The Golden Platform

A FOCUS ON THE FORCES CHANGING OUR WORLD

Posts tagged Tracking

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RFID Devices to Keep Track of Children in Utah

On May 29 2012 the news in Utah aired this segment on the RFID chip. The government wants chip kids to get them to go to school. They say that it’s to bring revenue to the school district. People in Mexico are already using it on their kids beause of kidnappers. Meny people think that the tchnology is not a good idea. Proof that kids that are in school means more money for district.

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License Plate Tracking Spreads beyond Criminal Suspects

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From Tennessee to the District of Columbia, police are using mobile and stationary surveillance cameras to collect and store license plates of residents who have committed no crime—so that they can be found if they ever do.
 
In Tennessee, police utilize cameras mounted atop patrol cars that can capture thousands of license numbers each day. The information is then loaded into an ever-expanding database, which can help officers locate a vehicle in the event its owner is suspected of criminal behavior. The program is now expanding to include stationary cameras mounted next to busy roads.
 
“I’m sure that there’s going to be people out there that say this is an invasion of privacy,” Detective James Kemp of Gallatin County told The Tennessean. But “the possibilities are endless there for solving crimes. It’s just a multitude of information out there—to not tap into it to better protect your citizens, that’s ludicrous.”
 
In Washington D.C., local police make use of 250 cameras set up around the city that can capture license plates. Last year they claimed that the cameras led to an average of one arrest a day. DC reportedly has the highest concentration of cameras per square mile in the United States for spotting criminals on the move or just ordinary citizens going about their lives.
 
Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst for the American Civil Liberties Union’s technology and liberty program, expressed concern over D.C.’s “large database of innocent people’s comings and goings.” He told The Washington Post: “The government has no business collecting that kind of information on people without a warrant.”
 
Others predict that the technology will be declared constitutional because license plates are displayed in public, so there is no invasion of privacy.

Filed under News Surveillance Surveillance State Police Tracking big brother Washington dc

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The US Military Wants To ‘Microchip’ Troops

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DARPA is at it again. This time, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has announced plans to create nanochips for monitoring troops health on the battlefield.

Kate Knibbs at Mobiledia reports the sensors are targeted at preventing illness and disease, the two causes of most troops medical evacuations.

What seems like a simple way of cutting costs and increasing efficiency has some people concerned that this is the first step in a “computer chips for all” scenario.

Bob Unruh at WND reports one of those opponents, Katherine Albrecht, co-author of Spychips says “It’s never going to happen that the government at gunpoint says, ‘You’re going to have a tracking chip. It’s always in incremental steps. If you can put a microchip in someone that doesn’t track them … everybody looks and says, ‘Come on, it’ll be interesting seeing where we go.’”

From WND:

She said it was expected that captive audiences, such as prisoners and troops, would be the first subjected to the requirement, which would make it easier for the general populace to accept it as well. “It’s interesting,” she said. “I’m stunned how this younger generation is OK. They don’t see the problem. … ‘Why wouldn’t everyone want to be tracked?’”

But she said Americans will have to decide to say no to incremental advances, or by the time officials finally roll out the idea of chips for all, whether they want them or not, it will be too late to decide. “The analogy that I draw is [that of a train], and if I’m in California and I do not want to wind up in New City, every stop brings me closer,” she said. “At some point I have to get off the train.”

DARPA is calling the effort ”a truly disruptive innovation,” that could help the U.S. fight healthier and more efficiently than its adversaries.


Filed under News Tracking Surveillance Soldiers Microchips RFID DARPA US Military

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Hate To Break It To You, But Your Car Likely Has A Black Box ‘Spying’ On You Already

Kashmir Hill

The big news in automotive privacy this week is that Congress is on the verge of passing a transportation bill that will make “big brother” black boxes mandatory in all new cars. InfoWars is encouraging drivers to freak out about the horrific invasion of privacy represented by the government’s insisting that all Americans have event data recorders that reveal exactly what happened before and after a crash. But the truth of the matter is that most Americans already have black boxes in their cars. They’ve been around since 1996, are found in at least 60 million vehicles, and are a feature in 85% of new cars every year.

“Virtually every car that has an air bag has some kind of recording ability,” says James Casassa, of Wolf Forensics which specializes in downloading crash information from vehicles made by GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota and Honda. The recorders capture information about how fast you were going and whether you slammed on the brakes in the seconds before and after a crash. They capture just a snapshot, not a continual record of your driving activity — which would be far more concerning for privacy. (But don’t worry! You can get a far more invasive event recorder from your insurance company if you’re looking to lower your car insurance rates.)

