Big Brother Is Getting Bigger

Analis

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Another illustration of the reach of Big Brother nowadays, the hacking of Belgacom apparently allowed the GCHQ to spy on every mobile trafic in Europe and Africa (and no, it was not Russians !) :
http://www.flanderstoday.eu/business/british-spying-belgacom-worse-imagined

British spying on Belgacom worse than imagined

by Alan Hope,
New revelations claim that hacking of Belgacom’s telecommunications network by GCHQ was more extensive and started earlier than previously thought
“Smoking gun evidence”
Espionage by the British intelligence service GCHQ in Belgacom’s telecommunications network was more extensive than previously thought, according to documents revealed by De Standaard and the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad.
In September last year, the German magazine Der Spiegel reported, based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden, that GCHQ operatives had hacked the computers of Belgacom employees, gaining access to Belgacom’s network, as well as to Belgacom International Carrier Services (BICS), the subsidiary that provides phone and internet traffic in Africa and the Middle East.

The information was provided by GCHQ to intelligence services in New Zealand, Canada, Australia and the US, which, with the UK, make up the group known as Five Eyes.

The new revelations show that the initial hacking – codenamed Operation Socialist – took place before June 2011 and was more extensive than Belgacom has so far admitted. Contrary to Belgacom’s previous claims, the hacking gave GCHQ access via BICS to virtually every mobile number in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. It wasn’t just private clients of Belgacom who were under surveillance, but also the telephone networks of Nato and the EU in Brussels, as well as international delegations and embassies.

Belgacom has declined to comment on the additional allegations while a legal procedure launched last September is on going. The federal prosecutor’s office, which is running the investigation, said it had taken note of the new information. The British government said GCHQ’s operations were “essential, legal and proportional”.

“This is the first time that there has been ‘smoking gun’ evidence of a cyber attack carried out by one country against the critical infrastructure of another,” Snowden told De Standaard this weekend. “This documented example of one EU country attacking another is breathtaking and shows the scale of state-sponsored hacking.”
 
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Steve Saker

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I can't understand the government wanting to track everyone individually as the video surveillance would be expensive and extremely boring but I do think that our use of bank cards, purchases, online activity and shopping habits are of individual interest for obvious reasons......money, spending etc....
 

EnolaGaia

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I can't understand the government wanting to track everyone individually as the video surveillance would be expensive and extremely boring but I do think that our use of bank cards, purchases, online activity and shopping habits are of individual interest for obvious reasons......money, spending etc....
It's not an either / or situation.

Tracking money flows and transactions has been established as a feasible and reliable tracking capability for quite some time now.

Video surveillance to afford visibility over what (e.g.) bank customers and shoppers - as 'real' individuals in the 'real world' - are doing represents a whole new context for monitoring, tracking, and evidence gathering.
 

GNC

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I can't understand the government wanting to track everyone individually as the video surveillance would be expensive and extremely boring but I do think that our use of bank cards, purchases, online activity and shopping habits are of individual interest for obvious reasons......money, spending etc....
Unless you're up to something very illegal, it's not the individual these monitoring systems are most useful for, it's for the masses, where social and financial trends can be identified and decisions can be made. There's a huge computer complex out in the middle of the American nowhere doing just that, because that information is worth an awful lot of money. Data is where fortunes are being made at the moment.
 

Megadeth1977

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China's social credit system is big brother taken to the extreme it should be a concern since the uk and the us have government leaders who are authoritarian.
 

Kingsize Wombat

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China is getting real serious about this:

Millions of People in China Were Barred From Transportation for Not Having Enough Social Credit

There were 23 million instances of the Chinese government blocking citizens from purchasing plane or train tickets in 2018, according to a government report obtained by the Associated Press. These people had been marked by the government as “discredited” for behavioral crimes, without specifying which crimes might bar someone from such a credit deduction. AP says some areas of China will issue social credit demerits for “offences as minor as walking a dog without a leash.”
The program’s slogan “Once you lose trust, you will face restrictions everywhere” is some shit even George Orwell couldn’t have dreamed up. Social credit has been in place since 2014, and by next year the Chinese ruling party says it wants a nationwide system in place with a file for each person. The system is a one part of a larger initiative to tighten control of the country’s 1.35 billion citizens, roughly 1/5th of the world’s population.


