Posts on Jul 2018

Camouflaged camera used to spy on neighbours

A man who used a hidden camera to secretly film his neighbours has been convicted of harassment.

by Ryan Nugent

Thomas Kelly (66), of 14 Weirview, Lucan, Dublin, covered a camera in camouflage netting and pointed it to the rear of a neighbour’s house.

Mr Kelly claimed in court he was using the camera for security, to monitor property boundaries, and to catch one of his neighbours “masturbating repeatedly” in the man’s back garden.

Gardaí were alerted to the situation after the neighbour, Paul Lynam, discovered two cameras on a cliff at the back of his home in early 2016.

In his evidence at Blanchardstown District Court, Mr Lynam, of 7 Weirview, said: “I’d a feeling for a long time that I was being watched.”

On foot of the discovery, Mr Lynam, along with two other neighbours, journalist John Mooney and Willie Stapleton – whose homes were also captured by the camera, made an official complaint to gardaí on February 11, 2016.

The following day, gardaí arrived with a search warrant for Kelly’s home along with two other properties he owned, 11 and 12 Wearview.

Upon entering 14 Weirview, now-retired Detective Inspector Richard McDonald said in his evidence there were two large flat screen televisions located in the sitting room. One of the TVs was showing regular programmes, with the other having live feeds to all 16 of Kelly’s CCTV cameras.

Gda Damien Reilly also discovered the camera located on top of the cliff to the rear of the house.

The camera, along with the hard drive of the CCTV system and a number of USB sticks on which footage was stored, was seized by gardaí.

Det Insp McDonald said video footage showed zooming in on the rear of certain homes.

 
A further search by gardaí on July 15, 2016, discovered a replacement camera where the initial one was seized. On this occasion more USB sticks were seized.

On reviewing what had been seized initially, gardaí called Mr Lynam in on May 21, 2016, to review the footage.

One clip appeared to show Mr Lynam to the rear of his own home masturbating. When asked by gardaí if that was the case, Mr Lynam said it was.

In his defence, Kelly claimed in court that he had witnessed Mr Lynam masturbating at the back of 7 Wearview while he was working at the top of the cliff.

He said he had made a complaint to child and family agency Tusla and used the camera to catch Mr Lynam in the act.

Kelly said Mr Lynam was “habitually” naked and was “masturbating repeatedly”.

“My purpose in using those cameras was to capture him doing what we all knew he was doing so I could advance my case,” Kelly said.

He said his grandchildren would be up on top of the cliff and he didn’t want them to witness it.

Kelly also claimed that the 16 cameras were primarily used as a security mechanism and to monitor the boundaries of his land – currently the subject of an ongoing civil dispute.

In their evidence, the victims said they had been “stalked”.

Mr Mooney said: “I have a teenage daughter and a son with a camera pointed at their bedrooms. It terrifies me to think that’s going on.”

He added that he could not allow his daughter to open the blinds at the back of the house for two years, for fears they were being watched.

He said he was alerted to the cameras after Mr Lynam showed images of them to him.

Defence barrister Kitty Perle described the dispute between the neighbours over land as “hotly contested and entrenched warfare”.

Judge David McHugh found the defendant guilty on four counts of harassment. Kelly was remanded on bail until September 27, when victim impact statements will be read out.

 
Irish Independent

Spy camera fury: Staff walk out after discovering hidden lenses in Glasgow shop

STAFF at a city center health food store have gone on strike after discovering secret cameras in rooms where staff changed, just four weeks after opening.

Exclusive by Niall Christie

Workers at Harvest Stores, some under 18, were horrified and alerted police after findings the lenses hidden in a network modem and air detector.

The Union Street store, which has been closed since Monday’s walk out, houses nearly 70 cameras but, as the room is not a designated changing area, legal lines have not been crossed by managing director Amin Din.

The row emerged amid claims that Mr Din owes four staff thousands in unpaid wages.

Store manager Karen Nicholson, who led the walk out, said: “We shut the shop as soon as we found the cameras and got the police in.

“That is where staff got changed and nobody knew about these until Monday. We uncovered the cameras in the office on Sunday, where staff also get dressed, and then checked the staff room as we knew the number of cameras and microphones in the shop already.

“We might have suspected this but it was still a massive shock. He monitors the cameras from home.

“Police said that while it was morally questionable, legally he was in the clear.

“I am very upset. The staff are predominantly young women, some of them are just young girls under 18. Now they are worried about what has happened to the footage.”

