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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Watched's LiveJournal:

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Monday, May 19th, 2008
9:05 am
LifeLock misinformed customers, lawsuit says
I think this is hilarious.
For a time, the ads were everywhere on TV and radio, the ones with the head of a security company brazenly challenging would-be thieves to try to steal his identity.

Richard Todd Davis, CEO of LifeLock Inc., was so confident in his company's ability to protect his identity that he publicly revealed his Social Security number: 457-55-5462.

But according to a new class-action lawsuit filed last week in Jackson County, LifeLock's identity theft protection services were so inept that Davis' personal information was stolen repeatedly.

"While LifeLock has only publicly acknowledged that Davis' identity was compromised on one occasion, there are more than 20 driver's licenses that have been fraudulently obtained [using his personal information]," the suit states.

"Furthermore, a simple background check performed using Davis' Social Security number reveals that his entire personal profile has been compromised to the extent that the birth date associated with his Social Security number is Nov. 2, 1940, which would [inaccurately] make Davis 67 years old."
Monday, March 31st, 2008
3:00 pm
peeping over Big Brother's shoulder
"Search for violent criminals in your neighborhood."


It's Google Maps, cross-referenced with a bunch of databases, PLUS:
"Can I help by suggesting someone who needs to be listed?

Yes you can! Just use our contact page, and we’ll get them added in a hot hurry. Usually we verify it, but usually we don’t have the needed time or resources to insure it is valid. Please use this tool with honesty and integrity."

I haven't checked 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in DC yet.

UPDATE: It seems this is an all-too-convincing hoax. See for yourself by trying an address more than once. The results change.
Wednesday, August 29th, 2007
11:37 am
Sony at it AGAIN
Deja Vu: Sony Using Rootkits Again, F-Secure Charges

A line of USB drives sold by Sony Electronics installs files in a hidden folder that can be accessed and used by hackers, a Finnish security company charged Monday, raising the specter of a replay of the fiasco that hit Sony's music arm two years ago when researchers discovered that its copy protection software used rootkit-like technologies. ...

Saturday, August 18th, 2007
11:54 am
Federal police will gain access to military spy satellites
From politech_bot:

Federal police will gain access to military spy satellites



Current Mood: discontent
Monday, August 13th, 2007
8:49 am
Federal Surveillance Gifts Expensive for Locals to Maintain
Upkeep Of Security Devices A Burden

By Mary Beth Sheridan Washington Post Staff Writer Monday, August 13, 2007

In 2003, the FBI used a $25 million grant to give bomb squads across the nation state-of-the-art computer kits, enabling them to instantly share information about suspected explosives, including weapons of mass destruction.

Four years later, half of the Washington area's squads can't communicate via the $12,000 kits, meant to be taken to the scene of potential catastrophes, because they didn't pick up the monthly wireless bills and maintenance costs initially paid by the FBI. Other squads across the country also have given up using them.

"They worked, and it was a good idea -- until the subscription ran out," said Mike Love, who oversees the bomb squad in Montgomery County's fire department. At the local level, he said, "there is not budget money for it."

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the area has received more than $1 billion in federal money to strengthen first responders and secure the region. That money has bought satellite phones, radios, protective suits, water-security monitors and a host of other items.

But local officials are grappling with how to maintain the huge infusion of equipment. Like a driver whose 5-year-old luxury sedan has worn-out brakes, cracked tires and engine problems, local governments are facing hefty bills to keep their gear working.

Sunday, April 15th, 2007
6:04 pm
Reminder - Computers, Freedom & Privacy 2007

Debate the Future at the 17th annual Computers Freedom and Privacy
Conference, 1-4 May 2007 at the Hilton Bonaventure Hotel in
Montreal, Quebec. WWW.CFP2007.ORG
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Monday, April 2nd, 2007
9:07 pm
(article): UNDER SURVEILLANCE - The End of Illegal Domestic Spying? Don't Count on It

UNDER SURVEILLANCE - The End of Illegal Domestic Spying? Don't Count on It

By Joe W. Pitts | 03/15/2007

Americans of all persuasions were shocked by the revelations, first reported in the New York Times in December of 2005, that President Bush had authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to eavesdrop secretly for years on the calls and e-mails of American citizens, bypassing the warrants required by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment. The administration's decision, in January, to subject the NSA program to review by the special FISA court, supposedly ending the controversial warrantless surveillance, was reported as a stunning and welcome reversal.

