As the reports on TrapWire have demonstrated, it is very likely that the video feed from many of the traffic cameras, stoplight cameras, and similar devices may be monitored by agents of the federal government. If the ability of those agents to locate and follow a target increases, the ability of that target to evade detection logically decreases proportionally.
Recent doomsday reports alluding to an extensive government spying network and a fictional scenario in which domestic insurrection was crushed by the military have created a wealth of media hype and speculation, but they also raise valid questions of how to address these civil liberties issues before they become a reality.
Experts are saying the advanced surveillance systems revealed recently by Wikileaks isn’t quite as pervasive as reports might have you believe — yet. And an extremist uprising scenario posed by the Small Wars Journal is merely a work of fiction — for now.
Still, both are possibilities that these experts say should be taken seriously and evaluated in terms of the philosophical and legal challenges that technological advances will present for the government and law enforcement.
The debate was stoked recently by the Small Wars Journal with a report on July 25 assessing how the U.S. may need to prepare for domestic challenges such as “extremist militia motivated by the goals of the ‘tea party’ movement” taking over a South Carolina town, requiring military intervention to quash the uprising.
The scaremongering continued last week with a report by Wikileaks, claiming to have the scoop on “Trapwire” – an extensive system of surveillance software — complete with allegedly leaked emails that could lead one to believe the government had access to a host of spying cameras across the nation.
But just how concerned should you be about TrapWire’s facial recognition technology and the potential for Big Brother recording your every move? TheBlaze spoke with technology and military experts about TrapWire and the feasibility of surveillance technology such as this monitoring to the extent that has been speculated.
As a bit of background, Friday afternoon, TheBlaze reported Wikileaks had unleashed news of a surveillance program that used equipment “more accurate than modern facial recognition technology.”
This technology by the Virginia-based company TrapWire is meant to track suspicious activity at high-profile locations, which range from military bases to the White House to casinos and hotels in Las Vegas. The emails and several media reports allege that through this technology the “U.S. government is secretly spying on everyone,” as the Daily Mail put it.
A screenshot of the Virginia-based company TrapWire’s website.
Scot MacTaggart, the regional director of PSX, Inc., who heads up security engineering for the property surveillance company, said he considers the emails regarding TrapWire’s technology overhyped “marketing-speak.”
MacTaggart said facial recognition technology is still largely a failure that is only 60-7o percent accurate. This lack of accuracy, he said, is not good enough for serious applications of the technology.
“I find it hard to believe they could radically improve the facial recognition technology,” MacTaggart said, citing the fact that the idea has been around for decades and still isn’t being used in many applications.
He also noted the extreme bandwidth that would be needed to transfer the large amount of data picked up by the cameras and the need for a “tremendous” data center to store it. Ray Cavanagh, a vice president for the firm Crescent Guardian, Inc., expressed similar thoughts and said managing the amount of data would be “unfathomable.”
“Where would a respository of data like this sit?” Cavanagh said, also noting that he too considered facial recognition software still in its infancy. “Even if there were one, it would have to be updated continually.”
Dan Stynchula, a consultant for AEgis Technology Group, also said that he realizes the facial recognition technology isn’t perfect, but he believes the data center to house this information could very well be one owned by the government.
A data center large enough to store all this, Stynchula speculates is the one under construction by the National Security Agency in Utah. Although he acknowledges this is assumptive, he calls it an “informed hypothetical.”
Where does Stynchula think storage of this information could lead?
“A system like this could generate a large stream of revenue,” he said, pointing out that constant surveillance could record a variety of offenses, identify the person via facial recognition and send them a fine in the mail.
But looking down the road, the infrastructure set up to monitor people becomes more disconcerting, Stynchula said, when you think of changing views toward protection of civil liberties. He noted that with centers storing this data, it could open the door for retrospective prosecution.
On the other hand, Cavanagh said for those who are concerned about privacy from surveillance technology, “I would ask them if they’ve ever shopped online.” He points out that people were concerned about privacy with regard to online shopping as well but now many use it.
“People need to recognize that technology is not the evil here,” Cavanagh said. “Can technology be used for evil purposes? Of course. Technology is not inherently evil though. We need to look at how we can harness it to make the world a better place.”
