Archives For Security

Andrea Massa allegedly created disturbance

Boston University

ShotSpotter system uses senors to alert police to gunfire

WORCESTER, Mass. — Worcester is the latest Massachusetts community to install a gunshot detection system.

Worcester police expect to have the ShotSpotter system up and running Wednesday and plan an online chat Thursday to answer questions from the public.

The technology uses sensors to alert police when gunfire occurs. The system, already in use in Springfield and Boston, helps determine the number of shots, the area where they are located and time of the gunfire.

Chief Gary Gemme tells The Telegram & Gazette the six square miles covered by the system include the Main South, Grafton Hill and Shrewsbury Street neighborhoods and the Canal District.

Gemme says controlled gunshots will be fired in sand barrels Wednesday to test the system.

Worcester has had an average of 30 shootings per year recently.

Siblings running to keep Sean Collier’s legacy alive 

BOSTON — Rob Rogers and his sister, Jenn, hit the pavement training for a 26.2-mile emotional journey with their brother, Sean Collier, in their hearts and on their minds.

Watch the full report here

They’re the founders of Team Collier Strong, and the team is training for the 2014 Boston Marathon.

“Collier Strong to me means just to be the best person that you can, live life to the fullest, push through and enjoy the people who matter most to you,” said Rob Rogers.

Jenn Rogers spoke about the emotional toll Collier’s death has had on their family.

“We have some good days and some bad days. It’s hard when you come from such a huge family and you notice the weight of one missing, especially him,” she said.

Team Collier Strong was born in the wake of tragedy after MIT Police Officer Sean Collier was shot and killed on April 18, 2013, allegedly at the hands of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects.

It’s the team’s mission to keep his legacy alive and to raise money to send one self-sponsored police recruit through the Lowell Police Academy each year. The team’s training runs bring them to the banks of the Charles River overlooking the city and close to the campus Collier loved and patrolled.

“I just want them to remember, remember his sacrifice, remember our family in their prayers,” Jenn Rogers said.

For some, the long runs are a way to cope and reflect.

Rob Rogers said he often thinks about his last conversation with his brother. When he heard about the bombs at the marathon finish line on Boylston Street he checked to see if Collier was OK.

“I just sent a text and said, ‘Are you cool?’ He said, ‘Yeah,’ and that was the last thing I said to him, and I think about what I would say now. Tell him I’m proud of him. I miss him. He was just the best guy, the best man, the best brother, the best son, he truly mean so much to so many people,” he said.

Collier always gave 100 percent and on marathon day Team Collier Strong will make him proud. The team’s rallying cry is, “How strong? Collier STRONG!” When Rob Rogers crosses the marathon finish line this year his words to his brother will be, “We did it buddy!”

All proceeds donated to Team Collier Strong’s marathon run will support the Sean Collier Self-Sponsorship Scholarship.

For more information, click here.

More officers, restrictions planned for April race after bombings 

BOSTON — Enhanced Boston Marathon security measures announced Monday morning include restrictions on what spectators may have along the 26.2-mile course.

Watch report

An estimated 3,500 police officers — many in uniform, but some undercover — will be along the course, MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz said. The number of surveillance cameras will also be increased.

“We are enlisting the support of runners and spectators in ensuring we have a safe event. We are promoting the simple slogan, ‘If you see something, say something,’”  Schwartz said.

Spectators along the route are being discouraged from bringing backpacks or any similar item carried over the shoulder, coolers, glass containers or cans, handbags lager than 12 inches by 12 inches by 6 inches, large blankets and costumes that cover the face.

“If you are going to carry personal items, we urge you to carry them in clear plastic bags,” Schwartz said.

About 130 National Guardsmen will march as participants, wearing BAA bibs in groups of 10.

The security announcements are in addition to measures revealed last month to protect the runners and spectators.

No bags will be allowed at marathon venues or on the buses runners take from Boston to the start line in Hopkinton. Several viewing areas in Hopkinton will also have heightened security rules.

“We are confident that the overall experience of runners and spectators will not be impacted and all will enjoy a fun day,” Schwartz said.

Last year, two bombs exploded near the finish line of the race, killing three people and injuring more than 260 others.

Terror groups working on new shoe-bomb designs, officials say   

Loose airplane seats issue solved?

WASHINGTON — The Homeland Security Department has warned airlines that terrorists could try to hide explosives in shoes.

