Military tests 6-foot-tall Terminator-like robot… Don’t worry, they say they’re only for peaceful purposes :X
By Kit Eaton
Boston Dynamics has been busy working on an entrant for DARPA’s Virtual Robotics Challenge, a contest aimed to create robots that can help in disaster situations. Of course, they could also be used by the military…
Now, Boston Dynamics has revealed its entrant: A 6-foot-tall humanoid robot called Atlas. Compared to the bumbling, tottering, and slow humanoid robots that have hit the media before, you may be shocked at how resilient Atlas is. The machine has sophistication that approaches the stuff of science fiction. It can cope with unexpected trip hazards, survive being knocked off balance by a 20-pound weight, and if the tricks of its developmental predecessor, Petman, are anything to go by, it can climb over obstacles and autonomously navigate to a certain degree.
We saw Boston Dynamics’ Petman prototype some while ago, behaving merely as a pair of self-balancing legs that were designed to emulate real human walking gait so they could act as a repeating “wearing-out” test bed for equipment designed for people. Check these lovely legs out:
And then look at this image. It’s what BD now plans to turn Petman into–a full humanoid robot. Given BD’s military-research ties, and cash injections from DARPA, it’s impossible to ignore how its plans to skin the metallic Petman droid in a plastic casing remind us of the famous rubber-clad “skinjobs” from James Cameron’s imagination. Judgment Day, anyone?
Give it a few years though and a robot like Atlas may be pulling survivors from tumbled buildings in post-earthquake scenarios. And possibly terrifying the crap out of enemy soldiers on the battlefield.
An ambitious effort for an interstellar travel planning organization officially kicked off this week, after DARPA awarded $500,000 to form the 100-Year Starship initiative. Former astronaut Mae Jemison, whose proposal was selected earlier this year, will lead the new independent organization. The goal is to ensure that the capability for human interstellar travel exists within the next 100 years.
It may not look like the starship Enterprise, but a real interstellar vessel is possible within that timeframe, Jemison said. “Yes, it can be done. Our current technology arc is sufficient,” she said in a statement.
In its first year, the organization will seek new investors and develop new ideas for interstellar exploration, the new 100YSS website says. A public symposium is planned for September in Houston, where anyone from engineers to philosophers will be able to present papers and host talks about the challenges of such a project. The 100-Year Starship is not necessarily a ship per se, but an organization that can last 100 years and potentially carry out the vision of a real starship. It will look for input from scientists, engineers, doctors, sociologists, writers (!), ethicists and public policy experts.
The 100-Year Starship project also has a new scientific research partner called The Way, an awesomely named spinoff that will focus on “speculative, long-term science and technology,” according to the project. We can’t wait to see what they come up with.
[via EE Times]
Not content to let scientists figure out how to engineer animals and plants depending on the situation, DARPA wants to generalize the process, creating a manufacturing framework for all living things. The “Living Foundries” program sets up an assembly line paradigm for life and its constituent parts, and the DOD’s crazy-science arm just handed out its first research grants.
Among the recipients are Caltech, MIT and the J. Craig Venter Institute, a fitting result given the latter group’s prior success in creating the first-ever synthetic organism. The full suite of awards was announced May 22, comprising $15.5 million spread among six companies and institutions.
DARPA announced Living Foundries last summer, with a goal toward an engineering framework that could apply to any living thing. Under this program, genetic engineering would no longer be limited to modification of existing organisms — instead, scientists would be able to concoct anything they wanted from scratch, using a suite of ingredients and processes that could apply in any situation. Such a system is better, DARPA argues, than already promising examples of synthetic biology, which are too laborious, lab-specific and expensive to be universally applicable.
In the beginning, Living Foundries creates a basic library of modularized parts that can be assembled in infinite variations. Like computers borne of circuits and wires, endless forms of life could arise from a brew of proteins and DNA — perhaps bacteria that could eat cancer, maybe renewable fuels, and so on. The ultimate goal is a genetic starter set that could be snapped together like so many Legos, forming any system the military might require.
The contract winners will have to come up with this library of parts, as well as a way to test the new bio-products, Danger Room reports. DARPA also wants the teams to compress the biological build, test and design cycle by 10-fold, in both time and cost.
