December 4, 2011 archive

Big Brother is watching you.

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Franken Investigates Secret Surveillance Software Loaded onto Smart Phones

By: David Dayen, Firedog Lake

Friday December 2, 2011 10:55 am

Carrier IQ’s alibi is that their software merely oversees and corrects network glitches rather than saves every keystroke you make on your phone. Nobody really buys that. This software has shown up on over 140 million phones nationwide.

Google has disclaimed any association with Carrier IQ. The iPhone includes some iteration of Carrier IQ, and other wireless manufacturers have admitted that the software is on their phones, but claim that the carriers requested them.

If this all sounds creepy, well, you’re paying attention. It also appears to violate US law.

Not that I have any love left for Al after his sell out on Protect IP.

But wait- there’s more.

(h/t CTuttle)

‘Spy Files’ Published by WikiLeaks Detail Massive International Surveillance Industry

By: Kevin Gosztola, Firedog Lake

Thursday December 1, 2011 10:10 am

This collection of brochures, manuals, contracts, presentations and catalogs can be broken down into four categories, which the Bureau for Invesitgative Journalism (TBIJ) details.

  1. Location Tracking – Surveillance companies peddle an IMSI catcher, “a popular mobile phone tracking technology” that can intercept mobile phones. TBIJ explains the “highly portable devices” can be “as small as a fist” and are capable of masking as a cell phone tower and emitting a signal that “can dupe thousands of mobile phones in a targeted area.” Users of this device “can then intercept SMS messages, phone calls and phone data.” Ability in Israel, Rohde & Schwarz in Germany and Harris Corp in the US are all companies that market this device. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) also uses the device and says it can “without a court order.”
  2. Hacking – TBIJ finds many of the companies sell “Trojan” software and “phone malware that allows the user to take control of a target’s computer or phone.” Companies that offer technology that make this possible include the “Hacking Team of Italy, Vupen Security in France, Gamma Group in the UK and SS8 in the US each offer such products, which they variously claim can hack the Apple iPhone, BlackBerry, Skype and the Microsoft operating system.” Especially alarming, SS8 claims its “Intellego product allows security forces to ‘see what they see, in real time’ including a ‘target’s draft-only emails, attached files, pictures and videos.’ Elaman, according to TBIJ, “says governments can use its products to ‘identify an individual’s location, their associates and members of a group, such as political opponents’.”
  3. Massive Surveillance – US companies like Blue Coat Systems and Cisco Systems “offer corporate and government buyers technology to filter out certain websites.” They sell technology that can “monitor and censor an entire country’s data or telecommunications network.” TBIJ explains this captures “everyone’s activities” whether they are suspects or not. And, the information that is collected can be sifted through to see what is valuable.
  4. Data Analysis – Phone conversations, individuals’ locations and Internet traffic can all be captured with “sophisticated analysis tools” that intelligence agencies, the military and the police are using for criminal investigations and on the battlefield.

Highlighting the kind of electronic surveillance that goes on in countries like Syria, Appelbaum declares during the press conference, “There are people being murdered every day as a result of these surveillance devices.” He adds, “These are exactly the kinds of tools the Stasi wished to us” and strongly urges people to reject the idea of lawful interception. (Lawful interception is what these companies say they are doing to get away with selling spy technology.)

The Washington Post reports many of the companies that sell the technology are “global suppliers.” They target law enforcement agencies and other government buyers. Additionally, the news publication finds, “Of the 51 companies whose sales brochures and other materials were obtained and released by WikiLeaks, 17 have secured U.S. government contracts in the last five years for agencies such as the FBI, the State Department and the National Security Agency, according to a Washington Post analysis of federal procurement documents.


Duck Dodgers, The Love Duck, Episode 9, Season 2


Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Rebellion must have an unassailable base, something guarded not merely from attack, but from the fear of it: such a base as the Arab revolt had in the Red Sea ports, the desert, or in the minds of men converted to its creed.

It must have a sophisticated alien enemy, in the form of a disciplined army of occupation too small to fulfill the doctrine of acreage: too few to adjust number to space, in order to dominate the whole area effectively from fortified posts.

