Monday, November 29, 2010

Advances in Video Enhancement

There is nothing worse* than having to watch a crummy video recording, especially if you are sitting in a jury box.

Too dark, too light, out of focus, unstable are some of the many complaints that pop up whenever the important footage is brought forth as evidence. 

Fortunately, the situation is getting better. High definition cameras and better recording compression schemes are helping, but when it comes to pulling a rabbit out of the junk video hat, it's video processing to the rescue.

Take a look at this...
This is an example of enhancing clarity. Examples of focus, stability and darkness can be seen afterward, or here.

It is even possible to enhance and construct a composite photograph from several frames of video...
While most of this magic is used in legal proceedings and investigations, think of what it could do for your precious home movies!

Special thanks to Doug Carner, CPP/CHS-III of Forensic Protection, Van Nuys, CA for the loan of his video enhancements. Got a problem video? Give Doug a call. Evaluations are FREE.

* except being dragged to another Harry Potter flick. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Why Your Business Needs a Counterespionage Strategy

If it can happen to a government, it can happen to you.
Murray Associates can help. (more)

Fiber Optics Easier to "Wiretap" than Wire

Optical fibre is a lot easier to tap than most people imagine. There is no need to break or splice the fibre now -- a relatively shallow bend can be enough.

The technique works because the light in the cable propagates by bouncing off the insides of the fibre. Unsheath the cable, and a detector can pick up the tiny amount of light that escapes through the fibre's coating, explained Thomas Meier, the CEO of Swiss company Infoguard.

He demonstrated the technique on a fibre carrying a VOIP phone call over Gigabit Ethernet...

He added that the risk is not imaginary or theoretical -- optical taps have been found on police networks in the Netherlands and Germany, and the FBI investigated one discovered on Verizon's network in the U.S. Networks used by U.K. and French pharmaceutical companies have also been attacked, probably for industrial espionage, he said. (more) (more)

Friday, November 26, 2010

SpyCam Story #588 - Teacher's Pen Leaks

TX - A Springtown man has been accused by police of recording a video of an 18-year-old woman showering at his home while using a “spy pen” without her consent.

A 38-year old, second-grade teacher at a Fort Worth elementary school, turned himself in to authorities and is charged with improper visual recording without consent, according to a Springtown Police affidavit.

The “spy pen,” which functions as a pen with a camera attached, was taken by one of his children to school, where it was discovered by another student and given to a teacher, Sgt. Shawn Owens of the Springtown Police Department said.

One of the children in his home took the pen to school thinking it was just a pen, and that’s where at the school it was discovered as more than just a pen,” Owens said. (more)

Business WebCams Hacked

A computer hacker accessed highly personal data and controlled victims' webcams as part of a sophisticated email scam carried out from his mother's front room.

Matthew Anderson, 33, was a key member of an international gang, abusing his skills as a computer security expert to target businesses and individuals with spam containing hidden viruses, a court heard.

He controlled victims' webcam devices remotely to see inside their homes, at one point boasting to a friend that he made a teenage girl cry by doing so.

Major national and international organisations, including Macmillan Publishers, the Toyota car company and the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, were also targeted in what prosecutor Hugh Davies described as a "fundamental breach of security".  (more)

Turkey Toughens Laws on Illegal Taps

Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım has said the government plans to increase penalties for illegal wiretapping in order to dissuade people from bugging private phone conversations in violation of the law...

“With the passage of this draft legislation the punishment [for illegal wiretapping] will be increased three-fold. The punishments will not be suspended or commuted to monetary fine. People who are found guilty of illegal wiretapping will be sentenced to a jail term of two to five years. There is no other method to put a stop to the illegal wiretapping paranoia,” Yıldırım told Today’s Zaman. The wiretapping of telephone conversations is a highly controversial issue in Turkey. Many believe the police as well as the military and other security agencies frequently bug people’s phone lines to detect security threats. (more)

Thomas Cook Counters Espionage

After secret talks in a room designed to prevent bugging, British tour operator Thomas Cook has bought a majority stake in Intourist, the Russian travel agency founded under Joseph Stalin. (more)
Stalin founded a travel agency?!?!
(Shrugs shoulders, walks away with a head full of jokes that will never see the light of day.) Sortalike when you're in a Siberian... (Slaps hand over mouth.)

