Thursday, May 31, 2007

"Muwha ha ha, next... killer mosquitoes!"

At some point in the not-too-distant future, a moth may take flight in the hills of northern Pakistan, and flap towards a suspected terrorist training camp.

But this will be no ordinary moth.

Inside it will be a computer chip that was implanted when the creature was still a pupa, in the cocoon, meaning that the moth's entire nervous system can be controlled remotely.

The moth will thus be capable of landing in the camp without arousing suspicion, all the while beaming video and other information back to its masters via what its developers refer to as a "reliable tissue-machine interface."

The creation of insects whose flesh grows around computer parts — known from science fiction as cyborgs — has been described as one of the most ambitious robotics projects ever conceived by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the research and development arm of the U.S. Department of Defense. (more)

When Business Infiltrates Protest Groups

New Zealand - The Alliance says the use of spies and private investigators on political groups by Solid Energy would end under full public and democratic control of electricity and other state owned assets.

The use of young people to infiltrate political groups by private investigators, who are linked to Solid Energy and other corporates, has been revealed by an investigative report in today's Sunday Star Times. (more)

The man who spied for state-owned company Solid Energy has faced up to one of the greenie friends he betrayed.

The 25-year-old Christchurch university student, Ryan Paterson, infiltrated an environmental group, Save Happy Valley, and for months passed information to a private eye about opposition to the company's planned West Coast coal mine.

"I mean I'm on the front page of the paper as a spy who would sell his soul to screw greenies and help big business," he says.

So what causes a man to rat on his friends and comrades? Love? Politics? "Money," he says. All up he received $2,000 to join the Save Happy Valley Coalition.

He says he feels terrible now because he came to believe in the cause. (more)

Lawsuit claims bugs used to listen in on resident’s conversations

SC - Judy Johnson filed suit against Ambling Management Company, the company that oversees Pendleton Garden Apartments, for illegally recording private conversations on the apartment property.

The class action lawsuit challenges the legality of the installation of “listening, eavesdropping and/or bugging devises and/or video surveillance devices in and around the residential apartment complex” and benefits Ms. Johnson and anyone else “similarly situated, “ the lawsuit said.

Charles R. Griffin, attorney for Ms. Johnson, said the bugging was not only a violation of federal laws, but also a violation of Ms. Johnson’s right to privacy.

“She’s kind of upset about it. She contacted the housing authority about it and wasn’t able to get relief,” he said. “She is still living there. She’s very uncomfortable right now.”

According to the lawsuit, Ms. Johnson moved into an apartment at 210 Kirk Lane in Pendleton in March 2006. About a year later, she said she learned that “electronic, mechanical and/or other video and audio listening” equipment had been installed “in and around apartments” to “surreptitiously listen to tenants’, residents’ and guests’” conversations.”

Later, on March 31, 2007, the lawsuit said, an employee of Ambling admitted to the surveillance devices at a Crimestoppers meeting at the apartment complex. (more)

Minor League Eavesdropping

Just seconds into the interview, Shiner catcher Maci Schaefer had to chase away one of her teammates who had cracked open the door to eavesdrop on the conversation.

"Get out!" Schaefer exclaimed. "She's trying to listen to me. Get out!"

It's all part of being the "big sister" on the Lady Comanches' softball team. (more)

Eavesdropping on the Loch Ness Monster

A science enthusiast from Yorkshire is making waves in Scotland after capturing video footage of what he believes could be the Loch Ness Monster.

Gordon Holmes, from Shipley, travelled to the Scottish Highlands to use new hydrophone equipment in an attempt to eavesdrop on Nessie in the water. But after spending a day trying to get a sound recording of the monster, the 55-year-old believes he has gone one step further by capturing the creature on camera.

He said: "I was sat in a lay-by about 70ft above the loch – it was 10pm but the sun was still shining on the mountains on the other side.
"I was minutes from going home and I had only..." (more)

The Emperor's New Shades

(from a press release) "CPFilms Inc., a unit of Solutia Inc., announced today that it is introducing LLumar® Signal Defense Security Film, a high-tech clear window film for businesses and high net-worth individuals looking to secure and protect the confidentiality of their wireless and other “free-space” electronic communications. The film is ideally suited for industries where securing confidential information and protecting data is paramount – such as retail, healthcare, and the financial services industry.

Patented technology built into LLumar Signal Defense film reduces electronic signal leakage through windows, a building’s point of least resistance, by serving as a transparent barrier that allows light to pass through, while minimizing transmission of wireless (WiFi), radio frequency (RF), and other electronic signals." (press release)(patent)

Think about it...
Do radio waves only travel through windows?
Does "reduced" signal leakage prevent interception?
"Tested and Proven" ???... Got proof?
What are the attenuation measurements?
Perhaps this would be effective if it were presented as part of a larger architectural shielding effort. In our opinion, the inventors worked hard and developed a clever and potentially useful product. But, to promote this film as a simple paste-on eavesdropping solution is neither credible, nor honest.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sources: Report details NHLPA spying

The electronic spying program instituted at the NHL Players’ Association targeted 45 players, was referred to as “Big Brother” and extended to ex-union chief Ted Saskin examining how individual players voted in the secret ballot to ratify the NHL labor deal, according to sources familiar with a report on the matter.

