Big Brother IS watching you.
Corporations ARE watching you.
Hackers are watching you.
Other Governments are watching you.
We all ARE watching you.
Hello again ATS!
When it occurred to me that the subject matter to be covered in this thread would make a fitting follow up to one of my previous threads,
The Face of Your Enemy,
I honestly thought it'd take me a couple of hours to brush up
on the subject matter, and a an hour or so to download some pretty pictures to make the thread visually bearable, and then maybe an hour to throw it
all together into a cogent and enjoyable thread.
Well... some six hours into just finding source
material I cannot begin to tell you, dear friends, just how naive my initial thoughts were. As
far as "rabbit holes" go, well, apparently the bunnies that drilled this one could teach oil companies a thing or two about drilling deep. This
subject is deep enough to make Chilean miners shudder in fear.
Still... I will strive to do my best to try and present as many facts as possible and to see if we can't, as a community, unravel this
to some degree.
It should also be noted that, for the benefit of this thread staying manageable, I am going to stay specific to Internet issues - and avoid discussing
the prevalence of surveillance and data mining in our non cyber lives. Traffic cams, store cams, credit card tracking, and the like all could probably
support a thread, each, of their own and this thread already promises to be a book in its own right. So I will stick with just the one application of
domestic spying. And, even in that regard, given the pure abundance of raw data that I have come across, the odds of this OP being all inclusive of
even that one subject are definitely against me.
So, take a quick look over your shoulder, make sure your packet sniffer
is running properly
and is updated, get yourself behind a few proxies,
and let's get to work.
The Face of Your Enemy II - Cyber Tyrrany
“I have always loved truth so passionately that I have often resorted to lying as a way of introducing it into the minds which were
ignorant of its charms”
"Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges! I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges!"
Gold Hat - The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
“The computer was born to solve problems that did not exist before.”
Most of us, on any given day, in our modern world, will utilize the Internet for a variety of applications. We have computers in our homes. We carry
laptops. Our gaming consoles come with built in high speed modems. Even our televisions and telephones have gotten into the act. The truth is that
cyberspace, in many very serious and real ways, is just as relevant, tangible, and important to us as the world which exists outside our front doors.
Yet most of us are also aware that there are very dark and dangerous undertones to our little digital homeland. There are nefarious characters
wandering the streets of Cyberville, and not all of them are doing so without authority and permission. There are eyes upon us here. There are hands,
quite literally, in our pockets as we roam this landscape. We whistle to ourselves as we walk, hoping to avoid drawing attention to ourselves. We
chant our magical mantras of "lol" and "omg" as if these talismans might ward off the darkness. But we all know that, when it is all said and done,
these things do us no good.
Let's ponder for a minute...
Contrary to the rumors, Al Gore did not invent the Internet.
But these guys
The RAND Corporation.
Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency ( DARPA )
The story, in a nutshell
is that some scientists figured it would be way too cool if
they could share information, in text, in real time, with one another and if their computer systems were capable of comparing and sharing data without
the need for transferring that data physically, on transportable media.
Personally I think it all began with "Fred, man you should see the pictures I took of this girl at the beach! Man if only there were a way I could
instantly transmit these things to you!". But that's just my pet theory. And, let's face it, my pet theory fits the reality of the Internet a LOT
better than the so called "official" story, but I digress...
So, we now see that the US military basically footed the bill for the creation of our digital playground - which of course means that the US taxpayer
actually picked up that tab ( The rest of the world - you may thank us now ) but the beast soon got out of control, for a number of years. Information
was flowing too freely and quickly for TPTB to track. And thus began the process of finding ways to reign the Internet back in.
After a lot of trial and error, the science of computer surveillance
began to take form.
The real game of computer surveillance, in the US broke wide open in 1994 with the passage of the
Communications Assistance For Law Enforcement Act.
Some information about CALEA:
The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) is a United States wiretapping law passed in 1994, during the presidency of Bill
Clinton (Pub. L. No. 103-414, 108 Stat. 4279, codified at 47 USC 1001-1010).
