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Amidst current attention on the Federal Court’s attempt to require Apple to install a backdoor allowing the FBI to access a criminal’s iPhone, may we remind ourselves of the NSA’s spectacular access to the same device using DROPOUT JEEP:
“DROPOUT JEEP is a software implant for the Apple iPhone that utilizes modular mission applications to provide specific SIGINT functionality. This functionality includes the ability to remotely push/pull files from the device. SMS retrieval, contact list retrieval, voicemail, geolocation, hot mic, camera capture, cell tower location, etc. Command, control and data exfiltration can occur over SMS messaging or a GPRS data connection. All communications with the implant will be covert and encrypted.”
The flowchart of how the NSA makes your iPhone its iPhone is presented below:
- NSA ROC operator
- Load specified module
- Send data request
- iPhone accepts request
- Retrieves required SIGINT data
- Encrypt and send exfil data
- Rinse repeat
Big Victory: Judge Pushes Jewel v. NSA Forward
We won a groundbreaking legal victory late Friday in our Jewel v. NSA case, which challenges the NSA’s Internet and telephone surveillance. Judge Jeffrey White has authorized EFF, on behalf of the plaintiffs, to conduct discovery against the NSA. We had been barred from doing so since the case was filed in 2008, which meant that the government was able to prevent us from requesting important information about how these programs worked.
This marks the first time a party has been allowed to gather factual evidence from the NSA in a case involving the agency’s warrantless surveillance. The government had fought all our requests to proceed with this lawsuit, arguing that the state secrets privilege protects it against both discovery and liability. Judge White previously rejected that argument for our statutory claims under the Wiretap Act, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and the Stored Communications Act. This ruling affirms Judge White’s previous decision and opens the door for discovery.
This is an important step forward to lifting the cloak of secrecy that has thus far shielded the NSA from judicial scrutiny, and EFF looks forward to finally getting to the nuts and bolts of this extraordinarily important lawsuit.
Redacted, declassified report released to the press on a Saturday, casts doubt on the effectiveness, while touting the vastly increased use, of NSA warrantless surveillance.
… Another part of the newly disclosed report provides an explanation for a change in F.B.I. rules during the Bush administration. Previously, F.B.I. agents had only two types of cases: “preliminary” and “full” investigations.
But the Bush administration created a third, lower-level type called an “assessment.”
This development, it turns out, was a result of Stellarwind. (The vast collection, storage and review of a large database of the communications of American citizens, including e-mail communications, telephone conversations, financial transactions, and Internet activity.)
F.B.I. agents were asked to scrutinize phone numbers deemed suspicious because of information from the program, but were not told why the data had been deemed suspicious and further, “not to use the information in legal or judicial proceedings.”
That made some agents uncomfortable … it was not clear how such mysterious leads fit into their rules for investigations.
The Justice Department created the new type of investigation, initially called a “threat assessment,” which could be opened with lower-grade tips.
Agents now use them tens of thousands of times a year.
December 17, 2014
By DAVID DISHNEAU / AP
U.S. Air Force Col. William Pitts stands in front of an unmanned aerostat on Dec. 17, 2014, in Middle River, Md. /Patrick Semansky/AP
The radar-toting vehicle will be launched next week as part of a three-year test of the system at Aberdeen Proving Ground, about 25 miles northeast of Baltimore.
When fully deployed next spring, the system will feature two, unmanned, helium-filled aerostats, tethered to concrete pads 4 miles apart. They’ll float at an altitude of 10,000 feet, about one-third as high as a commercial airliner’s cruising altitude.
One balloon will continuously scan in a circle from upstate New York to North Carolina’s Outer Banks, and as far west as central Ohio. The other will carry precision radar to help the military on the ground to pinpoint targets.
Full Story from Stars & Stripes: Army’s blimp-like airships get East Coast test – U.S. – Stripes
After a 2 year pause in collisions in the LHC for maintenance and upgrades, the accelerator is on track to be powered up again in March 2015 to begin a new era of ultra-high energy particle collisions by the following May. The goal for 2015 is to push for proton-proton collision energies of up to 13 TeV — nearly double the energy of the first LHC run.
“With this new energy level, the LHC will open new horizons for physics and for future discoveries,” said CERN Director-General Rolf Heuer. “I’m looking forward to seeing what nature has in store for us.”
On the long list of physics breakthroughs scientists hope to achieve, a glimpse of dark matter particles, understanding antimatter interactions, seeking out signs of extra dimensions and identifying possible signs of supersymmetry rank highly.
from Discovery News: LHC Revs-Up for Most Powerful Particle Collisions Ever : Discovery News
Recent research shows that the sort of metadata the NSA uses in its investigations is actually highly personal.
A group of researchers from the MIT Media Lab found that your metadata — including, but not limited to, the way in which you use your phone, how you make calls, to whom, for how long, etc. — can serve as an indicator of your personality.