Affordable consumer technology has made surveillance cheap and commoditized AI software has made it automatic.
Those two trends merged this week, when drone manufacturer DJI partnered June 5 with Axon, the company that makes Taser weapons and police body cameras, to sell drones to local police departments around the United States. Now, not only do local police have access to drones, but footage from those flying cameras will be automatically analyzed by AI systems not disclosed to the public.
Footage will be uploaded or streamed to Axon’s digital cloud for police cameras, like the body cameras it currently sells, where it can be analyzed by Axon’s AI and used for anything from crowd monitoring to search and rescue, the company writes on its website.
This sounds vague, but AI research published two days earlier by academics from India and the UK shows exactly how such a drone system could be used. The paper, titled “Eye in the Sky,” details how drone footage could be used to detect “violent individuals” in real-time.
To train the AI, the researchers flew a drone to snap 2,000 images of people pretending to hurt each other. But since the researchers didn’t use real data, and carefully staged the information the AI analyzed to learn the difference between violence and normal human motion, there’s no guarantee that it would work well in the real world, David Sumpter, author of Outnumbered: Exploring the Algorithms that Control Our Lives, wrote on Medium.
“What the algorithm has done is classify individuals with their hands or legs in the air as violent,” Sumpter wrote. Others, like Google ethics hawk Meredith Whittaker, tweeted that the research was flawed and that “AI is facing a mounting ethical crisis.”
Other researchers, including Google (pdf) and Facebook, have also done extensive research trying to solve the same problem of tracking how people move, and what those movements might indicate they’re doing.
But the “Eye in the Sky” researchers are trying to associate certain poses with intent. The researchers don’t discuss any false-positives for actions that could be misinterpreted as violence, such as play-fighting, knocking a fly off someone’s shoulder, or grabbing someone who’s falling.
Regardless of questions surrounding the AI’s legitimacy, The Verge reports that the researchers have gotten approval to test the technology during two festivals in India in October.
With $160 for a Parrot drone like the “Eye in the Sky” team used, and a few pennies for Amazon’s cloud AI platform, anyone with a coding background could have made a similar system. Even teens and cucumber farmers are building their own AI systems.
But the “Eye in the Sky” paper was published publicly, unlike Axon’s technology. The firm, which has acquired two AI companies and has access to petabytes of police camera footage, has no obligation to disclose how the AI was trained or whether it’s accurate or unbiased. Axon wasn’t immediately available to explain how it analyses footage captured by its cameras.
Footage captured by a private surveillance camera on the night of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history reveals several shocking details which authorities have failed to investigate.
The bombshell footage was released on Fox News’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Friday evening and is presumed to have been captured by a nearby business’s southward facing security camera which is located approximately 780 feet due east of the venue where the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival was held on Oct. 1. The tape was given to Fox News by an attorney who represents several shooting victims.
Although the date burned into the video says ‘Oct. 2,’ Tucker Carlson confirms that the tape was in fact recorded on Oct. 1, the night of the shooting. The discrepancy comes after the proper date was not entered upon installation of the system.
A close look at the footage reveals the first notable detail occurs at 10:06 p.m. which is just one minute into the shooting, according to the official timeline, as Carlson points out.
At 10:06 concertgoers can be seen running eastward through the parking lot in an effort to get to safety.
“By ten-fourteen much larger crowds of people can be seen streaming through the area to escape the massacre going on,” Carlson explains. “You can see a large amount of wind and debris, apparently that is due to a helicopter hovering overhead.”
This is astonishing, to say the least! A helicopter hovering overhead?
Then at 10:16, two men drag a “fallen victim” across the parking lot. The men position the victim behind a Ford pickup truck, presumably to shield themselves and the victim from taking any further incoming rounds as they attempted to give the victim medical assistance.
“Later at ten-twenty-four p.m., one of the men places his shirt across the victim’s face and then at ten-thirty-two a man places what appears to be a blanket or towel over the body after they had given up hope,” Carlson said. “Police only arrive in this area for the first time around ten-forty-five p.m. when the body is still there.”
