All 8 entries tagged Surveillance
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October 06, 2008
Ministers are considering spending up to £12 billion on a database to monitor and store the internet browsing habits, e-mail and telephone records of everyone in Britain:
May 03, 2008
Saturday, May 3, 2008
The threat of terrorism at the 2012 London Olympics is being hyped up in order to justify a vast increase in the surveillance powers of the British state.
According to a memo leaked to the Daily Telegraph, Home Office officials are planning to expand the police DNA database to identify suspects and use greater powers to track individuals through advanced closed circuit television (CCTV) technology and the Oyster card used by millions of people on London’s bus and rail network.
The memo discusses different means the government could use to persuade the British public to accept these measures. It asks, “To what extent should the expectation of liberty be eroded by legitimate intrusions in the interests of security of the wider public?” and concludes, “Increasing [public] support could be possible through the piloting of certain approaches in high-profile ways such as the London Olympics.”
To that end, ministers, police chiefs and officials have stepped up their demands for more security measures, utilising the Games. Last month, Lord Dear, the former Scotland Yard head of operations, made a public announcement expressing his doubts over present police capabilities to deal with the event. He said that the police force is too short of manpower to deal with the extra security needed and likened it to a “Sixties car in the 21st century,” adding, “If the model is flawed now, it will certainly be flawed in four years’ time.”
“It’s fairly obvious to anyone that major terrorist groups will not be particularly interested in attacking the Beijing Olympics,” Dear said. “But in four years’ time they will have the London Olympics as a target and we need to be best positioned to counter that well in time.”
Dear’s announcement was made despite the fact that there are a record 140,000 police officers in service and the Olympics security budget has risen sharply by £238 million in the last few months. At the end of last year, Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell released figures that showed that the initial security budget of £200 million in 2005 had spiralled to more than £1 billion.
Dear’s comments reflect those of the most senior officers in the police. The head of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Ian Blair, has also expressed concern over existing security arrangements and outlined a plan for them to be beefed up in readiness for the games. He has also said that special security and training will be required for athletes and the 200 heads of state expected for the opening ceremony. These proposals will inevitably involve extending the budget still further.
As well as increasing the number of police, the proposed scheme involves an elaborate and sophisticated security system spanning the whole of London. According to a BBC report last month, the Metropolitan Police Service wants to pool its 10,000 existing cameras with the thousands of traffic and congestion cameras already in operation across the city.
This would give the police control over a vast network of up to half a million CCTV cameras, making it the largest of its kind in the world. The network would then be controlled by a central £100 million bomb-proof command bunker operated jointly by the military, police and intelligence services brought together under the umbrella of the Olympic Security Directorate.
The Olympic security coordinator, Assistant Police Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur, has made several statements over the last few weeks that indicate just how huge the increase in surveillance will be. Speaking at an international security conference in Abu Dhabi, Ghaffur outlined new ticketing technology to be used on the London transport system to track the movements of every individual, as well as “second-generation” computer technology that can track individuals through face recognition. The computers can use identity-recognition techniques to compare video against a database of digital faces.
A pilot scheme involving 750,000 mugshots has already been completed. Using the facial-mapping software connected to the CCTV cameras, an alert will flash up as soon as a known person appears on the screen. He added, “We will have the most secure and transparent ticketing system. Tracking technology is being developed—a spectator will be tracked from the venue to his or her home with these tickets.”
Other measures outlined by Ghaffur include dividing London into three security zones, three extra helicopters to carry out close surveillance, an increase in the automatic vehicle number plate recognition system, and checks using biometric fingerprints on the 50,000 workforce being used to build the venues.
Currently, the police can only check fingerprints and photographs from suspects after they have been arrested. Under these new powers, the police will be able to carry out these checks instantly with hand-held devices that are connected to the security database. Peter Neyroud, the chief executive of the National Policing Improvement Agency, said, “We are trying to get a really disciplined understanding of how to use these tools before the Olympics. That is a really important time scale for us.”
As well as increasing the size of the British police force to 9,000 for the major Olympic events, there are also proposals to draft in extra manpower from private security firms and foreign armed police. Scotland Yard has called for these measures on the basis that too few British police have firearms training to cope with the events, and the costs of training them are prohibitive. The contracted armed police will be used to guard dignitaries, athletes, the main Olympic Park and other sports venues.
