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  1. #21
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    Microsoft pledges to stop reading customer emails

    By Mike Epstein March 28, 2014

    Microsoft has announced that the company will rely and lean on law enforcement agencies when it comes to investigating instances of people using Microsoft services to “traffic in stolen intellectual or physical property from Microsoft,” as Brad Smith, Microsoft’s General Counsel & Executive Vice President of Legal & Corporate Affairs says in this blog post. Smith said that the change in policy is “effectively immediately.”

    The announcement comes just over a week after the arrest of Alex Kibkalo, a former Microsoft employee who reportedly leaked Windows 8 code to a French blogger prior to its release in 2012. As part of Microsoft’s investigation into the matter, the company read messages stored in the Hotmail account of the blogger that Kibkalo leaked the data and information to. This revelation raised privacy concerns.

    “While our own search was clearly within our legal rights, it seems apparent that we should apply a similar principle and rely on formal legal processes for our own investigations involving people who we suspect are stealing from us,” said Smith. “Therefore, rather than inspect the private content of customers ourselves in these instances, we should turn to law enforcement and their legal procedures.”

    Smith also announced that Microsoft will partner with The Center for Democracy and Technology and The Electronic Frontier Foundation as part of efforts to “consider the best solutions for the future of digital services.”



    Always assume that anything electronic is being monitored, viewed, recorded and act accordingly.

  2. #22
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    Tracking you in 140 characters or less: Researchers develop formula to work out the home location of Twitter users

    • IBM researchers went through Twitter to find 100 different users in the 100 biggest cities in the US
    • They downloaded the last 200 tweets posted by each user, giving them 1.5 million tweets
    • 100,000 of those were generated by Foursquare, giving an exact location
    • Almost 300,000 tweets contained the name of cities listed in the US Geological Service gazetteer
    • Other tweets contained clues to their location like phrases such as 'Let’s Go Red Sox'

    By Daily Mail Reporter - 21 March 2014

    Social media really is the end of privacy, if a new algorithm developed by IBM is anything to go by.

    The tech giant announced on Friday that they have come up with a formula that can track the home city of any Twitter user based on the metadata contained in their last 200 tweets.

    According to The Daily Caller, the formula has an almost 70 percent rate of accuracy.

    It's the latest research finding to highlight the possible danger to privacy and security presented by metadata collection and analysis.

    Researchers say that advertisers looking for specific areas to market and journalists covering major news events have the most to gain from the algorithm.

    Research head Jalal Mahmud said IBM began the process by seeing whether they could predict the location of a Twitter account by analyzing tweets and matching the content against their geotagged metadata.

    One of twitter's options features allows for location tagging.

    The team started by tracking geotagged tweets from the 100 largest cities in America between July and August 2011, and isolated 100 users out of each location.

    Researchers then examined the last 200 tweets from each user, discounting private tweets from the mix, and were left with 1.5 million geotagged tweets from almost 10,000 users.

    Ten percent of the data was then set aside to test against later, while the bulk 90 percent was analyzed layer upon layer to create the location-estimating formula.

    Key to the formula is the additional information users are including in their tweets – 100,000 pulled from the team’s data collection were submitted by users linking their Twitter accounts to the popular Foursquare location-based social networking platform, and in 300,000 other cases, users included the names of cities from the U.S. Geological Service gazetteer in tweets.

    The team also found the national distribution of tweets was more or less constant on a daily basis, which allowed them to isolate user’s time zones based on their tweet pattern.

    Even the specifically-worded content of posts themselves aided tracking when users would type in things like the name of a sports team, for example.

    With their algorithm established, the team then used it on the 10 percent of data set aside before analysis, and found that in less than one second for each individual it was able to correctly identify a user’s home city 68 percent of the time, home state 70 percent, and time zone 80 percent.



    Notice the head of research is a Muslim? but you won't see his name come up anywhere in your search for this new algorithm. IBM or the USA is mentioned and given credit, this a pattern with Muslims in the west.

  3. #23
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    FBI can secretly turn on laptop cameras without the indicator light

    Scary. Insane. Ridiculous. Invasive. Wrong. The Washington Post reports that the FBI has had the ability to secretly activate a computer's camera "without triggering the light that lets users know it is recording" for years now. What in the hell is going on? What kind of world do we live in?

    Marcus Thomas, the former assistant director of the FBI's Operational Technology Division, told the Post that that sort of creepy spy laptop recording is "mainly" used in terrorism cases or the "most serious" of criminal investigations. That doesn't really make it less crazy (or any better) since the very idea of the FBI being able to watch you through your computer is absolutely disturbing.

    The whole Post piece about the FBI's search for a bomb threat suspect is worth reading. It shows how far the FBI will go with its use of malware to spy on people and reveals the occasional brain dead mistakes the FBI makes to screw themselves over (like a typo of an e-mail address that the FBI wanted to keep tabs on). Good to know these completely competent folks are watching over us by any means necessary. [Washington Post]



    It's not only the FBI, but Apple can also do that with their products (iPhone, iPad, etc).

    One way to protect yourself and your privacy is to unplug your webcam from your computer and to only plug it in when using it. As for laptops, a sticker of some sort can be placed over the camera lens to prevent it from seeing what's in front of it.

    'They watched me in the bath via my laptop': How webcam hackers spy on women in their homes

    By Ryan Kisiel and Lucy Osborne | 19 June 2013

    A university student has revealed how she was spied on by hackers while she was in the bath.

    English student Rachel Hyndman was using her laptop to watch a DVD in her bathroom when she noticed her webcam suddenly turned itself on.

    Miss Hyndman, 20, from Glasgow, said: 'I was in the bath, trying to relax, and then programs on my computer came on like a ghost was using it. I couldn't regain control of it.

    'It was terrifying to think people had been looking at me without me knowing. I wondered how often they had done it without me realising. The thought someone had access to me in this private moment is horrifying.'

    Miss Hyndman, who also works in a computer shop, said she considered going to the police but feared they would laugh at her.

    Called 'ratting', hackers can send out an internet virus that allows them access to a person's desktop computer or laptop without their knowledge.

    They can then switch on the webcam – built in to most new computers – and watch people in the privacy of their living rooms and bedrooms without them realising they are being closely observed.

    A webcam is a video camera that feeds images in 'real time' to another computer, computer network or the internet.

    A BBC Radio 5 Live investigation found the illegal practice is now so prevalent there is even a profitable underground market selling the ability to watch victims, who are dubbed 'slaves', for a few pounds.

    More worryingly, pedophiles are using the technique to target youngsters – mainly girls – who have computers in their bedrooms.

    The technique works by fooling the victim into downloading a piece of software on to their computer.

    This is usually done by sending an email requesting the user to click the link to see a picture or listen to a song. Teenagers have been targeted through internet links advertising diet tips or celebrity stories.

    Once installed, the 'remote administration tool' (RAT) software allows hackers to take control of the machine at any time – similar to how IT workers fix office computers remotely.

    Hackers can then use a victim's home computers as if sitting at it – doing everything from switching on the webcam to looking through personal files on the hard drive.

    A 16-year-old from London called 'John' told investigators he had hacked more than 100 computers – using the webcams to view the victims on about half of them.

    He said: 'I wasn't really looking for anything, just their reactions. I'd open random sites [while the person sat at their computer] – shock sites – they'd see a scary picture or someone screaming, and you'd see they were scared. There are creepy people who post pictures of female slaves. I'm not really into that.'

    He added: 'Yeah, it is illegal. But the risk of getting caught isn't that much. It's just a bit of a laugh.'

    Matthew Anderson, 36, was jailed for 18 months after he was found guilty of infecting more than 200,000 computers with a virus that allowed their webcams to be hacked. The father-of-five, from Banffshire, Scotland, had watched dozens of women in their own homes, including girls as young as 16. He boasted to fellow international hackers he watched a teenager and her sister for hours and lamented how she had not got naked in front of him.

