Iris scanning on the rise

While mass monitoring of internet and phone communications, along with image- or video-based technologies such as automated license plate readers and facial recognition, have received increasing media coverage in recent years, one area of surveillance -- iris recognition -- has gotten less attention. But that is starting to change. Earlier this month The Intercept, which … Continue reading Iris scanning on the rise

Five Eyes look to ‘engage’ with tech companies

Officials from the so-called "Five Eyes" group of English-speaking countries, which closely cooperate on surveillance and intelligence matters, are pushing to work even more closely not only with each other, but with major private sector players in the tech industry. Following a conference late last month in Ottawa, official representatives of the countries involved -- … Continue reading Five Eyes look to ‘engage’ with tech companies

Govt. wants face recognition for ‘non-cooperative’ subjects ‘in the wild’

The U.S. spy world's high tech research agency, the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity or IARPA, has launched a new face-recognition challenge, as Atlantic Media's government tech news site NextGov reports this week. Unlike the procession of so-called "artificial intelligence" algorithms that have emerged in recent years for the purpose of identifying faces in photos … Continue reading Govt. wants face recognition for ‘non-cooperative’ subjects ‘in the wild’

Former spy chief comments on ‘broken’ clearance system, ‘too much Big Brother’

James Clapper, the former Director of National Intelligence who resigned at the end of President Obama's administration -- and who once controversially denied that the U.S. intelligence bureaucracy collects data on its own citizens just months before leaks from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden showed that to be untrue -- is seemingly willing … Continue reading Former spy chief comments on ‘broken’ clearance system, ‘too much Big Brother’

Automation suggested as ‘insider threat’ solution

In the wake of high-profile leaks of government secrets in recent years such as those by Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, and most recently the CIA revelations from Wikileaks, the "insider threat" has become a prominent concern in national security circles. It is not surprising, then, that someone has now suggested another popular buzzword -- … Continue reading Automation suggested as ‘insider threat’ solution

Android apps ‘colluding’ to share data without permission, study says

Thousands of Android smartphone applications "have secretly been colluding to mine our information," according to researchers at Virginia Tech, who released a new study funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) this week. The study looked at more than 110,000 pairs of Android apps, "including 100,206 of Google Play’s most popular apps and … Continue reading Android apps ‘colluding’ to share data without permission, study says

Plausible deniability surrounding surveillance abuse wears thin

In the wake of Wikileaks' bombshell "Year Zero" disclosures on Tuesday, former Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden, a frequent defacto spokesman for the intelligence establishment, appeared on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, of all places, to awkwardly attempt to explain the stunning revelations. Hayden cracked a joke or two … Continue reading Plausible deniability surrounding surveillance abuse wears thin

Trump accuses Obama of wiretaps, pushes to renew unaccountable wiretapping authority

  President Donald Trump kicked off yet another news cycle via Twitter this weekend with allegations that former President Barack Obama had his "wires tapped" at Trump Tower in October. Yet Trump's concern about whether he was personally monitored  comes as his administration is reportedly looking to reauthorize two of the National Security Agency's biggest … Continue reading Trump accuses Obama of wiretaps, pushes to renew unaccountable wiretapping authority

Local police cell phone snooping highlights lack of surveillance oversight

In December, a congressional oversight committee released a report on the use of cell-site simulators, and claimed federal authorities only use the mobile phone surveillance devices to determine suspects' locations, rather than to intercept content. A new investigation, however, shows that local law enforcement, at least, has often been using the sophisticated surveillance technology under … Continue reading Local police cell phone snooping highlights lack of surveillance oversight

Critics question FBI use of National Security Letters

Every year the Federal Bureau of Investigation issues tens of thousands of "National Security Letters." These demands for information from communications service providers are a key component in the U.S. government's domestic surveillance apparatus, yet the details of how they are used were long kept largely secret from the public. This has begun to change … Continue reading Critics question FBI use of National Security Letters