Two years ago, then NSA-chief Gen. Michael Hayden said its domestic surveillance program was "not a driftnet over Lackawanna or Fremont or Dearborn, grabbing all communications and then sifting them out." Today, a story in the Wall Street Journal alleges this is precisely what is happening. Total Information Awareness seems to not have died, but to have just been quietly absorbed into the NSA's already extensive surveillance apparatus, all without the hassle of any kind of transparency or oversight.
ACLU Watch List Counter: U.S. Terror List Now Exceeds 900,000 Names. That's an awful lot of terrorists. More Privacy and Surveillance Filter: Bruce Schneier on The Myth of the 'Transparent Society', Glenn Greenwald on The Banality of the Surveillance State, and Stephen Colbert on AT & Treason. [more inside]
"The Billboard Liberation Front today announced a major new advertising improvement campaign executed on behalf of clients AT&T and the National Security Agency. Focusing on billboards in the San Francisco area, this improvement action is designed to promote and celebrate the innovative collaboration of these two global communications giants." [Via Threat Level.]
Ready, kids! Unsatisfied with your kids slow adoption of very important homeland security adjustments? Buy them the Playmobil Security Check Point! How does this stack up against increased TSA checks of toys?
"SurveillanceSaver is an OS X screensaver that shows live images of over 400 network surveillance cameras worldwide." There is also a Windows version. Or check out the camera feeds without installing a screensaver (here are the feeds from Axis network cameras, for example). [Via.]
The Anonymity Experiment. Is it possible to hide in plain sight? Privacy-minded people have long warned of a world in which an individual’s every action leaves a trace, in which corporations and governments can peer at will into your life with a few keystrokes on a computer. Now one of the people in charge of information-gathering for the U.S. government says, essentially, that such a world has arrived.
The president of The University of Texas at Brownsville has refused to sign a right of entry request granting access to surveyors planning the U.S./Mexico border fence. This comes shortly after Cameron County landowners were forced to allow the government access to their land. Meanwhile, landowners in Hidalgo County are filing the next wave of lawsuits.
Odyssey of State Capitols and State Suspicion. "The story behind an exhibition: postcards, designs, photography, travels, history, stamps and law enforcement." [Via BB.]
Online communities to become more 'all-encompassing.' If you join the SHC community on Sears.com, all web traffic to and from your computer thereafter will be copied and sent to a third party marketing research firm - including, for example, your secure sessions with your bank! The Sears.com proxy will send your logins and passwords along with a cleartext copy of all the supposedly secure data. But wait, it gets better: you can only view the true TOS once the proxy has already been installed. [more inside]
Heckuva Job DHS! 5 Years of Corporate Cronyism. CREW and Brave New Foundation have joined forces to create this video and a report, Homeland Security for Sale, documenting five years of waste, fraud and abuse at the Department of Homeland Security. [Via Think Progress.]
This is an ironic tale of the consequences of inept application of cryptographic tools. Or is it? Dan Egerstad, a Swedish hacker, gained access to hundreds of computer network accounts around the world, belonging to various embassies, corporations and other organizations. How did he do it? Very easily: by sniffing exit traffic on his Tor nodes. [more inside]
The TSA wants you to know, dear American, that if you don't pack your bags neatly, the terrorists have already won. This busiest Thanksgiving travel week ever, why not Simplifly? [more inside]
Throw the tourist from the train. Ejected from a train for refusing to stop taking pictures from the train. Well, for not stopping anyway; the refusing part is unclear. The nation is now secure.
When Ron Paul email spam started hitting inboxes in late October, UAB Computer Forensics Directory Gary Warner published findings on the spam's textual patterns and the illicit botnet used to spread it -- findings which were picked up by media outlets and tech websites like Salon, Ars Technica, and Wired Magazine's "Threat Level" blog, the latter in a set of followup posts by writer Sarah Stirland: 1, 2, 3. [more inside]
Say hello to the newest police method for human identification: iris scanning. The Alameda County Sheriff's Office is preparing to become the first public agency in the Bay Area to scan the irises of convicted sex offenders.
If Bruce Schneier, the expert voice of security moderation, is "worried" than so am I. Since the beginning of the year Storm, an advanced, distributed worm network has been growing quietly as its authors tweak its social engineering attack. Now it seems that it is in place and waiting. Schneier's article. Digital Intelligence and Strategic Operations Group has been monitoring Storm for a year. OWL.