The victim’s body was eventually was loaded into the back of a Ford Raptor pickup truck at 11:50 p.m. and taken away.
Astonishingly, between the times of 10:13 and 10:16 a good amount of debris can be seen being pushed downward and sideways in front of the camera which Carlson claims is from a “helicopter hovering overhead.”
A quick review of flight records during that time reveals that a squadron of EC-130 Eurocopters departed from Maverick Leasing LLC at 10:12 p.m., several of which appear to have overflown the parking lot where the victim and debris were seen. However, the departure of the choppers and the fact that several of them overflew the parking lot does not explain all of the debris being kicked up from by a heavy downdraft, prop wash, possibly from a helicopter hovering in place much closer. In fact, the downdraft appears to be constant from 10:13-10:16 p.m. and not intermittent as if several choppers had just passed overhead.
According to Carlson, the owner of the tape maintains that law enforcement investigators have never asked to see the footage.
The gunman who killed 58 people here Sunday appears to have gone out to the desert to practice shooting two days before the massacre, according to a law-enforcement official familiar with the investigation. Investigators have uncovered video footage from a home-surveillance system that shows Stephen Paddock driving alone to an area on the outskirts of Mesquite, Nev. where locals go for target practice. The footage shows Paddock heading to the area on the Friday before the attack, the official said. A spokeswoman for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department didn’t immediately return a request for comment. In recent years, Paddock split time between a home on a quiet cul-de-sac in Mesquite and hotels in Las Vegas, about a 90-minute drive. His neighbors say they hardly knew him. His home backed up to a golf course, but he wasn’t known there, either.
aIR-Jumper weaves passwords and crypto keys into infrared signals. Researchers have devised malware that can jump airgaps by using the infrared capabilities of an infected network’s surveillance cameras to transmit data to and from attackers.
The malware prototype could be a crucial ingredient for attacks that target some of the world’s most sensitive networks. Militaries, energy producers, and other critical infrastructure providers frequently disconnect such networks from the Internet as a precaution. In the event malware is installed, there is no way for it to make contact with attacker-controlled servers that receive stolen data or issue new commands. Such airgaps are one of the most basic measures for securing highly sensitive information and networks.
The proof-of-concept malware uses connected surveillance cameras to bridge such airgaps. Instead of trying to use the Internet to reach attacker-controlled servers, the malware weaves passwords, cryptographic keys, and other types of data into infrared signals and uses a camera’s built-in infrared lights to transmit them. A nearby attacker then records the signals with a video camera and later decodes embedded secrets. The same nearby attackers can embed data into infrared signals and beam them to an infected camera, where they’re intercepted and decoded by the network malware. The covert channel works best when attackers have a direct line of sight to the video camera, but non-line-of-sight communication is also possible in some cases.
Researchers at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Shamoon College of Engineering said the malware establishes a two-way channel that attackers can use to communicate with compromised networks even when they’re air-gapped. The covert channel can transmit data from a video camera to an attacker at 20 bits per second and from an attacker transmitter to a video camera at 100 bits per second. When more than a camera is used in the attacks the bit-rate may be increased further.
A leg in both worlds
The proximity required between the transmitter and receiver is in the tens of meters when data is being siphoned out of a network. It’s hundreds of meters to kilometers when data is being sent into a network. The researchers have dubbed the prototype aIR-Jumper to emphasize the key role that infrared plays.
