Re: It's Time for us Peaons to talk to our Gov'm'nt Representives
This has to stop.
Imagine if every consumer product were spying on how you use it?
And I mean the IoT. (Intarwebtubes of Things)
Your LED bulbs. Your toaster. Your refrigerator. Your TV. Your DVD player. Your car.
Imagine someone *cough* NSA *cough* being able to gather that data from all the various product manufacturers and then build up a highly detailed profile of every person's life. Just how much could they learn? When you move from room to room in your house. What entertainment you watch. What music you listen to. When, where, and how fast you drive.
The privacy violation is vastly unimaginable.
But it slowly creeps in. One appliance, one device at a time.
Yeah, that assumption is so basic. I take it for granted that hardware does what it is supposed to do. Also the firmware. But you're right. I should have thought of that.
It would be difficult enough to modify firmware to compromise one of several well known OSes. Difficult to impossible to compromise an unknown OS.
It would be much harder to modify hardware to compromise even a well known OS. Although hardware could substitute in different firmware momentarily. Or have something like a 'micro firmware' that recognizes when a known OS is being loaded. Such compromised hardware would need a fair amount of storage built in.
Which hardware component would be compromised? The motherboard? The microprocessor? Maybe a major chipset that handles much of the IO? As I think about it, a chipset that is used across many major motherboards, and might easily have room for a bit of extra storage, might be an ideal location to sit in between the processor, memory and IO.
Open hardware has not gained nearly the traction as open source software.
And there should be prosecution for outright fraud.
Would a big corporation with a war chest and legal muscle be able* to go around extorting payments for a license to breathe their air? After all, they have a building that uses fans to blow filtered air into the public environment.
* nevermind, I already know the answer: of course they could, in the US.
Being able to break all widely used encryption is hard to believe.
More believable is the idea that when the NSA wants to target specific computers, it can hack them. It's not as far fetched to believe that all commonly used operating systems are already so completely, so utterly compromised that NSA can implant software agents into targeted computers. By 'compromised', the NSA may have had back doors that are built right in to commercial software at manufacture. This may be known or unknown to the manufacturer of that commercial software.
Think about that. Isn't this the kind of thing NSA does? There are probably only a few organizations that NSA would have to penetrate with one of their own human agents as an employee, in the right position, to be able to get such back doors into widespread use. And there's the possibility of forcing software manufacturers to do it. Or even simply forcing certain individuals already employed there to do it without the knowledge of people higher up in the organization. I'm a bit skeptical of this, because someone, somewhere who is approached, pressured, blackmailed, etc to try to implant a back door into their employer's software, might decide to go public with it.
It is also believable that a software agent implanted into a targeted computer could monitor all commonly used cryptographic libraries and obtain the key material being used.
I don't think this sounds as far fetched as the idea that NSA can break all encryption. There are other ways to compromise cryptogrpahic systems.
NSA's ability to hack computers is a technology race. Just like the US Mint is in a technology race with counterfeiters of US currency.
Follow this line of assumptions / conspiracy theory.
Former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden knows that NSA can get what it needs (maybe not all it wants) using other techniques unavailable to the FBI.
Similarly, former Homeland Security boss Michael Chertoff might know that what the NSA has, homeland security has.
Since they can both get what they need, they see no reason to support the FBI. Maybe due to behind the scenes in fighting between competing bureaucratic fiefdoms, they would be happy for the FBI to be beholden to the NSA and/or homeland security and/or CIA for intelligence in exchange for other favors.
Hayden was also former CIA head honcho. According to this he was at NSA before he was at CIA. But maybe being at CIA he also has something against the FBI.