CALEA's purpose is to enhance the ability of law enforcement and intelligence agencies to conduct electronic surveillance by requiring that
telecommunications carriers and manufacturers of telecommunications equipment modify and design their equipment, facilities, and services to ensure
that they have built-in surveillance capabilities, allowing federal agencies to monitor all telephone, broadband internet, and VoIP traffic in
In the years since CALEA was passed it has been greatly expanded to include all VoIP and broadband internet traffic. From 2004 to 2007 there was a 62
percent growth in the number of wiretaps performed under CALEA -- and more than 3,000 percent growth in interception of internet data such as
Mix CALEA with warrantless wiretapping
and you get a direct idea of what it all adds
up to. If you type it, say it, send it, access it, save it, or create it on a digital computing device that has any sort of network capability - it is
Big Brother is watching folks. And he brought along several friends who like to watch as much as he does.
Let's take a few minutes to be courageous and to lift our eyes and make eye contact with those who are sitting in the shadows, following us with their
The Players - Government
The United States Department of Defense.
I begin with the big daddy of them all because... well because they are the man behind the proverbial curtain regarding a number of the agencies we
are about to discuss - as well as being responsible for the existence of the Internet in the first place. If many of the agencies and entities we
discuss here, strike us a bit Darth Vader
-like in their propensity for evil, then the DOD is most
definitely is playing the role of the Sith Lord Emperor Palpatine.
The players who answer directly to the DoD:
United States Cyber Command.
"USCYBERCOM plans, coordinates, integrates, synchronizes and conducts activities to: direct the operations and defense of specified Department of
Defense information networks and; prepare to, and when directed, conduct full spectrum military cyberspace operations in order to enable actions in
all domains, ensure US/Allied freedom of action in cyberspace and deny the same to our adversaries."
The command is charged with pulling together existing cyberspace resources, creating synergy and synchronizing war-fighting effects to defend the
information security environment. USCYBERCOM is tasked with centralizing command of cyberspace operations, strengthening DoD cyberspace capabilities,
and integrating and bolstering DoD’s cyber expertise.
And the subsidiary factions of Cyber Command:
US Marine Corps Cyberspace Command
These guys are so new they don't even have their own emblem yet!
US Army Cyber Command.
Twenty-Fourth Air Force - Air Forces Cyber
US Tenth Fleet - US Fleet Cyber Command
Now, we are assured, in what I have read, or at least it is suggested, that these various resources have been pooled as a means of engaging in
against the enemies of our nation.
for example, could be the work of such entities as these. But the obvious and glaring
downfall of such technology comes directly to mind. Any gun that can be pointed at an enemy can also be pointed at your own people. This is the
inherent danger present in the military being involved in such arenas as this.
Thank you, no... I don't think I need the US Military Industrial Complex doing the job that my firewall and my virus scanning software already
Also under the DoD banner...
The National Security Agency ( NSA ).
National Security Agency headquarters, Fort Meade, Maryland.
Now if there is truly a big bad boogieman to be found in all of this, the NSA certainly fits the bill. On top of having the right to unabashedly spy
upon you, I, and Uncle Bob without the benefit of warrant or any other real reason, the NSA also has some other very interesting qualifying
NSA has the ability to file for a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office under gag order. Unlike normal patents, these are not revealed
to the public and do not expire. However, if the Patent Office receives an application for an identical patent from a third party, they will reveal
NSA's patent and officially grant it to NSA for the full term on that date.
Yup, they can invent it, never ever tell anyone they've got it. Oh, and if you happen to come along and invent it as well... Well the NSA can keep it
anyway. This doesn't even address the very real potential that your completely original, brilliant patent idea could theoretically be taken from you,
even if the NSA never had anything even remotely like it, simply by them saying "Oh, them, yeah we've got one of those.". But I digress, again...
Even before we had an internet the NSA was doing all sorts of fun stuff... Like causing the
Viet Nam War
, running around during the Cold War perfecting their
phone tapping skills
, and later covering up that Israeli jets and ships attacked a
US Naval Vessel.
But since Cyberspace came along... Well the NSA is really busy!
