Surveillance capitalists control the science and the scientists, the secrets and the truth.
What if the United States government took the DNA of vast numbers of Americans for use without their consent? The Trump administration has just brought us one step closer to that dystopia.
A technical analysis and interviews with computer security experts showed that the firm behind ToTok, Breej Holding, is most likely a front company affiliated with DarkMatter, an Abu Dhabi-based cyberintelligence and hacking firm where Emirati intelligence officials, former National Security Agency employees and former Israeli military intelligence operatives work. DarkMatter is under F.B.I. investigation, according to former employees and law enforcement officials, for possible cybercrimes. The American intelligence assessment and the technical analysis also linked ToTok to Pax AI, an Abu Dhabi-based data mining firm that appears to be tied to DarkMatter.
As they go about their daily lives, many Pasadena residents we spoke with, like the rest of us, frequent locations whose populations for one reason or another could be vulnerable — because they attend mosques or synagogues or work at secure facilities, like NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. We plucked one scientist at the lab out of the data, and when we tracked him down in real life and explained how we did it, he was alarmed. “Somebody who might want to get some information from [the lab] for instance, they might target me,” the scientist told us. “This will be a treasure trove for any spying agency, I would presume.” He asked that we preserve his anonymity in this story.
The largest such file known to have been examined by journalists, it reveals more than 50 billion location pings from the phones of more than 12 million Americans across several major cities.
By analyzing these pings, our journalists were able to track the movements of President Trump’s Secret Service guards and of senior Pentagon officials. They could follow protesters to their homes and stalk high-school students across Los Angeles. In most cases, it was child’s play for them to connect a supposedly anonymous data trail to a name and an address — to a real live human being.
….They want to Impeach me (I’m not worried!), and yet they were all breaking the law in so many ways. How can they do that and yet impeach a very successful (Economy Plus) President of the United States, who has done nothing wrong? These people are Crazy!
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The inspector general concluded that central to the FBI’s court applications for surveillance of Page were a set of allegations provided by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele. The Steele dossier, as it came to be known, contained allegations against Trump, Page and other Trump associates, and those allegations have been the subject of intense political fighting since they became public in early 2017.
The authorities can scan your phones, track your face and find out when you leave your home. One of the world’s biggest spying networks is aimed at regular people, and nobody can stop it.
The FBI is seeking an interview with a CIA whistleblower whose complaint led to an impeachment inquiry into whether President Trump abused his office in his dealings with the Ukrainian president, according to three people familiar with the matter.
„The FBI’s handling of the Carter Page applications, as portrayed in the OIG report, was antithetical to the heightened duty of candor described above,“ Rosemary Collyer, presiding judge with the FISC, wrote in the order released by the court.
The judge gave the FBI until Jan. 10 to provide the court a sworn statement detailing how it plans to overhaul its approach to future surveillance applications.
At more than 400 pages, the study amounted to the most searching look ever at the government’s secretive system for carrying out national-security surveillance on American soil. And what the report showed was not pretty.
The Justice Department’s independent inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, and his team uncovered a staggeringly dysfunctional and error-ridden process in how the F.B.I. went about obtaining and renewing court permission under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, to wiretap Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser.
Ahead of a conference in Berlin Monday, Berners-Lee tweeted a warning of the risks faced.
He wrote: „If we fail to defend the free and open web, we risk a digital dystopia of entrenched inequality and abuse of rights.“
In an earlier statement on his foundation’s website, he called the web „one of the defining opportunities of our time,“ adding that collaborative action must be taken „to prevent the web being misused by those who want to exploit, divide and undermine.“
The technology carries major national security implications because quantum computers potentially could break traditional internet security programs or other codes.
Developing viable quantum computers has proved to be hugely challenging because they rely on superconductivity that can only be achieved in temperatures close to absolute zero.
Any instability in the qubits, for example from vibrations, can lead to ‘noise’ that causes calculation errors and undermines a quantum computer’s power to solve problems.
Earlier this month, IBM announced it was joining forces with a German research institute to explore the potential of quantum computing, backed by a government plan to invest $717million over two years in wider research in the field.
The Indian government has asked third party contractors to help it build a massive surveillance network utilizing thousands of cameras and the current cream of the facial recognition crop at the time of deployment. The whole thing needs to be in place less than 8 months after the contract is secured, suggesting the government is more than happy to move forward with whatever it has on hand rather than whatever might actually do the job well.
