Computer security expert and privacy specialist Bruce Schneier writes:

The Internet of Things is the name given to the computerization of everything in our lives. Already you can buy Internet-enabled thermostats, light bulbs, refrigerators, and cars. Soon everything will be on the Internet: the things we own, the things we interact with in public, autonomous things that interact with each other.

These “things” will have two separate parts. One part will be sensors that collect data about us and our environment. Already our smartphones know our location and, with their onboard accelerometers, track our movements. Things like our thermostats and light bulbs will know who is in the room. Internet-enabled street and highway sensors will know how many people are out and about­ — and eventually who they are. Sensors will collect environmental data from all over the world.

The other part will be actuators. They’ll affect our environment. Our smart thermostats aren’t collecting information about ambient temperature and who’s in the room for nothing; they set the temperature accordingly. Phones already know our location, and send that information back to Google Maps and Waze to determine where traffic congestion is; when they’re linked to driverless cars, they’ll automatically route us around that congestion. Amazon already wants autonomous drones to deliver packages. The Internet of Things will increasingly perform actions for us and in our name.

Increasingly, human intervention will be unnecessary. The sensors will collect data. The system’s smarts will interpret the data and figure out what to do. And the actuators will do things in our world. You can think of the sensors as the eyes and ears of the Internet, the actuators as the hands and feet of the Internet, and the stuff in the middle as the brain. This makes the future clearer. The Internet now senses, thinks, and acts.

We’re building a world-sized robot, and we don’t even realize it.
Source: https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/201...

A great summation of uberveillance in relation to FitBit-style trackers by Richard Chirgwin of The Register. Article here 

German researchers have discovered security flaws that could let hackers, spies and criminals listen to private phone calls and intercept text messages on a potentially massive scale – even when cellular networks are using the most advanced encryption now available.

The flaws, to be reported at a hacker conference in Hamburg this month, are the latest evidence of widespread insecurity on SS7, the global network that allows the world’s cellular carriers to route calls, texts and other services to each other. Experts say it’s increasingly clear that SS7, first designed in the 1980s, is riddled with serious vulnerabilities that undermine the privacy of the world’s billions of cellular customers.

The flaws discovered by the German researchers are actually functions built into SS7 for other purposes – such as keeping calls connected as users speed down highways, switching from cell tower to cell tower – that hackers can repurpose for surveillance because of the lax security on the network.

Those skilled at the myriad functions built into SS7 can locate callers anywhere in the world, listen to calls as they happen or record hundreds of encrypted calls and texts at a time for later decryption. There also is potential to defraud users and cellular carriers by using SS7 functions, the researchers say.

These vulnerabilities continue to exist even as cellular carriers invest billions of dollars to upgrade to advanced 3G technology aimed, in part, at securing communications against unauthorized eavesdropping. But even as individual carriers harden their systems, they still must communicate with each other over SS7, leaving them open to any of thousands of companies worldwide with access to the network. That means that a single carrier in Congo or Kazakhstan, for example, could be used to hack into cellular networks in the United States, Europe or anywhere else.

“It’s like you secure the front door of the house, but the back door is wide open,” said Tobias Engel, one of the German researchers.

Engel, founder of Sternraute, and Karsten Nohl, chief scientist for Security Research Labs, separately discovered these security weaknesses as they studied SS7 networks in recent months, after The Washington Post reported the widespread marketing of surveillance systems that use SS7 networks to locate callers anywhere in the world. The Post reported that dozens of nations had bought such systems to track surveillance targets and that skilled hackers or criminals could do the same using functions built into SS7. (The term is short for Signaling System 7 and replaced previous networks called SS6, SS5, etc.)

The researchers did not find evidence that their latest discoveries, which allow for the interception of calls and texts, have been marketed to governments on a widespread basis. But vulnerabilities publicly reported by security researchers often turn out to be tools long used by secretive intelligence services, such as the National Security Agency or Britain’s GCHQ, but not revealed to the public.

“Many of the big intelligence agencies probably have teams that do nothing but SS7 research and exploitation,” said Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist for the ACLU and an expert on surveillance technology. “They’ve likely sat on these things and quietly exploited them.”

