non-controllable consumers out of the data pool.

Since any deviance outside “normal” attracts scrutiny, game the system by logging a baseline of “normal” purchases and activities. Appearing minimally ordinary has its advantages. Trying too hard to leave no digital footprint is itself highly suspicious.

Advocate for digital privacy / Freedom from Surveillance and AI Bill of Rights.There is still a narrow window in the U.S. for protecting and expanding civil liberties and privacy. Here is an example of a proposed Algorithmic Bill of Rights:

Convenience is the sales pitch, but the real goal is control in service of maximizing profits and extending state power. “To serve humans” takes on new meanings in Big Tech/ Big Government’s Orwellian the Internet of Things: To Serve Man (The Twilight Zone).

Source: by Charles Huge Smith | ZeroHedge

The Gov’t Wants To Outlaw Encrypted Messaging In iMessage, WhatsApp, Signal, Wickr, Telegram, …

If you ever use the encrypted messaging options on programs like iMessage, WhatsApp, Signal, Wickr, Telegram, or any other service, your time to discuss things privately over the phone may be running out. The US government doesn’t like for anything to get in the way of their ability to spy on investigate even the most mundane of conversations.

https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/shutterstock_backdoor.jpg?itok=9jPbtRUx

Instead of seeing privacy as a right, they see it as suspicious. Your devices are already being searched at quadruple the previous rate in airports. And the attack on free speech is now going as far as our private messages to our friends and family.

Because the only reason we’d want privacy is that we’re criminals

This was the topic of a National Security meeting last week.

Continue reading

All Four Major Wireless Carriers Hit With Lawsuits Over Sharing, Selling Location Data

(TechDirt) We’ve noted repeatedly that if you’re upset about Facebook’s privacy scandals, you should be equally concerned about the wireless industry’s ongoing location data scandals. Not only were the major carriers caught selling your location data to any nitwit with a checkbook, they were even found to be selling your E-911 location data, which provides even more granular detail about your data than GPS provides. This data was then found to have been widely abused from everybody from law enforcement to randos pretending to be law enforcement.

Throughout all this, the Ajit Pai FCC has done absolutely nothing to seriously police the problem. Meaning that while carriers have promised to stop collecting and selling this data, nobody has bothered to force carriers to actually confirm this. Given telecom’s history when it comes to consumer privacy, somebody might just want to double check their math (and ask what happened to all that data already collected and sold over the last decade).

Compounding carrier problems, all four major wireless carriers last week were hit with a class action lawsuit (correctly) noting the carriers had violated Section 222 of the Federal Communications Act by selling consumer proprietary network information (CPNI) data:

“Through its negligent and deliberate acts, including inexplicable failures to follow its own Privacy Policy, T-Mobile permitted access to Plaintiffs and Class Members’ CPI and CPNI,” the complaint against T-Mobile reads, referring to “confidential proprietary information” and “customer proprietary network information,” the latter of which includes location data.”

It’s likely that the sale of 911 data is where carriers are in the most hot water, since that’s their most obvious infraction of the law. It’s of course worth pointing out that wireless carriers (and fixed-line ISPs, frankly) have been hoovering up and selling location, clickstream, and a vast ocean of other user data for decades with very few (any?) Congressional lawmakers much caring about it. It’s another example of how Facebook’s cavalier treatment of user data (and government apathy toward meaningful solutions) isn’t just some errant exception — it’s the norm.

Back in 2016, the previous FCC uncharacteristically tried to impose some pretty basic rules that would have gone a long way in preventing these location data scandals by requiring that carriers be more transparent about what data is collected and who it’s sold to. It also required consumers opt in to more sensitive (read: financial, location) data. But telecom lobbyists quickly convinced Congress to obliterate those rules in 2017 using the Congressional Review Act before they could even take effect.

Two years later finds the sector swimming in scandal, and everybody has a dumb look on their faces utterly perplexed as to how we got to this point.

Source: TechDirt

UK Cops Fine Pedestrian $115 For Avoiding Facial Recognition Camera

A UK pedestrian was arrested and fined £90 ($115 US) after attempting to cover his face while passing a controversial facial recognition camera van on a East London street. The notorious London police vans scan the faces of passers-by and compare them to a database of wanted criminals.

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One man wasn’t having any of it, and was seen covering his face with his hat and jacket before London police stopped him and took his picture anyway according to the Daily Mail

https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/bbc%20click.jpg?itok=hncBlJtM

If I want to cover me face, I’ll cover me face. Don’t push me over when I’m walking down the street,” said the man after his stop. 

“How would you like it if you walked down the street and someone grabbed your shoulder? You wouldn’t like it, would you?” the man asked an officer, who replied “Calm yourself down or you’re going in handcuffs. It’s up to you. Wind your neck in.” 

“You wind your neck in,” the man replied.

https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/man%20van.jpg?itok=fdcuWtK8

After being fined, the man told a reporter: ‘The chap told me down the road – he said they’ve got facial recognition. So I walked past like that (covering my face).

‘It’s a cold day as well. As soon as I’ve done that, the police officer’s asked me to come to him. So I’ve got me back up. I said to him ‘f*** off’, basically.  

‘I said ‘I don’t want me face shown on anything. If I want to cover me face, I’ll cover me face, it’s not for them to tell me not to cover me face. 

‘I’ve got a now £90 fine, here you go, look at that. Thanks lads, £90. Well done.’ –Daily Mail

The ticketing comes in the wake of another similar incident in February, in which another man refused to be scanned by one of the facial recognition vans and was also fined £90. 

He simply pulled up the top of his jumper over the bottom of his face, put his head down and walked past,” said Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch, who added that at least one man had seen placards warning the public of the facial recognition cameras being used from a parked police van.

“There was nothing suspicious about him at all … you have the right to avoid [the cameras], you have the right to cover your face. I think he was exercising his rights,” said Carlo.

Meanwhile, the technology is terribly inaccurate – wrongly matching over 2,000 people to criminals when it was deployed ahead of the Champions League Final in Cardiff in 2017. 

Last December, a suspect was arrested by the Metropolitan Police during a trial of the facial recognition technology among Christmas shoppers at Leicester Square in London’s West End.  

Another man was stopped due to the technology, but found not to be the man the computer thought he was – although he was arrested over another offence. 

Big Brother Watch has previously said the technology is a ‘breach of fundamental rights to privacy and freedom of assembly’. –Daily Mail

“It is important to note that police are now days away from making a decision about the future of facial recognition in the UK,” Carlo told MailOnline. “We believe it has no place in a democracy and we will continue with our legal challenge against the Met if they do go ahead with it.

Source: ZeroHedge

China’s Mass Surveillance App Hacked; Code Reveals Specific Criteria For Illegal Oppression

Human Rights Watch got their hands on an app used by Chinese authorities in the western Xinjiang region to surveil, track and categorize the entire local population – particularly the 13 million or so Turkic Muslims subject to heightened scrutiny, of which around one million are thought to live in cultural ‘re-education’ camps

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By “reverse engineering” the code in the “Integrated Joint Operations Platform” (IJOP) app, HRW was able to identify the exact criteria authorities rely on to ‘maintain social order.’ Of note, IJOP is “central to a larger ecosystem of social monitoring and control in the region,” and similar to systems being deployed throughout the entire country. 

The platform targets 36 types of people for data collection, from those who have “collected money or materials for mosques with enthusiasm,” to people who stop using smartphones. 

[A]uthorities are collecting massive amounts of personal information—from the color of a person’s car to their height down to the precise centimeter—and feeding it into the IJOP central system, linking that data to the person’s national identification card number. Our analysis also shows that Xinjiang authorities consider many forms of lawful, everyday, non-violent behavior—such as “not socializing with neighbors, often avoiding using the front door”—as suspicious. The app also labels the use of 51 network tools as suspicious, including many Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and encrypted communication tools, such as WhatsApp and Viber. –Human Rights Watch

https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/hrw%20look%20for.jpg?itok=H4u3swit(full size image)

Another method of tracking is the “Four Associations”

The IJOP app suggests Xinjiang authorities track people’s personal relationships and consider broad categories of relationship problematic. One category of problematic relationships is called “Four Associations” (四关联), which the source code suggests refers to people who are “linked to the clues of cases” (关联案件线索), people “linked to those on the run” (关联在逃人员), people “linked to those abroad” (关联境外人员), and people “linked to those who are being especially watched” (关联关注人员). –HRW

*An extremely detailed look at the data collected and how the app works can be found in the actual report.

https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/chinese%20cops_0.jpg?itok=hR9nuBo2

HRW notes that “Many—perhaps all—of the mass surveillance practices described in this report appear to be contrary to Chinese law, and also violate internationally guaranteed rights to privacy, the presumption of innocence, and freedom of association and movement. “Their impact on other rights, such as freedom of expression and religion, is profound,” according to the report. 