It’s the second time in less than three weeks that the government has issued a warning about possible attempts to smuggle explosives on a commercial jetliner.

Homeland Security said Wednesday it regularly shares relevant information with domestic and international partners, but it declined to discuss specifics of a warning sent to airlines.

“Our security apparatus includes a number of measures, both seen and unseen, informed by the latest intelligence and as always DHS continues to adjust security measures to fit an ever evolving threat environment,” the department said in a statement.

A U.S. intelligence official told The Associated Press that DHS released a notice to airlines reiterating that liquids, shoes and certain cosmetics were of concern, all of which are covered under existing Transportation Security Administration security policies.

The latest warning was focused on flights headed to the United States from abroad.

The official said “something caused DHS concern, but it’s a very low threshold to trigger a warning like this.” The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly.

Earlier this month Homeland Security warned airlines with flights to Russia to be on the lookout for explosive devices possibly hidden inside toothpaste. The Transportation Security Administration then banned passengers from bringing any liquids in their carry-on luggage on nonstop flights from the U.S. to Russia.

That warning became public just days before the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

It is unclear if the latest warning, first reported Wednesday by NBC News, is related to the earlier threats to Russia-bound flights.

Air passengers in the United States have had to take off their shoes at airport security checkpoints since shortly after Richard Reid tried to ignite explosives hidden in his shoes on a Miami-bound flight in late 2001. Reid pleaded guilty to terrorism charges and is serving a life sentence.

The traveling public has grown increasingly impatient with expanding security checks at airports.

TSA in recent years has changed some security procedures to allow young children and passengers 75 and older to keep their shoes on. The security agency has also launched a fee-based program that allows willing flyers to submit to background checks and avoid having to remove their shoes, jackets and small amounts of liquids packed in carry-on luggage.

Somerville parking officer curses coach, fights cop at hockey game

By Dan Atkinson, Wicked Local/Somerville

SOMERVILLE, Mass. — A Somerville parking officer who had previously been arrested on assault charges reportedly cursed out the high school hockey coach and fought a police officer who tried to take him away from the game on Feb. 8, according to police reports.

Our news partners at Wicked Local/Somerville reported during the SHS boys hockey game against Salem at Veterans Memorial Rink, a detail officer reportedly saw Anthony Silvestri, 60, of 252 Medford St., approach the home team bench with one minute left in the game. After Somerville pulled its goalie and Salem scored, Silvestri reportedly yelled “What the f— are you doing? You blew the f—ing game!” at the coach.

When the officer told Silvestri he couldn’t talk like that at the rink, Silvestri reportedly cursed at him. The officer reportedly told Silvestri to leave and when Silvestri refused, put his hands on him. Silvestri reportedly pulled back and continued cursing at the officer.

The officer reportedly grabbed Silvestri and brought him to the lobby before Silvestri broke his grip, faced the officer and puffed out his chest as if he were preparing to fight, according to the officer’s report. The officer then sprayed pepper spray in Silvestri’s face and told him to put his hands behind his back, which Silvestri refused to do.

The officer then grabbed one of Silvestri’s arms and tried to pin it behind his back, but Silvestri struggled with him. The officer then pushed Silvestri against the wall and both men fell on the ground before the officer handcuffed Silvestri.

City officials have not returned a request for comment about Silvestri’s employment status. According to the city’s most recent budget, Silvestri is a parking control officer who makes $42, 466 a year. He was previously arrested in August 2012 and charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, according to police reports.

After an argument with a pedestrian who claimed Silvestri almost hit him while he was in the crosswalk, Silvestri reportedly spat at the pedestrian, according to reports from the Aug. 12 incident. Silvestri then drove to a parking lot, and when the pedestrian stood in front of Silvestri’s Jeep and called police, Silvestri reportedly bumped him with his Jeep more than once.

Silvestri was placed on administrative leave following that incident, according to city officials.

Kevin O’Connor and Michael Gagne, Herald News

Submitted photo

FALL RIVER, Mass. — Two sexual assaults involving Bristol Community College students convinced Fall River detectives and the BCC campus police to issue a warning on Friday.

Fall River Detective Larry Ferreira also released a surveillance photo of a man police believe is responsible for one of the assaults, news partner The Herald News reported.

