Skip to comments.Unorthodox links to the internet Signalling dissent
Posted on 03/25/2011 11:22:57 AM PDT by swarthyguy
WITH a tin can, some copper wire and a few dollars worth of nuts, bolts and other hardware, a do-it-yourselfer can build a makeshift directional antenna. A mobile phone, souped-up with such an antenna, can talk to a network tower that is dozens of kilometres beyond its normal range (about 5km, or 3 miles). As Gregory Rehm, the author of an online assembly guide for such things, puts it, homemade antennae are as cool as the other side of the pillow on a hot night. Of late, however, such antennae have proved much more than simply cool.
According to Jeff Moss, a communications adviser to Americas Department of Homeland Security, their existence has recently been valuable to the operation of several groups of revolutionaries in Egypt, Libya and elsewhere. To get round government shutdowns of internet and mobile-phone networks, resourceful dissidents have used such makeshift antennae to link their computers and handsets to more orthodox transmission equipment in neighbouring countries.
Technologies that transmit data under the noses of repressive authorities in this way are spreading like wildfire among pro-democracy groups, says Mr Moss. For example, after Egypt switched off its internet in January some activists brought laptops to places like Tahrir Square in Cairo to collect, via short-range wireless links, demonstrators video recordings and other electronic messages. These activists then broadcast the material to the outside world using range-extending antennae.
According to Bobby Soriano, an instructor at the Philippine branch of Tactical Tech, a British organisation that teaches communication techniques to dissidents in five countries, such antennae can even foil government eavesdropping and jamming efforts. Directional antennae, unlike the omnidirectional sort, transmit on a narrow beam. This makes it hard for eavesdroppers to notice a signal is there.
Another way of confounding the authorities is to build portable FM radio stations. One broadcasting expert, who prefers not to be named but is currently based in Europe, is helping to develop a dozen such backpack radio stations for anti-government protesters in his native land in the Arabian peninsula. Though these stations have a range of only a few kilometres, that is enough for the leaders of a protest to use them to co-ordinate their followers. The stations operators act as clearing houses for text messages, reading important ones over the air for everyone to hear.
Conventional radio of this sort cannot, unfortunately, transmit video or web pages. But a group called Access, based in New York, is trying to overcome that. To help democracy movements in the Middle East and North Africa get online, it is equipping a network of ham-radio operators with special modems that convert digital computer data into analogue radio signals that their equipment can cope with. These signals are then broadcast from operator to operator until they reach a network member in an area where the internet functions. This operator reconverts the signal into computer-readable data and then e-mails or posts the information online.
Satellites provide yet another way of getting online, though they are expensive to connect to. It is, however, beyond the authorities in most places to shut down a satellite operated by a foreign company or country. The best they can do is try to locate live satellite links using radiation-detection kit similar to that supposedly employed in Britain to seek out unlicensed televisions. The result is a game of cat and mouse between the authorities and satellite-using dissidents. Tactical Tech, for example, has trained dissidents in five countries to rig satellite dishes to computers in order to get online. It advises some users to log on only for short sessions, and to do so from a moving vehicle.
Such dishes can also be repurposed for long-range internet connections that do not involve satellites. Yahel Ben-David, an electrical engineer at the University of California, Berkeley, who has designed secret cross-border links to the internet for people in several countries, does so by adding standard USB dongles designed for home Wi-Fi networks. Thus equipped, two properly aligned dishes as much as 100km apart can transmit enough data to carry high quality video. Moreover, the beam is so tightly focused that equipment a mere dozen metres away from its line would struggle to detect it.
Creative ideas for circumventing cyber-attacks even extend to the redesign of apparently innocent domestic equipment. Kenneth Geers, an American naval-intelligence analyst at a NATO cyberwar unit in Tallinn, Estonia, describes a curious microwave oven. Though still able to cook food, its microwaves (essentially, short radiowaves) are modulated to encode information as though it were a normal radio transmitter. Thus, things turn full circle, for the original microwave oven was based on the magnetron from a military radar. From conflict to domesticity to conflict, then, in a mere six decades.
Looks like Obama really did set things in motion with what seems to have been a well managed covert campaign organized by various entities and using social networking and communication technologies.
Sure. The dish illumination won't be optimal using that USB dongle as a feed, but so what? It allows you to do something you could never do with the USB dongle alone.
100km isn’t a stretch? 62 miles?
That sounds just, ... , illicit
Obozo is subversive of what is traditional Western thought and supportive of Marxist dictators.
None of what is in the article is high tech. We (not the government but citizens) helped the Iranian dissidents during the Iran Election phase of Twitter, and the Hondurans during their election crisis. Haystack was a brainchild of citizens not the government, but it was eventually used to track down the dissidents, when the Mullah's employed European tech companies for help.
There is nothing about Obozo that helps those wanting freedom. He is only supporting our destruction and the interest of foreign powers who hate us for our personal freedoms. Commies never create anything, only lie, steal and destroy things others create.
A high gain directional antenna on a CDMA phone
would extend battery life since the transmitter
would not have to run at as high a power level as
with an omnidirectional antenna. Good for fixed
As long as you can overcome the curvature of the Earth, it can be done.
If the data is getting through, it's because someone wants it to get through.
Good information. Thank you very much.
> I won’t go much farther into it than what I’ve already said
Damn. I hate that.
Say it, man, what’s to be afraid of.
We’re all transparent these days.
What is wrong with CW and Morse code??
>None of what is in the article is high tech
Not the point.
The point being that what we saw as spontaneous demos in the Arab world may well have been begun by the USA as a matter of policy using some of the tools and techniques this author describes.
That we wittingly and with purpose, deepsixed our allies like Mubarak and perhaps even others in Araby.
Looks to me the US policy elites decided to roll the dice, get rid of the old guard, and take their chances with the popular majority even though it may mean allowing islamists into the rulings circles of places like Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and even Bahrain and Yemen.
Not so much afraid as aware of my NDA. I, literally, can’t speak about such things as they’re proprietary.
It can be tracked easily and surreptitiously , placed under scrutiny almost at will and jammed with the proper kit. Not bad it you’re not trying to hide, but if stealth or privacy is high on your priority list, don’t go that route.
OK, OK, I was kiddin’ or trying to provoke you into dropping some juicy tidbits. Frankly, with an active imagination and a slightly paranoid and cynical nature, I could hypothesise - well I did say we’re all transparent now.
Cheers. But then you probably know what beer I’m imbibing anyway :>>
You’re welcome. Some articles compel one to share.
What struck me about his was the organized method to promote dissent. Outfits like the ones mentioned don’t just operate in a vacuum. And those cute techie tricks.
Hence, my conclusion that the USA has embarked on a significantly new policy in the Muddled East, igniting the repressed dissent of the region.
If you want a real fun thought exercise, think on this. Unlike a mechanical switch, cell phones are activated by an electrical signal. While most of the time that signal comes from the keypad, it's doesn't have to be that way all of the time.
I’ve thrown this out at parties to get a rise out of people.
Techies can turn on fones surreptiously without the device signaling anything and/or an active one can be used as a mike without the knowledge of the owner/operator of the fone.
Gasps of disbelief, and you’re a nut follow.
Fine, a nut, but doesn’t mean I’m incorrect.
Works fine, a bit slow, and you may be a sitting duck, depending on how clever the opposition is.
Change with the times and technology.
Caddis the Elder
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