She added that officers were “amazed” at the number of cameras in the shop.

Staff have also been left in the lurch as some are owed hundreds in unpaid wages from June. In total, four staff are yet to get just under £2,000 from the shop’s owner.

They now face an anxious wait to see whether they will be paid this week.

Despite being paid in full, supervisor Robert Taylor also walked out.

With three young children to support, he may have to sell belongings to afford food.

He said: “I’m putting together a list of things that I can afford to sell to pay rent.

“We’re doing this so new staff don’t have to deal with the secrets and lies like us.

“I will be looking for other work but I’m worried I won’t get my next pay this week.”

After walking out, staff approached the Baker’s Union and Better than Zero who are now supporting them through an industrial action.

A spokesperson for Better than Zero said: “It takes real courage to do what the workers at Harvest Stores are doing – standing together as union members, against a boss who has run his business with a toxic mix of control and intimidation.”

“Karen, Robert and their co-workers will go all the way to get the pay they’re due. But this is about more than settling a wage dispute – by speaking out and joining the BFAWU union en masse, they are lighting a beacon for everyone in Glasgow whose pay and conditions are set at the mercy of the boss.

 
“Precarious work is becoming the norm in Glasgow, and Better than Zero is ready to support all workers who are prepared to join unions and take on those who profit from low pay and insecurity.”

Police also confirmed that they had attended the store on Monday morning over a problem with security cameras.

They added: “Police provided assistance and advice was given to staff on the matter. No crime was identified.”

When asked to comment, Mr Din said that the matter was a “stupid oversight” on his part.

He said: “I hold my hands up and admit that I should have put signs up sooner.

“Basically the staff entered and found cameras in the staff kitchen area and office.

“It was not a changing area. The police confirmed that no law has been broken. They were installed by a reputable company. I can monitor these from home but they have not been working.

“They were purely for security purposes so that if there were any issues I could look back. I just never got around to putting them up. There is a separate area for changing for staff in the toilet facility, with a separate sink. This was made clear. There are cleaning products everywhere.

“The pay issue was resolved by the accountant and staff would have been paid in full on Monday. As the company is new, it hadn’t worked out.

“Staff were not paid in full or on time. Every single staff member was asked before hand. We were late getting details to the accountant so there was a delay.

“It was an oversight and they were there for security only.”

Man in Switzerland filmed neighbours’ young daughters with camera hidden in pen

A 52-year-old resident of the northern Swiss town of Lucerne was found guilty of downloading child pornography and filming his neighbours’ young daughters using a camera hidden in a pen.

The Local
news@thelocal.ch
@thelocalswitzer

The father of three had been downloading child pornography between 2011 and 2015, while also running an online forum where such images could be shared. 

The man was apprehended thanks to an Interpol warrant. He was found guilty of secretly filming his neighbour’s young daughters as they used his toilet. He had previously also uploaded images of children from a nudist beach in Austria, reports Swiss news portal 20 Minutes.

Both the young girls were interviewed by investigating authorities, who confirmed that the man had not physically abused them. 

The accused was also found guilty of appropriating a CD of family photos while housesitting his neighbour’s home.

According to an expert who testified in court, the accused had suffered abuse as a child. The court in Lucerne sentenced the man to two years imprisonment, although that sentence was later changed to a course of therapy, and a 34,000 Swiss franc fine. 

While the court judged that the acts were of limited harm, the presiding judge stated that there was a high chance the man could reoffend

Govt to stop wiretap reform – Bonafede

Freezing of case time-outs after 1st ruling being considered

Redazione ANSA

(ANSA) – Rome, July 11 – Justice Minister Alfonso Bonafede said Wednesday that the government will sink a reform of the use of wiretaps in investigations that was approved by the previous centre-left administration. “The wiretap reform will be stopped because the modifications introduced appear a harmful step back on the road to quality and effectiveness in investigations,” Bonafede told the Senate’s justice committee.
    The reform was in response to years of rows over the publication of wiretaps of people not involved in probes, embarrassing them without due cause.
    Bonafede also said he the 5-Star Movement/League government wants to change to Italy’s statute of limitations to prevent people getting off simple because their cases have timed out, saying this was “fundamental priority”.
    He said one option was for the time-out periods to be frozen after a first-instance ruling on a case.
   
 
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © Copyright ANSA

Surely we can find, and stop, high-tech spies

It’s rumored that the U.S. intelligence community has commissioned The Eagles to rewrite some of their famous lyrics to serve as a deterrent to Russia and China. The hope is that this new song will stop the apparently unabated espionage activities occurring in the National Capital Region, known as the NCR. It’s called “You Can’t Hide Your Spyin’ Eyes.”

