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Here’s How Apple Has Been Spying On You Through Your iPhone

September 19, 2017 Leave a comment

(Truth Theory) There is a growing concern that our privacy is being threatened in unprecedented ways. The current nature of online services, apps and smartphone technologies, puts an emphasis on the free flow of information. This provides few mechanisms for individuals to have oversight and control of what they put into the digital realms.

It goes without saying that Apple Inc. are leading the technology revolution. However, with each new generation of the iPhone, there is a new threat to our privacy. Over the last six years, Apple have designed and implemented convenient, yet compromising features, such as voice recognition and fingerprint technology. Their latest model, the iPhone X, was recently unveiled and is equipped with facial recognition.

iPhone 4S: Siri, 2011

In 2011, Apple introduced the iPhone 4S with their implementation of the digital assistant Siri. The questions users ask Siri are recorded and stored (for a while). This aids the virtual helper, who uses the information to guess what users want before they even ask.

iPhone 5S: Touch ID, 2013

The iPhone 5S is revealed. It comes with a new fingerprint recognition feature – Touch ID. Many users register their fingerprint, trading their biometric data for convenience. This fingerprint scanner sparked privacy worries and many people were asking where this data being stored.

iPhone 6S: “Hey Siri,” 2015

By 2015, Apple has unveiled a new ‘Hey Siri’ feature which is built-into the iPhone 6S. This feature enables users to activate Siri at any time by saying the phrase “Hey Siri.” This raises questions surrounding surveillance as it means that the microphone has to be on at all times. An always-on microphone was a concern as it meant that the device could potentially listen to you and others nearby.

iPhone X: Face ID, 2017

The new iPhone X has rendered the home button obsolete. In its place is a built-in fingerprint reader in favour of a new biometric – called Face ID. In order to enrol the biometric, the interface asks users to tilt and turn their head. It takes 3D scans of the users face from multiple angles and uses the information to authenticate and unlock the device.

It is important to note that identifying features such as voice recordings, fingerprint scan, retina scan and facial features are key markers used in surveillance. Given the fact that these physical elements cannot be altered in the same way as a traditional password, it’s worrying when this data is put on a mobile device. Apple is the first company to have a facial recognition system with millions of profiles. As a result, they could be targeted by the Government and subject to a new type of mass surveillance order. In this instance, Apple may be required to hand over their database of facial profiles, which the Government can use to track the location of specific targets.

In the last ten years, facial recognition software has become increasingly popular. One in two American adults are already enrolled in a law enforcement facial recognition network. In addition, at least one in four police departments have the ability to run face recognition searches. Australia has also constructed a tool called “The Capability” which gives police the power to pick out faces from millions of photos. Furthermore, in the UK, police used a mass scan method to identify the faces of thousands of party-goers at this years Notting Hill Carnival.

We are clearly living in a surveillance state. In London alone there are an estimated 500,000 CCTV cameras. To make matters worse, there are already face detection CCTV cameras in use. They have the ability to scan people, identify cars, animals and bags automatically. Once we couple this technology with Apple’s new Face ID, we could see mass surveillance take on a whole new meaning. The database of iPhone users Face ID used in conjunction with the CCTV facial recognition technology, means that you could be tracked 24/7.

If you think the current landscape is frightening, don’t think too much about what’s coming next. Tech companies will get even better at filtering information, predicting our behaviour and serving us what we want to buy and finding new ways to share information.

Unfortunately, the legal system is lagging behind the pace of innovation, with regulators evidently struggling to keep up with the pace of technology and the enforcement of privacy rules. It is clear that many online services and smartphone technologies are not being scrutinised enough. There is something disconcerting about products, such as Apple iPhones, that elicit so much personal information from us – all in the name of ‘convenience’.

Former Facebook executive says Google, Facebook are ‘surveillance states’ and risk more regulation

September 16, 2017 Leave a comment
  • Social Capital CEO Chamath Palihapitiya says Facebook and Google are like “surveillance states” and are inviting a government crackdown.
  • The former Facebook executive is bullish on Amazon, and thinks it will have a longer runway before the government tries to intervene.

Even though he was once an executive at Facebook, Chamath Palihapitiya, CEO of Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings, favors investing in Amazon instead, he told CNBC’s “Fast Money: Halftime Report” on Thursday.

President Donald Trump has been a critic of Amazon, tweeting his disdain for coverage from The Washington Post, which is a personal holding of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. But Palihapitiya said he thinks that Facebook and Google face more regulatory risk, given the many retailers that compete with Amazon.

