09/16 OT: Wednesday 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.
be well and have a good one.
It's an open thread, so have at it. The floor is yours