Wednesday, March 13, 2013

FinSpy: who's tracking your every e-mail?
Tinfoil milliners, pay attention, please. Not that a hat would help in this case.
On 30 Aug 2012, the NY Times ran a story Software Meant to Fight Crime Is Used to Spy on Dissidents. The gist is that software is being used to spy on people that governments find ... inconvenient. This despite the software's purported intent: to help police in "a country that obeys the rule of law" to catch nasty people committing nasty crimes. From the NYT article, bold emphasis added:
The software proved to be the stuff of a spy film: it can grab images of computer screens, record Skype chats, turn on cameras and microphones and log keystrokes. The two men [featured in the article] said they discovered mobile versions of the spyware customized for all major mobile phones.
But what made the software especially sophisticated was how well it avoided detection. Its creators specifically engineered it to elude antivirus software made by Kaspersky Lab, Symantec, F-Secure and others.
The software has been identified as FinSpy, one of the more elusive spyware tools sold in the growing market of off-the-shelf computer surveillance technologies that give governments a sophisticated plug-in monitoring operation. Research now links it to servers in more than a dozen countries, including Turkmenistan, Brunei and Bahrain, although no government acknowledges using the software for surveillance purposes.
The market for such technologies has grown to $5 billion a year from "nothing 10 years ago," said Jerry Lucas, president of TeleStrategies, the company behind ISS World, an annual surveillance show where law enforcement agents view the latest computer spyware.
FinSpy is made by the Gamma Group, a British company that says it sells monitoring software to governments solely for criminal investigations.
[...] FinSpy gained notoriety in March 2011 after protesters raided Egypt’s state security headquarters and discovered a document that appeared to be a proposal by the Gamma Group to sell FinSpy to the government of President Hosni Mubarakfor $353,000. It is unclear whether that transaction was ever completed.
You don't control your expensive iPhone ... Apple controls your expensive iPhone
Also in August of last year -- the very next day following the NYT article excerpted above, in fact -- Devin Coldeway wrote about a new Apple patent for NBCnews.comApple patent would disable phone based on location (bold emphasis added below).
Among a bevy of patents awarded to Apple this week was one that would enable or disable certain features of a phone depending on its location. It could be useful, but it also raises serious questions about who really owns your device.
The patent, "Apparatus and methods for enforcement of policies upon a wireless device," was pointed out by Apple Insider Thursday. It's similar to an application made public in 2011 that would use a sensor in the phone to detect whether it was allowed to take pictures or make calls. The new patent relies on GPS, cell tower or Wi-Fi data to determine location, and then "changing one or more functional or operational aspects" of the device.
What kinds of serious questions does this patent raise?
That same news-day, Mark Frauenfelder posted to BoingBoing an item titled Apple granted patent for location-based camera phone disabling. Frauenfelder quoted from the patent application describing the ability to apply "policies" to devices so that their function is limited or disabled in "sensitive locations," then observes (bold emphasis added):
I imagine movie theaters would be the first to use this remote disabling feature (if Apple ever decides to move ahead with this technology; just because they have a patent doesn't mean they'll use it). The paranoid side of me imagines governments using it to prevent citizens from communicating with each other or taking video during protests.
That's interesting, 'cuz that's what the 'paranoid' side of me imagines too. Maybe even the same sorts of governments who would pay six figures or more for the use of FinSpy.
Do you know whether your local school district is spying on your children tonight?
I didn't catch this story when it happened (I learned about it from a webcast I watched last month). The gist: a school district in suburban Pennsylvania loaned laptops to students in 2010, then used software installed on the laptops to spy on them. Yes, you read that right. To spy on children.
"Spy" in this case includes turning on the cameras while the kids were using their laptops at home, including in their bedrooms. Here's the gist from Wikipedia's article about the class action lawsuit brought in the matter, Robbins v. Lower Merion School District, sans extensive links to fascinating footnotes (bold emphasis added):
[...] in what was dubbed the "WebcamGate" scandal, the schools secretly spied on the students while they were in the privacy of their homes. School authorities surreptitiously and remotely activated webcams embedded in school-issued laptops the students were using at home. After the suit was brought, the school district, of which the two high schools are part, revealed that it had secretly snapped more than 66,000 images. The suit charged that in doing so the district infringed on its students' privacy rights. A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction, ordering the school district to stop its secret webcam monitoring, and ordered the district to pay the plaintiffs' attorney fees.
The lawsuit was settled 'to protect taxpayers' ... see School settles laptop spying case to "protect taxpayers" on Arstechnica.
Your phone is tracking your movement while shopping?!!
Fast forward to last week, when Quentin Hardy blogged on the NY Times that your phone's WiFi antenna is being used to monitor your movements in certain stores, from when you enter 'til when you leave, capturing where in the store you go (and thus what merchandise you're checking out), and how long you stay. This monitoring happens whether or not you're using your device to connect to the internet, or to make a phone call. Nope. That phone you're carrying, unused, in a pocket or purse or backpack is reporting on you in any case. From 7 March 2013, in Technology Turns to Tracking People Offline (bold emphasis added below):