Among other details from the report, according to sources: Saskin systematically read the personal e-mails of players and union staff members for more than a year, but stopped briefly because he was concerned about legal implications in the wake of the Hewlett-Packard corporate surveillance scandal. Saskin resumed reading the messages when he learned of an effort by NHL players to authorize an investigation into his hiring and other activities. (more)

Throw a geek into cognitive dissonance...

"Would you rather have an iPhone or a Wristphone?"

SMS - a quad-band cell wristphone.

It includes a 1.5-inch color touch screen display with stylus, Bluetooth 2.0, audio (MP2/AAC) and video (MP4) player, 128MB of storage and about 200 minutes of talk or 80 hours standby before a USB recharge is required (deep breath) Time / Date, Last Number Redial, Recent Calls, Missed Calls, File Manager, 199 Contacts, SMS Messages, Multi Languages, Flight Mode and Email.

The manufacturer says delivery of the SMS M500 Phonewatch is within 45 days of ordering. Cost ≈$822.USD

Hewlett-Packard Spy Story... ain't over yet.

Hewlett-Packard says former VP Karl Kamb betrayed the company. He claims HP got his private phone records and spied on Dell. ...

Once again HP is accused of using shady and aggressive investigative tactics, including a high-pressure interrogation that reduced one of its own executives to tears. There's even an allegation - or more than an allegation, as we'll soon see - of corporate espionage.

How did it unfold? (more)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Roll Top Desks - Still Stopping Snooping

A century ago, one preserved the privacy of their desktop with a roll-top that locked.
Good idea!
What happened?
Why did roll-top desks vanish?
Who knows. Anyway, they are back!

The Secure Cabinet Company offers steel roll-top desks and roll-top desktops.
Of course, some of the older roll-tops are available as well.

Here is a 60's number designed by George Nelson.
Or, how about a new sleek custom Walnut roll-top with matching bench by Ruben Guajardo?

Modern versions of the classic style desks are also available.

Need something special?
Contact HSA, "The Rolltop People."

There is just something I like about an original roll-top desk.

It says, in a stern, deep voice, with perfect diction...

"Mind your own business."

Sunday, May 27, 2007


Examples of espionage, successful competitive intelligence, cloning, and outright counterfeiting continue to rain down on the cell phone marketplace. (note: the wallpaper, Apple logo on rear, Apple power-up/down screen)

The CECT P168 phone screams Apple iPhone (top right) just like
the Meizu MiniOne (shown below). Both of these Chinese products made it to the streets more than a month before the iPhone is due out. (more) (more)

(Kevin's refrain)
"What do you think the chances are that these products were developed totally independently of each other?

Now, what are you doing to protect your work product?"

(one solution)

Fish & Chips with Hellfire

The Hand &Flowers restaurant / pub is located in the beautiful Georgian town of Marlow, UK. There you will find award winning cuisine by Michelin chefs, in warm and welcoming surroundings. Their Fish & Chips dish (awarded Best in the UK - 2005) is delicious and well worth the journey. An Abbot Ale makes the meal complete. 

While in the area, visit The Hellfire Caves in West Wycombe. They consist of almost a mile of underground passages with various figures depicting the life and times of the the members of the infamous Hellfire Club.

Pictured is the entrance to the cave.

"Hell-Fire clubs were notorious, thought to be the home of sexual rites, orgies, abuse of alcohol, hedonism, satanism, freemasonry, and the worst of all: free thought! All in all, much of it is probably true, but Satanic goings-on and Black Masses are most likely the product of imaginative fantasy. From todays point of view, where swinger clubs, rave parties and hard rock concerts are rather common, the 18th century bigotry seems rather naive.

Probably to be safe from witnesses or because of the strange atmosphere, Sir Francis Dashwood used the former chalk quarries of West Wycombe for meetings of his club. He enlarged them, which gave work to numerous men and produced enough chalk to build a road. The Monks of Medmenham doubtlessly held wild parties here, but it's doubtful that they ever did any more than that. The caves are cold, dank and damp and not very comfortable for orgies."

Hellfire is a perfect off-site corporate meeting location—the ultimate in privacy. I know someone who can make your event happen there. Call me when you are ready. ~Kevin
(more) (more photos)

The Internet Spyware Prevention Act or I-Spy Law

A new bill to tackle rising menace of spyware was passed by the US House of Representatives. The bill will chalk out severe punishment for anyone caught spreading malicious codes around the Internet.

Punishment ranges from heavy fines to five years of imprisonment. While the bill, known as Internet Spyware Prevention Act, or I-Spy, has been sponsored by both Republicans and Democrats, it does not contain any provision making it mandatory for software makers to warn the user before installing. (more)(follow the bill's progress)

E-spying may be legal, but moral?

Listen to a computer preach to you about the morality of electronic spying. (Ms. Hal)

The Case of the Salacious Solicitor

OH - Jackson Township police arrest a local attorney for allegedly spying on his neighbors with a digital audio recorder.

Police say 31-year-old Aaron Ridenbaugh was caught by neighbors as he tried to place the recorder outside one of their windows at the Fox Haven Apartments in Jackson Township.

When questioned by police, Ridenbaugh initially denied the claims but detectives say he later admitted to setting up the recorders for his own "personal pleasure."

According to Harley Neftzer, Jackson Township Police Chief, Ridenbaugh wrapped a wire around the recorder and placed it on the outside of the window with a thumbtack.

