August 13, 2012
The latest Wikileaks data-dump reveals that the government now has the ability to grab video from far-flung surveillance cameras located in stores, casinos and other businesses around the country. It uses sophisticated facial recognition software to identify people of interest captured by the ubiquitous cameras numbering in the millions.
The software, Trapwire, is a significant breakthrough for the surveillance state. It was uncovered by security researcher Justin Ferguson. He delved into the massive pile of emails hacked from Stratfor – regarded as a shadow CIA – on Christmas of 2011. In response to Ferguson’s discovery and the Trapwire revelation, Wikileaks was recently hit with a large scale distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.
“Trapwire would make something like disclosure of UFO contact or imminent failure of a major U.S. bank fairly boring news by comparison,” writes David Seaman.
“Every few seconds, data picked up at surveillance points in major cities and landmarks across the United States are recorded digitally on the spot, then encrypted and instantaneously delivered to a fortified central database center at an undisclosed location to be aggregated with other intelligence,” RT reported last week. “It’s part of a program called TrapWire and it’s the brainchild of the Abraxas, a Northern Virginia company staffed with elite from America’s intelligence community. The employee roster at Arbaxas reads like a who’s who of agents once with the Pentagon, CIA and other government entities according to their public LinkedIn profiles, and the corporation’s ties are assumed to go deeper than even documented.”
According to the RT report, Trapwire is now in place in major cities in the United States and abroad. It is being used by law enforcement:
The iWatch monitoring system adopted by the Los Angeles Police Department (pdf) works in conjunction with TrapWire, as does the District of Columbia and the “See Something, Say Something” program conducted by law enforcement in New York City, which had 500 surveillance cameras linked to the system in 2010. Private properties including Las Vegas, Nevada casinos have subscribed to the system. The State of Texas reportedly spent half a million dollars with an additional annual licensing fee of $150,000 to employ TrapWire, and the Pentagon and other military facilities have allegedly signed on as well.
Seaman notes how “those spooky new ‘circular’ dark globe cameras installed in your neighborhood park, town, or city” are not simply monitoring garden variety criminals and other potential malefactors as the government routinely claims, but the population at large. “They’re plugged into Trapwire and they are potentially monitoring every single person via facial recognition.”
Coupled with the NDAA and its indefinite detention provisions – the carte blanche ability of the government and military to kidnap and hold without charge or trial anybody it deems suspicious – Trapwire becomes a near perfect tool for the high-tech modern Stasi state.
“So we have a widespread network of surveillance cameras across America monitoring us and reporting suspicious activity back to a centralized analysis center, mixed in with the ability to imprison people via military force on the basis of suspicious activity alone. I don’t see how that could possibly go wrong. Nope, not at all. We all know the government, and algorithmic computer programs, never make mistakes,” Seaman sarcastically adds.
Details on Trapwire reveal that the government has possessed a high-tech surveillance grid since at least 2006. In April, former NSA employee William Binney said the agency has a dossier on virtually every American and is currently building a mega-spy center in Bluffdale, Utah, that “will contain near-bottomless databases to store all forms of communication collected by the agency, including private emails, cellphone calls, Google searches and other personal data.”