It may not be far-fetched — synthetic biology is already trending toward greater efficiency, both in the engineered organisms themselves and in the tools scientists are using to develop and evaluate them. As one example, consider the cost of genome sequencing now to the Human Genome Project’s gargantuan price tag. If the charter members of Living Foundries are successful, bio-engineering will become as efficient as factory production.
DARPA Cheetah Sets Speed Record for Legged Robots - #NWO
This video shows a demonstration of the “Cheetah” robot galloping at speeds of up to 18 miles per hour (mph), setting a new land speed record for legged robots. The previous record was 13.1 mph, set in 1989.
The robot’s movements are patterned after those of fast-running animals in nature. The robot increases its stride and running speed by flexing and un-flexing its back on each step, much as an actual cheetah does.
The current version of the Cheetah robot runs on a laboratory treadmill where it is powered by an off-board hydraulic pump, and uses a boom-like device to keep it running in the center of the treadmill. Testing of a free-running prototype is planned for later this year.
While the M3 program conducts basic research and is not focused on specific military missions, the technology it aims to develop could have a wide range of potential military applications.
The DARPA M3 performer for Cheetah is Boston Dynamics of Waltham, Mass. Read more about DARPA’s M3 program at http://www.darpa.mil/Our_Work/DSO/Programs/Maximum_Mobility_and_Manipulation_…
So their eyes are growing hazy
cos they want to turn it on
so their minds are soft and lazy, well…
give em what they want
One of the stocks that I used to kick around in the 1990s was that of a now long dead company called General Magic. Back then, I looked into the company and learned that it was, in essence, divested from Apple in 1990. It was made up of former Apple employees and Apple held 10% of the company.
Apple has been thinking about the post PC era (that we’re actually entering now, according to them) since the 1980s. Here’s Apple’s Knowledge Navigator concept from 1987:
This wasn’t going to happen anytime soon, so they spun it off into General Magic.
If you’ve seen Apple’s Siri in action, that’s the type of thing that General Magic wanted to do back in the 1990s. With the old Portico system, users called into the service, rather than the service running on the phone, as is the case with Siri. Here’s an almost unwatchable promo for General Magic’s Portico product (circa 1997):
If you’re interested in Siri, definitely read Wired’s, Bill and Andy’s Excellent Adventure II from 1994. The point is that Apple and Apple alumni have been beating around this bush for a very long time.
Flash forward to what Apple unveiled yesterday:
Now, what’s in a name?
Look closely at the name: Siri. What letters stand out?
See it yet?
S i R I.
SRI = Stanford Research Institute.
It turns out that Apple’s Siri used to be SRI’s Siri, and SRI’s Siri is… Are you ready? A spinoff of DARPA’s PAL (Perceptive Assistant that Learns) program, which SRI called CALO (Cognitive Agent that Learns and Organizes).
This is SRI’s CALO information page:
SRI International is leading the development of new software that could revolutionize how computers support decision-makers.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), under its Perceptive Assistant that Learns (PAL) program, has awarded SRI the first two phases of a five-year contract to develop an enduring personalized cognitive assistant. DARPA expects the PAL program to generate innovative ideas that result in new science, new and fundamental approaches to current problems, and new algorithms and tools, and to yield new technology of significant value to the military.
SRI has dubbed its new project CALO, for Cognitive Agent that Learns and Organizes. The name was inspired by the Latin word “calonis”, which means “soldier’s servant”. The goal of the project is to create cognitive software systems, that is, systems that can reason, learn from experience, be told what to do, explain what they are doing, reflect on their experience, and respond robustly to surprise.
The software, which will learn by interacting with and being advised by its users, will handle a broad range of interrelated decision-making tasks that have in the past been resistant to automation. It will have the capability to engage in and lead routine tasks, and to assist when the unexpected happens. To focus the research on real problems and to ensure the software meets requirements such as privacy, security, and trust, the CALO project researchers will themselves use the technology during its development.
SRI is leading the multidisciplinary CALO project team, and, beyond participating in the research program, is also responsible for overall project direction and management and the development of prototypes.