Overall, Stynchula said these reports at least serve the purpose of starting the conversation in society.
“Where do we as a society want to draw the line?” Stynchula questioned. “What will we allow these agencies to do outside the Constitution?”
With regard to the fictional scenario of extremists taking over in South Carolina, this was presented in an article published in the well-respected Small Wars Journal titled “Full Spectrum Operations in the Homeland: A ‘Vision’ of the Future.”
The authors are retired Army Col. Kevin Benson of the Army’s University of Foreign Military and Cultural Studies at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and Jennifer Weber, a Civil War expert at the University of Kansas.
The article imagines a extreme members of the Tea Party taking control of Darlington, S.C. in May 2016, “occupying City Hall, disbanding the city council and placing the mayor under house arrest.” The rebels also set up checkpoints on Interstate 95 and Interstate 20 patrolling for people in the United States illegally.
The article has been criticized by many. The Washington Times, for example, called it a “cartoonish and needlessly provocative scenario“ that ”is a choppy patchwork of doctrinal jargon and liberal nightmare.”
Sill, combining this fictional scenario with the recent leak regarding TrapWire, the government having a network in place to sense civil unrest before a situation like this were to take place seems to go hand-in-hand.
Brandon Webb who operates the website SOFREP (the Special Operations Forces Report) and is a former Navy SEAL told TheBlaze setting up systems like this to thwart terrorist attacks are a valid necessity, provided “strict privacy laws that prohibit the unauthorized spying on American citizens” are followed.
In terms of a civil uprising, here’s what Webb wrote:
I think that there is a legitimate concern that an “Occupy” type of movement could gain serious traction and there are some in government who worry that it will not be quite as peaceful. The article in the Small Wars Journal titled “Full Spectrum Operations in the Homeland: A ‘Vision’ of the Future.” talks about civilian insurrection and a military response.
This is very troubling to hear as a citizen and veteran who has served in combat to protect civil liberties. Especially concerning is that SOFREP has received and confirmed anonymous reports that the U.S. Military and Private Military Companies (PMC’s) were used offensively during the Katrina disaster and riots. This is unacceptable in my view.
He continued saying that while the government “needs to wake up and smell the unrest,” it needs to look at why people are unhappy and start taking care of people’s concerns.” He said, if “we ignore this too long … we’ll have our own version of the Arab Spring, albeit a more peaceful “Tea Party version, I imagine.”
On Wednesday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced at a press conference the city would soon be deploying a new counterterrorism system that would “make it easier for officers to determine if a crime is part of an ongoing pattern.“ Privacy advocates though have expressed concern that the system would reveal ”intimate facts about your life.”
The “Domain Awareness System” created out of a partnership with Microsoft leverages existing counterterrorism infrastructure, such as cameras and other data and tools held by the NYPD.
According to the city’s statement, the DAS “aggregates and analyzes existing public safety data streams in real time, providing NYPD investigators and analysts with a comprehensive view of potential threats and criminal activity.”
“This new system capitalizes on new powerful policing software that allows police officers and other personnel to more quickly access relevant information gathered from existing cameras, 911 calls, previous crime reports and other existing tools and technology,” Bloomberg said in the statement.
“It will help the NYPD do more to prevent crimes from occurring and help them respond to crimes even more effectively. And because the NYPD built the system in partnership with Microsoft, the sale of the product will generate revenue for the City that will fund more new crime-prevention and counter-terrorism programs.”
The city will receive 30 percent of revenues on Microsoft’s future sales of the Domain Awareness System, according to the statement.
New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who spoke at the Aspen Security Forum Saturday, said the program combines city-wide video surveillance with law enforcement databases.
The system will connect the city’s 3,000 CCTV cameras, license plate readers, environmental sensors and other law enforcement databases. Fast Companies explains more about the system’s data collection, which will take place only in public places, and how it could be used:
Monitoring will take place 24 hours a day, seven days a week at a specialized location in Lower Manhattan. Video will be held for 30 days and then deleted unless the NYPD chooses to archive it. Metadata and license plate info collected by DAS will be retained for five years, and unspecified “environmental data” will be stored indefinitely.
