Tag Archives: technology

ARGUS-IS – Does it exist?

I’ve just read about a 1.8-gigapixel surveillance platform developed by DARPA and I am not sure, if I can believe the article. It just sounds too unbelievable and too scary at the same time. 25 square kilometers are covered and processed in a real time? What the heck? Just think about all the bandwidth needed for all the video data. Even considering that this is just 12fps video, it must be still generating insane amounts of traffic. How could someone be able to transfer this huge amount of data wirelessly?

But if the system, which is shown in a video below, really exists, then my paranoia-o-meter is over the top. I could imagine, why the oppressive US government would want to have such a system, but do they really have it already? I hope not.

Your phone company is your enemy

…at least when it comes to your privacy. This shouldn’t come as surprise to my readers(at least I hope so – I believe in your intelligence), but after watching following video from Malte Spitz you could still be shocked by the scope of all that data gathering.

After watching this video I had so many questions. As always, when my privacy is violated, I was angry, but I also would like to know what exactly my phone company has on me. For how long the data is stored? How often it is accessed? For what purposes? Well, I won’t get an answer for the most of these questions, but at least I can follow an example from Malte and file a request to get all the data about me.

New York – Surveillance City

Microsoft together with the New York Police Department created a system which allows the officials to tap into live video feeds, check environmental sensors, get the data from license plate readers and query law enforcement databases at the same time.

Sounds familiar, right? The good, ol’ cyberpunk. Well, at least in the cyberpunk stories there was always a possibility to hack into such systems. I’m wondering, how it was created here. Because of Microsoft – it probably has some decade old security holes. And imagine the possibilities of misuse of this system by the police officers – spying on their wifes, colleagues, neighbors. Of course, everything sounds nice in the article from the NY Mayor – Michael Bloomberg.

Hidden Camera – View from the other side

Imagine that you have purchased a brand new laptop and found a record from the laptop’s integrated camera, where assembly process is exhibited. Sounds impossible? Well, that just happened to this Swedish user. Apparently, a camera test is part of the assembly procedure on Chinese HP factory, but, of course, normally a hard drive should be wiped afterwards. But humans tend to err and now we have this unique possibility to watch how laptops are assembled. But do not expect much – a factory labour is boring like hell by definition.

Stopping the unstopable

Is it possible to put the genie back into a bottle? U.S. senator Al Franken thinks so. He would like to implement regulations of the facial recognition technology. As much as I dislike this scary technology and would like to have my privacy protected as much as it is possible, I do not think that the regulations would change anything. They won’t stop, for sure, government agencies from spying on us. Same goes for the big corporations, like Facebook – they have build profiles on millions of people already. Can we ban software? Maybe in some crazy politician’s wet dream. Soon we will have cameras identifying us in the real time, and as terrifying as it is – it’s unavoidable.

Only thing we can do – implement the better data protection laws. Every company, which is responsible for a leak of our data, should be punished severely. Person(s) responsible for a leak should have long term vacation in a nearest jail. And definitely, all the resale of our private data should be prohibited. Can’t keep our data safe? Find another business model!

What to do when government turns off the Internet?

Bruce Sutherland, a network systems architect and software developer, explained at DefCon 19 conference how to send your message to the Internet, when your government have blocked the access to it. For this you will need ham radio, an antenna and your brains. I am not very good with all this “analog stuff”, I’m digital guy, but I think that this video is very interesting nonetheless and it should be especially useful for the people living in the Middle East.