Even Crooks Use Trackers (and OpenBSD, East German dissidents on the NSA)

Their methods are less sophisticated than those of police agencies, but evidently still work. Police found a cell phone attached to the bottom of a car belonging to a recently murdered Orthodox Jewish landlord — the phone had been used to track the landlord’s movements prior to the kidnapping and murder.

Unclear is whether the phone had been reprogrammed to act as a GPS tracker, or whether the crooks simply used an (unknown?) means of locating the phone’s presence throughout the city.

But a good reminder in any case that even if the adversary is less sophisticated, a bit of TSCM is still worth while.

OpenBSD saved — by a Romanian Bitcoin billionaire. http://www.thedrinkingrecord.com/2014/01/19/romanian-billionaire-saves-openbsd/

East German civil rights on the NSA: Maybe Obama shouldn’t have said “at least we’re better than East Germany.”

[Worth noting: German chancellor and high-profile NSA target Angela Merkel grew up there, and — despite a career that saw her working as an “agitprop” cadre for the Party — by the end was part of the civil rights movement that brought down the dictatorship.]

Writing in a German newspaper, a group of former East German civil rights activists published the following: (my rough translation)

“”We lived for many years in a dictatorship, and we worked in a variety of ways to free ourselves of this dictatorship. What we found most awful about this dictatorship was the secret service, the “Sword and Shield of the Party,” which worked to prop up the dicatorship using informants, wiretapping, mail interception, harassment, and the creation of an atmosphere of chronic fear. It was a festival, a celebration to remove the surveillance cameras, the bugs, and the listening tools of the Stasi.

What we’ve learned from Edward Snowden today about the technical possibilities and the range of the surveillance — by the NSA, through its collaboration with the BND [German intelligence] and other European spy agencies — shows an entirely new kind of global control. We are appalled how completely the leading politicians of our country have resigned thesmelves to the loss of essential civil rights by the entire population.

We appeal to the mature citizens of our country — regardless of whether they grew up in East or West Germany: do not permit internationally networked intelligence agencies, acting under the banner of democracy and the pretense of the fight against terrorism, to direct the kind of weapons against citizens which with democracy can be turned into dictatorship in the blink of an eye. If we open our mouths, go against our own resignation and the servility of politics, then, we can still keep a democracy alive. We’ve already experienced that it’s possible to end a dictatorship.

Whether we allow democracy to become a farce depends on all of us.

We are the people. [note: this last bit is the slogan that brought down the Communist government]

“Adding credence to the theory that Brooklyn landlord Menachem Stark was kidnapped and murdered by professionals, a law enforcement source tells the Post that the NYPD found a cell phone attached to the bottom of his car, which could have been used to track his movements. Previously, it was reported that the suspect caught on video was lurking around Williamsburg for weeks. Mayor Bill de Blasio weighed in on the case in a radio interview Saturday night, saying it’s a “high priority” for the NYPD. “We will find who did this to him and who robbed children of a father and a wife of a husband,” De Blasio said, adding that he found the Post’s “Who didn’t want him dead?” cover “not appropriate.””


“Sources tell Eyewitness News a cell phone was found strapped underneath Menachem Stark’s car that was apparently being used as a tracking device. Police are trying to find the phone’s registered owner. ”


” Sources also said a cellphone found attached to the undercarriage of Stark’s personal vehicle has been linked to same businessman who might be responsible for abducting Stark or hiring others to do so.”

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