Bits and Bytes

Drones and Surveillance

By Paul Rosenzweig
Saturday, January 30, 2016, 1:51 PM

A busy day with a nice collection of stories (coincidentally all from the Washington Post this time around):

Chinese cyber-surveillance is the norm and its popular.  "Within China, government monitoring of private communication is not only common, but it is also explicit, institutionalized and generally quite popular. How much so? Just about every time I get an international phone call on my Chinese mobile phone, I’m pinged within seconds by a text message. It’s an automated message from the anti-fraud department of the city of Shenzhen’s Public Security Bureau (PSB), China’s version of the FBI."

FBI mass hacking tool for child porn. "Over the past week, two federal judges have found that the government’s use of software in a mass hacking of child-porn websites to identify users is constitutional. . . . The two cases involved a child-porn website, Playpen, that was reachable only through the installation of special software called Tor, the world’s most widely used tool to give users anonymity online."  Perhaps cyber surveillance is popular here too?

US and UK hack the Israeli drone video feed. "The United States and Great Britain combined to hack into Israeli drone and fighter jet surveillance feeds as part of secret program that in part watched for a potential Israeli military strike against Iran, according to a new report published along with corresponding photos."

Iran flys a drone over the US Navy. "State-run Iranian media reported Friday that Iran recently flew a military drone over a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, and released a video that they said showed the provocative action underway. The video shows a ship covered in fighter jets steaming through the blue seas. Cmdr. William Marks, a U.S. Navy spokesman, said in an statement that he could not confirm the authenticity of the video, but he added that an Iranian drone was spotted flying around the French carrier Charles de Gaulle and the American carrier USS Harry S. Truman on Jan. 12 in the Persian Gulf. The drone was unarmed and determined not to be a threat, but Marks said the incident is still considered “abnormal and unprofessional.”" Maybe we should hack the Iranian drone feed too?

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