Although NYPD documents indicate that the system is specifically designed for anti-terrorism operations, any incidental data it collects “for a legitimate law enforcement or public safety purpose” by DAS can be utilized by the police department.
The NYPD will also share data and video with third parties not limited to law enforcement if either a subpoena or memorandum of understanding exists. The DAS system is headquartered in a lower Manhattan office tower in a command-and-control center staffed around the clock by both New York police and “private stakeholders.”
PC World reports a member of the privacy advocacy group expressing concern that such a program could lead to “routine, unconstitutional warrantless surveillance”:
It is scandalous for Microsoft and the NYPD to describe location data from license plate readers and surveillance cameras as “public safety data”, said Peter Eckersley, technology projects director, at the Electronic Frontier Foundation in an email.
“If you drive a car, the history of where you drive it reveals numerous intimate facts about your life. All of this information about New Yorkers is now going to be hoovered up without consent, accountability, or judicial oversight.”
Still, Bloomberg attempted to dispel concerns such as this saying the technology used in the system is something the private sector has employed for some time, according to Gothamist:
“If you walk around with a cell phone, the cell phone company knows where you are…We‘re not your mom and pop’s police department anymore.”
Gothamist also got a look inside the headquarters that will be monitoring information coming through this system. Below are a few of those photos, but be sure to check them all out here.
The NYPD has also been under fire for surveillance of Muslim communities and partnering with the CIA to track potential terror suspects. Muslim groups have sued to shut down the NYPD programs.
Kelly defended the policies as key to thwarting 14 terror plots against the city since the attacks of Sept. 11th.
Drones have dominated the headlines lately, with investigations by the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation into domestic drone use giving headaches to law enforcement all over.
What we found was that law enforcement groups from huge city departments to county sheriffs were all enchanted by the idea of drones.
The market potential is already considered huge. It’s expected to grow by a billion dollars between now and 2016.
Here’s a look at the latest in drone tech over American skies, and where they’re seeing testing or active use.
The Skyseer was one of the first drones designed for police use
The Skyseer was developed to be an extremely lightweight drone with imaging capabilities. It entered police use way back in 2006.
One of the huge advantages and initial selling points of the Skyseer was that it had a low price tag compared to police helicopter use, which ran around $1,000 per hour.
The Skyseer cost around $30,000 for a single unit, but that paid off rather quickly if it was used instead of helicopters.
The Skyseer is also nearly completely collapsible, and beaks down and rolls up to fit in essentially a tube.
California grounded the program, leaving the LA Country Sheriff’s office in a bind
The main user of the Skyseer was the LA County Sheriff’s Office, who used it to experiment with full integration of drones into their police force.
The thing is, when they adopted the drone there weren’t any significant regulations from the federal government on use.
Now, the FAA has said that drones for police use — for the time being — cannot go higher than 300 feet, and must stick to other constraints on their abilities.
The innovation in police drones has expanded in an entirely different direction since then.
The Honeywell T-Hawk is military-grade but street legal
The gas-powered T-Hawk is one of the strangest looking drones we’ve seen, but it’s remarkably good at surveillance.
Designed by Honeywell, the 18 pound drone can is vertically launched, so it doesn’t need any kind of runway. It can fly for 50 minutes and navigate during even 23 mph winds and rain.
Like most of the drones in domestic use, the T-Hawk beams video down to a ground station. It’s got ten flight plans pre-programmed in for quick use.
Next time you’re in Miami, the T-Hawk may be watching you
So far one of the police departments to publicly announce their use of drones for surveillance and reconnaissance has been the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD).
The Miami-Dade Police currently testing two of the small drones.
They’re not allowed within the city limits of Miami, and the MDPD has said they aren’t using the drones to record incidents.
The MDPD has also gone further than any other department in working with privacy activists, releasing the draft of their drone operator protocols and policies.
The DraganFlyer X-class is lightweight and highly maneuverable
Draganfly Innovations has developed a number of drones designed for law enforcement use, the most popular being the X6 and the most recent being the X8.
Draganfly is selling the drones for use in accident investigations, traffic patrol assistance — remember those “Speed Limit Enforced By Aircraft” signs? — crime scene evidence gathering, and even crowd control.