Yet the surveillance program isn't the only thing now "warranted"; so is skepticism about the administration's change of heart. The superficial change-back to FISA control merely masks more deeply hidden examples of secrecy and deception in the concerted attack on American constitutional values. Whether manifest in the Scooter Libby verdict, the recent scandalous disclosures that National Security Letters (NSLs) have been deceptively and illegally used by the FBI to spy on unsuspecting Americans, or in these NSA programs, this attack on our constitutional core demands a vigorous response.
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Saturday, March 31st, 2007
7:12 pm
wish I could think of an adjective to describe this ...

George Orwell, Big Brother is watching your house

The Big Brother nightmare of George Orwell's 1984 has become a reality - in the shadow of the author's former London home.

It may have taken a little longer than he predicted, but Orwell's vision of a society where cameras and computers spy on every person's movements is now here.

According to the latest studies, Britain has a staggering 4.2million CCTV cameras - one for every 14 people in the country - and 20 per cent of cameras globally. It has been calculated that each person is caught on camera an average of 300 times daily.

Use of spy cameras in modern-day Britain is now a chilling mirror image of Orwell's fictional world, created in the post-war Forties in a fourth-floor flat overlooking Canonbury Square in Islington, North London.

On the wall outside his former residence - flat number 27B - where Orwell lived until his death in 1950, an historical plaque commemorates the anti-authoritarian author. And within 200 yards of the flat, there are 32 CCTV cameras, scanning every move.

Orwell's view of the tree-filled gardens outside the flat is under 24-hour surveillance from two cameras perched on traffic lights.

Sunday, March 25th, 2007
11:31 am
washingtonpost.com: My National Security Letter Gag Order

My National Security Letter Gag Order

Friday, March 23, 2007; Page A17

It is the policy of The Washington Post not to publish anonymous pieces. In this case, an exception has been made because the author -- who would have preferred to be named -- is legally prohibited from disclosing his or her identity in connection with receipt of a national security letter. The Post confirmed the legitimacy of this submission by verifying it with the author's attorney and by reviewing publicly available court documents.

The Justice Department's inspector general revealed on March 9 that the FBI has been systematically abusing one of the most controversial provisions of the USA Patriot Act: the expanded power to issue "national security letters." It no doubt surprised most Americans to learn that between 2003 and 2005 the FBI issued more than 140,000 specific demands under this provision -- demands issued without a showing of probable cause or prior judicial approval -- to obtain potentially sensitive information about U.S. citizens and residents. It did not, however, come as any surprise to me.

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Found via this thread & comments over on jwz


Current Mood: aggravated
Monday, December 4th, 2006
4:15 pm
As I expected ...
FBI taps cell phone mic as eavesdropping tool
By Declan McCullagh and Anne Broache, Staff Writer, CNET News.com
The FBI appears to have begun using a novel form of electronic surveillance in criminal investigations: remotely activating a mobile phone's microphone and using it to eavesdrop on nearby conversations.

The technique is called a "roving bug," and was approved by top U.S. Department of Justice officials for use against members of a New York organized crime family who were wary of conventional surveillance techniques such as tailing a suspect or wiretapping him.

Nextel cell phones owned by two alleged mobsters, John Ardito and his attorney Peter Peluso, were used by the FBI to listen in on nearby conversations. The FBI views Ardito as one of the most powerful men in the Genovese family, a major part of the national Mafia.

The surveillance technique came to light in an opinion published this week by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan. He ruled that the "roving bug" was legal because federal wiretapping law is broad enough to permit eavesdropping even of conversations that take place near a suspect's cell phone.

Kaplan's opinion said that the eavesdropping technique "functioned whether the phone was powered on or off." Some handsets can't be fully powered down without removing the battery; for instance, some Nokia models will wake up when turned off if an alarm is set....

So I wonder how long before phone cameras are used in the same way? Me, if I ever get a laptop with built-in camera, I'm going to fashion a lens cap for it.
Monday, June 12th, 2006
11:49 am
That famous stolen VA laptop
Over the weekend, I got my official "oops!" letter from the Government, informing me that, as a veteran, my data was on that stolen laptop we've been hearing about.

And last week, we learned that over two million active duty people also had personal data on that lost machine.