“The Fall River Police Department Major Crimes Division is seeking the assistance of the public in identifying and locating the individual whose photo is attached,” police spokesman Detective J.D. Costa said in a press release distributed Friday.

The person in the photo, Costa said, “is wanted for an alleged sexual assault of a Bristol Community College student. The assault did not happen on campus.”

Fall River police notified the BCC campus police about that reported sexual assault and learned of a second assault reported on Thursday.

A female student complained of an assault to campus police. She said it happened during the day Thursday, according to Steven Ozug, BCC’s vice president of students.

“Something is alleged to have happened between her and another male on campus yesterday,” Ozug said. “Our police responded immediately. They talked to both individuals.”

Police asked the alleged perpetrator, who Ozug said was not a student, to leave. Police also issued a no trespassing warning, Ozug said.

BCC administrators immediately notified students and faculty at BCC of the reported assaults through BCC’s BEE Notified text messaging and email alert system, Ozug said.

“We decided best to get that information out,” Ozug said. “We’re trying to be vigilant letting students know… to simply be aware of what we know.”

Best Seat in the House: Russian Doll Keeps an Eye On Skiers

Image: Keri Herman of the United States practices during a Ski Slopestyle official training session

Minnesota native Keri Herman catches some air under the watchful eyes of a gigantic Russian doll during a Ski Slopestyle training session at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park in Sochi on Friday.

NBC News has obtained documents Edward Snowden leaked before he came to Russia showing how British intelligence agencies analyze YouTube videos, Facebook ‘likes’ and tweets

By Richard Esposito, Matthew Cole and Mark Schone, with Glenn Greenwald,
Special Contributor

Watch this video: British Spies Can Snoop on Social Media, Documents Reveal

The British government can tap into the cables carrying the world’s web traffic at will and spy on what people are doing on some of the world’s most popular social media sites, including YouTube, all without the knowledge or consent of the companies.

Documents taken from the National Security Agency by Edward Snowden and obtained by NBC News detail how British cyber spies demonstrated a pilot program to their U.S. partners in 2012 in which they were able to monitor YouTube in real time and collect addresses from the billions of videos watched daily, as well as some user information, for analysis. At the time the documents were printed, they were also able to spy on Facebook and Twitter.

Documents taken from the NSA by Edward Snowden and obtained by NBC News detail how British cyber spies demonstrated a pilot program to their U.S. partners in which they were able to monitor YouTube in real time. Click on the image to read the documents in pdf form

Called “Psychology A New Kind of SIGDEV” (Signals Development), the presentation includes a section that spells out “Broad real-time monitoring of online activity” of YouTube videos, URLs “liked” on Facebook, and Blogspot/Blogger visits. The monitoring program is called “Squeaky Dolphin.”

Experts told NBC News the documents show the British had to have been either physically able to tap the cables carrying the world’s web traffic or able to use a third party to gain physical access to the massive stream of data, and would be able to extract some key data about specific users as well.

Representatives of Facebook and Google, which owns YouTube, said they hadn’t given the British government permission to access data and were unaware the collection had occurred. A source close to Google who asked not to be identified when discussing company policy said the company was “shocked” to learn the U.K. could have been “grabbing” its data.

In connection with this report, NBC is publishing documents that Edward Snowden took from the NSA before fleeing the U.S., which can be viewed by clicking here. The documents are being published with minimal redactions. 

One of the people who helped prepare the demonstration was an official from the British signals intelligence agency General Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) who worked for a division of the agency called GTE, or Global Telecoms Exploitation. GTE has already been shown in other documents released by Snowden to be tapping fiber optic cables around the world.

In 2013, the Guardian reported that Snowden documents showed GCHQ was able to tap fiber optic cables and store huge amounts of data for 30 days, and that the government was placing intercept probes on transatlantic cables when they landed on British territory. Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported that another Snowden document indicated major telecom firms, including BT, Verizon and Vodafone, were cooperating.

The British cyber spies sometimes share their intercepted raw data and their analyses with their American counterparts. In October, the Washington Post revealed that a Snowden document dated Jan. 9, 2013, described a joint NSA/GCHQ program called MUSCULAR, in which the U.S. and British agencies shared intercepted data from fiber optic cables and copied “entire data flows” from Yahoo and Google.
The Guardian via Getty Images

Edward Snowden speaks during an interview in Hong Kong. Snowden revealed details of top-secret surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency.

