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Is the Government Spying On You Through Your Own COMPUTER’s Webcam Or Microphone?

George Washington's picture




 

We documented earlier today that -  if you are near your smart phone – the NSA or private parties could remotely activate your microphone and camera and spy on you.

This post shows that the same is true for our computer.

Initially, the NSA built backdoors into the world’s most popular software program – Microsoft Windows – by 1999.

And a government expert told the Washington Post that the government “quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type” (confirmed). Even that is just “the tip of the iceberg”, according to a congress member briefed on the NSA’s spying program.

The New York Times reported in 2011 that German police were using spyware to turn on the webcam and microphone on peoples’ computers:

A group that calls itself the Chaos Computer Club prompted a public outcry here recently when it discovered that German state investigators were using spying software capable of turning a computer’s webcam and microphone into a sophisticated surveillance device.

 

The club …announced last Saturday it had analyzed the hard drives of people who had been investigated and discovered that they were infected with a Trojan horse program that gave the police the ability to log keystrokes, capture screenshots and activate cameras and microphones.

Reuters documented last year that the U.S. and Israeli governments can remotely turn on a computer’s microphone:

Evidence suggest that the virus, dubbed Flame, may have been built on behalf of the same nation or nations that commissioned the Stuxnet worm that attacked Iran’s nuclear program in 2010 [i.e. the U.S. and Israel], according to Kaspersky Lab, the Russian cyber security software maker that took credit for discovering the infections.

 

Kaspersky researchers said they have yet to determine whether Flame had a specific mission like Stuxnet, and declined to say who they think built it.

 

Cyber security experts said the discovery publicly demonstrates what experts privy to classified information have long known: that nations have been using pieces of malicious computer code as weapons to promote their security interests for several years.

 

***

 

The virus contains about 20 times as much code as Stuxnet, which caused centrifuges to fail at the Iranian enrichment facility it attacked. It has about 100 times as much code as a typical virus designed to steal financial information, said Kaspersky Lab senior researcher Roel Schouwenberg.

 

Flame can gather data files, remotely change settings on computers, turn on PC microphones to record conversations, take screen shots and log instant messaging chats.

 

Kaspersky Lab said Flame and Stuxnet appear to infect machines by exploiting the same flaw in the Windows operating system and that both viruses employ a similar way of spreading.

 

***

 

“The scary thing for me is: if this is what they were capable of five years ago, I can only think what they are developing now,” Mohan Koo, managing director of British-based Dtex Systems cyber security company.

PC Magazine tech columnist John Dvorak writes:

From what we know the NSA has back door access into Apple, Microsoft, and Google. What kind of access we don’t know, but let us assume it is similar to what they did about 7 years ago to AT&T. They had a secret room at Fulsom St. in San Francisco and the AT&T engineers had no control and no access to a room full of NSA equipment that had direct access to everything AT&T could do.

 

Microsoft is the source of the operating system for Windows and Windows cell phones. Apple controls the OS for Macs, iPhones, and iPads. Google controls the Chrome OS, Chrome Browser, and Android cell phones. The companies regularly push operating system upgrades and security updates to users on a regular basis.

 

Imagine however that the NSA has access to these updates at the source and has the ability to alter these update in order to install some sort of spyware on your phone, tablet, or computer. The software could turn on your camera or microphone remotely, read all your private data, or erase everything and brick your phone or computer.

A high-level NSA insider confirmed to us that any computer's microphone can be remotely accessed.

Moreover – as documented by Microsoft, Ars Technica, CNET, the Register, Sydney Morning Herald, and many other sources – private parties can turn on your computer’s microphone and camera as well.

Cracked noted in 2010:

All sorts of programs are available to let you remotely commandeer a webcam, and many of them are free. Simple versions will just take photos or videos when they detect movement, but more complex software will send you an e-mail when the computer you’ve installed the program on is in use, so you can immediately login and control the webcam without the hassle of having to stare at an empty room until the person you’re stalking shows up.