Detectives also searched Ridenbaugh's apartment where they discovered a hole in one of his closets, which they believe he used to spy on his next door neighbors. ...

Detectives believe Ridenbaugh is responsible for at least three other incidents that began back in 2005. (more)

Prince Charming and the Tell-Tale Tape

Once upon a time, in jolly old England...

The Plot
A police worker was fired after an investigation into a video tape allegedly showing Prince Harry on a night out.
The woman was arrested after a raid at her home found police surveillance equipment. The swoop followed a tip-off she had a recording of Harry, 22, that had been taken out of a car known to have been driven by Prince William, 24. The civilian engineer, who worked for an elite covert unit, was nicked on suspicion of theft.

The Twist
She said she was using the surveillance equipment to spy on neighbours who she claimed were harassing her. It is believed she was also questioned about the tape. The fate of the recording is unknown (surprise) and its alleged contents cannot be revealed for legal reasons.

The Turn
But The Sun (the local yellow beacon of truth) understands the playboy prince, famous for his high spirits, was recorded in an unguarded moment. The charge against the worker was dropped but she was sacked for “gross misconduct”.

The Ciiffhanger
But she is appealing (note double entendre) and has launched a claim for sexual harassment against six named cops. (source)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

How to Kill A Keyless Car Remote

Owners of some new Nissan motor cars are being advised to keep their mobile phones away from the keyless-ignition fobs which are used to start their cars, as the phones can "wipe" the fob memory. The problem is limited to the 2007 Altima and G35, and the problem can be avoided by keeping mobile phones at least an inch away from the fob.

The Tennessean newspaper said that if owners send or receive calls while their phones are touching the fob, there's a chance the fob's electronic code could be erased. Once erased, the fobs cannot be reprogrammed, and owners can restart their engines only by using the spare fobs sold with their cars, a Nissan spokesman told the newspaper.

Nissan expects to be able to issue new fobs within a few months, and is currently replacing damaged fobs free of charge. (more)

"I ain't got to show you any stinkin'..."

Mexico is expanding its ability to tap telephone calls and e-mail using money from the U.S. government, a move that underlines how the country's conservative government is increasingly willing to cooperate with United States on law enforcement.

The expansion comes as President Felipe Calder├│n is pushing to amend Mexico's constitution to allow officials to tap phones without a judge's approval in some cases.

Mexican authorities for years have been able to wiretap most telephone conversations and tap into e-mail, but the new $3 million Communications Intercept System being installed by Mexico's Federal Investigative Agency would expand its reach.

The system would allow authorities to track cellphone users as they travel and allow authorities to identify callers by voice, according to the contract specifications.

The system, scheduled to begin operation within the next month, was paid for by the U.S. State Department and sold by Verint Systems Inc., a politically connected company based in Melville, N.Y., that specializes in electronic surveillance.

Documents describing the upgrade suggest that the U.S. government could have access to information derived from the surveillance. Officials of both governments declined to comment on that possibility. (more)

SpyCam Story #358

MA - A Plymouth man caught secretly videotaping clients in a massage business he co-owned in Sandwich in 2005 has been sentenced to two to three years in prison.

Patrick Dwyer, 41, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Barnstable Superior Court to 52 counts included in six indictments against him. The former co-owner of The Balanced Body in Merchants Square must now register as a sex offender after admitting that the sexually assaulted at least 15 clients during massage sessions.

Dwyer began serving his sentence — not less than two years and not more than three years — at Cedar Junction in Walpole. ...

Dwyer was also charged with five counts of breaking and entering to commit a felony, 15 counts of photographing unsuspecting nude people, and 14 counts of unlawful wiretapping. ...Dwyer must wear a monitoring device throughout his (10-year) probationary period.

...stemmed from his arrest in October of 2005 after a female tenant living next door to his business caught Dwyer in her apartment. Police found evidence that a video camera had been installed in the vents between the apartments.

...An ongoing investigation by Sandwich police and state forensics specialists turned up more than 30 videotapes, computer disks, and computer equipment in Dwyer’s home and business believed to have been used to tape clients. (more)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Wiretapping is the least of his problems...

WI - The man accused of murdering a truck driver in Portage County will also stand trial in Marathon County for rape, false imprisonment and wiretapping a woman's phone.

Michael Haydon, 40, has been in jail, awaiting trial for allegedly shooting Pat Zemke to death in November 2003 after he mistakenly thought the truck driver was seeing Haydon's girlfriend.

Prosecutors say Haydon raped the woman the night before the murder of Zemke.

In court today, the victim testified when she came home that November night, her dogs were missing and there was a boombox on the table with a note saying "press play."

She said what she heard was a phone conversation between her and a friend.

A closer look at the note made it clear that Haydon had taken her dogs, and he wanted the woman to call him.

Sergeant Mike Lukas of the Portage County Sheriff's Department says Haydon had wiretaps on the victim's line to see if she was involved with another man.

But the taps he had also caught threatening conversations he had with the woman... (more)

Haydon is pleading not guilty. (more)

OK, now the wheels are starting to fall off.

CA - A federal wiretapping trial involving private investigator Anthony Pellicano and five co-defendants was postponed to Feb. 27.

Prosecutors contend in a 111-count criminal indictment handed down in February 2006 that Pellicano illegally wiretapped the phones of Hollywood stars such as Sylvester Stallone and bribed police officers to run the names of more than 60 people, including comedians Garry Shandling and Kevin Nealon, through government databases.

