China Is Creating a Database of Its Citizens’ Voices to Boost its Surveillance Capability: Report

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Joseph Hincks
TIME

The Chinese government has collected tens of thousands of “voice pattern” samples from targeted citizens and is inputting them into a national voice biometric database, according to a Human Rights Watch report published Monday.

The idea is that an automated system, thought to still be in development, will use the database to pick out individual voices in telephone and other conversations, boosting the government’s already expansive surveillance capabilities.

The system is reportedly being developed by a Chinese voice recognition and artificial intelligence specialist called iFlytech. It adds another spoke to existing biometric information like fingerprints and DNA samples, as well as identification numbers and other personal details.

How long has China been collecting voice data?

Biometric records are a common tool of law enforcement worldwide and some countries, like Japan, even fingerprint foreignerson entry — ostensibly as an anti-terrorism measure. In China, the DNA of some 40 million people, and over one billion faces, are already logged on police databases.

Compared to that, mass scale biometric voice recognition is in its infancy. China’s Ministry of Public Security started piloting the database in 2012 and scaled the program up in 2014. HRW does not give current numbers but by 2015, it says, police had collected 70,000 voice patterns in one of the project’s pilot provinces. In 2016, HRW tracked purchases of voice recognition systems in several other provinces, included in Xinjiang, a restive region with 11 million ethnic minority Uighurs.

Why does China say it needs to collect people’s voices?

Chinese police are allowed to collect voice patterns and other biometric data from anyone suspected of “violating the law or committing crimes.” But HRW says that through 2017 there were multiple instances of police collecting voice samples from ordinary citizens, including at least one instance in which applicants for passports in Xinjiang were required to submit a voice sample. No publicly available official policy documents outline why this is necessary, according to HRW.

Government reports in the media claim that voice recognition software has helped to solve fraud, drug trafficking, kidnapping, and blackmail cases. These reports also state that such systems will serve a counterterrorism function and say they will also be applied for “stability maintenance” purposes.

Why are human rights groups concerned?

For one thing, the terms counterterrorism and “stability maintenance” have broad scope in China and authorities have in the past used them to justify quashing political dissent

For another, it’s unclear who can be targeted for voice sampling and how the samples will be used. “Authorities can easily misuse that data in a country with a long history of unchecked surveillance and retaliation against critics,” Sophie Richardson, HRW’s China director says.

Beijing’s growing surveillance capability coincides with a broader clamp down on dissent. China openly tracks the movements of dissidents, has installed CCTV cameras outside activists’ houses, jailed people who criticize the government on social media, and cracked down on VPN‘s that allow unfettered access to the internet. It has even banned Winnie the Pooh.

“Chinese authorities’ arsenal of surveillance tools just keeps getting bigger while privacy rights lag far behind,” Richardson says. “The Chinese authorities should immediately stop gathering highly sensitive biometric data until legal protections are clear – and clearly reliable.”

Cities are getting paid to turn street lights into spying SmartNodes

Mass Private I

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnAh4dJfa4I%5B/embedyt%5D

The future of privacy in big cities is bleak, cities are now getting paid to convert street lights into spying SmartNodes.

What are SmartNodes?

SmartNodes will soon replace street lights, because they are equipped with cameras, microphones, speakers etc., all-in-one light pole.

The city of Los Angeles, Calfornia is working with Phillips Lighting and ENE-HUB to turn 110,000 street lights into a one-of-a-kind citywide SmartNode surveillance network.

“The Los Angeles Bureau of Street Lighting and Philips Lighting have collaborated on a program that uses CityTouch connected street lighting management and connected sensors to obtain additional value from the public lighting system.”

Phillips SmartPoles are equipped with ‘environmental noise monitoring’ microphones. Phillips microphones are designed to spy on ‘raucous neighbors and loud music’.

 

Where could the music be coming from you ask?

Phillips doesn’t say, but you can bet they mean people, vehicles and homes. Which means, SmartPoles can listen to more than just noise.(Click here to watch Phillips Lighting admit SmartPoles are great data collecting conduits.)