Conspiracy theorists will love this one: A computerized assistant that can help you manage your day to day life, built atop an artificial intelligence platform developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the United States’ internal military research group. Siri, the startup building the assistant, is today announcing $8.5 million in venture funding.
As befits its spookish origins, Siri isn’t saying a great deal yet about what it will do. Co-founder Dag Kittlaus, who licensed technology from DARPA’s CALO (Cognitive Agent that Learns and Organizes) project, calls it “a smarter, more personal interaction paradigm for the Internet.” Unfortunately, that’s about as specific as calling Google “a thing that finds stuff.” Those who want a sneak peek at Siri will instead have to look to CALO.
So here’s what we know about CALO: It’s a concerted effort to take the first real step toward artificial intelligence, with five years of work and $200 million in funding to date. Rather than being immediately useful, it learns about the user over time, much like a real personal assistant would. As it learns, it becomes capable of making logical associations and initiating its own actions.
People are going to pay a lot of money to have their asses tracked to within a couple of meters by a device running a civilian version of DARPA’s soldier’s servant software.
The most disturbing aspect of this is not what the iPhone 4s is going to be phoning home to Apple (which is unknown), or the invasion of The Complex into most aspects of our lives, but the fact that, in general, people would think that you were nuts for having these reservations at all. I mean, what could possibly be wrong with re-purposed DoD AI software running on a mass market consumer device that persistently reveals the user’s location to the state?
Ah well, give em what they want.
Revealed: Fake Facebook Identity Used By Military Contractors Plotting To Hack Progressive Organizations #Sockpuppets #PersonaManagement #MIC
Earlier this year, ThinkProgress obtained 75,000 private emails from the defense contractor HBGary Federal via the hacktivist group called Anonymous. The emails led to two shocking revelations. First, that an assortment of private military firms collectively called “Team Themis” had been tapped by Bank of America to conduct a cyber war against reporters sympathetically covering the Wikileaks revelations. And second, that late in 2010, the same set of firms began work separately for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a Republican-aligned corporate lobbying group, to develop a similar campaign of sabotage against progressive organizations, including the SEIU and ThinkProgress.
In presentations obtained by ThinkProgress from the e-mail dump detailing the tactics potentially used against progressives, HBGary Federal floated the idea of using “fake insider personas” to infiltrate left-leaning groups critical of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s policies. As HBGary Federal executive Aaron Barr described in several emails, his firm could work with partner companies Palantir and Berico Technologies to manipulate fake online identities, using networks like Facebook, to gain access to private information from his targets. Other presentations are more specific and describe efforts to use social media to hack computers and find vulnerabilities among even the families of people who work at organizations critical of the Chamber.
In one email from the dump, Barr discusses a fake persona he created called “Holly Weber.” She would be born in Portland in 1984, attend Reynolds High School, and work for Lockheed Martin after a stint in the Air Force. Earlier this week, Twitter users actually identified the phony account. Before it was taken down, ThinkProgress snagged screen shots of the fake persona’s Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. (Barr also described his strategy for pretending to be teenagers online). View a screenshot of the fake account below:
Barr, who sold his illicit talents to the highest bidder, appears to be drawing on Maxim for inspiration. A Maxim covergirl named Holly Weber was also born in 1984. Unlike Barr’s creation, the Maxim one is real.
Hunton and Williams, the law firm representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, had been immersed in talks with HBGary Federal, Palantir, and Berico to deliver on a $2 million deal to move forward with the hacking plot against the Chamber’s critics. However, after Anonymous leaked HBGary’s emails and a few reporters picked up on the story, the Chamber distanced itself from the deal. The emails show that HBGary Federal had also worked to sell “persona management” solutions to the U.S. government for cyber intelligence work.
[- edit: for more links / info check out @phracker -]
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Since Regina Dugan became the director of Darpa, the Pentagon’s top research division has signed millions of dollars’ worth of contracts with her family firm, which in turn owes her at least a quarter-million dollars. It’s an arrangement that has raised eyebrows in the research community, and has now drawn the attention of the Defense Department’s internal auditors and investigators.