Many drivers don’t realize they already have a black box, though the law does require that manufacturers provide notice in a car’s manual (which I’m sure most car owners read ever so closely). Black boxes have been a source of info in countless criminal cases to show how fast a driver was going when he or she slammed into pedestrians or another car. Though, in one recent case, a court threw out the black box evidence used against a California man to convict him of vehicular manslaughter because the police pulled the data from the black box of his SUV without getting a warrant first.

So what’s the new law going to change?

For one, it will make the recorders mandatory in all vehicles starting in 2015, meaning that manufacturers who have not been including them (such as Mercedes-Benz and Audi) will have to start. And as IEEE reports, recent rules from the NHTSA have standardized what those event recorders capture: “a car’s speed, how far the accelerator was pressed, the engine revolutions per minute, whether the driver hit the brakes, whether the driver was wearing a safety belt, and how long it took for the airbags to deploy.” So moving forward, these event recorders will be creating far more comprehensive recordings.

The bill is actually good for privacy in a few ways. In the past, there were questions about whether the data belonged to the manufacturer or the owner. This would establish that the data in the recorder belongs to the owner (or lessee) of a vehicle, meaning that interested parties such as insurance companies, dealerships, or advertisers won’t be able to collect info from your black box without your permission. The only exceptions would be when a court grants access to law enforcement, when an emergency medical team needs the info, or in the event of a National Transportation Safety Board investigation (I’m sure the gov had the Toyota accelerator investigation in mind here). Two wins for privacy here: insurance companies aren’t granted access to the valuable boxes and the bill says police have to get a court order to peek at the data under your hood.

IEEE mentions that some BMWs now have wireless event recorders that can beam their info back to a dealership to assist with scheduling maintenance appointments. But for most cars, you can only get into the black box manually. And it’s not always easy to get the data since the black boxes aren’t standardized and instead vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. A company called Bosch has a monopoly on providing the tools used to jack this data from various vehicles. Congress wants manufacturers to ensure “that data stored on such event data recorders be accessible, regardless of vehicle manufacturer or model, with commercially available equipment in a specified data format.” Open source folks, who might want to tap the data in their own cars, will likely be pleased with this provision.

While privacy fanatics may not like the idea of cars spying on their activity and being able to “testify” against them in the event of an accident, it’s hard to argue against the usefulness of a digital record to establish fault and deconstruct a crash that may have left other witnesses dead. And because black boxes have already made their way into most cars, the privacy concerns seem like roadkill at this point.

Filed under News Surveillance Surveillance State Tracking GPS

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Safety Tat

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It can happen anywhere—at an amusement park, zoo, school field trip, or even your local shopping mall. Your attention shifts for a moment, and suddenly your child or loved one has wandered out of sight.

So put the odds in your favor for a safe return, with SafetyTat. Invented by aBaltimore Mom of three kids, SafetyTat is a fun and colorful temporary safety child ID tattoo that’s uniquely offered either customized with your mobile phone number or blank so you can write in your cell phone number on them. When applied to the arm of your child or loved one, SafetyTat provides an immediate, highly visible form of child identification that stays in place even when wet!

SafetyTat—it’s the perfect way to show how much you care,just in case. It’s The Tat That Brings Kids Back!®

SafetyTat safety tattoos are great child id for: Theme Parks, Amusement Parks, Shopping Malls, Airports, Fairs, Festivals, Traveling, Museums, Zoos, Stadiums, Playgrounds, Site Seeing, Field Trips, Drop-off Birthday Parties and Play Dates, First Day of School, Scout Trips, Medical, Health and Allergy Alerts…anywhere you have kids in crowds.

Filed under Surveillance State Identification child id Orwellian Tracking

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A New Microchip Knows Just Where You Are, Indoors and Out

The chip achieves unprecedented accuracy by processing information from many different sensors.

BY CHRISTOPHER MIMS

Broadcom has just rolled out a chip for smart phones that promises to indicate location ultra-precisely, possibly within a few centimeters, vertically and horizontally, indoors and out.

The unprecedented accuracy of the Broadcom 4752 chip results from the sheer breadth of sensors from which it can process information. It can receive signals from global navigation satellites, cell-phone towers, and Wi-Fi hot spots, and also input from gyroscopes, accelerometers, step counters, and altimeters.

The variety of location data available to mobile-device makers means that in our increasingly radio-frequency-dense world, location services will continue to become more refined.

In theory, the new chip can even determine what floor of a building you’re on, thanks to its ability to integrate information from the atmospheric pressure sensor on many models of Android phones. The company calls abilities like this “ubiquitous navigation,” and the idea is that it will enable a new kind of e-commerce predicated on the fact that shopkeepers will know the moment you walk by their front door, or when you are looking at a particular product, and can offer you coupons at that instant.

The integration of new kinds of location data opens up the possibility of navigating indoors, where GPS signals are weak or nonexistent.

