Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Who's Behind Those Ray Bans

ACLU - The map below tracks what we know, based on press reports and publicly available documents, about the use of stingray tracking devices by state and local police departments. 

Following the map is a list of the federal law enforcement agencies known to use the technology throughout the United States. The ACLU has identified 51 agencies in 21 states and the District of Columbia that own stingrays, but because many agencies continue to shroud their purchase and use of stingrays in secrecy, this map dramatically under represents the actual use of stingrays by law enforcement agencies nationwide.

Stingrays, also known as "cell site simulators" or "IMSI catchers," are invasive cell phone surveillance devices that mimic cell phone towers and send out signals to trick cell phones in the area into transmitting their locations and identifying information. When used to track a suspect's cell phone, they also gather information about the phones of countless bystanders who happen to be nearby. Click here for more info on stingrays.

It's Just Not Cricket

Former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief N Srinivasan allegedly hired the services of a London firm to spy on BCCI officials, The Times of India reports...

According to reports, Srinivasan paid Rs 14 crore of BCCI's money to spy on his fellow board members and asked them to tap their phones and track their e-mails. It is expected that BCCI will investigate this matter further lead by new secretary Anurag Thakur. more "It's just not cricket"

Bugging Concerns Prompt City Hall TSCM Sweep

UK - Council chiefs were forced to pay a specialist security firm to “sweep” for electronic recording devices after an ex-councillor hinted the council house had been bugged...

It is understood the un-named company carried out a sweep of the council house at some stage in the past month, but no such electronic items were found.

A spokesman for Plymouth City Council said: “We received a communication that suggested recording devices may have been installed in the council house.

Given the highly confidential nature of some of the meetings held in the building, which include those about the safeguarding of vulnerable children, we had a duty to look into it and had the building checked.  more

Student Uses Keystroke Logger to Change Grades - Fail & Jail

UK - Student uses a keyboard spying device to hack the computer of Birmingham University to up his own grades and has been sentenced for 4 months of jail.

A final year student was found guilty of hacking the university computers to change his marks and to increase his overall final year grades has been sentenced by the court for a 4 months of jail.

Imran Uddin, a 25 year old student of Bio Science, at the University of Birmingham hacked the university computers by using “keyboard spying device”. This device resembles a USB stick and can be purchased from the internet sites for as low as £49. Mr. Uddin had bought these equipments from online website ebay and implanted them on a number of computers in the university where he was studying. more cue the cat

The Rayney Wiretap Trial Continues

Lloyd Rayney phone-tapping trial: Fingerprints on roof manhole match alleged installer of bugging equipment.

Australia - Two fingerprints on a manhole cover* from the home of Lloyd Rayney matched those of the man he is alleged to have paid to install phone-bugging equipment, a police officer has told the District Court in Perth.

Senior Constable Damian Sheridan was testifying at the trial of Mr Rayney on two charges of aiding, abetting or procuring the interception of the landline telephone at his family's home over two periods in 2007, before the death of his wife Corryn. more *The cover plate for an in-wall wiring junction box.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Beauty Queen Sues In-Laws For Bugging Bedroom

A former Turkish beauty queen has sued her former in-laws for bugging her bedroom with the help of her ex-husband, according to a local media report.

Sinem Sülün, who was crowned Miss Model Turkey in 2005 and was runner-up at Miss Turkey-Universe in 2007, divorced her husband Mustafa Yüksel last month. She was awarded 200,000 Turkish Liras in compensation and 2,500 liras as a monthly alimony after the divorce.

Daily Milliyet reported on April 1 that the divorce case led to a fierce argument between the two sides, after Sülün claimed that her husband and his parents had illegally wiretapped their private conversations by bugging a power socket in their bedroom.

The 5th Criminal Court of Peace recently ruled for the trial of businessman Yüksel and his parents on charges of illegally recording a private conversation, the report said. more

The Wire - Censored to Protect You

HBO's The Wire was lauded for its gritty, realistic portrayal of the drug war in Baltimore, but it seems law enforcement thought the show could be a bit too authentic at times. In a story about cellphone tracking technology, showrunner David Simon tells The Baltimore Sun that "At points, we were asked by law enforcement not to reveal certain vulnerabilities in our plotlines."