The bottom line is that – as with your phone, OnStar type system or other car microphone, Xbox, and other digital recording devices – you shouldn’t say or do anything near your computer that you don’t want shared with the world.

Postscript: You could obviously try to cover your webcam and microphone when you don’t want to use them. 

But if you really want privacy, take a lesson from spy movies: Go swimming with the person you want to speak with … since electronics can’t operate in water.

Is Your Smart Meter Spying On You?

 

NBC News reports:

Researchers examining the privacy implications of smart-meter technology found that one German provider’s devices contained vulnerabilities that allowed them to snoop on unencrypted data to determine whether or not the homeowners were home.

 

After signing up with the German smart-meter firm Discovergy, the researchers detected that the company’s devices transmitted unencrypted data from the home devices back to the company’s servers over an insecure link. The researchers, Dario Carluccio and Stephan Brinkhaus, intercepted the supposedly confidential and sensitive information, and, based on the fingerprint of power usage, were able to tell not only whether or not the homeowners were home, away or even sleeping, but also what movie they were watching on TV.

The New York Times points out:

Writing in Friday’s issue of the journal Science, the environmental scientist Jan Beyea foresees a world in which epidemiologists could harvest data on how people live from day to day — their use of electric blankets or microwave ovens, for example — and correlate such activities with the likelihood of developing certain health conditions. The meter data could serve as a check on information obtained from the questionnaires that are used in such studies, he said.

 

With data from thousands or millions of smart meters, researchers could design tools to measure how many times a day a refrigerator door was opened, relevant to dietary and obesity research, or sleep patterns, relevant to a wide range of health research, he wrote.

Network World notes:

Smart meters provide highly detailed energy-use data. The info can be used by police to find and to bust indoor pot farms, by insurance companies to determine health care premiums, and by criminals to determine if you own high-dollar appliances and when is the best time to steal them. And that’s only the tip of the potential privacy invasion iceberg.

 

***

 

In central Ohio, police file at least 60 subpoenas each month for energy-use records of people suspected in indoor marijuana growing operations, reported the Columbus Dispatch. Most of the houses with indoor pot growing operations are reportedly in quiet neighborhoods without much traffic. DEA agent Anthony Marotta said the subpoena is only one tool used to catch “grow house” operators. Police get a tip about suspicious activity, but if undercover officers don’t discover anything illegal during a stake out, then utility consumption records can be sought. “How else can I get an indicator to get probable cause if I can’t see anything?” Marotta said to reporter Dean Narciso.

 

***

 

The U.S. Department of Energy warned [PDF] that smart grid technology can provide a highly detailed household profile of energy consumption and said policies are needed to restrict utilities from sharing consumer usage data with third parties. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) outlined Potential Privacy Impacts that Arise from the Collection and Use of Smart Grid Data [PDF].

 

From reading it, a person might wonder if smart meters will be real-time surveillance spies. It suggests that insurance companies might use the smart meter data to determine health care premiums, such as if there is high usage at night which would indicate sleep behavior problems. Besides looking to bust pot farmers, law enforcement might use the data as “real-time surveillance to determine if residents are present and current activities inside the home.” The press might wish to see the smart meter data of celebrities. Criminals may want to see the data to determine the best time for a burglary and what high dollar appliances you might have to steal. Marketers might want the data for profiling and targeting advertisements. Creditors might want the data to determine if behavior indicates creditworthiness.

 

***

 

Lockheed Martin general manager of Energy and Cyber Services said the smart grid could include as many as 440 million new hackable points by the end of 2015, reported Computerworld.

National Geographic notes:

 ”It’s not hard to imagine a divorce lawyer subpoenaing this information, an insurance company interpreting the data in a way that allows it to penalize customers, or criminals intercepting the information to plan a burglary,” the private nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation noted in a blog post about smart meters.