The information gathered was used to get dirt for threats, blackmail and in some cases to secure a tactical advantage in litigation, prosecutors alleged.

Pellicano, 63, has pleaded not guilty and remains in federal prison awaiting trial. (more)

"I'd Like to...

...Buy Sell The World a Coke."

A federal judge ignored a former Coca-Cola secretary's plea for mercy Wednesday and sentenced her to eight years in prison for conspiring to steal trade secrets from the world's largest beverage maker.

U.S. District Judge J. Owen Forrester told Joya Williams, 42, that he was giving her a longer sentence than recommended by federal prosecutors and sentencing guidelines because, "This is the kind of offense that cannot be tolerated in our society."

Williams had faced up to 10 years in prison on the single conspiracy charge in a failed scheme to sell Coke's trade secrets to rival PepsiCo Inc. for at least $1.5 million.

Industrial Espionage or Coincidence?

The Casio 12.1 megapixel camera (EX-Z1200SR) and the Panasonic 12.2 megapixel camera (DMC-FX100).

reat minds thinking alike?

Both are designed alike.
feature sets are alike.
Both were announced yesterday - within one hour of each other ...which I like.

One difference.

Casio's lens is not a Leica. (more)

P.S. Sony began shipping their 12.1 megapixel camera (DSC-W200) five days ago.
Look familiar...

What do you think the chances are that these three products were developed totally independently of each other?

Now, what are you doing to protect your work product?
(one solution)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

"Funny, it doesn't look like a 1984 model Toyota."

When the AVL-900 is properly installed in a car, it contains enough gadgetry to successfully ruin every high-school student's Friday night.

Not only does it send out the GPS coordinates of the car's current location or alert the owner/parent the second their car has been moved, but it can spy on the driver as well. That's right, with a simple text message you can instantly gain access to all of the conversations going on inside the car. So even though little Jimmy said on the phone that he was going to the library, once dialed in you can hear all about how he and his friends are on their way to the deadly drug party with all the strippers and illegal activities.

Luckily for the young'uns they still have some time, since there's no word yet on where to pick up one of these snitches. But if the moms I knew growing up are any indication, they will find it—and they will use it.– Ben Longo (original)

The 'young'uns' lucky few minutes are over... (more) ...not to mention the spouse'uns.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

SpyCam Story #357 (update)

OH - A 24-year-old man says he installed a smoke detector with hidden cameras in his home to deter his wife from having an affair.

But Steven Dittmer used the wireless camera last November to spy on a teenage female relative and her girlfriend in his shower, Lorain County prosecutors say.

A grand jury indicted Dittmer last week on 11 charges, including illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material and contributing to the delinquency of a minor for supplying beer to one of the girls in 2005 and 2006, court records said.

SpyCam Story #356

A Canadian man charged with sexual assault is now facing child pornography charges after a search of his home turned up a teddy bear outfitted with a remote-controlled video camera, police said on Thursday.

Police in Durham Region, east of Toronto, said the teddy bear had been fitted with the camera in its eyes and could be operated from some distance away. It was discovered this week inside a 24-year-old man's home during an investigation into the sexual assault of two girls under 12.

Police said they also discovered a watch-like wristband device capable of recording images, as well as tapes showing sexual assaults on young victims.

Computer equipment was also seized from the home of the man who was said to be active with the Salvation Army Church in Bowmanville, about 70 km (44 miles) from Toronto. (more)

SpyCam Story #355

IL - A McLean County jury convicted a Bloomington man of one count of criminal sexual assault and acquitted him of three other counts in the case involving an incident at his home in 2004.

Jeff Young, 44, of Gerard Drive also was convicted of eavesdropping for videotaping the sexual activity.

The video was found during a police search of Young’s home in 2005 in connection with a similar case involving a different woman. The charges in this case were filed after police found the video and showed it to the woman. ...

Young faces up to 21 years in prison when he is sentenced July 20. (more)

SpyCam Story #354

NC - A U.S. Air Force reservist was ordered to spend 90 days in prison Thursday after he was convicted of spying on his adopted daughter with a Web cam and downloading child pornographic videos.

Thomas Edward Anderson, 41, of 501 Goldleaf Drive, was charged with 10 counts each of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of secret peeping. On Thursday, a jury of six women and six men found him guilty on all counts. ...

The case which led to a joint investigation by the Wayne County Sheriff's Office and the SBI began in April 2005 when Clara Anderson discovered a Web cam in her bedroom, hidden in a heating and air conditioning vent and connected to a computer.

Sheriff's detectives were called to investigate and the computer was seized. (more)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

U.S. Customs Breaks Privacy Laws

The Department of Homeland Security is breaking privacy laws by failing to tell the public all the ways it uses personal information to target passengers boarding flights entering or leaving the U.S., according to a draft report the Government Accountability Office plans to release tomorrow. (more)

Sing-a-long while you read.

Colombia Admits Illegal Wiretapping Operation

Columbia - An illegal police wiretapping operation against journalists, opposition figures and government members included the man President Alvaro Uribe defeated in the last election, his defense minister acknowledged Tuesday.

Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos insisted that the Uribe administration was unaware of the police spying operation. "We don't know who ordered these interceptions and the government has never learned what they contain," he said.

Santos refused to reveal all the known victims of the wiretapping...