The big initial use is the so-called bounce rate, or the percentage of people who come into the store who leave without making a purchase. But the technology also helps stores make sure that there is enough sales help or that enough registers are open. By seeing how people move in a store, retailers can also better determine where to place low-profit and high-profit items.
Computers are already recognizing people moving around, both voluntarily and involuntarily. [...] at a conference in Santa Monica, Calif., held by the Montgomery and Company investment firm [...] a company called Omnilink, which makes ankle devices for people under home arrest, talked about plans to expand into monitoring elders, children, workers on their own in the field and the infirm.
So now you can think of that smartphone as the key to having an intimate relationship with Big Brother. But don't worry. They'd never use your own phone to target you in a drone attack. Would they?
Even Deans at Harvard get their e-mail secretly inspected. Why should you be immune?
Can you imagine a more august and privileged group of individuals, a group of individuals to whom more deference is paid, than the faculty of Harvard University? I mean, okay: short of England's royal family, or Donald Trump when he's surrounded by trembling toadies.
Well, deference didn't stop Harvard's administrators from secretly spying on 16 faculty members who hold the role of "resident deans" ... nope, those nosy administrators wormed their way into the professors' e-mail accounts, looking to unmask a suspected 'culprit' who shared information with the press about a cheating scandal. From the NY Times, dateline 10 March 2013, Harvard E-Mail Search Stuns Its Faculty Members:
"I think what the administration did was creepy," said Mary C. Waters, a sociology professor, adding that "this action violates the trust I once had that Harvard would never do such a thing."
[...] Though some professors were disinclined to speak to a reporter, they showed less restraint online, where sites were buzzing with the news, and several professors said the topic dominated the faculty’s private conversations.
On his blog, which is closely followed by many people at Harvard, Dr. [Harry R.] Lewis[, a professor and former dean of Harvard College,] called the administration’s handling of the search "dishonorable," and, like some of his colleagues, said the episode would prompt him to do less of his communication through his Harvard e-mail account, and more through a private account.
I hope Professor Lewis's idea of "a private account" isn't one provisioned by a behemoth like Google or Microsoft. You've got to figure that these companies are going to pay even lessdeference to Harvard faculty than the administrators at Harvard University. And it's pretty hard to imagine that all the Harvard faculty who follow Lewis' example are going to read the fine-print Terms of Service that pretty much nobody but the folks at the Electronic Frontier Foundation reads anyway.
Google Glass: Who's Watching Whom???
Everybody from CNN to CNET to TechCrunch is gushing over the latest news about Google Glass, a wearable interface to the greatest data farm on Earth, livestreaming data to and from your eyeglasses to ... wherever. At the SXSW show yesterday, Google spoke to developers about the interface -- the Mirror API -- that programmers will use to build apps for Google Glass.
The hype from Google's Timothy Jordan, as reported on TechCrunch, in a story with a very long headline:
As part of today’s presentation, Jordan also detailed some Glass apps Google has been working on itself, and apps that some of its partners have created. The New York Times app, for example, shows headlines and then lets you listen to the full article by telling Glass to “read aloud.” Google’s own Gmail app uses voice recognition to answer emails (and it obviously shows you incoming mail, as well). Evernote’s Skitch can be used to take and share photos, and Jordan also showed a demo of social network Path running on Glass to share your location.
But it doesn't take much imagination to visualize sidewalks full of people using their glasses to snap photos and shoot video of whatever they find interesting ... including you. James Kendrick wrote yesterday for ZDNet's Mobile News, an article titled Google Glass: Expect widespread usage bans over privacy concerns. Yes indeed. Excerpting:
A bar in Seattle has already generated buzz in tech communities with a preemptive strike against Google Glass. The proprietor doesn't want patrons to have to worry that someone with Google Glasses might be snapping photos. His patrons come in for privacy and he wants to keep it that way.
That may have been nothing more than a publicity stunt but it portends a greater problem for Google Glass. When the general public becomes aware of Google Glass and exactly what it does, expect to see a lot of reactions similar to that of the Seattle bar owner.
Is this a matter of your devices owning you, or of someone else's devices owning you? Well, both actually. When that Google Glass wearing minions pass you on the sidewalk, you're the data being streamed to Google and ... wherever. But once s/he has passed? Everything the glass-wearer does, everywhere she goes, whatever she says to whomever: combine that with FinSpy or the WebcamGate software and everything about that glass-wearer is tracked and analyzed, by agents and for reasons over which s/he has zero control.
Google Glass is expected to begin rolling out to software developers and others later this year.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Traumatic Radio Frequency Pulses: Voices Within One's Head - Microwave Hearing

