Electronic Spying, Tracking, and Harassment
Electronic Spying, Tracking, and Harassment
From wiretaps and Internet monitoring to implanted microchips in our children, the government has many tools available to watch our every move.
The late Dr. Fred Bell often warned that electronic harassment can come in a variety of forms—it can be imposed by the surveillance of people’s belongings or surroundings, by sabotaging computers, by directing high energy devices at targets, and by using voice data imaging in which voices are beamed into a person’s head. The symptoms of electronic harassment often include unusual forgetfulness, suicidal or homicidal thoughts, panic attacks, depression, paranoia, and even death.
Before the Patriot Act, which was signed into law in 2001 by President George W. Bush, the use of electronic devices to track, spy on, or harass individuals constituted a violation of U.S. citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights to privacy. Law enforcement agencies seeking to justify the interception of private communications in a private environment had to obtain a court order or warrant showing probable cause before they were permitted to “tap” someone’s tools of electronic communication. Conspiracy theorists insist that such rights for individuals were being completely ignored by dozens of government and secret agencies using highly sophisticated techniques of electronic surveillance—without seeking court orders—even before Homeland Security violated previous rights to privacy.
In the warrantless telephone “bugging” of today, human agents are no longer required to sit long hours monitoring the calls of suspected criminals or terrorists. Speech-to-text software quickly creates machine-readable text from intercepted audio calls, which is then processed by automated call-analysis programs. Human agents are assigned the task of monitoring the suspect only when certain trigger words or phrases are detected by the electronic programs.
High on various watchdogs’ lists is the National Security Agency (NSA), whose agents secretly conduct warrantless wiretapping on anyone they please. Conspiracy theorists maintain that the scope of the NSA’s infrastructure is so vast and comprehensive that its range of abilities is as unknown to the average NSA employee as it is to the average U.S. citizen.
The Internet as an Instrument of Terrorism and Revolution
The Internet has become increasingly important as an instrument of terrorism—both foreign and domestic—as well as of civil unrest aimed at overthrowing governments. There is far too much data being transmitted on the Internet for human investigators to manually sift through all of it, so automated Internet surveillance computers search through an unimaginable cacophony of sounds and images seeking certain trigger words or phrases. In the United States, according to conspiracists, the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act monitors all phone calls and broadband Internet traffic, including emails, Web traffic, instant messaging, and so forth. Billions of dollars per year are spent by the Information Awareness Office, the FBI, and the NSA in this pursuit.
The NSA has allegedly developed a supercomputer known only as A.I. (for Artificial Intelligence), or “Mr. Computer.” A.I. is capable of forming a “hive mind,” a kind of collective consciousness that can stretch across continental links. A.I.’s wiretapping program is able to copy verbatim every piece of data that travels across the Internet, send it to various data analysis stations, and provide a real-time analysis of the information packets.
The NSA also taps into the global wideband radio listening system. By combining its numerous listening devices, the agency manages to detect nearly every expression of human thought. Through its advanced satellite network, supported by a remarkable network of ground stations throughout the world, it can identify all radio stations and their individual broadcasts. With its incredible wide receiver, it can also pick up WIFI, RFID, cordless telephones, cell phones, GPS, and satellite uploads and downloads.
As such conspiracy theorists as Dr. Fred Bell warned, the NSA’s “Mr. Computer” can transmit ELF transmissions that can reduce enemies in specific geographical targets to quivering individuals suffering intense emotional duress. In extreme attacks, the transmissions can even kill target individuals by interfering with neuronal firing patterns and nerve impulses.
The FBI’s Digital Collection System
In addition to the NSA’s massive computer network, the FBI has built a nationwide computer system called the Digital Collection System (DCS), which is connected by fiber-optic cables and designed to collect and analyze wiretaps of all manner, including those utilized in ultra-secret terrorism investigations.
Increasingly, the U.S. government seems to believe that its citizens have no right to privacy in their public movements. With their growing access to invasive technologies, the police, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and numerous other agencies are authorized to engage in covert ‘round-the-clock surveillance over as long a period of time as the investigating agency deems necessary. The Justice Department has authorized law enforcement agencies to use warrantless GPS tracking devices to any suspect who drives a vehicle, for instance.
No Such Thing as a Private Telephone Call
There was a time when people became well aware of the warrantless wire-tapping of their telephones on landlines and believed that at least their cell phones were safe from others eavesdropping on their private conversations. That time of freedom and privacy no longer exists on the cell phone. Anything you say on your smart phone can easily be sent to the carriers, who keep a wealth of information regarding text messages, call-location data, and PINS. None of the carriers reveal to anxious and concerned customers how long they store such private and privileged information. Neither do they make it known that law enforcement and security agencies may easily obtain such data.
Intelligence and law enforcement agencies in the United States and the United Kingdom possess the technology that can activate the microphones in cell or smart phones by accessing the phones’ diagnostic/maintenance features and listening to any conversation occurring near the person holding the instrument.
DARPA, Our Semi-Secret Agency
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is the agency that conspiracy buffs term a “semi-secret” anti-terrorism security group. It is officially an agency of the U.S. Department of Defense and is responsible for the development of new military technology. DARPA is independent of other military units and reports directly to the senior management of the U.S. Department of Defense. It employs approximately 240 personnel and is given a $3.2 billion budget (conspiracists say the budget has been boosted dramatically).
The agency’s original name was the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), and it was established in 1958 in response to the Soviets’ launching of Sputnik in 1957. The mission of ARPA was to upgrade U.S. military technology and be always at least one step ahead of the nation’s potential enemies. It was renamed DARPA in March 1972, then retitled ARPA in February 1993, then redesignated DARPA in March 1996.
