Anyone interested in NSA data collection should have a look at this piece published on Cryptome back in august, to see just how far and wide the 'net' is being cast, and who has access to its contents:
Here are my speculations on an as yet purely hypothetical scenario of possible capabilities of NSA surveillance now or in the near future.
What if, of all the cell towers that ostensibly provide cellular communications to us, only half of them actually did so? And for that half that does indeed do so, there are of course possibilities for surreptitious data channels, priority override for wealthy customers (when the towers circuit capacity is maxed out and they just have to make a call, so a lower priority call gets bumped), hidden services, networks, etc.
But what about the other half? With the ubiquity of cell towers in our lives - and their capabilities - going unquestioned for two+ decades, there are some disquieting possibilities. One of the foremost speculations that comes to my mind would be a network of high precision SIGINT triangulation and intercept stations, capable of acting as a large scale phased array for precise monitoring of electronic devices of "persons of interest" within each cell triangle, as well as the possibility to deliver energetic responses of varying power and precision to those same targets. Could this also have psychological implications, especially though the principles of electrochemistry being used to remotely influence endocrine responses? Nearly all of us lack the specific spectral analysis and survey equipment to make either such evaluation.
Also worthy of note, the fact in the field of classified State-Security and higher technical surveillance (aka SIGINT), such SIGINT monitoring posts are known to monitor "guard bands" for the appearance of signatures of remote TSCM (Technical Surveillance Counter Measures) equipment in the vicinity of the target. So that bug sweeps not only not going to work, the equipment used to do the sweep will be easily detected by those doing the technical surveillance in the first place.
We've had the tech available to us for years now, if not decades.
We've become so addicted to the idea of firewalls and isolated WLANs being a necessity that we've failed to see the alternative.
Right now our internet is proprietarily routed. Proprietary not in that the protocol is secret, but rather proprietary in that the path between geographical neighbors almost always includes long trips through the infrastructure to centralized datacenters. In other words, an infrastructure-centric network.
We need to turn this paradigm on its head and create a peer routed mesh. NOT as a primary "go to" destination in and of itself as the current internet is, but rather as a new kind of community interconnectivity.
I recognize the obvious utility of firewalls. But we've lost some amazing potential technologies by not creating a network which was node-aware and even node-centric instead of infrastructure-centric.
First and foremost, we lack the ability to put up an antenna and connect and network with those nearest us, for free, at whatever data rate such peer routed interconnect could achieve.
Such a paradigm doesnt need to be solely for the purpose of routing or wireless transport. Imagine that youve just moved into a new high rise with ethernet wiring between all apartments. And imagine for simplicitys sake that each floor has its own switch and that all units share a single subnet.
Under the current paradigm, plug in your computer and - security considerations aside - all you get is an internet connection. Whether you have a router or a software firewall, you are protected against exchanging any unwanted traffic with others on the subnet.
But turn this around and think of the possibilities of exposing a few ports. Imagine plugging in your ethernet and suddenly your "network neighborhood" shows an icon for each other apartment, depending on their privacy settings. Each node could have its own profile page, message queue, instant messaging, file transfer, even the ability to coordinate VLAN's for gaming.
The protocols to create such a user experience for the most part already exist in one form or another, though it might take some rethinking to decentralize functions such as email, profile pages, and instant messaging.
We could even implement a type of community DNS, managed by committee, for such a context.
The one stumbling block I see to all of this is the currently extensive use of private ipv4 subnets and NAT. For such a network architecture to truly be scalable beyond high rises to neighborhoods and cities, we'd need something like ipv6, and lots of MIMO devices. Hackerspaces or other volunteer organizations could handle neighborhood to neighborhood backhauls.
As far as I'm concerned the ultimate goal should be to enable a nationwide or even global networking paradigm where all someone has to do to join the network is to put up an antenna and begin networking with ones neighbors.
Whether or not this obvious "surveillance" of us all really "IS" "surveillance" or not, theres one thing I'd like to know.
Many who have been following these developments for the past decade will remember an informative document called "Interception Capabilities 2000". If you haven't seen it, its well worth reading if for no other reason than to provide some perspective on the technological development of COMINT surveillance systems over the time span of the last 13 years or more. It even has some screenshots of an NSA surveillance software of that era called "Trailmapper".
The subtitle of this report was somewhat longer:
"Report to the Director General for Research of the European Parliament (Scientific and Technical Options Assessment programme office) on the development of surveillance technology and risk of abuse of economic information."
So, I'm curious, for all those better versed in the recent earth history of state level surveillance tech than I: What abuses of economic information were known to have occurred? I've read through the document once or twice and while it highlights the potential risk of abuse of economic intelligence by 3rd parties connected with the intel communities, I don't recall any explicit references or footnotes indicating to what extent such had already at that time happened.
And I can't help but assume it must have happened at the time of the reports writing in order to earn so prominent a place in the title and subject matter of a report to the EU parliament.
After reading "The Secret History of Signals Intelligence" and a few introductory documents on cryptography I see no reason to believe our telecom network wasn't equipped with the capability for COMINT surveillance since day one. Because if it has been going on since the implementation of these public networks (if not being an a priori justification for their creation in the first place) then perhaps a better issue for activists to concern themselves with would be elucidating and illuminating not only what the criterion currently are for acting on the intel thus gathered and to what degree private commercial information might be shared with competing businesses, but how (or whether) these criterion have evolved (or devolved) since their devising.
On Oct 9th, 2013 @ 1102 am, The Groove Tiger wrote:
> Yeah it's not like teenagers are normally chemically imbalanced or anything.
The idea that chemical imbalance of the brain is in any way normal or even common is perpetuated most by those whose livelihood is tied either directly or indirectly to the prescription of psychotropic drugs.
I've often wondered if any time a US citizen places a call to a cell phone whose area code corresponds to a different geographical "state" than the one the call originates in, is it then construed as interstate commerce, even if both phones reside in the same geographical state?
My guess is, yes it is so construed, and it probably has been for some time.
everyone needs drones. I'm a big fan of John Robb's idea for a "Drone Net".
That said, until the FAA can come up with some sort of identifying marking - or "identify friend or foe" for "friendly" or "law enforcement" drones, I would say it should be well within my rights as a citizen to disable and detain any drone that violates the airspace of my own private property.
And you know the very first time some activist uses a drone to spy on a factory farm, the corporations will be clamoring for this right.
I mean what would it really take to knock most non-military drones out of the sky. A few perimeter targetting RADARs or LIDARs and a couple remote aimable tennis ball or baseball training launchers?
I think Linda Ellis should sue everyone who uses this poem in a eulogy without her express written permission beforehand. All the people commenting on her site about how they were touched by someones reading of The Dash at a funearl eulogy were clearly parties to the violation of Ms. Ellis right to exclusive control over public performances of this poem. Here is the link to the poem on her site, along with the aforementioned comment thread: The Dash Poem by Linda Ellis
I think any concerned tech dirt commenters should chime in on that thread and let her know about her right, nay, her obligation to sue everyone who publicly recites her poem at a funeral without her express written permission and a payment of the $7500 royalty.
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