background preloader

Machines that steal your phone’s data

Machines that steal your phone’s data
The National Security Agency’s spying tactics are being intensely scrutinized following the recent leaks of secret documents. However, the NSA isn't the only US government agency using controversial surveillance methods. Monitoring citizens' cell phones without their knowledge is a booming business. From Arizona to California, Florida to Texas, state and federal authorities have been quietly investing millions of dollars acquiring clandestine mobile phone surveillance equipment in the past decade. Earlier this year, a covert tool called the “Stingray” that can gather data from hundreds of phones over targeted areas attracted international attention. Details about the devices are not disclosed on the Harris website, and marketing materials come with a warning that anyone distributing them outside law enforcement agencies or telecom firms could be committing a crime punishable by up to five years in jail. “Stingray” Cost: $68,479 for the original Stingray; $134,952 for Stingray II. “Gossamer” Related:  NSA & Big Brothers, suitePrivacy & IdentityTECHNOLOGY + CIVIL RIGHTS

wireless network tracks civilians | Seattle police In February, the Seattle Police Department announced it bought what's called a "mesh network," that will be used as a dedicated wireless network for emergency responders. What SPD did not say is that the network is capable of tracking anyone with a device that has a Wi-Fi connection. "They now own a piece of equipment that has tracking capabilities so we think that they should be going to City Council and presenting a protocol for the whole network that says they won't be using it for surveillance purposes," said Jamela Debelak of the American Civil Liberties Union. A spokesperson for Seattle Police said the network is not being used right now. The network includes 160 wireless access points that are mounted on poles across Seattle. This information can be stored and connected for the last 1,000 times a person is connected with a specific device. Council member Bruce Harrell pointed out the need for SPD to be able to collect some of this information.

This Rule About Drone Surveillance Is Just Plain Absurd -- And Scary From the Wiki article on Air rights "At the same time, the law, and the Supreme Court, recognized that a landowner had property rights in the lower reaches of the airspace above their property. So technically they are invading a persons private property unless this has been overruled. I'm not sure how the FBI is circumventing this rule. That's about the only way around it, and not too tricky of one at that.

Wi-Fi Spy Grid 'Deactivated' SPD admit mesh network was never turned off after DHS testing phase Paul Joseph Watson Infowars.com November 13, 2013 Following a privacy outcry concerning a wi-fi “mesh network” being installed in Seattle with DHS funding that has the capability of recording the last 1,000 locations of anyone in its vicinity, the Seattle Police Department announced last night that it is temporarily deactivating the network. Image: City of Seattle. As we highlighted yesterday, the $2.7 million dollar system, a series of white wi-fi boxes affixed to utility poles with which authorities had planned to blanket the entire city, can track cellphones even if they are not connected to the network. The system can also collect a mobile user’s IP address, mobile device type, apps used, current location and even historical locations. “The wireless mesh network will be deactivated until city council approves a draft policy and until there’s an opportunity for vigorous public debate,” SPD spokesperson Sgt. Gov.

Edward Snowden Calls Police Spying on Quebec Journalists a ‘Threat to Democracy’ In a speech to 600 people at McGill University in Montreal on Wednesday night, Edward Snowden described police spying on Quebec journalists a “threat to the traditional model of our democracy.” Though it had been announced months ago, the timing of Snowden’s conference was strangely appropriate. The event took place just hours after La Presse revealed the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), which is the provincial police force, had put at least six prominent journalists under surveillance. Two days earlier, the same Montreal daily had broken the story that its own star columnist, Patrick Lagacé, had been spied on by the Montreal police force (SPVM). Appearing live from Russia, where he’s been living in exile since exposing top secret information about US intelligence and surveillance programs, Snowden did not mince words when discussing the behaviour of Quebec police. "You can find out anyone he met with, who did he call, how long he was on the phone"

‘Smart’ Street Lights Analyze Voices, Track People The company behind a new ‘smart’ street lighting system which is being rolled out in major cities like Las Vegas admits that the technology has the capability of analyzing voices and tracking people, features that will aid the Department of Homeland Security in “protecting its citizens.” We first reported on Intellistreets bragging of its product’s “homeland security” applications back in 2011, with the backlash from privacy advocates causing the company to remove a promotional video from YouTube. The video was later restored (see above), although comments were disabled. However, Illuminating Concepts, the company behind Intellistreets, seems to be more comfortable in acknowledging the “security” aspects of its devices now that it has secured numerous lucrative government contracts to supply street lighting in several major cities. Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Infowars.com and Prison Planet.com.

Obama can’t point to a single time the NSA call records program prevented a terrorist attack President Obama speaks during an end-of-the year news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, Friday, Dec. 20, 2013. (Susan Walsh/AP) National Security Agency defenders, including President Obama, continue to cite the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001 when defending the program that scoops up domestic call records in bulk. At the end of the year news conference, Reuters's Mark Felsenthal asked: As you review how to rein in the National Security Agency, a federal judge says that, for example, the government has failed to cite a single instance in which analysis of the NSA's bulk metadata actually stopped an imminent attack. But President Obama never answered the question about a specific examples. The president's reliance on a 9/11 narrative is expected. But the reason the president can't cite a specific time the phone meta-data program stopped a similar tragedy is because it hasn't.

