Trapped In The Grid: How Net-Centric Devices And Appliances Provide Voluminous Information To Intelligence Agencies And Their Business Partners

25/03/2012 02:58

SR FlashPoint Analysis 2012/2: Trapped In The Grid
By Michael Vail(Chief Editor of StratRisks)
mvail [at] stratrisks [dot] com


The Internet has revolutionized our world. It has shaped the way most people live and think. The Internet can be used to bring families together or it can be used to organize riots around the world. At this point in time it is not enough to be able to access websites, music and games at home, we need devices that can do this as well as any desktop computer. Today we have tablets and smart phones and they have been built so that you can connect to the web from wherever you are. The massive appetites of Internet users have created fortunes for those who were quick to act on it. Governments and businesses around the world are also interested in chomping on those bits of yours, analyzing it to determine the collective mood of the masses or selling users products based on their preferences.

 “The patent discusses the technology to analyze the background noise during your phone call and serve up ads for you based on the environmental conditions Google picks up on. Yeah, that’s creepy.” –Google wants to serve you ads based on the background noise of your phone calls

 “A pretty basic example of what Google could do with this technology is that it could serve you ads if you’re making a phone call in a place where there’s inclement weather. If Google were to pick up on rain in the background of your call, they could serve you ads for umbrellas.

In addition to this patent including the background noises of phone calls, it also talks about the backgrounds of photos and videos you’ve taken as well. So if you took a picture in the snow, you might be shown ads for snow shovels.”–Google wants to serve you ads based on the background noise of your phone calls

 “All those new online devices are a treasure trove of data if you’re a “person of interest” to the spy community. Once upon a time, spies had to place a bug in your chandelier to hear your conversation. With the rise of the “smart home,” you’d be sending tagged, geolocated data that a spy agency can intercept in real time when you use the lighting app on your phone to adjust your living room’s ambiance.

“Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters — all connected to the next-generation internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing,” Petraeus said, “the latter now going to cloud computing, in many areas greater and greater supercomputing, and, ultimately, heading to quantum computing.”

 Petraeus allowed that these household spy devices “change our notions of secrecy” and prompt a rethink of “our notions of identity and secrecy.” All of which is true — if convenient for a CIA director.”–CIA Chief: We’ll Spy on You Through Your Dishwasher

Everyone is interested in your private information, but it is not private any longer. The Internet and device providers have changed their terms of service so that all data that you use on their networks or devices belong to them, somehow. This is precious data to them as they can either sell it or use it for profiling purposes. Everything we do on the Internet leaves a trail back to us. Search engine entries, shopping lists, e-mail addresses and so much more which is ripe for the taking. Now governments and their intelligence agencies want a piece of that action and they have new tools to ascertain our intentions and possible future actions.

 “It’s the National Security Agency’s Utah Data centre, a $US2 billion facility that will capture, record and scrutinise every communication in the world, from emails to phone calls to text messages to chats. It will also crack codes. According to Threat Level, the encryption cracking will be the most powerful in the world, and will help get into “financial information, stock transactions, business deals, foreign military and diplomatic secrets, legal documents, confidential personal communications.”–This Is The Most Powerful Spy Center In The World

 “The Utah data centre is the centrepiece of the Global Information Grid, a military project that will handle yottabytes of data, an amount so huge that there is no other data unit after it. This centre — with every listening post, spy satellite and NSA datacenter connected to it, will make the NSA the most powerful spy agency in the world. “–This Is The Most Powerful Spy Center In The World

 “The planned Defense Intelligence Information Enterprise (DI2E) framework seeks to integrate currently disconnected systems, information, teams, tools and other technologies into a tightly unified environment. The common system will enable users to securely add, access and share information and other intelligence resources anytime, anywhere.”–DI2E framework aims for streamlined intelligence sharing

 ““DI2E is designed to build upon the Distributed Common Ground System architecture [the Army’s framework for the dissemination of intelligence across all echelons], especially its DCGS Integration Backbone and the Global Information Grid to provide seamless intelligence data ‘at the speed of Twitter,’ to quote Army Chief of Staff GEN Ray Odierno,” said Cedric Leighton, founder and president of strategic risk consulting firm Cedric Leighton Associates and a retired Air Force colonel who until 2010 was deputy director for training at the National Security Agency.” –DI2E framework aims for streamlined intelligence sharing

 There have been a series of related and interesting developments in the field of global intelligence gathering. The NSA is building a brand new data center in Utah in order to connect with some new intelligence sharing systems such as the Defense Intelligence Enterprise and the Global Information Grid. The Global Information Grid is a massive military system which pulls information from every piece of sensory military hardware in space, land, sea, or air and manages it. The Defense Intelligence Enterprise takes which is already in place and shares that data with national intelligence agencies and their respective international partners. This behemoth is nothing but trouble as citizens around the world are being caught up in this information whorehouse. I am sure that most people would not appreciate their private conversations end up on foreign military or intelligence networks.

 “In his recent bombshell story for Wired magazine, National Security Agency chronicler James Bamford writes that the joke that the agency’s acronym stands for “never say anything” applies now more than ever. In fact, it seems the NSA does speak. It says “no” quite a lot.

 In a budget hearing Tuesday in the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee, Georgia Representative Hank Johnson directly questioned NSA director general Keith Alexander about Bamford’s Wired article, which lays out the agency’s domestic spying program in new detail. Alexander denied the article’s claims, which included on-the-record interviews with multiple ex-NSA staffers describing phone- and data-based surveillance of Americans, fourteen times.” –NSA Chief Denies Wired’s Domestic Spying Story In Congressional Hearing

 “In 2006 and 2007, Siobhan Gorman, a highly regarded intelligence reporter for the Baltimore Sun, wrote a series of articles about how the National Security Agency was (mis)managing a highly sensitive, very expensive collection program known as Trailblazer. Relying on interviews with current and former senior intelligence officials as well as internal documents, Gorman was able to show that the NSA’s “state-of-the art tool for sifting through an ocean of modern-day digital communications” was a boondoggle of sorts — and that the agency had removed several of the privacy safeguards that were put in place to protect domestic conversations and e-mails from being stored and monitored. “–NSA Employee Indicted for ‘Trailblazer’ Leaks

 I don’t understand how these people can lie with a straight face about domestic spying. It goes on all the time, you could look at Project Echelon, Project Groundbreaker, Project Trailblazer and many others. Why do you think that the head of the CIA is gloating about being about to glean intelligence through your devices and net-centric applications. It is a gold mine for them and they have reaped a bonanza from it. CIA director David Petraeus put his cards on the table because he hinted about the next target, it will be all of data from the smart meters that have been put in place in the past few years. It wouldn’t be hard to tell how many people are living in a certain home from electricity records or which appliances are used the most. Will we be deemed terrorists from some poorly programmed profiling software based on our paper and data trail? Mistakes happen all the time, from faulty no-fly lists to swat team wrong door raids. We must protect our information and develop new encryption methods to keep the curious parties at bay.

See Also:

DI2E framework seeks to unite wealth of intelligence data

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