David Kirkpatrick

January 10, 2010

Doesn’t it seem like the Pats have been a bit star-crossed …

… ever since Spygate broke a couple of years ago? Defensive leader, linebacker Tedy Bruschi suffers a stroke about three years before the story comes to light as an opening karmic salvo against the cheating team by the gods of football. Then last year the franchise, quarterback Tom Brady, loses just about the entire 2008 season to a major knee injury dooming the team to missing the playoffs. Last week star wide receiver Wes Welker blows a knee right before this year’s playoffs. And now today’s display.

What if Spygate went much, much deeper than anyone realizes. Here’s one scenario:

(Note for conceptually and hyperbole challenged readers: the following is satire [see definition number two from the link] and not actual conjecture, analysis or inside information,)

Recall back in the summer of 2005. Patriots owner Bob Kraft meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and hands the world leader his ring from the recent Super Bowl victory over the Philadelphia Eagles for examination. After looking the ring over and trying it on, Putin calmly and smilingly slides the ring into his pocket saying nothing. Essentially daring Kraft to protest this blatant and public theft, and act of total disrespect.

What if, instead of some sort of cultural misunderstanding or just simple robbery by Putin, this act was Putin’s gangster way of exacting a little more flesh from a business associate. Very possibly beyond simple in-stadium cameras trained on opposing sidelines, the New England Patriots engaged the services of Russia’s spy apparatus – namely spy satellites engaged to not only catch signals called, but possibly even sideline conversations through lip-reading technology coupled with real time satellite images capable of pinpoint resolution.

Of course, once you go down that particular rabbit hole, where does it end? Black ops agents infiltrating other NFL teams? Subtle disabling hits (think poisoning — we all know post-USSR Russia has experience and expertise in this field) against opposing players and coaches?

And consider the bitter irony of a team named the “Patriots” getting into bed with the United State’s bitter cold war foe. No wonder the football gods frowned, conferred and rendered a dark judgement asunder.

May the fall of the cheating, and possibly traitorous, New England Patriots be cold, bitter and very, very long.

(Yeah, I know I used “bitter” a lot there in the last two grafs. Maybe it’s the bitter taste in my mouth from these dark revelations.)

October 2, 2009

Surveillance and wireless data networks

Filed under: Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:04 pm

This is a pretty ingenious use of wireless data networks. And a pretty cheap method of imaging into rooms and buildings.

From the link:

Researchers at the University of Utah say that the way radio signals vary in a wireless network can reveal the movement of people behind closed doors. Joey Wilson and Neal Patwari have developed a technique called variance-based radio tomographic imaging that processes the signals to reveal signs of movement. They’ve even tested the idea with a 34-node wireless network using the IEEE 802.15.4 wireless protocol, the protocol for personal area networks employed by home automation services such as ZigBee.

The basic idea is straightforward. The signal strength at any point in a network is the sum of all the paths the radio waves can take to get to the receiver. Any change in the volume of space through which the signals pass, for example caused by the movement of a person, makes the signal strength vary. So by “interrogating” this volume of space with many signals, picked up by multiple receivers, it is possible to build up a picture of the movement within it.

The physics arXiv blog post did offer a bit of a caveat:

How might such cheap and easy-to-configure monitoring networks be used if they become widely available? What’s to stop next door’s teenage brats from monitoring your every move, or house thieves choosing their targets on the basis that nobody is inside?

July 31, 2009

News for the paranoid

Filed under: et.al. — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:45 pm

And remember just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean you aren’t under surveillance.

From the link, ten methods to grab voice and data on the sly:

3. Laptop eavesdropping via lasers: Bouncing lasers off laptops and capturing the vibrations made as keys are struck give attackers enough data to deduce what is being typed. Each key makes a unique set of vibrations different from any other. The space bar makes an even more unique set, Barisani and Bianco say.

Language analysis software can help determine which set of vibrations correspond to which key, and if the attacker knows the language being used, the message can be exposed, they say.

June 16, 2009

NSA and domestic surveillance

This New York Times report on the National Security Agency and ongoing domestic spyingis troubling. One of the largest problems with police state apparatus is how pernicious it becomes. Once in place it’s very, very difficult to root out. Every freedom lost is a freedom you can’t expect to get back.

From the link:

Since April, when it was disclosed that the intercepts of some private communications of Americans went beyond legal limits in late 2008 and early 2009, several Congressional committees have been investigating. Those inquiries have led to concerns in Congress about the agency’s ability to collect and read domestic e-mail messages of Americans on a widespread basis, officials said. Supporting that conclusion is the account of a former N.S.A. analyst who, in a series of interviews, described being trained in 2005 for a program in which the agency routinely examined large volumes of Americans’ e-mail messages without court warrants. Two intelligence officials confirmed that the program was still in operation.

Both the former analyst’s account and the rising concern among some members of Congress about the N.S.A.’s recent operation are raising fresh questions about the spy agency.

Representative Rush Holt, Democrat of New Jersey and chairman of the House Select Intelligence Oversight Panel, has been investigating the incidents and said he had become increasingly troubled by the agency’s handling of domestic communications.

In an interview, Mr. Holt disputed assertions by Justice Department and national security officials that the overcollection was inadvertent.

“Some actions are so flagrant that they can’t be accidental,” Mr. Holt said.

September 22, 2008

Electronic Frontier Foundation sues Bush 43 admin

I doubt it’ll come to pass, but I’d like to see the culpable parties — and as sitting president the buck stops with George W. regardless what he does, or does not, know — be held responsible for sacking and looting our body politic, treasure and heritage. Read: the Constitution, I think treasure needs no further clarification, and championing torture and war crimes.

In a start to this process the Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed suit against Bush, Dick Cheney and the National Security Agency.

From the CIO.com link:

The lawsuit, filed Thursday, alleges that the NSA is conducting mass surveillance on U.S. residents, even as Bush and other officials say the program only targets U.S. residents when they communicate with overseas terrorism suspects. Filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the lawsuit is a class-action complaint on behalf of all residential customers of AT&T’s telephone and Internet services.

The lawsuit alleges that the NSA has installed equipment to conduct mass surveillance at AT&T telecom facilities in San Francisco; Atlanta; Seattle; Los Angeles; San Diego; San Jose, California; and Bridgeton, Missouri. “We allege a nationwide network of such NSA vacuum-cleaner surveillance facilities that would indiscriminately collect communications of all of the people who use AT&T’s network,” said Kevin Bankston, senior staff attorney at EFF.

February 6, 2008

New surveillance powers and FISA

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:39 pm

Over at Reason Jacob Sullum has a good article outlining the ongoing debate about new surveillance powers, the Protect America Act and FISA.

From the conclusion:

The administration has contradicted itself even on the question of how urgently needed the FISA changes are. Last summer they were so crucial to national security that McConnell claimed pausing to debate the issue meant “some Americans are going to die.” More recently, Bush has threatened to let these absolutely essential powers lapse by vetoing extension bills that do not meet his specifications.

An administration that cannot tell a consistent story in public about why it needs new extrajudicial surveillance powers cannot be trusted to exercise those powers in secret.

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