Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Peru’s Fujimori Pleads Guilty to Wiretaps

Peru - Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori pleaded guilty yesterday to charges of wiretapping opponents and paying bribes to lawmakers and publishers during his rule from 1990 to 2000.

Fujimori, 71, will be sentenced to up to eight years in prison tomorrow. (more)

Upon reading our Fujimori post...

Taiwan - President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has ordered national security agencies to conduct a thorough investigation into allegations that wiretapping by intelligence agencies had become rampant since he took office and demanded severe punishment for officials who disobeyed his campaign promise to ban the practice... (more)

SpyCam Story #558 - Missed Fujimori Post

Philippines - The Valenzuela city government will implement two ordinances next month that would regulate liquor businesses and requiring all establishments to install spy cameras within their premises. (more)
FutureWatch...
The beginning of a trend?
Liquor stores... cigarette sellers... gun shops... magazine stands... movie theaters...

SpyCam Story #557 - Saw a Fujimori Once

KY - A former Heartland teacher accused of videotaping underneath cheerleaders' skirts enters a guilty plea. Steve McCuiston, 51, of Murray entered the plea Monday on charges of eavesdropping and evidence tampering... McCuiston formerly taught seventh and eighth grade at Livingston Middle School. He resigned after his arrest. (more)

A Fujimori Kind of Dude

WI - A state appeals court has upheld a Plover man's 25-year prison sentence for sexually assaulting his ex-girlfriend at gunpoint, burglarizing her home and wiretapping her telephone. The man awaits a separate trial on a murder charge involving the woman's suspected lover. (more)

New Contest to be Posted 10/2 @ 12:01 PM EST

Our last contest was such a success we are doing another one.
Be here, Friday, October 2, 2009 at 12:01 PM EST.


"Why the specifics?"

Some of our Security Scrapbook family receive the Scrapbook in digest form via e-mail. To give them a fair shot at "first correct answer received wins," they need some advance notice. ~Kevin

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Spybusters Tip # 385 - FREE Encrypted Memory Sticks. Roll Your Own!

Step 1 - Go to your junk drawer. Grab one of your regular old USB memory sticks.

Step 2 - Go to
TrueCrypt.org.
Grab their FREE encryption software.


Step 3 - Read the Beginner's Tutorial. Load & Lock.


Ta-daaaa!
Instant FREE encrypted memory stick!!!

(clap, clap, clap)

Thank you.

Kevin
P.S. You can also roll Free Mac/Windows XP/Vista/2000/Linus sticks the same way.
Additional Spybusters Tips.

What's Your Counterespionage Strategy?

via Forbes.com...
The biggest security breaches in corporations these days are employees who have been laid off or who are about to get laid off.

When employees leave an organization on their own terms, particularly in good times, many companies scramble to figure out what they had access to and what the value of that information would be to a competitor. There is a large body of case law in the technology industry involving theft of trade secrets, and globalization has added a new twist because laws in some countries are either unenforceable or nonexistent. But in a downturn where millions of workers are being cut, the scale of th
e problem grows by several orders of magnitude. (more)

Chances are, you don't have a counterespionage strategy...
but, can have one at no extra cost!


Face it, an effective counterespionage strategy is not optional.
You need one.

• Executives of publicly held companies have a fiduciary responsibility to protect intellectual property for stockholders.
• Many businesses must demonstrate compliance with privacy and information security laws. (Fines are costly.)
• Keeping your business information private is profitable.

Bonus... It may not cost you a penny!
If your security budget looks like the one below, you are over-protecting the wrong things. Move some coins from left to right, where they will do more good.

For the cost of your least effective security guard, you could have a basic quarterly counterespionage program. No brainer, right? Call me today. I'll set it all up. ~Kevin

(click to enlarge)
Intangible loss has greater $€£¥ impact than physical property loss.
(FULL PRESS RELEASE VERSION)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Tapping into the Treasury...

Intelligence activities across the U.S. government and military cost a total of $75 billion a year, the nation's top intelligence official said on Tuesday, disclosing an overall number long shrouded in secrecy.

Dennis Blair, the U.S. director of national intelligence, cited the figure as part of a four-year strategic blueprint for the sprawling, 200,000-person intelligence community. (more)

"So, uh for $75 Billion every year we must know everything, right Pop?"

