Spy kits that can track mobile phones and intercept calls and messages have been discovered in Washington and across the country, the US government has said.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says it has observed "anomalous activity" consistent with the use of so-called stingrays.
They could be used by foreign spies or criminals, although the DHS said it did not know who was using them.
It added that such devices pose a "growing risk".
Stingrays, a brand name for a type of International Mobile Subscriber Identity catcher (IMSI), are mobile phone surveillance devices that mimic mobile phone towers.
The size of a briefcase, the devices send out signals to trick mobile phones into transmitting their location and identifying information.
As well as tracking the mobile phone of a suspect, the devices also gather information about phones of bystanders who are nearby.
It is believed to be the first time the US government has acknowledged the use of rogue spying devices in Washington.
The revelation came in response to a letter from US senator Ron Wyden to the DHS, asking about the unauthorised use of such devices.
The agency response was obtained by the Associated Press from Wyden's office.
In it, a senior official at the DHS acknowledged that it had "observed anomalous activity in the National Capital Region (NCR) that appears to be consistent with International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) catchers".
It added that it had observed similar activity "outside the NCR" but had "not validated or attributed such activity to specific entities or devices."
The use of Stingray devices by police forces across the US is being tracked by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). It has identified 73 agencies in 25 states that own such devices but believes there could be many more in use which are not formally declared.
There are concerns among politicians in Washington that such devices could also be used by unauthorised agencies, such as foreign governments.
(Editor’s note: Snopes made an effort to debunk this article. They claim it is misleading to quote the work of a student as a “Harvard Study,” but we specifically said she did “what any person with Google Trends could do.” The original article was published in 2014, and it is still relevant today. The purpose of this article is to get people questioning the incentives and behavior of powerful corporations.)
If you were Apple, what tricks would you utilize to increase the sales of your latest product?
If you know corporations, you’d know they use any possible trick they can as a generality to increase their profit: think of how huge a factor it would make in the sale of new iPhones if the old ones became slower.
People have made the anecdotal observation that their Apple products become much slower right before the release of a new model.
Now, a Harvard student’s study has done what any person with Google Trends could do, and pointed out that Google searches for “iPhone slow” spiked multiple times, just before the release of a new iPhone each time.
Youtuber Dutchsinse gives a new global earthquake forecast. Major seismic unrest on the West Coast of the USA and parts of Japan is predicted.
(AA) In the wake of the recent string of solar flares, some Americans--particularly Gulf Coast residents--may be wondering whether there are places in the U.S. that are safe from such natural disasters. The short answer? No. The Midwest may not be vulnerable to hurricanes, but twisters drop in regularly. Major earthquakes don't tend to strike New England, but strong winds can peel the roof off a northeastern house and snowstorms can shut down cities.
"Every location in the country is exposed to one disaster or another," says Wendy Rose, spokeswoman for the Institute for Business & Home Safety, a Tampa, Fla.-based nonprofit insurance industry group that aims to reduce losses from natural catastrophes.
Still, some places are less susceptible than others to natural hazards. To get an idea where they might be, we partnered with Sperling's Best Places ( www.bestplaces.net), a data collection company based in Portland, Ore. Sperling's has compiled weather and disaster data for 331 metropolitan statistical areas in the U.S., and we used the information to discern the safest--and least safe--areas in which to live.
There's a vampire on the loose, and he likes to leave the lights on like Motel 6. Whether you're at work, at home or out on the town, this vampire is taking a bite out of your wallet and harming the environment. But, there's no need to barricade the house and stock up on garlic just yet. This vampire works entirely though your electrical outlets and stopping this monster can be as easy as pulling a few plugs. Vampire energy is estimated to cost U.S. Consumers around 3 billion a year.
The villain in question is vampire power, also known as standby power and phantom load, from what is called a vampire device. You can also find it referred to as vampire energy, leaking energy, wall warts, standby loss, idle current, phantom power, ghost load, ghost charge, and vampire load. The terms refers to the electricity many gadgets and appliances waste just by being plugged in (even if they're switched off). After all, what do you think your cell-phone charger does all day while it's plugged into the wall? If it's warm when you get home from work, then it's been using electricity -- even if it had nothing to charge.
Individually, your rechargeable electric toothbrush may not put that much strain on the local power plant, but the big picture is far more troubling. In the United States alone, vampire power costs consumers more than $3 billion a year [source: Energy Information Administration]. Over time, many microwaves and televisions actually consume more electricity during the hours they're not in use than the times you're actually using them to heat up dinner and watch your favorite show.
How do you fight off the ravages of vampire power? In this article, you'll learn why this energy loss happens and how to slay it once and for all.
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