April 17th, 2014

Data Mining for Terrorists

A while ago Bruce Schneier posted an intersting article about how the data mining we’re doing to catch terrorists won’t be effective. He followed that up recently with another post that points to a more throrough analysis.

Floyd Rudmin, a professor at a Norwegian university, applies the mathematics of conditional probability, known as Bayes’ Theorem, to demonstrate that the NSA’s surveillance cannot successfully detect terrorists unless both the percentage of terrorists in the population and the accuracy rate of their identification are far higher than they are. He correctly concludes that “NSA’s surveillance system is useless for finding terrorists.”

eyes in the sky

In a step closer towards hover cars and Escape from LA meets 1984, the LA police are now testing unmanned flying security drones for surveillance of urban areas. They say they are considered for use in searching for suspects on the run and monitoring hostage situations, among other things.

In the past two years, the Sheriff’s Department has teamed with Octatron of La Verne, California, to develop the SkySeer, a five-pound UAV powered by replaceable battery that lasts about 70 minutes. It has aluminum and nylon fabric wings atop a Kevlar fuselage.

With a top speed of just under 29 mph, the unmanned plane is too slow for car chases.

You’ve gotta love it when Science fiction plot-lines converge in real life. Well, except when it’ll probably used to spy on you. Now we just need to hack into them and install wicrawl, :) .

“Snake Plissken” in Escape from LA.

They’re watching. Sshhhh…

Here are a couple interesting documents that describe some of the details on the “secret room” at AT&T that was setup for the NSA. The first is one of the original documents that Mark Klein wrote about the secret room. It contains some background, technical details about room and the fiber split, what type of equipment went in the room, where it was, and even some pictures of the entrance. Here is an excerpt from the summary:

I wrote the following document in 2004 when it became clear to me that AT&T, at the behest of the National Security Agency, had illegally installed secret computer gear designed to spy on internet traffic. At the time I thought this was an outgrowth of the notorious “Total Information Awareness” program which was attacked by defenders of civil liberties. But now it’s been revealed by the New York Times that the spying program is vastly bigger and was directly authorized by president Bush, as he himself has now admitted, in flagrant violation of specific statues and Constitutional protections for civil liberties. I am presenting this information to facilitate the dismantling of this dangerous Orwellian project.

Here is one of the pictures of an entrance to the “secret room” at AT&T central office, 611 Folsom St. San Francisco:

The second is the public version of Klein’s declaration from EFF’s class-action suit against AT&T. This has some more details and some of the back story on how he was approached. Interestingly some of the redacted information in this document is covered in the first document.

This image has been floating around and is pretty amusing:

Big Blue shows us Big Brother

IBM has a developerWorks article on Using RFID for people tracking. The tagline for the article is “You can run, but you can’t hide…“. It covers high-level concepts, architecture and technologies within RFID as well as the difficulties with tracking your employees like cattle people tracking. It also claims that people tracking through RFID is one of the most popular scenarios for RFID tracking.

Federal Psychophysiological Detection of Deception

From Stupid Security:

George Maschke writes “The U.S. Government’s official polygraph handbook, formally titled the Federal Psychophysiological Detection of Deception Examiner Handbook, published by the Department of Defense Counterintelligence Field Activity (parent agency of the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute) and marked “For Official Use Only” is now available to the public. An earlier version of this document (dated 2001) was released under the Freedom of Information Act, but was heavily redacted. The new version, dated 2004, is available in its entirety.

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