Ian Blair told a meeting of the Metropolitan Police Authority, “The principle must be that we don’t want armed foreign police, but there’s a ‘but’—and the ‘but’ is twofold. One, you may not be able to get any foreign police unless they are armed, because they won’t feel easy being unarmed in public scenarios like that. Two, do we actually have, in this case, sufficient capacity to have enough armed officers to do the job?”
All of these extra resources will mean that the security budget for the games will mushroom in the next four years. Denis Oswald, the chairman of the International Olympic Committee’s London 2012 coordination commission, has admitted that it is “impossible to predict” how much money will need to be spent when the games are still four years away. He said, “It’s a very difficult area but if we want to have occasions like the Olympic Games, where hundreds of thousands of people meet, then you have to make sure they are safe, otherwise you just give up and the terrorists will win.”
This refusal to draw up a fixed budget on the basis of a terrorist threat that is “impossible to measure” amounts to a blank cheque that Londoners and the British people will ultimately have to pay. More importantly, the machinery is being created that is necessary to impose a highly integrated police/military apparatus in Britain’s capital city, under the pretext of keeping the country safe from terrorism
January 16, 2008
Writing about web page http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/article3193480.ece
Microsoft is developing software capable of remotely monitoring a worker’s productivity, physical wellbeing and competence.
This kind of technology was previously limited to pilots, firefighters and Nasa astronauts, but is now set to become mainstream. Great.
Military Industrial Complex Biometric Surveillance Control Grid Revealing Itself
A vast intelligence program is to establish a global biometric database known as "Server in the Sky" that will collate and provide an " International Information Consortium" with access to the biometric measurements and personal information of citizens of the US, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand in the name of fighting the "war on terror".
As reported by the London Guardian, he plan is being formulated by the FBI with the cooperation of the home offices and law enforcement agencies of American allies.
Biometric measurements, irises or palm prints as well as fingerprints, and other personal information are likely to be exchanged across the network.
The FBI told the Guardian: "Server in the Sky is an FBI initiative designed to foster the advanced search and exchange of biometric information on a global scale. While it is currently in the concept and design stages, once complete it will provide a technical forum for member nations to submit biometric search requests to other nations. It will maintain a core holding of the world's 'worst of the worst' individuals. Any identifications of these people will be sent as a priority message to the requesting nation."
Of course as well as holding the information of the world's 'worst of the worst', the database will also eventually hold the records of every other citizen who has ever traveled in and out of the member states, or has ever been arrested with or without charge.
Britain's National Policing Improvement Agency has been the lead body for the FBI project because it is responsible for IDENT1, the UK database holding 7m sets of fingerprints and other biometric details used by police forces to search for matches from scenes of crimes. Many of the prints are either from a person with no criminal record, or have yet to be matched to a named individual.
Any non national now entering the US must provide an Iris scan and ten fingerprints. This week has also seen Britain enact legislation ensuring that anyone applying for a visa from 133 countries covering three quarters of the world’s population now has their fingerprints checked against UK databases.
Police in Britain also hold vastly more DNA samples than any other country in the Western world, and many are from people who have never committed a crime. More than three million samples have been added to the national DNA database - more than 5 per cent of the population, and this is rising exponentially.
We have previously noted that the vast array of databases currently being employed by intelligence agencies, government and law enforcement agencies worldwide were designed to be linked together in a system which will tie in the management and control of all facets of life for citizens to one central hub.
The Guardian report on "Server in the Sky" further notes
IDENT1 was built by the computer technology arm of the US defence company Northrop Grumman. In future it is expected to hold palm prints, facial images and video sequences. A company spokeswoman confirmed that Northrop Grumman had spoken to the FBI about Server in the Sky. "It can run independently but if existing systems are connected up to it then the intelligence agencies would have to approve," she said.
The component systems have been designed by the military industrial complex to strengthen and perpetuate its own existence.
The news of the global database network dovetails with announcement that US National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell is drawing up plans for cyberspace spying that would make the current debate on warrantless wiretaps look like a "walk in the park".
The plan would mean giving the government the authority to examine the content of any e-mail, file transfer or Web search.
