On August 20, the Observer received an unsettling email from a grandmother in small town California named Cheryl Nagle. She asserted that a mysterious man on Facebook was infiltrating her community’s social media networks, and creepily sending friend requests to a bunch of local kids. And that the Observer, in some bizarre way, was connected to it all.
Obsessed with MTV’s Catfish, we took Ms. Nagle up on her tip. It turned out to be true.
New Drone City
A Seattle man ascended to a new level of creepiness recently when he flew a drone just a “few feet away” from a family’s home and defended his right to do so because he was flying it in the air, and thus not trespassing. He also claimed it was for research. The camera-equipped device emitted a loud noise, similar to that of a weed-whacker, which caught the attention of a woman inside.
She told Capitol Hill Seattle Blog that she saw the man on the sidewalk controlling the device near a third-story window in the eastern neighborhood. Her husband approached the man, who was standing on the sidewalk, and told him to desist from being creepy. The man told him that he was doing “research” and the camera was transmitting the images to his glasses. They called the police, but they didn’t show up since Inspector Gadget had already left.
I'm a Creep I'm a Weirdo
Candy companies will go pretty far when it comes to Halloween time stunt advertising, but Swiss chocolatier Nestle has truly outdone itself this season. The York Press reports that the company has decided to embed a GPS device into the wrapper of some KitKat bars in a bizarre attempt to reward men for eating candy.
Google engineer Morgan Marquis-Boire and Ph.D. computer science student Bill Marczak introduced New York Times readers today to FinSpy, one of the scariest spyware packages you’ve probably never heard of. Mr. Marquis-Boire and Mr. Marczak have been on FinSpy’s trail, mapping all its nasty flavors, since earlier this year. The software suite is available to law enforcement for legitimate investigative use, but the researchers have found it is also being used by oppressive governments to track the communications, activities and personal connections of political dissidents.
In a report linked by the Times, Mr. Marquis-Boire and Mr. Marczak detail how they first learned of the spyware as a Trojan payload attached to emails sent to Bahraini human rights activists, then began peeling apart its other, much creepier uses–tracking everything a target does with a smart phone. Pretty much any smart phone. The researchers’ list of what FinSpy Mobile can do is chilling: