WiFi Surveillance ....... in Seattle, WA......

Discussion in 'Survival Communications' started by BTPost, Nov 14, 2013.

  1. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Seattle police deactivate surveillance system after public outrage

    Police in Seattle, Washington have responded to a major public outcry by disabling a recently discovered law enforcement tool that critics said could be used to conduct sweeping surveillance across the city.

    Last week, Seattle’s The Stranger published an in-depth look at a little known new initiative taking place within the city that involved the installation of dozens of devices that would create a digital mesh network for law enforcement officers. The devices — small white-boxes equipped with antennas and adorned on utility poles — would broadcast data wirelessly between nodes so police officers could have their own private network to more easily share large amounts of data. As The Stranger pointed out, however, those same contraptions were able to collect data on internet-ready devices of anyone within reach, essentially allowing the Seattle Police Department to see where cell phones, laptops and any other smart devices operating within reach were located.

    The SPD said they had no bad intentions with installing the mesh network, but The Stranger article and the subsequent media coverage it spawned quickly caused the system to receive the type of attention that wasn’t very welcomed. Now only days after citizens began calling for the dismantling of the mesh network, The Stranger has confirmed that the SPD are disabling the devices until a proper policy could be adopted by the city.

    "The wireless mesh network will be deactivated until city council approves a draft policy and until there's an opportunity forvigorous public debate," Police Chief Jim Pugel told The Stranger for an article published late Tuesday.

    "Our position is that the technology is the technology," Whitcomb said, "but we want to make sure that we have safeguards and policies in place so people with legitimate privacy concerns aren't worried about how it's being used."

    The SPD told The Stranger previously that the system was not being used, but anyone with a smart phone who wandered through the jurisdiction covered by the digital nodes could still notice that their devices were being discovered by the internet-broadcasting boxes, just as a person’s iPhone or Android might attempt to connect to any network within reach. In theory, law enforcement could take the personal information transmitted as the two devices talk to each other and use that intelligence to triangulate the location of a person, even within inches.

    When the SPD was approached about the system last week, they insisted that it wasn’t even in operation yet. David Ham of Seattle’s KIRO-7 News asked, however, how come “we could see these network names if it’s not being used?”

    Well, they couldn’t give us an explanation,” Ham said at the time.

    They now own a piece of equipment that has tracking capabilities so we think that they should be going to city council and presenting a protocol for the whole network that says they won’t be using it for surveillance purposes,” Jamela Debelak of the American Civil Liberties Union told the network.

    Now just days later, the SPD has admitted to The Stranger that indeed the mesh network was turned on — it just wasn’t supposed to be.

    SPD maintains it has not been actively using the network — it was operational without being operated, having been turned on for DHS grant-mandated testing and then never turned off — so shutting it down won't hamper any current SPD activities,” The Stranger reporter.

    According to The Stranger, the SPD will begin disabling the system immediately, although Whitcomb said it involves “more than just flipping a switch.”

    This is typical, when local Law Enforcement applies for DHS Grants for Technology, that they do NOT FULLY Understand. It was a Good Idea, but with very different and Highly Undesirable Unintended Consequences, and abilities, built-in. Yes, DHS & correspondingly NSA would LOVE to get access to this type of System, by Piggy-Backing on, what was sold as a way for local LEOs to share High Bandwidth Information (Car Video, Officer Video, Etc) in a flash. If you think they actually shut down this System, You would be VERY Uninformed. ALSO, note that this type of System can be hacked, into by outsiders, with very little problems.

    I was involved with the MetroComm System deployed in Seattle, decade ago, and actually have in my possession, a complete HighSite BaseStation Unit from that System, that was abandoned, when MetroComm went Bankrupt. This was an early 900Mhz Mesh System, that was used to give Mobile/Laptop Users IP Connections to the Internet, while in the Seattle area. This was long before anyone ever heard of WiFi, or AirPort.
    Yard Dart and stg58 like this.
  2. Dont

    Dont Just another old gray Jarhead Monkey

    Sneaky .gov will find their way into your community ..
  3. VHestin

    VHestin Farm Chick

    'Unintended consequences' is the key words. Of course I really doubt that those who implemented this didn't think how this could be misused. Who created it, hard to say if they had any inkling, because it's like the scientists who create (biological) weapons and then get shocked when they are misused. But then again, some people get tunnel vision and can't see the forest for the trees because they only know theory, the actual practice is beyond them.
  4. Dont

    Dont Just another old gray Jarhead Monkey

    Everyone has a passion that drives them. A theory that has to be proven that ultimately someone will think of a way to creat a more eficien way to kill someone.
  5. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    It's not just in Seattle, either. Even in my local area, there are cameras in town, pushed off as being sensors for traffic lights. I don't think people are too bright around here...
    Tracy, oldawg and Yard Dart like this.
  6. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey Moderator

    People are not so bright nationally.... not just your neighborhood!!! We are under surveillance daily in so many ways the founding fathers never envisioned.....
  7. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Most folks aren't really very smart about the technology they use every day. They are happy to indulge, but have NO understanding of ANY of the UnIntended consequence of the technology they embrace.
    kellory likes this.
  8. Dont

    Dont Just another old gray Jarhead Monkey

    People in my smaller community are very suspicious of anything that may have the apearence of tracking people.
  9. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    It's also bad they are indoctrinated, too. I can't even begin to list all the TV shows I watch (HULU Addict), namely "Castle", where the "police" are actively tracking across city-wide cameras to get "the bad guy". It's always the same, too. Need to catch the bad guy before he does something to hurt people...be afraid, be very afraid!

    And even if the "sensors" are only sensors, why do they look like cameras? I typically ask that when it comes up in conversation. They don't get it.
    Yard Dart likes this.
  10. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey Moderator

    Coming soon to a town near you...courtesy of your friends at the .gov.... have a nice day..[OO]
    Brokor likes this.
  11. Dont

    Dont Just another old gray Jarhead Monkey

    Yes .. the wife keeps upgrading my phone. Just about the time I finally get comfortable with it.
  12. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    They look like "Cameras" because the OEMs use the same weather proof housings for all kinds of sensors.... I mean really? That is a Duh....
  13. Dont

    Dont Just another old gray Jarhead Monkey

    All designed to have people grow accustom to something that looks inocent.
    Brokor and Yard Dart like this.
  14. Dont

    Dont Just another old gray Jarhead Monkey

    A county next to us has chose to adopt the "sustainable growth plan" that sets controls on all county lands, excludes city home owners.
  15. rickpeters

    rickpeters Monkey

    This domestic spying is getting absolutely out of hand. It's also becoming almost unavoidable unless you refuse to use any form of technology.
  16. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey Moderator

    It is out of hand!!! Best use all opsec measures to avoid getting hung up by the fed..at some point. Keep your business to yourself, as ears are everywhere.....
  17. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Just turn off Airplane Mode, when you NEED Access, and back on as soon as you are done... Have a set schedule for access, like top of the hour for 5 minutes, and make that known to you likely contacts... That limits your exposure, but also flags you as TRADECRAFT......
    Yard Dart likes this.
  18. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Will be deactivated, yeah, the SSID broadcast maybe.
    BTPost likes this.
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