Fake Cell Towers Allow the NSA and Police to Keep Track of You The Internet is abuzz with reports of mysterious devices sprinkled across America—many of them on military bases—that connect to your phone by mimicking cell phone towers and sucking up your data. There is little public information about these devices, but they are the new favorite toy of government agencies of all stripes; everyone from the National Security Agency to local police forces are using them. These fake towers, known as “interceptors,” were discovered in July by users of the CryptoPhone500, one of the ultra-secure cell phones released after Edward Snowden’s leaks about NSA snooping. The phone is essentially a Samsung Galaxy S3 customized with high-level encryption that costs around $3,500. Newsweek Magazine is Back In Print Map showing the location of rogue cell towers identified by the firewall on CryptoPhones in August via ESD America, a defense and law enforcement technology provider based in Las Vegas. This NSA-style surveillance is spreading to local cops.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter Block Tool For Cops To Surveil You On Social Media On Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of California announced that, after the organization obtained revealing documents through public records access requests, Facebook and Instagram have cut off data access to a company that sells surveillance products for law enforcement. Twitter has also curbed the surveillance product’s access. The product, called Geofeedia, is used by law enforcement to monitor social media on a large scale, and relies on social media sites’ APIs or other means of access. According to one internal email between a Geofeedia representative and police, the company claimed their product “covered Ferguson/Mike Brown nationally with great success,” in reference to to the fatal police shooting of a black teenager in Missouri in 2014, and subsequent protests. “Our location-based intelligence platform enables hundreds of organizations around the world to predict, analyze, and act based on real-time social media signals,” the company’s website reads.

Leaked Watchlist Guidelines Show How the Obama Admin Abuses the 'State Secrets' Privilege The Intercept published a must-read story yesterday revealing the secret and incredibly vague rules the US government uses to place people on its terrorism watchlist. While the story covers many civil liberties problems associated with the unaccountable process, it also highlights an important topic that has gotten lost in recent debates about government secrecy: the continued abuse of the state secrets privilege. The state secrets privilege is a controversial legal doctrine that has been used by the Bush and Obama administrations to get several lawsuits dismissed alleging serious unconstitutional actions—like torture, illegal surveillance, and due process violations—merely by arguing the issues of were too sensitive to discuss in court without harming national security. Obama once promised to reform the state secrets privilege, but his administration has instead doubled down on its use in several controversial cases.

Is the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act the 'worst law in technology'? | Dan Gillmor Is the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act the "worst law in technology", as Columbia Law School's Tim Wu calls the statute? I think there are worse laws for the technology industry and its customers, but the CFAA is more than bad enough – a vague, outdated and Draconian law, abused by the government in several high-profile cases – to have spurred calls for repeal. As Wu and many others (including me) have pointed out over the years, the vagueness of the CFAA has given prosecutors a tool that should worry everyone. This is because the government contends that the statute's ban on "unauthorized access" to someone else's computer is a felony, period, with potential penalties you'd associate with serious violent crime. But he wasn't the first. The Bush administration relied on the CFAA to prosecute the easy-to-dislike Lori Drew, who was among several people who created a bogus MySpace account of a fictitious teenaged boy who wooed and rejected the daughter of Drew's neighbor in suburban St Louis.

NSA Spying The US government, with assistance from major telecommunications carriers including AT&T, has engaged in massive, illegal dragnet surveillance of the domestic communications and communications records of millions of ordinary Americans since at least 2001. Since this was first reported on by the press and discovered by the public in late 2005, EFF has been at the forefront of the effort to stop it and bring government surveillance programs back within the law and the Constitution. History of NSA Spying Information since 2005 (See EFF’s full timeline of events here) News reports in December 2005 first revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been intercepting Americans’ phone calls and Internet communications. Those news reports, combined with a USA Today story in May 2006 and the statements of several members of Congress, revealed that the NSA is also receiving wholesale copies of American's telephone and other communications records. EFF Fights Back in the Courts

Supreme Court Sets Powerful Limits for Cell Searches, Fails to Protect Internet Streaming San Francisco - The U.S. Supreme Court issued two big rulings in important technology cases today. In a groundbreaking decision on cell phone privacy, the court set powerful limits for police searches of cell phones, ruling in two consolidated cases that law enforcement must get a warrant before accessing the data on an arrested person's cell phone. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed amicus briefs in both of the cell phone search cases that were at issue in today's decision. "These decisions are huge for digital privacy," EFF Staff Attorney Hanni Fakhoury said. "The court recognized that the astounding amount of sensitive data stored on modern cell phones requires heightened privacy protection, and cannot be searched at a police officer's whim. In its opinion, the court confirmed the importance of the warrant requirement, writing "Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple—get a warrant."

Aaron Swartz Aaron Hillel Swartz (November 8, 1986 – January 11, 2013) was an American computer programmer, entrepreneur, writer, political organizer and Internet hacktivist who was involved in the development of the web feed format RSS[3] and the Markdown publishing format,[4] the organization Creative Commons,[5] the website framework web.py[6] and the social news site, Reddit, in which he became a partner after its merger with his company, Infogami.[i] He committed suicide while under federal indictment for data-theft, a prosecution that was characterized by his family as being "the product of a criminal-justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach".[7] Swartz's work also focused on sociology, civic awareness and activism.[8][9] He helped launch the Progressive Change Campaign Committee in 2009 to learn more about effective online activism. Swartz declined a plea bargain under which he would have served six months in federal prison. Life and works[edit] W3C[edit] Markdown[edit]

CameraV: Secure Verifiable Photo & Video Camera – Guardian Project CameraV is the easiest way to capture and share verifiable photos and video proof on a smartphone or tablet, all the while keeping it entirely secure and private. This is the official app from the InformaCam project, a partnership between the Guardian Project and WITNESS. CameraV is easy to learn and simple to use (and insanely secure & powerful under the covers…). * READ THE USER GUIDE: CameraV is based on the InformaCam platform, and was developed for use by activists, journalists, advocates and others, working in very difficult and high-risk situations, to capture and gather visual evidence and proof of abuse and rights violations. * OPEN-SOURCE AND FREE: * JOIN THE COMMUNITY: Harlo Holmes, Research Fellow and Metadata Head, The Guardian Project

Related: