The secret text of the GOP's border bill reveals plan to dramatically increase surveillance of Americans and visitors

Sen. John Cornyn [R-TX, @JohnCornyn, +1 202-224-2934] introduced the Building America's Trust Act as a "long-term border security and interior enforcement strategy" but refused to release the bill's text, which has now leaked. Read the rest

It's not hard to think of ways to outsmart Stingray-detector apps

A group of researchers from Oxford and TU Berlin will present their paper, White-Stingray: Evaluating IMSI Catchers Detection Applications at the Usenix Workshop on Offensive Technologies, demonstrating countermeasures that Stingray vendors could use to beat Stingrays and other "cell-site simulators" (AKA IMSI catchers). Read the rest

West coast jurisdictions advance community oversight of police surveillance

This summer, two of the west coast’s largest metropolitan areas—Seattle and California—took major steps to curtail secret, unilateral surveillance by local police. These victories for transparency and community control lend momentum toward sweeping reforms pending across California, as well as congressional efforts to curtail unchecked surveillance by federal authorities. Read the rest

They'll never see this tiny camera hidden in a screw

These tiny screw cameras are about $20 on Amazon (or $15 on eBay), with versions that plug into CCTV systems, composite inputs, and USB ports. There's also the bare camera, minus the fake screwhead. [via OPSEC]

The Amazon listing includes a photo of it installed in a public toilet door. Naturally, there are some customer questions:

Question: So do you give instructions for installing in public restrooms as seen in the picture?

Answer: You are welcome to check the wires diagram as below to see if it helps: https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71lraFgulcL._SL1000_.jpg … see more

By iSoter SELLER on August 4, 2017

Read the rest

What not to do when you're anonymous, if you want to stay that way

If you're using an anonymity tool -- Tor or something like it -- to be anonymous on the internet, it's really easy to screw it up and do something that would allow an adversary of varying degrees of power (up to and including powerful governments) to unmask you. Read the rest

Roomba walks back plan to sell maps of your house to Amazon and Google

Last week, Reuters published an interview with Irobot CEO Colin Angle, in which the Roomba-czar explained his plan to have his cleaning robots produce detailed maps of your house that the company would sell to Amazon and Google, something the company could do today, thanks to an exceptionally broad and one-sided terms of service that you "agree" to when you become an Irobot customer. Read the rest

This public toilet scans your face to make sure you don't use too much toilet paper

Beijing's Temple of Heaven is one of the world's most popular tourist spots. As such, it has a busy public restroom. The administrators felt that people were using too much toilet paper so they installed a toilet paper dispenser with facial recognition. If you received your 2-foot-long segment of toilet paper in the last 9 minutes, you'll have to wait to get more.

From Mashable:

In the short time it's been up, the system has already cut down usage to a fraction, temple staff said. According to the Beijing Evening News, each washroom average four rolls of toilet paper, compared to 20 rolls before.

But some have reported that the facial recognition process — which is supposed to take three seconds — can take up to a few minutes, and that it has not been reliable.

Some Weibo users have also responded with incredulity.

"To be honest, 60cm is a bit too little," said a user.

[via Clive Thompson] Read the rest

EU's highest court strikes down passenger data-sharing arrangement with Canada

The European Court of Justice has ruled that the 2014 EU-Canada passenger name record (PNR) agreement was "incompatible with the fundamental rights recognised by the EU," because the records ("names, travel dates, itineraries, ticket and contact details, travel agents and other information") were used for purposes "beyond what is strictly necessary for the prevention and detection of terrorist offences and serious transnational crime." Read the rest

Roomba wants to sell the maps of the inside of your home it created while cleaning

Your Roomba vacuum cleaner collects data about the size and geometry of your home as it cleans and transmits that data back to Irobot, Roomba's parent company -- and now the company says it wants to sell that data to companies like Apple and Google. Read the rest

China forces Xinjiang Uyghurs to install mobile spyware, enforces with stop-and-frisk

China's Xinjiang province is home to the Uyghur ethnic/religious minority, whose fights for self-determination have been brutally and repeatedly crushed by the Chinese state: now, people in Xinjiang are being required to install mobile spyware on their devices. Read the rest

Swedish transport agency breach exposes millions, from spies to confidential informants

The Swedish Transportstyrelsen (Transport Agency) botched its outsourcing to IBM, uploading its records to IBM's cloud and then emailing cleartext copies to marketing managers, unvetted IBM employees in the Czech Republic and others. Read the rest

FBI surveillance van from the 1980s on eBay

Ginter Senfeldas of Cary, North Carolina, says he purchased this 1989 Dodge Ram 350 "FBI surveillance van" from a government auction site. It's apparently outfitted with vintage A/V tech, external microphones, pinholes for cameras, and other interesting modifications. Apparently when he purchased it, there were handcuffs, binoculars, "and even leftover video from an old FBI stakeout" inside.

From the auction listing, details of the "interesting" features:

3 Extra Batteries + onboard charger/adapter Toilet in the back 2 LCD Screens Video recorders/Players with all the gadgets Tape Recorder/Player INTERCOM Rear AC/Heat Unit Propane Tanks Radars Amplifiers A lot of 110V Sockets * You can turn off/on the engine from the back * Every door has extra locks!

"Vintage FBI surveillance van listed for sale on eBay" (CBS News)

Read the rest

A brief history of Alice & Bob, cryptography's first couple

Alice and Bob are the hypothetical communicants in every cryptographic example or explainer, two people trying to talk with one another without being thwarted or overheard by Eve, Mallory and their legion of nefarious friends. Read the rest

147-mph biker chase demonstrates latest aerial surveillance tech

On Independence Day, one American decided to exercise his freedom to ride his motorcycle at speeds up to 147 miles per hour. That and several other freedoms were quickly taken away thanks a police plane which released aerial footage demonstrating an astonishing array of data overlaid. Read the rest

Guide to finding and erasing your online data doppelganger

The New York Times rounds up direct links to several services surveillance opt-out screens, including some I'd never thought to look for (Amazon), as well as instructions for installing tracking blockers and no-script extensions that will limit the data trail you exhaust behind yourself as you traverse the net. Read the rest

How to covertly toss an apartment, Stasi style

In 1984, the Stasi -- East Germany's notorious secret police -- searched the flat of an auditor to determine if he'd leaked files that put the country in a bad light to Stern, a West German magazine, published in Hamburg. They recorded the clandestine search for posterity, and used it as the basis for a training video explaining to other secret police operatives how to search a dissident's home without alerting them that they were under suspicion. (via Grugq) Read the rest

China orders mobile app stores to remove VPN apps

Starting July 1, the official Android and Apple App stores will no longer allow Chinese users to download the VPN apps that Chinese people rely upon in order to get around the Great Firewall of China, which censors information in China and surveils Chinese peoples' use of the net. Read the rest

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