Last month it was revealed that another military spy agency, the NSA has increasing control over SSL, now called Transport Layer Security, the cryptographic protocol that provides secure communications on the internet for web browsing, e-mail, instant messaging, and other data transfers.
In other words the agency is capable of intercepting and reading your emails and instant messages in real time.
At the same time a lawyer for an AT&T engineer went public with claims that "within two weeks of taking office, the Bush administration was planning a comprehensive effort of spying on Americans’ phone usage.” That is BEFORE 9/11, before the nation was embroiled in the freedom stripping exercise commonly known as the "war on terror" had even begun.
This swell of surveillance activity was also enhanced with news that Department of Homeland security is forging ahead and finalizing plans to use a network of spy satellites for domestic surveillance. The DHS plans to create a new department branch called the National Applications Office to oversee the program and be responsible for providing images from the satellites to non military law enforcement agencies.
After 9/11 the work of 16 different intelligence agencies, including the CIA and the giant National Security Agency, which eavesdrops on international communications, as well as the Energy Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration was centralized under the office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Over decades we have witnessed the evolution of Government surveillance programs and information databases targeting citizens. We are now witnessing the centralization of this vast control grid Panopticon beyond our own borders.
December 21, 2007
Writing about web page http://www.infowars.net/articles/december2007/201207Satellite.htm
Plans also include "cyber-security strategy" to "protect" domestic computer networks
Thursday, Dec 20, 2007
The Department of Homeland security is forging ahead and finalizing plans to use a network of spy satellites for domestic surveillance despite the fact that the Congressional committee supposedly overseeing the program has had no update on it for over three months.
A report in today's Wall Street Journal suggests that Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is in the process of finalizing a charter for the program this week, regardless of the fact that it is supposed to be suspended.
The DHS had declared that the program was "on hold" after its existence was made public in August, prompting an outcry amongst civil libertarians and lawmakers.
Demands to justify the congressional legality of the satellites, which were originally mandated for foreign surveillance, followed the revelation that a new department branch called the National Applications Office would oversee the program and be responsible for providing images from the satellites to non military law enforcement agencies.
Critics have called for cuts to DHS funding, stressing that the program is in direct violation of the Posse Comitatus act, which prevents the use of military for domestic law enforcement. It also violates the fourth amendment as the satellites are capable of seeing through the walls of people's homes.
Domestic intelligence and security agencies are now receiving more funding for spy satellites than the military.
"We still haven't seen the legal framework we requested or the standard operation procedures on how the NAO will actually be run," House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie G. Thompson told the WSJ.
In addition to the satellites, the surveillance program also includes new forms of internet monitoring:
Mr. Chertoff also plans soon to unveil a cyber-security strategy, part of an estimated $15 billion, multiyear program designed to protect the nation's Internet infrastructure. The program has been shrouded in secrecy for months and has also prompted privacy concerns on Capitol Hill because it involves government protection of domestic computer networks.
Essentially the program would allow the DHS to regulate and control access to the internet in the name of "protecting" national security.
The news comes on the back of separate revelations that another military spy agency, the NSA has increasing control over SSL, now called Transport Layer Security, the cryptographic protocol that provides secure communications on the internet for web browsing, e-mail, instant messaging, and other data transfers.
In other words the agency is capable of intercepting and reading your emails and instant messages in real time.
We also learned this week that the lawyer for an AT&T engineer has alleged that "within two weeks of taking office, the Bush administration was planning a comprehensive effort of spying on Americans’ phone usage.” That is BEFORE 9/11, before the nation was embroiled in the freedom stripping exercise commonly known as the "war on terror" had even begun.
We shouldn't be surprised obviously, Government surveillance programs targeting Americans are legion and have been in place for decades.
June 22, 2007
May 24, 2007
Spy drones added to Britain's "surveillance society"
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
...in case 1 camera for every 14 people in this country wasn't enough for you.
May 23, 2007
Writing about web page http://www.ft.com/cms/s/c3e49548-088e-11dc-b11e-000b5df10621.htmlGoogle’s goal to organise your daily life
Caroline Daniel and Maija Palmer
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
And according to today's Times, Google does not "know enough about you" and wants to mine your genetic details.