Sunday, September 30, 2012

How-To Fool Facial Recognition Tracking Systems

Higgins Blog
Here’s a predicament: you don’t want the government using high-tech face scanning technology to track every inch of your walk to the post office, but you also don’t want to take a sledgehammer to your neighborhood surveillance camera. What do you do?

Don’t worry, concerned citizen! Big Brother may indeed be watching, but that doesn’t mean you have to make his unwarranted surveillance mission easy to operate.

Although little news has developed as of late in regards to TrapWire, a global surveillance operation that RT blew the cover off of nearly two weeks ago, opposition waged at the world-wide intelligence network is still rampant. Now in one of the newest videos uploaded to the Web to make people aware of TrapWire, a person claiming to be involved with Anonymous is trying to spread a YouTube clip that offers helpful suggestions on how to rage against the machine, properly and peacefully.

Last week, hacktivists proposed several campaigns aimed at eliminating TrapWire feeds by rendering the equipment thought to be linked to the intelligence system completely useless. In lieu of smashing camera lenses and spraying surveillance gear in sudsy liquid, though, a new video, “Anonymous – Fighting TrapWire,” offers instructions on how to prevent the acceleration of the surveillance state by means of passive resistant.

“Many of you have heard the recent stories about TrapWire,” the video begins. “Constant video surveillance is an issue we presently face. However, there are a number of ways that you can combat this surveillance.”

From there, the clip’s narrator offers a few suggestions and helping the average American avoid getting caught in TrapWire without resorting to the destruction of property.

“Wearing a mask is a common way to keep your identity hidden,” the voice explains, “However, a mask does not protect against biometric authentication. In addition, this can also cause problems depending where you want to go.”

“Another way to avoid facial recognition is to tilt your head more than 15 degrees to the side,” the clip continues. “Due to limits in their programming, they will not be able to detect that a face is present, though there are very obvious cons to doing this. Using a similar method, you can distort your face through elaborate makeup. This method also takes advantage of software limits as the computer will not be able to detect a face. But these are tiresome ways that tend to draw attention to yourself. Surely there are better solutions to avoid being added to a database.”

The narrator also explains that laser pointers have been documented to disrupt the powers of surveillance cameras and that, “With nothing more than a hat, some infrared LEDs, some wiring and a 9 Volt battery,” it’s a piece of cake to render oneself completely invisible. By rigging a DIY system of small lights affixed to a baseball cap, the video claims you can create a device that “guarantees complete anonymity to cameras while appearing perfectly normal to the rest of the world.”

“While the government may be hell bent on watching us at every moment of every day, we are not helpless. There are always ways of fighting back. Let’s remind them that 1984 was not an instruction manual,” the video concludes.

Proof Smart Meters Are Being Used to Spy On Us

Globalist Report
by Andrew Puhanic

IF you have ever wondered if your smart meter is being used to spy on you, well now there is proof that governments and private organisations are using data collected from smart meters to spy on you.

Information about power usage, which can be used to identify when a home is being occupied, is being shared with third parties of which includes government agencies, private organisations and off-shore data processing centres.

This unethical breach of privacy was discovered on the website of one of Australia’s largest electricity retailer, Origin Energy.

Electricity customers, who sign up for an online service that provides the account holder with detailed information about their electricity usage, are unwillingly agreeing to share their private information with third parties.

A 496 word Privacy/Consent policy form explicitly states that customers who wish to sign up for the service that provides them with information about their electricity usage, must agree that the following organisations have access to their private data:

Government authorities
Electricity installers
Mail houses
Data processing analysts
IT service providers
Smart energy technology providers
Debt collection agencies
Credit reporting agencies

A spokesperson for the electricity company (Origin Energy) responsible for this revelation was recently quoted as saying “the additional information requested about each household adds to the richness of the Origin Smart experience” (Source: The Age).

One private organisation that is being given personal information of Origin Energy customers is Tendril, a self-described consumer engagement application and services provider and an organisation that believes smart grids can help fight climate change.

Alarmingly, Tendril’s own website doesn’t explicitly state how it uses data gathered by its clients and for what purposes the data can and cannot be used for.

What implication this has for Australian residents is unknown.

There has been an overwhelming opposition to the roll-out and installation of smart meters around the world.

Smart Meter opt-out coalitions are present in almost all major municipalities that have smart meters present. Unfortunately, in many municipalities an opt-put option is not available.