Fed Taps Trim Hedge

A broad U.S. crackdown on insider trading accelerated as the government charged an employee at an expert-network firm with conspiring to leak confidential information. Prosecutors also won a legal victory against a founder of the Galleon Group hedge fund that cements their ability to use wiretaps against Wall Street investors. (more)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Micro SD Card Crypts Cell Calls and SMS

Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) and Secusmart have released a new generation of the SecuVOICE solution for wiretap-proof cell phone calls. 

This new and improved version of the encryption solution will allow the German federal authorities to make phone calls - and also send SMS messages - without any risk of interception. 

The core component of this integrated solution is the new Secusmart Security Card, which encrypts calls and SMS messages end-to-end and provides secure authentication. The microSD card used in the cell phone was specially developed for Secusmart by Giesecke & Devrient Secure Flash Solutions (G&D SFS), a joint venture of G&D and Phison Electronics Corporation. The German federal authorities will soon be deploying the first crypto cards to offer this combined functionality. (more)

Patriots suspected of spying?!?! (Shocking.)

(US football story) For the second straight weekend, the three-year-old notion of the Patriots engaging in tactics not recognized by the rule book hovers over one of the team’s biggest out-of-division rivalries. 

In his look-ahead to the coming weekend, Peter King of points out that Colts quarterback Peyton Manning fears the presence of enemy ears in the visitors’ locker room at Gillette Stadium... None of it means that bugs have been planted in the locker room, but there’s nothing wrong with being cautious. Even if the caution becomes paranoia. (more) (history)

Thus leaving no time to collect on the sex part.

Charging IAS officer Ravi Inder Singh with corporate espionage for sexual and monetary favours, the Delhi Police Special Cell told a court on Wednesday that Singh spoke with ‘middleman’ Vineet Kumar at least 10,000 times in the last two months and helped clear the file of telecom company Telcordia in the first week of November “abusing his official position”. (more)

Ellison publicly charged Apotheker with overseeing an "industrial espionage scheme" to steal Oracle software...

...and wins "one of the 10 or 20 largest jury verdicts in U.S. legal history."

SAP AG must pay Oracle Corp $1.3 billion for software theft in a jury verdict that could be the largest-ever for copyright infringement. (more)

"The weed of crime bears bitter fruit."

You know it's time to call in the PR folks when...

via the sharp eyes at
For those of you unfamiliar with the American Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the Fourth Amendment is in place to guard citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures. Not that it really stops the government from doing so or anything but they try and it is for our own safety… most of the time. But Airport security and those scans can be quite a problem, what with all the radiation and all from the scanners etc. so aside from lead underwear and radiation blocking fig leaves on your delicates, another company has come up with Forth Amendment T-shirts with the prints in metallic dye that will show up on scans. (more)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

SpyCam Story #587 - Year's Weirdest Story

A New York University professor has an eye in the back of his head after undergoing a surgical procedure to install a camera in his skull, part of an art exhibition commissioned by a new museum in Qatar.

“I am going about my daily life as I did before the procedure, but I ask for a period of rest before I am going to give any interviews,” Professor Wafaa Bilal said in a statement issued Tuesday through a spokeswoman, Mahdis Keshavarz.

The surgery was performed in the U.S., according to Keshavarz. She declined to specify the hospital or doctor, saying Bilal preferred not to disclose that information until after he has healed. She also declined to specify the precise date of Bilal’s surgery, though as recently as Friday evening she said the procedure had not yet been performed.

The thumbnail-size camera implanted in his head will automatically snap one photograph per minute for an entire year, as The Wall Street Journal reported last week. Bilal, an assistant professor in the photography and imaging department of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, intends to activate the camera on Dec. 15.

The project, titled “The 3rd I,” was commissioned by Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art. Bilal plans to broadcast a live stream of images from the camera to monitors at the exhibit in Qatar, scheduled to open Dec. 30.

Last week Bilal launched a website connected to the project. Whether a live feed of pictures from his head-camera will also appear on his website remains unclear. (more)

Monday, November 22, 2010

...and most every other country in the developed world.

A number of suspicious women in the Gulf state of Qatar are spying on their husbands by using readily available hi-tech devices.

The women are trapping their husbands by handing spy devices, like miniature cameras fitted in pens and cigarette lighters, as gifts, The Peninsula newspaper reported.

Some wives who are not able to make their husbands accept such gifts slyly place the devices in their cars, the report said.

The paper said that it interviewed "a number of women who said their friends or colleagues admitted to spying or having spied on their husbands as they suspected they were cheating on them." (more) (eBay Spy Central) (sing-a-long)

"But, of course, Fearless Leader."

The conversations of Bulgarian army generals and top officers have been secretly wiretapped.  