Los Angeles wants 110,000 spying street lights
 
 
In the above video, Remco Muijs boasts that Phillips and the city of Los Angeles are working together to host third-party sensors that influence people’s behavior.

Because nothing says influencing people’s behavior, quite like 110,000 spying street lights.

 
Companies are paying cities to install spying SmartPoles
 
 
An article in PTC reveals that private companies are paying cities $1200 yearly, for each SmartPole they install.

“The streetlight-based cells will generate revenues by being leased to wireless providers. The City of Los Angeles will receive $1200 per year for each SmartPole. The installation of 100 IoT-connected streetlights is currently in process in Los Angeles. Philips and the city plan to expand the network to 600 streetlights by 2018. Philips, under a tech development pilot program, is also installing 50 SmartPoles in The City of San Jose.”

To translate that into dollar figures, if Los Angeles turns 110,000 light poles into SmartPole’s they would make approximately $13.2 million a year.

And with that much money at stake, it won’t be long before every city in America turns their street lights into money making, spying SmartPoles.

SmartNodes are all about surveillance
 
Last year, I warned everyone that DHS and the TSA are installing microphones on light posts to spy on commuters.

But ENE-HUB’s, SmartNode’s make those light posts, look like child’s play.

ENE-HUB’s brochure, reveals they are equipped with Wi-Fi detectorsmicrophonesCCTV camerasspeakers and travel card readers which I assume means transit car readers. (Click here to find out more.)

SmartNodes also come equipped with…

A recent article in KCRW reveals that ENE-HUB’s, SmartNode’s could also be equipped with ‘video streaming and gun shot sensors connected to police and fire stations’. One can assume that in the near future, SmartNode’s will also be equipped with E-ZPass readers and license plate readers.

ENE-HUB’s ‘benefits’ section admits that governments can use multiple revenue streams to spy on their citizens for 25-30 years. (Click here to watch ENE-HUB’s smart city video.)

Unfortunately, Phillips Lighting and ENE-HUB aren’t the only ones trying to turn entire cities into giant surveillance networks.

Four months ago, I warned everyone that Siemens, GE, Cisco, LED lighting maker Acuity Brands and mall developer Simon Property Group are also installing spying SmartNodes across the country.

After writing numerous articles about Smart Cities, SmartPoles and SmartNodes one thing becomes crystal clear.

They are all about corporate/government surveillance.

China to build giant facial recognition database to identify any citizen within seconds

Project aims to achieve an accuracy rate of 90 per cent but faces formidable technological hurdles and concerns about security

South China Morning Post

The goal is for the system to able to match someone’s face to their ID photo with about 90 per cent accuracy.

The project, launched by the Ministry of Public Security in 2015, is under development in conjunction with a security company based in Shanghai.

The system can be connected to surveillance camera networks and will use cloud facilities to connect with data storage and processing centres distributed across the country, according to people familiar with the project.

However, some researchers said it was unclear when the system would be completed, as the development was encountering many difficulties due to the technical limits of facial recognition technology and the large population base.

At present, similar systems operate on a smaller level, including police databases and city or provincial ID pools.

But these operate separately and are on a much smaller scale.

There is also a national database of police suspects and people of interest to the government.

These may continue to be used independently after the national system is established.

The core data set for the national system, containing the portrait information of each Chinese citizen, amounts to 13 terabytes.

The size of the full database with detailed personal information does not exceed 90 terabytes, according to technical documents on the ministry’s website and a paper written by police researchers.

Chen Jiansheng, an associate professor at the department of electrical engineering at Tsinghua University and a member of the ministry’s Committee of Standardisation overseeing technical developments in police forces, said the system would have to be built on an unprecedented scale because no country had a population as big as China’s.

The system was being developed for security and government uses such as tracking wanted suspects and public administration, he said.

Commercial application using information sourced from the database will not be allowed under current regulations.