Attention Scum! You can now catch Simon Munnery's occasionally brilliant comedy series on YouTube. If you only have three minutes to spare then make do with this fuzzy three minute clip of The Security Guard. If video is not your thing then you can enjoy Munnery's superb articles here (you could start with this one). Finally, you could treat yourself to his book How To Live which contains large chunks of all the above.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is proposing new rules regarding passenger pre-screening both domestically and internationally. Interestingly, this includes flights that overfly the continental US without ever touching the ground. [more inside]
This is what happens when paranoia overwhelms common sense. A high school in NY state banned backpacks and bags from the student body. The whole situation reached a critical mass when a security guard pulled a young woman out of class because she had a small purse. He asked her if she was on her period. Way to humiliate teenagers. [more inside]
Because water is a basic need for all life and good health, access to enough safe water, or water security, is defined as a human right by international law. [mostly pdfs]
Homeland Insecurity. "What happened to the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, which Democratic leaders promised to make one of their top legislative priorities? What are the most deadly potential terrorist targets no one talks about—and who's lobbying against securing them? What's the one measure that could improve our chances of preventing an attack—without costing a penny? Why are the 2008 presidential candidates—Republicans and Democrats alike—nowhere on this issue? In this seven-part series Mother Jones' senior correspondent James Ridgeway examines how the government has let homeland security languish since September 11, 2001, with dire consequences."
What's the Big Secret? Four surveillance experts try to figure out what the NSA's superclassified wiretapping program really is (hint: it may have something to do with the filters). They don't seem to realize that this kind of reckless public discussion means some Americans are going to die. [Via Threat Level.]
Traditionally, media doesn't print names/photos of people only accused, but not yet convicted, but not always. Lots of towns have a police blotter section where arrests are listed. Here in Seattle, the FBI recently asked the public for help in identifying two men seen acting suspicious on the ferry system. The Seattle PI has decided not to publish the photos. Other local media have. The commentary on if the PI made the right choice follows predictable paths...
I now know what to do in case I ever got stuck on an airplane that's not going anywhere- organize and stage a revolt, like the passengers of Continental flight 1669.
To Catch a Reporter. NBC Dateline producer Michelle Madigan tries to go undercover at the DefCon 14 security convention - and bites off more than she can chew. Having been alerted to her presence days before the event, DefCon staff baits the trap with a fake “Spot the Fed” contest. Once she is seated, DefCon organizer Jeff Moss suggests they play “Spot the Undercover Reporter” instead. Knowing the gig’s up, Madigan bolts – and a comical parking lot chase ensues. (Not a good week for Dateline NBC – its producers are being sued for bribing local law-enforcement officials to help them arrange their stings.)
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) published their latest Infrastructure Report Card in 2005. America's infrastructure got a D. The ASCE estimate that it will cost $1.6 trillion over a five-year period to bring the nation's infrastructure to good condition. They also have a Critical Infrastructure blog. [Via Gristmill.]
How Ohio lost 800,000 Social Security numbers. The Inspector General identified Jared Ilovar as "a 22-year-old, $10.50-an-hour employee" hired just three months earlier, who received his assignment from…another intern. The intern reported to a $125-an-hour consultant, who reported to another $200-an-hour consultant… too bad for Ohio that Jared decided to speak out.
Conversation with Kip Hawley, TSA Administrator (Part 1) Part one of five, Bruce Schneier chats it up with Kip, TSA Administrator. The TSA and airport security have long been hot topics on Metafilter; here is a chance to read some hard questions put to the man himself and his answers.
The Sergeant at Arms of the US Senate, as chief law enforcement officer of the "greatest deliberative body in the world", wears many hats. Capitol security, IT support and network security, telecommunications, videography and photography, human resources, getter of you out of bed and dragger of your ass to work, and house mother for the occasional slumber party.
FBI's CIPAV nabs first victim: Former Timberline High School student is the first (known) person to be caught by the FBI's secret spyware program, known as CIPAV (Computer and Internet Protocol Address Verifier). Wired broke the story Wednesday, then received a form letter from the FBI in response to a few key questions. (more inside)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows recently leaked on a few torrent sites... or did it? Security measures taken included pallets of books protected by alarms, baited lawyers, and even delivery trucks with satellite tracking, which seems at odds with this UPS delivery truck stacked with loose boxes 5 days before they are to be delivered. A spokeswoman at Scholastic, the book's US publisher, said "she was aware of at least three different versions of the file 'that look very convincing' with what she described as 'conflicting content.'" So what's real and what's fake? We'll just have to wait and see.