The scandal broke out after a spy cam hidden in a watch was found in one of the rooms of Sofia Shipka hotel, owned by the Ministry of Defense. The military prosecution has already been alerted about the attempted espionage and its experts are now working to find out if secret records had been made and who might have used them. 

The computer surveillance system installed in room 222 of the Shipka hotel has been receiving information from 69 spy cameras installed in different recreation centers of the Bulgarian army across the country, while most of the military clubs in Bulgaria have been wiretapped under the pretext of higher security.

"I admit ordering the watch with the spy cam in it, but the gadget has never been used,” said Nikolay Markov, former security officer at the Recreation Centers Department with the Ministry of Defense. (more)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Colombia CIA Illegal Eavesdropping Suspect Flees

A former director of Colombia’s central intelligence agency, under investigation in an eavesdropping and illegal surveillance scandal has been granted political asylum in Panama.

Maria del Pilar Hurtado a lawyer headed the Department of Administrative Security (DAS) in Colombia, from August 2007 2008. She is one of four former directors of the agency in charge of the Colombian intelligence services, being investigated for their roles in a scheme of eavesdropping and illegal surveillance of judges, opposition politicians, journalists and human rights workers. (more)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Students: Enter for your chance to win an Interview with a Spy!

Ever wonder what a real spy does? Do they really drive a car like James Bond, have really cool gadgets, and make narrow escapes around every corner? Now’s your chance to find out!

The International Spy Museum announces a new student podcast in which student’s questions from across the nation will be accepted and possibly selected for this exclusive podcast interview with a real spy. (more)

When Suits Spy II

Australia - Senior managers of the companies building Australia's largest desalination plant in Victoria have denied authorising covert surveillance at the site.

Construction workers have walked off the site near Wonthaggi, south-east of Melbourne, following allegations the project's joint venture company, Thiess Degremont, hired operatives to spy on them. The allegations were revealed this morning by The Australian newspaper, which says it has sources and documents about what was called Operation Pluto. 

The newspaper says it was a secret deal between senior managers of Thiess and the Australian Security Intelligence group (ASI), a company run by experienced strike breaker Bruce Townsend. (more)

The China Whooshing Sound (It's the Same Old Song)

CA - A San Ramon, California, man is facing charges he stole valuable technology (The sugar pie.) from his former employer in hopes of building competitive location-aware products.

Zhiqiang "Michael" Zhang was arrested Tuesday, on charges that he stole trade secrets from Sirf Technology, a San Jose, California, maker of Global Positioning System chipsets, used by wireless location-aware programs in devices such as mobile phones and automobile navigation systems. A noted expert on location aware technology, Zhang had been a director of software development before resigning from Sirf in May 2009. He had been with the company for seven years.

According to prosecutors, Zhang then set up a company called Anywhere Logic "in order to develop and sell location-based services utilizing trade secrets stolen from Sirf."

Zhang allegedly hired two Sirf engineers (The honey bunch.), Xiaodong Liang and Yanmin Li away from Sirf to work at Anywhere Logic. They have also been charged in the case, but are now living in China. (The same old song.) (more) (sing-a-long)

Third of Smart Phone Users Not Smart

Almost a third of employees regularly breach enterprise mobile management policies by using personal smartphones for work purposes, according to a report.

The survey of 1,100 mobile workers by iPass, a provider of enterprise mobility services, found 22% of employees breached their employers' strict smartphone policies when using non-managed personal smartphones to access corporate information, putting data at a security risk.

"Un-provisioned smartphones are a significant risk to enterprises," said Steven Wastie, senior vice-president marketing and product management at iPass. "20% of these mobile employees have experienced a relevant security issue with their smartphone containing business data lost, stolen, infected or hacked." (more)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Spoof your GPS location on Facebook & Twitter

Facebook has released the updated application for BlackBerry handsets which finally brought Places, the location-based tagging facility to rival the popular Foursquare service.

Yet with this, the developers must not have taken into account the BlackBerry Simulation Software, which for all intents and purposes is a fully functional device for the desktop yet purely for simulating the phone and testing applications, can be used to spoof your Facebook Places and Twitter status locations.

This screenshot gallery will guide you through everything. (more)
If you want to, however, go right to the good bit, by all means skip to it by clicking here.

The Big Ear Goes Up

 One cannot overstate the importance of Thursday night's Delta 4-Heavy launch from Cape Canaveral to national security, a mission by the massive rocket that will deploy "the largest satellite in the world" to hear the whispers of evil...

