Ukraine war: Russia allegedly uses laser weapons against drones

Russian high-energy lasers are also said to blind satellites. US land forces mount smaller systems on tanks, German Rheinmetall still working on it.

Russian forces say they are using laser weapons in the war against Ukraine to take out defenders‘ drones. This was stated by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov at a conference in Moscow on Wednesday last week. Presumably, the weapons are so-called High Energy Laser (HEL) weapon systems.

Borissov did not explain the size of the drone attacked. However, it was destroyed „within five seconds“. There is no evidence for this claim even on relevant websites of military analysts.

Borissov oversees the Russian defence sector. It is the first time that the senior civilian official has confirmed the use of a new weapon in Ukraine, writes the military portal Defense News. The system is now being mass-produced, it adds. „Ukraine war: Russia allegedly uses laser weapons against drones“ weiterlesen

German Bundeswehr: The Army does not want to be intercepted

In order to communicate securely, land forces in NATO missions allegedly stop their tanks and arrange to talk „tower to tower“.

The German Armed Forces also want to communicate in a tap-proof manner and use encrypted connections for this purpose. This is a problem especially for the Army, which is still not equipped with digital devices across the board. This has dangerous implications for the armed forces‘ ability to command in the field.

Today, Lieutenant General Alfons Mais, Chief of Staff of the German Army, once again pointed this out in an interview with the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA). According to Mais, the basic ability to „transmit data and voice in a protected manner“ is lacking. Therefore, secure communication is the „most important task in the modernisation of the Bundeswehr“. „German Bundeswehr: The Army does not want to be intercepted“ weiterlesen

New EU information system: EU member states push for police use of biometric repository

The EU is merging biometric data from different databases into a „Common Identity Repository“. Security authorities are to use it to compare fingerprints and facial images. This will affect tourists, business travellers and refugees from third countries.

If the European „Entry/Exit System“ (EES) goes into operation as planned in four months, all travellers will have to provide fingerprints and facial images when crossing an EU external border. This database is now to be used increasingly by security authorities. The EU interior ministers want to adopt conclusions on this in the Council. The British civil rights organisation Statewatch has published a draft of these conclusions.

The coveted data will be stored in a „Common Identity Repository“ (CIR), which, according to current plans, will be launched in a year’s time. The planned conclusions call on member states to enact laws allowing biometric searches, „in particular for the purpose of facilitating the correct identification of persons“. „New EU information system: EU member states push for police use of biometric repository“ weiterlesen

Ukraine war: NATO spy drones work overtime

The Western military alliance is stationing five Global Hawks in Sicily. Germany is the main contributor, provides a quarter of the personnel and opens a flight corridor. The drones were even seen in a triple mission with US Global Hawks.

For three years, NATO has been stationing long-range Global Hawk drones at the Italian airbase Sigonella in Sicily. The five aircraft are part of NATO’s Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) programme. Since the outbreak of the Ukraine war, regular missions have been conducted along the eastern flank of the military alliance.

Now NATO reports the conclusion of an „intense Surge Week“. Every other day, a drone took off in the direction of the Ukrainian borders. A general is quoted as saying that the aircraft maintenance and communication technicians worked overtime.

More flight hours were completed during the „Surge Week“ than in a comparable period in 2021, giving „intelligence analysts a tremendous opportunity“ to provide detailed analysis. During the flights, „valuable information on the Ukrainian situation“ was gathered. „Ukraine war: NATO spy drones work overtime“ weiterlesen

„Action day“ on Soundcloud: Europol also removes right-wing extremist content

Currently, removal requests to hosting providers only have to be voluntarily complied with, but on 7 June, the regulation on mandatory removal of terrorist online content will come into force. It only applies to jihadist propaganda. The German government is only now introducing an implementation law.

Once again, Europol has held a „Referral Action Day“ on the removal of internet content. This time the focus was on the online music service Soundcloud. The EU police agency reported around 1,100 illegal audio files and user profiles with terrorist or extremist content to the provider.

The „Action Day“ covered the week between 5 and 13 May. The activities were led by the Counter-Terrorism Centre, which was set up at Europol by EU interior ministers in 2015. This is also where the Internet Content Reporting Unit (EU IRU) is located, which is responsible for detecting and reporting content. „„Action day“ on Soundcloud: Europol also removes right-wing extremist content“ weiterlesen

Hypersonic weapons: China tests aircraft carrier killer in the desert

The People’s Liberation Army is firing at dummy US warships in the Uighur region. The ability to deliver a sensitive first strike to enemy fleets is being tested.

