Tag Archive | surveillance

NSA broadens funding for 4 universities to advance the science of cybersecurity

NSA broadens funding for 4 universities to advance the science of cybersecurity

The National Security Agency is expanding funding for several universities to continue scientific research into cyber security.

The intelligence agency awarded contracts to North Carolina State University, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Carnegie Mellon University in 2012 and recently announced that these three universities along with the University of Maryland would receive additional funding.

NSA’s initial 2012 funding to the three universities lasts through June 2014, reports Federal Computer Week. The most recent funding for all four universities will enable them to conduct unclassified research for one year, FCW said, adding the government then has the right to exercise two one-year option periods to continue research. Each university will receive $1 million to $2.5 million for the first year, for a total of about $8.2 million, said FCW, and results from each lablet will be published by the Science of Security Virtual Organization.

Basic research by these lablets, or small labs, will focus on five problem areas including scalability and composability, policy-governed secure collaboration, security metrics, resilient architectures, and understanding and accounting for human behavior.

The NSA, the private sector and other organizations have been pushing to develop a science of security, which is essentially a rigorous scientific foundation to help advance cybersecurity. In other words, scientific research is conducted on how security systems are designed, built, used and maintained so that security challenges can be better understood and addressed, versus an ad hoc or patchwork approach to identify and remove specific threats with limited scope.

Over the last three years, the NSA said it has funded almost 300 departments at universities to develop lablets and create a research community into the science of security.

For more:
– go to the NSA announcement

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Creepy show on Disney: Indoctrination by the surveillance state or innocent entertainment?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hLowmoU5nU?wmode=transparent&autohide=1&egm=0&hd=1&iv_load_policy=3&modestbranding=1&rel=0&showinfo=0&showsearch=0&w=500&h=374%5D

Special Agent Oso.

This is quite intriguing in light of last year’s revelations about the surveillance state.

Most people probably already know that insect spy drones are already in the works. While spy shows are not new (Here, here, and here you can find some information about the Pentagon’s and CIA’s ties to Hollywood), it is not hard to see that at the very least, this show gets young children used to the notion that small cameras are everywhere and that their ends are always beneficial. Notice that the Shutterbug sends signals of its location directly to agent Oso via the satellite, where he is told the children’s exact whereabouts. Some illuminating lyrics from the song:

She’s always in flight, on the case both day and night 
Sending the picture right up to the satellite!

Also,

She’s on the front line of a unique team 
So things will be fine whenever she sounds the alarm!

In other words, whenever something is “going wrong,” Shutterbug takes a picture of it and sends that picture and a signal of the location of that “wrong” to Special Agent Oso so that he can help to “fix” the situation. In the video, you see the Shutterbug taking a picture of a dead plant to document that someone has let a plant die and did not clean up the mess. Shutterbug also takes pictures of sad kids to report to Special Agent Oso that their lives need some “fixing.” Note that the Shutterbug flies inside the home of these children. All of this happens while the parents have left the child unattended.

This has probably already circulated around Tumblr, but I just couldn’t resist giving my opinion about this, especially since similar smart phone apps are now available.

Indoctrination by the surveillance state or innocent entertainment? You decide!

Google to Obama: Leave Us Out of Your Spying Fight

Seems as though the tech giant is motivated by bad publicity. Has anyone forgotten that they were compliant in the spying?

The politics between the feds and the tech giants are fascinating.

Google to Obama: Leave Us Out of Your Spying Fight

Public feud between CIA, Senate panel follows years of tension over interrogation report

An excerpt:

What most people do not realize is that public feuds between Congress and the CIA are highly unusual. The shock of the CIA’s surveillance of Congress comes from the fact that the Eastern Establishment has used the CIA in its covert operations for decades. So when people like Dianne Feinstein come out swinging against the surveillance, it is because it’s like having your own dog betray you.

Sit, Ubu sit. Good dog!

Public feud between CIA, Senate panel follows years of tension over interrogation report

Utilities testing techology to track guns within 10 meters of gunfire

With the shooters who attacked a Silicon Valley power station last April still at large and Congress increasing pressure on utilities to do more to protect such facilities, electricity companies are looking at a new security technology popular among urban police forces.

