Open-source scanning tool for Windows searches for surveillance spyware
For those concerned that their computer activities are under the watch of the government, a new free scanning tool is now available to search Windows-based PCs for surveillance spyware. Amnesty International, in a partnership with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Digitale Gesellschaft and Privacy International, launched Detekt today, a free open-source scanning tool used to detect some of the known spyware that government agencies use to monitor activists and journalists.
Cellular equipment on small planes allegedly used to track criminal locations via smartphone broadc
The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has allegedly created fake cell towers to monitor the position of cellphones for surveillance purposes. A report claims the bogus towers, called "dirtboxes," were placed by the US Marshals Service (USMS) on planes, in order to trick smartphones owned by criminals into broadcasting their location, allowing authorities to track their movements.
Terrorist use of social networks concerns new head of UK intelligence agency
The new head of a British intelligence agency has asked for technology companies in the United States to help law enforcement fight crime. Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) chief Robert Hannigan wrote in an article for the Financial Times that the use of technology and social networks by terrorist groups such as Isis should compel tech companies to work with government agencies, rather than overprotect customer data.
Comey seeking update to CALEA to give law enforcement a 'front door' into devices
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey isn't giving up his crusade to persuade the government and businesses that law enforcement should have access to encrypted phone data. Comey took his fight to Congress recently, asking that it update the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) to cover newer technologies.
Two-day Syrian Internet blackout blamed on failed NSA hack
The National Security Agency (NSA) was behind the two-day Internet blackout of Syria in 2012, claims whistleblower Edward Snowden. The accusation, alongside claims that the NSA is working on an automated malware killer, from Snowden comes at the same time as a separate report appearing to show the NSA collected far more information than was legally allowed.
Report claims three judges in FISA Court bought Verizon stock in the last year
Judges sitting on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court) may not be entirely impartial, according to a report. A number of judges on FISA Court allegedly own stock in Verizon, one of the companies subject to NSA bulk surveillance orders issued by the court, with the report suggesting this could be considered as unethical behavior by judges in an important role.
Collection of call, text, Internet data to continue under plans by UK ministers
The government of the United Kingdom seeks to force telecommunication companies to log records of calls, texts, and Internet usage for a 12-month period, according to a report. Ministers are said to be attempting to counteract the effects of an European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling in April, by introducing surveillance laws reinstating powers struck down by the court's decision.
Director of National Intelligence report reveals number of surveillance requests in 2013
The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) has released a report, revealing a number of insights into the activities of the National Security Agency (NSA). The report, posted on Tumblr, comes as part of a DNI directive from August 2013, itself prompted by President Obama in June of the same year, with the report listing how many information requests and surveillance-related activities have been performed by the US government in the entirety of last year.
Proposal would extend US Privacy Act rights to EU citizens
European citizens could receive some of the same rights to privacy as Americans in the future, if new proposals are adopted. US Attorney General Eric Holder advised to European leaders in Athens, Greece on Wednesday that the Obama administration is working on legislation that would provide EU residents similar protections under the US Privacy Act as US citizens already have.
Milestone to remain standalone company, will utilize Canon's business channels
Digital camera maker Canon announced Friday that it is acquiring open platform video surveillance software company Milestone Systems. Canon Europe picked up the Denmark-based startup to diversify its offerings, specifically carving out a niche in the surveillance market. The company said that buying Milestone will "significantly enhance Canon's software capabilities" in the sector.
Law enforcement disclosure report claims phone tapping widely used on various Vodafone networks
The world's second-largest carrier has revealed its service is being monitored by government agencies. Following the lead of other technology companies in publishing a transparency report, Vodafone claims phone tapping is being widely used by agencies in a number of the 29 countries it operates in, and in some cases, authorities are able to access customer data without even requiring a warrant.