Political opponents and investigative journalists have complained for years of being harassed and wiretapped by Colombia's security forces, who have received U.S. eavesdropping equipment and training for criminal investigations against drug traffickers and leftist rebels. (more)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Quote of the Day

"Anything you use on a daily basis that requires research, they're trying to steal," said Ray Morrow, special agent in charge of the FBI's Pittsburgh division...

America has no friends when it comes to the research that gives its companies, universities and government a competitive edge. Countries all over the world _ including friends and allies _ would like to have that research, and they would love to get it for free. ... While private companies have long been aware of economic espionage, it's largely new territory for universities. (more)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Quote of the Day

"I know there is technology with which you can eavesdrop and hear a cockroach fart. But from what I saw our agents had watched too many American movies." ~Adam Lusekelo, Daily News columnist in Dar es Salaam humorously describing the Tanzanian Secret Service. (more)
Adam, our agents
look the pretty much the same. (more)

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

A peek under political skirts reveals $$$ for buggers

Philippines - A well-placed officer of the Philippine National Police (PNP) warned yesterday that advanced wiretapping capabilities might have already slipped out of the control of law enforcers and into the hands of people tapping the phone lines of politicians running in the midterm elections.

The source said people who seek to acquire the know-how and capability for wiretapping outside of police functions can offer their services for large fees to politicians who want valuable information about their opponents or enemies.

The PNP insider claimed to have training with systems to bug both landline and mobile phones, as well as calls from foreign countries to both types of telephones.

He cited the alleged bugging of the Aquino residence as a warning that indicates the "spilling out" of wiretapping capabilities outside the sphere of police investigative work.

"Wiretapping could even be used to blackmail individuals," the source said. (more)

SpyCam Story #353

PA - A man admitted secretly recording three teenage girls in his shower and bathroom with a miniature camera mounted in an electrical socket.

Thomas C. Hull, who pleaded guilty Tuesday, "was having a lot of marital problems and psychological strife," said his defense attorney, Robert Davis Gleason. "He should have gone and sought counseling."

The girls were friends of a relative and were recorded by Hull in April 2006, authorities said. His estranged wife found the images when she went to get some belongings and then reported them to police, investigators said. (more)

"But, I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night."

CA - James Earl Edmiston, the man who fooled judges and attorneys alike when he fraudulently passed himself off as a computer forensics expert, pleaded guilty Friday to federal perjury charges. (more)

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

"Now, touch your off button with your finger."

NH - A 48-year-old Chestnut Street man was arrested early this morning for wiretapping for allegedly recording police while they were investigating him for driving while intoxicated.

Police say they were patrolling the downtown area at 2:54 a.m. when they discovered Christopher A. Power of 52 Chestnut St. sitting in the driver's seat of a vehicle with its motor running at the Rochester Common.

After speaking with Power, police began investigating him for driving while intoxicated and arrested him. During the arrest an audio recording device was discovered.

"During a search after the arrest an audio recorder was discovered on the driver's seat cushion," Capt. Paul Callaghan said. "The officer noticed that the recorder was recording."

Power was charged with driving while intoxicated and wiretapping, which is a Class B felony. (more)

Defense #1: How does a voice recorder constitute a wiretap?
Defense #2: "Iwasss jus sittin' here praktesing my kerreeeokee-ookeeeydoookeeeyy?" (hiccup)

Monday, May 7, 2007

Just wait until they get a Cook Island "video spycam" dollar!

An odd-looking Canadian coin with a bright red flower was the culprit behind a U.S. Defense Department false espionage warning earlier this year about mysterious coin-like objects with radio frequency transmitters, The Associated Press has learned.

The harmless "poppy coin" was so unfamiliar to suspicious U.S. Army contractors traveling in Canada that they filed confidential espionage accounts about them. The worried contractors described the coins as "anomalous" and "filled with something man-made that looked like nano-technology," according to once-classified U.S. government reports and e-mails obtained by the AP.

The silver-colored 25-cent piece features the red image of a poppy — Canada's flower of remembrance — inlaid over a maple leaf. The unorthodox quarter is identical to the coins pictured and described as suspicious in the contractors' accounts. (more)

To commemorate the 80th anniversary of the first television, the Cook Islands issued a 39mm copper-nickel 1 Dollar coin in 2006. Pictured on the coin is a black and white picture of John L. Baird, the first successful inventor of electronic television, and a moving recreation of his first broadcast; a hand moving in front of a puppet. The obverse pictures Queen Elizabeth... (more)

They wouldn't have tried this with Genghis Khan

Mongolia - Legal enforcement agencies have been accused of listening in on telephone conversations, a totally unacceptable encroachment on the privacy of individuals guaranteed by Mongolian laws and democratic norms.

The Niigmiin Toli (“Social Mirror”) published on Monday a list of around 300 mobile telephone subscribers, including individuals and organizations, whose lines are regularly tapped. These included at least two diplomatic missions, two international aid organizations, business companies, some of them foreign-invested, mining companies, and banks. This was followed by a list of 200 names on Tuesday, and again 300 on Wednesday. The lists now have become a virtual Who’s Who in Mongolian politics and business, as well as diplomacy and foreign aid.

The newspaper also claims that certain numbers in the name of the President of Mongolia, N. Enkhbayar, as also of the Prime Minister, M. Enkhbold, are under such surveillance. (more)

VoIP eavesdropping rules face mounting challenge

New US rules forcing ISPs and universities to rewire their networks for FBI surveillance of email and Web browsing are being challenged in court.