Spying on BlackBerry Users for Fun

The 7th annual instalment of the Hack in The Box Security Conference in Malaysia (HITBSecConf) has secured some of the most exciting mainstream and underground ICT security experts who will present on a range of highly relevant hardware and software security topics, on the 7th and 8th of October 2009....

Sheran Gunasekera, Head of Research & Development at ZenConsult will present Spying on BlackBerry Users for Fun - a talk which will demonstrate that BlackBerry handhelds can be compromised to sniff user’s email (and optionally instant messages, web browsing traffic, and SMS messages). The presentation will also see the release of the “Bugs & Kisses” toolkit. Bugs, the interceptor can be deployed on BlackBerry handhelds to sniff emails, while Kisses the detector can be used on the device to detect the presence of Bugs or other ‘Bugs-like’ applications. (more)

Vigil Attorney has California Officials Quaking

CA - A South Bay lawyer wasn't acting as a Peeping Tom or a member of the paparazzi when he hired an investigator to stake out a Morgan Hill official in an unsuccessful search for evidence of a suspected romantic affair, a state appeals court says.

Instead, attorney Bruce Tichinin was exercising a citizen's right to look into possible government wrongdoing, and can sue the city of Morgan Hill for allegedly retaliating against him by denouncing his actions, the appellate panel in San Jose said Monday.

Tichinin's lawyer said the ruling by the Sixth District Court of Appeal should be good news for anyone, including the media, who is trying to find out what public officials are up to. (more)

Leda, the Swann, and the IT Guy

CA - An eastern Ontario union executive has launched a lawsuit against the Canadian Union of Public Employees, accusing a colleague of violating her privacy by reading her emails.

Katherine Thompson, of South Lancaster, Ont., who is currently president for the Air Canada component of CUPE, is seeking $250,000 in damages through a civil suit launched against CUPE, national president Paul Moist and Lesley Swann, former president of CUPE's Air Canada component.

Thompson alleges that in the fall of 2007, when she was secretary-treasurer and Swann was the component president, Swann blackmailed an IT consultant into providing access to Thompson's emails, and then went through the correspondence to spy on her.

CUPE's Air Canada component represents 6,700 flight attendants at Air Canada. (more)

Eavesdropping - A Bad Rap?

Rap artist and producer Dr. Dre may be making an appearance in Detroit soon, but it could be in a courtroom rather than for a concert following a court of appeals ruling.

A ruling last week revives a 2002 case against the artist -- whose real name is Andre Young -- that accuses him of violating state eavesdropping laws by improperly videotaping a backstage conversation by city employees at a concert in July 2000. The original suit sought $3 billion. (more)

SIng-a-long
Listen listen listen.. (listen) whoahh (listen)

Listen listen listen.. (better listen) whoahh-oahhh-oahhh
Listen listen listen.. [harmonizing]
Listen.. mmm-mmm-mmm (more)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Jail Employees Could Go to Jail for Taps

CO - A member of the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office and two civilian workers face possible criminal charges for allegedly eavesdropping on co-workers' phone calls.

CBS4 reported Friday that the three employees were allegedly monitoring personal phone calls made and received by their co-workers for months.

The three are accused of using a feature on the jail's internal phone system to listen to the calls, the TV station reported.
(more) (more)

Criminals Use Electronic Surveillance Too

PA - During the execution of the search warrant for 807 Green Street, detectives seized a covert video surveillance system designed to warn the drug dealers inside of the presence of police. This system was fully operational during the time of the search with an audio microphone which is a violation of Pennsylvania’s Wiretap Act. (more)

The Real Spy's Guide to Becoming a Spy

The Real Spy's Guide to Becoming a Spy by Peter Earnest with Suzanne Harper

Peter Earnest is former CIA and the founding executive director of the International Spy Museum, located in Washington D.C. This is a must read for any young reader who loves spy related things, be it novels, movies or kits. This book is for any young reader who has ever wonder what do spies do, or how do I become a spy?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

SpyCam Story #556 - The Pet Sitter

CA - Police in Newbury Park say they've found evidence that a man arrested for allegedly spying on his female neighbors with a hidden camera may have taped other people as well. Police say Michael Farge, 38, recorded the daily activities of his neighbors, including them changing, for more than two years.

