The FBI and your computer

Computer security

From Instapundit (not just the link, but his comments):

CREEPY UNCLE SAM: FBI can turn on your Web cam, and you’d never know it. As I’ve said before, hardware on-off switches for cameras and microphones may come back into style. Plus this: “The FBI can also burrow into a suspect’s computer and download files, photographs and stored e-mails.” If they can do that, of course, they can also plant evidence without a trace. . . .

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  • Ymarsakar

    And people thought I was paranoid when I first came on the net.

  • Mike Devx

    I take two things away from this post, Book.
    The first is that we are becoming a total surveillance society.  We are almost always, in one way or another, potentially under observation.  Cameras are everywhere, and they, along with the tracking of your cell phone in your pocket, will allow the reconstruction of your every movement outside the home.  Smart meters along with data mining will be able to reconstruct most of your movements and activities within the home.  But all of this is after the fact: Only once the government takes an interest in your, and all of this data is pulled out of the vast archives, will your complete movements become assembled.
    The second thing is our discomfort with this total surveillance society.  We are very uncomfortable with it, yet we are NOT uncomfortable enough to demand its disassembly.  It might be impossible anyway.  Take Book’s example, the web-cam sneakily turned on you as you sit at your computer.  (Or used to spy on the visible range of the web-cam within your house).  It’s essentially nothing more than a lens with a lot of software behind it.  The government isn’t doing anything dramatic with that software; they’re just turning it on when you don’t expect it to be on.  It’s similar to the government’s supposed ability – probably true – to turn on the earpiece in your wall telephone while it was just hanging there, to eavesdrop within your home.  Techniques such as those are very difficult to stop.
    In any case, all this video, audio, and digital information is being warehoused by the government in vast data banks.  Everything you do is recorded in one way or another.  As long as the government can categorize it all and link it to you, your life is an open book to them.  But that will only occur if they take an interest in you.  It’s obvious to me that the potential for tyranny and oppression is huge.

  • Mike Devx

    I want to add a quick point about cameras being everywhere, and the potential for their use by government.  Today we know that many municipal and commercial video feeds are automatically captured and fed to the government.  The key for their exploitation will be that these video streams are digitized, and then that facial recognition and identification software is used to identify people and to construct a database of their movements.
    We’re still very early in this process of digitization, and facial recognition software is still relatively in its infancy – but its progress is actually rather dramatic.  How long before it becomes quite effective?  And how long before vast banks of computers are executing this software on vast databanks of digitized video feeds, solely for the purpose of constructing that database of information on the movements of millions of people?  It’s just a question of investment in technology at some point, and the government LOVES to spend the money on those kinds of efforts.

  • Ymarsakar

    They won’t use the surveillance for that first. Their best move would be to use it to find the True Names of various internet anonymous rebels and dissidents. Crack down on them, break up their cells, and put bounties and 50% taxation on their economy. You can’t do much about your life when to buy stuff from Amazon, it costs 50% more than what a Democrat would have to pay to get the same thing. You kind of just got dropped down to “3rd class citizen” before you realized it.
     In this fashion, the feds can break the monopoly of the net on freedom of interaction and freedom of mobility and freedom of conscience, forcing people to either pay up or shut up.
    If they want to go the route of using info tech on citizens, Britain’s 24 hour cameras would be the next step instead. They can catch muggings and kidnappings and murders while they sit in the DC office, laughing it up at the peasant glaidators.