The GSMA, a global cellular industry group based in London, did not respond to queries seeking comment about the vulnerabilities that Nohl and Engel have found. For the Post’s article in August on location tracking systems that use SS7, GSMA officials acknowledged problems with the network and said it was due to be replaced over the next decade because of a growing list of security and technical issues.

The German researchers found two distinct ways to eavesdrop on calls using SS7 technology. In the first, commands sent over SS7 could be used to hijack a cell phone’s “forwarding” function — a service offered by many carriers. Hackers would redirect calls to themselves, for listening or recording, and then onward to the intended recipient of a call. Once that system was in place, the hackers could eavesdrop on all incoming and outgoing calls indefinitely, from anywhere in the world.

The second technique requires physical proximity but could be deployed on a much wider scale. Hackers would use radio antennas to collect all the calls and texts passing through the airwaves in an area. For calls or texts transmitted using strong encryption, such as is commonly used for advanced 3G connections, hackers could request through SS7 that each caller’s carrier release a temporary encryption key to unlock the communication after it has been recorded.

Nohl on Wednesday demonstrated the ability to collect and decrypt a text message using the phone of a German senator, who cooperated in the experiment. But Nohl said the process could be automated to allow massive decryption of calls and texts collected across an entire city or a large section of a country, using multiple antennas.

“It’s all automated, at the push of a button,” Nohl said. “It would strike me as a perfect spying capability, to record and decrypt pretty much any network… Any network we have tested, it works.”

Those tests have included more than 20 networks worldwide, including T-Mobile in the United States. The other major U.S. carriers have not been tested, though Nohl and Engel said it’s likely at least some of them have similar vulnerabilities. (Several smartphone-based text messaging systems, such as Apple’s iMessage and Whatsapp, use end-to-end encryption methods that sidestep traditional cellular text systems and likely would defeat the technique described by Nohl and Engel.)
In a statement, T-Mobile said: “T-Mobile remains vigilant in our work with other mobile operators, vendors and standards bodies to promote measures that can detect and prevent these attacks.”

The issue of cell phone interception is particularly sensitive in Germany because of news reports last year, based on documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, that a phone belonging to Chancellor Angela Merkel was the subject of NSA surveillance. The techniques of that surveillance have not become public, though Nohl said that the SS7 hacking method that he and Engel discovered is one of several possibilities.

U.S. embassies and consulates in dozens of foreign cities, including Berlin, are outfitted with antennas for collecting cellular signals, according to reports by German magazine Der Spiegel, based on documents released by Snowden. Many cell phone conversations worldwide happen with either no encryption or weak encryption.

The move to 3G networks offers far better encryption and the prospect of private communications, but the hacking techniques revealed by Nohl and Engel undermine that possibility. Carriers can potentially guard their networks against efforts by hackers to collect encryption keys, but it’s unclear how many have done so. One network that operates in Germany, Vodafone, recently began blocking such requests after Nohl reported the problem to the company two weeks ago.

Nohl and Engel also have discovered new ways to track the locations of cell phone users through SS7. The Post story, in August, reported that several companies were offering governments worldwide the ability to find virtually any cell phone user, virtually anywhere in the world, by learning the location of their cell phones through an SS7 function called an “Any Time Interrogation” query.

Some carriers block such requests, and several began doing so after the Post’s report. But the researchers in recent months have found several other techniques that hackers could use to find the locations of callers by using different SS7 queries. All networks must track their customers in order to route calls to the nearest cellular towers, but they are not required to share that information with other networks or foreign governments.

Carriers everywhere must turn over location information and allow eavesdropping of calls when ordered to by government officials in whatever country they are operating in. But the techniques discovered by Nohl and Engel offer the possibility of much broader collection of caller locations and conversations, by anyone with access to SS7 and the required technical skills to send the appropriate queries.

“I doubt we are the first ones in the world who realize how open the SS7 network is,” Engel said.

Secretly eavesdropping on calls and texts would violate laws in many countries, including the United States, except when done with explicit court or other government authorization. Such restrictions likely do little to deter criminals or foreign spies, say surveillance experts, who say that embassies based in Washington likely collect cellular signals.