The author (Andrew Puhanic) was forced to have a smart meter installed on his property, with the only notice given about the installation being a letter informing the ‘month’ that the smart meter would be installed.

The greatest concern with smart meter data being shared with third parties is the fact that the third-party organisation could easily identify (over time) a pattern of when you do and do not use electricity.

This information could fall into the wrong hands and could be used to determine when your home is un-occupied.

In Australia, the erosion of privacy was escalated further by a new proposal to force internet and telephone companies to retain customer records for more than two years. For more information about this proposal, click here.

Households that are forced to have smart meters installed must be assured that the information their electricity company collects is not shared with third parties.

Ultimately, smart meters are designed to collect information about household electricity usage and now there is proof that electricity companies are openly sharing information collected by smart meters.

So what happens when a tyrannical government or criminal has access to your electricity usage records?


We ran a poll and asked “Should governments give home owners an option to opt-out from having a smart meter installed?”

We received over 125 votes and the result was 100% in favour of governments giving home owners an option to opt-out from having a smart meter installed.

In Melbourne Australia, we’ve just discovered that all smart meters will be turned on soon and home owners will be given a choice to either be charged on a 2-tier tariff or a higher priced 1-tier tariff system. So what does this mean? Well, what it is mean is that If you want to save money on your electricity bill, then you will be forced to do all your washing and power intensive activities between the hours of 2am and 8am. I wonder how many parents (like myself), elderly and shift workers will take to this announcement.

Monday, September 17, 2012

US military surveillance future: Drones now come in swarms?

A small insect or a mosquito over your ear may now be much more than simply annoying. Those could easily be micro drones which now come in a swarm of bug-sized flying spies.

In an effort to create a hard-to-detect surveillance drone that will operate with little or no direct human supervision in out of the way and adverse environments, researchers are mimicking nature.

The University of Pennsylvania GRASP Lab showed off a network of 20 nano-quad rotors capable of agile flight, which could swarm and navigate in an environment with obstacles.

This is another step away from bulky heavily armed aerial vehicles or humanoid robots to a much smaller level of tiny remote-control devices. While current drones lack manoeuvrability, can’t hover and move fast enough, these new devices will be able to land precisely and fly off again at speed. One day the military hope they may prove a crucial tactical advantage in wars and could even save lives in disasters. They can also be helpful inside caves and barricaded rooms to send back real-time intelligence about the people and weapons inside.

A report in NetworkWorld online news suggests the research is based on the mechanics of insects, which potentially can be reverse-engineered to design midget machines to scout battlefields and search for victims trapped in rubble.

In an attempt to create such a device, scientists have turned to flying creatures long ago, examining their perfect conditions for flight, which have evolved over millions of years.

Zoologist Richard Bomphrey has told the British Daily Mail newspaper he has conducted research to generate new insight into how insect wings have evolved over the last 350 million years.

“By learning those lessons, our findings will make it possible to aerodynamically engineer a new breed of surveillance vehicles that, because they are as small as insects and also fly like them, completely blend into their surroundings," the newspaper quotes him as saying.

The US Department of Defense has turned its attention to miniature drones, or micro air vehicles long ago.

As early as in 2007 the US government was accused of secretly developing robotic insect spies when anti-war protesters in the US saw some flying objects similar to dragonflies or little helicopters hovering above them. No government agency has admitted to developing insect-size spy drones though some official and private organizations have admitted that they were trying.

In 2008, the US Air Force showed off bug-sized spies as "tiny as bumblebees" that would not be detected when flying into buildings to "photograph, record, and even attack insurgents and terrorists."

The same year US government's military research agency (DARPA) conducted a symposium discussing 'bugs, bots, borgs and bio-weapons.'

Around the same time the so-called Ornithopter flying machine based on Leonardo Da Vinci’s designs was unveiled and claimed they would be ready for roll out by 2015

Lockheed Martin's Intelligent Robotics Laboratories unveiled "maple-seed-like" drones called Samarai that also mimic nature. US troops could throw them like a boomerang to see real-time images of what's around the next corner.

The US is not alone in miniaturizing drones that imitate nature: France, the Netherlands and Israel are also developing similar devices.

Electronic Pickpocketing: The risk inside your credit card

You can find RFID protection wallets and sleeves at