EXCLUSIVE: Documents Reveal Seattle’s Secretive DHS Funded ‘Mesh Network’

Mikael Thalen
by
November 12th, 2013
Updated 07/09/2014 at 6:33 pm

UPDATE: New Mesh Network Documents Confirm Police Vehicle’s Real-Time Access To DHS Spy Cameras

Seattle residents have begun questioning the installment of several mesh network devices attached to utility poles in the downtown area, purchased by the Seattle Police Department last February using cash from a $2.7 million Department of Homeland Security grant.

GardlandLongGridThe wireless mesh network, which allows for private communication between wireless devices including cell phones and laptops, was built by California-based Aruba Networks, a major provider of next-generation mobile network access solutions.

Labeled by their intersection location such as “1st&University” and “2nd& Seneca,” the multiple network devices are easily detected in Seattle’s downtown area through a simple Wi-Fi enabled device, leading many residents to wonder if they are being detected in return.

“How accurately can it geo-locate and track the movements of your phone, laptop, or any other wireless device by its MAC address? Can the network send that information to a database, allowing the SPD to reconstruct who was where at any given time, on any given day, without a warrant? Can the network see you now?” asked Seattle newspaper The Stranger.

According to reports from Kiro 7 News, the mesh network devices can capture a mobile user’s IP address, mobile device type, apps used, current location and even historical location down to the last 1,000 places visited.

So far Seattle police have been tight-lipped about the network’s roll-out, even denying that the system is operational. Several groups including the ACLU have submitted requests to learn the programs intended use, but days have turned to months as the mesh network continues its advancement.

According to The Stranger’s investigation, Seattle Police detective Monty Moss claims the department has no plans to use the mesh network for surveillance… unless given approval by city council. Despite a recently passed ordinance requiring all potential surveillance equipment to be given city council approval and public review within 30 days of its implementation, the network has remained shrouded in secrecy.

Unknown to the public until now, information regarding the system has been hiding in plain view since last February at minimum. Exclusively revealed by Storyleak, diagrams attached to a March 2012 proposal request (# DIT-2996), which have since been approved, updated and finalized, are publicly viewable at the Seattle.gov website.

On page 55 of the “Port Security Video Surveillance System with Wireless Mesh Network” project, a diagram reveals the system’s basic communication abilities in regards to the Port of Seattle.

MESH

Several connections can be made by studying the diagram, including its now apparent link to Seattle’s public waterfront. The recent instillation of 30 Department of Homeland Security-funded surveillance cameras on Seattle’s popular waterfront, complete with mesh network devices attached, were purported to increase the Port of Seattle’s protection against such acts as terrorism. Residents soon discovered multiple cameras facing inward toward Seattle homes, not towards the coast line as allegedly intended. The “accident” was later remedied by city officials.

While unknown members of multiple law enforcement agencies will have access to the mesh network, so will the Seattle Fusion Center, where FBI and Homeland Security gather data on Americans deemed “extremist” for such crimes as “loving liberty.” Incredibly, even the U.S. Senate called the Fusion Centers a “useless and costly effort that tramples on civil liberties” in a 2012 bi-partisan report.

Page 65 of the public document details the information-collecting capabilities of the Mesh Network Mesh System (NMS), revealing its ability to collect identifying data of anyone “accessing the network.” Although the document details an alert system for reporting unauthorized access, a public user guide from a similar Aruba software program lists the ability to collect “a wealth of information about unassociated devices,” validating fears of local residents who walk through the mesh network’s perimeter.

“The NMS also collects information about every Wi‐Fi client accessing the network, including its MAC address, IP address, signal intensity, data rate and traffic status,” the document reads. “Additional NMS features include a fault management system for issuing alarms and logging events according to a set of customizable filtering rules, along with centralized and version‐controlled remote updating of the Aruba Mesh Operating System software.”

The bottom left of the diagram shows what may be the Seattle Department of Transportation Intelligent Transportation Systems Network, linked directly into the mesh network. According to the Department of Transportation website, the system controls several surveillance related items such as license plate readers and closed circuit TV (CCTV) systems.

An early draft of the diagram appears to show Seattle police vehicle’s ability to receive and “control” certain aspects of the mesh network. Whether police were originally intended to control surveillance cameras from their vehicles, including their panning, tilting and zooming abilities, remains unclear.

According to statements made by Seattle’s Assistant Chief Paul McDonagh last February regarding the waterfront cameras specifically, “only a few people would have that capability, so the officer on the street would just have the ability to view it.”

In light of Seattle and other cities’ secret participation in TrapWire, a sophisticated facial recognition program ran through city CCTV cameras, further surveillance abuses will likely continue as the mesh network integrates to become a more streamlined and powerful tool.

In reality, Seattle is only one of countless cities across the country being flooded with a sea of surveillance equipment. While the public has focused mainly on surveillance issues relating to the NSA, the federal government has continued its 20-plus year dragnet surveillance grid roll out of covert conversation-recording microphones.

As recently reported by Storyleak, multiple cities including Las Vegas have begun using “Intellistreets” light fixtures capable of recording conversations. The device has received increased scrutiny since 2011 when their “Homeland Security” application, which shouts government messages from a loudspeaker system, was widely revealed to the public.

Other audio recording devices like the ShotSpotter microphones, allegedly used to analyze the location of gun shots, have been found to record conversations of unsuspecting city residents.

Earlier this year, Seattle police joined the growing number of departments using PREDPOL “predictive policing” software, a program that uses advanced mathematical algorithms and crime data to predict where crimes will occur down to a 500-square-foot area. Civil liberties advocates fear the program will begin being used on directly on individuals, although police deny the claim.