Here’s what happens when ‘irregularities’ are detected:

When IJOP detects a deviation from normal parameters, such as when a person uses a phone not registered to them, or when they use more electricity than what would be considered “normal,” or when they travel to an unauthorized area without police permission, the system flags them as “micro-clues” which authorities use to gauge the level of suspicion a citizen should fall under. 

https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/check%20point.jpg?itok=YeGm8y95

A checkpoint in Turpan, Xinjiang equiped with machines that verify ID, facial recognition and retrieve data from personal electronic divices for analysis.

IJOP also monitors personal relationships – some of which are deemed inherently suspicious, such as relatives who have obtained new phone numbers or who maintain foreign links. 

Chinese authorities justify the surveillance as a means to fight terrorism. To that end, IJOP checks for terrorist content and “violent audio-viusual content” when surveilling phones and software. It also flags “adherents of Wahhabism,” the ultra-conservative form of Islam accused of being a “source of global terrorism.

A former Xinjiang resident told Human Rights Watch a week after he was released from arbitrary detention: “I was entering a mall, and an orange alarm went off.” The police came and took him to a police station. “I said to them, ‘I was in a detention center and you guys released me because I was innocent.’… The police told me, ‘Just don’t go to any public places.’… I said, ‘What do I do now? Just stay home?’ He said, ‘Yes, that’s better than this, right?’” –Human Rights Watch

The IJOP system was developed by a major-state owned military contractor – the China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC). The app itself was developed by Hebei Far East Communication System Engineering Company (HBFEC), a company that, at the time of the app’s development, was fully owned by CETC. 

https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/Chinese%20muslim%20scanner.jpg?itok=MkGNt7Jr

3D portrait and integrated data capturing passage.

Meanwhile, under the broader “Strike Hard Campaign, authorities in Xinjiang are also collecting “biometrics, including DNA samples, fingerprints, iris scans, and blood types of all residents in the region ages 12 to 65,” according to the report, which adds that “the authorities require residents to give voice samples when they apply for passports.

The Strike Hard Campaign has shown complete disregard for the rights of Turkic Muslims to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. In Xinjiang, authorities have created a system that considers individuals suspicious based on broad and dubious criteria, and then generates lists of people to be evaluated by officials for detention. Official documents state that individuals “who ought to be taken, should be taken,” suggesting the goal is to maximize the number of people they find “untrustworthy” in detention. Such people are then subjected to police interrogation without basic procedural protections. They have no right to legal counsel, and some are subjected to torture and mistreatment, for which they have no effective redress, as we have documented in our September 2018 report. The result is Chinese authorities, bolstered by technology, arbitrarily and indefinitely detaining Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang en masse for actions and behavior that are not crimes under Chinese law.

Read the entire report from Human Rights Watch here.

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Source: ZeroHedge

 

Google Tracks Your Location and Shares It With Police, Even When Your Phone is Off

Even if you disable GPS, deactivate phone location tracking, and turn off your phone, it’s still possible for Google and the NSA to monitor your every move.

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Over the last two decades, cell phone use has become an everyday part of life for the vast majority of people around the planet. Nearly without question, consumers have chosen to carry these increasingly smart devices with them everywhere they go. Despite surveillance revelations from whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, the average smart phone user continues to carry the devices with little to no security or protection from privacy invasions.

Americans make up one of the largest smartphone markets in the world today, yet they rarely question how intelligence agencies or private corporations might be using their smartphone data. A recent report from the New York Times adds to the growing list of reasons why Americans should be asking these questions. According to the Times, law enforcement have been using a secret technique to figure out the location of Android users. The technique involves gathering detailed location data collected by Google from Android phones, iPhones, and iPads that have Google Maps and other Google apps installed.

