11/19/2013

First international scientific Bitcoin congress - call for papers

The workshop solicits submissions of manuscripts that represent significant and novel research contributions. Submissions must not substantially overlap with works that have been published or that are simultaneously submitted to a journal or a conference with proceedings. In-scope papers submitted to but not selected for the main FC14 conference will automatically be considered for inclusion in the workshop. All submissions should follow the Lecture Notes in Computer Science format and should be no more than 15 pages including references and well-marked appendices. Peer reviewers are not required to read the appendices, so the full papers should be intelligible without them. Paper submissions must be anonymous, with no author names, affiliations, or obvious references. Accepted papers will appear in the proceedings published by Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Authors who seek to submit their works to journals may opt-out by publishing an extended abstract only. Click here to submit a paper http://fc14.ifca.ai/bitcoin/cfp.html

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While Merkel is making a lot of hot buzz about her phonetapping she approves secret antiterrorist operations in Germany with the CIA-NSA

just taken into consideration that some of the 'proof' is chatter by ex-intelligence officers who are looking for their moment of fame (and are not activists) and so where some caution should be in order (some people seem to mix hearsay with personal opinions and to forget to check hard facts) but the investigation has taken two years by several journalists (and probably backup researchers) and is the basis of a book and a long documentary that will be aired next week

it shows why in Europe we need a real Freedom of Information Act, a real framework for real Congressional hearings and to review the secrecy (and the length of 100 years in Belgium for example) so that we don't have to wait for generations (and some books) before public democratic discussions about our history and our present policies can start and we can learn things (or hope that some-one will learn something out of it)

it also shows why we need an European Intelligence Community so it is not possible anymore that the American Intelligence Community can not pressure one European country after another into near submission without any normal legal democratic framework

one should also keep in mind that since 9-11 the NSA-CIA believes that there are still many terrorist cells in Germany that will have to be followed or neutralized before they strike in Europe or the US (or elsewhere). Read the book 'The Cell' if you don't understand this obsession with sleeping terrorist cells in Germany (and you can be assured that the German intelligence services think the same thing and that German politicians don't want another 9-11 to be planned and prepared on their soil because it would shame also them) 

one should also keep in mind that Germany was during the cold war the spycenter of the world and Echelon (the big NSA partner network) had also installations in Germany listening in on the Russians and the other SovietBloc countries. It was also the battleground for spies during that time in which all kinds of secret operations were conducted by both sides of the Cold War. One shouldn't be surprised that with the new obsession about terorist sleeping cells that those agreements, cooperation methods and installations were quickly re-activated and adapted to confront this (imaginery ?) new threat.

what does the article say

* that the US is flying 50 drones above Germany without any approval but that is only for 'training'. The question is why you would train in a country where your 'foreign' drones have (as could be asked) no legal approval to fly. The only reason you could train your drones in Europe or Germany is for operations in forests and between mountains or in urbanized area's without having the legal procedures (and political backslash) that they would have in the US (which shows why we need a democratic legal framework for drones in Europe)

the' reason may also be practical as it seems that Frankfurt plays at least a major role in the decision when to execute an assassination-by-drone worldwide

* that the CIA center in Frankfurt was (re)used as coordination center for the secret abductions of suspected terrorists for 'hard' investigations (torture) around the world (the black flights). This shouldn't come as a real surprise as the same infrastructure is probably used for the coordination of other military US-NATO operations around the world.

* that CIA operatives and 270 of the  private firms working for the industrial-intelligence-complex are conducting all kinds of secret operations (like arrests (probably before the passengers arrive at the frontier) on German soil

and more will probably be coming our way

http://www.geheimerkrieg.de/#entry-13-5211-die-jobmesse

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11/18/2013

seatlle has to des-activate the first real US citywide mesh-spynetwork on its streets

Exclusive documents obtained by Infowars from an insider government source have revealed the true origin and nature of the highly secretive ‘mesh network’ spy grid that has garnered massive media attention due to the fact that the network’s strange downtown Seattle spy boxes can track the last 1,000 GPS locations of cellphone users. But as new documents reveal, the grid is far deeper than the media is telling you. The Seattle DHS spy system ultimately ties in with an enormous stealth database that acts as an intelligence hub for all of your personal data.
http://www.infowars.com/exclusive-snowden-level-documents...