“Amazon is a microscopic portion of global consumption today, so ultimately I think it has more room to grow before it invites regulatory overview,” Palihapitiya said. “On the other hand, Facebook and Google effectively are surveillance states. And they have so much personal, private information about so many citizens of so many countries.”

Google has already had a tussle with regulators in Europe, after the company was slapped with a record fine in one investigation.

“It’s already beginning,” Palihapitiya said. “Because it’s part and parcel to them realizing that there’s too much power unbounded.”

Palihapitiya noted that many big technology companies have seen their stocks soar, making it tempting to take gains. Palihapitiya’s holding company, which also includes former Twitter executive Adam Bain, hit the public markets Thursday.

But Palihapitiya said he thinks investors should reframe the way they think about the long-term trajectories of the companies.

For instance, Amazon is competing against Wal-Mart, which has acquired e-commerce companies like Jet.com and Bonobos. But with tools like Alexa, robots and cloud, Amazon’s technology could lead it to victory over “laggard competitors,” Palihapitiya said.

“It is competing against fundamentally impaired companies, including Wal-Mart, quite honestly,” Palihapitiya said. “That don’t have the technical savvy, they don’t have the capabilities, specialty retailers, an entire overhang of cost structure that [Amazon doesn’t] have to deal with.”

Facebook, Google and Wal-Mart did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

NSA Quietly Awarded a Classified $2.4 Billion Tech Contract With More to Come

September 14, 2017 Leave a comment

Frank Konkel

 

The National Security Agency has awarded tech firm CSRA the first of three portions of its classified Groundbreaker contract, which could potentially be worth as much as $2.4 billion over the next decade if all options are exercised.

CSRA announced the award through a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, where it acknowledged the value and duration of the contract without naming the customer agency or the contract’s name. Neither CSRA nor NSA offered comment to Nextgov for this story.

Details on Groundbreaker are sparse, but the NSA program dates back to a 2001 effort to outsource its IT operations.

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At the time, then-NSA director Michael Hayden said the contract would allow NSA to “refocus assets on the agency’s core missions of providing foreign signals intelligence and protecting U.S. national security-related information systems by turning over several information technology infrastructure services for industry’s purview.”

The agency would later use the contract to develop its own private cloud, which acts as a modern repository for all the agency’s data.

NSA awarded the first Groundbreaker contract—reportedly worth as much as $5 billion over 10 years—to a joint alliance of contractors in 2001 called the Eagle Alliance, led by Computer Sciences Corporation, which is now CSRA. The Eagle Alliance, which includes companies such as Northrop Grumman, won NSA’s first recompete of Groundbreaker, which is set to expire in its current iteration on Sept. 30.

The government’s full spend on the Groundbreaker program is not publicly disclosed, but according to a March 2016 report to investors, Groundbreaker makes up seven percent of CSRA’s annual revenue. In 2016, CSRA’s total revenue was $4.2 billion.

NSA floated a draft request for proposals for its Groundbreaker program about two years ago to various defense and technology firms that suggested a shift in the agency’s strategy.

Rather than one large follow-on contract, NSA opted to break the recompeted award into three portions, altogether totaling some $5 billion. CSRA’s award last week represents the largest of those portions, though sources familiar with CSRA’s portfolio tell Nextgov the company is competing for all three.

NSA is expected to make the final two Groundbreaker recompete awards this calendar year.

For CSRA, the Groundbreaker award adds to a run of recent contract successes. In June, the Defense Department awarded it a $400 million contract to build milCloud, a government-run cloud through which customers can order up computing, analytic, storage and other services. The company also captured a $58 million supercomputing contract from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Social Media is A Tool of the CIA: “Facebook, Google and Other Social Media Used to Spy on People”

September 1, 2017 Leave a comment

A CBS news article published in 2011 entitled “Social Media Is a Tool of the CIA. Seriously”  reveals the “unspoken truth” which the mainstream media including CBS have failed to address. 

The CIA is  “using Facebook, Twitter, Google (GOOG) and other social media to spy on people.”

This article published by CBS refutes the lies of the MSM (and CBS). It confirms the insidious relationship between the CIA, the Search Engines,  Social Media and major advertising conglomerates: “You don’t need to wear a tinfoil hat to believe that the CIA is using Facebook, Twitter, Google (GOOG) and other social media to spy on people. That’s because the CIA publishes a helpful list of press releases [link inactive] on all the social media ventures it sponsors, via its technology investment arm In-Q-Tel. … “

The report acknowledges that “privacy” is threatened by the advertisers, yet at the same time these advertisers are “in bed with the CIA”,  acting on behalf and in liaison with US intelligence.