Residents of the community of condos near Wheelwright Lane told KTLA that Farge was good friends with the women he is accused of watching, a woman and her 19-year-old daughter.
They said Farge had a key to the victims' house and watched their house and pets when they were out of town. (more) (video)

Contest - Police Brain Teaser - [ended]

[CONTEST OVER - CONGRATULATIONS WINNERS!]
The police get a tip that a man named Max is a murder suspect. They are told he is at a particular address, in a particular apartment playing poker with three other people. They raid the apartment, kick in the door and immediately arrest Max without saying a word, or questioning the other players.


How did they immediately know which person was Max?

The answer will be posted tomorrow...
Answer: He was playing poker with three women.

We accepted the first four winners (in order).
JR from Australia
AV from California
DF from New York
EJ from Canada
They will be receiving the really cool "Book of Secrets" Check the "Look inside" at amazon.com to see what it is all about. ~Kevin

Your Future Third (4th or 5th) Eye

Miruko is a camera robot in the shape of an eyeball capable of tracking objects and faces. According to its creators, it can be used for augmented reality games, security, and navigation. (more) (movie)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Marketing Gone Wild

Deep in the bowels of MoreOn Advertising...
So, what should we call it?
It helps law enforcement protect the innocent public.
How about "Pole Protector" or "Bad Guy Annihilator?"
Nah, screw the PR jazz. Let's call it...

During the ASIS 2009 conference, here, Cam-Tek Systems, Inc., announced the introduction and availability of the Surveillance Network On Utility Poles or SNOUP™ (pronounced “Snoop”) covert video surveillance solution. SNOUP is a modular, self-contained, ruggedized, video surveillance system designed to mount atop utility poles for wide area public video surveillance. This comprehensive solution utilizes wired, wireless, and cellular network connectivity. This solution is intended primarily for police departments, drug enforcement agencies, homeland security agencies, and other investigative agencies such as states' attorneys general offices. (more)

What were they thinking? Where do they think the money comes from for this stuff? Totally wrong mindset. ~Kevin

Automakers go ‘camo’ to thwart spy shots

This is war, after all, and you better not go out without your camouflage.
...disguises have evolved over the years. Two decades ago, manufacturers began applying strips of black tape, hoping simply to confuse the eye. That evolved into bras and bibs meant to conceal front and rear details.


Now, in its earliest stages, a prototype is likely to be covered roof-to-wheel in material printed in zebra or moiré patterns — some designs proving particularly effective when photographed. Hard plastic panels may be sewn together with soft nylon, not only to conceal, but also to create false and misleading shapes. Rectangular taillights may be rounded off, a sedan may suddenly seem as square as a station wagon. Manufacturers have even been known to bolt on another maker’s badge, just to add to the confusion. (
more)

What's your counterespionage strategy?
Don't have one?!?!
Click here.

Business Espionage - Starwood v. Hilton

Hilton Hotels Corporation, the American hotel behemoth, has replaced Ross Klein as global head of luxury and lifestyle brands after a lawsuit brought by Starwood Hotels, his former employer, accused him of looting confidential information...

The news that Mr Klein has left will reignite speculation that Hilton, which is also being sued, is close to agreeing a settlement with its rival aimed at drawing a line under what the writ called "the clearest imaginable case of corporate espionage, theft of trade secrets, unfair competition and computer fraud". (more)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Business Espionage - Nintendo

Nintendo fan site Nintendojo has reported it did some eavesdropping on a conference call between Nintendo and some big name retailers, where it confirmed there would be a $50 price cut starting from 27 September. (more)

How secure are your conference calls?
Need help?
Contact us.

Tune in September 27th to see if they really did eavesdrop.
Merry Christmas, etc.

SpyCam Story #555 - Along Came Jones

eeh, eeh...
MI -
A restaurant owner who is also a former Brighton city councilman is accused of spying on a female employee. Police say he used a hidden camera to watch the employee when she was undressed.

Richard Gienapp is the owner of Mexican Jones on Grand River. He faces three felony counts, accused of installing and using a camera to eavesdrop on a female employee at the restaurant. (more)

(sing-a-long) ...I got so bugged I turned it off and turned on another show. But there was the same old shoot-'em-up and the same old rodeo...