the 85 page document explaining everything is for download under the article

it is a wireless network connecting wireless cams with police cars and databases and everything else that is now being invented like 'sound recorders' and predictive policing software and so on

they are now desactivating the network awaiting clear procedures and oversight from the city council who didn't understand the real impact of the installation ...... untill now

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Germany is rerouting internet traffic to keep it from going to the US

Just as European and American negotiators resumed work on a groundbreaking trade accord meant to tie their two continents closer together, René Obermann, the chief executive of Deutsche Telekom, the German telecommunications giant, told a cybersecurity conference in Germany on Monday that his company was working to keep electronic message traffic from “unnecessarily” crossing the Atlantic, where it could fall into the hands of the National Security Agency.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/12/world/spying-scandal-al...

before internet traffic from for example Paris to Brussels could go to London or New York using the fastest cables and routes

now we know that it is being intercepted during that route - and encrypting everything is not possible - keeping it from doing those 'rounds' is one way of making interception even more difficult

this could naturally be sponsered by the EC by building more intra-European networks and secure highspeed connections (starting between the capitals and economic decisioncenters)

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give a spy agency like NSA a finger and it takes the rest for granted

The document, which appears to be a written response to an Intelligence Committee staffer's question, describes the NSA's acquisition and testing of Americans' cell site location data. The document shows that, prior to obtaining and testing samples of location information taken from Americans' cell phone calls, the NSA didn't even bother to inform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) or the relevant Congressional oversight bodies prior to doing so. In fact, neither NSA nor the National Security Division of the Department of Justice thought the collection of Americans' location information sufficiently novel or important to even justify an individualized legal analysis. In the view of DOJ, the location information of thousands (or millions) of Americans could just be lumped in with the information the FISC had already approved for collection
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/10/new-documents-relea...

you should be paranoid about paranoid agencies and not just trust them

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Journalists writing about Snowden leaks will for now not be prosecuted by the US

Holder indicated that the Justice Department is not planning to prosecute former Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, one of the journalists who received documents from Snowden and has written a series of articles based on the leaked material. Greenwald, an American citizen who lives in Brazil, has said he is reluctant to come to the United States because he fears detention and possible prosecution.“Unless information that has not come to my attention is presented to me, what I have indicated in my testimony before Congress is that any journalist who’s engaged in true journalistic activities is not going to be prosecuted by this Justice Department,” Holder said.“I certainly don’t agree with what Greenwald has done,” Holder said. “In some ways, he blurs the line between advocate and journalist. But on the basis of what I know now, I’m not sure there is a basis for prosecution of Greenwald.”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/justice-reviewing-criminal-cases-that-used-evidence-gathered-under-fisa-act/2013/11/15/0aea6420-4e0d-11e3-9890-a1e0997fb0c0_story.html

this is important and for two reasons

* it is now clear for the journalists that if they keep the line of writing and publishing that they have used the legal problems (and their own legal departments sometimes more paranoid than spies) may be very limited (no names of spies, in the US there is possible some kind of pre-warning about upcoming articles, no current specific targeted operations that may be endangered, nothing about anti-terrorist operations,.....)

You find those lines of editorial self-censorship by looking at what is NOT Published

* this doesn't mean that those journalists can freely and without any problem or fear travel to the US or the UK (Official Secrets Act) but at least they won't have to travel to Russia because there is an international demand from the US for their arrest

* if the US won't prosecute for now, the local intelligence and governmental authorities have no reason to start prosecuting themselves

* it means that the US has more or less given up on stopping the flow of publications and that they are turining into a strategy of damage control. If they would arrest or ask for the arrest of the journalists, it is possible that whole sets of documents would be published as a revenge and than all control over the information would be lost

it is a modus vivendi that is neither confirmed nor explicit but that evolves and in which each party is testing what is accesptable and what can become over time acceptable and where each party tries to limit the damage and the risks whilc trying to continue its function (of spying) and its role (of reporting)

Neither of each party has any interest in an explicit explanation of this 'understanding' because it would mean that the media 'works in the interest of the spy agencies' (not endangering too much their work) and that the intelligence agencies have given up on the things that will be published and the secrecy of it

just trying to read between the lines :)