The thing I'm surprised at not hearing is the question: What if this were enemy action?

Okay, I don't know all the details of the case. It could well have been a random theft. And if it were a random theft, odds are that the machine's drives were wiped before the thieves resold it the next day. End of major problem.

But what if it were a targeted theft? In that case, the VA employee would have been in on it, and that would explain how all that data was on a PC that was taken home.

So if it were a targeted theft, set up ahead of time, who would be the recipients? Our Government already has the data, so I don't suspect them. Corporations would just ask the Government, and wouldn't do things this way.

How about "the terrorists"? Anybody who considered themselves a military enemy of the US would find SSN and birthdate data for active duty military personnel pretty darned useful, no? Totally screwing up the troops' credit ratings would be a novel way to demoralize a fighting force. And you could do that by writing a bot to apply all over the web for credit cards and loans, and letting it do its thing.

Or perhaps Bin Laden's next tape will include personal messages? "Jimmy Jonesowski of Beaumont, Texas, we've been talking with your parents, and they want you to come home."

Yes, it's far-fetched and probably not Bin Laden's style. But it's a genuine concern, and it's something I'd expect to hear more chatter about in the blogosphere and on news sites.
Friday, March 24th, 2006
8:03 pm
Sony BMG Settlement
Without even knowing, I purchased one of these "CDs" from Zia's here in town. And I was wondering why the "CD" would not play in my car CD changer.
Now, do I go back & try to get my money back from Zia's, or do I go through the Settlement process?

Hmm, which is more beneficial? Return, or the settlement from Sony/BMG?

From EFFector Vol. 19, No. 11 March 17, 2006 (A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, ISSN 1062-9424)

Get the Word out About the Sony BMG Settlement

EFF's campaign to help music fans claim their share of the Sony BMG settlement is off to a great start. News reports and EFF's settlement banners have spread around the web, driving over 20,000 hits to our settlement site in one week.

Help us keep the momentum going. Sony BMG won't be held accountable for infecting its customers' computers with dangerous DRM if music fans don't learn about the flawed software, the settlement, and how to submit claims. EFF has created a webpage to guide people through the Sony BMG settlement site, and we've designed several banners that link to this webpage. By posting a banner on your website or blog, you can help music fans protect themselves and get what they deserve.

To get the banners:

To submit your Sony BMG settlement claim:

For litigation documents and frequently asked questions:

Claim your share of the Sony BMG settlement
Sunday, March 12th, 2006
6:40 pm
PATRIOT Renewal Rubber Stamped, NSA Spying May Be Next
From EFFector Vol. 19, No. 10 March 10, 2006 A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, ISSN 1062-9424

PATRIOT Renewal Rubber Stamped, NSA Spying May Be Next

Despite the best efforts of EFF, other civil liberties organizations, and their supporters, Americans' privacy rights took some serious body-blows from Congress this week. The USA PATRIOT Act was renewed without meaningful reform, and key Congressmen backed away from a full investigation of the NSA's domestic spying program, instead making a deal with the White House to legalize it.

Whether because of election year fears or White House pressures, Republican Senators who had been holding out for significant new checks on the PATRIOT Act dropped the fight when offered a few sham reforms. The renewal bill was then quickly approved by the Senate and, this week, approved by the House and signed by the President.

Why are the "compromise" bill's three reforms worthless? Let's take each in turn.

The bill provides a procedure for recipients of super-secret National Security Letters (NSLs) to challenge the never-ending gag orders that accompany these FBI-issued subpoenas. But the ACLU (with help from EFF) already demonstrated that these gag orders could be successfully challenged in court without a change to the law. This new "reform" actually makes things worse: under the new law, these gag orders can't be challenged at all within a year of being issued, and if the government simply tells the court that lifting the gag order will hurt national security, the government wins. We think this procedure is just as unconstitutional as the original law.

The bill didn't include a requirement that NSL recipients seeking legal advice disclose their lawyer's name to the FBI. But this "reform" simply removed something bad from one of the renewal bill's earlier versions; it didn't change the original PATRIOT Act at all.

Finally, the bill clarified that NSLs can't be served on libraries that don't provide electronic communication services. But NSLs already can't be served on libraries lacking those services.