Telecommunications firms, non-profit organisations and educators are asking the US Court of Appeals in Washington DC to overturn the controversial rules, which dramatically extend the sweep of an 11-year-old surveillance law designed to guarantee police the ability to eavesdrop on telephone calls. (more)

Mom's snooping on daughter violated privacy act

WA - In a victory for rebellious teenagers everywhere, the state Supreme Court ruled yesterday that a mother violated Washington's privacy act by eavesdropping on her daughter's phone conversation.

"It's ridiculous! Kids have more rights than parents these days," said Carmen Dixon, 47, of Friday Harbor. "My daughter was out of control, and that was the only way I could get information and keep track of her. I did it all the time."

The Supreme Court ruled that Dixon's testimony against a friend of her daughter's should not have been admitted in court because it was based on the intercepted conversation.

The justices unanimously ordered a new trial for Oliver Christensen, who had been convicted of second-degree robbery partly because of Dixon's testimony.

The case started with a purse snatching that shocked the island town of Friday Harbor, population 2,000. On Oct. 24, 2000, two young men knocked down an elderly woman, breaking her glasses, and stole her purse. Christensen, then 17, was a suspect.

When Christensen called the Dixon house later, Lacey Dixon, then 14, took the cordless phone into her bedroom and shut the door. Carmen Dixon hit the "speakerphone" button on the phone base and took notes on the conversation -- in which Christensen said he knew the whereabouts of the purloined purse.

The ruling will not likely result in parents being prosecuted for snooping, Cumming said. But it forbids courts and law enforcement from using the fruits of such snooping. (more) (more)

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Steam Punk, Old Funk, New Junk...



...Ray-Guns rock.

Philippine Ex-President Wiretapped (update)

Police and telecommunication officials confirmed on Thursday that a bugging device had been discovered attached to the telephone lines of former president Corazon Aquino in Quezon City.

Technicians found the device installed inside a main junction box on Times Street, where telephones in Aquino’s neighborhood are connected. The report said the technicians removed the device from the PLDT box and brought it to their office where they confirmed that it is an electronic listening device.

The back story...
Aquino (who suspects this was an illegal government operation), once one of President Arroyo’s closest allies, became one of the critics of the administration at the height of the "Hello Garci" controversy in July 2005. (more)

The former president had called on Mrs. Arroyo "to make the supreme sacrifice" and turn-over the presidency to Vice-President Noli de Castro at the height of the scandal triggered by taped conversations between the President and then Election Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano that purportedly showed that they conspired to rig the 2004 presidential election.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

The Yin & Yang of Wireless Baby Monitors

Historically, wireless baby monitor transmissions have been notoriously easy to intercept. Plug one in and the whole neighborhood can hear your tyke strike, your wing-nut mutt, not to mention your marital argumentals.

In short, millions have bugged their own homes and then wondered why the neighbors are giving them strange looks.

Burglars have found wireless baby monitors to be as handy as an unlocked door or open window. Hearing that a house is empty is considered risk-management in their line of work. "Tanks fur da help, lady!"

All of this has not been lost on The Great American Entrepreneur... Hey, if we could scare them into buying the first one, we can scare them into buying an eavesdropping-resistant second one!
from the seller's web site...
"Imagine what would happen if someone could listen to conversations going on in your house. What kind of sensitive information could you be talking about? How might a potential thief, kidnapper, or rapist benefit from knowing your daily routine?" ... The WireFree system uses a 900 MHz digitally secure radio link between units to keep your conversations private. Even other WireFree units not programmed for your network can't hear your conversations. (more)

Only $119.97 for a set of two!

But wait!
There's more!
Consider the dark side of this offer...
Let's see...
That's about $60. per voice activated Digital Bug. ...and for a total of $359.91 you get four bugs, a listening post receiver, and a back-up spare bug to keep on the shelf!

Friday, May 4, 2007

Secrets Away

Canadian transportation manufacturer Bombardier declined to comment Wednesday on a report that foreign technicians were caught stealing secrets at one of its Montreal plants last year.

The newspaper report said that Chinese technicians were especially interested in computer files at one of the jet-assembly plants and that Bombardier tried to keep the incident under wraps.

Isabelle Rondeau, a Bombardier spokeswoman, refused to comment on the story and referred calls to the company's aerospace division.

Bombardier Aerospace did not return repeated calls. (more)

You're it!

Philippines - Lacson tags ISAFP in wiretapping of Cory house

Opposition Sen. Panfilo Lacson accused the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) yesterday of tapping the home phone of former President Corazon Aquino.

"I just got information from my mole in ISAFP. It’s them," Lacson, who was Philippine National Police (PNP) chief during the Estrada administration, told reporters.

Military intelligence officers have denied that their agency was the culprit, saying the electronic surveillance was so crude it could not have been their work.

Malaca├▒ang also denied it was behind the tapping of Mrs. Aquino’s phone in her house on Times Street in Quezon City.

Lacson said aside from the information he received from his source, he based his conclusion on the kind of wiretapping equipment discovered at a phone junction box near the former president’s residence.

"These are the old equipment we turned over to ISAFP. I am surprised that up to now, they are using them. But when we were using the equipment, we were covered by court orders. We used them only in KFR (kidnap-for-ransom) cases," he said. (more)

"...but, if we did have a reason we wouldn't tell you."