The X-8 has a foldable design, eight rotors, and a manual remote control system. It’s battery powered and can fly 30 mph.
Draganfly drones are used from Arizona to Saskatchewan
Right now, several police departments are experimenting with the Draganflyer drones.
The Saskatoon Police Service even used their X6 to investigate an accident.
The Qube is the first try at a police drone from a major military drone contractor
AeroVironment, the manufacturer behind the military’s Raven and Wasp drones, recently came out with a helicopter-style drone for police reconnaissance.
The drone is eay to pack up and has a 40 minute flight endurance. It comes with two cameras, one thermal and the other high resolution color. It’s got four rotors.
It flies between 100 and 500 feet, placing it squarely in the category of domestic use. It weighs only five pounds.
AeroVironment is actively trying to gain law enforcement clients
As of yet, neither AeroVironment nor any local news sources lists any current user of the drone.
Still, AeroVironment is pretty well poised to enter that market. Right now, they’re the largest seller of small drones to the military, and their Raven and Wasp drones were developed alongside DARPA research.
In the meantime, AeroVironment has produced a number of promotional videos pitching the Qube to law enforcement. With the performance specifications that the Qube has, it’s really only a matter of pricing and time until they start seeing active use.
The Vanguard Shadowhawk is seeing use all over the country
Right now, the ShadowHawk is one of the most powerful available drones for civilian police use.
The helicopter drone comes with a Sony camera with 20x optical zoom. It’s got a built in GPS system with incredible accuracy, and it’s already so powerful that the military versions comes with space for a grenade launcher.
It weighs fifty pounds and can carry 22 lbs. The ShadowHawk has a max speed of 55 mph and a cruising speed of 35 mph, and it’s got enough gas in the tank to fly fifteen miles.
The Shadowhawk is becoming one of the more popular drones for law enforcement
The drone has even been mentioned on the Tonight Show.
Vanguard Defense is also hoping that the ShadowHawk sees use in commercial endeavors, such as pipeline monitoring and commercial surveillance.
Given its speed and range, the ShadowHawk is likely great to use for border control operations.
Police Departments have called in the big guns: Homeland Security’s MQ-9 Reaper
The MQ-9 has seen service all over the world with the United States Air Force. It’s one of the most important drones in combat at the moment. It’s an upgraded version of the famous MQ-1 Predator drone.
It’s 36 feet long and can carry a payload of nearly two tons. Its maximum speed is 555 mph, and has a range of more than 1000 miles.
This drone is not street-legal, so to speak, but it has seen use in law enforcement on U.S. soil.
The Department of Homeland Security wants to deploy the drones to help law enforcement often
A MQ9 Reaper drone
One of the missions of the Homeland Security drone program is to help local police departments in law enforcement. Because of that, the Predator and Reaper have seen civilian law enforcement use near the U.S borders.
One instance of Predator use by civilian police occurred in 2011 when a drone was called in by a SWAT team near Lakota, North Dakota to help gather intelligence on a standoff.
Rodney Brossart threatened officers with death threats and a 16-hour standoff resulted. Eventually, Brossart was taken down with tasers using intelligence from a Homeland Security predator drone.
Even more, Homeland Security wants to accelerate the acquisition of drones by police forces, so this use of DHS drones as the cavalry could become more common.
There are probably more drones in law enforcement use than that, but nobody’s talking
Posted by truther
Most of us don’t think much about it, but the truth is that people are being watched, tracked and monitored more today than at any other time in human history. The explosive growth of technology in recent years has given governments, spy agencies and big corporations monitoring tools that the despots and dictators of the past could only dream of. Previous generations never had to deal with “pre-crime” surveillance cameras that use body language to spot criminals or unmanned drones watching them from far above. Previous generations would have never even dreamed that street lights and refrigerators might be spying on them. Many of the incredibly creepy surveillance technologies that you are about to read about are likely to absolutely astound you. We are rapidly heading toward a world where there will be no such thing as privacy anymore. Big Brother is becoming all-pervasive, and thousands of new technologies are currently being developed that will make it even easier to spy on you. The world is changing at a breathtaking pace, and a lot of the changes are definitely not for the better.