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Filed under News Tech Technology GPS Tracking Surveillance Cell Phone Broadcom

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Your Cell Phone Makes You A Prisoner Of A Digital World Where Virtually Anyone Can Hack You And Track You

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If you own a cell phone, you might as well kiss your privacy goodbye.  Cell phone companies know more about us than most of us would ever dare to imagine.  Your cell phone company is tracking everywhere that you go and it is making a record of everything that you do with your phone.  Much worse, there is a good chance that your cell phone company has been selling this information to anyone that is willing to pay the price – including local law enforcement.  In addition, it is an open secret that the federal government monitors and records all cell phone calls.  The “private conversation” that you are having with a friend today will be kept in federal government databanks for many years to come.  The truth is that by using a cell phone, you willingly make yourself a prisoner of a digital world where every move that you make and every conversation that you have is permanently recorded.  But it is not just cell phone companies and government agencies that you have to worry about.  As you will see at the end of this article, it is incredibly easy for any would-be stalker to hack you and track your every movement using your cell phone.  In fact, many spyware programs allow hackers to listen to you through your cell phone even when your cell phone is turned off.  Sadly, most cell phone users have absolutely no idea about any of this stuff.

The next time that you get a notice from your cell phone company about “changes” to the privacy policy, you might want to play close attention.  Your cell phone company might be about to sell off your most personal information to anyone that is willing to write a big enough check.  The following is from a recent CNN article….

Your phone company knows where you live, what websites you visit, what apps you download, what videos you like to watch, and even where you are. Now, some have begun selling that valuable information to the highest bidder.

In mid-October, Verizon Wireless changed its privacy policy to allow the company to record customers’ location data and Web browsing history, combine it with other personal information like age and gender, aggregate it with millions of other customers’ data, and sell it on an anonymous basis.

So who is buying this information?

We just don’t know.

But we do know that local law enforcement agencies all over the country are increasingly using cell phone data to nail suspects, and often it is the cell phone companies that are the ones selling them the cell phone data that they need.

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Filed under Commentary Surveillance state Cell phone Tracking Tech technology Big Brother Totalitarianism

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Phone Tracking Big Business For Cell Companies

Earlier this week the American Civil Liberties Union revealed information it obtained from a FOIA request to local police departments across the country about how police track and tap cell phones, often without warrants. Also contained in the release is information that cell carriers make money by charging law enforcement for that information. Robert Siegel speaks with Andy Greenberg ofForbes who has looked into fees.

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Data Mining You

By Tom Engelhardt

I was out of the country only nine days, hardly a blink in time, but time enough, as it happened, for another small, airless room to be added to the American national security labyrinth.  On March 22nd, Attorney General Eric Holder and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Jr. signed offon new guidelines allowing the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), a post-9/11 creation, to hold on to information about Americans in no way known to be connected to terrorism — about you and me, that is — for up to five years.  (Its previous outer limit was 180 days.)  This, Clapperclaimed, “will enable NCTC to accomplish its mission more practically and effectively.”

Joseph K., that icon of single-lettered anonymity from Franz Kafka’s novel The Trial, would undoubtedly have felt right at home in Clapper’s Washington.  George Orwell would surely have had a few pungent words to say about those anodyne words “practically and effectively,” not to speak of “mission.”

For most Americans, though, it was just life as we’ve known it since September 11, 2001, since we scared ourselves to death and accepted that just about anything goes, as long as it supposedly involves protecting us from terrorists.  Basic information or misinformation, possibly about you, is to be stored away for five years — or until some other attorney general and director of national intelligence think it’s even more practical and effective to keep you on file for 10 years, 20 years, or until death do us part — and it hardly made a ripple.

If Americans were to hoist a flag designed for this moment, it might read “Tread on Me” and use that classic illustration of the boa constrictor swallowing an elephant from Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince.  That, at least, would catch something of the absurdity of what the National Security Complex has decided to swallow of our American world.

Oh, and in those nine days abroad, a new word surfaced on my horizon, one just eerie and ugly enough for our new reality: yottabyte.  Thank National Security Agency (NSA) expert James Bamford for that.  He wrote a piece for Wired magazine on a super-secret, $2 billion, one-million-square-foot data center the NSA is building in Bluffdale, Utah.  Focused on data mining and code-breaking and five times the size of the U.S. Capitol, it is expected to house information beyond compare, “including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails — parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital ‘pocket litter.’”

The NSA, adds Bamford, “has established listening posts throughout the nation to collect and sift through billions of email messages and phone calls, whether they originate within the country or overseas. It has created a supercomputer of almost unimaginable speed to look for patterns and unscramble codes. Finally, the agency has begun building a place to store all the trillions of words and thoughts and whispers captured in its electronic net.”