“Security cameras are unique in that they have ‘one leg’ inside the organization, connected to the internal networks for security purposes, and ‘the other leg’ outside the organization, aimed specifically at nearby public space, providing very convenient optical access from various directions and angles,” Mordechai Guri, head of research and development at Ben-Gurion’s cyber-security research center, told Ars.
aIR-Jumper uses several different schemes to encode the zeroes and ones that form the basic building blocks of all digital data. The malware breaks large data streams into small packets or frames that include a preamble, a payload, and a 16-bit cyclic redundancy check to ensure the data was sent correctly. The proof-of-concept attack uses an infected camera’s own programming interfaces to control the infrared LEDs to transmit the data according to the encoding scheme and other parameters selected. Infrared LEDs are used to enable night vision so that cameras can produce images when there is little or no ambient light.
aIR-Jumper works best when attackers have direct line of sight to the video camera inside the infected network. Non-line-of-sight communication is also possible when the area illuminated by infrared lights is within the field of vision of the receiver. The attack is not only useful for air-gapped networks. It is also suitable for internal networks where traffic is heavily monitored by firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, and similar security measures, since it can bypass them without requiring any physical access between the attacker and the network.
aIR-Jumper is only the latest covert channel devised to shuttle data into and out of air-gapped networks once they have been infected. Previous proof-of-concept attacks developed by many of the same researchers include the manipulation of acoustic signals emitted from hard drives, malware that turns USB devices inside an air-gapped facility into covert radios that transmit data through electromagnetic signals, and a technique that allows an infected computer’s video card to transmit radio signals that can be received by a smart phone.The wide body of attacks starts with the assumption the attacker has already infected the target with malware. The research shows that air-gaps alone aren’t always sufficient for ensuring an attacker can’t transfer data into and out of mission-critical networks. Countermeasures against the aIR-Jumper include placing surveillance cameras in restricted zones that are optically inaccessible to attackers.
According to documents obtained by Swedish internet service provider Banhof, the Swedish government appears to be interested in increasing the country’s data retention requirements, and may even be interested in starting surveillance of virtual private networks (VPNs) and other anonymization services.
Data retention requirements in Sweden first took effect in 2010. Privacy advocates such as Rick Falkvinge, the founder of the Pirate Party, say that the current Swedish data retention laws already violate fundamental European Union privacy rights. In 2010 German courts struck down a German data retention directive as an unconstitutional violation of privacy. The 2010 ruling in Germany was followed by a ruling from the European Court of Justice in 2014 which struck down the European Union’s data retention directive.
After the 2014 court ruling, Swedish internet service providers were told that the data retention requirements would no longer be enforced. Banhof had stopped retaining customer metadata, and several other Swedish internet service providers then followed Banhof in stopping their data retention programs as well. However, the suspension of data retention requirements in Sweden did not last for long, as government officials deemed the Swedish data retention laws were compatible with the European Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights. Swedish internet service provider Tele2 filed a lawsuit which they lost when the Swedish courts ruled that the data retention acts were still lawful and could be enforced. Banhof resisted the court’s ruling but was then threatened with a multimillion dollar fine if it continued to refuse to retain customer metadata.
Under current Swedish law, internet service providers must record and store customer metadata for 6 months. Sweden’s new data retention proposal would increase the length of data retention from 6 months to 10 months. While implementing the European Union’s data retention directive from 2006, the Swedish government considered making data retention requirements between 6 months to 2 years. The Swedish government decided to make their data retention law only require data to be stored for 6 months. A broader Data Retention Act which was passed by the Swedish parliament in 2003 was struck down by the European Court of Justice in late December of last year. That 2003 data retention law was struck down for violating the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
What remains a mystery is what exactly was meant by requirements to log the activation of anonymization services. A post made on Banhof’s website originally referred to this requirement as applying to VPNs, however, the company updated the post and said that they believe this may be a requirement aimed at prepaid cellular phones. A spokesman for a Swedish VPN called PrivateVPN said that the VPN surveillance requirements were so far only rumors, but did suggest the company would likely leave the country if the Swedish government ever did enact VPN surveillance. Another option would be to force the VPN’s customers to use Network Address Translation (NAT) firewalls. It appears unlikely that the government would ban NAT. However, VPN surveillance could be enforced by internet service providers instead of by the VPN provider, through the use of deep packet inspection.