(Review) "I have been disappointed few times when eating out and definitely this place tops my list. The Salsa straight out of a Ragu container leaves much to be desired, it was so awful (even the waitress agreed with my wife about the Spaghetti taste) and I do have to agree that she was the only reason why I finished my dinner without walking out." (more)

SpyCam Story #554 - Ductman

ND - A man has been ordered to serve 10 days in jail for eavesdropping in Richland County. Authorities say 52-year-old Anthony Siemieniewski put a camera and microphone in a heating duct of a bedroom in a home he owned. Tenants found the camera in February.

Assistant State's Attorney Ron McBeth said investigators found no video but found audio recordings.

Siemieniewski indicated he wanted to check on a problem furnace and said the camera never produced video.

Siemieniewski was ordered to jail for 10 days, followed by probation. Judge Richard Grosz also ordered Siemieniewski to pay $500 in fees, and ordered a psychological evaluation. (more)

Privacy Gadget of the Year - Laser Zapper

Ever since Diana, Princess of Wales, was snapped in an amorous clinch with Dodi Fayed in a yacht off the French Riviera, celebrities have been seeking ways to enjoy their holidays while avoiding the glare of the paparazzi...

Roman Abramovich, the Russian oligarch, appears to have come up with a novel solution to protect his privacy.

In a move that could eventually be copied by all discerning billionaires, Abramovich has installed an anti-paparazzi shield on his newest vessel, the world’s biggest and most expensive private yacht.

The high-tech system on Eclipse, a mega-yacht measuring up to 557ft, relies on lasers to block any digital camera lenses nearby... the boat’s most unusual feature is perhaps the anti-paparazzi “shield”.

Infrared lasers detect the electronic light sensors in nearby cameras, known as charge-coupled devices. When the system detects such a device, it fires a focused beam of light at the camera, disrupting its ability to record a digital image.

The beams can also be activated manually by security guards if they spot a photographer loitering. (more)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Software Protects Computer Displays from Eavesdropping

To minimize amount of displayed information available for eavesdropping, PrivateEye Pro 1.0 uses web camera to determine when user is not looking at display and blurs contents of monitor to point where typical text is illegible. In Boss mode, program displays screen capture of user's choice when they are looking away. Eavesdropper Warnings let user see who is behind them and let eavesdroppers see that they have been caught. (more) (video)

Massachusetts - No Warrantless GPS Spying

Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling insists that police obtain a warrant before using GPS devices to spy on motorists.

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled that police officers need to obtain a warrant before using a Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) device to track a motorist. The ruling was handed down in the case of Everett H. Connolly who was convicted of cocaine trafficking after police traced his activities using a GPS device five years ago. (more)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Security Director Hero - The Informant!

Steven Soderbergh's movie, The Informant!, opened in movie theaters today. By all reviews, it is a winner. It is based on a true corporate intrigue story.

If it were fiction it would be a corporate espionage thriller. Because it is a true story, it is a comedy, a farce, a fiasco. Such is real life drama. (I know. I was there.)


Soderbergh has an excellent reputation for portraying realistic organizational espionage, intrigue and electronic surveillance. Remember his Valerie Plame affair series "
K Street," on HBO?

If you liked "Barbarians at the Gate" (I was there, too). You'll love "The Informant!"

...one review...
A mid-level executive at a corporation called ADM, Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon) works to ensure the continued good sales of the company's popular food additives, but when a mishap in the lab begins to cost the company significant amounts of money and threatens Whitacre's job, the mustachioed quasi-Everyman simply invents, out of thin air, a Japanese corporate blackmailer to whom he assigns the blame.

Enter the FBI, who might easily have caught on to Whitacre's deception had he not, in turn, spun yet another series of lies which propelled him into being the government's key witness and undercover informant in a massive corporate conspiracy case. And like all good con-jobs, Whitacre built his lies upon half-truths.

There was, indeed, a price-fixing scheme in place, but the laughable audacity with which Whitacre lead investigators through the ranks, deflecting attention from his own involvement – and subsequent embezzlement – is worthy of a standing ovation.
The Informant is a one-man show, carried completely by the strength of Damon's tremendously effective performance.

