Google just bought out skybox for $500MN
. Skybox is a startup with grand amibitions: create cheap satellites which can be used to provide almost real time-time, sub one meter resolution imagery of earth.
Even with six small satellites orbiting Earth, Skybox could provide practically real-time images of the same spot twice a day at a fraction of the current cost.
The startup sent up its first satellite SkySat-1
last November. The satellite can provide HD images and videos
(90 sec clips at 30 frames/second)
The start-up hopes to combine its satellites with software which can analyze the visual data to collect information. It hopes that it can use its combination of hardware and software capabilities to gather real time information to estimate oil reserves in saudi Arabia
, track fuel tankers in China's 3 main economic zones, rate of increase of electricity usage in India, number of cars in all wallmart parking lots
. [more inside]
"To aid the national security community in imagining contemporary threats, the Australian Security Research Centre (ASRC) is organising Australia’s Security Nightmares: The National Security Short Story Competition
. The competition aims to produce a set of short stories that will contribute to a better conception of possible future threats and help defence, intelligence services, emergency managers, health agencies and other public, private and non-government organisations to be better prepared." (via
My fellow Oceanians, you know we've always been at war with Eurasia
(Or is it Eastasia?) Either way it's war and we need division to wage it
But now the proles are connecting online bypassing these illusory divisions
Of race, religion and nationality (Sounds grand to me?!) It's a catastrophe!
Rap News (previously) analyzes the ongoing struggle of civil liberties in the Internet Age.
Will it remain the one open frequency where humanity can bypass filters and barriers, or become the greatest spying machine ever imagined?
Russia’s Top Cyber Sleuth Foils US Spies, Helps Kremlin Pals.
'Between 2009 and 2010, according to Forbes, retail sales of Kaspersky antivirus software increased 177 percent, reaching almost 4.5 million a year—nearly as much as its rivals Symantec and McAfee combined. Worldwide, 50 million people are now members of the Kaspersky Security Network, sending data to the company’s Moscow headquarters every time they download an application to their desktop. Microsoft, Cisco, and Juniper Networks all embed Kaspersky code in their products—effectively giving the company 300 million users.' [more inside]
Revolutionary hardware backdoor discovered in China-made military-grade FPGA chips.
Claims were made by the intelligence agencies around the world, from MI5, NSA and IARPA, that silicon chips could be infected. We developed breakthrough silicon chip scanning technology to investigate these claims. We chose an American military chip that is highly secure with sophisticated encryption standard, manufactured in China. Our aim was to perform advanced code breaking and to see if there were any unexpected features on the chip. We scanned the silicon chip in an affordable time and found a previously unknown backdoor inserted by the manufacturer. This backdoor has a key, which we were able to extract. If you use this key you can disable the chip or reprogram it at will, even if locked by the user with their own key. This particular chip is prevalent in many systems from weapons, nuclear power plants to public transport. In other words, this backdoor access could be turned into an advanced Stuxnet weapon to attack potentially millions of systems. The scale and range of possible attacks has huge implications for National Security and public infrastructure.
In Gitmo Opinion, Two Versions of Reality.
"When Judge Henry Kennedy Jr. ordered the release of a Guantánamo Bay detainee last spring, the case appeared to be a routine setback for an Obama administration that has lost a string of such cases. But there turns out to be nothing ordinary about the habeas case
brought by Uthman Abdul Rahim Mohammed Uthman, a Yemeni held without charges for nearly eight years. Uthman, accused by two U.S. administrations of being an al-Qaida fighter and bodyguard for Osama bin Laden, is among 48 detainees the Obama administration has deemed too dangerous to release but 'not feasible for prosecution.' A day after his March 16 order was filed on the court's electronic docket, Kennedy's opinion vanished
. Weeks later, a new ruling appeared in its place. While it reached the same conclusion, eight pages of material had been removed
, including key passages in which Kennedy dismantled the government's case against Uthman."
Shane Harris of the Washingtonian looks at the increasingly aggressive pursuit
by the Obama administration of people (especially journalists) who leak sensitive information to the public.
In late July the American Civil Liberties Union released
"Establishing a New Normal
, an 18 month review of national security, civil liberties and human rights under the Obama Administration.
1989: The Lost Year.
"Twenty years after the Berlin Wall came down, the end of the Cold War still inspires euphoria and triumphalism in the West. But even as we lift toasts once again to the victory of 1989, we should re-examine that momentous year. Documents
, and other evidence that have come to light suggest that for relations between the United States and the Soviet Union, it was also a time of missed opportunity." The first article in a series by Foreign Policy. Also, check out the National Security Archive's Electronic Briefing Books section to access "critical declassified records on issues including U.S. national security, foreign policy, diplomatic and military history, intelligence policy, and more."
The man who knew too much.
"He was the CIA's expert on Pakistan's nuclear secrets, but Rich Barlow was thrown out and disgraced when he blew the whistle on a US cover-up. Now he's to have his day in court."