Despite the federal government’s constant justification of throwing away civil liberties in the name of fighting terrorism, which kills less Americans than bee stings, continued NSA revelations show that the federal government’s continued surveillance system build-up is aimed at everyday Americans, not foreign Al Qaeda admittedly supported by the U.S. government in Syria.

Full PDF Available Here

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“Port Security Video Surveillance System with Wireless Mesh Network” -
Seattle

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Category: Privacy, US

Mikael Thalen

About the Author ()

Mikael is the lead features writer at Storyleak.com. His articles have been featured on sites such as the Drudge Report, Infowars and Natural News. During his time at Examiner.com, he was frequently ranked the number one political writer.

Comments (27)

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  1. Mr. Liberty says:

    Listening to Jones today, he made a great point. These devices can be used to shutdown all cell phones during a time of protest, false flag operation, or police brutality. It will be much harder video tape injustices. Just like what happened during Boston.

    Can't wait to see the PDF Anthony and Mikael are dissecting…

  2. You guys are stroking yourselves. MAC address and IP address are not unique to the user. Neither can the individual be tracked. Can you guys stop destroy journalism? You guys are the ones destroying America with your fear propaganda.

    Search: Rand Paul Blue Cross
    Search: Alex Jones Chase Bank Hoax Y2K Hoax
    Search: Alex Jones Hijacks Alamo Rally
    Search: Ron Paul Gold Standard China Takeover

    These are real news stories… Sorry, but Alex is using this Anthony Gucci kid. You all are better running away from him as fast as possible.

    • Mr. Liberty says:

      See the definition of an IP address.

      An Internet Protocol address (IP address) is a numerical label assigned to each device (e.g., computer, printer, phone) participating in a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication.[1]

      Note how IP addresses are assigned to devices…that IP address may not have the user name, but that device IS registered to a specific user, put two and two together.

      • Bryan says:

        IP addresses can change depending on your network, many times they are dynamic. So he is right in that they are not specific to a user, however, every registered IP address comes from a device with a MAC address, which IS specific to the user and he is retarded for implying that it is not. The only way a device MAC address changes is if you hack it, the people concerned about their privacy are not hackers.

    • Ben J. says:

      -

      "Is the world stage being set up for something big by the NSA data-minig … as in real BIG?!"
      http://stateofthenation2012.com/?p=2345

    • nicoli says:

      One could assume that DHS would have access to the GSM/LTE towers.

      That means even having phone reception gives your phone an IP address.

      Also I do this kind of I.T work for a living.

      The spying on your phones is only half the story. All of these white box devices are capable of WIPS. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireless_intrusion_

      If you had a whole city covered with them, you could shut down EVERY wifi network. This is bad. In Egypt when the Government shut the internet down, hackers used dial-up modems conected to WiFi routers to give people internet access again (even if it was a bit slow!).

      This would not be possible with a mass deployment of these devices. You could not tether phones to laptops, or home routers or even the WiFi at your workplace. All under DDoS attack by these Govt probes. DHS could shut down EVERYONES WIFI .

      Peace from Australia.

    • Bryan says:

      MAC Addresses are not specific to the user? Are you smoking crack? yes they are every device has a unique registered MAC address unless you are a 1337 hacker and can edit that device information it is specific and locked in.

    • Bryan says:

      Oh and another thing, this is not fear propaganda, what they are doing to people is what is inducing the fear to begin with. This is all very real and has been proven many times, for example, how about the google vans that went around the US taking pictures for google maps and basically hacking every wifi network along the way? This was taken to court but all the collected data was just that, collected. Honestly im not afraid of it, but they are doing it, and hiding it, it is wrong.

    • Billy says:

      You’re scary dude! You don’t like Alex Jones, which is fine. He’s a bit over the top for my taste as well. But a large percentage of his information is verifiable and on point. This story for instance can’t even get the light of day on any mainstream or midstream news outlet, and it’s GD HUGE! WHY? How bout TPP Chapter 1 of 28? Is that fear mongering too? If it’s so harmless, webby the cloak of secrecy. I think I understand your perspective as a veteran, and your desire to hold fast to an idea of America you and many of your brothers made a tremendous sacrifice for. Problem is those in power have very different motivations than the ones they portray for the camera. Alex Jones is yelling fire in a crowded theater, no doubt. But is the theater not engulfed in flames?

  3. Richard H. says:

    Seems like all this surveillance is being done to keep the lid on SOMETHING !

    What could so ultra-secret and dire at the same time?

    "The BIGGEST Coverup in USA History"
    http://stateofthenation2012.com/?p=2257

    ! ! ! Something's going on — that's for sure,
    but we never get the right clues before they happen

  4. Terry says:

    Good Job Anthony and Mikael! Great job on AJ's show today….

  5. Mr.Lincoln says:

    Dwight D. Eisenhower exit speech on Jan.17,1961

    Eisenhower warns us of the military industrial complex.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y06NSBBRtY

  6. Hey VBN- KNOW WHAT A MAC ADDRESS IS? It's a unique hex identifier on your PC or internet access device. That means it's unique to the device. (Derp)

  7. Bailey says:

    I work for myself what pecentage of searches for porn she is HOT!!!! wow

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  10. Mr. Liberty says:

    I understand that this type of technology can be abused…used against anyone who the operators deem dangerous. Liberty lovers like myself do not like to be spied on. I am committing no crimes so what do I have to hide?

    Nothing, but the fact of the matter is people like me are considered dangerous by the very people that will be operating these systems. Plus we all know how bad Obamacare has operated…what kind of issues could occur with morons controlling vast amounts of personal data?

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