Robot security patrol brings Skynet closer


The students at the University of Oklahoma have put together a robot that will surely join the other drones in our future robot overlord regime. This autonomous vehicle was produced to replace human security patrols which can be both boring and dangerous. Intent on delivering surveillance to most locations, an all terrain vehicle was used as the base. It can navigate by itself through an obstacle avoidance system and communicate video and audio wirelessly. After the break we’ll take a look at the systems that make this work. [Read more...]

Testing IR camera blocking

[randy] from F.A.T. tested the theory that infrared LEDs can actually hide you from the prying eyes of surveillance cameras. We’ve previously covered camouflage, IR, and other suggestions for eluding the cameras, but haven’t taken to sewing stuff onto our clothes yet. [randy] lined his hoodie with high-intensity infrared LEDs, hoping to create a halo effect that would hide his head, and tested his results. Unfortunately, his efforts were unsuccessful. He tested many many different combinations and we’re confident in his conclusion that it would be very hard to make this work.

British bots compete for attention

The British military held a competition to find the newest batch of robotic surveillance drones. The article mentions that they compete in a mockup village, but sadly we don’t get to see any of the action. We strongly recommend watching the video so you can see some of the robots. There is an interesting helicopter concept that has angled props for better stability and lateral motion, but more importantly you get to see the little guy pictured above. He very well could be Wall-E’s great grandfather. Though his constant buzzing around during the interviews is slightly annoying, his little camera mount looking all around is instantly endearing. If he doesn’t win this contest, he may have a shot at the [crabfu] challenge.

[via Engadget]

Surveillance as art

The Target Project is a graduate project from the Royal College of Arts in London. It is designed to make us question our relationship with surveillance technology and CCTV. This is a particularly meaningful demonstration for a country like Britain which is said to contain up to 4.2 million CCTV cameras or roughly 1 for every 14 people.

This project has two demonstrations on their site. The first is dubbed the RTS-2 (Racial Targeting System). This system is essentially a camera which follows faces and is able to analyze and interpret the person’s race. The second is SOLA. This system is able to quickly scan someone and calculate their body mass index then publish this information to the web. Both systems achieve their goal by blatantly pointing out a line in which more surveillance does not equate to more security. They also show the wealth of personal data that can be obtained about a person by a simple camera.

[via we make money not art]

Laser surveillance defeater

Imagine our chagrin when we first laid eyes on this “laser surveillance defeater.” It’s supposedly built to the security requirements of federal agencies. We don’t believe most government issue devices have exposed circuit boards or 9V batteries dangling from them. Laser surveillance works by bouncing the beam off of a room’s window. People speaking in the room cause the window to vibrate, which modulates the reflected laser beam. This device looks like it’s just a piezo buzzer meant to vibrate in vocal ranges. A quick search didn’t turn up any DIY projects, but it looks simple enough. Shomer-Tec would love you to purchase one for every window at $69 each. A small price to pay when you’re taking on people willing to spend $20.

[via Gizmodo]

Wiretapping and how to avoid it

No matter who you suspect is plotting your doom, you’ll need need to know the way wiretapping works in order to learn their plans and shield yourself from their surveillance. Luckily, ITSecurity has posted a comprehensive
article about wiretapping
, including information on how to wiretap and how to find out if someone is wiretapping you.

One of the more intriguing methods of wiretapping the articles discusses is a service by a company called FlexiSPY. It works by covertly installing a program onto the target’s cellphone. Once installed, the spying party can listen to anything going on in the room the target is in by calling the phone. It won’t ring, vibrate, or give any indication that it is transmitting audio data.

Some of the more hack-oriented methods involve tapping into a landline, using special software to record VoIP calls, or buying a wiretapping kit. Of course, countermeasures, are also discussed, but some of the links they provide are a little more informative on the topic of defense against wiretapping.