The following are 14 incredibly creepy surveillance technologies that Big Brother will be using to watch you….
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?
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 a hand 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 article by 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.
The fact that very few Americans seem concerned about this development says a lot about where we are as a nation. The EPA is already using drones to spy on cattle ranchers in Nebraska and Iowa. Will we eventually get to a point where we all just consider it to be “normal” to have surveillance drones flying above our heads constantly?
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.
#7 Biometric Databases
All over the globe, governments are developing massive biometric databases of their citizens. Just check out what is going on in India….
In the last two years, over 200 million Indian nationals have had their fingerprints and photographs taken and irises scanned, and given a unique 12-digit number that should identify them everywhere and to everyone.
This is only the beginning, and the goal is to do the same with the entire population (1.2 billion), so that poorer Indians can finally prove their existence and identity when needed for getting documents, getting help from the government, and opening bank and other accounts.
This immense task needs a database that can contain over 12 billion fingerprints, 1.2 billion photographs, and 2.4 billion iris scans, can be queried from diverse devices connected to the Internet, and can return accurate results in an extremely short time.
#8 RFID Microchips
In a previous article, I detailed how the U.S. military is seeking to develop technology that would enable it to monitor the health of our soldiers and improve their performance in battle using RFID microchips.
Most Americans don’t realize this, but RFID microchips are steadily becoming part of the very fabric of our lives. Many of your credit cards and debit cards contain them. Many Americans use security cards that contain RFID microchips at work. In some parts of the country it is now mandatory to inject an RFID microchip into your pet.
Now, one school system down in Texas actually plans to start using RFID microchips to track the movements of their students….
Northside Independent School District plans to track students next year on two of its campuses using technology implanted in their student identification cards in a trial that could eventually include all 112 of its schools and all of its nearly 100,000 students.
District officials said the Radio Frequency Identification System (RFID) tags would improve safety by allowing them to locate students — and count them more accurately at the beginning of the school day to help offset cuts in state funding, which is partly based on attendance.
#9 Automated License Plate Readers
In a previous article, I quoted a Washington Post piece that talked about how automated license plate readers are being used to track the movements of a vehicle from the time that it enters Washington D.C. to the time that it leaves….
More than 250 cameras in the District and its suburbs scan license plates in real time, helping police pinpoint stolen cars and fleeing killers. But the program quietly has expanded beyond what anyone had imagined even a few years ago.
With virtually no public debate, police agencies have begun storing the information from the cameras, building databases that document the travels of millions of vehicles.
Nowhere is that more prevalent than in the District, which has more than one plate-reader per square mile, the highest concentration in the nation. Police in the Washington suburbs have dozens of them as well, and local agencies plan to add many more in coming months, creating a comprehensive dragnet that will include all the approaches into the District.
#10 Face Reading Software
Can computers tell what you are thinking just by looking at your face?
Such technology is actually being actively developed. The following is from a recent NewScientist article….
IF THE computers we stare at all day could read our faces, they would probably know us better than anyone.
That vision may not be so far off. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab are developing software that can read the feelings behind facial expressions. In some cases, the computers outperform people. The software could lead to empathetic devices and is being used to evaluate and develop better adverts.
#11 Data Mining
The government is not the only one that is spying on you. The truth is that a whole host of very large corporations are gathering every shred of information about you that they possibly can and selling that information for profit. It is called “data mining“, and it is an industry that has absolutely exploded in recent years.
One very large corporation known as Acxiom actually compiles information on more than 190 million people in the U.S. alone….
The company fits into a category called database marketing. It started in 1969 as an outfit called Demographics Inc., using phone books and other notably low-tech tools, as well as one computer, to amass information on voters and consumers for direct marketing. Almost 40 years later, Acxiom has detailed entries for more than 190 million people and 126 million households in the U.S., and about 500 million active consumers worldwide. More than 23,000 servers in Conway, just north of Little Rock, collect and analyze more than 50 trillion data ‘transactions’ a year.
#12 Street Lights Spying On Us?
Did you ever consider that street lights could be spying on you?