    Tony Neate, of the Government's Get Safe Online campaign, said: 'As more cases of “ratting” come to light, there is a serious need to educate the public about the methods hackers use to access the private lives of innocent people.'

    There is a range of ways to prevent being spied on, experts said. Covering the webcam with a piece of paper and installing anti-virus software will prevent most hacking attempts and delete RATs.

    Mr Neate said: 'The most at-risk computers are those running older software, and those without up-to-date anti-virus software installed.'

    The Association of Chief Police Officers said: 'Police have come across webcam hacking through cyber investigations. Any unauthorised intrusion into an individual's computer is an offence under the Computer Misuse Act.'



    External webcams and electronic devices with built in webcams (laptops, tablets, smart phones, etc.) are all prone to hacking not just by hackers but their own manufactures (apple) can turn them on at any time and even have been caught doing so. In addition to up-to-date software and covering them up, use better judgment and limit when, how and where you use them.

  4. #24
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    Map Shows The NSA’s Massive Worldwide Malware Operations


    (The Wire) A new map details how many companies across the world have been infected by malware by the National Security Agency’s team of hackers, and where the companies are located.


    Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad reports the NSA uses malware to infect, infiltrate and steal information from over 50,000 computer networks around the globe. This new, previously unreported scope of the NSA’s hacking operation comes from another PowerPoint slide showing a detailed map of every infection leaked by former contractor Edward Snowden.

    The practice is called “Computer Network Exploitation,” or CNE for short, and it’s carried out by the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations team. A yellow dot on the map signifies a CNE infection. The NSA plants malware within a network that can be flipped on or off at any time. Once a network is infected, the malware gives the NSA unfiltered access to the network’s information whenever it’s most convenient. The Washington Post previously profiled the team of “elite hackers” who make up the NSA’s TAO division.

    The British intelligence service liked this strategy too, NRC Handelsblad reports, because they successfully duped a Belgium telecom company with a fake LinkedIn account. A strip at the bottom says the map is relative to the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, the ”Five Eyes” nations that share intelligence.

    The bulk of CNE operations take place in Europe, South American and Asia. Some are speculating CNE operations focus on Internet service providers, telecom giants and other similar companies to better facilitate massive information collection.

    Where the NSA’s team of hackers fit into the organization’s greater intelligence gathering structure is presently unclear. But another new document, a February 2012 memo leaked to The New York Times about the NSA’s goals for the future, shows exactly how extensive the NSA thought its intelligence gathering would become. They wanted everything:

    Intent on unlocking the secrets of adversaries, the paper underscores the agency’s long-term goal of being able to collect virtually everything available in the digital world. To achieve that objective, the paper suggests that the N.S.A. plans to gain greater access, in a variety of ways, to the infrastructure of the world’s telecommunications networks.

    Prior to Edward Snowden revealing the operation to the world and ruining the fun, that is. There’s now far more public and international scrutiny directed towards the bulk intelligence gathering operation.


  5. #25
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    US authorities can spy on the iCloud without a warrant

    Personal information uploaded by British computer users to cloud services such as Apple’s iCloud and Google’s Drive can be spied upon by US intelligence without the need to apply for a warrant, it has emerged.

    30 Jan 2013

    All documents and photographs stored on computer systems based in the US can be accessed without telling the owners under newly approved legislation.

    Cloud services are a cheap and supposedly secure way for computer users to store information. Rather than saving it on their own machines, they upload it via the internet where it is held on central computer servers.

    In addition to the private users, it is estimated that 35 per cent of British companies store information on cloud systems.

    The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act allows US government agencies open access to any electronic information stored by non-American citizens by US-based companies.

    Introduced towards the end of President George W Bush’s administration in 2008, it was renewed in December. But only now are privacy campaigners and legal experts waking up to the extent of the intrusion, according to The Independent.



    Nothing is safe once it hits the digital world. Any personal documents, files, pictures should be saved one external storage devices. If one must use online storage then encrypt the files first with something like Truecrypt first.

  6. #26
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    IT Expert Proves LG Smart TVs Are Surveillance Devices

    Susanne Posel - 11/25/2013

    Jason Huntley, an information technologies consultant in the UK revealed how the LG smart television sends customer surveillance data to LG Electronics Inc.

    Huntley explained: “the company continued to collect which channel he was watching even after he disabled the information collection feature. The (LG) server acknowledges the successful receipt of this information back to the TV. The information appeared to be sent to LG unencrypted.

    In a part of the menu called “collection of watching info” Huntley discovered that regardless of turning the option off, data was still being sent to LG computer servers.

    Huntley commented: “That’s a terrible implementation of the idea. It still sends the traffic but labels it saying I didn’t want it to be sent. It’s actually worse, I think, than if they’d not offered the opt-out in the first place since it allows the user to believe nothing is being sent.”

    Other data stored included:

    • Customer names of files
    • Unique identification customer information
    • Specialized tracking numbers for the specific TV

    By utilizing a USB external drive, all this information could be taken directly from the unit.

    LG responded to Huntley, saying: “As you accepted the Terms and Conditions on your TV, your concerns would be best directed to the retailer.”

    Due to the attention Huntley has brought to the issue, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) have taken up the cause and are conducting an investigation into the claims.

    The ICO stated: “We have recently been made aware of a possible data breach which may involve LG Smart TVs. We will be making enquiries into the circumstances of the alleged breach of the Data Protection Act before deciding what action, if any, needs to be taken.”

    LG responded, asserting that “customer privacy is a top priority” and “we take this issue very seriously”.

    Other corporations have turned their products into surveillance devices to watch their customers.

    Verizon has patented technology that turns a DVR into a personal spying tool to watch Americans in their own homes.

    Verizon calls this endeavor FierceCable that is able to display “acute sensitivity in customers’ living rooms: argument sounds prompt ads for marriage counseling, and sounds of cuddling.”

    Verizon explains: “If the detection system determines that a couple is arguing, a service provider would be able to send an ad for marriage counseling to a TV or mobile device in the room. If the couple utters words that indicate they are cuddling, they would receive ads for a romantic getaway vacation, a commercial for a contraceptive, a commercial for flowers, or commercials for romantic movies.”

    The patent is entitled “Methods and Systems for Presenting an Advertisement Associated with an Ambient Action of a User” and filed by Brian F. Roberts who invented the technology on behalf of Verizon Patent and Licensing INC.

    Under the guise of perfecting marketing and advertising, the spying “method includes a media content presentation system presenting a media content program comprising an advertisement break, detecting an ambient action performed by a user during the presentation of the media content program, selecting an advertisement associated with the detected ambient action, and presenting the selected advertisement during the advertisement break.”

    In home ambient activities such as “eating, exercising, laughing, reading, sleeping, talking, singing, humming, cleaning, and playing a musical instrument; as well as cuddling, fighting, participating in a game or sporting event” can be surveilled using this technology. All cellular phones can interact with this device as a separate mode of surveillance.

    Information associated with the user, such as gesture, profile, voice and facial recognition are methods that can identify the user
    which will produce the most effective advertisement based on the “media content presentation system” (MCPS).

    It is as simple as speaking a word, and the MCPS is activated. Embedded “computer-executable instructions” working in tandem with the MCPS will allow specified advertisements through the utilization of “depth sensor[s], image sensor[s], audio sensor[s] and a thermal sensor.”


    Big Brother alert: Cameras in the cable box to monitor TV viewers

    By Cheryl K. Chumley - June 17, 2013

    It hardly gets more Orwellian than this. New technology would allow cable companies to peer directly into television watchers’ homes and monitor viewing habits and reactions to product advertisements.

    The technology would come via the cable box, and at least one lawmaker on Capitol Hill is standing in opposition.

