DHS Paid Millions of Dollars for Cell Phone Location Data to Track Americans

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been buying location data of millions of cellphone users from third party players. According to documents released by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on July 18, the DHS is buying this data without any warrants to track movements of civilians.

“The released records shine a light on the millions of taxpayer dollars DHS used to buy access to cell phone location information being aggregated and sold by two shadowy data brokers, Venntel and Babel Street,” the report read.

The documents show that this vast amount of location data of people are being purchased by various DHS agencies, including the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) without any judicial oversight, to track people’s movements and use it for “unreasonable government searches and seizures.” Further The data, purchased by the DHS, allowed law enforcement to identify devices & locations at “places of interest,” and to obtain information about frequent visitors, discover patterns of life and collect other important details, as well as track specific individuals or everyone in a particular area.

The records, running into thousands of pages – 6,168 to be precise — contain more than 336,000 location points across North America that had been obtained from people’s smartphones. 

The documents obtained by ACLU over the past year reveals that the bulk of the data came from two companies – Venntel, a location intelligence company headquartered in Washington, DC, and Babel Street, a Virgina-based AI company.

The documents also reveal in detail that not only were the federal agencies aware of what they were doing but also made efforts to rationalize those actions, or even hide them. For instance, the records claimed that the data was “opt-in” and “voluntarily shared ” by users, and that it is collected with consent of the app user and “permission of the individual.”

“By searching through this massive trove of location information at their whim, government investigators can identify and track specific individuals or everyone in a particular area, learning details of our private activities and associations,” noted the ACLU.

Sources : Sputnik News

Geospatialworld.net

Leaked documents show FBI, DEA, and Army can control your computer

FBIspy

Leaked emails from an Italian-based hacking company reveal that government agencies engage in surveillance more invasive than previously thought, spending millions of dollars on spyware and malware software to accomplish their questionable goals. Tellingly, their use of the product places them squarely in the same category as other repressive regimes around the world.

After hackers ironically hacked Hacking Tools, a Milan-based company that sells strictly to governments, hundreds of gigabytes of emails and financial records were leaked.The emails show that the FBI, DEA, and U.S. Army all purchased software that enables them to view suspects’ photos, emails, listen to and record their conversations, and activate the cameras on their computers, among other things.

While this may seem like old news, the most controversial revelation was the government’s purchases of “Remote Control Systems.” The FBI, DEA, and U.S. Army, courtesy of Hacking Tools, possess the capability to take control of a suspect’s computer screen. The technology is so invasive that even the DEA, known for its violative surveillance policies, had reservations about purchasing it.

Hacking Tools has been sharply criticized for its sale of RCS to oppressive regimes around the world. From Sudan to Bahrain, Hacking Tools seeks business opportunities with rulers that target political activists, journalists, and political opponents—putting the American government agencies that employ the same technology—and often have the same objectives— in questionable company.

One of the more contentious revelations is the company’s hard sell that it can bypass encryption, a capability the FBI has openly desired since phone companies made encryption a default setting last year.

The FBI did seek warrants to use Hacking Tools technology in a handful of cases, but apparently uses a different platform for “critical” investigations. What the FBI really wanted from the Italian firm, according to leaked emails, was “more ability to go after users of Tor, the anonymizing web browser.” Such users accounted for 60% of the FBI’s use of Hacking Tools products.

In spite of these legitimate concerns, the technology is permeating other levels of government. Largely because of aggressive marketing by Hacking Tools, District Attorney offices around the country are eager to use the software.
Whether or not the government agencies who have purchased the software use it extensively or not is, at this point, irrelevant. That such bureaus and government officials have so much as the desire to use it — in some cases, in spite of a clear understanding of its controversial nature — is cause enough for concern.

Via Intellihub

Government Sponsored Cyber Attacks to Legitimize DHS Big Brother Control Grid

The US government-sponsored surveillance system is being built with the assistance of federal agencies, state and local law enforcement, telecommunications technology, websites, search engines, private sector corporations and data collection software. To justify the need for a cybersecurity legislation that will enable the US government to spy on every American citizen without purpose other than to create a totalitarian control grid.

Back in March, DHS, the FBI and Obama administration officials demonstrated for Senators a fake take-down of US infrastructure to coerce them into supporting the Cybersecurity Act of 2012. The focus of the fake attacks were US banks, power grids and telecommunications systems.

When creating a corporate-surveillance grid, the work of the military-industrial complex, mainly the Department of Defense (DoD), who created the internet we know today and controls its direction with orders coming from the executive branch.

The Obama administration is circumventing the Congress with an executive order to create it’s own law concerning internet lockdown after the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 was voted down last month.

A leaked version of the executive order on cybersecurity reveals the creation of an “infrastructure cybersecurity council manned by the US Department of Homeland Security that will be staffed by members of the departments of defense, justice and commerce, and national intelligence office.Experts agree that the US power grids are rarely attacked or hacked into, yet the US government is using the general public’s ignorance against them for the sake of gaining social support for their ultimate Big Brother surveillance system.

Original Article Here