Well, it is actually happening. New high tech street lights that can actually watch what you do and listen to what you are saying are being installed in some major U.S. cities. The following is from a recent article by Paul Joseph Watson for Infowars.com….
Federally-funded high-tech street lights now being installed in American cities are not only set to aid the DHS in making “security announcements” and acting as talking surveillance cameras, they are also capable of “recording conversations,” bringing the potential privacy threat posed by ‘Intellistreets’ to a whole new level.
#13 Automated ISP Monitoring Of Your Internet Activity
If you download potentially copyrighted software, videos or music, your Internet service provider (ISP) has been watching, and they’re coming for you.
Specifically, they’re coming for you on Thursday, July 12.
That’s the date when the nation’s largest ISPs will all voluntarily implement a new anti-piracy plan that will engage network operators in the largest digital spying scheme in history, and see some users’ bandwidth completely cut off until they sign an agreement saying they will not download copyrighted materials.
Word of the start date has been largely kept secret since ISPs announced their plans last June. The deal was brokered by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and coordinated by the Obama Administration.
Spying On Us Through Our Appliances
Could the government one day use your refrigerator to spy on you?
That is exactly what CIA Director David Petraeus says is coming….
Petraeus says that web-connected gadgets will ‘transform’ the art of spying – allowing spies to monitor people automatically without planting bugs, breaking and entering or even donning a tuxedo to infiltrate a dinner party.
‘Transformational’ is an overused word, but I do believe it properly applies to these technologies,’ said Petraeus.
‘Particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft. Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters - all connected to the next-generation internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing.’
Petraeus was speaking to a venture capital firm about new technologies which aim to add processors and web connections to previously ‘dumb’ home appliances such as fridges, ovens and lighting systems.
For many more ways that Big Brother is spying on you, please see these articles….
The things that I have written about above are just the things that they admit to.
There are also many “black box technologies” being developed out there that the public does not even know about yet.
So how far will all of this go?
Has Big Brother already gone way too far?
Please feel free to post a comment with your opinion below….
But the real high-tech story of surveillance drones is going on at a much smaller level, as tiny remote controlled vehicles based on insects are already likely being deployed.
Over recent years a range of miniature drones, or micro air vehicles (MAVs), based on the same physics used by flying insects, have been presented to the public.
The fear kicked off in 2007 when reports of bizarre flying objects hovering above anti-war protests sparked accusations that the U.S. government was accused of secretly developing robotic insect spies.
Official denials and suggestions from entomologists that they were actually dragonflies failed to quell speculation, and Tom Ehrhard, a retired Air Force colonel and expert on unmanned aerial craft, told the Daily Telegraph at the time that ‘America can be pretty sneaky.’
The following year, the US Air Force unveiled insect-sized spies ‘as tiny as bumblebees’ that could not be detected and would be able to fly into buildings to ‘photograph, record, and even attack insurgents and terrorists.’
Around the same time the Air Force also unveiled what it called ‘lethal mini-drones’ based on Leonardo da Vinci‘s blueprints for his Ornithopter flying machine, and claimed they would be ready for roll out by 2015.
That announcement was five years ago and, since the U.S. military is usually pretty cagey about its technological capabilities, it raises the question as to what it is keeping under wraps.
The University of Pennsylvania GRASP Lab recently showed off drones that swarm, a network of 20 nano quadrotors flying in synchronized formations.
The SWARMS goal is to combine swarm technology with bio-inspired drones to operate ‘with little or no direct human supervision’ in ‘dynamic, resource-constrained, adversarial environments.’
However, it is most likely the future of hard-to-detect drone surveillance will mimic nature.
Research suggests that the mechanics of insects can be reverse-engineered to design midget machines to scout battlefields and search for victims trapped in rubble.
Scientists have taken their inspiration from animals which have evolved over millennia to the perfect conditions for flight.
Nano-biomimicry MAV design has long been studied by DARPA, and in 2008 the U.S. government’s military research agency conducted a symposium discussing ‘bugs, bots, borgs and bio-weapons.’
Researchers have now developed bio-inspired drones with bug eyes, bat ears, bird wings, and even honeybee-like hairs to sense biological, chemical and nuclear weapons.
