EU Countries Condemned for their Role in ‘Extraordinary Rendition’ by EU Parliament Committee
November 29, 2006, 12:15 pm
Filed under: Covert, Strategic, Surveillance

Sarah Ludford, a Liberal Democrat MEP and vice-chair of the EU Temporary Committee on the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners has passed damning comment on the UK’s role in the affair. Continue reading


RFID and CMB Vulnerabilities
November 19, 2006, 8:23 pm
Filed under: Info-Comms, Information Tech, Security, Surveillance

After the Guardian’s exposure of the insecurity of British passport RFID and the marketing of RFID blocking wallets (thanks to Blogzilla for this link), here is a set of resources from Roger Johnson’s Vulnerability Assessment Team at Los Alamos.
Light Blue Touchpaper has archived a set of papers from the Los Alamos lab since they can be difficult to access outside the US.

Jamming GPS & GSM Cellphones
November 19, 2006, 4:12 pm
Filed under: Info-Comms, Social Networks, Surveillance

Now that your real-time social network mapping is online it is also possible to jam GPS and GSM cellphones. There may well be a large number of situations in which jammers are appropriate but given how many people use (and equip their children with) mobile phones for safety reasons there is something unnerving about the free use of these devices. Perhaps this is the beginning of an arms race leading to dark-alley-deadzone alerts. Continue reading

Real-time Mapping of Social Networks for Mobiles
November 19, 2006, 3:54 pm
Filed under: Info-Comms, Social Networks, Surveillance

A new mobile-phone service. Loopt for monitoring social networks via GPS, has launched. Continue reading

MIST Machine-Translation Evaluation 2006
November 17, 2006, 2:06 pm
Filed under: Information Tech, Metaverse, Surveillance

The (American) National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) makes yearly evaluations of machine translation technologies. The evaluations are based on Arabic – English and Mandarin-English translations. This year’s results are commented upon by MIT’s Technology Review. The results aren’t spectacular but there is concrete progress with Google and IBM jostling for top spot.

It would be great to see the real time translators used in Second Life where Yossarian Seattle has already provided the tools. There’s a good article on Yossarian’s translator at New World Notes and a video of it in action on YouTube.

RFID Data Cracked on UK Passports
November 17, 2006, 11:47 am
Filed under: Information Tech, Surveillance

The Guardian today reported that, not only was it a relatively straightforward matter to extract the information from the RFID chips in new UK passports, but that the data could potentially be read from up to 1m away. To date dutch researchers have already read the data from a distance of 30cm.

An individual’s security will be lower as a result of adopting the new passports. The techniques used to steal data or clone identities will now happen imperceptibly.

Surveillance Drones Over Liverpool
November 16, 2006, 6:46 pm
Filed under: Surveillance

It’s an old link but it’s always worth reminding ourselves of the plans people have for our future. The Telegraph reported that police in Liverpool are considering the use of surveillance drones as a countermeasure to anti-social behaviour in housing estates:

Task force leaders are in discussions with the Civil Aviation Authority about the feasibility of sending surveillance drones to hover over problem estates. [source]

However, one interviewee is quoted by the newspaper as saying:

“It’s a waste of time. Everyone round here loves getting chased by the police”

I must admit playing cat and mouse with UAVs does sound more entertaining than hanging around on street corners. Sounds like an ideal way for people to keep out of trouble. I am tempted to think, however,  that the annual budget of £1 million for the Anti-Social Behaviour Task Force could be spent on less invasive entertainment.

Some time ago a surveillance drone was produced for just this purpose: