Category: Surveillance


Fresno Police Scanning Social Media To Assess Threat

 

Intrado Social Media Monitoring

 

 

 

” Fresno police are at the forefront of a new technology designed to figure out how much danger officers may be getting into as they respond to 911 calls. But the product is drawing comparisons to Big Brother because of the massive amount of personal information it collects.

  At least two cops might be alive today if they had access to the software we got to see. But once it’s put to use by police, you have to watch what you say or risk being labeled a threat.

  Before the assassination of two New York police officers in December, an obvious warning was there for anyone to read. But the message in the killer’s public Instagram post never reached officers Liu and Ramos. Two months later, every call to Fresno police dispatchers could give similar warnings the chance to reach officers through new software known as Beware.

” To the extent that there is information that is in the public domain, regardless of where the input was derived, it could potentially be surfaced through a Beware query,” said Allen Carr, vice president of Intrado, the company producing and marketing Beware to first responders of all types.

  Intrado buys billions of pieces of commercially available personal information — the same stuff credit agencies have. It adds arrest records from police databases and within seconds, gives a quick look at who lives at any address and a profile for every person associated with the address.”

 

ABC30

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secrecy Around Police Surveillance Equipment Proves A Case’s Undoing

 

 

 

” The case against Tadrae McKenzie looked like an easy win for prosecutors. He and two buddies robbed a small-time pot dealer of $130 worth of weed using BB guns. Under Florida law, that was robbery with a deadly weapon, with a sentence of at least four years in prison.

  But before trial, his defense team detected investigators’ use of a secret surveillance tool, one that raises significant privacy concerns. In an unprecedented move, a state judge ordered the police to show the device —a cell-tower simulator sometimes called a StingRay — to the attorneys.

  Rather than show the equipment, the state offered McKenzie a plea bargain.

  Today, 20-year-old McKenzie is serving six months’ probation ­after pleading guilty to a second-degree misdemeanor. He got, as one civil liberties advocate said, the deal of the century. (The other two defendants also pleaded guilty and were sentenced to two years’ probation.)

  McKenzie’s case is emblematic of the growing, but hidden, use by local law enforcement of a sophisticated surveillance technology borrowed from the national security world. It shows how a gag order imposed by the FBI — on grounds that discussing the device’s operation would compromise its effectiveness — has left judges, the public and criminal defendants in the dark on how the tool works.”

 

Washington Post

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Government’s War On Freedom Of The Press

 

   Ed. Note: The US is so far down the list that we had to shrink the screen down to 25% to get this screen shot and even then we were unable to capture the top seven nations . They are Finland , Norway , Denmark , Netherlands , Sweden , New Zealand and Austria . Click the image for all of the details.

 

Press Freedom

 

 

” The U.S. plummeted to a dismal 49th place on the Reporters Without Borders annual Press Freedom Index, marking the country’s second lowest ranking since the list was created in 2002 and its lowest since 2006. Other countries ranked in the 40s and 50s include Haiti, Mongolia, and Chile.

  The index cited “judicial harassment” of New York Times reporter James Risen, the arbitrary arrest of at least 15 journalists during the Ferguson, Missouri clashes, and the fact that U.S. journalists are still not legally entitled to protect sources who reveal confidential information about their work.

  The U.S.’s slip in press freedom rankings mirrors its seven-place drop in Freedom House’s Global Press Freedom Index from 2013-2014, though the country still ranks among the 14 percent of countries whose press is classified as “free” in the latter scale.

  Reality may be even worse than the rankings suggest. Legal protections for the press have only eroded since the 2006 trough year when the Bush Administration threatened to prosecute Risen for publishing stories chronicling warrantless wiretapping of citizens’ phone calls.

  Since the Obama Administration took power, it has used the Espionage Act to prosecute data leakers a record seven times—more than every other president combined in the law’s nearly 100-year history—a Fox News journalist has been spied on by the Justice Department under the justification that he’s a criminal conspirator, Wikileaks creator Julian Assange has been declared “a hi-tech terrorist,” and the Supreme Court refused to overturn a lower court ruling against Risen stating that the First Amendment doesn’t protect him from refusing to testify about a whistleblower that allegedly leaked classified information about the CIA’s efforts to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program.