“Sweden now acts as China when the state requires the network to be tailor-made for monitoring, instead of the internet functioning as well as possible,” Jon Karlung, Banhof’s CEO, said on a post on the company’s website. Karlung says that it will cost hundreds of millions of Swedish kronors to be able to meet the new data retention requirements. He estimates that the average service provider will need to get 300 terabytes of more storage to implement the proposed requirement. “The whole industry is in rebellion,” Karlung says. He believes the government wants service providers to rebuild the network to make surveillance easier, than to make it perform well. The information Banhof received came from a government investigation that is being conducted on the data retention laws. The government’s new report and recommendations will be delivered on October 9.
Infowars.com have obtained credible information regarding individual records of U.S. citizens under National Security Agency (NSA) electronic surveillance in the years 2004 through 2010 – a database that documents both Donald J. Trump and Alex Jones were under illegal, unauthorized government monitoring during those years.
Michael Zullo, formerly the commander and chief investigator of the Cold Case Posse (CCP), a special investigative group created in 2006 in the office of Joseph M. Arpaio, formerly the sheriff in Maricopa County, an Arizona State Certified Law Enforcement Agency, headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona.
The NSA electronic surveillance data was created by the NSA as part of the NSA’s illegal and unconstitutional Project Dragnet electronic surveillance of U.S. citizens, https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/12/dragnet-nsa-spying-survives-2015-review first revealed by news reports published in 2005, https://www.theguardian.com/world/interactive/2013/nov/01/snowden-nsa-files-surveillance-revelations-decoded as further documented by the revelations of whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013 – a project that Sheriff Arpaio and his chief CCP investigator Michael Zullo believe has never been shut down.
Sheriff Arpaio and Chief Investigator Zullo have identified dozens of entries at various addresses, including both Trump Tower in New York City and Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, under which Trump was under NSA electronic surveillance, as a result of the analysis they conducted on Project Dragnet records of U.S. citizens that were the targets of electronic surveillance from 2004, during President George W. Bush’s term of office, through 2009, the first year of President Obama’s presidency.
Here is an abstract of the NSA line-item listings as they appeared in the database detailing NSA electronic surveillance of Donald Trump, produced here as it shows up in the Project Dragnet Database (with the exception that the last four digits of the telephone number are redacted):
Master Database Records
1 Central Park, NYC
845 United Nations Plaza, NYC
Trump Tower SAL
108 Central Park, NYC
Trump Palace Co
200 E. 69th Street A, NYC
Trump Entrmt Re
725 Fifth Ave. FL, NYC
725 Fifth Ave. BSM, NYC
725 Fifth Ave., NYC
1100 S. Ocean BL, Palm Beach, FL
No Business Identified
1100 S. Ocean BL, Palm Beach, FL
401 N. Wabash Ave.
239 Nassau St., Princeton, New Jersey
3505 Summit BLV, West Palm Beach, FL
P.O.Box 196, Hamilton MA
No Business Identified
10 Market St., NYC
1 Central Park, NYC
Huron Ave. BrigA, Atlantic City, NJ
339 Pine Rd, Briarcliff M
Trump Plaza & C
2500 Pacific Ave, Atlantic City, NJ
Trump Palace Co.
200 E. 69th St., NYC
Seven Springs L.
66 Oregon Rd, Mount Kisco, NY
The Project Dragnet database suggests Trump was under surveillance not only for phone conversations, but also for financial information, including most likely bank account transactions, credit card transactions, and tax filings.
Also listed as under NSA surveillance in the period 2004-2010 was Trump’s former wife, Ivanka Trump at House of Ivanka, 10 East 64th Street, New York City.
The Project Dragnet database also indicates that the NSA was conducting electronic surveillance on an extensive list of Trump employees in the years 2004-2010 – the only years for which Sheriff Arpaio had data.
Here is a partial list of the Trump employees that show up in the Project Dragnet database:
Patricia Hernandez, a Manager for the Trump Organization, was under NSA electronic surveillance at Trump Parc, Central Park South, in New York City, at phone 212-586-xxxx, date: 9/16/2008.