“[But] a policy can change due to the development of the economy and increasing demand from society,” Chen said.

Giving commercial sectors access to the database under proper regulation would create new business opportunities by helping to improve customer service, he said.

Chinese companies are already taking the commercial application of facial recognition technology to new heights.

With a smile or blink of the eyes to a camera, students can now enter their university halls, travellers can board planes without using a boarding pass and diners can pay for a meal at KFC.

Some other restaurants have even offered discounts to customers based on a machine that ranks their looks according to an algorithm. Customers with “beautiful” characteristics – such as symmetrical features – get better scores than those with noses that are “too big” or “too small” and those that get better scores will get cheaper meals.

Some public lavatories in Beijing also use facial recognition so that the automatic dispensing machines will deny toilet paper to people who ask for it more than once within a given period.

Facial recognition could supersede other personal identification methods that are used to make payments such as scanning fingerprints or QR codes on a mobile phone.

But the government project has prompted controversy among artificial intelligence experts.

Cheng Mingming, a professor of computer science at Nankai University in Tianjin, said that despite the scale of the project, technological advances meant that all the information could be stored in small, portable drives – which raised the risk of data theft.

He said a palm-sized commercial hard drive nowadays could store 10 terabytes or more of data and you could “pack it in a suitcase and board a flight”.

“If the facial data and related personal information is stolen and put on the internet, it will cause big problems,” Cheng said.

For instance, due to the rapid advance of facial recognition technology, a person or organisation could take a photo and identify strangers at a party or on the street without their knowledge, Cheng said.

But a network security vendor for the Ministry of Public Security dismissed the possibility.

“To download the whole data set is as difficult as launching a missile with a nuclear warhead. It requires several high-ranking officials to insert and turn their keys at the same time,” the vendor said.

The 1.3 billion-person facial recognition system is being developed by Isvision, a security company based in Shanghai.

Isvision confirmed to the South China Morning Post that it had won the contract last year but declined to provide details.

“The progress of development is confidential. At present we have no information for public disclosure,” a company spokesperson said.

Isvision security cameras with facial recognition capabilities were first deployed in Tiananmen Square as early as 2003, according to the company’s website.

The system was connected to the police database of suspects, capable of recognising and tracking potential targets in a large crowd.

The company has also set up similar systems for law enforcement authorities in Xinjiang and Tibet, where riots have broken out from time to time because of serious ethnic conflicts.

According to Fan Ying, a researcher at the ministry’s population management research centre in Beijing, the project team has encountered “unprecedented challenges” due to the government’s high demands for speed and accuracy.

When a photo, gender and age range are inputted, the system is required to find a match within three seconds with an accuracy level higher than 88 per cent.

Fan and colleagues tested the facial recognition algorithm developed by Tsinghua University, a world-leading institute in this field of research, and they were disappointed with the results.

They found that the accuracy of the photo that most closely matched the face being searched for was below 60 per cent. With the top 20 matches the accuracy rate remained below 70 per cent, Fan and collaborators reported in a paper published in the domestic journal Electronic Science and Technology in May.

“It cannot solve problems with real-life applications,” they added.

The system developed by Isvision will use an algorithm developed by SeetaTech, a start-up established by several researchers from the Institute of Computing Technology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.

SeetaTech confirmed to the SCMP its involvement in the national facial recognition project but declined to comment further.

A researcher at the Institute of Computing Technology familiar with the project said some huge technical hurdles remained.

“Among 1.3 billion people, some totally unrelated people have faces so alike even their parents cannot tell them apart,” the researcher said.

“Currently the access to the database is limited to a few security companies with very close ties with the Ministry of Public Security.

“More access will definitely lead to higher risk of [data] leakage.”

The researcher warned that the cost of the convenience facial recognition could bring to everyday life was “sacrificing security”.

Drones Play Increasing Role in Harvey Recovery Efforts

Andy Pasztor
The Wall Street Journal

For drone users, Hurricane Harvey is likely to be the event that propelled unmanned aircraft to become an integral part of government and corporate disaster-recovery efforts.

