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Real Life Cyborg Hacks That People Have Implanted In Them Right Now

Aside from the nation being warned by credible intelligence sources that the new wave of terrorism will involve surgically implanted explosive devices (SIEDs) within human beings, there are other positive uses for our now cyborg bodies. (A cyborg is defined as a “being” that contains biological and mechanical – robotic or other artificial – parts.)
Several examples of positive cyborg enhancements are:

Multi-Purpose Hand Implant Chips

We’ve all lost (misplaced) keys, credit cards, driver’s licenses… But just suppose you could store your valuable items in one hand?  Literally, “in” your hand.  Seattle company, Dangerous Things, touts a small multi-purpose RFID implant that can replace all of your must have items.

From The Modern Rogue:  “The RFID chips that you implant in your hand or wrist, are a sort of multipurpose identification/unlocking/communication tool. Need to open your door? It can function as a key card — the inventor of the device, biohacking pioneer Amal Graafstra, uses his implant to unlock the door to his house. Passport control? The implant can contain the same information biometric passports do (though good luck getting through airport security without a real passport until these things become the norm). It could store your personal data, health stats, and even financial information.”

 

 PetaPixel.com

The Eyeball Camera

Filmmaker Rob Spence happened to have a  nonfunctional blind eye in his socket, so he had it removed, replacing it with a specially built camera.  While the recording capability may raise privacy concerns (ala the fiasco that was Google’s Glass recorder eyewear that provoked such a negative response that the item was deep-sixed- well, for now), the positive usage is obvious – those who couldn’t “see” now can via record and playback or, I imagine as the technology continues to evolve, view in real time.

 

 The Verge

Finger Magnets

We haven’t quite figured out beyond the “cool” factor how tiny magnets surgically implanted into one’s fingertips will revolutionize mankind yet but they certainly make picking up metal stuff a lot of fun!  Theoretically, though, these magnets can aid with helping those who’ve lost sensory abilities in their hands to use eating utensils, operate machinery and just about any other function that requires interaction with metal in our lives. (Presumably there are control functions that turn on and off the magnetivity.)

The research for this article was fun and occasionally, we all need to lighten up, so we hope you have enjoyed this brief interlude from our generally serious topics!

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

 

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Using Someone Else’s WiFi- Can They See Your Activity?

Several times a week, we are asked this exact question – If I am using someone else’s WiFi,  can they see my search history, read my email or otherwise monitor my activity?

Simply put- unless they are extraordinarily gifted tech geniuses, not really.  In other words, they can see that you are connected to their WiFi and can see the length of connection but your device’s anti-virus and other firewall programs will prevent them from accessing your desk/lap tops hard drive and other devices’ internal and cloud storage.

That said, if you are up against a very savvy tech thief, (the types that sit outside hotels and passively offer free connection bait – usually ones that looks very similar in name to the hotel’s WiFi, e.g. MarriottGuest1 rather than MarriottGuest), bide these steps (added to by our friends over at xqiz.it :

1) Most importantly, use HTTPS.

2) You should use non-logging DNS servers (hint: NOT Google’s DNS servers).

(At this point, in the US, you are reasonably well protected from someone doing a man-in-the-middle read of your communication. Unless you know how to manually manage your certs, you’re never safe in other countries, particularly places like China and any of the former Soviet states, where the governments tend to have access to the certificates that the local cert authorities provide for encryption and signature validation.)

3) Java and Flash must both be disabled. Failing to disable these allows local code to go around the settings you use from above. (Little known industry secret: Most sites that use Flash use small pieces of invisible Flash content to track you.)

4) Do not use Chrome. Its primary purpose is to de-anonymize you so that Google can track you completely.

5) Use the private surfing option in your browser (preferably Firefox) to reduce the chance that your browser fingerprint is discernible (unique/identifiable) by the server.

Our advice? Use common sense- if in public, be very careful; if in private, know your source.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As Always,

Stay safe.

Happy Passover and Happy Easter

 

Wishing our valued readers a Happy Easter and Happy Passover.  May you and yours receive the blessings of good health, happiness, prosperity and joy, always.

