18 July 2013
RockCam Spy Project
Gregory Perry (Gregory.Perry[at]GoVirtual.tv) sends:
Lockheed Martin / Defense Threat Reduction Agency / RockCam Project
As we discussed prior, I was the Chief Technology Officer for Advanced Wireless
an imagery intelligence hardware provider in partnership with Lockheed Martin,
the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and the United States Department of
Defense. The particular group at Lockheed was their fourth corporate
division with roots in the original Skunkworks R&D group, and this project
reported directly to the LMCO CEO and Board of Directors.
During this project, we designed a high resolution, secure wireless-enabled
covert imaging hardware platform that was installed into fake rocks placed
at various locations, to be used for clandestine imagery intelligence and
surveillance applications (project name ROCKCAM).
My particular role as CTO was to liaison with Lockheed Martin engineers and
the Defense Threat Reduction Agency officials to get the project through
Department of Defense Factory Acceptance Testing, so that the project could
be manufactured by Lockheed and then rolled out to other DoD components for
homeland surveillance applications and wartime theatre IMGINT operations.
The device itself was an embedded Linux-based SoC encapsulated in a fake
rock, and which included a spread spectrum frequency hopping 900MHz radio
section configured in a self-healing wireless mesh topology so that the rocks
could communicate between each other and use each deployed RockCam as a wireless
relay/repeater. A covert CMOS-based C-mount pinhole imager was installed
into each rock, coupled with a motion sensing PIR sensor that would trigger
the imager, which in turn would then use a high speed FPGA to compress via
a proprietary wavelet compression engine the intercepted image, and then
encrypt and transport the imagery intelligence data (initially static high
resolution images, later video with corresponding audio) to a centralized
Network Security Operations Center (NSOC). The base of each rock was
packaged with deep cycle lead acid batteries, with an expected lifecycle
of at least three years after being installed in the area to be surveilled.
The device was intended as a covert imaging platform that could be remotely
accessed via handheld computer or PDA to retrieve the imagery data in remote
locations, and there was a well-defined API that I worked on with a third
company called M2M which ran the Network Operations Center where all of the
captured data would be long term stored and mined.
The key to Lockheed / DTRA passing DoD Factory Acceptance Testing was a highly
secured encrypted transport layer for the imagery data being relayed between
the rocks, so that conventional signals intelligence methods would be unable
to view the encrypted image/video streams. I designed the public key
encryption implementation which used a combination of x.509 certificates
for the PKI in conjunction with Diffie Helman negotiated AES transport tunnels.
After getting Lockheed past Factory Acceptance Testing with the DoD, I was
told that the project had been cancelled, that my ownership in the company
was effectively worthless, and I was released from my employment with AWA
at that time.
A short time later a very similar "RockCam" started appearing in the mainstream
news as the result of a spy row between Britain and Russia, with Tony Blair
having recently acknowledged the existence of the program:
I've attached to this email the M2M protocol layer interfacing specifications
documentation used for interfacing the RockCam with M2M for remote covert
imagery transport. Since the project was ostensibly cancelled by Lockheed
Martin and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, I don't think there should
be any national security concerns with the release of any of this
information. It was suggested to me that this particular hardware platform
may have become the basis for a missile nose cone fly-by-wire guidance system
as well as a drone imaging module, which would make sense given the FPGA/wavelet
compression engine that was able to compress high resolution imagery data
(120:1 ratio with a better SNR than other competing wavelet standards such
as JPEG2K). However, I have no knowledge of any such derivative projects
manufactured by Lockheed, Boeing, or otherwise, so I don't think there should
be any national security concerns with auctioning off this hardware and related
engineering blueprints to the highest bidder on Ebay.
I am also in possession of a year or so worth of electronic mail correspondence
and communications by and between AWA, Lockheed, M2M, and various components
such as DTRA that may be of use to other burgeoning startups interested in
building covert imager hardware, so all of those documents, the prototype
hardware that I have here, and some pretty pictures will be listed on Ebay
today or tomorrow for NATO-friendly nation states to peruse and bid on.
I will send you that Ebay auction link once it's live and online.
The prototype hardware I have left is somewhat smokey as the auction will
state, as my house accidentally caught on fire last year in the area where
the prototype hardware was being stored.