Mike van der Goes, a Golf Pro at Oceans Trails Golf Course in Palos Verdes, who was promoted to be general manager when Trump bought the course from the bank in 2005 and renamed it Trump National. Mike van der Goes was under surveillance at Trump National, 1 Ocean TRL, Rancho Palos Verdes, California, at phone: 310-265-xxxx, no date.
Carolyn Kepcher, a frequent guest on NBC’s television program “The Apprentice,” who was under NSA electronic surveillance when she was General Manager at the Trump National Golf Course in Briarcliff, New York, in Westchester County north of New York City, at 339 Pine Rd., in Briarcliff, New York, at phone 914-944-xxxx, date: 9/7/206.
Joe Traci, a Real Estate Property Manager at Trump New World Property Management, at 438 W. 69th Street, New York City, phone 212-769-xxxx, date: 11/12/2008; and at 5 12th Street, New York City, phone: 212-586-xxxx, no date.
Roger Socio, a Senior Project Manager, Trump Organization, Trump Tower, 725 Fifth Avenue, New York City, phone: 212-715-xxxx, 2/23/2009.
Bill Fichter, Residents Manager, Trump Organization, Trump Palace, 200 E. 69th Street, New York City, phone: 212-879-xxxx, date: 2/24/2009.
Florin Bogosel, Trump Park Avenue, 502 Park Avenue, New York City, phone: 212-223-xxxx, no date.
Grace Dunne, Trump Park Residence, 3770 Barger Street, Shrub Oak, New York, phone: 914-245-xxxx, date 1/26/2006.
Greg Bradley, Vice President, Trump Pavilion for Nursing and Rehabilitation, 9028 Van Wyck, East Richmond Hill, New York, phone: 718-291-xxxx, no date.
All these employees appear to have been under NSA phone surveillance, plus various of them under financial surveillance as well.
Alex Jones is listed as being under electronic surveillance for phone records, as well as under surveillance for financial records, in 2006. The address listed for Alex Jones in the NSA Project Dragnet database was correct for his residence at that time. So too, Alex Jones confirmed the phone number listed was also correct.
Sheriff Arpaio and Chief Investigator Zullo have validated through law enforcement channels the validity of the name, address, and telephone numbers for the dates that appear in the Project Dragnet database.
Sheriff Arpaio and Chief Investigator Zullo are prepared to share relevant information with appropriate federal law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, as well as the Department of Justice, Homeland Security Department, the White House, and members of Congress the Project Dragnet Database in whole, or in part, as it pertains to NSA electronic surveillance of Donald J. Trump and his various employee.
Sheriff Arpaio and Chief Investigator Zullo also show up in the database, listed as being under both phone and financial surveillance.
Zullo explained that he and Arpaio came in contact with the information from Operation Dragnet during an unrelated investigation that began in October 2013 and ended January 2015.
A whistleblower by the name of Dennis Montgomery brought forward information that Montgomery alleges was collected while he was employed as a subcontractor for the NSA, working on various surveillance projects.
Court documents do verify Montgomery was contracted by the NSA, in part to develop computer breaching software that has been utilized in government mass surveillance operations targeting American citizens without legal justification.
While Montgomery’s credibility has been called into question, Zullo maintains that the amount of information provided by Montgomery related to Operation Dragnet was extraordinarily voluminous and that Montgomery had shared information with investigators in 2013 that is only now being revealed by media outlets.
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has successfully convinced a federal judge to block the disclosure of where the bureau has attached surveillance cams on Seattle utility poles. The decision Monday stopping Seattle City Light from divulging the information was expected, as claims of national security tend to trump the public’s right to know.
However, this privacy dispute highlights a powerful and clandestine tool the authorities are employing across the country to snoop on the public—sometimes with warrants, sometimes without. Just last month, for example, this powerful surveillance measure—which sometimes allows the authorities to control the camera’s focus point remotely—helped crack a sex trafficking ring in suburban Chicago.
