Category Archives: Spying

Orwell rolling in his grave: Australian penal colony gets even stricter

Intrastate travel within Australia is also severely restricted. And the government of South Australia, one of the country’s six states, developed and is now testing an app as Orwellian as any in the free world to enforce its quarantine rules. People in South Australia will be forced to download an app that combines facial recognition and geolocation. The state will text them at random times, and thereafter they will have 15 minutes to take a picture of their face in the location where they are supposed to be. Should they fail, the local police department will be sent to follow up in person. “We don’t tell them how often or when, on a random basis they have to reply within 15 minutes,” Premier Steven Marshall explained. “I think every South Australian should feel pretty proud that we are the national pilot for the home-based quarantine app.”

Source: Is Pandemic Australia Still a Liberal Democracy? – The Atlantic

Meanwhile, Australia’s NSW has proven beyond any doubt that lock downs served no useful purpose. Even NSW’s premier is giving up on containing Covid without vaccines. Given time, everywhere ends up at the same destination.

Vaccines work. Masks work when proper masks are used, in proper fashion, in limited circumstances, but do not work to contain the spread at a societal level. Most mitigations do not work and eventually succumb to the virus.

Apple’s plan to scan iPhones and Macs for child abuse can be used to frame people

Someone who wishes to frame you can set up a anonymous email account and email illicit photos to you. Apple will detect these photos and turn you over to the police.

APPLE has unveiled plans to scan U.S. iPhones for images of child sexual abuse – a move that has drawn applause from child protection groups but raised concerns among some security researchers. Tho…

Source: Apple to scan iPhone photos for images of child sex abuse – raising fears system could be used to SPY on users

While I do not use an iPhone, I do use a Mac Book. While I intended to continue using the Mac Book, I have also acquired a Surface Pro and this will hasten my migration off of all Apple products.

Told ‘ya: “Vaccine passports gain traction as delta variant threatens travel boom”

The idea of vaccine passports is gaining traction in public opinion and private enterprise as the delta variant threatens the travel rebound, a survey finds.

Source: Vaccine passports gain traction as delta variant threatens travel boom

See post below – coming in mid-September.

3 out of 4 airlines say they want proof of vaccination for all travelers.

This Federal ID will then be adopted by other businesses as a way of (their thinking) reducing their liability.

Starting this fall, expect to see vaccine passports required for airline and other travel, access to restaurants and other businesses. The app will likely double as a contact tracing app (with high unreliablity for that function) and from time to time during the year, will may forced into two week quarantines.

Welcome to 1984.

Google accused of forcing installation of Covid-19 tracking apps

Google is force-installing a Massachusetts COVID-19 tracking app on residents’ Android devices without an easy way to uninstall it.

For the past few days, users have reported that Google silently installed the Massachusetts ‘MassNotify’ app on their devices without the ability to open it or find it in the Google Play Store.

Source: Google force installs Massachusetts MassNotify Android COVID app

Google forces you to reveal age

I logged into Google today and they forced me to provide a date of birth. They then prompted to confirm my age.

They claim they need this to comply with the law.

They also say it is used for their dossier for “ad purposes”. Supposedly the use of this for ad purposes can be turned off.

Presumably one can also lie and give a fake date – although I assume that at some future date they will prompt you to enter your age again to confirm account access. Thus, you’d need to keep a log of what date you provide to Google.

Unfortunately, we cannot trust Google with any personal information.

Security: “Scheme Flooding Allows User Tracking Across Browsers”

A flaw that allows browsers to enumerate applications on a machine threatens cross-browser anonymity in Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Safari and even Tor.

A security researcher has discovered a vulnerability that allows websites to track users across a number of different desktop browsers — including Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox and Tor — posing a threat to cross-browser anonymity.Called “scheme flooding,” the flaw “allows websites to identify users reliably across different desktop browsers and link their identities together,” Konstantin Darutkin, a researcher and developer at FingerprintJS, said in a blog post published Thursday. FingerprintJS is the publisher of a well-known browser-fingerprinting API.

Source: Scheme Flooding Allows User Tracking Across Browsers | Threatpost

Wi-Fi Access Points and privacy

Most Wi-Fi networks transmit a periodic station ID – such as “Home WiFi” or whatever you call your AP.

Many devices, including smart phones, can collect AP names and locations as they are moved about. Services like Google use this to provide enhanced location-based services.

Go to Wigle.net to see a map of Wi-Fi AP locations, globally (This is not based on Google’s system).

If you use your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot, that too can be intercepted by other nearby devices that forward the ID and location into global databases.

There are two ways to reduce this collection of your Wi-Fi data and location.