    Mass. Democratic Rep. Michael Capuano has introduced a bill, the We Are Watching You Act, to prohibit the technology on boxes and collection of information absent consumer permission. The bill would also require companies that do use the data to show “we are watching you” messages on the screen and to explain just what kinds of information is being captured and for what reasons, AdWeek reported.

    The technology includes cameras and microphones that are installed on DVRs or cable boxes and analyzes viewers’ responses, behaviors and statements to various ads — and then provides advertisements that are targeted to the particular household.

    Specifically, the technology can monitor sleeping, eating, exercising, reading and more, AdWeek reported.

    “This may sound preposterous, but it’s neither a joke nor an exaggeration,” said Mr. Capuano in a statement, AdWeek reported. “These DVRs would essentially observe consumers as they watch television as a way to super-target ads. It is an incredible invasion of privacy.”



    The advancement of technology is being used to spy on us rather than benefit us. It would be a smart decision to not have such devices in our homes to protect ourselves, especially when you can pretty much watch anything online these days.

  7. #27
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    A Running List of What We Know the NSA Can Do, So Far

    By Jody Avirgan - January 17, 2014

    The trove of documents leaked by Edward Snowden has revealed the elaborate tricks the NSA can use to monitor communications and data around the world. Here, a running list of things we now know the NSA can do, based on media reports and other publicly available documents -- so far.

    • It can track the numbers of both parties on a phone call, as well location, time and duration. (More)
    • It can hack Chinese phones and text messages. (More)
    • It can set up fake internet cafes. (More)
    • It can spy on foreign leaders' cell phones. (More)
    • It can tap underwater fiber-optic cables. (Clarification: Shane Harris explains that there were reports the NSA was trying to tap directly into cables using submarines, but is now more likely trying to intercept information once it has reached land.) (More)
    • It can track communication within media organizations like Al Jazeera. (More)
    • It can hack into the UN video conferencing system. (More)
    • It can track bank transactions. (More)
    • It can monitor text messages. (More)
    • It can access your email, chat, and web browsing history. (More)
    • It can map your social networks. (More)
    • It can access your smartphone app data. (More)
    • It is trying to get into secret networks like Tor, diverting users to less secure channels. (More)
    • It can go undercover within embassies to have closer access to foreign networks. (More)
    • It can set up listening posts on the roofs of buildings to monitor communications in a city. (More)
    • It can set up a fake LinkedIn. (More)
    • It can track the reservations at upscale hotels. (More)
    • It can intercept the talking points for Ban Ki-moon’s meeting with Obama. (More)
    • It can crack cellphone encryption codes. (More)
    • It can hack computers that aren’t connected to the internet using radio waves. (Update: Clarification -- the NSA can access offline computers through radio waves on which it has already installed hidden devices.) (More)
    • It can intercept phone calls by setting up fake base stations. (More)
    • It can remotely access a computer by setting up a fake wireless connection. (More)
    • It can install fake SIM cards to then control a cell phone. (More)
    • It can fake a USB thumb drive that's actually a monitoring device. (More)
    • It can crack all types of sophisticated computer encryption. (Update: It is trying to build this capability.) (More)
    • It can go into online games and monitor communication. (More)
    • It can intercept communications between aircraft and airports. (More)
    • It can physically intercept deliveries, open packages, and make changes to devices. (More) (h/t)
    • It can tap into the links between Google and Yahoo data centers to collect email and other data. (More) (h/t)
    • It can monitor, in real-time, Youtube views and Facebook "Likes." (More)
    • It can monitor online behavior through free Wi-Fi at Canadian airports. (More)
    • It can shut down chat rooms used by Anonymous and identify Anonymous members. (More)
    • It can use real-time data to help identify and locate targets for US drone strikes. (More)
    • It can collect the IP addresses of visitors to the Wikileaks website. (More)
    • It can spy on US law firms representing foreign countries in trade negotiations. (More)
    • It can post false information on the Internet in order to hurt the reputation of targets. (More)
    • It can intercept and store webcam images. (More)
    • It can record phone calls and replay them up to a month later. (More)


    NSA monitors WiFi on US planes ‘in violation’ of privacy laws

    April 10, 2014

    Companies that provide WiFi on US domestic flights are handing over their data to the NSA, adapting their technology to allow security services new powers to spy on passengers. In doing so, they may be in violation of privacy laws.

    In a letter leaked to Wired, Gogo, the leading provider of inflight WiFi in the US, admitted to violating the requirements of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). The act is part of a wiretapping law passed in 1994 that requires telecoms carriers to provide law enforcement with a backdoor in their systems to monitor telephone and broadband communications.

    Gogo states in the letter to the Federal Communications Commission that it added new capabilities to its service that go beyond CALEA, at the behest of law enforcement agencies.

    “In designing its existing network, Gogo worked closely with law enforcement to incorporate functionalities and protections that would serve public safety and national security interests,” Gogo attorney Karis Hastings wrote in the leaked letter, which dates from 2012. He did not elaborate as to the nature of the changes, but said Gogo “worked with federal agencies to reach agreement regarding a set of additional capabilities to accommodate law enforcement interests.”

    Gogo, which provides WiFi services to the biggest US airlines, are not the only ones to adapt their services to enable spying. Panasonic Avionics also added “additional functionality” to their services as per an agreement with US law enforcement, according to a report published in December.

    The deals with security services have civil liberties organizations up in arms. They have condemned the WiFi providers’ deals with authorities as scandalous.

    “Having ISPs [now] that say that CALEA isn’t enough, we’re going to be even more intrusive in what we collect on people is, honestly, scandalous,” Peter Eckersley, of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told Wired.

    The powers of the National Security Agency and other US law enforcement agencies have come under harsh criticism since the data leaks from whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the extent to which they monitor citizens’ communications. In particular, critics have taken issue with the NSA’s mass, indiscriminate gathering of metadata which has been described as “almost Orwellian in nature” and a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

    Judge Richard Leon of the US District Court for the District of Columbia has filed a lawsuit against the US agency and is pushing to have the case heard in the US Supreme Court. Last week the Supreme Court said that Leon would have to wait for a ruling from the lower court before his case could be heard.

    Since the NSA scandal blew up last year, prompting widespread public anger in the US and internationally at the violation of privacy rights, President Barack Obama’s administration has reluctantly taken some modest steps to curb the powers of the agency.

    At the beginning of this year, Obama announced that the NSA would no longer be able to monitor the personal communications of world leaders. In addition, last month Obama formally proposed to end the NSA’s bulk data collection, proposing legislation that would oblige the agency to get a court order to access information through telecoms companies.


  8. #28
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    How Dropbox knows you’re a dirty pirate, and why you shouldn’t use cloud storage to share copyrighted files

    By Sebastian Anthony on March 31, 2014

    Over the weekend, it emerged that Dropbox has the ability to stop you from publicly or privately sharing copyrighted content — in other words, Dropbox has a system in place that prevents piracy. At first, this sounds rather sensible — otherwise Dropbox just becomes the next RapidShare or Mega — but when you think about it some more, your assent slowly turns to outrage as you realize that Dropbox must be scanning all of your files, and working with copyright holders, to put a stop to your dirty pirating ways. Plus, if Dropbox can stop you from sharing copyrighted content, what’s the stop the company from selling out and telling the feds?

    Before we get into that, though, let me quickly run through how Dropbox prevents you from sharing copyrighted stuff.


    As you may know, in computer science terms, a hash is a long string of letters and digits that results from running something (usually a file) through a cryptographic hash function. Basically, this function takes the contents of a file, applies some crazy maths to it, and then a long hash string comes out of it (something like 31d55cf1d40f3cc7e82356b764669b84). If the hash function is perfect (if it doesn’t have any collisions), every file that goes through it will generate a unique hash. The hash is like a fingerprint for that file. Two identical files, however, would have the same hash. (You can probably see where this is going…)

    Notice how a single different input letter results in a completely different hash

    When you upload a file to Dropbox, before it’s encrypted, it is fed through a hash function, and the hash is put to one side. Dropbox might use the hash for other purposes, but in this case we’ll just talk about its use in piracy prevention.

