Posts tagged spying
Webcam Spying: All the Gov Surveillance Agencies are Doing It
Apparently the GCHQ, the British equivalent to the National Security Agency (NSA) has been watching millions of Yahoo users with their webcams.
Documents given to the press by Edward Snowden state that this scheme called operation Optic Nerve (ON) was a collaboration of the GCHQ and the NSA in order to gather 1.8 million users’ images from webcams between 2008 and 2010.
According to the report, “it would appear that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts of their body to the other person. Also, the fact that the Yahoo software allows more than one person to view a webcam stream without necessarily sending a reciprocal stream means that it appears sometimes to be used for broadcasting pornography.”
The document continues: “Face detection has the potential to aid selection of useful images for ‘mugshots’ or even for face recognition by assessing the angle of the face. The best images are ones where the person is facing the camera with their face upright.”
The tech corporation stated: “We were not aware of nor would we condone this reported activity. This report, if true, represents a whole new level of violation of our users’ privacy that is completely unacceptable and we strongly call on the world’s governments to reform surveillance law consistent with the principles we outlined in December. We are committed to preserving our users’ trust and security and continue our efforts to expand encryption across all of our services.”
In 2013, Marcus Thomas, former assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Operational Technology Division commented : “The FBI has been able to covertly activate a computer’s camera—without triggering the light that lets users know it is recording—for several years, and has used that technique mainly in terrorism cases or the most serious criminal investigations.”
Spying via webcam is apparently quite easy.
Last December, researchers at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) discovered security vulnerabilities within the Apple iSight system in the MacBook laptop and iMac desktop units that allow an third party to disable the webcam indicator LED.
Matthew Brocker and Stephen Checkoway authored a paper entitled, “iSeeYou: Disabling the MacBook Webcam Indicator LED” which outlines the process of reprogramming the iSight camera via the microcontroller to disable the LED activation light.
The paper reads: “In the past few years, the ever-expanding set of sensors present in commodity laptops and smartphones has prompted the security and privacy community to begin searching ways to detect and limit the undesired use of sensors,” the “iSeeYou. At the same time, researchers have demonstrated attacks exploiting the presence of sensors.”
This allowed Brocker and Checkoway to take photos and video of the subject from the webcam.
Shockingly, their technique also worked on 1Mac G5 and Intel-based iMacs; as well as 2008 MacBook Pros.
According to the paper: “Our results in this paper demonstrate that, at least in some cases, people have been correct to worry about malware covertly capturing images and video. We show a vulnerability in the iSight webcam that affects a particular range of Apple computers … that can be exploited to turn on the camera and capture images and video without the indicator illuminating.”
Jesse Ventura goes Off the Grid on DRONES
Published by NextNewsNetwork
If another country surveilled the United States with unmanned aircrafts, what would our government do? In this #OffTheGrid clip, Jesse Ventura argues that we’d probably declare war! What do you think the U.S. would do? Tweet Jesse @GovJVentura.
Download your free Next News “Heroes & Villains” Poster here: http://nextnewsnetwork.com/the-2013-h…
New Snowden Interview (Full Video)
By CBC News
Edward Snowden says ‘no chance’ of fair trial in U.S.
Ex-NSA contractor living in Russia on temporary visa
National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden says he has no plans to return to the United States because he sees “no chance to have a fair trial.”
The former NSA contractor, who is now living in Russia on a temporary one-year visa, is wanted by the U.S. government under charges of espionage and theft of government property.
- Why Edward Snowden did us all a favour
- Timeline of Edward Snowden and the NSA privacy leaks
- Why whistleblowers are crucial for democracy
- 10 whistleblowers and the scandals they spurred
“Returning to the US, I think, is the best resolution for the government, the public and myself, but it’s unfortunately not possible in the face of current whistleblower protection laws, which through a failure in law did not cover national security contractors like myself,” Snowden said in an online Q&A session Thursday afternoon with the website Free Snowden.
Snowden, who is responsible for one of the largest leaks of classified government information in U.S. history, has always maintained he acted in the interest of the American public. But, he said, the law under which he was charged, the 1917 Espionage Act, doesn’t allow him to use a public interest defence in the courts.
