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Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Ground Based Spy Sensors
Across US To Assist NDAA Spy Drones

Posted by Alexander Higgins    - June 4, 2012 at 7:05 pm
Permalink - Source via Alexander Higgins Blog

Tens of thousands of hidden ground based spy sensors disguised as rocks and other objects are being deployed to aid drones in identifying and tracking targets.

The deployment of 30,000 drones over U.S. skies will be aided by tens of thousands of high-tech hidden ground sensors that are being deployed across the nation.

Officially known as Unattended Ground Sensors these “field and forget” systems for “persistent surveillance” can be carefully disguised as rocks and other objects so they can be hidden in plain sight or they can even be buried in the ground.

The latest generation of these sensors offer advanced surveillance capabilities such as the ability to detect, identify and track people or vehicles while having only the slightest chance of ever being detected.

Engineered to run on solar power they can transmit information for decades directly to spy drones, satellites and other sophisticated surveillance devices.

The previous generation of these devices are already deployed in overseas in locations such as Afghanistan while the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol is currently using over 7,500 of the sensors along the Mexican border to spot illegal migrants.

But defense contractors say the biggest market for these sensors will soon be inside the United States where a massive expansion of their use is planned as their new capabilities allow them to be directly integrated with the domestic drone fleet that is being deployed over the next decade.

Please see rest of article here:

Police Using Military Drones To Spy On Americans Without A Warrant
June 5th, 2012

(HigginsBlog) – US Air Force documents obtained by CBS reveal law enforcement agencies are bypassing warrant requirements by using military drones to spy on Americans.

New documents obtained from the US military by CBS news in Los Angeles reveals that the United States military is using drones to conduct aerial surveillance operations over US soil, which by itself is illegal with a few exceptions.

Once the military collects this data it is then being shared with law enforcement agencies that normally would be required to obtain a warrant to collect such information.

Normally these agencies would be required to obtain a court warrant to be able conduct such surveillance operations on their own behalf.

But since the information is being provided by a 3rd  party who gained access to the information that was not required to obtain a warrant law enforcement agencies are able to use surveillance with military drones as legal loophole to circumvent the Constitutional protections that prevent such practices.

The document contains vague language that permits use of military drones in to assist local, state and federal law enforcement for the purposes of “preventing, detecting, or investigating other violations of law.”

The document also outlines in vague terms conditions which allows the Air Force to share intelligence information collected by military drones during routine operations with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

In any of these cases the 4th Amendment Protections Against illegal search and seizure and 5th amendment Due Process violations are being committed illegally by law enforcement and the military.

Air Force spokesperson Capt. Rose Richeson tells CBS news that the Obama administration has already distributed detailed guidelines instructing the military when and where to use military drones to gather intelligence or conduct surveillance for law enforcement purposes.

Capt. Richeson went on to explain that  “a court order or warrant is not required in all circumstances.”

Additionally there are 13 different categories a person can fall under which allows the Military to conduct person specific surveillance operations. on a person without a warrant.

Aggravating the situation is the data being collected by the Military is amassed into a massive database and isn’t considered to be “collected” into it is has been “processed into intelligible form” and “received for use by an employee”

Once the data has been “collected” – actually accessed by a real person – it is then  stored in a temporary database for up to 90 days  during  which a decision is made to purge the information from the system or keep it as permanently record.

During that time the military may share the data with several non-military law enforcement agencies including the FBI and various agencies that fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security as well as state and local law enforcement officials.

The operating procedures  requires any Air Force Intelligence collected by military drones that reveals information about any threat or crime must be forwarded the federal, state or local law enforcement agency responsible for handling the information..

Furthermore, the documents also reveals that military may be assigned “missions” to conduct operations on behalf of law enforcement.


 Massive experimental drone takes to skies above Edwards AFB,0,3627487.story

By W.J. Hennigan

June 4, 2012, 12:49 p.m.

A massive experimental drone designed by Boeing Co. engineers to fly for up to four days at a time completed its first test flight above the Mojave Desert at Edwards Air Force Base.

The drone, called Phantom Eye, and its hydrogen-fueled propulsion system have the potential to vastly expand the reach of military spy craft. The longest that reconnaissance planes can stay in the air now is about 30 hours.

In the test flight, which took place Friday, the Phantom Eye circled above Edwards at about 4,080 feet above Edwards for 28 minutes. After touching down, the vehicle had problems when the landing gear dug into the lake bed and broke.

The Chicago-based company said engineers are assessing the damage but added that they plan on putting the Phantom Eye through more demanding test flights in the future.

