Stingrays (AKA IMSI catchers) are a widespread class of surveillance devices that target cellular phones by impersonating cellular towers to them (they're also called "cell-site simulators"). Read the rest
: (◕(' 人 ') ◕) : Oh, the huge manatees! Need a mental health break? Step on in to our transparent canoe. 🛶 Read the rest
Cops use Stingrays—fake cellular towers that fool cellphones into connecting to them instead of the real thing—to track people and hack into their devices. Sen. Ron Wyden, in a publicized letter to the U.S. Department of Jusice, exposes the fact that these devices disrupt and disable attempts to call emergency services.
Senior officials from the Harris Corporation—the manufacturer of the cell-site simulators used most frequently by U.S. law enforcement agencies—have confirmed to my office that Harris’ cell-site simulators completely disrupt the communications of targeted phones for as long as the surveillance is ongoing. According to Harris, targeted phones cannot make or receive calls, send or receive text messages, or send or receive any data over the Internet. Moreover, while the company claims its cell-site simulators include a feature that detects and permits the delivery of emergency calls to 9-1-1, its officials admitted to my office that this feature has not been independently tested as part of the Federal Communication Commission’s certification process, nor were they able to confirm this feature is capable of detecting and passing-through 9-1-1 emergency communications made by people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech disabled using Real-Time Text technology.
It is striking, but unfortunately not surprising, that law enforcement has been allowed to use these technologies and has continued to use them despite the significant and undisclosed risk to public safety posed by disabling 911 service, not to mention the myriad privacy concerns related to CSS use.
It's a cliché, but it's true: the cops are out of control. Read the rest
An NBC investigative journalism team and a security researcher went wardriving around the DC area with a cell-site-simulator detector that would tell them whenever they came in range of a fake cellphone tower that tried to trick their phones into connecting to it in order to covertly track their locations (some cell site simulators can also hack phones to spy on SMS, calls and data). Read the rest
Oakland, California -- a city across the bay from San Francisco whose large African-American population has struggled with gentrification and police violence for decades -- has a long reputation for police corruption and surveillance. Read the rest
The use of fake cellphone towers, known as Stingrays or IMSI catchers, plays well with the nation's spy agencies and in some police jurisdictions. The authorities just can't get enough of being able to locate or listen in on private phone calls! But when it comes to members of the government being surveilled, well that's a different story.
According to Ars Technica, the Feds are are pretty, pretty sure that their mobile phone calls are being monitored by Stingray hardware set up by bad dudes, but they have no idea of who those bad dudes might be, or how to stop them. In a letter brought to light by the Associated Press on Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security's National Protection and Programs Directorate hasn't got a clue of who's responsible for setting up the elicit Stingray hardware and hasn't got any ideas of how they might shut them down:
"NPPD is aware of anomalous activity outside the [National Capital Region] that appears to be consistent with IMSI catchers," Krebs also wrote. "NPPD has not validated or attributed this activity to specific entities or devices. However, NPPD has shared this information with Federal partners."
Maybe they should ask moose and squirrel a lead. I dunno.
Normally, I'd be worried about a foreign or domestic agency spying on the doings of one of the most powerful governments in the world. But the feeling that comes from hearing about the Feds getting a taste of their own medicine makes it really hard to focus on that. Read the rest
Robbie Barrat is generating warped, surreal paintings using artificial intelligence and the results are really something.
Usually the machine just paints people as blobs of flesh with tendrils and limbs randomly growing out - I think it's really surreal. I wonder if that's how machines see us...
Here's Bonnie Burton in CNET:
The results are surreal. Barrat posted many of the final pieces of artwork -- which can only be described as surreal, blobby, swirly naked women -- on Twitter. It's almost like a very intoxicated Salvador Dali and a dizzy Picasso joined forces to make art. ...Barrat's AI-assisted artwork isn't exactly sensual. In fact, most of the nudes look like they are melting on a very hot day.
"The way that it paints faces makes me uncomfortable. It always paints them as like, purple and yellow globs -- that isn't in the training set so I'm actually still not sure why it does that.
I don't like looking at those heads, I really don't.
Connecting voting machines to the internet is a terrible idea: the machines are already notoriously insecure, and once they're online, anyone, anywhere in the world becomes a potential attacker. Read the rest
John William Waterhouse's painting, Hylas and the Nymphs (1869), was removed from display at the Manchester Art Gallery in northern England. The museum said it banished the painting to “challenge a Victorian fantasy.”
From Art News:
On the night of January 26, the gallery team and invited collaborators took over the gallery and removed the pre-Raphaelite painting Hylas and the Nymphs (1869) from the wall, as well as postcards of the painting from the shop.
The offending image depicts a mythical scene of bare-chested nymphs tempting Hylas to his death, and is not the only one of its kind in a room devoted to 19th century art that is titled “In Pursuit of Beauty.”
The stunt was filmed as part of a new artwork by Sonia Boyce, who is exploring “gender trouble” in the paintings and wider culture of the 19th century. The full film of the action will be shown in her upcoming retrospective at the gallery, which runs March 23 through September 2.
Read the rest
"For me personally, there is a sense of embarrassment that we haven't dealt with it sooner," Clare Gannaway, the gallery's contemporary art curator, told The Guardian. "Our attention has been elsewhere...we've collectively forgotten to look at this space and think about it properly. We want to do something about it now because we have forgotten about it for so long."
Gannaway also described the painting—and others like it—as old-fashioned for depicting women "either as passive beautiful objects or femmes fatales." She said there were "tricky issues about gender, race and representation." It's a bit unclear what exactly the problem is here, but the curator seems to be suggesting the girls are too white, and too naked.
Watch these swimmers on Hahei Beach, New Zealand flee from a killer whale, aka an orca, last weekend. "You guys are idiots," says the cameraperson. Killer whales don't attack people in the wild. From the New Zealand Herald:
"They came in very close, about 10 metres from shore," (said Gary Hinds, chairman of the Hot Water Beach Lifeguard.)
It's a sight locals see about once to twice a season.
"They come in to feed on stingrays and stuff like that," Mr Hinds said.
"Some people don't see them, but the ones who do are in awe of seeing these orcas so close into the shore."
Surf lifesavers kept an eye on the situation to ensure people kept a safe distance and didn't get into trouble going out to look.
In 2016, Motherboard used public records requests to receive 3,000 pages of documents from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police detailing the federal police agency's longstanding secret use of IMSI Catchers (AKA "Stingrays" -- the fake cellular towers that silently capture data on every cellphone user in range). Read the rest
This just in. Read the rest