Whitacre, for all intents and purposes, should be a hugely unlikeable guy, but Damon lends the character a sense of kamikaze bravado and wide-eyed whimsy that makes it impossible not to feel at least slightly sympathetic toward him. From the paunchy mid-section to the ridiculous hairpiece, Whitacre seems like the kind of guy trying desperately to move up and be taken seriously in the corporate world. (
more) (the original story, summarized) (wikipedia) (The Informant - book) ('This American Life' audio version)

Although it may not be clear in the movie, or the book, the only person who identified Whitacre as unstable early on, reported it to management (was ignored), discovered Whitacre's 9 million plus dollar theft from ADM, and recovered the money, was ADM's corporate security director, Mark J. Cheviron. He is the true unsung hero of this story and one of the few top ADM executives to emerge untarnished. The old top management is gone today. Mr. Cheviron remains.
~Kevin (you can have the isle seat)

Canada's Nest of Spies

via boing boing...
Canada is apparently a hive of foreign spies and Ottawa is "crawling with them," according to an Ottawa Citizen article about a new book, titled
Nest of Spies: The Startling Truth About Foreign Agents at Work Within Canada's Borders.

The book was written by an investigative journalist and a former intelligence officer with the RCMP Security Service and Canadian Security Intelligence Service. If the article is any indication, this book is just laden with intrigue and scandal. For example, it claims that 1970s/1980s Russian hockey star Vladislav Tretiak was also a spy "talent scout," recruiting new secret agents for the Soviet Union.


From the Ottawa Citizen:

Led by the Chinese but including intelligence officers from at least 20 nations including allies, the book says, the infiltrators are stealing an estimated $20 billion to $30 billion annually worth of cutting-edge research in products and technologies, other scientific, business and military know-how and political secrets. (more)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Security Director Alert - China Trip? - One Time Use Electronics

US Government recommends weighing laptop before and after each visit. Senior executives in US IT companies have been advised by the US Government to follow extremely strict policies for visits to China which extend far beyond standard software protection. The policies encourage them to leave their standard IT equipment at home and to buy separate gear only for use in China. (more)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Business Espionage - Blond Bombshells Phone

NY - It's the society scandal of the year. Two power blondes, each accused of harassing the other, in a jealous catfight turned dangerous. Now, as one is charged with a felony and faces up to four years in jail, could this be the end of both their glittering careers?

In January 2008, interior decorator Nina Freudenberger's phone started ringing off the hook.

Freudenberger, a Kirsten Dunst–lookalike with porcelain skin and long blonde hair, was used to being in high demand. Working with the famed architectural firm Costas Kondylis and Partners, she counted A-list designer Zac Posen as a friend and supporter of her work. At the time, she was even plotting to open her own Manhattan furniture boutique.

But the sudden barrage of calls that winter wasn't from friends or interested clients. Six or seven times a day, Freudenberger's phone would ring, and no one would be on the other end. Later, her voicemails would mysteriously disappear.

What's more, Freudenberger's billing statement showed that the anonymous caller was dialing from her own phone number. Confused and scared, she reported the prank calls to the police, who discovered an unlikely stalker: power publicist and social fixture Ali Wise.

Between January 2, 2008, and March 15, 2008, Wise allegedly used a device known as a SpoofCard about 54 times to hack into Freudenberger's voicemail, according to a complaint filed with the Manhattan district attorney's office.

On July 8, 2009, Wise, the head of entertainment PR at Dolce & Gabbana since 2005, was arrested and charged with computer trespass and eavesdropping. (
more)

Senate Candidate Accused Of Spying

FL - It's been a short campaign, but one full of negative attack ads on the airwaves. Now, with just days to go in the race to replace the late Jim King in the Florida Senate, one candidate's family is accusing another campaign of videotaping the family house. Dan Quiggle and John Thrasher are two of the Republicans are on the ballot in the race for Florida Senate District 8... (more)

Email Account Hacking

When Elaine Cioni found out that her married boyfriend had other girlfriends, she became obsessed, federal prosecutors say. So she turned to YourHackerz.com.

And for only $100, YourHackerz.com provided Cioni with the password to her boyfriend's AOL e-mail account, court records show. For another $100, she got her boyfriend's wife's e-mail password. And then the passwords of at least one other girlfriend and the boyfriend's two children.