Frey Effect: Neural Manipulation By Remote Radar

Link - Advanced Security

The first American to publish a paper on microwave hearing  was Allan H. Frey in 1961.
Microwave Detector - click for larger view

Frey first made the announcement, about neural manipulation by remote radar, on April 24 1961 at the Aerospace Medical Association Meeting in Chicago. 


Noon Chart  4.24.1961 Chicago

'Frey Effect' Pluto @05 Virgo 
'Frey Effect' Chiron @05 Pisces 
Transiting Chiron @05 Pisces May 5, 2011

( Transiting Chiron @ 05 Pisces: 5.05.2011 - 7.11.2011; 2.22.2012 - 3.08.2012; 9.30.2012 - 11.09.2012; 11.20.2012 - 12.30.2012 )

Click on Chart - Larger Image

Asteroid Analysis MAH asteroid pages

The 'Frey Effect' - Microwave Hearing
Front Page:

Noon Chart  4.24.1961 Chicago

Sun @04 Taurus 18


Pluto @05 Virgo 39 R



Mercury @26 Aries (Apex)


Mars @24 Cancer 
USA Mercury @24 Cancer


USA Pluto @27 Capricorn 

Venus @13 Aries

- conjunct -

Vesta @14 Aries 20
- conjunct -
Ceres @15 Aries 38


USA Sun @13 Cancer


Jupiter @05 Aquarius 40


Damocles @15 Aquarius 38 (pushing it) - Link


Vesta @14 Aries 20 - Link


Ceres @15 Aries 38- Link


Saturn @29 Capricorn 40


Radiocommunicata @01 Gemini 38 - Link


Jansky @09 Gemini 49 (“messages from beyond”) - Link


De Broglie @16 Leo 05 (broadcasting) - Link

Wax - Quindecile (QD, burning point of focus ) - Link

Saturn @29 Capricorn 40


Uranus @21 Leo 39 R


Tesla @20 Aquarius 28 R (electronics) - Link


Neptune @10 Scorpio 06 R (dissolving, breaking down, confusion)