The researchers also found that it was possible to use SS7 to learn the phone numbers of people whose cellular signals are collected using surveillance devices. The calls transmit a temporary identification number which, by sending SS7 queries, can lead to the discovery of the phone number. That allows location tracking within a certain area, such as near government buildings.

The German senator who cooperated in Nohl’s demonstration of the technology, Thomas Jarzombek of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party, said that while many in that nation have been deeply angered by revelations about NSA spying, few are surprised that such intrusions are possible.

“After all the NSA and Snowden things we’ve heard, I guess nobody believes it’s possible to have a truly private conversation on a mobile phone,” he said. “When I really need a confidential conversation, I use a fixed-line” phone.
Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-sw...

Have a look at this- KnightscopeAutonomous Robots that Predict and Prevent Crime 

I talked about a future like this at the QSymposium this year and many of the international relations scholars looked at me like I was from another planet! It took about 48 hours for people to realise that what I was saying was not just the stuff of science fiction, though I admit to watching every episode of Dr Who by the time I was 10 years old. I graduated with a Masters of Transnational Crime Prevention in the Faculty of Law in 2009- this is exactly what I studied, especially with respect to the notion of "hot pursuit" and separately intelligence-led policing (although now it's a lot more fashionable to talk about evidence-based policing. See my panel chairing at this Human Rights and Policing conference. A small part of my own presentation on proactive criminalisation is here.

Is this the future we want?

Is it just me, or can't you see where we're headed with this stuff?

I'd like to think that the data being collected by this BOT was going to be used just for peace and security but that would be a pipedream!

C'mon people "startup of the year"? Do we give prizes for novelty and innovation without thinking what it all might mean in the future?

And please don't give me the rhetoric about a knife being used to butter bread or to kill someone... this ain't the same thing! This is abhorrent! 

One day autonomous data collection, the next a packed mule! Anyone remember this article? But then the way these things are marketed you'd think they weren't real! Well think again... I had the great pleasure of entering Boston Dynamics in June of this year and was greeted by the monstrosities at the front door. The packed mules DO exist, they just haven't been unleashed en mass!

Thanks for the link KMA- interesting these Knightscope guys were given airtime at PII this year. Correct me if I'm wrong- but aren't these the guys PII is raising awareness against? What a smokescreen confusing mess!

Now compare!

Darlek: "I was made to take orders..."

Dr Who: "What does that mean?"

Darlek: "I am a solider, I was made to receive orders."

Katina: "My point exactly."


The Australian government has been building a state-of-the art, secret data storage facility just outside Canberra to enable intelligence agencies to deal with a ‘’data deluge’’ siphoned from the internet and global telecommunications networks.

The high-security facility nearing completion at the HMAS Harman communications base will support the operations of Australia’s signals intelligence agency, the top-secret Defence Signals Directorate.

Privately labelled by one Defence official as ‘’the new black vault’’, the data centre is one of the few visible manifestations of Australia’s deep involvement in mass surveillance and intelligence collection operations such as the US National Security Agency’s PRISM program revealed last week by US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.

Fairfax Media has confirmed Australian intelligence agencies receive what Defence intelligence officials describe as ‘’huge volumes’’ of ‘’immensely valuable’’ information derived from PRISM and other US signals intelligence collection programs.

Australian agencies assist the US to target foreign nationals and Australian citizens who are of security and intelligence interest to both countries.
Source: http://www.smh.com.au/it-pro/government-it...

Two part documentary from thoughtmaybe.com (About)

The United States of Secrets chronologically accounts the Bush administration’s embrace of illegal and widespread dragnet surveillance and eavesdropping programmes, along with President Obama’s decision to continue them and expand them (despite campaign promises to the contrary) by weaving narratives by those who sought to blow the whistle on these programmes over the decades—culminating with Edward Snowden’s unprecedented dump of insider documents in 2013. We see how and why those inside the NSA and other government agencies came to act; what actions were effective, and what role the mainstream media had and continues to have in keeping such secret projects alive and untouchable in the name of ‘national security.’
   Part 1 -- The Program    Part one details the emergence of a top secret project within the NSA called ‘The Program’ which was a series of mass-surveillance, capture, storage, and data analysis operations that expanded after the events of September 11, 2001. The Program drew on preceding decades of ‘national security’ measures charting back to the Regan administration and beyond, which were embraced by the regime of George W Bush, and expanded with the Obama administration. This first episode ties together the machinations of a dark world of secret surveillance, spoken by those who blew the whistle from the inside, and why.