The location data is stored inside a Google database known as Sensorvault, which contains detailed location records of hundreds of millions of devices from around the world. The records reportedly contain location data going back to 2009. The data is collected whether or not users are making calls or using apps.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) says police are using a single warrant—sometimes known as a “geo-fence” warrant—to access location data from devices that are linked to individuals who have no connection to criminal activity and have not provided any reasonable suspicion of a crime. Jennifer Lynch, EFF’s Surveillance Litigation Director, says these searches are problematic for several reasons.

First, unlike other methods of investigation used by the police, the police don’t start with an actual suspect or even a target device—they work backward from a location and time to identify a suspect,” Lynch wrote. “This makes it a fishing expedition—the very kind of search that the Fourth Amendment was intended to prevent. Searches like these—where the only information the police have is that a crime has occurred—are much more likely to implicate innocent people who just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Every device owner in the area during the time at issue becomes a suspect—for no other reason than that they own a device that shares location information with Google.”

The problems associated with Sensorvault have also concerned a bipartisan group of lawmakers who recently sent a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai. The letter from Democrats and Republicans on the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee gives Google until May 10 to provide information on how this data is used and shared. The letter was signed by Democratic Representatives Frank Pallone and Jan Schakowsky and Republicans Greg Walden and Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

Google has responded to the report from the Times by stating that users opt in to collection of the location data stored in Sensorvault. A Google representative also told the lawmakers that users “can delete their location history data, or turn off the product entirely, at any time.” Unfortunately, this explanation falls flat when one considers that Android devices log location data by default and that it is notoriously difficult to opt out of data collection.

No matter what promises Google makes, readers should remember that back in 2010, the Washington Post published a story focusing on the growth of surveillance by the National Security Agency. That report detailed an NSA technique that “enabled the agency to find cellphones even when they were turned off.” The technique was reportedly first used in Iraq in pursuit of terrorist targets. Additionally, it was reported in 2016 that a technique known as a “roving bug” allowed FBI agents to eavesdrop on conversations that took place near cellphones.

These tools are now undoubtedly being used on Americans. The reality is that these tools—and many, many others that have been revealed—are being used to spy on innocent Americans, not only violent criminals or suspects. The only way to push back against this invasive surveillance is to stop supporting the companies responsible for the techniques and data sharing. Those who value privacy should invest time in learning how to protect data and digital devices. Privacy is quickly becoming a relic of a past era and the only way to stop it is to raise awareness, opt-out of corporations that don’t respect privacy, and protect your data.

Source: by Derrick Broz | The Mind Unleashed

They’ve Turned San Diego Into A China-Style Public Surveillance Network

Can you imagine a city in the United States secretly creating a Chinese-style public surveillance network that can identify everyone? Can you imagine that same city secretly creating a Chinese-style public watchlisting network?

Well imagine no more because it has already happened.

When I wrote about “covert facial recognition streetlights coming to a city near you” last year, I never would have dreamt that my article would become a reality so quickly.

A recent article in the San Diego Reader reveals how a hacker discovered emails between the Port of San Diego and BriefCam. The emails revealed that law enforcement is secretly using a network of 400 facial recognition surveillance cameras to identify everyone.

Last year, BriefCam announced a “breakthrough” in real-time facial recognition surveillance.

Robust multi-camera search capabilities identify men, women, children and vehicles with speed and precision, using 25 classes and attributes, face recognition, appearance similarity, color, size, speed, path, direction, and dwell time.

According to another article, the City of San Diego is using GE’s CityIQ streetlights to listen to everyone.

In 2017, civil rights advocates sent a letter to the mayor and city council asking the city not to install GE’s streetlights.

Devices capable of monitoring and recording residents invade privacy, chill free speech, and disparately impact communities of color.

But as the article revealed, San Diego ignored the public’s concerns and secretly installed 3200 spying GE streetlights.

GE’s spying streetlights have effectively “turned the city into a stealthy laboratory for infrastructure-embedded intelligence collecting with devices regularly used by the DEA, ICE and other security agencies.” (To learn more about San Diego’s spying streetlights click here.)

An email from BriefCam’s Western Region sales director, Erik Wade, sheds some light on who is really behind San Diego’s public surveillance network.

“I am currently working with SDPD to deploy BriefCam at their new Real Time Crime Center (RTCC) for the entire city, which would greatly help you as some of the camera coverage would benefit each other”, Wade said.

