Time and again, governments have used crises to expand their power, and often their intrusion into citizens’ lives. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen this pattern play out on a huge scale. From deploying drones or ankle monitors to enforce quarantine orders to proposals to use face recognition or thermal imaging cameras for monitoring public spaces, governments around the world have been adopting intrusive measures in their quest to contain the pandemic.
Under cover of the public fear of the spread of the pandemic and the fear that there will be additional waves, the government wants to enlarge its tool box and expand its freedom of action.
We must not cooperate with that. It represents an upsetting of the balance between the power of the regime and citizens’ rights.
Two weeks ago, the council had already discussed the possibility of a popular revolt and how the government could prevent an uprising against the authorities. Among other things, it considered how the state “could forestall dangers that could lead to widespread social unrest” that might spark protests against the government and state institutions.
It turns out that soldiers and officers from one of Military Intelligence’s classified intelligence gathering units gathered data and analyzed it for the task force that the National Security Council appointed for this purpose.
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.
Total espionage doctrine was first defined by Kurt Riess in his 1941 book Total Espionage: Germany’s Information and Disinformation Apparatus 1932-40. German intelligence used Germans residing or travelling abroad, as well as foreign sympathizers, to collect all sorts of information – political, scientific, economic, etc. Tourists, scientists, actors, university professors, sailors, auto-mechanics, diplomats, journalists NGO’s and business corporations were instrumentalized to gather intelligence and to sabotage the enemy. One important instrument of intelligence gathering was The Organization of Germans Living Abroad, directed by Ernst Wilhelm Bohle, a special assistant to the German Counter-Intelligence (SD) Chief Walter Schellenberg. Vast network of spies was developed by Goebbels‘ Counter-Action (Abwehr) Department jointly with the War Ministry Intelligence Service. This department was also in charge of controlling German-language newspapers in non-German-speaking countries. According to Riess, „by 1937 Goebbels controlled some 330 German newspapers in non-German-speaking countries. This figure did not include the large number of newspapers in Switzerland, Alsace, and Czechoslovakia, nor the newspapers in other languages“
Morales ordered his workers to install microphones in the embassy’s fire extinguishers and also in the women’s bathroom, where Assange’s lawyers, including the Spaniard Aitor Martínez and his closest collaborators, would meet for fear of being spied on. The cyberactivist’s meetings with his lawyers, Melynda Taylor, Jennifer Robinson and Baltasar Garzón, were also monitored.
The UC Global S. L. team was also ordered by its boss to install stickers that prevented the windows of the rooms that the WikiLeaks founder used from vibrating, allegedly to make it easier for the CIA to record conversations with their laser microphones. They also took a used diaper that from a baby that was on occasions taken to visit the activist in order to determine if the child was his by a close collaborator.