Eris @10 Aries 07 - Link


Pluto @05 Virgo 39 R


1996 TL66 @03 Pisces 33 (abuse of power) - Link


Juno @05 Pisces 41- Link


Chiron @05 Pisces 41- Link


Ramirez @06 Pisces 07 (invasive) - Link


Tithonus @27 Scorpio 58 R (to vitiate) - Link
Scorpio, power


Nessus @27 Taurus 17 (problems with respecting boundaries) - Link
Taurus, money


Damocles @15 Aquarius 38 


Interposita @16 Cancer 57 (interference)  - Link

ARMS - Attention-related modulations - Link

Normally, we hear sounds only when they make our eardrums vibrate. The vibrations cause nerve hairs in the inner ear to shiver, and that triggers electric signals that travel along the auditory nerve into the brain. One of their first stops is a patch of gray matter called the auditory cortex.
Each nerve hair is tuned to a particular frequency of sound and excites only certain neurons in the auditory cortex. As a result, the neurons in the auditory cortex form what is known as a tone map. The neurons at one end of the auditory cortex are tuned to low frequencies; the farther you go toward the other end, the higher the tuning of the neurons.
This sound system comes with an elaborate feedback mechanism. Neurons do more than just relay signals forward into the brain. They also signal back down the line, reaching out to neighboring neurons tuned to nearby frequencies, exciting some and muzzling others.

J.A. Elder and C.K. Chou

Human Auditory Perception of Pulsed Radiofrequency Energy
Motorola Florida Research Laboratories
The earliest report we have found on the auditory perception of pulsed microwaves appeared in 1956 as an advertisement of the Airborne Instruments Laboratory in Vo. 44 of the Proceedings of the IRE. The advertisement described observations made in 1947 on the hearing of sounds that occurred at the repetition rate of a radar while the listener stood close to a horn antenna.
March 23, 1991 news-brief “High-Tech Psychological Warfare Arrives in the Middle East” US Psychological Operations  - Link

Directed Energy Weapon - Wiki
Star Wars - Democracy Now

From 2002 to March 2003: US Military May Use Directed Energy Weapons in Iraq, Press Reports During Run-up to War

 History Commons
As the United States and its allies ready themselves for war with Iraq, numerous press reports say that the US military may use newly-developed “directed energy” weapons during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Directed energy weapons (DEW) are based on laser technology.
The most advanced DEW and most likely to be actually deployed is a high-powered microwave (HPM) used to destroy enemy electronics by releasing an electro-magnectic pulse or EMP, akin to an electric surge caused by lightning. The danger of an electro-magnetic pulse was first realized in the 1960s during nuclear weapons research. A nuclear explosion can release enough radiation to “fry” electronic equipment.
The US and Soviet militaries are known to have devoted considerable efforts to harden their equipment against such damage. Since the 1980s, the United States has also researched the use of a high-powered microwave as an offensive weapon to disable enemy communications, electric, and computing equipment.
Such research has taken place primarily at Kirtland Air Force Base, in New Mexico, under the purview of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Directed Energy Directorate. The Kirtland center has about 600 employees and a 120 million dollars annual budget. US companies such as TRW, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin are also involved in the field.
(Economist 1/30/2003; Dunham 2/2/2003; Schiesel 2/20/2003; Crenson 3/19/2003)
Partial Summary: 
Dr. Joseph C. Sharp and H. M. Grove developed receiver-less wireless voice transmission technologies for the Advanced Research Projects Agency at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, in 1973.

Weaponry that exploits the microwave auditory effect appears to have been classified "Secret NOFORN" in the USA at the latest 1998 until the declassification on 6 December 2006.

