US military test flight: Zephyr solar glider crashed

Airbus‘ high-flying drone has crashed in the desert just hours before setting a record for the longest flight ever recorded by an aircraft.

The Zephyr solar-powered drone has crashed over the Arizona desert after a long-distance flight of 64 days. On tracking websites, the glider’s route suddenly became invisible on Friday 19 August and did not reappear as it usually does. According to the US magazine Simple Flying, the data shows a vertical rate of descent increasing rapidly and racing to the ground at speeds of up to 83 kilometres per hour.

An Airbus Defense representative reportedly confirmed the loss to Simple Flying, but did not speak of a crash. According to the statement, there were „circumstances that ended its current flight“. No persons were harmed. „US military test flight: Zephyr solar glider crashed“ weiterlesen

End of Berlin model project: Politicians, police dispute about tasers

Since the turn of the millennium, German special forces have been equipped with „distance electric pulse devices“, and more and more states now allow them in patrol duty. Within three years, six people died in Germany after being shot. The use of this weapon is contested in Berlin.

For five years, the police in Berlin have been testing tasers in everyday service. The Berlin tabloid B.Z. reported last week that this trial run, which has already been extended by one year, is to end without continuing, citing an email from State Secretary Torsten Akmann (Social Democratic Party, SPD). His party colleague and superior Senator of the Interior, Iris Spranger, contradicts this today in a press release that begins with the words „The taser must stay“. The Social Democrat had already made similar statements to the dpa press agency. „End of Berlin model project: Politicians, police dispute about tasers“ weiterlesen

Millions of US accounts affected: Telecom group conceals information about hacked personal data

Almost half of all T-Mobile customers in the USA were victims of a huge data breach. Deutsche Telekom, as the parent company, has been violating its self-imposed obligations to data protection ever since.

With more than 100 million customers in the United States, T-Mobile has massive amounts of personal data at its disposal. As a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, it could even be the largest amount of data of any company whose parent company is based in the European Union. This is what digital activist and travel blogger Edward Hasbrouck from California draws attention to in his latest entry.

However, T-Mobile USA is far less willing to provide information than Deutsche Telekom, which, for example, had to hand over extensive movement data to the then Green Party MP Malte Spitz eleven years ago – but only after a settlement in a lawsuit. Following Spitz’s example, Hasbrouck had also asked US T-Mobile what information was stored about him. The company, however, refused to answer and is now refusing further requests from the blogger. „Millions of US accounts affected: Telecom group conceals information about hacked personal data“ weiterlesen

Sea rescue off Libya: Flight bans by Tripoli violate international law

The Scientific Services of the German Bundestag consider it against two international conventions that Libya prohibits a private rescue organisation from flying over high seas. The Berlin government agrees, but does not change the problem. Therefore, the International Civil Aviation Organisation cannot intervene either.

The ban on civilian flights for sea rescue in the central Mediterranean by Libyan authorities violates international law. This had already been confirmed by the Scientific Services of the Bundestag in an assessment at the end of June. Now the German government agrees with this assessment. The demand for permission to fly outside state territory is „contrary to the principle of freedom of overflight on the high seas“, according to the answer to a parliamentary question.

According to the 1944 Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, the Libyan aviation authority oversees a Flight Information Region (FIR) that extends outside the twelve-mile zone over large parts of the southern Mediterranean. Before entering a FIR, pilots must register with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and declare their destination. However, the central Mediterranean is considered uncontrolled airspace where no such declaration is required. Aviation authorities are not allowed to impose restrictions there, at best, they can only provide indications and information, the Bundestag assessment explains. „Sea rescue off Libya: Flight bans by Tripoli violate international law“ weiterlesen

Military reconnaissance: German drones in use in Ukraine

The German Ministry of Defence is supplying a total of 43 unarmed aerial drones to its partner in Ukraine, as well as various technology to defend against such systems. In addition, there is talk of up to 20 naval drones.

The Ministry of Defence of Ukraine has received a first delivery of reconnaissance drones from Germany. They come from the company Quantum Systems, which has its headquarters in Gilching near Munich. According to a press release, some of the drones are already in use. The handover of further aircraft is said to be „in preparation and processing stage“.

Unmanned systems are playing an increasingly important role in the Ukraine war. Armed drones from Turkey have caused major losses for the Russian military; due to the lack of its own assets, the government in Moscow is now relying on imports from Iran. Both sides also use so-called kamikaze drones, which circle above the enemy with a warhead and swoop down on the target when the opportunity is right. „Military reconnaissance: German drones in use in Ukraine“ weiterlesen

Secret aerial surveillance: What does an hour’s flight with a Frontex drone cost?

