On the popular storefront website known as Etsy, you’ll find all sorts of interesting things to buy like vintage clothes, jewelry, art and dishware, but did you know that hidden within all of those mainstream shops, you’ll also find a little-known shop called Mission Unboxable? We’ve covered fun spy websites for kids, but Mission Unboxable offers actual “secret agent spy kits” for kids. These are brilliant kits that are tailored to spark the imaginations of young children who dream of one day becoming a secret agent for their own country. What would such a kit include? Well, everything a real spy would need of course! You’ll find spy gear, disguise kits, fingerprint analysis kits, decoder tools and more. Kits even come with missions that kids need to solve by thinking creatively and outside the box. One kit – the 12-month subscription – even takes kids through an entire year of monthly missions, culminating in a final “grand finale” mission where they must catch the bad guy!
Browsing Spy Gadgets
The monitoring of civilian Americans is not just a modern concept. Snowden’s revelation of the NSA’s active monitoring of the Internet seems to have caught the general populous by surprise. However, anyone interested in America’s long history of spying at home and abroad was not overly surprised about Snowden’s accusations. It seems that the U.S. government has a long history of using the technology available at the time to spy (or at least try to spy) on its citizens. This recent accusation about the government’s misuse of the Internet is just the tip of the iceberg. Ever wonder about the government’s use of satellite reconnaissance systems over American soil?
It seems with the Snowden case being constantly reported in the news, digital spying is at the top of the list of hot topics. However, such spying is not just limited to governments or major corporations. There is network monitoring software out there that can give the rest of us the ability to digitally spy on others, although on a much smaller and much more limited scale. Nevertheless, if you are a small business owner or a concerned parent and feel the need a network monitoring solution, then there is software out there that can meet your needs. And, in many cases, this software is free of charge. One such application is Network Spy by Anantya R&D.
It’s rare to read about a former Russian spy house in the US and even rarer to know that the government seized property that’s being sold is that very house. But, that’s exactly what the house located at 31 Marquette Road in Montclair, NJ is. The US Marshals Service is the federal agency responsible for “managing and selling seized and forfeited properties acquired by federal criminals through illegal activities.” On April 12, 2013, the US Marshals Service announced that it was selling the home of Richard and Cynthia Murphy in Montclair, NJ for $444,900. These were that alias names that the two Russian spies used to create their American suburban identities. (1) You may recall the June 27, 2010 news headliner that the FBI arrested 10 illegal Russian spies. These individuals belonged to the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR). The investigation that resulted in the arrests was code-named Ghost Stories. (2) The arrests were the culmination of nearly a decade of FBI surveillance that provided enough tangible proof of subversive activities by the Russian spies imbedded in America, living facades of normal American families. The FBI released information along with documents and photos because of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The agency stated that the intentions of these illegal spies was to gain classified information, but that they had failed, thanks to the diligence of the FBI. (3)
When Apple released SIRI in October 2011, it took the world by storm. Apple users were calling it the next step in interacting with a mobile device. The software application was advertised as an electronic personal assistant that not only learns the users’ names, but also their likes and dislikes. However, now that SIRI has been out on the market for about a year and a half, users are beginning to wonder how SIRI learns. Does the method in which the application learns violate their privacy? In short, is SIRI spying on us? The answer to that question differs depending on who you ask and how they define the act of spying. However, the way Siri “learns” is it sends the verbal request (or query, depending on how technical you want to get) to convert it into text. Once the conversion takes place, the request is processed and stored. Apple states that storing the data is necessary so SIRI can recognize the user’s voice and return better results. Apple describes this functionality in its Software License Agreement. Apple states: “By using Siri or Dictation, you agree and consent to Apple’s and its subsidiaries’ and agents’ transmission, collection, maintenance, processing, and use of this information, including your voice input and User Data, to provide and improve Siri, Dictation, and other Apple products and services.” (1) Once you have agreed to use the application you also agree to let Apple store your requests.
So, you think your spouse is trying to knock you off? If so, that is a tough case to prove unless you catch your conniving spouse in the act or they succeed. The easiest way to do this would be to catch your wife or husband in the act and on video. However, a brand new surveillance camera hanging on the wall would be fairly noticeable to the would-be murderer. A hidden camera is the obvious way to go and they come in many shapes in sizes. These cameras often look like smoke detectors, fire sprinklers, and even air freshener dispensers. Recently, an Italian housewife had success in capturing her husband attempting to poison her. She used an alarm clock with a hidden camera inside to catch her husband in the act. Apparently, there is quite the market for such hidden devices. Below is a list of some of the best and affordable spy clocks on the market.
The Air Force believes that when it comes to spying, Mother Nature is the key. At the Wright–Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, scientists are studying nature, such as birds and insects, to attempt to create what they call micro-vehicles. The concept of these tiny remote controlled vehicles is not a new one. During the 1970s, the CIA developed a tiny dragonfly-like aerial vehicle they dubbed the Insectothopter. A tiny gasoline powered engine powered this early microvehicle. Though a technological marvel for its time, it was never implemented in the field, because it was nearly impossible to maneuver through cross winds. Nevertheless, it was a proof of concept.
There is a growing concern on the Internet these days about online privacy. Whether people use Facebook, email or take part in other online communities, the security and privacy of personal information is on the forefront of security concerns. That is why the revelations from one particular research group today should raise serious concerns about the safety and online privacy of forums. On Wednesday, July 27th, investigators at Reality Uncovered, a popular conspiracy theory website that focuses on researching online and offline hoaxes and scams, revealed that a dangerous online tool called MouseTrace was being used by online forums to spy on the private messages and other activities of their members.
The web exploded into a frenzy when it was reported that smart-phones track and transmits a user’s location back to their home servers. This caused an uproar of concerns from users of both the Apple Iphone and the Google Android. However, not only are the users demanding a change, but so are various watchdog groups. In a statement concerning the uproar, Google explained: “Any location data that is sent back to Google location servers is anonymized, and is not tied or traceable to a specific user.” However, many are saying that is not enough. John M. Simpson, director of Privacy Project stated, “These aren’t smart-phones; they are spy phones. Consumers must have the right to control whether their data is gathered and how it is used.”
As part of our annual Christmas celebration at Top Secret Writers, we put together a great giveaway prize for a lucky reader. After putting the Turkey in the oven and baking a batch of Gingerbread cookies, we put the names of contestants in a hat and held the drawing for the Free Sunglasses at 12 noon today. And the winner is . . . TheThornBird – one of our most recent Twitter followers! These are high quality sunglasses – not any normal pair of sunglasses (although they look normal). The person wearing them can look to the side and actually see everything on behind them! Congratulations to TheThornBird! Moving forward into the New Year, we have lots of stories, investigations, field trips and other great giveaways planned. We also have a new YouTube investigations channel in the works – watch for that by the middle of the year! Some topics coming up include a book review of Perfectibilists and an interview with the author, Terry Melanson, about his historical Illuminati investigations. Very shortly I’ll be writing an excerpt of my recent chat with several wonderful folks that identify themselves as part of the “vampire community.” We’ll be digging further into the history of Project Paperclip, and we have amazing interviews planned throughout the year – many with well-known personalities that you’ll be sure to recognize. As the owner of Top Secret Writers, I would personally like to extend best wishes to each of you, our loyal readers, this holiday season. I started this site for those of you that are interested in the truth behind those odd and strange stories and conspiracies – and appreciate an approach that utilizes the scientific method and critical thinking, with a healthy dose of open-mindedness. No matter how strange the tale or how deep [...]