My National Security Letter Gag Order
"Under the threat of criminal prosecution, I must hide all aspects of my involvement in the case -- including the mere fact that I received an NSL -- from my colleagues, my family and my friends. When I meet with my attorneys I cannot tell my girlfriend where I am going or where I have been. I hide any papers related to the case in a place where she will not look. When clients and friends ask me whether I am the one challenging the constitutionality of the NSL statute, I have no choice but to look them in the eye and lie."
AT&T and Verizon obey
FBI emergency requests, even if they're of dubious legality
, and they get paid for it
. But AT&T can't be sued, they say, because that would endanger national security
President George W. Bush
has bestowed on his intelligence czar, John Negroponte
, broad authority, in the name of national security, to excuse publicly traded companies from their usual accounting and securities-disclosure obligations. Notice of the development came in a brief entry in the Federal Register
, dated May 5, 2006, that was opaque to the untrained eye
National Security Agency
What is it that NSA does? What are or were its legal parameters and its history? This is a quick "NSA 101" course that might be helpful as stories continue to emerge about the agency. Oddly, as large as this organization is, it has been very much in the background, and only recently when some whistleblowers
spoke up, has this agency gained a good deal of public attention. Some of you may recall the fuss raised about some spy agency named Echelon
and wonder how this group is or is not connected to NSA. And soon at least one whistle blower will testify
before congress, though the White House seems to have convinced some 50% of Americans that the president can do whatever he wants in time of war, ignoring legal constraints upon intel branches. And that raises the question (for me): if NSA can skirt the courts to "fight terror," then what of the FBI, also once requied to have court approval for phone taps. Are they too now free to do as they want in this "fight against terror"?
The secret history of America’s “extraordinary rendition” program.
Clinton’s Former Aide Drops Windfall in the Lap of Bush Campaign
"...Presidential challenger Kerry will have to think twice before attacking Bush on national security issues lest he lay himself open to reminders that a former Clinton aide and his own adviser was caught red-handed misappropriating classified materials that revealed how a Democratic president mishandled the threat of terror...."
Rumsfeld fears U.S. losing long-term fight against terror. The troubling unknown, he said, is whether the extremists -- whom he termed "zealots and despots" bent on destroying the global system of nation-states -- are turning out newly trained terrorists faster than the United States can capture or kill them.
"It's quite clear to me that we do not have a coherent approach to this," Rumsfeld said at an international security conference.
Who are you and what have you done with Rumsfeld? And Can you do it some more? via the illustrious oliver willis.
Missile Defense- the biggest security lapse on 9/11.
Condoleeza Rice was to deliver a speech regarding the White House's position on national security on September 11th, 2001. The speech contained no mention of al-Qaeda and stated missile defense as the central focus of security, implicating Bill Clinton for "not doing enough about the real threat - long-range missiles." An interesting revelation coming from the campaign claiming their opponents are "wrong on defense."
A case on Iraq - Rumsfeld's testimony to Senate Armed Services Committee
The National Security Strategy of the United States of America
GAO e-Government Proposal
Senator Byrd on the Department of Homeland Security
Today's bumper crop of limited audience
government info links.
"Maybe only 50,000 people want to know what's going on in Libya, but those 50,000 people are really important. You don't want to have more planes blow up. But maybe six million people want to watch Jerry Springer. Well, who owns the airwaves? Basically we do." Do you think that unprocessed, source texts are getting filtered effectively to the public?
Can't wait? Do as a congressman does. It even was considered a security issue because of where he took a leak. Now that's paranoia....
Special Agent Crowley Speaks Up
(NYTimes link , normal rules apply)
Ladies like this are the real heroes in our country and she has something to say before Congress about the new Bush agency. Ms. Dowd agrees and said, "The shape of the government is not as important as the policy of the government."
A senior Microsoft Corp. executive told a federal court last week that sharing information with competitors could damage national security and even threaten the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan. He later acknowledged that some Microsoft code was so flawed it could not be safely disclosed.
Is this a calculated admission, or is Microsoft so completely on the ropes that they'll say anything to keep from being completely dismembered? Doesn't the fact that releasing such a shoddy product that it's a national security risk
mean that Microsoft should be taken to bits in the interest of public safety? If Firestone can't sell unsafe tires, why should Microsoft be able to sell unsafe software?
The US Defense Department wants all large foreign acquisitions of American companies to be approved by a secretive national security committee, a move designed to restrict access to sensitive US technology. Valid measure to protect national security or a return to mercantilism? (via drudge
Classified documents posted, greeted with big yawn.
What I find interesting is... If these documents are so uninteresting, why were
they classified? It kind of bolsters my opinion that most secrecy in government is not unlike Calvin in his treehouse with the sign that says "No Grils". It's all an exercise in in-group, out-group dynamics, and has little, if anything, to do with National Security. Which means this is a big deal after all, if you think about it...