Tech companies declared 'pawns' of US government surveillance program
Chinese state media is calling for the country's government to penalize US technology companies for their alleged roles in the National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance row. The People's Daily and China Daily accuse companies including Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Apple of helping the US government to monitor and threaten the security of users in China, asking for Beijing to "punish severely the pawns."
BoingBoing, Imgur, Reddit team with Fight for the Future for effort
Web luminaries, tired of constant US National Security Agency (NSA) monitoring, are starting a counter-surveillance initiative. The "Reset the Net" campaign, spearheaded by BoingBoing, Imgur, and Reddit will launch on Thursday, recommending users adopt encryption for day-to-day computing, and committing to improving user privacy by implementing HTTPS, preventing all but the most dedicated surveillance by external sources.
Unanimous vote sends bill to House floor over NSA record collection, surveillance practices
The USA Freedom Act will make its way to the House of Representatives for vote after the House Judiciary Committee unanimously voted to approve the amended version, 32-0. If passed in the House, the act will require the NSA to acquire approval on a case-by-case basis via the FBI. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court's approval would need to be given before any business or telephone records could be collected on a US resident.
European directive forcing storage of metadata infringes right of privacy
A directive requiring telecommunications companies in European Union countries to store metadata about users of its services for up to two years has been declared invalid by the European Court of Justice. The Data Retention Directive was found by the court to interfere with the "fundamental rights to respect for private life and to the protection of personal data."
Government employees will be subject to near-constant surveillance
US intelligence and military commands are in the process of evaluating a widespread government employee surveillance system that would accumulate databases in order to evaluate the behavior of security clearance holders. The system would be tailored to identify present and future corrupt officials, data leakers, and other "rogue agents", and pulls from aspects of a US military model that has been in the works for more than 10 years. The new system will collate data from many databases, public and private, to form a profile of a targeted individual, and evaluate them for threats to the US government from within.
Automated facial recognition performed on webcam stills by UK security agency
The British security intelligence agency GCHQ secured millions of photographs from webcams used with Yahoo's chat services, a report alleges. The agency is claimed to have captured and stored images from more than 1.8 million users in one six month period in 2008 alone, with the surveillance activities said to have continued from 2008 to 2010, though it is possible the program continued for years afterward.
Agrees to measures requiring court approval for NSA metadata searches
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has given its approval to changes President Barack Obama has requested as part of a surveillance reforms speech last month. Two measures in the reforms have been accepted by the court, which will affect the way the National Security Agency (NSA) searches its phone records database in the future.
NSA,GCHQ allegedly claimed to collect information on individuals from mobile advertising
Intelligence agencies in the United States and the United Kingdom are allegedly taking advantage of smartphone apps to collect a wealth of information about individuals, in new spying allegations. The National Security Agency (NSA) and the UK's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) are able to use the "leaky" nature of popular mobile phone apps to extract information about an individual, according to new leaked documents.
Collection programs such as Prism is illegal according to review board
An independent federal watchdog has decided that the National Security Agency's (NSA) phone call logging and collection activity is illegal. The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board advises that the call log collection provided "minimal" benefits to current counter-terrorism operations and should be stopped, in a 238-page report set to be released today.
Collected data to be handed to third party, judicial findings required for access
The United States government will reform the way it uses surveillance data, President Barack Obama has announced. Addressing concerns over the National Security Agency (NSA) and the various programs employed to monitor potential threats, Obama outlined a number of changes in how the data will be accessed by security agencies as he attempts to ease the concerns of US citizens.
German mag says NSA diverts retail orders to secretly add tracking software, devices
The National Security Agency (NSA) has the ability to bug computers and peripherals being shipped to customers from retail, says a new report allegedly laying out more of the agency's surveillance activities. Some orders for electronics can apparently get redirected to the Tailored Access Operations (TAO) group, run by the NSA, which can secretly add hardware devices and malware to the unit before resealing and forwarding it on to the customer.
