$1 billion face recognition system across America

RUSSIA TODAY | SEPTEMBER 9, 2012

Birthmarks, be damned: the FBI has officially started rolling out a state-of-the-art face recognition project that will assist in their effort to accumulate and archive information about each and every American at a cost of a billion dollars.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has reached a milestone in the development of their Next Generation Identification (NGI) program and is now implementing the intelligence database in unidentified locales across the country, New Scientist reports in an article this week. The FBI first outlined the project back in 2005, explaining to the Justice Department in an August 2006 document (.pdf) that their new system will eventually serve as an upgrade to the current Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) that keeps track of citizens with criminal records across America .

“The NGI Program is a compilation of initiatives that will either improve or expand existing biometric identification services,” its administrator explained to the Department of Justice at the time, adding that  the project, “will accommodate increased information processing and sharing demands in support of anti-terrorism.”

“The NGI Program Office mission is to reduce terrorist and criminal activities by improving and expanding biometric identification and criminal history information services through research, evaluation and implementation of advanced technology within the IAFIS environment.”

The agency insists, “As a result of the NGI initiatives, the FBI will be able to provide services to enhance interoperability between stakeholders at all levels of government, including local, state, federal, and international partners.” In doing as such, though, the government is now going ahead with linking a database of images and personally identifiable information of anyone in their records with departments around the world thanks to technology that makes fingerprint tracking seem like kids’ stuff.

According to their 2006 report, the NGI program utilizes “specialized requirements in the Latent Services, Facial Recognition and Multi-modal Biometrics areas” that “will allow the FnewBI to establish a terrorist fingerprint identification system that is compatible with other systems; increase the accessibility and number of the IAFIS terrorist fingerprint records; and provide latent palm print search capabilities.”

Is that just all, though? During a 2010 presentation (.pdf) made by the FBI’s Biometric Center of Intelligence, the agency identified why facial recognition technology needs to be embraced. Specifically, the FBI said that the technology could be used for “Identifying subjects in public datasets,” as well as “conducting automated surveillance at lookout locations” and “tracking subject movements,” meaning NGI is more than just a database of mug shots mixed up with fingerprints — the FBI has admitted that this their intent with the technology surpasses just searching for criminals but includes spectacular surveillance capabilities. Together, it’s a system unheard of outside of science fiction.

New Scientist reports that a 2010 study found technology used by NGI to be accurate in picking out suspects from a pool of 1.6 million mug shots 92 percent of the time. The system was tested on a trial basis in the state of Michigan earlier this year, and has already been cleared for pilot runs in Washington, Florida and North Carolina. Now according to this week’s New Scientist report, the full rollout of the program has begun and the FBI expects its intelligence infrastructure to be in place across the United States by 2014.

In 2008, the FBI announced that it awarded Lockheed Martin Transportation and Security Solutions, one of the Defense Department’s most favored contractors, with the authorization to design, develop, test and deploy the NGI System. Thomas E. Bush III, the former FBI agent who helped develop the NGI’s system requirements, tells NextGov.com, “The idea was to be able to plug and play with these identifiers and biometrics.” With those items being collected without much oversight being admitted, though, putting the personal facts pertaining to millions of Americans into the hands of some playful Pentagon staffers only begins to open up civil liberties issues.

Jim Harper, director of information policy at the Cato Institute, adds to NextGov that investigators pair facial recognition technology with publically available social networks in order to build bigger profiles. Facial recognition “is more accurate with a Google or a Facebook, because they will have anywhere from a half-dozen to a dozen pictures of an individual, whereas I imagine the FBI has one or two mug shots,” he says. When these files are then fed to law enforcement agencies on local, federal and international levels, intelligence databases that include everything from close-ups of eyeballs and irises to online interests could be shared among offices.

