The Largest US Surveillance Program You Didn’t Know About

By Microsoft 8 Min Read

This week, the 22 of usrevealed the first footage ever recorded in a US meatpacking plant of a “breathtaking chamber” of CO2 used in pig slaughter. The footage was captured at a facility in California by a Direct Action Everywhere activist using infrared pinhole spy cameras smaller than a coin. The goal of the covert surveillance mission was to prove that this seemingly “painless” form of killing is illegal and inhumane.

In less shocking news, Apple has been working hard to style itself as the privacy-friendly Big Tech giant, and in many ways, that’s true. But that doesn’t mean it won’t collect your data for advertising purposes if given the opportunity. We sifted through about 70,000 words of Apple’s various policies figure out exactly what it is gathering on you and how to keep it under control.

Speaking of online ads, new research this week from Human Security uncovered a massive ad fraud scheme dubbed Vastflux. The operation exploited weaknesses in the advertising ecosystem to target approximately 1,700 apps and 11 million phones, resulting in approximately 12 billion ad requests each day at Vastflux’s peak. The fraud has since largely been shut down, but those responsible have yet to be named.

Fraud aside, it’s increasingly fortunate to be able to be online. Internet infrastructure company Cloudflare released its first annual report this week the status of online connectivity outages around the world and found a startling increase. From outages in North Carolina caused by a power grid hack to authoritarian internet shutdowns in Iran aimed at stifling anti-government protests, 2022 looks like the first year of a new era of online blackouts.

We also dived into the persistent threat of online echo chambersthat continue to have a huge impact on US politics, and explored the ongoing chaos at T-Mobile, which this week revealed yet another major data breach that the company says has impacted an estimated 37 million customers.

But that is not all. Each week we dive into the stories we haven’t been able to delve into ourselves. Click on the titles to read the full stories. And stay safe out there.

The surveillance program captures millions of money transfers between the United States and countries over 20 years old

Hundreds of law enforcement agencies in the United States have access to a little-known database of 150 million money transfers sent between the United States, Mexico and 22 other regions, according to a report this week by The Wall Street Journal. The database, maintained by the non-profit Transaction Record Analysis Center (TRAC), provides more than 600 local and federal law enforcement agencies with warrant-free access to “full sender and recipient names” and amounts of money transfers made through services such as Western Union, MoneyGram and Viamericas.

According to the report, the program was created to assist government agencies in gathering evidence of financial crimes such as fraud and money laundering. However, it has raised concerns among privacy advocates as it allows bulk access to money transfer data, which is not as tightly regulated as traditional banking transactions.

“The private financial records of ordinary people are being hijacked indiscriminately into a massive database, with access granted to virtually any cop who wants it,” said Nathan Freed Wessler, deputy director of the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology project. wsj extension. “This program should never have been launched and must be shut down now.”


A security researcher has discovered a version of the controversial US “no fly list” on an unsecured server operated by CommuteAir, an Ohio-based regional airline. The list, which contains more than 1.5 million entries, is much larger than previously reported and includes the names of people who have been barred from flying to the United States.

CommuteAir confirmed the document’s authenticity to the Daily Dot, which was the first to report on the leaked list.

According to the Daily Dot, the list contains the names of several notable figures, including convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. The Biden administration sent Bout back to Russia in a prisoner exchange with WNBA star Brittney Griner, who returned to the United States in December. In the data, which was shared with WIRED Thursday night, there were nearly 30 entries for people born after 2010.

According to Cnnthe US Transportation Security Administration is investigating the accident.

The US Supreme Court fails to catch the leaker of Dobbs Decision

After an eight-month investigation, the US Supreme Court failed to find out who leaked the draft overturn decision Roe versus Wade, according to one report released by the court on Thursday. The unprecedented loss a Politic last spring came more than a month before the final opinion was released and sparked nationwide protests.

In the course of the investigation into the leaks, the court interviewed 97 court employees and brought in forensic experts to examine call logs, printer logs and fingerprints. According to the report, 80 people in addition to the nine judges had access to the draft opinion.

“No one has confessed to publicly disclosing the document, and none of the available forensic and other evidence has provided a basis for identifying any individual as the source of the document,” the report said. “It is not possible to determine the identity of any individual who may have disclosed the document or how the draft opinion ended up Politic.”

The report did not say whether the judges were interviewed.

PayPal is filled

According to a PayPal security incident alert, the attackers gained unauthorized access to the accounts of thousands of users between December 6-8, 2022, using a credential stuffing attack. Credential stuffing occurs when hackers, typically using a bot, attempt to access accounts using lists of leaked username and password pairs.

For two days, the hackers had access to the full names, dates of birth, postal addresses, social security numbers and tax identification numbers of the account holders. According to PayPal, 34,942 of its users were affected by the incident.

Interested users will receive a free two-year identity tracking service from Equifax.

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