 

***

 

The European Union’s data protection watchdog warned earlier this year that smart meters, while bringing significant potential benefits, also could be used track whether families “are away on holiday or at work, if someone uses a specific medical device or a baby-monitor, how they like to spend their free time and so on.” The European Data Protection Supervisor urged that member states provide the public with more information on how the data is being handled.

 

***

 

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) … was involved in producing a comprehensive report on privacy with the

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) that summarizes, often in chilling detail, the many ways in which privacy breaches could occur on the smart grid, and recommends best practices for preventing those breaches. “As Smart Grid implementations collect more granular, detailed, and potentially personal information, this information may reveal business activities, manufacturing procedures, and personal activities in a given location,” the NIST report said.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

Critics of “smart meters” have often warned that the advanced electricity and gas meters can invade privacy by revealing when someone is and isn’t home.

 

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, they have reason to worry.

 

The civil rights group on Wednesday reported that California’s three big, investor-owned utilities had disclosed individual account information on thousands of their customers last year, usually to government agencies armed with subpoenas.

Last year, the United States Congressional Research Service addressed some of the  issues involved:

Data recorded by smart meters must be highly detailed, and, consequently, it may show what individual appliances a consumer is using. The data must also be transmitted to electric utilities—and possibly to third parties outside of the smart grid—subjecting it to potential interception or theft as it travels over communications networks and is stored in a variety of physical locations.

 

These characteristics of smart meter data present privacy and security concerns that are likely to become more prevalent as government-backed initiatives expand deployment of the meters to millions of homes across the country. In the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), Congress appropriated funds for the implementation of the Smart Grid Investment Grant (SGIG) program administered by the Department of Energy. This program now permits the federal government to reimburse up to 50% of eligible smart grid investments, which include the cost to electric utilities of buying and installing smart meters. In its annual report on smart meter deployment, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission cited statistics showing that the SGIG program has helped fund the deployment of about 7.2 million meters as of September 2011.15 At completion, the program will have partially funded the installation of 15.5 million meters. By 2015, the Institute for Electric Efficiency expects that a total of 65 million smart meters will be in operation throughout the United States.

The CRS discussed some of the laws which may govern smart meter data:

If smart meter data and transmissions fall outside of the protection of the Fourth Amendment, they may still be protected from unauthorized disclosure or access under the Stored Communications Act (SCA), the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). These statutes, however, would appear to permit law enforcement to access smart meter data for investigative purposes under procedures provided in the SCA, ECPA, and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), subject to certain conditions. Additionally, an electric utility’s privacy and security practices with regard to consumer data may be subject to Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act). The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has recently focused its consumer protection enforcement on entities that violate their privacy policies or fail to protect data from unauthorized access. This authority could apply to electric utilities in possession of smart meter data, provided that the FTC has statutory jurisdiction over them. General federal privacy safeguards provided under the Federal Privacy Act of 1974 (FPA) protect smart meter data maintained by federal agencies, including data held by federally owned electric utilities.

The CRS report notes the incompleteness of the laws applying to smart meters. And – given that the FISA court has recently been shown to rubber-stamp mass surveillance on millions of Americans without any protection – we’re not sure that the current legal protections regarding smart meter data are worth the paper they’re written on.

England is just as bad. As the Telegraph writes:

The devices, which the government plans to install in every home by 2020, will also tell energy firms what sort of appliances are being used, allowing companies to target customers who do not reduce their energy consumption.

Privacy campaigners have expressed horror at the proposals, which come as two million homes have ‘spy’ devices fitted to their rubbish bins by councils who record how much residents are recycling.

 

***

In its impact assessment, however, the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) says there “is theoretically scope… for using the smart metering communications infrastructure to enable a variety of other services, such as monitoring of vulnerable householders by health authorities or social services departments.”

 

It adds: “Information from smart meters could also make it possible for a supplier to determine when electricity or gas was being used in a property and, to a degree, the types of technology that were being used within the property. This could be used to target energy efficiency advice and offers of measures, social programmes etc to householders.”