Cioni, however, went further and began making harassing phone calls to her boyfriend and his family, using a "spoofing" service to disguise her voice as a man's. This attracted the attention of federal authorities, who prosecuted Cioni, 53, in Alexandria last year for unauthorized access to computers, among other crimes. She was convicted and is serving a 15-month sentence.

But such services as YourHackerz.com are still active and plentiful, with clever names like "piratecrackers.com" and "hackmail.net." (Both have since evaporated, or morphed.) They boast of having little trouble hacking into such Web-based e-mail systems as AOL, Yahoo, Gmail, Facebook and Hotmail, and they advertise openly.

And, experts said, there doesn't appear to be much anyone can do about it. (more)

Beware of "experts" and learn how to create a decent password. ~Kevin

Business Espionage - The Boss Wiretapped

TX - The former general manager for the Bexar Metropolitan Water District pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of wiretapping — admissions that could send him to prison for up to 20 years and force him to testify against the utility's previous public relations consultant.

As a condition of the plea agreements, prosecutors aren't challenging Gil Olivares' request for probation. (more)

SpyCam Story #553 - The IP Guy

UK - A primary school computer consultant who set up a camera in the girls' toilets has been jailed for five years. Timothy Walters was found to have more than 26,000 indecent images of children stored on his computer, Leeds Crown Court heard.

The alarm was raised when two pupils at St Peter's School, Birstall, alerted the caretaker that they had seen something flash from the ceiling of the toilets at 12.20pm on March 4 this year. An investigation uncovered a video camera concealed behind a ceiling tile in the toilets, which was connected to a wireless router. There was also a laptop and a hard disk drive. (more)

A Short History of Wiretapping and Ramifications

Communications Surveillance: Privacy and Security at Risk
AS THE SOPHISTICATION OF WIRETAPPING TECHNOLOGY GROWS, SO TOO DO THE RISKS IT POSES TO OUR PRIVACY AND SECURITY.


We all know the scene: It is the basement of an apartment building and the lights are dim. The man is wearing a trench coat and a fedora pulled down low to hide his face. Between the hat and the coat we see headphones, and he appears to be listening intently to the output of a set of alligator clips attached to a phone line. He is a detective eavesdropping on a suspect's phone calls. This is wiretapping—as it was in the film noir era of 1930s Hollywood. It doesn't have much to do with modern electronic eavesdropping, which is about bits, packets, switches, and routers.
We start with an overview of the convoluted history of wiretapping, focusing on the United States, and then turn to issues of privacy and security. (more)

iPhone Encryption

SecurStar GmbH of Germany has added PhoneCrypt encryption for the iPhone to their line of voice security products. (more)

Friday, September 11, 2009

US Wiretapping Law - No Equal Justice for All

The News...
Police arrested a man they say caused a disturbance at a Honda dealership and who, it was later discovered, had been recording the exchange with a voice recorder in his pocket.
Chi Quang Truong, 46, of 63 Flanders Road, Westborough, was arrested at 2:05 p.m. Friday at Bernardi Honda on Worcester Street... Truong has been charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, trespassing, unlawful wiretapping and possessing a device for wiretapping. (more)

The Views (#1)...
Silliest 'wiretapping' charges ever recorded

In my view it's the federal law and 38 "one-party consent" states that have this one called correctly, and the 12 others that have some explaining to do. The justification for criminalizing self-authorized self-recording has never been made clear to me; best I get from friends and colleagues is that being recorded without one's knowledge "is creepy." Yes it is, or at least in can be in some cases. But so is charging a guy with "wiretapping" just because he tossed a nutty at a car dealership. (
more)

The Views (#2)...

Don't you need a wire to get charged with wiretapping?

I thought so too, and the theory here is that since Truong didn't have explicit permission to record the conversation (memories of Linda Tripp), he was slapped with the additional charges. In 12 states (California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Washington) you're required to get the permission of all parties on the line before making any kind of recording. In the rest of the country, any single member that's part of the conversation can legally record it without consent from the other parties. And as Network World notes, wiretapping laws largely extend to in-person communications now, so no wire is required.
Still, does the punishment really fit the crime? Wiretapping is a class D felony, and that can mean (based on my admittedly limited understanding of criminal statutes) up to 12 years in prison. (more)

What's your view?