RSA blog states no payment from NSA for number generator backdoor
RSA Security has struck out against claims that the company was paid by the National Security Agency (NSA) to sell flawed encryption software that was vulnerable to surveillance. A blog post states that it has never entered into a "secret contract" with the NSA, and that any collaboration between it and the agency has been openly publicized.
Agency pushes vulnerable encryption standard
The National Security Agency has been accused of paying computer-security company RSA $10 million to sell encryption software vulnerable to surveillance, unnamed sources have told Reuters. The agency's role in promoting a crackable encryption standard was exposed earlier this year in documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, however the latest report is the first to detail a formal contract and monetary compensation for compliance.
Meeting originally to have discussed both NSA and healthcare reform
Contrary to many media reports, the gathering of tech executives called to a meeting with President Obama were invited to weigh in on the US' digital surveillance policies and programs, and the topic dominated the two-hour meeting while still touching on other topics, such as the government's Healthcare.gov website and general Internet topics. The tech CEOs and representatives urged the government to adopt stricter rules over various NSA-related programs.
Surfing habits, location tracking claimed performed by security agencies
The National Security Agency (NSA) may have been using cookies from web advertisements in order to track individuals, according to a report. A PREF cookie, a unique identifier typically used in Google's advertising system, has apparently been used by the NSA alongside location data, in order to locate individuals of interest to the agency.
Voluntary contract for call data claimed between CIA, AT&T
The CIA has allegedly paid out more than $10 million per year to AT&T for access to data relating to international calls, according to a report. The transfer of metadata between the carrier and the agency is said by the New York Times to be a "voluntary contract," one that is performed freely rather than requiring court orders and subpoenas, unlike that of notorious surveillance program PRISM.
Spying scandal forces UK government to take caution with mobile devices
The British government is combating the overreaching electronic surveillance by intelligence agencies by banning tablets from closed door meetings, according to reports. A number of iPads used during a presentation to the Cabinet were allegedly seized shortly after it had concluded, for fear that they may be used to listen in on private and secret governmental conversations.
Possible acquisition of Vodafone a politically difficult feat
AT&T's plan to acquire a carrier and operate in Europe may have to be put on hold for a long time, thanks to the National Security Agency (NSA). The revelations of national and international surveillance by the agency is now forcing European officials to scrutinize any attempt by AT&T or any other carrier to purchase a mobile phone network on the continent.
Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter memo over spying concerns
A group of technology companies has asked members of the UK government that there needs to be a debate about Internet surveillance. Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and Twitter have jointly written a memo to Members of Parliament (MPs) calling for more transparency in requests for information by government-controlled organizations, such as GCHQ.
Companies claim violation of First Amendment
The federal government has promised to issue a response to legal challenges from Google and Microsoft by September 30, following multiple delays and a renewed push by the companies. The ongoing dispute centers around Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) rules that prohibit the companies from disclosing how many national-security data requests they have been asked to fulfill.
Search giant criticizes secretive policies
(Updated with details on Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft) Google has submitted an amended petition with the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, again calling for greater transparency over data requests. The company argues that it has suffered a damaged reputation due to FISA secrecy rules, which prohibit the company from disclosing even broad statistics regarding the number of FISA requests that it has responded to.
Company highlights its FISA challenge
Yahoo has published its first global transparency report, outlining raw statistics surrounding government requests for user data in the first half of the year. In an accompanying blog post, Yahoo general counsel Ron Bell criticized the US government and highlighted the company's two-year legal challenge against the 2008 amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
New model latest in D-Link line of monitoring equipment
D-Link today announced its newest mydlink-enabled DCS-5010L Pan & Tilt Day/Night Camera, a comprehensive surveillance solution for home and small business owners. The newest Network Camera delivers advanced video monitoring features, such as a wide viewing angle, motion detection alerting, night vision, easy networking configuration, and remote pan & tilt functionality.
