Saturday, December 29, 2012

Congress Quietly Abandons the 5th Amendment

Scandal Alert: Congress Is Quietly Abandoning the 5th Amendment - Conor Friedersdorf - The Atlantic: "Most people presume that government officials would never willfully withhold penicillin from men with syphilis just to see what would happen if the disease went untreated. It seems unlikely that officers would coerce enlisted men into exposing themselves to debilitating nerve gas. Few expected that President Obama would preside over the persecution of an NSA whistle-blower, or presume the guilt of all military-aged males killed by U.S. drone strikes. But it all happened. Really thinking about all that may make it easier to believe what I'm about to tell you. It may seem like imprisoning an American citizen without charges or trial transgresses against the United States Constitution and basic norms of Western justice dating back to the Magna Carta. It may seem like reiterating the right to due process contained in the 5th Amendment would be uncontroversial. . . .
"Lawmakers charged with merging the House and Senate versions of the National Defense Authorization Act decided on Tuesday to drop a provision that would have explicitly barred the military from holding American citizens and permanent residents in indefinite detention without trial as terrorism suspects, according to Congressional staff members familiar with the negotiations."
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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Developers selling dragonfly robotic drone

Developers selling ‘dragonfly’ robotic drone for about $100 | The Sideshow - Yahoo! News: " . . . in a move to raise funds for the Dragonfly, the developers are offering the public the chance toown their own flying robot Dragonfly for $119. “This means you can do amazing aerial photography, spy on people, secure your house or use it as the next-gen gaming platform,” says Emanuel Jones, co-founder of TechJect, in a promotional video for the project on the Indiegogo website. Jones and project founder Jayant Ratti started TechJect after first developing the Dragonfly at the Georgia Institute of Technology with a grant from the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research. They say the current prototype weighs less than an ounce, or the weight of one AA battery. And if you believe the project’s developers, it offers several more practical uses than your typical “one-trick pony” aerial drone, including a smaller frame and more powerful battery life.
“This could be the next generation in spy tools. Even James Bond would want one of these,” Ratti says in the video, noting it is specifically being developed for use by the military and local law enforcement agencies. So, what would the average person want with a tiny spy drone the size of an insect? The Dragonfly comes equipped with high-definition cameras and can be operated with an iPhone. If spying isn’t your thing, you could use the Dragonfly for more recreational purposes, like filming a skiing trip or even filming outside your home to supplement a home security system. . . ."

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Tor - Anonymous And Controversial Web Surfing

Tor: An Anonymous, And Controversial, Way to Web-Surf - "Then on Nov. 28, the police showed up at the 20-year-old's home in Graz, Austria, and accused him of distributing child pornography. He says the authorities confiscated his computers, and he now awaits formal charges that could lead to jail time. Mr. Weber says the porn isn't his. But it might have come through his computers as the unavoidable cost of serving as a volunteer for the fast-growing Tor network. "Sure it's bad" that Tor can be used by criminals, he says, but "there is nothing I or the Tor Project can do." His experience underscores the challenges facing the Tor Project Inc., a 10-year-old Walpole, Mass., nonprofit that is hoping to take anonymous Web surfing mainstream. The network depends on volunteers such as Mr. Weber whose computers help reroute and conceal Internet traffic. . . ."

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Somali Pirate Hijackings Down, Business Model Intact

Less Pirate Activity off Somalia--

Somali Pirate Hijackings Down, Business Model Still Intact – NATO - Ventures Africa: " . . . International naval forces must continue actions in the waters near Somalia if the hijacking of merchant ships is to be prevented going forward, says NATO, as pirates remain committed to the “business model”. Despite the fact that attempts made by Somali pirates on merchant ships have significantly fallen over the past year in response to increased naval presence and increased security measures implemented in the region, NATO officials have warned that the international community must not relax measures, as this may allow a recurrence of piracy." Somalia: NATO Records Fall in Pirate Activity: "There have been no ships hijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia for the last six months, according to officials of NATO, one of the international bodies involved in providing international warships to provide security along the Somali coasts. This reflects a significant fall in activity by pirates along the Somali coast and in the Gulf of Aden, one of the world's busiest shipping routes. Pirates, however, still hold five ships and 136 hostages seized in previous years. NATO officials attribute these successes against pirates in part to the continuing efforts of the international fleet in the area, combined with better security measures by merchant ships, most of which now have armed guards aboard. Equally, the establishment of the new government and administration, including the election of a Parliament and a President and the appointment of a Prime Minister and a cabinet and above all the greatly improved security situation within Somalia itself and the successes against Al-Shahaab as well as increased anti-pirate activities by Puntland security forces and other pressures against pirate areas, have played a major role. Significantly, recent AMISOM and Somali Armed Forces' successes have included the capture of a number of the ports along the Somali coast. . . . "

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Only An Idiot Would Rob a Bank