 

Doretta Cocks, founder of the Campaign for Weekly Waste Collection, said: “This is Orwellian. We’re already under surveillance for what we put outside the home in bins and now we could be watched for what we’re doing inside as well.

 

***

 

Guy Herbert, general secretary of NO2ID, said: “Information from smart meters might be useful to energy providers and perhaps even their customers, but there’s no reason for any public authority to have access to it – unless they’ve a warrant to do so.

 

“This document is a prime example of government efforts to shoehorn data sharing and feature creep into every new policy.

 

***

 

The DECC document adds households could even have their power to some appliances turned off remotely to help the national grid if there is too much demand.

 

***

 

Consumer Focus, the watchdog, has also expressed concern about the privacy implications of the meters, saying consumers are “at risk of unfair, excessive, inequitable and inefficient charging” because energy companies could use the new data to introduce more complex tariffs to maximise profits at peak times.

And the Age reports that smart meter data from Australian homeowners is shared with random companies:

Detailed information about electricity customers’ power usage, which gives insights into when a house is occupied, is being shared with third parties including mail houses, debt collectors, data processing analysts and government agencies.

 

Customers with smart meters who sign up for Origin Energy’s online portal must consent to their data being shared with a string of third parties. The data is stored in Australia but shared with US company Tendril, which is described by Origin as a smart energy technology provider.

 

Australia’s privacy watchdog said the technology could threaten people’s privacy. ”We are starting to see people voicing concern about the level of data that these meters can collect,” federal Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim said.

 

***

 

Mr Pilgrim said electricity companies had a legal responsibility to delete or ”de-identify” personal information that was no longer needed. However, an Origin spokesman said the company kept former customers’ data for retrospective queries and ”tax and compliance purposes”.

 

The state government aims to install smart meters – which log electricity use every half-hour – in all Victorian homes by the end of next year.

 

***

 

Customer information can only be accessed by staff involved in billing. He said the electricity retailer only shared information with third parties when they had a ”legitimate business need to do so in order to meet our service obligations to our customers”.

In the ultimate irony, one of the biggest proponents of smart meters – Northern California’s main utility, Pacific Gas & Electric – was busted in April for spying on anti-smart meter groups:

On Thursday 4th April 2013, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved a settlement in its investigation into Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) for spying on anti-Smart Meter groups.  PG&E will be required to pay $390,000 to the state’s General Fund.

 

This infiltration by PG&E was part of an on-going surveillance program conducted by PG&E and Edelman, a public relations firm PG&E hired in January of 2010 in response to escalating Smart Meter complaints and problems.

 

As part of this program, the director of the PG&E Smart Meter program, William “Ralph” Devereaux, other PG&E employees

and third parties spied on groups with the knowledge of senior PG&E staff.  PG&E employees and senior management exchanged emails insulting and demeaning the members of the anti-SmartMeter groups.  For example, these PG&E customers were referred to “insurgents.”

 

PG&E coordinated moving an entire Smart Meter deployment yard to derail a non-violent protest and sent an employee to surreptitiously observe and report on the reactions of the protestors, who also transmitted pictures of them to PG&E.  This “spy” expressed his pleasure in observing and taking photos of anti-SmartMeter activists.

Note: Several utilities – including Pacific Gas & Electric – allow you to opt out of the smart meter program. If you insist, they will remove the smart meter from your home.

 

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Thu, 06/27/2013 - 02:02 | 3698222 Sauerkraut-Opinion
Sauerkraut-Opinion's picture

Quotation
"A group that calls itself the Chaos Computer Club prompted a public outcry here recently when it discovered that German state investigators were using spying software capable of turning a computer’s webcam and microphone into a sophisticated surveillance device."

Little correction: German Government official announced this troyan already in 2009 or 2010 ("Bundestroyaner"), so the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) knew what they were looking for. Prior to it's introduction of this spy-ware there was a full discussion in the German medias & politics about pro&contra and appearance-date of this announced piece of spy-ware, so the CCC just identified the code when it finally was implemented.

