The Dutch Spy Box (and browser anti tracking with hosts files)

First off, a note on the hosts-file based browser anti-tracking thing I mentioned a while back… while it’s pretty effective at killing ads, I’ve been finding bizarre inclusions as well — it blocks archive.org among others! Fortunately, spotting unjustly blocked sites is easy (they fail to load instantly) and removing them from the list is just as easy (open up hosts file, search for “archive.org,” delete line).

Anyway.

Ever wondered what a low-grade but professional surveillance device looks like?

Someone in the Netherlands gives us a good example of what happens when someone wants to keep an eye on something, has a lot of money, and cares more about a) reliability/longevity/quality and b) not compromising any particularly sensitive methods if the surveillance is discovered.

A “utility box” was set up on the street, jam-packed with equipment to process, store, and transmit video from a quite nice video camera peeking through a pinhole. Evidently the installers went and got a “factory original” utility box, as it was only discovered when the local utility started wondering why the box wasn’t on their inventory.

http://tweakers.net/nieuws/88635/providerwijkkast-haagse-schilderswijk-zat-vol-spionageapparatuur.html
http://www.volkskrant.nl/vk/nl/2686/Binnenland/article/detail/3429348/2013/04/21/Spionagekast-vol-apparatuur-in-Haagse-Schilderswijk.dhtml
http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/13/04/21/1519227/utility-box-exposed-as-spy-cabinet-in-the-netherlands

“”A spy cabinet has been exposed on a public road in The Hague, the Netherlands (Google translate here). The cabinet was disguised as telecom-cabinet and was detected by the maintenance crew of Ziggo (a triple-play provider) because it was not listed as a property of the company. Upon opening, it was revealed the cabinet contained a camera and UMTS equipment. Later that day, the cabinet disappeared.”

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