Just how close is BriefCam and DHS?

Last year BriefCam announced that they won the 2018 Gold ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Award, calling it a “prestigious program that is designed to honor distinguished government and vendor solutions.”

I wish I could say that I am surprised to learn that private companies are working with Homeland Security, but this has been happening since 9/11.

San Diego has created a public watchlisting network

What I was surprised to learn about is how San Diego law enforcement has secretly created a public watchlisting network.

Buried in BriefCam’s “breakthrough” announcement is an admission that boggles the mind.

San Diego’s law enforcement is using BriefCam to create “precise face recognition [that] rapidly pinpoints people of interest in real-time using digital images extracted from video, external image sources and pre-defined watchlists.”

Watchlisting people is a major selling point for BriefCam, “our scalable watchlist management enables rapid and powerful rule configuration.” 

When I called 2018: The Year Public Watchlists Became Commonplace I was not joking, and here is another smoking gun to prove it.

The town of Ipswich, MA recently announced that they just became the first town in America to create a public watchlisting network.

Watchlisting hundreds of thousands of children and their families is big business.

Last year BriefCam announced that they used their surveillance cameras to identify children and their families during the 2018 Little League World Series in South Williamsport, PA.

“Each year, hundreds of thousands of people come out to Williamsport to enjoy their time at the Little League Baseball World Series,” said Jim Ferguson, Little League Assistant Director of Risk Management and Safety.

As Vanity Fair warned: the real purpose behind turning our cities into a mirror image of China is to “make people more obedient” and that is surveillance politics in a nutshell.

Source: Activist Post

Welcome To Total Surveillance Smart City

 Smart Cities use commercialized military internet of things tech to spy on everyone

Pegasus Global Holdings (PGH) a Trademark of Mobile Arch Partners (MAP) is working with DHS, the CIA , the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) to create total surveillance Smart Cities.

The Center for Innovation Testing and Evaluation, the University of New Mexico (UNM) and numerous high-tech companies are helping design Smart Cities that will spy on everyone.

Two years ago, PGH announced their plans to spend $1 billion to build a full scale mock-up Smart City, complete with surveillance cameras, microphones, Bluetooth monitoring devices, License Plate Readers and probably Stingray cell phone surveillance equipment. (Click here to learn how Bluetooth monitoring devices spy on motorists and pedestrians.)

What this means is, the Feds have created a mock-up city specifically designed to perfect their surveillance of citizens.

According to PGH’s website, they’re also a prime-vendor for the U.S. government and a manufacturer of defense equipment and technologies. PGH are also experts in commercializing military tech for the marketplace and the militarizing of global commercial technologies for the DOD and other U.S. Government Agencies. (Click here to find out how the Department of Defense funds MAP.)

What they’re really saying is, PGH specializes in using military spying equipment in Smart Cities.

Brief list of companies working on Smart Cities:

Click here & here to see a detailed list of companies working on Smart Cities. They’re common goal,  turn every city into a Smart City.

Corporations don’t care about our privacy, they only want their piece of the projected $1.56 trillion dollar Smart City market.

 

More at MassPrivatel

Whole Point of Internet Of Things

No One Wants the Internet of Things …

Washington Post noted in 2014:

No one really wants a “smart” washing machine ….

***

If you’re wondering who would want to buy an Internet-enabled washing machine, you’re not alone. Even Whirlpool’s not so sure.

“We’re a little bit of a hammer looking for a nail right now,” Chris Quatrochi, Whirlpool’s global director of user experience and connectivity, said last week at a conference  hosted by tech blog Gigaom. The buyers of web-connected washers, more than a year after launch, are still “not at all widespread,” he said. “Trying to understand exactly the value proposition that you provide to the consumer,” he said, “has been a little bit of a challenge.”

It’s a big concession from one of the most notable champions of the buzzy “Internet of Things” ….

As Digital Trends blogger John Sciacca put it: “Have we gotten so pathetically lame that you need to be notified by an email that your laundry is done?”

Wired jokes:

Now it seems every kind of thing from dishwashers to doorknobs require an Internet connection, since after all, we all know our dishwashers have long harbored a pent up desire for scintillating conversation with our doorknobs.

… Except Big Brother

The government is already spying on us through our computers, phones, cars, buses, streetlights, at airports and on the street, via mobile scanners and drones, through our credit cards and smart meters (see this), television, doll, and in many other ways.