The FBI expects the NGI system to include as many as 14 million photographs by the time the project is in full swing in only two years, but the pace of technology and the new connections constantly created by law enforcement agencies could allow for a database that dwarfs that estimate. As RT reported earlier this week, the city of Los Angeles now considers photography in public space “suspicious,” and authorizes LAPD officers to file reports if they have reason to believe a suspect is up to no good. Those reports, which may not necessarily involve any arrests, crimes, charges or even interviews with the suspect, can then be filed, analyzed, stored and shared with federal and local agencies connected across the country to massive data fusion centers. Similarly, live video transmissions from thousands of surveillance cameras across the country are believed to be sent to the same fusion centers as part of TrapWire, a global eye-in-the-sky endeavor that RT first exposed earlier this year.

“Facial recognition creates acute privacy concerns that fingerprints do not,” US Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota) told the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on privacy, technology and the law earlier this year. “Once someone has your faceprint, they can get your name, they can find your social networking account and they can find and track you in the street, in the stores you visit, the government buildings you enter, and the photos your friends post online.”

In his own testimony, Carnegie Mellon University Professor Alessandro Acquisti said to Sen. Franken, “the convergence of face recognition, online social networks and data mining has made it possible to use publicly available data and inexpensive technologies to produce sensitive inferences merely starting from an anonymous face.”

“Face recognition, like other information technologies, can be source of both benefits and costs to society and its individual members,” Prof. Acquisti added. “However, the combination of face recognition, social networks data and data mining can significant undermine our current notions and expectations of privacy and anonymity.”

With the latest report suggesting the NGI program is now a reality in America, though, it might be too late to try and keep the FBI from interfering with seemingly every aspect of life in the US, both private and public. As of July 18, 2012, the FBI reports, “The NGI program … is on scope, on schedule, on cost, and 60 percent deployed.”

Agora todos somos Jason Bourne

POR LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | 25 AGOSTO 2012

Sentes que alguém está te observando, mas então olhas em volta e todos estão nao sua. Quem é, você pergunta. Bem, a pergunta a fazer é o que é? E a resposta é Trapwire. E assim mesmo. Agora todos somos Jason Bourne.

Na semana passada, o WikiLeaks publicou dezenas de e-mails da Stratfor Global Intelligence Corporation, uma empresa de segurança privada de Austin, Texas. Os e-mails são parte de um corpus de documentos entregues ao site de Julian Assange no ano passado e no início deste ano por hackers do Anonymous.

O detalhe mais importante mencionado nos vazamentos, é a existência de um programa de computador chamado TrapWire, desenvolvido em 2004 pela Corporação Abraxas, uma organização fundada por vários ex-membros da CIA. A conexão entre TrapWire e a CIA, juntamente com descrições enigmáticas do programa foram publicados e, claro, os piores temores há muito tempo revelados por meios alternativos sobre a existência do Big Brother foram confirmados.

Na verdade, o programa utiliza câmeras de segurança de todos os tipos que estão disponíveis, controlados pelos agentes, para desenvolver uma descrição das pessoas que estão perto de um potencial alvo terrorista, bem como uma descrição detalhada dos veículos. O programa também grava “atividades de vigilância em potencial, como a fotografia, a medição e marcação”, como indicado pelo fabricante. Todas as imagens recolhidas por TrapWire vão ao seu banco de dados, onde são armazenados e analisados.

Este procedimento é muito reminiscente do filme americano A Identidade Bourne, que se tornou uma das franquias de maior sucesso em Hollywood. Outro filme que detalhou esta tecnologia foi Enemy of the State, que fez referencia ao sistema real de espionagem chamado Echelon. Como é sempre o caso, a realidade é mais estranha que a ficção, e Hollywood não faz mais filmes sobre cenários fictícios. Na verdade, seus filmes são sobre coisas que aconteceram no passado, ou que estão prestes a ser reveladas, como é o caso Trapwire.