Thu, 06/27/2013 - 01:59 | 3698217 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

"

The devices, which the government plans to install in every home by 2020, will also tell energy firms what sort of appliances are being used, allowing companies to target customers who do not reduce their energy consumption.

" How? None of my appliances is able to identify itself in any way whatsoever. It would all be guesswork from the load itself. Given the frequency of devices at different times this isn't terribly helpful. As for the computer: #1 linux #2 no camera #3 microphone is unplugged until needed then removed again immediately.
Wed, 06/26/2013 - 04:32 | 3693814 NaN
NaN's picture

Some months ago I noticed a lot of data transfering to the network when I was not really using it. I scanned for open connections and found an odd ip address that turns out was located in the old Kremlin which should be a tourist site. So either the old Kremlin is more than a tourist location or skype is peering through it.  

Privacy strategy idea: protect all communications with DRM so eavesdroppers can be fined $200k per conversation. 

 

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 23:53 | 3693531 failsafe
failsafe's picture

No irony here GW. You are my current local hero. Out of curiosity, what is significance of Victorian homes? Ostensibly power companies would target older homes for poor energy conservation measures but not if/how relevant to privacy-spying issue.Just curious

Wed, 06/26/2013 - 19:05 | 3697171 Helix6
Helix6's picture

I'm guessing the articale was referring to houses in Victoria the State in SE Australia, rather than to a style of housing as found in the USA.

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 16:01 | 3692242 BattlegroundEur...
BattlegroundEurope2011's picture

A lot of folks need to apologise to Alex Jones for mocking him over the years.

 

 

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 15:39 | 3692164 rustymason
rustymason's picture

Hackers can also put kitty porn on your computer, or even worse, copies of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence (shudder). You'll be in Gitmo before you know it.

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 15:25 | 3692110 chunga
chunga's picture

The old sci-fi movies had evil, secret govt. types implanting tiny tracking chips into everybody's brains at birth.

Now, they've got the masses clamoring to buy these gadgets, and pay monthy fees!

(so says chunga...while tapping keys on his pc...and paying a monthly fee)

 

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 14:06 | 3691814 alien-IQ
alien-IQ's picture

Meanwhile, in a article that should have been titled "Driving Mr. Page", Reggie Middleton is pimping Google Glass just below this article. You gotta laugh...

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 13:44 | 3691747 SmittyinLA
SmittyinLA's picture

monitoring of vulnerable householders by health authorities or social services departments.”

With Utilities being monetized into monopoly wealth extraction zones the state needs the authority to make sure everybody buys enough public juice teat to keep the system going.

Pretty soon (already) the rich will "flee the system" cost shifts with private unattached power, this is where the CO2 taxes & solar control come in.

 

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 13:31 | 3691708 Mr. Hudson
Mr. Hudson's picture

The government has already determined who will be placed in the FEMA camps.

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 13:38 | 3691729 Whatta
Whatta's picture

Did I make the list?

I call Barack Obama bad names and stuff on internet posts....and if he listens to the calls from my cousin, whoa, we are both FEMA "campers".

Wed, 06/26/2013 - 19:11 | 3697184 Helix6
Helix6's picture

Naw!  We're small potatoes.  As long as you're name-calling, they figure you're venting your frustrations thus obviating the need to act on them.  It's when you reveal sensitive information or your posts suggest that you're ready to take action that you get a red flag. 

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 13:11 | 3691645 WarPony
WarPony's picture

old old case (pre/early-90s) where evidence was thrown out because the feds were tapping the norstar system open mic.  It violated a contract because it was blocking the user's ability to access (not that he was).  Two way comms now - problem solved.

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 15:25 | 3692112 WarPony
WarPony's picture

Just pulling the fuse doesn't disconnect "their" side, you actually have to disconnect the wires inside the dashboard.

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 13:09 | 3691634 logicalman
logicalman's picture

Had tape over my laptop webcam & microphone since new, removed as needed - desktop, no built in microphone and has an external webcam which is only plugged in when needed.