The CIA wants to spy on you through your dishwasher and other “smart” appliances. Slate reported in 2012:

Watch out: the CIA may soon be spying on you—through your beloved, intelligent household appliances, according to Wired.

In early March, at a meeting for the CIA’s venture capital firm In-Q-Tel, CIA Director David Petraeus reportedly noted that “smart appliances” connected to the Internet could someday be used by the CIA to track individuals. If your grocery-list-generating refrigerator knows when you’re home, the CIA could, too, by using geo-location data from your wired appliances, according to SmartPlanet.

“The current ‘Internet of PCs’ will move, of course, toward an ‘Internet of Things’—of devices of all types—50 to 100 billion of which will be connected to the Internet by 2020,” Petraeus said in his speech. He continued:

Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters—all connected to the next-generation Internet using abundant, low cost, and high-power computing—the latter now going to cloud computing, in many areas greater and greater super computing, and, ultimately, heading to quantum computing.

Last year, U.S. Intelligence Boss James Clapper said that the government will spy on Americans through IoT:

In the future, intelligence services might use the [IoT] for identification, surveillance, monitoring, location tracking, and targeting for recruitment, or to gain access to networks or user credentials.

Yves Smith commented at the time:

Oh, come on. The whole point of the IoT is spying. The officialdom is just trying to persuade you that it really is a big consumer benefit to be able to tell your oven to start heating up before you get home.

Wired comments:

Why do you think there are so many buckets of cash pouring into the IoT hope-to-be-a-market? The Big Corporations don’t expect to make a big profit on the devices themselves, oh no. News flash: the Big Money in IoT is in Big Data. As in, Big Data about everything those sensors are learning about you and your nasty habits that you hide from your neighbors.

The value of Big Data, after all, aren’t the data themselves. “Fred’s car told Fred’s thermostat to turn on Fred’s hot tub” doesn’t interest anybody but Fred and perhaps his hot date (if he’s lucky). The value in Big Data, you see, are in the patterns. What shows you watch. What apps you use. Which ads influence your buying behavior. The more IoT you have, the more Big Data they collect, and the more Big Data they collect, the more they know about how you behave. And once they know how you behave, they know how to control how you behave.

The Guardian notes:

As a category, the internet of things is useful to eavesdroppers both official and unofficial for a variety of reasons, the main one being the leakiness of the data.

***

There are a wide variety of devices that can be used to listen in, and some compound devices (like cars) that have enough hardware to form a very effective surveillance suite all by themselves.

***

There’s no getting around the fundamental creepiness of the little pinhole cameras in new smart TVs (and Xbox Kinects, and laptops, and cellphones), but the less-remarked-on aspect – the audio – may actually be more pertinent to anyone with a warrant trying to listen in. Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society observed that Samsung’s voice recognition software in its smart TVs had to routinely send various commands “home” to a server where they were processed for relevant information; their microphones are also always on, in case you’re trying to talk to them. Televisions are also much easier to turn on than they used to be: a feature creeping into higher-end TVs called “wake on LAN” allows users to power on televisions over the internet (this is already standard on many desktop PCs).

***

A cyber attack on toy maker VTech exposed the personal data of 6.4m children last year; it was a sobering reminder of the vulnerability of kids on the web. But technology waits for no man. Mattel’s Hello Barbie doll works the same way the Nest and Samsung voice operators do, by passing kids’ interactions into the cloud and returning verbal responses through a speaker in the doll. HereO manufactures a watch for kids with a GPS chip in it; Fisher-Price makes a WiFi-enabled stuffed animal. Security researchers at Rapid7 looked at both and found that they were easy to compromise on company databases, and in the case of the watch, use to locate the wearer.

In a separate article, the Guardian pointed out:

Just a few weeks ago, a security researcher found that Google’s Nest thermostats were leaking users’ zip codes over the internet. There’s even an entire search engine for the internet of things called Shodan that allows users to easily search for unsecured webcams that are broadcasting from inside people’s houses without their knowledge.

While people voluntarily use all these devices, the chances are close to zero that they fully understand that a lot of their data is being sent back to various companies to be stored on servers that can either be accessed by governments or hackers.