In the first six days after the storm hit, the Federal Aviation Administration issued more than 40 separate authorizations for emergency drone activities above flood-ravaged Houston and surrounding areas. They ranged from inspecting roadways to checking railroad tracks to assessing the condition of water plants, oil refineries and power lines. Continue reading

Robocop Reality: Massive Military Drones Could Start Replacing Police Helicopters

Antimedia

According to the defense contractor that developed the Predator and Reaper drones for the United States military’s operations in the Middle East, drones will have begun to replace piloted law enforcement helicopters by the year 2025.

We’re revolutionizing the news industry, but we need your help! Click here to get started.

On Monday, it was reported that the contractor, General Atomics (GA), is pressing hard for the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to change its regulations on unmanned flight over American soil. Continue reading

Big Tech and Big Government Censoring the Internet. Who’s Next?

Alex Newman
New American

Since the orchestrated violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, the establishment effort to censor the Internet has gone into overdrive. It started with the take down of unsavory white supremacist, neo-Nazi-type websites such as the Daily Stormer — it always starts with the easy targets. Google and GoDaddy, a hosting service, practically banned the site from the Internet. Then it was Stormfront, another such hate site. But smelling blood in the water, it did not take long for the pro-censorship establishment in America and around the world to demand full-blown censoring of not just racism and hate, but virtually everything they disagree with. Some of the efforts appear to have backfired. But without a change in course, free expression on the Internet is in grave danger.  

The trend toward restrictions is picking up steam, with an alliance of Big Government-linked tech firms and crony Big Business working hard to squelch free speech online. For almost a year, giants such as Youtube were banning advertising on conservative and liberty-oriented channels, all but crushing budding commentators hoping to make a profession out of it. And already, mainstream voices such as former Congressman Ron Paul have had some of their videos “de-monetized,” as the increasingly Orwellian video site calls it. Every day, the net gets wider and the targets more numerous. Google and Facebook have both been exposed censoring the alternative media, and especially conservative media. And the chief of Facebook has become increasingly brazen in his political activism on behalf of mass immigration, big government, and other “progressive” causes.

 

    

After Charlottesville, it got worse, fast. The examples of conservatives, libertarians, truth seekers, Christians, constitutionalists, patriots, and others being banned, censored, demonetized, and more are practically impossible to count at this point. On August 30, as just one example among many, Shane Trejo at The Liberty Conservative reported that Google sent a letter threatening the website that unless a particular article is removed, all of its ad revenue opportunities would be lost. “This is the newest method that Big Brother is using to enforce thought control,” Trejo explained. While the article itself contained nothing offensive, it was targeted by Google for having been written by a so-called “unperson” who reportedly played some role in organizing the demonstrations in Charlottesville, which included some racists and provocateurs. The same website had previously been censored by Facebook over a post defending Congressman Ron Paul from a smear.

The danger is obvious, he said. “An incredibly dangerous precedent is obviously being set here, and if you think that it won’t impact you directly at some point, think again,” continued Trejo. “We look forward to the day where rival ad platforms who respect the intellectual freedom of their customers can outcompete Google, but those days have not arrived yet. These tech companies have us all by the short hairs, and post-Charlottesville, they are all working in unison to enforce the Orwellian nightmare. Nobody is safe.” Indeed, even “mainstream conservative provocateurs” such as Lauren Southern and Paul Joseph Watson with massive followings are being targeted, he added.  

“All conservatives and libertarians must realize that the Orwellian nightmare enforced by private hands is just as harmful to human freedom as if the dystopia was enforced by the hands of government commissars,” said Trejo. “The results will be the same, as freedom of expression will be sacrificed to the God of political correctness. After they destroy free speech, the rest of our rights won’t be far behind. A world where digital lynch mobs can ruin people’s entire lives — harming their reputations, making it impossible to feed their families, and potentially subjecting them to retaliatory violence — for merely expressing an honest opinion would amount to a dark age for liberty.”

