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Current Topic: Surveillance

Cell Phone Number Research
Topic: Surveillance 4:38 pm EST, Jan 10, 2006

noteworthy wrote:

Cell Phone Call Record $110

Give us the cell phone number and we will send you the calls made from the cell phone number.

I like this part:

This report is for informational purposes only. This is not for use in court. If you need the records for court, you will need to subpoena the records directly from the carrier.

The whois records are pretty opaque:

Ist Source Information
c/o Network Solutions
P.O. Box 447
Herndon, VA 20172-0447

The site appears to be fairly new; the record was created on September 26 of last year.

UPDATE: You can read a recent Chicago Sun-Times article, "Your phone records are for sale", about Locatecell. This article was posted to the cryptography mailing list, which is probably what prompted the MemeStreams thread.

This was covered in the Washington Post more than six months ago, "Online Data Gets Personal: Cell Phone Records for Sale."

"This is a person's associations," said Daniel J. Solove, a George Washington University Law School professor who specializes in privacy issues. "... It's a real wealth of data to find out the people that a person interacts with."

The company that operates Locatecell is Data Find Solutions, and they are located in Knoxville, TN.

I like this part of the Locatecell order form:

Phone searches are provided by third party, independent search experts. These experts are independent researchers and Data Find Solutions Inc does not know how they do the research or what databases they access.

As the news articles explain, EPIC has asked the FCC to investigate. EPIC offers a compendium of 40 Websites Offering Telephone Calling Records and Other Confidential Information (PDF).

Looking for startup capital -- or a business model? MemeStreams could put the social network information behind a walled garden. But would anyone want in?

Well folks, it looks like you don't need unchecked presidential executive powers to get phone records without a warrant...

Cell Phone Number Research

Give the executive branch legal obligations for Christmas
Topic: Surveillance 6:58 pm EST, Dec 16, 2005

"Well, let me just say winning the war on terror requires winning the war of information. We are dealing with a very dangerous, very patient, very diabolical enemy who wants to harm America, and in order to be effective in dealing with this enemy, we need to have information," Gonzalez said.

"That is very, very important. And so we will be aggressive in obtaining that information, but we will always do so in a manner that is consistent with our legal obligations."

Legal obligations.. Sounds good for me. Can we get some of those for the executive branch? I think they could use some. It sounds like a "good idea" for spying powers.

What an interesting news cycle. Executive powers, domestic spying, torture, et cetera. I just found myself inspired to preform meme-fu on a classic Rumsfeld quote:

There are known legal obligations. These are things we know that we know. But, there are also unknown legal obligations. These are things we don't know if we shouldn't know.

This would be a great time to mention how much I love the NSA's flash intro.

Give the executive branch legal obligations for Christmas

The Volokh Conspiracy - More on National Security Letters
Topic: Surveillance 6:57 pm EST, Nov 20, 2005

The general impetus toward information-sharing among government entities and the massive investment in technical solutions may eventually deliver to the government the ability to process data efficiently. Finally, the rate at which individuals shed transactional data simply by living in a networked world seems to increase daily. The composite picture of individual activity that can emerge from such data is often of startling clarity, and will likely sharpen with in the future.

We don’t really have a coherent legal theory to address appropriately the growing privacy interests in this kind of data. The full-scale judicial supervision accorded electronic surveillance and physical searches is probably overkill, and far too cumbersome for data for which basic investigative access is justified. On the other hand, the Miller view that the "consensual" delivery of this data to third parties strips it of any privacy interest looks untenable when one considers the effect of the information aggregated.

There are some good comments on the National Security Letter situation in this post at The Volokh Conspiracy. I've been meaning to comment on this at length, but it's not going to happen any time soon. I have some reading I need to do. I'm not nearly as familiar with the justices' opinions in United States vs. Miller as I would like to be. I've been meaning for awhile now to sit down with a cup of coffee, read, and fully digest that case.

The Volokh Conspiracy - More on National Security Letters

Honeywell to bring Dragon Eye to the domestic sky
Topic: Surveillance 3:35 am EST, Nov 14, 2005

As the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq have unfolded, one of the new stars in the theatre of battle has been the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). As each new conflict redefines war based on the technologies coming of age at that time, the Iraq campaign has seen the coming of age of the UAV in its many wonderous forms. It is the most-requested capability among combatant commanders and in the last 18 months, UAV numbers in Iraq have jumped from fewer than 100 to more than 400 and there are now nearly 600 UAVs in the Afghanistan and Iraq theatres. Even more interesting is the dizzying array of unmanned aircraft used in traditional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance UAV roles. Now we’re set to see UAVs get smaller – much smaller. The United States Future Combat Systems (FCS) program recently passed a significant milestone in its progress toward selecting a Class I Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) system. The MAV has achieved a technology readiness level 6 and is now ready to begin transitioning the technology to the FCS program as an affordable backpackable systems suitable for dismounted soldier, Marine, and Special Forces missions. It will focus on the development of lift augmented ducted fan MAVs to accomplish unique military missions, particularly the hover and stare capability in restricted (e.g urban) environments to provide real-time combat information.