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the NSA will neither confirm nor deny anything - even to Americans using their rights

Americans are inundating the National Security Agency with open-records requests, leading to a 988% increase in such inquiries. Anyone asking is getting a standard pre-written letter saying the NSA can neither confirm nor deny that any information has been gathered.
https://us-mg6.mail.yahoo.com/neo/launch?.rand=7sa43ckdo4...

so if they even give no information or an indication of information to American citizens who are using their legal rights to do so

what do you expect they will ever tell us ?

and why do you expect that there is a way they can be forced to do so because it is somewhere written as a guarantee in a (trade) agreement without the necessary oversight and responsabilities and re-actions if they aren't followed up (like suspending parts of the agreement)

just look at the total failure of the Safe Harbor Agreements which meant to guarantee that European citizens would have their data in US servers protected by European law but which now are proven to be meaningless and fruitless

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11/14/2013

More NSA whistleblowers coming out of the darkness

In an interview with ABC News on Thursday, Raddack revealed that an influx of NSA whistleblowers, inspired by Snowden, are now knocking on the doors of her organization.

 

According to Radack, several more whistleblowers have approached the Government Accountability Project (GAP)—the nation’s leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization where she is the director of National Security and Human Rights—since Snowden’s story broke earlier this year.

 

“There definitely could be more revelations in addition to those that Snowden has revealed and that are continuing to come out,” she told ABC News.
http://www.mintpressnews.com/courage-contagious-nsa-emplo...

the big difference is that they will be protected by US law and will be even holding up to a job and income and won't be prosecuted and watching over their shoulder for the rest of their lives

it also means that as there will be more sources information in slides can maybe sometimes be better understood and more context can be given about them (paper can be a big lie or make-believe)

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why global and total surveillance kills slowly debate and democracy

  • 24% have deliberately avoided certain topics in phone or email conversations;
  • 16% have avoided writing or speaking about a particular topic
  • 11% have seriously considered avoiding writing or speaking about a particular topic;
  • 16% have refrained from conducting Internet searches or visiting websites on topics that may be considered controversial or suspicious and another 12% have seriously considered it.

 

One PEN writer shared a story, which the report authors said indicated “that writers’ fears of being targeted for writing about certain topics are not without basis”:

 

Selected’ for a special security search returning to the United States from Mexico twice last summer, I learned I was on a U.S. Government list. I was searched for ‘cocaine’ and explosives. I suspect … that I must have been put on the government list because of an essay I wrote … in which I describe finding a poem on a Libyan Jihad site, and ultimately express some sympathy for young men on the other side of the world who are tempted into jihad … one can see how [the poem] might be a comfort to jihadists.
http://www.mintpressnews.com/scared-silent-nsa-surveillan...

the report is based on an investigation of PEN with American writers.

the first and last are just to avoid surveillance and show that in journalism and investigations phone and emails are more being replaced by physical communications and real travel

the second and third shows that certain topics are not being discussed about or very hesitantly and that the full freedom of speech that was once the cornerstone of American Democracy is not so evident anymore for the intellectuals living there (but there are several periods in the history of the US where this was the case, it is only time to end this period)

 

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why the US government thinks that any business should give its encryption keys when a warrant asks for it

Just as a business cannot prevent the execution of a search warrant by locking its front gate, an electronic communications service provider cannot thwart court-ordered electronic surveillance by refusing to provide necessary information about its systems. That other information not subject to the warrant was encrypted using the same set of keys is irrelevant; the only user data the court permitted the government to obtain was the data described in the pen/trap order and the search warrant. All other data would be filtered electronically, without reaching any human eye. Finally, Lavabit’s belief that the orders here compelled a disclosure that was inconsistent with Lavabit’s “business model” makes no difference. Marketing a business as “secure” does not give one license to ignore a District Court of the United States.
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/11/lavabit-doj/

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you can tell the survey man what you can't tell your CEO : stop visiting porn or giving the laptop to your kid

A new survey by ThreatTrack Security shows that IT professionals spend a great deal of time fixing problems caused by company executives visiting pornographic websites on company devices.

The survey published earlier this month looks at cybersecurity challenges within U.S. enterprises.