With a 150-foot wingspan and an egg-shaped fuselage, the drone was built at Boeing's Phantom Works complex in St. Louis with engineering support from its facilities in Huntington Beach. The drone is designed to spy over vast areas at an altitude of up to 65,000 feet.

"This day ushers in a new era of persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance where an unmanned aircraft will remain on station for days at a time providing critical information and services," said Phantom Works President Darryl Davis in a statement. "This flight puts Boeing on a path to accomplish another aerospace first — the capability of four days of un-refueled, autonomous flight."

Unlike existing combat drones that are controlled remotely by a human pilot, the Phantom Eye could carry out a mission controlled almost entirely by a computer. A human pilot sitting miles away can design a flight path and sends it on its way, and a computer program guides it to the target and back.

The flight was powered by liquid hydrogen. Boeing says the fuel is a powerful alternative for vehicles that require endurance, and the combustion leaves only water in the atmosphere.

It took Boeing about four years to get the Phantom Eye to the runway, without the promise of a payout. Boeing does not have a contract on the drone; it is developing the craft at its own expense.

 8 Creepy Spy Technologies That Can Be
Hitched to Your Neighborhood Drones

America's cities may soon be swarming with surveillance drones equipped with high-tech snooping tools.


AlterNet has assembled an incomplete list of spy technologies and surveillance programs, military and civilian, that can take to the air on drones. Here are eight things that could potentially be strapped to the UAV that may be flying over your head in the next few years.

1. WiFi and phone hacking: The Wireless Aerial Surveillance Platform (WASP) can break into WiFi networks and hack cell phones, according to Forbes. Jerry-rigged from an old army drone by two former military network security analysts, the spy plane comes with a Linux system and dictionary to help generate password-cracking words.

Plus, its antennas mimic cell phone towers, allowing the machine, allegedly, to tap into cell phone conversations and access text messages. "Ideally, the target won’t even know he’s being spied on,” one of the designers told Forbes.



2. NYPD sensor that sees through clothes: The NYPD, which is not known for its cautious approach to the use of surveillance, announced recently that it was perfecting a sensor that uses radiation to reveal weapons hidden under a person's clothes. The technology can clearly be put to good use, diffusing dangerous situations and saving lives. But as NYCLU director Donna Lieberman said in a statement, it would be helpful if the NYPD shared what the surveillance can do and its intentions for using it: “We have no idea how this technology works, if it is effective, and what its error rate is. If the NYPD is moving forward with this, the public needs more information about this technology, how it works and the dangers it presents."



3. Biometrics: Advances in facial recognition, iris scans and other identifying biometric markers are speeding along, with both police departments and federal agencies juicing up the biometrics industry by offering a welcoming market for its wares. This includes the MORIS device, spreading through police departments all over the country, which lets police capture iris scans and run image algorithms that can recognize a person from the geometry of his or her face. Biometrics like facial recognition (and eventually iris scans) are a natural fit for aerial vehicles, as camera zoom and image quality continue to improve.



4. Video analytics: The video analytics industry seeks to develop systems that can analyze and interpret data. So instead of a stream of raw footage, the camera itself can perform searches for people and objects of interest. One example is LPR readers that can read license plates and run them against a database, helping match identity and track location. Those are already in use all over the world, and more sophisticated forms of video analytics have also started to creep into metro areas. Chicago, which bears the honor of being called the most surveilled city in America by Michael Chertoff, has cameras that can track specific people or cars as they move around the city, according to the ACLU of Illinois (PDF).



5. Sense-through-the-wall (STTW) technology: For about a decade various branches of the military have been working to create sensors that can penetrate walls. DARPA's Visibuilding project is working on "surveillance capabilities to detect personnel within buildings, to determine building layouts, and to locate weapons caches and shielded enclosures within buildings," according to the DARPA site. The US Army's research arm (CERDEC) has also developed technology that can sense behind walls.



6. ARGUS-IS, the 100-eyed giant: The military's ARGUS-IS (Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System) endows the A-160 Hummingbird, one of the military's newest, fanciest drones, with the power to stake out 36 miles of land from one spot. The sensors can absorb 80 years worth of footage in a single day, using 65 video screens capable of tracking different locations, according to Wired.



7. Gorgon Stare: The Gorgon Stare is similar to ARGUS-IS, except that it's named after a monster that can turn people to stone, rather than merely a giant with 100 all-seeing eyes. Hitched to Reaper drones, Gorgon Stare is supposed to collect information from an entire small town or city and send data to troops in the field and to ground stations for deeper analysis. "Gorgon Stare will be looking at a whole city, so there will be no way for the adversary to know what we're looking at, and we can see everything," an Air Force general told the Washington Post.