“A world where Big Brother is judge, jury and executioner is right on the horizon, and that does not bode well for anyone except a small handful of oligarchs and elites,” Trejo concluded. “We all must band together, eschewing mindless partisanship, to defeat the burgeoning Orwellian surveillance state before our rights are lost forever.”

But while some see the censorship spree as alarming, some of those targeted, ironically, see it as a major victory for their cause. For instance, all of the banning and hysteria had Andrew Anglin of the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer, the first to be dropped by GoDaddy and later Google for a post ridiculing the woman killed in Charlottesville, expressing utter delight with the way Big Tech companies reacted. Gloating over the fact that the CEO of GoDaddy was pushed out about a week after the decision to ban the hate site, Anglin wrote that “it is now absolutely clear that the decision was a mistake for them and for the whole of the tech industry, hence the resignation.”

As a result of the banning, not only did Anglin get more free publicity than he could have ever obtained through other means, he believes that his “joke” will have positive repercussions for his cause. “Right now, we are talking about a complete transformation of the tech industry,” he wrote on a new website he created, adding that the “results were more than I ever could have hoped for.” “Some of the most powerful people in the world, as well as society at large, are considering the fact that these few mega-corporations are capable of unifying together in order to ban legal content from the internet, and beginning to draw the conclusion that this situation is incredibly dangerous.” Across the political spectrum, Anglin’s virtual banning did, indeed, spark alarm bells.  

Among other perceived victories, Anglin celebrated the “beginnings of a real conversation about the government regulating the domain registry system.” He also speculated that any government effort to regulate the tech industry would go further than that, something he viewed as positive because the industry “has become much, much too powerful to remain in private hands.” “Excluding the media and the mega-corporations themselves, no one on any side of the political spectrum likes the idea of a cabal of billionaires effectively being able to unilaterally control the direction of society,” he added, expressing a point of agreement with anti-business, pro-big government forces seeking regulation of quasi-monopolies in the Internet business.

Indeed, even prominent left-wing media sites such as Vice sounded the alarm. Calling the Big Business ban on the hate site “a flashpoint in a long-overdue debate,” two writers at Vice wondered “how much control should a few powerful internet companies have over user content?” Even the CEO of one of the companies that tried to disappear the Daily Stormer expressed concerns. “Literally, I woke up in a bad mood and decided someone shouldn’t be allowed on the Internet,” the CEO of Cloudflare was quoted as saying in the Vice article as part of an e-mail to employees. “No one should have that power.”

Also sounding the alarm was the non-profit Electronic Frontier Foundation. “All fair-minded people must stand against the hateful violence and aggression that seems to be growing across our country. But we must also recognize that on the Internet, any tactic used now to silence neo-Nazis will soon be used against others, including people whose opinions we agree with,” explained a trio of EFF analysts in a very insightful piece. “Protecting free speech is not something we do because we agree with all of the speech that gets protected. We do it because we believe that no one — not the government and not private commercial enterprises — should decide who gets to speak and who doesn’t.”

On the arguably “conservative” end of the spectrum, the (increasingly irrelevant) National Review, which published its founder William F. Buckley defending white supremacy and denying voting rights to blacks, warned about the consequences, too. “This was an ominous development for free speech — and not because there is anything at all valuable about The Daily Stormer’s message,” wrote David French, an attorney, adding that the lines of Internet communication were in “progressive” hands. “Instead, The Daily Stormer’s demise is a reminder that a few major corporations now have far more power than the government to regulate and restrict free speech, and they’re hardly neutral or unbiased actors. They have a point of view, and they’re under immense pressure to use that point of view to influence public debate.”