“This is especially frustrating, because it means there’s no chance to have a fair trial, and no way I can come home and make my case to a jury,” he said.
He added he could eventually return if reforms were made to the Whistleblower Protection Act, so that it also covers contractors.
Snowden also said reports of death threats being made by unnamed U.S. intelligence officials were “concerning” and said people should be bothered by officials disregarding Fifth Amendment rights to be free from abuses by authority.
“The fact that it’s also a direct threat to my life is something I am aware of, but I’m not going to be intimidated,” he said during the Q&A. “Doing the right thing means having no regrets.”
During a speech announcing changes to U.S. surveillance programs earlier this month, President Barack Obama mentioned Snowden and said his “sensational” revelations of classified spying programs could impact U.S. operations for years to come.
Some privacy advocates have pressed Obama to grant Snowden amnesty or a plea deal if he returns to the U.S., but the White House has dismissed those ideas. If found guilty under the Espionage Act, penalties could include imprisonment or death.
With files from The Associated Press
Copyright © CBC 2014
Republished with permission
By Adam Dick
Judge Napolitano on NSA Using Radio Waves to Track and Attack Computers
Judge Andrew Napolitano discusses with host Shepard Smith on Fox News the New York Times report that the National Security Agency has surreptitiously installed devices in nearly 100,000 computers so the agency can use radio waves to spy on and alter data in the computers – even if the computers are not connected to the internet. Napolitano, an RPI Advisory Board member, examines the new revelations and Congress’s ongoing failure to end the mass spying:
By Adam Dick
Judge Andrew Napolitano Explains Court Ruling on NSA, Describes Conspiracy Against US Constitution
In interviews Monday and Tuesday, Judge Andrew Napolitano explains the Monday United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruling that certain US National Security Agency mass spying activities are “almost certainly unconstitutional”—a ruling that buttresses Napolitano’s column last week describing such mass spying as a criminal conspiracy to violate rights guaranteed by the US Constitution.
In a Fox and Friends interview with Elisabeth Hasselbeck Tuesday, Napolitano, an RPI Advisory Board member, explains conclusions of the court ruling he believes the US Supreme Court will ultimately review:
So not only is this unconstitutional because it violates the Fourth Amendment, not only is this wrong because it permits the government to listen to all phone calls and keep copies of them forever, but there isn’t even any evidence that it works.
Speaking Monday with Stuart Varney on Fox Business’s Varney and Company, Napolitano expresses how beyond the pale the NSA’s mass spying activities are by comparing the NSA’s dragnet surveillance to Napolitano’s experience with search warrant requests in his former career as a New Jersey state judge. Napolitano explains:
You know I sat on the bench in our home state for many years. I probably signed hundreds, maybe thousands, of search warrants. If the police came to me and said, “We want a search warrant for everybody in this zip code because we are looking for one bad guy,” I wouldn’t have signed it, and no judge in the state would have signed it.
Napolitano describes in his column from last week the criminal conspiracies behind mass spying in the US, involving conspirators from US presidents to telecom employees to local police. The column begins with the following:
Image credit: Flickr/Gage Skidmore
Google Employees Speak Out About Government Spying. Fear NSA induced hit to business
I recently wrote that I thought all the NSA spying and “partnering” with US tech companies could impact the economy negatively. If businesses which buy from US tech companies can’t count on confidentiality many times those businesses simply won’t do business. With all the big US tech firms tied in with the NSA in one way or another why would any foreign companies ever choose to use an American operating system, or tablet, or PC, or whatever?
For example the German government has warned that it feels Windows 8 from Microsoft may have NSA friendly “back doors” built into the software. If this is the case who in their right mind would buy the system?
This is bad news. Tech is the driver of the US real economy. It’s not finance, insurance, or real estate, it’s a real industry which makes things, and right now we lead the world. But if the 4th Amendment no longer applies in this country (it still does) and the government can burrow its way into everything built from code, we have got more than a government overreach problem. People are going to lose jobs.
Google agrees and thankfully is saying something.
