09/16 OT: Wednesday Whatchamacallit

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Image from page 120 of "History of art" (1921)

whatchamacallit

How about Electronic Freedom for a change? I've touched on this topic off and on, the assaults on peoples privacy and data, and the use of electronics to track, trace and spy on us all. One of the technologies used against us, with regularity, indiscriminately and without warrant, is the Stingray. Tech Crunch published an article back in August entitled A new technique can detect newer 4G ‘stingray’ cell phone snooping ( https://techcrunch.com/2020/08/05/crocodile-hunter-4g-stingray-cell/ ) which discussed new counter technology developed by The Electronic Frontier Foundation (hereinafter EFF, Heh) which they named crocodile hunter. It can often detect the new 4G Stingrays, both on the fly, nabbing the portables, as well as locating those more or less permanently in place. The technology is, of course, open source, but it isn't a simple "download the app" type of thing.

Crocodile Hunter is open-source, allowing anyone to run it, but it requires a stack of both hardware and software to work. Once up and running, Crocodile Hunter scans for 4G cellular signals, begins decoding the tower data, and uses trilateration to visualize the towers on a map.(sic)

The article is pretty short and sweet and provides a good background introduction to how cell towers, Stingrays, and Crocodile Hunter work and some examples of some successes and pitfalls. I defintely recommend reading it.

More on cell phone operations and cell-site emulators can also be found here: https://www.eff.org/pages/cell-site-simulatorsimsi-catchers

Speaking of EFF, I have recently received a lot of stuff from them, I already discussed how the S.F cops used a private spy network to spy on protesters, and, more indiscriminately, on everybody: San Francisco Police Accessed Business District Camera Network to Spy on Protestors( https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2020/07/san-francisco-police-accessed-busi... ) Those networks, aren't going away and will be no doubt replicated and misused by the local cops in many places through out the US. This is an area needing legislation, which the citizenry must fight for because nobody in goevrnment is otherwise at all on our side. Both of those items are indirectly related to this next one which might be quite useful, if only in a "forewarned is Fore-armed" sense.

EFF Launches Searchable Database of Police Agencies and the Tech Tools They Use to Spy on Communities --
Atlas of Surveillance Shines Light on Deployment of Cameras, Drones, and More
( https://www.eff.org/press/releases/eff-launches-searchable-database-poli... ) The database is here: https://atlasofsurveillance.org/ and I highly recommend loading it up and exploring it. It covers the whole country to some degree, and identifies who is using (or where they are using) 10 different technologies as well as the locations of "fusion centers" and "real time crime centers". One of the technologies, is so called "predictive policing", so all one can do if one finds that where one lives is move, but a lot of the rest are things like Stingrays, automated license plate readers, drones and the like. The home page of tab, labelled ATLAS, is an interactive zoomable map of the US. Other tabs exist for Search the Data, Glossary, Methodology, Collaborate and, of course, About. Search The Datais quite fun and informative to play with. You can select all or any specific technology like facial recognition, drones, license plate readers or Cell-site Simulators (Stingrays) and then

Enter a city, county, state, or agency in the U.S., or leave blank to search the whole country:

A couple of things worth knowing is that generally you find out stuff like, for example, The San Jose (CA) PD uses Drones, Cell-site simulators and maintains a registry of surveillance cameras, but it doesn't tell you where, specifically, any such devices are deployed. Sometimes you will also get reports similar to this:

Showing data for: Altadena, California

We don’t have any information on this location yet, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t surveillance there.

Atlas of Surveillance is a volunteer and crowd-sourced resource so there’s a chance no one has researched this location yet. If you’d like to help us find data on this location or collaborate with us to help fill in the map, you can learn about ways to add data and contribute here.

So, that's a provisional and tentative congrats to friends living and/or working there.

Another tool from EFF: EFF Unveils Virtual Reality Tool To Help People Spot Surveillance Devices in Their Communities -- Law Enforcement’s Deployment of High-Tech Spying Tools On the Rise. ( https://www.eff.org/press/releases/eff-unveils-virtual-reality-tool-help... ) I haven't played with that one at all. I don't have any VR gear and it doesn't seem to run too well in my browser on my somewhat antiquated rig. It's basically a little training exercise (as I understand it) to learn where to look and what to look for.

And, some good news to come out of the whole Covid-19 pandemic: Face masks are breaking facial recognition algorithms, says new government study -- Stopping the spread of disease and mass surveillance Such a pity, dontcha think? Article is here: https://www.theverge.com/2020/7/28/21344751/facial-recognition-face-mask... but the title almost says it all. Though there is some information there including some incentive to wear masks plus glasses and to decorate masks, perhaps with paisley or Mondrian type patterns, or the good old reliable Feeb nemesis, Juggalo patterns.

