Posts Tagged surveillance
by: Susanne Posel
July 17, 2012
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began a surveillance initiative into 5 scientists suspected of releasing confidential documents to the mainstream media and Congress; however the FDA quickly turned their investigations into the creation of an “enemies list” after thousands of emails sent by FDA employees to Congressional officials, the White House and other scientists were intercepted.
Members of Congress were targeted as being in opposition to the FDA. The illegal monitoring consisted of gathering confidential messages, correspondence with attorneys, whistleblowing complaints to Congress and workplace grievances.
Senator Charles Grassley, who was targeted in the spying operation, commented: “The FDA has a lot of explaining to do in the weeks ahead.” Grassley also said that the FDA “is discouraging whistleblowers” and “[the agency] have absolutely no business reading the private e-mails of their employees. They think they can be the Gestapo and do anything they want.”
An estimated 80,000 pages of emails were confiscated by the FDA with spying software and then posted “by accident” on a public website. When scientists who were being investigated “goggled” themselves, they found the relating documents on the internet.
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by: Brandon Turbeville
Monday, July 16, 2012
If 500 hundred deaths and countless abuses at the hands of taser-friendly police is not enough to garner any concern by the average American, then perhaps the new “Nano-Second Electrical Pulse” Mega Stun Gun being introduced by the Department of Defense might do the trick.
The new stun gun was recently unveiled at the DOD’s Non-Lethal Weapons Industry Day and it works by hitting the target individual with alarmingly high voltage for a very short amount of time – i.e. billionths of seconds. However, the amount of electricity fired into the person’s body, while not specified in terms of exact voltage, will be enough to not only stun the individual but render them unconscious.
The victim is supposed to be able to regain consciousness as soon as the flow of electricity stops. However, the Pentagon is predictably working on yet another version of this “improved” stun gun that will render the victim unconscious for several minutes.
The ethical issues surrounding the invention and deployment of such technology, particularly on the streets of the United States are legion. As Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai writes for Wired,
How dangerous a device like that could be is unclear. Stun guns have a long and well documented history of abuse — even students and grandmas have been victims of overzealous, Taser-happy police officers. And their use, despite being labeled “non-lethal,” can be deadly. According to Amnesty International, at least 500 people have died after being shocked with tasers. In 2008, a jury in San Jose deemed the company that produces the stun gun, Taser International, responsible for the death of Robert Heston, a 40-year-old man who was shot by the cops multiple times. The jury found that the company failed to warn the police that repeated discharges could have a deadly effect on the target.
Of course, while the technology itself is obviously dangerous, it is not so much the devices that are responsible for the deaths, as it is the fact that they have been placed in the hands of persons wholly incapable of operating them in a responsible manner.
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July 15, 2012
by: Susanne Posel
July 12, 2012
Your wireless company is tracking you with GPS, recording your phone calls and text messages . . . and they are selling the information they collect to other corporations, nations, governments – anyone willing to pay for the data. The US government is one of the wireless corporation’s biggest clients. They are collecting yotabytes of data from multiple sources on all American citizens.
Congressman Ed Markey complied a report wherein information from numerous cell phone corporations that showed just how much data law enforcement receives from prominent cell phone carriers.
AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile were requested to hand over personal client data to federal agencies and local law enforcement at an alarming rate.
- 1.3 million = total number of law enforcement requests for “text messages, caller locations and other information in the course of investigations.”
- 116 = average number of requests the tiny Cricket fields each day.
- 700 = average number of requests AT&T fields each day.
- 1,500 = average number of requests Sprint fields each day.
- $8.3 million = the total amount in bills that AT&T sent to law enforcement and government agencies to comply with their requests. (That was up from $2.8 million in 2007.)
Sprint, catering to the illegal data mining of government agencies, has also made their job easier by providing anautomated web interface specifically designed for law enforcement which allowed them to retrieve more public information than from any other cellular phone carrier.
by: Madison Ruppert
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
As ludicrously farfetched as the headline sounds, there is in fact a new laser-based scanner built by Genia Photonics – who is currently in “a strategic partnership and technology development agreement with In-Q-Tel” – which can detect traces of just about anything on your person from a stunning 50 meters, or 164 feet away in somewhere around 1/1000000000000th of a second.
One must realize that as disturbing as this may sound, it is really not all that shocking when you consider the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Future Attribute Screening Technology or the rise and continuing growth of nearly ubiquitous use of facial recognition technology.