  Reports from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald even suggest that media outlets routinely vet their articles with government officials before publishing them.”

 

 

 By way of comparison , in 2009 when Obama took office the US was ranked in a tie with the UK for 21st place by Reporters Without Borders (again , click the image for the details) :

 

 

Press Freedom 2009

Reason has more on this “Change” we can believe in …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Internet Groups In Tricky Position Over US Net Neutrality

 

 

 

 

The problem comes with the form the rules will take. With heavy nudging from the White House, the FCC has opted to repurpose an authority it was given under an old telecoms law, known as Title II, to make it apply to the internet era.

  Like all deeply technical issues that become political footballs, it has not been hard for the rival camps to turn this into opposing talking points. Depending on where you stand, it is either bold action to protect an open internet or inappropriately sweeping, utility-style regulation.

  What is indisputable is that the legislation the FCC is relying on was designed for circuit-switched telephone networks in a different age. The only way to adapt it to modern times is to suppress certain parts of Title II and implement it piecemeal. The FCC promises a light touch: in particular, it says it will avoid price regulation or any requirements that might force operators to unbundle their networks.

  If history is any guide, a challenge in the courts will follow. There is simply too much at stake for the regulations not to be tested. And, as was the case with the last approach to net neutrality, it is not beyond the courts to reject the FCC’s compromise as unduly arbitrary.

  This is where things could become dicey for companies such as Google and Facebook. Who knows how some future FCC would interpret its new Title II powers, or whether a court would order a different implementation of the law. Price regulation of the internet’s interconnection agreements would always be a looming threat.

  It is not just the impact in the US itself that is at stake. There is also the question of what message US regulators are about to send to the rest of the world. The risk is that Washington will be seen to be giving a nod of approval to the idea of extending traditional telecoms rate regulations to the internet.”

 

 

Read the whole piece at Financial Times

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Massive Utah Cyberattacks — Up To 300 Million Per Day — May Be Aimed At NSA Facility

 

 

 

” Five years ago, Utah government computer systems faced 25,000 to 30,000 attempted cyberattacks every day.

  At the time, Utah Public Safety Commissioner Keith Squires thought that was massive. “But this last year we have had spikes of over 300 million attacks against the state databases” each day: a 10,000-fold increase.

  Why? Squires says it is probably because Utah is home to the new, secretive National Security Agency computer center, and hackers believe they can somehow get to it through state computer systems.

” I really do believe it was all the attention drawn to the NSA facility. In the cyberworld, that’s a big deal,” Squires told a legislative budget committee Tuesday. “I watched as those increases jumped so much over the last few years. And talking to counterparts in other states, they weren’t seeing that amount of increase like we were.” “

Read more

Two Philadelphia Police Officers Charged With Beating A Man And Falsely Accusing Him Of Assault

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

” Two police officers in Philadelphia have been charged with beating a man nearly two years ago and claiming that he attacked them, authorities said this week.

  The charges, which come amid a heightened focus on police tactics in the country, came as a result of surveillance footage showing that the officers, rather than being assaulted as they had reported, knocked the man off a motor scooter before beating him so severely he required stitches and staples, according to a grand jury report, the Philadelphia district attorney and the city’s police commissioner.

“ The same rules should apply to everyone,” Seth Williams, Philadelphia’s district attorney, said Thursday at a news conference announcing the charges. “Rich or poor, black or white, or a sworn officer with a badge.”

  A grand jury had investigated the May 2013 incident after Williams’s office received surveillance video from the scene. The grand jury said in its findings that Sean McKnight and Kevin Robinson, the two Philadelphia police officers, “assaulted Najee Rivera by knocking him off of his motor scooter and then hitting him repeatedly with a baton and fists causing him bodily injury, including a fractured orbital and numerous facial cuts requiring stitches and staples.” 