Meanwhile, in stopping the release of the Seattle surveillance cam location information—in a public records act case request brought by activist Phil Mocek—US District Judge Richard Jones agreed (PDF) with the FBI’s contention that releasing the data would harm national security.
“If the Protected Information is released, the United States will not be able to obtain its return; the confidentiality of the Protected Information will be destroyed, and the recipients will be free to publish it or post the sensitive information wherever they choose, including on the Internet, where it would harm important federal law enforcement operational interests as well as the personal privacy of innocent third parties,” Jones ruled.
Peter Winn, assistant US attorney in Seattle, won the injunction after telling Judge Jones that “the FBI’s use of the pole camera technique is a powerful tool in FBI investigations of criminal violations and national security threats. Disclosure of even minor details about them may cause jeopardy to important federal interests because, much like a jigsaw puzzle, each detail may aid adversaries in piecing together information about the capabilities, limitations, and circumstances of equipment’s use, and would allow law enforcement subjects, or national security adversaries, to accumulate information and draw conclusions about the FBI’s use of this technology, in order to evade effective, lawful investigation by the FBI” (PDF).
The deployment of such video cameras appears to be widespread. What’s more, the Seattle authorities aren’t saying whether they have obtained court warrants to install the surveillance cams. And the law on the matter is murky at best.
Consider that in February, an Ohio-based federal appeals court upheld the firearms conviction of a Tennessee man whose brother’s rural farm was monitored for 10 weeks straight by a remote-controlled camera that the authorities installed on a utility pole 200 yards away without a warrant. That ruling conflicted with one issued by a Washington state federal judge who in 2014 tossed an alleged drug dealer’s conviction that was gained under the same circumstances—the warrantless spying on a suspect via a webcam attached to a utility pole near his rural Washington state property. In May, the FBI dropped its appeal of that decision without providing any reason.
Before abandoning its appeal, the government said (PDF) that it had the right to deploy the webcam without a court warrant because the device was on the public’s right-of-way and was akin to a cop’s observations from the street. The judge in the case, however, said the Fourth Amendment required that the police needed a warrant to spy.
In an e-mail to Ars, Seattle city attorney spokeswoman Kimberly Mills declined to say whether the FBI obtained warrants to install surveillance cams on Seattle City Light utility poles. “The City is in litigation and will have no further comment,” she said. Mills suggested we speak with the FBI office in Seattle, and we did.
Ayn Dietrich-Williams, an FBI spokeswoman in Seattle, said that “given the ongoing litigation, it would not be appropriate for the FBI to comment.” She pointed to Winn’s filing as a source of possible answers. In Winn’s brief, we discovered a link to “The Attorney General’s Guidelines For Domestic FBI Operations.” Under the “Particular Methods” section, there’s this reference:
Use of closed-circuit television, direction finders, and other monitoring devices, subject to legal review by the Chief Division Counsel or the FBI Office of the General Counsel. (The methods described in this paragraph usually do not require court orders or warrants unless they involve physical trespass or non-consensual monitoring of communications, but legal review is necessary to ensure compliance with all applicable legal requirements.)
Mocek told Ars that as part of his utility pole cam investigation, “I have learned nothing of related warrants or of a lack thereof.”
Winn, meanwhile, wrote to Judge Jones that the location information about the disguised surveillance cams should be withheld because the public might think they are an “invasion of privacy.”
“Because of their close proximity to the subjects of surveillance, unauthorized disclosure of the locations of current or previously installed pole cameras can reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy for those persons under investigation who have not yet been charged. It can also reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of the privacy of innocent third parties not under investigation but geographically near the current or past location of the camera, who may falsely be assumed to be the subject of an FBI investigation,” Winn wrote.
Winn also said that revealing the cameras’ locations could threaten the safety of FBI agents.