The clandestine payload going up this time, known only by its launch identification number of NROL-32, is widely believed to be an essential eavesdropping spacecraft that requires the powerful lift provided by the Delta 4-Heavy to reach its listening post...

...this new spacecraft supposedly will unfurl an extremely lightweight but gigantically huge umbrella-like antenna to overhear enemy communications and aid U.S. intelligence.   (more)

Covert Recording - There's an app for that!

IL - Student journalists for Northwestern University's Medill Innocence Project wore hidden recorders to secretly tape their interviews with witnesses as part of their investigation into an alleged wrongful conviction in the murder of a Harvey security guard, prosecutors told a Cook County judge today...

"I would put the parties on notice that a cell phone wire was used at least once by students with other witnesses," Stack said.

In Illinois, it is illegal to record anyone without their knowledge or consent -- without court authorization. (more)

Soderbergh to revive The Man From UNCLE

Steven Soderbergh is an awful busy director, normally banging out at least a film a year. But it's been a while since he did something blockbuster wise which may now all change. 

According to The Heat Vision Blog, the Oscar winning director of Ocean's 11 and Traffic is developing a big screen adaptation of the classic 60s series, The Man From UNCLE. The show involved lots of espionage and spying, and was co-created by the man behind James Bond, Ian Flemming. Apparently Warner Bros. have been trying to get a film version made for about 15 years. (more)

I had the experience of seeing Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney work together on a spy theme show. They are great. Hope this project brings them together once more. U.N.C.L.E. was everyone's favorite. 

SpyCam Story #586 - Tiny Town. Big Problems.

Guttenberg, NJ - Police officers here were shocked to find a hidden camera in a police station ceiling and officials disclosed last week that it was placed there as part of an internal investigation...

A lawyer representing the Guttenberg Police Benevolent Association said the surveillance is a violation of the privacy of PBA members and the camera is in an area where female prisoners are strip-searched. Police brass say the area is never used for strip-searches.

"It was part of an investigation being done by the Police Department," Guttenberg Mayor Gerald Drasheff confirmed. The mayor said the probe is ongoing and refused to say any more on the surveillance at police headquarters on Park Avenue. (more) (Guttenberg)

Spanish Reporter Bugged

According to Spanish sources, a few months ago Mr. Ignacio Cambrero has discovered a bug in his personal laptop.  After it was by Mr. Cambrero,  the Spanish Intelligence services determined that the signals sent from the device went to a computer housed at the headquarters of ENTV, the Algerian state television Service.

The Spanish services who proceeded to disable the device, have determined that this kind of chip can only be installed through a physical contact with the computer. This means that  Ignacio Cembrero’s computer was implanted with the device during his visit to Algeria or from a contact with an "Algerian official”. (more)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Business Espionage Tip - Don't Let it Happen

Oracle still hasn't succeeded in dragging SAP's ex-chief executive into court to testify on what he knew about the subsidiary TomorrowNow's "industrial espionage."

On Monday, what Oracle got instead was an apology from the former CEO's replacement: co-CEO Bill McDermott.

It was another tech-sector captain deflated in the circus of Oracle's prosecution of its number-one business applications rival over money. (more) 

Business espionage is costly. It is costly if you don't catch it. It is costly if you do catch it and ride the legal hamster wheel. While an apology is gentlemanly, it doesn't fill the loss. 

Tip: Don't let it happen in the first place. Get your ounce of prevention, here.

Illegal Government Wiretapping Reported

Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar says the state-owned Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT), as well as the Irish-owned Digicel, were "commanded" to open their facilities so that the Security Intelligence Agency (SIA) could engage in the illegal wiretapping of citizens.

"Do you remember there was a time in Trinidad when people used to say use a Digicel phone, don't use a TSTT phone... they were right," she told reporters. (more)

UPDATE - The country’s top telecommunications companies have both distanced themselves from any involvement in the illegal wiretapping of their customers’ phones.

State-controlled Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT) would not comment in detail about the wiretapping of phones belonging to Members of Parliament, private citizens and President George Maxwell Richards by the Strategic Intelligence Agency (SIA) but the company is willing to co-operate in any investigation into the matter. (more)

Cell Phone Spying Apps Next Step...

Sell the app antidote!

Google may have "Don't be evil" as its motto, but DLP Mobile seems to be embracing the dark side in charging £1.86 for an app to remove its own spyware.