  The surveillance video showed the police car, without its lights or siren activated and not issuing any commands, hitting Rivera on his scooter and knocking him onto the ground, according to the grand jury presentation. This video then shows the officers getting out of the car and hitting Rivera with a baton, first while being held against a wall and then while he was on the ground.

  This is how the grand jury presentation describes the scene:

  Throughout the entire encounter that is captured on the video, Rivera was wailing loudly and uncontrollably. Although he was moving around on the ground while being struck, he was not resisting the officers or engaging in any aggressive actions. After about 40 seconds of continued repeated strikes, McKnight and Robinson placed Rivera into handcuffs and held him down with a foot on his back. For at least four minutes, either McKnight or Robinson kept a foot on Rivera’s back as he lay on the ground bleeding. “

 

 

Washington Post

 

    In it’s typical Statist way the WaPost omits the fact that it was the determination and diligence of Mr Rivera’s girlfriend , Dina Scannapieco , that finally brought this case against the officers involved thanks to her tireless efforts to locate surveillance video of the incident , something that the authorities failed to do .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FPV Quadcopter – Gun Cam

 

 

 

They’re Tracking You Everywhere You Drive

 

 

 

” Towing companies are a necessary evil when it comes to parking enforcement and property repossession. But in the Google Earth we now inhabit, tow trucks do more than just yank cars out of loading zones. They use license-plate readers (LPRs) to assemble a detailed profile of where your car will be and when. That’s an unnecessary evil.

  Plate readers have long been a tool of law enforcement, and police officers swear by them for tracking stolen cars and apprehending dangerous criminals. But private companies, such as repo crews, also photograph millions of plates a day, with scanners mounted on tow trucks and even on purpose-built camera cars whose sole mission is to drive around and collect plate scans. Each scan is GPS-tagged and stamped with the date and time, feeding a massive data trove to any law-enforcement agency—or government-approved private industry—willing to pay for it.

  You’ve probably been tagged at the office, at a mall, or even in your own driveway. And the companies that sell specialized monitoring software that assembles all these sightings into a reliable profile stand to profit hugely. Brian Hauss, a legal fellow for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), says: “The whole point is so you can figure out somebody’s long-term location. Unless there are limits on how those transactions can be processed, I think it’s just a matter of time until there are significant privacy violations, if they haven’t already occurred.”

  (How Is This Even Legal? License-plate-reader companies don’t have access to DMV registrations, so while they can track your car, they don’t know it’s yours. That information is guarded by the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act of 1994, which keeps your name, address, and driving history from public view. Mostly. There are plenty of exceptions, including for insurance companies and private investigators. LPR companies say only two groups can use its software to find the person behind the plate: law-enforcement agencies and repossession companies. In addition, the encrypted databases keep a log of each plate search and allow the ability to restrict access.)

  The companies that push plate readers enjoy unregulated autonomy in most states. Vigilant Solutions of California and its partner, Texas-based Digital Recognition Network, boast at least 2 billion license-plate scans since starting the country’s largest private license-plate database, the National Vehicle Location Service, in 2009.

  In total, there are at least 3 billion license-plate photos in private databases. Since many are duplicates and never deleted, analytics can paint a vivid picture of any motorist. Predicting where and when someone will drive is relatively easy; software can sort how many times a car is spotted in a certain area and, when fed enough data, can generate a person’s driving history over time.”

 

Read the rest at Popular Mechanics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At Retreat, Dem Staffers Escort Reporters To Restroom

 

 

 

” Reporters covering the House Democrats’ retreat in Philadelphia this week are having a much different experience than when they’re on their home turf on Capitol Hill. 

  Reporters are being escorted to and from the restroom and lobby and are being barred from entering the hotel outside of scheduled events, even if they’ve been invited by a member of Congress. 

  During Vice President Joe Biden’s remarks at the retreat Friday, reporters were required to have a staff member, usually a junior member of the press team, escort them when going to the bathroom or to the lobby. The filing center for reporters was at a separate hotel from where the retreat was taking place, so access was limited to members of Congress specifically made available to the press.