To think, I've had people make fun of me for my two pieces of tape - saying I must be paranoid or something!

Wed, 06/26/2013 - 19:12 | 3697191 Helix6
Helix6's picture

Hey!  I'm paranoid!  I freely admit it.  But you know, no matter how paranoid I get, I just can't seem to keep up...

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 13:01 | 3691611 Waterfallsparkles
Waterfallsparkles's picture

The other probem with smart meters is that they can shut down utilities to hundreds of homes with the flick of a switch.  They do not need to go and individually shut the meters down.

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 13:00 | 3691608 thisandthat
thisandthat's picture

Regarding webcams/mikes, they can't use them if the drivers are not installed, so all you have to do is remove them and disable auto updates/installation; it's as good as if they're not there and specially reccomended with minors - any complaint, just play dumb and say it's broken ;)

Also, open source router/dedicated server with firewall.

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 12:53 | 3691584 Benjamin Glutton
Benjamin Glutton's picture

http://rt.com/news/putin-snowden-moscow-extradition-220/

today

“It is true that Snowden has arrived to Moscow, and it really came as a surprise for us. He arrived as a transit passenger, and didn't need a [Russian] visa, or any other documents. As a transit passenger he is entitled to buy a ticket and fly to wherever he wants,” Vladimir Putin said as he spoke to journalists in Finland.

Edward Snowden is still at the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, Putin stressed. He said that any accusations against Russia are “nonsense and rubbish,” as the former NSA contractor “has not crossed” the Russian border.

The President also pointed out that there is no extradition treaty between Russia and the US, which makes it impossible to extradite people like Snowden.

“We can only extradite any foreign citizens to such countries with which we have signed the appropriate international agreements on criminal extradition,” he explained.

Snowden “has not committed any crime” on Russian soil, Putin added. Russian security agencies “have never worked with and are not working with” the former CIA employee, he also stressed.

"Snowden is a free person. The sooner he chooses his final destination, the better it is for him and Russia," Putin said.

He also expressed hope that the Snowden saga would not have any negative impact on Russian-American relations and that the US "will understand this.”

Putin also commented on the situation with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden, fearing that he would then be extradited to the US.

“Just like Snowden, he considers himself a rights advocate and fights for sharing information. Ask yourself: should or should not people like these be extradited to be later put to jail?” the President asked.

“In any case, I would like not to deal with such issues because it is like shearing a pig: there's lots of squealing and little fleece, he said.

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 12:51 | 3691574 Smuckers
Smuckers's picture

So I guess Siri is just a direct conversation with an NSA agent, talking in monotone....

 

 

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 12:51 | 3691573 the grateful un...
the grateful unemployed's picture

you're my hero Geo W. -  Snowden and his exposes are directed prmiarily at political misuse of NSA intrusions, while the real threat is consumer based discrimination, misuse by insurance companies, health and auto. as we enter the jobless society we are more dependent on government care for our basic needs. how would you like it if your state approved grocery store controlled the number of calories you could have?

consumer discretionary is the way for government to direct social consciousness, and control behavior, political affiliation is no longer meaningful, (bush or obama?) additionally as we pay for insurance (as users who don't pay we pay when there is a sliding scale of coverage that we receive according to our needs, and our conformity to behavior patterns which reduce insurance costs)

we tend to resent the subisidies we pay through increased premiums for those who use more than their share of insurance resources because they practise risky or unhealthy behavior. those with bad risk patterns deserve less health care ( i think we all agree). those who are more important (scientists doctors movie actors) will get organic and non GMO crops, the rest of us (truck drivers, cooks, clerks) will get soylent du jour.

thats your brave new world

 

 

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 14:55 | 3692000 Winston of Oceania
Winston of Oceania's picture

" while the real threat is consumer based discrimination"

No, it is rather more akin to Soviet Organs who will at some point in the future use any and all data to quell dissent. I would suggest to you the book Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn.