Of the 23 million blocked ticket sales, 17.5 million were for air travel, while 5.5 million train tickets were denied to would-be travelers. Further, 128 people were blocked from leaving China at all, due to unpaid taxes. Unpaid taxes and related fines are believed to be among the biggest reasons for the government revoking social credit from individuals.
By comparison, *only* 6.15 million transportation ticket sales were disallowed in 2017, which indicates to me that this program is aggressively ramping up.
Via: The Verge
https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/1/18246297/china-transportation-people-banned-poor-social-credit-planes-trains-2018

https://jalopnik.com/millions-of-people-in-china-were-barred-from-transporta-1833012115
 

Kingsize Wombat

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How Chinese spy app allows officials to harvest personal data

The tourists travelling into China were never supposed to know their phones had been compromised.

The surveillance app being installed on their devices should have been removed by the border officers tasked with the job. But their apparent carelessness has provided a rare insight into the techniques used by China to snoop on visitors and the kind of information being harvested from their phones.

Reverse engineering of a copy of the app found on a traveller’s phone by the Guardian, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Ruhr-University Bochum and the German cybersecurity company Cure53 discovered details of how it operates.

The app’s code refers to itself as CellHunter, but the icon that appears on the phone has the name 蜂采 (Fēng cǎi) – which refers to bees collecting pollen.

Unlike some of the advanced technology being used by authorities in the region to surveil citizens, the app is not especially sophisticated. Before the border police can install and operate it, the user has to unlock the phone and hand it over.

The app has two main functions: to extract personal and private information from the traveller’s device and to search for suspicious files.

Analysis shows that the app harvests emails, contact numbers, SMS messages, social media account identifiers and detailed information about the handset, including unique device identifiers.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2...app-allows-officials-to-harvest-personal-data
 

Kingsize Wombat

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Scary stuff. Really, really scary stuff.

There's a good chance Beijing already has your face on file

"The Chinese party-state's tech-enhanced authoritarianism is expanding globally," writes a leading international expert on the subject, Samantha Hoffman, in a new paper for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. "The Chinese Communist Party is building a massive and global data-collection ecosystem."

The Chinese government had 200 million CCTV cameras on its streets last year and is adding an estimated 400 million more. This, of course, includes Hong Kong.
The police also have hand-held devices for facial recognition. Facial recognition used by banks, airports, housing estates, cameras mounted on drones and at concert venues and university campus gates – and every mobile phone in China – is also fed into the central government database. Among its other purposes, it serves China's "social credit" system where people who are insufficiently compliant can be locked out of air travel, university, a job or even their own bank account.

But that's just the obvious stuff. In a case study of just one Chinese company, Global Tone Communication Technology, Hoffman finds that it collects bulk data from over 200 countries in at least 65 languages, including chat, messaging, "Internet of Things" sensors that are standard on new Wi-Fi-enabled household appliances, as well as video, audio and images.

And just one of this company's platforms, InsiderSoft, claims to have "full coverage of news, webpages, forums, Tieba, blogs, Weibo, WeChat, Twitter, Facebook, apps and videos". It says it collects 10 terabytes of data a day, about 2-3 petabytes a year. In more meaningful terms, that's equal to 20 billion Facebook photos a year. Again, that's one service run by one company.

Global Tone, or GTCOM, also has a heart-warming relationship with a Chinese company called Haiyun Data. This company helps China's Ministry of Public Security to impose mass surveillance of the people of Xinjiang, the northern province where China's government has an estimated minimum of 1 million of its Uighur people locked up in the modern gulag. Its research includes lip-reading from surveillance footage where audio isn't available. It says that this is used for "public security, military intelligence, identification" of people.
https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/t...dy-has-your-face-on-file-20191021-p532lu.html
 

Kingsize Wombat

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No real surprise there, but it should come as a warning to those worried about online stalking:

Google And Facebook Are Reading Your License Plates

For years I’ve gone back and forth over the practice of obscuring license plates on photos on the internet. License plates are already publicly-viewable things, so what’s the point in obscuring them, right? Well, now I think there actually is a good reason to obscure your license plates in photos because it appears that Google and Facebook are actually reading the plates in photos, and then making the actual license plate alphanumeric sequence searchable. I tested it. It works.

Starting with Google, the way this works is to search for the license plate number using Google Images. That’s it.

In my testing, I started with my own cars that I know have had images of their license plates in Jalopnik articles. For my Nissan Pao, a search of my license plate number brings up an image of my car, from one of my articles, as the first result.

I should mention that at no point did we tag the Yugo’s license plate number to any of these photos—that’s all behind-the-scenes Google black magic.
https://jalopnik.com/google-is-reading-your-license-plates-1839259494
 
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