BY MORGAN WRIGHT

Concerns about enhanced technical espionage have circulated for a long time. A very provocative technology, currently being used by law enforcement and our military, is a cell-site simulator. Known as an IMSI-catcher, or commercially as a Stingray, it’s a box about the size of an oversized pair of sneakers.

 

IMSI stands for International Mobile Subscriber Identity. This is how the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) finds you, regardless of country, and delivers a call to you or allows you to make one to a destination of your choice. Several reports surfaced in 2017 that showed the Department of Homeland Security was worried about IMSI catchers. 

 

In a Nov. 17, 2017, letter, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) asked the DHS National Protection and Programs Directorate if there was any evidence of foreign IMSI catchers operating in the National Capital Region. A pilot study had been conducted from January to November of the same year. The short answer was yes. The longer, typical government response was:

“The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) has observed anomalous activity in the National Capital Region (NCR) that appears to be consistent with International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) catchers. NPPD has not validated or attributed such activity to specific entities or devices. This information was reported to our Federal partners at the time it was observed.”

Now that it’s been established that nefarious electronic hijinks abound in the NCR, surely there must be a way to find it and stop it. Right? The short answer is no. The government answer is even more terrifying:

“NPPD is not aware of any current DHS technical capability to detect IMSI catchers. To support such a capability, DHS would require funding to procure, deploy, operate and maintain the capability, which includes the cost of hardware, software, and labor.”

The previous statement might make you think this is a newly discovered problem of which DHS is just becoming aware. But our Canadian neighbors found the same activity near their Parliament in 2017. In 2014, the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology said that “Hostile foreign intelligence services can and, almost certainly, are using the technology in this country for espionage.”

About two weeks ago, the Senate passed a spending bill that included language directing the Pentagon to divulge the use of IMSI catchers near U.S. bases and facilities. It’s not the first time the use of electronics has caused security concerns. A 20-year-old Australian student discovered the location of several military bases overseas by simply looking at the heatmap posted by Strava of running routes that had been shared.

You’d have to go back almost another 20 years to find when the threat of IMSI catchers became a real issue. The notorious hacker Kevin Mitnick was captured in 1996 using the same technology DHS is worried about in 2018. The hacking victim who helped the FBI track Mitnick down — Tsutomu Shimomura — was very well acquainted with the technology.

“Later that night, the FBI radio surveillance team from Quantico, Virginia, arrived at the Sprint cellular telephone switch office. The team talked to me a little about the technology they had toted along in the station wagon, especially something called a cell-site simulator, which was packed in a large travel case. The simulator was a technician’s device normally used for testing cell phones, but it could also be used to page Mitnick’s cell phone without ringing it, as long as he had the phone turned on but not in use. The phone would then act as a transmitter that they could home in on with a Triggerfish cellular radio direction-finding system that they were using.”

This wasn’t Shimomura’s first brush with cell phones. In 1993, in front of a congressional oversight committee, he showed how easy it was to use a software hack to listen in on the calls of nearby cellular phones. The problem isn’t new. In fact, it’s quite old.

If you take DHS’s response at face value, it appears NPPD does not have its own technical capability. If DHS has no organic ability, how did it detect anything in the first place? With a little help from other solutions. Project Overwatch, for example.

According to the RSA presentation, “Project Overwatch has been a multinational effort between USA, Germany, and Australia to create a solution leveraging GSMK’s patented Baseband Firewall technology.” This began six years ago.

In February 2017, at the RSA Security Conference in San Francisco, a demonstration of Project Overwatch showed the detection of rogue IMSI catchers — the same technology DHS used, but did not disclose, in its letter to Sen. Wyden.

The warnings were there. The threat was there. Six years ago, we worked with our allies to develop a solution to counter this growing form of technical espionage. So why is Congress just now worried about this?

It’s inconceivable that this electronic eavesdropping that targeted the White House, Congress, our federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and who knows what else, should have gone on for this long without a warning to the relevant oversight committees. And the public.

When it comes to our national security, no one should be allowed to, as The Eagles might say, “Take It Easy.”

Morgan Wright is an expert on cybersecurity strategy, cyberterrorism, identity theft and privacy. Previously Morgan was a senior advisor in the U.S. State Department Antiterrorism Assistance Program and senior law enforcement advisor for the 2012 Republican National Convention. Follow him on Twitter @morganwright_us.