Sensors that can immediately track, within 10 meters, the location of gunfire will soon be tested at two power stations. An executive at the Bay Area firm that manufactures that technology, ShotSpotter, said public safety concerns preclude him from disclosing exactly where.

The test run comes as the FBI remains flummoxed by the shooting at the Pacific Gas & Electric Co. power station near San Jose. The attack on the transformers caused considerable damage and came dangerously close to knocking out power in Silicon Valley.

Energy experts, including the former chief of the Federal Regulatory Commission, have since warned that the assault could have been a dress rehearsal for a larger attack on electricity infrastructure. A coordinated series of similar shootings, they say, has the potential to knock out power in a large part of the West for an extended time.  

The ShotSpotter audio sensors can triangulate the sound of a gunshot to pinpoint its exact location and send an alert to law enforcement. The technology is used by police forces across the country, including in the city of South Gate, parts of Oakland and a large swath of Washington D.C. It costs $150,000 to $200,000 to install at a substation, plus annual monitoring costs of about $20,000.

Read more.

Utilities testing techology to track guns within 10 meters of gunfire

Facebook to create floating internet of drones and satellites (Wired UK)

Mark Zuckerberg is putting together a lab where a team of Facebook engineers will build flying drones, satellites, and infrared lasers capable of beaming internet connections to people down here on earth.

Revealed yesterday by the Facebook CEO and founder, it’s known as the Facebook Connectivity Lab. According to Zuckerberg, the lab’s engineering staff already spans “many of the world’s leading experts in aerospace and communications technology,” including researchers from Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Lab, Nasa’s Ames Research Center, and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory. And the company is now adding engineers from a British company called Ascenta, an outfit that helped create the world’s longest solar-powered unmanned aircraft.

All this may seem like a stretch for a social networking company. But it’s a necessary part of Zuckerberg’s efforts to bring the net to the vast parts of the world that still don’t have it — an effort known as Internet.org that makes an awful lot of sense for a company whose continued expansion depends on the continued expansion of the net. And though the general public may not realise it, Facebook has a long history with building new hardware that can advance its cause. The company declined to comment on the lab, but it confirms that the lab will be run by Yael Maguire, the former MIT Media Lab researcher who played a big role in the Open Compute Project, Facebook’s effort to build a more efficient breed of computer servers and data centres for driving its web and mobile services.

Hinted at in earlier press reports, Facebook’s flying-internet efforts mirror a similar project that’s underway at Google. Known as Project Loon, it seeks to provide internet access to the hinterlands through high-altitude balloons. Like Facebook, Google stands to benefit in big ways if the net expands. The original services built by these two web giants are now used by enormous swaths of the online population, and eventually, the companies must push into an entirely new audience. As public companies, they’re under enormous pressure to continue the growth of their businesses — in perpetuity. In addition to Loon, Google is looking to expand the reach of high-speed internet landlines through a service called Google Fiber.

According to a post on the website by Internet.org — a consortium that also includes such tech outfits as Samsung, Ericsson, Nokia, and Qualcomm — the new Facebook lab is exploring the possibility of using solar-powered high-altitude planes to provide internet access in suburban areas. These could “stay aloft for months, be quickly deployed and deliver reliable internet connections,” the site says. Then, for more remote areas, the lab is looking towards low-orbiting satellites. In both cases, it aims to beam internet access to the people using what’s called free-space optical communication, or FSO. Basically, this is a way of transmitting data through infrared lasers.

Facebook’s announcement comes two days after the company acquired a startup called Oculus, saying it would use the startup’s gaming headset as a way of moving its social network into the world of virtual reality. Compared to that, the Connectivity Lab is a rather straightforward business move. On Tuesday, while discussing the Oculus buy, Zuckerberg painted both projects as platforms that represent not the near future of Facebook, but the distant future.

This is unbelievable. I thought my imagination assumed things were going to get pretty bad, but this has surpassed even that. It is hard to believe how big Facebook has gotten in such a short time. It is only a ten-year-old company.

Facebook to create floating internet of drones and satellites (Wired UK)

YouTube Enlists ‘Trusted Flaggers’ to Police Videos – Digits – WSJ

Read more.

YouTube Enlists ‘Trusted Flaggers’ to Police Videos – Digits – WSJ

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