Israeli security ‘read’ tourists’ private emails

How would you feel if when you arrived at your holiday destination, security staff demanded to read your personal emails and look at your Facebook account?

Israel’s attorney general has been asked to look into claims that security officials have been doing just that – threatening to refuse entry to the country unless such private information is divulged by some tourists. Keith Wallace reports.

Find this story at 31 July 2012

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Nut van nieuw camerasysteem langs de grenzen niet bewezen

Binnenland Het kabinet verwacht veel van een nieuw camerasysteem langs de grens. Ook al is de effectiviteit niet bewezen. Bovendien hebben privacy-experts grote bezwaren.

De grenzen in Europa verdwenen? Nee hoor, vanaf 1 januari zijn ze terug. Dan voert Nederland weer gewoon grenscontroles in langs de grenzen met Duitsland en België. En anders dan vóór het vrije verkeer van personen in Europa worden dan niet een paar, maar alle passerende voertuigen gecontroleerd.
Douanebeambte maakt plaats voor geavanceerde camera

Klinkt dat onwaarschijnlijk? Toch is het waar. Betekent dit weer files bij de grens? Nee, want de strenge douanebeambte is vervangen door een geavanceerde camera, gekoppeld aan de computers van de marechaussee. Wie in een gestolen auto rijdt of om een andere reden de belangstelling wekt van de militaire politie, wordt een paar kilometer na de grens alsnog aan de kant gezet.

@migo-boras is de mysterieuze naam van het cameranetwerk dat momenteel bij vijftien grensovergangen wordt ingericht. De automobilist die daar passeert, kan het digitale oog van de overheid straks niet meer ontlopen. Ook elders in Nederland groeit het aantal camera’s langs de snelwegen snel.

En behalve een oog krijgt de overheid ook een geheugen. Als het aan minister Opstelten (Veiligheid en Justitie, VVD) ligt, mogen de miljoenen foto’s die nu langs de snelwegen worden gemaakt, straks weken worden bewaard. Onduidelijk is nog of dat ook gaat gelden voor de beelden van de nieuwe grenscamera’s.
Marechaussee wil niets kwijt over grenscontrolesysteem

Net zo mysterieus als de naam @migo-boras is de houding van de Koninklijke Marechaussee die – twee maanden voordat de apparaten gaan flitsen – niet wil vertellen hoe het grenscontrolesysteem werkt. En wat is het doel van @migo-boras? Wie worden er aan de kant gezet en waarom? Wat gebeurt er precies met de foto’s? Op zijn vroegst eind december wordt hier openheid over geboden. Een weekje voor de daadwerkelijke invoering.

Documenten die met een beroep op de Wet openbaarheid van bestuur werden verkregen, bieden enige informatie. Bijvoorbeeld over die mysterieuze naam. @migo-boras staat voor ‘automatisch mobiel informatie gestuurd optreden – better operational result and advanced security’. Verder blijkt dat @migo-boras straks behalve het kenteken ook de zijkant van voertuigen fotografeert.

De techniek die nu al langs de snelwegen wordt gebruikt heet ANPR: automatic number plate recognition. Gefotografeerde nummerplaten worden in enkele seconden vergeleken met een lijst van voertuigen van verdachten; daarbij het kan ook gaan om mensen die nog een parkeerboete moeten betalen of wier apk is verlopen. Bij een treffer kan de wagen korte tijd later aan de kant worden gezet, als er tenminste politie in de buurt is.
Meer mogelijkheden als foto’s mogen worden bewaard

De mogelijkheden breiden zich uit als de foto’s straks mogen worden bewaard. Dan kan bijvoorbeeld worden gekeken of een verdachte op het moment van een misdrijf in de buurt reed. Nu mogen nog alleen foto’s worden opgeslagen die een ‘hit’ opleveren, de rest moet direct worden verwijderd.

Verder worden de kentekens van wagens die de grens passeren straks door allerlei databases gehaald, zo blijkt uit de opgevraagde documenten. Dan gaat het bijvoorbeeld om het kentekenregister van de Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer, of Nederlandse en Europese politie- en vreemdelingenregisters. De marechaussee krijgt zes SUV’s met camera’s die in de grensgebieden gaan rondrijden.
Europese Commissie onderzoekt of systeem in strijd is met Schengen

De Europese Commissie onderzoekt of het systeem in strijd is met het verdrag van Schengen, dat het mogelijk maakt zonder grenscontroles tussen landen te reizen. Maar ook privacydeskundigen hebben bezwaren. Politieagenten die in de database mogen zoeken, komen heel wat te weten over het gedrag van hun medeburgers. Bert Jaap Koops, hoogleraar regulering van technologie aan de Universiteit van Tilburg, is daar kritisch over: „Er moet goed worden geregeld dat alleen een beperkte groep opsporingsambtenaren toegang heeft en dat er alleen controleerbare zoekacties worden gedaan in het kader van een opsporingsonderzoek.” Hier kan het gemakkelijk misgaan. Zo bleek eerder dat pincodes die toegang geven tot een database waarin agenten kunnen opzoeken wie een dreig-tweet heeft verstuurd, ook rondgingen onder collega’s die niet in het bestand mochten.
CBP: opslaan kentekens rechtvaardigt inbreuk op persoonlijke levenssfeer burgers niet

