Posted on September 2nd, 2010 No comments
How amazing would it be if you could walk into Taco King and order that mid-morning bacon taco meal with Mountain Dew Big Gulp from your mobile device? Just imagine… as you approach the restaurant, a menu pops up on your screen, the phone makes suggestions and helps you super-size your order, before you even set foot inside!
This advertiser’s wet dream is about to become reality, thanks to WPS (Wi-Fi Positioning System) infrastructure pioneered by CIA front company Skyhook (formerly Quarterscope) and currently being implemented by several other intelligence-connected companies, including Google, Apple, and Navizon (which is supplying data to Microsoft).
WPS geolocates wireless network devices using a database of known wireless access points, such as in coffee shops. Since at least 2004, WPS companies like Skyhook and Google have been war-driving for access point data. More about the technical aspects of this later.
How did you conclude that Skyhook is an intelligence front company?
Follow the money.
In 2008 former CIA director George Tenet became Managing Director of Allen & Company, an investment bank that provided funding for Skyhook’s WPS development and Google’s IPO (Initial Public Offering) in 2004, while he was still director of the CIA.
Skyhook was also funded by shadowy investment firm Alliance Capital. Frank Savage, Alliance Capital’s former board chairman, also served on the board of Lockheed Martin and Enron. Alliance was Enron’s largest shareholder.
Regardless of where the seed money came from, you can now buy this WPS data commercially. Intelligence agencies are putting a lot of effort into developing new tracking and identification technologies. Once they turn these technologies loose on society, the corporations exploit them, resulting in even more personal data being exchanged on private networks, which intelligence agencies can snoop on at will with their NSA Internet vacuum cleaners.
What exactly is WPS and how does it work?
Nearly every modern network connected device (phone, computer network card, cable modem, wireless router, bluetooth headset, etc), has a unique number called aMAC address (Media Access Control, not Apple) built in.
Even if a mobile device doesn’t obtain an IP address when connecting to wi-fi, merely conducting a normal SSID (Session ID) scan will result in the mobile obtaining the MAC of the access point, and may (during active scanning) result in sending the mobile’ MAC address to the access point. Access points embed their MAC addresses in beacon frames, which wireless devices scan for.
Here is the relevant thing you need to know about MAC addresses: they are unique and can identify any network connected device, wired or wireless, bluetooth, 802.11, etc. The good news is you can change a device’s MAC address.† The bad news is, that doesn’t really matter because that new number can be immediately correlated with your voice print and other biometric signatures in realtime by the mobile device (see Iphone trojan link below)
WPS is not generally used alone for geolocation. Hybrid systems including GPS (Global Positioning System) and cell triangulation are more commonly used to geolocate mobile devices. the advantage of adding WPS is that you can be located anywhere there’s a known wi-fi, such as inside buildings where GPS signals may not be strong, and you can be triangulated fairly accurately (depending on the type of radio hardware in the mobile device) using a large number of access points. How often have you been in an urban setting and seen 10 or 20 or more access points in the list? If the exact location of those access points are known, they can all be used together to triangulate the mobile more precisely.
So my phone trades MAC addresses with a restaurant’s Wi-Fi. They show me the daily specials. Aren’t there potential benefits to something like this?
Yes, there are many potential benefits to advertisers, law enforcement, and intelligence agencies who want to track masses of people. WPS is going to dovetail beautifully with the NSA’s Main Core and Apple’s new biometric Iphone trojan.
The only potential benefit to you is that you will not have to speak to the person behind the counter and your latté will be ready faster.
Intelligence agencies and DARPA are creating an AI surveillance cloud right before our eyes. Don’t think that because you don’t have an Iphone means the 3 people sitting around you haven’t had their trojans activated to identify your voice print and snoop on your conversation.
We already know how this ends. You better not be reading qbit.cc either or you’re going on their shit list!
† But why is it that on Apple OSX 10.4 you can’t change the MAC address of your wireless card even as root? It simply fails with no error and keeps the original MAC address. I will find the answer to this question.