Big Brother


Costs of Snowden leak still mounting 5 years later

5th June 2018

National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden blew the lid off U.S. government surveillance methods five years ago, but intelligence chiefs complain that revelations from the trove of classified documents he disclosed are still trickling out.

That includes recent reporting on a mass surveillance program run by close U.S. ally Japan and on how the NSA targeted bitcoin users to gather intelligence to support counterterrorism and to combat narcotics and money laundering. The Intercept, an investigative publication with access to Snowden documents, published stories on both subjects.

The top U.S. counterintelligence official said journalists have released only about 1 percent taken by the 34-year-old American, now living in exile in Russia, “so we don’t see this issue ending anytime soon.”

“This past year, we had more international, Snowden-related documents and breaches than ever,” Bill Evanina, who directs the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said at a recent conference. “Since 2013, when Snowden left, there have been thousands of articles around the world with really sensitive stuff that’s been leaked.”

On June 5, 2013, The Guardian in Britain published the first story based on Snowden’s disclosures. It revealed that a secret court order was allowing the U.S. government to get Verizon to share the phone records of millions of Americans. Later stories, including those in The Washington Post, disclosed other snooping and how U.S. and British spy agencies had accessed information from cables carrying the world’s telephone and internet traffic.

Snowden’s defenders maintain that the U.S. government has for years exaggerated the damage his disclosures caused. Glenn Greenwald, an Intercept co-founder and former journalist at The Guardian, said there are “thousands upon thousands of documents” that journalists have chosen not to publish because they would harm peoples’ reputation or privacy rights or because it would expose “legitimate surveillance programs.”

“It’s been almost five years since newspapers around the world began reporting on the Snowden archive and the NSA has offered all kinds of shrill and reckless rhetoric about the ‘damage’ it has caused, but never any evidence of a single case of a life being endangered let alone harmed,” Greenwald said.

U.S. intelligence officials say they are still counting the cost of his disclosures that went beyond actual intelligence collected to how it was collected. Evanina said intelligence agencies are finishing their seventh classified assessment of the damage.

Joel Melstad, a spokesman for the counterintelligence center, said five U.S. intelligence agencies contributed to the latest damage assessment, which itself is highly classified. Melstad said damage has been observed or verified in five categories of information the U.S. government keeps classified to protect national security.

According to Melstad, Snowden-disclosed documents have put U.S. personnel or facilities at risk around the world, damaged intelligence collection efforts, exposed tools used to amass intelligence, destabilized U.S. partnerships abroad and exposed U.S. intelligence operations, capabilities and priorities.

“With each additional disclosure, the damage is compounded — providing more detail to what our adversaries have already learned,” Melstad said.

Steven Aftergood, a declassification expert at the Federation of American Scientists, said he thinks intelligence agencies are continuing to do Snowden damage assessments because the disclosures’ relevance to foreign targets might take time to recognize and understand. He said the way that intelligence targets adapt based on information revealed and the impact on how the U.S. collects intelligence could continue for years. But he said that any damage that Snowden caused to U.S. intelligence partners abroad would have been felt immediately after the disclosures began in 2013.

Moscow has resisted U.S. pressure to extradite Snowden, who faces U.S. charges that could land him in prison for up to 30 years. From exile, Snowden often does online public speaking and has been active in developing tools that reporters can use, especially in authoritarian countries, to detect whether they are under surveillance.

Snowden supporters say that the government is exaggerating when it claims he took more than 1 million documents and that far fewer have actually been disclosed.

 

 

source/read more: https://apnews.com/797f390ee28b4bfbb0e1b13cfedf0593/Costs-of-Snowden-leak-still-mounting-5-years-later

New Orleans Surveillance Program Gives Powerful Tools to a Police Department With a History of Racism and Abuse

23rd May 2018

As you walk down Felicity Street in the Central City neighborhood of New Orleans, red and blue flashing lights radiate from around the corner. But when you turn on to South Liberty Street, you won’t find a patrol car. Your gaze will rise to the peak of a street lamp where the lights are fastened to an NOPD surveillance camera that, just like the lights, runs 24 hours a day.