The Pentagon’s Inspector General is launching an audit of those deals — and of every other research contract Darpa has signed during Dugan’s two-year tenure. This is just “the first in a series of planned audits to review [Darpa’s] contracting processes,” the Inspector General’s office promises.
The probe isn’t itself an accusation of wrongdoing; just an investigation to see if any occurred. Darpa representatives have insisted that the agency acted properly in its dealings with RedXDefense — the bomb detection firm Dugan co-founded with her father, Vince Dugan. She recused herself from any decisions involving the company, they say, and RedXDefense won its $1.7 million in research contracts from Darpa fair and square.
“At no time did Dr. Dugan participate in any dealings between the Agency and RedXDefense related to the contract,” Darpa spokesman Eric Mazzacone told Danger Room in March. (He declined to comment for this story.)
Nevertheless, the Inspector General’s office wants to take a closer look. Not only does Dugan still own tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of stock in RedXDefense; according to a financial report she filed last year, the company (now led by her father) has yet to reimburse Dugan for a “note/loan” with “no schedule of payment or guarantee of repayment.”
That’s one reason, presumably, why the IG is also launching a separate inquiry into “Regina Dugan’s continued financial and familial relations with Darpa contractor RedXDefense,” the office noted in a letter to the Project on Government Oversight, a watchdog group.
The look into Darpa’s deal-making won’t end there, however. Every research contract issued by the agency over the last two fiscal years will be reviewed, to “determine the adequacy of Darpa’s selection, award, and administration of contracts and grants,” the IG’s office wrote in a July 26 memorandum to other military agencies. So will Darpa’s relationship with airship-builder (and one-time agency contractor) Aeros, which now counts former Darpa director Tony Tether as a member of its board of advisors.
The scrutiny of Darpa’s $3 billion budget is needed, agency insiders say. Darpa gets wide latitude from the rest of the Pentagon — and from Congress — in how it hands out its contracts.
“You could pull a lot of money out of that place if you really wanted to,” a recently retired Darpa official tells Danger Room. “There really isn’t any due diligence there.”
The potential for the appearance of conflicts of interest is also quite high. Many of Darpa’s chosen research fields — pathogen detection, biomorphic robotics, brain-controlled prosthetics — are relatively small and tightknit. Any Darpa official worth his or her salt is bound to run into former co-workers while on the job.
These interactions with one-time colleagues used to be tightly proscribed. During Tony Tether’s tenure, if there was even a slight chance that a company might bid on a Darpa research project, that firm and and that program manager were disqualified to work on that particular effort. If the program manager owned stock in a defense contractor, that financial relationship had to be severed.
“With Tony, there wasn’t a little line. There was a valley. You either sell your stock [in your old firm], or there’s the door,” one former Darpa program manager says. “With Regina, things were very different.”
And not without some justification. Tether’s bright ethical guidelines had unintended consequences. If a company allowed an employee to take a sabbatical to join Darpa, the firm was essentially blocking itself from millions of dollars in agency research projects.
Under Dugan, program managers with potential ethical conflicts could designate someone else at Darpa — usually someone in a more senior position — to make decisions about their former company or university. In a speech last year, Darpa deputy director Ken Gabriel called the new conflict of interest rules “more realistic.”
One of the things that makes Darpa’s deals with RedXDefense so unusual is that those decisions weren’t passed to a more senior defense official, who would, in theory, be immune to any influence from Dugan. The decisions were left to a subordinate, who might feel all kinds of pressure to do right by the boss, and by the company run by her dad.
“These policies and practices are in place so that qualified people can come to government service and to ensure that all organizations have access to fair and open competition; neither favored nor disfavored,” Mazzacone said.
Nick Schwellenbach, director of investigations at the Project on Government Oversight, isn’t convinced.
“If I was a Darpa employee,” he says, “I wouldn’t want to be in a position of depriving my boss’ family members of a large contract.”
For the second time in a row, the Pentagon has lost contact with an experimental hypersonic vehicle over the Pacific, just minutes after it was launched from space.
The flight of the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 was hotly anticipated in military and aerospace circles. The HTV-2 was supposed to ride on the back of a rocket to the edge of space, where it would separate and scream through the atmosphere at 13,000 mph before splashing into the Pacific Ocean, about 4,100 miles and 30 minutes later.