Thanks in part to inflation--electronic theft (cybertheft) is the main threat to banks--

Only An Idiot Would Rob a Bank: How Inflation Deflated the Stick Up | The Billfold: ". . . . Inflation, by making cash store less value, also has the unintended consequence of making bank robberies less worthwhile a pursuit over time. Short of some Die Hard with a Vengeance sort of scheme, bank robbers can only carry away so much money—whatever fits on their person, in their car, whatever. And because our currency inflates at a rate of about two percent per year, a bank robber’s haul decreases by that much in spending power every year, meaning that the burlap sack of loot clutched in John Dillinger’s palm was worth considerably more to him than the exact same assortment of bills would be in your hand, today. . . Pound for pound, the dollar just doesn’t go as far as it used to. For wage earners this isn’t so much of a problem as long as wages inflate as well . . . but for those who prefer to take physical cash by force, it’s a big problem. . . .“If somebody wants big money, they’re not gonna rob a bank,” said Robert McCrie, a professor of urban crime and standards security management at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “They’re going to attack a bank electronically.”. . ."

For the same reasons, large illegal cash transactions should be declining (in favor of electronic transactions). Likewise, "counterfeiting" should be declining. Reported counterfeiting of American currency by rogue nations like North Korea and others could simply be diminished by eliminating all bills larger than $20.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Staying ahead of hackers

Staying ahead of the hackers: " . . . In the arcane and rapidly evolving world of cyber security, only one law appears immutable: all government, commercial and academic computer systems will, at some point, be subject to attacks by hackers, either as sport or theft, or as a concerted attempt at espionage. Only this week a Queensland medical practice became another victim of what has come to be knows as ''ransomware attacks'' in which individuals hack into systems, encrypt the data and then demand a ransom for sending a key to release it. The need for hyper-vigilance would appear to be self-evident. Yet even the databases of large and well-resourced government and commercial organisations continue to be breached. The raid on a database of the Australian Defence Force Academy, revealed online by this newspaper on Tuesday, exposed a disturbing lapse in security at one of the nation's leading universities. According to an engineer with extensive experience in network security, however, the implications of the attack may go far deeper. RMIT University senior lecturer Mark Gregory argues that some of those students whose details were stolen may become Australia's future military leaders, and that the accumulation of personal details, whether from social media or supposedly secure sites, could help foreign . . . . " Read more:

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Online Crime Reporting App

The future in policing is here--

San Jose police roll out new online crime reporting application - " Police announced a new, streamlined way for residents to report nonviolent lower-level crimes using an online form instead of going to the police station or calling an officer to the scene. The application, called CopLogic, allows people to report harassing phone calls, identity theft, lost property, vandalism, and theft that doesn't involve burglary or robbery. Police previously had an online reporting system but it was difficult to navigate, said San Jose police Sgt. Jason Dwyer. "The old system wasn't user friendly," said Dwyer. "Your average person will be able to make it through this one -- it's a lot simpler." Dwyer said the CopLogic application also helps "data-driven policing" because information about where crimes happen is instantly available and easier to track with the automated system. "We can look for hotspots in a geographic area," he said. "It helps paint a picture of where crimes occur. That's a big thing." Dwyer said other agencies have been using CopLogic with success and "we're very lucky to have it." "It's the new wave of the future," he said. "With low staffing levels, anything we can do to streamline the crime reporting process is a welcome addition." more info at

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

US will no longer be the sole superpower by 2030

No real surprise here--except it will happen long before 2030--

Intelligence community: U.S. out as sole superpower by 2030 - "A new report by the intelligence community projects that the United States will no longer be the world's only superpower by 2030. "In terms of the indices of overall power – GDP, population size, military spending and technological investment – Asia will surpass North America and Europe combined," the report concludes. “Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds" — prepared by the office of the National Intelligence Council of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence — projects that the "unipolar" world that emerged after the fall of the Soviet Union will not continue. "With the rapid rise of other countries, the 'unipolar moment' is over and no country – whether the U.S., China, or any other country – will be a hegemonic power," the report argues. "The United States’ relative economic decline vis-a-vis the rising states is inevitable and already occurring,but its future role in the international system is much harder to assess," it argues. . . . "A collapse or sudden retreat of US power would most likely result in an extended period of global anarchy". . . ."

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Drone Flights in the US

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a . . . drone!

Drone Flights in the U.S. | Electronic Frontier Foundation: "EFF filed suit against the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), demanding data on certifications and authorizations the agency has issued for the operation of unmanned aircraft, also known as drones. The Federal Aviation Authority, part of the DOT, is the sole entity within the federal government responsible for authorizing domestic drone flights, providing a certification or authorization for any drone flying over 400 feet. Prior to our suit, there was no information available to the public about who specifically had obtained these authorizations or for what purposes. Through our lawsuit, we received specific and detailed information on the drone licensing process that was never before released. This prompted significant public awareness and discussion about the privacy and surveillance issues with drones. EFF partnered with MuckRock, an open government organization that helps individuals send requests for public records, to crowd-source FOIA requests to local law enforcement agencies about their use of unmanned aircrafts. EFF also filed a follow up request with DOT for more detailed records in October of 2012. Additionally, EFF asked the Department of Homeland Security about how and why Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) is using its predator drones on behalf of other law enforcement agencies. . . ."