Florida kindergarten teacher busted for abusing 5-year-old boy after mom puts recorder in his backpack

Kandy Escotto, noticed her 5-year-old son, Aaron was being bullied by his kindergarten teacher, so she took matters into her own hands.

 
While doing his homework, Aaron would often refer to himself as a “bad boy.”

 
 

“I said, ‘Why do you say something like that?’ ” Escotto said. “He said, ‘That’s what the teacher tells me when I don’t do my work.’”

 
Escotto said this was unusual behavior for her son, and complained to Banyan Elementary’s school principal Cheri Davis about his kindergarten teacher Rosalba Suarez.

 
Suarez, a teacher for 33 years was a recipient of the teacher of the year award. Despite this,  Escotto knew she wasn’t treating her son fairly. Davis told her she needed proof that the teacher was bullying her son before any action could be taken.

 
So, Escotto got proof. She sent her son to school with a hidden camera over a four day period and got 32 hours of audio.

 
The audio files reveals that Suarez called the young boy a “loser,” and made fun of him for not being able to bubble on a test correctly.

 
“For me to hear the things that she was saying to him,” Escotto told the Miami Herald. “She picked him out, she singled him out, she humiliated him in front of the whole class. She talked about me in front of him. No 5-year-old should be able to go through that. That affected my family, affected him.”

 
“It was very upsetting being that I myself heard what was being said to a little boy,” Escotto said.

 
She set up a meeting with Davis and Suarez, but they failed to take any action to correct the situation. After hiring an attorney, the school switched Aaron to a different classroom. Escotto said it’s unclear if she will take further legal action.

 
Davis, did not respond to a request for comment and Suarez hung up on a reporter when asked to comment.

 
Spokeswoman Jackie Calzadilla for Miami-Dade County school district released this statement: “We work diligently to ensure the well-being of every child entrusted to our care. Any action that runs contrary to the values we instill in our school community will not be tolerated. The district will conduct a thorough review of this matter and, if the allegations are substantiated, we will take any and all appropriate disciplinary actions.”

By DOMINIQUE JACKSON

Hidden camera found in girls’ toilet in UP school; principal, 3 teachers arrested

A hidden camera in girls’ toilet in a school in Maharajganj district of Uttar Pradesh has sent shock waves among the students and the parents. Girl students of Everet English-Medium School in Maharajganj district came to know about the hidden camera in their school toilet when a video footage was circulated and leaked on their WhatsApp group on Thursday morning. The parents came to know about the incident when some students refused to attend the school.

Agitated parents rushed to the school and gheraoed the Principal. They also informed the police which recovered the hidden camera installed in one of the girls’ toilets in the school premises. “The camera was wi-fi enabled and recording could be done with the remote after activating the wi-fi,” said the police.

On the complaint of agitated parents, the police lodged a case against the management of the school and arrested the Principal and three teachers in this connection. Parents fear that the camera might have been installed for long and the accused must have made many video clips of their daughters using the toilet.

Girl students alleged that they had seen their social science teacher hanging around the girls’ toilets in a suspicious manner for the past many days. One of the girls had complained to her class teacher about feeling awkward in using the toilet when the teacher was hanging around.

They told parents and the police that it could be handiwork of the social science teacher. The police seized his mobile and laptop and sent for the forensic examination. The Principal, however, pleaded that it could have been the handiwork of some outsider.

“We have been running the school for the past 20 years but such a thing has never happened. It could be the handiwork of some outsiders to defame the school,” said the Principal.

“Investigations are underway and we have seized mobile phones, computers and laptops of all teachers for getting it examined by experts,” said the police.

By Srawan Shukla

South Korean women protest in Seoul over hidden sex cameras

Tens of thousands of women gathered in Seoul on Saturday calling for a crackdown on spy cam pornography, in one of the country’s biggest ever female-only protests.

Perpetrators film or photograph women with hidden cameras in public spaces.

Although distributing pornography is illegal in South Korea, the videos and pictures are shared widely online.

Organisers say women live in constant fear of being photographed or filmed without their knowledge.

Carrying placards and banners with messages like “My life is not your porn”, the women were mostly teenagers or in their 20s – seen as the main victims of the hidden cameras.

“Those men who film such videos! Those who upload them! Those who watch them! All of them should be punished sternly!” they chanted.

The women covered their faces with masks, hats and sunglasses as instructed by the organisers.

Demonstrators said around 55,000 women took part, although police put the figure at around 20,000.

