August 13th, 2012

[Upate @ 0829 — From Cleveland Heights City Council Member Bonnie Kaplan:

The cameras in Cleveland Heights are monitored by the Cleveland Hts police dept. There is no secondary monitoring, or data collection system involved.
Have a good day.
Bonnie Caplan]

Glenn Greenwald alerted me to this trending story this morning on Twitter.

David Seaman writes:

Trapwire is the name of a program revealed in the latest Wikileaks bonanza—it is the mother of all leaks, by the way. Trapwire would make something like disclosure of UFO contact or imminent failure of a major U.S. bank fairly boring news by comparison.

And someone out there seems to be quite disappointed that word is getting out so swiftly; the Wikileaks web site is reportedly sustaining 10GB worth of DDoS attacks each second, which is massive.

Anyway, here’s what Trapwire is, according to Russian-state owned media network RT (apologies for citing “foreign media”… if we had a free press, I’d be citing something published here by an American media conglomerate): “Former senior intelligence officials have created a detailed surveillance system more accurate than modern facial recognition technology—and have installed it across the U.S. under the radar of most Americans, according to emails hacked by Anonymous.

From PrivacySOS:

This week things got extra interesting with the revelation of an enormous, shadowy surveillance company with deep ties to the CIA: Trapwire exploded on the surveillance scene like a bat out of hell. And people are justifiably freaked out about it.

But people are also publishing a lot of information that seems to have appeared out of the ether, grounded in no documentation whatsoever. There is no need to speculate or conjure surveillance bogeymen where they do not exist. The documented facts speak loudly enough.

Furthermore, we don’t even have to look to pre-crime, globally networked spook software like Trapwire to be concerned about where we stand vis a vis privacy rights and government powers. Take the following stories from just the past month as a small sample of our problems, serving to illustrate the seriousness of our current predicament:

From Ben Doernberg:

TrapWire is also noteworthy because it maintains a centralized database of all these reports submitted by citizens or TrapWire-enabled CCTV cameras. TrapWire not only collects these reports but cross references them across geographic and territorial boundaries; for instance, a report from the London Stock Exchange might be cross referenced with a report from the LAPD, or a citizen’s phone call in Washington, DC. That an intelligence network connecting private businesses, military bases, civilian police, and federal agencies has managed to escape attention for so long is surprising, to say the least.

Finally, TrapWire is raising concerns because of its close ties to the CIA. Its CEO, President, and two of its top three managers are all ex-CIA, with more than 10 years experience each. The CIA is generally “prohibited from collecting intelligence concerning the domestic activities of U.S. citizens.” While the emails released by WikiLeaks do not indicate that information obtained by TrapWire has been shared with the CIA, TrapWire’s former parent company (also run by TrapWire’s CEO) was involved with a number of CIA contracting operations, and it does not seem out of the realm of possibility that lines could at some point be crossed, either due to personal loyalties or an “ends justify the means” approach to combating terrorism.

In any case, it seems clear that TrapWire’s role in the US and international intelligence community bears scrutiny, scrutiny it has largely avoided until WikiLeaks’ latest release.

A natural question to be put to my local officials is this: are the recently installed surveliance cameras in Cleveland Heights linked into Trapwire? If they are, then I want them disconnected. Now!

[Update @ 0821: I just sent this email to the members of Cleveland Heights city council and several fellow citizens of Cleveland Heights.

Good morning all,

I hope that everyone had a pleasurable weekend.

The news this morning is not pleasant and I would appreciate responses to two concerns:

First, are any of the cameras, recordings or feeds from Cleveland Heights’ CCTV system linked, uploaded or reviewed by the Trapwire program?

Second, does SkyCop receive, monitor, upload or review in any manner streamed or recorded, the data collected by the installed surveillance cameras in Cleveland Heights?

I eagerly await your response.

Do all you can to make today a good day,

Jeff Hess
1823 Lee Road

I’ll keep you posted when I receive replies.

See update @ 0829 above.]


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