Companies that sell software for spying on partners are already on highly-dubious moral ground, but selling an application to remove your own spyware would be a step too far for most. But not DLP Mobile, who will sell you a copy of Reveal, an application designed to remove their own spying application... despite the fact that the former isn't available any more. (more)

Elaborate Eavesdropping System Discovered in Mayor's Office and Other Areas

Dominican Republic - The Santiago City Council dismantled an espionage system of several high tech miniature microphones which had been secretly installed in the office of mayor Gilberto Serrulle and other areas. The Mayor confirmed the finding, but downplayed the case, affirming that he has nothing to hide or fear. (more)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Everything you wanted to know about the legalities (USA law) of telephone wiretapping in your home.

How 20th Century Technology Can Cause 21st Century Headaches for You and Your Client
by John H. Case, Gilbert B. Feibleman and Mark Gruber
"In a day and age where everyone can go to Radio Shack and purchase their own miniaturized microphone, recording device and spy camera it has become abundantly clear that every spouse is a potential James Bond. It is not uncommon to be asked by your client: “Can I record secretly conversations with my spouse?” Unfortunately it is more common that the family law practitioner is merely told about recordings long after they have been made or even after they have been republished. As a result, learning the answer to the question is only part of the lawyer’s job. Learning how to advise your clients and how to extricate your client from a potentially criminal quagmire is equally important - the answer is not as simple as the question." (more)

Russian Embassy Bugging Documents Released

Old -- but recently released -- document discussing the bugging of the Russian embassy in 1940.  The document also mentions bugging the embassies of France, Germany, Italy, and Japan.

A long list of declassified NSA documents. These items are not online; they're at the National Archives and Records Administration in College Park, MD. You can either ask for copies by mail under FOIA (at a 75 cents per page) or come in person.  There, you can read and scan them for free, or photocopy them for about 20 cents a page.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

"Is my cell phone bugged?" Could be.

According to MWR InfoSecurity, at least two mobile phones that are being sold around the world are capable of being turned into Mobile bugging devices. The company says that most mobile phones are open to immediate cyber attack and network providers are doing little to help.

Recently MWR InfoSecurity alerted users worldwide that the Palm Pre mobile phone could be used as a bugging device without the user’s knowledge, and that phones using the Google Android system could be easily interrogated for passwords. They have now discovered that a HTC phone can be also be compromised and used as a remote bugging device. (more)

Dumb, de dumb, dumb...

PA - A member of a private Poconos homeowners association board has been charged with wiretapping for allegedly using his cellphone to record a board meeting that included a speaker-phone call with a lawyer.

Joseph O'Lall, 39, of 7030 Whitetail Lane, Long Pond, recorded the April 13, 2010, Emerald Lakes Association board meeting without the knowledge of the board members or the lawyer, and then played back the recording for others, Pocono Mountain Regional police said this week.

O'Lall was charged with intercepting, using and disclosing wire, electronic and oral communications, and with criminal use of a communication facility, which was his cellphone. (more)

Acting COO Fired for Eavesdropping

File photo. Not Charlotte.
Charlotte Mampane, the South African Broadcasting Corporation's (SABC) acting chief operations officer, who was caught on security camera eavesdropping outside a board meeting earlier this year, has stepped down from the post...

At the meeting in question, Solly Mokoetle, the SABC's chief executive, was discussing Mampane's performance, as he apparently wanted to remove her from her acting position. Her eavesdropping was discovered after she sent a text message asking why certain allegations had been made about her in the meeting. The board requested security camera footage, which allegedly showed that she listened outside the boardroom door for about 20 minutes. (more)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Über SpyCam - Sight, Sound and Smell

A Global Hawk robotic plane, hovering more than 11 miles above Afghanistan, can snap images of Taliban hide-outs so crystal clear that U.S. intelligence officials can make out the pickup trucks parked nearby — and how long they've been there.

Halfway around the globe in a underground laboratory in El Segundo, Raytheon Co. engineers who helped develop the cameras and sensors for the pilotless spy plane are now working on even more powerful devices that are revolutionizing the way the military gathers intelligence.