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 16:12 | 3692267 IdiocracyIsAlre...
IdiocracyIsAlreadyHere's picture

Consumer based discrimination IS a facet of this though.  Remember Mussolini's all too correct definition of fascism "the merger of corporate and state power".  Think of it as government "outsourcing" some functions of the totalitarian state to their friendly corporate lapdogs.  The Soviet model is hardly the only model of control.

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 12:46 | 3691555 MrPoopypants
MrPoopypants's picture

Not only can they hack through the web -- they can access electronic devices remotely even when they're not powered on or connected to the internet.  They can send plasma beams into your living room to "see" and listen to conversations anywhere on the planet.  If Mike Ruppert is right, this stuff has been around since at least the 80s. Look up PROMIS software and the kinds of exotic, energy-based weaponry that make its reach very long.

These leaks are the tip of the iceberg.  The real shit got implemented with "Star Wars."

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 15:44 | 3692180 rustymason
rustymason's picture

Picard: Computer, locate Commander Riker.

Computer: Commander Riker is on top of Counselor Troy.

Riker: Damnit, can't I get any peace around here?

 

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 13:16 | 3691663 WarPony
WarPony's picture

"pinging" Dr. Jones, please speak into your cable TV receiver.

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 12:38 | 3691514 whisperin
whisperin's picture

GW, guys have any of you read Brad Thor's "Black List"? It pretty much talks about evey facet of cyber spying by the government. Not yet done but the parallels are uncanny.

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 12:31 | 3691510 kchrisc
kchrisc's picture

You leave the "SmartMeter" alone! That is a conspiracy by the same folks that claimed those in the government were recording and monitoring us and the IRS was being used for political purposes. They couldn't prove that nonsense and they won't be able to prove that "SmartMeters" aren't are friend either. "SmartMeters" will lower out bills and save the planet.   /sarc

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 12:11 | 3691445 CPL
CPL's picture

Yes...yes they are.  So is google through chrome though.

 

Protip.  piece of electrical tape over the camera and disable the mic drivers.  And disable TPM, leave it installed or stuff breaks, but disable the hardware drivers.

 

Done...

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 12:11 | 3691444 Dr. No
Dr. No's picture

Which is why I run Linux and always point the cam up when not in use.

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 14:27 | 3691879 Tsunami Wave
Tsunami Wave's picture

I was about to ask if Linux is a good OS or at least good enough to disable some stuff on there. Thank you. Next step is to build my own new computer. Is there any advice for that too to keep the NSA at bay? (Besides installing Linux on there)

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 12:13 | 3691450 CPL
CPL's picture

Disable TPM hardware drivers in linux by blacklisting them and bluetooth.  That's the NSA backdoor.

 

Windows and Apple users I can't help you.  The whole foundation of those OSes are built to snitch.  Can't disable without breaking the EULA and the machine.

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 13:31 | 3691713 geewhiz
geewhiz's picture

I'm not more technical than the average person but I read on some deeply technical blogs that Intel is working with the slavers to develop CPU's that communicate with the smart meter, effectively turning it into a wireless modem to bypass the usual home internet setups. So unless you operate a disconnected computer running old hardware the vampires got you pegged.

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 16:59 | 3692369 CPL
CPL's picture

That's part of the bluetooth stack.  If you blacklist the drivers it can't connect and by proxy disables the cell phone built into every laptop since 2005.  You'll note that you get back around 7% of system resources (at least on the i7 I have running) after doing so.  On the craptacular i3's I have it returns around 20% of the system CPU.  

Why does it do this?

It written like a piece of shit and the coder should be flogged with a wet noodle and learn assembler instead of being lazy and using common API's that anyone can grab from any number of GIT's and code dumps out there.  <shakes head>   Seriously all that power wasted on someone else's dime and equipment.  It's like stealing power from a neighbour.  Bad as viruses being a waste of everyone's time. 

There's also one in your car as well...since 2005.  You can get rid of it by dumping the stock ECU model int he car and switching to one of the better more effective (gas/economy wise) one's guy make from scratch in their garages.