All of the backlash from across the political spectrum had Anglin, the first target to be removed from the Web, gloating about his success. “Needless to say, I am extremely happy with the results of this particular piece of performance art,” Anglin continued, suggesting his ridicule of the deceased victim in Charlottesville was somehow art. “The fallout from it shows that the ruling powers are extremely unhappy with the way things shook out. They miscalculated, they made me into a folk hero and a martyr, and they turned themselves into megalomaniac super-villains intent on using suppression of speech to direct the course of society. It could not have came together more perfectly. I will overcome these setbacks, as I always have, and the amount of people listening to me will grow to numbers I could never have imagined two weeks ago.”

He is probably right. Indeed, many millions of people who in July had never heard of Anglin or his hate site now know all about him. Some of those millions will no doubt agree with his extreme agenda — and others on the fence will certainly become converted. And now, talk of having government nationalize the tech giants, albeit often for other reasons, is in the headlines worldwide. Plus, across the political spectrum — from libertarians and conservatives to liberals and progressives — there is a growing awareness that a tiny, interconnected “cabal,” as David Rockefeller labeled his fellow “conspirators,” wields tremendous power and has an anti-freedom agenda. So basically, unless the goal of the Internet giants was to get themselves (unconstitutionally) regulated by government while promoting white supremacist views, their effort to ban a lone hater from the Web backfired in spectacular fashion.  

But the threat of Internet censorship at the national and global level is very real. With Obama having surrendered control over key Internet infrastructure to globalist “stakeholders” unbound by the First Amendment, and with the United Nations actively campaigning for censorship worldwide, Internet freedom has never been in more grave danger. If the Orwellian trends are not halted, it will only be a matter of time before the World Wide Web — even in the United States, famous and admired around the world for its absolutist protections of free speech rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution — will be facing full-blown censorship by a rogue alliance of governments, dictators, international institutions, and their Big Business cronies.

It must be made clear that the issue is not simply Big Business. Indeed, the leaders of Big Tech firms regularly cavort with their Big Government allies behind closed doors at events such as the annual Bilderberg summit. The chiefs of Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Amazon, among others, meet regularly with establishment politicians, cabinet officials, royalty, mega-bankers, Rothschild agents, NSA and CIA bosses, and more — along with some senior Chinese Communists for good measure — at the secrecy obsessed confab. And statements by attendees reveal an agenda for global government, something that will become increasingly difficult for globalists to achieve if free speech continues to flourish online as humanity wakes up to what is going on.      

The companies have more direct links to Big Government, too. Google, for example, which owns Youtube, “has been a partner with the CIA since 2004,” reported CBS News, pointing to its myriad links to the CIA’s investment arm known as In-Q-Tel. “Google is already helping the government write, and rewrite, history,” the report continued. Other sources, such as investigative journalist Nafeez Ahmed, went even further. “Google is a smokescreen behind which lurks the US military-industrial complex,” he wrote. One of the first investors in Facebook, meanwhile, was In-Q-Tel. Amazon owner Jeff Bezos signed a contract with the CIA worth several times more than the purchase price of the increasingly dishonest Washington Post, which never mentions its owners’ ties to the CIA even on stories about the agency. The tech firms are also lawlessly helping authorities spy on people worldwide. And that is just the start of it.      

In Europe, mega-corporations based in the United States such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and more are proudly working with unelected, unaccountable transnational bureaucrats at the European Union to censor the Web. Last year, those firms joined with the EU to unveil an online “Code of Conduct” to remove and prosecute “illegal” speech, while promoting government propaganda. Everything from the Christian Bible and the Islamic Koran to criticism of Islam or concerns about uncontrolled immigration could fall under the vague new censorship rules. Alongside the censorship and propaganda, the EU touted “a robust system of enforcement” to effectively apply “criminal sanctions against the individual perpetrators” of illegal speech.  

In Communist China, the situation is even worse. The Great Firewall of China has long blocked access to any information the mass-murdering dictatorship wishes to conceal from its victims. Even the pro-censorship American tech giants — some of which largely agreed to Beijing’s censorship demands — have been mostly blocked from China. And as if to prove its hostility to free speech and Internet freedom, the UN installed an actual Chinese Communist agent, who claims censorship is in the eye of the beholder, at the top of the UN International Telecommunications Union. That is the agency currently being groomed by the establishment for the role of world Internet regulator and censor.   