    Then, when Dropbox receives a DMCA request from a copyright holder — say, Disney or Universal Music — Dropbox adds the hash of that copyrighted file to a list. Any time you try to share a file on Dropbox, its hash is checked against the list of known-to-be-copyrighted hashes — and if there’s a match, Dropbox blocks you like so:

    Dropbox DMCA takedown notice

    This is one of the most graceful methods of preventing piracy that I’ve ever seen — but it’s still not without its risks and limitations.

    “We don’t look at the files in your private folders”

    Dropbox stresses that this entire process is automated, and that it never actually looks at your files — it just automatically generates hashes for your files, which are automatically matched against a list of copyrighted hashes. Furthermore, Dropbox says your files are only checked against that list when you try to share a file — if you just upload a bunch of movies and albums to your Dropbox for your own personal consumption, they won’t get blocked.

    What does it really mean to look at your private files and folders, though? Does it mean that Dropbox looks as the file names and hashes, but not the contents? What about if 100 users all have a file with the same hash (an uploaded song) — does Dropbox do the sensible thing and only store one of those files on its servers, or does it store 100 separation versions, wasting storage space? Does Dropbox draw the line at copyrighted hashes, or does it also maintain a list of child porn hashes, or hashes for known resources on how to make a bomb?

    What if the US government asked Dropbox for a list of every user with a certain file? Dropbox would fight it, I’m sure, but as we know, when it comes to the US government and its intelligence agencies, what actually constitutes “overreach” is very nebulous indeed. It’s also worth pointing out that, while Dropbox does encrypt your data, it remains the sole custodian of your encryption key and retains the right to decrypt your data if required.

    In short, there’s nothing stopping Dropbox from outing you as a scumbag copyright infringer — except, of course, the fact that it would very quickly lose the confidence of its users, which would then probably torpedo its entire business model.

    using Boxcryptor:

    How to use Dropbox without being spied on

    There are two easy options if you want to use Dropbox without having your files blocked: Encrypt your files before uploading them (with a tool like Boxcryptor) — or more simply, just zip them up (7-Zip is all you need, baby). There’s a possibility that Dropbox looks inside zip files — but in that case, just put a password on the archive.

    Ultimately, the most important takeaway from all this is that using a centralized, US-based service like Dropbox for sharing copyrighted files is stupid. If anything, you should remember that Dropbox is probably one of the more reputable cloud storage/file hosting services — other sites might look at your files, or more readily sell you out to the feds. (Read: Why I pirate.)

    If you really want to share some files privately, you are far better off using something like BitTorrent Sync, or some other service that avoids centralized servers owned by a US company.


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    Vodafone: Government can Listen to Cell phones Anytime

    • authorities use secret wires across its entire network which stretches to 29 countries
    • Vodafone said direct-access wires or pipes allowed authorities to listen in
    • Conversations can be listened to or recorded and metadata can be tracked
    • Mobile phone giant released report to highlight widespread use of tapping
    • Direct-access pipes said to be illegal in UK because agencies need warrant
    • Civil rights groups described revelation as 'unprecedented and terrifying'

    By Emma Glanfield | 6 June 2014

    Mobile phone giant Vodafone has revealed how government agencies around the world use secret wires to listen in to private phone calls across its entire network.

    The company revealed how direct-access wires or pipes were connected directly to its network, allowing authorities in some of the 29 countries it covers to monitor phone conversations and track users.

    The wires allow conversations to be listened to or recorded, or metadata - including the location of a device, the times and dates of communications and with whom communication was made - to be captured.

    The company outlined the details in a report on the widespread use of secret surveillance by government agencies.

    In six of the countries in which Vodafone operates the wires are a legal requirement, with laws obliging telecommunications companies to install direct-access pipes or allowing governments to do so.

    Vodafone is publishing its report to reveal the extent that phone tapping is used by governments to snoop on their citizens, The Guardian said.

    The firm has called for direct-access pipes to be disconnected and for agencies to have to gain warrants to carry out any surveillance, to discourage them from gaining direct access to a communications network with a legal mandate.

    Stephen Deadman, Vodafone’s group privacy officer, told The Guardian: ‘We are making a call to end direct access as a means of government agencies obtaining people’s communication data.

    ‘Without an official warrant, there is no external visibility. If we receive a demand we can push back against the agency. The fact that a government has to issue a piece of paper is an important constraint on how powers are used.’

    Some of the most spied on nations in Vodafone's network include Malta and Italy, the report revealed.

    Last year, Vodafone received 606,000 metadata requests from mobile phones in Italy, more than any other country in which it runs networks. And in the same period, the firm processed 3,773 requests for metadata in Malta – which has a population of 420,000.

    Civil rights groups were horrified at the latest revelations, with some describing the practice as ‘terrifying’.

    Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights campaign group Liberty, said: ‘For governments to access phone calls at the flick of a switch is unprecedented and terrifying. ‘(Edward) Snowden revealed the internet was already treated as fair game. Bluster that all is well is wearing pretty thin - our analogue laws need a digital overhaul.’

    Gus Hosein, from Privacy International, said Vodafone had taken a ‘brave step’, calling the covert surveillance wires ‘the nightmare scenarios that we were imagining’.


    The Vodafone Transparency Report

    By Carrie Cordero | June 6, 2014

    I’m sure that I and others will have more to say about this in the future, but in the meantime, here is the summary and 88-page Vodafone transparency report that has been widely reported this morning.

    As I mentioned in my remarks in the debate Ben hosted at Brookings yesterday, the U.S. technology and communications industry has been taking the brunt of the reaction to the Snowden leaks—based, in part, on misreporting of the initial facts and subsequent misunderstanding of U.S. law, policies and procedures governing NSA’s activities. I will be interested to read if the Vodafone report sheds some light on other countries’ law and practices.


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    iPhone? It's a spyphone: Apple devices can record your every movement

    • Hidden in Apple phones is a function which logs every journey you take
    • Frequent Locations feature was quietly introduced to iPhones a year ago
    • iPhones are able to analyse the data and work out where you live
    • Apple claims the data never leaves your phone without your permission
    • Professor Noel Sharkey said Apple’s ability to track people is 'terrifying'


    It is tracking your every move – recording the exact time you left for work, where you bought your coffee and where you like to shop.

    But this isn’t a futuristic spy drone or some sinister Big Brother state – it’s the iPhone sitting in your pocket.

    Hidden in Apple phones is a function which logs every journey. The iPhones are then able to analyse the data to figure out where you live and work, basing decisions on the frequency and timing of trips.

    The function – called the Frequent Locations feature – was quietly introduced to iPhones a year ago. But since access to the programme is buried beneath five layers of settings menus, few people know it exists.

    Apple claims the data never leaves your phone without your permission, and that it was only designed to improve mapping services.

    But Professor Noel Sharkey, one of Britain’s leading computing experts, described Apple’s ability to track people as ‘terrifying’. ‘This is shocking,’ he said. ‘Every place you go, where you shop, where you have a drink – it is all recorded. This is a divorce lawyer’s dream. But what horrifies me is that it is so secret. Why did we not know about this?’

    Smartphones have had the ability to track their owners’ movements since they were first installed with GPS chips and mapping functions.

    But this feature, which is automatically installed on any iPhone with the iOS 7 or an iOS 8 operating system, is the first to display the movements clearly on a map. The phone records the date of every one of your journeys, your time of arrival and departure and how many times you have been to each address.