Don't miss the picture page. These have been covered a few places.

According to Matt Drudge, these miniature UAVs are being tested for domestic law enforcement uses.

Welcome to another one of those life-stranger-than-science-fiction moments. The first movie that comes to mind is They Live. Only in our reality, it's not being used by our alien overlords, but by the cops to get on the spot intel.

Honeywell to bring Dragon Eye to the domestic sky

On the Effectiveness of Aluminium Foil Helmets: An Empirical Study
Topic: Surveillance 7:02 pm EST, Nov 12, 2005

This just out of MIT:

Among a fringe community of paranoids, aluminum helmets serve as the protective measure of choice against invasive radio signals. We investigate the efficacy of three aluminum helmet designs on a sample group of four individuals. Using a $250,000 network analyser, we find that although on average all helmets attenuate invasive radio frequencies in either directions (either emanating from an outside source, or emanating from the cranium of the subject), certain frequencies are in fact greatly amplified. These amplified frequencies coincide with radio bands reserved for government use according to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). Statistical evidence suggests the use of helmets may in fact enhance the government's invasive abilities. We speculate that the government may in fact have started the helmet craze for this reason.

The helmets amplify frequency bands that coincide with those allocated to the US government between 1.2 Ghz and 1.4 Ghz. According to the FCC, These bands are supposedly reserved for ''radio location'' (ie, GPS), and other communications with satellites. The 2.6 Ghz band coincides with mobile phone technology. Though not affiliated by government, these bands are at the hands of multinational corporations.

It requires no stretch of the imagination to conclude that the current helmet craze is likely to have been propagated by the Government, possibly with the involvement of the FCC. We hope this report will encourage the paranoid community to develop improved helmet designs to avoid falling prey to these shortcomings.

What's the frequency, Kenneth?

On the Effectiveness of Aluminium Foil Helmets: An Empirical Study

EFF Breaks Secret Tracking Code in Color Printers
Topic: Surveillance 9:12 pm EDT, Oct 17, 2005

A research team led by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) recently broke the code behind tiny tracking dots that some color laser printers secretly hide in every document.

The U.S. Secret Service admitted that the tracking information is part of a deal struck with selected color laser printer manufacturers, ostensibly to identify counterfeiters. However, the nature of the private information encoded in each document was not previously known.

"We've found that the dots from at least one line of printers encode the date and time your document was printed, as well as the serial number of the printer," said EFF Staff Technologist Seth David Schoen.

According to this page, the Secret Service was the only organization that has the ability to decode the information in the dots. That means that its usage is (was?) limited to investigations on counterfeiting operations and threats against government personnel. That's the only stuff that falls under the Secret Service's jurisdiction.

I would be curious if the FBI has the ability to use this encoding system in investigations. I'd find it strange if they couldn't. Now that the information about how its encoded is public knowledge, its arguable that any government investigative agency could use it. Once the serial number of the printer is obtained, who it was sold to is just a subpoena ot two away.

EFF Breaks Secret Tracking Code in Color Printers

Zapped! RFID Workshops
Topic: Surveillance 8:37 pm EDT, Jul 13, 2005

After a brief overview of the technology and its related issues, each participant will receive a Zapped! RFID workbook. Participate in one of several hands-on exercises. You can to build your own RFID keychain detector that will ring, vibrate or light up when a RFID reader is within range and scanning the airwaves for data. Or program a RFID tag to "talk back" to a RFID reader that you may uncover with your Zapped! keychain.

Coming to NYC, Houston, and San Francisco.

Zapped! RFID Workshops

Department of Homeland Security Surveillance Truck
Topic: Surveillance 7:33 am EDT, Jul 13, 2005

Hey baby, why don't you get into the back of the truck.. We can make a movie..

Department of Homeland Security Surveillance Truck

Wired News: Feds Fear Air Broadband Terror
Topic: Surveillance 4:35 pm EDT, Jul 11, 2005

Federal law enforcement officials, fearful that terrorists will exploit emerging in-flight broadband services to remotely activate bombs or coordinate hijackings, are asking regulators for the power to begin eavesdropping on any passenger's internet use within 10 minutes of obtaining court authorization.

In addition to seeking the rapid-tap technology, the Justice Department filing asks the FCC to require carriers to maintain fine-grained control over their airborne broadband links. This would include the ability to quickly and automatically identify every internet user by name and seat number, remotely cut off a passenger's internet access, cut off all passengers' access without affecting the flight crew's access, or redirect communications to and from the aircraft in the event of a crisis.

Paranoia in the skies...

Wired News: Feds Fear Air Broadband Terror

Cameras are all around London...
Topic: Surveillance 2:56 am EDT, Jul  8, 2005

... What did they see?

Cameras are all around London...

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