Part 1 -- The Program

Part one details the emergence of a top secret project within the NSA called ‘The Program’ which was a series of mass-surveillance, capture, storage, and data analysis operations that expanded after the events of September 11, 2001. The Program drew on preceding decades of ‘national security’ measures charting back to the Regan administration and beyond, which were embraced by the regime of George W Bush, and expanded with the Obama administration. This first episode ties together the machinations of a dark world of secret surveillance, spoken by those who blew the whistle from the inside, and why.

   Part 2 -- Privacy Lost    Part two details how companies like Google and Facebook provide excellent data harvesting portals for intelligence agencies such as the NSA, by operating huge infrastructures for targeted advertising—which is is one and the same with surveillance.

Part 2 -- Privacy Lost

Part two details how companies like Google and Facebook provide excellent data harvesting portals for intelligence agencies such as the NSA, by operating huge infrastructures for targeted advertising—which is is one and the same with surveillance.

"Kidnappings in Mexico have worsened in the last 5 years, sky-rocketing by 371%. So too have the demand for those RFID implants that were said to allow authorities find the victims. Except for one thing: they don't work.

Mexico has a pretty serious kidnapping problem-so serious that there is now a market for a $4,000...Read more

The main problem is that the technology, for a number of reasons, couldn't have worked in the first place. For one, the implants are much too small for a satellite to pick up. And that's without taking into account the barriers the implant's signal would have to overcome—that is, metal, concrete, and the water of the human body. For another, the implants can't be trusted to broadcast a signal without losing its teeny tiny charge.

And even if the police did manage to pick up the signal, there'd be no time to mount a raid to save you. All told, you're probably only about 1% less screwed.

That hasn't stopped RFID manufacturers from raking in the money in the last two years. Xega's still very much at it, even after admitting the technology is "bad for the country." UPIwrites:

Xega charges people seeking the implant $2,000 up front, with annual fees of $2,000. For their money, implant customers get a radio frequency identification chip implanted into the fatty tissue of the arm.

Dickbaggery, thy name is RFID peddlers. [Washington Post via UPI]"

  Photo Credit: AP Photo/Diario de Nuevo Laredo

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Diario de Nuevo Laredo

Read more here in Gizmodo and compare with this article on Mexico's Geolocalization Law (2012).

"....We use the information that your mobile phone already collects about your current location and whereabouts in order to make personalized suggestions about places to go, things to see, and stuff to do, that we think you would find interesting."

Read more

"....Within The Human Locomotome Project, we have created a new technology utilizing mathematical models and diagnostics tools that can identify risks of age-related diseases on early stages through analysis of everyday activity movement. Access to this data provides awareness of your health factors, allowing for early prevention and lifestyle changes."


"...Short Interview with Cathie Reid - #glassexplorer - More about Cathie - https://plus.google.com/u/0/117806724842643433035/about "

I've invited Cathie to come to Canberra, Australia and connect with the public at the INSPIRE Centre, University of Canberra as part of the 2014 #glassmeetups . These blended face-to-face and online events provide an opportunity for discussions as to what other areas of the medical, healthcare, aged care industries might have in development or even in conceptual proof of concept such as the depiction below.

"Called the Fly6, it is a combination video camera and flashing rear light that promises to make riders more visible while recording what happens behind them. It is fitted to the bike's seat post.

The inventors say it could also help to determine who is responsible when a motor vehicle hits a bicycle from behind – one of the most common causes of serious injury or death among cyclists."

Transient

From The Guardian  (extracts with emphasis added):

"Keeping track of your emails and staying on top of your calendar might be hard enough, but for American software developer Chris Dancy, life doesn’t feel complete without several hundred data sets about his life being fed to him simultaneously at all times.

