Turning the iPhone into a valuable night vision scope.

May 31, 2012 Technology No Commenti
iPhone Night Vision Adapter

Fans of Apple technologies probably already know. Now you can turn your iPhone (4 and 4S models) into a device for night video and image recording, allowing to spy what other people are doing in the dark.

A new application? No, there’s not an app for that! It’s not that simple and it’s not for everyone, since the costs are not exactly low. For those who would like to obtain this device simply because it is a “cool” gadget (and it is for real), you’d better keep in mind the quite prohibitive costs.

We are talking about a device, the iPhone USNV Night Vision Adapter. An adapter, in short, a kind of telescope to be connected to the iPhone which enables you to clearly see everything that happens in a night environment without any light. Once installed the external device, the iPhone offers, thus, a display for night vision and to record video and photos, zoom and adjust optic settings, geo-tag your footage, and send images to others.

“This adapter really is a game changer. By integrating their iPhones and night vision scopes, professionals in the field can take the individual situational awareness that they currently enjoy to the next level, team-based shared awareness. For command and control, shared awareness supercharges their ability to plan, direct and control a networked emergency response,” said Stewart Firman, the director of NightVisionExperts.com.

The Night Vision iPhone Adapter, then, is not for everyone. The average user, in fact, might find it of limited use and interest. Much more useful is, however, for first responders and other professionals who seek a means of sending critical data quickly and cost efficiently. Other potential users include sportsmen, surveillance professionals and broadcasters.

People who does not have an iPhone, instead, can now rely on other devices that allow a clear vision even in the darkest nights. They can acquire, for example, a thermal camera, the cost of which are no longer an obstacle for those who need to do night shooting in a discreet and, above all, accurate way. Thermal cameras, in fact, today are more and more silent, with no warning lights and they can really work in extreme environments, in a very wide temperature range, enabling you to take pictures even far away from the operator, with powerful zoom and very high resolution.

Social Shield, a new tool to control children’s activity on the Web.

May 30, 2012 Technology No Commenti
remote pc spying

The age limit imposed by Facebook to sign up is currently 13 years. Needless to say, of course, that there are many kids that go around this obstacle by declaring a false date of birth, often escaping the parental control. Moreover, parents are not always experts in new technologies and cannot monitor what their children do and say through the Web. Besides, thanks to the use of state-of-the-art mobile phones, such as smartphones, new generations have the opportunity to connect to the Internet everywhere, especially away from parents’ sharp look.

Often it is not enough to ask their friendship on Social Networks because, you know, by changing privacy settings the user can easily keep “hot” contents from some selected groups of people.

But today there are new tools to monitor the activities of your children. On the market there is a new system to control what is going on Social Media accounts. It’s called SocialShield and is suitable for parents who really want to see every movement of their children on Facebook, Google +, Twitter and so forth.

This product is able to monitor “social” activities of your children either on the computer or on mobile devices, retaining all the information in a permanent archive. The tool allows you to examine both new friends of your child and old ones, and enables to display, on a single platform and without wasting time in analyzing any single, questionable activities that your child is doing by notifying you each time something unsafe (like swearing or inappropriate images) appears on the Social Network account placed under surveillance.

If, for example, your son or daughter receives a message with inappropriate content, you will instantly receive a warning alarm.
The system is based on the “exception reporting” technology, which displays only the contents at risk, thus leaving room for the privacy and indipendence the kids need.

Clearly, however, this tool is not enough to make parents feel less worried about their children’s online activities. So, it could be useful for them to rely on remote PC spying systems or keyhunters, which record all the characters typed on the keyboard by children. E-mail, chats, visited web addresses, instant messages exchanged with their buddies, nothing can now escape parental control, while they will continue to feel “adult” and independent with their privacy, not noticing the hidden spy equipment.

New surveillance system identifies faces by scanning 36 million images per second.