It’s also climbing the global censorship charts, trailing only Russia, China, and Turkey in various social media platform demographics. But it is the king of Facebook censorship, delivering more takedown demands to Facebook than closest rival, Russia. When you’re out-censoring Russia, you’re playing the censorship game right.
The effort would effectively let Chrome and Mozilla users opt in to DNS encryption — making your browser data more secure from spying and monetization — assuming your DNS provider supports it. Needless to day, telecom giants that have made billions of dollars monetizing your every online behavior for decades now (and routinely lying about it) don’t much like that.
As a result, Comcast, AT&T, and others have been trying to demonize the Google and Mozilla efforts any way they can,
“Just being in intelligence, we are trained to be extremely paranoid of everything,” the soldier said. “This is serious operational security not being considered.”
The worst-case scenario, he said, was “our cover might be blown.” While the app said permissions could be disabled, the soldiers said there was a failure of confidence it was secure. Senior leaders checked the phones of subordinates to ensure they had the app installed, soldiers in the unit said.
Snowden’s point: you better not have done anything you’ve regretted in your digital past; you better not have put an unsavory term in a Google Search bar—because there will be a permanent record of that, which can be found and used against you if need be.
Snowden also pointed out that the term for this is “bulk collection,” a euphemism the government uses for mass surveillance work.
“They simply collect it all in advance and hope that one day it will become useful,” he said.
Fake accounts tied to intelligence services in China, Iran and Russia had directed thousands of tweets at Mr. Trump, according to a Times analysis of propaganda accounts suspended by Twitter. Iranian operatives tweeted anti-Semitic tropes, saying that Mr. Trump was “being controlled” by global Zionists, and that pulling out of the Iran nuclear treaty would benefit North Korea.
It requires Russian internet providers to install hardware to allow authorities to locate the source of traffic and block it.
More disturbing were the extraordinary technical capabilities that were used to remove – in real time – any mention of the death of Chinese dissident and Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo.
Russia wishes to be equally restrictive although it does not appear to have the technical capabilities and it has not put itself behind a national firewall, at least not yet – it is working on it. It has instead focused on removing people’s ability to access information anonymously.
Now, records show how far beyond Silicon Valley the practice extends — encompassing scores of banks, credit agencies, cellphone carriers and even universities.
The demands can scoop up a variety of information, including usernames, locations, IP addresses and records of purchases. They don’t require a judge’s approval and usually come with a gag order, leaving them shrouded in secrecy. Fewer than 20 entities, most of them tech companies, have ever revealed that they’ve received the subpoenas, known as national security letters.
The implant has access to all the database files (on the victim’s phone) used by popular end-to-end encryption apps like Whatsapp, Telegram and iMessage. We can see here screenshots of the apps on the left, and on the right the contents of the database files stolen by the implant which contain the unencrypted, plain-text of the messages sent and received using the apps:
There’s something thus far which is conspicuous only by its absence: is any of this encrypted? The short answer is no: they really do POST everything via HTTP (not HTTPS) and there is no asymmetric (or even symmetric) encryption applied to the data which is uploaded. Everything is in the clear. If you’re connected to an unencrypted WiFi network this information is being broadcast to everyone around you, to your network operator and any intermediate network hops to the command and control server.
This means that not only is the end-point of the end-to-end encryption offered by messaging apps compromised; the attackers then send all the contents of the end-to-end encrypted messages in plain text over the network to their server.
I recommend that these posts are read in the following order:
“To be targeted might mean simply being born in a certain geographic region or being part of a certain ethnic group,” he said. “All that users can do is be conscious of the fact that mass exploitation still exists and behave accordingly; treating their mobile devices as both integral to their modern lives, yet also as devices which when compromised, can upload their every action into a database to potentially be used against them.”
The fact that there are no diplomatic ties between Israel and the UAE and other Persian Gulf countries has not prevented the shared interests of the countries in the region to forge an extensive unofficial relationship, including in business, military and political spheres. In the case of Israel and the Gulf states, one main shared interest is their mutual enemy: Iran.