...

Today, Dancy is “travelling light”, only wearing seven devices: above his eyes sits the unmistakable horizontal bar of a Google Glass headset, which records everything he sees, while around his neck hangs a Memoto narrative camera, which takes a picture every 30 seconds for good measure. On one wrist is a Pebble watch, which sends him alerts from his two smartphones, while around the other is a Fitbit Flex, tracking his movement and sleep patterns 24 hours a day. And then there’s the stuff you can’t see: a Blue HR heart rate monitor strapped to his chest, a BodyMedia fitness tracker around his upper arm and, lurking beneath his waistband, a Lumoback posture sensor – “which vibrates when I slouch,” he beams.

“Right now I feel pretty naked,” he says, “because I can’t control the room.” Back at home in Denver, Colorado, all the data from these devices feeds directly into his ambient environment, which automatically adjusts according to his mood and needs.

“The house knows my behaviours,” he says. “If I get really stressed out and don’t sleep well, when I wake up the light is a certain colour, the room a particular temperature, and certain music plays. My entire life is preconditioned based on all this information that I collect in real time.”

...

“All this stuff [...] needs to be in my clothing. Why can’t your shoes have haptic sensors in them, so if you’re walking you don’t need GPS – your shoe just vibrates left or right? I think this low-friction, ambient feedback is really the future, but for now we have to strap all this stuff on and look silly.”

...

Dancy is perhaps the most extreme exponent [of] a community dedicated to tracking and archiving every aspect of their known existence. But might others also be watching them too?

“That’s a very real concern,” says John Weir, director of the Wearable Technology Show. “You can quantify yourself as much as you want, but a lot of that is fed back on the web, and a lot of the companies now hold immense amounts of data on their customers. Particularly with medical applications, where people will hopefully be feeding stuff back to their doctors, the ownership of data and privacy is going to become a big issue.”

Dancy shares these concerns, but is more optimistic about the beneficial power of mastering our data, as long as we stop giving it away. “We don’t have a sharing problem, we have a data intimacy problem,” he says. “It’s urgent that people look at the data they are creating and giving away – so much of it can be used to make our lives better, rather than lining the pockets of mega corporations.”

In reality, few have the software skills to ensure their personal data is not being harvested against their will, so maybe it’s for the best that most wearable tech still makes you look like an extra from Star Trek. For some, that’s a useful deterrent from ever wearing it."

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/ar...

Synopsis: Martha and Ash are a young couple who move to a remote cottage. But the day after the move, Ash is killed. At the funeral, Martha’s friend Sarah tells her about a new service that lets people stay in touch with the deceased. By using all of Ash’s past online communications and social media profiles, a new, virtual ‘Ash’ can be created. Martha is disgusted by the concept at first, but then in a confused and lonely state she decides to talk to ‘him’…

 "When you know where you were when something happened, you can usually infer or remember a  tremendous amount of related things about that experience, which makes the data secondary, and the experience primary."   Shane Luke, CPO, Recon"

"When you know where you were when something happened, you can usually infer or remember a 
tremendous amount of related things about that experience, which makes the data secondary, and the experience primary." 

Shane Luke, CPO, Recon"

Read more

  Recon Instruments’ first product to hit the market was Transcend in October 2010. Transcend are the world’s first alpine goggles with GPS data viewable through a head mounted display providing real-time feedback to the user including speed, latitude/longitude, altitude, vertical distance travelled, total distance travelled, chrono/stopwatch mode, a run-counter, temperature and time. It is also the only pair of goggles that link to a post-processing software, Recon HQ and an online sharing community HQ Online. Here users can playback, re-live and analyze not only their stats on Recon HQ but others’ on HQ Online where the user’s runs and highlights are overlaid on satellite imagery.

Recon Instruments’ first product to hit the market was Transcend in October 2010. Transcend are the world’s first alpine goggles with GPS data viewable through a head mounted display providing real-time feedback to the user including speed, latitude/longitude, altitude, vertical distance travelled, total distance travelled, chrono/stopwatch mode, a run-counter, temperature and time. It is also the only pair of goggles that link to a post-processing software, Recon HQ and an online sharing community HQ Online. Here users can playback, re-live and analyze not only their stats on Recon HQ but others’ on HQ Online where the user’s runs and highlights are overlaid on satellite imagery.