8. Wide Area Aerial Surveillance System (WAASS): ARGUS-IS and Gorgon Stare are planned for Afghanistan, but as Wired reported in January, the Department of Homeland Security has inquired about a similar system that can scan large swathes of land in the US. The agency has solicited industry feedback on the possibility of a surveillance system that does the following:

The primary objective of WAASS is to provide persistent, long-term surveillance over urban and rural terrain at least the size of 16 km2. The surveillance system shall have an electro-optical capability for daylight missions but can have an infrared capability for day or night operations. The sensor shall integrate with an airborne platform for data gathering. The imagery data shall be displayed at a DHS operations center and have the capability for forensic analysis within 36 hours of the flight.


As Spencer Ackerman points out, "If it’s starting to sound reminiscent of the spy tools the military has used in Iraq and Afghanistan, it should." 

EPA Drones Now Spying On Midwest
Farmers Livestock Activity

 Posted by Alexander Higgins    - June 3, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Congress has launched an inquiry into the EPA’s use of drones to monitor the
livestock activities of farmers in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.

In the latest escalation of the government’s all out assault on freedom and liberty in America farmers have become the latest target Uncle Sam’s multibillion dollar spy-machine.

The EPA is now using the same drones the military uses to track and assassinate people overseas to spy on the livestock activities of farmers throughout the Section 7 area of the midwest United States which includes Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and  Missouri.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is demanding answers about privacy and other concerns from EPA Director Lisa Jackson who defends the practice as cost-effective.

LINKS:  ~~~>

MORE Article Here ~~~~~~~~~>


Friday, June 01, 2012
Rebecca DiLeonardo at 11:09 AM ET

A lawyer for the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] on Thursday defended the warrantless use of global positioning system (GPS) [JURIST news archive] devices on suspects' vehicles despite a January Supreme Court [official website] ruling declaring GPS tracking to be a "search" under the Fourth Amendment [text]. In oral arguments before the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] on Thursday, the DOJ argued that the Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Jones [SCOTUSblog backgrounder; JURIST report] did not require warrants for all GPS tracking [WSJ report] because the search could still be reasonable in certain situations. The Ninth Circuit originally ruled [decision, PDF] that the suspect did not have an expectation of privacy in his vehicle, but the court was asked to review its decision after the Supreme Court's ruling in Jones. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed an amicus brief [text, PDF; press release] supporting the defendant, arguing: "under Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, warrantless searches are presumptively unlawful. The exceptions to this rule are few and do not apply here."

The US Supreme Court ruled in January in the government's attachment of a GPS device to a vehicle, and its use of that device to monitor the vehicle's movements, constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment. The federal government sought Supreme Court review after the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled [JURIST reports] in 2010 that prolonged use of GPS to monitor suspects' vehicles violates the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. Affirming the decision below, Justice Antonin Scalia delivered the opinion of the court, which was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Sonia Sotomayor, stating, "We have no doubt that such a physical intrusion would have been considered a "search" within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment when it was adopted." Justice Sonia Sotomayor also filed a concurring opinion. Justice Samuel Alito filed a concurring opinion, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan. Alito "would analyze the question presented in this case by asking whether respondent's reasonable expectations of privacy were violated by the long-term monitoring of the movements of the vehicle he drove."

LINK (ACLU) ~~~~~>

LINK (SCOTUS 2010 RULING) ~~~~~~~>


Article from NEW AMERICAN  ~>

Monday, 04 June 2012 11:01

Obama Administration Argues No Warrant Required for GPS Tracking of Citizens

Written by  Joe Wolverton, II


..... For its part, the Obama administration in its brief submitted to the Ninth Circuit argues that “requiring a warrant and probable cause would seriously impede the government's ability to investigate drug trafficking, terrorism and other crimes." Furthermore, following somebody’s every move via satellite is only a “limited intrusion” into his privacy.

Not surprisingly, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) disagrees. In an amici curiae brief filed in the Pineda-Moreno case, attorneys for the ACLU argue: "The warrant requirement is especially important here given the extraordinary intrusiveness of modern-day electronic surveillance. Without a warrant requirement, the low cost of GPS tracking and data storage would permit the police to continuously track every driver."

And this is precisely the goal of the government. The never-blinking eye of Big Brother will watch and record every movement of every citizen so that no act of rebellion, no matter how small, will go unnoticed and unpunished. Citizens are thus compelled to demonstrate unwavering obedience to the federal government in every e-mail, every conversation, every association, and every movement or face instant reprisal.

This is our new American Republic.


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