Screenshot of CBS article

The Privatization of Spying

Spying on individuals is a highly profitable undertaking for private companies on contract to the CIA, NSA, Homeland Security. The CBS report suggests in no uncertain terms that the personal information pertaining to millions of Americans collected by one of the World’s largest ad agencies is sold to the CIA. 

According to an earlier Wired News July 2010 report by Noam Schachtman:

THE INVESTMENT ARMS of the CIA and Google are both backing a company that monitors the web in real time — and says it uses that information to predict the future.

The company is called Recorded Future, and it scours tens of thousands of websites, blogs and Twitter accounts to find the relationships between people, organizations, actions and incidents — both present and still-to-come. In a white paper, the company says its temporal analytics engine “goes beyond search” by “looking at the ‘invisible links’ between documents that talk about the same, or related, entities and events.”

Screenshots of Wired News report

Freedom of Expression

Social Media and Search engines are being used to Spy on Americans! But not only on Americans. The process of personal data collection is worldwide.

What is at stake, however, is not only the issue of “Privacy”. The online search engines also constitute an instrument of online media censorship.  

Google has introduced algorithms intended to downgrade independent and alternative media. In this regard, the Guardian reported (December 2016) on “How Google’s search algorithm spreads false information with a rightwing bias. 

Screenshot of Guardian article

Independent online media is targeted. Freedom of Expression on internet based news outlets is being routinely shunted by Google:

“New data compiled by the World Socialist Web Site, with the assistance of other Internet-based news outlets and search technology experts, proves that a massive loss of readership observed by socialist, anti-war and progressive web sites over the past three months has been caused by a cumulative 45 percent decrease in traffic from Google

Below are excerpts of the CBS News 2011 article, to read the entire article click here:

The world’s largest database on individuals

One of the main threats to privacy comes from advertisers, who want to track everything consumers do on the web and scrape their online accounts for personal information. It shouldn’t be surprising, therefore, to learn that the CIA and the worlds largest ad agency network, WPP (WPPGY), have been in bed together on a social media data-mining venture since at least January 2009. WPP currently claims to own the world’s largest database of unique individual profiles — including demographic, financial, purchase and geographic histories. WPP’s Visible Technologies unit took an investment from In-Q-Tel in fall of 2009. Visible Technologies develops tools that can scan social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook. …

Google and CIA: old friends 

Are you seeing a trend yet? Google (GOOG) has been a partner with the CIA since 2004 when the company bought Keyhole, a mapping technology business that eventually became Google Earth. In 2010, Google and In-Q-Tel made a joint investment on a company called Recorded Future, which has the Minority Report-style goal of creating a “temporal analytics engine” that scours the web and creates curves that predict where events may head.

Google is already helping the government write, and rewrite, history. Here, from its transparency report, are some stats on the amount of information it has either given to the government or wiped from the web based on requests by U.S. agencies:

  • 4,601 requests from U.S. government agencies for “user data
  • Google complied with government requests for user data 94% of the time.
  • 1,421 requests for “content removal
  • Google complied with content removal requests 87% of the time.
  • 15 requests were from “executive, police etc.”
  • 1 was a national security request.

emphasis added. To Read the complete CBS News article by Jim Edwards click here  

 

Obama Admin Spied On US Citizens’ Social Media Accounts

August 7, 2017 Leave a comment

The Obama administration colluded with the FBI to spy on social media accounts of millions of US citizens on election day.

According to FBI officials, Obama used the excuse of ‘Russian interference’ to find accounts they thought were guilty of spreading ‘fake news.’

Daily Caller reports:

Dozens of FBI officials monitored social media on Election Day 2016 looking for “fake news” being spread as part of a Russian disinformation campaign against former candidate Hillary Clinton, multiple sources told CNN.

The FBI knew it was walking a fine legal line by monitoring the media for “fake news,” according to sources. It was part of a larger effort to look for Russian cyber threats to the elections, CNN reported.

“We were right on the edge of Constitutional legality,” a source briefed on the matter told CNN. “We were monitoring news.”

Intelligence officials monitoring social media held conference calls with the White House throughout Election Day. Some minor issues came up, but nothing happened to disrupt voting.

Thegatewaypundit.com reports:

According to CNN, “FBI analysts had identified social media user accounts behind stories, some based overseas, and the suspicion was that at least some were part of a Russian disinformation campaign, according to two sources familiar with the investigation.”