The recent protests began after police arrested a 25-year-old woman in May for secretly photographing a male colleague who posed nude for university art students. She then shared the picture online.

Demonstrators believe police only acted so swiftly because it was a female perpetrator, and pointed to instances of police closing cases with female victims because they could not find the photographers or track them online, because they posted on foreign servers.

While the law mandates a maximum five-year prison term or 10 million won ($8,970; £6,770) fine for creating sexual images, and a maximum seven year sentence and 30 million won ($26,900; £20,200) fine for distributing them for profit, protesters say many receive far lighter punishments.

The recent protests began after police arrested a 25-year-old woman in May for secretly photographing a male colleague who posed nude for university art students. She then shared the picture online.

Demonstrators believe police only acted so swiftly because it was a female perpetrator, and pointed to instances of police closing cases with female victims because they could not find the photographers or track them online, because they posted on foreign servers.

While the law mandates a maximum five-year prison term or 10 million won ($8,970; £6,770) fine for creating sexual images, and a maximum seven year sentence and 30 million won ($26,900; £20,200) fine for distributing them for profit, protesters say many receive far lighter punishments.

By BBC

Discovery of camera hidden in hospital toilet sparks investigation

POLICE have launched an investigation after a hidden camera was discovered in a toilet at a Co. Armagh hospital.

In a statement, the trust that operates the hospital said it was working with police over an allegation about a former member of staff.

By Gerard Donaghy

The device was found in ceiling tiles of a toilet in the radiography department of Craigavon Area Hospital.

According to Belfast Live, members of the public have access to the toilet as well as staff.

As part of their investigation, the PSNI are looking into historic cases of voyeurism at the hospital, believed to date back to before February 2015.

The hospital is part of the Southern Health and Social Care Trust.

In a statement, they said: “The Southern Health and Social Care Trust is co-operating fully with a PSNI investigation following an allegation against a member of staff.

“The member of staff is no longer an employee of the Trust.”

Doug Beattie, Ulster Unionist MLA for Upper Bann, described the alleged offence as ‘despicable’.

“This is a place of sanctuary, where by its very nature our most vulnerable people go,” he said.

“For anybody to take advantage of this, if proven by police, is absolutely despicable.”

Chinese peeping Tom installed secret cameras to film couples in love hotels and sell footage online

Man accused of selling footage through popular social media platform

by Nectar Gan

A man has been arrested in southwest China on suspicion of installing webcams in hotels to film couples having sex and then selling the footage online, according to local media reports.

When the couple went to bed they looked up and saw a hole in the ceiling, which they examined and found a camera had been hidden inside pointing directly at the bed.

The two immediately called the police, who soon arrived and took out the camera.

Police found no memory cards inside so concluded it was a real-time webcam that sent footage to another platform.

“My whole body just froze up,” said the woman, who then decided to spend the night sleeping in the car with her husband.

The next day, the couple went to the hotel to demand an explanation, but the hotel said it was not aware the camera was there.

After further investigation, a second webcam was found in a room on the same floor.

Hotel staff told police they remembered that a man had booked two rooms at the hotel in March and checked in on his own. The two rooms he had booked turned out to be the ones that had the cameras installed.

A month later, police seized the suspect in his flat, and found two hard drives totalling 3 terrabtyes of memory containing the sex tapes he had recorded.

The man was reported to have told police he came up with the idea because he was broke and wanted to earn some quick money by selling the clandestine footage.

He first installed cameras in hotels in his home county about 100km (60 miles) away from Chengdu, but the people who checked in to the hotels were “not ideal”, he said.

Following suggestions from his customers, he decided to install cameras in more expensive hotels in the provincial capital, and bought a fake identity card online.

Through mobile apps, he located love hotels popular among young couples. But the first camera he installed in January was soon discovered by a hotel staff member and thrown away.

Not ready to give up, he tried again in March.

The two cameras he is accused of installing then had been connected to the power strip in the ceiling and could be automatically turned on when the customers plugged in the room key.

The report said footage was directly sent to the man’s phone and then uploaded to a computer.

Police believe the man created a chat group on QQ, a popular social media platform, and started to absorb “members” who would pay a monthly fee for unlimited access to the footage.

In just a few months, the monthly fee rose from 400 yuan (US$60) per month to 2,000 yuan. He had about 10 “members” in total and made 15,000 yuan, he said.

The man has now been officially arrested on the charge of spreading obscene articles. There was no word on whether police would seek to take action against his subscribers.