Dec 02 2011

Big Brother is watching you.

Franken Investigates Secret Surveillance Software Loaded onto Smart Phones

By: David Dayen, Firedog Lake

Friday December 2, 2011 10:55 am

Carrier IQ’s alibi is that their software merely oversees and corrects network glitches rather than saves every keystroke you make on your phone. Nobody really buys that. This software has shown up on over 140 million phones nationwide.

Google has disclaimed any association with Carrier IQ. The iPhone includes some iteration of Carrier IQ, and other wireless manufacturers have admitted that the software is on their phones, but claim that the carriers requested them.

If this all sounds creepy, well, you’re paying attention. It also appears to violate US law.

Not that I have any love left for Al after his sell out on Protect IP.

But wait- there’s more.

(h/t CTuttle)

‘Spy Files’ Published by WikiLeaks Detail Massive International Surveillance Industry

By: Kevin Gosztola, Firedog Lake

Thursday December 1, 2011 10:10 am

This collection of brochures, manuals, contracts, presentations and catalogs can be broken down into four categories, which the Bureau for Invesitgative Journalism (TBIJ) details.

  1. Location Tracking – Surveillance companies peddle an IMSI catcher, “a popular mobile phone tracking technology” that can intercept mobile phones. TBIJ explains the “highly portable devices” can be “as small as a fist” and are capable of masking as a cell phone tower and emitting a signal that “can dupe thousands of mobile phones in a targeted area.” Users of this device “can then intercept SMS messages, phone calls and phone data.” Ability in Israel, Rohde & Schwarz in Germany and Harris Corp in the US are all companies that market this device. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) also uses the device and says it can “without a court order.”
  2. Hacking – TBIJ finds many of the companies sell “Trojan” software and “phone malware that allows the user to take control of a target’s computer or phone.” Companies that offer technology that make this possible include the “Hacking Team of Italy, Vupen Security in France, Gamma Group in the UK and SS8 in the US each offer such products, which they variously claim can hack the Apple iPhone, BlackBerry, Skype and the Microsoft operating system.” Especially alarming, SS8 claims its “Intellego product allows security forces to ‘see what they see, in real time’ including a ‘target’s draft-only emails, attached files, pictures and videos.’ Elaman, according to TBIJ, “says governments can use its products to ‘identify an individual’s location, their associates and members of a group, such as political opponents’.”
  3. Massive Surveillance – US companies like Blue Coat Systems and Cisco Systems “offer corporate and government buyers technology to filter out certain websites.” They sell technology that can “monitor and censor an entire country’s data or telecommunications network.” TBIJ explains this captures “everyone’s activities” whether they are suspects or not. And, the information that is collected can be sifted through to see what is valuable.
  4. Data Analysis – Phone conversations, individuals’ locations and Internet traffic can all be captured with “sophisticated analysis tools” that intelligence agencies, the military and the police are using for criminal investigations and on the battlefield.

Highlighting the kind of electronic surveillance that goes on in countries like Syria, Appelbaum declares during the press conference, “There are people being murdered every day as a result of these surveillance devices.” He adds, “These are exactly the kinds of tools the Stasi wished to us” and strongly urges people to reject the idea of lawful interception. (Lawful interception is what these companies say they are doing to get away with selling spy technology.)

The Washington Post reports many of the companies that sell the technology are “global suppliers.” They target law enforcement agencies and other government buyers. Additionally, the news publication finds, “Of the 51 companies whose sales brochures and other materials were obtained and released by WikiLeaks, 17 have secured U.S. government contracts in the last five years for agencies such as the FBI, the State Department and the National Security Agency, according to a Washington Post analysis of federal procurement documents.

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