Take our new poll (top right side)

Poll Results - SpyCam'ers

The ratio of discovered spycam'ers to undiscovered is...
Nobody really knows. However, given the number of spycams we see being sold vs. the court cases being reported, your feel for it was...
1:5 -- 15%
1:10 -- 10%
1:100 -- 25%
1:500 -- 10%
1:1000 -- 45%!

Science of Spying Lecture Series

With Dave D’Auria, Acquisition Committee chairman of the National Cryptologic Museum Foundation; retired executive at the National Security Agency. “Solving the German Enigma: The Allied Code-Breaking That Helped Shorten and Win World War II.” (series information)
5:30 p.m. – Doors open, providing attendees a chance to examine the Enigma machine

7 p.m. – Lecture and Q&A

Thursday, Sept. 17, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Museum of Nature & Science, 3535 Grand Avenue, Dallas, TX
Admission: $7 - $10
Age limit: 18+

Little Buggers Spy on Neighbors and Spread Misinformation

via The Wall Street Journal...
Bacteria are the oldest living things on earth
, and researchers have long felt that they must lead dull, unfussy lives. New discoveries are starting to show just how wrong that notion is.
For a simple, single-cell creature, a bacterium is surprisingly social.

It can communicate in two languages.
It can tell self from nonself, friend from foe. It thrives in the company of others. It spies on neighbors, spreads misinformation and even commits fratricide.


"Really, they're just stripped-down versions of us," says Bonnie Bassler, microbial geneticist at Princeton University, who has spent two decades peeking at the inner lives of bacteria. Dr. Bassler and other scientists are using this information to devise new ways to fight infections and reduce antibiotic resistance. (
more) (video)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Where is our Surveillance Society headed?

via The Guardian (UK)...
Main Points
• A toxic culture of suspicion is souring our children's lives.
• Adults will find it hard to interact with young people if hysterical paranoia means they are all viewed as potential abusers.
(more)

via Atlantic Free Press...
Main Points
• New surveillance technologies increasingly threaten Americans’ civil liberties yet the public seems not to mind the ominous signs of an emerging police state, a law school professor warns.
• “If we acquiesce in technology’s wonders being utilized to track our every movement, every action, every purchase, every message — because there is benefit to us, as there is, in each of these — who is to blame when the state goes knocking on the neighbor’s door?” asks Larry Starkey, an adjunct professor at the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover. “Who is to blame when the state comes knocking on our own doors?” (more)

via The Telegraph (UK)...
Main Points
• Britain has become a ‘Big Brother’ surveillance society with “CCTV on every corner”
• Organisations have been accused of misusing the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, originally intended to tackle terrorism and organised crime, by applying the legislation to trivial matters such as littering and dog fouling.

"Teach your children well" ~Crosby Stills Nash Young

Quote of the Day - iPod Nano... spycam?

"...don't be surprised if this thing triggers a whole social wave of spy-filming.
It's totally easy to conceal... * Voice recorder. More spy fun. Each recorded audio chunk can be two hours long, although the iPod automatically begins a new chunk if your session rolls on longer."

David Pogue - The New York Times - Personal Tech Guru (more) (iPod nano)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Horny Eavesdropping Devices

Early eavesdropping was not always electronic...
Click on thumbnails to enlarge.































Courtesy The Museum of Retro Technology.

On a smaller scale, eavesdropping could often be accomplished by using the Speaking Tube. Yes, many homes, offices and 'fine automobiles' used to have speaking tubes. You can still find them on some ships, too. (history) Of course, this should not be confused with a Whispering Tube; a story for another day.

Want one? Click here!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Rare News Item - 3 Arrested for Selling Bugs

Taiwan - The Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) turned over three suspects to prosecutors yesterday for their allegedly marketing illegal bug devices.

The bureau arrested the three men surnamed Lee, Lin, and Chen after confiscating 197 sets of cutting-edge bugging instruments imported mostly from China.

The three admitted that they had been selling the instruments in their high-tech gadget stores located in Taipei City and adjacent Taipei County as well as through auction stores on the Internet.