Now, the United Nations is even demanding censorship in America. Following the violence in Charlottesville, the UN disgorged an avalanche of press releases, statements, warnings, and condemnations demanding that the U.S. government take action against “hate speech.” Aside from the fact that “hate speech” was a bogus narrative pushed by the mass-murdering hate regime enslaving the Soviet Union to ban speech it did not like, the U.S. Constitution specifically prohibits any government restrictions on speech — whether hateful or otherwise. But as if more evidence were needed of the danger, a quick look at Europe, where pastors are literally thrown in jail for defending the Biblical understanding of marriage, and politicians are arrested for quoting Winston Churchill, should suffice to make the point.  

Of course, private companies are well within their rights to refuse service to anyone, even if that means denying some people or viewpoints a platform. And Americans should be careful to resist the urge to have the federal government regulate businesses without constitutional authority. But when the line between the mega-corporations and the government is so blurred, and when Big Government operatives are meeting behind closed doors with the Big Business tycoons running the architecture of the Internet, the danger becomes obvious. Because of the Internet, and the free expression it has enabled, many millions of people around the world now understand the threat posed by the establishment to freedom, nation-states, and humanity. It is crucial that Americans, as the guardians of free speech and the free Internet, do not allow the establishment’s war on free speech to succeed.

Spying on the spies: State surveillance of Britons now being monitored

RT

A new watchdog charged with regulating state surveillance has started work, with the aim of keeping in check the state’s ability to spy on its own citizens.

Lord Justice Fulford has taken office as the first investigatory powers commissioner (IPC), amalgamating the three watchdog roles which had previously overseen surveillance powers in the UK.

His role was created by the controversial Investigatory Powers Act, also known by the epithet Snoopers’ Charter, which became law at the end of last year.

His office, the IPCO, will employ about 70 staff, including 15 serving and retired judges.

Inspectors will check that the interception of phone calls and the handling of agents, surveillance and powers permitting bulk collection of communications data are carried out within the law.

Among the most sensitive work of the agency will be operation of the ‘double-lock’ system of authorization of inception warrants introduced by the act. Under the scheme both a minister and an independent judge, known as a judicial commissioner, will have to approve surveillance warrants.

IPCO inspections will be “rigorous and robust,” with inspectors able to access systems, confidential documents and interview staff. It will inspect hundreds of public authorities each year, it says.

Among organizations overseen by the IPCO are the government’s monitoring agency GCHQ, MI5, MI6, the National Crime Agency, all police forces, the Serious Fraud Office, HM Revenue and Customs, local authorities, prisons and Whitehall departments.

In a statement, Fulford said: “for the first time, investigatory powers will be overseen by a single body applying a consistent, rigorous and independent inspection regime across public authorities.” He added that it is an “important milestone” as the new oversight powers set out in the Investigatory Powers Act are implemented.

Operation of the new act remains highly controversial, with campaign groups claiming it allows “sweeping state spying powers.”

Jimmy Nukebot Explodes on the Scene, Transforming NeutrinoPOS

Tara Seals
InfoSecurity

The NeutrinoPOS banking trojan, a constantly evolving malware thanks to its source code having been posted online last spring, has a new form, ominously dubbed Jimmy Nukebot.

Interestingly, it’s no longer in the banking business. Rather, it’s designed to help bad actors do so much more.

“The authors seriously rewrote the trojan—the main body was restructured, the functions were moved to the modules,” explained Kaspersky Lab researcher Sergey Yunakovsky, in an analysis. “The trojan has completely lost the functionality for stealing bank-card data from the memory of an infected device; now, its task is limited solely to receiving modules from a remote node and installing them into the system.”

Those modules contain the payloads, which notably include web injects (which can perform functions similar to those in NeutrinoPOS, like taking screenshots, setting up proxy servers and so on); and a large number of updates for the main module in various droppers. Continue reading

TSA facial biometric body scanners and government watchlists being used in train stations

MassPrivate I

The TSA is winning the war on Americans minds as commuters are being tricked into giving away their rights without a fight.