May 29, 2012 Technology No Commenti
video surveillance

Privacy advocates, brace yourselves! Japan has developed a new surveillance device that identifies faces by scanning millions of images per second.
The Hitachi Kokusai Electric has demonstrated how this new system can compare an image captured with a mobile phone or from hidden cameras or other video surveillance systems, such as 3G spy camera, with 36 million images per second, until a perfect matching of faces.
While the minimum resolution required for identification is at least 40×40 pixels, the provided software allows facial recognition even in the case faces are inclined horizontally or vertically up to 30 degrees.
The software also enables to identify faces in already registered or old videos, which means that users will see what the wanted person was doing before and after the freeze-frame.
What does this mean? That the greatest barrier of video surveillance has been exceeded. No more need to watch gruelling hours of video recorded by hidden cameras to find what you want.
The power of this system lies in the ability of its algorithm to group similar faces together, returning the results as thumbnails arranged in a grid, from which you can easily remove results considered wrong, or which do not perfectly match.
It is easy to see how the scenarios that open for its use are endless. The police, for example, could find it useful to trap criminals from old videos, or find them in the midst of large crowds. Moreover it will be easier to catch in the act a thief which has committed several burglaries in the same business and to discover very quickly how many times that person has been in that store.
The company said that the product will be available by the next fiscal year and it will be up to the company itself to ensure customers make an appropriate use. Customized to specific customer’s needs , the product shall be restricted mainly to the police, shopping centers or large companies.
This news should make anyone concerned about privacy shudder, but the fact that competing systems like this will follow requires legislators to define how the technology can be used legally, as with other surveillance systems, like license-plate recognition cameras.

3G spy camera, a big step forward in video surveillance.

May 28, 2012 Technology No Commenti
remote surveillance

Until a few years ago, it was pure fiction to think about a device that would provide immediate access to any place across the globe, allowing you to see and listen to what was going on. The technology, however, has now reached levels previously unattainable, enabling a remote real-time control of any place, be it internal or external.

3G spy camera is a little jewel of technology that allows audio and video surveillance directly from your UMTS mobile. It can be installed in different environments and in mobile vehicles as well.

It works in video mode only when there is UMTS network coverage, otherwise it acts like a normal audio bug. If necessary, it also allows to record files on Micro SD memory up to 32 Gb and to send them to an e-mail box.

The 3G spy camera is the ideal tool for those who need to remotely monitor their home or workplace, especially with the increase of burglary in these times of economic crisis.

Its really small size and weight (only 43x40x8 mm per 10 grams) enable you to hide it anywhere, from home appliances and furniture to the interior of a car, without anyone noticing it. With a video resolution of 320×240, the 3G spy camera allows you not only to record video in MP4 format, but also to take pictures at a resolution of 640×480.

Easy to use and configurable via text messages, with a simple video call to the number listed in the bug, from any UMTS phone, you can real-time control at a great distance what is happening in the place under surveillance. For the audio mode, however, in case of lack of UMTS coverage, you just need a simple voice call from any phone.

It features a Voice Activation Sensor (VAS), which turns the device on when it detects a noise that exceeds a certain threshold, and a ultrasensitive microphone that, despite its small size (only 5.6×4.0×2.3 mm), provides excellent sound quality.
Moreover, the 3G spy camera is powered by a 3.7V lithium-ion battery, rechargeable via USB cable or charger, all supplied in the kit.

Ideal for those who need to remotely control places or people, this device represents a major step forward in technology, as well as a valuable aid in the prevention of theft of various kinds. Powerful and easy to use, you do not need to be a leading expert in these technologies to employ it.

Burglary and the need for increased police patrols.

May 24, 2012 Technology No Commenti
burglar

Burglary, shoplifting and other petty crimes against property are increasing. This is what you can easily learn from newspapers, TV and the Internet.

Most thieves are amateurs but in this time of economic crisis it is almost becoming a job, a way to scratch along.

In many countries a crime helpline has been founded to help the people to overcome the consequences of having been victims of burglary.

Maeve Ryan, co-ordinator of the Irish National Crime Victims Helpline, said that “The number of people seeking help was up from 783 to 838 for the first three months of the year, with a noticeable increase in calls about theft.”

“This is a crime which can have serious effects on the people affected,” she said. Not only material effects linked to the loss of the things stolen, but also psychological consequences, due to the fear people experience after a break-in, because “once it has happened the fear is that it will happen again”.