It was a police state. It was absurd how heavy handed the capitol police and Democratic staff were in trying to control everywhere the press went,” New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters said in an interview.”

 

Read more about the media being shut out by their own home team here . The irony is delicious .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Malware Can Hijack A Drone In Seconds

 

 

 

 

 

” If the White House wants to keep drones off the lawn, they might want to give Rahul Sasi a call. He’s developing malware that can hijack a drone in just a few short seconds.

  He calls his malware (fittingly enough) Maldrone, and it doesn’t gain control over its victims the way that previously-demonstrated attacks do. Most others have leveraged the APIs — like the one provided by Parrot for developers who want to tinker with their AR Drones — to do the hijacking.

  But a “Parrot drone is a toy,” Rahul says, and he went to work on an attack that was a bit more generic, able to wreak havoc on multitudes of drones regardless of whether or not the manufacturer exposes anything via an API. Maldrone is the result, and it’s impressive even though it’s very much a work in progress.”

 

    Read more about Maldrone here . In other drone news , DJI has upgraded their firmware creating a 15.5 mile radius no-fly zone around Washington DC .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

… Clean Your Camera Lens!

 

 

 

 

 

” The NSA has issued a Public Announcement today saying that everyone who owns a laptop, cell phone, smart TV, and any other modern social device with video recording, is advised to clean their camera lens regularly.

  An unnamed member of the NSA has released the statement through their Twitter account adding that “It’s really not good for morale when you see a chick in her bedroom through the laptop, and the camera lens blurs the image because of a smudge or something, especially when she’s pretty hot.” The NSA Twitter account later stated that “if you are under a 5 out of 10 on the hotness scale then you can disregard the advisory.”

  This is not the first very open statement the NSA has made in recent months when they released a tweet saying, “You know what? Everyone knows we’re watching, so we might as well save billions on secrecy and be blatant about it. I mean, the cat’s out of the bag and we, as a tax-powered institution, should just admit it.”

  There have also been hundreds of complaints recently from all collective genders about receiving random and untraceable phone texts while at home, asking the recipients things like, “Turn around a few times” and “It’s a little warm for that sweater, don’t you think?”

  When asked about the recent unprofessional attitude they officially state that “it’s 2015, so get with the times, this is the new standard of government professionalism.”

 

Thanks to Chedoh at The People’s Cube

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does Your State Protect Your Privacy In The Digital Age?

 

Privacy Rights In The Digital Age

 

 

 

” New technologies make it possible for state and local law enforcement agencies to engage in surveillance that used to be prohibitively expensive and/or effectively impossible. The ACLU has been working with legislators across the country to put in place rules to ensure that we can take advantage of these new technologies without becoming a surveillance society in which our every movements are tracked, monitored, and scrutinized by the authorities. Much of our work to that end focuses on: law enforcement access to electronic communications content, location tracking,automatic license plate readers, and domestic surveillance drones.

  If we can address these four issue areas, we will go a long way toward protecting privacy in the digital age. This map provides a snapshot of the states that have already provided privacy protections for some or all of them. Of course, the devil is in the details of these laws, and we encourage you to review the bill text or to check out the ACLU’s blog for more information on just how much protection there is in your state.”

 

Thanks to the ACLU

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Spies On Millions Of Cars

 

 

 

 

” The Justice Department has been building a national database to track in real time the movement of vehicles around the U.S., a secret domestic intelligence-gathering program that scans and stores hundreds of millions of records about motorists, according to current and former officials and government documents.

  The primary goal of the license-plate tracking program, run by the Drug Enforcement Administration, is to seize cars, cash and other assets to combat drug trafficking, according to one government document. But the database’s use has expanded to hunt for vehicles associated with numerous other potential crimes, from kidnappings to killings to rape suspects, say people familiar with the matter.

  Officials have publicly said that they track vehicles near the border with Mexico to help fight drug cartels. What hasn’t been previously disclosed is that the DEA has spent years working to expand the database “throughout the United States,’’ according to one email reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Many state and local law-enforcement agencies are accessing the database for a variety of investigations, according to people familiar with the program, putting a wealth of information in the hands of local officials who can track vehicles in real time on major roadways.

