” 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.
GATHERING INTELLIGENCE: U.S. and British intelligence agencies — including the Central Intelligence Agency, Defense intelligence agency and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters — have operated in virtual worlds and gaming communities to snoop and try to recruit informants. For example, according to Snowden documents, the U.S. has conducted spy operations in Second Life (pictured), where players create human avatars to socialize, buy and sell goods and explore exotic virtual destinations. (Second Life image via Linden Lab)
Online games might seem innocuous, a top-secret 2008 NSA document warned, but they had the potential to be a “target-rich communication network” allowing intelligence suspects “a way to hide in plain sight.” Virtual games “are an opportunity!,” another 2008 NSA document declared.”
Tag Archive: Surveillance
” If you live in the United States, you live in a high tech surveillance grid that is becoming more oppressive with each passing day. In America today, the control freaks that run things are completely obsessed with watching, tracking, monitoring and recording virtually everything that we do. If we continue on the path that we are currently on, we will be heading into a future where there will be absolutely no privacy of any kind. In fact, many would argue that we are essentially there already. Many people speak of this as being the “Information Age“, but most Americans don’t really stop and think about what that really means. Most of the information that is considered to be so “valuable” is actually about all of us. Businesses want to know as much about all of us as possible so that they can sell us stuff. Government officials want to know as much about all of us as possible so that they can make sure that we are not doing anything that they don’t like. There is a constant hunger for even more information, and so the surveillance technologies just continue to become even more advanced and the Big Brother control grid being constructed all around us just continues to become even more pervasive. Even though you may not be consciously aware of it, the truth is that it is surrounding you right now even as you read this. We live in a society where liberty and freedom are literally being strangled to death, but most Americans don’t seem to care.
Do you know who else gets watched, tracked and monitored 24 hours a day?
Surveillance is a form of control, and at this point we are little more than inmates inside a gigantic Big Brother surveillance grid.
Posted below is a list of 32 privacy destroying technologies that are systematically transforming America into a giant prison. Following each item, there is a short excerpt from a news report about that particular technology. If you want to read the entire article where the excerpt came from, just click the link to find the source. Individually, each of these technologies is deeply troubling. But when you step back and take a look at them all collectively, it is absolutely horrifying…
#1 Spying On Us Through Our Televisions: Put simply, our TVs have started spying on us.
Last week, there was a high-profile case in point. An IT consultant called Jason Huntley, who lives in a village near Hull, uncovered evidence that a flat-screen television, which had been sitting in his living room since the summer, was secretly invading his family’s privacy.
He began investigating the £400 LG device after noticing that its home screen appeared to be showing him ‘targeted’ adverts — for cars, and Knorr stock cubes — based on programmes he’d just been watching.
Huntley decided to monitor information that the so-called smart TV — which connects to the internet — was sending and receiving. He did this by using his laptop effectively as a bridge between his television and the internet receiver, so the laptop was able to show all the data being sucked out of his set.
He soon discovered that details of not just every show he watched but every button he pressed on his remote control were being sent back to LG’s corporate headquarters in South Korea.”
This is a very informative article that lists , with links , many many ways in which the technology revolution is being used by the State to turn America into a virtual gulag where nothing said or done passes un-noticed by our “betters” . If you are looking for a catalogue of present day surveillance technologies start here .
Is Xbox Kinect Listening To Your Skype Calls?
“ Slate.com tried to get Microsoft PR person for Skype, Chaim Haas, to comment on if they now have the ability to listen on Skype chats. Haas reportedly would not give a direct comment, saying only that Skype “co-operates with law enforcement agencies as much as is legally and technically possible.” “
More food for thought :
” An al Qaeda-linked terrorist, who was resettled in the U.S. as an Iraq War refugee after allegedly killing American soldiers, was caught on camera in Kentucky handling heavy weapons that the FBI said he believed would be sent to insurgents back in Iraq.
The 2010 video, obtained exclusively by ABC News, was part of a broader ABC News investigation into the flawed refugee vetting program, which officials said may have let “dozens” of terrorists into the country.
In the video, Waad Ramadan Alwan is seen expertly field stripping what the FBI identified as a Russian PKM machine gun. Other still images provided by the FBI from hours-worth of surveillance footage show Alwan and an accomplice, Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, handling a Stinger missile launcher and a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launcher.”
See this companion story for more details on how the US government has allowed dozens or perhaps even hundreds of Al Qaeda operatives into the country under the guise of being “refugees” from political persecution …. sickening . They do a better job of keeping Americans off of planes than they do of keeping terrorists out of the country .
