technology

ACLU Says The Feds Might Be Using License Plate Readers For Mass Surveillance

ACLU Says The Feds Might Be Using License Plate Readers For Mass Surveillance

Business Insider – The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security for information about the feds’ use of automatic license plate readers. The readers, mounted on police cars or stationary objects, can process up to 1,800 license plates per minute, according to the ACLU. The constant stream of data allows police to check plates against databases for things like stolen vehicles, wanted individuals, expired registrations, and warrants. Read Article

We need drone aircraft, says UK police chief

Telegraph – Alex Marshall from Hampshire Police was speaking ahead of the launch of the new National Police Air Service (NPAS) today, which it is hoped will cost millions less than the current localised system. The senior officer, who is leading the scheme for the Association of Chief Police Officers, said drones can stay in the air longer and would be cheaper than running manned aircraft. Read Article

Australia Plans “Big Brother” Seizure of S/N, Passwords, Emails, Text Msgs

Bloomberg – The Australian Securities and Investment Commission has called for phone call and internet data to be made available for its war on white-collar crime.
Not only does the authority want the powers to intercept the times, dates and details of telecommunications information, it also wants access to the contents of emails, social media chats and text messages. Read Article

WWII veteran creates bird-friendly wind turbine

Gizmag – World War II veteran Raymond Green, an 89 year old resident of Jackson, California, has created a working prototype of a “bladeless” wind turbine which is bird and bat-friendly, and very quiet in operation. Though still in development at present, Green intends his design to be produced in various sizes, from smaller personal versions to much larger turbines which could be implemented in wind farms. Read article

Internet Freedom Under Attack – More countries restrict Internet to stifle critics

Reuters – Government restrictions on the Internet have risen over the past year around the world as regimes use violence against bloggers and turn to censorship and arrest to squelch calls for reform, a new report from a U.S. advocacy group has found. Pakistan, Bahrain and Ethiopia saw the biggest rollbacks in Internet freedom since January 2011 and were among the 20 countries out of 47 assessed by Freedom House that declined in their rankings. Read Article

Universities Develop ?New-School Biometrics

AFCEA – The Center for Advanced Studies in Identity Science (CASIS) is helping to usher in a new school of biometrics known as identity science, which goes beyond traditional biometrics of iris scans, fingerprints, palm prints and facial recognition. Even as biometrics technology becomes more integral to everyday life, researchers working indirectly for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence warn that some tough challenges have yet to be overcome. Refining facial recognition in crowds, coping with obscurants, finding answers with less than perfect data and addressing flat funding hinder progress. Read Article

Nestle Adds GPS Trackers to Candy Bars in UK Promotion

PC Mag – Creepy or innovative? You make the call. Nestle, makers of those delicious candy bars that you tend to throw on the conveyer belt as a last-minute addition to your shopping trip at the local supermarket, has planned a new promotion for UK customers that’s vaguely reminiscent of the Willy Wonka plotline. Only, in this case, you’re not finding some magical ticket; the candy bar’s finding you. Read Article

US banks hit by more than a week of cyberattacks

Associated Press -  U.S. banks have been buffeted by more than a week of powerful cyberattacks, but the mystery surrounding their perpetrators lingers. One expert said Friday that he was suspicious of claims of responsibility purportedly made by Islamists angry at an anti-Muslim movie made in the United States, explaining that the widely-circulated Internet postings might have been an attempt to deflect attention from the true culprit. “In the intelligence world, we call that a ‘false flag,’” said Mike Smith, whose Web security company Akamai has helped analyze some of the attacks. Read Article

Cyber Attacks on U.S. Banks Expose Computer Vulnerability

Bloomberg – Cyber attacks on the biggest U.S. banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co., have breached some of the nation’s most advanced computer defenses and exposed the vulnerability of its infrastructure, said cybersecurity specialists tracking the assaults. The attack, which a U.S. official yesterday said was waged by a still-unidentified group outside the country, flooded bank websites with traffic, rendering them unavailable to consumers and disrupting transactions for hours at a time. Read Article

Under fire, Vietnamese bloggers keep up dissent

Seattle Times – Vietnam’s government has vowed to crack down on three dissident blogs, a move that appeared to backfire Thursday as record numbers of people visited the sites and the bloggers pledged to keep up their struggle for freedom of expression. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s order for police to arrest those responsible for the websites reflects growing unease within the Communist Party over the emergence of blogs and social media accounts that publish dissenting views, independent reporting and whistleblowing. Read Article

Artificially intelligent game bots pass the Turing test on Turing’s centenary

PhysOrg – An artificially intelligent virtual gamer created by computer scientists at The University of Texas at Austin has won the BotPrize by convincing a panel of judges that it was more human-like than half the humans it competed against. The competition was sponsored by 2K Games and was set inside the virtual world of “Unreal Tournament 2004,” a first-person shooter video game. The winners were announced this month at the IEEE Conference on Computational Intelligence and Games. Read article

Iran unveils domestically made drone aircraft

Al Jazeera – Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have unveiled a home-built long-range drone capable of reaching most of the Middle East, including the Islamic state’s primary regional enemy Israel, state television has reported. The reconnaissance drone, named Shahed 129, has a range of 2,000 km and is capable of carrying bombs and missiles, state television said. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Revolutionary Guards’ aerospace arm, spoke during an interview on Tuesday on Iran’s state TV. Hajizadeh said that Iranian scientists designed and developed the drone. His description of the aircraft was similar to that of the United States’ RQ-170 Sentinel unmanned reconnaissance aircraft, one of which went down in Iranian territory last year. Read Aricle