  The database raises new questions about privacy and the scope of government surveillance. The existence of the program and its expansion were described in interviews with current and former government officials, and in documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union through a Freedom of Information Act request and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. It is unclear if any court oversees or approves the intelligence-gathering.”

 

Read more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Police Radars Can ‘See’ Inside Homes

 

 

 

 

” At least 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies have secretly equipped their officers with radar devices that allow them to effectively peer through the walls of houses to see whether anyone is inside, a practice raising new concerns about the extent of government surveillance.

  Those agencies, including the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service, began deploying the radar systems more than two years ago with little notice to the courts and no public disclosure of when or how they would be used. The technology raises legal and privacy issues because the U.S. Supreme Court has said officers generally cannot use high-tech sensors to tell them about the inside of a person’s house without first obtaining a search warrant.

  The radars work like finely tuned motion detectors, using radio waves to zero in on movements as slight as human breathing from a distance of more than 50 feet. They can detect whether anyone is inside of a house, where they are and whether they are moving.

  Current and former federal officials say the information is critical for keeping officers safe if they need to storm buildings or rescue hostages. But privacy advocates and judges have nonetheless expressed concern about the circumstances in which law enforcement agencies may be using the radars — and the fact that they have so far done so without public scrutiny.

” The idea that the government can send signals through the wall of your house to figure out what’s inside is problematic,” said Christopher Soghoian, the American Civil Liberties Union’s principal technologist. “Technologies that allow the police to look inside of a home are among the intrusive tools that police have.”

  Agents’ use of the radars was largely unknown until December, when a federal appeals court in Denver said officers had used one before they entered a house to arrest a man wanted for violating his parole. The judges expressed alarm that agents had used the new technology without a search warrant, warning that “the government’s warrantless use of such a powerful tool to search inside homes poses grave Fourth Amendment questions.”

By then, however, the technology was hardly new. Federal contract records show the Marshals Service began buying the radars in 2012, and has so far spent at least $180,000 on them.

  Justice Department spokesman Patrick Rodenbush said officials are reviewing the court’s decision. He said the Marshals Service “routinely pursues and arrests violent offenders based on pre-established probable cause in arrest warrants” for serious crimes.

  The device the Marshals Service and others are using, known as the Range-R, looks like a sophisticated stud-finder. Its display shows whether it has detected movement on the other side of a wall and, if so, how far away it is — but it does not show a picture of what’s happening inside. The Range-R’s maker, L-3 Communications, estimates it has sold about 200 devices to 50 law enforcement agencies at a cost of about $6,000 each.”

 

 

 

Read more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watch Florida Teen Rescue Police Officer While He’s Being Booked

 

 

 

 

 

 

” A Florida teen who was processed into the Ft. Lauderdale Police Department Booking Facility is set to be commended later this month for heroically helping to save the life of an officer who collapsed while booking him, an incident that was captured on surveillance camera.”

 

 

 

Florida teen saves police officer's life

 

 

” According to the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, on Sept. 10, 2014, Officer Franklin Foulks was in the process of booking 17-year-old Jamal Rutledge, when the cop collapsed. Rutledge, still in handcuffs, got up to check on Officer Foulks, who police say was losing consciousness.

  As the video shows, Rutledge “immediately began to kick the security fence and yell to alert officers in the area,” police said in a news release.”

 

ABC News

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rhianna The Rhino Escapes From Tel Aviv Zoo – Rhinos Escape While Zookeeper Sleeps

 

 

 

Published on Jan 7, 2015

” Raw CCTV Video: Security Guard Chases Rihanna The Rhino And Friends After They Escape From Ramat Gan Safari Park, Israel – Rhianna the Rhino Escapes From Tel Aviv Zoo – Rhinos Escape While Zookeeper Sleeps  

  This video footage shows the moment a young female rhinoceros named Rihanna led two pals on an escape bid from a safari park after spotting the security guard had fallen asleep.