 

– The BNI team

Can The US Survive An EMP Strike?

The recent, erroneous incoming missile alert in Hawaii that was transmitted via cell phones woke up the nation to the real threats we face from an increasingly hostile set of bad actors, i.e. North Korea, Iran, international terrorist groups, Russia (still) and probably China.   That incident, from the NYT:

An early-morning emergency alert (like the above) mistakenly warning of an incoming ballistic missile attack was dispatched to cellphones across Hawaii on Saturday, setting off widespread panic in a state that was already on edge because of escalating tensions between the United States and North Korea.

The alert, sent by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, was revoked 38 minutes after it was issued.

That alert was an error but what do we really have to fear from tech-savvy North Korea?  Many intell agencies and reliable news reporting sources like Bloomberg point to an EMP (Electromagentic Pulse)  attack.  As EMP is still rather new to the nation’s collective awareness, we’ve compiled the below facts to familiarize our readers with information on this type of weaponized event. (For the purposes of this article, EMP will refer to a Nuclear Electromagnetic Pulse.)

What is an EMP?

A Nuclear Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) is a burst of electromagnetic radiation created by nuclear explosions from a nuclear device fired into the atmosphere over a target country.

What happens in the event of an EMP attack?

If an EMP was fired over the US, it would devastate the electrical grid of the nation, along with all its infrastructure and would lead to widespread casualties. There would be an indefinite blackout in the ensuing chaos caused by a mass failure of the power grid. In the case of any nuclear attacks, radiation is the main thing to be worried about but in the case of an EMP, the radiation is mostly absorbed by the air in the atmosphere above where it is detonated. Using the EMP as a weapon may be desirable for a hostile actor as it requires less accuracy, and an EMP blast could affect a 700-mile radius (1126 km).

How can we avoid an EMP attack and how can the damage be contained in its aftermath?

John Norden, director of operations at ISO New England Inc., which manages a grid serving six states, said the industry is unprepared for a full-scale electromagnetic attack. The power industry doesn’t really have any standards or tools to handle “black sky events’’ such as an extreme cyber or EMP attack, or even conventional war, Norden said at a recent [industry] conference.

How real is the threat of an EMP attack?

Peter W. Singer, a strategist for the New America Foundation and expert on 21st century warfare, took issue with claims of imminent EMP attacks, particularly by North Korea.

“EMP is where the science fiction of fears does not cross with reality,” he told Newsweek (Oct. 2017).

He said that EMP was discovered as a by-product of nuclear tests at the outset of the Cold War, but it remains largely untested.

“North Korea [and other nuclear powers] have not tested it, to know what would be the design, height, range, etc. to have the effect they want,” he said.

“So, the scenario assumes North Korea would finally decide to attack the U.S., to risk a war in which its leadership would die, but do so in an utterly untested, unpredictable manner, as opposed to using a nuke in a way that they know works and would definitely have a catastrophic effect on the U.S.  That is a pretty big assumption, the kind made in cruddy novels, but less likely in reality.

“If you are worried about North Korea, worry about the actual and far more likely use of their nuclear weapons, missiles or conventional cannons, rather than the stuff of weak science fiction.”

The EMP Commission though remains convinced that the threat from a North Korean EMP attack is real—with a primitive, low-yield nuclear weapon likely to cause enormous destruction to U.S. electronic infrastructure if detonated at height.

Editor’s Note:  Given the vastly opposing views from the scientific, intell and military communities regarding the viability of an EMP attack on the U.S,  we will be routinely scanning for updates on this topic and posting as warranted.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

 

 

What Your Car’s Vinyl Family Graphics Tells Criminals

We’ve all seen the dad, mom, son, daughter & family pet vinyl graphics glued on to the rear windows of vehicles.  (One can select the graphics that accurately reflect his family’s composition.) My personal favorite is the one depicting the father holding a briefcase, an empty space next to him, his son’s outline followed by that of the daughter, the baby and then the family dog.  In the area above the missing wife’s space is the message, “Position available”.  Very cute, seemingly innocuous and yet, by most of us in the law, legal and law enforcement fields, viewed with concern.