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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Stratfor Attack Judge in Conflict of Interest?

Anonymous hacker behind Stratfor attack faces life in prison — RT: " . . . In a press release issued under the branding of the Anonymous collective, supporters for Hammond call for Judge Preska’s immediate resignation from the case. “Judge Preska by proxy is a victim of the very crime she intends to judge Jeremy Hammond for. Judge Preska has failed to disclose the fact that her husband is a client of Stratfor and recuse herself from Jeremy's case, therefore violating multiple Sections of Title 28 of the United States Code,” the statement reads. “Judge Loretta Preska's impartiality is compromised by her Husband's involvement with Stratfor and a clear prejudice against Hammond exists, as evident by her statements,” it continues. “Without justice being freely, fully, and impartially administered, neither our persons, nor our rights, nor our property, can be protected.”. . . . After Anonymous went public with the hack of Strafor in December 2011, the internal emails from the intelligence firm were handed off to WikiLeaks, who soon after began publishing the findings. Among the information stored in the emails was documentation alleging that law enforcement agencies spied on Occupy Wall Street protesters and proof of an international surveillance system called Trapwire. Hammond is at this point likely to be the first US citizen tried in a civilian court for crimes relating to the whistleblower site. Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) tells The Real News network this week that the denial of bail is both “very disturbing” and “legally wrong.”

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Swiss spy data leak -- an "inside" job

U.S., U.K. caught in middle of huge Swiss spy data leak -- report | Security & Privacy - CNET News: ". . . According to Reuters' sources, Swiss officials believe that they arrested him and seized the information before he had a chance to sell it, though they can't be entirely sure. Leaked intelligence data has become a hot commodity in the security community. Organizations like WikiLeaks have been able to obtain certain documents and publish them, while hacking collectives, like Anonymous and LulzSec, have taken aim at intelligence organizations to try and steal sensitive data. If the unidentified person did, in fact, steal classified information, it presents yet another challenge in ensuring sensitive data is kept . . . "

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Experts question guilty verdict for AT&T 'hackers'

Experts question guilty verdict for AT&T 'hackers' - CSO Online - Security and Risk: ". . . security experts tend to agree with Auernheimer's attorney, Tor Ekeland, who told Ansel Halliburton that the verdict should concern "any legitimate security researcher," because Auernheimer and Spitler didn't hack through any security on the AT&T website. They also agree with Halliburton that the CFAA is hopelessly vague and outdated, since it was created before the evolution of the Web. "Auernheimer is charged with participating in a conspiracy to violate the FAA by 'intentionally access[ing] a computer without authorization or exceed[ing] authorized access, and thereby obtain[ing]...information from [a] protected computer,'" Halliburton wrote. "But what exactly does that mean?" The language, he said, comes from a law that defines "protected computer" as either a government or bank computer, or as any computer "which is used in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce or communication." "Maybe that worked in 1986 when not that many computers were networked in interstate commerce, but in 2012, it covers almost anything with a microprocessor." Kevin Mitnick, once known as the world's "most wanted hacker" and now a security consultant, also said the CFAA is neither clear nor up to date. And he said as written, it is so broad that just about anybody who uses the Internet could be convicted. . . . Mitnick said he thinks the government's case "is a joke, because anyone can be accused of unauthorized access by simply visiting a web site. How ridiculous is that?""

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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sir Tim Berners-Lee accuses government of 'draconian' internet snooping

Security or threat to security?--

Sir Tim Berners-Lee accuses government of 'draconian' internet snooping - Telegraph: "The inventor of the world wide web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, has accused the government of invading the privacy by monitoring internet use . . . The draft bill extends the type of data that internet service providers must store for at least 12 months. Providers would also be required to keep details of a much wider set of data, including use of social network sites, webmail and voice calls over the internet. Mrs May has justified the need for the new legislation by saying that it is necessary to combat organised crime and terrorism. Sir Tim's comments came on the same day as he denied that there was an 'off'; switch for the internet. He said the only way the internet could only ever be completely shut down is if governments across the world coordinated to make it a centralised system: "At the moment, because countries connect to each other in lots of different ways, there is no one off switch, there is no central place where you can turn it off. "In order to be able to turn the whole thing off or really block, suppress one particular idea then the countries and governments would have to get together and agree and coordinate and turn it from a decentralised system to being a centralised system. "And if that does happen it is really important that everybody fights against that sort of direction.""

Sounds like Sir Tim may be against the ITU takeover of the internet via the WCIT!

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