Which brings us to yottabyte — which is, Bamford assures us, equivalant to septillion bytes, a number “so large that no one has yet coined a term for the next higher magnitude.”  The Utah center will be capable of storing a yottabyte or more of information (on your tax dollar).

Large as it is, that mega-project in Utah is just one of many sprouting like mushrooms in the sunless forest of the U.S. intelligence world.  In cost, for example, it barely tops the $1.7 billion headquarters complex in Virginia that the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agencywith anestimated annual black budget of at least $5 billion, built for its 16,000 employees.  Opened in 2011, it’s the third-largest federal building in the Washington area.  (And I’ll bet you didn’t even know that your tax dollars paid for such an agency, no less its gleaming new headquarters.)  Or what about the 33 post-9/11 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work that were under construction or had already been built when Washington Post reporters Dana Priest and William Arkin wrote their “Top Secret America” series back in 2010?

In these last years, while so many Americans were foreclosed upon or had their homes go “underwater” and the construction industry went to hell, the intelligence housing bubble just continued to grow.  And there’s no sign that any of this seems abidingly strange to most Americans.

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Filed under Commentary Surveillance State Free Speech Essay Surveillance Tracking Big Brother US Government TSA NSA Chaos

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Locator chips keep track of students in Brazil

By STAN LEHMAN 

SAO PAULO (AP) — Grade-school students in a northeastern Brazilian city are using uniforms embedded with locator chips that help alert parents if they’re cutting classes, the city’s education secretary said Thursday.

Twenty thousand students in 25 of Vitoria da Conquista's 213 public schools started using T-shirts with chips earlier this week, secretary Coriolano Moraes said by telephone.

By 2013, all of the city’s 43,000 public school students, aged 4 to 14, will be using the chip-embedded T-shirts, he added.

Radio frequency chips in “intelligent uniforms” let a computer know when children enter school and it sends a text message to their cell phones. Parents are also alerted if kids don’t show up 20 minutes after classes begin with the following message: “Your child has still not arrived at school.”

"We noticed that many parents would bring their children to school but would not see if they actually entered the building because they always left in a hurry to get to work on time," Moraes said in a telephone interview. "They would always be surprised when told of the number times their children skipped class.

After a student skips classes three times parents will be asked to explain the absences. If they fail to do so, the school may notify authorities, Moares said.

The city government invested $670,000 to design, test and make the microchipped T-shirts, he said.

The chips, similar to those used to track pets in many countries, are placed underneath each school’s coat-of-arms or on one of the sleeves below a phrase that says: “Education does not transform the world. Education changes people and people transform the world.”

The T-shirts, can be washed and ironed without damaging the chips, Moraes said adding that the chips have a “security system that makes tampering virtually impossible.”

Moraes said that Vitoria da Conquista is the first city in Brazil “and maybe in the world” to use this system.

"I believe we may be setting a trend because we have received many requests from all over Brazil for information on how our system works," he said.

Filed under News Brazil RFID Children School Tracking surveillance Geopolitics Orwellian dystopia

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Police Are Using Phone Tracking as a Routine Tool

Side note: Also see Michigan State Police Extracting Your Cell Phone Data During Traffic Stops (From 2011)

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By ERIC LICHTBLAU

WASHINGTON — Law enforcement tracking of cellphones, once the province mainly of federal agents, has become a powerful and widely used surveillance tool for local police officials, with hundreds of departments, large and small, often using it aggressively with little or no court oversight, documents show.

The practice has become big business for cellphone companies, too, with a handful of carriers marketing a catalog of “surveillance fees” to police departments to determine a suspect’s location, trace phone calls and texts or provide other services. Some departments log dozens of traces a month for both emergencies and routine investigations.

With cellphones ubiquitous, the police call phone tracing a valuable weapon in emergencies like child abductions and suicide calls and investigations in drug cases and murders. One police training manual describes cellphones as “the virtual biographer of our daily activities,” providing a hunting ground for learning contacts and travels.

But civil liberties advocates say the wider use of cell tracking raises legal and constitutional questions, particularly when the police act without judicial orders. While many departments require warrants to use phone tracking in nonemergencies, others claim broad discretion to get the records on their own, according to 5,500 pages of internal records obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union from 205 police departments nationwide.

The internal documents, which were provided to The New York Times, open a window into a cloak-and-dagger practice that police officials are wary about discussing publicly. While cell tracking by local police departments has received some limited public attention in the last few years, the A.C.L.U. documents show that the practice is in much wider use — with far looser safeguards — than officials have previously acknowledged.

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Filed under News Cell phones Smart phones Tracking Surveillance Police State Police Surveillance State Michigan GRPD NYPD New York ACLU Big Brother Nevada North Carolina California Utah USA Arizona Iowa Nevada NSA DHS

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