However, as Haaretz points out, “it is interesting to discover that Israel’s name is totally absent from the hundreds of thousands of words describing the transaction in detail. The only mention of the country is in one document originating in Switzerland that describes the structure of AGT. It mentions in German that Kochavi is an Israeli citizen.”
The Israeli daily also notes that this deal is not Kochavi’s first project on behalf of the UAE, pointing to the installation of thousands of cameras, sensors and license-plate readers in Abu Dhabi in a bid to turn the capital into a “smart city”.
„The police had 30 tweets of mine. I asked the officer, ‘What’s the worst one you’ve got? Which one comes closest to the edge of being dangerously criminal?’ He said, ‘Well, there is this limerick’. I replied to say that I hadn’t written any limericks. He said, ‘No, but you have retweeted a limerick’. He read it to me, and I was like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me’. It wasn’t even a limerick. It was a lyric from a feminist song. He told me I had to stop doing this. I asked again if I had done anything wrong. And that is when he said the immortal line: ‘I need to check your thinking.’ „
It’s the first time federal legislation has addressed limits on technology and tenants.
Asen Genov is pretty furious. His personal data was made public this week after records of more than 5 million Bulgarians got stolen by hackers from the country’s tax revenue office.
In a country of just 7 million people, the scale of the hack means that just about every working adult has been affected.
As activists prepare to hold another mass demonstration against the government’s handling of a now-suspended extradition bill, the government’s official logs reveal that in the first quarter of this year the UK approved an export licence for £1.9m of “telecommunications interception equipment” to Hong Kong. This was just weeks before protests against the controversial proposed treaty with mainland China began in March.
“You just have to remember one number and that will fit it into your tax number, your driving licence number, FNPF (Fiji National Provident Fund) number and any other types of numbers that you do have, but you just have to remember one particular number.
Thousands of facial-recognition requests, internal documents and emails over the past five years, obtained through public-records requests by researchers with Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology and provided to The Washington Post, reveal that federal investigators have turned state departments of motor vehicles databases into the bedrock of an unprecedented surveillance infrastructure.
Police have long had access to fingerprints, DNA and other “biometric data” taken from criminal suspects. But the DMV records contain the photos of a vast majority of a state’s residents, most of whom have never been charged with a crime.
Strategic affairs minister’s schedules show he met with spy agency’s chief ■ Datebooks also include several meetings devoted to creation of firm to advance ‚mass awareness activities‘
A consumer advocacy group, Hatzlacha, the Consumers’ Movement for the Promotion of a Fair Society and Economy, appealed under Israel’s freedom-of-information laws to publicize the workday calendars of Israeli ministers in 2018, in a bid to uncover links between top politicians and local and international business interests.
The fact that face recognition technology, which can be readily abused, has been deployed by federal agencies largely in secret should give us all pause. The technology gives government agencies the unprecedented power to track who we are, where we go, and who we know. Companies marketing this technology to the government boast that it can be used to track people in real-time, reconstruct past movements from video footage, or identify a hundred individuals from a single photo. This threatens to create a world where people are watched and identified as they attend a protest, congregate outside a place of worship, visit a medical provider, or simply go about their daily lives.
Let me restate that: William Barr is opposed to certain, very narrow subsets of domestic surveillance. Specifically, Barr doesn’t think the government should have spied on Trump and his campaign staff, if that’s what actually happened, which Barr doesn’t actually seem to know.
But if you’re literally anyone else, domestic surveillance is just another name for national security, whether you’re a random Verizon customer or one of the world’s most useful websites.
The Wikimedia Foundation sued the federal government over domestic surveillance back in 2015. The suit lives on four years later …
Today, EU Member States agreed to give two mandates to the Commission to engage in international negotiations to improve cross-border access to electronic evidence in criminal investigations.The Council agreed to provide the Commission with negotiating mandates for negotiations with the United States and for the Second Additional Protocol to the Council of Europe “Budapest” Convention on Cybercrime.
Automated facial recognition is a grave threat to privacy and the presumption of innocence.
A tech privacy report, that has been swept under the rug by the mainstream media has declared that Americans are about to live through the very world Orwell wrote of. Georgetown researchers are warning Americans about a sophisticated real-time face surveillance system that’s about to become an “imminent reality” for millions of citizens across the country. Ground zero, though, appears to be Detroit.