The Obama administration also had a secret plan in place to deploy troops to voting stations across the country on election day, according to documents obtained exclusively by TIME Magazine.

The New York Post reports:

The Obama administration ​was poised to send armed federal agents to polling places, deploy the military and launch full-scale counter-propaganda measures in case hackers disrupted the vote on Election Day, according to a report.

​The 15-page playbook, produced in October, outlined the “enhanced measures” the government was prepared to take in the event of a “significant incident,” Time magazine reported Thursday, citing a copy of the document.

“​I​n almost all potential cases of malicious cyber activity impacting election infrastructure, state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, to include their law enforcement agencies, will have primary jurisdiction to respond​,” it says. ​

​The playbook coordinated the responsibilities of the different government agencies — Department of Homeland Security, Justice Department and FBI — and dictated how they would “activate enhanced procedures and allocate the resources described in their enhanced coordination procedures to coordinate incident response activities.”

FBI: Smart Toys Are Perving On Your Children

July 21, 2017 Leave a comment

The FBI has warned parents that manufacturers of smart toys could be using them to spy on children without permission.

According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, children’s toys that are connected to the internet are capable of secretly filming video, recording audio, and recognising speech – all of which could be monitored by unknown persons working for the toy manufacturer.

These toys typically contain sensors, microphones, cameras, data storage components, and other multimedia capabilities — including speech recognition and GPS options. These features could put the privacy and safety of children at risk due to the large amount of personal information that may be unwittingly disclosed,” wrote the FBI.

News.com.au reports: the Federal Bureau of Investigation says such toys could contain parts or capabilities such as microphones, cameras, GPS, data storage and speech recognition that could disclose personal information.

Normal conversation with a toy or in the surrounding environment could disclose a child’s name, school, likes and dislikes and activities, the FBI said.

Smart toys and entertainment devices are gaining popularity for incorporating technologies that learn and tailor their behaviours based on user interactions.

In February, Germany banned sales and ownership of a talking doll named Cayla made by US company Genesis Toys, citing the risk of hacking associated with the toy.

The country’s Federal Network Agency recommended that parents who had bought the doll for their children destroy it.

John McAfee: ‘CIA Compromised Every Router In America’

June 24, 2017 Leave a comment

CIA spooks have access to your home router, as well as every WiFi system in the United States, warns internet security guru John McAfee. 

Speaking out after WikiLeaks’ released details of CIA hacking tools, John McAfee said he doesn’t trust any WiFi system, as the CIA hacking tools have compromised every router in the country, leaving your information open to hackers and spies.

I personally never connect to any WiFi system. I use the LTE system on my phone, I know that sounds crazy, but that’s the only way I can be secure. Because every router in America has been compromised,” McAfee said.

Five days prior, WikiLeaks published a fresh batch of documents which showed how the CIA hacks into popular home routers from firms like Linksys, D-Link and Belkin. The CIA program was codenamed CherryBlossom.

The CIA’s aim, according to WikiLeaks, was to intercept internet traffic of targets using a tactic known as man-in-the-middle (MitM). The CIA can hit any router to “monitor, control and manipulate” traffic from phones and tablets connected to the wireless network.

John McAfee said: “It’s not just the CIA, all of these routers, that’s virtually all routers in use in American homes, are accessible to hackers. They can take over control, monitor all of the traffic and can download malware onto any device that is connected to that router.”

[John McAfee’s New Invention Is Taking The Fight To The CIA]

The exploits outlined in the CherryBlossom files (WikiLeaks did not publish source code) can be used to target routers in homes, cafes, hospitals, airports, and private businesses. Many people have argued that this is merely evidence the CIA is doing its job – but McAfee disagrees.

There’s nothing in the American constitution that gives the government the right to invade the privacy of my home or any place I have the presumption of privacy,” he said.

Widespread router hacker is “devastating” news for Americans’ right to privacy, freedom, and liberty.

Once the router is compromised and it infects the cellphones, laptops, desktops and tablets then they become compromised,” he continued. “Not only can you watch the data, you can start listening to conversations. You can start watching through the cameras on these devices.”

Cybsersecurity expert and former NSA hacker, Jake Williams, wasn’t surprised by WikiLeaks’ revelations.

Williams said most people are already wide open to attack from far less sophisticated methods than those employed by the CIA. He tweeted: “Most of you have never updated your vulnerable WiFi router firmware. You don’t need to worry about CherryBlossom.”

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