U.S. Air Force Giant Spy Blimp Could be Afghanistan’s Biggest Brain


“Blue Devil”

Come this fall, there will be a new and extremely powerful supercomputer in Afghanistan. But it won’t be in Dave Petraeus’ headquarters in Kabul or at some three-letter agency’s operations center in Kandahar. It’ll be floating 20,000 feet above the warzone, aboard a giant spy blimp that watches and listens to everything for miles around.


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Massive Data Theft Traced to Shadow Network in China


U.S. and Canadian researchers have monitored China-based computer espionage gang for past 8 months.

Turning the tables on a China-based computer espionage gang, Canadian and United States computer security researchers have monitored a spying operation for the past eight months, observing while the intruders pilfered classified and restricted documents from the highest levels of the Indian Defense Ministry.

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NSA To Store Yottabytes of Surveillance Data


NSA Headquarters

There’s an interesting article in the current New York Review of books (predictably, a book review) detailing the history of the National Security Agency, that shadowy power-behind-the-power to which we surrender much of our privacy. That in itself is interesting, but I found the introduction a bit shocking: the NSA is constructing a datacenter in the Utah desert that they project will be storing yottabytes of surveillance data. And what is a yottabyte? I’m glad you asked.


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One Crime Solved for Every 1,000 CCTV Cameras

cctv cameras in brittain 372

There are currently more than a million CCTV cameras in London

There are more than a million CCTV cameras in London
Just one crime is solved a year by every 1,000 CCTV cameras in Britain’s largest force area, it was claimed today.
A senior Scotland Yard officer, Detective Chief Inspector Mick Neville, warned police must do more to head off a crisis in public confidence over the use of surveillance cameras.
DCI Neville said officers need to improve their results to make captured images count against criminals.
He said there are more than a million CCTV cameras in London and the Government has spent £500 million on the crime-fighting equipment.
But he admitted just 1,000 crimes were solved in 2008 using CCTV images as officers fail to make the most of potentially vital evidence.
Writing in an internal report, Mr Neville said people are filmed many times every day and have high expectations when they become victims of crime.
But he suggested the reality is often disappointing as in some cases officers fail to bring criminals to justice even after they are caught on camera and identified.
DCI Neville said CCTV played a role in capturing just eight out of 269 suspected robbers across London in one month.
Critics of Britain’s so-called ”surveillance state” will seize on DCI Neville’s comments as further evidence CCTV is not working in the fight against crime.
The Government is considering whether every camera should be registered on centrally-held CCTV maps.
Earlier this year a Home Office report found camera schemes have a ”modest impact” on reducing crime.
Researchers found cameras were most effective in preventing vehicle thefts and vandalism in car parks.
Some local authorities have been forced to make freedom of information requests to police forces to try and work out if CCTV cameras are effective.
The Metropolitan Police is piloting a scheme, known as Operation Javelin, to improve the use of images from existing cameras.
Staff in 11 boroughs have formed dedicated Visual Images Identification and Detection Offices (VIIDO).
They collect and label images before passing them to a central circulation unit that distributes them to officers, forces and the media.
Some 5,260 images have been viewed so far this year with identification made in more than 1,000 cases.
DCI Neville said the scheme should be expanded to force-wide as officers make the investigation of CCTV evidence as professional as fingerprints and DNA.
David Davis, the former shadow home secretary said it is ”entirely unsurprising” that the report highlights some shortcomings of CCTV.
”It should provoke a major and long overdue rethink on where the Home Office crime prevention budget is being spent,” he said.
”CCTV leads to massive expense and minimum effectiveness. It creates a huge intrusion on privacy, yet provides little or no improvement in security.
”The Metropolitan Police has been extraordinarily slow to act to deal with the ineffectiveness of CCTV, something true both in London and across the country.”
Detective Superintendent Michael McNally, who commissioned the report, said improvements in the use of CCTV can be made.
He told Sky News: ”There are some concerns, and that’s why we have a number of projects that are on-going at the moment.
”CCTV, we recognise, is a really important part of investigation and prevention of crime, so how we retrieve that from the individual CCTV pods is really quite important.”
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: ”The Metropolitan Police is currently the only police service to employ this method of CCTV tracking.”

Just one crime is solved a year by every 1,000 CCTV cameras in Britain’s largest force area, it was claimed today.

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‘Stratellite’: Unmanned Lighter-Than-Air Flexible Blimp


According to a Sanswire-TAO announcement issued yesterday, “the first flight of the full scale STS-111 is expected to take place at the end of August”. The test video above shows a smaller prototype.


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Telecom Spy Suits Dismissed – EFF, ACLU Plan Appeal


 You are currently under surveillance. Really.

Bad news for freedom as noted in this snip from WIRED Threat Level piece by David Kravets:

A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed lawsuits targeting the nation’s telecommunication companies for their participation in President George W. Bush’s once-secret electronic eavesdropping program. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker upheld summer legislation protecting the companies from the lawsuits. The legislation, which then-Sen. Barack Obama voted for, also granted the government the authority to monitor American’s telecommunications without warrants if the subject was communicating with somebody overseas suspected of terrorism.

UPDATE: EFF and ACLU plan to appeal the ruling…

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Privacy Concerns Surround FBI And States Expanding DNA Databases

Privacy Concerns Surround FBI And States Expanding DNA Databases 

Collecting DNA from an inmate

Law enforcement officials are vastly expanding their collection of DNA to include millions more people who have been arrested or detained but not yet convicted. The move, intended to help solve more crimes, is raising concerns about the privacy of petty offenders and people who are presumed innocent.

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Year 2030: Top Ten Predictions

Top Ten Predictions For The Future

The World Future  Society has released a 10-page report forecasting more than 70 major global  developments for the coming year and beyond. The OUTLOOK 2009 report examines  the key trends in technology, the environment, the economy, international  relations, etc., in order to paint a full and credible portrait of our likely  future. Among the most provocative  findings:

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