And there are also other questions such as repairing damaged doors and windows, difficulties with insurance claims, the need to upgrade security systems, and the worry about the impact of the crime on children.

Not only burglary in houses and shops, but also theft and fraud in businesses are increasing. Valuables, food, money and technological devices are stolen, but also business cars and means of transport.

For this reason business owner are asking for increased police patrols, even though probably the best way to monitor their property would be the installation of state-of-the-guard surveillance systems, out and in warehouses, plants and offices, because you do not have to forget that many times the thief is among the staff.

There is a greater need for collaboration among employees, despite cuts to staff, due to the current economic crisis, and their growing resentment towards the company.

In fact, as it is shown by a research conducted by the American consultant Marquet International Ltd., 2010 has been “the year of internal fraud to business.” According to the report, in 2010 internal fraud has increased by 17% compared to 2009. Issues of misconduct of employees will continue to grow in relation to rates of unemployment, which now amount to 10%.

The risk is greater for small-medium enterprises, which have less resources in terms of personnel and are not able to implement adequate prevention and control measures.

To catch the criminal in the act, they could find very useful video surveillance devices, such as the new 3G spy camera, which can be easily concealed in any place and is hardly detectable.

While GPS locators can be used to monitor business means of transport, to track all of their movements. In short, a cheap solution for an expensive problem.

A gender-sensitive approach to Terrorism.

May 23, 2012 Technology No Commenti
counter-terrorism

Counter terrorism should move away from militaristic approaches and base itself on people-oriented solutions, that is on gender-sensitive sustainable interventions.

This is what has been claimed by Pakistani scholar Maleeha Aslam, during the presentation, organized in Islamabad by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) , of his latest book “Gender Based Explosions: The Nexus Between Muslim Masculinities, Jihadist Islamism and Terrorism”, in which the doctor tries to find the connection between the glorification of Muslim masculinity, Jihadist Islamism and terrorism.

Member of Wolfson College, Cambridge and Fellow of Cambridge Commonwealth Society, Dr. Aslam wants to emphasize how gender dimension has been underestimated in searches for a solution to terrorism.
“In Muslim societies, socio-economic and political oppression coupled with culturally idealised gender constructs, lead men towards militant Islamism and terrorism.” She underlined that anti-terrorism policies which involve surveillance and racial profiling provoke Muslim men, because they are an attack on their honour and on the way they behave in society. In her study she also states that religious affiliation has nothing to do with offering oneself for Jihad. In fact, the majority of practising Muslims is against suicide bombings.

The doctor then continued his speech by saying that Jihadist Islamism will continue to grow tremendously if we do not change the point of view in the matter, if we do not understand that terrorism can be fought only by peaceful means, sensitive to gender differences.

“It’s a man’s desire to prove himself that draws him to violence.” Not the affiliation to a particular religion, but the men’s egocentric behaviour.
Therefore, no military program or solution that still makes use of violence would help Governments to fight against terrorism, according to Dr. Aslam point of view. Moreover, also the use of tools for surveillance, such as eavesdropping devices or GPS locators, would be ineffectual These devices, used for the monitoring of suspects, would only hurt Muslim men’s ego, bringing them to follow extremist ideas, maybe otherwise never joined.

Militarism, then, is cross-national and cross-religious. It is not about religion but the individual itself. So it is important to shift the focus from religious ideologies to gender-based behaviours that would be the same in different parts of the world and not only in Muslim areas. In fact, the researcher points out that despite U.S. society is sensitive to gender issues, we have witnessed a cruel behaviour of American soldiers toward Iraqi prisoners.

Twitter blocked for several hours in Pakistan, an attack against freedom of expression?

May 22, 2012 Technology No Commenti
censored twitter

“The reactions were mixed. Some thought it was outrageous to put a stop to the voice of youth. While some were glad that now my daughter/son will finally spend some time with us.” This is what a young Pakistani writes on his blog about Twitter block occurred the 20th of May.

Supposedly for having spread “blasphemous material” about the Prophet Mohammed, two days ago Pakistan briefly blocked the microblog and restored access few hours later.

