Tag Archives: surveillance

Research shows how MacBook Webcams can spy on their users without warning

The woman was shocked when she received two nude photos of herself by e-mail. The photos had been taken over a period of several months — without her knowledge — by the built-in camera on her laptop.

Fortunately, the FBI was able to identify a suspect: her high school classmate, a man named Jared Abrahams. The FBI says it found software on Abrahams’s computer that allowed him to spy remotely on her and numerous other women.

Abrahams pleaded guilty to extortion in October. The woman, identified in court papers only as C.W., later identified herself on Twitter as Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf. While her case was instant fodder for celebrity gossip sites, it left a serious issue unresolved.

Most laptops with built-in cameras have an important privacy feature — a light that is supposed to turn on any time the camera is in use. But Wolf says she never saw the light on her laptop go on. As a result, she had no idea she was under surveillance.

via Research shows how MacBook Webcams can spy on their users without warning.

Indiana State Police Acknowledge Use Of Cell Phone Tracking Device

A USA Today and IndyStar investigation found the Indiana State Police purchased a device called a Stringray that captures nearby cell phone data.

State Police Captain Dave Bursten responded to the report Wednesday, saying the agency is operating within the bounds of the law.

The Indiana State Police are responding to lawmakers’ and civil rights organizations’ concerns that it is overstepping its boundaries by using a device that can track cell phone calls, text messages and movements within a set radius.

Indiana State Police Captain Dave Bursten said in a statement the department is working well within the bounds of the law.  He says protection of investigation methods is key to the success of building a case.

Bursten won’t say exactly how the technology is used, because he says it would be “like a football team giving up their playbook.”

A joint USA Today and IndyStar investigation found earlier this month that the state police spent $373,995 on a device called a Stingray.

Often installed in a surveillance vehicle, the suitcase-size Stingrays trick all cellphones in a set distance — sometimes exceeding a mile, depending on the terrain and antennas — into connecting to it as if it were a real cellphone tower. That allows police agencies to capture location data and numbers dialed for calls and text messages from thousands of people at a time.

State police officials initially refused to provide any records related to the purchase of the Stingray.

After the IndyStar appealed the denial to the Indiana Public Access Counselor, the Indiana State Police provided a one-page document confirming the purchase of the device but no information about how it is used.

via State Police Acknowledge Use Of Cell Phone Tracking Device | News – Indiana Public Media.

World of Spycraft: NSA and CIA Spied in Online Games

Not limiting their activities to the earthly realm, American and British spies have infiltrated the fantasy worlds of World of Warcraft and Second Life, conducting surveillance and scooping up data in the online games played by millions of people across the globe, according to newly disclosed classified documents.

Fearing that terrorist or criminal networks could use the games to communicate secretly, move money or plot attacks, the documents show, intelligence operatives have entered terrain populated by digital avatars that include elves, gnomes and supermodels.

The spies have created make-believe characters to snoop and to try to recruit informers, while also collecting data and contents of communications between players, according to the documents, disclosed by the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden. Because militants often rely on features common to video games — fake identities, voice and text chats, a way to conduct financial transactions — American and British intelligence agencies worried that they might be operating there, according to the papers.

via World of Spycraft: NSA and CIA Spied in Online Games – ProPublica.

They Loved Your G.P.A. Then They Saw Your Tweets.

At Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Me., admissions officers are still talking about the high school senior who attended a campus information session last year for prospective students. Throughout the presentation, she apparently posted disparaging comments on Twitter about her fellow attendees, repeatedly using a common expletive.

Perhaps she hadn’t realized that colleges keep track of their social media mentions.

via They Loved Your G.P.A. Then They Saw Your Tweets. – NYTimes.com.

Government claims Snowden leaks could paedophiles escape police, says government

We talked in class about child pornography being the H-bomb of all discussions about Internet regulation.  Well, the UK government just dropped it…

Paedophiles may escape detection because highly-classified material about Britain’s surveillance capabilities have been published by the Guardian newspaper, the government has claimed.