Request for Permission.clipular.png

"....Vodo serves as the bridge between Google Glass™ and the world you live and work in.

With Vodo Drive, you'll be able to share pictures, video, and text from your Google Glass to a folder you're permitted to on Google Drive™. You can also watch a folder on Google Drive and have it send new images and text files to your Google Glass.

As a special case, Vodo List can turn the spreadsheets you use on Google Drive into lists that you can control through Google Glass.

Vodo Task will let you set alarms and reminders based on time or location."

Read more

This morning I listened to the Dr Katherine Albrecht Show (see archive of 27 February 2014). Katherine was discussing the impact of video gaming on children. I watched this clip as a result of the program she aired.

Yesterday, Dr Albrecht appeared on George Noury's Coast to Coast program (see technology update here) and discussed the 'I want my iPad' phenomenon in toddlers. Here is another video she pointed to:

And another... She maintained that she would generally NOT wish for listeners to view these kinds of clips online but in this instance, it was the only way to raise awareness to an epidemic occurring in our society.

This phenomenon is a known phenomenon. See more. So what are we doing about it? Gathering the evidence and putting our kids online so that our Youtube hits increase ten-thousand fold?

I feel so sick in linking these videos of these kids up online in the uberveillance.com environment. But I am calling people out there to wake up to the what is occurring in most of our households. 

What is the answer? 

Better parenting?

Better friends and extended support groups?

Zero tolerance on screen time for toddlers?

Better education?

Schools saying 'no' to technology in the classroom?

Are we adding fuel to the fire?

 

What is blatantly obvious to me is that we need more research into SOLUTIONS. We can't have kids crying like this and profusely suffering anguish, and we cannot have parents surviving this kind of daily misery... and most of all we need to feedback these problems to developers... we cannot point the finger at Apple or Google alone... we need to point the finger at ourselves... society... yes 'we' perpetuate the problem. We can plead ignorance but we all know someone going through this- a child, a grandchild, a niece or nephew, a friend or a neighbour... in fact, we might be even going through it ourselves!

 

Where have we gone wrong?

Beyond that obvious point?

Why are the parents of these poor children putting their kids up online for everyone to comment on? Are they deep down seeking help? Do they want their prayers answered? Do they want to make their kids well?

We cannot claim ALL of these children appearing in thousands of uploads (just search online) are due to autism or some other mental illness or developmental problems! And if we claim that, are computers somehow contributing to these developmental issues?

The other thing that becomes apparent to me is the use of the mobile phone video camera as a weapon. Have we become so heartless, that we begin now to film these traumatic events and post them online for others to comment on. You were right on the mark Dr Albrecht. This is evil. Instead of going over and gently comforting our kids to return to their senses, we take out the camera to record the reality-tv... and so our children are now a part of a global theatre!

In previous posts, I have discussed the importance of NOT capturing these moments so we can allow our children to grow and develop, and not be held accountable for things they did as children. MG Michael and I have discussed the limits of watching. With Christine Perakslis we have also written an extensive book chapter on veillance (in press)! 

Can you imagine being one of the kids in this video? How would that make you feel 5 years on, 10 years on, 20 years on, or when you first discovered it was online for all to see on Youtube? Would you be typecast for life?

 

Everyone, we have to wake up! I am not being alarmist... if your heart doesn't feel sad over these videos then I personally don't know what to say...

And then we are contemplating taking Glass into the classroom? Right-o! Don't you think these tantrums don't happen at school? Will our children become "objects" not just "subjects" in the classroom? Let us tread VERY carefully. We can't use our kids as experiments. We need to think ethics.

And it is not just children that react this way... no... no... adults too, have this reaction but just convey it in a different way. See my article on high-tech lust!

We need to take the negative social implications of computers more seriously. Yes, some guys out there claim that computers can help kids... all my fellow collaborators and I are claiming is that the opposite is also true. Let's not be so narrowsighted. This is our future we are talking about!