Begin dit jaar oordeelde het College Bescherming Persoonsgegevens (CBP) dat het opslaan van kentekens niet zó onmisbaar is bij misdaadbestrijding dat het de „inbreuk op de persoonlijke levenssfeer van een groot aantal burgers” rechtvaardigt. Want het nut lijkt groot, maar is nog niet bewezen. Het college schrijft dat er nog maar weinig onderzoek is gedaan naar de effectiviteit van nummerplaatherkenning met ANPR bij het terugdringen van criminaliteit. Ook niet in de VS en Groot-Brittannië, waar al veel langer wordt gewerkt met dit systeem. En de paar buitenlandse onderzoeken waarin wel de vraag werd opgeworpen of ANPR criminaliteit als autodiefstal terugdringt, laten geen effect zien.
Opstelten komt ondanks kritiek met wetsvoorstel voor kentekenopslag

Find this story at 31 October 2012

door Wilmer Heck

© Copyright 2011. NRC Media. All rights reserved.

Camera’s houden grens scherp in vizier

ENSCHEDE – De marechaussee gebruikt sinds gisteren ‘meedenkende’ camera’s om aan de grens bij De Lutte en de N35 in Enschede toezicht te houden op zaken als illegale migratie, witwaspraktijken, mensenhandel en identiteitsfraude.

Het camerasysteem selecteert op basis van risicoprofielen voertuigen die interessant zijn om te controleren.

Find this story at 2 August 2012

Copyright © 2012 Wegener Media

Racial Profiling Rife at Airport, U.S. Officers Say

BOSTON — More than 30 federal officers in an airport program intended to spot telltale mannerisms of potential terrorists say the operation has become a magnet for racial profiling, targeting not only Middle Easterners but also blacks, Hispanics and other minorities.

In interviews and internal complaints, officers from the Transportation Security Administration’s “behavior detection” program at Logan International Airport in Boston asserted that passengers who fit certain profiles — Hispanics traveling to Miami, for instance, or blacks wearing baseball caps backward — are much more likely to be stopped, searched and questioned for “suspicious” behavior.

“They just pull aside anyone who they don’t like the way they look — if they are black and have expensive clothes or jewelry, or if they are Hispanic,” said one white officer, who along with four others spoke with The New York Times on the condition of anonymity.

The T.S.A. said on Friday that it had opened an investigation into the claims.

While the Obama administration has attacked the use of racial and ethnic profiling in Arizona and elsewhere, the claims by the Boston officers now put the agency and the administration in the awkward position of defending themselves against charges of profiling in a program billed as a model for airports nationwide.

At a meeting last month with T.S.A. officials, officers at Logan provided written complaints about profiling from 32 officers, some of whom wrote anonymously. Officers said managers’ demands for high numbers of stops, searches and criminal referrals had led co-workers to target minorities in the belief that those stops were more likely to yield drugs, outstanding arrest warrants or immigration problems.

The practice has become so prevalent, some officers said, that Massachusetts State Police officials have asked why minority members appear to make up an overwhelming number of the cases that the airport refers to them.

“The behavior detection program is no longer a behavior-based program, but it is a racial profiling program,” one officer wrote in an anonymous complaint obtained by The Times.

A T.S.A. spokesman said agency inspectors recently learned of the racial profiling claims in Boston. “If any of these claims prove accurate, we will take immediate and decisive action to ensure there are consequences to such activity,” the statement said.

The agency emphasized that the behavior detection program “in no way encourages or tolerates profiling” and bans singling out passengers based on nationality, race, ethnicity or religion.

It is unusual for transportation agency employees to come forward with this kind of claim against co-workers, and the large number of employees bringing complaints in Boston could prove particularly damaging for an agency already buffeted with criticism over pat-downs, X-ray scans and other security measures.

Reports of profiling emerged last year at the behavior programs at the Newark and Hawaii airports, but in much smaller numbers than those described in Boston.

The complaints from the Logan officers carry nationwide implications because Boston is the testing ground for an expanded use of behavioral detection methods at airports around the country.

While 161 airports already use behavioral officers to identify possible terrorist activity — a controversial tactic — the agency is considering expanding the use of what it says are more advanced tactics nationwide, with Boston’s program as a model.

The program in place in Boston uses specially trained behavioral “assessors” not only to scan the lines of passengers for unusual activity, but also to speak individually with each passenger and gauge their reactions while asking about their trip or for other information.