The “America Under Watch” report is a warning that authorities in select U.S. cities may soon be able to pick you out from a crowd, identify you, and trace your movements via a secret network of cameras constantly capturing images of your face. Mass surveillance of every single human being living in the U.S. has become a nightmarish dystopian reality.
Officers set up the camera on a van in Romford, East London, which then cross-checked photos of faces of passers-by against a database of wanted criminals.
But one man was unimpressed about being filmed and covered his face with his hat and jacket, before being stopped by officers who took his picture anyway.
After being pulled aside, the man told police: ‚If I want to cover me face, I’ll cover me face. Don’t push me over when I’m walking down the street.‘
Mr Parker said that his staff were doing “extraordinary things” to keep the country safe in the face of such dangers, thwarting plots and saving lives. But he cautioned that the increasingly “vast amounts” of material on smartphones and the scale of social media output meant that more data than ever was being created at the same time as encryption was making it harder for MI5 to access it.
Sensorvault, according to Google employees, includes detailed location records involving at least hundreds of millions of devices worldwide and dating back nearly a decade.
The new orders, sometimes called “geofence” warrants, specify an area and a time period, and Google gathers information from Sensorvault about the devices that were there.
(19.3.2019) When a Dutch cybersecurity researcher disclosed last month that Chinese security contractor SenseNets left a massive facial recognition database tracking the movements of over 2.5 million people in China’s Xinjiang province unsecured on the internet, it briefly shone a spotlight on the alarming scope of the Chinese surveillance state.
But SenseNets is a symptom of a much larger phenomenon: Tech firms in the United States are lending expertise, reputational credence, and even technology to Chinese surveillance companies, wittingly or otherwise.
(25.2.2019) Google and the Fast Identity Online Alliance said Monday that Android is now FIDO2-certified, meaning its devices can use fingerprints and security keys for logging in to accounts instead of passwords. The certification was unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
FIDO supports a full range of authentication technologies, including biometrics such as fingerprint and iris scanners, voice and facial recognition, as well as existing solutions and communications standards, such as Trusted Platform Modules (TPM), USB security tokens, embedded Secure Elements (eSE), smart cards, and near field communication (NFC). The USB security token device may be used to authenticate using a simple password (e.g. four-digit PIN) or by pressing a button.
(21.11.2018) Microsoft’s corporate veep of all things identity, Alex Simons, trumpeted that the 800 million people who use a Microsoft account will now be able to sign in without username or password.
(28.2.2019) The FIDO2 standard comprises the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Authentication specification and the corresponding Client to Authenticator Protocol (CTAP) from FIDO Alliance. Together these initiatives create an ecosystem of compliant devices that can easily authenticate themselves to online services.
Postman’s key point was that Big Brother didn’t need to bother watching John Doe or controlling him, because John Doe probably was already willing to be controlled by forces that rendered him harmless to Big Brother. Postman argued that Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World was more prescient than Orwell’s 1984, because in his book Huxley portrayed a citizenry perfectly willing to give up its most sacred possessions for trivial things.
This may all sound frightening, but a system devised by human beings to control others can also be controlled, if you know what you’re doing. If you’re a true entrepreneur, then you see the opportunity in every social evolution. And big changes mean even bigger opportunities. Are you ready?
New York entrepreneur and Democratic 2020 candidate Andrew Yang wants to implement a system in which a government-run mobile app rewards Americans with “digital social credits” (DSCs) for good behavior.
Americans would receive DSCs under Yang’s system for things such as “participating in a town fair,” “fixing a neighbor’s appliance” or “tutoring a student,” his presidential campaign website explains.
To use Jamie Horsley’s argument in Foreign Policy, „China’s Orwellian social credit score isn’t real…There is no such thing as a national ’social credit score‘.“
Apart from the (negative) political implications of the work-in-progress social credit system, we should also consider the economic implication of such a system.
In addition to more mundane areas like whether you pay your community charge on time, the system’s reputational algorithm will also factor in your choice of online friends. That person who complains about how the government is doing its job could suddenly cost you some serious social cred. Befriend too many wrongthinkers and you could quickly find yourself classed as a wrongthinker too.
(11.2.2019) „We’re beginning to see it already where insurance companies affect your premium based on whether you’re eating healthy, getting a good night’s sleep or getting enough exercise,“ he said, adding that the need for Congress to act is urgent.
