US President Barack Obama (AFP Photo/Pool/Luke Sharrett)
President Obama released his latest Executive Order on Friday, July 6, a 2,205-word statement offered as the “Assignment of National Security and Emergency Preparedness Communications Functions.” And although the president chose not to commemorate the signing with much fanfare, the powers he provides to himself and the federal government under the latest order are among the most far-reaching yet of any of his executive decisions.
“The Federal Government must have the ability to communicate at all times and under all circumstances to carry out its most critical and time sensitive missions,” the president begins the order. “Survivable, resilient, enduring and effective communications, both domestic and international, are essential to enable the executive branch to communicate within itself and with: the legislative and judicial branches; State, local, territorial and tribal governments; private sector entities; and the public, allies and other nations.”
President Obama adds that it is necessary for the government to be able to reach anyone in the country during situations it considers critical, writing, “Such communications must be possible under all circumstances to ensure national security, effectively manage emergencies and improve national resilience.” Later the president explains that such could be done by establishing a “joint industry-Government center that is capable of assisting in the initiation, coordination, restoration and reconstitution of NS/EP [national security and emergency preparedness] communications services or facilities under all conditions of emerging threats, crisis or emergency.”
“The views of all levels of government, the private and nonprofit sectors, and the public must inform the development of NS/EP communications policies, programs and capabilities,” he adds.
On the government’s official website for the National Communications Systems, the government explains that that“infrastructure includes wireline, wireless, satellite, cable, and broadcasting, and provides the transport networks that support the Internet and other key information systems,” suggesting that the president has indeed effectively just allowed himself to control the country’s Internet access.
In order to allow the White House to reach anyone within the US, the president has put forth a plan to establish a high-level committee calling from agents with the Department of Homeland Security, Pentagon, Federal Communications Commission and other government divisions to ensure that his new executive order can be implemented.
In explaining the order, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) writes that the president has authorized the DHS “the authority to seize private facilities when necessary, effectively shutting down or limiting civilian communications.”
In Section 5 of his order, President Obama outlines the specific department and agency responsibilities that will see through his demands. In a few paragraphs, President Obama explains that Executive Committee that will oversee his order must be supplied with “the technical support necessary to develop and maintain plans adequate to provide for the security and protection of NS/EP communications,” and that that same body will be in tasked with dispatching that communiqué “to the Federal Government and State, local, territorial and trial governments,” by means of“commercial, Government and privately owned communications resources.”
Later, the president announces that the Department of Homeland Security will be tasked with drafting a plan during the next 60 days to explain how the DHS will command the government’s Emergency Telecommunications Service, as well as other telecom conduits. In order to be able to spread the White House’s message across the country, President Obama also asks for the purchasing of equipment and services that will enable such.
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.
Posted by truther
Intel sources cite backdoor option in Chinese-made chips used in American defense hardware
Chinese companies apparently have a covert capability to remotely access communications technology sold to theUnited States and other Western countries and could “disable a country’s telecommunications infrastructure before a military engagement,” according to former and current intelligence sources cited ina report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
The Chinese also have the ability to exploit networks “to enable China to continue to steal technology and trade secrets,” according to the open source intelligence company Lignet, which is comprised of former U.S. intelligence analysts.
The issue centers on the Chinese firm HuaweiTechnologies Co. Ltd., which U.S. intelligence sources say has direct links to the Chinese government and the People’s Liberation Army, or PLA. These sources assert that Huawei and other Chinese telecommunications firms such as ZTE Corp. have “electronic backdoors” to telecommunications technology sold to the U.S. and other countries.
Revelation of China’s electronic backdoor capability into U.S. and Western telecommunications networks comes on the heels of recent WND/G2Bulletin revelations that China has been manufacturing counterfeit components that have made their way into sensitive U.S. weapons systems.
The problem of fake Chinese electronic components, which were installed by defense contractors without prior testing and are operating in U.S. military systems, is far more widespread than originally thought.
These parts don’t just come directly from China but also from suppliers in Britain and Canada who redirect Chinese products to U.S. defense contractors.
These counterfeit components have been found in sensitive U.S. missile systems meant to thwart the potential of a Chinesemissile attack, in night vision devices and in various military aircraft.
“We do not want a $12 million defense interceptor’s reliability compromised by a $2 counterfeit part,” Gen. Patrick O’Reilly, director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said.
Huawei, suspected of exploiting electronic telecommunications backdoors, continues to sell communications technology in the U.S. and other countries despite a supposed ban on the company that was supposed to keep it from bidding on cellular networks and government contracts, a current intelligence source said.
The electronic backdoor capability reportedly could allow the Chinese government through Huawei and ZTE to access information traveling through telecommunications networks or even sabotage electronic devices, Lignet said.
With this capability, China would be in a position to sabotage critical U.S. weapons systems and sensitive cyber sites and could include intelligence or systems used by defense contractors doing work on behalf of theU.S. government.
With cyber espionage on the rise and increasing attacks aimed at U.S. government computer systems, these sources contend that Huawei has achieved that capability on behalf of the Chinese government.
Sources say that Huawei can use its backdoor access to reach into foreign telecommunications company systems without its knowledge or permission.