As we can learn from Indiatimes.com, it was banned for several hours because “it refused to remove posts considered offensive to Islam,” said one of the country’s top telecommunications officials.
The tweets were promoting a competition on another Social Network, Facebook, where images of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad were posted, said Mohammad Yaseen, chairman of the Pakistan Telecommunication’s Authority. Many Muslims consider depictions of the prophet, even favourable ones, as blasphemous.

“Both Facebook and Twitter were involved. We negotiated with both. Facebook has agreed to remove the stuff but Twitter is not responding to us,” he said. For this reason it suffered the ban. Nothing new, in any case, considering that these two Social Media were blocked, along with Youtube, for two weeks in May 2010 due to a competition organised by an anonymous user who called on people to draw the Prophet Mohammad to promote “freedom of expression”.

It goes without saying that what is really interesting in all of these cases is the users’ ability in bypassing the censorship obstacle by using different tricks. In fact, even before the service reactivation, they had already batten down the hatches using cell phones to send the micro messages, secure browsers like Opera Mini or advanced proxy softwares like Vtunnel.

Today is increasingly easy to put under control single or few computers through the use of remote computer monitoring systems and keyhunters, but facts show how difficult it is to place under surveillance millions of people on the Web.

In fact, this is precisely what Twitter tried to underline in its own defence. The microblogging site, which in February reached 500 million active users, said, in reply to accuses, “We are not able to stop any individual who does something of this nature on the website.”

Another relevant point of the question, which sounds a little bit bizarre, is that Yaseen said Sunday afternoon that Pakistan’s Ministry of Information Technology had ordered the telecommunications authority to block Twitter because the company refused to remove the blasphemous tweets, but we still do not know what led the ministry to the decision of restoring access to Twitter Sunday evening, even though the Social Medium had not removed the offending contents yet.

Intelligence and privacy violation. Does America lives in a huge “Big Brother”?

May 21, 2012 Technology No Commenti
terrorism and surveillance

In the late Eighteenth century, English philosopher Jeremy Bentham designed the institutional building of Panopticon. Bentham himself described the Panopticon as “a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind”. The design consists of a circular structure with an “inspection house” at its centre, from which the managers of the institution are able to watch the inmates without them being able to tell whether or not they are being watched.

Fancy or reality, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, this is more or less what is happening in the United States, due to a continuous and increasingly intrusive surveillance of citizens by Government, through a systems which also involves citizens themselves and private corporations in collecting data and information about population.

“Acting under the broad mandate of the “war” on terrorism, the U.S. Security establishment is making a systematic effort to extend its surveillance capacity by pressing the private sector into service to report on the activities of Americans.”

This is what is written in the ACLU report, according to which “Information held by third parties was either assumed to be innocuous or protected by professional codes of confidentiality.” In this way Government does not fear for political or legal repercussion.

In the report, the ACLU writes that Government has created several programs to control Americans’ lives, supposedly to defend the Country from Terrorism after 9/11.

In January 2002, for example, the Justice Department created a program called the “Terrorism Information and Prevention System,” or TIPS. Considered as “A national system for concerned workers to report suspicious activity,” the program would have recruited “millions of American utility workers, letter carriers and cable technicians to report to the Government anything that they considered an unusual or suspicious activity.”

Bush also called for “Neighbourhood Watch” programs to be doubled in number and expanded beyond their traditional role of deterring and detecting household burglary to involve them in preventing terrorism.

These are only few of the State reporting programs listed in the Surveillance Industrial Complex report, in which authors underline how, beyond these organized watch programs “there are more diffuse campaigns of citizen awareness featured on government Web sites around the nation. These campaigns urge Americans to be suspicious, and to report to the authorities anyone who fits a long list of suspicious characteristics.”

From 9/11 now, there are almost 6000 organizations, of which 2000 are private institutions, which not only cooperate with Government in keeping public order, but also collect an enormous amount of data about individuals and monitor them, probably also through the use of high-tech tools, such as covert listening devices, micro digital voice recorders and spy cameras.