Joseph Sharp
Joseph Sharp received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in psychology/neuroanatomy from the University of Utah. In 1961, he began his career as a research psychologist at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research where, in 1970, he was appointed Deputy Director of Neuropsychiatry. He has also served as Chief of the Department of Experimental Psychology and Behavioral Radiology at Walter Reed, and in 1969 and 1970, was Deputy Commissioner of Public Health for the State of New York. He came to ARC in 1974, and the last five of those years, served as Director of Space Research at Ames. Currently he is with the College of Science at the University of Utah, Cedar City, Utah.
     In 1974, soon after he joined ARC, he attended a U.S./U.S.S.R. Joint Working Group meeting in Tashkent, U.S.S.R., with the Director of Life Sciences at NASA Headquarters, David Winter. "That was when the Russians, unannounced, dropped the offer on us to fly U.S. experiments on the Cosmos series," he recalled. "There had been zero preparation for that back in the States. Dave didn't know whether he had the authority to accept the offer, whether he had the budget, and what the scope was. I can remember walking for hours in the garden near the meeting place, discussing the offer. We finally talked ourselves into it, and Dave accepted. I was responsible for putting people and experiments together back at Ames. The time to launch was very short. We didn't even know what quality to build our equipment to." Finally, it was decided that Apollo-Soyuz quality standards would be used.
     "Getting that first series of experiments on Cosmos was really tough stuff," Sharp said. Some of the experiments had to be simplified, to have them ready in time for flight. "But that first series started a process that continues to this day. The vitality of the program is shown by the fact that it has survived for so long, even during the Reagan era. All the joint Nixon-Breszhnev programs were killed during that period, except for the Cosmos flight program. The agreement was signed before Reagan took office, and he honored it. So we carried on through that time, with reasonably good communications. At that time experiment complexity was increasing, so there was more and more dialogue going on between the two countries. Of course, everything had to be blessed by the National Security Council." The intelligence agencies also monitored the Cosmos activities, though indirectly. "We didn't do some of the things we wanted to do," Sharp said, "because of technology transfer concerns."

     Cosmos has evolved over the years. "Things have gotten more bureaucratized," Sharp explained. "But the Program has also become more productive. Experiments are more complex now. There are more collaborations between scientists. I think more Soviet scientists have been brought into their space program because of this than would have otherwise. And in our country, there are now many scientists who have collaborated with the Soviets."

     The Cosmos program brought NASA into direct contact with French and other European life scientists. This contact led to several collaborative projects. The early Cosmos flights served as a catalyst to bringing Ames into the modern era of flight programs. "When I arrived at Ames, there was no real life sciences flight program although good science was being done," Sharp says. "The U.S. biosatellite program had withered by the mid '70s. Cosmos really allowed us to organize to do the Shuttle flights."

     Sharp attributes much of the Cosmos program's success to Oleg Gazenko, the now retired Director of the Institute of Biomedical Problems in Moscow. "He kept it all together," Sharp says. Although he now acts in an advisory role, Gazenko's influence on the Soviet space program is still strong.
Philip J. Fry - Wiki 
(Editor:  Making light of a serious issue to note that when a weapon is de-classified another more advanced weapon has already taken its place.)

Philip J. Fry.png

Frey Weapons

Biological Effects of Microwaves: Thermal and Nonthermal Mechanisms

"Microwave hearing may be useful to provide a disruptive condition to a person not aware of the technology. Not only might it be disruptive to the sense of hearing, it could be psychologically devastating if one suddenly heard "voices within one's head".

Narcissists, Group Behavior, and Terrorism ~ by author Sam Vaknin PhD
Having lived in 12 countries in 3 continents now, I firmly believe in "mass psychopathology", or ethno-psychology.  The members of a group, if sufficiently cohesive, tend to react similarly to circumstances. By "cohesive" I mean, if they share the same mental world, possibly the same history, the same language or dialect, the same hopes, folklore, fears, and aspirations "agenda", the same enemies and so on.