Simon, who was once a reporter for the very same paper, explains that the writers once intended to show that criminals using the walkie-talkie-eque, "push-to-talk" feature of Nextel phones could avoid surveillance and wiretaps. According to Simon, the technology "was actually impervious to any interception by law enforcement during a critical window of time." more

Friday, April 10, 2015

Encyclopedia Spytanica

Trying to get a handle on hundreds of sensitive, closely held surveillance programs, a Senate committee is compiling a secret encyclopedia of American intelligence collection. It's part of an effort to improve congressional oversight of the government's sprawling global spying effort.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein launched the review in October 2013, after a leak by former National Security Agency systems administrator Edward Snowden disclosed that the NSA had been eavesdropping on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone. Four months earlier, Snowden had revealed the existence of other programs that vacuumed up Americans' and foreigners' phone call records and electronic communications.

"We're trying right now to look at every intelligence program," Feinstein told The Associated Press. "There are hundreds of programs we have found ... sprinkled all over. Many people in the departments don't even know (they) are going on." more

Ex Rigs Live Streaming Bedroom Spycam

WA - A 41-year-old Cheney, Washington, is accused of entering his ex-girlfriend's home and secretly installing a wireless camera in her bedroom to spy on her...

Court records shows the ex-girlfriend called Liberty Lake police in late March when she arrived home and found several items he had given her burned in a backyard fire pit. A few days later, she reported finding a camera hidden in a light fixture above her bed.

Liberty Lake police Chief Brian Asmus says the camera was connected to a wireless device hidden in the attic and was streaming live videomore

Monday, April 6, 2015

The World Wrestles with the Spycam Epidemic

India - After Human Resources Development Smriti Irani claims to have detected a CCTV camera facing towards a FabIndia trial* room in Goa, many shops are now being inspected to ensure that no such cameras are found inside changing rooms...

A spy camera can be fitted in the smoke detector, electrical switch and almost in any item usually found in a trial room. 

Spy camera retailer Parminder Singh said, "Spy cameras can be fitted even in the fire extinguisher."

But the sophistication of these cameras and the huge variety in which they come in have reached makes it becomes difficult for a common man to detect a hidden camera with a naked eye.

While spy cam detectors are available in the market, their effectiveness is unreliable. more

* In India, a "trial room" is a changing room in a clothing store.

"I'm sorry I called you a spy. Let me buy you a cup of coffee."

A Starbucks executive apologized to a San Francisco man after an employee apparently accused him of being a spy for China.

Daniel Lui posted about the incident on Yelp. According to Lui, he was visiting a Starbucks location in Seattle, Washington when an executive came up to him and accused him of spying in order to open a coffee chain in China. ...the Starbucks executive called to apologize and the company put $50 on Lui’s Starbucks card.

The incident happened before Starbucks launched its controversial Race Together initiative aimed at improving race relations in the U.S. more

District Officials Bugged Their Mayor’s Computer

Canada - He was ridiculed and dismissed as paranoid for claiming that district employees have installed a surveillance software in his office computer to spy on his online activities. In the end, Richard Atwell, mayor of the District of Saanich in British Columbia, is vindicated and gets to say “I told you so.”
Last week Elizabeth Denham’s, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of B.C., released a report castigating the district for installing monitoring software on employees’ computers with little regard for the people’s privacy rights covered by privacy laws that have been in place for 20 years.

Denham said her staff “observed that the software had been configured to record the activities of District employees, including recording and retaining screenshots of computer activity at 30 second intervals and every keystroke taken on a workstation’s keyboard, and retaining copies of every email sent or received.”

The report 35-page report revealed that the bugging of Atwell’s machine stemmed from concerns of district directors that because of Atwell’s IT background, the new mayor would be able to uncover outstanding security issues in the district’s IT infrastructure. These were issues IT security shortcomings revealed by an IT audit back in May 2014. more

Companies Warned to Sweep for Bugging Devices

SA - Companies should regularly have their boardrooms and communication devices swept for bugging devices, and even consider using the controversial cellphone jammer* for meetings to protect their corporate intelligence, a private investigator has warned.

"It is perfectly normal, good security procedure, says Kyle Condon, managing director of DK Management Consultants.

Following the outrage over the use of a cellphone jamming device in Parliament, and suspended Eskom CEO Tshediso Matona's suggestion in his court papers that an important board meeting was bugged, Condon says such tactics are not limited to governments. more

* The use of a cell phone jammer is illegal in the United States.