If the flight worked, it’d show how missiles of this shape and flight pattern could strike targets halfway around the world almost instantly. And that would be a major step forward in the Pentagon’s “Prompt Global Strike” plan to attack foes anywhere on the globe in less than an hour. For now, however, those hopes have been dashed.
“There’s no way you can call it a success. Let’s be blunt about it,” a source familiar with the program tells Danger Room.
In a statement, Darpa tried to put a positive shine on the day’s events. The Minotaur IV rocket “successfully inserted the aircraft into the desired trajectory,” the agency noted. The HTV-2 “transitioned to Mach 20 aerodynamic flight,” and that “more than nine minutes of data was collected before an anomaly caused loss of signal.”
“We’ll learn. We’ll try again. That’s what it takes,” Darpa director Regina Dugan added.
But that may be easier said than done. Before the test, Darpa announced that this would be the last HTV-2 flight that the agency would run. The idea was to transfer control of the program to another branch of the military, most likely the Air Force. Those other branches may not be willing to take on such an expensive program that hasn’t shown much forward momentum, as of yet.
We were plenty impressed when we saw the initial tests of AeroVironment’s robo-hummingbird — now officially dubbed the Nano Hummingbird — but we can’t say they quite prepared us for the final product that the DARPA-funded company is now showing off. Not only does the bot look and fly like a real hummingbird (at least if you don’t look too closely), but it packs a built-in camera and a downlink of some sort that’s capable of transmitting live video. According to the company, the hummingbird’s also able to hover for up to eight minutes, reach speeds of eleven miles per hour in forward flight, and remain stable in wind gusts of five miles per hour — not to mention make a perfect landing. Head on past the break to check it out in action — it may well be one of the few chances you’re actually able to see one in the wild.
It’s tough being an imagery analyst for the U.S. military: you’re drowning in pictures and drone video, with more pouring in endlessly from the tons of sensors and cameras used on planes, ships and satellites. Sifting through it to find roadside bombs or missile components is a time-consuming challenge. That’s why the Pentagon’s blue sky research arm figures that cameras ought to be able to filter out useless information themselves — so you don’t have to.
Darpa announced yesterday that it’s moving forward in earnest with a program to endow cameras with “visual intelligence.” That’s the ability to process information from visual cues, contextualize its significance, and learn what other visual data is necessary to answer some pre-existing question. Visual-intelligence algorithms are already out there. They can read license plates in traffic or recognized faces (in limited, brighly-lit circumstances). But the programs are still relatively dumb; they simply help collate data that analysts have to go through. Darpa’s program, called Mind’s Eye, seeks to get humans out of the picture. If it works, it could change the world of surveillance overnight.
Following on a March conference for potential contractors, Darpa has given 12 research teams, mostly based at universities, contracts to build these thinking cameras. The initial idea is to mount them on drones for ground surveillance, so robots can take dangerous scouting responsibilities away from troops. In theory, humans wouldn’t be required to instruct the scouts while they wheel around about what pictures to take.
That’s the crucial distinction between Mind’s Eye and every surveillance system the military has. Powerful cameras and sensors, whether they’re the Reaper-mounted Gorgon Stare, with its two-mile-plus field of vision, or the 1.8 gigapixel ARGUS-IS camera for Special Operations helicopters still require a crucial element: You. Even when hooked up to drones, someone needs to tell the cameras what to shoot, and even more people need to mine that data for significance. And “star[ing] at Death TV for hours on end trying to find the single target or see something move” is just “a waste of manpower,” Gen. James Cartwright, the vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, recently told an intelligence conference.
So Darpa wants to push artificial intelligence forward in a big way. It envisions its research teams making “novel contributions in visual event learning, new spatiotemporal representations, machine-generated envisionment, visual inspection and grounding of visual concepts.” All that will spot “operationally significant activity and report on that activity so warfighters can focus on important events in a timely manner.” If you’re an imagery-data jockey, you might be free to see a ballgame sometime.