The Chinese military is testing mid- and long-range missile attacks on warships in the desert, which are modelled on US Navy units in terms of their dimensions. The existence of such dummies in the Gobi Desert was reported by some media outlets as early as 2013. More recent installations in the Taklamakan Desert were discovered last year in the Uighur region of Xinjiang in the northwest of the country by USNI, a military portal specialising in the navy.

High-resolution satellite imagery from Maxar Technologies now points to other test centres where the military simulates aircraft carriers and other warships the size of destroyers. Some of these are equipped with full-scale piers that are probably meant to replicate ships in port, USNI reports. „Hypersonic weapons: China tests aircraft carrier killer in the desert“ weiterlesen

US security assistance: Drone boats for Ukraine

After kamikaze drones for the army, the Ukrainian navy is getting unmanned naval systems from the government in Washington. They could be dangerous for Russia in the Black Sea.

The US government has already decided on several weapons packages for Ukraine, at least three of which include drones. First, the Ukrainian army benefited from so-called loitering Switchblade munitions. Similar flying weapon systems are following with the Phoenix Ghost, which are intended to cause even more destruction. Now unmanned swimming systems are being delivered.

The drone boats are part of the €740 million security assistance announced by US President Joe Biden on 13 April. They were to be used to defend coastal waters off Crimea, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told the press. In addition, the unmanned ships were to be deployed in the Sea of Azov, whose coasts – except for Mariupol – are now completely controlled by Russia. „US security assistance: Drone boats for Ukraine“ weiterlesen

American Dragnet: Immigration and Customs authority sets up unprecedented surveillance

For €2.7 billion, ICE has bought information and spying technology in recent years. Data from private brokers and government agencies has been used to create warrantless mass surveillance that affects a large proportion of US residents.

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has set up an extensive surveillance network, reports the Georgetown University-based Center on Privacy & Technology in its newly published study „American Dragnet“. The alleged aim is to detect and arrest migrants who are obliged to leave the country. Among other things, the agency buys extensive data sets from private companies. With hundreds of requests under the Freedom of Information Act, the researchers have obtained and analysed these contracts.

Between 2008 and 2021, the ICE spent the equivalent of 2.7 billion euros on the acquisition, storage and processing of data. According to the Washington-based think tank, this has created a system that allows ICE to investigate US citizens in almost complete secrecy. For the study’s authors, the scope of the network came as a shock. „American Dragnet: Immigration and Customs authority sets up unprecedented surveillance“ weiterlesen

Encrypted communication: UK remains member of EU interception group

Despite Brexit, British police can influence surveillance laws in the EU. The country is also represented in European secret service circles.

Notwithstanding its exit from the European Union, the British police will remain a member of a Standing Heads of Lawful Interception Units based at Europol. The UK is represented there by the National Crime Agency. This was confirmed by the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, in her answer to a parlamentary question by the pirate Patrick Breyer. The UK is thus the only third country in the group, which otherwise consists exclusively of EU members and the Schengen states Norway, Switzerland and Iceland.

The working group of the departments on telecommunications surveillance had once been founded as a strategic „5G Expert Group“ on the initiative of the German Federal Criminal Police Office. It was supposed to give the authorities access to the new telephone standard, which was actually tap-proof. After this was successfully pushed through in the European and international standardisation bodies ETSI and 3GPP, the group was given a new name and new tasks in October 2021. It is now to ensure that the needs of law enforcement agencies are taken into account when amending surveillance laws at EU level and in the member states. „Encrypted communication: UK remains member of EU interception group“ weiterlesen

British NGO: 26 countries have armed drones

Every year, Drone Wars UK counts the number of countries that have medium-altitude, long-endurance armed drones. Some of them, however, do not use them at all. Another six governments are planning to procure them, including Germany and Poland.

At least 26 states have so far procured armed drones or are manufacturing them themselves. Eleven of them have already used the systems in cross-border conflicts, and nine governments even fly attacks within their own borders. This is reported by the London-based organisation Drone Wars UK in its now published annual report.

The count only includes armed drones of medium altitude and long endurance (MALE), such as the „MQ-9 Reaper“ from the USA or the Turkish „Bayraktar TB2“. Not listed are states that use so-called kamikaze drones. These „loitering munitions“, which are also becoming increasingly popular with NATO states, are similar to a missile that can circle above its target before impact and swoop down on it at a favourable moment. The entire system is destroyed in the process. „British NGO: 26 countries have armed drones“ weiterlesen