The assessors look for inconsistencies in the answers and other signs of unusual behavior, like avoiding eye contact, sweating or fidgeting, officials said. A passenger considered to be acting suspiciously can be pulled from the line and subjected to more intensive questioning.

That is what happened last month at Logan airport to Kenneth Boatner, 68, a psychologist and educational consultant in Boston who was traveling to Atlanta for a business trip.

In a formal complaint he filed with the agency afterward, he said he was pulled out of line and detained for 29 minutes as agents thumbed through his checkbook and examined his clients’ clinical notes, his cellphone and other belongings.

The officers gave no explanation, but Dr. Boatner, who is black, said he suspected the reason he was stopped was his race and appearance. He was wearing sweat pants, a white T-shirt and high-top sneakers.

He said he felt humiliated. “I had never been subjected to anything like that,” he said in an interview.

Officers in Boston acknowledged that they had no firm data on how frequently minority members were stopped. But based on their own observations, several officers estimated that they accounted for as many as 80 percent of passengers searched during certain shifts.

The officers identified nearly two dozen co-workers who they said consistently focused on stopping minority members in response to pressure from managers to meet certain threshold numbers for referrals to the State Police, federal immigration officials or other agencies.

The stops were seen as a way of padding the program’s numbers and demonstrating to Washington policy makers that the behavior program was producing results, several officers said.

Instead, the officers said, profiling undermined the usefulness of the program. Focusing on minority members, said a second officer who was interviewed by The Times, “takes officers away from the real threat, and we could miss a terrorist we are looking for.”

Some Boston officers went to the American Civil Liberties Union with their complaints of profiling, and Sarah Wunsch, a lawyer in the group’s Boston office, interviewed eight officers.

“Selecting people based on race or ethnicity was a way of finding easy marks,” she said. “It was a notch in your belt.”

The transportation agency said it did not collect information on the race or ethnicity of travelers and could not provide such a breakdown of passengers stopped through the behavior program.

But the agency defended the program’s overall value. Behavior detection “is clearly an effective means of identifying people engaged in activity that may threaten the security of the passengers and the airports and has become a very effective intelligence tool, enabling law enforcement to bust larger operations and track any trends in nefarious activity,” the agency said in its statement.

“In addition, the deterrent value of the program can’t be overstated,” it said. Monitoring passengers’ behavior “adds another layer of security to the airport environment and presents the terrorists with yet one more challenge they need to overcome” in their efforts to defeat airport security measures, the agency said.

But government analysts and some researchers say the idea of spotting possible terrorists from their behavior in a security line relies on dubious science.

A critical assessment of the program in 2010 by the Government Accountability Office noted that aviation officials began the behavior program in 2003, in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, without first determining if it had a scientific basis.

Nine years later, this question remains largely unanswered, even as the agency moves to expand the program, the accountability office said in a follow-up report last year. It said that until the agency is able to better study and document the validity of the science, Congress might consider freezing tens of millions of dollars budgeted for the program’s growth.

Based on past research, the accountability office said the link between a person’s behavior and mental state is strongest in reading “simple emotions” like happiness and sadness.

Read this article at 11 August 2012

August 11, 2012

By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT and ERIC LICHTBLAU

© 2012 The New York Times Company

U.S. Security Expands Presence at Foreign Airports

SHANNON, Ireland — An ocean away from the United States, travelers flying out of the international airport here on the west coast of Ireland are confronting one of the newest lines of defense in the war on terrorism: the United States border.

In a section of this airport carved out for the Department of Homeland Security, passengers are screened for explosives and cleared to enter the United States by American Customs and Border Protection officers before boarding. When they land, the passengers walk straight off the plane into the terminal without going through border checks.

At other foreign airports, including those in Madrid, Panama City and Tokyo, American officers advise the local authorities. American programs in other cities expedite travel for passengers regarded as low-risk.

The programs reflect the Obama administration’s ambitious effort to tighten security in the face of repeated attempts by Al Qaeda and other terrorists to blow up planes headed to the United States from foreign airports.

The thinking is simple: By placing officers in foreign countries and effectively pushing the United States border thousands of miles beyond the country’s shores, Americans have more control over screening and security. And it is far better to sort out who is on a flight before it takes off than after a catastrophe occurs.

“It’s a really big deal — it would be like us saying you can have foreign law enforcement operating in a U.S. facility with all the privileges given to law enforcement, but we are going to do it on your territory and on our rules,” the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, said on a flight back to the United States from the Middle East, where she negotiated with leaders in Israel and Jordan about joint airport security programs. “So you flip it around, and you realize it is a big deal for a country to agree to that. It is also an expensive proposition.”