The beams engulf the small, seven-house block, reflecting off the windows of cars and homes, ricocheting off the bicycles of kids riding by, and lighting up the cheeks of Keisha Smith, who sits on her stoop eating crawfish. “I hate those lights,” she says. “There’s no privacy for us now. Everyone’s uncomfortable. I feel like somebody’s always watching me.” She looks up at the camera and shivers. “Why’d they have to put those here? It’s like trauma when I see that red and blue.”

This camera is just one of an unknown number that the city installed over the past few months, part of Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s $40 million public safety plan which the American Civil Liberties Union has condemned as “surveillance on steroids.” The plan also includes new license plate readers and a controversial city ordinance that requires the installation of cameras on the outside of all bars and liquor stores.

The plan has endured criticism about its high cost and the lack of evidence that surveillance programs are an effective crime prevention strategy. Still others have worried that the Big Easy’s free-wheeling spirit and eccentricity will wane under the perpetual gaze of the police.

But more concerning is the public safety plan’s ambiguous purpose and the potential for abuse. It seems that the only oversight will come from the city’s Office of Homeland Security and from within the police department itself, which is currently under a federal consent decree for a myriad of violations including “a pattern of stops, searches, and arrests that violate the Fourth Amendment.”

A spokesperson for the New Orleans Police Department insisted that the department had controls on access to its systems, and that all activity on the system is logged and monitored, leaving an audit trail in cases of abuse. But beyond that, the department has failed to answer basic questions about how the cameras will be used, what technology it will incorporate, how long the footage will be stored, and who will have access to the footage.

The lack of details has sparked anxiety among the city’s undocumented immigrants, who fear that the new data will fall into the hands of the city’s exceptionally aggressive Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office.

But in the most incarcerated city in the most incarcerated state in the country, where black communities endure the brunt of police power, the most salient concern is how this powerful tool could exacerbate the city’s already racially disparate law enforcement.

 

 

source/read more: https://theintercept.com/2018/03/06/new-orleans-surveillance-cameras-nopd-police/

 

MMA fighter with links to Trump, Cohen is questioned by FBI

29th April 2018

A Russian mixed martial arts fighter who has connections with President Donald Trump, the president’s personal attorney Michael Cohen and Russian President Vladimir Putin was questioned this week by the FBI, his manager confirmed Saturday.

Fedor Emelianenko was questioned by agents who met him in his hotel room on Tuesday, manager Jerry Millen said before Emelianenko’s Bellator MMA heavyweight fight against Frank Mir. Millen declined to detail his client’s conversations with the agents.

“The FBI came to the hotel looking to talk to Fedor and they were very nice, came in to speak with Fedor for a few minutes, spoke to me, very cool guys, and that’s all I can really say about it. Again, the FBI did come to the hotel, they found us, knocked on the door,” Millen said.

“Hundred percent, kind of surprised,” Millen added. “They were very nice, very professional.”

The agents were in attendance at Saturday’s fight, Millen said.

Putin has attended Emelianenko’s fights, and the 41-year-old fighter has been photographed with the Russian president. His connection with Trump dates back to 2008, when he was signed by Affliction Entertainment, a fight league in which Trump had an ownership stake. Trump announced a joint venture involving MMA and Emelianenko at a news conference on June 5, 2008.

Affliction ended up folding for financial reasons after two events, both headlined by Emelianenko.

Cohen was the league’s chief operating officer. Two weeks ago, the FBI raided Cohen’s New York offices, hotel and home, seeking information about a nondisclosure agreement he brokered with porn star Stormy Daniels days before the 2016 election. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has said she had an affair with Trump in 2006.

The criminal investigation of Cohen is linked to special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

The fighter’s encounter with the FBI was first reported by The Telegraph of London.