Genia Photonics refers to the ability of these types of picoseconds synchronized programmable lasers to be used for “standoff threat detection.” Essentially, this is just a different way of saying the government will soon be able to scan your body, car or belongings for just about any molecule or substance they please without you knowing, all at unimaginable speeds.
If this is rolled out as soon as Tara O’Toole, under secretary for science and technology of the DHS, claimed it would be during her testimony on November 17, 2011, it will become just one of many parts of the American surveillance state.
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by: Andrew Puhanic
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Australian health authorities have launched an attack on radio host Leon Pittard after a guest on his Fairdinkum Radio Show revealed the extent to which authorities are restricting free speech when it comes to discussing natural medicines.
The story began when Mr. Pittard posted an article and a podcast entitled “Australian government’s attack on health freedom,” which featured an interview between the radio host and Meryl Dorey of the Australian Vaccination Network.
During the interview, Ms Dorey referred to ‘Black Salve’, a product that is banned by the Theraputic Goods Administration. Her exact words were:
As a result of that experience she found a treatment that’s been used for at least 2000 years called black salve. And it’s a combination of herbs and minerals that is applied topically to cancer and it’s called nature’s scalpel. Now I’ve used it myself on a cancer that I had on my shoulder. I’ve got to tell you, it is like a scalpel, it cut it out in a perfect circle. And it got rid of it completely. So, the Australian government several years ago banned the use of black salve on humans and you could only buy it for animals. As of a couple of weeks ago you’re not even allowed to sell it for animal use. Original interview transcript
It is this small paragraph that has come under fire from the Therapeutic Goods Administration via their Complaints Resolution Panel, who have claimed to have received a complaint of 14 pages detailing regulation that has allegedly been broken.
The claim in the letter of complaint is that Meryl Dorey has advertised and promoted ‘Black Salve,’ a banned substance, and Leon Pittard has further promoted and advertised ‘Black Salve’ by publishing the interview. The letter from the complainant is clearly a carefully crafted document containing exhaustive legal language.
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U.S. mobile phone companies responded to 1.3 million requests for subscriber information in 2011 alone
by: Madison Ruppert
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
According to new figures acquired from mobile phone companies by Representative Ed Markey of Massachusetts, carriers responded to a whopping 1.3 million requests for subscriber information from law enforcement.
Unfortunately this is not all that surprising in the American surveillance state where police regularly use cell phone tracking,armored surveillance vehicles, light poles and more to monitor the populace.
These requests, which all occurred last year, included a wide range of information from just text messages to pinpoint phone location data.
The documents – which come from AT&T, C Spire, Leap and Cricket, MetroPCS, Sprint, T-Mobile, TracFone, U.S. Cellular and Verizon – represent the first time these figures have been made available to the public, proving just how unbelievably widespread domestic surveillance has truly become.
“We cannot allow privacy protections to be swept aside with the sweeping nature of these information requests,” said Markey in a statement.
The data was made available to the public by Markey on Monday, while the New York Times received the information one day earlier.
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July 10, 2012
RT talks to a former National Security Agency executive in the US who sacrificed his career to blow the whistle on wrong-doings inside the NSA.
July 10, 2012
In an effort to appease concerned Americans, a trade group called the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International has created, and released, their first code of conduct. These recommendations for “safe, non intrusive operation” are supposed to provide a guide for operators—and to reassure those of us who are wary of the imminent use of UAVs for everything. And the code of conduct from the Arlington Virginia based group circles around 3 basic ideas: Safety, professionalism, and respect. But does it really mean anything?
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by: Michael Snyder
July 9, 2012
A company known as BRS Labs has developed “pre-crime” surveillance cameras that can supposedly determine if you are a terrorist or a criminal even before you commit a crime.Does that sound insane?
Well, authorities are taking this technology quite seriously. In fact, dozens of these cameras are being installed at major transportation hubs in San Francisco….
In its latest project BRS Labs is to install its devices on the transport system in San Francisco, which includes buses, trams and subways.
The company says will put them in 12 stations with up to 22 cameras in each, bringing the total number to 288.
The cameras will be able to track up to 150 people at a time in real time and will gradually build up a ‘memory’ of suspicious behaviour to work out what is suspicious.
#2 Capturing Fingerprints From 20 Feet Away
Can you imagine someone reading your fingerprints from 20 feet away without you ever knowing it?
This kind of technology is actually already here according to POPSCI….
Gaining access to your gym or office building could soon be as simple as waving ahand at the front door. A Hunsville, Ala.-based company called IDair is developing a system that can scan and identify a fingerprint from nearly 20 feet away. Coupled with other biometrics, it could soon allow security systems to grant or deny access from a distance, without requiring users to stop and scan a fingerprint, swipe an ID card, or otherwise lose a moment dealing with technology.
Currently IDair’s primary customer is the military, but the startup wants to open up commercially to any business or enterprise that wants to put a layer of security between its facilities and the larger world. A gym chain is already beta testing the system (no more using your roommate’s gym ID to get in a free workout), and IDair’s founder says that at some point his technology could enable purchases to be made biometrically, using fingerprints and irises as unique identifiers rather than credit card numbers and data embedded in magnetic strips or RFID chips.
#3 Mobile Backscatter Vans
Police all over America will soon be driving around in unmarked vans looking inside your cars and even under your clothes using the same “pornoscanner” technology currently being utilized by the TSA at U.S. airports….
American cops are set to join the US military in deploying American Science & Engineering’s Z Backscatter Vans, or mobile backscatter radiation x-rays. These are what TSA officials call “the amazing radioactive genital viewer,” now seen in airports around America, ionizing the private parts of children, the elderly, and you (yes you).
These pornoscannerwagons will look like regular anonymous vans, and will cruise America’s streets, indiscriminately peering through the cars (and clothes) of anyone in range of its mighty isotope-cannon. But don’t worry, it’s not a violation of privacy. As AS&E’s vice president of marketing Joe Reiss sez, “From a privacy standpoint, I’m hard-pressed to see what the concern or objection could be.”
You can see a YouTube video presentation about this new technology right here.
#4 Hijacking Your Mind
The U.S. military literally wants to be able to hijack your mind. The theory is that this would enable U.S. forces to non-violently convince terrorists not to be terrorists anymore. But obviously the potential for abuse with this kind of technology is extraordinary. The following is from a recent articleby Dick Pelletier….
The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) wants to understand the science behind what makes people violent, and then find ways to hijack their minds by implanting false, but believable stories in their brains, with hopes of evoking peaceful thoughts: We’re friends, not enemies.
Critics say this raises ethical issues such as those addressed in the 1971 sci-fi movie, A Clockwork Orange, which attempted to change people’s minds so that they didn’t want to kill anymore.
Advocates, however, believe that placing new plausible narratives directly into the minds of radicals, insurgents, and terrorists, could transform enemies into kinder, gentler citizens, craving friendship.
Scientists have known for some time that narratives; an account of a sequence of events that are usually in chronological order; hold powerful sway over the human mind, shaping a person’s notion of groups and identities; even inspiring them to commit violence. See DARPA proposal request HERE.
#5 Unmanned Drones In U.S. Airspace
Law enforcement agencies all over the United States are starting to use unmanned drones to spy on us, and the Department of Homeland Security is aggressively seeking to expand the use of such drones by local authorities….
The Department of Homeland Security has launched a program to “facilitate and accelerate the adoption” of small, unmanned drones by police and other public safety agencies, an effort that an agency official admitted faces “a very big hurdle having to do with privacy.”
The $4 million Air-based Technologies Program, which will test and evaluate small,unmanned aircraft systems, is designed to be a “middleman” between drone manufacturers and first-responder agencies “before they jump into the pool,” said John Appleby, a manager in the DHS Science and Technology Directorate’s division of borders and maritime security.
Although this is not new technology, law enforcement authorities are using our own cell phones to spy on us more extensively than ever before as a recent Wired article described….Mobile carriers responded to a staggering 1.3 million law enforcement requests last year for subscriber information, including text messages and phone location data, according to data provided to Congress.A single ‘request’ can involve information about hundreds of customers. So ultimately the number of Americans affected by this could reach into “the tens of millions” each year….
The number of Americans affected each year by the growing use of mobile phone data by law enforcement could reach into the tens of millions, as a single request could ensnare dozens or even hundreds of people. Law enforcement has been asking for so-called “cell tower dumps” in which carriers disclose all phone numbers that connected to a given tower during a certain period of time.
So, for instance, if police wanted to try to find a person who broke a store window at an Occupy protest, it could get the phone numbers and identifying data of all protestors with mobile phones in the vicinity at the time — and use that data for other purposes.
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