Philippines - Former President Fidel Ramos on Friday said he was also victimized by the illegal wiretapping just like former President Corazon Aquino, whose Quezon City residence was found bugged last Wednesday by still unidentified men.

“It is really saddening to have a former president, even just a former high official of the country, being bugged by somebody,” Ramos said.

He said he should know because he too was a victim of eavesdropping by people he does not know...

The military, which has the capability to wiretap phone lines, has denied involvement in the wiretapping of the Aquino residence.

AFP public information office chief Lt. Col. Bartolome Bacarro said they have no reason to wiretap the former president. (more)

I got your phone, and I am coming for your computer... maybe.

Trouble ahead for those wanting to monitor Internet-based calls

The telecommunications world was a much simpler place in 1994, when the U.S. Congress passed a landmark wiretapping law. At the time, the statute was meant to take advantage of the new fact that instead of doing wiretaps the old-fashioned way—by walking into a local phone company office with a warrant and some alligator clips—law enforcement officers now could conduct a wiretap centrally on a carrier's network by duplicating a phone call digitally and directing the copy to police headquarters.

Starting on 14 May, the 1994 law, the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), will also apply to some voice over Internet Protocol providers, and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has asked that it eventually be extended to all Internet-based communications. The wiretapping statute was originally designed for traditional telephone companies, which use circuit switching to create a dedicated channel for each phone call. But today, using Internet telephony, almost anyone can be a telecommunications carrier, including Google, Skype, Vonage, and Yahoo, to name just four companies that didn't exist in 1994. (more)

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

WA - Dozens of Gig Harbor High School students demonstrated outside the school Monday to protest an official's decision to show parents surveillance video of their daughter kissing another girl.

The controversy arose after the school's dean of students, Keith Nelson, saw the two kissing and holding hands and found video of it on the surveillance system. He showed it to the parents of one of the girls because they had asked to be kept apprised of her behavior.

The parents moved the girl to a different school district after watching it.

One student reporting the demonstration for the school paper, Amber Critchley, said the protesters believe it was an improper use of the surveillance video, which is primarily a security feature. (more)

Alternative scenario...
• Dean sees inappropriate conduct on school property.
• Parents have asked to be kept apprised of their child's conduct.
• Dean consults with school
psychologist to determine the best way to proceed - taking into account the student's feelings as well as the parent's.

A private meeting ensues to discuss the issue. No publicity. No trust-crushing, embarrassing, jack-boot, roll-the-tape surveillance tactics.
Some good comes of this for all concerned.

Wisely used, electronic surveillance remains a generally acceptable safety and security tool. Unwisely used, it degenerates into a distrusted and loathsome 1984 power-tool.

Before giving anyone a power-tool wouldn't training on safe and proper usage be appropriate?

Just a thought.

But hey, who's counting?

The number of domestic wiretap applications granted by US state judges rose 20 percent in 2006 to 1,378, while federal judges granted only 461 applications, a drop of 26 percent, according to a new report filed [press release] by the Administrative Office of the US Courts [official website]. The figures released Monday in the 2006 Wiretap Report [PDF, text] did not include national security wiretaps supposed to be cleared through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which were the subject of a separate report [PDF text; JURIST report] sent by the US Department of Justice to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi under the terms of the Patriot Act. (more)

Wiretap discovered near former President Aquino's home

Philippine phone company discovers alleged wiretap near former President Aquino's home...

Repairmen working near the home of former Philippine President Corazon Aquino found a tape recorder and alleged wiretapping device on her line in a telephone switching box, Philippine officials said Thursday.

Aquino, 74, a political icon who restored democracy in the Philippines after leading a 1986 "people power" revolt with mass protests, said she had suspected her phone was bugged "ever since the martial law" period in the 1970s.

"I've been through the worst times before," she told reporters. "All of us in the opposition then were almost sure our phones were bugged. Even when I was president, there was some wiretapping also."

She did not say who she thought might be wiretapping her phone. (more)

Have we gotta phone fur U!


The press release says "Controversial Smartphone Spy Software Introduced," and I bit.

It's exactly what you'd imagine: an invisible piece of software, running on Windows Mobile smartphones, picks up the call log and all incoming and outgoing text messages, which it then uploads to an account you can check online. It does it in "total stealth mode," so that the user of the phone can't see it, even if he or she knew where to look.

Suggested uses and more shady details... (more)(more)

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Phone taps in Italy spur rush toward encryption

Drumming up business would seem to be an easy task for those who sell encrypted cell phones in Italy. All they have to do is browse the major newspapers for likely customers.

Piero Fassino, national secretary of the country's Democratic Left Party, could have benefited from an encrypted phone before comments he made regarding a delicate bank takeover made the front pages.

Luciano Moggi, the former head of the Juventus soccer club, could have used one too. His phone conversations, intercepted by investigators and then leaked to the media, led to Italy's soccer game-fixing scandal.

And Prince Victor Emmanuel might wish that he had a secure cell phone before his conversations, made public, resulted in his arrest last year on charges that he provided prostitutes and dealt in illegal slot machines.

Not even Nicolo Pollari, the former head of Italy's top spy agency, was immune; transcripts of some of his conversations found their way into the newspapers. (more)

Security Misconceptions & The Jersey Bus Driver

In the secret world of Lou Lamoriello there shall be no leaks.