The new sensors enable flying drones to "listen in" on cellphone conversations and pinpoint the location of the caller on the ground. Some can even "smell" the air and sniff out chemical plumes emanating from a potential underground nuclear laboratory. (more) (sing-a-long)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

PI Spy vs. The Fecal People

UK - A private detective agency is using spy cameras to catch dog walkers who don't clean up after their pets. Investigator Mark Halstead, 35, uses all-weather infra-red cameras hidden in trees and hollowed-out stones... At the moment he is offering his services for free around Milton Keynes, but hopes to go nationwide. (more)

"Just throw in some scary words."

from a recent press release... the world's leading provider of high attenuating radio frequency and infrared optically clear substrates for privacy and electronic eavesdropping protection i.e. RF flood attacks, "bugs", LASER attacks, thermal imaging, also known as Technical Surveillance Counter-Measures (TSCM). (more)

Dudes. Thermal imaging?!?!
1. Thermal imaging is not an electronic eavesdropping technique.
2. Thermal imaging is not even a visual privacy invading technique.

"What did you say your name was?"

CA - The former chief executive of the Sacramento area's largest independent real estate firm was arrested early Wednesday morning for secretly recording guests in his homes, says Sacramento County District Attorney Jan Scully... Investigators interviewed the three women, identified as Jane Doe #1, Jane Doe #2, and Jane Doe #3, who said they did not know or consent to the videotaping

Lyon, 54, was arrested by sheriff's deputies at his home in Carmichael and was booked into Sacramento County Jail. Jail records show Lyon was arrested on four felony counts of electronic eavesdropping on separate occasions, with bail set at $60,000.

After posting bail, the former CEO of Lyon Real Estate told reporters the charges are "all allegations." "I am intent on clearing my good name." (more)

When Suits Investigate

Pacific Gas and Electric announced that it placed an executive on paid suspension while it investigates his admitted efforts to surreptitiously infiltrate a community of activists. William Devereaux, senior director of PG&E's SmartMeter program, admitted to multiple news outlets that he used a fake name Thursday in an effort to join an online discussion group of SmartMeter opponents. (more)

Best Sites for Online Snooping

A few simple tools can get you information once available only to private investigators and police.

In May Matthew Smith received a piece of junk e-mail from a marketer. The marketer chose the wrong guy to spam. 

Smith, a pseudonym, is a former hacker and now works as a network security engineer. He runs a blog called Attack Vector devoted to online security issues. He decided to use the marketer, named Steve, as his guinea pig to show how easy it is to track down information about someone based solely on an e-mail address, and documented how he did it to serve as a warning to others who may not understand the power of what's available to anyone looking to dig into your background. (more)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

How Your Boss Knows Your XBox Habits

Q. I'm a boss who tricked my workers into adding me as Xbox Live friends. How can I spy on them when they're "working" from home to make sure they're not playing Xbox?
A. One of the great features of the Xbox and its online service is the integration with the website. It lets you easily see all your Xbox friends. It can be abused by mean bosses to quickly, in table form, see the last time the friends were on XBOX and what they were doing. 

Just perform the following:
Go to and select "Sign In" in the top right of the site.
Sign in with the Live ID associated with your XBox Live ID.
• Click on your own profile.
• Select View All Friends under Friends.
You can see who's online, who's offline, when they were last online, and what everyone is or was doing. (more)

The Fine Line Between Listening and Eavesdropping

During the Middle Ages, eavesdropping was illegal in England, but overheard conversations could be used as evidence in court. Today, the internet, cell phones and reality TV make it difficult not to pry into the conversations and private lives of friends or strangers. In a new book, linguistics professor John Locke argues that eavesdropping is actually a good thing. Prying has helped humans stay away from danger, find food, identify mate mates, and assured us that we are not alone. (New Hampshire Public Radio audio report)

Monday, November 8, 2010

"If it wasn't the guards, it must be the cleaners."

Australia - A Tasmanian cleaner who stole State Government documents, and leaked them to the Opposition and the media, has been sentenced to 84 hours of community service... Outside court, Nigel John Jones maintained his innocence and said he will appeal against the conviction. (more)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

This Week in Spy News

Real Life
• The Georgian special services arrested 15 people today accused of spying for Russia. (more)

• The highest-ranking CIA officer ever convicted of espionage was expected to plead guilty to additional charges that he tried to collect money from old contacts in Russia while in prison, a newspaper reported Thursday. (more)

• Freed U.S. hiker Sarah Shourd says she doesn't know if she'll return to Iran to face espionage charges with her two companions still held in prison there. (more)

• Authorities in Norway have launched an investigation into whether the United States conducted illegal surveillance in the Nordic country, the Ministry of Justice told CNN Thursday. (more)

• Officials of the US embassy in Copenhagen may be illegally collecting data about Danish citizens, they find suspicious, the Politiken newspaper reports. (more)

