US Spy TV Easy To Pick Up

from the want-to-see-what-we're-spying-on-lately? dept

Apparently, US spyplane videos and images are being broadcast via a commercial satellite. This means, anyone (yes, anyone) with a normal satellite TV receiver can apparently retrieve the images as they’re being broadcast. The guy who discovered this has been trying to warn people, but they haven’t really responded. There is, of course, the theory that the US wants people to see these feeds (either as disinformation or as a “we can see you” warning). However, others seem to think that a huge security mistake has been made. Update: The BBC article on this topic makes it sound even worse. They recieved a quote saying nothing important was being shown on the broadcasts – but the BBC looked at the broadcasts themselves and say that’s not true.

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Comments on “US Spy TV Easy To Pick Up”

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Michael Armstrong (user link) says:

Not sure why this one is making the rounds...

It’s been widely reported (but apparently not widely enough) that they’re not broadcasting it in the clear because they have a choice. The encrypted links are full and they don’t have room to include this stuff. The military had to make a choice and this footage was apparently deemed less important or less sensitive than what is currently occupying the encrypted channels.
From what I’ve read, most of the encrypted stuff is of/for current operations in Afganistan. The unencrypted stuff is intel of the Balkan operations.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Not sure why this one is making the rounds...

I read that as well, but I don’t see how that makes it any more okay… Assuming this really is spying info, I don’t care what the priorities are you simply don’t broadcast it in a format that anyone can watch it in. You figure out some other way to get the broadcast out there – that keeps it secret.

2Lazy2Register says:

Re: Re: Well, there goes the argument for security through

I’ll bet they thought no one would notice the video stream. That said, what makes you (us) qualified to second guess their decision? I for one have spent zero time in the intelligence community and don’t feel the least bit qualified to decide what is important and what is not in that domain.

Duffman says:

Re: Re: Re: Well, there goes the argument for security thr

I have spent some time in some intelligence (though just as a student), but have learned that decisions like this are made all the time. Sometimes they end up being bad decisions down the road (read: the decisions happened on by the media). Most of the time, they are made just because they had to, as it sounds in the stories. Not that that justifies anything – it still endangers lives. This is just one of those bad decisions.

Rohnin says:

Re: Re: Re: Well, there goes the argument for security thr

Due to the shear volume of encrypted data related to on-going operations, there is a “6 pounds into a 5 pound bag” condition. The problem with using public communication networks is that you assume the data/images are not sensitive. Obvious statement. That is a roll of the dice since content sensitivity is determined upon examination. We are taking higher risk percentages than ever with our information, due to capacity limitations. That 6# bag is sorely needed!
While you may not feel qualified to make sensitivity determinations, that’s exactly what is happening. You and everyone else with a Ku band dish. You get to see it when we do. Usually, you get to see it before we do. Or at least examine the content.
I, as someone “qualified” to comment, am glad that this has flushed. There has been enormous criticism of the entire community lately. The expectation is that a “Make it so” does just that. It takes a significantly greater amount of time to expand the infrastructure required to monitor hot spots than it does to create them.
Sorry for the vent.

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