Posts Tagged ‘surveillance’

My Microwave Oven Is Spying On Me

March 15, 2017

My Microwave Oven Is Spying On Me

My microwave oven is spying on me! Kellyanne Conway told me so:

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Rogue Blimp Attacks Pennsylvania!

November 2, 2015

Rogue Blimp Attacks Pennsylvania!
A 243-foot-long helium-filled blimp broke its tether and escaped from Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland last Wednesday and, chased by F-16 fighters, snapped some power lines before it went to ground 160 miles away in a ravine in Montour County, Pennsylvania. The $175 million surveillance “aerostat” was finally subdued by Pennsylvania state troopers with shotguns, and it’s being dismantled with chainsaws.

The pricey gasbag was part of the $2.7 billion Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System or JLENS, produced by Ratheon for the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). Two of these tethered aerostat platforms floated 10,000 in the air, protecting the airspace over Washington, DC from hostile aircraft, but they missed that Florida gyrocopter that landed on the Capitol lawn in April.

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The Surveillance Society

May 4, 2015

The Surveillance Society

We live in “the surveillance society,” observes Megan Garber:

 “… surveillance is distributed and small-sized and iterative. It is a logical extension of the hot-mic moment, of the caught-on-tape trope, of the blooper reel—and also, in its way, of the role cameras have recently played in exposing crime and police brutality.”

“… technology is making it harder to differentiate between the people we perform and the people we are.”

— “Britt McHenry and the Upsides of a Surveillance Society,” Megan Garber, The Atlantic

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Cellphone Spies in the Sky

November 16, 2014

Cellphone Spies in the Sky

The Wall Street Journal reports that, for the last seven years, the U.S. Marshals Service has flown Cessna aircraft over America’s cities, collecting cellphone location data from thousands of people with “dirtbox” devices that mimic cellular towers. The Marshals Service, a unit of the Department of Justice, predominately searches for federal fugitives, but its Special Operations Group conducts “tactical operations for sensitive and classified missions involving homeland security, national emergencies, domestic crises and the intelligence community.” Flying spying and data harvesting on such a broad scale raises serious Fourth Amendment questions.

More:

“Report: Secret government program uses aircraft for mass cellphone surveillance,” Gail Sullivan, Washington Post

“WSJ: A Secret U.S. Spy Program Is Using Planes to Target Cell Phones,” Kate Knibbs, Gizmodo

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Image (“Flying Phone Spy, after a 1964 comic book”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com 

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Technology Shields German Government from Spies

July 17, 2014

Technology Shields German Government frrom Spies

“German politicians are considering a return to using manual typewriters for sensitive documents in the wake of the US surveillance scandal.

The head of the Bundestag’s parliamentary inquiry into NSA activity in Germany said in an interview with the Morgenmagazin TV programme that he and his colleagues were seriously thinking of ditching email completely.”

More:

“Germany ‘may revert to typewriters’ to counter hi-tech espionage,” Philip Oltermann, The Guardian

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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The Stalker Economy

December 4, 2013

The Stalker Economy

“Surveillance is the business model of the Internet ….”

— “‘Stalker economy’ here to stay,” Bruce Schneier, CNN

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Et Tu, Skype? Yipe.

October 16, 2013

Et Tu, Skype? Yipe.

“Skype is being investigated by Luxembourg’s data protection commissioner over concerns about its secret involvement with the US National Security Agency (NSA) spy programme Prism, the Guardian has learned.

The Microsoft-owned internet chat company could potentially face criminal and administrative sanctions, including a ban on passing users’ communications covertly to the US signals Intelligence agency.

Skype itself is headquartered in the European country, and could also be fined if an investigation concludes that the data sharing is found in violation of the country’s data-protection laws.”

— “Skype under investigation in Luxembourg over link to NSA,” Ryan Gallagher The Guardian

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Image (“The Miracle of Skype, after Stan Galli”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Your City is Watching You

October 15, 2013

Your City is Watching You
“From the first known use of closed-circuit television cameras to monitor crowds in London’s Trafalgar Square during a state visit by the king and queen of Thailand in 1960, urban video surveillance has come a long way. The Brookings Institution calculates that today it would cost $300 million in storage capacity to capture a year’s worth of footage from Chongqinq’s vast camera network. But by 2020, thanks to the steady decline of cost for digital storage devices, that figure could be just $3 million per year. ‘For the first time ever,’ they warn, ‘it will become technologically and financially feasible for authoritarian governments to record nearly everything that is said or done within their borders — every phone conversation, electronic message, social media interaction, the movements of nearly every person and vehicle, and video from every street corner.’ What’s worse is the active involvement of American firms like Cisco, which is supplying the city with network technology optimized for video transmission for an undisclosed sum.”

— “Your city is spying on you: From iPhones to cameras, you are being watched right now,” Anthony M. Townsend, Salon [links added]

More:

“Recording Everything: Digital Storage as an Enabler of Authoritarian Governments,” John Villasenor, Center for Technology Innovation, Brookings Institution

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Image (“Grand Frère à Paris, after Caillebotte”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Who Elected You God? Oh Right, John Roberts.

July 7, 2013

Who Elected You God? Oh Right, John Roberts.

The 11 judges of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court meet in secret to approve or deny (mostly approve) government surveillance requests. All judges of this secret court were appointed by Chief Justice Warren G. Roberts.

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The U.S. Postal Service Is Logging Your Mail

July 5, 2013

The U.S. Postal Service Is Logging Your Mail

Snail Mail surveillance is lots older than PRISM, but it’s now computerized through the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program. Postal Service computers photograph all the 160 billion envelopes processed in the USA each year. Law enforcement agents don’t need a judge’s approval to request this information.

More:

“U.S. Postal Service Logging All Mail for Law Enforcement,” Ron Nixon, New York Times

“USPS Procedures: Mail Cover Requests,” Postal Inspection Service via NYT

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Image (“Mr. Zip, G-Man!)” by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length

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