Drone strike in Pakistan kills 5 “suspected” militants

CNN – Five suspected militants were killed Monday in a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan, a local government official told CNN.
Siraj Ahmed said the drone fired two missiles at a militant compound near the town of Mir Ali in North Waziristan, a district in Pakistan’s mostly ungoverned tribal region along the Afghanistan border. North Waziristan is widely believed to be the headquarters of the Haqqani network — a militant group Washington has long accused of fueling some of the deadliest attacks against NATO troops in Afghanistan. Read Article

Vietnam jails dissident bloggers

BBC – Vietnam has jailed three bloggers accused of spreading anti-government propaganda, in a case criticised by human rights groups. The high-profile but brief trial took place in Ho Chi Minh City under heavy security. The trio were given jail sentences of between four and 12 years. The government, which does not allow freedom of expression, has been under pressure from bloggers over corruption cases and human rights issues. Read Article

Textron’s Remote-Controlled Flying Bomb

Defense Tech – Textron Defense Systems has a new flying drone that’s designed to explode on contact with enemy positions. The compact BattleHawk Squad Level Loitering Munition is armed with a 40mm high-fragmentation charge. It has a video camera built into its nose, so ground troops can remotely pilot it over rooftops or hills to attack hiding enemy forces. The BattleHawk weighs about five pounds when it’s packed inside its special launching tube. A spring propels the drone into the air and the electric motor starts up the tiny, rear propeller. Read Article

Asian Arms Race: China launches another 2 navigation system satellites

Xinhua – China successfully launched another two satellites into space for its indigenous global navigation and positioning network at 3:10 a.m. Beijing time on Wednesday. They were the 14th and 15th satellites for the Beidou, or Compass, system. The satellites, launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, were boosted by a Long March-3B carrier rocket. Since it started to provide services on a trial basis on Dec. 27, 2011, the Beidou system has been stable and its services have been increased and improved, said a spokesman for the China Satellite Navigation Office. Read Article

Thank You, Millions Of Anonymous Chinese Workers Making $2 An Hour, We Love Our iPhone 5s!

Business Insider – The iPhone 5 debuted to rave reviews yesterday. By now, millions of them are in the hands of rich consumers in the 7 lucky countries that got the iPhones first. And, for the most part, these customers love them. As well they should! Because, relative to what we all carried around as recently as 6 years ago, the iPhone 5 is nothing short of a miracle. Read Article

Enemy at the gait: New cameras identify you by your walk

RT – A new biometric “gait recognition” system has been developed by Britain’s National Physical Laboratory, meaning that individuals can now be recognized and located by their “signature” walk. Serious privacy concerns have been aired about the system and its potential surveillance applications. Read Article

Speak up: US law enforcement to use Russian software to store millions of voices

RT – The US government has already proven its intent to see all evil, with the use of Orwellian programs like TrapWire. But it can now hear all evil too, as law enforcement agencies implement a tool able to store, analyze and identify voices in seconds. ‘Voice Grid Nation’ is a system that uses advanced algorithms to match identities to voices. Brought to the US by Russia’s Speech Technology Center, it claims to be capable of allowing police, federal agencies and other law enforcement personnel to build up a huge database containing up to several million voices. Read Article

‘Meteors’ sighted in skies across UK

BBC – Coastguards in Northern Ireland took calls from people who saw the objects from Coleraine on the north coast, to Strangford Lough in the south east. The lights were seen as far north as Caithness in Scotland as well as in Wales and Norfolk in East Anglia. Experts said the sightings could be satellite debris, burning up on entry to the atmosphere. Read article

NYPD deployed mysterious surveillance truck at OWS anniversary

RT – It’s no secret that the NYPD regularly tracks movement across Manhattan using thousands of surveillance cameras installed on the island, but protesters at last week’s Occupy Wall Street anniversary were in the presence of a whole new spy system. Researchers with the PrivacySOS.org blog spotted an unusual get-up attached to a New York Police Department vehicle during the recent September 17 actions that commemorated Occupy’s one-year anniversary. Read Article

Deaths reported in Pakistan drone attack

Al Jazeera – At least three people have been killed in a suspected US drone attack in Pakistan’s northwestern region along the Afghan border, according to a Pakistani security official. The target of Saturday’s attack was a vehicle in Dattakhel area in North Waziristan, one of seven tribal districts and hotbed of al-Qaeda-linked fighters. All three people travelling in the car were killed and the vehicle completely destroyed, the security official said on condition of anonymity. “The identity of the militants was unclear but this area is mostly occupied by members of the militant commander Gul Bahadur’s group,” another security official in Peshawar told AFP news agency. Read Article

Microsoft discovers Chinese malware pre-installed on new PCs

TechWorld – Microsoft has published evidence of an extraordinary conspiracy in which potent botnet malware was apparently installed and hidden on PCs during their manufacture in China. In ‘Operation B70’ started in August 2011, Microsoft documents how its Digital Crimes Unit (DCU) bought 20 brand new laptops and desktop PCs from various cities in China, finding that four were infected with pre-installed backdoor malware, including one with a known rootkit called ‘Nitol’. Read Article

Iranian hackers target Bank of America, JPMorgan, Citi

Reuters – Iranian hackers have repeatedly attacked Bank of America Corp, JPMorgan Chase & Co and Citigroup Inc over the past year as part of a broad cyber campaign targeting the United States, according to people familiar with the situation. The attacks, which began in late 2011 and escalated this year, have primarily been “denial of service” campaigns that disrupted the banks’ websites and corporate networks by overwhelming them with incoming web traffic, said the sources. Read Article