Supposedly to track down potential terrorists, this enormous “big brother” is not only destroying Americans’ right “to be left alone”, but is also creating a huge business which does not suffer from the economic crisis.

Terrorism: a guide for Western people converted to jihad.

May 18, 2012 Technology No Commenti
jihad

“Muslims follow a religion of peace, mercy and forgiveness, and most of them do not have anything to do with the violent events somebody has associated with Muslims. If a Muslim commits an act of terrorism, this person is guilty of violating the laws of Islam. ”
This is what we read on a website that introduce itself as a guide to Islam. Ideas which any human being agrees with.

However, on the Internet it is possible to find an English guide on how to become a perfect terrorist and how to export the creed of Al Qaeda to the West. A handbook for Western converts to jihad, in other words, written by Samir Khan, an American who worked for the Yemeni cell of Al Qaeda and who was killed by a drone (unmanned aerial vehicle) together with the radical Imam Anwar Al Awlaki.

There are several chapters in the guide and all deal with different aspects of a terrorist life. He is given, for example, some advice about personal hygiene in precarious situations, “a daily shower is ideal but in many cases is not possible.” Terrorists are encouraged to keep in order the environments in which they live, and they hide, often shared with other “brothers”.
The handbook even discusses the possibility for a terrorist to take along his family. However, he is discouraged, to avoid seeing their loved ones raped and tortured, if they were discovered.

In the section entitled “Air Bombing”, Khan describes the sound of the drones, “as the buzzing of a bee,” and advises his potential disciples, in the case of fear, to think about the virgins of Heaven and the prophets that they are going to meet once dead.
Surely the most important and interesting chapters are those in which he gives practical advice on terrorism targets and guidelines to be complied with in order to avoid being detected.

He writes about “attacking America in his own backyard” because in this way the resonance, the effect and consideration that they would get, is much stronger, especially if the attack is carried out by a single individual, more difficult to control.
So, with the spread of the Web, it is even easier for terrorists in general to disseminate their ideas and get emulated in and against Western countries. They have moved, in fact, from the initial face to face indoctrination to pamphlets and books, up to the Network, Youtube for example, and dissemination of guides on it.

Fortunately, however, the technology is not always in favor of terror. For this purpose, in fact, Khan emphasizes the importance of not using cell phones for communication, to avoid being wiretapped in some way. Who knows whether he has considered or not the fact that maybe intelligence service can monitor potential terrorists through state-of-the-art eavesdropping devices and video surveillance systems, such as 3G spy camera which allows you to see, with a simple video call,what is going on in the place where it is concealed or, in the case there is no UMTS network coverage, enables at least unlimited and high sound quality remote listening.

Discovering and fighting usury with the use of bugs

May 8, 2012 Technology No Commenti
picture against usury

Reading the newspapers in these last months, on a first sight you can easily understand what is going on all over the world: the economic crisis is having devastating consequences on society, of which it is slowly eroding the fabric, making those who have problems performing extreme measures, such as criminal actions or suicide.

The economic crisis in Europe has affected several nations, but Greece, Ireland and Italy the most, and an alarming increase in suicide rates among entrepreneurs and small-business owners is leading some European newspapers to call the trend “suicide by economic crisis”.

Furthermore, reading the newspapers and watching the television you can also understand how the crisis is leading people to commit different crimes: burglary, drug pushing and usury.

Yesterday in Italy, for example, five people were arrested for having lent money at usury rate to several Tuscan entrepreneurs, threatened and intimidated with actions which are typical of the mafia behaviour.

To get rid of from the clutches of usury is not simple. You may fear retaliation in case of complaint against the loan shark, the same retaliation you would probably have in case of nonpayment.

Nevertheless, who is victim of usury should find the strength to face the problem for his own good and for his loved ones.

It goes without saying that cooperation with the police force is vital, but to catch the usurer red-handed you can rely on several technological devices, such as bugs and micro digital voice recorders. Thanks to their small size, they can easily be hidden in any medium, allowing the person who brings them with herself to have her conversations listened and recorded. In this way, the police can intervene at the right time and arrest the criminal.

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