” We’ve been among those who have suggested that the best way for the NSA to deal with the upcoming NSA leaks is to just stop lying and come clean about what they’re doing. It’s such a crazy suggestion that even former NSA boss Bobby Ray Inman has suggested it as well. It looks like the NSA is considering revealing something, but it’s likely to be pretty limited:
With respect to other information held by Snowden and his allies but not yet publicized, the NSA is now considering a proactive release of some of the less sensitive material, to better manage the debate over its surveillance program.
“We’re working on how do we do that,” says Richard Ledgett, the NSA official in charge of the agency’s response to the Snowden disclosures.”
The NSA knows who Grandma Smith invited to her bridge game last week but six months later they have no idea how many documents Edward Snowden took with him . That’s confidence inspiring .
” Strange new off-white boxes popping up in downtown Seattle use wi-fi networks that can record the last 1,000 locations of a person using their cellphone’s MAC address, but the Department of Homeland Security – which funded the network to the tune of $2.7 million dollars – has refused to address the nightmare privacy implications of a system that could lead to the permanent tracking of an entire city’s population.
A report by The Stranger, a weekly Seattle newspaper, exposes how the boxes, which are attached to utility poles and include vertical antennae, can track cellphones even if they are not connected to the system’s wi-fi network.
Aruba – the company that provided the boxes to the Seattle Police Department – brags in its technical literature about how the boxes can keep track of “rogue” or “unassociated” devices, in other words your cellphone even if you have refused to let the system access your device’s wi-fi component.
The user’s guide for one of Aruba’s recent software products states: “The wireless network has a wealth of information about unassociated and associated devices.” That software includes “a location engine that calculates associated and unassociated device location every 30 seconds by default… The last 1,000 historical locations are stored for each MAC address.” “
When reporters Matt Fikse-Verkerk and Brendan Kiley asked the Seattle Police Department and the Department of Homeland Security to explain what the boxes were for, the DHS refused to comment and Seattle Police detective Monty Moss would only state that the department “is not comfortable answering policy questions when we do not yet have a policy.”
Detective Moss also added that the mesh network would not be used for “surveillance purposes… without City Council’s approval and the appropriate court authorization.” Note that he didn’t say the mesh network couldn’t be used for the surveillance functions we asked about, only that it wouldn’t—at least until certain people in power say it can. That’s the equivalent of a “trust us” and a handshake.”
Be sure to read the whole post and don’t miss this one that is linked above and forms the basis for Mr Watson’s article from The Stranger :
” How accurately can it geo-locate and track the movements of your phone, laptop, or any other wireless device by its MAC address (its “media access control address”—nothing to do with Macintosh—which is analogous to a device’s thumbprint)? Can the network send that information to a database, allowing the SPD to reconstruct who was where at any given time, on any given day, without a warrant? Can the network see you now?
The SPD declined to answer more than a dozen questions from The Stranger, including whether the network is operational, who has access to its data, what it might be used for, and whether the SPD has used it (or intends to use it) to geo-locate people’s devices via their MAC addresses or other identifiers.
Second, and more importantly, this mesh network is part of a whole new arsenal of surveillance technologies that are moving faster than the laws that govern them are being written. As Stephanie K. Pell (former counsel to the House Judiciary Committee) and Christopher Soghoian (senior policy analyst at the ACLU) wrote in a 2012 essay for the Berkeley Technology Law Journal:
The use of location information by law enforcement agencies is common and becoming more so as technological improvements enable collection of more accurate and precise location data. The legal mystery surrounding the proper law enforcement access standard for prospective location data remains unsolved. This mystery, along with conflicting rulings over the appropriate law enforcement access standards for both prospective and historical location data, has created a messy, inconsistent legal landscape where even judges in the same district may require law enforcement to meet different standards to compel location data.
In other words, law enforcement has new tools—powerful tools. We didn’t ask for them, but they’re here. And nobody knows the rules for how they should be used.”
Rule number one in the worlds of science , technology , politics and liberty should always be :
“Just because we can doesn’t mean we should.”
” The age of the drone is here, and U.S. intelligence agencies are warily monitoring their proliferation around the globe.
China uses them to spy on Japan near disputed islands in Asia. Turkey uses them to eyeball Kurdish activity in northern Iraq. Bolivia uses them to spot coca fields in the Andes. Iran reportedly has given them to Syria to monitor opposition rebels.