Around 40 percent of the survey respondents said that one of the most difficult aspects of defending their company’s network was the fact that they don't have enough highly-skilled security personnel on staff.

They also said their time is often spent dealing with easily avoidable malware infections originating at the highest levels of their organization.

Malware analysts say that a device used by a member of their senior leadership team had become infected with malware due to executives visiting a pornographic website 40 percent of the time.

Problems caused after clicking on a malicious link in a phishing email were reported 56 percent of the time. Problems found after allowing a family member to use a company-owned device were at 45 percent. Problems after executives installed a malicious mobile app were at 33 percent.
http://www.myfoxdc.com/story/23954529/it-professionals-sa...

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US military and CIA investing in intelligent facerecognition that also implement the effects of aging

The Janus program of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA) will begin in April 2014 in an effort to "radically expand the range of conditions under which automated face recognition can establish identity," according to documents released by the agency over the weekend.

Janus "seeks to improve face recognition performance using representations developed from real-world video and images instead of from calibrated and constrained collections. During daily activities, people laugh, smile, frown, yawn and morph their faces into a broad variety of expressions. For each face, these expressions are formed from unique skeletal and musculature features that are similar through one's lifetime. Janus representations will exploit the full morphological dynamics of the face to enable better matching and faster retrieval."

Current facial recognition relies mostly on full-frontal, aligned facial views. But, in the words of Military & Aerospace Electronics, Janus will fuse “the rich spatial, temporal, and contextual information available from the multiple views captured by security cameras, cell phone cameras, news video, and other sources referred to as ‘media in the wild.’”

In addition, Janus will take into account aging and incomplete or ambiguous data for its recognition assessment goals.

IARPA was created in 2006 and is a division of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The intelligence agency is modeled after DARPA, the Pentagon’s notorious research arm that fosters technology for future military utilization.

In-Q-Tel, a not-for-profit venture capital firm run by the Central Intelligence Agency, invests in companies that develop facial recognition software.
http://rt.com/usa/expanding-facial-recognition-capabiliti...

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CISCO results first to show effect of Snowden NSA-leaks and anti-espionage backslash

Cisco chief executive John Chambers said on the company’s earnings call that he believes other American technology companies will be similarly affected. Cisco saw orders in Brazil drop 25% and Russia drop 30%. Both Brazil and Russia have expressed official outrage over NSA spying and have announced plans to curb the NSA’s reach.

Analysts had expected Cisco’s business in emerging markets to increase 6%, but instead it dropped 12%, sending shares of Cisco plunging 10% in after-hours trading.http://qz.com/147313/ciscos-disastrous-quarter-shows-how-nsa-spying-could-freeze-us-companies-out-of-a-trillion-dollar-opportunity/
 
I hope they don't think that chinese products are 'safer' or Russian for that matter ......

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Cloudindustry wants to survive and gives encryption keys to its clients

HighCloud officials have also touted their software's ability to protect Web-based data from U.S. surveillance. "Technologies like HighCloud’s encryption, where you control encryption keys, inside your firewall if you prefer, can help ensure that the government must come to you in order to access your data," said a July note on the company's blog." In a statement last month, HighCloud co-founder Steve Pate said, “As cloud service providers become a target for data access, both to thieves and the U.S. government, organizations must take further steps to secure their data in the cloud." 
http://www.nextgov.com/cloud-computing/2013/11/cia-backed...

before it was the cloudprovider who had the keys and the access to your data

now it is clear that the US (or other) intelligence firms came to them for access to data and they were legally obliged to provide that access and not to tell their clients, they are moving to a new model in which the encryption keys are generated and kept by their clients so the US law and intelligence agencies will have to contact the clients directly to get access to their data (and follow a legal framework and international agreements)

there is no way that the cloudindustry can survive if there is no guarantee that the client is informed that his data had been accessed by law or intelligenceservices for whatever reason

this means of course that spying will have to be done before it is put on the cloudserver (remember the broken VPN encryption at Belgacom - if confirmed)

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FBI sets the final step into smart video monitoring with facerecognition

While investigators manually scoured video to identify the suspected Boston Marathon bombers, smart-video surveillance would scan crime scene footage against tapes of known people, places and objects to derive names and possible whereabouts.

