How Your Location & Preferences are Recorded

Posted by Sam Churchill on

In Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story, everyone who’s anyone walks around wearing an “äppärät,” basically a supercharged wearable iPhone, says PC Magazine.

It functions as a social networking tool and broadcasts the wearer’s desirability, personality, credit rating, and shopping history to those nearby. While that information isn’t immediately available every time you walk into a room, the reality is that it’s readily accessible with one or two clicks.

PC Magazine explains how your steps are being recorded and ways to try to dodge whoever’s watching them.

Michele Norris speaks with Christopher Soghoian with the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research at Indiana University about how protect your voicemail account. Newscorp’s phone spying was enabled by simply typing in the carrier’s default PIN number to access voice mail. U.K. mobile operators say that wouldn’t be possible today.

The multi-billion dollar data mining industry is taking target marketing into a New Frontier. Every time you swipe a rewards card at a store, that data goes somewhere to get analyzed. Marketplace’s Stacey Vanek-Smith takes a look and visits a data mining company.

Cluster analysis takes a statistical approach. Words are tracked in relation to other words. Your consumer habits define your marketing cluster.

The business of spying on Internet users so that the information can be sold to advertisers is one of the fastest-growing businesses today, explains Fresh Air.

Julia Angwin (twitter) recently led a team of reporters from The Wall Street Journal in analyzing the tracking software and discovered that nearly all of the most commonly visited websites gather information in real time about the behavior of online users. Visiting the top 50 internet websites resulted in more than 3,000 cookies embedded into a “clean” computer. Wikipedia had no cookies. had the most, with over 250 attached to their computer on a single visit.

The Cellebrite UME-36Pro is commonly used in phone stores to transfer personal content when upgrading phones or changing networks. CelleBrite is used by Michigan police, to grab all existing, hidden, and deleted phone data.

The Cellebrite device examines mobile phones using a data cable, IrDA, Bluetooth or WiFi. It can access the phone user lock code, as well as deleted messages, images, geotags, phonebook entries and videos, past SIM cards and IMSI history. Almost all GPS devices collect trackpoints, the electronic breadcrumb trail that shows exactly where and when the device has traveled.

Police officers use the Mobile Plate Hunter system, developed by Elsag. It captures up to 1,800 license plate reads per minute, day or night, does an OCR, then interrogates a computer in the vehicle’s trunk. The computer checks a “hot list” of stolen vehicles and other violations.

When a HIT occurs, whether it’s for a suspended license, registration, or for a stolen vehicle, their latest software can also send the exact location, plate number, make and model to other officers in the field.

NYPD is rapidly expanding its Automatic License Plate Reading program. The city currently has hundreds of the cameras, operating out of its counter terrorism office. Combined with its thousands of surveillance cameras and its advanced database mining programs, the NYPD aims to create a “ring of steel” in downtown Manhattan, allowing for near total surveillance over the people in that area.

Wikipedia compiles device tracking software (above).

The LoJack Stolen Vehicle Recovery System allows vehicles to be tracked by police, with the aim of recovering them in case of theft. A small, silent radio transceiver is clandestinely installed in a vehicle. The unit and the vehicle’s VIN are registered in a database which interfaces with the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) system. In the event of a theft, a customer reports the incident to the police. This theft report is automatically processed by LoJack computers, triggering a remote command to the specific LoJack unit in the stolen vehicle. Every police car that is within a 2-3 mile radius of the signal source, will be alerted, if they have the 173.075 MHz receiver.

Dubbed Turbulence the NSA’s ambitious cybersecurity effort is part bloodhound and part attack dog, continuously trolling cyberspace to sniff out threats, and mobilizing defenses in near real-time. According to Bill Binney, a former NSA analyst, the N.S.A. has built enormous electronic-storage facilities in Texas and Utah that now stores copies of all e-mails transmitted in America. Whereas wiretap surveillance requires trained human operators, data mining is automated, meaning that the entire country can be watched.

In the late nineties, Binney estimated that there were some two and a half billion phones in the world and one and a half billion I.P. addresses. Approximately twenty terabytes of unique information passed around the world every minute. Binney started assembling a system that could trap and map all of it, says author Jane Mayer in The New Yorker.

ThinThread has mutated into Turbulence, with the U.S. anonimizer turned off for domestic surveillance, claims Binney, the developer of the original NSA program. Thomas Drake blew the cover and has been charged under the Espionage Act. Drake was sentenced last Friday to a year of probation for a minor offense after the U.S. government dropped more serious charges that he illegally held classified material.

Sens. Ron Wyden and Mark Udall (D., Colo.) wrote a letter to the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper asking whether the agencies he leads, including the NSA and the CIA, “have the authority to collect the geolocation information of American citizens for intelligence purposes.” “There are certain circumstances where that authority may exist,” said NSA lawyer Matthew Olsen.

Related articles include Behavioral Targeting: Kill/Capture and Google Vs The Feds

Posted by Sam Churchill on Tuesday, July 19th, 2011 at 10:20 am .

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