And while all this is clearly a long way away — Darpa didn’t set out a timeline in its announcement — Mind’s Eye would have dramatic privacy implications. After all, military technology typically filters down to law enforcement, given time. Right now, the firehose of data that surveillance cameras give to government analysts acts as de facto privacy protection for individuals caught up in a sprawling surveillance net. But what happens when that firehose becomes a targeted stream? What happens when cameras decide for themselves who to spy on?
For now, Darpa doesn’t intend the images collected by Mind’s Eye to be so extensive. Even if its researchers can develop the visual-intelligence software, it wants to first mount the thinking cameras on robo-scouts like the Army’s Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle, not aboard an airborne drone. The ambition is huge, but the initial scope is small. Still, the mind’s eye has a tendency to wander.
The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) is a United States wiretapping law passed in 1994, during the presidency of Bill Clinton (Pub. L. No. 103-414, 108 Stat. 4279, codified at 47 USC 1001-1010). In its own words, the purpose of CALEA is:
- To amend title 18, United States Code, to make clear a telecommunications carrier’s duty to cooperate in the interception of communications for Law Enforcement purposes, and for other purposes.
CALEA’s purpose is to enhance the ability of law enforcement and intelligence agencies to conduct electronic surveillance by requiring that telecommunications carriers and manufacturers of telecommunications equipment modify and design their equipment, facilities, and services to ensure that they have built-in surveillance capabilities, allowing federal agencies to monitor all telephone, broadband internet, and VoIP traffic in real-time.
The original reason for adopting CALEA was the Federal Bureau of Investigation's worry that increasing use of digital telephone exchange switches would make tapping phones at the phone company's central office harder and slower to execute, or in some cases impossible. Since the original requirement to add CALEA-compliant interfaces required phone companies to modify or replace hardware and software in their systems, U.S. Congress included funding for a limited time period to cover such network upgrades. CALEA was passed into law on October 25, 1994 and came into force on January 1, 1995.
In the years since CALEA was passed it has been greatly expanded to include all VoIP and broadband internet traffic. From 2004 to 2007 there was a 62 percent growth in the number of wiretaps performed under CALEA — and more than 3,000 percent growth in interception of internet data such as email.
Provisions of CALEA
The U.S. Congress passed the CALEA to aid law enforcement in its effort to conduct criminal investigations requiring wiretapping of digital telephone networks. The Act obliges telecommunications companies to make it possible for law enforcement agencies to tap any phone conversations carried out over its networks, as well as making call detail records available. The act stipulates that it must not be possible for a person to detect that his or her conversation is being monitored by the respective government agency.
Common carriers, facilities-based broadband Internet access providers, and providers of interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service – all three types of entities are defined to be “telecommunications carriers” and must meet the requirements of CALEA.
The CALEA Implementation Unit at the FBI has clarified that intercepted information is supposed to be sent to Law Enforcement concurrently with its capture.
On March 10, 2004, the United States Department of Justice, FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration filed a “Joint Petition for Expedited Rulemaking" in which they requested certain steps to accelerate CALEA compliance, and to extend the provisions of CALEA to include the ability to perform surveillance of all communications that travel over the Internet — such as Internet traffic and VoIP.
As a result, the FCC adopted a “First Report and Order” concluding that CALEA applies to facilities-based broadband Internet access providers and providers of interconnected (with the publicly switched telephone network) Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) services.
In May 2006, the FCC adopted a “Second Report and Order”, which clarified and affirmed the First Order:
- The CALEA compliance deadline remains May 14, 2007.
- Carriers are permitted to meet their CALEA obligations through the services of “Trusted Third Parties (TTP)” — that is they can hire outside companies, which meet security requirements outlined in CALEA, to perform all of the required functions.
- Carriers are responsible for CALEA development and implementation costs.
To be CALEA-compliant, telecommunications providers must install new hardware and software, as well as modify old equipment so it doesn’t interfere with any law enforcement agency’s ability to perform real-time surveillance of any telephone or Internet traffic. Most of this equipment and software is purchased from “Trusted Third-Parties,” such as Narus (e.g., NarusInsight), Pen-Link (e.g. Pen-Link 8 software, and their LINCOLN systems & software), and other surveillance equipment/software providers.