    Apple insists the data only leaves the phone if users gives their consent by selecting the Improve Maps option in the phone’s privacy menu.

    But campaigners say the data could be seen by a snooping boss, a jealous wife, or even seized by police or an authoritarian government.

    The revelation comes at the end of a week in which Apple saw £12billion wiped off its value after a glitch left iPhone 6 owners unable to get a signal – and some owners of the new slimline iPhone 6 Plus bent their frames. In an open letter this month, Apple chief executive Tim Cook said: ‘Our business model is very straightforward. We don’t “monetize” the information on your iPhone or in iCloud.’

    But Professor Sharkey said: ‘Apple might promise not to use our location information for advertising. And many of our authorities might be quite benevolent at the moment. But if you put that information in someone else’s hands, then it becomes powerful, and in some cases, dangerous.’


    The Frequent Locations function is automatically installed on any phone with iOS 7 or iOS 8.

    To access Frequent Locations, go into Settings, choose the Privacy option and then Location Services.

    Go right down to the bottom and select System Services – then click Frequent Locations.

    Your data will be displayed under a History heading divided up into cities and districts – click on each one to see how your phone monitors, analyses and maps everywhere you go.

    To disable Frequent Locations, select Clear History and make sure Improve Maps is deselected.

    Finally, turn off the Frequent Locations tab. This does not stop data being recorded, it only stops it being packaged up in a map.

    To stop it being logged at all, you can disable Location Services in the Privacy menu – but this will leave you unable to use your phone’s mapping software.

    To disable Frequent Locations, select Clear History and make sure Improve Maps is deselected



    Given the latest exposure of all these corporations being in bed with NSA in sharing all their data on their customers, nothing can be trusted. Apple has a reputation of taking all your information and even locking your phone if they think you are jail breaking it. Also, there are plenty of reports of individuals stating how their pictures were taken by their phones without their knowledge or their cam coming on by itself. All these modern devices are nothing more than spy tools.

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    very informatic.we should be aware of 21 century war tactics...

  12. #32
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    UK forced to admit GCHQ can access foreign-gathered data without warrant

    October 29, 2014

    The UK government has admitted for the first time that its spy agency, GCHQ, can access raw data mined by America’s NSA and others without a warrant. It was made to comply following post-Snowden legal action from rights organizations.

    The secrets leaked by the iconic former NSA contractor led Amnesty International, Liberty and Privacy International to compel the UK government to submit documents to government surveillance watchdogs revealing secret “arrangements” between GCHQ and foreign spy agencies, The Guardian reported.

    The documents reveal that such access to foreign partners’ bulk data is acceptable when it’s not“technically feasible” to acquire a warrant, and if the good that comes out of it is “necessary and proportionate” to the cause.

    British citizens are safeguarded from warrant-less spying by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), but the document itself states there are exceptions.

    This is stated explicitly: “[A] Ripa interception warrant is not as a matter of law required in all cases in which unanalyzed intercepted communications might be sought from a foreign government.”

    And yet this doesn’t appear to be entirely legal, given how last July the parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee ruled that a warrant would need to be obtained from a minister each time GCHQ accessed data from its foreign counterparts.

    The loopholes embedded in the practice can also be perceived as inevitably threatening British citizens’ rights: when overseas data is obtained in bulk, the British spy agency saves time by not having to filter out results relating to their own nationals. This is perfectly legal.

    Campaigners have a problem with this. “We now know that data from any call, internet search, or website you visited over the past two years could be stored in GCHQ’s database and analyzed at will, all without a warrant to collect it in the first place… It is outrageous that the government thinks mass surveillance, justified by secret ‘arrangements’ that allow for vast and unrestrained receipt and analysis of foreign intelligence material is lawful,” privacy International deputy director Eric King said.

    Amnesty International’s director for law and policy Mike Bostock joined the calls, saying that “it is time the government comes clean” on warrantless snooping.

    Liberty legal director James Welsh lashed out at the British government, accusing it of misleading the public during the hearing, when it swore to the presence of “adequate safeguards” against warrant-less snooping that it just couldn’t disclose for security reasons.

    Rights campaigners worry that the UK’s own foreign secretary, Phillip Hammond, appeared to have poor knowledge of the kind of warrants obtained, and for what purpose. This came out during the latest meeting of the Intelligence and Security Committee, as Hammond tried to emphasize that ministers are accountable people.

    Word of GCHQ acting illegally by no means comes from the revelations provided in the papers submitted to the UK surveillance watchdog.

    Edward Snowden himself appeared on Skype recently to underline that the British spy agency actually has fewer checks and balances than even the NSA.

    In an answer to a question at an event in central London, the ‘Observer Ideas’ festival organized by The Guardian, Snowden said that GCHQ uses “unlawfully collected information to pursue criminal prosecutions…to share with other countries, where they will use foreign intelligence powers to gather information that’s then used for law enforcement purposes – and this is very dangerous.”

    When citizens “don’t have the opportunity to challenge [such evidence] in courts – judges aren’t aware where this evidence originated from – it undermines the system of laws, the system of justice… upon which we all rely,” he also said.

    But more crucially in this case, the whistleblower further stated that, although GCHQ does claim to use specific procedures for data gathering, they are “not uniformly applied: there are exceptions, and it’s basically open season at these spy agencies.


  13. #33
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    4 Questions to Ask Before You Give a New App Access to Your Personal Data

    Here’s how most of us protect our own privacy when it comes to new mobile apps: We hear about an app somewhere, we see it has a rating above 3.5 out of 5 stars, we install it, and we tap through whatever permission requests it presents.

    That has a certain efficiency. Unfortunately, it’s not the safest approach. App developers don’t always know what they’re doing, and careless or rushed coding may not stand up to entry-level hacking.

    If you use an insecure or hacked app on your phone, you could be exposing its personal data — like your address book, location, messages, and so on.

    We saw this risk realized two years ago with Path, when a user discovered that the photo-sharing app uploaded entire address books without asking permission first. Last year, Snapchat users learned that their phone numbers had been exposed by sloppy security.

    And last week, users of the vacuous app Yo learned that it was wide open to snooping — three college students told TechCrunch that they easily extracted users’ phone numbers and impersonated them on the service.

    Maybe you held off on installing all or some of these apps. But can you be sure that the apps already on your phone are that much safer?

    Actually, you can’t. But you can at least stop and ask a few reasonably simple questions to see if the people behind each app have the right priorities.

    So before you install that next hot app, ask yourself these four things:

    1. What do I need to give up to identify myself to this app?

    “We don’t want your email, Facebook,” Yo brags in its release notes. Great, you may think: No more annoying usernames and passwords to remember! No worries about this spamming my Facebook friends!

    But what Yo does need is your phone number. It’s technically optional, but without it you need to ask individual friends for their Yo usernames, which in turn will require confessing to them that you use Yo.

    (On Snapchat and on Secret, in contrast, it is marginally easier to kick the tires without giving up a phone number.)

    A phone number is an inconvenient bit of personal data to get leaked onto the Internet, should the carefully crafted defenses of a system slip up. There’s no meaningful junk filtering for most phone numbers, so you don’t want your number getting out. And changing a leaked number is a difficult, prolonged chore.

    Having an email address fall prey to a data breach isn’t quite as painful since spam filters have gotten good. And using Facebook or Twitter to sign in to an app won’t expose your password if the app is later hacked. You can also yank the permission an app has to access your social accounts. Here’s how to do it on Facebook and Twitter.

    2. Does the app explain why it needs my data?

    Path’s original sin was not asking before uploading users’ contact lists so that it could suggest other Path users to new users. Apple ensured that other iOS apps couldn’t blindly get away with that by requiring them to get permission when they ask to peek in your address book.

    In Android, apps have always had to ask permission for access to your data when they are installed. But not everybody pays rapt attention to those dialogs.