The highly sensitive devices were in various forms like wristwatches, cigarette lighters, ballpoint pens, or buttons. (more)

Posted code enables VoIP spying

Along with keyloggers that track what you type, now we have to worry about malicious software that listens in on our voice over Internet Protocol conversations. A Symantec security blog disclosed a new Trojan horse, Tojan.Peskyspy "that records VoIP communications, specifically targeting Skype."... Eavesdropping is a risk, when it comes to industrial espionage, prying spouses or significant others, and political campaigns, as well as political dissidents. (more)

Quote of the Day

"In essence, unless the company premises have been swept for bugs, there’s no guarantee that somebody hasn’t been listening in to your conversations regarding sensitive issues. This could of course result in information regarding the company’s products or services being leaked to competitors in the field. Of course not many corporate managers like to acknowledge the fact that this could happen but the truth is; it can and does happen." - Jacques Amaya, The Tech Edition

SpyCam Story #552 - The Neighbor

FL - The Smith family was under surveillance. Every day. Every time they stepped outside their house. "We feel very violated and afraid," said Carol Smith, speaking for her husband, Terry, and their children.

The source of their fear is Timothy Dederick, with whom they had a long-running dispute over a fence on the boundary between their two properties on Evergreen Drive.

Dederick installed a sophisticated video and audio surveillance system with at least six cameras pointed right at the Smiths' home, authorities said in an affidavit. He was also listening to and recording their conversations.

When Dederick did that, authorities say, he committed a felony... (more)

FutureWatch - SenseCam, your auto diary

SenseCam is a wearable digital camera that is designed to take photographs passively, without user intervention, while it is being worn.

Unlike a regular digital camera or a cameraphone, SenseCam does not have a viewfinder or a display that can be used to frame photos. Instead, it is fitted with a wide-angle (fish-eye) lens that maximizes its field-of-view. This ensures that nearly everything in the wearer’s view is captured by the camera, which is important because a regular wearable camera would likely produce many uninteresting images.


SenseCam also contains a number of different electronic sensors. These include light-intensity and light-color sensors, a passive infrared (body heat) detector, a temperature sensor, and a multiple-axis accelerometer. These sensors are monitored by the camera’s microprocessor, and certain changes in sensor readings can be used to automatically trigger a photograph to be taken.
(more) (video)Don't laugh. Things go from geek to chic very quickly these days. Think about it. How often do you refer to your calendar program to remember what you did, when? Surveillance devices like this one will eventually become standard gear. ~Kevin

Double Agent Spyware

Parents who install a leading brand of software to monitor their kids' online activities may be unwittingly allowing the company to read their children's chat messages — and sell the marketing data gathered.

Software sold under the Sentry and FamilySafe brands can read private chats conducted through Yahoo, MSN, AOL and other services, and send back data on what kids are saying about such things as movies, music or video games. The information is then offered to businesses seeking ways to tailor their marketing messages to kids. (more)

Joseph Finder - Fiction is just his cover

This book review is so good, let's reprint it...

Is it paranoia if they’re really out to get you?

by katknit
"Corporate espionage is not one of my areas of interest, but this audio book was a gift, so I listened. I have to say, right off, that Finder knows how to write suspense. Adam is a likable protagonist, a young guy entrapped by his own naivete into an untenable predicament. What he finds himself doing, however, is sleazy. As a self-professed slacker, Adam at first feels no compunction about spying, the apparent rewards of his secret mission fueling his need to impress his hypercritical father. But in a matter of days, he finds himself drawn to the CEO of the company he’s meant to undermine, and suddenly, he’s caught in the jaws of a dilemma. For the first time in his life, Adam is forced to grapple with very real and difficult questions of morality. Falling in love only complicates the situation. Ruthless and arrogant CEO’s, high tech spy gadgets, ethical conundra, and gradually escalating danger make for a compelling story, whatever the setting. Finder’s characters are well drawn, although on occasion he goes overboard with types (i.e. Adam’s father and CEO Wyatt.) This thriller came as a pleasant surprise, gripping in spite of its business background." (source)

If this anonymous reviewer only knew...
Paranoia (published 12/04) is gripping because of its business background. You may find Finder in the fiction isle, but he has his roots digging into reality... especially the high tech spy gadgets. (He has professionals researching and fact checking.)

Joe's latest novel, Vanished (published 8/09) is another thrilling reality fiction corporate thriller. (video) ~Kevin

More novels by Joe Finder