A Internet é uma proliferação de teorias da conspiração como resultado de ataques cibernéticos sofridos pelo Wikileaks, logo após a publicação destes documentos. Agora nós sabemos que aquelas não eram teorias da conspiração, mas conspirações reais e que a mídia alternativa continua batendo a mídia corporativa quando trata-se de revelações sobre agendas secretas e do crescimento ilimitado do Estado centralizado.

O site fundado por Julian Assange foi atingido por hackers muitas vezes, mas desta vez o ataque foi mais forte do que de costume, e agora sabemos porquê. As novas revelações calaram de uma vez por todas a boca daqueles que chamam a mídia alternativa de “marginal”, especialmente agora que o governo dos EUA atestou ter dado sua aprovação para Trapwire. O software foi testado em 15 câmeras de vigilância em Washington e Seattle pelo Departamento de Segurança Interna. No entanto, as autoridades disseram que os testes que foram concluídos no ano passado não são promissores.

Você pode acreditar nisso?

Claro que não. Trapwire opera sistemas de vigilância em todas as cidades como uma plataforma integrada para monitorar todos os movimentos que as pessoas fazem em lugares públicos como parques, estações de ônibus, aeroportos, etc. Curiosamente, Abraxas, o criador do Trapwire, foi financiado com dinheiro do Departamento de Defesa e do Departamento de Segurança Interna. E assim mesmo. O DHS, que disse que Trapwire não era promissor, foi o que financiou o seu desenvolvimento e implementação.

Ahora todos somos Jason Bourne

POR LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | 25 AGOSTO 2012

¿Te has sentido como si alguien te está mirando pero luego miras a tu alrededor y todo el mundo está ocupándose de sus propios asuntos. ¿Quién es, te preguntas. Bueno, la pregunta que debemos hacernos es ¿qué es? Y la respuesta es Trapwire. Eso es correcto. Ahora todos somos Jason Bourne.

La semana pasada, Wikileaks publicó decenas de correos electrónicos de la corporación Stratfor Global Intelligence, una empresa de seguridad privada en Austin, Texas. Los correos electrónicos son parte de un corpus de documentos entregados al sitio de Julian Assange a finales del año pasado y a principios de este año por los hackers de Anónimos (Anonymous).

El detalle más importante mencionado en las filtraciones es la existencia de un programa informático llamado TrapWire, desarrollado en 2004 por la Corporación  Abraxas, una organización fundada por varios ex-miembros de la CIA. La conexión entre TrapWire y la CIA, junto con las descripciones crípticas del programa han sido publicados y, por supuesto, han confirmado los peores temores hace mucho tiempo revelados por medios de comunicación alternativos sobre la existencia del hasta ahora esquivo Big Brother.

De hecho, el programa utiliza cámaras de seguridad de todo tipo que están disponibles, controladas por los agentes, para desarrollar una descripción de las personas que están cerca de un objetivo terrorista potencial, así como una descripción detallada de los vehículos. El programa también registra “las actividades de vigilancia potenciales, tales como la fotografía, la medición y marcado”, según lo declarado por el fabricante. Todas las imágenes recogidas por TrapWire van a su base de datos, donde se archivan y analizan.

Este procedimiento es muy reminiscente de la película estadounidense The Bourne Identity, que se ha convertido en una de las franquicias más exitosas de Hollywood. También lo es en le caso de la película Enemy of the State y del verdadero sistema de vigilancia y espionaje llamado Echelon. Como es siempre el caso, la realidad es más extraña que la ficción, y Hollywood ya no hace películas sobre escenarios ficticios. De hecho, sus películas son sobre las cosas que han existido por mucho tiempo o que están a punto de ser reveladas, como es el caso de Trapwire.

En Internet hay una proliferación de teorías de la conspiración como resultado de ataques cibernéticos sufridos por Wikileaks, justo después de la publicación de estos documentos. Ahora sabemos que esas no eran teorías de conspiración, pero verdaderas conspiraciones y que los medios de comunicación alternativos continúan pateándoles el trasero a los medios corporativos a la hora de revelar agendas secretas y el crecimiento ilimitado del Estado centralizado.