Unfortunately, it gets worse. Senate Republicans this week stated that they had reached a deal with the White House to legalize the NSA's domestic spying program. The agreement allows government investigators to conduct warrantless wiretaps for up to 45 days before having to go to a court, even in non-emergency situations. Currently, the law only allows such surveillance without a warrant for 72 hours in emergencies and for 15 days by the Executive when war is declared. Because of this deal, an in-depth Congressional investigation of the NSA program -- what it actually involves and whether it broke the law -- has been deflected for now.

Nevertheless, this week's events shouldn't be taken as final defeats. Members of Congress who were dissatisfied with the PATRIOT bill -- Democrats and Republicans alike -- are already proposing new non-sham reforms, while the plan to legalize the NSA Program still has opponents on both sides of the aisle. EFF believes that the spying program did in fact break the law and violate the Constitution, as we have alleged in our lawsuit against AT&T for helping the NSA with this massive fishing expedition into Americans' private communications. As always, EFF will stay on the front lines and fight hard to ensure that your civil liberties are protected.

New York Times, "G.O.P. Plan Would Allow Spying Without Warrants":

AP, "Bush to Sign Patriot Act Renewal":

For more on the NSA domestic spying program:

For more on EFF's suit against AT&T:

For more on the PATRIOT Act:

Thursday, March 9th, 2006
4:48 pm
My corporatese translation for "don't trust anything BIG" (release 1.0)
The net incompetence of a multi-person organization (corporation, government, stamp club, etc.) to maintain strong security is not less than the sum of the manifestations of incompetence of each of the people within it.

Thursday, February 16th, 2006
12:16 pm
Sunday, December 25th, 2005
12:00 pm
Unexploded Data Mines
I think Barrons actually thought about the implications of the data mining operation. And they saw right past the things we're initially (quite rightly) getting upset about and looked at the bottom line.

And to take it beyond their points, there's a HUGE opportunity for crooks, here. (What? Crooks in Government jobs? Who'da thunk it?)

First, there's opportunity for sifting all business communications for confidential data that might give advantage to a stock trader. In other words, it's the insider trading angle.

And then, remember all those calls people have made to order goods and services, calls that are handled by call centers in India? Calls where credit card numbers are spoken aloud, along with confirmation numbers?

Identity theft is most often an inside job, done by crook employees of a corporation. But this data mining operation must have provided thousands of Government workers unprecedented access to money data, with no expectation of oversight.

At the very least, EVERYBODY involved in the program should be audited.

Friday, December 2nd, 2005
6:56 pm
Sunday, November 6th, 2005
12:34 pm
The FBI's Secret Scrutiny
washingtonpost.com: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/05/AR2005110501366_pf.html

The FBI's Secret Scrutiny
In Hunt for Terrorists, Bureau Examines Records of Ordinary Americans

By Barton Gellman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 6, 2005;

The FBI came calling in Windsor, Conn., this summer with a document marked for delivery by hand. On Matianuk Avenue, across from the tennis courts, two special agents found their man. They gave George Christian the letter, which warned him to tell no one, ever, what it said.

Under the shield and stars of the FBI crest, the letter directed Christian to surrender "all subscriber information, billing information and access logs of any person" who used a specific computer at a library branch some distance away. Christian, who manages digital records for three dozen Connecticut libraries, said in an affidavit that he configures his system for privacy. But the vendors of the software he operates said their databases can reveal the Web sites that visitors browse, the e-mail accounts they open and the books they borrow.

Christian refused to hand over those records, and his employer, Library Connection Inc., filed suit for the right to protest the FBI demand in public. The Washington Post established their identities -- still under seal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit -- by comparing unsealed portions of the file with public records and information gleaned from people who had no knowledge of the FBI demand.

The Connecticut case affords a rare glimpse of an exponentially growing practice of domestic surveillance under the USA Patriot Act, which marked its fourth anniversary on Oct. 26. "National security letters," created in the 1970s for espionage and terrorism investigations, originated as narrow exceptions in consumer privacy law, enabling the FBI to review in secret the customer records of suspected foreign agents. The Patriot Act, and Bush administration guidelines for its use, transformed those letters by permitting clandestine scrutiny of U.S. residents and visitors who are not alleged to be terrorists or spies.
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x-posted, found over here in unpatriotic_act

Current Mood: disappointed
Tuesday, November 1st, 2005
11:23 am
Tuesday, October 25th, 2005
5:40 pm
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