 

According to procurement papers, the FBI hopes to view demonstrations of motion picture pattern-matching in December. The bureau has invited contractors to submit written project proposals by Nov. 13. Up to 30 vendors with promising systems then will be invited to present at FBI Headquarters on Dec. 11. 

 

"The FBI is currently undertaking a major issue study of video and digital image processing and video/digital image analytic capabilities to identify current capabilities, assess gaps, and develop a roadmap for the FBI's future video analytics architecture," stated an Oct. 30 contracting notice

 

The desired connect-the-dots abilities include computing the degree of similarity among pedestrians, graffiti designs, buildings in the background of photos, and other recurring images in videos and stills. 

 

Increasingly, law enforcement is relying on sophisticated video capture at special events, as a consequence of the Boston bombings.

 

At Sunday's New York City marathon, authorities deployed a camera network that could see nearly the entire route, in real-time, the New York Times reported. About 1,400 private-sector cameras also were at the ready, if necessary. 

 

In April, the FBI surveyed vendors about available technologies that could archive video ingested from various government-owned and privately operated cameras.

 

And millions of static biometric markers of criminals -- mugshots and irises, for example -- are being collected for the same purpose, under a new $1 billion retrofit of the bureau's old fingerprint-matching database.
http://www.nextgov.com/emerging-tech/2013/11/fbi-seeks-vi...

9-11 gave full power to the NSA to monitor everything spoken or written

The Boston Marathon attack seem to be used to do the same thing with videosurveillance

together it is total surveillance

couple this with tiny drones and widelens moving camera's .......

maybe with smart tv's they can see inside our house (our phones are bidirectional even if we don't seem to know it) this is really paranoid but facerecognition on surveillance camera's is also creepy (imagine that a robot or drone automatically kills you if you are recognized)  SF  maybe now but what in times of emergency or unrest or war .....

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international development programs forget privacyaspects when implementing new technologies says report

On 11 November 2013, Privacy International proudly announced its new project, Aiding Privacy, which aims to promote the right to privacy and data protection in the development and humanitarian fields. Below is an outline of the issues addressed in our new report released on 11 November, Aiding Surveillance.

New technologies hold great potential for the developing world. The problem, however, is that there has been a systematic failure to critically contemplate the potential ill effects of deploying technologies in development and humanitarian initiatives, and in turn, to consider the legal and technical safeguards required in order to ensure the rights of individuals living in the developing world.

In a report published by Privacy International, Aiding Surveillance, we show that as development and humanitarian donors and agencies rush to adopt new technologies, they may be creating and supporting surveillance systems that pose serious threats to human rights, particularly the right to privacy. This post highlights four technologies that are part of this trend and which are described in greater detail in the report.
https://www.ifex.org/international/2013/11/13/aiding_priv...

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11/13/2013

this is the result of mission creep and trust without real oversight (Patriot Act - NSA)

It's already strange enough that the author of the PATRIOT Act, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, has come out strongly against the NSA's mass spying, said that James Clapper should be fired and prosecuted, and introduced sweeping new legislation that would significantly curtail the NSA's activities. If you've followed civil liberties issues over the past dozen years or so, Sensenbrenner used to be very much in the camp of folks like Rep. Mike Rogers and Senator Dianne Feinstein -- seen as carrying water for the intelligence community (and industry). The change of heart (even if he claims the original PATRIOT Act was never meant to allow this stuff) is quite impressive.

Even so, it's perhaps even more incredible to see that Sensenbrenner has now gone over to the EU Parliament to admit that the NSA is out of control and needs to be reined in. While it doesn't sound like he got all the way to a complete apology, he appears to have come pretty close. According to Bridget Johnson's writeup at the PJ Tatler:

Sensenbrenner told the EU parliamentarians that “Congress knew the country needed new tools and broader authorities to combat those who meant to harm us, but we never intended to allow the National Security Agency to peer indiscriminately into the lives of innocent people all over the world.”

Sensenbrenner noted that he “worked under strict time constraints” to forge the Patriot Act and get it passed.