“In order to defeat bad guys, you have to think like one.”  – Col. Timothy B. Mills, one of my very first mentors in the criminal investigation field.

If I’m a bad guy and I am casing a neighborhood, I am more likely to break into a home with young children- especially a baby.   Parents are extremely vulnerable when confronted with their children’s safety or very lives.  As a bad guy, whether it’s burglary or kidnapping that I’m about to commit, I will use every intimidation method I know.  Threatening the life of an infant or young child will, more likely than not, force the adult victims into compliance.

So while family graphics are pretty on a Prius, cool on a Camry and hopeful (see above re: wife advertising!) on a Honda, they’re also dangerous involving derelicts.

Get a Mt. Rushmore bumper sticker if you must but do not announce to the world the composition of your household.  While the majority of people are good, all you need is one bad element to destroy the safety of your home and family environment.

Be proactive and more reluctant to share your family information with strangers at large.

BNI Operatives:  Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

Happy New Year!

Wishing our valuable readers a very happy, healthy, productive and successful 2018!

Stay warm and stay safe. 

Looks Like A SSN But Is A TIN. Defining A Taxpayer Identification Number

What is a TIN?: Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) is an identifying number used for tax purposes in the United States. It is also known as a Tax Identification Number or Federal Taxpayer Identification Number. A TIN may be assigned by the Social Security Administration or by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Why do we assign TINs if we have SSNs?: In 1996, the IRS, in camera, resolved a huge issue: what to do with the millions of potential taxpayers from whom they dearly wished to collect income tax  but could not verify their SSNs?  Whether here illegally or foreign workers without proper work permission identification, etc… the powers that be within the agency promptly invented and authorized use of TINs.  Taxpayer Identification Numbers.   TINs look like SSNs (9 digits in an NNN-NN-NNN format), few people know the difference (and criteria for assignment/appropriation) and even fewer know of their existence.  (Except for those every delightfully slithery federal contractors!)  A TIN is issued to an employer who can then substitutes said TIN on requisite tax filings for a worker ineligible (why….?) for an SSN.

Can TIN abuse occur?  Despite a past investigation in 2012 by the IG  (Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration)-  on the multiple assignment by said contractors of a single TIN, the IRS declined to make any changes and stated that further analysis is needed.  By next year, it is predicted  that at least $2 billion of taxpayer dues will be lost along these TIN abuse lines – in just that year.

TIN Trivia Fact:  A TIN’s middle numbers are always, at least currently, between 70 and 80.)

The IRS will always find a way to demand and protract taxes.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

L’Shanah Tovah!

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Wishing our treasured readers who observe Rosh Hashanah a happy, healthy, safe and prosperous New Year!

 

 

“I Have Him Saying That On Audio!” Yes, But Is That Legal? State Recording Laws

Hands down, the best publicly available guide to electronic recording law is that provided by the Reporters Committee For Freedom Of The Press (RCFP). The guide also includes FCC rules and updates to laws already in existence.

Comprehensive yet easily absorbed and implemented, the RCFP’s Recorders Reporting Guide outlines the tape-recording laws and then options with state-by-state definitions and laws. For example, the tape-recording laws for New York:

New York

Summary of statute(s): An individual who is a party to either an in-person conversation or electronic communication, or who has the consent of one of the parties to the communication, can lawfully record it or disclose its contents. N.Y. Penal Law §§ 250.00, 250.05 (McKinney 2012).

In-person conversations: The “mechanical overhearing of a conversation,” or the “intentional overhearing or recording of a conversation or discussion, without the consent of at least one party thereto, by a person not present” is illegal. N.Y. Penal Law § 250.00. A state appellate court held that individuals who talk in a manner such that a non-participating third party may freely overhear the conversation may have no reasonable expectation of privacy in it. New York v. Kirsh, 575 N.Y.S.2d 306 (N.Y. App. Div. 1991). Thus, a journalist does not need consent to record conversations in public where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy.