The U.S., Britain and Israel are the only nations to have fired missiles from remote-controlled drones, but the proliferation of unmanned aerial vehicles has become so prevalent that U.S. intelligence sources and private analysts say it is merely a matter of time before other countries use the technology.
“People in Washington like to talk about this as if the supposed American monopoly on drones might end one day. Well, the monopoly ended years ago,” said Peter W. Singer, who heads the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at the Brookings Institution.
What’s worse, clandestine strikes carried out by Washington in far-flung corners of the world have set a precedent that could be ugly.”
” The idea that our government has indeed run economic collapse scenarios, found the United States in mortal danger and done absolutely nothing to fix the problem is bad enough. I have my doubts, however, that the Pentagon or partnered private think tanks like the RAND Corporation did not run scenarios on dollar collapse before 2009. In fact, I believe there is much evidence to suggest that the military industrial complex has not only been aware of the fiscal weaknesses of the U.S. system for decades, but they have also been actively engaged in exploiting those weaknesses in order to manipulate the American public with fears of cultural catastrophe.
History teaches us that most economic crisis events are followed or preceded immediately by international or domestic conflict. War is the looming shadow behind nearly all fiscal disasters. I suspect that numerous corporate think tanks and the Department Of Defense are perfectly aware of this relationship and have war gamed such events as well. Internal strife and civil war are often natural side effects of economic despair within any population.
Has a second civil war been “gamed” by our government? And are Americans being swindled into fighting and killing each other while the banksters who created the mess observe at their leisure, waiting until the dust settles to return to the scene and collect their prize? Here are some examples of how both sides of the false left/right paradigm are being goaded into turning on each other.”
The signs are ominous . Anyone who strives to keep themselves well-informed should have cause for concern . There are certainly strong indications that our present course is leading us ever-closer to class warfare , civil strife and yes , maybe even civil war . Is it intentional ? Is it Alinskyite ? Cloward-Piven ?
Anonymous – Fighting Trapwire. (#OpTrapWire)
Published on Aug 21, 2012
” Anonymous presents a number of ways to combat facial recognition from security cameras. While the Government seems hellbent on watching our every move, we are not helpless. Stand up and fight back!
For those who prefer a less passive method, I present: Guide to Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) destruction.
We are Anonymous.
We are Legion.
We do not Forgive.
We do not Forget.
” The National Security Agency monitored the phone conversations of 35 world leaders after being given the numbers by an official in another US government department, according to a classified document provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The confidential memo reveals that the NSA encourages senior officials in its “customer” departments, such the White House, State and the Pentagon, to share their “Rolodexes” so the agency can add the phone numbers of leading foreign politicians to their surveillance systems.
The document notes that one unnamed US official handed over 200 numbers, including those of the 35 world leaders, none of whom is named. These were immediately “tasked” for monitoring by the NSA.
After Merkel’s allegations became public, White House press secretary Jay Carney issued a statement that said the US “is not monitoring and will not monitor” the German chancellor’s communications. But that failed to quell the row, as officials in Berlin quickly pointed out that the US did not deny monitoring the phone in the past.
The NSA memo obtained by the Guardian suggests that such surveillance was not isolated, as the agency routinely monitors the phone numbers of world leaders – and even asks for the assistance of other US officials to do so.”
Read more at the Guardian
” If you think you have seen it all then you are wrong, Google Earth and Google Map does not allow you to see everything. There are some places or secrets which are kept under darkness by Google Maps. Below is the list of 10 places which are not allowed to see on Google Maps. A collection which we will be sharing with you.”
” The Dugway Proving Ground in Dugway, Utah is a region occupied by the U.S. Army where the military can test biological and chemical weapon systems. The Michael Aaf building on the proving ground is whited out, most likely for security reasons.”
See the rest
” Nico Sell, the cofounder of a secure communication app called Wickr, has appeared on television twice. Both times, she wore sunglasses to prevent viewers from getting a full picture of what she looks like.
Sell, also an organizer of the hacker conference Def Con, places herself in the top 1% of the “super paranoid.” She doesn’t have a Facebook account. She keeps the device that pays her tolls in a transmission-proof envelope when it’s not in use. And she assumes that every phone call she makes and every email she sends will be searchable by the general public at some point in the future.