According to a source knowledgeable about the agency’s operations, the NSA does analysis of social media similar to that in the GCHQ demonstration.

National security experts say that both the U.S. and British operations are within the scope of their respective national laws. When the Washington Post reported on the MUSCULAR program, the NSA said in a statement that it is “focused on discovering and developing intelligence about valid foreign intelligence targets only” and that it uses “Attorney General-approved processes to protect the privacy of U.S. persons.”

But privacy experts and former government officials say the lack of disclosure by the intelligence agencies inspires public fear that rights of privacy, free speech and dissent have been infringed.

“Governments have no business knowing which YouTube videos everyone in the world is watching,” said Chris Soghoian, chief technologist for the ACLU. “It’s one thing to spy on a particular person who has done something to warrant a government investigation but governments have no business monitoring the Facebook likes or YouTube views of hundreds of millions of people.”

It might also have a chilling effect on companies like Google. Jason Healey, former White House cyber czar under George W. Bush, says U.S. and British intelligence encroachment on the internet is a threat to everyone, including social media companies.

“We want our security services to be out there and keeping us safe,” said Healey, “but we can also look for balance, we can look for limits, especially if we’re putting at risk this most transformative technology since Gutenberg.”
According to the documents obtained by NBC News, intelligence officers from GCHQ gave a demonstration in August 2012 that spelled out to their U.S. colleagues how the agency’s “Squeaky Dolphin” program could collect, analyze and utilize YouTube, Facebook and Blogger data in specific situations in real time.

The demonstration showed that by using tools including a version of commercially available analytic software called Splunk, GCHQ could extract information from the torrent of electronic data that moves across fiber optic cable and display it graphically on a computer dashboard. The presentation showed that analysts could determine which videos were popular among residents of specific cities, but did not provide information on individual social media users.

The presenters gave an example of their real-time monitoring capability, showing the Americans how they pulled trend information from YouTube, Facebook and blog posts on Feb. 13, 2012, in advance of an anti-government protest in Bahrain the following day.

More than a year prior to the demonstration, in a 2012 annual report, members of Parliament had complained that the U.K.’s intelligence agencies had missed the warning signs of the uprisings that became the Arab Spring of 2011, and had expressed the wish to improve “global” intelligence collection.

During the presentation, according to a note on the documents, the presenters noted for their audience that “Squeaky Dolphin” was not intended for spying on specific people and their internet behavior. The note reads, “Not interested in individuals just broad trends!”

But cyber-security experts told NBC News that once the information has been collected, intelligence agencies have the ability to extract some user information as well. In 2010, according to other Snowden documents obtained by NBC News, GCHQ exploited unencrypted data from Twitter to identify specific users around the world and target them with propaganda.

The experts also said that the only way that GCHQ would be able to do real-time analysis of trends would be to tap the cables directly and store the data or use a third party, like a private company, to extract and collect the raw data. As much as 11 percent of global internet bandwidth travels through U.K. internet exchanges, according to Bill Woodcock, president of PCH, a non-profit internet organization that tracks and measures and documents fiber infrastructure around the world.

In the case of the YouTube video information, the surveillance of the unencrypted material was done not only without the knowledge of the public but without the knowledge or permission of Google, the U.S. company that owns the video sharing service.

“We have long been concerned about the possibility of this kind of snooping, which is why we have continued to extend encryption across more and more Google services and links,” said a Google spokesperson. “We do not provide any government, including the UK government, with access to our systems. These allegations underscore the urgent need for reform of government surveillance practices.”

A source close to Google added that Google was “shocked” because the company had pushed back against British legislation that would have required Google to store its metadata and other information for U.K. government use. The legislation, introduced by Home Secretary Theresa May in 2012, was publicly repudiated by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in 2013 and has never become law. May hopes to reintroduce a modified version this spring.

“It’s extremely surprising,” said the source, “that while they were pushing for the data via the law, they might have simultaneously been using their capability to grab it anyway.”

Encryption would prevent simple collection of the data by an outside entity like the government. Google has not yet encrypted YouTube or Blogger. Facebook and Twitter have now fully encrypted all their data.

Facebook confirmed to NBC News that while its “like” data was unencrypted, the company never gave it to the U.K. government and was unaware that GCHQ might have been siphoning the data. The company assumes the data was taken somewhere outside its networks and data centers.