Taiwan got another spy shock recently when they arrested two men who were spying for China. The shock part came from the fact that one of the men, Lo Chi Cheng was an army colonel. The other was an unnamed Taiwanese businessman who had business in China and spied on China. Then came another shock. The other guy was really a double agent, who had recruited the colonel, who obtained classified information that was then delivered to China. (more)

Northrop Grumman’s ginormous experimental spying blimp is progressing rapidly... The Army awarded Northrop a $517 million contract in June to develop a trio of unmanned, seven-story, football-field sized mega-blimps called Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicles. If successful, the blimp will stay in the air for up to three weeks at a time, using 2500 pounds’ worth of “sensors, antennas, data links and signals intelligence equipment” to capture still and video images of civilians and adversaries below and send the pictures to troops’ bases. (more)

Art Imitates Real Life
Though based on a true story with a well-known outcome, Doug Liman's "Fair Game" is as suspenseful as any fictional thriller -- and considerably more tragic. Based-in-truth thriller about CIA spy Valerie Plame. With Naomi Watts, Sean Penn. Director: Doug Liman (1:44). PG-13: Language. At area theaters. (more) (trailer)

• NBC is scrapping J.J. Abrams' spy series "Undercovers..." ...middling reviews and declining ratings made the show increasingly destined for the chopping block. Wednesday night's airing delivered only 5.8 million viewers. Three more episodes will air in the coming weeks. (more)

• Like Aaron Eckhart? Spy dramas? Then perhaps you'll like THE EXPATRIATE. Former Bat villain Aaron Eckhart (THE RUM DIARY, RABBIT HOLE) has been cast as an ex-CIA agent in the spy drama from German director Philipp Stölzl (NORTH FACE, BABY) and newcomer scribe A.E. Amel. xists, his coworkers are gone, and his assistant is really a trained operative out to kill him. Production begins next year Belgium and Montreal. (more)

Sprint Excludes Chinese Companies From Contract Over Security Fears

Sprint Nextel is excluding Chinese telecommunications-equipment makers Huawei Technologies and ZTE from a contract worth billions of dollars largely because of national security concerns in Washington. The Defense Department and some U.S. lawmakers have been increasingly concerned about the two companies’ ties to the Chinese government and military, and the security implications of letting their equipment into critical U.S. infrastructure. Some officials argue China’s military could use Huawei or ZTE equipment to disrupt or intercept American communications. (more)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Personal Spying - Drones On

Here at Kevin's Security Scrapbook I have been watching the development of drones for years. These are my two personal favorites: Do It Yourself Sky Spies - The Draganflyer and "MAV" The Scariest SiFi Movie You'll See this Year.

If you followed the Scrapbook, you already knew where this is going.  

Time for an official FutureWatch prediction... Private Investigators will start selling off all the old TSCM gadgets they bought which never turned a profit to invest in a drone. Although the applications will be limited (by practicality and law), drones will offer solutions to previously unsolvable problems. 

Early adopters will easily recoup their investments and turn a profit via rental of the drone for special assignments, and/or selling the photos/video at a premium price. In fact, having a drone should bring in previously unattainable assignments. 

This is a window of opportunity. It may take up to ten years for new laws (and FAA regulations) protecting public safety and privacy to catch up.

...via The Wall Street Journal...
Personal drones aren't yet plying U.S. flyways. But an arms race is building among people looking to track celebrities, unfaithful lovers or even wildlife. Some organizations would like them for emergency operations in areas hit by natural disasters. Several efforts to develop personal drones are scheduled for completion in the next year.

"If the Israelis can use them to find terrorists, certainly a husband is going to be able to track a wife who goes out at 11 o'clock at night and follow her," said New York divorce lawyer Raoul Felder. (more)

The AR.Drone, an iPhone-controlled helicopter powered by four separate blades
Can't wait?
Check out what's available now!
A.R. Drone (specs) (video)
AERYON Labs (specs) (video)
And many more

SpyCam Tee Shirt

"Even Mr. Bond has to have an off day when all his fancy duds are at the $1.50 Dry Cleaners and he's down to his last pair of underpants. But just because his suit jackets are gone doesn't mean he can't hide fancy spy gadgets on his person. Before he drags out the t-shirts he wore while canvassing for decade-old political campaigns or his favorite band that broke up when he was in college, he goes for his old standby, the From Tokyo With Love Electronic Spy Camera Shirt.