  The footage shows the rhinos escaping from the front entrance of the Ramat Gan Safari Park in the city of Ramat Gan in the Tel Aviv district of western Israel after a security guard nodded off to sleep and failed to notice until too late what was happening.

  Although another employee of the park gave chase, it was too late to stop the white rhinos from hitting the road.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FAA Grants Permits For Drones To Monitor Crops, Photograph Real Estate

 

 

 

 

 

” The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday issued permits to use drones to monitor crops and photograph properties for sale, marking the first time permission has been granted to companies involved in agriculture and real estate.

  The exemptions to the current ban on commercial drone flights were granted to Advanced Aviation Solutions in Star, Idaho, for “crop scouting,” and to Douglas Trudeau of Tierra Antigua Realty in Tucson, Arizona.

  Advanced Aviation Solutions plans to use its 1.5-pound, fixed-wing eBee drone to make photographic measurements of farm fields, determine the health of crops and look for pests. The aim is to save farmers time walking through fields. The drone also can carry sensors that pick up information invisible to the naked eye, which can help determine which fields need watering.”

 

 

    Will this latest licensing effort by the Feds morph into yet another example of cronyism and reward towards favored , connected corporations ? Of course . Notice that the film industry was one of the first to gain their exemption from the State .

 

CNS News has more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CIA Reveals The Truth Behind UFOs

 

 

 

” America’s Central Intelligence Agency has used the end-of-the-year silly season to finally come clean about UFOs.

  Anyone hoping for little green men will be disappointed, though — the CIA is claiming responsibility.

  Tweeting about its most popular stories of the year, the CIA named a 1998 report linking its activities in the 1950s to UFO sightings.

  The report, ‘The CIA and the U-2 Program, 1954-1974’, written by Gregory Pedlow and Donald Welzenbach, outlines the CIA’s involvement in the development of the U-2 spy plane.

  It explains how the testing of the planes led to a massive increase in UFO reports.”

 

Read more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Christmas Eve, NSA Quietly Releases 12 Years Worth Of Internal Reports

 

 

 

” This holiday season, the NSA participated in a longstanding media tradition—dumping a large bit of news during a busy period of time when many likely weren’t paying attention.

  The US spy agency responded to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union by quietly releasing 12 years worth of internal reports on Christmas Eve. Several included reports were previously withheld illegally, and they became the subject of the FOIA lawsuit in 2009.

  The new trove of information has inspired a different breed of headlines, such as “Highlights From Newly Released NSA Oversight Reports Reveal Bumbling Ineptitude But No Evidence Of Systematic Abuse” from Forbes. The newly discovered errors ran the gamut, including American data being e-mailed to unauthorized recipients, data being kept on unsecured computers, and sensitive information being sent to the wrong printer.”

 

 

 

 

 

Ars Technica has more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Arrested In Christmas Eve Cash Spill Case In Hong Kong; HK$9 Million Still Missing

 

 

 

 

 

” Police made the first arrests on Thursday night after more than HK$15 million went missing on Christmas Eve after a money transport van owned by securities firm G4S spilled large bundles of cash over a busy road in Wan Chai.

  Two passengers – a 43-year-old man and a 36-year-old woman – in a taxi that passed by Gloucester Road on Wednesday were arrested in Kowloon City and Tseung Kwan O respectively as police announced at around midnight on Friday that a total of HK$5.69 million had been recovered after 30 persons surrendered the banknotes to police.

  The man is in the electronics recycling business while the woman is a cosmetologist. Both are said to be friends.

” We found the money stored under the bed at their homes and they admitted they took the money on Gloucester [Road] after getting off the taxi they were in,” said police chief inspector Addy Li Chi-kin at a media briefing outside an industrial building on 20 Sheung Yuet Road in Kowloon Bay where the male suspect arrested.

  On Thursday afternoon, police said that 27 people had handed over cash, including two individuals who returned HK$1 million and one person who handed in HK$2 million.

  The police had previously asked the public to help return the money that went missing in the frantic scramble, most of it in HK$500 notes, the equivalent of about US$65.