Many of her friends once considered her habits to be of the tin-foil-hat-wearing variety. But with this summer’s revelations of the NSA’s broad surveillance program, they’re starting to look a little more logical. “For the last couple of months,” Sell says, “My friends that are not in the security industry come up to me, and I hear this all the time, ‘You were right.’ ”
But even as more people become aware they are being tracked throughout their daily lives, few understand to what extent. In a recent Pew Internet study, 37% of respondents said they thought it was possible to be completely anonymous online. From experts like Sell, you’ll get a different range of answers about whether it’s possible to live without any data trail: “100% no,” she says.
The people who have actually attempted to live without being tracked–most often due to a safety threat–will tell you that security cameras are just about everywhere, RFID tags seem to be in everything, and almost any movement results in becoming part of a database. “It’s basically impossible for you and I to decide, as of tomorrow, I’m going to remain off the radar and to survive for a month or 12 months,” says Gunter Ollmann, the CTO of security firm IOActive, who in his former work with law enforcement had several coworkers who dedicated themselves to remaining anonymous for the safety of their families. “The amount of prep work you have to do in order to stay off the radar involves years of investment leading up to that.”
Fast Company interviewed the most tracking-conscious people we could find about their strategies for staying anonymous to different degrees. Here are just a handful of daily, offline tasks that get more complicated if you’re avoiding surveillance.”
” The steel-gray U.S. Air Force Predator drone plunged from the sky, shattering on mountainous terrain near the Iraq-Turkey border. For Kurdish guerrillas hiding nearby, it was an unexpected gift from the propaganda gods.
Fighters from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, filmed the charred wreckage on Sept. 18 and posted a video on YouTube. A narrator bragged unconvincingly that the group had shot down the drone. But for anyone who might doubt that the flying robot was really American, the video zoomed in on mangled parts stamped in English and bearing the label of the manufacturer, San Diego-based General Atomics.”
” Staking out new ground in the noisy debate about technology and privacy in law enforcement, the New Jersey Supreme Court on Thursday ordered that the police will now have to get a search warrant before obtaining tracking information from cellphone providers.
The ruling puts the state at the forefront of efforts to define the boundaries around a law enforcement practice that a national survey last year showed was routine, and typically done without court oversight or public awareness. With lower courts divided on the use of cellphone tracking data, legal experts say, the issue is likely to end up before the United States Supreme Court.”
Oliver Bienkowski/ Caveman Guerilla Marketing
” Berlin police are investigating a light artist for projecting the phrase “United Stasi of America” onto the the US Embassy in Berlin. The phrase refers to the former East German secret police and was meant as a protest against American spying. But can the artist really be prosecuted?
It was meant to be a publicity stunt — a political prank aimed at voicing displeasure over vast US Internet surveillance and spying activities. But Oliver Bienkowski, the light artist who projected the words “United Stasi of America” onto the US Embassy late Sunday night now finds himself in hot water with the Berlin police after authorities opened an investigation.”
” You don’t often hear about lawsuits based on the Third Amendment, the one that says “no soldier shall in time of peace be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war but in a manner to be prescribed by law.” That usually overlooked provision is cited in a federal lawsuit recently filed by Anthony Mitchell and his parents, Michael and Linda Mitchell—an oddity for which we can thank the Henderson, Nevada, police department.
The Mitchells, who live in separate houses near each other in the Las Vegas suburb, were forcibly evicted from their homes on July 10, 2011, by police officers responding to a domestic violence report involving one of their neighbors. Here is how it all started, according to the complaint:”
“ Moscow - While Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower, languishes in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, he has now sent out a number of requests for asylum or asylum assistance, bringing a total of 21 countries approached by him.
According to the WikiLeaks statement, among the countries receiving requests are:
The Republic of Austria, the Plurinational State of Bolivia, the Federative Republic of Brazil, the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of Cuba, the Republic of Finland, the French Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Republic of India, the Italian Republic, the Republic of Ireland, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Republic of Nicaragua, the Kingdom of Norway, the Republic of Poland, the Russian Federation, the Kingdom of Spain, the Swiss Confederation and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
Previous requests had been made to the Ecuador and Iceland.
Russia has already said that it would give Snowden asylum, as long as he stopped releasing data that could cause damage to the US.”
President Vladimir Putin said on Monday: “If he wants to stay here, there is one condition: he has to stop his work aimed at damaging our US partners, no matter how strange this sounds coming from me.”
However, Putin added: “Snowden feels he is a fighter for human rights, he doesn’t appear to intend to give up such work. Therefore he should pick a country for himself and travel there. When this will happen, I don’t know.”