23APR09 Is the FBI watching, me? Installing Spyware on my machines?

Network World News ran a decent editorial with some links to Wired and the documents Wired filed a Freedom of Information Request for regarding the Bureaus use of computer spyware to obtain evidence. Under Court orders with a search warrant and authorization to use electronic surveillance, its a reasonable idea. After all, not everyone uses encryption to protect personal finances or intellectual property (such as digital paintings and the like); there are those who use it to hide rather sick illicit activities. When reasonable cause and actions combine to warrant an investigation, and a Judge issues a search warrant, this could save lives and get criminals off the streets.

However, its also reasonable to be concerned about. We have rumors flying around right now about FBI Memos detailing how they were to monitor the Tea Party movement and capture the Tea Parties on surveillance and investigate the organizers. However, nothing verifiable has been found, and it could be just rumors. Considering past actions by the FBI however, it wouldn't surprise any of us considering the post 9/11 powers and current administrations paranoia about 'right wing' extremism. I've never liked the Patriot act mostly based on the abuse of power that could happen in the hands of the wrong Congress and President...

These articles are well worth a read. The Network World News article points out that the way the FBI's program works leaves the FBI vulnerable, and leaves us vulnerable if software bugs are left open as back doors for the FBI spyware to exploit and some enterprising hacker (perhaps a pissed off FBI employee/former FBI employee/terrorist/organized crime member with inside info) utilizes something similar to the FBI spyware and hits YOU or I using the backdoor, say Microsoft, left open in its Explorer or Outlook program for the FBI to use. Something that needs to be addressed. We know the need for what the FBI does, we know its been limited thus far to court ordered warrants, we want to see it continue that way to get the kiddie porn pukes, but we don't want to be left vulnerable to hackers/terrorist exploiting the FBI spyware or an abuse of power by the FBI against political enemies of the ANY Presidential administration or Congress.

Also, keep an eye out for a virus that might hit a Mac! Mac is now getting more and more vulnerable to attack!

So far, its just a computer geek INFO SEC blog day.

Yesterday, I worked, then Barbecued! After all, its warmer and it my youngest son's FIRST birthday!

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