Federal Spy Technology In Our Cities… And Homes
Read an article on infowars.com, written by the great Paul Joseph Watson regarding some more privacy infringement technology. This technology is being implemented in Seattle, and comes in the form of little white boxes mounted to poles on street corners. The boxes latch on to electronic devices and record the location, apps, and MAC address of these devices. The department of homeland security funded the installation of some 160 devices, costing 2.7 million dollars. The series of boxes are referred to as a “wireless mesh network”.
The Stranger, out of Seattle has reported on the devices and says that the Seattle Police Department is not currently using the technology to track electronic devices, even though they are already installed and are actively popping up as recognized networks on devices. The boxes have the capacity to record the last 1,000 locations of any MAC address that it connects to. They are said to default to anonymous readings of the devices, but that those settings can be overridden to accrue more information from mobile devices. This would suggest that private information could be pulled and stored.
Both the Seattle Police Department and DHS have been questioned by reporters as to the intended use of the devices. DHS and the Seattle Police Department both refused to give any comment on policy, stating that “is not comfortable answering policy questions when we do not yet have a policy.”
Very interesting how the technology has been installed and yet there has not been any legal policy implemented in connection with its use.
Seattle council member Bruce Harrell advocates the use of the technology in lieu of the Boston Marathon bombings, stating, “While I understand that a lot of people have concerns about the government having access to this information, when we have large public gatherings like the situation like in Boston and something bad happens, the first thing we want to know is how are we using technology to capture that information,” he told KIRO-TV.
In an article by Michael Snyder, author of Beginning of the End, points out how we are continually apathetic toward the invasions of our privacy, stating, “We are being told that such measures will help police “solve more crime”. We are being told that such measures will “keep people safe”. But what about our privacy? Doesn’t that count for something? What about the Fourth Amendment? Are our most cherished liberties and freedoms going to be thrown into the trash just because we live “in a more dangerous world”?”
This is just another small example of how our government is rolling out technologies, and funding their implementation at the local level, and not giving any explanation other than to say it’s for our security. The law and our 4th amendment rights are often an afterthought, and are not being addressed prior to installation of technologies, as in the case of Seattle’s little white boxes.
Seattle is not the only example of intrusive technology. Hi-tech Intellistreets lamps are being installed in major cities that have the ability to record conversations, and are being utilized by DHS.
Other technologies with sensitive acoustic sensors are marketed for their ability to record and alert of gunfire, according to a New York Times article. It is also recognized that while the technology can be used to detect gunfire, it also has the capability of listening to conversations. This has raised concern, and was addressed in a formal statement by the ACLU.
There is cause for great concern around these technologies, given that they are recording information, but also that they are connected to the internet, which makes this data accessible to the NSA, who’s abuses are well documented. Greater concern is mounting with the proliferation of various internet connected devices that we are using in our everyday lives.
These devices have the capability to record us in our own homes. Concern was raised around the Xbox Kinect, with it’s Microphone, prompting Microsoft to give their insistence that they are not recording conversations. This insistence doesn’t carry much weight, considering that Microsoft worked with the NSA to allow the federal agency to bypass its encryption services in order to spy on people.
Let this simply be a reminder that we as citizens should exercise great concern over what our technology is being used for, when they are connected to the internet. One might argue that they have nothing to hide, but the recent NSA abuse revelations suggest that the state has great interest in control of our information under the guise of protecting our security.