  1. Don’t use WiFi! Use wired Ethernet connections instead. You can also connect your phone via a USB-C to a computer that supports USB network connections. Or you can use a USB-C to Ethernet dongle – and avoid activating Wi-Fi.
  2. According to this news report at CNet, you can append _nomap to the end of your SSID and this should flag systems to not collect data on your AP. Google proposed use of the “_nomap” option as a way to comply with European privacy regulators.

Google has outright lied in the past about its use of Street View cars collection of personal data from open Wi-Fi systems as the cars drove around.

Why I have repeatedly stated there is no such thing as “anonymized location data”

In the data drawn from apps, each cellphone is typically represented by an alphanumeric identifier that isn’t linked to the name of the cellphone’s owner. But the movement patterns of a phone over time can allow analysts to deduce its ownership—for example, where the phone is located during the evenings and overnight is likely where the phone-owner lives.

Source: U.S. Government Contractor Embedded Software in Apps to Track Phones – WSJ

Let’s just mandate it: “NSA Warns Cellphone Location Data Could Pose National-Security Threat”

The National Security Agency issued new guidance on Tuesday for military and intelligence-community personnel, warning about the risks of cellphone location tracking through apps, wireless networks and Bluetooth technology.

The detailed warning from one of the nation’s top intelligence agencies is an acknowledgment that Silicon Valley’s practice of collecting and selling cellphone location information for advertising and marketing purposes poses a serious national-security risk to many inside the government….

Source: NSA Warns Cellphone Location Data Could Pose National-Security Threat – WSJ

In December 2019, the FAA released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking requiring mandatory radio-based Remote Identification and tracking of all hobby radio controlled aircraft weighing more than 250 grams (about 1/2 pound). The Final Rule is expected in December of 2021. The NPRM itself eventually ends the radio control model aircraft hobby that currently exists, makes it legal to fly only certified, manufactured drones that are tracked in real time. The primary purpose is to clear the air space above your home and turn it over to AmazonGoogleUPS. The FAA asserts all rights to the airspace in your back yard, for example.

Every remote controlled aircraft would be required by Federal regulation to connect to the Internet and log its activities in an Internet cloud database, in real time. Those providing the cloud databases may offer them for free in exchange for who knows what – but the FAA itself proposed they might collect photo images and telemetry – such as WiFi and Bluetooth communications collected by the craft.

In effect, the FAA mandates a nationwide low level altitude surveillance network of potentially millions of drones collecting data in real time and logging it in data bases – that may as well be located in China.

Meanwhile, the US DoD and the US Department of the Interior banned the use of Chinese made drones over fears of their use for espionage.

While the left hand bans drones from collecting data, the right hand mandates that all drones must collect potentially invasive data on behalf of foreign organizations.

We know that U.S. firms and others are collecting massive amounts of private data through the use of apps on our smart phones. Google itself collects your location data, even when you turn location services off.

The primary business function of the Internet is surveillance to be used for many purposes.

When was the last time the media hyped a “drone sighting”? I can’t even remember.

Reports to the FAA of “drone sightings”, used by Congress and the FAA to drive forth draconian remote identification and mandated national surveillance networks using drones, with the goal of pricing drone flying out of the public’s reach – were based on bad data and media hysterics, much of which was false reporting.

  • Remember the Aeromexico flight in late 2018 that had a collapsed nose cone? The media blamed that on a drone. Six months later the official investigation found it was due to a maintenance defect on the nose cone.
  • Remember the Gatwick Airport fiasco? The only confirmed drone sightings were of the fleet of surveillance drones operated by the Sussex Police over the airport.
  • Remember the temporary Newark Airport closure due to a “drone sighting”? That drone report was from 20 miles away from the airport and may not have even been a drone at all.

Take a look at this – drone sightings have magically disappeared: Drone Sightings: The Actual Non-Hyped Numbers Analyzed (Graphs, Trends, etc.)

After awhile, when the FAA isn’t stealing Youtube content, they seem to have been busy making up fake drone reports to justify a remote ID proposal that mandates all drones be connected to the Internet cloud, in real time, and used as part of a massive national surveillance program, collecting imagery and telemetry and potentially sending it to China. Brilliant. Not like any drones would so something like that.

The FAA’s primary goal is to make hobby flying of radio control model aircraft so expensive and cumbersome as to eliminate it entirely. The reason is to clear the low altitude airspace for AmazonGoogleUPS delivery drones. The FAA asserts that it and it alone owns the airspace in your front and backyards from the ground up. Literally, the airspace below your head when you stand outside is controlled by the FAA and they intend to use it for corporate delivery and surveillance networks. (See my comments to see how that works.)