And to make sure, New Jersey's president, coach and GM (of the Jersey Devils) brought his own security, bus and doctors to Ottawa.

He brought four physicians to Ottawa, along with his own security detail and a bus with a New Jersey bus driver. Usually, the visiting team would bring two doctors that would work with the local doctors should a player be injured. That may prompt Ottawa doctors to talk about various injuries to the home team, however unlikely that may be.

Same goes for the security guard, who will man the bench and dressing room, and is a former FBI agent.

Even more unusual, the Devils sent an empty bus from Jersey in order to shuttle the team back and forth from their hotel so as to avoid spilling secrets to an eavesdropping local bus driver. Wow. (more) (more)

Wow, indeed. DIY brain surgery is a safer bet. How about a security briefing for the team? If they don't discuss business in public places, or around outsiders, there will be nothing to leak! Is a Jersey bus driver really more effective than that? Will anyone check the bus, locker room or hotel rooms for bugs? Probably not. What about a subtle disinformation campaign? And, how/why did a Canadian newspaper learn about The New Jersey team's "security strategy" in the first place??? What the team really needs is professional counterespionage assistance.

...thus, obtaining full control of one's head-quarters.

Iran - The Islamic Republic’s Telecommunications Ministry has been empowered by the ayatollahs to eavesdrop on any and all mobile phone calls in the state’s relentless quest to drive out dissipated utterances, debauched SMS and dissolute video messages. ...

Meanwhile, as an adjunct to the crackdown on SMS and MMS traffic, barbers across Iran have been ordered to stop offering men “Western or other unconventional haircuts” on pain of closure of their business and possible imprisonment. (more)

Wal-Mart Faces More Eavesdropping Allegations

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has used a myriad of tactics, including some that are illegal, to hinder the ability of its workers to form labor unions, a human rights group said in a report to be released on Tuesday.

According to Human Rights Watch, the world's largest retailer has restricted the dissemination and discussion of pro-union views, threatened to withhold benefits from workers who organize, interrogated workers about their union sympathies and sent managers to eavesdrop on employee conversations. ...

Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar said the Human Rights Watch report is based on "unsubstantiated allegations"... (more)

From the report...
"Wal-Mart has also used several illegal techniques to gather information about union activity while simultaneously pressuring workers to stop organizing. The company has coercively interrogated workers about their and their co-workers’ union sympathies through direct and often hostile questioning and sent managers to eavesdrop on discussions among employees in a proposed bargaining unit. According to former workers and managers fromWal-Mart’s Kingman, Arizona, store, Wal-Mart has also monitored union security cameras on areas where union organizing is most active.15 These chilling effect on workers’ willingness to organize.

Terry Daly, a former loss prevention worker charged with preventing shoplifting at the Kingman, Mart, who was ambivalent about union formation, explained to Human Rights Watch that drive at his store:

"In loss prevention, we were to monitor any activity that we thought might be organized in certain areas. I was told with the cameras that we had to make shots more available, monitor a better area so we could see any activity going on that might be unusual."

He added that, in particular, they were supposed to focus on union leader Brad Jones. “[We were to] monitor cameras and report back what we saw. We needed to find a reason to fire Brad.” 16

15 See below, “VII. Freedom of Association at Wal-Mart: Anti-Union Tactics Deemed Illegal Under US Law,” subsection “Union Activity Surveillance.” The NLRB never addressed the allegations of camera-based surveillance at the Kingman store, however.

16 Human Rights Watch interview with Terry Daly, former Wal-Mart loss prevention worker, Kingman, Arizona, March 17, 2005.

World's Best Crabcakes (still)

Food Spy Diary

May 2001 -
While at the NSA this week I picked up the following bit of
intelligence... "Go to a non-descript strip mall in Linthicum, MD. Look for the 'G&M' sign."

I arrived at 10:54 AM. The door was locked. Other
people were milling around waiting... waiting for their fix. At precisely 11:00 AM the door was unlocked. Everyone filed in and took seats.

According to the Washington Post and the Baltimore Sun, I had
just entered the home of "the best crab cake platter." ... After barely finishing my baseball-sized crabcakes (you get two), I had to agree. These are The Best! ... P.S. You can order them over the Internet. Delivered FRESH (not frozen) by FedEx.

September 2002 - 'G&M' has baseball-sized crabcakes (you get two). Still 'the best'.

May 2007 - Nothing has changed. The place is still non-descript. The parking lot appears to be full of the same cars. The interior still makes me itch. Cryptonerds still populate the tables, and... 'G&M' is still pumping out "The World's Best Crabcakes". (more)

Repo Men Have Spy Problems Too

"I have a friend who owns a small company in a larger city here in the South. Not long ago, he discovered that someone was going thru his trash bin when he rolled it out the night before pick up. He happens to have his office and lot next to another business that has security cameras, one of which also covers the front of his building and trash bin in it's scope. When he asked to see the video from a certain night, he learned it was a longtime employee of a medium sized company that we both worked for at one time.

Apparently this guy was dumpster diving to get at any records that would show who his clients are, fee schedules, etc. When we worked together for this larger company, it was not uncommon for us to be told to go by competitor's lots and write down tag numbers on the repo's to get the lien holder info. ...

The last thing we should have to worry about is our fellow repossessor, yet unfortunately, we all need to realize that they are our biggest threat of all." ~ David J. Branch