    Both systems, however, leave it to developers to explain why they need to see personal data like your calendar or your location. Some do so in release notes that may not be read; the smarter ones figure out ways to explain as you use the app. See, for instance, this revealing post from the developer of the iOS app Cluster.

    The upcoming iOS 8, according to a presentation that Apple may or may not have meant to make public (PDF download), will strongly encourage developers to add brief explanations to each permissions dialog.

    3. What’s the business model?

    App developers often brag about the investors behind them, but you should ignore that. The amount of stupid money sloshing around the tech industry — Yo has racked up $1 million — makes funding a dubious benchmark of trustworthiness.

    You should, however, wonder how an app’s developers will make money. A lot of companies — see, for instance, Secret, Snapchat, and Yo — won’t say upfront. I wish they would be honest and admit that they’ll try to get other companies to pay to use their apps to market to you. It’s an obvious scenario, but it should be stated, because any data you give the app may be used to further its business purposes in the future.

    4. How do I delete my account?

    There’s only one correct answer to this, and it involves an in-app or online dialog box that includes the words, “Click here to delete my data.” If you have to send an email and wait for a reply, then the app’s developers haven’t thought things through and may have cut other corners in their privacy or security model.

    Snapchat, for all of the deserved abuse it’s taken for being lax about security (read the Federal Trade Commission’s notice of its settlement if you want to be horrified), gets this right: You can break up with it using a form at its site. But Secret and Yo both make you email to have an account and the data associated with it wiped. (At Secret, email concierge@secret.ly; at Yo, email contact@justyo.co.)

    When asked about that by my colleague Alyssa Bereznak, Yo founder Or Arbel’s response was not too convincing. “I think it will be really easy … what we will do … let me think about it. I need to think about it. About how we’re going to do it.”

    Some new apps pass these privacy tests. That one doesn’t, and I would not install it until it grows up.


  14. #34
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    New App Reveals How Your Smartphone Can Spy on You Without Permission

    Your Android phone can be turned into a microphone without your permission or knowledge. All that’s needed are the gyros in your phone that measure orientation. Stanford researchers have shown how to rewire them to pick up sound waves.

    Together with the defense firm Rafael, they created an Android app called Gyrophone, which shows just how easy it is to get the vibrating pressure plates used by the gyroscope to pick up vibrations of sound at frequencies in the 80-250Hz range – the base frequencies of the human voice.

    “We show that the MEMS gyroscopes found on modern smartphones are sufficiently sensitive to measure acoustic signals in the vicinity of the phone. The resulting signals contain only very low-frequency information (< 200 Hz). Nevertheless we show, using signal processing and machine learning, that this information is sufficient to identify speaker information and even parse speech. Since iOS and Android require no special permissions to access the gyro, our results show that apps and active web content that cannot access the microphone can nevertheless eavesdrop on speech in the vicinity of the phone,” the scientists say on the Stanford Security Research website, where they also offer the Android application as a free download.

    They also provide a link to a webpage that can be browsed via a mobile phone to demonstrate the efficacy of the method.

    The resulting data isn’t recorded anywhere, although it can be saved as a file, if the user wishes.

    What the researchers have shown is that the big array of sensors on a smartphone can be used for a variety of purposes. In another, related paper, they “demonstrate how the multitude of sensors on a smartphone can be used to construct a reliable hardware fingerprint of the phone. Such a fingerprint can be used to de-anonymize mobile devices as they connect to web sites, and as a second factor in identifying legitimate users to a remote server. We present two implementations: one based on analyzing the frequency response of the speakerphone-microphone system, and another based on analyzing device-specific accelerometer calibration errors.”

    Although currently the trick only works on Android devices, researchers say it’s only a matter of time until the technology is rigged to work with an iPhone (whose own gyro sensor works only with frequencies below 100Hz).

    The discovery is just another chapter in the already controversial scandalous saga of communications surveillance with tools as simple as the smartphone’s microphone being turned on remotely. It became more pertinent with the recent revelations offered by former US government intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, who is now resident in Russia after having his US passport invalidated a year ago and US prosecutors demanding his return to the States.

    In late June, Russia’s Kaspersky Lab, one of the world’s top information security firms, reported on legal malware produced by an Italian company, Hacking Team, which since 2001 has offered its clients the opportunity to snoop on their targets. Their product is said to be the first Remote Control Systems (RCS) malware with a positive link to mobile phones, opening them up to new potential security threats.

    However, internet companies have also been said to store information on users for a while now, with fears that mobile apps may merely be fronts for private information mining, as your email, photos, numbers and addresses are picked up each time you punch them in.


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    UK crime agency seeks total access to citizens' emails, social media content


    The UK’s top law enforcement officer says Britons must be prepared to sacrifice their freedoms online if they want to be protected from terrorists and cyber criminals. This includes giving authorities access to private email and social media contents.

    Speaking to The Guardian, the director general of the National Crime Agency (NCA), Keith Bristow, warned that the UK’s biggest threats are becoming increasingly focused on the web, and that authorities had not done enough to persuade the public that greater oversight of their online activity was necessary.

    He told the newspaper that existing methods of monitoring communications had to be “modernized” and that the NCA, which is being touted by the government as Britain’s version of the FBI, was “losing capability and coverage of serious criminals”.

    While Bristow did not outline plans to increase the monitoring of web activity, digital watchdog Open Rights Group (ORG) expressed concern that, while it welcomed public debate about surveillance of personal communications by the police and intelligence services, “so far the government seems intent on simply increasing its powers to allow unchecked whole population profiling,”

    “To tackle terrorism and serious crime, we need targeted surveillance that is authorized by judges not politicians, as well as proper democratic oversight to ensure that powers are not abused,” ORG executive director Jim Killock said in a statement.

    ORG’s reaction follows the Home Secretary Theresa May’s comments at last week’s Conservative Party Conference, in which she said the government’s Communications Data Bill – which would store and monitor networks of communications between web users – was essential for the UK’s national security.

    However, the bill has caused a rift in the UK government, after it was blocked by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats, who argued that it posed a significant risk to civil liberties.

    May accused the Liberal Democrats of “outrageous irresponsibility” for blocking the bill, which has been dubbed by critics as the “Snooper’s Charter.” The home secretary promised to push the bill through if the Conservative Party wins a majority in next year’s general election.

    'Public consent'

    Bristow, the NCA chief, also criticized the Guardian’s publication of top secret NSA documents leaked by former contractor Edward Snowden, calling the act a “betrayal”.

    “The Snowden revelations have damaged public confidence in our ability, whether it’s law enforcement or the intelligence agencies, to access and use data in an appropriate and proportionate way,” Bristow said.

    However, Bristow also said that it would be morally wrong if surveillance of online activity took place in secret, adding that it was necessary to attain “the public consent to losing some freedoms in return for greater safety and security”.

    Earlier this year, Bristow gave the UK Police Federation’s John Harris Memorial lecture, entitled “Policing by Consent,”in which he called for new law enforcement tools to tackle child abuse on the internet.

    He also said that cybercrime posed a threat to Britain’s national security and “way of life”, and that existing police powers to investigate crimes were “inadequate”.

    Bristow, formerly chief constable of the Warwickshire Police Force, was appointed as NCA chief in December 2012 by May. She said that Bristow would “develop an agency of powerful, operational crime fighters” able to track down and “bring to justice” individuals who “commit serious and organized crime”.

    The NCA was created by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government to replace the Serious Organized Crime Agency, which was brought in under the previous Labour government in 2006.


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    4 things you should know about digital privacy

    This piece is the first in a series about engaging our younger generation in a discussion about our rights and why they are important in this technological age.

    “And we've seen the chilling of that [surveillance] and the cooling of that and the changing of that model, towards something in which people self-police their own views, and they literally make jokes about ending up on "the list" if they donate to a political cause or if they say something in a discussion. And it's become an expectation that we're being watched.”