Most notably with programs like Eschelon:
The ability to intercept communications depends on the medium used, be it radio, satellite, microwave, cellular or fiber-optic. During World War
II and through the 1950s high frequency ("short wave") radio was widely used for military and diplomatic communication, and could be intercepted at
great distances. The rise of geostationary communications satellites in the 1960s presented new possibilities for intercepting international
communications. The report to the European Parliament of 2001 states: "If UKUSA *(UK and US govs) states operate listening stations in the relevant
regions of the earth, in principle they can intercept all telephone, fax and data traffic transmitted via such satellites."
This is done, at least in part, by literally hijacking all data that passes through fiber optic switching stations, or internet backbones, such as
in San Fransisco.
Even our allies find this disconcerting, as demonstrated in a statement from the above linked ECHELON wiki page:
In 2001 the Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception System recommended to the European Parliament that citizens of member states routinely
use cryptography in their communications to protect their privacy, because economic espionage with ECHELON has been conducted by the US
This advice is even more poignant today, and applies to all of us, including American citizens.
The domestic spying activities of the NSA contravene all logic, and even the specifics of the law as shown below:
Also from the above ECHELON source
On December 16, 2005, the New York Times reported that, under White House pressure and with an executive order from President George W. Bush, the
National Security Agency, in an attempt to thwart terrorism, had been tapping the telephones of select individuals in the U.S. calling persons outside
the country, without obtaining warrants from the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a secret court created for that purpose under
the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
One such surveillance program, authorized by the U.S. Signals Intelligence Directive 18 of President George Bush, was the Highlander Project
undertaken for the National Security Agency by the U. S. Army 513th Military Intelligence Brigade. NSA relayed telephone (including cell phone)
conversations obtained from both ground, airborne, and satellite monitoring stations to various U.S. Army Signal Intelligence Officers, including the
201st Military Intelligence Battalion. Conversations of citizens of the U.S. were intercepted, along with those of other nations.
The good news, people of America? US District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor
surveillance to be both Unconstitutional AND illegal! Chalk one up for the good guys!!!
But, wait... The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
Judge Taylors ruling, reversing her findings.
At any rate... It's easy to see that the NSA is obviously one of the few ventures going, in the present economy, that can say BUSINESS IS BOOMING!
But let us not forget the Defense Intelligence Agency!
They seem kind of passive and secretive... but we might recognize their fingerprint if we think about those wonderful
weapons of mass destruction
that we don't seem to have found. Well, at least them
and an organization ( The CIA ) that we'll cover at some point in this, seemingly, never ending OP!
Oh, and if you're confused or overwhelmed already... don't feel bad. The government actually had to create
The Central Security Service...
... just to coordinate the above agencies and entities... Man this foreign / domestic spying this takes a LOT of mental energy just to try and
Now, onto some of ATS's tried and true favorite, domestic alphabet agencies!
The Department of Homeland Security.
While these guys are certainly relative newcomers to the intelligence and law enforcement game... Man oh man do they have their hands in a LOT of
cookie jars! the National Infrastructure Advisory Council,
the Homeland Security Science And Technology Advisory Committee,
the Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council,
the National Communications System,
the DHS Office of Intelligence and
and the National Cybersecurity Center.
And to think that I've spent years screaming "NSA!". These DHS guys apparently came to play! But they aren't the only locally acting Cyber
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
When it comes to information and data... the FBI was once Carnivorous
but has sense
developed a bit more Insight.
Between the NSA and the FBI it is a fair bet to say that they see almost
everything, if not the whole enchilada, where binary communications are concerned.
And of course, segueing towards my next few entries we can't leave out
the Central Intelligence Agency ( CIA )
Do they spy on us in the US? Your bet is as good as mine. But whatever it is they do, it's enough to regularly anger Congress and to cause Congressmen
to cite the very laws which forbid the CIA from operating domestically. But, hey, what spy worth his salt isn't breaking rules?
Speaking of the CIA.. let's discuss China for a minute...
Chinese Intelligence in the USA.