***

Author and persistent Silicon Valley critic Evgeny Morozov summed up the entire problem with the internet of things and “smart” technology in a tweet last week:

In case you are wondering what “smart” – as in “smart city” or “smart home” – means:

Surveillance

Marketed


As


Revolutionary


Technology

https://twitter.com/evgenymorozov/status/693958196717711362

(And see Amazon Echo and the internet of things that spy on you.)

In the wake of the CIA leaks showing that the agency can remotely turn on our tvs and spy on us using a “fake off” mode so that it looks like the power is off, Tech Dirt wrote in an article called CIA Leaks Unsurprisingly Show The Internet Of Broken Things Is A Spy’s Best Friend:

The security and privacy standards surrounding the internet of (broken) things sit somewhere between high comedy and dog shit.

As security expert Bruce Schneier points out, the entire concept of the IoT is wildly insecure and vulnerable to hackingIndeed, Iot is so insecure that it allowed a massive internet outage.

The highest-level NSA whistleblower in history (William Binney) – the NSA executive who created the agency’s mass surveillance program for digital information, 36-year NSA veteran widely regarded as a “legend” within the agency, who served as the senior technical director within the agency, and managed thousands of NSA employees – reviewed an earlier version of this post, and told Washington’s Blog:

 

Yep, that summarizes it fairly well. It does not deal with industry or how they will use the data; but, that will probably be an extension of what they do now. This whole idea of monitoring electronic devices is objectionable.If forced to buy that stuff, I will do my best to disconnect these monitoring devices also look for equipment on the market that is not connected in any way.

Source: Washingtons Blog & Western Rifle Shooters Association

5 Myths Regarding the Paris Terror Attacks

As usual, the politicos and talking heads are all talking their own book, using the Paris terror attacks to push their own agendas.

As shown below, they’re spouting nonsense.

Mass Surveillance Won’t Help

https://s3-eu5.ixquick.com/cgi-bin/serveimage?url=http%3A%2F%2Fmedia-cache-ec0.pinimg.com%2F736x%2Fef%2Fb7%2F33%2Fefb73373d254b9271cbcdf43756d9b27.jpg&sp=3690435b194768bf72e0637128ae858c

The NSA and other spy agencies are pretending that the Paris attacks show that we need more mass surveillance.

But the New York Times correctly points out in a scathing editorial that mass surveillance won’t help to prevent terrorism:

As one French counter terrorism expert and former defense official said, this shows that “our intelligence is actually pretty good, but our ability to act on it is limited by the sheer numbers.” In other words, the problem in this case was not a lack of data, but a failure to act on information authorities already had.

In fact, indiscriminate bulk data sweeps have not been useful. In the more than two years since the N.S.A.’s data collection programs became known to the public, the intelligence community has failed to show that the phone program has thwarted a terrorist attack. Yet for years intelligence officials and members of Congress repeatedly misled the public by claiming that it was effective.

In reality, top security experts agree that mass surveillance makes us MORE vulnerable to terrorists.

Indeed, even the NSA has previously admitted that it’s collecting too MUCH information to stop terror attacks.

Encryption Isn’t What Made Us Vulnerable

The spy agencies are also pretending that encryption made it impossible to stop the attacks.

But the Washington Post reports:

Several French outlets reported last night that a smartphone recovered near one of the massacre sites was not encrypted at all.

***

Hours after the attacks in Paris, Forbes quickly pointed to remarks by a Belgian official who said that Islamic State militants use the PlayStation 4’s chat functions as a way to communicate securely. The article also mentioned that a Sony PlayStation 4 was recovered in a police raid connected to the Paris investigation.

That report was later undermined by the real facts — that no PlayStation 4 had been collected and that the Belgian official had been talking about the use of PlayStation technology generally by terrorism suspects.

But it was too late. Reports spread across the news industry tying the PlayStation to the attacks (there is a second wave of stories sweeping the Internet trying to undo the damage).

Tech Dirt notes:

Most of the communications between the attackers was conducted via unencrypted vanilla SMS:

“…News emerging from Paris — as well as evidence from a Belgian ISIS raid in January — suggests that the ISIS terror networks involved were communicating in the clear, and that the data on their smartphones was not encrypted.