“I firmly believe the Patriot Act saved lives by strengthening the ability of intelligence agencies to track and stop potential terrorists, but in the past few years, the National Security Agency has weakened, misconstrued and ignored the civil liberty protections we drafted into the law,” he said, adding that the NSA “ignored restrictions painstakingly crafted by lawmakers and assumed a plenary authority we never imagined.”

“Worse, the NSA has cloaked its operations behind such a thick cloud of secrecy that, even if the NSA promised reforms, we would lack the ability to verify them.”

Sensenbrenner said the “constant stream of disclosures about US surveillance since June has surprised and appalled me as much as it has the American public and our international allies.”

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20131112/08342525213/aut...

once it is written in general terms you lose all the control about the rest because they sure wouldn't do any harm but why should they if you didn't put in writing that they couldn't and shouldn't

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5 businesses that can florish thanks to the post-snowden paranoia

1. fast business trips

'leaving in the morning, back the same day' - not much luggage, all transport included

2. throw away communication stuff

throw away phones and calling cards for an acceptable price, hardened, sold in packages of 10 or more

throw away phablets for internetsurfing running from a hardened nonchangable environment with no install possible

there are special sercives that guarantee that the stuff is destroyed effectively

3. bunker meeting rooms in the cellars  (business hotels will have to invest in this)

no windows

walls you can check for 'inputs' (no gyproc, wallpaper, paintings, posters, flowers and so on)

jamming all wireless connections and so on

only secured and rechecked furniture and as less as possible

4. paranoia services

we had securityservices and products

now paranoia services will come in the meeting and see the things from the spyside and how your opponent would do things or think about accomplishing things

not taking anything for granted anymore

maybe we'll even have impersonae services in which fake people of identities impersonate real people and lure the watchers or puts them on the wrong foot, playing mindgames

5. chip and connection scanning services

just to be sure that no participant has any watch, pin or whatever that is in fact a camera, chip or recording device

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Your phones can be identified by their sensors (forget the rest)

Security researchers at Stanford University have discovered methods of "fingerprinting" mobile devices by measuring tiny errors in the sensors, including the accelerometer and microphone.

 

The degree of error is unique to each phone because, despite streamlined industrial processes, no two devices roll off the assembly line functioning in the exact same way. The variations can be used to create IDs for phones that advertisers, and perhaps law enforcement, could exploit to track the devices.

 

The accelerometer is a sensor in smartphones that measures movement. It enables the browser to shift from landscape to vertical as a user tilts the phone, for instance. If the device is not moving, the accelerometer spits out numbers that represent its position in three-dimensional space.

 

The researchers wrote a piece of Javascript, a programming language used on many websites, for the Stanford Sensor ID experiment at www.sensor-id.com. It collects data about a phone's acceleration along an axis that runs straight up and down, perpendicular to a phone lying on a table.
http://www.sfgate.com/technology/dotcommentary/article/Ho...

you can go with your (dumb) smartphone or tablet to the online testsite

it means that you have - as we have effectively always said - throw away the phone also if you want to make you and your conversations difficult to trace (or find in a database)

you can buy such phones in a secondhandshop or at Belgacom for 25 Euro (with calling card)

as the cost for each calls is quite high (card and phone) you should only do this if the business or securityreasons demand this

the fact that the CEO of Belgacom and his staff use different calling cards for their confidential conversations is by no means sufficient, they have to throw away each time the phone and the card if they want to make it difficult to intercept, track or monitor (and keep the phone as stupid as possible with as less information as possible and when you throw it away you throw it away and don't give it to family, staff or friends and destroy the calling card always seperately)

okay this is not for you and me but for people who have to take more precautions today of securing the privacy of some communications

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staying anonymous on TOR and the web through a liveCD

the principle is that you protect yourself because no software or script can be added to your machine because it is all running from a CD which is NOT writable (as long as the codesource itself that you download is not infected or backdoored (we are talking about the NSA here))

Tails is a live system that aims to preserve your privacy and anonymity. It helps you to use the Internet anonymously and circumvent censorship almost anywhere you go and on any computer but leaving no trace unless you ask it to explicitly.

 

It is a complete operating system designed to be used from a DVD, USB stick, or SD card independently of the computer's original operating system. It is Free Software and based on Debian GNU/Linux.
https://tails.boum.org/about/

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