    This quote from Edward Snowden, an American computer professional who leaked documents revealing numerous global surveillance programs by the National Security Agency, accurately depicts the way that most college-age students view government surveillance— as a joke, as something that is in movies and as something that doesn’t really affect them.

    Government interference in our lives can seem like an odd conspiracy theory to college students, who tend to believe they’re invincible, but with the way that technology is constantly expanding the government gains more and more ways to interfere with our everyday lives, and that affects everyone. There are times when the government is looking through our internet histories and phone records simply because they believe they have the right to, which in many cases they do not. Who’s to say that they won’t look through our social media usage as well?

    One of the most important technologies that need to be understood when talking about digital surveillance is stingrays.

    Stingrays are used mostly by law enforcement. They search for a particular cell phone's signal by capturing the International Mobile Subscriber Identity of potentially thousands of people in a particular area. They masquerade as a cell phone tower and allow the government to figure out who, when and to where you are calling, the precise location of every device within the range, and with some devices, even capture the content of your conversations. In a recent case, United States v. Rigmaiden, the government used a stingray to apprehend Daniel Rigmaiden’s phone records, arguably violating his Fourth Amendment right.

    Along with the Fourth Amendment, knowing your rights as someone who is in constant contact with the Internet and other technology, as most college students are, is one of the best ways to combat government engagement. Here are a few simple legal rights you have as a U.S. citizen:

    • Telephone Records and Privacy Protection Act of 2006 states that it is illegal for your phone carrier to sell your records to the government.
    • USA Freedom Act which is a proposed law that will help begin to combat against government access to your internet history.
    • Riley v. California - In June 2014, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the search incident to arrest exception does not extend to a cell phone and that police need to get a search warrant to search an arrestee's phone after arrest.
    • Jewel v. NSA — Electronic Frontier Foundation is suing the NSA and other government agencies on behalf of AT&T customers to stop the illegal unconstitutional and ongoing dragnet surveillance of their communications and communications records.


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    73,000 webcams now viewable to anyone because their owners haven't set a password

    - Website insecam.com running footage from more than 73,000 cameras
    - A total of 11,000 cameras in the United States are able to be viewed
    - There are 2,422 cameras in the UK which are also providing a live feed
    - Cameras which have not had their factory passwords changed are accessible
    - Users can view businesses, factories, building sites and private homes
    - The site states: 'you can see into bedrooms of all countries of the world'
    - Easy to stop - just change the password on the camera

    A creepy website has collected streaming footage from more than 73,000 cameras around the globe that are connected to the internet, because the owners haven't changed their default passwords, making them accessible to virtually anyone.

    Insecam claims to feature feeds from IP cameras all over the world with more than 11,000 in the U.S. and 2,400 in the UK alone.

    Some of the shots are harmless with fly-on-the-wall views of stores, offices and parking lots, but there are also far more personal areas covered by the cameras, with living rooms and bedrooms featured prominently.

    Many of the cameras are being used as babycams which will alert many parents.

    Although the feeds are something that anyone with a bit of determination could find through Google, for example, the website makes accessing the streams far easier by pooling them together onto a single website.

    It makes it extremely easy to peer into hundreds of strangers bedrooms with just a click of the mouse.

    One lawyer noted that looking at someones camera would be a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in the United States as it involves hacking into someone's password-protected account - even if that password is the default setting.

    It is easy to have your private camera taken off the Insecam site, simply by setting a new password removes it from view.

    There are 40,746 pages of unsecured cameras just in the first 10 country listings:

    11,046 in the U.S.;
    6,536 in South Korea;
    4,770 in China;
    3,359 in Mexico;
    3,285 in France;
    2,870 in Italy;
    2,422 in the U.K.;
    2,268 in the Netherlands;
    2,220 in Columbia; and
    1,970 in India.

    The site states, 'you can see into bedrooms of all countries of the world.'

    Further details are also listed with the site displaying information including the camera manufacturer, default login and password, time zone, city and state.

    The approximate location is also pinpointed on Google Maps giving any potential peeping Tom a very real insight into your supposedly private world.

    Internet protocol cameras, or IP cameras, are the ones being streamed on the website and they are seen as a cheaper option than CCTV camera systems.

    A top security expert says the website is a good thing 'to alert people to the dark side of the internet'.

    James Der Derian, Director of the Centre for International Security Studies at the University of Sydney, told MailOnline: 'Everyone thinks the internet is this perfect way of communicating.

    'The whole idea of the internet is a way of access and unless you have very strong password protection and encryption then this kind of exposure is inevitable.

    'This shows that it has got a flip side and people uploading personal details need to be careful, this website is an example of that.

    'It does not surprise me and it is a good thing to alert people to the darker side of the internet. People are so willing to give up personal information.'


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    UK: EE, Vodafone and Three give police mobile call records at click of a mouse

    Three of UK’s big four mobile phone networks are providing customer data to police forces automatically through Ripa

    10 October 2014

    Three of the UK’s four big mobile phone networks have made customers’ call records available at the click of a mouse to police forces through automated systems, a Guardian investigation has revealed.

    EE, Vodafone and Three operate automated systems that hand over customer data “like a cash machine”, as one phone company employee described it.

    Eric King, deputy director of Privacy International, a transparency watchdog, said: “If companies are providing communications data to law enforcement on automatic pilot, it’s as good as giving police direct access [to individual phone bills].”

    O2, by contrast, is the only major phone network requiring staff to review all police information requests, the company said.
    Mobile operators must by law store a year of call records of all of their customers, which police forces and other agencies can then access without a warrant using the controversial Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa).

    Ripa is the interception law giving authority to much of GCHQ’s mass surveillance. The law was again under the spotlight recently after it was used to identify sources of journalists from at least two national newspapers, the Sun and the Mail on Sunday.

    Documents from software providers and conversations with mobile companies staff reveal how automatic this system has become, with the “vast majority” of records demanded by police delivered through automated systems, without the involvement of any phone company staff.

    The Home Office argues communications data is “a critical tool” and its use of Ripa was “necessary and proportionate”.

    Despite politicians’ assurances that the UK laws requiring phone companies to keep records would not create a state database of private communications, critics argue that the practice comes very close to doing so. King warned that “widespread, automatic access of this nature” meant the UK telecoms industry “essentially already provides law enforcement with the joined-up databases they claimed they didn’t have when pushing for the ‘snooper’s charter’.”

    In the automated systems used by the phone companies, police officers seeking phone records must gain permission from another officer on the same force, who then enters the details into an online form. That mirrors the US Prism programme, revealed by Edward Snowden, which in effect created a backdoor into the products of US tech corporations. In the vast majority of cases, the information is then delivered without any further human role.

    One document prepared by Charter Systems, which sells the type of software used by police forces to connect with mobile phone companies, explains the automated process saves “32 minutes” of human time per application.

    “Charter Systems have worked in partnership with the Home Office and Detica [a firm providing data interception for security services and the police, now called BAE Systems Applied Intelligence] to develop a solution that links directly to all CSPs [communication service providers, a term covering phone companies],” it states. The document explains the system produces “an automated solution for gathering electronic data information. The new solution saves time and effort for the authority in requesting and receiving ever increasing amounts of data.”

    The systems were so interconnected, a separate sales document produced by Charter reveals, that “[d]ata can be retrieved from multiple CSPs in one request”.

    Privacy groups reacted angrily to the details of how little day-to-day scrutiny records requests receive, warning that the automation of the system removes even the limited oversight ability – the right to refer requests to oversight agencies – phone networks have over Ripa requests.

    “We urgently need clarity on just how unquestioning the relationship between telecommunications companies and law enforcement has become,” said King. “It’s crucial that each individual warrant for communications data is independently reviewed by the companies who receive them and challenged where appropriate to ensure the privacy of their customers is not being inappropriately invaded.”