If there is any other government that is watching us nearly as much as Uncle Sam... Well it is Uncle Mao. But Uncle Mao comes with the extra added
bonus of wanting to also attack
us in the process. And if you find it hard to believe that
the Chinese would want to read our sad little instant messages and see our drunken texts and MMS's, well... I offer you
And, yes, many other nations are engaging in Cyberwarfare. Some bark very loudly about this in the hopes that they'll make enough noise to get a bit
of a payoff... Others keep very quiet and hope that nobody notices what is happening. But all have the potential to be a sudden and devastating
boogieman to we, the denizens of Cyberspace.
The Players - Private Industry
I don't want to make you paranoid, or burst any bubbles for you... but here is a simple fact of life. If you are connected to the Internet, and you
access ANYTHING via that connection... chances are that you are actively being data mined.
If you click it, like it, download it, load it, save it, view it, search it, hover over it too long with your mouse, or just type in something that is
remotely associated to it... Well you've been data mined. You have been profiled.
Heck, even the ads you see here, on ATS, are based upon your browsing history and a few other factors. It seems the term
Monster could have been so prophetic... COOKIE!
Rather than weighing this voluminous thread down any further than necessary, I am just going to bring up a couple of the more infamous or
controversial data mining operations:
If you ever get kind of spaced out and watch the bottom of your browser bar as you surf, you might catch a fleeting glimpse of the words
The above link says this:
Google Analytics (GA) is a free service offered by Google that generates detailed statistics about the visitors to a website. The product is aimed
at marketers as opposed to webmasters and technologists from which the industry of web analytics originally grew. It is the most widely used website
statistics service, currently in use at around 57% of the 10,000 most popular websites. Another market share analysis claims that Google Analytics is
used at around 49.95% of the top 1,000,000 websites (as currently ranked by Alexa).
This is fancy talk for the following: Google Analytics tells the sites you visit as much as it can possibly glean, from certain files in your
computer. And it does this for free!
Sheesh... I hope that all the above listed agencies are "for profit" because the DoD is NOT making any of that proverbial phat Google cash.
And no mention of data mining would be complete without bringing up the Social Network...
We, as a society, tend to have our common sense about privacy and personal security totally eroded when faced with the potential of "belonging". And
Facebook cashes in on this quirk of human nature with all the zeal of a fat kid at an all you can eat pizza buffet. Facebook eats data and we, as
social animals, throw even our most personal details, secrets, and tidbits into the gaping mouth that is Social Networking.
Facebooks' response when their system was caught red handed
engaging in all sorts of
nefarious villainy? They blamed third party software developers.
And then, of course, there's US
When we see the terms "anon" or "anonymous" we tend to think of a few, very specific websites, or of a stereotypical mental image:
But the reality is that, when it's all said and done, we are all anon, in the truest sense of the term. We are all citizens of the digital realm. We
all access, manipulate, tweak, adjust, and interact with this environment. It's just that some are better at it than others. And not all of us have
pure or noble intentions. In fact, unless you run the right sorts of prophylactic software, you and your
may well be WAY more anon than you think!
But, really, once you've read this far,and soaked up everything that has come before the "us" section of my OP. then you might see the truth in my
We may well be the only thing that can protect us from the defiling of our little Cyber paradise! Our sworn protectors aren't too keen on doing so.
The so-called "free market" is not going to step up. Even those who proclaim themselves to be Internet Robin Hood or Cyber Messiahs end up mucking the
whole thing up due to immaturity, boredom, lulz, and the truth that power does corrupt. Even now, as I type these words, one thing is imminently
clear... Only you can protect you in this landscape of zeroes and ones.
So... the next time you see one of those endless thread that pop up saying "ZOMG ATS IS COINTELPRO DISINFO CIA NSA BAD MEN WHO WANT YOUR
COOKIES!!!!!!!!!! DEBUNK THIS!!!!!!! URGENT!!!!!" simply reply with:
Well, dude, who in Cyberspace isn't?????
For, as we see, here, the Face of Your Enemy is everywhere and never more than a packet away.
edit on 1/17/11 by Hefficide because: bbcode fail X2 AND a picture link fail!
edit on 1/17/11 by Hefficide because: Title
edit on 9/11/12 by Hefficide because: (no reason given)