Emelianenko dominated MMA’s heavyweight division from 2000-2010. He retired in 2012 but began fighting again in 2015. He’s currently under contract with Bellator.

source/read more:https://www.yahoo.com/news/mma-fighter-links-trump-cohen-questioned-fbi-021421640.html

Shocking government plan to access citizens’ bank statements, health data and phone records revealed by bombshell leaked letter

29th April 2018

Ministers are planning to make it easier for the government to spy on its own citizens, a leaked document has revealed.

As it stands, the Australian Federal Police and Australian Security Intelligence Organisation need a warrant from The Attorney-General to access Australians’ emails, bank records and text messages.

But ministers are reportedly planning to amend the Intelligence Services Act of 2001 to allow Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Defence Minister Marise Payne to give the orders without the country’s top lawyer knowing.

The intelligence – which could include financial transactions, health data and phone records – would be collected by a government spy agency called the Australian Signals Directorate.

The plan was revealed by a leaked letter from Home Affairs Secretary Mike Pezzullo to Defence Secretary Greg Moriarty.

The top secret letter, written in February and seen by The Sunday Telegraph, details a plan to ‘hack into critical infrastructure’ to ‘proactively disrupt and covertly remove’ cyber-enabled criminals including child exploitation and terror networks.

In March, the plan was outlined in a ministerial submission signed by Mike Burgess, the chief of the Australian Signals Directorate.

It states: ‘The Department of Home Affairs advises that it is briefing the Minister for Home Affairs to write to you (Ms Payne) seeking your support for a further tranche of legislative reform to enable ASD to better support a range of Home Affairs priorities.’

But a proposal to change the law has not yet been made

A spokesman for the Defence Minister Ms Payne said: ‘There has been no request to the Minister for Defence to allow ASD to counter or disrupt cyber-­enabled criminals onshore.’

‘It would give the most powerful cyber spies the power to turn on their own citizens,’ the source said.

 

 

 

source/read more: https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/they-could-turn-on-us-shocking-government-plan-to-access-citizens-bank-statements-health-data-and-phone-records-revealed-by-bombshell-leaked-letter/ar-AAwtlpM?ocid=spartandhp

‘Big Brother’ in India Requires Fingerprint Scans for Food, Phones and Finances

10th April 2018

Seeking to build an identification system of unprecedented scope, India is scanning the fingerprints, eyes and faces of its 1.3 billion residents and connecting the data to everything from welfare benefits to mobile phones.

Civil libertarians are horrified, viewing the program, called Aadhaar, as Orwell’s Big Brother brought to life. To the government, it’s more like “big brother,” a term of endearment used by many Indians to address a stranger when asking for help.

For other countries, the technology could provide a model for how to track their residents. And for India’s top court, the ID system presents unique legal issues that will define what the constitutional right to privacy means in the digital age.

To Adita Jha, Aadhaar was simply a hassle. The 30-year-old environmental consultant in Delhi waited in line three times to sit in front of a computer that photographed her face, captured her fingerprints and snapped images of her irises. Three times, the data failed to upload. The fourth attempt finally worked, and she has now been added to the 1.1 billion Indians already included in the program.

Ms. Jha had little choice but to keep at it. The government has made registration mandatory for hundreds of public services and many private ones, from taking school exams to opening bank accounts.

“You almost feel like life is going to stop without an Aadhaar,” Ms. Jha said.

Technology has given governments around the world new tools to monitor their citizens. In China, the government is rolling out ways to use facial recognition and big data to track people, aiming to inject itself further into everyday life. Many countries, including Britain, deploy closed-circuit cameras to monitor their populations.

But India’s program is in a league of its own, both in the mass collection of biometric data and in the attempt to link it to everything — traffic tickets, bank accounts, pensions, even meals for undernourished schoolchildren.

“No one has approached that scale and that ambition,” said Jacqueline Bhabha, a professor and research director of Harvard’s FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, who has studied biometric ID systems around the world. “It has been hailed, and justifiably so, as an extraordinary triumph to get everyone registered.”

Critics fear that the government will gain unprecedented insight into the lives of all Indians.

