Facial recognition and GPS tracking: TrapWire company conducting even more surveillance – RT
Published: March 27, 2013
Thanks to Cubic’s latest acquisition, the company is being trusted with yet another trove of sensitive data. And while it’s facetious to assume that Cubic’s many divisions around the world are working in cahoots to collect and build personal profiles that scan faces, sniff out social network habits and scoop up insanely accurate GPS stats on travel patterns, the buy-out of NextBus doesn’t make a company seem any less like a prime example of how privacy is slowly but surely being eroded in the exchange for a little bit of serenity and whole lot of surveillance.
A piece in today’s Guardian reveals a US military “sock puppet” operation that involves “using fake online personas to influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda.” The article names the California-registered Ntrepid Corporation as a recipient of a contract for the project. The California corporate registry lists an office in Tysons Corner, Virginia as the physical location of the company. A search for the company’s name on Virginia’s corporate registry turns up an entry (ID: F184248-5) with a listing of its director and officers (screenshot here). The names are as follows:
Richard H. Helms (director and officer) Wesley R. Husted (officer) Margaret A. Lee (officer)
As it turns out, Richard Helms was previously the founder and CEO of the Virginia-based Abraxas Corporation. Wesley Husted was at one point its CFO. So, what is the Abraxas Corporation and what do they do? Its web site declares itself to be primarily concerned with information security and risk assessment. A June 2004 article in the International Herald Tribune identified it as a “small compan[y] made up almost entirely of former senior CIA officers […] in McLean, Virginia.” It further named one of its experts, Mary Nayak, as a former head of the Directorate of Intelligence’s South Asia group who had recently been hired as a consultant to the CIA’s 9/11 review group. According to an extensive profile of the company published in the LA Times in September 2006:
But Abraxas has also been tapped for unusual assignments. Several former CIA officials said Abraxas had been given a highly classified contract to craft “covers” — false identities and front companies — for the agency’s nonofficial cover program. The NOC program is one of the most sensitive and carefully guarded operations in the CIA. Most overseas case officers work under diplomatic cover, meaning they pose as State Department officials working at U.S. embassies and missions. If they are caught spying, they are typically protected from prosecution by diplomatic immunity. Officers in the NOC program have no such protections, and therefore operate under substantially greater risk. Major corporations traditionally have cooperated with the CIA to allow case officers to hold positions in overseas branches. But since the Sept. 11 attacks, the CIA has been under increased pressure to devise more imaginative cover arrangements that might give operatives closer access to terrorist networks.
The article also noted that Abraxas was declared in 2005 to be “one of the nation’s fastest growing young companies” by the Deloitte & Touche accounting firm. Apparently, it enjoyed 714% in revenue growth over three years. Naturally, 90% of this revenue was from government contracts.
It is fitting that a company such as Abraxas feels the need to form a front company just to put forth front “people” on the internet.
Published: September 19, 2012 22:27
Just discovered documentation concerning the TrapWire secret surveillance system suggests that the San Diego-based Cubic Corporation did have a direct connection with the program, despite repeated attempts to dismiss allegations of their involvement.
Although Cubic has gone on the record on several occasions to refute claims that they have at one time or another been directly tied to the Abraxas Applications, the Northern Virginia company believed to have developed TrapWire, a post published this week on the PrivacySos.org blog discusses evidence that links the two firms to one another.
Cubic has repeatedly insisted that it has no link to TrapWire, a widespread, international surveillance and intelligence system brought to light in emails distributed by WikiLeaks, but new revelations expose a relationship between the two that was documented on a federal website as recently as February of last year.
As RT unraveled the TrapWire saga earlier this year, investigations into both Cubic and Abraxas revealed a number of associations among the two. In an August 13, 2012 press release, Cubic came forth and admitted to acquiring Abraxas Corp in December of 2010, but insisted, “Abraxas Corporation then and now has no affiliation with Abraxas Applications now known as Trapwire, Inc.”
The latest revelation directly discredits that claim.
PrivacySos reports that a website maintained by the US Homeland Security Department’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) includes TrapWire as a product for sale to law enforcement agencies and first responders. It’s there that the background and operational concept of the system are described in detail and direct curious customers to AbraxasCorp.com for more information. When a link to the URL is clicked, the banner at the top of the developer’s homepage described Abraxas as “A Cubic Company.” On the FEMA page, the product information is detailed as provided directly by Abraxas Applications
“The Products Section includes commercially available product information that has been uploaded directly and voluntarily by the manufacturer,” the FEMA page acknowledges.
If that is indeed the case, either the federal government is hosting falsified information about TrapWire to prospective customers, or else the program was overseen to a degree by Cubic as previously suspected. If it’s the latter, then the August 13 statement was a downright lie.
On the PrivacySos post, published Tuesday, its acknowledged that Cubic has previously been confirmed as operating fare systems for major mass transit programs and Anonymizer, an IP-masked tool described by its publicists as “the leader in consumer online anonymity solutions.”
“If the government’s facts are correct, the Abraxas Corporation was managing sales for the TrapWire system at least as recently as February 2011 – meaning Cubic had its hands on both highly sensitive private information on millions of ordinary people and a networked surveillance system sold to governments,” PrivacySOS notes.
In addition to the press release that attempted to distance Cubic from TrapWire, activist and Project PM founder Barrett Brown uploaded a phone call to YouTube he alleged to be between himself and Cubic Corp. Communication Director Tim Hall. In the clip, published August 21, Mr. Hall denied his company’s involvement with TrapWire and also insisted that Cubic has never been tied to Ntrepid, a separate corporation that was awarded $2.76 million worth of taxpayer dollars to create phony Internet “sock puppets” to propagate US support.
“There is no connection at all with Abraxas Applications and Trapwire and or Ntrepid,” the man perpetrated to be Hall explains in the clip. Research into the entities, however, led to the discovery of Abraxas Corporation’s tax filings from late 2011, and with it, a common bond: TrapWire Inc. was registered in 2009 to a Margaret A Lee from Virginia, who also served on the Ntrepid board of directors.
“Since the government’s intelligence and data management contracting operations are so secretive and opaque, we may never know what’s really going on – whether Cubic in fact operates transit data systems, so-called IP anonymizers and surveillance systems sold to governments,” the PrivacySOS post reads. “[It] doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. That’s because we know more than enough to be convinced that we need a mass movement for privacy in the United States, whether or not these connections are real.”
- Invasion of the Privacy Snatchers, Or, Another Creepy Service From The TrapWire Corporate Family To Yours (femalefaust.blogspot.com)
- Facial recognition and GPS tracking: TrapWire company conducting even more surveillance (rt.com)
- Whitewash of Trapwire End Users by Major Media.. (beowulfjournal.wordpress.com)