  The vehicle was transporting a total of HK$270 million in cash. The HK$500 and HK$1,000 banknotes were contained in 30 plastic boxes.

  Three of the boxes with a total of HK$52.5 million cash were dropped from a door of a G4S van. A total of HK$15.23 million in cash was later found to be missing.”

 

South China Morning Post

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helicopter Drone Makes First Flight From Navy Destroyer

 

 

 

 

 

 

” A helicopter drone developed by Northrop Grumman Corp. has made its first flight from a U.S. Navy destroyer, the company announced.

  The MQ-8C Fire Scout on Dec. 16 completed 22 autonomous takeoffs and landings aboard the guided-missile destroyer, USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109), off the coast of Norfolk, Virginia, according to a Dec. 23 release from the Falls Church, Virginia-based defense contractor.

“ This is the first sea-based flight of the MQ-8C and the first time an unmanned helicopter has operated from a destroyer,” Capt. Jeff Dodge, who manages the program for Naval Air Systems Command, said in the release. The technology offers greater endurance, he added, allowing “ship commanders and pilots to have a longer on station presence.” “

 

Read more at Military.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Live – NORAD Santa Tracker 2014: Follow Father Christmas’s Trip Around The Globe

 

NORAD Santa Tracker 2014

 Click pic to go live where you can follow Santa around the world

 

 

 

” Each festive season the air forces tasked with defending US airspace instead devote themselves to tracking Father Christmas.

  The North American Aerospace Defense Command – or NORAD – started tracking him when a 1955 advert encouraged children to phone Santa – but gave the wrong number.

  When he realised what had happened, Colonel Harry Shoup – who came to be known as the “Santa Colonel” – quickly told his staff to answer the calls with an update on Father Christmas’s current position.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

” And the practice has continued ever since, developing into a tradition where volunteers staff call centres on Christmas Eve and field around 70,000 phone calls each year from 200 countries.

  But the tracker has adapted with the times, becoming more advanced through the years as it took to the internet.

  It now has its own Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts, and not only counts down the days until Father Christmas will begin delivering presents but lets you visit the digital North Pole and play various games.”

 

Read more at Mirror.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cellphone Privacy Is Shaky, Researchers Say

 

 

 

” German researchers have discovered security flaws that could let hackers, spies, and criminals listen to private phone calls and intercept text messages on a potentially massive scale — even when cellular networks are using the most advanced encryption available.

  The flaws, to be reported at a hacker conference in Hamburg this month, are the latest evidence of widespread insecurity on SS7, the global network that allows the world’s cellular carriers to route calls, texts, and other data to one another. Experts say it’s increasingly clear that SS7, designed in the 1980s, is riddled with serious vulnerabilities.

  The flaws discovered by the Germans are actually functions built into SS7 for other purposes, such as keeping calls connected as users speed down highways, switching from cell tower to cell tower. Hackers can repurpose them because of the lax security on the network.”

 

Read more at the Boston Globe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cops Illegally Nailed Webcam To Utility Pole For 6 Weeks To Spy On House

 

 

 

” A federal judge on Monday tossed evidence that was gathered by a webcam—turned on for six weeks—that the authorities nailed to a utility pole 100 yards from a suspected drug dealer’s rural Washington state house.

  The Justice Department contended that the webcam, with pan-and-zoom capabilities that were operated from afar, was no different from a police officer’s observation from the public right-of-way.

The government argued (PDF):

  The advantage of a police camera to law enforcement is that it saves the time and manpower required to conduct around the clock surveillance. As in this case, law enforcement is authorized to use the pole camera only to record activities that are otherwise open to public view, and not protected by the 4th Amendment.

  US District Judge Edward Shea disagreed and ruled (PDF) that a warrant was necessary to spy on Leonel Vargas via a webcam controlled by local police.”

 

 

Somehow this little tidbit doesn’t surprise us:

 

 

” Strangely, the judge noted, when the authorities raided the house in May 2013, the camera was panned on nearby sagebrush and not the house.”

 

 

ArsTechnica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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