ARPA’s Network (ARPANET) was the world’s first operational packet switching network and the core network of what became the global Internet. The network was originally funded by DARPA for use by its projects at universities and research laboratories in the United States. In retrospect, it seems that DARPA was working for Big Brother from its very inception.
In October 2011, DARPA let slip word about its “Narrative Networks” project. The first part of the program would involve the analysis of what happens to people when they hear or see a message. Is it possible that certain messages or images actually cause alterations in the brain to accommodate new ideas? The second part would involve a means of taking advantage of those individuals who are vulnerable to such messaging and to bombard them with messages that would overwrite any undesirable brain changes that might have occurred to people susceptible to bad messages so their behavior could be moderated.
Interesting. But what if an agency of the U.S. government used such technology to reprogram those individuals who object to certain programs that the government might wish to implement, such as declaring war or raising taxes or sending protesters to FEMA camps?
Combat Zones that See
DARPA is also developing a project called “Combat Zones that See,” which would utilize all the video security cameras in a city and link them up to a centralized monitoring station. With thousands of cameras at strategic places, the centralized station could track individuals and vehicles as they moved through the city. Any activities assessed as “suspicious” could be reported to law enforcement and intercepted or investigated.
While city governments usually claim that the cameras are intended for traffic control, they are also used for general surveillance. Chicago’s government has openly declared that it will have a surveillance camera on every street corner by 2016. Washington, D.C., recently had 5,000 “traffic” cameras installed.
Drones, the Eyes in the Sky
DARPA also developed the Heterogeneous Aerial Reconnaissance Team program that employs large teams of drone planes that pilot themselves and have the technology to automatically make decisions about who looks suspicious and how best to monitor them. Such judgments are shared with other drones, and human operatives can be notified if their suspicions prove to be justified. A squadron of these automated, self-directing drones can patrol a city or any designated area, tracking suspicious individuals and reporting their questionable activities to a centralized monitoring station.
Disconnecting Unwanted Telephone Calls
The London Metropolitan Police recently purchased a suitcase-sized device that can remotely disable phones, intercept communications, and track individuals in real time. All the police need to do is to arrive on the scene of a protest or a scene of civil unrest, turn on their suitcase device, and instantly no one is able to record the demonstration on their cell phones or call for help.
The device, called “ICT hardware,” is produced by Datong in the UK. Datong was awarded $1.6 million in contracts from the U.S. Secret Service, Special Operations Command, and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In February 2010, they were awarded another $1.2 million to deliver tracking and location technology to the American defense industry.
The suitcase device can intercept text messages and telephone calls, which allows law enforcement agencies to track the caller’s movements in real time. It can also prevent outbound communications from reaching a cell tower, which would be most effective in preventing crowds from being able to organize during demonstrations and protest rallies. In addition, cell phone signals that can set off bombs can be blocked.
Someone Is Looking over Your Shoulder at the Supermarket
The innocent act of visiting a supermarket can place entire families on a massive tracking system. Almost any physical item purchased—from a toothbrush to a bottle of aspirin—carries its own information in the form of an embedded chip. This chip contains a consumer goods tracking code, an EPC (Electronic Product Code) that sends out an identification signal permitting it to communicate with reader devices and other products embedded with similar chips. The consumer goods tracking system is known as Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), and it signals the death of consumer privacy. The UPC bar code, with which every consumer has been familiar for decades, simply identifies the product. There is nothing wrong with that, people think, because it helps the merchant keep track of his stock. But the EPC does far more by assigning a unique number to every single item produced by every company in the United States—from soda to cream cheese. The RFID tags, hardly larger than a speck of dust, are planted directly into the product during the manufacturing process. Everything from soup to nuts, and from razor blades to automobile parts, is tracked as products move from warehouses to retail outlets. Every company is aware of the whereabouts of its products at all times. The eventual goal is for RFID to spawn a totally linked world wherein every item produced is numbered, identified, catalogued, and tracked.
As Katherine Albrecht writes in “Supermarket Cards: The Tip of the Retail Surveillance Iceberg,” RFID would be able to “monitor individuals’ behavior to undreamt of extremes. With corporate sponsors like Wal-Mart, Target, the Food Marketing Institute, Home Depot, and British supermarket chain Tesco, as well as some of the world’s large consumer goods manufacturers … it may not be long before RIFD based surveillance tags begin appearing in every store-bought item in a consumer’s home.”
RIFD Chips in School Kids
In 2008 the Middletown School District in Rhode Island put in place a pilot program to monitor student movements at the Aquidneck School by implanting RFID chips in their schoolbags. The chips would be read by an external device installed in the school buses, which would also be fitted with GPS instruments. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) argued that the school was entitled to track its buses, but it was “a quantitative leap to monitor children themselves.”
Monitoring school children with RFID chips has been going on since at least 2005, when a grade school in California began handing out RFID badges. In 2001 a preschool in Richmond, California, installed an expensive high-tech system to track the attendance of its students. The system was heralded as a pilot program for others to come.
RIFD Chips in Workers … Next, Everyone!
Workers in the United Kingdom have gone on strike to protest being tagged with RIFD chips by their employers. Conspiracists believe that it may not be long before all employees are injected with chips to ensure against thefts. Conspiracists also worry that a day might come when everyone will be tracked and scanned wherever they go.
The Verichip, produced by Applied Digital Solutions, is only slightly larger than a grain of rice and is injected under the skin. The Verichip Subscriber Number allows a scanner to access personal information that is on the Internet. from Verichip’s database. Thousands of people have already had such chips inserted. The Attorney General’s office in Mexico required all 160 of its workers to have such a chip inserted for identity and access control purposes.