A senior Whitehall official said data stolen by Edward Snowden, a former contractor to the US National Security Agency, could be exploited by child abusers and other cyber criminals.

It could also put lives at risk by disclosing secrets to terrorists, insurgents and hostile foreign governments, he said.

The claims emerged as lawyers for the Home Office launched a hard-hitting defence against a legal challenge which is seeking to establish the partner of a Guardian journalist was wrongly detained at Heathrow airport in August.

via Edward Snowden leaks could help paedophiles escape police, says government – Telegraph.

NSA infiltrates links to Yahoo, Google data centers worldwide, Snowden documents say

In this slide from a National Security Agency presentation on “Google Cloud Exploitation,” a sketch shows where the “Public Internet” meets the internal “Google Cloud” where user data resides. Two engineers with close ties to Google exploded in profanity when they saw the drawing.

The National Security Agency has secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world, according to documents obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and interviews with knowledgeable officials.

By tapping those links, the agency has positioned itself to collect at will from among hundreds of millions of user accounts, many of them belonging to Americans. The NSA does not keep everything it collects, but it keeps a lot.

via NSA infiltrates links to Yahoo, Google data centers worldwide, Snowden documents say – The Washington Post.

France calls in U.S. ambassador over NSA spying allegations on French citizens

France called in the U.S. ambassador on Monday to protest at allegations in Le Monde newspaper about large-scale spying on French citizens by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said.

The Leaked documents revealed the US spy agency NSA records millions of phone calls and monitors politicians and high-profile business people.

via France calls in U.S. ambassador over NSA spying allegations on French citizens | RtoZ.org – Latest News.

Virginia State Police Used License Plate Readers At Political Rallies, Built Huge Database | American Civil Liberties Union

From 2010 until last spring, the Virginia State Police (VSP) maintained a massive database of license plates that allowed them to pinpoint the locations of millions of cars on particular dates and times. Even more disturbing, the agency used automatic license plate readers (ALPRs) to collect information about political activities of law-abiding people. The VSP recorded the license plates of vehicles attending President Obama’s 2009 inauguration, as well as campaign rallies for Obama and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. (Documentation of this program, disclosed in response to an ACLU of Virginia public records request, can be found here.) These practices starkly illustrate the need for tight controls on government use of technology for surveillance purposes.

via Virginia State Police Used License Plate Readers At Political Rallies, Built Huge Database | American Civil Liberties Union.

We’re Glenn Greenwald and Janine Gibson of the Guardian US, and we’ve been breaking stories on the NSA Files since June. AUA! : IAmA

Leaks from Edward Snowden earlier this year have lead to hundreds of stories by the Guardian and other news outlets that examine the tension between personal privacy and national security. Our reporting has sparked a global debate about the full extent of the NSA’s actions to collect personal data. Our latest story, published Monday, is about MARINA, an NSA application that stores the metadata of millions of web users for up to a year. Read through the full NSA Files archive here.

So, what do you want to know? We will answer as many questions as possible, but of course this is sensitive information. We’ll do the best we can.

via We’re Glenn Greenwald and Janine Gibson of the Guardian US, and we’ve been breaking stories on the NSA Files since June. AUA! : IAmA.

Easily obtained subpoenas turn your personal information against you

For some, revelations that the National Security Agency has been collecting vast amounts of personal information on U.S. citizens might seem as far removed as the city of Moscow.

But it’s not just an ultrasecret spy agency that can create a dossier on you.

Many Americans would be surprised by how easily local law enforcement, IRS investigators, the FBI and private attorneys can reach into the vast pool of personal information about their lives with little more than a subpoena, which no judge needs to review.

And it’s not just for selling you more products or services. It can be wielded against you.

via Easily obtained subpoenas turn your personal information against you | The Center for Investigative Reporting.