European media outlets are reporting that the location of a raid conducted on a suspected safe house Wednesday morning was extracted from a cellphone, apparently belonging to one of the attackers, found in the trash outside the Bataclan concert hall massacre. Le Monde reported that investigators were able to access the data on the phone, including a detailed map of the concert hall and an SMS messaging saying “we’re off; we’re starting.” Police were also able to trace the phone’s movements.

The reports note that Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the “mastermind” of both the Paris attacks and a thwarted Belgium attack ten months ago, failed to use any encryption whatsoever (read: existing capabilities stopped the Belgium attacks and could have stopped the Paris attacks, but didn’t). That’s of course not to say bat shit religious cults like ISIS don’t use encryption, and won’t do so going forward. Everybody uses encryption. But the point remains that to use a tragedy to vilify encryption, push for surveillance expansion, and pass backdoor laws that will make everybody less safe — is nearly as gruesome as the attacks themselves.

7 of the 8 Terrorists Were Known to U.S. or French Intelligence Agencies

Just as with 9/11, the Boston marathon bombings, and other recent attacks, governments are pretending “it wasn’t foreseeable”.

But CBS reports that law enforcement sources say that 7 of the 8 terrorists were known in advance to U.S. or French intelligence services.

The New York Times confirms:

Most of the men who carried out the Paris attacks were already on the radar of intelligence officials in France and Belgium, where several of the attackers lived only hundreds of yards from the main police station, in a neighborhood known as a haven for extremists.

Escalating War Against ISIS Is Not the Only Option

I’m all for killing members of ISIS.

But given that the U.S. and its close allies – Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and Bahrain – are massively supporting ISIS, stopping the arming, feeding and logistical support is even more important if we want to stop these crazies.


None
of the Terrorists Were Syrian

None of the Paris terrorists were Syrian. All of them were European nationals.

The German Interior Minister suggests that the Syrian passport found at the scene of the terror attacks was a “false flag” by ISIS meant to force countries to seal their borders against further refugees.

Why would they do this? Numerous security experts suggest that refugees fleeing ISIS’ “Caliphate” is a PR disaster for ISIS. After all, happy fundamentalist Muslims wouldn’t flee utopia, would they?

But we do take the risk of infiltration of refugee groups by terrorists very seriously. Indeed, the Telegraph reports today:

The mastermind of the Paris attacks was able to slip into Europe among Syrian migrants, it emerged last night, as police on the continent admitted they are unable to monitor thousands of suspected jihadists.

***

It has emerged that Abaaoud, and at least two of the Paris terrorists took the migrant route via Greece, intensifying fears that terrorists are able easily to exploit the refugee crisis to get to Europe.

Specifically, many of the Paris terrorists were European nationals who went to fight for ISIS in Syria, and then they slipped in with the refugees coming from Syria to get back into Europe.

So those saying that the civilians fleeing war and mayhem in Syria are all terrorists are wrong … but so are those saying that the massive refugee flow poses no danger.

by George Washington in Zero Hedge

Bush Campaigns For Broader Government Surveillance Of Americans

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush on Wednesday said he favors broader government surveillance of Americans, calling for private tech firms to cooperate better with federal agencies to “make sure that evildoers aren’t in our midst.” 
“There’s a place to find common ground between personal civil liberties and [the National Security Agency] doing its job,” the former Florida governor said. “I think the balance has actually gone the wrong way.”

At a national security forum in South Carolina on Tuesday, the presidential hopeful addressed the enforcement officials should have guaranteed access to encrypted customer data at major tech firms.

Bush said encryption “makes it harder for the American government to do its job” and called for “a new arrangement with Silicon Valley” to address what he termed as a “dangerous situation.”
 
Prominent tech CEOs — such as Apple’s Tim Cook — have argued for strong, universal encryption, in which even the company can’t see customers’ communications. Security experts support such calls, arguing that a guaranteed “back door” weakens worldwide encryption and compromises privacy. 
 
A few other Republican candidates have staked out early positions on cyber security. 
 
Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina also called for “more collaboration … between private sector companies and the public sector” during Fox News’s undercard Republican presidential debate earlier this month. 
 
On Monday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich took a more tech-friendly stance, calling for a “safe place” for private-sector tech experts to contribute to national cyber security efforts.
 
“They want to be patriots,” Kasich said. “Sometimes they need a Sacagawea to guide them through the system.”