Originally CALEA only granted the ability to wiretap digital telephone networks, but in 2004, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) filed a joint petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to expand their powers to include the ability to monitor VoIP and broadband internet communications — so that they could monitor Web traffic as well as phone calls.
The FCC’s First Report and Order, issued in September 2005, ruled that providers of broadband Internet access and interconnected VoIP services are regulable as “telecommunications carriers” under CALEA. That order was affirmed and further clarified by the Second Report and Order, dated May 2006. On May 5, 2006, a group of higher education and library organizations led by the American Council on Education (ACE) challenged that ruling, arguing that the FCC’s interpretation of CALEA was unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment. However, on June 9, 2006, the D.C. Circuit Court disagreed and summarily denied the petition (American Council on Education vs. FCC, United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, June 9, 2006)
- Carnivore (FBI)
- Hepting v. AT&T
- Lawful interception
- Secrecy of correspondence
- Secure communication
- Telecommunications Intercept and Collection Technology Unit
- Telephone tapping
- Total Information Awareness
- ^ a b Point, Click … Eavesdrop: How the FBI Wiretap Net Operates
- ^ EFF CALEA Archives 1999
- ^ EFF CALEA Archives 2000
- ^ Decision 05-1404(pdf)
- White Paper on Lawful Interception of IP Networks (EDIT: CHECK OUT SECTION 4.1 WHERE IT TALKS ABOUT USING IPSEC!)
- Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act of 1994
- FCC CALEA Home page
- FBI CALEA Website
- EFF CALEA page
- Digital Surveillance: The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, Congressional Research Service, June 8, 2007
- RFC 3924 - Cisco Architecture for Lawful Intercept in IP Networks
- Global Lawful Intercept Industry Forum (GLIIF)
- CALEA for Broadband? The Critics Are Unanimous :: Lasar’s Letter on the Federal Communications Commission
- Law enforcement groups have been lobbying for years for FCC Internet wiretapping plan :: Lasar’s Letter on the Federal Communications Commission
- Cybertelecom: CALEA Information
- OpenCALEA open-source CALEA suite
- Guide to lawful intercept legislation around the world
- CableLabs Cable Broadband Intercept Specification
- CALEA Q&A
(edit: you thought your communications equipment wasn’t back-doored because it was open source, even though its development was funded by the oh-so-secretive DOD’s department of advanced research projects agency? that’s funny.)
The US Air Force is engaged in wacky research on fruit flies manoeuvring within a heavily instrumented “simulation tunnel” in order to develop tiny, potentially murderous insect-sized flying robots.
According to a statement issued yesterday by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), research underway at in Californian labs will teach military designers how to build tiny robot aircraft which can fly around indoors or in built-up areas the way flies do.
"This work investigates sensory-motor feedback mechanisms in the insect brain that could inspire new approaches to flight stabilization and navigation in future insect-sized vehicles for the military," said Dr Willard Larkin of AFOSR.
Dr Andrew Straw of Caltech, leading the project for the Air Force, has built a special arena for his test flies to aviate around in, with video walls allowing a simulated environment to be presented to the fly. The insect test subject is tracked using a cunning multi-camera system.
"We developed a 3D fly tracking system which was our most significant technical challenge: localizing a fly in 3D nearly instantaneously," says Straw. "Next, we developed visual stimulus software capable of making use of this information to project virtual edges and textured floors in which we could modify the fly’s sensory-motor feedback mechanism."
According to the AFOSR:
The scientists have found that, counter to earlier studies suggesting that insects adjust their height by measuring the motion beneath them as they fly, flies in fact follow horizontal edges of objects to regulate altitude. Remarkably, this edge following behavior is very similar to a rule they use for steering left and right and always turning towards vertical edges.
If Straw and his colleagues can work out the rules the flies use to navigate - thought to be primarily visually based - it could be possible to design control systems for so-called Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs, small robot aircraft already in development) which would let them manoeuvre in places where there is no GPS signal.
Then the dark/exciting future shown in the vid above could become reality, with tiny military swarm droids scattering across towns or cities to locate or spy on persons of interest to the US authorities. They might even, as shown in the vid at around three minutes, be able to land on the back of your neck and blow your head off using some kind of tiny warhead.
Amazing what they can do nowadays.