Electronic communications: The consent of at least one party to any telephone communication, including a cellular telephone communication, is required to record it. Sharon v. Sharon, 558 N.Y.S.2d 468 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 1990). And because the provision of the statute dealing with wireless communications applies to “any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature,” consent likewise is required to disclose the contents of text messages sent between wireless devices. N.Y. Penal Law § 250.00.

Hidden cameras: It is a felony to photograph or record “the sexual or other intimate parts” of a person in a place where the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, and to use a hidden camera, regardless of whether a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, to “up-skirt” or “down-blouse,” or secretly photograph or record that person under or through his or her clothing. N.Y. Penal Law § 250.45. The law, however, does not criminalize the use of recording devices for other purposes in areas to which the public has access or there is no reasonable expectation of privacy (i.e., filming conversations on public streets or a hotel lobby).

Criminal penalties: Illegally recording an in-person conversation or electronic communication is a felony offense. N.Y. Penal Law § 250.05.

Disclosing recordings: Disclosing the contents of a sealed communication that has been opened or read in violation of the wiretap law without the consent of the communication’s sender or receiver is considered “tampering with private communications,” a misdemeanor. N.Y. Penal Law § 250.25.

Straightforward language for a sometimes gray area of investigative rules.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

 

Bail Reform; Easing The Financial Burden On Poor Defendants

From DAILY KOS:

New Jersey’s Bail Reform and Speed Trial Act, [put in effect earlier this year], will largely eliminate bail for minor crimes and is expected to significantly reduce the state’s jail population. Under the new law, courts will use a risk assessment tool to decide whether or not a defendant should be released pre-trial, rather than simply assigning that person cash bail.

The risk assessment tool, which was created through the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, “evaluates a defendant’s risk of failing to appear, committing another offense, and committing a violent offense,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The assessment considers age at the time of the alleged offense, whether the offense was violent, past convictions and failures to appear in court, and other pending charges. It doesn’t consider race, ethnicity, or geography, among other factors.

The Inquirer also states that if a judge rules that a defendant should be released, prosecutors that disagree will now “have to argue if they want a defendant to be held beyond an initial commitment.”

For those defendants who are held under the new system, the bill also will enact limits on length of incarceration.

Those defendants who are jailed will be released if new deadlines aren’t met: Prosecutors have 90 days to indict a defendant. A trial must then be scheduled in 180 days.

In a 2013 study of the New Jersey jail population in October 2012, inmates awaiting trial post-indictment had been held an average of 314 days, according to the state Attorney General’s Office.

The Jersey Journal reports that the new law also “requires defendants make their first court appearance within 48 hours of their arrest,” reducing the time that defendants sit in jail before even being arraigned. This particular assessment tool has been implemented before. From The Inquirer:

In Kentucky, which began using the foundation’s assessment tool in 2013, the average arrest rate for defendants released pretrial declined from 10 percent to 8.5 percent during the first six months of using the assessment, while more defendants were released, according to the foundation. […]

[Additionally,] [t]he New Jersey judiciary has tested the foundation’s assessment tool on thousands of cases to ensure it’s retrieving the right records for defendants[.]

The Journal demonstrated how the new law looked in practice in court on Monday:

One defendant … appeared in court today on the charge of aggravated assault using a pipe in Jersey City on New Year’s Day. The third degree crime calls for a sentence of three to five years in prison if convicted and under the old guidelines, a bail of $20,000 to $50,000 with a 10 percent cash option was recommended.

But Pretrial Services had assessed [the defendant] to be a low risk of failing to appear at court hearings and of committing another crime. He also has no priors. Based on the Pretrial Services recommendation, he was released on his own recognizance, ordered to appear at all hearings in his case and to immediately give notice if his contact information changes.

On the other hand, prosecutors requested that [another defendant] be held without bail on charges he attempted to murder someone with a sword in Jersey City. The charge carries a possible prison sentence of 10 to 20 years upon conviction.

The case must now go before a Superior Court judge within 72 hours where the state must show probable cause for the charges, provide extensive discovery and call witnesses that can be cross-examined.