But Chertoff said the emphasis needs to change from how do we keep things confidential, and instead pass laws that focus on who controls the data once it’s been generated.
(22. Oktober 2016)
The ambition is to collect every scrap of information available online about China’s companies and citizens in a single place — and then assign each of them a score based on their political, commercial, social and legal “credit.”
The government hasn’t announced exactly how the plan will work — for example, how scores will be compiled and different qualities weighted against one another. But the idea is that good behavior will be rewarded and bad behavior punished, with the Communist Party acting as the ultimate judge.
(23.10.2018) The idea is simple: By keeping and aggregating records throughout the government’s various ministries and departments, Chinese officials can gain insight into how people behave and develop ways to control them.
The goal writes Rogier Creemers, a postdoctoral scholar specializing in the law and governance of China at Leiden University in The Netherlands, is “cybernetic” behavioral control, allowing individuals to be monitored and immediately confronted with the consequences of their actions. In so doing, authorities can enhance the county’s expanding surveillance apparatus.
(21.1.2019) The science-fiction future, in which police can swiftly identify robbers and murderers from discarded soda cans and cigarette butts, has arrived. In 2017, President Trump signed into law the Rapid DNA Act, which, starting this year, will enable approved police booking stations in several states to connect their Rapid DNA machines to Codis, the national DNA database. Genetic fingerprinting is set to become as routine as the old-fashioned kind.
(18. April 2009)
The F.B.I., with a DNA database of 6.7 million profiles, expects to accelerate its growth rate from 80,000 new entries a year to 1.2 million by 2012 — a 15-fold increase. F.B.I. officials say they expect DNA processing backlogs — which now stand at more than 500,000 cases — to increase.
Law enforcement officials say that expanding the DNA databanks to include legally innocent people will help solve more violent crimes.
(3.1.2019) At the same time, computational biologist Tony Capra at Vanderbilt University in Nashville had the same bright idea to search for Neanderthal DNA in a large database. He used proprietary electronic records of 28,000 Americans. His team was the first to publish, reporting Neanderthal DNA variants that raise the risk of depression, skin lesions, blood clots, and other disorders in people today.
(15.5.2017) The issue of DNA collection has received some press attention. In one case in Shandong province, police collected DNA from more than 5,000 male students in one college in October 2013. The students were given no explanation about why their information was taken, and many “did not understand nor felt comfortable about it.” When reached by journalists, the school said it was to cooperate with the police’s request to establish a database about migrant populations, but the police said it was to solve a number of theft cases on the campus.
(23.2.2019) When George Orwell’s “1984” was published seven decades ago, it seemed a dire warning of a future dystopia ruled by thought police and authoritarian control. Today, such a world is becoming a reality in Xinjiang. We agree with human rights groups who have urged the United Nations Human Rights Council, when it meets starting Monday, to launch an international fact-finding mission to Xinjiang to expose this unsettling experiment in state control of human behavior.
(1.6.2010) ENF relies on frequency variations in the electricity supplied by the National Grid. Digital devices such as CCTV recorders, telephone recorders and camcorders that are plugged in to or located near the mains pick up these deviations in the power supply, which are caused by peaks and troughs in demand. Battery-powered devices are not immune to to ENF analysis, as grid frequency variations can be induced in their recordings from a distance.
At the Metropolitan Police’s digital forensics lab in Penge, south London, scientists have created a database that has recorded these deviations once every one and a half seconds for the last five years.
Canada is preparing to launch a group of three satellites to track ships near the nation’s coast and also track vessels in parts of the world where Canada conducts military operations with allied nations, the Department of National Defense (DND) announced in a press release, Trend reports citing Sputnik.
The technology developed at Ping An can pinpoint 54 brief, involuntary micro-expressions that a face often creates before the brain can control the movements of the face. They include eyeballs that move back and forth and rapid blinking. “We use micro expression recognition technology to review loan applications.
Imagine finding a young missing child by recognizing her as she is being walked down the street. Imagine helping the police to identify a terrorist bent on destruction as he walks into the arena where you’re attending a sporting event. Imagine a smartphone camera and app that tells a person who is blind the name of the individual who has just walked into a room to join a meeting.