(From The New York Times)
The backlash against government Internet surveillance could hurt the United States economy, partly because businesses and consumers could abandon United States cloud companies, said Richard Salgado, the director for law enforcement and information security at Google, in testimony before the Senate judiciary subcommittee on privacy, technology and the law.
He cited studies like one from Forrester that predicted the cloud computing industry could lose $180 billion, 25 percent of its revenue, by 2016.
Already, countries like Brazil are considering so-called data localization laws, which would require that all data related to Brazilian companies and citizens be stored in Brazil. This movement “has gained considerable traction since the revelation of the Prism program,” Mr. Salgado said, and added that companies like Google “could be barred from doing business in one of the world’s most significant markets.”
Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org
About Nick Sorrentino
Nick Sorrentino is the co-founder and editor of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. A political and communications consultant with clients across the political spectrum, he lives just outside of Washington DC where he can keep an eye on Leviathan.
Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper contradicts White House, says Obama was aware of spying on allies0
Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper contradicts White House, says Obama was aware of spying on allies
Either the president knew, and lied. Or the president did not know and was incompetent and dangerously out of touch. Take your choice.
Yup, the country is in good hands.
(From the Washington Times)
America’s top intelligence official acknowledged Tuesday that President Obama and other senior White House officials were well aware of U.S. surveillance activities targeting leaders of friendly foreign nations — a stark contradiction of the administration’s insinuation in recent days that the president was unaware of such spying.
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper described the targeting of foreign leaders, including American allies, as a “fundamental” aspect of intelligence gathering, and said neither the CIA nor the National Security Agency can tap into a given leader’s private communications without White House oversight.
Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org
They Call It Socialization – social media edition
“Southern California’s Glendale Unified School District has hired an outside company to spy on their students’ Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube activities, going truly above and beyond in the name of student safety.”
Glendale must be really flush with cash to be able to afford an extracurricular spy operation. Just in case you are curious, they spend about the same as Blount County per student ($8823 vs. $8701*) and are also “below the state average” in California of $9292 (barely higher than Tennessee at $9123). As the cost of living is much higher there than Tennessee, it might be worthwhile to figure out how they pull this off – or you could just keep trying tax increase referendums.
(*=DISCLAIMER: We know this spending number does not include the $15-17 Million per year variable rate demand option debt service on the new school buildings nor their original construction costs, among other things.)
“We monitor only public posts to social networks. We do not monitor privatized pages, SMS, MMS, email, phone calls, voicemails,” Frydrych added.
Well of course not. That would be a waste of money and duplication of effort. We are already paying taxes for other government workers to spy on those things.
Sounds to me like Glendale is just getting a leg up on the Common Core “state” Standards. The federal data mining of “the children” is just getting started (see page 62).
Image credit: http://www.bcpublicrecord.com
Written by Daniel McAdams
President’s Spy Review Commission Provides Unintended Comedy
Government commissions are always set up to cover up or hide government incompetence or maliciousness once exposed. They are put together when the government fails spectacularly — as on 9/11 — and they are staffed with government insiders who can be trusted to not dig too deeply into government responsibility for its own failures or even its lawlessness. Look on the board of any government commission and you will always see the consummate insiders like Lee Hamilton.
Rarely is anyone fired for the mistakes made, and the conclusions always involve setting up more reform commissions and review boards to employ the multitude of government/quasi-government revolving door beneficiaries who populate the rarefied air of posh suburban settlements like McLean and Great Falls.
Sometimes these government CYA commissions can be quite comical, as Zero Hedge’s Tyler Durden points out in a recent article. In the case of Durden’s piece, the title says it all:
“As Head Of NSA Review Group Obama Appoints Same Person Who ‘Apologized’ For Lying To Congress”
President Obama announced to great Beltway fanfare late last week that he was setting up a commission to review the policies and procedures of the NSA. This was announced as part of a larger reform of NSA surveillance that the president promised, including inserting an adversarial “privacy rights” voice in the secret FISA Court proceedings.
We can only guess who might be appointed as the FISA Court’s “privacy rights” advocate — maybe Diane Feinstein?