The judge can order the defendant held without bail if it is determined that there is no condition or combination of conditions that can be imposed to insure [he] is not a threat to the public, will show up for his court hearing, and will not be a threat to any witness.

The law has been in the works since 2014 and was a joint effort by Governor Christie and state lawmakers. It is also one of the most extensive state reforms in the country, and comes after increasing criticism of use of cash bail—including a report that highlighted just how harshly the poor were punished under New Jersey’s former bail system. NPR reports:

More than half of the people being held in U.S. jails have not been convicted of a crime. In 2013, a study found that three-quarters of people in New Jersey county jails were waiting for their day in court. Forty percent could have walked out of jail, except they couldn’t afford to make bail. […]

“They sit in jail for months and sometimes years. They lose jobs, they lose housing, they can lose connections to families, they can lose their children,” says Roseanne Scotti, director of the Drug Policy Alliance of New Jersey, which helped fund that study.

“Most of these individuals are low-risk individuals who could be released pending trial,” she says. “But because we had a money-based system, and not a risk-based system, they sat there because they didn’t have money.”

According to Scotti, about 12 percent of the people who are in jail are there for less than $2,000.

While reform advocates are largely supportive of the law, it has gotten significant pushback by many on the county level, due to potential costs. From the Inquirer:

In addition to hiring more staff, counties say, they have to pay staff for more hours and make capital improvements. The law requires that risk assessments be completed within 48 hours of a defendant’s commitment to jail, meaning county facilities will have to be open on weekends, according to the New Jersey Association of Counties.

The counties also have to make space for staff from the Pre-Trial Services Unit – newly created to monitor defendants released before trial – according to the association, which has pegged the cost of the bail changes to county taxpayers at $45 million.

The counties attempted to secure an injunction in order to stop the law from going into effect, but were unsuccessful.

Unsurprisingly, bail bondsmen have also been vocal critics of the new law. From New Jersey News 12:

Bail bondsman Kirk Shaw says that bail offices are also set to lose jobs. Before the new law was in place, friends and family would post bail money and pick up their defendants from jail.

“The people have no skin in the game, they’re going to be released unaccountable at the taxpayer’s expense,” Shaw says. “Taxpayers need to know your municipalities will be paying for this, your county’s going to be paying for this and your state’s going to be paying for this.”

Shaw and others like him profit off of the poverty of those languishing in jail—not to mention their impoverished family and friends. It is not exactly shocking, then, that he completely fails to acknowledge that the entire point of the risk assessment tool is to account for the risks he mentions. What’s more, judges have the opportunity to require additional restraints for those that are released pre-trial, such as ankle monitors.

Despite objections from the bail bond industry, the new law is expected to be a net positive for most defendants. Not only will it reduce the population of pre-trial detainees, it will also reduce the disproportionate prosecutorial power and allows the judiciary, a theoretically more neutral body, to have both the initial and final say in whether or not a defendant should be held pre-trial. (The prosecutor still has a significant role, as they are able to essentially appeal the release of a defendant by a judge.) The new process will hopefully also lessen the excessive jail crowding in New Jersey. And, of course, the new approach to bail will reduce the toxic role that money plays in our criminal justice system.

While the new law isn’t perfect, leading bail reform advocates are cautiously optimistic—while recognizing that even the new system will require monitoring to ensure it is accomplishing its stated goals.

“These reforms will hopefully bring more rationality and fairness to New Jersey’s legal system, resulting in fewer people in jail cells that have been scandalously overcrowded and dangerous,” says Alec Karakatsanis, the Founder and Executive Director of Civil Rights Corps, an organization that works to challenge cash bail systems as unconstitutional by bringing cases in counties and states nationwide.

“We must be vigilant, however, because New Jersey’s culture of poverty based jailing and the assembly line “justice” system that it facilitates, are exceedingly difficult to eradicate without continuous and urgent hard work.”

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Given the unacceptably high level of people langoring in jails for lack of minor funds, it makes sense to move away from a money-based bail system to one based on statistical probabilities data.  Currently, bail determinations only work for the well-heeled.  If we state our law is intended to be just for all, let’s make it so.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

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