Thus, if recurrently traumatized or abused by external or internal forces, a group of people may develop the mass equivalent of pathological narcissism as a defence or compensatory mechanism. By "abuse" and "trauma" I mean any event, or series of events, or circumstances, which threaten the self identity, self image, sense of self worth, and self esteem of the collective consistently and constantly - though often arbitrarily and unpredictably.

Human collectives go through formation, individuation, separation - all the phases in individual psychological development.

A disturbance in the natural and unhindered progression of these phases is likely to result in psychopathology of all the members of the collective. Being subjugated to another nation, being exiled, enduring genocide, being destitute, being defeated in warfare - are all traumatic experiences with far reaching consequences.

Microwave Hearing

Frey Effect

Microwave Hearing

July 18, 2008 As part of the U.S. Navy's investigation into futuristic nonlethal weaponry, the Sierra Nevada Corporation is building a microwave energy pulse gun that can produce a painful screaming sound inside a person's head from a long distance away. The inescapable sound, which is inaudible to untargeted bystanders, can be set to irritate, nauseate or even incapacitate people and animals that lie within range. Future applications may include crowd control, military use and even shopping mall security, provided it proves safe from permanent side effects. The science behind it also has the potential to give hearing to certain deaf people, or even projecting voices into peoples' heads.

The Sierra Nevada corporation has signed a contract with the U.S. Navy to follow up on successful recent testing of a non-lethal crowd control weapon that uses microwaves to project high-intensity sounds in the heads of targets, according to New Scientist magazine.

The MEDUSA (Mob Excess Deterrent Using Silent Audio) system makes use of the well-established Microwave Auditory Effect, in which microwave stimulation causes parts of the ear around the cochlea to expand thermally, which is interpreted as sound by the brain. The effect is a sound that appears to originate in the target's head, and can't be heard by anyone not directly in the beam's path.

This is not to be confused with Raytheon's Active Denial System, another crowd control weapon in development which uses a similar directed energy beam to cause unbearable but non-damaging heat pain in the top few layers of a target's skin.

Because MEDUSA's sound doesn't vibrate the eardrum itself, and thus the eardrum is not exposed to the damage potential that loud acoustic noise produces, traditional noise level limits don't have to apply with the MEDUSA system. So it's possible to dial in any level of sonic deterrent from mildly annoying up to physically and mentally incapacitating levels that the target has no way of blocking out of their head.

The MEDUSA system has the ability to be aimed at specific targets, multiple targets or even cover large areas with a broad beam, which will make it an effective security deterrent for the perimeters of protected areas. The same technology, on a smaller scale, could be used as an invisible sonic scarecrow to keep certain areas free from birds, as birds appear to respond to very low levels of microwave audio.

There are certain side effects - in 1961 testing of the first Microwave Auditory Effect system, Allen H. Frey noted dizziness, headaches and pins and needles in his subjects - and little is known about what further effects might occur when power levels are turned up to an incapacitating level. The potential for serious neural damage can't be ignored when you're effectively microwaving the inside of somebody's head - and if it does turn out to be lethal, the research may continue down that path and the technology may end up being used as a microwave death ray.

Beyond being used to generate an annoying high-pitched scream, the Microwave Auditory Effect has shown itself to hold interesting peacetime possibilities if it can be proven safe. By modulating the projected frequency, Sharp and Grove showed in 1975 that it's possible to "plant" voices, music and other sounds directly into the head.

Because the eardrum is not involved in the transmission of this sound, there have been hopes that patients with outer ear problems might be able to listen to music or voices through microwave transmission. On a more sinister note, it's easy to see how one might abuse the ability to direct "voices" straight into a person's head, as would appear to be feasible using the device described in this 2002 patent.

Still, the MEDUSA system is expected to be testable within one year and a mobile deployment unit built within another 18 months. And if it can be proven not to be harmful, it could be deployed within a few years in war zones, protest situations and shopping malls.