    Privacy advocates are also concerned that the staff within phone companies who deal with Ripa and other requests are often in effect paid by the Home Office – a fact confirmed by several networks – and so may, in turn, be less willing to challenge use of surveillance powers.

    Several mobile phone networks confirmed the bulk of their queries were handled without human intervention. “We do have an automated system,” said a spokesman for EE, the UK’s largest network, which also operates Orange and T-Mobile. “[T]he vast majority of Ripa requests are handled through the automated system.” The spokesman added the system was subject to oversight, with monthly reports being sent to the law enforcement agency requesting the data, and annual reports going to the interception commissioner and the Home Office.

    A spokesman for Vodafone said the company processed requests in a similar way. “The overwhelming majority of the Ripa notices we receive are processed automatically in accordance with the strict framework set out by Ripa and underpinned by the code of practice,” he said. “Even with a manual process, we cannot look behind the demand to determine whether it is properly authorised.”

    A spokesman for Three, which is also understood to use a largely automated system, said the company was simply complying with legal requirements. “We take both our legal obligations and customer privacy seriously,” he said. “Three works with the government and does no more or less than is required or allowed under the established legal framework.”

    Unlike the other networks, O2 said it did manually review all of its Ripa requests. “We have a request management system with which the law enforcement agencies can make their requests to us,” said the O2 spokeswoman. “All O2 responses are validated by the disclosure team to ensure that each request is lawful and the data provided is commensurate with the request.

    Mike Harris, director of the Don’t Spy On Us campaign, said the automated systems posed a serious threat to UK freedom of expression. “How do we know that the police through new Home Office systems aren’t making automated requests that reveal journalist’s sources or even the private contacts of politicians?” he said.

    “Edward Snowden showed that both the NSA and GCHQ had backdoor access to our private information stored on servers. Now potentially the police have access too, when will Parliament stand up and protect our fundamental civil liberties?”

    A spokesman for the Home Office declined to respond to specific queries about the use of automatic systems to retrieve call records, but defended police forces’ use of Ripa. “Communications data is an absolutely critical tool used by police and other agencies to investigate crime, preserve national security and protect the public,” he said in a statement.

    “This data is stored by communications service providers themselves and can only be acquired by public authorities under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 on a case by case basis, and where it is necessary and proportionate to do so.

    “The acquisition of communications data under RIPA is subject to stringent safeguards in existing legislation and is independently overseen by the Interception of Communications Commissioner.”


  19. #39
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    Jan 2007


    Police now use radar devices to ‘see’ inside homes, raising legal questions

    Law enforcement agencies across the country have quietly given officers Range-R units that can peer through walls. Security concerns have been raised about the instruments, according to a new report.


    The radar system that can see inside houses has been secretly purchased by at least 50 law enforcement agencies across the country, USA Today reports.

    The FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service are among the agencies using the high-tech device, with little notice, the paper said.

    The equipment can detect whether someone is inside a building and where they are.

    Use of the devices has raised privacy concerns — especially involving police being able to see inside a structure without first obtaining a search warrant.

    In December, a federal appeals court in Denver seemed alarmed that officers had used the Range-R device to peer inside a home before arresting a man for violating parole, the paper reported.

    "The government's warrantless use of such a powerful tool to search inside homes poses grave Fourth Amendment questions," the court said.

    The Marshals Service has spent $180,000 on the instruments since 2012, USA Today said

    A new report discloses that police and law enforcement agencies are using a small radar device that can see through walls, raising serious privacy concerns.

    Radar devices were first designed for wartime use in Afghanistan and Iraq, and their deployment in civilian life brings complicated legal issues still being argued in the judicial system.


  20. #40
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    Join Date
    Jan 2007


    Samsung's warning: Our Smart TVs record your living room chatter

    Technically Incorrect: Samsung's small print says that its Smart TV's voice recognition system will not only capture your private conversations, but also pass them onto third parties.

    by Chris Matyszczyk - February 8, 2015

    Why worry about Big Brother?

    It's your big Samsung TV that's watching you. Oh, and listening to you.

    That seems to be the conclusion from reading the privacy small print offered by the company. (Samsung's motto: TV has never been this smart.)

    It concerns the voice-recognition feature, vital for everyone who finds pressing a few buttons on their remote far too tiresome.

    The wording, first spotted by the Daily Beast, first informs you that the company may "capture voice commands and associated texts so that we can provide you with Voice Recognition features and evaluate and improve the features."

    This is almost understandable. It's a little like every single customer service call, supposedly recorded to make your next customer service call far, far more enjoyable.

    However, the following words border on the numbing: "Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition."

    The possibilities curdle in the mind. So much so that I have contacted Samsung to ask how broad this policy might be and what third parties might be informed of your personal conversations. (I would have just shouted at my SmartTV to get comment, but it isn't a Samsung.)

    A Samsung spokeswoman told me: "Samsung takes consumer privacy very seriously. In all of our Smart TVs we employ industry-standard security safeguards and practices, including data encryption, to secure consumers' personal information and prevent unauthorized collection or use."

    But what might be authorized and by whom?

    Samsung's spokeswoman continued: "Should consumers enable the voice recognition capability, the voice data consists of TV commands, or search sentences, only. Users can easily recognize if the voice recognition feature is activated because a microphone icon appears on the screen."

    Yes, we must now look for little microphone icons to check whether we're being listened to.

    As for the third parties mentioned in the privacy policy, Samsung explained it to me like this: "Samsung does not retain voice data or sell it to third parties. If a consumer consents and uses the voice recognition feature, voice data is provided to a third party during a requested voice command search. At that time, the voice data is sent to a server, which searches for the requested content then returns the desired content to the TV."

    One imagines this is simply one more small step for mankind toward ultimate electronic envelopment, which some see as a very good thing.

    Your Nest and other devices will, of course, capture so many of your domestic predilections too. This is about making the Internet of Things merely one more thing in making your life easier, lazier and seemingly less private.

    Clearly, this isn't the only option for those intent on a SmartTV. You can disable the full panoply and stick to a series of already-defined voice commands. However, this still brings with it stipulations such as "While Samsung will not collect your spoken word, Samsung may still collect associated texts and other usage data so that we can evaluate the performance of the feature and improve it."

    Alright, you cry, I'll switch voice-recognition data off altogether. This will result in "You may disable Voice Recognition data collection at any time by visiting the 'settings' menu. However, this may prevent you from using all of the Voice Recognition features."

    As Samsung's spokesperson explained to me: "Voice recognition, which allows the user to control the TV using voice commands, is a Samsung Smart TV feature, which can be activated or deactivated by the user. The TV owner can also disconnect the TV from the Wi-Fi network."

    You might imagine that other SmartTV manufacturers would have similar controls and stipulations. If a product can listen and record something, it's likely it will.

    So I went to Philips SmartTVs and could only find a general privacy notice, with no specific information relating to SmartTVs. LG's privacy policy again is general, with no apparent specific information relating to SmartTVs and their potential.

    I have contacted both companies to ask whether there is a more detailed supplement that makes their TVs capabilities clear.

    LG was, however, embroiled in a privacy controversy in 2013, when its SmartTVs were accused of knowing too much. The company promised to change its policies.

    At the heart of all this is, of course, trust. The best and only defense against intrusion from the likes of Google to Samsung is this: "We don't really care about your private life. We just want your data, so that we can make money from it."

    It's inevitable that the more data that we put out, the more will be recorded and the more will be known about us by machines which are in the charge of people.

    We have all agreed to this. We click on "I agree" with no thought of consequences, only of our convenience.

    It isn't just your TV that will listen and record. Soon, it'll be everything that has a digital connection.

    This is our digital bed. We lie in it willingly.



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