It's so deliciously obvious. Centered in the artwork on the shirt is the man himself, holding a camera to his face. But not just a picture of a camera. Hidden behind the soft cotton exterior is a fully-functioning spy camera. That's right. Whatever your chest can see, the camera can see. A cable connects the camera to a small black box that fits discreetly in your pocket. Just reach in, press the button, and your shirt will capture the evidence before you." (more)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Open Season on Marital Bugging and Tapping in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

A Texas court has ruled that a husband accused of monitoring his wife's computer through a keystroke logger did not violate federal wiretapping laws. 

Larry Bagley was sued in June by his wife Rhea Bagley, who accused him of surreptitiously placing audio recording devices in their house as well as a software keystroke logger. The Bagleys are in the process of divorcing.

The complaint in this civil case says that during the divorce proceedings, the husband revealed the existence of the surveillance tech and acknowledged that the "software recorded screenshots of activity on this computer." The husband replied in court documents that "in all conversations, the defendants' children were present and defendant was able to consent to recordation by way of vicarious consent."

U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal ruled on October 18 in favor of the husband, saying that the court was required to follow a Fifth Circuit decision saying that the federal wiretap law known as Title III does not apply to marital relationships.

Here are some excerpts from the court's opinion:
Whether Title III provides a remedy for interspousal wiretapping within the marital home is a question that has divided the federal courts of appeal. The Fourth, Sixth, Eighth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits have held that such wiretapping is actionable under Title III. The Second and Fifth Circuits have held that Title III does not apply to interspousal wiretaps. (more)

P.S. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit includes:

Industrial Espionage Case Expands

Silicon Valley is bracing itself for fireworks as a long-running intellectual property and industrial espionage dispute between two of the most powerful names in technology finally reaches court.

Oracle is suing its arch-rival SAP for exploiting what it says were illegal downloads of Oracle software code three years ago, and the case has now dragged in another technology titan, Hewlett-Packard, which hired the former SAP boss Leo Apotheker to be its chief executive a month ago. (more)

A few weeks ago I accused HP’s new CEO, Leo Apotheker, of overseeing an industrial espionage scheme centring on the repeated theft of massive amounts of Oracle’s software,” Mr Ellison said in a statement released this week. (more)

Book Banning Over Industrial Espionage Fears

Many of Germany's top companies are blocking access to Facebook and other social networking sites over fears of industrial espionage and other security concerns, according to a new report. Business weekly Wirtschaftswoche said that many companies on the Dax-30 blue-chip index saw an unacceptable risk posed by employees using such sites at work. (more) ...not to mention the financial drain of social notworking.

Monday, November 1, 2010

"Crito, we owe a rooster to Asclepius. Please, don't forget to pay the debt."

Greece is having a Patriot Act moment, drafting legislation that would break down privacy laws and significantly increase police power. But their catalyst is debt, not terrorism.

Draft legislation obtained by The Katimerini would create government agencies to regulate tax evasion, entitlement issues and use of public property. Police officers in these departments would have unprecedented power to eavesdrop on suspects' conversations and communications and to disguise their identity in pursuit of a suspect.

This would be a major change for a country known for strict privacy laws, according to The Katimerini. (more) (sing-a-long) (Socratic drink)

Are whack jobs bugging our Hollywood Actors?

Actor Randy Quaid (aka General George S. Merlin, "Bug Buster") and his wife, Evi... were in Canada seeking political asylum over their stated fears they would be "whacked'' if they returned to Hollywood... they fled to Canada to escape the so-called "star whackers" - a cult that is bugging their phones and hacking their computers.

"They're absolute businessmen. It's the mafia; it's organized crime," said Mrs. Quaid... The couple has said this "mafia" is behind eight celebrity, including Heath Ledger, deaths in the last 5 years. (more) (trailer)

Don't tell Mrs. Quaid. It will just upset her.

John McTiernan, director of the movie “Die Hard,” was sentenced to one year in prison for lying about his association with a private investigator, Anthony Pellicano, to illegally wiretap a movie producer. (more)

Hoist by a Voicemail Petard

Employees at a CBS affiliate in Anchorage left an accidental voicemail for an aide to GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller in which they discussed and laughed about the possibility of reporting on the appearance of sex offenders at a Miller rally. And they chatted about responding with a Twitter alert to “any sort of chaos whatsoever” including the candidate being “punched.”
Jerry Bever, general manager for KTVA, said in a statement that a call to Miller spokesman Randy DeSoto to discuss the candidate’s planned appearance on a newscast wasn’t disconnected after the conversation ended. The call took place during a KTVA staff meeting to plan coverage of that evening’s Miller rally in downtown Anchorage. (more)