Representatives from tech firms and civil liberties groups come together
One of the "fathers of the Internet," Vint Cerf -- along with a cadre of representatives from tech companies, including Apple CEO Tim Cook and AT&T chief Randall Stephenson -- met with President Obama on Thursday in a closed-door meeting about government surveillance. This follows a similar meeting earlier in the week that included tech-industry lobbyists and civil liberties groups, including the ACLU and Electronic Privacy Information Center. The meetings are part of an effort by the administration to promote discussion and information about government surveillance programs.
Overseas companies react to NSA program
The National Security Agency's PRISM surveillance program is reportedly driving business away from cloud service providers based in the US, according to a survey published by Cloud Security Alliance. The industry organization found that more than half of non-US respondents claimed to be less likely to use US-based cloud providers due to the surveillance revelations, while 10 percent claimed to have already canceled an existing project plan to use US-based cloud providers.
Slides showing data collection workflow accompanied by embassy spying claims
The NSA has the ability to receive updates for a person's online activities as part of real-time surveillance through PRISM, according to newly-released information. Four new slides from a presentation state that the NSA could get "live notifications when a target logs on or sends an e-mail" depending on the source, and could also monitor "text, or voice chat as it happens."
Integrated Wi-Fi repeaters extend range of camera coverage
D-Link has updated its Cloud Camera range with two new wireless network imaging devices. The Cloud Camera 1050 and Cloud Camera 1150 add a number of new features to the wireless surveillance system, including a three-step Wi-Fi Protected Setup scheme, and audio-detection with image alerts based on sounds heard by the cameras.
DCAC in Quantico will allow FBI to increase Internet monitoring
The FBI is reportedly forming a unit to develop new technologies for electronic surveillance, enabling the agency to expand monitoring capabilities for VoIP, wireless signals, and the Internet. According to Cnet, the Domestic Communications Assistance Center, located in Quantico, VA, will serve to intercept Skype conversations and analyze data received from a social network or carrier.
USAF can keep drone footage for 90 days
Domestic surveillance is typically the purview of the FBI, and proscribed for the Air Force, the rest of the US military, and the CIA; but a new policy document out from the Secretary of the Air Force opens something of a loophole. According to the policy statement, the Air Force can retain domestic surveillance footage inadvertently captured by spy drones for up to 90 days while it determines whether or not the footage contains information upon which the Air Force is authorized to act.
Bureau seeking support for mandatory backdoors
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is reportedly meeting with Internet companies to promote upcoming legislation that will require surveillance backdoors for web-based services such as social networks, e-mail, messaging and VoIP. The agency has yet to formally announce the push, however unnamed sources have told Cnet that senior FBI officials are quietly meeting with US senators, Obama administration officials and industry executives in an attempt to muster support.
Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance Act
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden is currently pushing to enact legislation that would require government agencies to obtain warrants before obtaining location tracking data. The Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance Act is said to clarify laws surrounding digital location information such as GPS data from cellphones.
Bureau to monitor e-mail, social networks
The FBI is reportedly set to announce significant expansions to its surveillance efforts aimed at web-based communication. The bureau is expected to voice concerns over the inability to track certain types of correspondence, such as e-mail and social networking, that do not go through the standard wiretap channels of cellphones and landlines.
Spector Pro for Mac ships
SpectorSoft has announced Spector Pro for Mac 2009, its surveillance and monitoring application for the Mac. Intel support and password capture have been added in the most recent update. The software takes hundreds of snapshot hour-to-hour, creating a video-like playback of what is taking place during a user's session. It also records each website visited, keystrokes, chats instant messages and e-mail.
AVerMedia's NVR with Wi-Fi
AVerMedia today announced the launch of its EB1704HB WiFi-4 NVR instant network video recorder, meant for use in homes and small businesses. The package includes the Network Video Recorder main unit, a wireless router and four wireless IP cameras that are ready to set-up, with no configuration needed. Because there are no wires, apart from the power cords, AverMedia claims a 10-minute set up time. The system features motion-detecting sensors that trigger recording to make efficient use of hard drive space.