And the U.S. isn’t the only country to have poured money into spy drone miniaturisation. France has developed flapping wing bio-inspired microdrones.
The Netherlands BioMAV (Biologically Inspired A.I. for Micro Aerial Vehicles) developed a Parrot AR Drone last year – which is now available in the U.S. as a ‘flying video game’.
Zoologist Richard Bomphrey, of Oxford University, has conducted research to generate new insight into how insect wings have evolved over the last 350 million years.
He said last year: ‘Nature has solved the problem of how to design miniature flying machines.
‘By learning those lessons, our findings will make it possible to aerodynamically engineer a new breed of surveillance vehicles that, because they are as small as insects and also fly like them, completely blend into their surroundings.’
The insect manoeuvrability which allows flies the ability to land precisely and fly off again at speed may one day prove a crucial tactical advantage in wars and could even save lives in disasters.
The military would like to develop tiny robots that can fly inside caves and barricaded rooms to send back real-time intelligence about the people and weapons inside.
Dr Bomphrey said: ‘Scary spider robots were featured in Michael Crichton’s 1980s film Runaway – but our robots will be much more scaled down and look more like the quidditch ball in the Harry Potter films, because of its ability to hover and flutter.
‘The problem for scientists at the moment is that aircrafts can’t hover and helicopters can’t go fast. And it is impossible to make them very small.
‘With insects you get a combination of both these assets in miniature. And when you consider we have been flying for just over a hundred years as opposed to 350 million years, I would say it is they who have got it right, and not us!’
Posted by truther
San Francisco is set to become the latest U.S. city to invest in software, created by Texas-based BRS Labs, that monitors and memorizes movements as they are captured on security cameras. The software, AISight, watches footage in real-time and—like a human would—learns to understand, detect, and report “suspicious or abnormal behavior.”
What exactly is defined as suspicious or abnormal behavior? That appears to depend on the environment in which AISight is operating. Its creators say it can be used to flag everything from “unusual loitering” to activity occurring in restricted areas. It could issue an alert after spotting a person leaving a bag unattended in a crowded airport, for instance, or raise alarm if a person is seen trying to cross a perimeter.
San Francisco’s Municipal Transit Authority believes AISight will give it the capacity to track more than 150 “objects and activities” continuously at 12 MTA train stations in San Francisco, according to public procurement documents. BRS Labs has also reportedlystruck a deal to monitor the new World Trade Center site in New York. And late last year it was announced that Houston had purchased AISight to be deployed as part of a “citywide surveillance initiative” to “identify potential criminal or terroristic behavioral activity.” It has also been installed in Louisiana for port security, and authorities in El Paso want to use it to monitor water treatment plants near the Mexico border.
The pioneering product has unsurprisingly been lauded by counter-terrorism industry aficionados, but it has caused alarm among privacy and civil liberties advocates. Like surveillance drones, biometric databases, and bomb-proof trash cans, opponents argue, AISight and similar technologies transform citizens into suspects. Because AISight is used to monitor and detect not just acts of crime but potential acts of crime, based purely on a set of algorithms, it is considered part of the push towards pre-emptive—or “pre-crime”—policing, which treats everyone as a potential criminal and targets people for crimes they have not yet committed (and may never commit).
For years researchers have been trying to develop advanced “intelligent” surveillance technology of this kind. The European Union previously ploughed €2.5 million ($3.1 million) into a project called Samurai to “develop a real-time adaptive behaviour profiling and abnormality detection system.” And the Department of Homeland Security has even been building a program called Future Attribute Screening Technology that it hopes will “detect cues indicative of mal-intent” based on factors including ethnicity, gender, breathing, and heart rate.
Now that the technology is beginning to hit the marketplace, there is likely to be a sales boom. San Francisco alone plans to spend $2 million on AISight. A report last year by the Homeland Security Research Corp., predicted that this decade will see a fusion of CCTV with biometrics and “behavioral suspect detection”—a market it estimates will experience growth from $750 million in 2011 to a massive $3.2 billion by 2016. So when BRS Labs boldly boasts that AISight is “a revolutionary product that has changed the security industry forever,” it’s hard to disagree.