Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Remember, "Off" is not "Off" Anymore

Hopefully, you're aware of the recent revelations that yes, indeed, the intelligence agencies (and hackers) can spy on you through your "smart" devices.

"Off" or "powered down" is a lie. Those things are always on. Even the dumb old TVs with a clicker were partially and listening for the clicker's commands.[1] It's not as though you can flip a switch and kill it. If you can talk to the gizmo (TV or the remote), it's a safe bet that somebody else can listen in.

That smart TV, the voice-operated gizmos and "hey-Siri" type features means that you have a microphone in your home, if not a camera. Anyone who has the technical chops to do so can watch and listen in.[2] That technology will filter down from the Feds to local government. And given the level of political corruption in some local governments, don't be surprised if a few years from now, there's not a scandal about the mayor of West Sheepdip monitoring his political enemies.

Update: Roberta observed something interesting:
Depending on who you talk to and when, WikiLeaks and Julian Assange are brave heroes or tools of the Russians. Me, I think a little of both, plus a lot of self-inflated bravado propped up by wanna-be idealists who feed 'em leads and data-dumps. Does Uncle Vlad really run 'em? I don't know -- but I'll bet they make him laugh. And somehow they never take a leak in his pool.
[1] Though, back in the day, there was a switch on the back of the set where you could disable the clicker.
[2] The Stasi would have loved this modern age. They could have saved a boatload of Marks from not having to pay so many snitches.


Nangleator said...

I think the FBI under Twitler wouldn't mind setting up a turn-your-neighbor-in society, if not for the efficiency, for the psychological impact.

Nangleator said...

I wonder if it's possible for a class action suit of every American with one of these devices... a suit based on stolen electricity. It's hard enough keeping the iPhone charged without the government peeping on me all day long, plus I'm paying to keep the TV tuned in on me, too?

w3ski said...

I presume only powering up the device will allow listening? We 'off' the surge protector at night after an expensive electrical storm. I was given an Alexa add on for our TV since all our TV comes from the internet. I hope they can't listen off of a charged capacitor?
Also wouldn't my laptop be the same gateway?
Heck they had my name and number since the 60's anyway after they called my Dad, and then my StepMom over some imagined BS.

dinthebeast said...

Here we go again. Remember last time? George W. Bush? Vaughn Walker? Anna Diggs Taylor? "We can't answer your questions about mass surveillance because it would reveal state secrets"? That was 13 years ago, and I can't imagine that technology has gotten weaker or fallen into disuse.

-Doug in Oakland

CenterPuke88 said...

While not the commonist thing, surge protectors with individually switched outlets are available. My TV and entertainment equipment are plugged into one. Reduces vampire load and, now, improves security.

3383 said...

I thought we already knew this.
And I recall commenting on the fact that Wikileaks only has leaks from free societies, not Russia; and I know I'm not the only one.

BadTux said...

I view Assange as Putin's useful idiot, not as a fellow traveller. Putin strokes him and uses him and even subsidizes him (Wikileaks was partially hosted in Russia until I noticed that and publicized it), but frankly, the only thing Assange loves is a mirror, and the only thing Putin loves is Russia.

Regarding "smart devices", they have to be connected to a network to do anything. And if you're good at firewalls, it's easy to keep things from leaking over the network unless you want them to. I don't have any voice-activated "smart devices" in my home, just my laptop with its microphone, but I do have a very good firewall that detects and blocks outgoing connections when I don't want them. My BluRay player and Roku devices all talk over the Internet, but I can control who they talk to at my firewall.

But most people don't have my firewall-fu, so... the future will make 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 look like utopias, as far as spying is concerned.

Borepatch said...

The major advantage of an Android cell phone is that you can remove the battery.

Not sure about Assange, but the idea that Snowden was a Russian agent when he worked at NSA is absurd. I've never heard anyone make that charge. Sure, he took asylum instead of the Chelsea-Manning-naked-solitary-confinement gig at Club Fed, but that's a whole 'nother discussion.

Comrade Misfit said...

My iPhone has been known to have been powered off and placed between the couch cushions.