With a new regulation, the EU border agency has set up its own aerial surveillance with aircraft. With the arrival of drones, migration control with the „Multipurpose Aerial Surveillance“ has become much more effective, but presumably also more expensive.

For more than a year, the EU border agency has stationed an Israeli Heron 1 long-range drone in Malta, and another drone now patrols the airspace around the Greek island of Crete. Frontex, however, does not want to disclose how much money a flight hour costs. Thus, it cannot be compared whether the drones are more expensive than manned aircraft on behalf of Frontex, as suspected.

With a new regulation, Frontex received permission in 2016 to purchase its own equipment. Immediately, the agency began leasing charter aircraft for aerial surveillance as part of a „Multipurpose Aerial Surveillance“ (MAS). This made Frontex independent of borrowing planes and helicopters, which previously had to be requested from EU Member States in the framework of Agency missions. „Secret aerial surveillance: What does an hour’s flight with a Frontex drone cost?“ weiterlesen

Facial recognition and mobility tracking: UK is monitoring foreign criminals with smartwatches

Five times a day, people awaiting trial or deportation can be prompted by an app to scan their face. Together with location data, the information will be stored by the prison administration for up to six years.

The UK Ministry of Justice wants to track convicted criminals with the help of detachable smartwatches. This is reported by the Guardian, citing plans by the prison administration. The practice would only apply to foreign national offenders (FNOs) awaiting trial or deportation. It would also enforce curfews and bans on entering certain regions.

Alternatively, the wearing of an electronic ankle bracelet could be ordered. With both systems, the Ministry of Justice plans to monitor the behaviour of about 21,400 people over the next three years, which is about 6,000 more than in March 2022. If they violate bail conditions, the prison administration will inform the Ministry of the Interior for further action. „Facial recognition and mobility tracking: UK is monitoring foreign criminals with smartwatches“ weiterlesen

Resignations over „Predator“ spyware scandal in Greece

The Greek secret service spied on at least one journalist, today its head resigned. In addition, the prime minister’s secretary-general quit his post. The affair reaches the EU level after a current MEP was also spied on.

The Greek wiretapping affair involving the „Predator“ spy programme is widening. According to media reports, Grigoris Dimitriadis, the Secretary General of the Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, resigned today. Today, his office writes that the head of the secret service, Panagiotis Kontoleon, has also submitted his resignation.

The association „Reporters United“ had previously reported how a network of companies with the participation of Dimitriadis was making money from state operations of the spyware. Intellexa, the company that distributes „Predator“ in Greece, is part of this. The revelation is also explosive because the two are relatives: The Secretary General is the nephew of the Prime Minister, who in turn is directly responsible for the secret service as a user of „Predator“. „Resignations over „Predator“ spyware scandal in Greece“ weiterlesen

German Investigations dropped: Indymedia platform was not a criminal association

The German linksunten.indymedia, founded in 2008, was banned under the Associations Act, and the entire technical infrastructure and funds of a left-wing center were confiscated. Seized storage devices apparently could not be decrypted.

Almost five years after the ban of linksunten.indymedia, the German public prosecutor Manuel Graulich has closed a preliminary investigation for the formation of a criminal organization (§ 129 of the German Code of Criminal Procedure), writes Antifa Freiburg in a post on its website. Accordingly, the decision was already made on July 12. The Freiburg lawyer of those affected, Angela Furmaniak, confirmed the information.

On August 25, 2017, and thus shortly before the Bundestag elections, the then Federal Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maizière (Christian Democratic Union, CDU) had announced the ban and declared the Internet platform to be an „association“. This meant that the law on associations could be applied, which, compared to the Telemedia Act, has significantly fewer requirements for a ban. The lawyers of those affected call this a „legal trick“. „German Investigations dropped: Indymedia platform was not a criminal association“ weiterlesen

Airbus‘ „Zephyr“: Stratospheric drone beats own record

Airbus‘ unmanned glider has been flying for 42 days without landing; no aircraft has been in the air without refueling for such a long time. As a flying Internet node, the drone could replace 250 cell towers. But there is interest mainly from the military.

The „Zephyr“ solar glider breaks more records during a test flight. Launched on June 15, the drone has now been in the air for 42 days, far surpassing the mark of 26 days set in 2018. As then, the test is taking place over a U.S. Army compound in Yuma, the Arizona city considered the sunniest in the world. In theory, the unmanned aircraft can fly continuously for months without maintenance.

With the tests, Airbus and the military want to test the durability of the drone, its electric motors  and its satellite communications. The flights involve intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance units from the military and various combat commands. „Airbus‘ „Zephyr“: Stratospheric drone beats own record“ weiterlesen