So, that's about it for today, but there is one last item you really should read for yourself, a not-at-all-surprising documentation of a key element of reality in the USA, past, present, and probably future: A Judge Asked Harvard to Find Out Why So Many Black People Were In Prison. They Could Only Find 1 Answer: Systemic Racism ( https://www.theroot.com/a-judge-asked-harvard-to-find-out-why-so-many-bl... )

So that's it for today.

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be well and have a good one.

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It's an open thread, so have at it. The floor is yours
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Lookout's picture

Sally is riding into southern Alabama today. The track has shifted more to the south so instead of the predicted 4-8 inches of rain, we're expecting about 2 inches this afternoon and tonight. Good scenario for us, but the Mobile/Pensacola region got slammed 20+ inches of rain since yesterday.

Hecate has a piece up about the historic becoming normal as several towns have burned out west this season. Climate chaos indeed.

I don't have a cell phone, nor do I want one. Each to their own. It is weird they can turn them on when they want listening to your conversations and tracking where you are...and have done so for years. Not to mention turning on your computer or TV camera to spy on you. Lots of people put a post-it note over those cameras. If you use ancient computers like me, there are no built in cameras.

The garden needs the rain. I've had to water the baby fall crops. The tomatoes are essentially done, so next week they'll come out and the bed manured, mulched, and put to sleep till next spring. Sweet potatoes won't get harvested till late Oct or early Nov depending on first frost.

Y'all take care out west. Be safe!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

enhydra lutris's picture

@Lookout
and it came out an ordinary comment

be well and have a good one

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

enhydra lutris's picture

get hammered, but sorry that you really won't be getting all the water you need. You're ahead of us on tomatoes, but probably not too far. Thanks for the tip on Hecate's piece, I'm going to be pretty busy today and might've missed it. Cell phones have good and bad points, we got our first for an emergency phone when on the road with the trailer, and really needed it once when we threw an axle bearing out nowhere. Also good for calling ahead to get a campground reservation, etc. Thus we got used to having one. Eventually graduated to smart phones because really useful on the road.

be well and have a good one

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

earthling1's picture

@enhydra lutris
I was wondering though. Are there still restrictions ( like a warrant) on landlines? Historically, wiretaps required a judge to sign off on and required some credible evidence of wrongdoing.
Is a landline considered a different medium than an over the airwaves (cel phone) or the intertubes (whether broadband or sat.)?
Would moving back to a landline screw up their surveillance routine like the facemasks?
Asking for a friend.

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After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

enhydra lutris's picture

@earthling1
One of the things that led to EFF's formation was a court case in which the judge held that the wiretap laws didn't apply to cell phones because there is no actual wire to tap. I do not know if they managed to get that overturned yet or not.

Beyond that, thanks to the FISA court, there aren't really any protections at all any more. As long as some Feeb is willing to aver that bugging you relates to some other investigation, then they can get a warrant, at least, last time I heard -- it has been a while, but FISA and the unPATRIOTic Act are still in force afaik.

be well and have a good one.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

enhydra lutris's picture

everybody the check in on the EFF homepage periodically for tips, tricks, software and the like, there is good stuff there. www.eff.com

be well and have a good one

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

magiamma's picture

Et al

Thanks for the ot. Much to be wary of.

There are a couple of new studies out on aerosolized antibodies

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljyi_pV1l5A&feature=youtu.be&t=3696

https://thehill.com/changing-america/well-being/prevention-cures/516558-...

Air is better here. Take good care all...

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Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation

Hot Air Website, Twitter, Facebook

enhydra lutris's picture

@magiamma
to 24 here at 5 am today, absolutely flabbergasting.

be well and have a good one.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Granma's picture

@enhydra lutris We are still at 300 something. Can't always get a number. I guess the system gets overwhelmed with requests.

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enhydra lutris's picture

@Granma
zip code or city or county, never failed yet.

be well and have a good one.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Granma's picture

@enhydra lutris but it sometimes does not respond to input. I wait a while and try again. One note on using that site. When air quality levels are fluctuating as they are lately from the smoke, notice the time for the number you get. Sometimes it is 3 hours old. With the amount of smoke here and the fluctuations in levels, 3 hours is a long time. Frankly, I don't care what it was 3 hours ago. I want to know about now.

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Granma's picture

I haven't yet, but will read at all the links you provided.

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