“Revelation of the subject of an FBI investigation by the unauthorized disclosure of the location of a current or previously installed pole camera can have a devastating impact on an investigation,” Winn told Judge Jones. “Armed with such knowledge, a subject would not only be able to evade further investigation by the FBI but would also be able to employ countermeasures to impede further investigation such as destroying, hiding, or otherwise concealing evidence; intimidating or retaliating against cooperating witnesses; or by simply fleeing the jurisdiction. Such disclosure would also allow any individual other than the subject of an investigation who is intent on interfering with or thwarting the investigation to do so. As such, unauthorized disclosure of the location of a pole camera could threaten the safety of the FBI agents involved with the investigation.”
And if the cameras become “publicly identifiable,” Winn said, “subjects of the criminal investigation and national security adversaries of the United States will know what to look for to discern whether the FBI is conducting surveillance in a particular location.”
(NaturalNews) Maybe it’s something in the water at the National Security Agency, but for some reason, officials there just can’t seem to get enough of spying on us by continually expanding their surveillance dragnet.
Cyber command uses same symbolology as Nazi SS the double forn nordic ZIG/ZIEG sign that means the Black Sun Lucifer
As reported by The New American, the agency is now looking into possibly stealing data from Internet-connected biomedical devices like pacemakers, according to the NSA’s deputy director, Richard Ledgett.
“We’re looking at it sort of theoretically from a research point of view right now,” Ledgett told the attendees of the 2016 Defense One Tech Summit, held June 10 in Washington, D.C. Defense One is a defense/national security oriented news and information website.
The deputy director referred to the devices as just “another tool in the toolbox” of electronic surveillance, agreeing with a comment that the data that could be collected from pacemakers and other devices would be akin to a “signals intelligence bonanza.”
“As my job is to penetrate other people’s networks, complexity is my friend,” he told the conference. “The first time you update the software, you introduce vulnerabilities, or variables rather. It’s a good place to be in a penetration point of view.”
The ‘Internet of things’ is turning out to be a huge privacy issue
Penetrating networks is spy-speak for essentially violating rights that are supposed to be protected by the Fourth Amendment, which (supposedly) guarantees “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures … .” The amendment also requires government to get search warrants issued only “upon probable cause” from a court of law, which describes “the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
The NSA would likely get cute and argue that hey, signals from a pacemaker aren’t “papers” or “houses,” so they aren’t covered by the Fourth Amendment. But they certainly are “effects,” and no one could reasonably argue that stealing data from a device (without a warrant) is not an invasion of privacy, given that the data was not being sent to NSA for analysis voluntarily.
Are you starting to see why this “Internet of things” isn’t all it is cracked up to be?
That said, according to The New American, Ledgett is not the only one who is anxious to begin collecting data from biomed devices and other Internet-connected devices and appliances:
At a Senate hearing in February, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that Internet-connected devices of all sorts could help with “identification, surveillance, monitoring, location tracking, and targeting for recruitment, or to gain access to networks or user credentials.”
In a letter to electronic privacy champion Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Clapper actually identified, in passing, some devices that could be hacked by the NSA and other federal agencies so that they could gain access to private data. Those items included “a refrigerator, a washing machine, or a child’s toy.”
No more value of liberty?
The fact that top officials with U.S. intelligence agencies are so blatant about their desire to scoop up as much personal data on American citizens as possible ought to be alarming to many in Congress, but at least publicly there has not been much push-back. Many of these intelligence briefings are held in secret; there are portions held in public, but eventually the House and Senate intelligence committees most generally launch closed-door sessions so that they can discuss classified materials.
Very influential states’ rights advocate and jurist, St. George Tucker, wrote regarding the importance of the checks included in the Fourth Amendment: “The constitutional sanction here given to the same doctrine, and the test which it affords for trying the legality of any warrant by which a man may be deprived of his liberty, or disturbed in the enjoyment of his property, can not be too highly valued by a free people.”
In the Information Age, however, “free people” seem to have forgotten what value is inherent in liberty.