Most of the snooping btw happens when you believe you are encrypting something for your 'safety'.  Personally the only time I touch the garbage govie crypto is for work; it's high overhead, high cost, little return, poorly implimented, piss poor documentation written in crayon.  And those are the good things I have to say about the best of them I've had the displeasure of working with.  They are all built like square pegs that go into round holes.  After a century of it, it's the best we can do as a planet, sad.  Really really sad.

 

 

 

Alternatively if you want to disable the cell component in the smart meter, build a mini faraday cage around it with chicken wire and a copper ground.

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 12:33 | 3691518 Jumbotron
Jumbotron's picture

Is the government spying on you through your webcam.....what a silly question.  Of course they are....if they feel the need to.

Hell, I have IT guys at work who send email to people in the company to stop picking their nose or whatever....just because they spoofed their web cam.

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 12:04 | 3691422 dksrox
dksrox's picture

Too funny when your cousin gets quoted in one of these...

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 12:15 | 3691462 Trampy
Trampy's picture

Jan Beyea?  He worked on a multi-year project all based on my work. 

Tis a shame that he's now been bought and paid for.  

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 12:03 | 3691419 Lmo Mutton
Lmo Mutton's picture

Guess what I just said to my computer about the NSA.

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 11:56 | 3691395 JustObserving
JustObserving's picture

Remember that the Brits are tapping fiber optic cables and picking up all your communications too.  So far the Brits seem to have avoided all attention:

"It's not just a US problem. The UK has a huge dog in this fight," Snowden told the Guardian. "They [GCHQ] are worse than the US."

This includes recordings of phone calls, the content of email messages, entries on Facebook and the history of any internet user's access to websites – all of which is deemed legal, even though the warrant system was supposed to limit interception to a specified range of targets.

The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) is a British intelligence agency responsible for providing signals intelligence(SIGINT) and information assurance to the British government and armed forces. Based in Cheltenham, it operates under the guidance of theJoint Intelligence Committee.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/jun/21/gchq-cables-secret-world-communications-nsa

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 15:01 | 3692010 Never One Roach
Never One Roach's picture

I say we quickly invade/take over Canada before they catch on....then we can move [covertly] and conquer the EU while they're fighting amongst themselves.

 

The Germans are beginning to wise up and they are no pushover. They are smart and they are tough.

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 12:07 | 3691426 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

the German Spiegel has also an interesting article (in english) where they cite very prominently Snowden for saying that the British intelligence agency GCHQ is "worse than the United States"

This after their equally interesting previous article called "Europe must protect itself from America" that I commented here

Thu, 06/27/2013 - 00:02 | 3697998 GoinFawr
GoinFawr's picture

Fishguard is the only place in my entire life where while x'ing a deserted street I have been barked at by a loudspeaker hidden within a streetsign... I almost had a cardiac arrest! Would that have been ironic?

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 17:17 | 3692412 smacker
smacker's picture

That's very good Spiegel article. At least someone is prepared to expose the British Government for being as bad - or worse - than the United States. UK MSM certainly will never do that, where the whole US-UK spy/data collection issue has already gone off the news. The idea that the media is supposed to hold government to account on behalf of the citizenry is laughable.

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 11:54 | 3691383 Winston Smith 2009
Winston Smith 2009's picture

Testing!  Testing!  Oh, that's right, my desktop PC has no mic or camera.

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 12:07 | 3691436 Colonel Jessup
Colonel Jessup's picture

You must be using one you built yourself then....

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 11:52 | 3691378 Shermanium
Shermanium's picture

in the morning, citizens! noagendashow dot com

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 11:49 | 3691361 Manipuflation
Manipuflation's picture

I have solved the webcam part of this issue with a really high tech solution; a short strip of masking tape.

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 13:35 | 3691721 overbet
overbet's picture

I prefer those little stars you used to get i school. you can match your background with them. Also dont forget the microphone.

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