It must have a friendly population, not actively friendly, but sympathetic to the point of not betraying rebel movements to the enemy. Rebellions can be made by 2% active in a striking force, and 98% passively sympathetic.

The few active rebels must have the qualities of speed and endurance, ubiquity and independence of arteries of supply. They must have the technical equipment to destroy or paralyze the enemy’s organized communications, for irregular war is fairly Willisen’s definition of strategy, “the study of communication,” in its extreme degree, of attack where the enemy is not.

In 50 words: Granted mobility, security (in the form of denying targets to the enemy), time, and doctrine (the idea to convert every subject to friendliness), victory will rest with the insurgents, for the algebraical factors are in the end decisive, and against them perfections of means and spirit struggle quite in vain.

T.E. Lawrence, Encyclopedia Brittanica, Fourteenth Edition, 1929

(h/t SouthernDragon)

On this Day In History December 4

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

December 4 is the 338th day of the year (339th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 27 days remaining until the end of the year

On this day in 1783, future President George Washington, then commanding general of the Continental Army, summons his military officers to Fraunces Tavern in New York City to inform them that he will be resigning his commission and returning to civilian life.

Washington had led the army through six long years of war against the British before the American forces finally prevailed at the Battle of Yorktown in 1781. There, Washington received the formal surrender of British General Lord Charles Cornwallis, effectively ending the Revolutionary War, although it took almost two more years to conclude a peace treaty and slightly longer for all British troops to leave New York.

Fraunces Tavern is a tavern, restaurant and museum housed in a conjectural reconstruction of a building that played a prominent role in pre-Revolution and Revolution history. The building, located at 54 Pearl Street at the corner of Broad Street, has been owned by Sons of the Revolution in the State of New York Inc. since 1904, which claims it is Manhattan’s oldest surviving building. The building is a tourist site and a part of the American Whiskey Trail and the New York Freedom Trail.

Revolution history

In August 1775, Americans took possession of cannons from the artillery battery at the southern point of Manhattan and fired on the HMS Asia. The British ship retaliated by firing a 32-gun broadside on the city, sending a cannonball through the roof of the building.

When the war was all but won, the building was the site of “British-American Board of Inquiry” meetings, which negotiated to ensure to American leaders that no “American property” (meaning former slaves who were emancipated by the British for their military service) be allowed to leave with British troops. Board members reviewed the evidence and testimonies that were given by freed slaves every Wednesday from April to November 1783, and British representatives were successful in ensuring that almost all of the loyalist blacks of New York maintained their liberty.

After British troops evacuated New York, the tavern hosted an elaborate “turtle feast” dinner on December 4, 1783 in the building’s Long Room for U.S. Gen. George Washington where he bade farewell to his officers of the Continental Army by saying “[w]ith a heart full of love and gratitude, I now take leave of you. I most devoutly wish that your latter days may be as prosperous and happy as your former ones have been glorious and honorable.”

The building housed some offices of the Confederation Congress as the nation struggled under the Articles of Confederation. With the establishment of the U.S. Constitution and the inauguration of Washington as president in 1789, the departments of Foreign Affairs, Treasury and War located offices at the building. The offices were vacated when the location of the U.S. capital moved on December 6, 1790 from New York to Philadelphia.

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

In Gaza, lives shaped by drones


By Scott Wilson, Sunday, December 4

GAZA CITY – The buzz began near midnight on a cool evening last month, a dull distant purr that within moments swelled into the rattling sound of an outboard motor common on the fishing boats working just offshore.

At a busy downtown traffic circle not far from the dormant port, a pickup truck full of police pulled up abruptly. The half-dozen men spilled into the streets.

“Inside, inside,” the officers, all of them bearded in the style favored by the Hamas movement that runs Gaza, urged passersby. Then, pointing to the sky, one muttered, “Zenana, zenana.”

Sunday’s Headlines:

Revealed: true cost of the Christmas toys we buy from China’s factories

Inside the shell of Gaddafi’s gleaming city

Contemporary art world ‘can’t tell good from bad’

Russians vote in nationwide parliamentary poll

Mexico drug war casualty: Citizenry suffers post-traumatic stress