“Network security is an important part of the way we protect user information,” said Facebook spokesman Jay Nancarrow, “which is why we finished moving our site traffic to HTTPS by default last year, implemented Perfect Forward Secrecy, and continue to strengthen all aspects of our network.”

GCHQ would not confirm or deny the existence of the Squeaky Dolphin program or anything else connected with this report. The agency declined to answer questions about the scope of its data collection or how it accessed the datastream.

In a statement, a GCHQ spokesperson emphasized that that the agency operated within the law.

“All of GCHQ’s work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework,” said the statement, “which ensure[s] that our activities are authorized, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight, including from the Secretary of State, the Interception and Intelligence Services Commissioners and the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee. All of our operational processes rigorously support this position.”

A spokesperson for the NSA said in a statement that the U.S. agency is not interested in “the communications of people who are not valid foreign intelligence targets.”

“Any implication that NSA’s foreign intelligence collection is focused on the social media communications of everyday Americans is not true,” said the statement. “We collect only those communications that we are authorized by law to collect for valid foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes – regardless of the technical means used by the targets. Because some data of U.S. persons may at times be incidentally collected in NSA’s lawful foreign intelligence mission, privacy protections for U.S. persons exist across the entire process concerning the use, handling, retention, and dissemination of data.”

The spokesperson also said that working with foreign intelligence services “strengthens the national security of both nations,” but that NSA can’t “use those relationships to circumvent U.S. legal restrictions.”

Both U.S. and British officials assert that while their passive collection of electronic communications might have great breadth, the actual use of the data collected is very targeted, and is dictated by specific missions. Sources familiar with GCHQ operations state firmly that this is the case in each of the agency’s operations.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald was formerly a columnist at Salon and the Guardian. In late 2012 he was contacted by NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who later provided him with thousands of sensitive documents, and he was the first to report on Snowden’s documents in June 2013 while on the staff of the Guardian. Greenwald has since reported on the documents with multiple media outlets around the world, and has won several journalism awards for his NSA reporting both in the U.S. and abroad. He is now helping launch, and will write for, a new, non-profit media outlet known as First Look Media that will “encourage, support and empower … independent, adversarial journalists.”

Putin promises ‘ring of steel’ around games 

BOSTON — When the Winter Games kick off next month in Sochi, Russia, one figure-skating pair will be closely watched by fans in the Boston area.

Watch NewsCenter 5 report

Marissa Castelli, of Cranston, R.I., and Simon Shnapir, of Sudbury, won the National Championships earlier this month in Boston, effectively clinching a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.

They leave next week for Sochi.

“We’re so excited. This is a dream come true,” Marissa, 23, said Sunday, her 6-foot-4 partner, Simon, 26, standing to her left.

“We’re still kind of on cloud nine from our championship win just a few weeks ago here in Boston,” Simon added.

And the two, who’ve been skating together for eight years at the Skating Club of Boston, insist they’re not fazed by the much-talked about security concerns in Russia leading up to the 2014 games.

“We’re putting our trust into the U.S. and obviously the Russian security over there,” Shnapir said. “And it’s gonna be great. We’re going there to represent our country proudly, and our focus is our training and our competition, and that’s it.”

For U.S. security officials, the situation in Russia is far more alarming.

“The fact is, this is a dangerous region in Russia by the north Caucuses,” U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-NY, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” “There are active terrorist organizations there.”

The Republican lawmaker slammed Russia’s government for refusing to share its intelligence with U.S. security officials. He claimed the country’s leadership is worried that giving the U.S. such information would reveal sensitive secrets about how its security forces gather intelligence.

President Vladimir Putin, in the meantime, has promised a “ring of steel” around Sochi, but King is skeptical.

“The fact is, once you get outside that venue, or even going from venue to venue, there is real vulnerability,” King said. “I would advise the athletes that they do everything they’re asked to do by the security team, by the State Department, by the FBI.”

Marissa and Simon, for their part, told NewsCenter 5 they’re focused simply on their routines.

They trust the American and Russian security forces, and said, as with many other U.S. Olympians, they will not wear their Team USA gear outside of the Olympic Village.

“Generally, when we travel overseas, we try not to wear our Team USA jackets outside; you don’t know what’s going to happen outside of the Village, how everyone else is going to treat you,” Marissa said.

Simon said the pair and their families should be better off than most. He was born in Moscow and speaks fluent Russian.