The above video warns that facial recognition body scanners are coming to a train station near you…

 “Soon you might have to pass through one of these to get to your train or subway.”

Last week, the TSA  Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority ‘voluntarily’ asked commuters to walk through facial recognition body scanners before being allowed to board a train.

 

If you watched the video you might have noticed that the mass media (CBS) did not interview a single person who was concerned about their privacy. Instead, they quoted passengers who think body scanners are a good thing.

Nothing suspicious about that, right?

CBS warned that if the LA Metro installs the body scanners next year, commuters won’t be able to opt-out. 

According to an article in the LA Times, the LA Metro has begun piloting biometric body scanners that send short-wave radio frequencies through commuters bodies to search for bombs and weapons.

A ‘pilot program’ is really a government euphemism for gauging the public’s response to another intrusive police search.

Bill Gates bankrolled high speed body scanners

 

According to an article in ‘The Guardian’, the start-up company Evolv Technology is pilot testing high speed body scanners at the Los Angeles’s Union Station, Union Station in D.C., and the Denver international airport. 

Evolv has taken a page right out of the TSA playbook citing safety concerns and fears of terror to justify their usage.

Evolv CEO Michael Ellonbogen said, “I think we need to change our entire take on physical security and knit it into the flow of our daily lives”.

“It’s an unfortunate trend, but physical security is morphing and the problem is worsening”, said Lux Capital’s Bilal.

Corporations are using Americans fears of terror to make huge profits.

Evolv stands to make hundreds of millions of dollars if commuter train stations install their body scanners. A single scanner will cost taxpayers $60,000, while Bill Gates who helped fund Evolv Technoloy makes a nice profit.

 

Police use our fears of terror to justify losing of our rights

An LA Times article served as a mouthpiece to justify more government spying.

“While we’ll never become a fully secured environment like you’d have in the airport, we do want to find a way to more effectively screen passengers,” Metro security executive Alex Wiggins said. “We are trying to stay ahead of the threat.”

Mr. Wiggins isn’t done scaring the public just yet…

“Transportation is a very soft and attractive target,” said Wiggins,“Given the recent large-scale attacks at transit facilities in Europe, we need to see if there is technology that can screen large number of peoples and focus in on weapons and explosives.

Curiously, the LA Times devoted only one sentence to privacy concerns.

Three months ago, I warned everyone that California Transit Authorities have a history of using corporate surveillance technology to spy on commuters.

A class action lawsuit in California revealed that Transit Police are using a ‘Bart Watch’ app and Stingray surveillance to allegedly spy on commuters texts and emails.

Let’s make one thing perfectly clear, the war on terror is a for-profit business being led by private corporations and DHS. (The TSA is part of DHS.)

To learn more I recommend checking out Gary Jacobucci’s article that asked if, ‘DHS is a private offshore corporation.‘ Here are two companies that appear to be fronts for DHS: Homeland Security Solutions and Homeland Security Corporation. (Click here & here to find out more.)

 
Body scanners use government watchlists 

Evolve uses ‘Known Wolves’, watchlist software that can identify people of interest or anyone on a government watchlist.

“Stay on constant lookout for known wolves and other watchlist individuals using proven facial recognition and human IQ. Integrated video camera provides positive ID for alarm resolution. Send notifications and alerts to mobile team or operations center.”

Getting the public to accept facial recognition body scanners at airports and Disney World is only part of a much greater privacy nightmare.

Evolv’s facial recognition body scanners are being used at public area screenings, sporting events, and employee screenings.

Retail stores and conference centers are also using facial biometric cameras and scanners.

Imagine a future where the police use government watchlists, facial biometric scanners, Stingray cellphone surveillance, Bluetooth, and license plate readers to spy on our every movement. 

This is our future unless we fight for our privacy rights.