Airports in 14 countries are participating in the programs, which have been expanded over the last several years and have required substantial concessions from foreign leaders. In many cases they have agreed to allow American officers to be placed in the heart of their airports and to give them the authority to carry weapons, detain passengers and pull them off flights.

Last December, the government of Abu Dhabi signed a letter of intent to build a terminal where American officers will clear passengers to enter the United States, the most ambitious agreement the United States has struck so far with an Arab country. On her recent trip to Jordan, Ms. Napolitano began negotiations with the ruling family there about similar efforts.

Representative Peter T. King, the New York Republican who is chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, endorsed the overseas security efforts and said he hoped the department would expand them. “A lot of these attempts are coming from the Middle East,” he said, referring to terrorism plots, “and that drives home that we have an immediate problem and that we need to push for these programs there as hard as we can.”

The Obama administration sped up expansion of the programs, which cost about $115 million a year, after a Qaeda operative tried to detonate explosives hidden in his underwear on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Dec. 25, 2009. The security at foreign airports drew more public attention last month after new reports that intelligence agencies had thwarted another plot by Al Qaeda to detonate an underwear bomb on an American-bound airliner. After that news emerged, Ms. Napolitano said the new measures being put in place in foreign airports for flights to the United States would have stopped a terrorist from boarding a plane with such a bomb.

But critics of the department on Capitol Hill — particularly two Republican committee chairmen in the House, Darrell Issa of California and John L. Mica of Florida — questioned her claims and said that security in foreign airports is not robust enough.

Ms. Napolitano and other Obama administration officials praise the programs as essential to help protect the 80 million passengers a year who fly to the United States from 300 foreign airports, and as a boon for travelers, who save time after landing,

Still, as with many other counterterrorism measures, it is hard to gauge the programs’ success or their impact on Al Qaeda and other terrorists. They have not foiled any major plots so far, and it is hard to imagine terrorists unaware of which airports had a robust American security presence and which were more vulnerable.

Homeland Security officials acknowledge that the United States cannot control security in every airport in the world. The focus, they said, was on expanding an American presence at airports with a significant number of United States-bound flights.

The officials said that of the roughly 30 million travelers who passed through foreign airports with American Customs and Border Protection officers over the past two years, about 500 were deemed national security risks and were turned away or pulled aside for further questioning. Over the same period, about 18,000 air travelers were denied admission to the United States for reasons like having a criminal record or lacking a proper visa.

At Shannon, where American officers have checked passports since 1986, passengers bound for the United States first pass through the Irish government’s airport security and then through three levels of American security: one to check for explosives in shoes and carry-on luggage, then to get clearance to enter the United States, and finally to ensure that checked baggage does not contain contraband.

The biggest problem for the United States is that it cannot compel foreign governments to strengthen security at their airports. But the United States limits flights from foreign airports that do not meet minimum security standards and screen passengers using procedures modeled after those of the Transportation Security Administration.

American officers at foreign airports constitute the next level of security, and the “gold standard” is an arrangement like the one at Shannon, with comprehensive preboarding clearance.

Find this story at 13 June 2012

June 13, 2012

By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT

© 2012 The New York Times Company

Claim: Encrypted Chat Developer Detained, Interrogated at US Border

A developer for encrypted chat application “Cryptocat” has recently claimed that he was detained and interrogated at the US border. Apparently, border guards took his passport and interrogated him about the application, demanding to know “which algorithms Cryptocat used and about its censorship resistance.”

A developer of an encrypted chat program is making some dramatic claims. Nadim Kobeissi, developer of Cryptocat which “lets you instantly set up secure conversations. It’s an open source encrypted, private alternative to other services such as Facebook chat.”

Apparently, a trip to the US now allegedly features a frightening round of intense interrogation by American border guards. Kobeissi took to his Twitter account to talk about his experience, saying, “I was detained, searched, questioned on my research, with my passport confiscated for almost an hour.”

He added, “There are many perspectives I strive to understand. Justifying targeted gov. harassment, rights deprivation & interrogation is not one.”

Other tweets this, “In my mind there is no question concerning interrogating someone for open source crypto work.”

Details about the experience were also posted including this, “Even though I didn’t get an SSSS this time, I was still detained, questioned and searched while transiting to Canada via the US.”

This: “Also worth noting: my passport was confiscated for around an hour.”

This: “Out of my 4 DHS interrogations in the past 3 weeks, it’s the first time I’m asked about Cryptocat crypto and my passport is confiscated.”

And, most notably, this: “The interrogator (who claimed 22 years of computer experience) asked me which algorithms Cryptocat used and about its censorship resistance.”

If all of this is true, this is certainly a frightening turn of events. If what you develop online or what you say online as it relates to Internet freedom could impact how you are treated at the Canada, US border, it certainly would make me think twice about coming in to the US.

Twitter account 6 june 2012

other twitter account 6 june 2012

Find the story at 6 june 2012