Using a computer set to auto-screencast, The Consumerist catches a Geek Squad technician copying porn from a client's computer to a thumbdrive, and they've got video and logfiles (CSV) to prove it. Also, the Geek Squad CEO responds, and an anonymous Geek Squad tech confesses that this is not an uncommon practice: "stealing customers' nudie pics was an easter egg hunt." Consumerist users suggest that this practice might not be limited to Geek Squad. Via.
Apparently, The Secret Service's code name for Barack Obama is "Renegade". Former agents told the Washington Post that military officials chose the code names without particular reference to the characteristics of the politician. Sadly, Bush's code name isn't "The Decider" but rather "Tumbler" and, later, (shockingly) "Trailblazer". If you're feeling left out, you budding Junior Secret Service Agents can make up your own.
How secure is your password? If you're like some people, it's probably not secure enough. When did you last change yours?
Parallel History Project on Cooperative Security "By far the most ambitious and integral project in the burgeoning field of cold war history"
The guy over at Make Your Nut is facing a dilemma I've wondered about myself: what to do about the security risks that are inherent in the many RFID-chipped credit and ATM cards that banks are so keen on issuing today? There's a lot of evidence out there that indicates that the highly personal information these cards (and the new US passports as well) carry can be stripped away by a thief with a little motivation and access to relatively low-cost equipment. You can go with the nifty RFID-blocking wallets (discussed here previously), or, according to some, you could just grab a hammer.
Patriot Search Whether you are a normal searcher, someone trying to download illegal material, a terrorist looking to build a bomb, or just hunting porn, we at Patriot Search welcome you! Our mission is to provide the best possible search engine to you while at the same time, making sure the government is informed should you search for something obscure, illegal, or unpatriotic
Is now captured Robert A. Levinson a spy? a government agent?
Perhaps someone on non-official cover (NOC)? or just a guy doing some research for a book in Iran. The WaPo cuts through the mumbo jumbo here.
Perhaps someone on non-official cover (NOC)? or just a guy doing some research for a book in Iran. The WaPo cuts through the mumbo jumbo here.
George Orwell, Big Brother is watching your house. With CCTV. Perhaps the Surveillance Camera Players could put on a performance there. It looks like Britain really is becoming a surveillance society. [Via Digg.]
Klaatu barada...Jikto? First there was Nikto. Then along came Wikto. Last Saturday at Shmoocon Billy Hoffman introduced the world to Jitko, a client-side vulnerability scanner that exploits your browser & turns your PC into a platform for finding holes in computers across the Internet (or behind your firewall). Reactions were mixed. Does Jikto go too far?
Upgraded your install of WordPress to 2.1.1 in the last few days? You'll want to upgrade again to 2.1.2 real quick-like. Seems somebody gained access to the server hosting the download file, added some bad code, and now your barn doors are wide open.
The Next Attack. "Terrorists in Iraq are becoming proficient at blowing up oil refineries. Similar plants in a handful of American cities represent our greatest vulnerability. We could easily be making them less dangerous. But we’re not." And one of the key players in keeping things that way happens to be Dick Cheney’s son-in-law.
You know Bruce Schneier the polymath security genius. Now meet Bruce Schneier the kind-hearted reviewer of local Minnesota restaurants. (He doesn't like to give bad reviews -- sounds like "security through obscurity" to me!)
The Psychology of Security. An essay by Bruce Schneier on the difference between the feeling of security and the reality of security. [Via MindHacks.]
“Oh, I took the roofs road" --just one of the fascinating things at a new Iraq blog--Inside Iraq-- daily life in a war zone through the words of Iraqi journalists in McClatchy's Baghdad Bureau as they risk so much each day to survive. These are unedited first hand accounts of their experiences. Their complete names have been withheld for security reasons.
"[C]omputer design is being dictated not by electronic design rules, physical layout requirements, and thermal issues, but by the wishes of the content industry." By deliberately breaking audio and video functionality, opening up new avenues for debilitating malware, and reversing performance gains in desktop PCs and third-party components, Peter Gutmann argues "the Vista Content Protection specification could very well constitute the longest suicide note in history."
I'm an amendment to be - Yes an amendment to be. And I'm hoping that they'll ratify me. With political pressure towards signing bills becoming more relevant in the Rovian era of politics (example), will we see a shift in Congressional jurisprudence on issues such as Social Security, The War in Iraq (nytimes op-ed reg req), Ethics in the 110th? Perhaps Public Perception has a lot to do with it. Of course, some loopholes couldn't hurt.
Bare naked travel? (Previously on MeFi: here, except now they're actually doing it, and here). The TSA wants to see you naked. Just don't paint "Kip Hawley Is An Idiot" on your torso in Pepto-Bismol before you go to the airport.