In response, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other champions of the program say that Aadhaar is India’s ticket to the future, a universal, easy-to-use ID that will reduce this country’s endemic corruption and help bring even the most illiterate into the digital age.

“It’s the equivalent of building interstate highways,” said Nandan Nilekani, the technology billionaire who was tapped by the government in 2009 to build the Aadhaar system. “If the government invested in building a digital public utility and that is made available as a platform, then you actually can create major innovations around that.”

The potential uses — from surveillance to managing government benefit programs — have drawn interest elsewhere. Sri Lanka is planning a similar system, and Britain, Russia and the Philippines are studying it, according to the Indian government.

 

 

 

source/read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/07/technology/india-id-aadhaar.html

Tooth-mounted sensors track what you eat

28th March 2018

You may soon be able to monitor everything you eat in real-time, digitally through a tooth-mounted sensor.  New miniaturized sensors were developed by researchers at the Tufts University School of Engineering.

The small device, made of three layers, would track everything you consume, including glucose, salt and alcohol.  It would then transmit the data wirelessly to a mobile device.

A study set to be published in the journal Advanced Materials explores how the sensors could work in the future.  Researchers they the devices may eventually be able to detect a wider range of nutrients, chemicals and physiological states.

“In theory we can modify the bioresponsive layer in these sensors to target other chemicals – we are really limited only by our creativity,” said Tufts professor Fiorenzo Omenetto, Ph.D., one of the authors of the study.

 

 

 

source/read more: http://www.fox5ny.com/news/tooth-mounted-sensors-track-what-you-eat

Florida school shooting: Students now required to wear clear backpacks

24th March 2018

Broward County School Superintendent Robert Runcie informed students from MS Douglas High School they would be required to wear clear backpacks as part of a number of safety measures set to be implemented across the district.

Superintendent Runcie sent a letter to families on Wednesday outlining the security measures, following the shooting where 17 people were killed at the Parkland school on February 14.

The security measures for MS Douglas High School included student identification badges, extra security and the potential for the introduction metal detectors at the entrance of the school.

“While we cannot change the heartbreaking and senseless act of violence at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, by working together, we can change the future,” Superintendent Runcie wrote in the letter to families in the district.

All students deserve safe schools. We are proud of our students’ determination to effect positive change in this country – and for the incredible support from the Broward community and across the country.”

MS Douglas High School had another incident on Wednesday after two students were charged with bringing weapons onto campus, according to CNN.

Despite the incident, many students are preparing for their trip to Washington for March for Our Lives on Saturday.

 

source/read more; https://www.sbs.com.au/news/florida-school-shooting-students-now-required-to-wear-clear-backpacks

Forgot your password? No problem, you might soon be able to use your penis?

13th March 2018

THERE are some inventions you know will change the world and I wholeheartedly believe this company’s “proprietary penis recognition tech” is one such example.

Operating with the belief fingerprint scanners and facial recognition technology is passé, webcam platform CamSoda has made it possible to use your penis as your password — about time!

As of today, the dick-ometrtics platform will give men the chance to use their penis for something more practical while positioned in front of the computer.

To use the service, users will need to supply the website with a picture of their old fella, which will be stored in the system to assist the proprietary penis recognition tech.

While the concept is probably not the best to use while commuting on a train during peak hour, CamSoda’s vice president Darren Press said it has its advantages.

“In order to ensure personal data is safeguarded against unwarranted individuals, biometrics have become progressively popular for its ability to provide a layer of security that is impenetrable,” he said, making me laugh at his choice of the word impenetrable.

Mr Press added that dick-ometrics takes biosecurity to the next level.

“Like a fingerprint and an eyeball, which are two of most commonly used body parts in biometric technologies, the penis has many, many differentiating factors like size, colour and vein protrusion,” he said.

 

 

source/read more: http://www.news.com.au/technology/home-entertainment/computers/forgot-your-password-no-problem-you-might-soon-be-able-to-use-your-penis