La página web fundada por Julian Assange ha sido golpeada por los hackers tantas veces, pero esta vez el ataque fue más fuerte de lo normal, y ahora sabemos por qué. Las nuevas revelaciones cerraron las bocas de aquellos que se llaman a los medios de comunicación alternativos “sitios marginales” de una vez por todas, sobre todo ahora que el gobierno de EE.UU. ha probado y dado el visto bueno a Trapwire. El software ha sido probado en 15 cámaras de vigilancia en Washington y Seattle por el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional. Sin embargo, las autoridades dijeron que las pruebas que concluyeron el año pasado no son prometedoras.

¿Puedes creer eso?

Por supuesto que no. Trapwire funciona con los sistemas de vigilancia en toda las ciudades y como una plataforma integrada para el seguimiento de cada movimiento que las personas hacen en lugares públicos como estaciones, parques, autobuses y trenes, aeropuertos, etc. Un dato interesante es que Abraxas, el creador de Trapwire, fue financiado con dineros provenientes de la Secretaría de Defensa y el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional. Así es. El mismo DHS que dijo que Trapwire no era prometedor fue el que financió su creación y aplicación.

We are all Jason Bourne now

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | AUGUST 14, 2012

Have you felt as if someone was watching you? But then you look around and everyone is minding their own business. Who is it, you ask. Well, the question you should be asking is what is it? And the answer is Trapwire. That’s right. We are all Jason Bourne now.

Last week, Wikileaks published dozens of emails from the Stratfor Global Intelligence, a private security company in Austin, Texas. The e-mails are part of a corpus of documents delivered to Julian Assange’s site late last year and earlier this year by Anonymous hackers.

The most important detail mentioned in the leaks is the existence of a computer program called TrapWire, developed in 2004 by the Abraxas Corporation, an organization founded by several former members of the CIA. The connection between TrapWire and the CIA, along with the cryptic descriptions of the program have been released and of course have confirmed that the worst fears for much time warned about by alternative media outlets and purposely ignored by the main stream media are now true. There is such a thing as a Global Big Brother.

In fact, the program uses security cameras of all kinds that are available, controlled by agents, to develop a description of the people who are close to a potential terrorist target, and a detailed description of the vehicles. The program also records “potential surveillance activities, such as photography, measurement and marking”, as declared by the manufacturer. All images collected by TrapWire go to its database, where they are cross checked and analyzed by human spies, with information gathered by the sensors.

This procedure is very reminiscent of the American film The Bourne Identity, which has become one of the most successful franchises in Hollywood. As it is always the case, reality is stranger than fiction, and Hollywood no longer makes movies about fictitious scenarios. In fact, its movies are either about things that have existed for a long time or that are about to be revealed, as it is the case with Trapwire.

On the Internet there was a proliferation of conspiracy theories also a result of cyber attacks suffered by Wikileaks, just after publishing these documents. Now we know that those were not conspiracy theories, but conspiracy facts and that alternative media continue to kick the corporate media’s butt when it comes to revealing secret agendas and the limitless growth of the powerful centralized state.

The website founded by Julian Assange has been hit by hackers so many times, but this time the attack was stronger than the usual, and now we know why. The new revelations will shut the mouths of those who call alternative media outlets “fringe websites” once and for all, especially now that the US government has tested and given the seal of approval to Trapwire. The software was tested in 15 surveillance cameras in Washington and Seattle by the Department of Homeland Security. Officials said that the testing was concluded last year and that the technology did not loo promising.

Can you believe that?

Of course not. Trapwire works with the average citywide surveillance systems and as an integrated platform for monitoring every move people make in public places such as parks, bus and train stations, airports and so on. An interesting fact here is that Abraxas, the creator of Trapwire, was financed with monies that came from the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security. That’s right. The same DHS that said Trapwire was not promising.